Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rugged Entrepreneurialism

The entire world seems to be heading toward points of inflection. The developing world is embarking on the digital age. The developed world is entering the Internet era. And the United States, once again at the vanguard, is on the verge of becoming the world's first Entrepreneurial Nation.

Technology and the ever-present desire on the part of Americans to improve their standard of living will in my opinion generate a whole new generation of conservatives. Young Americans, having at their disposal an unprecedented level of tools and technology while at the same time wishing to circumvent corporate America will act on a dream/vision of a lifestyle where the boundaries between work and recreation will dissolve.

The concept of the rogue serial entrepreneur will give way to an entire generation of entrepreneurs.

A new wave of check-writing taxpayers will birth a new wave of fiscal conservatives.

What are check-writing taxpayers you ask? Well if you have to ask, you are probably a liberal.

A check-writing taxpayer is

  1. Someone who actually pays taxes
  2. Someone who actually has to write a check to the "US Treasury" or "Minnesota Revenue" (vs. having it withheld thus never really having even temporary control of those dollars)
That is to say, a self-employed individual. After writing a few five-figure checks to the above payees leads the payor to start wondering just exactly where that money (which theretofore was sitting happily in the business checking account) went.

I don't think there are very many check-writing liberals out there.

So this article...

...has me hoping that a generation of entrepreneurs will breed a new wave of check-writing fiscal conservatives.
The most compelling statistic of all? Half of all new college graduates now believe that self-employment is more secure than a full-time job. Today, 80% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer courses on entrepreneurship; 60% of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. magazine. Tellingly, 18 to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 35 to 44-year-olds. And 70% of today's high schoolers intend to start their own companies, according to a Gallup poll.

An upcoming wave of new workers in our society will never work for an established company if they can help it. To them, having a traditional job is one of the biggest career failures they can imagine.

Much of childhood today is spent, not in organized sports or organizations, but in ad hoc teams playing online games such as Half Life, or competing in robotics tournaments, or in constructing and decorating MySpace pages. Without knowing it, we have been training a whole generation of young entrepreneurs.

And who is going to dissuade them? Mom, who is a self-employed consultant working out of the spare bedroom? Or Dad, who is at Starbuck's working on the spreadsheet of his new business plan?

Being good entrepreneurs, it's time to look ahead, develop a good plan, and then bet everything on ourselves.

In the past there have been trading states like Venice, commercial regions like the Hanseatic League, and even so-called nations of shopkeepers. But there has never been a nation in which the dominant paradigm is entrepreneurship. Not just self-employment or sole proprietorship, but serial company-building, entire careers built on perpetual change, independence and the endless pursuit of the next opportunity.

For all of our fears about privacy and security, for all the added pressures that will be created by heightened competition and clashing ambitions, America as an entrepreneurial nation will reward each of us with greater independence – and perhaps even greater happiness – than ever before. It waits out there for each of us. Being good entrepreneurs, it's time to look ahead, develop a good plan, and then bet everything on ourselves.

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