## Where Have All the Innovators Gone?

People have often asked me, now that I have some perspective on China, what I think will happen to the US. Can we compete? Will we continue to lead? I’m quite bullish about the US in general, but I had an interesting reality check tonight. I’m at ISSCC 2007 right now (where I and my former colleagues at Luxtera had the honor of receiving an “outstanding paper” award for work presented at last years’ conference), and I was chatting with UCSD high speed integrated circuits professor Jim Buckwalter about the nature of the graduate student applications he has received.

The statistics were astonishing. Of the thousands of applicants, only 80 were from the US. To put this in perspective, he had more applicants with the surname “Lee” alone than he had domestic applicants. And UCSD engineering is no slouch; according to the rankings they are #11 in engineering overall. Even more interesting is that apparently Korean students studying in the US get Korean-government sponsored fellowships–clearly that gives them an edge when considering who to take into your graduate program.

The enormous disparity in domestic applicants to higher education in crucial fields such as high speed circuit design is a bit disturbing. With numbers like these, it is inevitable that the US will lose its edge in technology. I guess it wouldn’t be as bad if these foreign students actually stayed in the US and started companies, but my experience in China has shown that just about every company I talked to had US-educated management from schools like Berkeley and Stanford.

Now, a protectionist mode of thought would suggest that we should put quotas on the number of foreign people we admit to our universities. That doesn’t work because US citizens don’t want to go to graduate school in electrical engineering, as evidenced by the paltry showing of domestic applicants, and forcing them in doesn’t make us more competitive in the global sense.

As the son of Chinese immigrants born and raised in the cornfields of Michigan, clearly I’m disposed to argue that we should try harder to woo these brilliant foreign minds to graduate and set up shop here in the US. Back when my parents came, staying in the US was an easy decision, because China was not a land of opportunity. But in this new global economy, the US no longer has the monopoly on opportunity. That’s the big paradigm shift here that I think we aren’t internalizing. We are no longer “the land of opportunity”– we’re now just one of the better places to find an opportunity.

When you don’t have a monopoly, it means there is competition. We need to compete to retain foreign talent, but instead, we hassle them away. I just wrote a green card recommendation for a brilliant photonic circuit designer. It seems weird that he has received such scrutiny and is going through such detailed background checks when anyone who lives in a border town like San Diego knows there is another easier way for immigrants to sneak into the country and make a living–and I have a feeling the guys sneaking in don’t have PhDs in electrical engineering. And it really bugs me that a brilliant Iranian circuit designer friend of mine just got interrogated by the FBI out of the blue, but presumably motivated because of current events in the world. He’s not a terrorist, and he doesn’t make nukes, despite his Farsi-sounding name. He is a core technical contributor in a US electronics company whose work has been critically peer-recognized as innovative and valuable. We should be rolling out the red carpet for these innovators, and not making them feel like aliens.

While I understand the motivations of many of our immigration policies, it is becoming clear to me that in practice, something is broken here, and the loser will be the US. The beauty of a melting pot is that we have the opportunity to incorporate the best and brightest minds into our culture; instead we skim the cream and throw it away, simply because they are the easiest and most cooperative targets. The system is hassling the people who are educated, and rewards those who are not. This is because the educated ones know the rules and are held to a high standard, and those who don’t know the rules often are not well educated so they have well-meaning public advocates who try to represent and defend their interests.

Of course, these privileged foreigners don’t need public advocates, and they don’t make a fuss, so their problems rarely garner the attention of the public eye. They are resourceful, self-sufficient, and they have other options–if the US gives them the run around, they can always take their good ideas and start a company back at home.

### 39 Responses to “Where Have All the Innovators Gone?”

1. 34006 says:

great points! The world seems upside-down and no one seems to care…

“we should put quotas on the number of foreign people we admit to our universities.” sound like a quote from baby Bushes dictionary.

Agree with you wholly.

3. Ajay says:

Excellent article. Your numbers imply that the difference is more than just government supplied grants. It’s a cultural thing, and I don’t really know how we in the US can change that.

I think that our education system should be treated like a plant – nurtured with policies and funds to attract the top teachers, more freedom for individual teachers to choose from several textbooks, smaller class sizes, etc., but it seems to be treated like a machine with ‘inputs and outputs’, not in tune with individual needs.

I just don’t know if enough students come out of school loving to learn.

