How Gen Y Needs to Redefine Success and Change the World : Under30CEO How Gen Y Needs to Redefine Success and Change the World : Under30CEO
arrow
Join the Under30CEO Community We deliver tips, tools and inspiration for your business. Daily to your inbox.

How Gen Y Needs to Redefine Success and Change the World

| September 29, 2010 | 45 Comments

Gen Y leaders–young, naive, over exuberant, maybe even reckless, but definitely driven.  Why? The Beamer, Benz and Bentley lifestyle?  or to save the world?  Maybe both?

I’ve lived in downtown Manhattan for 4 months now and it’s been quite an eye opener.  For those of you who don’t know I’ve been a lot of things, but most recently a ski bum-entrepreneur. Now I’m in the big city of dreams and I see Lamborghini’s literally everyday.  I’m not really that cool with that.

I Know What I Want

I moved to New York City to surround myself with the world’s most amazing people.  Everyone is in this city trying to make something of themselves and…

I want to be around the people changing the world

But I could care less what type of watch you are wearing.

On the same token, I’m meeting world leaders, people who have created ultra wealth for themselves and others, people with ridiculous influence and you have to look the part.  Last week at the United Nations Global Assembly I got the chance to hang with Elizabeth Gore, Lupe Fiasco and Craig David–seriously successful young people making their mark on history.  I was incredibly fortunate to be able to connect with these guys, hopefully all do followups for Under30CEO and help perpetuate their respective missions with the UN Foundation, clean drinking water and Tuberculosis.  And guess what, I don’t think they even cared that I had a watch on.  (Yes, I’ve invested in one.)

We connected because they wanted to know what I cared about.

Craig's watch matched his biceps

I pitched Under30CEO to Lupe–I told him our message is to make money but also to do good at the same time. Lupe, who describes himself as a “NPR listening, Volvo driver… but I don’t drive a Volvo (insert charismatic smile here),” retorted “Man, that’s what it’s all about right there.  You know what, I like your swag.”

That was pretty awesome.

I was wearing a tie (had a big meeting afterward) (look forward to a followup on How To Fit in Anywhere and Get to Know Anyone Including Lupe Fiasco). Lupe called me out on stage for being a “business man”, but again, he told me afterward he was just kidding–he didn’t care what I was wearing.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”–John C. Maxwell

Lupe could tell I was insanely passionate about what I do and he was down for finding out more.  He didn’t care whether we are making money hand over fist or bootstrapping every penny.  We connected because we share similar passions.

The big city of dreams got even more interesting hanging out with my friend Ankur Jain. The kid is 20 and is tremendously talented through his work creating the Kairos Society, an amazing organization for entrepreneurs at the top institutions in the world.  I knew he was awesome, but the 2AM toast to “changing the world” is when it hit me–Ankur is legit.  Dad has appeared on Forbes List and Ankur is dedicating his life to social enterprise.  Couldn’t be more fun, down to earth or genuine.

Our generation is defining success by “doing well by doing good”.

Personally, my definition of success is “doing what I want, when I want, how I want.” And I know what I want.

I’ll reiterate–

I want to help broadcast to the world the message of people doing amazing things and inspire our generation of leaders to follow suit.

That’s what Under30CEO.com is all about.  And yes, I want to make some serious money along the way too, but I don’t care about sitting next to Lindsay Lohan or Lil’ Wayne at Marquee unless they are 1) interested in contributing positively to society and 2) cool with talking to me because of who I am, not how much money I’m blowing.

I want this article to serve as a call to action to stop being impressed by auspicious consumption, to cut through the flashing lights of NYC and surrounding Jersey Shore blowouts and realize that yes, image is everything, but use this sexiness to bring attention to the things that really matter.

Stay tuned, I’d really like to address how Drake might be right, to make the biggest skeptic a believer you have to do it throwing hundreds when you should be throwing ones.

Article written by Matt Wilson co-founder of Under30CEO.com.  Follow him on Twitter @MattWilsontv as he urges young people to drop the 9-5 and get passionate about something!

About the Author: Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO. After two years traveling and working from his laptop, Matt's official title became Adventurer in Residence, heading up Under30Media's travel company Under30Experiences. If Matt is around he will be easy to spot as his long luxurious hair is generally flowing freely in the breeze.

