Posted by: prataap | January 30, 2008



The CIA has determined that the best internet hackers are between the ages of 12 and 16. Not old enough to drive or work full time legally, but old enough to do real damage as the daily break-ins at various sites including CIA’s own site continue to highlight. But on the flip side, extreme successes will be seen at younger and younger ages, and most of them will not even have a high school diploma. 

High school dropouts like Dan Hamans of Iowa make over $40,000 a year (NY Times, 2008). Dan is a professional computer games player, his first job was testing computer games at Quake. A past champion, Dan estimates he has garnered almost $100,000 in cash, prizes and endorsements since he began competing in 1995. Computer games have already been Dan’s ticket to the job market. And instead of a high school diploma, kids like Dan may opt for a Cisco Certified Expert Certificate, whose graduates typically start at a salary of $75,000. Dan is 19 years old.  

Mark Zuckerbeg. Oh, you don’t know the name? But you might as well know he has a net worth of $3 billion at the age of 23! Young geeks are in, and if their skills and entrepreneurship are timed just right, their potential for making millions of $$$ overnight at 16, 18 and 19 is a very real possibility.  When they smell a success, venture capitalists will line up a mile away. BTW, Zuckerbeg is the founder of Such alternate routes to success will be extremely common. Bill Gates, the Harvard dropout poster child is already past 50. There are now emerging teenage CEOs too; Ryan Zacharia at 18 is the CEO of that “picks stocks from a teenager’s point of view”. His school principal bought stocks based on his picks! 

The impacts of success at ages as young as 16 and 19 will profoundly impact families, society, as well as business.

Question is: How many of the dozens of talented musicians who performed at Woodstock 1 still had a viable musical career 30 years later? The majority died or burnt out because they could not handle the pace and the fame. Led Z finally came out of hiding in 2007. What will be the crash and burn rate of this generation of revolutionaries?

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