|WSJ. MAGAZINE 2014 INNOVATOR AWARDS - ENTREPRENEURSHIP|
Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s School for Innovation
After the runaway success of Beats—recently bought by Apple for $3 billion—the duo is launching a new academy at the University of Southern California with the goal of inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs
Nov 5, 2014
... Now Dre and Iovine are using $70 million to fund their school.
As Iovine explains it, the school is as much an investment in their own future as it is philanthropy. “We wanted to build a school that we feel is what the entertainment industry needs right now,” he says. “There’s a new kid in town, and he’s brought up on an iPad from one and a half years old. But the problem with some of the companies up north [in Silicon Valley] is that they really are culturally inept. I’ve been shocked at the different species in Northern and Southern California—we don’t even speak the same language. The kid who’s going to have an advantage in the entertainment industry today is the kid who speaks both languages: technology and liberal arts. That’s what this school is about.
“The problem with the school system is that a lot of it’s cookie-cutter,” he adds, “so what we’re trying to do is disrupt it a bit.”
Beats started with a chance run-in on the beach. Iovine was in Malibu, at his friend David Geffen ’s house, when he decided to go for a stroll. He happened upon Dr. Dre, who was out on the balcony of his own house nearby. Dre told him he’d been approached a few days earlier by an athletic company about doing a shoe line; his lawyer wanted him to do it, but Dre wasn’t sure. (“I’m not into fashion,” he says. “I wear the same s— every day.”) He asked Iovine for his thoughts. Iovine’s immortal response: “F— sneakers—let’s make speakers.”
“It’s a good thing they didn’t want to sell aluminum,” Iovine jokes now. “I’m not sure what rhymes with that.”