MO.com is proud to partner with The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC):
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The Y.E.C promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.
Ben Lang is an 18-year-old internet entrepreneur. His entrepreneurial journey began at age 14 when he started his own eBay business. He’s the founder of EpicLaunch, a popular blog for young entrepreneurs. Ben’s also the founder of MySchoolHelp, a site for students to find and share notes from their school.
Right now he’s living in the Tel Aviv area of Israel, working on the marketing team at Wibiya and will be joining the Israeli army in March.
MO: You’ve been involved in founding a few internet companies and have consulted for a few startups. How have you managed to amass such an impressive resume at the age of 18? How supportive have your parents been along the way?
Ben: I started my first business, selling goods on eBay, at age 14, after my grandfather gave me his camera equipment to sell on eBay. From there it just evolved into other things such as working on websites, startups and all kinds of interesting projects. My parents have certainly been very supportive along the way. They both help whenever they can. My dad has experience as an entrepreneur and my mom is a skilled writer.
MO: You were nearly sued by the New York Times. How did this happen, and how nervous were you when you found out?
Ben: About a year ago (http://epiclaunch.com/sued-by-the-new-york-times/) someone told me that the New York Times was going to be putting up a paywall for their content. I knew that move would generate a lot of attention so I wanted to get involved. I realized that people would just be able to get around this paywall by erasing their cookies. So I bought the domain name FreeNewYorkTimes.com and started to build a site explaining the process and a plugin that would do the trick. Before even launching the New York Times shut down my server and then after sent me an email explaining why. It was down a week and quite nerve-racking. Once it was back up I decided not to continue with this risky project.
MO: What was your inspiration for founding MySchoolHelp.com? Are the models for the high school and college versions different from each other?
Ben: The inspiration for MySchoolHelp.com started with a note sharing site I created just for my high school, RamazHelp.com. That site was a success with over 70% of the school using it on a regular basis. Based off that, I decided to build a team to take it a step further by creating a similar platform for all high schools to use. Right now our main focus is high schools but we’re also testing out a few colleges.
MO: You’ve managed to get 150 schools on board in the first 2 months. What kind of growth would you ideally like to see over the next year?
Ben: Ideally we’d like to triple that number over the next year. Goal is to have them all be active schools, meaning sharing notes before tests, finals or whenever needed. Right now that’s our main focus, growing the amount of users.
MO: Do you have any mentors or people that you find inspiring?
Ben: I find that all of the members of the YEC are very inspiring. All 250 are absolutely amazing. To name a few:
• Brian Wong, founder of Kiip
• Jake Nickell, founder of Threadless
• Adam Goldstein, cofounder of Hipmunk
• Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Reddit
• Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint
• Noah Kagan, founder of Appsumo
• Ryan Holmes, founder of Hootsuite
And every single other member of the organization.
MO: You’re going to be joining the Israeli army in March. Will it be difficult to step away from entrepreneurism and the tech world or will you be able to keep connected while you’re enlisted?
Ben: It will certainly be difficult but my hopes are to serve in a unit that manages online marketing for the Israeli army. If that’s the case then I’ll be able to keep up with my ventures on the side. I have to set my priorities though and during my enlistment it will be serving the country of Israel. Afterwards I’ll have all of the time in the world to work on more startups.
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