Ideas and Execution

March 26, 2013

15 is the new 21

It’s hard to get surprised anymore when you read about a young innovator who catapults to success via technology in the Mark Zuckerberg age. Spotify, Pinterest, Dropbox and Steelwool (yes I included Steelwool) come to mind. Young entrepreneurs helped introduce us to these innovations. This morning I read about British teen Nick D’Aloisio and shook my head. This one stands out.

A Great Idea

Nick is a 17 year old software wunderkind whose news reading app Summly excited Yahoo enough to purchase it (estimated tens of millions), hire Nick (he’ll break the Yahoo rules and work from home while testing out of the remainder of high school) and ideally for Yahoo, help resurrect their tarnished brand with a cutting edge tool. Summly is an app that takes long news stories and shortens them to the key points for smart phones. In the age of information and ADD, this idea comes at a perfect time. More information and less time to process that created the demand.

Nick is probably the youngest person to receive venture capital. One investor stated that he felt good about Nick’s idea when he ‘did not hesitate for a second when describing exactly what Summly was going to do.’ This speaks to the power of vision and coherence in ideas that can transcend age. Queue Aretha Franklin R-E-S-P-E-C-T…


This is a great story and it’s getting a lot of press. In April we’ll be writing a weekly piece on business lessons to be learned from the show Mad Men. Nick beat us to the punch. He is doing what he loves and perhaps has not had the experience of failure to cloud his vision and chip away at his confidence. To me this story is about ideas and the ability to execute on them.

Summly Founder Nick D’Aloisio
Summly Founder Nick D’Aloisio