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Jake Jarvis, 17 / Developer
It would be easy to dismiss Jake Jarvis as just another boy riding the coattails of his more famous father. His dad, Jeff Jarvis, is one of the few established journalists to successfully cross the divide between the print world and the worldwide web. (He founded both Entertainment Weekly and the popular blog BuzzMachine.) But there is one thing that Jarvis pere is not, and that is a programmer, and that’s what his son is doing exceptionally well. (Disclosure: Jeff Jarvis writes a column for the Guardian, the flagship newspaper of the Guardian Media Group, which owns ContentNext Media, paidContent.org’s parent.)
The 17-year-old already has a number of successful applications to his credit. Among them: Middio, a music video search and indexing engine for YouTube fare; Knapsack.tv, a video broadcast platform that is playable on UStream (was playable that is; the younger Jarvis shut it down); as well as applications for Last.fm, the popular music online service, and Meebo, an instant-messaging service that works across a cluster of partner sites.
But his biggest success to date occurred with the Facebook application Courses. Courses allows college and high-school students to plug in all of their courses and connect them with other students taking the same courses. The students can have discussions, upload files and share information. In a matter of months, he began noticing kids from outside his school district using it. Soon Courses became one of the most popular apps on Facebook with more than 200,000 users turning to it. In 2008, he sold it to the college study-guide publisher Cramster for an undisclosed sum. Today, Courses has more than 500,000 users.