Here’s a story that tells you a lot about how much Silicon Valley prizes fresh talent.Flipboard CEO Mike McCue still can’t believe how excited people got when he hired a Brown University student for an internship.
At a barbecue celebrating the second anniversary of the mobile news-reading app, McCue told a story about how John Doerr, the lead partner at legendary venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, called him about Dylan Field, an intern McCue was recruiting.
“Do you need any help with Dylan?” Doerr asked him, as McCue recalled.
“I think I’ve got this,” McCue replied.
At the time, Field was 19. He just turned 20 in March.
Doerr’s interest wasn’t completely out of the blue: Field is a KPCB Engineering Fellow. That program places college students in Kleiner portfolio companies like Flipboard. The previous summer, he interned at LinkedIn.
But it’s not like Doerr was alone in his interest in Field. After Flipboard hired him, Oren Jacob, the former CTO of Pixar who now runs a startup called ToyTalk, spotted McCue across a parking lot and shouted, “I heard you got Dylan!”
Here’s one big reason why Field is such a big name. A maths whiz from an early age, in high school he interned at O’Reilly Media, a publisher of technical books which also produces geeky events like Foo Camp and Strata. So he got to know the Valley’s technical elite by helping out with those events. He went on to become an expert on data analytics and now speaks himself at O’Reilly events.
Field told NPR last fall that he hopes to start his own company in the burgeoning field of big data. He since received a $100,000 fellowship sponsored by Facebook investor Peter Thiel. The Thiel Fellowship pays students to put their college studies on hold and pursue entrepreneurial ventures.
With that fellowship in hand, it looks like Field is already getting started. On Quora, he recently wrote that he planned to start working on coding projects with a friend, Evan Wallace. He told CNBC that he and Wallace are working on browser-based alternatives to Photoshop.
We suspect he won’t have trouble getting funding from Kleiner.
Here’s Field talking about his next big project: