Hate Success

Why Do People Hate on Young Entrepreneurs?

by Nicholas Tart on November 12, 2010 · 22 comments

I’m pretty level-headed but there are a few things that get under my skin.

Last week Yahoo! put up an article about our interviewees and over 400 people commented. About 90% of those comments were, “hooray teenagers,” “go for your dreams,” “that’s inspiring,” blah-dee-dah. But that other 10% really made me tick.

I can’t help but fire back. Below I’ve listed five of the more intelligent comments that hate on young entrepreneurs and I’ve detailed why they’re flat-out wrong.

They’re successful because they’re born rich

“The key trait? Being born rich, or being wildly OVERPAID for nothing! Like Justin Bieber!!” – James

I agree that a lot of our interviewees were born into at least middle-class families and that certainly helps en route to success, but success was far from handed to them.

Farrhad Acidwalla’s parents lent him $10 to buy his first domain (first month of hosting is 1 cent). Everything thereafter was self-funded. Emil Motycka’s parents co-signed on his $8K loan when he was 12, but Emil paid all of that back himself.

The only one who started with a significant initial investment was Catherine Cook. Even then, the $250K investment came from her older brother who earned that money from his own entrepreneurial ventures.

As far as being overpaid for nothing, smart entrepreneurs give people what they want – even if it is Bieber Fever.

Their parents paid for everything

“Yeah I would be rich too if my mommy and daddy paid all the rent, insurance, car payments, phone bills, and bought all of my food and clothing…” – Boondocksaint

You’re right, but that’s the point! I know not every young person grows up with a roof over their head and electricity in their outlets – and that’s a shame. It’s one of the reasons 17-year-old Mark Bao started a foundation to aid homelessness. However, most kids do have their basic needs covered by their parents.

Our interviewees realized this and capitalized on it. Just because you didn’t start your business when you were younger doesn’t mean you can hate on the ones who did.

These are the lucky few out of thousands

“Once again, no one ever shows the 90% of unsuccessful teens who have the EXACT same traits but fail time and time again!” – Kiven

I’m sure there are thousands of teenagers who have similar traits but keep failing. So did our interviewees. They all worked hard and failed countless times. They are some of the biggest failures in the world.

But eventually they did something different. That’s why we wanted to showcase them. A lot of their success is luck, but they gave themselves the opportunity for luck by never giving up.

They’re not creating anything valuable

“What horror. All the new businesses is nothing but selling, website, nothing is produced. Just being middlemen–albeit with higher technology. How sick. This is why we are going downhill.” – Janina

If you read the article, you would have known that starting with something manageable was one of the keys to their success.

I know that innovative technology and new products are imperative to long-term sustainability, but young entrepreneurs can’t always afford to be innovative. They can’t put up the cash for research and development. And if they could, you would’ve whined about how they got a handout.

This is just the beginning of their fledgling, entrepreneurial careers. Now that they have money, they can afford to develop new technologies and expand into more sustainable industries.

Money is the only thing that’s important to them

“Teenage millionaires value money more than anything else. Always focused on money, and they were successful. When their money becomes worthless, will they still be ‘valued’ as an example? Or simply called foolish teenagers who loved money more than anything else….even at the cost of their childhood.” – Charles M

The headline read “Teenage Millionaires” so that it would grab your attention. Business Insider knows that its readers are fixated on money. (By the way, this is a good example of the press grape vine embellishing things: not all of our interviewees are teenagers, nor millionaires.)

One of our interviewees actually told me that he misses being poor because he’s no longer motivated by making money.

Money is just another stat to them. Along with how many users they have, how many foundations they’ve started, and how many lives they’ve changed. Money provides them the ability to give back more than any other teenager could.

They’re missing their childhood

“This all sounds cool because of the money, but throwing your childhood is the worst experience one can have. Gosh, I’m 13 and everyone talks about becoming rich and famous and I can only name two who will be.” – Skyfire

Yep, they’re missing out on prank calls, watching TV and prestige-ing through Call of Duty.

I know it seems like they’re missing out on playing sports, volunteering their time, and otherwise enjoying being kids. But starting businesses is what they enjoy. It’s what they’ve fallen in love with.

They wouldn’t have it any other way.

My Favorite Comment

“Common Trait #8 – They didn’t spend their time posting crap on Yahoo! message boards.” – Seeker

There are always going to be people who see the glass half-empty. Michael Dunlop told me to ignore them, but I couldn’t. I hate the fact that people hate on young entrepreneurs for being successful. Hopefully I’ve cleared a few things up.

You disagree with me? Great! But you’re a coward if you don’t leave your grievances in the comments below.

How did these dweebs get on Yahoo!?

How We Got on Yahoo! FinanceFind out how we got on the homepage of the fourth most trafficked site in the world:
How We Got on Yahoo! Finance >>

Photo by Sylvar


1 Alex Papa November 12, 2010 at 9:40 am

Interesting and entertaining Nick!
I am a compulsive entrepreneur and I will take the side of the teenage entrepreneurs. They are like athletes preparing for the next Olympics. They know what they want and they are extremely focused. What is wrong with being a millionaire? We can’t resent teenage millionaires for what they are. They do extraordinary things and they deserve to get extraordinary results. Rule of life!

2 Nick Tart November 12, 2010 at 11:07 am

Exactly! If someone is in the Olympics, it’s because they deserve to be there. If someone built a top 1,000 site, it’s because they deserve it. Yeah there’s luck involved, but even the world’s best athletes aren’t born with average genes. People get what they deserve. Rule of life!!

3 Extreme John November 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

Like you said people will always find something, that one reason to hate something or someone. Just because, and for that reason you can’t even let it bother you. Well written!

