Like many college students, Catherine Cook spent spring break in the Bahamas, catching rays on the beach. But the Skillman native also had her laptop nearby to keep tabs on her multimillion-dollar Internet company.
Cook, 19 and a sophomore at Georgetown University, is president of myYearbook.com, a social networking website she cofounded four years ago with her brother Dave, now 20 and a junior at the University of Colorado.
That spring of 2005, the Cooks were flipping through their Montgomery High School yearbook, and decided “it sucked, and would be much cooler and more fun if we put it online.”
With the help of older brother Geoff, 30, a Harvard grad and web entrepreneur, who wrote them a $250,000 check at the dinner table, myYearbook was born. It would soon add millions in venture-capital funding.
“It started at our high school with 300 members that first week,” says Cook. The site connects users through icebreaking features (you can flirt by giving someone a “high five”), polls or “battles” (on superlatives like best-looking), and games where you can earn “lunch money” to donate to social causes.
Now the fourteenth largest site on the web, according to comScore (recently surpassing Amazon and Wikipedia), and third among social networks, according to Hitwise, myYearbook claims more than 16 million members.
Balancing 50 to 60 hours of work for myYearbook each week with a rigorous academic schedule, the teenage dot-com millionaire still finds time to be a normal college kid and watch her favorite TV show, House, and spend summers on Point Pleasant.
Cook, a marketing major, remains unclear about her future. Some day—“way in the future, like when I’m 30”—she hopes to run for the state Senate. “For now, I want to take myYearbook as far as I can,” she says.
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