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A 33-year-old billionaire CEO says he got his first tech job so young that his dad had to fill out the paperwork

(18 Views) July 14, 2016 3:24 pm | Published by | No comment

Drew Houston dropbox portrait illustration

Mike Nudelman/Business Insider

Drew Houston knew what he wanted to do when he grew up from an early age.

The 33-year-old billionaire who founded file-sharing and storage service Dropbox recently told Adam Bryant of The New York Times that he remembers “toddling into the living room as a kid and seeing this glowing box with all these buttons.”

He continued: “We had a PC Junior, and my dad showed me how to write my first couple lines of code in Basic, and that began this odyssey of learning how computers work.”

Initially, he explained, “it was about playing games, and when I was about 11, I was pretty sure I was going to make computer games for a living. Part of my interest was also just discovering what makes these games tick. I would get the source code of a game and then modify it to work how I wanted.”

This is what led him to landing his first job at age 14. 

“I was a beta tester for this game, and I was frustrated because the developers weren’t moving fast enough. So I started poking around under the hood, and I found all these security problems,” Houston told Bryant.

“I emailed the developers, saying, ‘Hey, guys, you’ve got all these problems and here’s how you should fix them.’ And they wrote back, ‘Great, do you want to work for us?’ They said I could work remotely, too, so I said, ‘Is it O.K. if my dad fills out the paperwork, because I’m 14?’ They said, ‘We couldn’t care less.’”

Houston later went on to study computer science at M.I.T. “I had some vague idea about wanting to start a company,” he said.

And he did.

In 2007 — a year after graduating — he founded Dropbox. In January 2014 his company was valued at $ 10 billion, and Houston joined Forbes’ billionaire ranks, where he still holds a spot today.

Read the full New York Times interview here.

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