“Millennials” and Entrepreneurship

I hate the term “Millennial”.  For some reason, it makes me want to vomit.  Still, it’s a widely used label for people in the 20-30 ish age range and I must admit that there is enough cohesion to some of the traits of this generation to warrant a unique label.

I’ve written before about some of the characteristics of this generation compared to others.

I was just asked a few questions about Millennials and entrepreneurship yesterday.  Here are the questions and my thoughts.

What challenges do they face?

The single biggest challenge is in the mind and habits.  This is the most schooled generation in the history of the world.  Nearly every second of their lives has been planned, structured, poked, and prodded by external authorities.  Intrinsic motivation has been all but suffocated by positive re-enforcement and praise.  Learned helplessness is the norm.

This is a tremendous struggle for this generation.  They have never created their own structure or built things without preset guidelines and lots of “good jobs”.  It’s sad, and it’s not their fault, but they’ve got to unlearn a whole lot of garbage before they can unleash the entrepreneurial spirit they were born with.

What special concerns do they have?

This generation is very concerned with doing work that they find meaningful and enjoyable.  That is a huge plus.  They also have a big concern for doing things that are popularly viewed as “good for society”, which is a huge negative.  It results in a lot of signaling and posturing to be “sustainable”, “social”, with little understanding of what the terms mean or the causal relationships involved.  But the underlying thrust is still a legitimate, positive concern, and that’s to gain more than just survival, but meaning and self-actualization.

What do you think?

Do you think I got it wrong?  I’d love to hear thoughts, objections, and questions.  Submit them via the Ask Isaac form and I’ll try to respond on the blog or in the podcast.