"Whiz kid" hardly describes young tech entrepreneur Connor Zwick. "Prodigy" would be a better word. At 19, Zwick and his business partner Colton Gyulay are launching the Coco Controller, a mobile video game controller that fits over your smartphone. While launching a company before graduating college is an impressive feat in itself, the Coco Controller isn't even Zwick's first venture.
According to Buzzfeed, Australia-based tech site Nettuts.com saw Zwick's skill at hacking apart computers and tried to hire him as a writer -- before realizing he was just 13. During his senior year of high school, he built the iPhone app Flashcards+, which has since been downloaded more than a million times. That same year, Zwick was accepted to Harvard and the startup incubator Y Combinator. But Harvard will have to wait for the young tech whiz -- after one year on campus, he took a leave of absence. As a Thiel fellow, he will postpone his education for two years to give try his hand at entrepreneurship. The fellowship also comes with a $100,000 grant.
In spite of Zwick's promise, the Thiel fellowship, now in its second year, does not have a perfect track record for employment. Of the five former fellows interviewed by Inc. Magazine, only one reported earning an income.
”I was flying back to school with Colton, my fellow cofounder, and I was trying to play a game on my iPhone. And it was terrible,” Zwick said in an interview with VentureBeat. “So I said half-jokingly, ‘This is going to be my next project, what Coco is today.’ I developed a prototype in the weeks following, and we decided to pursue it full-time over this summer. “
Coco isn't the first attempt at a game controller for the iPhone. Other developers have created their own models and Apple is rumored to have one in the works. But Zwick's version is leading the pack, featuring a sleek design, compatibility with a variety of phones, a reasonable price of $35, and a multitude of available games.
To learn more about his project, listen to Zwick speak about the Thiel fellowship in the video above and visit his Kickstarter page.
"None of the previous attempts have gotten the successful games," Zwick told Buzzfeed. "We have 30 games [signed on to Coco] and around 10 of them have been the most popular games. We're also talking to big studios. By the time people have these in their hands, there will be hundreds, if not thousands of games that work with this."
What do you think about Zwick leaving Harvard to be an entrepreneur? What would you have done, if given the choice? Sound off in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen.
Most five-year-olds finger-paint. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/14/aelita-andre-5-year-old-painting-prodigy-new-york-agora-gallery_n_1598196.html" target="_hplink">Aelita Andre</a> is about to have her second solo show as "the youngest professional painter in the world" at New York's Agora Gallery -- her first showing raked in up to $30,000 per painting. Andre is the daughter of two painters; at nine months old, she crawled onto her parents' canvasses and began to paint.
15-year-old <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/kuhao-blind-teen-plays-piano-songs-video_n_1403034.html" target="_hplink">Kuha'o</a> has been blind since infancy, but he hasn't let his loss of vision deter him from his dreams. He is able to play any song on the piano after listening to it only once. In just two days, his instrumental version of the dubstep song "Cracks" by Freestylers racked up <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBfEHF_7vxg&list=UUFIxsG6xSy8Q7fQ2tgrzmbA&index=2&feature=plcp." target="_hplink">more than 60,000 views</a>.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/30/autistic-child-billy-joel-piano-man-video-viral_n_1463687.html" target="_hplink">Six-year-old Ethan</a>, who is on the autism spectrum, has an extraordinary talent for music. At just four, he began playing The Beatles' "I Will" by ear. Now, his cover of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpF3326_b5g&list=UUkxYCucMvYEjrgokL4nDmbA&index=5&feature=plcp" target="_hplink">has gone viral</a>, boasting more than 1.2 million views.
