Forbes Anoints Stanford as a ‘Billionaire Machine’

That's gotta sting for everyone else.

High praise.

Today is the online debut of Forbes‘ “Top Colleges” issue. Only they should have called it the “Top College” issue, because–though the rankings aren’t online yet–that big splashy profile of Instagram founder Kevin Systrom makes it pretty clear that Stanford is coming out ahead. Apologies all around to Cornell, Technion, Columbia, NYU, MIT, Harvard

Mr. Systrom’s debt to his alma mater is no secret, and Ken Auletta’s New Yorker profile is really patient zero in this epidemic of Stanford Fever, but Forbes takes it to the next level, devoting a fair bit of the piece to crowning the Palo Alto Trade School as king of the academic hill, tech-wise. The feature is full of lines like this:

“These windfalls, serendipitous as they seem from the outside, are almost never accidental. In Systrom’s case his good fortune can be traced directly to Stanford.”

And this:

“It was on the Palo Alto campus that Systrom got his first look at the worlds of tech and venture capital, his first internship at a startup and his first job at Google.”

And this:

“Systrom’s Stanford dividends continued long after graduation.”

Oh, and here’s a whole video on the subject, titled “How Stanford Made Instagram’s Kevin Systrom a Silicon Valley Star”:

We like to imagine that Michael Bloomberg is, this very minute, summoning university officials from all over the East Coast to a top-secret summit in the abandoned City Hall subway stop, like a team of academic Super Friends.

In fact, maybe it would look a little something like this:

Bloomberg: “I thought we agreed this could not be allowed to happen,” his icy gaze sweeping across the room. (Unlikely enforcers David Karp and Dennis Crowley stand next to him, cracking their knuckles meaningfully.) NYU president John Sexton is the first to look away; Cornell-Technion Innovation Institute Director Craig Gotsman stares him down. Notably absent is Harvard University president Drew Faust.

Or at least, that’s how we like to imagine it.

Forbes Anoints Stanford as a ‘Billionaire Machine’