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.