Of the roughly 6.97 billion people on Earth today, approximately 2 billion of them are under 20 years old. Millennials have a lot of reputations these days, but powerful, smart, and affective are not usually the adjectives used to describe them. Jared Kleinert and Stacey Ferreira want to change that and empower these young people to follow their dreams, set goals, and achieve success.
Both young successful entrepreneurs themselves, they believe in breaking down age barriers to make a difference. Jared, best-known as the Founder and CEO of Synergist, and Stacey, best-known as the Co-Founder of MySocialCloud.com met in 2012 at the Under 20 Thiel Fellowship Summit. After speaking with their equally impressive peers, they realized that these 2 billion young voices have inspiring stories to share with the world and they wanted to bring them to life through 2 Billion Under 20.
Jared and Stacey also decided to start an online community, www.2BillionUnder20.com where young people could help each other grow and develop their dreams into reality. They've curated an anthology of amazing stories from their peers. Contributors like Paige McKenzie who started her own YouTube channel at the age of 16 that now has more than 55 million views and Jack Andraka who created an early detection Pancreatic cancer test at age 14 have joined forces to show the world that age is just a number.
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About the Author
JARED KLEINERT is now 18, but started an edtech startup at 15, and at 16, he founded Synergist, dubbing him the "Definition of a Social Entrepreneur" by Forbes. He came up with the idea for 2 Billion Under 20 at the 2012 Under 20 Summit in NYC where he also met Stacey.
STACEY FERREIRA is a 21 year old tech entrepreneur, the co-founder of MySocialCloud.com. After selling to Reputation.com in 2013, she started AdMoar and recently co-founded www.2BillionUnder20.com with Jared.
STACEY FERREIRA is a tech entrepreneur who co-founded MySocialCloud.com when she was in high school. After selling to Reputation.com in 2013, she started AdMoar and co-founded 2BillionUnder20.com with Jared Kleinert, with whom she coauthored the book 2 Billion under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers And Changing the World. Ferreira co-founded and is now CEO of Forge.
JARED KLEINERT started an edtech startup at 15, and at 16 he founded Synergist. Forbes consequently dubbed him the "Definition of a Social Entrepreneur". Kleinert came up with the idea for 2 Billion Under 20 at the 2012 Under 20 Summit in New York City, where he met Stacey Ferreira, with whom he coauthored the book 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World.
Read an Excerpt
2 Billion Under 20
How Millenials are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World
By Stacey Ferreira, Jared Kleinert
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Stacey Ferreira and Jared Kleinert
All rights reserved.
LIFE IN THE FAST LANE
Collete Davisis founder/CEO and racing driver at Collete Davis Racing, LLC. Starting college at fifteen, and, after receiving a scholarship from the National Science Foundation to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for Mechanical Engineering at sixteen, she quickly became a national STEM ambassador for young girls and women. She won her first championship in racing at fifteen and made her pro debut in motorsports alongside the IndyCar Series at eighteen. She's set a track record in Florida, represented Team USA on an international racing platform for F1 development, and was one of the first drivers in the world to test Ford's new Formula EcoBoost200 race car at the Silverstone Circuit in the UK. She was also part of the inaugural class at Draper University's entrepreneurial program.
As a military brat, my life has seen constant moving and changing, but one thing has always been there for me: racing. From taking apart lawn mower engines as early as age eleven, to winning a championship title my first year of kart racing, I was blessed to discover my life's passion early — and have since been designing my entire life around becoming one of the best drivers in the world.
Lots of kids get into racing go-karts shortly after they learn to walk, often because the sport runs in the family and the financial support is there to back them. My story is quite different — I started at age fourteen and my passion for racing was completely organic; no one in my family had been in the sport, had connections, or even watched racing for that matter. At first, this was my biggest challenge. As an outsider looking in, I had to work my way into the industry by brute force, make connections from nothing, establish my presence, and learn a whole lot about the business of the sport to pilot myself through the early stages of my career. I let being the "underdog" fuel my drive, and I hustled every day.
