The Youngs

Guess What, Underachievers: In Palo Alto, Even Teens Have Startups

You National Merit scholar slackers need to get it together.
 Guess What, Underachievers: In Palo Alto, Even Teens Have Startups

Yes, we know that’s SoCal.

Decades of movies and television shows set in California high schools have given us certain expectations about what it’s like to be a teenager on the West Coast. Without getting too side-tracked in the thickets of stereotype, we’re envisioning beaches and bonfires and, at the very least, the occasional joint. (Also a little light vampire-slaying.)

Not Palo Alto, though. In Silicon Valley, high schoolers found startups. Feel bad about your wasted youth yet?

The New York Times stopped by Palo Alto High for a meeting of the Paly Entrepreneurs Club, where a bunch of kids who can barely drive and damn sure can’t drink are scheming on bright entrepreneurial futures:

“I want to build something that is tied to what is happening next,” he said.

Just wait until these guys get sucked into Intro to Philosophy. And yes, it’s all dudes: The Times notes that no girls were present.

But surely this is just an excuse to order pizza and watch YouTube clips? Nope:

They have met weekly during the school year to discuss their ventures and ideas, explore matters like money-raising strategies and new markets, and host guest speakers. Once, they held a Skype chat with a software engineer in Sweden who described the intricacies of running an online music business.

They are, of course, bouyed by the naivety of the young:

“Someone can always copy your idea, but that will be half-baked,” Mr. Slipper said confidently. “It’s not theirs.”

Better get a move on with that Academy of Software Engineering, Mr. Mayor.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com