Hi, my name’s Teddy
After a long day at school, the house phone rang and my mother answered. It’s Apple and they want to have a word with you, she said. I was 17 at the time, and had been hustling iPod parts around the world.
The voice at the other end of the line said “I’m not telling you this as one of Apples attorneys, but as say, an uncle figure: you need to stop what you’re doing.”
It all began a couple years earlier, when my iPod broke. With no funds to buy one new, I scoured eBay and purchased a logic board and read countless tutorials on how to crack them open and perform the surgery. The operation was a success. It lead me to realize that older iPods broke a lot and people rarely bothered to fix them due to warranty repairs being absurdly expensive. Word spread amongst my friends. I started accumulating a surplus of parts to fix friends’ iPods.
The hobby and good deed turned into an obsession that led me to buy bulk orders of broken iPods just to sell them for parts on eBay. By the time I was 17, a spare room in our house became an iPod graveyard. I had taken in more than $65,000 in revenue from the iPod and eBay ventures before I could even legally hold a Paypal account.
As the iPod progressed, components shrank and repairs became harder. The market for parts deteriorated. So I started to buy broken iPods, mail them back to Apple under warranty and receive brand new refurbished iPods for the cost of shipping.
This was the most lucrative venture of all, until it caught the attention of Apples legal department!
They let me off the hook but the lessons learned were invaluable. From customer service, to accounting, to shipping logistics. I differentiated myself by offering international shipping and received orders from numerous far flung regions.
The power of e-commerce allowed a high school student to offer an affordable way for someone across the globe to repair their iPod. The power of the internet had won me over one iPod at a time.