I’m starting a new company!

In case you don't remember, I really got exhausted doing Brazen Careerist. The pressure was insane and it made me nearly lose my mind multiple times. Now Ryan Healy is running the company in DC, and I sort of miss the startup life — sort of like women endure labor and then a year later they are pregnant again.

So I have been sort of bored and lost all winter, trying to think of what to do next. And then, one night when I was visiting my neighbor, her son propped himself up in his TV-watching chair and told me that he wants me to help him do a company this summer. For his summer job.

I said, “OK, but what do you want to do?”

He said he wants to pave driveways. Like, put tar on them.

So I asked, “How will you get customers?”

“I don't know. That's what I need help with.”

“I think you should start out with a list of ways you can get customers and then see which way is conducive to starting a business. So, if you could get customers for dancing on your head, then you should dance on your head rather than pave driveways. The customers are the hard part.”

“So what should I do then?”

So I told him to email me his Myers Briggs type profile and to find a friend he wanted to do a business with. And then to come to my house on Thursday night.

Zach did that. He brought Mitch. Zach is an ENFJ. And Mitch is an INTP. I asked them if they thought of ideas for a company. They said no. I told them they can't do a company without an idea. Mitch said, “How about a toilet bowl that also has a disposal?”

I guess this would be for high schoolers and their vomit. I wasn't really sure. But I took the opportunity to explain that if you're not an inventor, there's no use thinking about businesses that require an invention.

We talked about how hard it is to think of business ideas. I told them even adults have a hard time, but I'm great at it. I listed for them three ideas that I thought we could do together.

One was small: selling ads on my blog for a commission. One was medium but I can't remember what it was, actually. And one was to produce humane goat cheese.

I recounted for the boys my story about how almost all the goat cheese in grocery stores comes from farms where baby boy goats are clubbed over the head or drowned.

The boys picked goat cheese. I told them it was a big business, and we'd need funding. They liked that. Not that they knew anything about funding. I explained that another day.

I told myself I will send them lots of links so they learn about entrepreneurship. But the boys did not have computers. Further, they do not even get homework that involves computers because not all the kids in the local high school have computers at home. They do research for reports only from books in the library.

Then it occurred to me that they don't read. They can read, they just don't read.

“What was the last book you read?” I asked Zach.

He couldn't remember. Then he remembered: “The Scarlet Letter, for school.”

“It sucked,” said Mitch.

I told the boys that entrepreneurs read. They have to read. The problem is that if you don't read you don't know where to start reading. I decided we'd have to start with reading about sex, to keep them interested. I gave them Dennis Cooper. They liked it. After a while I slipped in articles about entrepreneurship. And finally I assigned them to read Fred Wilson every day.

I’m pretty sure they are not doing that. But they are learning other stuff. For example, we went to a farmers market and I was looking for something to bring home for dinner.

Zach said, “How about some sausage?”

I said, “Jews don't eat sausage.”

He said, “You say Jew! Isn't that a bad word?”

So they started coming over once a week for a company meeting and I'd give them assignments and they couldn't do the assignments because they had to go to the school computer room to get anything done but the school blocked most of the blogs that I sent them to.

This is when I realized the company needed funding immediately: Because I couldn't work with them if they didn't have computers. Really, I'd like to buy every kid in our local high school a computer. But I am a practical person. And I got seed funding to buy computers for the boys.

That was a fun day.

So we've all been working on the company, and sometimes, after the company meeting, I talk to them about college. There is no college counseling in their school. No one tells them how some colleges are
good for some kids and some are good for others and choosing a college is about self-discovery. So I have taken it upon myself to also be their college counselor.

Last week I had them doing college research until almost midnight. I'm worried doors are closing for them and I want to keep them open. The boys worked hard trying to learn differences between schools. I wished I could do more, but really, they have to learn it themselves.

So I said, “Do you guys want me to make you cookies while you're working?”

The boys doubled over laughing. They say that this was the line the teacher at school used when she was seducing high school boys.

