I have been speaking with him often, and one of the questions we kicked around recently was as follows:
(1) 99% of gifted rural youth don’t get the opportunity. The same is true in India and in Alabama or Virgina.
(2) 99% of gifted youth in general don’t get the right opportunity either.
What are the barriers?
For (1) the barriers are:
* Parents are not educated, so no mentoring or guidance.
* Teachers in the rural schools are of inadequate quality.
Vinod Khosla has made statements that he knew he wanted to start his own business since he was very young. Vinod is an army officer’s son, he grew up in Delhi, and ended up going to an IIT. The environment helped him make these leaps much more easily.
My own story is very similar. I am an entrepreneur’s daughter. I knew I wanted to start my own company since I was 16.
And the other extreme example is Aditya Mittal, Laxmi Mittal’s 31-year old son, for whom, the platform was set all along.
For Raj, this environment wasn’t there. So, how does a gifted rural kid find his / her platform?
The (2) the issue is of discipline. The IITs only admit 1% of the 1% college level students. The other 99% of the 1% gifted students may not necessarily have the discipline to do ALL the right things to get into an IIT (or an MIT). Ramanujan, for example, failed everything except Math. Heck, he failed High School. Is there any way to identify the future Ramanujans in various disciplines?
These are open problems, of course!
In your idle hours, instead of watching some stupid TV show, please give it some thought, and I invite you to use this forum for discussion.