Matt Guthmiller's Twitter profile reads like an impressive résumé. "Entrepreneur. Software Engineer. Pilot. MIT... Youngest person to fly solo around the world." Matt earned that title last week, upon safely landing his Beehcraft A36 Bonanza in San Diego — with nowhere near the fanfare he deserved.
As I read about this kid, I'm just awe-struck. His first flight lesson was less than three years ago, and received his private pilot certificate on his 17th birthday. Prior to departing on his round-the-world flight, Matt said, "I'm always looking for new challenges and unique experiences, but this is the biggest challenge I will have conquered." Fewer people have flown solo around the world than have been to space."
According to his bio on his website, he's also a self-taught software engineer who first began writing code in 5th grade. He started one of the very first iPhone unlocking businesses in 2007, and by high school he had moved on to producing algorithms that could predict crude oil prices and using supercomputers to analyze stock trades. During his senior year of high school, Guthmiller was a finalist for the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship before dropping out of that finalist round to go to MIT.
"Nothing is impossible," says Guthmiller. "And I've never been the kind of person to just hang around and wait for great things to happen. If you really want to achieve something great you have to go out and get it."
Matt's Beechcraft Bonanza
Matt's Limitless Horizons foundation collected donations for his flight. All proceeds (after expenses) from "Limitless Horizons" will be donated to Code.org, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to expanding participation in computer science education by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.
I've got nothing but respect (and a lot of envy) for Matt. Accomplishing so many incredible things at such a young age is inspiring to me, though I'm nearly twice his age. With his knowledge and drive, his horizons truly are limitless.