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Reason #32,457,903 Why Entrepreneurs Don’t Need Grad School: Bob Ippolito

March 23, 2009

A friend of mine is contemplating grad school in order to adorn her wall, and her resume, with another glowing degree.

Back when I was working my Google dronejob, feeling overqualified, and hating every moment of my forty hours, I thought about grad school too. I figured that an MBA would be my easiest ticket out of my entry-level job and into… something.

I recently had lunch with Bob Ippolito, the CTO and co-founder of Mochi Media, a casual gaming company with a highly successful advertising platform that’s doing a brisk business these days, and I told him the story of my friend (who is obviously a prototype for ALL of my twentysomething friends).

Bob (who’s 27) never graduated from college. A completely self-taught developer, he decided to drop out after one boring year at a state school, to start working and learning from projects he was actually getting PAID to do.

Even though he was wearing his infamous Pork shirt when we met up, Bob Ippolito was still pretty much this hot.

Even though he was wearing his infamous "Pork" shirt when we met up, Bob Ippolito was still pretty much this hot.

Didn’t he ever worry that people wouldn’t respect him because he didn’t have a college degree? What about all those qualifications listed on every single job description?

When I asked him these questions, Bob’s eyebrows raised and his entire body formed into one big casual shrug.

Why should I be worried? I just figured I wasn’t learning anything more in school that I needed to know for what I wanted to do. I knew I could get a job because people knew my work.”


Bob is a self-taught developer, having learned code since he was nine years old. By the time he got to college, he already owned, and had read, all the books in the standard college CS curriculum, and already had a reputation as a tech guy who knew how to get it done.

When he decided to leave school and get working, he didn’t use a resume – instead, he showed his work.

Even if you’re NOT a software developer, you CAN create a reputation that precedes you.

You can even do it through social media.

Are you a writer? Where’s your blog?

Are you a small business owner? Where’s your Yelp listing (complete with GENUINE five star reviews)?

Are you a filmmaker? A graphic novelist? A jewelry designer? A cat trainer?

The WORST thing you can do is hide the things you do that you love.

The BEST thing you can do is be like Bob – use your passion-activity to grow a reputation that puts your resume out of business.

For me, one lunch hour’s worth of hobnobbing with MBAs at Crittenden, and I knew that having an expensive degree was NOT going to make me smarter, more independent, or happier with my job or life.

Young people (and old people too!), take note: YOU post-grad school are still going to be YOU – confusion, baggage, talent and all.


  • Dave McClure’s blog has a useful post about obsolete-ing your resume with social media – includes tips about blogging, LinkedIn, and other non-traditional ways to showcase your work.
  • If you do creative work, there are SO many ways you could be showing it off. A video blog or a YouTube channel (for you filmmakers), a rockin Tumblr site (for you graphic novelists), an Etsy store (holla, jewelry designers!), or a really beefed up Yelp listing (crazy cat lady, that’s your cue).
  • Bob was a laid-back, smart cookie who took a risk on an old friend, Jameson, who pitched him the idea of Mochi while he was working as a freelance developer.For all you developers, Bob also showcases his superman coding skills on his blog about software development, from_future_import*


This great article in discusses how, for many young people, grad school serves as merely a pallative treatment to the Quarterlife Crisis. From the article: “Quarterlife crises are the reason that so many universities have turned lower-level graduate programs into a cash cow.”

Begs the question – What are some cheaper ways to address the emptiness of the Quarterlife Crisis that actually promote resolution (rather than procrastination)?

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 23, 2009 11:23 pm

    okay okay i hear you Ms. Susan! reason why i love steve jobs.
    buuuuut, until i can monetize my talents it’s so hard to be not jaded at a cube while squeezing in my creative pursuits. i admit that getting into that film fest was a boost though that i desperately needed.

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