A dropout prevailed with an unusual application

Andy Didorosi is the new Head of Marketing at the software provider “Basecamp”.

Andy Didorosi

  • A 32-year-old American prevailed over 1,500 applicants despite missing a college degree.
  • The US entrepreneur decided to drop out of college due to high tuition fees.
  • In his application, he focused on his personal experience and instinct.
  • More articles on

$ 14,000 per semester? For Andy Didorosi, 32 years old, this sum seemed surreal. A little later, the American dropped out of his engineering degree at Lawrence Technology University in the US state of Michigan. Today he earns a six-figure annual salary. The story of a young man who swims against the current.

Didorosi had been studying for nearly two years when he decided his $ 14,000 per semester tuition was just not worth it. He had amassed debt, missed a number of courses, and was about to embark on a career path he wasn’t going to enjoy. So the American decided to drop out of college.

Didorosi was one of 45 million Americans who cumulatively owe more than $ 1.5 trillion in student loans, according to a statistic from the U.S. Department of Education. There is no improvement in sight. College tuition fees are getting higher, and according to Bloomberg, they have increased 538 percent since 1985. The US population is wondering whether the debts that arise from four years of study are really worth it.

More than half of US workers without a college degree

In fact, a recent report that analyzed the labor market found that approximately 60 percent of today’s US workforce did not have a college degree. Employers are more open to hiring people without a university degree.
Didorosi’s career shows that young people can be successful even without a university degree.

In September 2019, the college dropout prevailed against almost 1,500 applicants and got a job as head of marketing at “Basecamp”. A company that has been developing digital workflow management tools for 20 years. The starting salary for a position as Head of Marketing at Basecamp is around $ 180,000. Didorosi did not provide with the exact amount of his remuneration.

Also read: You have studied and now want to join Tesla? Elon Musk has a clear opinion on this

Unlike hundreds of other applicants, Didorosi did not have a college degree. Instead, the 32-year-old entrepreneur relied on the experience he gained in his unusual professional career.

Didorosi developed his first business idea when he was 16, converting cars bought at auctions and selling them on at higher prices. He started four small businesses before founding Detroit Bus Co., a city tour and public transportation company, in 2011. It was Didorosi’s first idea that paid off financially. In addition to his work at Basecamp, he is still the head of his startup.

“Not once in my working life so far have I had the feeling that the degree plays a role,” Didorosi told “There is no qualification for leadership positions. In order to take on responsibility, one has to deal intensively with the topic, have clear goals and be convinced that they will be realized. “

The 32-year-old prevailed over 1,500 other applicants:

Didorosi used narrative storytelling in his application. This modern narrative form allowed him to highlight his non-traditional background and experience. Here is a look at the cover letter from the American:

The first page of Didorosi's letter of motivation.

The first page of Didorosi’s letter of motivation.

Andy Didorosi Private

In his letter of motivation Didorosi points out, among other things, that he met the boss and co-founder of “Basecamp”, Jason Fried, at an earlier event. Fried told that Didorosi’s motivation and willingness to take risks won him over to found the Detroit Bus Co. even though he had no experience in the transportation industry.

“The thing is – a lot of people have good ideas,” Fried said. “Everyone has ideas, but for most of them it sticks to those thoughts. We often think too much and talk things over ourselves. But Andy had an idea and he took action. He just did it. “

Didorosi did not initially impersonate the person Fried had in mind for the leadership role in his company “Basecamp”. He was looking for someone with a more traditional background.

“Basecamp” boss Jason Fried (right) and Andy Didorosi in a joint livestream in January 2020.

Didorosi ignores all common ideals in his application

Didorosi’s application differed greatly from popular ideals. He did not submit a single-page bullet-point document that was common in the United States and highlighted training and experience. The 32-year-old said it was difficult for him to summarize his experiences in a document, so he decided to make a narrative about his life instead.

Didorosi’s letter of motivation was four pages long. He chose the font on the “Basecamps” website. Even if he as a candidate may not be able to meet all the requirements for the job, he has given his best and made some unconventional considerations, said the US entrepreneur. So he wanted to show that he had carried out extensive research.

Fried said the company received thousands of applications. Many of these applicants have already held positions at the top of a company’s hierarchy. However, when the personnel experts selected 20 candidates and ultimately only four remained, Didorosi held up against his colleagues.

The second page of Didorosi's letter of motivation.

The second page of Didorosi’s letter of motivation.

Andy Didorosi Private

Entrepreneurs rely on instinct in job interviews

In an interview with, Didorosi made it clear that he was relying on instinct even among the last four applicants. Finalists were asked to create a marketing plan for a company with a $ 1 million budget. “I thought I can either write what I think they want me to write – or I can do what I would for my bus company,” he said.

While the competing applicants came up with formalized and campaign-like plans, Didorosi took an unusual route, Fried said. Among other things, he wanted to contact new companies in a creative way. All in all, it was a very direct suggestion, according to the head of “Basecamp”.

Still, Fried wanted to see how Didorosi would react if he questioned the strategy. “You said my idea didn’t really have a great new value – that it wasn’t a big idea,” Didorosi told “I made a few changes, but I made it clear that I didn’t want to change a lot.” Two hours after his response, Didorosi received a job offer from Basecamp.

The 32-year-old could well have drawn up an expensive marketing plan, but rather relied on his experience. He took a small business approach in a global company and gained a leadership position. Instead of concentrating on what “Basecamp” seemed to be looking for, the entrepreneur won over with a completely different idea.

The third page of Didorosi's letter of motivation.

The third page of Didorosi’s letter of motivation.

Andy Didorosi Private

“There is no single right path to success”

Didorosi believes his strength lies in his ability to overcome previous business failures. “You focus far too much on requirements, because that’s what we’ve been taught all our lives,” Didorosi told “There is no single right path to success. I was on the usual path towards security and structure. But this way contradicted my ideas. “

The US entrepreneur adds that each of his previous business ideas taught him to find a niche. He took the power to take his career completely into his own hands. “A lot of people won’t agree with me, and that’s a good thing,” Didorosi told “I definitely chose an unusual path.”

Didorosi has specific advice for budding business people: Always try to put your idea into practice yourself. As soon as you see successes, you can get help. Ultimately, the entrepreneur’s practical attitude paid off. His experience strengthened his resilience and led to the fact that he now receives a six-figure salary.

The fourth page of Didorosi's letter of motivation.

The fourth page of Didorosi’s letter of motivation.

Andy Didorosi Private

Despite the 20-year history of “Basecamp”, Didorosi is the first head of marketing. Fried said the hiring process wasn’t easy because he had created a new position and had no one to compare applicants with. At first he thought he wanted someone with classic marketing experience.

Company boss compares personnel decisions with betting stakes

While three of the finalists worked in marketing departments of other large companies, only Didorosi was entrepreneurial. The personnel experts finally recognized that Didorosi’s willingness to work was best reconciled with “Basecamps” company attitude.

“Whenever someone is hired, they end up placing only one bet,” Fried told “The other three finalists were great, but we felt that Andy was the bet with the highest chance of success for us.”

This article was published by in February 2020. It has now been reviewed and updated.


Related Articles

Back to top button