top of page

Computer Science Activist, Teen Entrepreneur and GenZ Change Maker! ft:Ian Brock - Dream Hustle Code

[00:00:00]Kriti: Hey guys, welcome to WhyFI Matters!

We are definitely in store for fun and even more so inspirational episode today. I am so excited to introduce you all to Ian Brock 17 year old from Chicago. Woo hoo. And co-founder of Dream Hustle Code and New Nerd. Ian is the coolest teenager I've met.

He and the team at Dream Hustle Code have also just been so kind as they've let WhyFI Matters host FinEd workshops for some of the Dream Hustle Code's virtual computer programming and personal development mini bootcamps that they hosted over the past two summers. And that's kind of how I got to know him a little bit, but I'm just super excited for this episode to learn even more about him.

Ian is a computer science activist, public speaker, rookie coder, and soon to be author. And for the past seven years, Ian's been on a mission to inspire confidence in black and brown kids while empowering them to believe that they can be creators of new cutting edge technology. He is currently writing a book, hence the soon to be author and it's for kids that led to extraordinary interviews with people like Oprah Winfrey, Steve Harvey, and Will Packer just to name a few.

Most recently, Ian was featured in McDonald's black and positively golden mentors commercial campaign. And this included figures like Big Sean and NASCAR's Bubba Wallace. He's also appeared on so many different media channels that they're just too much to name right now. And it would have taken the whole episode.

And he's also spoken at various events about technology and personal development from Silicon valley to sweet home Chicago. Ian is the recipient of the 2020 Rainbow Push Excel stem award. He is one of Chicago's innovations, 25 under 25 rising Chicago entrepreneurs and technologists in 2020, and one of 200 people under 40 in an Encyclopedic Britannica's "Shapers of the Future". And on top of all, this is a finalist for time and Nickelodeon's 2020 Kid of the Year award. That is a whole lot of accomplishments. But even with all of these accomplishments, Ian is a super down to earth. Loves normal things like playing basketball and listening to music and reading books.

So I'm just super excited to get to know him more and learn more about how he became the entrepreneur that he is today. So I hope you enjoyed the interview.

Hi, Ian, thank you so much for coming on whyFI Matters today. I'm super excited to have you on the show and get to learn more about this whole entrepreneurial side of you. Obviously we've done a few like financial literacy workshops in the past, so I'm really excited to get to learn more about you and how you've been able to turn your passion into an entrepreneurial thing.

So thank you so much for coming on the show today!

[00:03:27]Ian: Thank you so much for having me. I mean, it's, it really has the work that you do with WhyFI Matters, I think is very important. Cause you know, I'm an advocate for computer science and personal development, also financial literacy and those three things are typically things they don't necessarily go in depth in the school systems.

So the way that you do, I feel like it's very important. I'm just glad to even be a part of this podcast and this interview. So I'm ready to go.

[00:03:56]Kriti: Yeah, thank you so much. So I think just to start things off, could you, first of all, tell us a little bit, little spiel about yourself and also what is your favorite Chicago sports team?

[00:04:09]Ian: Oh, I like that question. Okay. Starting off hot. Uh, so I guess brief intro. My name is Ian Brock. I'm a 17 year old senior now. Geez. Feels like yesterday. I was 12, but I'm a senior in high school. Born and raised in Chicago. Um, the basis of what I do, I'm an entrepreneur, a public speaker soon to be author, but more specifically, I co-founded a nonprofit organization called Dream Hustle Code, uh, which is focuses on bringing computer science and personal development it's the kids who are underrepresented in the tech space.

Now the second part of your question, who was my favorite Chicago sports team, I would be the Chicago bulls. I'm a huge basketball fan. I'm playing in ball since I was like five. And so, you know, growing up and the early two, what, 2000 10, 11, 12. That was the Derrick Rose era. Exactly. The Derrick Rose Era. He was, he was like my idol. I wanted to be de rose. I dreamed of going to the league, but you know, Chicago bulls always has a place in my heart.

[00:05:09]Kriti: Yeah. My dad's a huge bulls fan. So I've been to aims when I was six and seven, but not anymore.

[00:05:18]Ian: It has a bit interesting, but this season it should look good because it's got good pick ups. So I'm excited about, yeah,

[00:05:26]Kriti: For sure. I think something interesting is the intersection between like athletes and personal development. That would be things like comp sci and financial literacy. Because a lot of times athletes are just so focused on getting amazing at that one sport that a lot of other aspects in their life are, um, forgotten about. There's a lot of push for like in the financial literacy world for athletes, obviously getting more equipped with money skills and everything.

[00:05:58]Ian: So that's awesome. Exactly. And like you, you hear a bunch of athletes or specifically basketball players who may, as the league make millions of dollars and then like 10, five to 10 years after they retired, they're broke.

