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Too brilliant, too arrogant, too obsessed

Dropouts are nothing new to the Valley. Quite the opposite: The tech turk -- characteristically, someone too brilliant, too arrogant, too obsessed for the classroom -- is key to the Valley's creation myth and the stories it tells about itself.

Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Jerry Yang dropped out of graduate programs; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg never even made it through college; and PayPal founder Peter Thiel doles out $100,000 to talented teenagers if they'll beg off college to work on something he finds brilliant. And businesses established and starting up both have long histories of poaching -- or rescuing -- ABDs. Sometimes even anthropologists.


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