The Education of the Entrepreneur

Jun 14

The Education of the Entrepreneur

I love this post because it illustrates my early childhood as an “serial entrepreneur”. My first business was when I was either 6 or 8 selling fruit from my grandfather’s farm to local grocery stores.

I’m obsessed. completely and totally.

Every time I meet someone for the first time, or in conversations with friends, I always ask one question.

“When did you make your first dollar? Not from allowance, or because your mom gave it to you, but because you did something. You sold a cup of lemonade. Mowed a lawn. Did some thing, one thing, to put a single dollar in your pocket.”

And every single person I have asked has responded “Around 10.”

What happens then?

Most of us stop. A few of us see the promise and beauty of controlling our own financial destiny. A couple of us wonder what would happen if we did something bigger than sell a cup of flavored water.

And those are the entrepreneurs.

At its at that point where our battle begins.

What if that wasn’t the case? What if instead of have to battle against the flow of going the labor force, we were celebrated, our friends were like us, our very environment supported our efforts?

The current educational environment is built around the importance of a capitalist society to have skilled workers. You spend your early years trying to get in high school, spend your time at high school trying to get into a great college, and your time at college focused on getting a job.

Think about the process. In our educational system, you are placed in tracks. I was in GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) for example. When in college you are forced to state what your career focus would be for the rest of your life. I was a sociology major, who focused on organizational studies at UC Davis.

Where was I identified as entrepreneurial? When i sketched out a flying car in 7th grade that was powered by a fusion reactor? When I convinced my friends to mow lawns at 9? When I started a pool cleaning business at 14? When I sold Dungeons and Dragons dice and figurines in high school? When?

Never. And if it was recognized, when I was able to learn and grow in an educational environment that would accelerate me? There are accelerators for companies, why are we not developing systems that accelerate people and ideas?

And that’s a shame. With the increase in simplicity of building web and mobile apps, and the ability for younger and younger people to solve real world problems, why are we not recreating the world around these entrepreneurial kids and giving them the ability to make our world better?

Because, we hate change. We are scared of the young. We are taught that there is always someone better than us, younger than us, smarter than us. And that reality is a bad thing.

What a lie.

So I’m obsessed in changing that. I think about it all the time. How can we recognize, nurture and flame the spark of entrepreneurialism in young people? I don’t know yet. But I will.

I can’t wait.

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