Right. And so. Those at the same athletes who were broken, if they had been taught early on before they got their first paycheck or when they got it, what to do, how to manage it, how to invest, nine times out of 10, all of them would still be able to have a live a good life and have more money instead of having to, you know, do things that are, go back to doing like sportscasting or doing things that they don't enjoy.

Um, based off the fact that they just didn't get the education or the necessary information beforehand. So. I do agree that is very important.

[00:06:43]Kriti: Yeah. So did you always want to be an entrepreneur? Like even when you were little, do you have like entrepreneurial tendencies, like start a lemonade stand or were you, were you a people's person? Were you always trying to, you know, advocate for yourself or were you always interested, really had this passion and wanting to take it to a next level?

Like tell us a bit more about that.

[00:07:08]Ian: Yeah, the entrepreneurship side of me has always been there. I'm pretty sure I get it from my parents because both of them are like entrepreneurs in their own ways. As you take it back to that, like little when you were younger, that lemonade stand, I was a little bit different.

Uh, so yeah, it's funny because when I was younger, my mom, when I was around eight years old, my mom would, she started making cookies for the first time in my. Okay. So like these cookies, I'm telling you the best cookies on earth. They're like they're so they're just regular Chocolate chip cookies with white chocolate mixed inside of it.

And so it's a basic cookie, but yet it tastes so good. Mix that with the scope ice cream, straight out the oven. Oh, is the best. But, um, yeah, so I would ask my mom, like every two weeks or every week "Ma can you make cookies" and I would just take them to school while I was eating them for my lunch and my friends, they started seeing him and they're like, oh, let me get one Ian.

I would share it next to, you know, half the school knows that I have cookies and they're like the best cookie on the planet. And so I would literally start selling like one small cookie about this size, not that big for a dollar and just sell it to everybody. I was kind of ripping people off, but Hey, it was a hustle.

Um, and so I was doing that and that was like really the start where I was like, okay, where, where my parents saw that, oh, he actually has that mindset!. I didn't know it was called entrepreneurship. I was just trying to make money because I thought it was cool and it felt good being like the man, cause like, oh, Ian got the cookies and you know, go to Ian, you should get some cookies.

And so that was when it really started. And then like in seventh grade, when I was 12, at the time I had, this was when I was in middle school. So like I was taking on more responsibility, starting to pay for, you know, this was around that age. You start paying for more stuff going on after school, by yourself, traveling, whatever.

And so I needed to make some money. My dad was like, why didn't you sell candy? And I was like, okay, that's a great idea. So what I would do is I would, and I tell the story all the time. I would go to this gas station. That's like by my house and at the time. I don't think I'm gonna get in trouble for saying this, but at the time you didn't have to pay taxes at that gas station.

Right? So like all the items in the store were tax free. Yeah. I would buy honey buns for 50 cents a pop. I would buy like 10 at a time. And so each honeybun for a dollar and I would make a hundred percent profit. So I would buy it for five and split the whole entire, I think for 10. And then over the course of a couple months, I started using the same thing for fruity.

Buying a whole bag of Fruity for five selling it for like $20. And then I made what just north of 550, maybe $600 in like two or three months, something like that. But yeah, so it's kinda, I've always had that hustler's mentality or that much for entrepreneurship it throughout my entire life. Um, and that kind of carried it into sports as well, a little bit, but it's always been a part of me, I guess, since, you know, I can remember.

[00:10:04]Kriti: Yeah. I'm just reading the Dream Hustle Code sign from the back. I know it's for coding, but then you have the hustling part and like the dream part. It's a nice, like full circle moment there. I like the name a lot, but yeah, I think side hustling, a lot of kids do it, but. I don't know if they actually realize what they're doing, they don't realize it, but it's good that your parents kind of saw it in you and allowed you to do what you're doing now. So I want to talk more about Dream Hustle Code, obviously. So yeah. So were you always into computer science?

[00:10:41]Ian: Yeah, I didn't, I wasn't always somebody in the take. I wasn't always somebody that liked coding. It kind of took me a little bit to get on board fully on board with it. But how I started off it was because of a video on Facebook that my mom found. And so it would talk about the importance of computer science and how it was the future and how every kid in the world to learn how to code.

And so she convinced me to watch this video, this video, mind you. What was it? Nine o'clock at night and eight year old. I had homework to do, and I was tired and I was grumpy. So she convinced me to watch it. I'm watching the video. When I first saw it, I honestly thought that it was boring because I saw people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, but I didn't really know who they were at the time.

I mean, I just knew their names, but not what they did. And I mean, you know, I love playing basketball. I love playing video games. I was watching YouTube like almost four hours a day at the time. And so like hearing these two tech heads of companies or a bunch of heads of companies talk about computer science, I could really care less about it.