I worry that the town thinks something is wrong. The town wonders how I can have a company valued at more than a million dollars when the company does nothing. The town thinks, “Why would she want to spend so much time helping two boys?” The town thinks I'm up to no good, I'm sure.

So I have a new company. And it's funded. And I love that I'm doing a farm-focused startup since I live on a farm. And I love that I'm helping goats. And I love that I found these two kids to take along for the ride.

Posted in Entrepreneurship
120 comments on “I’m starting a new company!
  1. Mara says:

    “And I love that I found these two kids to take along for the ride.” …and you made it look like it was all for them. You are clever.

    I do so wish you had been my neighbor when I was growing up. I could have used a little direction for my life. There is a real need for counselors who will reach the kids who have no direction for their lives. These boys are truly blessed.

    Keep up the good work, Penelope!

    • Ivan Jimenez says:

      I also wish I had someone like Penelope to guide me but all the same, I’m grateful fir people like her that chose to do something productive, incredibly helpful and much needed.

      Most of the people I know use the downtime to travel the world, dabble in reckless start-ups or simply hang out in coffee shops doing nothing on expensive MacBooks.

      Thank you, Penelope.

      —Ivan

      • Erica says:

        Actually, traveling is very important and worthwhile. It opens you to new worlds and shows you the cultural prejudices you have. It does what Penelope is trying to do with these 2 young kids — expand their horizons.

        I applaud your efforts Penelope.

  2. Rachel says:

    That’s great. Maybe you can start up an internet cafe on the side. I grew up on a farm as well, I didn’t get internet until quite late and even then it was dial up (which my parents still use). I feel every hour of my life up until I got my own computer with high speed access was wasted on learning what adults thought I should learn, instead of what I now believe is actually useful information. Humanities should be learned through text with hyper links only. History, politics, religion, psychology and philosophy should be able to branch out in a thousand different ways and a text book just can’t do that.

    I am all for reading books, but internet access is so so important.

  3. Bob Bennett says:

    Too many people let kids flounder through high school. I’m glad that you have taken them under your wing. Another business might be college guidance counseling that really helps kids.

  4. Bessie Cherry says:

    Fantastic! You’ve hit upon a very good idea here in WI, where the cow cheese is fantastic but the local goat cheese sorely lacking. I highly recommend talking to Susan Sellew of Monterey Chevre. She raises her goats at Rawson Brook Farm in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. [http://www.yelp.com/biz/rawson-brook-farm-monterey] BEST chevre I’ve ever had. I dream of it since moving to the Midwest, where similarly creamy and milder chevre seems hard to find.

  5. PJDJ says:

    Not that I don’t like Apple computers, but two MacBook Pros for websurfing and document creation? And you worry the town thinks you’re up to no good?

    • Margaret Goerig says:

      And for designing the labels for the goat cheese. And for designing the website. And for editing photos for the website. And just for a longer-lasting, happier, all-around better computer experience. Once you Mac, you can’t go back.

      • Kay Lorraine says:

        Penelope said, “I got seed funding to buy computers for the boys.” Given the prominent product placement of the MacPro boxes in not one but three photos accompanying this article, I would assume that the way she got the seed funding was through Apple or a local Apple dealer. She is teaching the boys how one uses the resources at hand to create money. Penelope has a popular blog. Product placement within the blog helps raise seed money for the boys’ project. Makes perfect sense to me. Also, as Margaret pointed out, once you Mac, you can’t go back. Get them started with the best! I wish I were part of this project. I would love to have a new MacPro!!!

    • jenny says:

      Surely this is just the beginning?! Why get them something that’s already out of date, when this is just the beginning.

  6. MzM says:

    this is so inspirational and I love it when youth are involved in ways which are so positive and life changing for them and then with the humane goat cheese angle (major pluses all around)…..Brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart! Thank you!!

  7. Tracy says:

    I love that you do that. I do something similar. You do it better and I like your ideas. I’m going to start assigning homework and adopt some formal structure.

  8. Chris says:

    Truly cannot wait to hear where this goes.

