Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Listening to teen entrepreneurs

I spent some time today listening to several teen entrepreneurs who gathered from all over the country as part of an event put on by Independent Youth and St. Louis University’s Entrepreneurship Center. It was very inspiring.

How many 15 year olds do you know who have started companies? Not many, I bet. How about one who is now running a 45-person virtual business with another teen partner who is two years older? The two, James Boehm and Matt Salsamendi don’t even live in the same state: they met online playing Minecraft and put together a Minecraft server hosting business called McProHosting.com. Their monthly hosting plans start at $3 a month and they now have more than 40,000 customers all over the world. That is pretty impressive.

I had to laugh during their presentation: the two started their business on a small loan from one of their fathers, who were hovering around the conference and very proud of their kids achievements. How much was the loan, you might ask? Seven bucks. That is right: not much of an investment. Both dads of course run their own businesses (having nothing to do with technology, I might add). The two teens spoke about how to build your own hosting business (whether for supporting games or just general Web hosting) that I had to admit was right on target. Too bad they don’t support WordPress or I might be tempted to switch from GoDaddy for my own hosting needs.

jimckThe conference was keynoted by Jim McKelvey, the inventor of the Square payment chip and numerous other innovations. I have seen McKelvey talk before and he is very inspiring, but particularly so in this circumstances where most of his audience was so young. “I want to get you before you go to college,” he said, trying to influence them into taking pre-engineering tracks. “Everyone that I know who runs a company has an engineering background,” he told the crowd.

McKelvey has a simple seven-point plan for becoming an entrepreneur, at least the kind of entrepreneur that he is.

  • Don’t plan, build a prototype first. Learn how to build things and how stuff works.
  • Timing is everything, and be ready when your moment arrives. Knowing your market is important too.
  • Fail fast and furious, and consider failure just another form of feedback
  • Assume you have permission, don’t ask for it and apologize later if you have to. Being lucky beats being smart most of the time.
  • Assume technology will do what you want
  • Ignore opportunities and focus on fixing problems first
  • Don’t use lack of funds as an excuse and find as much free stuff as you can.

He mentioned that his Square chip went through 12 different prototypes before the one that we have in our hands today. “If you wait for your product to be perfect, you will never get it out the door,” he said. One of the students asked him what his most successful business was, and he mentioned his art glass studio here in St. Louis: while it hasn’t made as much money or has a valuation anywhere near the billions of Square, it is considered the leading such studio in the world and he is proud of that accomplishment.


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By David Strom

David Strom is an international authority on network and Internet technologies. He has written extensively on the topic for 20 years for a wide variety of print publications and websites, such as The New York Times, TechTarget.com, PC Week/eWeek, Internet.com, Network World, Infoworld, Computerworld, Small Business Computing, Communications Week, Windows Sources, c|net and news.com, Web Review, Tom's Hardware, EETimes, and many others.

Latest Stories
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, explained the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is rele...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
Information technology (IT) advances are transforming the way we innovate in business, thereby disrupting the old guard and their predictable status-quo. It’s creating global market turbulence. Industries are converging, and new opportunities and threats are emerging, like never before. So, how are savvy chief information officers (CIOs) leading this transition? Back in 2015, the IBM Institute for Business Value conducted a market study that included the findings from over 1,800 CIO interviews ...