4. Pepe says:

“It seems weird that he has received such scrutiny and is going through such detailed background checks when anyone who lives in a border town like San Diego knows there is another easier way for immigrants to sneak into the country and make a living–and I have a feeling the guys sneaking in don’t have PhDs in electrical engineering.”

It’s not easy to leave your family back, with no money, to walk days through the burning and freezing desert, to swim a river filled with filth, to dodge bullets from Border Patrols and pseudo-random guys that don’t like immigrants, to arrive in a place where your language is not spoken (even though spanish is very common, lots of Mexicans speak native languages), find a cleaning or gardening job and not hearing about the ones you love for months. Most Mexicans leaving plan to return to Mexico, but when they try they find out that going back is as hard as leaving.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m against immigration, but “irse para el otro lado” is not easy. The problem here is the quantity of people that desire a huge increase in their quality of living, if by doing the same hard-to get job in another place you earn ten times the money, and if by doing so your family’s condition changes from pauperism to prosperity, it’s very hard to resist.

If you are Mexican and have a PhD in Electrical Engineering it’s extremely easy to find high-level employment in the US, and you are not subject to background checks and the like (at least in my experience).

The difficult part lies on getting the Electrical Engineering PhD.

I just hope Mexicans were as smart as Asians, and could bring jobs to them instead of moving to wherever there are jobs.

I know this is not the point of the post, but still worth to mention.

5. Angela says:

You make some good points here, bunnie.

Take a look at what is happening with foreign students post-graduation from the Australian perspective:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21133152-12332,00.html

It is truly shocking and one reason that I and several colleagues have left the international education field in recent years. It is completely unethical.

I also have a brilliant Iranian friend, a marine engineer, who has experienced similar issues with obtaining visas. If they could only see past his nationality and realise what a loss he would be.

6. bunnie says:

The racism against Iranians by the US government really yanks my chain. It’s well known in the solid state circuits community that many of the best young circuit designers are Iranian. Behzad Razavi at UCLA and Ali Hajimiri at Caltech are top-notch academics in circuit design and they are an enormous magnet for brilliant foreign and domestic students. I would consider myself lucky to have any of their students in my company. I feel deeply embarassed that engineers are being questioned simply because they have a connection to Iran and the US goverment can’t tell their head from their ass about what constitutes a nuclear research program. “Oooh their research involves words I don’t know. It has a sinister appearance. Must be weapons research.”

Then again, Boston authorities thought Moononites were a threat worthy of shutting down a city…

7. Nate says:

Ok, the Boston reference reminds me of a skit from the UCB. Cpt. Lunatic is making Bong Boy hit himself…

[BongBoy] Ow, stop it!
[Cpt. Lunatic] I can’t stop it, you’re doing it to yourself
[BongBoy] Make me want to stop!

8. Chlazza says:

“That doesn’t work because US citizens don’t want to go to graduate school in electrical engineering…”

I heartily disagree.
I wanted to become an electrical engineer, as did a number of my peers.
The problem we all encountered is that our university requires EE students to take and pass six math classes (and these weren’t on topics like basic algebra – four of the courses alone were calculus classes), and at least three physics classes to take anything other than the basic EE courses.
Computer scientists had it easier: they only had to take two physics classes and four math courses (two calc). I still barely got my CS degree.
Of all my friends in the engineering department, one thrived in EE, two survived CS, and the rest changed their majors.

While those physics/calc courses turned out to be useless to me as I pursued the CS degree, I suspect EE majors got/are getting a lot more mileage out of them. My point isn’t to complain about how hard it is but rather to point out the bigger underlying problem:
If these are the minimum requirements just for a BS degree in EE, mathematics REALLY needs to be emphasized a lot more in grade school and high school. I was completely unprepared for the math courses offered in college, despite my parents’ assurances I was attending “good” public schools through my childhood.

In essence, its my feeling that its not that there is a lack of American students that want to be EE majors, its simply that these students can’t hack it (pun not intended) due to a rather lacking public education. We end up with the real geniuses who can teach themselves what they need to know, public education be damned, being the only ones who can go on to tackle grad school.

9. Stinger says:

I agree wholeheartedly, it’s government schools and the dumbing down of America. The need is not for more money, most of the teachers were the C and D students. A better alternative would be to fund free prep courses and college degrees towards EE with the idea of doing two to three years of paid teaching in the high school math programs to pay for the “free” education. As far as our foreign brothers and sisters, whom no one is forcing to come to this country, I don’t beleive it would be any easier for an American to get an education in Iran.