Opt In Image
Awesome People + Awesome Places
Travel around the world while making new friends

Under30Experiences curates awesome experiences around the world for young travelers.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Personal Branding, Startup Advice

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention How Gen Y Needs to Redefine Success and Change the World | Under30CEO -- Topsy.com

  • http://twitter.com/MissSuccess Sakita Holley

    Matt:

    This article is spot on. Was having a conversation about generational differences yesterday and a boomer said they were told that success means “to get a good job, sit in one chair for 10 years, another for 5 and another for 3 until you reach the top.” Also, almost everyone I’ve met in corporate America would rather be doing other things if it weren’t for their strong allegiance to $$$.

    I sincerely believe that most of my Gen Y peers know that if we do what we love, then the money will come. If we help the people around us achieve success, then we’ve already made it. We’re not worried about competition because opening the door for someone else means, we’re already in the room.

    If all you’re after is money, you’ll get it…but not much else.

    -@MissSuccess

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey Sakita, thanks for the comment! I think to a large degree our generation is still getting told to “get a good job and strive for the top.” Luckily we have platforms like blogging, social media, conferences, and organizations that support people going out and doing things on their own and following their passion. Books like Rich Dad Poor Dad weren’t around for our older counterparts. I was lucky to read stuff like that and the 4 Hour Work Week at a young age when I could make these decisions to go out on my own before I was overleveraged in a mortgage, car payment and 2.5 kids.

    Don’t ever forget how lucky we are and how we should keep spreading these ideas so that others can be afforded the same opportunities.

  • http://www.michaelgholmes.com Mike Holmes

    I’m with you Sakita…I like this post.

    There appears to be growing trend of finding purpose in business…not just profits. Don’t get me wrong…you need profits but there’s this desire to want to “build something.” Something that will last and have meaning.

    Great post Matt!

  • http://twitter.com/billybroas billybroas

    Great post Matt. I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that I was reminded of while reading this – “The most important things in life aren’t things.”

    I think doing what you love is necessary for success, at least success how I (and you) define it. Are you more likely to do better work in something you’re extremely passionate about or something that bores you to death? You can earn 6 figures doing something that bores you to death and eats up all your time, but I wouldn’t call that being successful.

  • David Siteman Garland

    What is interesting Matt, is our generation often gets a bad rap as the the ADD-shiny-red-ball-everyone-gets-a-trophy, but there is an opportunity to become the most entrepreneurial and giving generation ever. Now, the tools are available for *nearly* everyone to do something they love if they want. Does it take a ton of passion, drive and creativity. Absolutely. But it certainly doesn’t take skepticism. Well played.

  • http://juniorbiz.com Nick Tart

    Cool, Matt! When I tell people about our book, the first thing they want to hear is how much money these kids are making. So, I tell them… But I wish their first question was, “How are they changing the world?” because that’s what it’s about. Gen Y couldn’t care less about money. Mark Zuckerberg lives in a relatively small house, but everyone on Google wants to know how much he’s worth.

    Just like you, I’m here to change the world. I’ll settle for nothing less.

    P.S. This article makes me want to move to NYC.

  • http://businessbeware.biz/ Ashley

    Wow Matt, this is awesome! And it’s so cool to see you be in that big city where so many are all about the “things” and you not getting caught up in it all (good for you!). My grandfather use to say “a herse doesn’t have a luggage rack…” So when you set out to do something amazing you can’t just focus on the dollar signs you have to focus why you started it. I think many people grow their business/organization to be too big and forget why they actually started it in the first place because they get caught up in the dollar signs and things that came with it. Some of the best and most down to earth people that are doing amazing things I have ever met are such simple people. Sometimes simple and consistent is the best thing you can be while creating and following your dream.

    I think it’s so important to surround yourself with people that think like you or have the entrepreneurial spirit in them. It’s not about how much you make it’s about how many you help along the way…

  • http://twitter.com/gibsondm Alexandra Gibson

    To change the world, Gen Y needs to change society’s perception of success. Unlike generations before us who had the definition of success outlined for them, our generation is driven, focused, and uniquely interested in determining our individual definitions.

    For some, that may be doing good by helping the environment. For others, that may be making boatloads of money and spending lavishly. However, there is no longer a “right” answer. We all are driven by and excited by different things and that is how our generation will change the world.

    - Alexandra Gibson, CEO (and success seeker), Gibson Design Management, Inc.

