Fred Wilson Tells Would-Be Entrepreneurs to Skip School and Learn to Code

Masters students from Zicklin School of Business could be forgiven for mistaking Fred Wilson for Peter Thiel recently.

After all, Mr. Wilson’s advice had shades of an argument we’re more used to hearing from Peter “The Real Bubble Is in Education” Thiel.

At the B-school, which is part of Baruch, as a senior college at CUNY, Mr. Wilson told students that if they wanted to be entrepreneurs, they didn’t need a formal education to be successful. Considering the students were attending a rather laughably-named class on “E-Business,” we can see where Mr. Wilson was coming from.’s Media Shift blog interpreted Mr. Wilson’s advice as saying that journalism school isn’t enough for media entrepreneurs.

According to the blog, he told the students that a better indicator of entrepreneurial success would be learning to code and then advised them to find classes on at Ruby on Rails, Javascript,  PHP, or database programs like MySql or Mongo at General Assembly—or try their hand at CodeCademy, the fast-growing USV-backed teaching platform.

Certainly sounds more practical than “E-Business Principles and Technologies.

“Be technical, get technical, or find people you can be business partners with who are. Even if you are not going to do these things by yourself, it’s helpful to learn,” he said. “It’s better to learn it to talk to technical people, and to evaluate if somebody technical is good or not.”

Funny, we’d heard something similar about teaching yourself to talk the talk from TechStars New York managing director David Tisch recently, along with a note of regret about not biting the bullet and learning to code altogether.

Disclosure: Both @benpopper and @nitashatiku attended the same journalism school at NYU. On more than one occasion, they have been heard wishing they could spend their student loan payments taking Ruby classes instead. Fred Wilson Tells Would-Be Entrepreneurs to Skip School and Learn to Code