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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Teen Millionaires

I am not a teenager anymore but when I read that there are teenager millionaires out there, I want to know what went wrong with mine, hahahaha. I had a pretty normal teenage life, actually. Half the time, I would be doing school work. The other half, I would be lepak-ing in the woods and hills. I didn't have any computer knowledge then, apart from what I learned from Hollywood movies.

My first introduction to computers, as far as my memory serves me right, is at a double-storey house my parents rented from a school headmaster, who was also a family friend. He brought two or three ATARI (or something else, don't remember) computers to the house for giving tuition to school kids. The computers were very primitive by today's standards and we always ran into problems with the floppy disks. Always got corrupted for no reason. There were one or two computer games to keep the students happy after the tuition. There was some trajectory game where you keyed in the initial speed and angle to enable your projectile to hit a specified target. Pretty cool to see pixels move at your command.

Later, after I graduated from the university, I bought my very first IBM-compatible computer. I thought it would be a good investment for knowledge. Thankfully, I had a good friend to teach me how to buy and assemble the hardware and install the softwares. Well, the computer served me well. I used it to type and print reports, and occasionally 'phone' unsuspecting girls, hahaha. Back then, we didn't have modern web browsers. All you see was a blue screen with white color text and some pink color boxes or borders. So, that leaves a lot of room for imagination.

But when I read how a teenager named Ashley Qualls turned $8 into a million-dollar business, I want to cry. At 14, she started a website with borrowed money from her mother and three years later, moved her family from a one room apartment to a four bedroom house. Out of curiosity (I thought it should be spelt as curiousity, anyways...), I googled for other teenage millionaires to see what I can learn from them. In summary, the two key ingredients to their success are:

1. Believe in themselves
It gives them confidence and the resilience to deal with rejections and doubts. It drives them to do the job the best they can, no matter what they are doing.

2. Adult support
With the support of adults who encouraged and protected their creativity while helping them get access to the adult world.

Baby Millionaire!

Well, it may be too late for me and some of you now to be a teen millionaire. But it is never too late to do anything as long as you keep trying and never give up. Invest in yourself. Invest in good skills. Your skills will carry you wherever you go. I believe I invested wisely in computers back then. Every time I return to my hometown, I am always hotly sought after to fix the computer problems. Our own computer, hahaha.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Seneca quotes (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)