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High Impact Business Entrepreneurship: Confessions, Milestones, and Focusing On What Matters

Business Entrepreneurship There are days when I wish that business entrepreneurship wasn’t such a high-impact activity.

Because let’s be honest – that’s exactly what it is. To borrow a phrase from Eat Pray Love: “It’s like getting a tattoo on your face – you need to be fully committed.”

And just like other high-impact activities like ultimate fighting, running a marathon, or climbing Everest, if you’re not 100% committed, then you shouldn’t even bother.

And just like climbing Everest or running a marathon, the journey is hard, and riddled with setbacks and milestones that you need to navigate without losing focus of what really matters to you.

I had one of each this week, and I’d like to share them with you. But first, a confession:

Did you know that I dropped out of high-school?

Yes, it’s true.

Yours truly, Danny Iny, is a high-school drop-out. To this day I don’t have a high-school diploma.

If you had known me as a kid, you never would have seen it coming. I was the nerdiest kid in the class; the one with the big glasses who liked to read, was the teacher’s pet and got the best grades without even trying.

Then things started to change. My parents split up and we moved to Israel, and I found myself bored with my new school.

Being a teenager, I spent about a year setting records for how much school a student can miss. The first semester I missed 152 periods, and it was all downhill from there.

After about a year of this, I realized that this was not a good use of my time, and I decided to make it official: I quit school with the intention of starting a business.

“What about your parents?!”

That’s what most people want to know at this point in the story – where were my parents? What did they think? How did they let me do this?

Well, it can’t have been easy for them. There were many sleepless nights, and much concern, but when they saw that I was serious, they decided to support my decision.

I didn’t realize it at the time – after all, I was a teenager – but this was HUGE.

This decision changed the course of my life – from that point on I was off the beaten path. If my parents hadn’t let me do this, then my entire life would have been different.

I learned more things from these experiences than will fit into a blog post, but I want to stress one thing that I learned, which is the real meaning of opportunity cost.

“Wouldn’t you be better off with a diploma?”

Once I’ve explained my parents’ leap of faith, and the look of bewilderment has passed from my conversation partner’s eyes, the next question is usually “wouldn’t you be better off with a diploma?”

My answer? Unequivocally, NO!

Does this surprise you? After all, how can you be better of not having something than having it?

The answer is that it is never that simple – to evaluate the benefits of having something, you also have to consider the COSTS of having it. Here are just some of the experiences that a high-school diploma would have cost me (all before turning 18!):

  1. Iterating through multiple business ideas and ventures.
  2. Working with the country’s leading educational game company as a developer and 3D animator.
  3. Learning about the challenges of working with partners – both teenaged ones, and adults.
  4. Dealing with a business partner that had a wife and kids.
  5. Learning that interpersonal dynamics were more important to a business’s success than the product or service that it was offering.
  6. Negotiating agreements with major telecommunications firms.

And that’s just the beginning, because these experiences paved the way for the learning experiences that followed. A high-school diploma would have cost me all of these experiences, and all the lessons that they had taught me.

They say that experts are people who have made all of the mistakes in their field, and I got a chance to start developing that expertise at a much younger age, when the costs of those mistakes were a lot lower.

I think that giving it all up would have been too high a price…

DISCLAIMER: Don’t Try This At Home!

Before the parents in the audience flip out and shield their children’s eyes and ears from me, I want to be clear in saying that I am not advocating a mass exodus from formal education.

In my case, the opportunity cost of staying was too high, but everyone’s configuration of personalities, strengths, and circumstances is different – what worked for me might not work for you, and vice versa.

The very ironic thing is that I care hugely about education, and almost every business I’ve been involved in has had an educational component – from my start-up that built software teaching kids how to read, to my consulting work that involves a ton of knowledge transfer, to our coaching program here at Mirasee, that turns non-marketers into expert marketers.

Not only that, but I absolutely love teaching.

So much so, in fact, that at the urging of a professor whose class I had been invited to speak with, I took the plunge to get a credential that would allow me to do it professionally.

This was two years ago – two years of adding 20-30 hours of schoolwork per week to my already overflowing workload as a consultant, blogger, and business entrepreneur. The moment that the coursework was done and graduation was imminent, I began applying for teaching positions at the nearby universities.

