January 22, 2017

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Here’s a multi-million dollar teenage success story.

 This is the story of how a high school yearbook took a digital turn.

In 2005, brother and sister Catherine and David Cook were flipping through their school yearbook. The 15 and 17-year olds thought it would be cool to make it digital — on a website.

During spring break, with the help of their older brother Geoff, they launched MyYearbook.

It started out pretty much as a social media site for their fellow students at Montgomery High School in New Jersey. Well from little acorns mighty trees will grow. They soon merged with an ad-supported site and expanded their audience.

Visitors now could share poems, jokes and other content. New features were continually added — things like interactive games with virtual currency, instant messaging, and media sharing.

Did people visit? Well, 20 million users isn’t a bad number! And that’s why major advertisers like Disney and ABC wanted to be part of it. By 2009, four years from its launch,  MyYearbook revenue hit $20 million.

And in 2011, 21-year-old Catherine sold their startup for $100 million to a Latino social network. Today it’s known as MeetMe.com.

So what do you do when you cash out so young — retire at 21? Not these young entrepreneurs. They say, MyYearbook was only the beginning. They have a lot more innovative products to create.

Catherine and David Cook exemplify one of our Business Axioms For EntrepreneursTake the tried and true and make it new.

Turn the high school yearbook into a digital product.

Now why didn’t I Think of That?



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