FIFTEEN-year-old Ben Pasternak shot to fame in October last year after making a chart-topping iPhone game, Impossible Rush, while bored at school.
Now he’s in California, eyeing an internship with Facebook. A lot can happen in three months.
Impossible Rush, which briefly outranked apps such as Google, Gmail and Twitter on Apple’s App Store, has been sold for $US25,000 ($30,400) to French company Akkad.
Ben won’t see any of that money — he’d already offloaded the app to Carlos Xavier Fajardo, the 22-year-old from the US who helped him market it — for a mere $US200.
But Ben is not fazed — he’s always maintained he isn’t in it for the money.
To put all this into context, Ben has gained plenty of value in other ways from the app’s success, and the media attention that followed.
For starters, he’s had to knock back job offers from local tech companies.
At just 15, and about to begin year 10 at Reddam House’s Woollahra campus in Sydney, he’s not legally old enough to drop out of school.
His mum, Anna, wants him to knuckle down and get his Higher School Certificate; and then, preferably, a degree too.
But that hasn’t stopped Ben from capitalising on his summer break.
Facebook’s internship department has invited the young entrepreneur to tour its headquarters.
So has a vice-president at Google, after his own teenage son brought Ben’s achievements to his attention.
The teams at viral app Yo, and at Slack — a collaborative communication platform that has become a Silicon Valley darling — have also reached out to the up-and-comer.
And, for the first time, Ben is about to meet Austin Valleskey, the Chicago teenager who helped him build Impossible Rush.
The pair met in a Facebook group for high school hackers. Ben will take Austin with him when he tours Google and Facebook, scheduled for tomorrow.
‘‘It’s pretty weird to finally meet all these people I speak to pretty much on a daily basis,’’ Ben told Fairfax Media from the Grove shopping centre in West Hollywood, where he is with his father, Mark, and younger brother, Jake.
Ben has always thought about starting a new venture himself, but says he’d ‘‘definitely like to get an internship’’ out of the trip.
Over the weekend, Ben will take part in Hack Generation Y, a global hackathon for high school students sponsored by Google.