  9. Gina Marcell says:

    Penelope Great blog as usual!
    I raise goats for milk and cheese, but it is hard because the goats have babies every year and the buckling are hard to get rid of – I end up giving them away but it is hard and lots of people just want them for BBQ and I cant stand that so I end up keeping them! I have too many!
    I teach goat cheese making classes at my B&B, and also goat husbandry classes. Would love to help with your company in any way possible.

  10. sophie says:

    As I’m reading this I’m getting more and more alarmed at Darlington’s school system. I’m thinking, what the heck, just how backwards can this school be? I’m betting Penelope’s embellishing for interest’s sake.

    Then I got to thinking maybe she’s not.

    Near to me is Johnson Creek, a small village centrally located between Madison and Milwaukee. It has a huge outlet mall right off I-94, a big Menards and Kohls, all of which are drawing consumers from far and wide. Yet, its high school is this old, dilapidated building that hasn’t changed much in 50 years and when the snow gets too heavy on the roof it collapses. Last month the community once again had a chance to vote to raise the millage for a new school. Guess what they vote? You got it. No new school.

    How sad our communities don’t share Penelope’s value of education. How sad we’re limiting our children’s opportunities for the future. But then, what should I expect? Even our governor doesn’t value education.

    Kudos to you Penelope for offering guidance to these guys. Good luck on the cheese venture. By the way, are those milking goats?

  11. Candice says:

    Amazing and inspiring! I hope you’ll be delivering your cheese by air, because I’ll be first in line to order it for my friends and family. I love that Zach wasn’t afraid to ask for your help. Wishing the 3 of your the very best in your endeavor.

  12. Chris Yeh says:

    Back in the saddle again!

    I will be happy to advise this startup as well, in exchange for regular goat cheese shipments.

  13. Riley Harrison says:

    My first thought when I read the headliner that you were starting a new company was “she’s starting an energy drink company and will let us in on her secret for living such an always-on-the-go existence”
    Riley

  14. ResuMAYDAY says:

    When you said the son propped himself up in his TV-watching chair, I assumed you were talking about a 6-year old. Imagine my confusion when this 6-year old wanted to pave driveways! Good luck to these budding entrepreneurs. I guess the trade-off for living in a peaceful and serene community is the lack of services and education that others take for granted.

  15. CS says:

    Oh, this is so adorable Penelope! The goat pictures are incredibly cute, but I have to say, the picture of the two high school boys is cuter! How wonderful that you are helping them and pushing them in the right direction!

    What doors do you fear are being closed to them? This line struck me as very interesting.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Here are things I worry about: They are not learning to read in order to get ahead, so maybe they just won’t. They have never been to Chicago — which is only three hours away. At some point, they will not be exposed to what a city has to offer so they won’t be able to pick and choose what they’d like for their life. They are not re-taking the ACT because they want to go only to the local college. They don’t realize that the world opens lots of doors to kids from farm communities if the kids walk up to the door. By not taking the ACT more than once, they are not trying to score the highest they can to have the most choices to do with their life.

      I guess what stuns me is how few choices kids here *perceive* that they have. I’m not sure yet if I think choices are good. But I am sure that I took many choices for granted.

      I guess I just really believe that if you help a high schooler to learn the benefits of self-knowledge then they’ll work on that forever, and they will have a richer life. If no one talks with them about the quest for self-knowledge then the quest is stunted, at best.

      Is this snotty of me? Is it arrogant? I can’t tell.

      I should mention here that one night Zach said to me that I have no idea how to have fun, and he can teach me that. And I have a feeling that he’s right about my own limitations.

      Penelope

      • Candice says:

        My nephews attend the Chicago Public School system and are in a worst position than the boys you’re working with. Their high school diplomas are a joke. They’re on track to start with community college, because my fiance and I keep harassing them about it,but w/o extensive assistance they won’t be able to do the work or make much of the experience. You ARE making a difference, even if it’s not as great as you might wish.

