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Darren Dunn’s Story: I Dare Anyone One To Read This Article And Fail To Be Inspired

a teenager

a teenager

My heart sank when an online contact asked me if I would like to help out a teenage student who wanted to make a name for himself as a journalist.

Of all the myriad creatures God has placed on this earth, I had been singled out to try to help a teenager!

How was I supposed to talk to one of that surly, self-absorbed brood who choose to communicate in occasional grunts, shrugs of the shoulders and, if you are very lucky indeed, words of one syllable.

If they are not sleeping or listening to loud rap music on their iPods, they are either getting drunk, stealing cars, starting fights or scoring drugs.

However I put my prejudices aside and agreed to help…and the rest of this blog post explains why I am so glad I did.

The teenager in question was a 16-year-old English lad called Darren Dunn who had noticed that Robert Shoesmith – the guy who had camped for ten nights outside a London Apple store – had been chatting to me on Twitter.

Darren checked out my profile, discovered that I had worked most of my life as a journalist, and asked Robert to put him in touch with me.

When Robert – who has featured twice on this blog – told me Darren would be contacting me, that was the point when my heart sank. As a general rule teenagers don’t listen to a word I say, so why should this one be any different?

Then I received the following email:

“Hello Patrick,

I’m a 16-year-old teenager with a dream. I want to work for TechnoBuffalo as a journalist.

I have spoken to Robert Shoesmith about this and he recommends giving you a call if that’s ok ?

Kind Regards

Darren Dunn.”

Darren Dunn

Hungry for online success...Darren Dunn

He then sent a follow-up email with a link to an article he had just written and links to two online videos he had created. In the email exchange which followed all my prejudices about teenagers (or at least about this particular teenager) evaporated.

We chatted regularly on Skype and as he explained his passion for journalism, I had no doubt that this guy was going to succeed in his chosen career.

Darren was articulate, personable, witty, dedicated, utterly passionate about making a name for himself as a consumer technology journalist, informed, polite and confident.

In our conversations he told me about how he needed to make sacrifices to achieve his goals, how he would have to work hard to stand out from everyone else who wanted to make their name in this competitive niche and how he planned to use personal branding to get his name known.

Here was a 16-year-old youth explaining to me the very concepts that many people who want to make a living online seem to have so much trouble understanding.

I wanted to put him inside the TELive chatroom, have everyone stop talking, and listen to him speak for half an hour.

Actually maybe that is not such a bad idea after all?

As we spoke in-depth about journalism – a subject we are both passionate about – I began to learn new things from Darren in each call. Each and every one of us has the capacity to mentor and be mentored and regardless of your niche it will all start with passion.

Here, in his own words, is this inspirational teenager’s story:

“Hello, my name is Darren.

“I spend my entire teenage days producing articles and technology-related videos in order to try to break my way into a career in journalism.

“I’m 100 per cent focused on technology and for as long as I can remember I have loved technology.

“Since I was 10, I have watched the tremendous consumer technology journalist Jon Rettinger make videos. I was instantly hooked and from then on I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

“I knew if I was to have a job online it would change my life for the better but many people who say they would love to work from home, unfortunately aren’t willing to go to the lengths I am in order to make it happen.

darren dunn 1

“So what is my goal? I have laid out a plan that I feel is realistic. I want to be working for Jon at TechnoBuffalo by the time I am 30.

“I am only 16 and unfortunately teenagers are being described by journalists as out of control and with the high numbers of teenage pregnancies and teenage alcohol abuse they are telling the truth but they don’t talk about people like me.

“I live in my home office working hard for a future.

“I don’t see the point in getting drunk and smoking in order to have fun, I would prefer to film a video review or rant about how much I love Microsoft on a Friday night so I guess I am not a ‘typical teen.’

“I spend all day writing articles and thinking of unique video ideas as well as reviewing multiple smartphones at once. I hardly sleep because I love what I’m doing so much it’s hard to turn off the Mac.

