I’m Derek Magill. I’m a 24 year old living in
Michigan San Diego Austin Charleston Nowhere Michigan Nowhere Austin.
I move around a lot. Part of that is for my work as Director of Marketing at Praxis, a startup that’s built an alternative to college (and much much more), and part of that is because I find it difficult to settle anywhere long.
I dropped out (or got kicked out, depending on who you ask) of college during my second at the University of Michigan. During that brief and unfortunate time in college, I studied Classics — think Thucydides, Polybius, Cicero, and Marcus Aurelius — dabbled in French Enlightenment and 19th century Russian Literature, and got deeply involved in the Objectivist and Libertarian philosophy and movements. I even sued my school.
I went to Rome and studied Latin for a month, then almost died hiking the Matterhorn in Switzerland during a “find myself” journey (these are stupid and shallow).
I quickly realized a few things during this whole time in school:
- I was learning a lot more outside of class.
- My classmates weren’t in my classes because they shared my interests — they were there for course credits
- A successful career, the humanities do not make.
I dropped out without much of a plan and took a job as a campaign manager for a US congressional race, which I recognize is a weird job for a dropout to get. I quit that within a month because a happy life, politics does not make.
It’s then that I started selling guns. Really. I built an eBay store for gun parts that turned into a $30,000 per month business, managing shipping, inventory, customer service, product listings, et. all. I also helped build a 2 million dollar Amazon store and got a package seized by the Department of Homeland Security. Oops.
I then started doing photography because I thought it would help me meet people, managing social media accounts and ads, building websites, and doing just about anything else I could do to make an income. This became a business in itself which I ran profitably for a year or so.
I got to work with some incredible businesses and clients around the country and learned a ton about business and marketing, and more importantly, about what I wanted to spend the next part of my life doing.
I moved to Austin to take a job at a startup but had an opportunity to jump ship to do contract work for Praxis. I also started a standing desk business but the margins were too low for it to be viable. I’m now the Director of Marketing at Praxis and occasionally take some marketing clients that overlap with my work there.
I spent the last two years traveling full time, mostly to give talks about dropping out of college and career building, but also for fun. Destinations include…. Canada, Iceland, Brazil, Czech Republic, Japan, Ecuador, Germany, France, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Bosnia, Serbia, Austria, Ukraine, and a bunch of US cities. In total I flew over 275,000 miles (ugh) in that time. I always fly Delta.