  • http://twitter.com/insertcoffeenow Kay Mac

    Great article Matt! About a year ago I presented on generational differences in the workplace at an academic conference. In my research I came across a fantastic book called “Millennials into Leadership.” It provides a great overview of the different work/life habits each of the current working generations have, and also provides tips for managing/co-working with each generation. I would highly recommend it to any Gen Y entrepreneur as a great text to read if you’re hiring anyone from a different generation.

    It’s also useful for insight on how to talk and negotiate with other generations. I highly recommend it to all young entrepreneurs who see themselves as a catalyst for change, and who will be working with other generations to make the change happen.

  • http://www.happilymarriedafter.org David Patrick

    Matt -

    This is a constant battle back and forth with the people on my job and me. They fail to understand this generation’s desire to include what’s meaningful to us in our work and make money in the process. Our generation runs and thrive on PASSION and that drives our hard work. I read an article the other day that tried to encourage getting passionate about doing stuff you hate. That’s not how we’re wired. With the interconnectivity of today, we learn that we are all just a tweet apart and that we can connect and help one another. And we actually care about what each other are doing, and we don’t just care about money, we want for what we do to mean something!

    Reading this earlier today while sitting at my desk at work lit a renewed fire under me to get into gear and get back focused on achieving my dreams. Your headings in this post alone speak out like a mantra for the Gen Yer’s

    - I know what I want, I want to be around people changing the world, we connect because we want to know what each other cares about, our generation defines success as “doing well by doing good”

  • Anonymous

    THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT! LISTEN TO THIS MAN!

    Matt knows what’s up and tells it like it is. If you are doing something for the money or fame, you probably won’t get there, or stay there for long. If you are doing something for purpose, the money and fame might come, might not, but either way you will crush it doing something you love and living an awesome life!

    Get with it, do something you love, change the world!

  • http://www.johnexleyonline.com JohnExley

    Okay I’m gonna get a lil wordy here.First of all I think the “Generation Y is lazy, self-entitled, not committed blah blah blah” is getting a little tired. There are still scores of hard working, loyal, committed, sharp young peeps out there who are putting in 90+ hour work weeks. NYC, the valley, Boulder, Chicago, Boston…just look at the ecosystems where our top universities are and I think you will not struggle to find ’20-somethings’ who are more than worth hiring and investing in. I think the “Gen Y talk” all over-hyped…journalists looking for page views, employers having trouble understanding the changing paradigm of new hires no longer staying on for decades but looking for a change of scenery and/or responsibilities after 3-5 years. That said, there is something to loyalty (read Mark Suster’s controversial post “Never Hire Job Hoppers. Never. They Make Terrible Employees”: http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2010/04/22/never-hire-job-hoppers-never-they-make-terrible-employees/). The real challenge I see for “Gen Y”? Debt. College loans. Students are graduating with more debt than ever before. Want a comparison? A couple weeks ago the USA Today reported that credit card debt in the US is about $828 billion. US Student loan debt is $850 billion (read “Student loan debt exceeds credit card debt in USA”: http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/college/2010-09-10-student-loan-debt_N.htm). This is a challenge the previous generation didn’t have to face as largely, and unfortunately it might hamper our generation’s ability to start companies, innovate, and rebuild our economy (which is why I respect Matt so much for taking the enormous risks associated with launching his own companies straight out of college…and doing well. And urging others do think creatively and create jobs as well). Another much, Much larger problem (IMHO) than all the over-hyped “Gen Y discussions”? The smartest students (engineers especially) are arguably not on our soil…they’re overseas. And guess what? Our country is making it harder and harder and harder and harder for foreign entrepreneurs to immigrate here start their companies here in the US. Personally, I know at least 5-10 entrepreneurs overseas (Singapore, China, Germany) that would immigrate to the valley or NYC to start their companies and have access to our venture capitalists and consumers if they could…but getting a Visa is so difficult. Entrepreneurs are the driving engine of our economy, of economies all over the world. Countries like Singapore (rated the easiest country in the world for doing business…read about it here: http://www.sedb.com/edb/sg/en_uk/index/why_singapore/singapore_rankings.html) get this. They make it easy to start companies, and as a result startups are launching left and right, and GDP is increasing. Chile gets it. They’re inviting entrepreneurs from all over to come to Chile and start their companies…consequently helping to improve their economy and create jobs.It seems we’ve lost sight of this…especially amidst all the hoopla surrounding Gen Y. Let’s focus on something more important…creating jobs for our economy like Matt and Under30 are doing. Brad Feld, Eric Ries, Fred Wilson, etc. are pushing a visa that would enable foreign entrepreneurs to bring their companies here: it’s called the Startup Visa Act (read more “More Startups. More Jobs.Support Innovation & Job Creation in America”: http://startupvisa.com/). Support that. And yeah memo to other Gen Y’ers….we’ve got a lot of work cut out for us. Debt, stupid perceptions to change. Here’s to those who ignore over-hyped trends and just hustle forward. Haters will hate, but players continue to play. Just keep moving. On that note, back to homework.