10. 34006 says:

Amen Chalaza and Stinger! It was obvious during my freshman year at engineering school that my public high school education was woefully inadequate. My peers that had attended private schools were at a huge advantage. Many used AP credits or aptitude test to get credit for the basic “weed out” classes while I was keeping my head above water. My senior year calculus in the public schools was covered in about 2 weeks in calc I. I often feel that I did not learn how to write until I was writing my thesis in grad school. Remember all those corollaries you had to memorize in high school geometry – and the geometry problems where you had to write the rule you used to solve a problem each step of the way – and that if you solve a problem correctly, but it was not the teachers way, it was marked wrong? What a joke. Public education is not efficient – I remember so many hours of being bored.

I dont think its getting much better either. Of the 4 graduating senior students that live around me, only one has gone off to college. The rest are working odd jobs and living at home. Im not sure if todays youths understand how important it is to get skilled in a career that prepares them for the challenge to compete globally. Just ask the 13k factory workers at Chrysler that got laid off this week…

In the UK many Indian and Pakistani professionals usually doing well in IT, Pharecuticals, Biotech are leaving to “return” to the countries of their parents under this so called “war on terror”. Many feel discrimanted e.g. That guy with a beard making new drugs? he must be making TNT. Let’s not invest. Or Mohammed’s wife bough hair bleach, let’s knock down door with 250 cops running in at 4am, operation “gamble” (real name) was a sucess, until judge blasts the police for holding suspects for 9 days withought even putting any allgations forward.

12. grey says:

post 9-11 foreign student enrollments dropped significantly. There have been some pretty well written papers on this as well as the likely ramifications that I read a couple years back and will see what I can do to dig up. And, even if it was a problem that people were thinking of means to address, it’s the sort of thing that once the damage has been done, we’ll be playing catch up for quite a while, if we ever make it.

13. echo says:

Although I have no ideas for what can be done in the short term, in the long term, it really comes down to starting people early on the path of electronics purely for the sake of electronics. Most everything do-it yourself is so quickly disappearing. Remember the days when wielding a soldering iron was not only encouraged, but there were people within reach that could help you improve your technique. Whether it be friends, parents, uncles, siblings someone could help you put that kit together, and it wasn’t too hard to get excellent levels of assistance. Where is that now? I’m sure many of us work on our own vehicles, we _could_ go to a local shop to get something done for cheaper, but we don’t. Granted it is possible to do stupid things, it’s also possible to get equivalent stupidity from a shop.

As Bunnie has proven with his excellent name that ware contest, most modern systems can still be understood with nothing more than a screwdriver, a magnifying glass, and a nice cold beverage. The Internet has made this easier than ever. When did it become a bad thing to take things apart? I’m sure many of us have participated in the sport of buying something just to ‘see how it works.’ We have been able to evolve our senses with the continuing improvements in yield, production volume, and cost reductions. We have been able to continue to ‘read’ systems to understand their workings. Heck, sometimes a PCB is a more interesting read than the latest novel.

Think about the state of electronics 20 years ago. Practically everyone knew how to wire stuff up. Back then, you could actually BUILD something with nothing but radio shack parts. Heck, I remember having to do this because they were the only parts place nearby, and open on sunday!

Maybe it IS possible to get people back into tech. Give them the resources, the mentors, and the support. We just have to seed them at the right time. I certainly don’t hope that I’m wrong. It would be an incredible waste if we as a country lose our sense of innovation.

Of course things will continue to get a lot more interesting. I trust that all of us are ready, scope probes in hand.

14. Samh says:

The BBC have run an article stating that China suffers the greatest amount of talent lost to other countries …

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6374301.stm

15. Brian Roller says:

I think there is more talent here than people realize, they just aren’t becoming engineers because of how our system works.

Let me tell you my story of why I didn’t become a Comp Sci or Comp Eng major:

First of all, I was a military brat and moving really screwed with my education. My brother passed Algebra with an A in 8th grade in Las Vegas, but when we got back to VA had to retake the course because he could not pass the SOLs (Virginia’s aptly named standardized state test). Although I never experienced something that extreme, it serves as an example as to the ever changing quality of the schools I went to. While I was in Las Vegas I went to their computers/technology magnet school and learned a lot while I was there. All of my friends who were in a computing major (we had majors in high school, and they also had business, as stuff like graphics and CADD) are now engineering majors in college, so that is an upside. In 10th grade I had to take an electronics course with a teacher from the local community college. She took a rather sink or swim approach, actually saying on the first day to a bunch of 15 year olds and said “half of you will fail.” I got a D, so I am not sure which half I was in. She demanded perfection, if your soldering wasn’t perfect you had to redo an assignment, so people got either As or Fs. A lot of really intelligent kids who could done well in this field were instantly turned off.

