Peter Thiel doubles down on young browns

We’ve pointed to the Indian American prominence in the National Spelling Bee, and or in the Intel National Talent Search, so I thought it might interest readers that two of Peter Thiel’s 20 Under 20 fellows are brown:

faheem-zaman_thumb-2.jpgFaheem Zaman has shot the moon on nearly every SAT test he’s ever taken: 5580 points across 5 tests. He wants to decentralize banking in the developing world with a mobile payment system. Because savings are difficult in poor countries–including in some regions of South Asia where many have to hoard and protect cash–Faheem believes mobile financial services will help bring prosperity to these areas. Before he introduces his technology to the developing world, Faheem’s initial plan is to gain a foothold in the U.S. market for mobile financial services.

sujay-tyle_thumb.jpgSujay Tyle is one of the youngest students at Harvard and is passionate about hacking cellulose to create cheap biofuels. He first worked in a lab when he was 11, interned at Dupont as a teenager, and won the grand prize at the 2009 International Sustainable World Energy Olympiad in Houston. With his older brother, Sheel, he also runs ReSight, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to helping the vision-impaired around the world.

I’ve defended Thiel’s idea elsewhere, but the short of it is that the intent is prod some bright young things to take some time off from school and engage in some entrepreneurialism. The fellows are given $100,000 to drop out of higher education (or not pursue higher education) for two years. I think that our society’s focus on higher education as if it must be the ends for all individuals, instead of a means, is problematic. This is an issue which brushes up against the broader themes which Abhi addressed when it comes to Asian American focus on achievement by orthodox metrics only.

Here’s a post on DealBook, Finding the Next Mark Zuckerberg. Peter Thiel is all over the media, so I’m sure you’ll hear the pros and cons.

9 thoughts on “Peter Thiel doubles down on young browns

  1. So Zaman is averaging 1116 on the SAT and boasting about it?

    yeah, i don’t get that? i’m skeptical that thiel evaluated social skills :-) though some of them seem quite savvy.

  2. Sujay Tale looks part East Asian. So do Jeffrey Lim and Laurie Deny. Five are full Chinese. Another, Eden Full, also looks full east Asian. Sebastian Zany looks SE Asian or mixed. Together they are half of this elite group despite being a tiny fraction of the American population. I think that is the real story here. The Chinese are replacing the Jews as the intellectual overachievers in America.

    • No, I think the Jews are not being replaced. They are in the really elite areas. This Thiel fellow thingy is not as elite as say, owning a bank or a Hollywood studio or a RE developer. Give me a freaking break!

    • Sujay Tyle does not look East Asian at all. Stop trying to include anyone you feel like under the label to bolster your claiml. I will give you that Jeffrey Lim is probably half and Laura Deming could be mixed too..

      • ,Laura Deming is half Korean and half mixed Euro (Scots Irish French Jewish). One of her uncles is Indian from Bombay originally now in Silicon Valley, where else? Way of the world these days.

    • Within the Indian subcontinent, you’ll see all kinds of features within a population. Sujay Tyle has Caucasian, Eastern Asian, and Mediterranean features from this picture. I’m sure that if I saw his other photos and vantage points, I’d think that he looks more Indic. So I don’t see what the big deal is. Perhaps it is meaningless issues like phenotypes that Zaman and Tyle were able to best focus their time and attention on much more important areas…and why you, Ananda, lurk on SM.

  3. sujay tyle and his brother were active in a local indian american youth organization. you can use something called google to find that out :-)