Dear Tech World, Please Grow Up

by / ⠀Personal Branding Startup Advice / January 17, 2012

Last night I got a call from one of my best friends; this time for a little advice.  He works for a high profile tech startup, is one of hardest workers I know, and is one of the most charismatic guys on the planet…. But like me:

He can’t manage his time or personal finances.

Here in lies the problem: The ADD entrepreneur / tech types simply need to grow up.

Let me get right into it.  Here’s a picture of the tech world that the media portrays as so cool:

  • Hustle till 4am, sleep till 11
  • Only wear a suit if you are going to meet Obama
  • Your frat house doubles as your office
  • You don’t answer to anyone, except to your mother who probably still cooks you dinner


  • You’re sleep deprived, hungover and real businesspeople would laugh at you if you showed up in flip flops
  • You probably think you are the next Zuckerberg, but that’s one in a million
  • Girls wouldn’t set foot in your bedroom because it’s disgusting
  • Your personal finances are a mess, and you can’t manage your time

That’s Peter Pan Sh*t

When it comes down to it, young entrepreneurs have the highest ambitions in the world, but most don’t have a stable base to start from.  I’ve been just as guilty as anyone.  How do you think you are going to manage a multi-million dollar operation if you can’t balance your own checkbook?  How are you going to effectively leverage the time of your employees if you can’t effectively manage your own time?  As I always think, “What would (my dad) Captain Rande say” if he knew I pay my bills late on a regular basis?

Does This Sound Like You?

When it comes down to it, growing up is difficult.  I recently read that 90% of wealth is created after age 40.  Why? Because they are grown up.  They learned how to manage their finances, make smart decisions, and have real responsibilities!  Most of the tech world, simply doesn’t have real responsibilities.  I don’t have kids, a mortgage, a spouse, or have to answer to anyone. Unfortunately, the “If I fail, I’ll go sleep on someone’s couch” mentality, doesn’t teach me to grow up.

As a generation of businesspeople we need to create habits / obtain the skills that are going to make us successful for the rest of our lives!

Please Commit

You might have read that I fired my best friend and how I’ve committed to dominating several areas of my life lately.  I decided once and for all I was going to master these areas of my life and teach them to others.  First it was confidence, then it was my finances, and now it’s time management and focus… quite simply, I’ve been working on growing up and becoming a man.

Add this to the 8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 22

How To Do It

I’m not sure how goal oriented you are and how much that type of stuff drives you but I have all my goals written down and I re-write them at least 1x per week.  When I get scatterbrained I come back to them.  I start off every single day reviewing these, and laying out the action items that it’ll take to execute.  For example…

Mission: Master my personal finances
Goals: (Set a few SMART Goals: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely)
-Pay my bills by the 25th of every month.
Action items:

  • Setup Mint.com for my personal finances and create budgets
  • Take 1 day per week and balance my checkbook, pay all my bills the week I get them and know where every cent has gone
  • Study 1 hour per night on personal finance (280 must read books)

I put these action items in my calendar with alerts on my phone and stick to them.  I have time blocked out and I execute.  It’s a clear, concise plan that works for me…maybe it’ll work for you.

Two self study exercises

1) Make a list of all the times you’ve screwed up that area of your life and let it sink in.
-This should hurt!  Remember that time you overdrew your checking account 5x in a week?

2) Imagine what would happen if you were suddenly 40, and write down how you would act differently.
-Try it!  Whoa, I have a wife? I can’t sleep till noon and can’t put my bar tabs on my high APR credit card?

For Real

I’ll simply leave you with the closing to the email I wrote to my friend…

Just do it dude–it might be cool in college to stay up till 530am “hustling” and then sleeping till 11, but that’s peter pan sh*t.  The tech world is full of them… but how many of these dudes are real accomplished men? Get that area of your life together. LEARN TO MANAGE YOUR TIME or you’ll never be a boss.

Love you kid, let me know how I can help.


Matt Wilson is the co-founder of Under30CEO and is looking to help every entrepreneur on the planet.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.