Marc Andreesen has posted a great series on career planning for those who want to make a difference. His disclaimer is that this is not for those looking for life/work balance. A good read for kids and parents.
This is a difficult topic. My key observation is that he treats this as a “tournament”. This seems like common sense, but it’s not politically correct conversation. If I remember correctly Steven Levitt describes school as a tournament in “Freakonomics“. Sure one goes to learn stuff, but there is a large part that is just ranking kids.
It’s just like high-end sports. Except sports is up-front about it. Here in Canada hockey has a 15-year old draft for Junior Hockey. For better or worse the elite kids know where they stand at a national level. If they are on that path, they often leave home at 16. Painful gut wrenching stuff.
In school, it is much more difficult to know where one stands on a “national” level. But the end-result is the same, “If you want to get noticed you’ve got to be playing in the big leagues.” Which means that you’ve to to move “geographically” just like the hockey kids.
The big leagues in school and work are sometimes difficult to figure out. Marc does the Silicon Valley pitch as one would expect. But I think we should remember that he developed the Mosaic browser at NCSA in Illinois. Thomas Wolfe wrote a great piece on Intel founder Robert Noyce’s choice to attend Grinnell Collelge in Iowa.
Too much of me. Have a go at these.
- blog.pmarca.com: The Pmarca Guide to Career Planning, part 0: Introduction/Disclaimer
- blog.pmarca.com: The Pmarca Guide to Career Planning, part 1: Opportunity
- blog.pmarca.com: The Pmarca Guide to Career Planning, part 2: Skills and education
- blog.pmarca.com: The Pmarca Guide to Career Planning, part 3: Where to go and why