Richard Branson Just Blew My Mind

Richard Branson just completely described me and how I felt in the education system. I wasn't popular, I never got good grades, teachers rarely liked me because I just wasn't motivated. It's really inspiring to see someone else that started a business at 15 and learned by DOING rather than 'learning' passively in a a classroom. This article on Entrepreneur really made my day and it should make yours as well.


I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. - Confucius

and that's the theme of my TEDXTeen talk. Stay tuned...

How To Make Connections In High School

This will be a blog post in a series of blog posts about how to start a startup in High School! I've founded a startup called Botangle among others. So I want to to share my journey and knowledge with the world! 

Today I'm going to talk about how to make connections in High School no matter where you are. 

Twitter - Twitter is an amazing tool for having fun and posting about your daily life but it's also a great networking tool. First you need to find people that are experts in your field. Once you find those people, showing interest in what those people are doing is a great start. They're probably not going to care what your product is. So you need to develop a relationship with them first. Introduce yourself, rather than your company. Also, don't reach too far when looking for experts. Just because you're making a new Operating System doesn't mean you try to become besties with Bill Gates! 

Facebook Groups - Just joining one Facebook group can do a lot for you. Like with twitter, you need to find people and groups that are relevant to your line of work. Joining groups like HS Hackers is a good start if you're starting a tech project! Video chatting with other members of the group is really fun and really beneficial! 

Other - Applying to groups like the Thiel Fellowship gives you and your business a lot of constructive criticism! It also allows you to meet a lot of great people along the Journey! 

My Reading List

This will be a blog post in a series of blog posts about how to start a startup in High School! I've founded a startup called Botangle among others. So I want to to share my journey and knowledge with the world! 

Without Their Permission  - Quite Possibly My Favorite Book.  It tells the story of Alexis Ohanian on his journey in the startup world and how the internet is being threatened. I don't want to spoil anything, but it taught me that I didn't need anyones permission to start a business in High School. 

Delivering Happiness - This book is about how Zappos became so successful because of the amazing customer service they provided to their customers. 

The Lean Startup - Is a great book about how to change your startup to avoid failure and how to be successful! It's very highly rated and I follow a lot of the tips they give you in this book. 

Hatching Twitter - This book is about how Twitter got started and the stories of the founders who started them. It's an interesting story and it's written by Nick Bilton; a reporter for the New York Times. 

The Willpower Instinct - I honestly have a lot of problems with willpower: eating healthy, exercising regularly, etc.. This book has helped me a lot to improve Willpower. In life you're always are going to have to step up and just do it, this book helps you do just that. 


Coming Soon

Things a Little Bird Told Me - This book hasn't been released yet but it looks interesting. It's written by Biz Stone; a co-founder of Twitter and Jelly. I pre-ordered it and I look forward to checking it out! 



How To Hire Someone If You're in High School

This will be a blog post in a series of blog posts about how to start a startup in High School! I've founded a startup called Botangle among others. So I want to to share my journey and knowledge with the world! 

First, since you're a high schooler you're probably going to be on a very strict budget! I would recommend finding a programmer from your high school! Whether they've taken a class at your High School or are self-taught you will always be able to find a programmer of some sort nearby! Another suggestion might be to check your local community college. Even just paying them $20 for a few hours of their work is good enough for a high schooler. Someone from college will be quite a bit more, but still cheap. I've hired a college student from New York for about $25 an hour. 

To find a graphic designer, my advice is pretty much the same. Check your local photography class, art class, or just someone with a passion for graphic design. Here's a graphic designer I found at my High School who takes a lot of photography classes and is a great designer! Her name is Keely Brennan (turtlebuddy1@gmail.com), if you ever need her to do design work just say where you found her email address from and what you need! 

Finding people locally is all well and great, but you might not find the talent you need around you. I would check out sites like elance.com, craigslist for posting job ads, or LinkedIn! 

Make sure you hire people as freelancers and not employees until you have a substantial amount of money. 

That's it for today! If you have any questions feel free to email me at erikejf@botangle.com! 

Who am I?

I’m Erik Finman, a 15-year old entrepreneur from Idaho.  Not long ago I invested one thousand dollars I received from my grandmother into Bitcoins, and later sold them for a substantial amount of money. 

With my earnings I decided to address some of the negative experiences I had in the educational system.  Tutoring that is focused and student-centric and engages students in ways responsive to needs and available technology became my passion. 

From my home in Idaho, using just a computer and the Internet, I started Botangle.com.  Now I’m managing a 16-person team comprised of programmers, designers, and animators, among other professionals from all over the world.

Recently, I have also been working on a project called Camel Drop that addresses local (file) sharing.  I have even been accepted to the latest round of Peter Thiel’s 20 under 20 Fellowship.

Though I am just one of the many teenage entrepreneurs scattered around the globe, I hope to help other teenage entrepreneurs out there because you're never too young to do something great.