Gen Y Entrepreneurs Might Fail. So What? : Under30CEO Gen Y Entrepreneurs Might Fail. So What? : Under30CEO
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Gen Y Entrepreneurs Might Fail. So What?

| November 1, 2011 | 11 Comments

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 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.

Leave your thoughts in the comments:

About the Author: Jared O'Toole

Co-founder and editor of Under30Media. You can send an email to Jared(at) Follow him on Google+ or @JaredOToole

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Category: Startup Advice

  • James

    Our generation will probably end up creating more jobs and more opportunity than the older generation. Technology has changed everything and WE are in the forefront of it.

  • Larry Prevost

    I took a look at both articles and was unsure how to respond. Then I remembered this quote I have often heard from modern motivational speakers:

    “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” Theodore Roosevelt.

    Business speakers have spent years telling a growing generation of baby boomers that they should go for their dreams, to get up and get back into the game after falling down, to never quit, and to never listen to those that tell them that they can’t succeed.  It’s ironic that their message to the incoming generation has turned into “Wait your turn. You don’t have enough experience”.

    We live in a time of rapid transitions requiring an open mind hungry for new experiences. Failure is a part of the learning experience. And for young people who don’t have a lot of the “overhead” associated with success, entrepreneurship is a great way to get that experience.  I agree with you Jared. Young people should get started now and start building their experience portfolio when they are in a position to take calculated risks.


  • Louis

    As someone once said there is a GREAT danger in standing still! I for one refuse to sit down and wait. Why wait when you can innovate! Who is with me?!

  • Peachanan Rojwongsuriya

    IMHO, I think relying on the economy to recover again is even riskier than starting a business. :/ You are risking your future and time on something that you have no control over. 

  • Yura Bryant

    Who would wait on a system to correct itself when it is at fault for the current environment. The corporate system is eating away at itself because it was focused on the bottom line not the consumer. Now that consumers are suffering many corporations are crippled and hobbled. I think I’ll stick with being an entrepreneur and help to recreate a better experience for the consumer and marketplace. 

  • Jared O’Toole

    Thanks for the comment Larry. Great quote!

  • Larry Prevost

    No problem! Anything that helps the incoming generation of leaders to light their own way and not wait for the passing of the torch.

  • Javier Duarte

    MANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN, everytime I read through these articles it always gives me more and more determination and encouragement!

    Love it.

  • Javier Duarte

    MANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN, everytime I read through these articles it always gives me more and more determination and encouragement!

    Love it.

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