Learn Why College is the X-Factor in Founding Start-Ups

_DSC4887_CompTIA’s Future Leaders Community met last week at the association’s Annual Member Meeting at the Swissotel in Chicago, boasting a big highlight in special guest speaker Aanikh Kler. Kler was developing successful apps at age 13 and at age 15 received funding from the Dragon’s Den, a reality television format featuring entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of venture capitalists. On the show, Kler said, he “learned about the value of believing in myself.” Kler was successful on the show, securing funds to develop an app – a ringtone called UndrTheRadr – that hit number two on iTunes. Impressively, Kler turned around and donated 20 cents from every download of the app to a charity called Free-The-Children. He donated supplies to a school in Delhi, India, where yearly tuition, he explained, is kept at one Canadian dollar to prevent overcrowding. Today, Kler is a philanthropist and student at Stanford.

A member of the audience asked Kler, “You were clearly successful at a young age; why did you go to college?” Kler answered, “College is the X-factor that takes you from a good start-up founder to an outstanding start-up founder. You can take more risks because you have a degree to fall back on.” He explained that not all start-up founders have to drop out of college because Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg did, “Like, ‘I saw The Social Network!” which drew laughs from the crowd.

Kler said when he arrived at Stanford, his fellow students were less interested in entrepreneurship than he expected. “They’re studying to be doctors and lawyers but quickly become interested in a start-up idea once they hear about it,” he said.

To close, Kler posed “a bit of an ask” to the audience; embrace social entrepreneurship. Earlier in his remarks, Kler has explained how the charity UNICEF’s intake in the month of October alone could be increased exponentially with the help of social entrepreneurship.

He also recommended experiential learning such as travel, adding that it gives you a perspective on things like, “That girl not liking you back.”

An audience member asked Kler his thoughts on rapper Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly. Kler said he liked it but prefers the work of a rapper named Logic, offering a quote from him; “Never focus on the future or the past at the expense of the present.”

But, this being the Future Leaders Community, of course we had to focus on the future a bit. Earlier in the meeting, attendees had been asked, “Will IoT, AI, robotics and related emerging technologies result is net job gains or losses?” – with the audience members voting on their phones. Seven percent predicted significant job losses; 27 percent selected moderate job losses; 10 percent predicted no net change; 44 percent said moderate job gains; and 12 percent predicted significant job gains. An audience member pointed out that for some a job in the trucking industry – anticipated to be disrupted by self-driving vehicles – is one of the only ways to earn $100,00 per year, adding, “Let’s face it; they’re not all going to become app developers. And do we need that many apps? How many Angry Birds do we need?”

Attendees were also asked, “How are millennials changing the tech landscape in business?” Zero percent selected through instant messaging; 19 percent picked through texting and Skype versus phone calls; four percent said through mobile app usage; 23 percent said through social media; 21 percent said through flexible hours and telecommuting; 31 percent said through challenging the status quo; and two percent selected other.

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