And I thought it was boring. But what really got me on board was when I saw a two time NBA champ, Mr. Chris BOSH, he was on the video and he was talking about his experience. With learning how to code. And as a matter of fact, he actually was in an after school program in high school called the Whiz kids.

Right. And it was crazy to me. I'm like, yo, this is Chris BOSH on the video. And so, you know, when you're younger, you're more impressed on everything that you see. Right. You're impressionable. You see a celebrity and you just get excited. That sour was for me. Um, and so, you know, seeing somebody that not only look like me, but somebody I could relate to that's what really got me locked in.

And that's honestly how my journey into the tech space really started.

[00:12:31]Kriti: I love that story. It was like by chance that you saw as a video, but it was perfect for you. That's really cool. Um, yeah, you're totally right. Celebrities have a lot of impact on us.

[00:12:42]Ian: And like taking that example, just like a quick step, further how I got into basketball. Well, it was introduced to me by my best friend, Cameron, when I was like five, but what made me want to play it a lot more when I was younger, because I don't play it as much anymore with seeing a celebrity, like Derek rose, like Chris Bosh. Especially the D Rose hometown in Chicago. That's what really inspired me and made it, made me think it was

[00:13:07]Kriti: Because if you see it, you believe it. Like, I think that's a big aspect of what you're trying to do it through Dream Hustle Code. You're trying to expose kids, especially kids who are underrepresented, um, kids who are black and brown and specifically, um, Chicago area kids.

That's how you like started. Right. So can you tell us more about the mission behind Dream Hustle Code and how it impacts, all of the kids you're working with and their lives.

[00:13:38]Ian: Yeah. So, as I mentioned before, the mission is all about bringing that access to computer science and now personal development. But how we impact kids' lives is we give them the access and the opportunity, but we also introduce them to a new field and show them what's possible in there. Right? Because in the communities that we serve, they'll typically they see are typically. Areas or fields they typically want to go towards strive to get into is sports, entertainment, music, and now social media influencers. 'cause I see people who look like them, right? When you see people who look like you, someone who's successful as well. You start thinking to yourself, oh, maybe this is, an avenue that I can go down or a path I can take and hopefully make it successful or be successful in it. And so what we do through our through dream hustle code is really show them, yes, this is what's possible here.

And actually you. Make even more money or have even a greater impact in your life and not have that wear and tear on your body is like an athlete per se. Exactly. And also what we do is we take them along the journey of teaching them the basics, the necessary basic skills, such as goal setting as well as time management on the personal development side of things, but also the basic necessary skills and coding as well.

Um, and so now we're like building different, you know, ways on how we can introduce kids and take out, do you know, train them to pipeline them into jobs. It's crazy how far we've come just in the last two years alone, but yeah that's the specific, our specific mission and what we try and focus on is getting right introduction, getting it done, getting them hooked on, and then taking them along the journey to eventually having them have a career in tech.

[00:15:26]Kriti: Interesting. And can you just tell us why tech and comp sci is a field that is for the future?

[00:15:33]Ian: Well, I like to break it down as simple as possible for this specific question. Um, when you look into our everyday lives, right? Technology is the one thing that touches everything that we do, right. We're sitting here on a zoom. Technology computer science was used to make zoom, right? Even from the clothes we eat, the cars we drive, uh, even the homes that we live in, every single thing is touched by technology. So why not get into a field that impacts everyone's lives. That's why it's so important to get kids, especially underrepresented kids in the tech space, because look, there's so many different opportunities. I believe like last year there was. Uh, just under 400,000 job opportunities in computer science and tech alone.

Right? So there's so much space for people to get involved. If in it's just, we need to make sure that these are, that people and kids are well-prepared to be able to get these jobs, because there's a whole lot of job opportunities, but there's not a lot, a lot of people qualify. Right. There's you're not going to be able to have that chance to be there in the first place.

[00:16:38]Kriti: And also I think just like adding onto it, um, there's an example, like in the financial space for women, um, who are trying to become like a business owners or whatever, they, a lot of times are not even able to start it because they don't. Um, funding from VCs is they don't look like them. Like they don't understand what the woman is trying to solve other business, but say, if we got more women who were at the top who are in the VCs, who aren't, these firms, obviously you'll have more women who have small businesses or businesses and whatever.

And it's kind of relating that back to you and, um, comp PSI. And if you have more people who are heading these companies, even you're going to see more. Navigate to, to this text-based so, absolutely.