I knew what I wanted to do in life and did everything I could to excel in school so I could graduate early and pursue my dreams. I had already skipped sixth grade, so at fifteen I was a junior at Fountain-Fort Carson High School in Colorado. I was taking classes not only at my school but also at a local college campus (where I became president of my automotive class) as well as online. For my school allowing me to do this, I am endlessly grateful — if not for my school counselor, Cathy Matthynssens, who helped me convince the dean to allow me to take such a ridiculous workload, I don't know where I'd be today. By the end of my junior year I had enough credits to graduate two years early, as well as sixteen college credits.
People often ask what motivated me to work so hard that early, and the best answer I have is that I was, and am, hungry. I've always been hungry. Hungry to succeed.
Racing captivated me. From the first moment I sat in a go-kart I knew I wanted to be a professional driver and compete against the best in the world. Growing up, I was ultracompetitive and played just about every sport from basketball to cheerleading ... but racing was something different altogether — it spoke to my core. Racing is about pushing yourself, improving on every minute detail. It's engineering. It's about becoming a master of real-time physics and learning, and working, and growing with a team to collectively become the best within the pack. And all that aside, it's the single biggest adrenaline rush on earth. I have yet to fire up a race-car engine without wearing a devious grin.
When you find something that ignites that fire within you ... you must chase it.
After graduating high school, I received a scholarship from the National Science Foundation to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for Mechanical Engineering at sixteen. That scholarship represents another constant force in my life — the help of others. Were it not for a number of positive influences in my life, I know I would not be where I am today, and the funny thing about those who help you along the way is that they have usually been assisted as well along their own journey. Thus, I learned the importance of giving back, and vowed to use my unique experiences as a racing driver to promote STEM education for today's youth (especially young women), in hopes of captivating and inspiring other youngsters early on. I even became Embry-Riddle's youngest national STEM ambassador in history and, through that role, was able to inspire hundreds of middle school girls to potentially pursue STEM-related careers. I was also able to create a hands-on education program for the university, bringing students to the racetrack to help apply our STEM studies in the real world. During my time as their ambassador, I spoke to hundreds of middle school girls across Florida and was shocked to find that all they needed was someone to tell them that they can. They can be smart. They can be interested in math and science. They can be successful in motorsports, in engineering, in coding. I literally had girls come up to me after many of my talks saying how they just didn't know they could do that, too, alongside the guys. They didn't know it was "normal." As ridiculous as that may seem, that is the cliché that still exists in America during those crucial moments in a kid's life where they are shaped as individuals. They just need someone to show them that girls can, and more importantly, girls are. After some of my talks, I even had girls e-mail me asking me questions about cars, or telling me that they went home and starting working on cars with their parents and continued excelling in math and science. After realizing how big of an impact I could have, I knew I needed to do whatever I could to continue to inspire others and make a change.
My dedication in promoting STEM, enriching the education experience, and being a pioneer for the university led to me to land my first corporate sponsor ... Embry-Riddle! With their partnership, I went on to win every race that year, set a track record, speak at multiple events across Florida, and continue my engineering studies as a full- time student.
Fast-forward to today (and at the ripe old age of nineteen), I find myself a woman in a male-dominated sport. I have progressed through racing in Formula 500, Formula 2000, Formula Atlantic, Grand-Am Rx- 8, Panam GP Series, and Pro Challenge Mustang. I have a track record of success, winning races in many different types of cars, making my pro debut in the USF2000 National Championship Series (a development series for IndyCar) in 2012 where I got two top-ten finishes (placing sixth and ninth) in a field of thirty-six drivers, and was the highest-running female in the history of the series at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. I was later selected as one of two drivers to represent Team USA on an international F1 development platform, and had the opportunity to be one of the first drivers in the world to test Ford's new open-wheel race car at the famous Silverstone Circuit in the UK. Racing success generally comes with lots of practice in the specific car type (which equates to needing a lot of financial backing just to practice) and having the support of a teammate — of which I had neither.