A couple of weeks ago, I was called in for an interview. I was more nervous than I’ve been in a long time, but I was also confident, personable, and excited about the position.

I thought it went well… but I was wrong.

“We regret to inform you…”

On Thursday last week, I received an email notifying me that while the hiring committee “looked very favorably on my entrepreneurial experience”, they went with candidates that better suited their needs.

This was quite a blow. I’d been working towards this for two years, and it will be at least another year before I have another chance at it.

That was not a happy day.

I’m lucky to have people waiting to catch me when I fall. My fiancée was sweet, caring, and reminded me that this said a lot more about the university’s priorities than it did about the value that that I would have brought to the table.

My parents were encouraging, and brothers offered a simple “tough break, we’re sorry” that between the lines included “but this doesn’t really matter, you’re still our brother”.

My online community surprised me by coming to the rescue as well.

Benny Hsu reminded me that Steven Spielberg applied and was denied two times to the University of Southern California film school, and that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team (Benny, sorry about the confusion in the comment I left!), and Jk Allen reminded me that hate doesn’t extinguish hate, the lesson for me being that I gain nothing from being pissed off, and that I’m better off letting it go and focusing on better things.

The timing worked out too, and I didn’t have long to stew it over, because…

The very next day… I graduated!

That’s right. I can no longer self-identify as a high-school drop-out because as of Friday, May 27, I have a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Queen’s School of Business. This is me with my two brothers, who flew in from Israel to attend the convocation:

Was it worth it?

Now I’m left wondering if this was all worth it. I have the MBA, but not the teaching position that led me to get the credential in the first place.

Which brings me back to the start of this post: recognizing that this entrepreneurial life is a contact sport, and sometimes that contact isn’t pleasant. Sometimes we work hard and fight the good fight, but don’t achieve the goals that we set out to achieve.

Knowledge and experience are funny things – they always ends up being useful, and very rarely in the way that we originally thought they would be.

I didn’t get the teaching gig (this time), but I did meet a lot of very smart and accomplished people, expand my horizons, learn an awful lot from some of the best professors in the world, and even get a start-up company underway with two partners that I connected with through the program (shhhh… we’re in stealth mode – but I’ll tell you more about that soon!).

I don’t feel any different now that I’ve got my diploma, and I’m not going to add “MBA” after my name on my business card or anything… but I’m still chalking this up as a win.

And what if things had been different? What if I always got my way, and hadn’t dropped out of high school? Would life be easier? Yeah, maybe. But then I wouldn’t be writing this post… and where would the fun in that be?


About Danny Iny

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the CEO and founder of Mirasee, host of the Business Reimagined podcast, and best-selling author of multiple books including Engagement from Scratch!, The Audience Revolution, and Teach and Grow Rich.


  1. Cheval John says:

    Danny, congratulations on all of your accomplishments as an entrepreneur and as an MBA graduate.

    You really have followed your dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and it has really helped a lot of people.

  2. Larry Pelley says:

    Hi Danny
    Looks like you had and still having great
    educational experiences.
    Keep going…you have the greater/better
    side of things when you have: Love.

  3. Joe says:


    Someone I can relate. I have a MBA and a track of entrepreneurial ventures.

    I value my entreprenurial ventures more than I value my MBA degree. But, I don’t diminish the MBA credentials.

    My journey helps me to look beyond degrees and academic credentials. I find the balance in hiring people due to my emphatic understanding and experience.

    I build organization and the people are to fit the design. I don’t build organization to fit the people.

    People’s background tell me story of their journey. For instance, academic degrees show that they are good at following instruciton and being detailed in accomplish a targeted objective meanwhile those who show strong inclination to entreprenurial spirit would carry a more creativity and thinking outside the box approach.

    It is not firm on paper of those carry preselected trait. It give a overview of potential candiates and potential contributions.

    And, I don’t add MBA after my name unlike my colleagues do lol.

  4. mark says:

    How did you get an MBA without a high school diploma or a BA? These are required before getting accepted into any MBA program I have ever looked into.