[00:17:29]Ian: And not only that, right. When you have a diverse group of people working together, you're also able to inform each other of the, from the different perspectives, because if you only have one group of people, that's building the products or building the things that controls everyone's life is going to be biased. There's going to be unconscious bias, but it's still going to be biased. So that's why it's important, especially in the computer science for it to be diverse. So having, um, not only just black and brown people, but also having women in power as well, because, you know, we can't have all men dominating the industry, especially if there are women who are still consumers of the product or consumers of tech. So I definitely do agree on that part as far as, you know, making sure that there's more diverse talent, especially in this.

[00:18:21]Kriti: No. Yeah. You bring up a great point. So you said like in the past two years, you've gone through a lot done. Now, obviously the past two years we've had the COVID-19 pandemic. So tell us more about, obviously the pandemic has impacted everyone's life. So how did it impact, uh, specifically dream hustle code? And I guess, did your team have any like. Did you, were you able to do anything you didn't think you could do before? Or did you even have to like pivot and completely change or were you unable to do some things you wanted to do?

[00:18:57]Ian: It was a mix of everything you just said. I mean, obviously in this, didn't just go for us every week. Had plans for the year 2020 before the pandemic even started. Right. People have plans to travel. Companies had events in person. We had events that we have planned to do in person, but the pandemic basically just set everything down and forced everyone to pivot. So, I mean, it really challenged us. Because I can think back to that first week when we were all locked in the house, we were literally in a meeting, the three of us, my mom, my dad, and I thinking of what in the world are we going to do in the middle of this pandemic? And then somebody shot out an idea why don't we just have a computer science class?

And so, that's when we really started and shifted into taking everything we had done in person and brought it in the virtual space. So we started the computer science and personal development class. I was at the time we didn't have wif in our house. So we were using the wifi from our phones to you. I think we're using our mobile hotspot.

And man, it was a struggle the first two weeks because, we were lagging, stuff wasn't going right. But we pushed through it. So we went the first 15. Yeah, after the big, the pandemic started. Um, and then, we continued doing that, took a little break and actually during the summer of 2020, we actually had McDonald's come on board and sponsored 200 of our kids to come into our summer program for free.

And that was an amazing experience because. It gave us hope that we were doing the right thing. Right. Cause we were unsure, especially for 15 weeks of this is what going to work. Right. But seeing and having McDonald's a well-known corporation, buy into this idea, it really gave us, you know, that sense of okay. It calmed us down and we knew we were on the right path. So we did a summer program. Took another break. Did our fall program of 2020, had even more students. And then if we fast forward to February of 2021 this year during black history month, we actually hosted this event called Teen Tech Live. Which is supposed to be, you know, a fun and engaging introduction to computer science and tech, and it's supposed to be entertaining.

So we had 7,000 students on this webinar or on this virtual event for like it was two and a half hours. So if you to kind of paint the picture of what this event is, think of it as a mix between CES, a huge gaming tournament and an event such as Coachella or South by SouthWest. Right. But yeah, it's kind of a weird mix, but it comes together because, if you try and introduce kids to just education, like here, he learned this, learn that you're going to get those kids are gonna get turned off because I know I would write.

Yeah, exactly. So making sure that that first introduction is fun, entertaining, and allows the user to be engaged. That was something that we need needed to happen. And that's when we, that's where the idea for Team Tech Live came to be.. So then we fast forward continue doing the work, had another summer program this summer.

And now, we're here today, a year and a half later, having the, being able to do. Tens of thousands of kids since the beginning of the pandemic. Um, and just looking forward to the future, but it was in the beginning, I was very scared. I was very worried. I didn't know what was going to happen because I was homeschooled and I didn't have traditional school, but I'm glad we were able to pivot and make the adjustment necessary to be successful, especially when the pandemic.

[00:22:35]Kriti: So I was, I was under the impression that that was your business model the whole time. Like, I didn't realize, I always thought. That like your online, um, webinars and your, your like camps. And I thought that was your whole business model. So can you just, I guess, tell us a little bit about what you were doing before it started also, when did you start dream hustle code that it was like, I just did not ask.

[00:23:08]Ian: I kind of got to tie it back, sign, you know, piece both of these together, because it relates to one of the questions I answered earlier about how I got into tech. So let me see how I can shake this real quick. All right, let's go back to December of 2013. How DHC. So because of the video I saw with Chris Bosch in it, that kind of inspired my parents.

And I to think if I reacted that way, because I saw somebody, right. How many other kids would do the same? So December, 2013, we host this event called the Hour of Code at my school. Um, we have, we invited another school from the south side of Chicago to join. And we almost had Beyonce come in during the event, but unfortunately it didn't happen.

She wasn't town for tour. And like, my dad actually pledged with her tour manager, but like just the times it may happen, unfortunately. But it was close to, but regardless of that, we still had an amazing. And so we actually had the, the founder of who created the hour of code. He actually Skyped in because Skype was popular at the time and talk to us because I was eight years old, for like a brief five to 10 minutes.