  • AnnaHelene

    Thanks for this article. First thing I read this morning and what a great mindset to have as I start working.
    I like that you admit that image is important because it’s another generational difference. GenY might be okay with the relaxed look but if you’re going to see an older VC or client, it could hurt the interaction.

    It’s a part of our nature to make judgments (consciously and subconsciously) about others in the first seconds of seeing them or hearing their voice on the phone or reading an email from someone. I’m currently starting my business as an Image Consultant and working with personal branding. I loved what you said about “using the sexy to bring attention to things that matter.” My purpose is to help people work through their appearance, behavior/etiquette, and communication skills so that they can feel confident, and therefore, do a better job in their roles to impact the world.

    Keep up the great work. You’re inspiring more than you think.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Ex, you hit it. I had no idea about the huge amount of college debt (I mean I have it, but guess I didn’t extrapolate that). Starting a business is risky in the eyes of most people already without having to pay back student loans.

    But I totally agree with you, entrepreneurship is the way forward for our economy. If we want to fix things we have to do two things.

    A: Reduce regulations on start-ups and small businesses. Lawyers are expensive and you don’t want to spend hours every week trying to find out if you are breaking the law or not.

    B: Visas, as you said this is important, but I’ll do you one further. Screw the start-up visa, we need to hire a bunch of people to work at immigration, cut out the paperwork, and let anyone come to the US who wants, if you can get here you can stay here (a simple background and medical check are all it takes). The visa process should take a day, people need to get on boats and come here like the did Ellis Island 100 years ago. You show up in NY, MIA, Texas, San Diego, LA, or SF and within a day you are either in the country with a Visa or you are sent back because of bird flu or you are a terrorist. The startup visa is a good start, but it only lowers the bar to sophisticated (relatively) entrepreneurs. I want the people who are willing to risk everything they have in life to come to this country. When they get here they are going to work their ass off to make something of themselves and provide for their family. They might not start tech companies, but you know what they will make clothes, they will drive taxis, they will fish, they will farm, they will sell sell sell whatever they can and they will get this economy going again.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O’Toole

    I think the best part is seeing people like Lupe Fiasco taking a stance and making an effort to make change. Someone like him has millions of followers many from the younger generations. He can has the influence and the attention and its great to see him want to try and use that influence in a positive way. I hope to see more and more people with that influence bring attention to issues and help inspire people!

    But also remember that even if you only have 1 person following you or listening to you, you can make a difference with them. I think the MTV CEO said it best last week when she said “anyone who creates content has the power to make a difference”.

    And I hope to cover and discuss them here at Under30CEO!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey Billy, that’s really funny you saw that yesterday because yesterday on our 20 success quotes article, we had the exact quote “The most important things in life aren’t things”. by Art Buchwald http://bit.ly/Under30CEOquotes

    To create a business around something you love takes a lot of sacrifice–you aren’t going to get paid for a while, but when you do there is nothing better. Your passion will bring you through those tough times, so if you have a plan together–make the leap!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey Dave, I agree–it disgusts me that the older generation pitys us for not being able to find jobs and then when we start a business they tell us how it’s going to fail because they weren’t brought up with the mentality that they can do anything in the world.

    It takes WAY MORE passion, drive and creativity to start a business than it does to show up for a job and get told what to do all day and you won’t understand it till you do it.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Love the way you think about things Nick. Although I’m not a big Zuck fan, he’s setting an amazing example for our generation with this donation.

    Ring me when you get here!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hi Ashley, love the quote from your grandfather. I’m going to remember that one for sure.

