CM 011: Thiel Fellow Alex Koren on Learning to Fail

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Blog Post - Alex KorenAlex Koren had never considered dropping out of college. A successful high school student, he headed to Johns Hopkins University and was class president in his first year. Furthermore, that summer, Alex headed to a high-powered summer internship at Intel, seemingly the perfect opportunity for an undergraduate engineering major.

Then something happened. While working at Intel, Alex organized a hackathon that led to his first company, Hyv, which focused on solving big problems with data. The engagement and exhilaration that he felt led him to found the company Chrg, with the goal of using everyday outlets and chargers in service of electric vehicles. Not long after that, Alex dropped out of college to accept 2014 Thiel Fellow.

This week, in a special edition of Curious Minds, I share interviews with four young people, ages 18-22, each of whom decided either to drop out or never attend college, in order to pursue work that mattered to them. Each is either a current or past recipient of a Thiel Fellowship, a program founded in 2011 by Peter Thiel to encourage young people to sidestep college and a traditional life path, in order to chart their own course as entrepreneurs.

In this episode you will hear Alex talk about:

  • what he learned about failure
  • how pursuing work that mattered meant doing something that shocked even him
  • how to create communities for your passions
  • the difference between a life of extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation
  • the importance of living with uncertainty as you pursue your goals
  • the power of surrounding yourself with passionate people
  • our responsibility to make things relevant for ourselves
  • the reasons that we lose our creativity
  • his attraction to what tomorrow holds

Links to Topics Mentioned in this Podcast



Interroga Omnia

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Thank you to Clark Nowlin and his sound engineering team at Clarity Podcasting and to Emmy-award-winning Creative Director Vanida Vae for creating the Curious Minds logo!



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