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!?
Find 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