Teens in Tech

Last week my friend Mark Dwight got in touch with me and asked if I could fill in for him presenting for the Teens in Tech conference. Mark had a very successful run heading up Timbuk2, taking the company from $4M in sales to $20M before selling to private investors and famously netting the sewing staff at the factory more than $1.2M in bonuses. Mark has a new start up going a few blocks from the Chapter Three office called Rickshaw Bagworks. They make some truly beautiful bags and are very serious about minimizing their environmental impact, focusing on recycled and domestically sourced materials.

The Teens in Tech conference assembled a scarily young group of technology entrepreneurs to discuss new trends in technology adoption and to compare notes on entrepreneurship at a young age. Mark was scheduled to speak on "Going Green" as an entrepreneur which he can speak to with a lot of experience. I on the other hand, lacking Green cred, talked about my experience in entrepreneurial pursuits in politics during the Dean Campaign, with non profits at CivicSpace, the world of Drupal at Chapter Three and our increasingly more serious bicycle business.

It's been true for some time now that computing technology wields such powerfully disinter-mediating social and market force as to afford even young neophytes the ability to create or up-end entire industries. In some monied pockets around here in Silicon Valley inexperience and youth can even be considered a virtue in running a technology start up. While I wouldn't go that far myself, it is clear that advances in computing technology can progress so ridiculously quick that creating real innovation is possible and relatively accessible to anyone with the passion and a computer. The Drupal development community exemplifies this. If you can install a web server, download Drupal, and can collaborate with others, you have everything you need to impact the world.