      • Mark W. says:

        I think the most important lesson any teacher can instill in their student is that learning is a life-long process. A structured environment will not always be available or present so it’s important to teach how information is accessed, compiled, and distilled to its most critical components for the applicable task. It’s then a matter of taking that knowledge and adding some self-discipline to demonstrate to the student what is possible. I consider myself a very fortunate person since learning for me has been life-long and for the most part has been an enjoyable journey. So I would also include that an important lesson for the teacher to convey to the student is that learning can be fun. I definitely agree self-knowledge is critical.

      • Recovering Admissions Officer says:

        I know this isn’t what you were trying to do, but this comment reply right here was the exact reason schools like Harvard and others that have a dozen applicants for every space, still travel to high schools and towns all over the country. There are still hundreds of amazing kids who could go to colleges that would change their lives but who are applying exclusively to local institutions. Don’t get me wrong–my parents both went to a local state-supported school and had wonderful experiences and great lives. But. I remember when I was working for a hard-to-get-into East Coast college, I went on a recruiting trip to Iowa and having a kid ask, “I grew up on a farm, I ride my horse to school, my father had to take off work to drive us three hours to get here, and I had to do all my AP prep by computer because my school doesn’t have enough students to offer them. How am I supposed to get in with all those smart kids from New Jersey applying?” And I tried not to laugh as I said, “Every smart kid in New Jersey is petrified of YOU.” Good luck with the new venture and thanks for pointing out that “kids like this” are out there, and some of them only need the outside influence to think more broadly. (And while many end up on Wall Street or wherever, hundreds more take their new information and contacts home, and build something new from that. Almost every kid I worked with from places like Montana and Alaska worked tirelessly to get back home, and bring new resources to the states they loved, so I never understood the “brain drain” concern.)

      • Kenosi says:

        It’s neither snotty nor arrogant on your part. Imagine these young men, a few years from now, becoming mentors and enabling other young people become entrepeneurs instead of going the 9-to-5 route. Imagine the ripple effect!

  16. Jim C. says:

    “Jews don’t eat sausage?” It would have been more accurate to say, “Jews don’t eat pork.”
    There are plenty of kosher sausages made from beef and other kosher meats. What about Ashkenazi-type kishkas? Or Hebrew National franks?

  17. Kathy says:

    Way to go Penelope! I love working with kids and the regenerative nature of teaching. I’ll buy your cheese and look forward to updates.

  18. Kelly Queijo says:

    Manpower + Computer Power + Goat Power = Beautiful.

    Love the story; love the pics and the really cool thing about discovering these boys and creating an opportunity to work together is that you’ll be able to do this again and again with other kids in your community and beyond. The kids will learn so much about the business-side of life and this will help shape the choices they make from now on. Way to go!

  19. Victoria says:

    Great post. What Dennis Cooper book did you recommend and why this author? Just curious. I Amazoned him and he seems to write kinky/dark/shocking. You might remember me from a couple of months ago – you referred to me as the – ahem – “professional blow job person” (I’m a sex educator, just to set the record straight:-)

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      I chose Dennis Cooper because he’s very literary. I wanted the boys to read great literature, but I thought the only way I’d get them interested is with a writer like Dennis Cooper.

      Penelope

  20. Mark W. says:

    Goats will be a good venture for you, Zach, and Mitch.
    However, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much more of an impact you could have on other high school students as a career counselor. I’m pretty sure the wages would be minimal so it wouldn’t be for the money. Maybe a flexible, part time gig for those students motivated to also do some work on their own. Doesn’t the library have computers with Internet access? It’s really sad that the U.S. doesn’t place more emphasis on broadband access in rural areas. I look at what I have just written, go over the following lines in this post – “But the boys do not have computers. Further, they do not even get homework that involves computers because not all the kids in the local high school have computers at home. They do research for reports only from books in the library.” – and think I didn’t have a computer or Internet access in school either. Strange. Perhaps even more important is to just get out there, do it, and learn from your mistakes.

  21. Diane b says:

    And I love YOU, Penelope, for taking an interest in these kids. I did not have counseling fir college until I was 43. I cried when I read this post. God bless you.

  22. Hillary says:

    I love that you are doing this! Seriously–I think kids need more guidance like this. I was in a serious college prep high school and let me tell you–no one was telling me anything relevant or inspiring to the world I find myself in now. We’re reinventing the wheel over here.

