Catherine Cook was only 14 years old when she came up with the idea for her popular social networking website, myYearbook. After moving just before starting high school, Catherine and her brother Dave decided to look through the school’s previous yearbooks to see if they could scope out potential new friends, but what they found was mostly empty and useless information. Realizing that the yearbook experience was seriously behind modern times, the two decided to create a website where high school students could gather.
The brother-sister duo followed the footsteps of their eldest sibling, Geoff, who, in 2002, sold off two different websites that he had founded while attending Harvard University. When Geoff learned about their start-up website, he stepped in as CEO and invested $250,000 of his own money.
The original website was basic in its structure, but, with some clever advertising and engaging content, they signed up 400 people in the first week. The siblings quickly began to introduce new and better features, thanks to an easy “in” they had with the users — namely, Catherine. She remained active and engaged on the website and listened to what the users wanted or thought needed to be improved, and, as a high school student herself, she had her own unique perspective of the website.
When Facebook began to rule the social networking world, myYearbook did not back away. Instead, it reinvented its message and focused on helping users make new friends, not connect with the ones that they already had. Recently, myYearbook merged with another social media site in a whopping $100 million deal.
It is clear that the Cook siblings have more than just a knack for the entrepreneurial mindset, and even with competition from Facebook and Twitter, myYearbook is still listed in the top 25 websites that receive the most traffic in the United States.