Gabe Newell Learned Computers At Microsoft, Beer At Harvard

When people describe their success stories, it's pretty common to hear about non-traditional career paths -- so it should be no surprise that this was the case with Gabe Newell too.

Recently, Gabe Newell did a Q&A about computer science with a bunch of students interested in computer science on Google Hangout. At one point (13:15 in the video above, to be specific) a student asks him about valuable educational experiences, and Newell describes how he ended up learning to be a software developer while visiting his brother at work. This experience ended up being more valuable to him than stuff he learned at Harvard university, because he directly worked with people who are good at what he wanted to do. Which is not to say he didn't learn other valuable skills at Harvard...

"Not to bang on Harvard, but I learned more in three months with those guys at Microsoft than I did the entire time I was at Harvard," Newell said. "At Harvard I learned how to drink beer while doing a headstand in the snow. Which, y'know, it's a useful skill, but not nearly as useful as how to actually develop software."

Newell ended up dropping out of Harvard, but, as we all know, things ended up working out for him just fine anyway. Goes to show, the commonly-touted path of attending college isn't always the one that makes the most sense for everyone.

The rest of the Q&A is worth watching too, as Newell gives out advice and some opinions on technology -- like the idea that kids texting is good, because it means they're writing. Interesting stuff!

Gabe Newell talks to students [Code.org]


Comments

    Somehow this confirms every game rumoured in existence

      WHen people describe their success stories, it’s pretty common to heAr about non-traditionaL career paths — so it should be no surprise that this was the case with Gabe Newell too.

      Recently, Gabe Newell did a Q&A about computer science with a bunch oF students interested in computer science on GoogLe Hangout. At one poInt (13:15 in the video above, to be speciFic) a studEnt asks him about valuable educaTional experiences, and Newell describes How he ended up leaRning to be a softwarE dEveloper while visiting his brother at work. This experience ended up being more valuable to him than stuff he learned at Harvard university, because he directly worked with people who are good at what he wanted to do. Which is not to say he didn’t learn other valuable skills at Harvard…

      CONFIRMED!

      Last edited 12/12/13 12:34 pm

    Drops out of HARVARD, owns his own private owned incredibly successful company
    Gaben is my favourite guy in this industry

    It's a common thing. I didn't finish school and I'm providing IT support for a wide variety of small businesses.

    The sysadmin I work with is self taught with no proper qualifications and he's quite good at what he does.

    Just goes to show that school isn't everything.

    "Goes to show, the commonly-touted path of attending college isn’t always the one that makes the most sense for everyone."
    Except that in nearly every case, the successful person has attended college. They may not have completed their course, or ended up doing a different course, but going to college was a pivotal and influential part of their experience, nearly every time.

      I guess times have changed. It will be near impossible to get a decent job now without a degree.

      Also, Uni is just not about getting a piece of paper at the end. Making contacts at uni is just as important. Beer drinking in the snow should help :P

    Anyone else having problems reconciling the image of Gabe Newell doing a keg stand?

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