Today I have decided to do something a little bit different from my normal blog posts and that is an interview. Back in December I was sent a link to another interview with this eighteen year old entrepreneur called Spencer Costanzo. I didn’t think too much of it to begin with but then I actually watched the interview.
Within ten minutes of the interview, which was around thirty-minutes long, I was emailing Spencer trying to get a hold of him just to ask a few questions. I then decided I would turn this into an interview, so I got in touch with Spencer with a butt-ton of questions and here is what went down.
Dylan: So before we begin, can you explain a bit about yourself and what you do?
Spencer: I’m an 18-year-old entrepreneur and in 2011 I started an app development company called Malibu Apps. I’ve since developed more than 30 apps and 30 Kindle eBooks. I decided not to go to college and instead focus on starting and growing new businesses.
D: Awesome, but why apps and eBooks?
S: I started with iPhone apps because I saw potential for passive income. Passive income is when you work once to create something and get paid back in the future without putting more work in. Both apps and eBooks earn me passive income because after I create a product, it sits and makes money forever.
D: Was it hard to make the decision not to go down the normal path to college, like everyone else?
S: It was an extremely easy and natural decision for me. Since elementary school I’ve had the feeling that there’s something wrong with the education system. I much prefer learning on my own through experience and trial & error as opposed to being in a classroom. My favorite quote: “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
D: From doing a bit of research on you I know Pat Flynn is a bit of an inspiration to you, he is also the reason I got started in this business. But what is it about Pat and his blog that got you hooked and saying “I want this!”.
S: I had an “AHA” moment in 2011 while I was listening to Pat Flynn’s podcast. When I realised that you could outsource the development of apps (or any product) to skilled professionals for a low price, my life changed.
D: Have you always wanted to be your own boss, or when did you discover this?
S: Yes. I was never good at taking instruction from teachers or other authority figures. It was around middle school when I realised that I could never work for someone else. I’ve never had an employer.
D: Why is being the boss so appealing to you?
S: Here are a few of the top reasons: You have full control of the present and your future. I decide how much money I want to make based on how much I work. Every dollar that I make goes directly to me. If I want to take a month (or year) off, I can! I work whenever I want and never have to be anywhere at a certain time. #1 reason: Freedom.
D: Why is it that many young people, like you and I, don’t take the entrepreneurial route and decide to take ‘the scripted lifestyle’ instead?
S: First of all, I like that you call it “the scripted lifestyle.” It’s unfortunate that so many people live their lives this way. I call it the “slowlane” which I got from the book ‘The Millionaire Fastlane.‘ It’s the go to college, get a degree, get a job, work until you’re 65, and maybe have enough to retire plan. For me that would suck and I’d much rather retire when I’m young, healthy, and can enjoy the money. I highly recommend that book by the way.
D: Would you ever like to go college, or is that out of the question now?
S: Absolutely not. No way. I’m very much against the current education system and would do anything to avoid it. Unfortunately students are paying too much, getting ridiculous degrees, and going into a terrible job market. It’s obvious to me that the path to real success is with specific knowledge as opposed to formal education.
D: Can you run through the process of originally coming up with the idea to building a very successful company and going on to hire nine developers?
S: My plan was originally to develop just one app. I thought it would make millions. I never wrote a business plan or anything like that. Malibu Apps grew through my trial and error process of developing apps. I built off of my success and grew that way.
D: If someone was currently going through the whole “college or not” question, which I actually am, what would be your advice?
S: Think about it like an investment. Most people are brainwashed and accept that they must attend college. When 50% of graduates aren’t fully employed, do you really have to go to college? Unless the profession that you’re passionate about truly requires college i.e doctors, then I would take a step back and consider the costs and benefits. Is it really worth hundreds of thousands of dollars?
For young entrepreneurs I would advise the following: Take a gap year and start a business. Start anything that has potential to make money. Try to fail as fast as possible. In failing you’ll learn exactly what you can change to be successful. Continue this process with different ideas until something works. In the process, reach out to those that are successful in your field. READ. Read as much as possible and as often as you possibly can. Not just books but blogs, watch interviews, listen to podcasts, and consume any and all content that’s relevant to your business.
D: Is it hard to be accepted in business, especially because of your age?
S: It’s never been a problem for me. I think I actually get more attention because of my age and what I do. Recently I’ve been investing and advising startup app companies and my age is never a problem. Like I said before, I’ve acquired so much specific knowledge in the app and eBook world that my age is irrelevant.
D: What is next for you and your company?
S: I plan to invest in and advise as many startup app companies as possible in 2013. For Malibu Apps, I plan to continue heavy development on the eBook side.
D: Where can people find out more about you?
Here are a set of questions from the tv show ‘Inside the actors studio’ which I asked Spencer at the end of the interview.
D: What is your favorite word?
D: What is your least favorite word?
D: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
S: Music, books, watching interviews of successful people
D: What turns you off?
D: What is your favorite curse word?
S: I don’t really curse.
D: What sound or noise do you love?
S: Good music.
D: What sound or noise do you hate?
S: When people whistle really badly.
D: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
S: If not business, I’d be a barista. I love everything about coffee.
D: What profession would you not like to do?
S: Anything 9-5. Anything hourly. Anything mindless.
D: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
I would really like to thank Spencer Costanzo for letting me interview him and be sure to keep an eye out for Spencer in the future.
I am also happy to announce that you can now get 55% off of Spencers App Development course where you can learn to make apps with no programming knowledge by just clicking this link and using the coupon code ‘holidays12′.
You can also check out my brand new book which I released just last week by clicking here.
See you all on Monday.