I Am Not Part Of The Thiel Fellowship

Since many people have been asking me what the outcome was with the Thiel Fellowship I want to state publicly that I wasn’t accepted to be part of the program. My application was disqualified in the first round because I was 3 months too old. They told me I had one of the strongest showings of support and was one of a few people (less than 7 I hear) who had just turned 20 that they really wanted to accept but weren’t able to because they decided to be strict with the age deadline.

For what it’s worth, I knew the age deadline would be an issue, but I spoke with many people associated with the program and they told me they thought the age deadline would be flexible. They said 20 under 20 might as well be 20 and under. That turned out not to be the case. Still, I believe strongly in what the Thiel Foundation is trying to accomplish with the 20 under 20 program and wish all the fellows the best of luck. You will hear who the winners are in a few weeks.

When I learned I wouldn’t be a part of the program, I was disappointed given I had high hopes. Having said that, some good still came out of the process. I was very humbled to see the outpouring of support I received when announcing my plans to apply. I really felt the height of the expectations people have for me. A small part of me found the expectations daunting, but mostly I was excited for the chance to live up to them and surpass them.

I want to say again that I really appreciate all the people who believed I would get the Fellowship. I had hoped the 20 under 20 program would play a role in accelerating my development but in the larger scheme of things, it’s just a carpool lane I won’t have access to for a few miles.

Ultimately what has more significance is succeeding with the company that I’m putting my heart and soul into. After getting over a number of initial speed bumps, we’ve really started to find a groove the past month. We will be releasing some really exciting results from our first iteration of the Startup Genome in the next few weeks. I continue to be happy with my decision to take a leave of absence from Stanford to follow the path that spoke the strongest.

  • Nitin Bantwal Rao
    May 11, 2011

    You’ll do great, Max! Good luck.

  • Nitin Gaopande
    June 3, 2011

    Max, I read a brief about you on steve blanks blog. highly impressed with what you have been accomplished in this short span of time.
    Kudos to you. Looking for more new surprises from your side

  • Twinsdistgustme
    July 31, 2011