    1. Danny says:

      Hey Mark, they say that you can talk most people into most things, most of the time… 😉

      Have you looked into Executive MBA programs? They basically allow you to get in without academic prerequisites if you have enough work experience to offset it. 🙂

  5. Sharon says:

    I almost didn’t comment on this because it’s an old post, but heck, this is a story worth commenting on! So, thumbs up. Life is full of possibilities when we are open to them and willing to work toward our goals, which aren’t necessarily the goals others would anticipate. I did graduate from high school, but immediately entered the workforce. I never believed my multiple experiences were of value. Reading your story is a reminder that the school of life provides an invaluable education. I still regret not having a college degree, but what I know and have experienced has value all its own. Your story is an inspiration as is your practical take on being told “no” when you are well qualified for the position. The thing we never know for sure is what is around the corner. Since last year when this was posted I would say you have continued to blossom and thrive. What better commentary on life can there be? Continued success.

    1. Danny says:

      Thank you very much, Sharon, I’m so glad that you did! 🙂

      I really appreciate your kind words and encouragement, and you’re right – things turned out much better over the last year than they ever could have if I had gotten the job that I was after.

      Don’t undervalue your own education – of all the things that I’ve learned and all the experience that I’ve acquired, I’m comfortable saying that my MBA was the most expensive and *least valuable* of them all.

      The school of life is where it’s at, and if you’re a graduate, you’ve got everything it takes to succeed. 😉

  6. Geoff Reese says:

    Wow Danny you are an inspiration. I’ve gotten a few of those, “we regret to inform you…” letters. It’s a sick feeling. BUT, from then to now I bet you’ve seen it as a blessing.

    Keep it up Bro.

    Stay Strong and Be Inspired.

    1. Danny says:

      Thanks, Geoff. 🙂

      It all worked out for the best – if I was busy teaching at the university, I never would have been able to do everything that I’ve done with Firepole Marketing.

      But it still stung when it happened… 😉

  7. Heidi says:

    Danny, when disappointments happen, there is always a reason. A door may close, but a window will open. We have to be like water, finding the path around the obstacles. Perhaps you will look back in a few years, or even a few months, and see that this was all for the best. I hope this for you, and for everyone else out there that is struggling to make their dreams come true in today’s confusing world. All the best to you!

    1. Danny says:

      You’re absolutely right, Heidi, and that’s definitely been my experience; if I had gotten that job, I wouldn’t be doing any of the things that I’m so excited about with Firepole Marketing today!

      Thank you very much for the kind words and encouragement, it really means a lot! 🙂

  8. Mick says:

    Very inspiring post Danny, and expanding one’s horizons is a great way to meet the people who may help propel a successful career. Being an entrepreneur is something I really needed in my life in order to get what I needed in life, and your post allows me to see from your perspective that the choices we make are fundamental to the path we choose.

    Thanks for the post.


    1. Danny Iny says:

      Thank you, Mick! This was a very personal post for me, and I’m really glad that it resonated with you. 🙂

  9. heather says:

    Hey Danny, I just read your post and have to say well done treading your own path! I love it. My husband didn’t go to university, and I love seeing peoples’ dumb-founded looks when it comes up in conversation. They don’t know what to think because going to uni is “just what you do” to be successful, and they just can’t reconcile it in their heads. To him it’s a badge of honour – he got where he is because he pursued other opportunities instead, just like you did.

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Thanks, Heather! I know what you mean – I would often have the same experience, because people just assume, and then when they realized that I didn’t have the degree (after many interactions) they were just surprised, but past the point of really caring.

      It’s funny, I really saw it as a badge of honor, too, and having the MBA is really messing with my sense of self-identity… :S

  10. Danny, I loved this article man, and I think it was your best yet. You’re so honest and open here, and props to you for putting it out there like that. I hope you’re able to find the job you’re looking for, but it appears to me you’ve already won in many ways.

    Cheers brother and congrats,


    1. Danny Iny says:

      Thanks, Marcus, I really appreciate that – especially coming from you!

      I know that I shouldn’t complain – all in all, work is great and busier than ever, I’ve got as many interesting projects as I have time for, and then some… and I’m marrying the most wonderful woman I know, in just a few months. So really, it’s all good.

