Is a 17-year-old British geek the next Mark Zuckerberg?
Yahoo (YHOO) recently acquired Summly, a mobile-news aggregation app from teenage British tech entrepreneur Nick D'Aloisio.He launched Summly when he was all of 15. All Things D said the price tag was about $30 million.
OK, maybe it is a little soon to anoint the kid with such a comparison. But if Aaron Sorkin could make a movie about Zuckerberg, surely some enterprising filmmaker would be willing to produce a short film on Silicon Valley's youngest star.
Summly checks the Web for news and employs an algorithm to locate the kind of content you'd like to peruse. It then makes a summary for you to read. Y
ahoo will blend Summly into its mobile offerings.
The point is that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has made a bet -- OK, a rather small one -- on the future. It's a smart gambit. What if this kid turns out to be the next great innovator in the tech world? What if he comes up with an app for changing the way we live? What if he becomes he next Steve Jobs?
I like what Mayer has done here. Considering that entrepreneurs such as the late Jobs and Bill Gates were also teenagers when they set out to conquer the world, it is surprising that Silicon Valley powerhouses don't do more to find and nurture young talented people.
Companies would be smart to invest in the future. A $30 million investment for a big company counts as tip money. It's a rounding error. Yahoo can afford to take the chance if it turned out to be wrong.
But if it turned out to be right, that this teenager had the key to the future, it would be worth the risk.