Finding redemption in a teenage misstep
The gleaming Google Campus is hardly a Dickensian workhouse and (to our knowledge) no teenagers have lost fingers working at tech startups. But still, there are dangers for young workers.
In 2010, Daniel Brusilovsky was a 16-year-old intern at TechCrunch, with a surprising amount of experience. "I've been working since middle school for companies and startups," he told us. "I spent three years at Qik until they were acquired by Skype."
But when Brusilovsky asked a startup for a MacBook Air in return for TechCrunch coverage - a shocking lapse for a journalist but also a simple adolescent judgement error - the move got Brusilovsky fired and unleashed a fury of media attention.
The story made the front page of Huffington Post, and Michael Arrington issued a public apology.
Brusilovsky issued an apology of his own and regrouped.
Now, as CEO and founder of Teens in Tech Labs, he uses his own example to help other noobs to the workplace. Founded in 2008, Teens in Tech now organizes an eight-week incubator for founders between 14 and 19 years old.
"Every year at orientation, I tell my story," Brusilovsky said. "I was thrown into all of this without a how-to guide. I'm glad I learned about it when I was 16 and not 30. I just happened to find out in a very public way."
Now go forth (and redeem yourself).
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