So because of that event, a bunch of my friends had continued doing the lessons they had learned over the weekend at home. And a bunch of parents asked us and send us emails and text messages saying, what is this coding thing in my, why is my kid so interested in it? Right. Because why would a kid do something from school over the weekend, without it being homework, it doesn't make sense. Right. Cause I know I wouldn't do it at the time, but yeah. And then a couple of parents asked us, what are you going to do moving forward? And so at the time we knew that there was a lack of representation for black and brown people in the tech space.

And we knew it wasn't being taught in schools because I went at the time I was at the top public elementary school in the city of Chicago and they weren't teaching us computer science or coding. Right. It happened once a year during the hour of code. Um, and so that's when we started dream hustle code now to answer the second question of what we did before the pandemic, um, we did all in-person events.

So you said, you thought we did like virtual events. Before that we actually didn't know that. I mean, we knew it was a thing, but we just didn't know how to execute it. So what we did was we did those hour of code events in different schools, churches, or the organizations, before actually starting in 2014.

We have summer coding camps. In 2019, I led the fundraising to take a group of high schools, kids from Chicago and fly them to Silicon valley so that they can visit different tech companies. So we went to companies like Netflix, Twitter. Google, I think Warner brothers as well. Um, and even Nipsey hussle tech incubator, vector 90.

And so we went to like, we, we started that in 2019, and then right before the pandemic, we actually hosted an Hour of Code event at Google's headquarters in Chicago with 300 students. So, as you can imagine, we were doing all of these in-person events gearing up. And like I said before, we had a bunch of, in-person events planned literally right when the pandemic started and even for the summer.

So we were planning on taking our second trip, but obviously we had to adjust and we just realized we had to take it virtually. And instead of having everything face to face and then.

[00:26:34]Kriti: Yeah. I mean, that's really, you've been doing this for like six, seven years. That's a

[00:26:42]Ian: long time. This December it'll be eight years.

And I think

[00:26:46]Kriti: that's really, it's really shows how like invested you are in it and how it's definitely paid off. Um, all of your accomplishments. I guess shifting a little bit away from the entrepreneurial side.

But seeing as you're a very like accomplished kid, how were you navigating school and like social dynamics and obviously being into something typically like geeky, like computer science, and also being an entrepreneur. So how did you navigate all of this in school just socially.

[00:27:22]Ian: Right. So I was homeschooled my eighth grade year, but before that, at the time we weren't as busy as we are now, of course, but it was really a balancing act because before I was homeschooled, I was playing ball, I was doing dream hustle code, I would have had a social life. As well as school, right. In person. And so all of those different things, I don't, honestly, I couldn't tell you how I managed it. At a young age, my parents taught me the importance of time management and how to manage my time and why it's so important.

So, I mean, I just found a way, but luckily we weren't as busy as we are today. Now, if we like come into within the last two, three years, What's made it easier as of course I've been homeschooled. So now I'm more flexible. I'm able to do more events and not have to call out of school and explain to my teachers, oh, I'm going to be out for a week because of this.

Right? Because I think my seventh grade year, I missed almost two months of school because of events, speaking events, interviews. It was crazy. I was still getting good grades. You know, missing that two months of school and then teachers, looking at me crazy when I come back out of town, I have a test and projects to make up, you know, that was complicated.

So homeschool has definitely made it easier, but the social aspect, I've been able to manage everything except being social within the last year, obviously because of the pandemic, but like, It's kind of hard because you're so focused on accomplishing this one goal of this one mission your hardest. So all your time and energy into it, but then you forget, oh, I still have to be social with people. So I'm not awkward when I go out in public. And so that's one thing I am working on getting back into like now I'm so I'm more conscious about. Now I got to go spend some time hanging out with friends, meeting new people, going to different events because before, during the pandemic I would just come downstairs and work and I didn't have to go out or anything except for groceries or whatever.

But yeah, it's, it's been a balancing act understanding I have to make, do take certain risks and also give up certain things in order to do. Things that I want to do now, as well as for the future.

So I want to talk a little more about tech jobs and because I just had a question and I guess this is a good time to ask us because, so my dad he's in tech. But obviously he lives in Chicago. And I was just wondering if you think that. The tech field in order to really be a part of it. And, you know, like, um, you know, like get to the higher positions. Do you have this geography matter? Like, do you have to be in Silicon valley or do you think the Midwest is also kind of becoming a tech hub in that sense?

Right. Um, obviously going to Silicon valley is more favorable because there are so many opportunities and so many well established companies there, but that's not the only spot that gold soup, right. Chicago is slowly becoming a tech hub in and of itself. I did some research earlier.

