TCTV: In the Studio with Danny Trinh, Path’s 21-Year Old Product Designer

Editor’s note: TechCrunch contributor Semil Shah is an entrepreneur interested in digital media, consumer Internet, and social networks. Shah currently works at Votizen and is based in Palo Alto; you can follow him on twitter @semil

“In the Studio” at TechCrunch TV kicks off today with a guest who deferred college, and eventually dropped out, and moved out west to pursue his dream of building products in San Francisco.

Danny Trinh, a product designer at Path, is perhaps one of the most talented, up-and-coming product designers in the social and mobile space today. At all of 21 years old, Trinh has already built quite an impressive resume of experience designing web products. A few years ago, Trinh graduated high school and took an internship with Digg, supposedly for the summer, but he loved it so much he ended up deferring college to work full-time at Digg for a year. He then went back to UNC for his freshman year (while still working on Digg remotely), but the pull of San Francisco was too strong  — Trinh left after his freshman year to rejoined Digg.

In this short video clip, I chat with Danny about the personal choices he made to learn design, to come out to San Francisco after high school, to defer college and then dropout after freshman year, and what it’s like to be a young adult in one of the most dynamic technology scenes in the world. He approaches his work as if he’s a kind of a college student at a rock festival, such seeking out mentors like Path cofounders Dave Morin and Dustin Mierau, as well as Daniel Burka, who recruited Trinh to Digg.

Trinh refers to himself a “fan,” constantly in joyous disbelief that he gets to help build products with people he idolizes. What I find so interesting about Trinh is his attitude toward building and designing products, as well as his views on some of the challenges he faces as being, as he explains, a “young kid” in San Francisco as a teenager with a real job, while all the people he knew were at college doing “normal” things. For someone so young, he already made a name for himself and is one to watch closely.