      Teaching can come later, I guess… 🙂

  11. Sibyl says:

    Danny: I think you should definitely chalk up that graduation as a win 🙂 Congratulations on getting your MBA and you have some pretty great brothers that traveled all the way from Israel for your commencement. I really appreciated what you said about accepting what happened and not getting caught up in wondering what would have happened if everything went your way. I think it is such a great message and really drives home the point that we have to have confidence in whatever comes our way because everything happens for a reason. Great article.

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Thank you, Sibyl – you’re right, I do have some pretty great brothers. 🙂

      I appreciate your encouragement and support – thank you!

  12. I really liked how you clearly said that people’s configurations are different. What works for you may not for others. 

    Man, this was great. I never graduated either, and didn’t (and don’t plan to) further my formal education. Sure, if I wanted to be a clinical psychologist, school would be great. For what I want to do, there isn’t a class or course for that yet. 

    This really makes me think man. I’m reminded of the fact that very often, what we set out to do turns into something else. And in the end? It’s awesome. 

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Thanks, Ryan! Yeah, that’s the part that is absent from so many “recipes” for success – everybody’s personality, strengths and situations are different, so how could one recipe work for everyone?

      I have very mixed feelings about formal education – I’m not quite ready to write it off completely, but I’m pretty close… but that doesn’t mean that education isn’t valuable, and there are many, many places to get it. As long as we’re reading and learning, it’s all good. 🙂

  13. Bojan Djordjevic says:

    Great story! I don’t have much to add, except that my friend did something similar, he’s finishing MBA, though he skipped university, all based on his work experience. He’s team leader o f12 developers and never graduated in college.

    Morale of the story is that it’s doable!

    1. Danny Iny says:

      You’re right, Bojan, it is do-able – and the easiest path is the one that fits with your own personality and strengths. 🙂

  14. Anonymous says:

    Danny! Got your e-mail bud, thanks for letting me know about this great post.

    Congratulations are in order! You’ve done really well here. I know how hard it is to actually get somewhere useful following on the many months of studying and working, but you’ve done it, and you’re now in a much better situation to gain teaching jobs, experience, and generally do what you love to do.

    I gotta ask, and I know I’ve asked this before: how do you fit it all in? I thought your time spent with your blog and writing posts was consuming enough, but you surprised me here with this post, revealing your studying and teaching side! You must have 36 hours in a day right? 😉

    Seriously, all the best to you, and I hope you continue to follow your heart’s desires and make the world a better place. If more people adopted your mentality or something similar, more people would be at peace with themselves 🙂

    1. Danny Iny says:

      36 hours in a day? If only, Stu, if only… 😀

      I really appreciate your kind words and encouragement – I’m really thrilled to be part of such a supportive online community. 🙂

  15. Brad Harmon says:

    Congratulations, Danny.  The world is full of successful people who dropped out of school along the way.  Of course, it’s full of successful people who stayed in school too.  😉  It’s been said that it’s not what you know that matters, but how you use what you know.  I think that’s the difference between those who become successful and those who don’t.

    Jim Rohn used to say that a formal education will earn you a living, but self-education will make you rich. There are many well known entrepreneurs that believe our education system actually sets us up for failure.  I think there’s some truth to that.  The key is to never stop learning.  It’s sad how many never read another book once they earn their degree.

    I hope that you find the knowledge, experience, and connections you’ve made along the way well worth your efforts to attain them.

    1. Danny Iny says:

      You’re right, Brad – there is no guaranteed recipe for success, whether in school or out of it. That’s what makes like interesting, and yes – it’s not what you know, but how you use it. 🙂

      Thank you very much for the encouragement – I really appreciate it! 🙂

  16. Congratulations Danny! Well done. As someone who went back to get an MBA 10 years after undergrad, while working full-time+, I have nothing but the highest admiration for anyone who manages to work and get a degree during their “spare time.” I understand the sacrifices you had to make. For 18 months, I spent nearly every single Saturday in classes from 8am-5pm, and I was too exhausted to do anything when I got home. 

    I always think a degree is worth the work if you reach your objectives. Mine was to develop more foundational knowledge in accounting, finance, economics, and operations. My MBA has definitely helped my career.

