5 Entrepreneur Lessons From The Coder Dojo Guy

James Whelton“I don’t believe in age,” James Whelton, entrepreneur and Coder Dojo co-founder said.

Encouraging words to people like me: aspiring entrepreneurs more than twice his age. Then Whelton, 19, and founder of his own company Disruptive Developments (@disruptivedev),  goes and ruins it all by saying he was talking about kids even younger than himself.

The likes of Harry Moran, 12, of Cork, for example. Moran is officially Apple’s youngest app developer. And his paid app, PizzaBot, became the top paid app in the Mac Store beating such stalwarts as Angry Birds and Call of Duty.

Whelton (@jwhelton), also a Cork man, was speaking at last night’s TEDx Dublin (@TEDxDublin) in the Science Gallery. In addition to his comments on age, the young entrepreneur also had this to say:

Do it while you can: Noting how he has spent many nights on couches, the young entrepreneur said to get stuck in before serious commitments like mortgages and kids come along. There were a few chuckles from the audience at this one, presumably from oldsters like me.

Be independent: Whelton said the entrepreneur is the driving force behind the new business.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: But learn from them. Whelton spoke of his “bus meltdown” several months ago while returning to Cork from Dublin. On this trip, he realized his company had run out of cash prior to funding being paid. With three employees and office overheads, Whelton had to scramble and take on freelance projects to pay the bills.

Conquer fear. “And have thick skin,” he said.

Meanwhile, Coder Dojo is set to expand abroad. Co-founded with Bill Liao (@liaonet), one of the team behind Xing, Coder Dojo is a weekend programming class for kids up to 18 years old, and was born due to Whelton’s concern about the poor state of computer education in Irish secondary, or high, schools. It “sucks,” he said.

After starting in Cork, it now has four venues in Ireland. It will open in December in London and Paris. Venture Capital company, Polaris Ventures, will fund its expansion to the United States.

Image of James courtesy of Holgerblank on Flickr.

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  1. Pingback: John P. Muldoon » Man Refuses to Fly, Understands Language

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