Words of wisdom from an insightful teenager: Ben Casnocha from “My Startup Life”

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ben01Thanks to my buddy Ramit, (with an earlier nudge from Kare) I was formally introduced to the teen entrepreneur sensation from San Francisco  Ben Casnocha, author of the recently published book My Startup Life:  What a (very) young CEO learned on his journey through Silicon Valley.  (Perhaps my favorite comment from a reader of  Ramit’s review of the book was “I love and hate people like Ben.  At the same time they inspire me, and also force me to evaluate my current state of failure in life.”  Haven’t we all felt that?)

He was a total delight to talk to (I prerecorded this interview), and I was impressed not only with his feat of starting a business and writing a book all before attending college but also with his incredible writing talent.

We talked about his journey building a company at age 14 (all starting from a middle school project) as well as explored themes from his book such as:

  • The importance of (but not obsession about) passion at work
  • How to develop a bias toward action, not just talk
  • Personal branding
  • The power of entrepreneurship as a way of life, not just another incarnation of a job

Hearing him describe his love of reading and writing made me thankful for how my parents raised me:  with book in my hand since I was old enough to hold one.

Read to your kids!  Great things will happen, like Ben Casnocha.

Show details:

Date:  Friday, June 1
Time:  11am-12pm Pacific Standard Time
Topic:  Wise words from a teen entrepreneur sensation
To listenClick here

If you miss the live show, you can always listen later, through the link above.  To download as an Mp3, you will have to click on the title of the show, which will bring up the “download as Mp3” option.

6 Responses to “Words of wisdom from an insightful teenager: Ben Casnocha from “My Startup Life””

  1. I had the pleasure of meeting Ben on facebook. After hearing his story, talking to him on the phone, and as the president of the Boston College Entrepreneur Society, I invited him here to come and speak to our members!

    Not only was in an honor to meet him, but to hear his message was just amazing.

    He is an awesome guy.

    Even though he has nay-sayers…we always need to understand that we can’t make everyone love us. No matter what we do we will always have people that want to tear us down.


  2. When you wrote, “Hearing him describe his love of reading and writing made me thankful for how my parents raised me” it resonated as I took the time on my last plane flight to re-read “How Full is Your Bucket.

    It is by Donald O. Clifton (father of Positive Psychology) and his grandson, Tom Rath. There’s a captivating chapter where Tom describes his upbringing – how his whole extended family encouraged him to practice his best talents, to enjoy them and feel the mastery, resulting in, among other things, a way to be resilient and resourceful in the face of life’s difficulties – and Tom had/has several serious recurring health problems.

    Clifton was dying of cancer as they started the book. Uplifting and practical.

    Then, on NPR this morning, a teaacher was interviewed about a documentary one of my heroes (recently deceased William E. Peters, journalist and documentary-maker who covered her class experiment in which she divided children in two groups, blue-eyed and brown-eyed, and was able to convince them wihin five minutes that one group was inferior and the other superior.

    She said it took jsut ten minutes to convince “adult white males” to have a similar shift in beliefs. her goal: to show how eaasily we can become prejudiced.

    Back to Ben: how powerful a lesson on how positive belief in oneself and awareness of one’s talents and interests can carry one forward into life as a worthy adventure.

  3. Isn’t it sad that on the one hand so many people want to be like him and yet at the same time they resent him. Rather than look at what he did and see how they can do something similar, they would rather tear at him. Of course he laughs all the way to the bank.

    I hope he does great things with his good fortune. He worked hard and smart. That is the combination that wins.

  4. Pierre Clause says:

    I had the pleasure to meet Ben in France last summer (2006) and i read his blog(s) as well as yours. I love these two blogs very much since:
    – they give authentic points of view
    – they provide genuine and dense content in a way that is pleasant to read, and respectful for the reader(s)
    – they convey a positive attitude that is not fake
    – what you both write aims at reaching US readers but most of it works for “global readers” … and even for french readers like me !
    – and probably a few other reasons that i have not rationalized yet …

    All the best to both of you !

    Pierre from France

  5. Jack says:

    “(I prerecorded this interview)”
    Hopefully, you mean that you recorded this interview…

    Hi Jack:

    Actually, I meant that I pre-recorded the interview on the phone a few days ago, as opposed to conducting a live streaming interview from the studio, as I do with most shows on Fridays. You are right – all are recorded for download later on.


  6. Dan Schawbel says:

    And I thought I started early