4 Nick Tart November 12, 2010 at 11:08 am

Yeah, I should’ve just ignored them as to not give them the attention they’re begging for, but I couldn’t help myself, John!

5 Buntu November 12, 2010 at 11:07 am


6 Nick Tart November 12, 2010 at 11:10 am

Haha! Yes, sir. I think they made some valid points, but it had to stem from something.

7 Jonathan Romig November 13, 2010 at 7:54 am

I also liked this article. Good stuff Nicks.

8 Nick Tart November 13, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I’m glad! Always let me know when you like it. Otherwise, I won’t know! Good to hear from you, JR.

9 samuel November 14, 2010 at 1:11 am

Sure, it’s bound to happen…what you will do is just to ignore them and pay no mind to them because you are two steps ahead of them! Have fun..

10 Nick Tart November 14, 2010 at 11:48 am

Yeah, I’m surprised there weren’t more negative comments than there were. I can’t ignore them, Samuel. Enjoy!

11 SenseiMattKlein November 14, 2010 at 5:32 am

Would bet that most of that 10% has an axe to grind, Nick. They were either too lazy to get off their duff and go out and do it or they started something without doing the required work, and of course failed. They hate the rest of us for succeeding. Like Samuel says, above, just ignore them because they have no standing in our world.

12 Nick Tart November 14, 2010 at 11:55 am

Ey Matt! Those are two great reasons someone would leave a negative comment about successful entrepreneurs. People don’t have a clue how difficult it is to start and run a successful company.

13 Lindsay Manseau November 15, 2010 at 10:37 am

I may not be the most successful young entrepreneur. I definitely don’t bring in millions and honestly I’ll be okay even if I never do. Instead I bought my first place at 19 years old, and today I’ve owned my condo for more than a year. I pay my own bills including my mortgage, cable, gas and electric. Money is always nice, but it’s not really why I do what I do. I do it because of the pride it gives me for doing something myself and the feeling that I have control over my life. I do it for the independence and the freedom it gets me despite the increased responsibilities. I’m sure that if you ask any entrepreneur they would probably tell you the same. Any entrepreneur is more interested in helping individual people over corporations that will suck up your money and feed it back to a small group at the top.

Entrepreneurs care so much about everyone that we’re trained to listen to what everyone has to say – good or bad. As you’ve proven Nick, not everyone is right in what they have to say. However it’s nearly impossible to block out their voices so I’m glad you made an example out of a few sad interpretations of what we do. Great article!

14 Nick Tart November 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Wow, Lindsay! Well-put. People don’t realize that if the article was titled, “25 Young People Who are in it to Make a Difference” they wouldn’t read it. That’s why the press talks about how rich everyone is becoming. Ultimately, it’s the media’s job to cover stories that people want to read about. Unfortunately, people have less interest in young entrepreneurs who are living successful but modest lifestyles.

Thanks for your contribution here, Lindsay! Hope everything is going great.

15 S.Pradeep Kumar November 19, 2010 at 4:04 am

I guess this one applies to most everything. People (Bloggers) normally hate young bloggers if they own a blog with comparatively higher stats.. crazy world!!

Nice thoughts Nick!

16 Nick Tart November 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Yeah, it’s across all industries. The older generations think that us kiddoes need to earn our stripes through years of climbing the same ladder that they climbed… The internet has shortened that ladder and some people resent the fact that the internet was a hand-out to our generation.

Would you mind sharing any particular instances when you have experienced this, Pradeep?

17 James@ Boutique hotel Tunbridge Wells March 28, 2011 at 7:44 am

I simply thiink people hate on young enterpreneurs becasue they are basically jealous of what they have become and how far they have got.

18 Corncob August 30, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Perhaps the little buggers are obnoxious little self centered twits?

19 Nicholas Tart August 31, 2011 at 11:01 am

Perhaps. Or maybe part of the reason they’re successful is because they’re some of the nicest, most generous people you’ll ever meet?

20 Daniel Rothstein October 16, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I am one of those millionaires that you are talking about!!! Visit swaggerspot.com

21 Syeda Wahid March 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm

This is ridiculous; people go on and on about the failing economy and lazy teenagers and when they actually do something about it (the ones who actually are teens anyway), they get hated on? Why would they bother to attempt to fix the world and employ other people then?

~Syeda Recent Post: Top Five Ways To Make A Great First Impression

22 the May 15, 2013 at 2:10 am

no it’s nothing to do with jealousy, and i’ve never heard the reasons you stated as being to do with the reason that they’re hated.

but some of your counter points are pretty unconvincing. you say that coming from a rich background has nothing to do with it, but to prove that you only use people who haven’t gotten direct help from their parents? what about the indirect help, which is essentially impossible not to provide? the education from even an adequate school, a laptop to study with and maybe even adobe creative suite, private tutors, insightful books, and no need to worry about having money or trying to work part time to support your family because your dad got laid off and his job filling in the gap while he’s looking for real work barely pays anything (or worse, because nobody else in the family can get work) and all those sorts of things. rich parents may not directly give you the money, but they’ve given a base that you can’t deny you’ve had that no matter how much of a hard worker you can’t get any other way, not at those young ages

to most people, it doesn’t even seem young entrepreneurs are aware of these possibilities, much less in tune to them happening all the time

i think a real reason why people hate young entrepreneurs has nothing to do with the sort of general features you’ve listed above (why would you hate anyone for missing their childhood? you might think it’s disappointing, but hate?), but it’s a personality thing that’s much harder to describe or really express properly when you’re just put on the spot without having thought much about it. but the fact that they’ll jump to “jealousy” as an explanation without being able to think of anything else doesn’t help

Comments on this entry are closed.