By Kyle Palmer
Entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger these days. Just a few weeks ago, more than 100 high school and college students converged on a warehouse in Bellevue, Washington, with one mission: to build a marketable mobile app in less than 24 hours.
By all accounts, this convening is an encouraging sign of youth exercising their creativity, technical skills, and compunction to build something on their own -- without a blueprint or instructions. For these tinkerers, the experience is arguably more educational than anything they could do at school.
Brandon Ramirez, a sophomore at nearby Bellevue College, said the energy at the event—called Code Day and sponsored by Seattle-based nonprofit StudentRND—was palpable. “Whether you know how to do something or not, when you have 24 hours, you have to figure it out,” he said. “You learn a lot.”
“The students who are successful are the ones who just go out and figure a problem out,” says Edward Jiang, a University of Washington Computer Science major and the founder of StudentRND. “A lot of the students who come here say it's way better than school because they're actually making things.”
Ramirez paired up with fellow Bellevue College student Kieran Brusewitz to create a mobile game called “Slide” with which players move colored blocks around on the screen trying to form lines against a ticking clock. Other participants at Code Day judged “Slide” to be “the most likely to sell” of all the apps made at the event, which stretched to 35 hours.