    So the cool thing is, when your grandfather was in his 20s, he could take that mentality and tell maybe 50 friends that he saw throughout the day in his town, because that’s the amount of people he probably “surrounded himself with”… while we are growing up, we have the tools via the internet to share our way of thinking with thousands if not millions of people we are “surrounding ourselves with”…

    UNREAL

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hi David, I really appreciate your insights. Can you pass along that article you read that encouraged getting passionate about doing stuff you hate? Would love to read/respond.

    Thanks!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hi Anna, your new venture sounds really interesting. Interested in writing about image and business for Under30CEO? I’m going to do that piece on how to fit in with anyone because in NYC it’s more important than anywhere.

    I work in Soho and everyone is very “Euroed out”, needless to say I go casual to the office. If I go to a tech event, people think you are a snob if you wear anything but casual, but if I have a meeting in midtown after, it’s a whole different story, if you aren’t wearing slacks people think you are a scrub… it’s really kinda sad but a necessary evil for sure

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hi Anna, your new venture sounds really interesting. Interested in writing about image and business for Under30CEO? I’m going to do that piece on how to fit in with anyone because in NYC it’s more important than anywhere.

    I work in Soho and everyone is very “Euroed out”, needless to say I go casual to the office. If I go to a tech event, people think you are a snob if you wear anything but casual, but if I have a meeting in midtown after, it’s a whole different story, if you aren’t wearing slacks people think you are a scrub… it’s really kinda sad but a necessary evil for sure

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Exley, first and foremost nothing is a bigger compliment to Under30CEO than to get a text message from people passionate about the site at 1:30AM while you are pulling an all nighter in DC about how you just went off an article… LOVE that.

    Secondly, I’m going to post this as an article today on the site. Nothing is a better than writing a piece of content that spurs this type of discussion, so good as to its worthy of it’s own article.

    I’ll tell you what, I’m even going to pass the comment on to a few opinion editors that I know at places like the NYT and Reuters. Keep your fingers crossed and again THANK YOU.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Exley, first and foremost nothing is a bigger compliment to Under30CEO than to get a text message from people passionate about the site at 1:30AM while you are pulling an all nighter in DC about how you just went off an article… LOVE that.

    Secondly, I’m going to post this as an article today on the site. Nothing is a better than writing a piece of content that spurs this type of discussion, so good as to its worthy of it’s own article.

    I’ll tell you what, I’m even going to pass the comment on to a few opinion editors that I know at places like the NYT and Reuters. Keep your fingers crossed and again THANK YOU.

  • Gil Melott

    Matt – I continue to be amazed by what you guys are doing. I also like the fact that you know what you want, when, how and what to do. I think the generation of leaders like yourself has a great opportunity to take that mantra and take it one step further and bridge that statement to this one… “and how it will effect those around me.”

    GenY has a great opportunity to redefine myriad things – social power (the fact that a new globally local urban mindset outweighs ethnicity alone sets the course for an amazing integration of people and change), political power (not only voicing an opinion but taking the 80MM voices and acting with them – unlike generations before you, you have a networked community that can not only engage, but challenge and unite – powerful change) economic power (not only can your generation set the course for a new selective luxury mindset – get that new watch I want, but I can shop at Target for paper towels – but also how to take control of other spending and investing; investing in people should be job one) and people power (you have numbers that are huge, you have insight and reach that is significant, remembering that people are behind all reactions to your actions will change the course of a lot)

    These things sound aspirational, but they are inherent in your behaviors now. It will take new leaders who understand the absolutes and write narratives versus selecting a vs. b, will use real-time data vs. allowing history to dictate the future and leaders who know it’s not just about a demographic, it’s about a culture —- this is what will drive the change. The change that will define GenY.

    Keep at it… Say hello to Drake.

    gil

  • http://www.KingSidharth.com King Sidharth

    A lot of people might wonder that why this article was written to begin with. But they will be dead soon, for we are taking over and we care. Or in Gary Vaynercuck’s words “…give a fuck!”

    Off we got to build a world without judgment. It’s hard but it’s fun where we see endless possibilities. Thanks for sharing this awesome story and insight man! Loved it.

  • http://businessbeware.biz/ Ashley

    Yep, it’s one of those quote I’ll never forget. Yeah, it’s UNREAL the tools we have now.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    There should be a “Love” button above that I can click if I more than “Like” the article.

    Here is an original thought from me that you can steal… “Generation Y is not Lazy, and is not self-entitled, and what they are certainly NOT is naively loyal to Corporate America. We are Creatives blessed to live in a time when Innovation is King…”

    Thanks Matt, Great post…

    Ryan H.

