Pete Cashmore fell in love with the internet as a 13-year-old while recovering from an operation in his native Scotland. It was, he said, something useful he could do while laid up in bed.
Exactly how useful those teenage endeavours were is likely to be valued soon at a sum reported to be in the region of $200m as Mr Cashmore prepares to sell the company he founded to the global news network CNN.
Although there was no official confirmation of the acquisition of Mr Cashmore's Mashable, the world's most influential technology and social networking news site, online reports claimed the deal was already done and due to be announced later today.
However sources close to the negotiations indicated yesterday that no announcement was imminent this week.
If it comes off, the buyout will elevate the 26-year-old to the upper ranks of dotcom multi-millionaires and mark an extraordinary rise after dropping out of college aged 19 to concentrate on creating the company from his parents' home in Banchory, Aberdeenshire.
An obsessive blogger, Mr Cashmore has spent his young life charting the rise of Facebook, the iPad and other technological phenomena as they transformed the way the modern world communicates and consumes media.
Mashable has grown from a one-man operation to become one of the most trusted and tweeted sites on the internet. Based in New York and San Francisco, it now boasts 20m unique users a month. However, the founder did not tell his parents of its success until a newspaper reporter knocked on their door and asked about his life story. News of the deal was revealed by Reuters blogger Felix Salmon, who filed a video report breaking the story from the South by South West technology festival in Austen, Texas, where senior figures from both parties are based.
Although he cited only "a little bird" as a source, the story soon gained currency in the bloggersphere and was "confirmed" by the New York Times and – in a way – by a senior Mashable executive who "liked" the story on Facebook.
CNN declined to comment, dismissing the reports as "speculation".
Mr Cashmore was also uncharacteristically unforthcoming on the matter on Twitter, where he commands 2.7m followers, although he continued to post comments and links on other subjects yesterday. Mashable would not comment on reports.
However, while some media analysts suggested the $200m price tag was excessive, others said the two provided a compatible fit. CNN already syndicates news from Mashable and the company's founder is a contributor. Two years ago, Mashable was said to have been eyed up by another media giant, AOL, before it bought rival blog TechCrunch for $25m.
Dark, handsome, with a high profile social life, Mr Cashmore is also a fiercely-driven evangelist for new media who has been named a Briton of the Year and a young global leader at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "If it doesn't come through the internet, it's not really compelling to me. I don't have a TV or watch movies. I don't like to be broadcast to, I want to participate. The internet is an engaging experience. If I can't engage with it, it's frustrating and I don't feel I have any influence over it, so what's the point?," he has said.Reuse content