Feb 5, 2010
I want to get a few thoughts out regarding the situation between TechCrunch and DanielBru. First of all, this is in no way in defense of either side. What Daniel allegedly did was wrong, no question. And how the situation was handled on TC's side – well, that could certainly be debated. It is what it is.
I will also disclose that I do know Daniel, but not very well. He's another fish in the expansive sea of acquaintances we end up with while working in this industry. However, I do know him well enough to know that he's a kid. This isn't meant to demean any of his many accomplishments, but at the end of the day – he's a kid. He's a kid who goes to high school, who likely has a curfew, who because of the opportunities presented to him by adults has to add the pressure of being a teenager with the pressure of being a pseudo-adult. This can't be easy.
This industry is, as far as I know, the only other industry besides entertainment that allows kids to be in positions of power or of massive reach. Daniel's company, Teens In Tech, is a blinking-neon-arrow-over-the-heads-of-each-kid-in-this-industry reminder of that fact.
We, as a culture, love to give kids the opportunities to function as adults. We're entertained by the notion of a child-prodigy-turned-doctor on TV; we're enamored by the phenomenon of the child star, but then we act shocked when they spiral out of control before they're old enough to drink the alcohol that caused them to crash their Ferrari.
We forget that a kid is a kid, regardless of the responsibilities they've managed to shoulder. Let's not forget the lesson in the story of the scorpion and the frog. Now, I'm certainly not saying that anyone under the age of 18 is incapable of handling themselves as an adult – but they're not an adult. I'll go so far as to say that it's irresponsible to forget that.
Our country gives minors the chance to get their act straight when they do something really screwed up in hopes of it not hurting the rest of their lives. Whether or not this works is another story, but the idea is to give people a second chance before they hit an average benchmark of maturity.
So, a bit of unsolicited advice for anyone who's interested: If as an adult you decide to bestow responsibility upon a kid who is capable of doing the work of an adult, then you should be prepared to shoulder some of the responsibility for decisions made that are more aligned with their age than yours.