Summly and young tech entrepreneurs

Traffic on the Fire Tech Camp website has doubled in the past couple of days. Maybe more people are hearing about us, or starting to think about summer camps now that the spring holidays are upon us. Or maybe it’s the Summly effect?

This week Nick d’Aloisio, 17 years old, sold his company and app, Summly, for a price estimated at over £18 million.  He started his company when he was 15, and admittedly he’s a pretty exceptional kid. Not only is he a self-taught developer, he is a natural linguist, proficient in Mandarin Chinese, Latin, Russian, French and Ancient Greek (source: FT article). He also plays rugby, is a cricket fan, and goes to school on an academic scholarship. But while he may not be a typical kid, he started in the way that a lot of our Fire Tech Camp kids are starting.

He learned animation software when he was nine years old, and started developing software when he was 12. He’s not the only one. We keep hearing about other kids and teens who are teaching themselves to use these tools, and then using them in the service of their great ideas. Nina Devani is a 14 year old girl living in Luton, now CEO of DevaniSoft. She has created an app called Prompt Me Nina, to help people remember their passwords, and it is for sale now in Android and iPhone. Casey Jordan is the 13 year old Irish CEO of Casey Games. He has developed and sells a number of games including Alien Ball vs Humans and its sequel, Alien Ball vs Humans 2 Holiday, and his hit Food World plus the soon-to-be-released My Little World.  Jordan got started when he was nine, after getting interested in the game Club Penguin. He taught himself HTML, CSS and Actionscript 2.0 and from there became one of the youngest Apple developers.

Not every kid who learns to develop software is going to make it big, or even make a career out of it. But there are lots of kids out there who do become enterprising and manage to sell their products, sometimes with a great deal of success. If we looked through the rosters of successful tech entrepreneurs, I suspect that we’d find that many of them did begin to look for ways to explore and develop their skills in this area from a young age. Our kids have creativity, great ideas, and a thirst to learn when they see the usefulness of a skill! It may sound trite, but it is true that the great innovations of tomorrow are going to come from those who are just kids today. In a very concrete way, it starts with kids. Every fabulously successful tech entrepreneur was once a kid or teen just getting started – and nine is not too early to start!  We can’t wait to see what our campers – your fantastic kids – come up with!

Image credit: Official LeWeb Photos




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