“I love journalism and writing my reviews but I get bullied for this.

“At school I was called a geek, a nerd and I was even called gay on the odd occasion. I was welcomed to school with abuse and shouts that I will never be successful and other hurtful remarks.

The bullies won’t win.

“Too many people are willing to sail through life and hope to get lucky! Sorry, but I can’t rely on luck.

“I know that the only way I’m going to succeed is by putting a lot of hard work and effort into my articles and video productions.

“I also have to make several sacrifices now in order to have a successful life later.

“I often get called boring for staying in front of a computer the entire day, but I know that’s what I have to do in order to live my dream and break into the world of journalism.

“As for the school bullies with their hurtful comments, well I am determined to prove them all wrong.”

 I have no doubt that Darren will make it in his chosen career. No doubt at all.

This guy does not hang around.

For example on Sunday night he called me up and asked if I thought it would be helpful if he set up his own website for personal branding purposes.

I said “yes” and less than three hours later he showed me this:

Darren Dunn website

Darren Dunn...working hard to secure his online future.

Darren actually wrote far more about his dream than I could publish on this blog. You can read his full story here.


22 Responses to Darren Dunn’s Story: I Dare Anyone One To Read This Article And Fail To Be Inspired

  1. Justin Ledvina
    November 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    I wish I had 1/5th the motivation and dedication this kid has at age 16….or even age 25. Some people seem to get it right away while others float around wondering when opportunity will come to them.
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  2. Dave Cryer
    November 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    This is a great article. I have spoken to Darren too and he is certainly very passionate about what he wants to achieve. I wish him every success.

  3. David UNITED KINGDOM November 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this with us Patrick, Darren has got the right idea from the word go. Just reading a little of what he has to say, has given me a ‘kick’. I to have fallen for the old trick of just waiting around, thinking an opportunity will just come may way, but as i am 100% sure Darren will prove, the best way to get an opportunity is to go out there & make an opportunity for yourself! He knows what he wants & what he has todo, to get it. Good-luck to him, I look forward to seeing how his dream plans out.

    • Patrick Griffin
      November 15, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

      Nice one David.
      We all need either a kick or a gentle nudge in the right direction from time to time.
      I hope your online stuff is going well. I noticed you had some tech issues the other day but hopefully you managed to get them resolved.
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  4. Larry Dame 3
    November 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I love this post today Patrick. It is always good to see kids that are motivated to make a difference. I hope to see him as a great journalist years from now
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    • Patrick Griffin
      November 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

      Well said Larry.
      I really love being able to write posts like this.
      Normally I get to moan about all that is bad in the world and how people are their own worse enemies.
      So when I get to write an article like this I am happy.
      I have already found another action taking youngster as a result of writing this…am currently trying to persuade him to let me tell his story too.
      Hope he says yes.
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  5. John P. Bell
    November 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Hi Patrick,

    Great post.

    It gives one hope for the future to here about young people like Darren.
    I believe there are way more like him out there than we know about, but as long as the media continues to bombard are minds with just the bad apples we tend to believe they are all bad apples.

    Thanks for sharing the good apple.


    • Patrick Griffin
      November 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

      Ah the wicked, wicked media…they love the bad and ignore the good.
      Thank God I was never part of any of that…oh hang on! ;)

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  6. Sergio Felix
    November 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Wow Patrick,

    I can only wonder how much is this kid going to be capable of!

    Having such a great mindset so early is really beyond worth checking out.

    Hope this relation builds up and hopefully we will have an amazing kid to follow for our marketing gadget needs.

    Speak soon and good luck Darren, wish you nothing but the BEST!!

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    • Patrick Griffin
      November 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

      Sergio you don’t know how right you are.
      This kid knows his gadgets.
      I have already made two minor, but important, changes to this blog just from talking to him.
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  7. Abe Campbell
    November 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    Great post, Patrick! I retired from teaching high school in 2010, and it’s always great to hear positive comments about motivated teenagers such as Darren. He is truly an inspiration for me as I begin my journey into internet marketing. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with some very motivated young men and women (as well as some…..shall we say “not so motivated”). I hope Darren continues to follow his dream. I know he will go far!

