Taking strong interest in blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and IoT, Tatsiana Yablonskaya got deep understanding of the emerging techs believing in their potential to drive the future.
Having started his way to success at the age of 12, Erik now manages his bitcoin investments and take part in some interesting projects.
Erik Finman is a popular figure in the cryptocurrency world. The thing is that he made a bet with his parents that if he turned 18 and was a millionaire, they wouldn’t force him to go to college. And know what? Erik will not have to get his degree!
The story of successful businessman started in 2011. Then, Erik got a $1,000 gift from his grandmother and a tip from his brother Scott and invested all the money in bitcoin at the age of 12.
Erik calls his family the “Elon Musk version of the Kardashians” but admits that growing up in “small town” Idaho outside of Coeur d’Alene wasn’t easy. The boy even asked parents to permit him leave the school at the age of 15.
“(High school) was pretty low quality,” Erik said. “I had these teachers that were all kind of negative. One teacher told me to drop out and work at McDonald’s because that was all I would amount to for the rest of my life. I guess I did the dropout part.”
Having gained the first $100,000 on bitcoin investment, Finman launched online tutoring service Botangle.com that offered students and tutors a diverse array of resources that just do not exist in a normal classroom setting.
Finman gathered a team consisting of more than 20 workers, including designers, programmers and animators. He admits that it wasn’t easy to make potential employees take him seriously.
“Whenever I interview a potential candidate for a job, I always ask if being part of a team with a 15-year-old bothers them,” Erik said. “Sometimes that’s the end of the conversation right there, and other times people lie — and that shows later on. It’s pretty easy to tell when it happens, but the team I have now are super supportive, and they don’t treat me any differently than anyone else.”
Erik also used some funds to move to Silicon Valley, meet Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and travel.
“I really liked Colombia,” he said. “It was fun, but a little sketchy. Some interesting stuff happened. I was held up at gunpoint there, which is pretty scary, but I have this emergency button I programmed in Android that puts you on speaker but turns off audio automatically and dials [a local emergency number].”
Erik recalls a funny story when a “really, really high-up” unnamed Uber executive tried to discourage him and told him he would never win the bet with his parents. If he only knew how wrong he was.
Way to success
In January 2015, Erik sold Botangle for 300 bitcoin. It is interesting that investor offered a choice – $100,000 or 300 bitcoin. At that time bitcoin dropped in value to a little more than $200 a coin.
“My parents asked ‘Why don’t you take the more cash?”‘ Finman explained. “But I thought of it more of an investment.”
Since then, Finman has been managing his own bitcoin investments. He is involved in some projects including working with NASA to launch a rocket through the ELaNa project.
Erik keeps on denying the necessity of education.
“I never got my GED, and I don’t see the value in it,” Finman said. “The purpose of that would be to get another education level and get a job. I had to learn through running a business. Instead of writing essays for English class, I had to write emails to important people.”
As a successful businessman, Erik reveals a secret – the education system is not effective. The key is self-education. Nowadays, when the Internet is free for everyone, you can learn a million times more in YouTube and Wikipedia.