Andrew Wilkinson

Andrew Wilkinson

Founder and CEO

AGE: 28

COMPANY: MetaLab Design Inc.

“The best advice was from my dad. He told me that I should just go ahead and hire people because it would force me to make money—and if I didn’t make money, I wouldn’t make pay and the whole company would fail”

Andrew Wilkinson has not taken the traditional path to success. While still in high school, he and a pen pal co-founded his first commercial website, chronicling the latest news about Macintosh computers and Apple Inc. Their efforts were rewarded when at 16 he was invited to take a tour of one of the first Apple stores and interview CEO Steve Jobs.

After a short stint at Ryerson University’s journalism school, he moved back home to Victoria, taught himself how to build websites and talked his way into a job. Within a few months he taught himself enough about web and interface design to take the big leap, and in 2006 quit his full-time gig to found MetaLab.

Wilkinson has grown MetaLab from a small startup to a company with around 45 employees bankrolled by revenue from Fortune 500 clients such as Wal-Mart, Apple, Google and Disney, often using “strategic favours,” such as building blogs for big clients for free then offering his paid services for interface design.

“My early strategy was to always say, ‘Well, why not start something and see what happens?’” he says. “Just do it. People think too much, basically.”

His advice for up-and-comers? “Don’t go to school. I don’t think a computer science degree teaches you anything useful in this field.” –David Jordan

Meet Andrew Wilkinson at our 30 Under 30 event on April 30, 2014. Get your tickets here.