    • Patrick Griffin
      November 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

      Hi Abe,
      I hope Darren does not get too big-headed after all this positive feedback…but he seems to be a well-grounded individual and I am sure he will not be led astray!
      You are quite right to say that working with motivated people is so rewarding and it kind of makes up for all the others who don’t even listen and don’t want to learn or don’t see the importance of improving their own lives.
      Great comment – many thanks for taking the time to post.
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  8. Jocelyn Jones
    November 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    Ohhh Patrick, once again you never cease to amaze. I thought for sure you were going to share your own life story the way you were speaking yesterday. What a pleasant surprise! That is so Awesome that at such a young age Darren truly gets it! He has the Passion, he has the drive and determination. He already has a clear goal and he is starting to connect with other people to make his dream come true. He is others’s focused and it also looks to me like he is grateful, and he also has the unwavering faith that he will reach his goals. In sum, without knowing it, he is applying the 4 principles, when used in conjunction with each other is a “Fail Proof Formula” For Success! :)
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  9. Patrick Griffin
    November 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    Ha ha not my story…Darren’s story is far more interesting than mine! :)
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  10. Darren Dunn
    November 15, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    I would personally like to thank everyone that has supported me and offered kind inspirational words, calling me “inspirational” is something I would never call myself. I would also like to thank Patrick for this article, it has been great reading all the comments and interacting with people that have gotten in touch with me.

    Thank you!
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    • Patrick Griffin
      November 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

      Hi Darren,
      Be sure to keep me informed about your online progress and keep going strong…you will get where you want to be much sooner than you think.
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  11. Sam Burgess
    November 17, 2011 at 4:58 am #

    Patrick and Darren, what an inspirational pursuit! Darren, this pursuit of your dream reminds me of a story that a gentleman named Doug Weade, (sp), would tell at some of the seminars and motivational rallies that Deb and I attended back in the 1980′s. Many years ago, there were these caravans of camels and herdsmen, traveling through out, from village to village buying and selling their wares. As they would pass by areas that had yapping dogs to hinder their travels, the caravan drivers would say, “Let the dogs bark, this caravan is moving on!” They would not be distracted by the yapping dogs. You, Darren, will always have them yapping at your heals and at your face and behind your back because when a person has a dream, a Big Dream, there will always be the nay Sayers and the little thinkers that want to hold you back because “They don’t have the guts and determination to believe in a Big Dream!” Darren, I salute you and can hardly wait to see you on the National Scene!
    God Bless from Texas
    Sam and Deb Burgess
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  12. Benjamin Lothian
    November 25, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    First off I would like to say, fantastic article. I’m known Darren pretty well for around a year now, even from the start he came across as a confident and very talented individual. He has always had a passion for technology and trying to get the best quality content out there. I remember helping him choose his current camera. That was pretty fun and now I’m getting the same one after seeing the fantastic video quality. Like Darren I would love to get myself ‘out there’ doing graphic design and photography. It always astonishes me the amount of passion and effort he puts in to everything he does in life. He’s younger than me yet I look up to him in a way. I know Darren will go far and become a massive success. I just hope he will keep in contact with me when he does.
    Patrick, I tweeted you when I found out you were writing this article. I would just like to thank you once again for not sticking to the ‘default’ stereotype to some of this generation. I just hope people like Darren with restore the faith in this generation.
    Thanks again!

    • Patrick Griffin
      November 25, 2011 at 3:56 am #

      Hey Benjamin,

      Thanks for your kind words and also thanks for subscribing to my blog too, I really appreciate it.

      I am more than happy to correct the stereotype of your generation.

      If you are interested in graphic design and photography then there are huge career opportunities open to you…good luck with it, stay focused (no pun intended) and don’t give up on your dreams or let others drive you off track.

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