There was over 6,100 tech companies that were created with. Or the last five years and they are all our 6,100 of them are based in Chicago.

[00:30:31]Kriti: There are a lot of start ups in Chicago, for sure.

[00:30:34]Ian: Exactly. And there's even incubators like 1871 who are helping create those startups as well. Obviously Silicon valley is again the best place to go to Ford sake, but it's not the only place because there's so many opportunities, not only in Chicago in the Midwest. But also places like Atlanta, New York and then other spots, even Texas, where they're starting to become more tech companies, more hubs

[00:30:59]Kriti: like Austin. And also I think, because they don't have taxes there, people are just like moving. Right.

Exactly. Oddly of life. I mean, if you look, I think a couple, what was it last year?

It's a good one salt lake city area down. I dunno. Yeah. Like I think they want to balance quality of life, especially because tech is such like it you're always at your computer 24 7, right?

[00:31:29]Ian: Yeah. But also another thing is really expensive to live in California, San Francisco. All right. San Francisco, I think was rated the most expensive place to live. And so like this year for the last 10 or five to seven years or something like that. And so you see like Elon Musk, he moved out of California and moved to Texas.

And I think he's starting one of his gigafactories there. I'm not sure about that. Let me, I'm not a hundred percent on that, but like you can start, you're starting to see more companies and CEOs moving outside of the Silicon valley and venturing out to different states and cities.

[00:32:03]Kriti: That's good. It's that it's becoming decentralized, I think.

Um, so can you tell us more about like your team and how, how does your family, but also your Chicago community help you because no one is able to do this by themselves. You like having. It's good. It's good because you are open to be vulnerable. You're open to other people's opinions and their criticisms too. So how has your team really helped Dream Hustle Code and you to evolve to what you guys are doing?

[00:32:37]Ian: I mean, my team is everything. I wasn't born, the most talented person to be able to do everything by myself.

That definitely isn't me. At first starts with my parents, right. I have a unique situation with my parents where they're not only my parents, but they're also my partners in business. So I work with them every single day through our dream hustle code events and initiatives, as well as other projects, from my personal brand as was through the work that we do. But yeah, I mean, having that good relationship with my parents. It wasn't wasn't always a situation where I wanted to work with them because they're my mom and dad. When I was younger, it was like all of their mom and dad, I don't want to work with them. And it felt a little bit uncomfortable, but as I matured and I grew up, I started seeing the value in it. And how, if I'm able to work with them. And have a good relationship. Not only does it benefit the business, but it benefits my own life. So definitely, I mean, having that great relationship with them is important. Also, if I could sit here and count all the people that have helped, we've been here for like another day or two, but all of my mentors, my teachers, my friends, family, you know, people that have helped push the journey a little. It's a lot of them. Right. I've had people like the head of media sales that BET Mr. Louis Carr help. I've had people like Mr. Jeff Hoffman tech billionaire founder of and other individuals like, again, I don't want to sit here and name all of them cause I can't. But, um, you know, people like them who have just helped me support me since the beginning or who came along the journey and supported me, you know, I couldn't do it without them, especially without, you know, that whole support system and the team and really the village.

[00:34:16]Kriti: Right. The fact that you're also, you have a good relationship with your parents and a good working relationship with them as well will be important for like you. When you want to venture out and say you start your own company. You'll, you're going to be able to take that skill and also maintain a good relationship with them as well, because parent um, child relationship is so unique in the fact that you're able to navigate it well is probably going to set you up for success in other relationships and like the business world too. Are you, are you an only child?

[00:34:53]Ian: Um, no. I actually have, uh, two older siblings. I have an older brother and an older sister.

So I'm like the baby of the family is crazy because I'm like the young. It's a kid and the youngest grandkid in my family. I'm pretty sure on like both. No, no, no, not both sides, but definitely my dad's side. So yeah, it does. It does have its perks being the youngest, I will say. Uh, so I mean, I'm grateful on that part, but now I have my two older siblings and I love them both dearly.

[00:35:22]Kriti: Oh, I'm an only child. So I was like, oh, I don't meet a lot of only children. So

[00:35:29]Ian: I have a couple of friends who are only. In fact, my best friend is the only child. My friend who's been my friend since I was two. He was the only child. So, I mean, it's weird. I actually do a know a lot of only child people.

It's crazy. So

[00:35:42]Kriti: I'm really excited. You're obviously super excited about this as well, but your upcoming book. And I hear that you have some really interesting interviews lined up as a part of your book. So could you tell us a little bit more about that?

Um, yeah you're an author.

[00:36:00]Ian: Congratulations.

