Teenage CEO Nathan Sykes: Biz Whiz Kid Hates School but loves Marketing

By Liz Calvo

At a young age, no one would expect that a six-year-old boy would be bitten by the business bug not that he would start his first small business venture at the age of 12 by selling resources to supplement large multiplayer servers for Minecraft.

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At the age of 14, through research and newer ventures, he decided that his passion for business should extend into events and marketing.

Now, at the age of 17, Nathan Sykes is the founder of the leading monthly flat-rate marketing agency, Howdy Interactive, which has partnered with many large corporations such as Five Guys, Amazon, NBC and hundreds more. 

Sykes began his business by hiring those who were well-versed in marketing, which led to the steady growth of the company due to a high demand of marketing teams for large corporations.

Although Sykes became a successful CEO at such a young age, he is still very humble and admits he cannot take all the credit.

“I only act as a financer for my business, the ones who deserve all the credit are those who work behind the seen who knows and understand the fundamentals of everything that occurs in the company,” he said.

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Sykes also mentions his faults throughout his journey not only with Howdy Interactive, but also in life.

“I came to realize that many people have things that they are passionate and good at doing, which for me is business and marketing; however, not everyone is good at everything,” he said. “In fact, I hate school, I was not on track to graduating on time, I flunked out of two private schools, and I’m an outspoken critic of the public education system.” 

Although Sykes is not fond of traditional education, that does not mean that there is anything stopping him from obtaining his high school diploma.

“Right now, I’m a high school senior, currently enrolled into two high schools and a college online to make up for whatever I missed in order to graduate,” he said. “My business is still my top priority and I’m doing my best to minimize the amount of schoolwork I need to do.”

Furthermore, when asked about interests, Sykes said he loves theme parks.

“Not only do I enjoy dissecting and analyzing the theme park industry, I enjoy going to theme parks whenever I have a few days available — my favorite has to be Disney World because I look up to Walt Disney and their rides are fun,” he said.

Sykes also expressed his love for film, turning his hobby into another business endeavor —The Maine Student Film and Video Festival.

“I wanted to create a place where anyone can celebrate and share their own films they worked hard to create,” he said.

As of now, this film festival has received submissions from 52 countries around the world as well as being a place of inclusivity.