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 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 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.