    So anyways–very cool. I look forward to hearing how this unfolds.

  23. Lisa says:

    For real, you gave them Dennis Cooper to read?

  24. Olivier says:

    Just don’t spoil them rotten.

    Besides, they now have computers but do they have broadband or even DSL? In rural America, if I am not mistaken, that cannot be taken for granted.

    • sophie says:

      Yeah, that’s another thing Republicans knocked out of our budget. Obama was specifying money specifically for developing high speed internet to rural areas that would help small businesses, students, you name it. Sadly, that was one of the things our Gov cut.

  25. Tina says:

    Ok, NOW I’m excited. I want in on this project. I nodded so hard all the way through this post that I almost put my neck out. I spent years in the education system slogging through politics and incompetence to put together programs to teach students entrepreneurial skills (and hell, just critical thinking skills!) and ran into the same issues in rural, urban, and even suburban areas that you’re describing. I even worked with gang members to shift their skill sets to legitimate businesses. The programs worked, the students succeeded, and at the same time I got frustrated by the constant funding and political issues and came back around to being an entrepreneur–but this just lit a fire under me I haven’t felt in a LONG time.

  26. Heather says:

    This is amazing! I think this is one of your best posts. I do vaguely remember high school from a very tiny town in PA and had the same issue. Guidance councellors didn’t help with understanding colleges. They expected you to pick that up or your parents helped you. My guidance councellor was surprised to find out I was accepted to a university that was primarily an engineering school. He said he thought I would be an English teacher. I guess doing great in AP Calc and AP Chemistry didn’t tell him I would be a good engineer. Hmmmmm. And I love the goats and the pics! Good luck with the new company. I love goat cheese.

  27. Kristi says:

    This is exciting! I look forward to reading about how this unfolds and the photos are just priceless! Way to go P:)

  28. Blandy Costello says:

    Are the male goats going to be natural lawn care? We have a few herds around here that eat poison ivy and kudzu for a fee. I just love that.

  29. amelia says:

    I’m thrilled for you, Zach and Mitch – this is the start of an amazing adventure. I live in California’s farm belt – home to California’s poorest county – http://lat.ms/jVt5qc. And even though it’s just a few hours drive to Los Angeles,the Bay Area or Silicon Valley, the digital – and cultural – divide is HUGE. My husband teaches in a rural high school here and so many of his students share the story you describe — an ongoing discussion at our house concerns our worries that “doors are closing for them” and we want to keep them open. It’s hard to know how and what is the best way to do this – but what’s most important is to start. So mucho kudos to you for getting this off the ground. AND for finding the funding for the MacBook Pro purchases – because yeah, there are other, cheaper options out there and perhaps these are more practical / economical from a certain point of view. Yet there’s something to be said for the intangible, yet very real, feeling that comes from being outfitted with high-quality equipment to do a job – the sense that you are trusted, that you are capable, and that undertaking is serious, and real. And I can’t help but believe that these young men truly understand and appreciate this very tangible display of investment you’re making in them, and even more critical, the trust you’re showing in them. This will stay with them for the rest of their lives, down whatever roads they travel, be it as chevre masters of the universe or high school career counselers or brazen bloggers of a world that doesn’t (yet) exist.

  30. Margaret Goerig says:

    Sooo, Penelope, will you explain this one? “And I got seed funding to buy computers for the boys.” It’s so vague.

    Also, your photos are looking great. The juxtaposition of the goat head (looking like it wants to eat the cardboard) and the Mac box is very creative.

    And finally, do you really think the boys need to go to college, or else?

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      I got seed funding based on a one-page business plan. I think I might have waited a bit to get the funding, but I really wanted the boys to have computers. More on the funding in a post next week…

      Penelope

      • Margaret Goerig says:

        Looking forward to it. And what I meant to ask about college was: do the boys want to go? And do you think that’s the only solution or that they have to go straight out of high school? Taking a year off before I started was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
        Anyhow, I’m not sure why I even felt compelled to ask that about the boys in the first place. Maybe I read something between the lines or maybe I just imagined I did.

