back to article Teen sells Perl cloud startup to ActiveState

Meet Daniil Kulchenko. He was an HTML programmer at age six. He was a freelance Linux systems administrator at 11. And at 15, he founded his first business: Phenona, a platform-as-a-service for building and hosting Perl applications. Now, Kulchenko has sold Phenona to dynamic language specialist ActiveState for an undisclosed …


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  1. SteveBalmer


    I want to read stories about freeloaders like GeoHot and stuff.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Making him learn to program Perl at the age of 7, Isnt there laws against that?


  3. Noogie Brown

    HTML "Programmer"

    o rly

    1. Bobby Omelette

      Not so much a programmer.

      More of a 'tag-nut'.

  4. Craig 12
    Thumb Up

    Good for him

    Wish I had done something substantial when I was younger rather than just dicking around... At uni in '98, I created a web site (with a C backend!) where my old school friends had their own page, and we could post messages on it, a sort of 'profile' and 'wall' you could say... oh well :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perl 6

    Not too impressive, I was coding Z80 assembler at age 6. No Linux around when I was 11, so all I got was some limited access to an AS/400.

    Kids have it so easy these days.

    The real challenge for Perl is to finish Perl 6. That's what separates the men from the boys.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Perl 6...

      ... will, by definition, never be "finished".

    2. Marky W

      Kids these days

      Keyboards? Hah!

      When I was just 9 months old, I got up an hour before I went to bed, crawled 5 miles over burning coals and broken glass, then punched cards with a rusty spoon for a week.

      In January. In Aberdeen.

      1. Thecowking

        You had a spoon?

        We 'ad te coax passing squirrels to gnaw through the card at the right place! And that were 'ard right, cos we didn't have cards and we couldn't afford squirrels.

      2. mitch 2

        oblig XKCD post

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      good for you

      but did you build a business that enterprise was impressed by and sell it before you went to university?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        LOL not to tar ActiveState (I'm actually friends with the founder, Dick Hardt - best name in IT) but it's far from an "enterprise" :-)

        But yes I did create and sell a company before going to university (fortunately a bit later though, at 20, so I could understand and sign contracts). But I guess The Register had no interest in Postscript interpreters and Computer to Plate print workflow systems.

        So I guess the Z80 assembly paid off.

        Now Perl stuff.. meh... outside of the regexp engine that is. Top kudos to those few who venture into that dark realm.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          le sigh

          His beta clients were apparently enterprise, not the buyer.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Yeah right...

            You mean this note "Kulchenko told The Register that a number of large companies are evaluating the service, with sites getting "millions of hits a month".

            That's as clear as mud, so you did well in adding the apparently.

            I'm just afraid of what dad and mom's influence may have done to this kid. Like another comment said, 7 is the wrong age to approach a swiss army knife like Perl.

            Sure he sold the company (and how much of that money is now dad's) plus he gets a part-time job to work more on Perl. It's just too much of the same thing, at his age he should be looking at diversifying his tools a little.

            I love Perl, used it for 10 years, ran the local club, the lot, but can see how there are better things out there, except for quick and dirty stuff.

            Perl 6 effectively killed Perl 5's future. His dedication would be best invested elsewhere.

            I can't agree that this is something we should encourage on children. I didn't teach mine Z80 code for example.

  6. Pat O'Ban


    It's CPAN

  7. Paul 172
    Thumb Up

    Best name in pron?

    "LOL not to tar ActiveState (I'm actually friends with the founder, Dick Hardt - best name in IT)"

    heh, heh...

  8. h4rm0ny

    Good for him.

    I don't know if there's much advice an older programmer can give such a self-learner, but if he wants one suggestion (from someone who doesn't know him at all), I'd advise against doing the computer science degree. Not because CS isn't useful - it is. But so much of CS degrees these days aren't really CS, they're just getting people up to the level of being a basic programmer which this guy clearly doesn't need. He should do Maths. Or if he has a particular area he wants to target his skills at (e.g. physics, economics, whatever), then whatever degree is relevant. Then if he wants to study computer science, he can use that degree to bump him straight into a MSc. which might be more at his level. Sure, there's good stuff at BSc. level, such as complexity of algorithms, but a lot of the content will be wasted on him.

    On the other hand, maybe he just wants to drink beer and have fun, in which case he'll be able to coast through a computer degree with much more time for such activities. But I'm guessing he's the "achiever" sort of student. ;)

    Pint for the lad, anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Self-learner? Not quite...

      From the article: "It was his dad, a proficient Perl programmer, who got him coding on early Perl apps at seven."

      His dad - Pavel Kulchenko - actually co-wrote O'Reilly's book on "Programming Web Services with Perl" so I can see where he got his ideas... guess it helps when your dad already knows most of the answers.

      After all that Perl I think a good computer science degree will do him well and can actually be challeging. There are still a few good ones around. Hopefully his parents would have saved the money from this sale to fund his education.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Pint for the lad, anyway."

      As he's from the good ol' US of A he wont (legally) be able to drink it for another 5 years....and you're probably on dodgy grounds for offering him one!

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: "Pint for the lad, anyway."

        If the kids of the US can't break a few laws about underage drinking, then their next generation is fucked, big time!

        Here's another pint for the lad, on principle. ;)

  9. Anonymous Coward

    OT: been here too long

    "We 'ad te coax passing squirrels"

    What could you possibly want to do to a squirrel with a piece of coaxial cable?


    It's over there, with the early Maplin catalogue (back when they were in Rayleigh) in the slightly oversize pocket.

  10. Stevie


    Them that can, do. Them that can't post to the Register article comments section, it seems.

    To paraphrase Baldrick: "If you lot were any more jealous, you'd turn into a seethe."

    More power to this kid's programming elbow. I wish I'd had half his drive at that age.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Says the one posting to the Register comments section. :-)

      But to paraphrase Larry Wall: "Three great virtues of programming are laziness, impatience, and hubris."

      Don't think any are good attributes for a kid his age.

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