Monday, March 12, 2012
Al Gore and Sean Parker took the stage at SXSW this afternoon. They said that the democratic system has been broken by a flood of special interest money, and that the Internet could be the way to fix it. Sean Parker says, “To the extent that these new mediums and new media are going to have a role in reforming politics, it’s going to happen because … those systems will make politics more efficient,” said Parker. Sean Parker being most famously known for Facebook and Napster. Specifically, he says "the Internet could lower the barrier to entry into politics, so people could run effective campaigns without raising vast amounts of money".
Gore was seemingly excited about the internet's future, but he also mentioned the criticism from writer Malcolm Gladwell that getting someone to “like” a candidate or a cause on Facebook results in connections that are, in his words, “much weaker and less durable” than those formed by old-fashioned organizing. Parker admitted that Causes and other organizations have been “much too focused on short-term viral acquisitions without building the deeper interactions that are necessary.” Still, he added that these trends make up the “first step in the growth of any platform.”
"One of the biggest challenges to reforming the system is overcoming apathy", Parker said. "People need to realize that they have incredible power and that the power is multiplicative, is exponential.” Parker said, “We need a set of wins.”The defeat of SOPA and PIPA was one such win, which first awakened the Internet community to the power that it has". He called it, the "Nerd Spring".
Parker went on to talk about how much the internet has influenced his life, the ups and downs. Talking about his success with Napster and Facebook, and how the internet is "endless with possibility".
Sunday, March 11, 2012
In this post I am interviewing 15 year old Ben Latz, a young entrepreneur who started at 13 and never looked back. His current business succession is a duct tape crafting business, selling through his website and in several retail stores. In this interview he tells his secrets to success and gives people interested in entrepreneurship the recipe for success. His name is Ben, but he's known as TDTGwallets or The Duct Tape Guy. At the end of this interview I will put links to his youtube channel and website, this is truly a man you need to check out!
I have had the pleasure of being long distance friends, you could call it. We have talked on youtube and facebook several times, and talk on Xbox live. Me being a businessman myself, we had a common bond. So here comes the interview I had with him, revealing his secrets to successful entrepreneurship as a teenager.
Minidigita.com: What was it like starting up a business at 14? How did you start and get how did you get to where you are today?
Ben: Ever since I was in 6th or 7th grade I knew I had a passion for business. My first attempt at a business which ended up being successful was selling candy in school. I loved the feeling of going out and hunting for the best deal on candy and going into school the next day having people attacking you with money begging to get candy. I later grew out of selling candy and wanted a more legitimate, unique business. I then bought an online store that sells Wii products and I expanded it to sell all types of electronics and games. I then grew out of that. I was dying for a business where I can create a product and have people customize it to be their own. Searching around youtube, I learned how to make a duct tape wallet and sold my first one the next day. Although many kids don't have businesses either because they don't want one or don't know how to, it was no surprise to start another one because I already had two. It was just another exciting venture that I was more than happy to take on.
Minidigita.com: What were your fears/concerns/worries of starting a business so young?
Ben: There's always the fear of failure and being different then other kids - the reaction I would get. There's also the worry about losing money but most businesses start out in debt and it takes time to make it back. Luckily, the businesses I chose to do only require spending money when I run out of inventory. This allows me to maintain profitable and keep it that way. For example, I wouldn't buy more candy if kids weren't buying it, I just buy it when I need to. Also, with the duct tape business, I only buy more duct tape when I run out. These types of business are preferable especially as a kid because it takes away those worries. Personally, age didn't really have an impact on me because I know that I am an entrepreneur and that will never change, it might be worrisome to someone who isn't sure if they have the entrepreneurial spirit or not.
Minidigita.com: How did you manage to get in several retail stores at your age?
Ben: The trick to that is to just do it. The first step for anyone is to make a phone call to speak with the owner or manager. I used to fear that they wouldn't take me seriously because I was so young but then I realized, if I'm going to make them money, why wouldn't they take me seriously? I did as I just said. I called the owners, set up a meeting, brought some samples and discussed pricing and how often I can refill their inventory. Once you make the phone call it all plays out from there. Just don't be afraid of anything or else you won't get anywhere.
Minidigita.com: Lastly, for young entrepreneurs like you, what advice would you give them?
Ben: Being a young entrepreneur is an amazing lifestyle that isn't worth giving up. No matter what business idea you have, don't let anyone making fun of you or talking negatively about it get to you. There will be people who are jealous and make fun but just ignore them. You know you will be more successful then them when you're older and just keep your goals straight. Keep school first, if you grades start dropping, fix the amount of time you are spending on the business. I wish I had more time for my business because I would do it all day, but since school is so important, I'm not able to. Before starting any business, do some research and ask around to see if it's worth starting. The best way to find an idea is to find an unsolved problem and solve it. Don't be afraid to ask around or do anything that you know will help you. Always make sure that your customers are happy and that your business is the best representation of yourself.
Mindigita.com: Great advice, Thank you for your time.
Ben: No problem
Truly a remarkable man, to have so much drive at such a young age. If you would like to see his youtube videos or website to find more out about his business, and how he is doing today- click one of the following links.
Ben's Website: http://www.theducttapeguy.com
Ben's Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/tdtgwallets
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