Whenever we see a heated debate going on for or against young entrepreneurs we just have to jump into it. Recently Steve Tobak published an article on Bnet labeled “Why Gen Y Entrepreneurship Will be a Disaster“. Now this kind of title is just something we can’t overlook as we pull for gen y entrepreneurs everyday and see great things happening in the space. However it also sparked another young entrepreneur advocate, Donna Fenn, to write a rebutle on Inc.com titled “Will GenY Entrepreneurship be a Disaster?” In true form Donna didn’t just bash Steve’s piece but recognized how some of his points are very valid but also pointed out the flaws.
I won’t go through all the points and details of the articles because you can easily check them out for yourself. However, what really annoys me is the mindset that in any way innovation, ambition and simply trying something in life is a bad thing. Steve is basically saying that young people should sit back and wait for corporate America to get back on track and then find a nice job. Really? What if that takes 5 or 10 years?
Is it a bad thing that young people recognize they have a choice today? More people simply see that if they have an idea there are tons of ways to go after it. That doesn’t just mean internet businesses, we deal with young people everyday that are not just passionate about developing a video game as Steve would like to think.
Now, the one thing I will say is that there is a disconnect at times when someone thinks that by starting a blog, ebay store or creating a free iPhone app that they now have a full blown business. This is where it can be so easy to create something that really won’t go anywhere or produce anything in the long-term. This is where more education is needed so young people understand how to create something that brings in revenue, hires employees and grows into the future. However, many people who I see that fall into this trap realize within a couple of months of not seeing a paycheck that they need to do something else. I don’t think that a couple of months of real world experience is throwing their careers or the nation off track.
As with every generation there will be startups that fail and startups that succeed. Today there is no difference except that more people see their own business as an option either today or sometime down the road, and for some reason that is a bad thing.
My recommendation is whatever you choose to do don’t wait for others to hand anything to you. Whether you’re working in corporate America or starting your own business make sure you put things on your shoulders. If you’re sitting on the couch waiting for the economy to recover or letting someone like Steve discourage you from taking a shot then you are hurting your career and the nation. You’re young so take a shot. If you remember that no one is going to hold your hand through it then you will be fine.
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