Highlights from Chapter 3 in our forthcoming book.
Jobs for the pandemic, the present, and the future: These Gen Zers didn’t wait for someone else to hire them–they taught themselves how to code and invented their own ventures. Meet two Adams and ten others from the Belgium, Cina, U.K., U.S., Philippines, and United Arab Emirates, who show how Gen Z owns the digital world.
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, U.K.
Adam Hildreth established his first company, Dubit Limited, an early social media platform, when he was 14. He and the seven friends with whom he launched his company made it into the Guinness Book of Records for being the youngest group of directors in the U.K.
As Dubit became increasingly successful, he dropped out of high school to focus on growing the business.
By the time he was 19, the website had sponsors with huge corporations like Coca Cola, and he was worth $3.7 million. The social network became one of biggest teenage websites in the U.K. and later morphed into a “Youth Marketing Agency” that does research, strategy and digital development for child-centric marketing.
Adam could have stopped working at that point, but he wanted to do something truly great for the world. So, he developed Crisp Thinking, a cyber-protection company specializing in online child-protection technology for Internet service providers (ISPs).
Crisp Thinking includes websites and game developers that are targeted at child audiences and weeds out the language used by online predators and bullies who target young children on the Internet. With a 98 percent success rate, his company has helped prevent countless numbers of children from becoming victims of predators.
Adam’s net worth was projected to reach over $38 million in 2020.
Dirty Laundry/Mobile Monopoly
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
When he was 15, Adam Horwitz made it a goal to become a millionaire by his 21st birthday.
After launching several startup websites, including his first “Dirty Laundry” to share high-school gossip, Horwitz found success with Mobile Monopoly, which is an affiliate-marketing app that teaches users how to turn a profit with mobile market leads. He also started the text advertising service for businesses YepText.
Later, he founded “Wolves Talent” scouting site, based off the using his experience to lead new creators to personal success, as well as launching a travel vlog based YouTube Channel.
Adam feels that the Internet is the ultimate equalizer, because age does not determine one’s success. He says in a podcast with Incomediary, “I’m trying to help a lot of kids my age so they don’t have to work at fast food places or [earn only] minimum wage.
“I want to show them that it is possible to make money online.”
Internet Marketing Services/ /Rich Kid Media
First given Internet access at age 12, Carl Ocab quickly picked up on the process of creating and developing websites. Within a year, he created carlocab.com, an internet marketing agency.
Quickly recognized due to his use of a high-result keyword, Ocab began growing his site, until it became one of the world’s most widely recognized Internet marketing agencies.
He has since discussed his success as a self-named “kidblogger” and hopes to encourage other young entrepreneurs to create and develop their ideas.
In this interview he explains why the Philippines is a good outsourcing location to establish and grow your business.
He also runs Rich Kid Media, a web development and branding company.
Mac Bundle Box/Branchr Advertising
Corby, Northamptonshire, England, U.K.
After teaching himself how to code in middle school, Christian Owens started his first business at age 14—and made his first million dollars in the next two years.
With Mac Bundle Box, Christian was able to offer simple, discounted Mac-applications packages after he negotiated with developers and manufacturers.
He used the power of word-of-mouth to ensure sales: If a certain number of people bought the Mac Bundle Box, a new application would be unlocked for all users.
He then founded Branchr Advertising, a pay-per-click advertising company that distributes 300 million ads per month on over 17,500 websites, iPhone, and Android applications.
The company, which aims to deliver “contextual, behavioral, and geographically” targeted ads on those platforms, made $800,000 in its first year and employs eight adults, including his mother, Alison.
Christian tells Gizmodo, “There is no magical formula to business. It takes hard work, determination, and the drive to do something great.”
Shanghai, China and New York, New York, U.S.
At age 13, John Xie started an online web hosting service (receiving payments via PayPal) called Cirtex.
Today, the business has revenues of around $2 million and his clients range from those who are looking for the affordable to dedicated hosting servers.
After attending Babson College in Massachusetts, John has gone on to serve more than 300,000 clients and maintains a global staff in the U.S., Canada, India, and Brazil.
He has also launched Taskade, an online collaboration tool that helps teams get tasks accomplished, whether working in-person or remotely. As we progress through the COVID pandemic, sites like Taskade will be extremely necessary as they allow businesses to operate remotely.
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
Juliette Brindak is founder and owner of hugely famous website, MissOandFriends.com, a place for young girls (“tweens”) to interact with one another.
Girls can play games and ask for advice on the site, which provides a safe, secure, and inviting place to build self-esteem. Subscribers can talk about their worries and dreams without stressing about being popular or fitting in.
Juliette is currently worth $15 million. Her revenue comes from online ads on her site, the OMG Teen book series that have sold over 120,000 copies, games, and toys.
View an early video on how Juliette built her business from her girlhood sketches and imaginings.
Oxford, England, U.K.
Nick taught himself to code when he was 12 years old by developing apps for his iPod touch, which he got as a present for his parents.
In school, he excelled in complex subjects like math and Chinese. At 15, he came up with an app called TrimIt, which improved the relevancy of search engine results.
While studying for GCSE mock exams, Nick realized that the search interface was antiquated: Looking up things and finding out information had to be done in round-about methods that require too much time.
He decided to upload TrimIt to the Apple iTunes store, and it quickly got a lot of press coverage. A company from Hong Kong (business magnate Li Ka-Shing) reached out to him and offered to put in the funding ($300,000) for him to develop his app further.
