> Granted the web as it exists today makes it infinitely easier to learn today than it was when I was a kid, but I'm not going to use that as an excuse.
You should. It's not just Google: Communities like HN, stackoverflow and reddit provide motivation and help when you need it. Now, with MOOCs being the latest trend in education, anyone can take university-level courses from world-renown on many topics for free.
> Even with Google in all its glory I can't say unequivocally that I would be shipping code if I were 14 today.
Are you sure? Why do you think age actually plays a role in a person's ability to ship code?