He also knew this would be a good way to impress colleges. As was popular in America prior to the days of compulsory schooling and the infantalization of youth, Karp worked on projects he loved, found mentors, and began apprenticing in areas that aligned with his passion. Ironically, Karp didn’t need to impress colleges since after taking ownership of his learning he realized he didn’t need school for success.
Karp began interning at age 14 for animation producer Fred Seibert because he was fascinated with the work of Frederator's computer engineers. He also began taking Japanese classes at the Japan Society and saw a math tutor, with whom he worked on writing software for winning at blackjack and poker. When entrepreneur John Maloney sought technical help with UrbanBaby, an online parenting forum, a Frederator employee recommended Karp for the job. Karp took on the job at age 17 and received equity in the company. He left after it was sold to CNET and used the money from the sale of his shares to start his own software consultancy company.
At the time he was hoping a blogging platform would introduce a tumblelogging platform (short-form blogs). No one had so in between projects he launched Tumblr which currently hosts over 87 million blogs and helps him reap in a pretty penny affording him the ability to live in a $1.6 million loft in New York City.
Imagine what could be if more people had the guts to break from the status quo, learn in the world with mentors and from apprenticeships and then spend those years when brains are ripe with energy and creative talent to bring their passions to life.