Meet This 14-Year-Old Self Taught Hacker

In case you missed it, hackers were busy building new ideas and products at TechCrunch Disrupt’s Hackathon in New York last night. Fueled by RedBull, coffee, and massive quantities of junk food, hackers burned the midnight oil last night, preparing to show off their designs to the judges, who included VC Jeff Clavier and founder Christopher Poole, and Google VP of Product Bradley Horowitz.

We had a chance to sit down with the event’s youngest hacker; fourteen-year-old Jake Essman. Essman, a New York native, teamed up with fellow engineers Jesse Leone, William Li, and Feliks Beygel to create buyby, a shopping search engine. BuyBy is fairly simple—you use the site to find where a product is located at a store. So you could search for a ‘white t-shirt’ and the search engine will not only show you a list of online stores that have that product, but it will also show you stores that sell the product nearby your location.

Essman, who has been coding since he was ten, says that he decided to come to the Hackathon at the urging of his Mom. A student at the United Nations School, Essman says that coding is a hobby, and this isn’t the first site he’s created. RantingOutLoud, a forum where anyone can can complain about anything, is a also Jake Essman project. What’s more, he essentially taught himself how to code.

But for Essman, coding is still just a hobby and at this point, his career aspirations lie in the field of medicine as his goal is to become a doctor. Awww.

Here’s their Hackathon presentation.

Photo Credit/Daniel Raffel