  31. adventurose says:

    Penelope – How awesome !!! If you need help, send a shout out and the support will be fantastic !!!

  32. Pam says:

    Hi again, Penelope. My brother-in-law, who grew up in Monroe, Wi, went to St. Olaf College, and was a teacher and a high school guidance counselor until he retired. Now he has a business helping kids figure out which college they should go to. Email me if you want more info.

  33. karen says:

    If Apple is one of part of your “seed money” I love them even more. An excellent cause.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      That would be great if Apple were funding my company. But I got a small amount of seed money from less glamorous investors. I’ll write more about this in another post. But, to be honest, getting money for the company was not very difficult. I’m convinced that good ideas get funded quickly.

      Penelope

  34. Stacy says:

    How lucky are these 2 boys to have you helping them learn? All I can think about is how easy it could be for all young people if they were lucky enough to have an awesome mentor in their life!
    Good luck with your new business and if you will ship your goat cheese – I would love to buy some!

  35. Paul Hassing says:

    Yet again, I’m reminded why this is the best goddamn blog on the internet.

    Penelope, you are the pinnacle work/life writing.

    The instant Zach and Mitch are ready to ship to Australia, they can add me to their customer list. And rest assured that I’ll spread the word.

    All power to your long, smart, versatile arms. Best regards, P. :)

  36. Vanessa says:

    P,

    I’ve been reading your blog for 2 years now and I think this is one of most heart-felt. I love how you helped the boys. They are so handsome and full of hope and life it seems. I also absolutely love that you got Mac’s for them! I’m a total Mac Woman and you just may be a catalyst for one of them becoming a writer some day. Good for you.

    Vanessa from Virginia

  37. Dawn says:

    Simply wonderful, the world needs more people like you.

  38. Carolyn Tann-Starr says:

    We’re going to have mad fun watching you guys do this. The whole gang is in Starbucks cracking up taking bets on you about to turn that town on it’s ear. Kudos and congrats on your new start up (LOL). Very cool. ;-)

  39. Josh says:

    P,

    After reading your blog for 6 months I have a great deal of respect for you. The fact that you realized things were too much in the city and moved the other extreme is amazing. Your posts always feel warm and very, very honest. Because of this I feel I can connect or at least understand what you are saying so well.

    This post kicked it up a notch. I was in near tears reading that you would take the time to help two young men and ask them some really solid questions. As a young man finally out on his own working I wish more people gave the opportunity you gave these two. This kind of service is what separates you from the other blogs.

    Again my hat off to you, please keep this up!

  40. Steve Cook says:

    Great project. Kids need positive direction, especially if they are in an environment with no self-exploration and career support.
    A couple of suggestions: First, Myers-Briggs is a social tool, originally designed for dating. Not so hot for business. Better to assess business potential with a business class tool like a Profiles International or a Hogan assessment. Second, although it’s unfortunate that people would automatically be suspicious of your motivations, there are real reasons for that. You might want to bring the school on board, or at least one of their teachers, maybe offer the same opportunity to some of their female classmates. You could even do a workshop or seminar that any student can sign up for.
    Given the second suggestion, it surprises me that one way or the other, you managed to weave sex into the story. Especially since the local folks are likely to tune into your blog.
    Well, no, now that I think of it, I guess it doesn’t. It sells, right?

  41. linda says:

    WAY COOL!!!!

  42. Socorro Luna says:

    You are wonderful to mentor the students. I am a counselor and would be glad to help. May I recommend Carol Christen’s book, What Color Is Your Parachute for Teens?

  43. Denise says:

    Yeah keep it up! I wish my school counselor offered me such useful advice!

