Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ageism And Entrepreneurship

I believe you can start a company at any age. I believe you can join a startup team at any age. I don't believe a startup has to do with coding and coding alone. There is always room for startups in every industry, in every sector of the economy.

Walmart was and is about retailing, but pretty early on it became a heavy user of computer technology in its operations, long before the internet, long before the dot com boom, earlier than the titans of tech today started their companies.

There is that crossover. Developments in nanotech will impact web tech in major ways.

The overwhelming majority of people who start companies tend to be in their late 30s, early 40s.

The image is that many of the tech startups get launched by people when they are maybe 19 - true for Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg - and who have no life whatsoever. That scares people who are a little later in life and have already been struggling with life-work issues in humdrum corporate jobs. Could it actually get worse?

As long you bring along the skill set, as long as you have the right mindset, I think there is room for much more crossovers between various age groups even with tech startups.

I think there is tremendous room for soft skill startups in general. You go ahead and provide services. You dream up new, unmet needs. Or you go tackle big problems. Or you pursue your dreams that you set aside because you wanted to get good grades, and then a good job, and you wanted to put in the hours. And realized putting in hours alone does not seem to bring in the riches. You are working for someone else.

If the Great Recession has taught us one thing it is that the only way the unemployment rate will go down substantially is if many, many people go ahead and start all sorts of companies in all sectors of the economy. New permutations and combinations are possible.

The goal can not be a better work-life balance. Your work has to be an extension of your life. Your work and your life have to be in harmony. Are you one person at work and quite another in your life? That should not be the case.

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