Philip Hartman

Philip Hartman Interview: 2008 Young Inventor of the Year

by Nick Scheidies and Nick Tart

Philip Hartman became an entrepreneur when he was eight-years-old. That’s when he started building slingshots that shot both BB’s and arrows.

Today, a home-schooled high school senior at the ripe age of fifteen, Philip spends most of his time cultivating two somewhat more advanced entrepreneurial ventures. One is a new system for fusing optical fibers that is cheaper, more efficient, and more dependable – an invention for which Philip won the 2008 Young Inventor of the Year award.

The other is called Steam Viper. It’s a device that emits steam onto a windshield and is capable of defrosting a frost-covered windshield in about 15 seconds.

The following is a short excerpt from 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs (Volume 1).

Q: How have people around you reacted to your success?

A. For my immediate family, this is just normal life. So there’s no special response. I have a lot of different sections of my life. I play tennis and I also play banjo for example. In those groups, people don’t know that I’m an inventor and entrepreneur. So it’s kind of funny when people in those groups see me on the news or in a magazine. It surprises most of them because they think that I’m just involved in whatever they’re involved in.

For most people, the Steam Viper is a really exciting thing. Everybody knows what it’s like to be driving down the road and have bugs all over your window. The head of advanced motor parts said that 20% of all accidents are caused by glare from stuff on the windshield. We also all know what it’s like to scrape our windshield in the morning. The Steam Viper completely eliminates all of that.

Q. How did you plan and organize your business?

A. I’ve never taken a business course, but I have always had a bit of business intuition. I’ve made business plans and I’ve had some different consultants, including my dad, but the best way I learn how to do something is just to go ahead and do it. It’s the best tool that there is. I learn more every time. I could never learn what I’m learning at college. They just don’t teach it there, because it can’t be learned in that way.

Q. Anything else you would like to add?

A. If you love entrepreneurship, you should do it. Do what you love. But if you’re not really into what you’re doing, then you should go get a job and do something else. It’s not easy. You’ve got to have a huge passion for it, along with a passion for helping out the world. If you’re just doing it for the money, then it doesn’t really work. You won’t end up being successful.

This is an abridged version from Philip’s interview in our latest project, 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs. Philip is going to be a huge inspiration for young entrepreneurs everywhere. He’s only been working on Steam Viper for a few months and he already has access to a few investors. You’ll be seeing his product soon ;).

Philip Hartman’s Top Quote

“I could never learn what I’m learning at college. They don’t teach it there, because it can’t be learned in that way.”

Want even more inspiration?

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