There will always be bumps in the road as you start chasing your dreams. My "bumps" were that my sport of choice is a very expensive one, and not only did I not come from a wealthy background (which is often the case), but I also didn't know anyone when I started. All that aside, I kept pushing. I accepted the fact that many things were against me, but I kept pushing. Tenacity, dedication, and persistence are what I've held on to over the years, and it's what's needed to chase success.
I was forced to become very entrepreneurial early on if I wanted to pursue my passion of racing for the rest of my life. I've also had to adapt and evolve as a person. Becoming a professional racing driver involves most aspects of starting a business and crafting a brand. I've had to learn a variety of skills, from coding websites and editing videos to managing social media channels, creating pitch decks, raising money, planning events and executing promotions, convincing corporate decision-makers, and building business partnerships.
Because of all these challenges, I realized I needed to do something much bigger to set my career up for long-term success.
In September 2012 I met with Tim Draper, one of the most famous venture capitalists on the planet, about his revolutionary vision for a new kind of university. A few months later, I received a scholarship (again, the help of others at work) and was accepted into the inaugural class of the Draper University of Heroes entrepreneur program, where I absorbed everything that was thrown at me, and I mean everything — complex business planning and development, advice from hugely successful entrepreneurs, wilderness survival, first experience driving an electric car, and even my first big pitch to a panel of some of the most prominent Silicon Valley VCs. It was here where I learned how to transform my racing career and brand into a high-growth business opportunity.
Having essentially bootstrapped everything to date, I'm racing toward that critical tipping point when I can finally stop fighting for entry fees and track time and proudly start racing for one of the top teams in the world — and I'm close.
If you couldn't tell by now, I'm on a mission to thoroughly disrupt the motorsports industry, make history, and inspire millions of young girls along the way to chase after what they want in life. This is just the beginning.CHAPTER 2
GETTING STARTED MAKING MONEY ONLINE
Bamidele Onibalusiis a nineteen-year-old Nigerian entrepreneur who got his first computer when he was sixteen. He soon discovered blogging and has been devoted to it ever since. He's also the founder and CEO of popular writing blog, Writers in Charge, which is read by tens of thousands of people monthly and employs at least seven people at any given point in time. He has been featured in Forbes, in Millionaire magazine in Italy, and in several local newspapers. He is recommended by Under30CEO, Blogtrepreneur, and Retireat21 as an entrepreneur to watch.
Growing up in Nigeria has been tough. Making a living here has been even tougher. But early on, I decided that nothing would get in the way of my success.
I lost my father when I was seven years old. After he passed, it became my mother's sole responsibility and mission to take care of me and my six brothers and sisters. Being the second oldest of seven children, I soon realized that not having a father significantly impacted the lifestyle my siblings and I were able to live. With no father figure and no second income, we needed to stay home and pitch in around the house and take care of each other while our mother was at work. And as we did, my siblings and I watched the other children go running off together after class, playing sports and making inside jokes that we were never a part of.
I saw how hard my mom worked for a weekly paycheck that would only cover the basic necessities of what my siblings and I needed to survive: food, clean water, a home. Yet, across the town, I saw the rich schoolkids' parents making their money work for them, not putting in much physical effort to live a lavish lifestyle, and therefore being able to spend time with their families. Being in my formative years, I gushed with envy and went to bed at night dreaming about a time that I wouldn't have to see my mom do manual labor — and I wouldn't have to, either.
In 2009, I started hearing about this thing called "the Internet" and its "endless possibilities." The only problem was that to be able to access this mystical world called "the Internet," I had to learn how to use a computer. At that point in my life, I'd never seen a computer up close. Computers sat behind a glass window at my school and looked too complex to me ... lots of buttons, a blank pad that I later learned was a touchpad mouse, and software that mimicked paper. But when other kids started talking about how people were making $7,000 a year (which, in my country's currency, is the equivalent of being a millionaire in the United States) through the power of the computer, I knew that it could be my ticket to a better lifestyle. So I knew I needed to learn.
