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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid