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At 12 years old, Capri might be the youngest data scientist hired by a tech company. So what is she working on?

First, she helps promote data science and computer science among teens. She is the future generation of tech-savvy people. She helps the CEO (who is not an English native speaker) proofread his data science book and making sure it is understood by as many people as possible.

Most importantly, she helps with computational marketing campaigns, to identify what subject lines work best. She also helps us adapt to the newer generations.

Sadly, since I've hired Capri (my daughter, the only US employee on our payroll), I have received TONS of paperwork from Washington state and our city - almost all of them asking for money (though one of them was about child labor laws). Supposedly, I should also receive paperwork from the federal government.

The money they ask seems reasonable, I'm not questioning it - though in our case it's pure extortion - they do not deliver any service for the taxes that we pay (our business is entirely online and international, with pretty much no sales in Washington state, so it's not like we are getting clients visiting our headquarters, requiring more roads or anything like that). For a small company like us, what prevents us from hiring local people is not the tax burden, but the red-tape - being flooded by tons of paperwork. At a time where everybody is scared by government power, my feeling is that government power is limited, otherwise, there would be one single simple form to pay all your taxes once a year to Washington state, or any state you are incorporated in. Some say that this red-tape is aimed at favoring big business and killing small business (who don't have the resources to deal with all these government requests). I don't think this is the case. Interestingly these dinosaurs are communicating by paper mail only (if they sent email rather than snail mail, at least they could get in touch directly with our accountant and get their money faster).

In any case, this experiment - having my daughter as a data scientist in my company - also serves other purposes:

  • Getting her exposed to many aspects of business (tax, finance, product, operations, sales, web development and so on) - I'm building her a MBA training.
  • Build her resume so that when she is 18, many opportunities open up (not just with dad's company)
  • In case going to college gets too expensive or produce negative return, she can get alternate, applied, high quality training for free.

Coming from a poor family, I believe any parent could offer this great experience to their kids. All it requires is a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking. Maybe one day, Capri will become one of the first leading data scientists with no conventional education. I am looking forward to it, or any career choice she will choose that makes her happy. 

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