Nick used that money to hire a team from Israel to help recalibrate the app into Summly, a mobile app which automatically summarizes news articles and other material.
Not only did the app help narrow down search results, but it would take an article and summarize the most important part of the story into a short paragraph that people could read on their phones, enabling them quickly to skim the news.
Six months later it was sold to Yahoo for $30 million. Yahoo turned it into their News Digest app, a modified two-times-daily digest of news based on the algorithms created by Nick when he started Summly.
Now a student at Oxford University, Nick will soon earn his doctorate in philosophy. Meanwhile, he’s raised funds to develop a new app called Sphere Knowledge, that allows users to chat with experts in various fields.
New York, New York, U.S.
Noa Mintz started her first business, running art classes for kids during the summer for a small fee. Two years later, she founded a children’s party planning business. To ensure her staff members were following workplace protocol, she wrote an employee handbook for them.
At 12, she discovered a gap in the market for an easy way to locate the best nannies available in the area.
She used her firsthand experience of being a child in the city and founded Nannies by Noa, a full-service childcare agency that matches nannies with families in need of a caregiver and provides thorough background screening of and workshops for their nannies, as well as ongoing support for their users. The agency quickly earned Noa $375,000.
When she started high school and needed more time for schoolwork, Noa hired a fulltime CEO with twenty-five years of industry experience. She has since hired two additional associates.
“The best part by far is the fact that I am a job creator and have been able to get so many people employed,” Noa says. “It is rewarding and empowering.”
The best advice she’s ever received was from her middle school principal: “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.”
Stephen Ou launched five entrepreneurial projects before the age of 25. One of these is the OhBoard, a whiteboard application for the Google Chrome browser.
Stephen says, “I have also dabbled a lot in Python, some in C++, and a little in Erlang.”
While enrolled at Stanford University, he has conducted research projects in machine learning and natural language processing.
STEM and Technology
Los Gatos, California, U.S.
Beginning in his freshman year of high school, Jason Li liked to fix iPhone and iPod screens as a way to make extra cash. However, he grew increasingly unsatisfied with the way electronics were thrown out . . . So, he invented a better solution for recycling them.
At age 15, Jason became the founder and proprietor of iReTron, an electronics refurbishment company.
With a $2,000 loan from his father, Jason created the company from his bedroom. The company buys old electronics from people, refurbishes them and sells them for a profit. Then in 2014, Shark Tank reached out to ask if he’d like to appear on their show, and Jason walked away with a $100,000 investment.
Still CEO of iReTron, he has created two other startups while in college. When asked what advice he has for budding entrepreneurs like him, Jason said they should never give up.
Omar Raiyan Azlan
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Some Gen Zers are just getting started, and one such example is the extremely talented Omar Azlan. Omar has won many Math Olympiads since his primary school days. He has beaten contestants from Asia, Europe, and America; and he’s able to solve the Rubik’s Cube in forty seconds.
He also plays fútbol (soccer), on the Manchester City junior team in the U.K. at age 9, and winning Player of The Season once and Player of The Term three times.
Other interests include playing piano and speaking four languages—Malay, English, French, and Arabic. Now 14, Omar continues to excel in school and at sports, and has a bright future ahead of him.
Created by Shubham Banerjee when he was 12 years old, Braigo Labs creates Braille printers to help the visually impaired access expensive technology.
Shubham’s invention uses LEGOs and robotics to design a product and sell it at less than half the price of others on the market.
His latest model uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to automatically print text from a website and translate it into Braille.
He’s the youngest entrepreneur to receive Venture Capital funding. Banerjee envisions his future career “in a field that merges technology and medicine, surgical procedures with robotics or human health would be great for me.”
The best advice he ever received was to “be humble” and “innovate for the right reasons—money is not one of them.”
Cover photograph used with permission from and gratitude for arian-darvishi-wh-RPfR_3_M-unsplash.jpg for Unsplash; profile images as follows: Adam Hildreth from Teen Entrepreneur, Adam Horwitz from L.A. Weekly, Carl Ocab from Business Mirror, Christian Owens from Daily Mail, John Xie from The Boston Herald, Juliette Brindak from wustl.edu, Nick D’Aliosio from Financial Times, Noa Mintz from noamintz.com, Stephen Ou from GitHub, Jason Li from iReTron, Omar Raiyan Azlan from Kama Azlan Muhammad’s Facebook page, and Shubham Banerjee from Inc.com.
This post comes to you as a portion of the book:
MY JOB Gen Z: Finding Your Place in a Fast-Changing World
(c) 2021 by Suzanne Skees and Sanam Yusuf
An open-source, narrative nonfiction book full of true stories of jobs along with best practices for how to make your dream-job come true.
Note from the authors:
Join us each Tuesday and Friday as we release highlights from our new book, that will be FREE to our community members.
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No one makes a penny on this book project, which is intended to inspire and empower Gen Zers to launch their careers and land their dream jobs. Suzanne and Sanam have volunteered their time, and we’ve chosen this platform to transmit our book so that YOU don’t have to pay for publication costs.
However, if you feel inspired to help someone in poverty to have access to dignified work, jump here to donate directly to the nonprofit job-creation program of your choice–all vetted and supported by Skees Family Foundation.
Thanks for being with us! We’re excited to share our book with you.
–Suzanne & Sanam