    If your objective is to teach in an MBA program, that might take some time. But in the meantime, you can use all of the valuable things you learned during your program to improve your business. Just never stop reaching our for the highest ring.

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Hey Marianne, I didn’t know you were a fellow study-worker! 🙂

      You’re right – the MBA is a great way to get all of your understandings in different fields to the same level… not just the areas where you already have expertise.

      I want to teach at the university level – undergraduate, MBA, it’s all good to me. But yeah, I’m also going to keep on working with entrepreneurs, and that’s a kind of teaching, too!

      Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Man, I’ll take the school of hard knocks over formal education any day when it comes to business.  If someone has a burning desire to be a surgeon, then yes go to school.  But if business is someone’s thing they have to get out there and feel the contact like you said.

    It sounds like you had a better real world business education during the time most kids are in high school than a typical college grad or even plenty of people sporting that MBA at the end of their name.

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Thank you, Vic, I really appreciate the encouragement. I was pretty nervous publishing this post, which is kinda strange, because I’ve never hidden the fact that I didn’t finish high-school – I even take a certain pride in it. Then I wanted to tell people about the MBA (and about not getting the teaching gig), and I realized that my online community doesn’t know that about me…

  18. Bill Gates left school and look where that landed him. The thing that sucks about this is people put THEIR values on others and that isn’t fair. Your experience and life’s lessons should be enough. But, think of it this way, if it’s so important that you don’t have a high school diploma instead of being able to offer that university’s students your valuable “school of hard knocks” lessons, do you really want to teach there?

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Gini, you’re right, it’s too bad that people put their values on others…

      The sad thing is that yes, I do want to teach there. It isn’t about the school, it’s about the students…

  19. Jk Allen says:

    First off, Congrats on the recent graduation. Sorry that the Instructor gig didn’t pan out, but I’m sure that it’ll come back around. With your work ethic and drive – I dont’ doubt that you’ll have much problem getting anything you want. I call myself a hustler – but you’re the hustler. 

    I commend you for following your heart. I tell you, there’s nothing that my high school diploma does for me today. We reach a point in our careers and forget that high school even came with a piece of paper. 
    And I will also make the same statement for college. While the piece of paper itself is well needed in certain levels of the corporate world – it’s the degree that makes us successful. 1 of your years as a entrepreneur trumps all of my college education. I’m confident in saying that your easiest year as an entrepreneur trumps my hardest years in college. I’m not bashing formal education, because it’s important to me – my kids go to a very nice school, and I put them in tutoring and all kinds of programs during the summer – so I take it seriously. But when push comes to shove; one’s experience is far more powerful than one’s formal education.

    So in experience Danny – you’re a Ph.D!

    I don’t think it’s needed one bit…but best of luck to you!

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Jk, thank you very much for your kind words, and for your very thoughtful phone call – I was really touched, and I really appreciate it!

      You’ve got something really special going on, Jk, and I’m excited to be able to see it unfold. I’m looking forward to seeing those vacation pictures! 🙂

  20. Robert Pinto-Fernandes says:

    Hey Danny,

    I think it’s posts like these that give your readers and friends a chance to really get to know you and understand you. I understand that it is sometimes hard to write posts like these, because they are very personal. However, I’m glad that you did. You informed the community of some really interesting things about you. 

    Congratulations on graduating! I’m sure that you’ll get that teaching job next year if that’s what you are meant to do. Your brothers summed it up well – “But this doesn’t really matter, your still our brother.” Personally I am so glad that you made the choices that you did, your contribution to the blogosphere is nothing less than amazing, and you’ve helped so many people such as myself with your “Pay it Forward” attitude (actually watched the movie today, LOVE IT, and think it’s what blogging is all about.)

    In many ways I feel that the educational system in the western World is obsolete, and actually plays a massive part in killing any natural creativity that we may have. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs have been High School dropouts – imagine they had just stuck to “the norm”. Reading Rich Dad Poor Dad completely validated these views.