I started at school, taking peeks at the computers and hitting some keys to see what effect that had on the screen. But after a while, I knew that if I was going to dedicate the time necessary to learn enough to make money, I needed a computer at home.
Considering our financial situation, convincing my mom to make the investment of buying a computer wasn't easy. I talked to everyone I knew who knew anything about computers. Some of them told me not to bother learning, saying that it was too complex. Others said that once I paid for a computer, I'd start working with the software that would "mess up the screen," but others encouraged me to invest my time and money in learning. When I found out that my pastor was computer literate, I started working with him to create a plan to pitch the idea to my mom. I outlined the upfront costs ($300 for a PC) and explained that the benefit was beyond imaginable. Because of this little box with buttons and a screen, we might never have to worry about money again.
Though computers were a household necessity in other countries, computers in Nigeria were extremely rare. So when the day finally came that my mom made the investment and bought a computer, I was ecstatic. I spent all night practicing typing with two hands and learning the meanings of all the strange icons I'd never seen before (i.e. ESC and screen brightness icons).
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I kept learning new things about the computer and the software that came with it. My church community began to notice how well I was beginning to type and how well I could enter numbers and words into programs on the computer to keep track of things. Shortly after they caught on, I was offered a data entry job by a church member.
In my spare time, I searched the Internet to get ideas for how to make money through the Internet. I had learned enough to know that if I set up a website to sell products, I could make money off the products I sold. I just needed a domain name, a product to sell, and a way to accept the money.
After working enough hours through my data entry job, I made enough money to register my first domain name and host my first website for a few months. I spent an entire day building and putting up a very simple webpage to sell one type of product and used PayPal to accept the money. From there, I realized that even though I had a website, no one was visiting it. And after four months without making a single sale, I knew I needed to rethink my approach.
After researching ways to make money online, I came across an article by Steve Pavlina, a self-help speaker, entrepreneur, and author, titled, "How to Make Money from Your Blog." Steve was a very persuasive writer who seemed to have tangible results to show for his blogging, so I thought I'd give his strategy a go. Steve's strategy for blogging success was to give value without expecting anything in return in order to build an audience over time. This audience would then be used to reach my financial goals — by selling them things like the product I had initially been trying to sell.
Excerpted from 2 Billion Under 20 by Stacey Ferreira, Jared Kleinert. Copyright © 2015 Stacey Ferreira and Jared Kleinert. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Blake Masters
PART I: START
• Collete Davis: Life in the Fast Lane
• Bamidele Onibalusi: Getting Started Making Money Online
• Daniel Brusilovsky: How Founding "Teens in Tech" When I Was Fifteen Changed My Life Forever
• Andrew Audie: Apple, House Parties, and Leaving Wisconsin
• Tyler Arnold: The Most Unusual Word for an Entrepreneur
• Emmanuel Nyame: How It All Started . . . And How You Can Start, Too
• Edward Lando: My 500-Hour Summer (Because Sometimes All You Need Is One Summer Free of Obligations)
• Kirill Chekanov: Making Your Passion Your Lifestyle
• Adib Ayay: Curbing Poverty
• Zoe Wolszon: Finding Your Camp Half-Blood
• Charlotte Bravin Lee: The Importance of the Teen Voice
• Jaxson Khan: Making Students Partners in Education
• Safeer Mohiuddin: Selling $100,000 Worth of iPhones
• Joe Previte: From a Cold E-Mail to an Internship in San Francisco
• Alexandra A. Saba: On Vulnerability and Finding One’s Way
PART II: RISK
• Dau Jok: Strive to Thrive
• Buntu Redempter: How Genocide in Burundi Bred a Global Innovator
• Darby Schumacher: I Am Miss Metropolitan, And I Am Good Enough
• Jasmine Gao: On Losing and Dropping Out
• Maidson Maxley: Skating on Californian Hills - A Reflection on Wiping Out
• Noah Centino: What Hollywood, In-N-Out Burger, and Parkour Taught Me About Taking Risks
• Anwit Adhikari: Perpetual Energy
• Michelle Lynn: What Does It Take to Make It In Hollywood?
