Anyways, I'll do some homework for you and dig up some concrete cases of what the fellows have done:
- Andrew Hsu raised $1.5M as a solo founder for Airy Labs from Google Ventures and Foundation Capital (http://www.forbes.com/sites/briancaulfield/2011/08/04/names-...)
- Ben Yu has built a transdermal caffeine company (http://sprayableenergy.com/), which he holds provisional patents for (http://benyu.org/thiel-fellowship-closing-ceremony-speech)
- Clay Allsopp is building Propeller (http://usepropeller.com/), a drag-and-drop native iOS app builder. He has also authored a RubyMotion book (http://pragprog.com/book/carubym/rubymotion).
- Connor Zwick is building YC-backed Coco Controller (http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/the-yc-backed-coco-controll...) to augment iOS and Android gaming. He also has a Flashcards app with 1M+ downloads (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flashcards+/id408490162?mt=8).
- Darren Zhu is working on a synthetic biology company and has gotten a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/06/thiel-fellows-are-making-th...).
- Dale J Stephens has published a book, Hacking Your Education (http://www.amazon.com/Hacking-Your-Education-Lectures-Thousa...) through Perigee Books, and has launched the UnCollege movement (http://www.uncollege.org/)
- Daniel Friedman is building personalized online education startup Thinkful, which has raised $1M (http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/02/26/peter-thie...).
- Eden Full is building the SunSaluter (http://www.sunsaluter.com/) through her social venture Roseicollis Technologies, which has won the Westly Prize, the Mashable-UN Foundation Startups for Social Good Challenge, second prize at the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, and the grand prize at the Staples-Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneurship Challenge (http://www.linkedin.com/in/edenfull).
- James Proud sold his company GigLocator for undisclosed 6-figure sum (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2012/06/20/skip-school-s...)
- Laura Deming has her own fund (http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mkg45jfej/laura-deming-18-2/) and has been working working closely with biotech legend Corey Goodman to fund anti-aging therapies. She also spoke at TEDMED 2013 (http://www.tedmed.com/speakers/show?id=46921)
- Nick Cammarata "started a company that was recently acquired" (http://pandodaily.com/2013/04/24/examining-the-thiel-fellows...).
- Paul Gu is working with Upstart, which raised $5.9M as a kickstarter for people (http://pandodaily.com/2013/04/22/upstart-grabs-5-9-million-t...)
- Ritik Malhotra is working on YC-backed Streem, a Dropbox for Video (https://angel.co/streem)
- Sujay Tyle is working at Developer Auction (http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/21/developerauction-sujay-tyle...), which has raised $2.7M (http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/03/14/developera...)
- Taylor Wilson is building small nuclear fission reactors (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HL1BEC024g)
- Tom Currier built out a robotic solar panel tracking company (http://www.qbotix.com/) that has raised $7.5M total (http://www.qbotix.com/pressseptember4/) and got a couple patents for it (http://www.google.com/patents/WO2011150373A1, http://www.google.com/patents/WO2012009470A1)
- Yoonseo Kang has been working on Open Source Ecology and Open Tech Forever (http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/User:Yoonseo_Kang). You can check out some of the stuff he's built here: http://vimeo.com/user9565582
The fellows who haven't been explicitly mentioned here aren't necessarily dormant; they simply have not bothered to garner any press.
Please tread a little more carefully next time you label something as being "little different from child beauty pageants and dog shows" -- or at the very least, do your homework so a "college dropout" doesn't have to do it for you.
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