“My name’s Scott. I’m 13 and have launched a web startup.” So began an email exchange over last weekend which culminated with me chatting to Scott’s mum today to verify, that, indeed, he was actually 13 and really had launched a blogging site for people in Scotland.
ScotBlog.net is essentially a social network for people in Scotland and anyone of Scottish heritage. Based on a group WordPress blog, users can create a profile, join user created groups, send private messages, add friends and blog. Scott says: “We have some users in Glasgow, while we have some from South Carolina and even California”.
The point about this story is that not only has this teenager gone and created ScottBlog, but he had the get-up-and-go to find out who writes about startups, write a press release and email them. He’s even put himself on CrunchBase. A lot of older people than haven’t done that much.
Scott lives with his mum, Susan Campbell, who confirmed to me today that he is who he says he is, but he couldn’t come to phone today as he’s at school.
I used the opportunity to ask Susan about how she feels about the recent debate about government plans to give cinema-ratings to web sites in an attempt to protect kids when they are online. She said she doesn’t worry about him as he’s “very sensible”, but she thinks there is a role for schools in educating children about safe web use, rather than a top-down approach from government. Indeed, it’s not Scott’s mum who is doing the educating about the Web, it’s Scott. In 2006, he was a runner up in the BT Internet Rangers competition, where he won a laptop for helping his family with the Internet.
Ok, now I’ll admit, if a 13 year-old can launch a startup then the barrier to entry may be a lot lower than we thought! And I daresay ScotBlog has a ways to go in finding a business model beyond advertising, and admittedly he has no startup costs – these are paid by his mum! However, It’s great to see Scott show this kind of initiative and I think it’s worth-while encouraging teenagers in the UK to be more entrepreneurial.