  44. Claire Sterling says:

    Penelope, this is the best news I’ve heard all week!  I just about did cartwheels when I read about your decision (and the boys’) to pursue the humane goat cheese plan.  I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed your posts, and I keep them in a digital file folder to refer back to on future occasions.  However, I’ve had your “Goat Cheese is the New Veal” post sitting out unfiled among the items still in my inbox (where I store e-mails pending some kind of action) ever since I received it because I felt that on some level, there was unfinished business where that issue was concerned.  It’s such a complex and daunting challenge, with such unfortunate casualties continuing to occur while it goes unsolved, and as an animal lover, I wanted to let my mind work on it, supplemented by research, even if it took me years.  Imagine my joy to discover that you shared my feeling of being unable to let it go, unable to simply file it away, so to speak.  And what a wonderful way to engage young men in animal welfare issues!

    Have you considered possible types of incorporation structures other than a straight business?  Since there is such a strong animal welfare component to this effort, you might be able to team up with a nonprofit working in this area so that you’d be able to benefit from donations and grants as well as earned income.  There are also some interesting hybrid nonprofit/for-profit incorporation structures out there that might be worth considering:

    http://grantspace.org/Tools/Knowledge-Base/Nonprofit-Management/Establishment/Social-enterprise

    http://grantspace.org/Tools/Knowledge-Base/Nonprofit-Management/Establishment/Pros-and-cons

    I work in fundraising at an organization that provides the nonprofit sector with mostly free “meta” services such as training in grantseeking and nonprofit management, philanthropic data and research, and thought leadership for the field.  Although we are a straight-up 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a significant portion of our revenue also comes from earned income.  If I can help answer some questions for you, please feel free to drop me a line.  

    Congratulations on this exciting venture!!!  You’ve got me as a customer already.  :-)

  45. DJBKT says:

    Just a thought. Don’t you think that they could’ve earned the laptops themselves? I think this would’ve tested their mettle, while also teaching them how to take even the small components of entrepreneurship seriously and not for granted.

  46. Amy Parmenter says:

    Those boys are way too cute. Do you know what I’m saying? Way too cute. I know you know what I’m saying.

    That said, great project. Great for them. Great for you. Great for us…

    And of course the goats.

    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm

  47. Lisette says:

    If a middle-aged woman is hanging out with high-schoolers & giving them new laptops, you bet even in NYC people will think she is “up to no good”.

    It reminds me a movie I watch when I was little; To Die For.

    Good job with the kids, though.

  48. Diane Pecoraro says:

    Fantastic! Hope it all goes well. Can’t wait to read future posts :)

  49. jessica says:

    Personally What I think you are doing is very weird. These boys are juniors in high school. If you are that interested in starting a business, you need to work with college kids. As for the college counseling, they have a guidance counsler that they have to meet with to discuss college.
    As a grown woman giving young boys sex material outside of school is very inappropriate. It makes me wonder if you have other intentions due to the material that you post on your blog.
    I completely disagree with what you are doing. I just feel that any junior in high school would love to say they are starting a business if they knew they were getting a free computer. I highly doubt they really care what they are doing as a high schooler. When college does arrive for them, I can guarantee that they choose to go and study elsewhere.
    As an honest citizen I can tell you that not many people are impressed with the content that you post.

    • tamar says:

      “Jessica”: I believe in free speech. And I also believe that your comment is a joke – something meant to be funny, as a parody of a really different kind of person.

      Some commenters have suggested ways of deflecting issues people have or might have by offering concrete, constructive suggestions to enhance the project, not (like your comment) to doom youth and the nation to increasing ignorance and perpetuating tracking systems…

    • StepmomInTraining says:

      “not many people are impressed with the content that you post”

      Who are these people you’ve been designated to speak for? I don’t recall voting for you.

      She’s friends with the parents. If they have a problem with her behavior, they can address it.

  50. karlee says:

    I agree with jessica. I have been following your blog and while I admire your honesty and no filter…I find it very strange and inappropriate. If this was 2 girls being taken out of school for this sort of project with a 40 some year old man I’m certain it wouldn’t happen without further investigation. This makes me question the intentions you have.
    Giving 2 high school boys sexual material to read and having them over to your house for business meetings? Really? Isn’t there more effective learning tools? Or a common ground. I’m familiar with Darlington and realize that its a small town, people are judgemental and guarded but I’m beginning to think citizens of this town may have a valid concearn.

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