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Whose genius is it, anyway?

This article on a seventeen year old who has started her own webpage design company is fascinating. Ashley Qualls is impressive an impressive young woman: she’s self-taught, successful and grounded. She taught herself about web design at the ripe age of nine, and although she’s made more than a million dollars, “I don’t need $2,000 shirts,” Ashley says. “I’m fine with Target.” The entire article shows how she’s dealt with the ups and downs of starting her own business, family conflict and navigating the business world. The article reinforces the idea that given a passion and the ability to pursue that passion, people will flourish.

One of the (few) irksome things about this article is that it says Qualls “dropped out of high-school.” Elsewhere in the article, the author clarifies that she withdrew from public school, took on-line courses and will probably earn her associates degree in design before her former classmates graduate from high school. The term “dropped out” has definite negative connotations. Many times, it’s used to show how well someone has done despite not graduating public school.

First, I reject that high school is a universal good and the lack of that experience is always a hardship. For some, sure, but not for everybody. Second, that’s not what Qualls did. She withdrew from a brick and mortar school, took on-line classes, and is now pursuing a college degree. The on-line classes may have even been government classes, but whatever the source, pursuing alternate means of education is not “dropping out.” With the education market providing more and more choices, from home education to various distance learning opportunities, we’re going to need to develop better terms for educational processes.

So there’s that minor quibble about language. Not so minor:

Running a growing company without an MBA, not to mention a high-school diploma, is hard enough, but Ashley confronts another extraordinary complication. Kidney ailment, heart and lung destruction, neurological indications, boils and rashes are among the benefitted lot. purchase levitra online http://davidfraymusic.com/events/teatro-colon-buenos-aires/ Nerve, hormonal and arterial disorders brand levitra online lead to erection related problems. Even you can continue it for generic cialis india long as there is no need of having the prescription at all. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of low level discount pfizer viagra of testosterone in body include malnutrition, high stress and thyroid problems. Business associates may forget that she is 17, but Detroit’s Wayne County Probate Court has not. She’s a minor with considerable assets–“business affairs that may be jeopardized,” the law reads–that need protection in light of the rift her sudden success has caused in an already fractious family. In January, a probate judge ruled that neither Ashley nor her parents could adequately manage her finances. Until she turns 18, next June, a court-appointed conservator is controlling Whateverlife’s assets; Ashley must request funds for any expense outside the agreed-upon monthly budget.

She started her own now million dollar business with $8 from her mom, has her own employees, deals with advertisers, businesses, lawyers, etc., but she can’t “adequately manage her finance” so some bureaucrat is going to tell this talented entrepreneur what she can and can’t do? “The arrangement, she says, affects her ability to react in a volatile industry. ‘It’s not like I’m selling lemonade,’ she says.” She’s hired a lawyer and is working to have herself declared an adult.

The article editorializes, ” Why not just sit tight until June? The girl trying to grow up fast can’t wait that long.” Ah, isn’t that precocious? She wants to play grown-up! Cute! Or maybe because it’s her company, her money and her future, and the government has no compelling reason to step in and manage her life.

You can tell Qualls is going to do well, whether or not she succeeds in proving to Wayne County that she’s an adult. She’s received several offers to buy her company. One offer included $700,000, a car, and her own Internet show with a marketing budget of $2 million.

Ashley’s response: “I created this from nothing, and I want to see how far I can take it. . . If I wanted to do an Internet show, I could do it on my own. I have the audience.” I think she could probably buy her own car if she wanted one (and the government nanny said yes.)

Yeah, she’ll do okay.

h/t: Challies

4 responses to “Whose genius is it, anyway?”

  1. Lostcheerio Avatar

    Interesting! I can understand how the rules, in place for an entirely different reason, would not apply to this young woman, who is definitely an exception to the rule… what makes sense for other minors doesn’t make any sense for her. I’m sure, brilliant as she is, she will survive the oppression though.

    I married a high school “drop out” who is now doing better than just about everyone in his “graduating class.” Sometimes dropping out of high school is an intellectual choice – there should be another term for it… maybe “stepping out.” Hehehe.

  2. April Avatar

    I think there is a knee-jerk reaction to government interference, a guilty-til-proven-innocent stance: “we’re going to intrude into your lives until you can prove your competent enough to manage it yourself.” I think there should be a high bar for government interference that age alone doesn’t meet.

    I like “stepping out.” “breaking out” also works, but then people would assume one has left a prison, not a school. hmmmmm.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Some young people who have left the institution for autonomous learning and other opportunities call themselves “rise-outs.”

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