I’m in college now, and my friends who are CPEN majors consider it perfectly normal to take their discrete mathematics course two or three times, and passing it on the first try is considered impressive. That is ridiculous. In any other major if you fail something twice you know you are probably in the wrong major.

I am a psychology major. I don’t want to be a shrink, I’m going into scientific research and experimental work and seeking a PhD. I am a sophomore right now, have already gotten my first research grant. I am working on a proposal to study brain plasticity in people with hemispherectomies. While it is purely an exercise in writing and I won’t likely get to do something like this until grad school, I think it is kind of sad that it takes more work to work with transistors for a living than the cerebral cortex.

Also, there was article about a book written by a guy who graduated from MIT in the Washington Post a while ago about “8 Ways to Survive College” or something to that effect. #5 or #6 was “Don’t Major in Engineering.”‘ Why? Take something similar (CS vs CPEN) because you can land the same job without the headache.

16. […] bunnie’s blog » Blog Archive » Where Have All the Innovators Gone?: Where Have All the Innovators Gone? People have often asked me, now that I have some perspective on China, what I think will happen to the US. Can we compete? Will we continue to lead? I’m quite bullish about the US in general, but I had an interesting reality check tonight. I’m at ISSCC 2007 right now (where I and my former colleagues at Luxtera had the honor of receiving an “outstanding paper” award for work presented at last years’ conference), and I was chatting with UCSD high speed integrated circuits professor Jim Buckwalter about the nature of the graduate student applications he has received. […]

17. Paul Begley says:

My daughter is a Chemical Engineering student at Georgia Tech. We live in New Jersey and although I also have a Chemical Engineering degree, I work in the computer industry.

Because I make ‘too much money’, she was offered no financial aid even though there are very (VERY) few female Chemical Engineering grads.

The Federal Government (at least the current administration) has done NOTHING to encourage students to study engineering.

There is NO PLAN of any sort from the Federal Government. The Bush administration has gone out of it’s way to ignore qualified recommendations from various technology groups as well as government scientists and engineers.

If we had a strategy for Technology, we could identify how many, and what type of engineers we need in the next 5, 10, 15 years. Once this is in place, they could offer at least SOME financial incentives for students to select engineering as a major.

18. pos says:

Great article. But at the same time, there are a lot of self taught successful entrepreneurs and businessmen. Among the first to come to mind are: Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple, Mark Cuban who found broadcast.com and made billions, John Osher who found the SpinBrush who made hundreds of millions.

A large percentage of self-made millionaires are self taught, so maybe academic enrollment isn’t the best way to measure. But I do agree the statistics are a bit troublesome.

19. Eric says:

@pos: By innovation I believe he’s talking about engineering innovation. While the four listed could almost certainly build a business around something high-tech, they almost certainly would be managing, not designing or researching.

As for the article:
Unselfishly: I just think the gov’t needs to offer more fellowships. Anecdotally someone told me that if you can’t get into a top 5 school (note: in CS there are 180 doctoral programs in the US) you couldn’t get a fellowship. Enter me, an engineer comfortably in the 95th-97th percentile who can’t get gov’t funding for graduate work and must rely on teaching and research assistantships.

joking
Selfishly: Stick em with the a quota!! I’m waiting to hear back from admissions right now. Most of the programs I’m looking at are 80-90% international students. Lower the competition so I can get in, dangit!
/end joking

20. Johan says:

This problem is common across the western world. The problem is that our incentive system is short-circuited by some unknown factor. It is impossible to make the prospect of engineering school sound like a good investment – taking in account job opportunities, job vacancies and the cost of living and raising a family. Too much risk and no apparent benefit compared to other careers.

Until engeneering becomes profitable for western students, this will not change.

21. […] This has already gotten quite a bit of coverage, but this is a nice follow-on to an earlier post I made on the topic of innovation in America. Apparently, the H1-B visa application cap was hit in just two days. The covetted H1-B is the visa that skilled laborers need to work in the US. I’ve worked in tech startups before where over half the employees had H1-B’s, and every one of those guys were truly the smartest people on earth (as opposed to just in America) in their particular speciality. The good news for Americans is that they were on American soil, innovating for a domestic corporation that will hopefully someday make a set of American investors very rich. The good news for me is that I got to learn from them! […]

22. US Student says:

I agree with some of Eric’s comments.