  • http://www.michaelgholmes.com Michael Holmes

    Exley,

    This “comment” is a guest post all by itself and I agree with every single point. If I had the opportunity to go back in time I personally (this is just me) would dropped out of school. I would’ve started a company (any company) right out of high school. But I didn’t know then what I know now and you can turn back the clock. I think our school system is broken…college itself is big business and it appears to losing more credibility everyday. It’s no guarantee of success…in fact with all the debt it leaves you…it could be a detriment.

    It’s funny you talk about VC funding…I had a conversation with a someone from Entrepreneur magazine and we were discussing how the $30 billion should be spent. I told her I don’t think banks or VC should should have most of the money. Banks may not be as willing to invest in entrepreneurial dreams and VC are more on the lookout for sure things…they’re looking for the next Facebook or Twitter. I told her I thought it should be channeled to business incubators

  • http://www.michaelgholmes.com Michael Holmes

    Matt,

    I’m not sure what it is about this post that struck such a nerve…but it did.

    It is more just more than equity, return on investment, cash flow, and etc…its about making a difference. And thank you for the reminder

  • http://www.michaelgholmes.com Michael Holmes

    Cant wait Jared!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Thanks Michael, we are going to try and cover more companies with triple bottom lines (People, Planet and Profit). Love your enthusiasm for our material!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_bottom_line

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Thanks Ryan, love this “Gen Y is a generation of Creatives blessed to live in a time when innovation is king”. Great stuff… would love to hear more!

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    Thanks Matt. Let me know what you would want to hear more about and I can some thoughts on electronic paper.

  • http://entrepreneurinmaking.com Devesh

    Awesome article and brilliant discussion in comments!

    The way I see the criticism is one, it is good, someone not liking what we (GenY) are doing is a clear sign of the fact that we are doing something right (of course with the exceptions like Lindsay Lohan and other spoiled brats, who need to put their act together)… As many of the commenters already mentioned, look around you and you will find hard working and hustling everyday GenYers who are working on changing the world… Matt himself is a good example, the easy and lazy route for him would have been to get a lousy 9-5 job and party rest of the time (the typical GenY image people have for us)…but I bet this guy is pulling 80+ hour work weeks instead of 40 only to bring the fellow GenYers the message of following what they love and not just a paycheck… Matt is not the only one, there are so many of us…

    The second point around the criticism is, what GenX has stereotyped GenY for sounds more like a bashing than criticizing… Don’t blame me if I was born in the computer days and not typewriter, or in the age of internet and not telegram… The reason why I’m a faster and more productive is because I work smarter and harder and not just the later like you… and because I work smarter, I’m more productive and that has started to scare you, “How come a 20 something with no experience so much more helpful than a guy with as many years of experience of this GenY’s age?”… but don’t bash me for that or try to stereotype me otherwise, help me grow, teach me what you learned the hard way, prepare me to take control of this country as I’m the future, your experience and my youth can do wonders… Let’s shake hands GenX!!

  • http://www.johnexleyonline.com JohnExley

    Adam my man, appreciate your nice words! I’m glad we’re on the same page. I certainly see your excellent point in part B of your comment, nevertheless I will admit that the illegal immigration situation is quite complicated and highly debated. I would also like to see our borders opened up like that, but I do recognize that there are many smart people who believe the majority of immigrants are illegally entering and unfairly taking advantage of our unemployment and welfare programs. I have not researched the issue of illegal immigration as extensively as I have the issue of foreign entrepreneurs having difficultly getting visas to come start their companies here, however I believe you have made a strong case for welcoming people from around the world to come here like they once did 100 years ago.
    Love the passion bro, keep doing your thing and let’s get on the phone and talk about the idea you texted me about earlier this week.

  • http://www.johnexleyonline.com JohnExley

    Michael, this is motivating. Thank you for your digital-pat-on-the-back and for sharing your insight and regret for wishing you had started a company straight out of high school. Based on what I’ve read and experienced first hand, I largely agree with everything in your first paragraph. Michael Arrington proposed college is (I paraphrase) ‘a waste of time’ on stage at UC Berkeley last week (WATCH it here: http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/22/arrington-ivory-tower/)…I don’t I’d go that far. I think it depends on the individual…I’ve grown quite a bit in college. I do believe that our education system (high school especially) needs improvement to catch up with the rest of the world. I’m going to see “Waiting for Superman” with a class here in D.C. next week – my guess is that I’ll agree (that college might be a detriment because it needs reforming) even more with you after seeing this.

