Going through my bookmarks, I saw two articles from July that caught my attention. The first one, from Science Daily, explains that popular TV shows teach children that fame is the most important value. No surprise there (sadly).
The second article is about a Teen-only incubator announcing its first startup class.
This got me thinking… Is it possible that entrepreneurship has become a fad, the new cool thing that kids want to do? It seems like it, at least in certain circles.
Now, of course dreams of launching their own company are better than dreams of becoming the next Paris Hilton… But this may still be a problem. It’s still a fad, a choice that manages to escape the question that every decision should answer:
Should I do this?
Nothing is 100% objectively good. Everything should be put under personal scrutiny, and analyzed to see if it’s a good decision under our circumstances. Kids assuming that launching a startup is always a great thing is just as wrong as kids assuming going to college is always a good thing. Everything depends, but I worry that we’re not giving them a chance, we’re attacking their choices early enough to prevent them from exploring less popular possibilities.
Kids are vulnerable to what we tell them they should do, whatever that is. Maybe the problem it’s not about what we tell them, but about telling them anything at all.
I’m not only concerned about their lifestyle choices (or lack of choices), but also about what their output may be. I don’t think all startups are a great thing. I don’t think all companies are a great thing either. I think there’s a lot of crap out there. For example, I think there’s a lot of gaming companies that accomplish nothing other than make people waste their time. I’m with this guy, and this guy.
That’s why kids rushing into thinking about startup ideas, may lead to an increased output of stupid-but-profitable companies that we’d be better off without. There’s always exceptions, but in general, I’d rather have kids see and encounter problems once they make their own personal choices in adulthood, and then launch a startup to solve that problem, than to see them try to get some quick idea in pursue of some cash that may solve nothing.
Look, I’m all for exceptional people. A kid has a startup idea and wants to launch it? Good, let him compete with the big guys. If it’s good, his age won’t matter. But having a teen-only incubator lowers the competition, and distracts them from what adolescence should be about: Exploring and working on themselves.