But perhaps the real story is the person behind Oompher – a 19 year old called Jake Millar from Greymouth. Jake’s father was tragically killed in a plane crash on the Fox Glacier (in New Zealand’s Southern Alps). Jake is quoted as saying "My dad's death really brought home the fact that you can be living life to the full one minute, then gone the next – so there's no use wasting time on things you don't absolutely love."
Wow that’s pretty inspiring. We often hear of people in life who do amazing things following something traumatic such as a near death experience – and voice similar reasons for achieving what they do.
The site has been in the news recently as Jake has sold the business to Careers New Zealand, part of the New Zealand Government. I say this is a smart move from the Government as this market is a traditionally tough nut to crack. A site produced for young people by one of their peers must have a greater than even chance of success.
Young people coming out of school often lack someone, with whom they can relate, to provide advice and guidance on what to do next. The figures for first year drop-outs from university or technical college are still high. And how many of us can trace our lives and careers back to decisions we made when we left school? Its an important time for young people – and worthy of serious and considered investment by Governments everywhere.
For someone so young, what Jake has achieved is extraordinary. Not many nineteen year olds would have the courage and vision to cold call a business leader and successfully talk them into making a video. And so the quality and quantity of excellent videos on the site is a testament to this young man.
I suspect his father would have been pretty proud . . .