Here’s the story of a ninth grader who failed algebra and later worked in a tire store. His specialty was the retreading machine: grind off the old tread, glop on the adhesive, align new tread on tire, seal the new tread. Repeat. Surely, this experience helped shape his later life, but it was the mediocrity of the occupation that eventually forced him to earn a degree in mathematics and send a resume to IBM. It was 1965 and IBM needed to train a few bright kids to function as electrical engineers.