    I really don’t feel that my University education helped me at all, it didn’t prepare me for life or for work. It was far too theory based and impractical. For example, one of the subjects I studied was Economics, and in the midst of one of the largest worldwide economic recessions, we didn’t even discuss it or cover it in any of our modules!! I strongly believe that the entire educational system needs revolutionising to modernise it and make it meet the demands of the modern world. I understand that many people may not agree but  how much of the stuff that we learn at school actually translate into the real world??

    I like what you said about different things working for different people, and that is true. I think I speak for everyone on here when I say how happy I am for you becoming a blogger, and the tremendous difference you are making within the blogosphere. 

    Thanks so much for this great and honest post. I wish you every success in the future, and no one deserves it more. 🙂

    Speak soon

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Hey Robert, yeah, it was pretty personal, and I was pretty nervous about hitting publish!

      I really liked that movie too – very inspiring. I think the blogosphere is a really great example of how it can work in real life.

      Mmm… don’t get me started on public education. In the introduction to Brain Rules by John Medina, he says that if you put the world’s leading theorists on education and brain science, and asked them to design the worst possible learning environment, they would probably design a classroom (and, if asked to design the worst possible working environment, they’d design a cubicle)!

      Another book that you’d probably really enjoy is The Element, by Sir Ken Robinson. Hmm… come to think of it, I’m going to email him right now and ask to do an interview. 🙂

      All the shortcomings of formal education aside, though, don’t write yours off just yet. I wrote in the post that education and experience are both funny things – they almost always end up being useful, and hardly ever in the way that we thought they would. That applies to all kinds of education, not just the non-traditional varieties. 🙂

      Anyway, this is just a long-winded way for me to say “thank you” for your encouragement and support. I really appreciate it, Robert. 🙂

      1. Robert Pinto-Fernandes says:

        That’s so weird you mentioned Ken Robinson, I was going to link to one of his TED Talks from Youtube! Oh wow that will be amazing if you can get an interview with Ken! Tell him I’m one of his biggest fans! lol

        Exactly, I won’t write it off, I’m sure it will come into use someday, somehow!

        You’re welcome Danny, you more than deserve it! Looking forward to growing with you and the other guys in the blogosphere in the coming months.

        Speak soon.

  21. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Congratulations to you…I know that walk across that stage was an amazing experience..I still remember that. 

    We all have a journey.  It’s difficult to determine if “I” took that journey would it have been the same for me or would it have been better if I started out earlier.  All those if I shoulda, woulda, coulda.  The bottom line is all journeys require hard work, effort, and the right attitude. Being a babyboomer..I thought I would still be working for a major telecommunications company, still a 2nd level manager, doing my time until I retired.  But life has a way of revealing itself and forcing us to make decisions that can go either way.  

    You are right this entreprenuer journey is not always easy.  It is very helpful to hear stories like this to get that “I am not alone” feeling and to gain allegiances through supporting one another.  What rings in my head often is an old term “nothing ventured nothing gained”.  Thanks for sharing…I LOVE your story and respect your truth!  Congratulations again.

    1. Danny Iny says:

      You’re right, Michelle, we all have a journey, and I think it is impossible to say that a journey woulda, shoulda, coulda been better… the best thing we can do is make the best decision we can at the moment, and look ahead to future decisions.

      Thank you for your friendship and support!

  22. Jana Quinn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    First of all, congratulations, Danny!

    Hearing stories like this always leaves me with mixed feelings. On one hand, it’s inspiring to see examples of people who don’t let schooling get in the way of their education and how not being officially recognized by a governing organization does not always equate to being inexperienced in that field.

    However, I am almost certain that your case is an exception while the vast VAST majority do end up having huge negative consequences. After all, if the start-ups fail and the money runs out, there needs to be some kind of income to put food on the table (or some end to Mom and Dad’s patience); trying to get a job paying higher than minimum wage without a high school diploma would be very challenging indeed.

    So my feelings are mixed when I read a story like this.

    All that being said, I never want to discourage anyone from breaking away from the beaten path to pursue their dreams, but I think that a very careful cost/benefit analysis – like the one you discuss with the opportunity cost – is critical. When to say “when” BEFORE getting into a deep hole is an important guideline to establish before hopping into self-employment.

    Congrats again! 🙂


    1. Danny Iny says:

      Hey Jana, thank you for sharing your perspective.

