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Before the internet bubble burst in the early 21st century, the joke was everyone was claiming they would retire by the time they were 30. While this was heard less after 2001, a new crop of entrepreneurs did arrive. Increased access to technology made it possible for younger people to start a business. The Boy Who Sold the World is a documentary that follows Ben Pasternak as he tries to change the world in various ways. At 15, Ben created a successful mobile game. This led to him dropping out of high school and moving to New York City. His attempt to create the next big social networking app took his life in a new direction.
The documentary is a modern coming of age story. Director Adam Barton does a great job of giving a personality to Pasternak. He is not just some teen aged tech genius. He is a child who is still trying to figure things out about life. This is most evident in Pasternak’s attempt to create an app to compete with EBay. His hiring choices are delayed due to school while his idea of marketing revolves around hashtags and interviews that do not mention his company. He is a teenager trying to create something just for his peers.
This is just one of the many problems Pasternak encounters as he begins life on his own. Along with not always seeing the big picture, the young Australian also has a tendency to be selfish, is headstrong about the silliest ideas, and is overly concerned about status. In other words, he is a typical teenager. The Boy Who Sold the World gets the across perfectly. Pasternak is not one of these entitled millennials that people love to complain about. On the other hand, those closest to him worry about how hard he works.
Watching Pasternak’s story unfold is intriguing. Unsurprisingly, he comes across many problems as he tries to conquer the tech world. Even less surprising is how ill equipped he is to handle what happens. Despite having some very influential and high powered acquaintances, Pasternak is still a teenager who has no real business acumen. By the end of The Boy Who Sold the World, audiences will see that technology may be ever changing, but growing up is still as difficult as it ever was.