Recently, New York magazine featured Feross Aboukhadijeh in a piece titled “Bubble Boys”. Aboukhadijeh is a Sacramento-born, 20-year-old computer science student at Stanford who has been characterized as among the school’s most heavily recruited students by a course adviser. The piece suggested he may ultimately be among those geeks to succeed the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.
While perhaps a stretch, it’s easy to see Aboukhadijeh’s appeal. A year ago, Aboukhadijeh created a small media sensation with YouTube Instant, a site that invites visitors to scan YouTube videos in real time, and which Google was at one point interested in acquiring – along with Aboukhadijeh.
“They were talking about adding (the code) to YouTube and having me come on, but it never really worked out,” said Aboukhadijeh, who speaks quickly and breathlessly, like someone needing to get to wherever he’s next expected. “I’d only been in school for two years at that point. It seemed silly to stop and take a job. Then they said, ‘You can do an internship while you’re in school.’ But I wasn’t really interested in doing that. I knew that to do well (at Google), I’d need more than 15 hours a week. Also, when you join a new company, it takes three or four months before you’re even up to speed.”
Aboukhadijeh has some idea about what happens inside companies. Two summers ago, he scored an internship at Facebook, and it took “two months before I was going all out, doing stuff.” This past summer, Aboukhadijeh snagged another enviable internship, at the question-and-answer site Quora.