I thought it would be worthwhile to post this short comment that I made to a Pandodaily post by Francisco Dao entitled: When Dropping Out Might Be An Advantage. Like all comments, it could use more elaboration, and is good fodder for a future post. Pando forced me to sign up for yet another new commentary service and you can find it under username Pandocommentario.

Francisco, This is an interesting debate. IMHO, there are no hard and fast rules re what’s better to become an innovator, formal training/educaton or self-education. At the risk of sounding like a consultant, it depends on how you will innovate. There is innovation, as in application of existing knowledge for a new result. There is invention, and there is less of that possible due to so much documented knowledge. There is discovery, as in finding an unclassified plant from the Amazon and discovering its healing properties. There is also improvisation, creatively putting together x# of elements that ordinarily do not go together to achieve a goal – what we often saw Captain Kirk do, right? The drawback of formal education, is when you buy into the established mental models systemecized by formal education so deeply that you do not allow yourself as an innovator to consider all of these paths to innovation. (Andreesen did not buy in, in your example) Rather than focus on formal v informal education, I think the key element to being a breakthrough innovator is inspiration. I’ve written about this http://bit.ly/Vc9Lcs , and welcome comments. Extending this to entrepreneurship, you need a whole other set of traits, like drive, salesmanship, et al.