There's a lot to go on this. Um, but so the book of the books that you're speaking of is actually an idea that, or was supposed to be, it's supposed to be written for kids on how to overcome adversity and how to become successful, um, through the, from the perspective of a kid, um, from lessons from successful individuals.

So how this started was during our initiatives, we did early on with dream hustle code or events we did. One thing that we noticed was that whenever any of the kids came across a problem or a challenge, or they just saw a problem that looked really difficult, they wanted to give up and quit without even attempting it.

And so one thing I've been learning personal development since I was four years old and it's been, uh, it's played a key role throughout my life. And so when we saw that, when we saw those videos, we saw had those experience, we thought, okay, why don't I interview highly successful people, take the stories that they have, the lessons they learned throughout their journey and write it in a book through the perspective of a kid, right?

Because one thing everyone knows is whether they say it or not, when an adult can say something to a kid and they could fly past their kids, that they might not even understood what they said, but another kid could say that exact same message. Maybe a little bit differently and that kid, the kid will understand the complete, I don't know why that's the case, but it just makes sense.

[00:37:27]Kriti: I have a filter whenever someone who's an adult says anything goes in when you're out the other,

[00:37:34]Ian: I guess. So. I mean, you said it, not me, but that's just really how it works. Um, and so we started the journey in 2016. I've done 50 plus interviews. Yeah. I've been doing this. Uh, 11 Jesus, six years. Goodness.

But, um, we it's been a long journey, 50 plus interviews. I've interviewed people like miss Oprah Winfrey, Mr. Steve Harvey. If you asked me how I got there, I truly don't know. I just interviewed one person and asked them to introduce me to people. Um, but, um, but yeah.

Who else? Chris BOSH, the CEO of Chick-fil-A. It's really been a blessing. But one thing that I do know is that, although I've met all these successful people, I can't, it's my responsibility to share this information with others so that they can use it to better themselves as well. So, I mean, I'm glad I'm able to be a part of the ride and I've been placed in this position and I'm just excited to see what happens when we do finally release the book, um, in the near future.

[00:38:36]Kriti: That's amazing. Um, and I really like. Even though you have gotten a lot of opportunities to personally learn from amazing entrepreneurs and people in general. You're also, you're genuinely like trying to take that and give it back to everyone else who might not be able to access it. And I think that's really important.

So what, what advice would you give to other aspiring tween and teen entrepreneurs?

[00:39:06]Ian: One thing I will say is it's a couple of things, actually. First thing I would say is you have to believe in yourself, right? Because if you don't believe in yourself, you don't believe in the mission you're doing, or even the product you're selling.

If you're selling. It's not going to work out because there will be so many people who will try and talk you out of it. It's happened to me. There was tens hundreds of people that tried to say, don't do it or try to say, why did you get homeschooled or try to tell us that it wasn't going to be a good idea.

All right. Even early on when we started dreaming hustle goals. So you have to believe in yourself, even when it doesn't look the best and even just believing in what you're doing. The second thing is understand that it is not going to be easy. And nothing. I mean, absolutely nothing is going to go according to plan.

Um, so you can try and plan the best you can, but it's not going to work out that way and be flexible. Right. I understand that. Is there going to be difficult? It's going to be challenged. There's going to be setbacks, but just be willing to push past that adversity and not give up no matter how tough it gets.

That is a critical and key role, because I was a huge lesson. I learned along my journey. Um, and last but not least have patience. Right. I've been in this for eight years and I'm not even more successful like that. I've only had a little bit of success and I've been in it for eight years. Right. So, I mean, it's going to take a long time.

It might happen. It could happen tomorrow, but more than likely it's going to happen in a couple of years from now. So be patient stay the course, keep grinding, doing the necessary things every single day. And eventually what you're looking for, the success you're looking for will happen. So those are the three things I would say to any aspiring entrepreneur, regardless, honestly, regardless of whatever age they are, those are definitely the three things.

[00:40:54]Kriti: Yeah. For me, like what really stood out is that you've been in it for so much longer than I personally like thought and I just really shows like you, if you keep going. Something will come out of it and hopefully they really good. And obviously that, that in your case, you have had some very amazing accomplishments, but the fact that you're just keeping you keep going at it is I think important because a lot of people think about like overnight success and I'm going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg and they don't put the work in, right?

Like, no, you have. Put the work into it and that's all patients and just keeping your head down, like pushing through,

[00:41:41]Ian: um, I mean, one last thing I hate to interrupt, but like, as you said, right, that overnight success, people think most people think that it happens in a month. Right? Would they? But they, and they only see the end result.

But they don't see is the hours, the days, weeks, months, and years, and time and energy that we'll spend into the craft. And this isn't even in entrepreneurship, but it's sports. We're talking about the bulls, right? Let's just take the D Rose. People saw Derek Rose as this, you know, phenomenal NBA player coming out of college as the number one draft pick coming to his hometown.