To comment with an insider’s perspective, I am a current grad student in EE/ECE. I graduated from a top-10 undergraduate program with a perfect GPA, had several internships, and good rec letters. I am a white American male. I applied to the top 5-10 grad programs in my area and was awarded some type of funding (Teaching Assistant) at only two, and a fellowship at one of these two.

This was common among my group of friends, all of whom were in (at least) the top 10% at our top-10 school. Of the American males, many received no offer for funding at any school or perhaps only one, meaning they would have to pay tuition (20,000 to 40,000 per year) and have no guaranteed income for living expenses while attending these schools. Remember, these are the students that are supposedly actively recruited for graduate school, the top of the class who excel in their particular areas of interest. Granted, nobody was looking down the food-chain since we were already at a top 10 school and all programs we applied to were very competitive; I find this surprising none-the-less.

With no guarantee of funding, those of us who cover our own costs can find it hard to justify potentially 6-figure debt on the way to our MS. It made decisions easy for some people, get paid $75K starting now, or pay$40K per year, a huge net difference. Foreign students who are not covering their own costs don’t have this dilemma.

None of us were seeking handouts or financial payout, but the ability continue our education debt-free (if we really are so short of engineers and in need of Americans to continue studies…) is not much to ask.

As someone once told me, getting a PhD is like buying a house – it is a large opportunity cost. For those American students willing to take the trade, there needs to be more support.

I chose to attend where I would be granted a tuition waiver in exchange for being a teaching assistant. I have $25,000-30,000 of out-of-state tuition waived and get a stipend which covers my rent, utilities, and food. This makes a huge difference! I am very committed to my education, but was not looking forward to taking out huge loans after making it through undergrad debt-free (scholarships + work). For comparison, the females in our group of friends fared universally better. Again, all had excellent GPAs and records/letters otherwise, several of them perfect GPA. Aside from being female, essentially the same statistics as the group of males. The total aid offered to three of them surpassed$1 million (counting everything from all schools, over the years of their expected attendance).

This is indeed simply a sampling from a particular group at a single school in the area of ECE, not a general study. However, if circumstances are as dire as some say, why let good students get away? (its of course because they still have enough students, some of whom end up willing to pay…yay economics…international students can be counted on for revenue right? And those late admissions who are happy just to get in?)

Schools need to fund themselves somehow, true…but they also need to attract top (American) students. (solution needed)

It is surely easier to get into, and get aid, at lower-ranked or lower-regarded programs, agreed.

23. alex says:

hi nice site.

24. Again and again, we rely on the shrinking few to hold together our tumbling facade

sooner or later we few are going to leave. Not for higher paying jobs, but to work alongside equals. With respect to irongeek, we should be lifting dumbells at the gym, not in work or research.

-Emperor Dane

25. robert says:

hi all.

26. Travis says:

I want to move out of the united states and study in a different country. I could probaly get further somewhere else rather than the “USA less opportunity country” I agree with you’re post fully! This post is insainly long by the way. Public Education can rot, it already is rotting! Quite sad actualy.

27. Naman says:

I think you’re all forgeting that there are many different opportunities to earn a good living in the US that doesn’t involve getting a high-end engineering degree. If you compare the money and time for school versus potential lifetime earnings, it’s much more attractive to have a career in law, medicine or finance than engineering.

The US has never run out of talented, innovative people. Only now they’re choosing career paths that may not be directly related to technology.

28. Grow Box Hydroponics Guru says:

I was surfing the internet Monday afternoon during my break, and found your blog by searching MSN for bong parts. This is a topic I have great interest in, and follow it closely. I liked your insight on Where Have All the Innovators Gone? very much, but I don\’t quite aggree with everything you said. However it is still good reading, and makes some good points. Keep up the good work…

29. Jack says:

apple computer scholarships…

Although I understand the gist of what you are trying to say, there are still a few points that I need further clarification on….

30. Student Jobs says:

It’s somewhat rare for students to enjoy their jobs in college. I know my first internship in college showed me that I didn’t want to work in that industry.

Sometimes just working at the school cafeteria can be the perfect fit for a student. It beats filing papers all day in a cubicle, and you usually get some free food!

31. A. Karttunen says:

Isn’t it clear from many of the comments above?
People in USA seem to view engineering just as
one of the alternative career-choices considered
how to do big money (and whether it’s cost-effective),
without any real passion to the subject as it is.