Piano teacher Judith Fairchild works with student Marissa Liu, 6, Thursday, May 17, 2012 in her Memphis, Tenn. home. Marissa just recently won the Grand Prix at The X Sonatina and Sonata International Youth Piano Competition sponsored by the Fryderyk Chopin Society of Texas in Corpus Christi. She is apparently the youngest winner ever in the competition's history. Part of the prize is, Marissa, who can't reach the piano pedals, will be performing at Carnegie Hall in December. (AP Photo/Alan Spearman, The Commercial Appeal)
Jourdan Urbach rehearses at the Pierre Hotel prior to a ceremony where he will receive the nation's highest public service awards, the Jefferson Awards, Tuesday, March 6, 2012 in New York. Urbach is a violin prodigy who has channeled his musical talents to raise more than $5 million for pediatric medical research around the globe, headlining benefit concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other venues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
In November 2012, the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3oNVmSaMsE" target="_hplink">5-year-old Internet sensation from Hong Kong</a> shut down <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/5-old-piano-prodigy-too-good-true-183547955.html/" target="_hplink">the conspiracy theorists of YouTube</a> with a live performance of the fast-paced Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composition, "Flight Of The Bumblebee," on <em>Ellen</em>. There were a few big differences between this, Tsung Tsung's U.S. television debut, and the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/amazing-child-prodigy-ast_n_1870865.html" target="_hplink">viral video from the fall that introduced us</a> to the Hong Kong talent. Tsung was noticeably less smiley than he was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/amazing-child-prodigy-ast_n_1870865.html" target="_hplink">when we first fell in love</a>. In fact, he was almost deadly serious, clad in a snazzy white tux instead of his usual pajamas. Luckily all his dramatic moves were still there, including a new closer he whipped out in which he throws his hands up "<a href="http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1076600/hong-kong-child-piano-prodigy-wows-american-tv-audience" target="_hplink">like a gymnast after a golden Olympic performance</a>."
Tsung Tsung, Part 1
Speaking of the earlier adorable video of little Tsung Tsung smiling away, here it is. The YouTube clip surfaced in September 2012 and quickly made its way to Reddit, where commenters so in awe of Tsung's lightning fast hands questioned the video's authenticity. You <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/amazing-child-prodigy-ast_n_1870865.html" target="_hplink">know where we stand on that though</a>.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/nine-year-old-artist-kier_n_1669610.html" target="_hplink">This summer</a>, nine-year-old <a href="http://kieronwilliamson.com/" target="_hplink">Kieron Williamson</a> sold 24 paintings in 15 minutes for the very-adult price of $386,000. He began painting at the ripe old age of six, and has been unwaveringly supported by his doting mother who recently wrote a biography about the young painter, modestly titled "Kieron Willimason Coming to Light -- The Remarkable Story of A Child's Gift to Painting."
Eleven year old Ethan Bortnick has already performed with the likes of Beyonce and Elton John, and claimed a Guinness Book of World Record's title as the world's youngest solo musician to headline his own tour, which he first did at the age of 9. This summer, the piano phenomenon wrapped up another solo tour, on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/26/ethan-bortnick-piano-prodigy-video_n_1707536.html" target="_hplink">a 22-city sweep of America</a>.
Seven-year-old Alma Deutscher may not be able to reach the pedals of her piano without a little help from a stack of books, but the young pianist, violinist and composer is the latest sensation in the classical world. In an NBC News video from this fall (seen to the left), the tiny talent is seen cooly composing a cello sonata and performing her own musical creations on both the piano and violin. Deutscher, a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/prodidy_n_1967652.html" target="_hplink">favorite of British actor Stephen Fry</a>, wrote a short opera called "The Sweeper of Dreams" earlier this year, a feat that <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9604486/Is-Alma-Deutscher-the-new-Mozart.html" target="_hplink">prompted comparisons to Mozart</a>.
Try not to headbang along to this video of six-year-old Jaxon Smith drumming to the Foo Fighters' song Pretender. According to the video's description, the self-taught percussionist weighed just one pound when he was born in 2005. He's grown up to be quite a rocker, performing songs by Rush, The Who, Heart (yep, "Barracuda"), the Silversun Pickups, Tool, Rage Against the Machine and more. For more of Jackson's amazing drumming, head over to the profile of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/U2RUSHFAN?feature=watch" target="_hplink">YouTube user U2RUSHFAN</a>.