TED Talk Inspires Young Inventor to Bypass College; Win Thiel Fellowship

Yoonseo Kang was a member of his high school Robotics team. He thought he might like to study engineering and economics in college and his family was looking forward to his successful college career. However, according to an interview by MAKE, Yoonseo watched the Open Source Ecology’s (OSE) founder Marcin Jakubowski’s TEDTalk and decided to take a different path for his future. Yoonseo decided to move to Macrin Jakubowski’s Factor E Farm in Missouri where he’s helping build the open source economy.

As a result of some of the work Yoonseo has done at OSE, he’s been awarded a 100,000 Thiel Fellowship. The Thiel Fellowship helps young entrepreneurs under 20 who decide not to attend college fund their dreams for changing the world. Peter Thiel takes the view that a college degree harms innovators because of the conservative, career-driven mindset it imparts.

Yoonseo is one of many brilliant young people choosing alternatives to college. MIT’s Technology Review highlights another Thiel Fellow, a gifted homeschooler, Laura Deming, who attended MIT at 14 and left at 17 to accept the Thiel Fellowship. So what do TED and Thiel have in common that inspires and lures young people toward college alternatives? Perhaps it’s the excitement around big, crazy ideas and the audacity to make them a reality that a college education doesn’t just support.

by Gina Clifford

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