What they didn't see is the hours, on the court, outside of the core playing ball, since he was middle score, even before middle school, they didn't see those years, he put into his cry and that's what you have the results. It wasn't the, you know, it wasn't though that little time that people saw the end result that got him there.

It was the back end time.

[00:42:42]Kriti: No, yeah, totally. It's a great example of what we're talking about here.

So why is financial literacy super important in terms of being an entrepreneur like yourself, but also in terms of a regular teenager out there, why is financial literacy such an important thing to have.

[00:43:05]Ian: Yeah, definitely. All right. So one thing, I love this question. Why is financial literacy important for entrepreneurship? Well, think about it like this. If you don't have any money, you can't start a company. You have to have, at least a certain amount of money in order to get your company off the ground and running even in life.

If you don't have the necessary funds to even just take care of the basic needs life, you won't be life won't be enjoyable and you won't be able to focus into the necessary things to improve yourself. So absolutely the basis of financial literacy, such as the things that you cover, budgeting, certain terms investing are those things are absolutely necessary because money isn't the end all be all, but it is a very important tool that can make a can.

And. Make your life a lot easier. So having that baby, you manage

[00:43:57]Kriti: it properly. It's like you said, you can have so much money and be a star football player. And if you don't have the ability to manage it, then it won't make your life easy.

[00:44:09]Ian: Absolutely. So, yeah. I mean, exactly. Like you said, budgeting in those, in those certain things, that necessary skills is important.

[00:44:16]Kriti: I mean, Yeah. And then where do you see yourself in five years? Like, obviously things can change, but where, where do you, are you going to start a company? Continue this?

Um, so by then, so we're around 22.

[00:44:36]Ian: So by. Um, one of our projects that we have in the works, it's actually a multi-million dollar project over the course of seven cities. So by five years, I want to say that project should be up and running by then. Um, is what, so 22, if I do go to college, I'll be out working. I'll probably start another company by then.

Um, definitely want to, at least that. I must begin to assistance right now, my first 10 to 50 mill by then, as they go, but also I want to buy, I want to also be able to have an impact of at least a hundred thousand, not just saying, oh, I inspire people, but I gave them the necessary tools and resources that they need to be successful.

Um, by the time I'm 22, because that's the goal. I mean, for me, I don't necessarily care about all the materialistic and the financial things of the world. I mean, it's cool to have. But I'm more focused on the impact and actually making a difference in someone's life, um, here. And so I'll be 22. So hopefully I'll be able to travel the world by then, you know, visit different countries and see different cultures.

[00:45:43]Kriti: You can spread Dream Hustle Code to so many different countries I think.

[00:45:48]Ian: Absolutely.

Yeah. I mean, if everything goes according to plan, but I know for a fact, I mean, regardless of what happens, I know I'll put in enough work to get to where I want to go, but I just hope you know, that the journey is something I can still enjoy.


[00:46:04]Kriti: And you'll obviously, yeah, I think that's a great, you're a great role model because you're still, you know, you're enjoying the process. And putting the hour, so it's not all about the end result. Um, so yeah, it's a super, super fun. Even the that we were able to do together. They were like on behalf of, Katie and Anika and I, like we had a lot of fun with just the vibe, is a really fun vibe. And I think if you just take this wherever you go. It's going to be fun. Thank you so much Ian for coming on WhyFI Matters today. It was great to like learn more about you as a person and how you started this.

[00:46:45]Ian: Yeah, thank you for having me. I actually learned a lot about you and thanks again, you know, especially the team over at WhyFI Matters for you being willing to it's a come in and mental my students, especially in the introduction part of financial literacy. That was something that I really enjoyed it. I think the kids all into it. But I'm excited about this podcast and I think you're moving in the right direction with it. And, you know, I hope that your future with WhyFI Matters in everything else that you do, you'll be successful in.

In fact, I know you will. It's just a matter of time!

[00:47:18]Kriti: So, that's the end of the interview and it was so awesome to connect with Ian and I had a total blast. I think he is a huge inspiration to all of us. As he shows that age, can't prevent us from really pursuing our goals. Dream hustle code and everything that Ian has created really just show how important focus and determination is, how important strong community and how important having a lot of patient resilience is and how it can just really take very far. For more information on Ian and on dream hustle code, I have linked their website and the episode description, and also make sure to stay tuned for the release of his new book. Also make sure to share this episode with a friend or two who, want to be entrepreneurs who are aspiring entrepreneurs.

I think that if they see it, they can believe it. Or in this case, if they hear it, they can believe it. Thanks for listening. And I can't wait to talk to you next time.

Link to Dream Hustle Code :

bottom of page