Shaping the education of young entrepreneurs on a case-by-case basis
The value versus cost of a college degree for younger generations continues to be a hot topic of discussion in the higher education and business sectors. While the surveys cited in harvard business review and Inside Higher Education suggest overall satisfaction with college-level learning among students, nearly two-thirds of respondents agreed that higher education is not worth the cost at current levels.
Add to the mix the intrigue of past and present entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others succeed without college degrees, and the perception that college is a necessary prerequisite for business success is changing. Many younger generations are weigh the costsprompting a growing number of them to consider skipping college in pursuit of their entrepreneurial dreams.
To gain more insight into the entrepreneurial mindset of those who have skipped the traditional educational path for business aspirations, I had the opportunity to interview Bryan Legend, entrepreneur and CEO of safuu. Legend has chosen to train through numerous business ventures and has recently made a name for himself in the cryptocurrency and decentralized finance (Defi) industries. His success earned him the name Money Central’s 2021 Technology Leader of the Year.
Like a growing number of other successful entrepreneurs, Legend doesn’t have a college degree in his pocket. But, for him, education can take different forms. “It’s time we started addressing the need for degrees on a case-by-case basis,” he says. “If I go to see a doctor, I sure hope he has a college degree, but many of the career paths available to young people today don’t require the notorious financial pressure or debt that comes with getting of a university degree.”
Legend has embarked on a journey to inspire many other passionate young entrepreneurs to pursue and achieve their dreams. Below is a condensed account of our conversation focusing on the role a less traditional upbringing had in shaping her success.
Rod Berger: Bryan, can you tell us a bit more about the backstory that got you to where you are on your current journey?
Legend Brian: My story is a typical poverty-to-rich scenario. I’m Australian and I grew up with little. I dropped out of high school three years before graduating and entered the workforce quite early. While others may have viewed my lack of a high school diploma or college certificate (diploma) as a disadvantage, it didn’t hold me back at all.
It gave me a hunger that most others couldn’t match. I decided to push myself as much as possible and see how far I could go. My first jobs were in sales and I discovered something new about myself while doing those jobs. It turned out that I had a special gift for negotiation, and this gift was mainly responsible for the success of my business.
I launched several successful startups during my career. I founded TWILX, a digital advertising company, and became a pioneer in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). ).
I eventually tapped into my love for technology and innovation and my strong desire to make a lot of money and got into cryptocurrency at first. This trip led me to Safuu, which has been my most successful venture so far.
Shepherd: Cryptocurrency and the decentralized finance space have seen an explosion of interest in recent years, not to mention a good deal of speculation. Share a bit about why you decided to throw your hat in the ring.
Legend: Well, cryptocurrency is a fascinating phenomenon of how technology has overtaken the traditional banking system and how it is at the forefront of challenging the fiat-based government. The relevance of this technology was what appealed to me more than anything else. As an entrepreneur, I always wanted to be in the center of the action, and cryptocurrency seemed to be where the action was.
A credible criticism of the crypto space is the unsustainability of many blockchain projects that have been reported. Safuu is my solution to this singular problem.
Safuu is the abbreviation of Sustainable Asset Fund for Universal Users. It is a DeFi protocol that uses blockchain technology by automatically distributing fixed interest payments using cryptocurrency. We have designed it with innovative concepts that ensure the sustainability and long-term profitability of the platform.
Auto-staking and auto-compounding are integrated via rebasing so that the supply of circulating tokens increases or decreases automatically based on a token’s price fluctuations. This sustainable rebasing mechanism not only offers the highest annual percentage yield (APY) in today’s market, but also considers ways to remain profitable even as it moves. This built-in mechanism is primarily responsible for why our users trust us so much.
Shepherd: Given the complexity and risk involved, cryptocurrency is definitely not an industry for the faint-hearted. Many readers might wonder how someone who lost their high school and college education got to the top of such a complex industry.
Legend: It’s not like many cryptocurrency-based certificates are available at most colleges [laughs]. The world is a big school. The internet is full of information and determination has a lot more bearing on success than degrees.
The best thing acquired in school is literacy. After that, it’s really up to the individual. Obviously, there are people who need to get degrees, but for entrepreneurs like me, it’s often more to do with street smarts, determination and a healthy dose of self-confidence.
Shepherd: How has your relationship to success changed during your career? Have you started aggressively proving the establishment wrong, and if so, has your perspective changed over the years?
Legend: Most people are sold on hope and belief and nothing more. They think they will wake up one day and notice that everything has changed, including the environment around them. It’s as if they imagined a big bag of money right next to their bed, waiting for them because they hoped and believed.
This way of thinking is naïve and far from the truth, but unfortunately, many people are of this mindset today. I also had the same mindset before I woke up and realized that things will only change through action. Belief and hope are powerful, but only when action is applied can our dreams have a stable tripod to stand on. I always say, “Belief in your belief will create the fact.” I live with them on a daily basis, but I strive to add actions so that these same beliefs become reality.
Shepherd: You are the classic rags-to-riches story that many are intrigued and driven to emulate. You have also dropped out of school to chart your own path to success. What was the impetus behind such a strong decision to oppose the traditional model of education?
Legend: After dropping out of high school at a young age, I soon realized that working for “the man” was not something I was interested in. Deep down, I felt destined for more. Through years of personal development, I discovered my business talent within the sales and marketing industry. I have since used these learnings and my skills in the world of cryptocurrency, where I found my true passion for overtaking.
I knew perseverance would be the key to making it all happen to achieve my goal of truly succeeding. It’s not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up and keep fighting with perseverance. It’s about proving to myself and to the world that success comes from within.
Shepherd: What would be your contribution to the dropout debate? What advice would you give to people considering dropping out of school and pursuing an independent path like you did?
Legend: It must be approached on a case-by-case basis. The world has gone digital and the number of opportunities available to young people today is incredible.
Many of these opportunities will be less juicy or lucrative in a few years. As a result, there will undoubtedly be those who decide to start earlier and perhaps forgo some formal education.
We need to re-examine the idea that formal education and credentials are the norm for success. Still, one should definitely avoid demonizing graduation, because success means different things to different people.
My main concern is for young people who cannot afford to go to school. I want them to realize that they have an innate intelligence and that if they are determined they can be even more successful than me.
Learning takes many forms and inside the trenches This is often where business-minded individuals make the most progress. Journeys like Legend’s are a benchmark for young people seeking inspiration as they chart their path as entrepreneurs. With a current net worth of over $26 million, Legend’s financial gains show how hard work and determination can lead to overcoming obstacles that lead to success.
For young people trying to determine the cost-benefits of traditional versus less traditional education, Legend’s story highlights the importance of hard work, no matter the choice. As he describes it, it takes belief, hope and action to produce positive results – something every young entrepreneur can focus on tweaking.
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.