• Vijay Manohar: Bridging the Digial Divide
• Zoe Mesnik-Greene: What's a Smile Worth to You?
• Alpha Barrie: Turning Gangsters into Anti-Drug Advocates
• Brandon Wang: On Flying
• Daniel Ahmadizadeh: Connecting Flights, Stories, and Experiences . . . This is Who We Are
• Kevin Breel: What Do You Do?
PART III: JOURNEY
• Samuel Mikulak: My Road to the Olympics in London 2012
• Kristen Powers: I Lost My Mom, But Gained a Purpose
• Alex Jeffrey: Find Your Gift, Give Your Gift!
• Ryan Orbuch: The Day We Beat Out Angry Birds on the App Store
• Caine Monry: My Arcade - From Cardboard Boxes to a Worldwide Phenomenon
• Payal Lal: That's It!
• Patrick Lung: We Are All Better Together
• Ben Lang: Bad Breakups
• Brittany McMillan: Saving Thousands of Lives (And Inspiring Millions) Through Spirit Day
• Erik N. Martin: Anorexia Nervosa and Abraham Lincoln
• Ash Bhat: Why Try If You're Going To Fail?
• Ariel Hsing: Rallying My Way to the Olympics
• Stephen Ou: My Journey Before Programming
• Corey Freeman: I’m a Black, Lesbian, Female, College Dropout, OCD, Internet Entrepreneur
PART IV: LEARN
• Conrad Farnsworth: Farnsworth Faces His Fate of Fusion
• Mohnish Soundararajan: What Khakis and Cookie Flavors Taught Me About Life
• Javier Sandoval: What I Learned From the Seventy-Something-Year-Old Bachelor
• Michael Costigan: How I’m Turning My Audience into a Platform
• Peter Solway: What Competing for a Tennis Grand Slam Taught Me about Character
• Fletcher Richam: "The Startup of You" as a Student
• Brett Neese: I Could Have Run Away . . . But I Didn’t
• Nick Liow: The Stereotype of a Socially Awkward Programmer
• Victoria Chok: Choices
• Tessa Zimmerman: The Three Lessons for Success
• Romain Vikilitabar: Lessons Learned from Surviving in the Saharan Desert
• Zak Kukoff: Five Minutes
• Arshdeep Sidhu: Running with Opportunities
• Aaron Kleinert: Finding a Balance as a Highly Recruited Student Athlete
• Christopher Pruijsen: Birth and Rebirth as a Burner . . . It Took a While to Get Home
• Erik Arellano: One Drop in a Slow Ocean
PART V: SUCCESS
• Jack Andraka: Just Imagine What You Could Do
• Simon Burns: What is the Definition of Success?
• Cam Perron: Stepping into the Big Leagues
• Tallia Storm: Discoveryourstorm
• Taylor Amarel: With Pride and Humility
• Micaela Chapa: How I Lost 165 Pounds and Saved My Own Life
• Pulkit Jaiswal: Being Fired from Your Own Company
• Paige McKenzie: Adorkable
• Mariah Spears: When You Become Stagnant, You Die
• Tyne Angela Freeman: The Keys to Success in Music and Life
• Lou Wegner: How Hundreds of Kids Have Saved Thousands of Animals
• Olivia Bouler: Saving the Gulf - One Drawing at a Time
• Vanessa Restrepo Schild: A Seventeen-Year-Old Scientist
• Leora Friedman: Writing the Lyrics to a Little Girl’s Dream
• Karan Kashyap: Mikey's Run: A Mission to Aid Boston Marathon Bombing Amputees
• Siouxsie Downs: Parting, Heartfelt Advice to Future Doers