If you haven’t checked the news recently, Figma, a collaborative design software widely used across both tech and non-tech fields, was sold for twenty billion to Adobe. Its an amazing software, and truly has changed the product design game, being the software of choice of the industry’s leading design talent even as their companies paid for different software.
But fourteen years prior, Dylan Field, the co-founder of Figma, wasn’t thinking about Adobe. In fact, he wasn’t even thinking about college. He was (self-admittedly) an unremarkable high school student, until he found FRC. Dylan became an active and fully involved member of his team, FRC Team 675 (no longer active). At one point Dylan sent in an advertisement to WIRED advertising a robot-eating-pasta fundraiser/outreach event for the team, writing about the impact the team had on him and the community. In Dylan’s application to the Thiel Fellowship, which granted him the funds to start Figma, he said this about his FIRST experience:
I chose to attend Technology High School for two reasons: the school’s FIRST robotics team and the opportunity to take math classes at a local state university. If I wasn’t so engaged with FIRST and higher math, I probably would have dropped out of high school. Instead, I formed compromises with my teachers where, provided I kept my grades up, I could skip class and play with robots or work through math problem sets.
He professed that robotics changed his life-- following joining the team, he set his sights on attending college, and after getting rejected from Berkeley he went to Brown instead (not a bad backup).
We’ve seen some amazing FRC success stories like Dylan’s, and in the coming decades, this is only going to become even more common. Who will be next?