Retire at 21

I recently came across this website after I saw it flash by in an online ad: Retire at 21. It’s a site that celebrates kids (some of them younger than 21) who have gotten super-rich by selling their websites and other online creations, in a perhaps soon-to-be-bygone ’00s style. The goal appears to be to put up something quick, hype it to the max, and hurry up and sell it for a lot of money to a corporation. A 17-year-old who’s made $10 million by offering MySpace layouts, a 19-year-old who made $15 million selling his blog. (One wonders how much of that wealth remains after this week…) The 17-year-old, by the way, dropped out of high school to run her website and employs her mother. (For a business that’s entirely dependent on ad revenue… a bit scary.)

I guess I can’t even get my mind around the notion of “retiring at 21.” Retiring… from what? Looking at these young people, who probably come from relatively well-off backgrounds to start with compared to 99% of the people on the earth, I can’t imagine that many of them have much personal experience of what a rat race is.

Considering what’s going on in the financial world today, I think Retire at 74 is more likely in the cards for the next generation.

Once I built a website, made it run
Made you waste your time…
Now I sold my website, now it’s done.
Brother, can you spare a dime?

7 Replies to “Retire at 21”

  1. Heh, funny video. I guess you have to laugh somehow.

    That 17 yr old girl is bothering me… she may love what she’s doing, but it is just never a good situation for a minor child to employ their parents, or to be making the most money in the family. What happens to her business model if MySpace (also dependent on advertising) tanks?

    A lot of what we take for granted about website business models is going to be seriously tested in a protracted economic downturn, and it could be like the dot-com bust, but worse. I remember the concept of “Pizza 2.0” – you give away the pizza but make money by selling advertising on the box. Advertising for what? Beer 2.0?

  2. tom friedman had a killer line about the economic crisis, and the all goes on as seemingly normal, in the times today: “I fear we may be at that moment just before the tsunami hits — when the birds take flight and the insects stop chirping because their acute senses can feel what is coming before humans can.”

  3. As for panic vs apathy… many people have been making “silent bank runs” for weeks – probably since early September – quietly transferring their money out of certain banks and funds, and even into jars under their mattresses. It just hasn’t been obvious, because it mostly happens electronically now, unlike in 1929. There isn’t going to be a shattering crash, just what we’re seeing now: day after day of steady sinking, interspersed with volatility or the occasional panicky plunge. There’s a disconnect of sorts between the way that the powerful (presidents, presidential candidates, some economists, investment bankers, and the national media) perceive reality, and the way that people away from the centers of power perceive it. The powerful people seem terribly surprised.

    The crash will not be televised — only its aftereffects will. Unfortunately those aftereffects will be very real for a lot of people.

  4. hey man i get the impression youve got a case of the green eyed monster alot of these successful kids worked night and day on these projects while most people there age drank beer give credit and stop hating on them although the usa is in trillions of doller debt these kids are making money all around the world not dependent on one economy which is fundementaly corrupt but thats another debate cheers

  5. It’s not about envying their hard work… I just wonder how far a business model based on Myspace is going to go for a girl who never bothered to finish high school.

    As for “one economy,” look around. Every market in the globe is tanking this week. Which economy is doing well?

  6. australian economy is doing great there currently looking for 100 thousend skilled workers to move over im sorry but america deserves everything it gets for having a privatly owned federal bank that charges interest to there own government and people if you keep pulling money out of thin air to pay for guns and bombs it will eventually come back and then who has to pay your grand children so i geuss russia and china are going to defeat america by watching america destroy itself from the inside out whoops not so powerful after all sorry for the rant

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