I hope I am wrong.

32. Do you not think it might be better to consider carefully about this? That is not to say you’re wrong, but when you write something similar to this, it will upset some folks. And I speculate if you’ve given thought to the other side of this post.

33. My sister is accountable for planning her ten year high school reunion. This would be a huge job, but if anyone can pull this is, it is her. She was responsible for searching all of her former classmates. My sister knew that most of them were probably married and living in other regions of the country. To save time, she utilized a us public records search, and was able to without problems access the details she needed to get hold of each alumni. Her hard work paid off, because the reunion was a excellent success, and she got reconnected with her old friends.

34. I do not understand the reason everyone are getting so enraged by this new law. All it seeks to do is give law enforcement the right to ask people for their papers. In almost all nations on earth that is entirely fine. Why is it some outrage in America?

http://www.surveymagnet.com/2010/08/us-vs-other-countries-in-education/

Come join the discussion.

36. Mr. Reuyken says:

…”t perfectly normal to take their discrete mathematics course two or three times, and passing it on the first try is considered impressive. That is ridiculous. In any other major if you fail something twice you know you are probably in the wrong major.”

I have also suffered with math, pointless stuff without any form of reality.
Math is a model of the reality, the school should focus more on WHAT you could do with math to
get a more effective learningcurve. Many drops of when integration, discret algebra and all of these stuff – because they cannot comprehend how to use it in the real world.

E.g. derivation. I suffered with it for four year until I heard that one can use it to optimize the volume.
And that was in the enginering course, second year in class. (I believe)

WTF? Math is a very effective tool when one have a clear goal. I had a really good mathteacher (bless him!), and he abandonded the books quickly and relyed only on his notes (which he copied out), learned Latex/Tex (because Word wasn’t good enought) and made alot of beautiful work.
Still it’s common for around 30% failings students in math. (Norway, 18-19years, “Bachelor grades))

Serveral years later I read the mathbooks again and I found out that these are horrible written, and I finally understood why the teacher didn’t referred so much to the books. These are thick, colorful, with good examples, but the fails to get to the essence of math, to showing the real deal seems.
It’s just fluff, fluff, and bi-sentences. When I had to learn Java later, I dumped the learningbook quickly, and bought a O-Reiley book, (I surprised my teacher by telling him that the recommed bok was bad). That book was awful! I had already bought a book about Python, and could not undstand that the Java-author could be so unclear and diffuse in the book. It was written in a informational way, but it missed a clarity, a clear presence the Python book had.

passion from the books, everything is sterlized and cleaned to maximise income.
The kids there are feeds with bad books since first class until the last class,
and how can a unmotivated kid finding his desire and passion of learning something cool?

It’s easy to see – look in the schoolbook, look how they’re written, look in the fat mathbook
and try to understand the text. it’s not ME it’s wrong with, it’s simply not clear enoght.
The author is clever and competent, but not intelligent enoght to understand that the best books can be a thin one with little text, written as simple as possible, and getting to the inner core.

I have had great books, and the norwegian one is beautiful, a electronic teacher wrote his own book, a norwegian book about regulationtechnic is beautifully written. These was big contrast to these U.S. books every used – approved by the school and goverment.

So – it’s not always the students fault that he/she is failing the class.

I have found out that innovations are easier to do when one have a clear goal, and the school are not helping you to getting to your goal. Yes, getting a degree. Yes, getting competence.
But it’s only just AFTER been dragging you throght pointless math, bad books and generally discouring you to ask or do unique things in 10 year. That’s when most of the kids got bored by school and wanting to do something else – something stupid and simple.

Knowledge is power, but it’s not easy to gain when teachers are dragging you in the mud without
a clear goal of yourself or what you’ll learn next month/year/decade and how you can use it.

I haven’t had a bad teacher, they was competent and clever, but the math teacher could not
connect the math with the reality. (15-18 year). Before that, it was simple enought to transform it to the reality. English was difficult to learn and when I was 12 I skipped everything in english because I refused to learn something useless, I didn’t see something written in english here. I found out next year, a book in english, but I couldn’t read it, and I found out that my ignorance in english was a dragging weight. After that I never skipped learning something, I finally understood that when I learned something it’ll be easier to learn MORE later. A fun insight!

Innovation is a lifestyle. Everything around me is seen as a challenge to learn something, to getting new insight, to make something. :)

(the schools here are not that bad, but kids need a enlightening, kids are more intelligent than most people tends to believe.) :)

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