Generation Next

Ashley Powers, 17
While most of us didn't learn about the Internet till well after we'd gotten our driver's license, this teen practically grew up in cyberspace. When Ashley Powers was 13 and cruising teen sites, she couldn't relate to the people who created them. Unsatisfied, she bought HTML for Dummies and hit the books. What emerged in 1999 was, a Studio City, California, teen entertainment network.

Being a teen herself, Powers knew exactly what was important: message boards, chat rooms, games and good quality content, all the things that would build a community. It worked. The popularity of her site opened other doors, like a book she wrote last year and an episodic show (viewable on her Web site) she helped write and direct.

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A pretty blonde Southern California girl, Powers has dealt with her share of scrutiny. "The fact that I'm a girl, my age, the way I look, they'll pick apart anything," shares Powers, who will head off to college in fall 2003. "I've had business meetings where the guys in suits wouldn't even talk to or look at me." Unfazed, she muses: "It was a lesson in life as it was in business. You have to know in your heart what you do and not listen to what anyone else says." -April Y. Pennington

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This article was originally published in the May 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Generation Next.

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