Monday, July 27, 2009
Most people wait until after college to start a business. But 13-year-olds Sam Kaplan and Louie Harboe have big ideas that couldn't wait.
The boys started up their company, Tapware, during spring break this year and have already produced their first iPhone application, "The Mathmaster." The application drills math problems like a high-tech set of flashcards.
Louie is the designer, Sam the programmer.
The boys did not realize their age would create such a stir. "I guess it's unusual to do this at such a young age, but it's not weird to us," Louie says.
The duo also has separate ventures. Louie has his own company, www.graphic peel.com, where he does Web design and specializes in making icons. His clients include Mac OS. Sam is a programmer for Foodie Registry, an online registry for restaurant certificates.
With so many responsibilities, how do these Chicago boys balance school, work and a social life? "I think it sounds like it takes more time than it does," Sam says.
When they became friends in fifth grade, they started coming up with ideas and working on different technology projects, Louie says.
Carol Rubin, Sam's mother, knows just how driven the two boys are. "They both have the raw talent and raw ingredients," she says. "They are both very bright. They are both very curious. And they are both very persistent. When they are interested in something, they both chase it down."
A few years ago, an Apple Store salesman jokingly said to Sam, "You don't know how to program?" That same day Sam decided he wanted to master programming. He took college-level computer science courses.
As for Tapware, the duo plans on creating more iPhone applications. "Tapware is the project of right now," Louie says. "It's a project we have worked on and will keep working on, but it's not what our lives will revolve around."
Rubin is certain the boys' passion for technology helps them in all aspects of their lives. "I think it's important for a child to have a passion, no matter what it is," she says. "Their passion expands to everything they do in life."
Do you know a kid age 14 and under who's done something amazing? E-mail names and information to firstname.lastname@example.org .