Why He’s Interesting: Blakley’s business career began at the age of 9 when he unearthed rocks from his neighbors’ backyards and then sold them back to their original owners. As a middle-schooler, he was suspended for running a homework-selling network and by age 14 he had his own social media agency. Today, Blakley heads up YouthLogic, a youth marketing agency he founded as a 15-year-old. With such clients as Sprint, HootSuite and NPD Group, his company billed $500,000 last year and projects revenues of $800,000 in 2018.
Generation Gap: Blakley helps brands connect with Generation Z, known as those born from 1996 on and who will account for 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. “My friends and I were out playing basketball one day, and when we took a break I noticed everyone was going super-fast on their phones. They were on their Facebook feeds, ordering pizza and checking in with mom all at the same time. They all have this digital intuitiveness, and it’s only going to speed up.”
Sage Advice: Blakley wasted little time tracking down some impressive business mentors, using emails to get his foot in the door with Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban and renowned business adviser Cameron Herold. “I talk to Cameron literally every day. He’s been super generous and opened my eyes to a lot of things. I’ve been super comfortable in the realm of CEOs for a long time.”
Attention Please: Despite being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and forms of dyslexia, Blakley has thrived and now has offices in Cleveland and New York City. “I think it’s a positive. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if I didn’t have ADD. That’s where the creativity and self-awareness come from.”
Baller Life: In between business meetings, Blakley likes to channel his inner LeBron James and shoot some hoops. “I play basketball literally every single day. It’s super important to me to be active. Basketball to me is kind of an escape, and it’s obviously so much fun.”
Interesting Fact: Blakley just finished his first book, Brand Z: How Today’s Youth Are Shaping the Future of Marketing.