Yup, this article is controversial. So before you begin reading, let me go through my preparation checklist:

Flame resistent jacket: check.

Protective helmet: check.

Steel Toe Shoes: check.

Comments: disabled! (To be fair, they have always been disabled. But they won’t be for much longer at!)

Okay – I’m ready. Go on and read the rest of this post now.

I wanted to start this article by noting a few points that prove my headlinewrong.

  • Many great companies were started by college dropouts and entrepreneurs under the age of 25. Gates, Zuckerberg & Jobs are all prime examples.
  • Our Keynote speaker for Technori Pitch is Emerson Spartz (25-years-old), who started his own business at the age of 12!
  • Peter Thiel (someone I admire) started an ambitious fellowship to fund people to SKIP college and do a startup.
  • James Altucher (my idol) often writes about alternatives to college. The first one is: starting a business.

Do I think there is a value in creating your own company? 100% Yes. It is probably the best learning experience anyone can ask for. But, If you’re under 25, it’s not really worth your time. Let me explain.

Success does not equal happiness

Happiness is the new success. I have a group of friends that I know from high school who are not involved in technology or startups at all. They go out together almost every Friday and Saturday. They plan events, ugly sweater parties, beach parties, and BBQ’s. Their weekends are used for fun activities and “chores”. It’s truly their time to relax and have fun. I consider them to be “happy” people.

I’m 30 and I’m trying my hardest to stop working weekends, so that I have more time to enjoy more time with my friends and family those few days each week. It’s a hard thing to do. Once you’re deeply involved, you’re all the way in. It’s harder to get out of it. Being successful is addicting. It will suck you in.

Wait until you find something truly worth getting sucked into, then jump in. Just don’t do it before you’re 25.

You are probably part of the 99%, and that’s OK.

Gates, Zuckerberg, Jobs – They are the 1%. You? You’re probably part of the 99% and that’s OK.

You don’t need to be the 1%. You don’t need to be different than everyone else. You really don’t. Focus your teen years on how to become a happier person, enjoy your friends, and take time to travel. Trust me when I say you will regret it if you don’t. Read James Altucher’s blog. He will blow your mind citing different ways to live your life.

I was always jealous of the people who took a year off to travel after college. Those who did will never forget the experience. You won’t forget your experiences either, so have the most exciting ones you possibly can early on.

It’s never too late, but it can be too early.

I became an entrepreneur at 29 and felt “behind”. Then I read Dave Mclure’s article about being a late bloomer, and it made me feel better. A previous client of mine and good friend didn’t go to law school until she was 55-years-old. She is now a judge.
Starting a company early puts a lot of undue pressure on you. Do you really want to spend every single morning, afternoon, and night, sometimes seven days per week, working on creating products or services based off of one idea you had? Become a young entrepreneur, and you’re likely to not take time off to rest or to travel with your friends. You’re going to lose contact with family members because you’re just too damn busy.  After all, you’re creating an entire company for goodness sakes, right?

What happens if your company fails and you decide to go back to the job force? What is the equivalent position of Startup CEO in the corporate world? The ugly news for you is that there is none. It’s called “entry level analyst”. Making the decision to start a company at a very young age an pigeon hole you for a good portion of your career.


All I’m saying is this: enjoy your life. Enjoy your friends. Don’t put all that crazy pressure on yourself at such a young age. When you start your company at 26, you won’t be behind. I promise.

Photography: & Amy Gizienski