This morning the Wall Street Journal published an article about Dylan Field, the co-founder of Figma, which is being sold to Adobe for $20 billion. Figma is an online tool that allows users to collaborate to design user interfaces. Companies that I have worked at have used Figma and everyone I’ve talked to has loved the product.
The tagline for the article is “Figma co-founder Dylan Field, 30, turned his high-school interest in robotics into a colossal deal payday”. He’s estimated to own about 10% of Figma, which would get earn him $2 billion from this deal.
From what I can tell from Wikipedia I believe that Dylan Field was on team 675, “Tech High Robotics” from 2006-2009. Unfortunately that team’s last season was in 2013.
It’s always great to see how FRC can get students interested in technology. Are there other high-profile FRC alumni?
That’s really cool! His LinkedIn says he was on team 4334. When I was in high school in 2012 our team was eliminated in the semifinals on Archimedes by them (along with 2056 and 1114). 4334 made such an awesome tiny robot that year - it really helped their alliance fit three robots on the balancing bridge.
With the number of smart young people participating in this program, I am not at all surprised to hear something like this. My wife once said that one day, we will see some article about the latest tech-titan, the latest crop of Nobel Prize winners or someone who invented something earth-shaking like a cure for cancer and we would say “we knew them when they were on Team XXXX”.
At a Mentor Workshop several years ago, some of the students were describing their experiences including how little sleep they got. I told them that they have proven they are qualified to work at a startup, which can be quite lucrative based on some of my friends experiences.
Some years back, there was a move to try to nominate Dean for the Nobel. During the ensuing discussion, a comment was made something along the lines of “Dean’s greatest legacy wouldn’t be winning the Nobel. It would be if one of you students did.” (And yes, that comment was in the Spotlights.)
There’s a lot of former FRC students out there, in all kinds of different fields. They’re out there, they’re all around… and they’re figuring out how to make a bigger impact.
Yes, statistically, it will happen because of the large number of smart and hard working alumni. One of the boys my sons competed against in FLL never made it to FRC because he started at Harvard studying theoretical physics at age 13. I think he was discussing his options for post-graduate work at about 16. There were also a bunch on other FLL teams that we mentored who were also really smart like Adam. Some did go onto leadership positions on various FRC teams but never mine
Something like 8 out of the first 10 employees at Formlabs were FIRST alums. To date, we have probably had hundreds as employees or interns. We’ve also recently instated an experimental project system (we call Skunklabs) that is focused around a 6 week prototyping cycle, definitely inspired by FIRST.