Sridhar Vembu on Education

I read a short interview of Sridhar Vembu (CEO of Zoho) on Australia Computing Society – Information Age magazine (a better than expected piece of publication by the way).

There are some interesting points on his view of traditional education.

Sridhar holds  a doctoral degree from Princeton University, but he indicated that he wouldn’t get it if he had it to do again, and here is why:

There is a certain level of abstraction for its own sake, and even in engineering it’s become true. The field is highly mathematical, almost to the point where the math has become a kind of Sanskrit – a tool to keep out people. Most of engineering is actually fairly common sense and you can figure it out with the brain and hard work. Math is essential, but we’ve gone too far in that direction. It’s become a tool to show off.

In terms of recruitment goes, Sridhar (in his own words) prefers to do it the “un-Google” way. Instead of hiring people with high academic credentials, Zoho apparently recruits people at high schools level and have them go through the Zoho University.

A lot of education today takes a kid who’s 18,19 year old and asks them to focus on something really boring. [They’re] not treated as the responsible young adults that they are. So they stay as kids and fulfill our expectations.