    Your second paragraph? LOVE that…definitely in agreement. Without getting into politics too much, I prefer when the government stays out of business to a larger degree than getting involved in it. However, if that money went to incubators I think that is a splendid idea. Imagine Y Combinator, Techstars, IDEA Labs, Adeo Ressi’s incubator (Founder’s Fund?), Dogpatch, etc. etc. being able to incubate (or open up more “chapters”/locations) even more young companies. Without doing any outside research on this topic myself, I agree this would appear to be a golden idea.

    And by the way, if you didn’t know, my comment did become a guest post all by itself…just as you guessed! If you haven’t seen it:
    “Help! The Nation’s Smartest Young People Aren’t in America”
    http://under30ceo.com/help-the-nations-smartest-young-people-arent-in-america/

  • http://www.johnexleyonline.com JohnExley

    Matt, obviously can’t thank you properly by just commenting…but I’ll try. Thanks a ton for all your mentorship and advice over the years, and for continuing to be there for me as we’ve grown better and better friends. I’m happy that my text pumped you up…as you know, I’ll always be loyal to Under30CEO and you guys. When I was just getting started with Twitter and other technologies/social media, you and Jared always, always, Always spent time answering my simple/stupid questions and guiding me in the right direction.Your article on changing the world hit home with me and reading the constant hype of “Gen Y is this” and “Gen Y is that” had me at the point of no return…had to vent for a bit ya know. I’m super pumped Under30 can be an outlet and resource for aspiring entrepreneurs like myself. One day I will join ya in the entrepreneur’s world, stop being “all talk”, and overcome my fears etc. to start a company.I really appreciate that you took my comment and published it as an article…never mind how you went even further and passed it on to some op-ed’s at NYT and Reuters. Quite generous of ya. Good luck with all your projects and especially with continuing to grow U30.

    Much love – Exley

  • http://www.tracecohen.me/ Trace Cohen

    Mr. X, you never seem to stop amazing me with your passionate insight.

    We have all been in this space for years, hustling, getting out there and networking our ***** to make it in this world and yet everyone still has this perception that we are lazy, over privileged and a bunch of unappreciative “kids.” I’m tired of it.

    I say we make a stand and start a movement to highlight what us “kids” have done and how “we” are changing the world. Under30 is a great starting place and one of many examples of opportunities seized.

    Billionaire Boys Club, what what?

  • http://www.alan-kong.com Alan Kong

    This is truly a great article. It’s articles like these that continue to encourage those who are seeking profits and doing good while at it to keep at it. And if an individual hasn’t found it yet, then this is a great kick start towards it! Although I don’t make any money thus far pursuing my passions, it’s still highly enjoyable and I’m glad to started it. I started a motivational self improvement blog: http://www.alan-kong.com and another blog to spread the feeling of love: http://www.SmileURLoved.com. Both are slowly start to pick up, but it’s merely for fun right now and I’m hoping for the best to come out of both!

    Thanks to everybody for your insights and comments, it always keeps my day going!

    Alan Kong
    http://www.alan-kong.com
    http://www.SmileURLoved.com

  • Anonymous

    Really inspiring article. I fully buy into your vision of helping others learn about the amazing feats of people who thought outside the box and decided not pursue your average 9-5. I feel like our generation has fully surpassed the tried and true method of going to school and getting a good job then working there forever. Our generation is convinced there is a better way to do almost everything without getting over on other while doing it. This piece further cemented my belief that the world is destined to be changed for the better by people like us. I will be posting this article on my site and would love to do an interview with you as a complimentary piece.

    Check out out How To Make It Moments, a collection of resources and experiences of aspiring entrepreneurs and young professionals.
    http://www.howtomakeitmoments.com
    http://www.twitter.com/how2makeitmomnt

  • Pingback: Has Social Media Killed Relationships? | Whos Chris Hughes.com | Social Media Strategist

  • http://twitter.com/HipChicHi Maria McGregor

    Creating positive change in the world is obviously needed for not only this generation but those to come, and there are plenty of start-ups doing just that. Nice article. :)

  • Mr Billionaire

    This article ,i have no comment for it , its just Perfect , am truly inspired