News / USA

High School Dropout Hits It Big on the Internet

Tala Hadavi

In 1931, famed author James Truslow Adams popularized the term "American Dream".  He said "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement." Although the actual definition of the term is unclear to this day, one young man's life seems to exemplify it.

Mazyar Kazerooni started his first Internet company while he was still in high school. Once the money started to pour in, he convinced his parents he should drop out and give his internet business a real chance.

"I made this website when I was 15," said Kazerooni.  "When I'm going through high school and I'm seeing that I'm bringing in more money than any of my teachers possibly could, it kind of messes with your head."

Two years later, after moving on from his first venture, Kazerooni and his good friend Matt Schlicht, also a high school dropout, went to work for the live video start-up "Ustream." Live video was something new at the time, and Kazerooni's job was to convince rap performers that it was the next big thing.  He was good at it and the rappers' praises were proof.  He was so good, that rapper Li'l Wayne asked Kazerooni to become his personal digital strategist.

"We helped him reclaim his Facebook page," noted Kazerooni.  "He had a million fans, and nobody... they didn't have access to it and they weren't posting anything to these million fans they had out there.  It's gone from one million to 31 million fans now.  We got 'em a Guinness world record for the most-liked status update on Facebook. All those guys are like family to us now.  Young Money, Li'l Wayne, Little Twist - all these guys - they're like family to us now.  We have worked with them for years."

A few months ago, Kazerooni and Schlicht left Ustream to start their own company, "Tracks.By," which allows artists to showcase their music, videos and tour dates on Facebook. Venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar thought their idea was so good that he invested $500,000.  

"We are trying to turn all our knowledge that we have gotten from running Li'l Wayne digital, Little Twist digital into products and features that every artist can take advantage of," added Kazerooni.

Tracks.By has already grown to the point that the pair has hired several computer and social-media-savvy friends. But they are keeping it simple for now; they operate the business out of their home.

"If you really think about it, it's not that big of a risk, especially if you're young.  It's so easy to jump into this and try because the worst thing that's going to happen is that you go broke and you go and try to get another job.  I think it's completely worth it, because if you can make it happen, it's going to be so much more rewarding than any other job," Kazerooni said.

Some 50 artists with a combined total of 150 million fans have already signed up.  Kazerooni may just be living that American Dream that James Truslow Adams or Tracks.By artist Drake is talking about.

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid