Real "American Idols"

Most Americans can name and recognize six American Idol television show winners before they could these six individuals:

Mark Zuckerberg

Sergey Brin

Larry Page

Steve Chen

Chad Hurley

Jawed Karim

What do these thirty-something men have in common? They invented the ways we are living our lives online. Zuckerberg founded Facebook, Brin and Page founded Google, and Chen, Hurley, and Karim invented YouTube. What else do they have in common? They all brought these things into our consciousness based originally on projects they developed relatively early in their lives…a graduate school project…a side project while an undergrad…in a garage with others they met at one of their first jobs or in college.

What’s wrong with this picture? There’s not a woman, an African American, nor a Hispanic American among them.

Another thing these guys have in common is that they were all within the past few years sitting in a public high school somewhere in the United States receiving an education. I wonder what they would each say about how their school experience helped them in their career endeavors. I understand that Chad Hurley was involved in the Technology Student Association when he was in high school. I’m not trying to suggest that his involvement in TSA alone was the key to his success, yet one would have to admit that that the goals of Technology Education and TSA are closely aligned to the development of students’ ingenuity.

I also should not suggest that young people idolize these individuals.  Just as we shouldn’t teach young people to idolize professional athletes, we shouldn’t teach them to idolize anyone in the media as everyone has their faults including these people I’m sure. But, if we teach young people to idolize anything, let’s make it the ideals of ingenuity, and let’s teach them the lessons of how these relatively young people were able to bring their ideas to the forefront and literally change the world.


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