September 28, 2007
Child Prodigies, or Misspent Youths?
I just got an email from a reader of this blog with a subject line of "15 year-old entrepreneur" and a series of engaging questions around starting a business (and actually, quite a good idea for one as well). It got me thinking about being a kid and being an entrepreneur at the same time. The author of this email is impressively savvy and focused on the world of business and startups.
When I was 15, I actually did have an inkling that I was going to go into business someday, and probably even that I wanted to start a business someday. After all, it’s what my dad did, and what both of my grandfathers did. But the key words in that sentence are INKLING and SOMEDAY. I’m not sure it would have occurred to me in a million years to actually start a real business. I suppose I could have figured out how. But I wasn’t interested in doing it, or I didn’t have a good peer network of business-minded teens, or something.
It’s interesting to think about whether or not I’d be a better entrepreneur or CEO today if I’d started entrepreneurial pursuits at age 15 instead of age ~25. Certainly, one makes a huge number of mistakes the first time one does anything, so perhaps better to get those out of the way early. But I have to imagine that there are some things that one learns with age about dealing with other people that can’t be hurried up just because one starts businesses early.
Anyway, my hat is off to guys like Ben and the even younger guy who wrote into me…I just hope they’re making enough time for more standard teenage fun with their friends as well!