A Message from the Author

Thank you for visiting the website for Smart People Should Build Things! I’m excited to share the ideas behind the creation of Venture for America and the stories of the young people who are striving to revitalize the country through entrepreneurship. We need to build the path for the next generation to create new opportunities for themselves and others.

Though VFA itself is quite new, the inspiration for it came about over more than a decade. While I was running a test prep company, I gained a distinct perspective on the flow of talent. After meeting hundreds of smart, enterprising, yet somewhat dissatisfied young people, I became convinced that we needed to build a bridge between them and the startup companies throughout the country that were innovating, solving problems and creating value. I felt sure that if we could accomplish this, we would do a lot of good for everyone: the companies, the cities, our national economy and culture, and most importantly, the individuals themselves.

It’s early yet, but we’re off to a tremendous start. It is my hope that after reading this book, you’ll understand better how the pieces fit together and how we can get our top young people building things again to spur the next great era of American competitiveness. If we provide the path, they’ll embrace it.


Praise for Smart People Should Build Things:

I wish this book and Venture for America had existed when I graduated from college and wanted to make the world a better place but didn’t know where to turn. Smart People Should Build Things details how we can channel our top graduates into impactful entrepreneurial opportunities while addressing our economy’s biggest problems.

Dave Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker

A lot of people in the world are chasing the money, not the passion. Smart People Should Build Things shows them a way out — and has the potential to change the way we define success in business.

Tony Hsieh, NY Times bestselling author of “Delivering Happiness” and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.

Andrew is one of those rare visionaries who puts dreams into action. This book is a roadmap for young people in designing their careers, a playbook for policy makers for rebuilding our cities, and a path forward to moving entrepreneurship back to the center of the American economy.

Arianna Huffington, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post

In Smart People Should Build Things, Andrew Yang makes a compelling case for a new, fearless approach to helping young companies – the engine of the American economy and hallmark of healthy communities – access the critical talent they need for their companies to thrive.

Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation

In Smart People Should Build Things, Andrew Yang writes about the importance of encouraging top graduates to join start-ups in geographically diverse regions throughout the United States. I have great respect for the foresight he brought to his groundbreaking start-up, Venture for America, and Andrew has become living proof that it’s possible to create a platform that makes it easier than ever for the country’s best and brightest to help others succeed.

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn

In Smart People Should Build Things, Andrew Yang spells out the notion that a highly disproportionate percentage of our best and brightest have been tempted down the path of chasing money as an end in itself.  He lays out a solution that is a proven winner for not only the young generation coming of age, but for the nation as a whole.  Money follows. It does not lead.

Dan Gilbert, Chairman and Founder of Rock Ventures