To Startup at college.

I originally wrote this post on Efactor, the CEL blog on May 05, 2007.

My first post on efactor and I’m addressing a question which I’ve never been able to answer satisfactorily. Should students startup while still at college? I’ve tried to give all the possible answers people tend to give when asked.

No they shouldn’t.
1. There’s a lot of time in the future to start ventures and its best to learn and experiment with interests at while at college. The point is, a venture narrows down your focus on something which quite possibly isn’t your passion and might actually leave you frustrated in the future.

2. Your grades could get screwed because you put effort on the venture, which quite possibly will fail, leaving you helpless with grades you don’t deserve. (for all of you who are right now thinking, grades don’t matter, trust me they do.)

No they can’t.
1. University provides a cocoon, protects you and keeps you away from the realities of life. Its tough to pull off ventures because you really don’t understand the real situation out there. Of course for a web venture, it is quite possible.

2. People won’t take you seriously enough. People won’t trust you enough.
People look at undergraduates as kids, their ventures as college projects. They doubt your commitment.

Yes they should.
1. Their project might just be the next breakthrough in the industry. If it is not monetized soon enough, it’ll be too late. Such opportunities come rare.

2. A lot of responsibilities get piled on after graduation. risk appetite suddenly becomes low when you are on your own. Best to start up at college, when you’ve got parents backing you, great friends to support you, professors available to provide free advice.

Yes they can.
1. The best ventures can be started up at college, because that is the place where smart minds meet, live together. A lot of web startups show this trend, Paul Graham puts this perfectly “It’s not what people learn in classes at MIT and Stanford that has made technology companies spring up around them. They could sing campfire songs in the classes so long as admissions worked the same.” I have a feeling its true for BITS-Pilani too.

2. Startups need the enthusiasm, blind optimism which only students can bring. Fresh ideas come from the unprejudiced mind. Out of the box thinking becomes quite tough when you are already been exposed to realities.

I’ve still not decided which is the answer but that hasn’t stopped me from experimenting with entrepreneurship or starting up.

You decide for yourself.


(Abhishek is a budding tech entrepreneur, and also blogs at A site a day. Abhishek can be contacted at abhishek@celbits.org -Ed)

—Heh, nice to hear somebody talk about me in third person.

Now playing: U2 – Beautiful Day [foobar2000 v0.9.4]
via FoxyTunes

2 Responses to “To Startup at college.”

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