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Entrepreneurship and youth: Awesome combination

Team YS
4th Oct 2011
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Entrepreneurship and youth

View from the sidelines by Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy Vivek Wadhwa’s research shows people in late thirties or forties are successful entrepreneurs, by law of averages. Which means they succeed most of the time. Entrepreneurs who start young at times lose their plot, their lives, their love, their everything to end up in a corporate ocean where they can be counted with countless specks. All this for argument sake. Not always true. But what I found is by intuition, inference and social history, youth and entrepreneur make an awesome combination. If you are still young, match if you are doing all these I am going to list and if you are a bit older, think if you did them when you were young. By my standards, you are young if you are below thirty. I could extend it to even fifty, if you had a lucky life that people forgave all your mistakes and still you are able to make money and lead a life of your choice.

Awesome combination of youth and entrepreneurship. Here are the reasons.

Being a rebel. Rebellious tendencies set in when your mush starts growing (no gender bias here and for girls it could be later if you happen to sniff independence away from cool comfort of home or read rebellious literature or whatever) or you step into the portals of your college, meeting men and women of your age. You basically start to question everything that you are prescribed. Be this, be that. You ask, why should I? This mindset is quite handy if you are an entrepreneur. No entrepreneur has succeeded by accepting status quo. By default, you want to become an entrepreneur because you want to change the world. And rebellious thought is the first seed to think in that direction.

Unafraid to try new things. Many are surprised if you tell them success in entrepreneurship is quite hard. Statistics point out that. We meet entrepreneurs who have repelled the initial pull of gravity towards failure and they fought all those odds without telling anyone or letting anyone know their trials and tribulations. Because when you are an entrepreneur, you try new things and not all of them will yield results. You are unlikely to try new things when you are fifty. The most likely period you are unafraid to try new things is when you are either in college or just out of it. Just for fun, thrill, or whatever. Ask who fell in love and got married. Love first sows seeds of innovative thinking like no other -- finding a way to meet your love everyday and trying to impress him or her with new tricks.

Failed once, twice, but still not giving up. The cost of failure is immune to you in certain time periods. For example, if you fail in an exam in your college, you still have life left in you. You don’t just give up. You never give up even if you have accumulate three semesters of examinations to go through at your seventh semester. Not giving up or never, never, never giving up is one important trait of entrepreneur. History shows unparalleled success of entrepreneurs who never gave up.

Ready to flirt. Not always with men or women. That doesn’t happen so easily. Let’s get away from that circle. Don’t associate flirting with infatuation. I am talking of flirting with ideas, dreams, hopes and daring to think beyond your present means. You flirt with many things at a young age -- music, if you are interested, going out and trying new things, making new friends. You know none of them are permanent. You still want to try. That’s flirting. This is quite natural in entrepreneurship. You have to flirt with a few things for sometime to get results. Like forging short-term partnerships, using interns who will never stay with you for ever, engaging a short-term project just to increase cash flow.

Passion, not bucks. Ask an entrepreneur who started out saying, ‘I want to make a billion dollars and quit’, and their success. Maybe some of them might have succeeded. Most of the awesome successes have been not because someone wanted to make money. It was because someone believed in something and that something would change the way things work or make a difference in life. John Mullins of London School of Economics calls it big, hairy, audacious goal. That’s what sparks a new path to tread. Did you not play guitar at college for the fun of it? Did you not do something because you enjoyed it rather than thought it would give you money? This is what you call it passion, which occupies your mind and compels you towards it.

By all these counts, students and young people are destined to be entrepreneurs, a great one at that. But, why are they failing so badly? Any answers?

Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist

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