I was wondering what I was going to find for today’s Sunday Bonus Post. Luckily, at the last minute, the San Francisco Chronicle stepped in to save me:
Aaron Swartz dropped out of high school after one year to study on his own. Then he dropped out of college after one year to seek his high-tech fortune. He was still in his teens a year later when he hit the jackpot, selling his startup in October to Wired Digital for an undisclosed but lottery-like payout.
With his boyish mien and more geek credentials than engineers twice his age, the suddenly wealthy Swartz belongs to a new generation of young, brainy geeks who began booting up and logging on when their friends were still watching “Sesame Street.” Before they were old enough to drive, they landed paying gigs. Now that another high-tech boom is heating up Silicon Valley, more of these technologically developed but underage techies are dropping out and starting up.
“Everything that would get you detention at school will get you funding in Silicon Valley,” said Paul Saffo, a valley forecaster and essayist who has been exploring technological change and its impact on business and society for more than two decades.
Fancy new car? “I don’t know how to drive,” Swartz wrote on his blog, Raw Thought. Big house in the suburbs? “I like living in small apartments.” Expensive clothes? “I’ve worn a T-shirt and jeans practically every day of my life.” Hanging with the cool kids? “I’m so shy I don’t even hang out with the people I know now.”
Excuse my self-indulgence.
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December 3, 2006