      You’re right – it’s a risky move, more so for some people in some circumstances than others. Not so much because a high-school diploma is so important or hard to get – if you really need it, you spend a year and earn it in adult education classes – but because of the way that the exit happens… it’s one thing to decide that there’s a more productive use of your time, and quite another to slide off the margins. In other words, if there’s something else that’s worth doing, then that might be a good reason, but being an angry teenager who’s tired of school… that’s not a good reason to quit.

      Thanks again for your perspective and encouragement, Jana!

  23. Marlee Ward says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. Today you’ve show us that you just don’t talk the talk, you walk it. It appears your educational journey has come full circle and continues to expand. I believe that is the essence of being a life-long learner. But what strikes me most strongly about what you’ve shared here today is that you’ve always taken risk in the name of reward.

    You risked a traditional education.
    You risked getting rejected.
    You risked “failing”.

    And so it seems every single risk has been worth it. Thank you for this source of inspiration and for sharing this side of yourself. We can all learn a lot from you!

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Marlee, thank you so much for these words – I am deeply touched, in no small part because of the huge respect that I have for you.

      It’s true – even though things haven’t always worked out, I can say that I always took my own path, and I like that I “own” the journey… lumps and bumps included!

      Thanks again, Marlee. I’m honored to consider you a friend.

  24. Chris says:

    Hi Danny, this post really woke me up in the morning. What you have done with FPM is amazing. Congratulations on your MBA!

  25. Jill Avey says:

    Danny, Thanks for having the guts to say this. I also dropped out of high school but finished at community college. That is fairly common now but it took the same sort of leap of faith for my parents at the time. My colleagues at Columbia Business School were very surprised when I mentioned that fact. We are both proof that having a different path doesn’t mean that you don’t get somewhere important. 

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Amen to that, Jill! It’s funny, I’ve had about half a dozen people (who I know) reach out to me and share a similar story today – and I wouldn’t have known about any of them.

      1. Loving that you had the courage and self-awareness to make the drop out official. School wasn’t really doing anything for me, but I was too afraid to say that aloud, thinking it meant I was lacking somehow – the A grader/prize winner who gets praised by adults for doing tasks they set… it was confusing. Inside I knew I was doing nothing, but all the older people around me were convinced I was heading somewhere. So I kept on, all because I’d learnt so thoroughly to doubt myself.

        One year ago I found Free Range Humans, then Firepole and this whole world has opened up where it’s possible (and allowed!) to take ownership of our own futures. Last year I called my parents up in an excited flurry saying “if I’d known this back then I’d have quit school – I’d have done my own thing!” and they’d have let me too. They trusted me and I trusted a school system. This ‘go your own way’ thing isn’t for everyone; but I’d become so brain-dead as a student I’d not even considered it an option! Glad to be awake now. Thanks for sharing your story Danny and for all your work for education. Leah

  26. Danny! What a story! (btw, just grabbed your blog into my Reader – don’t know why it wasn’t there!?!)
    You’ve been through a lot in a little time! I can only imagine your disappointment in not getting that job after all that time, but if you’re like me, you know something better is right there on the horizon. (maybe your start-up company?) I’ve been through a lot of changes in business, strange and wonderful changes, but they are all busy delivering me to the best possible place and helping me to pick up what I need to  know when I get there! Funny how that happens!
    Hang in there!

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Thanks, Lori, I appreciate the support! 🙂 Yeah, I was very disappointed, but too much happens in life to stay disappointed for long – on to bigger and better things…

      1. Vrishali says:

        Hey Danny!
        Congratulations for getting an MBA degree!
        I too agree whole-heartedly over your point that what real-time experiences can teach you, no school can! I was working with a s/w co. before becoming an entrepreneur! And so can tell the difference! Entrepreneurship is a different experince all together and am loving it too!
        As for your post, it was lovely and I could relate to it in some way!
        Hats off to your daring and decision making capacity at a young age!
        Lots of wishes for your future endeavours!

        1. Danny Iny says:

          Thank you, Vrishali! I’m glad that you could relate to my post – I’m gratified that it seems to have touched a (small) nerve with people. 🙂 I was really nervous before publishing it! 😀

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