SXSW 2020: THE BOY WHO SOLD THE WORLD

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to create the apps you love and the games you can not go a day without – the social media outlets that keep you connected? If your answer was no, what if I told you some of the biggest minds behind the creations of some of the biggest apps were from the mind of a 16-year-old teenager.

Ben Pasternak found success at the top of Apple’s App Store, and at the fingers of users alike, after he released his first success Impossible Deal. From here, his success, potential future and desire to leave school brought him from Australia to New York City to embark on a venture capital to raise funding and launch his latest app Flogg. This is where The Boy Who Sold The World begins, a mother leaving her son in the big city to chase his dreams and leaving audiences to follow him along his journey, through both the failures and the successes. This is the story of the American Dream.

Flogg

The Boy Who Sold the World is clever in its break down of this young man’s journey through development, marketing and launch – not only with Flogg, but the apps and ventures that would follow. Everything is presented at an even pace, giving time for viewers to understand every element that is required to make the app launch successful, but also to have time to get to know the documentary’s central figure.

SXSW 2020: THE BOY WHO SOLD THE WORLD
source: SXSW

Flogg, an app to sell items that is described as Instagram meets eBay, is an interesting section of The Boy Who Sold the World, giving insight into the entrepreneur, the ambition and the teenager. There is a brilliant mind beneath the layer of teenager, though held back by the naivety of an adolescent. Cockiness and overconfidence found its moments of strength in his plans, yet also brought Ben his greatest challenges. While every focus is on getting the app out and to fruition, there is a shortsighted aspect to the future. Where Flogg was an instant success, attracting users back after initial launch proved to be a challenge. As the money ran dry, so did the team behind the project.

Monkey

Following the downfall of Flogg, Ben shakes the past, digests what he has learned and kicks back into action attempting to bring his newest social media app to life. With the help of coder, engineer and hacker Isaiah Turner, Ben dives deep into the code and development trying to rectify the failures of before and elevate the world of social media. With Monkey, Ben and Isaiah were looking to create a face to face chat app where you could make new friends instantly through a video chat.

SXSW 2020: THE BOY WHO SOLD THE WORLD
source: SXSW

Where Flogg had presented its own issues and successes, so did Monkey. Yet, where naivety had hindered in the past, Ben had utilized the lessons from Flogg, successfully launching (after pushback from Apple) and maintaining Monkey. Everyone wanted to invest, his team working around the clock to address issues, confront bullying and nudity and keep the dream alive. Monkey would eventually be purchased by a Chinese company, for an undisclosed amount. Working his way to the top, with a solid crew at his side, Ben Pasternak achieved everything he had set out to do.

NUGGS

Or did he? In a very Steve Jobs-like move, Ben and Isaiah venture out on a trip to India together to find their center and peace after the whirlwind success of Monkey. There is a reprieve for viewers to take a breath as well. This entrancing documentary is a lot to take in, witnessing the minds capture the American Dream a fascinating, and at times taxing, endeavor. But where do you go after you have raised millions, contributed to the growing needs of social media and found more success than most before 20? You venture into food technology of course.

SXSW 2020: THE BOY WHO SOLD THE WORLD
source: SXSW

At this point, audiences have watched a brilliant mind grow up. Ben is no longer the teenager from Australia hoping to achieve the dream. He already has. Influenced by his time in India, Ben begins working on his next project – artificial chicken. While not as enticing on paper, watch this documentary and you will be sold. While it took some time to get the formula just right, NUGGS looks, tastes, crunches and has a mouthfeel just like chicken – but with no actual meat! In a mission to remove meat from food, Ben put himself at the forefront of what is now an “impossible” goldmine.

There is a maturity in his mission, coupled with perseverance and determination that has already seen him success in the past. This is no longer a teen navigating and adult’s world, rather one who has instead made a world for himself. There is an inspiration to see him reach this moment in his life and an excitement to see the future world he not only envisions – but has the power to create.

Conclusion: The Boy Who Sold the World

The Boy Who Sold the World is a fascinating and captivating documentary looking into the world behind the technology, and the minds of the youth who are set on changing the world. Captivating until the end, this one will not let you down.

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