Having sold one company for over $200 million and another for over $1 billion before the age of 40, Tony Hsieh knows a little something about making money.
And despite the fact that college is often romanticized as the "best years of your life," it's increasingly becoming known as some of the more costly as well, a fact which is likely to have played in Hsieh's mind when he provided this message for students: "I actually encourage them to take the money they would've spent on college to start businesses instead, if their ultimate goal is to be an entrepreneur."
Hsieh, who earned a degree in computer science from Harvard, offered this advice during an ABC interview with Barbara Walters on "20/20" two years ago.
Hsieh, along with his billion-dollar company Zappos, with which he stayed on as CEO after selling the shoe-selling enterprise to Amazon, has been in the news recently as he leads a charge to revitalize a downtown district of Las Vegas.
The Ivy League graduate has rented around 60 apartments there, according to Entrepreneur's Teri Evans, to provide visitors with a free stay as they check in on the revitalization project.
While this type of generosity may come across as surprising to those who are unfamiliar with Hsieh's story, it fits in well with the narrative of the CEO who provides free food in his company's cafeteria.
Around the office, his mantra is "delivering happiness," which also happens to be the title of his book, which itself enjoyed a 27-week stint on the New York Times Best Seller List after debuting at No. 1.
And while the San Francisco native's path to success began with a four-year stay at the nation's most prestigious institution, the man who made over $5,000 reselling burgers in college adamantly maintains that, for aspiring entrepreneurs, investing college tuition in their own ventures is the way to go.
"If you just took the money you would've spent on going to school and just used that to start a business," he said in an interview with Business Insider's Henry Blodget, "and start a business every year, even if every one of those fail you're going to learn way more through that than actually going to school."
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