Posted by: prataap | May 4, 2009



                  MAKING THAT MILLION AT 17

                           FINDING ROLE MODELS THAT FIT


Emerging Trends: 

As ever-younger entrepreneurs enter the Net business world to create the next new idea and earn their first million dollars before turning 18, the roles of parents and teachers will be radically altered in the child rearing landscape. At 25, Chris Hughes is starting his second career as “entrepreneur in residence” at the VC firm of General Catalyst Partners. Oh, Chris Hughes? He’s the founder of Facebook and the web site that raised $500 million for the Obama campaign.

There is a real threat that parents who are not extremely savvy will be sidelined, considered outdated, uninformed, and outmoded by 14 year olds.  This will allow all kinds of cyber surrogates to take their place.  When hormones are taking off and emotions are running amok, teen years are often isolating and awkward.  With a community of hackers egging them on and with the know-how to hack into the FBI, the Pentagon or any web site, their alienation can become lethal.

On the plus side, many children will feel empowered at a very early age and have the ability to make a difference.  But many of the child pioneers will be “playing” outside the proverbial sandbox, choosing to drop out, start a company, work on defining new frontiers, earn real money and stock options, some before they are old enough to vote. will be creating mini-incubators in college towns like Ithaca, NY & Hanover, NH. to catch the 21 somethings while they are still incubating. Venture capital is coming a-knocking on your 14 year old’s bedroom door.  What are you going to say? Or will you even have a say?

Next Opportunities: already exists for the budding teens and the not so budding teens who just don’t fit but have a bright idea and want someone to guide them through the maze of options. Many companies as well as employers like the CIA will collaborate with parents of the super talented and compete for the creative powers of their children. Smart Schools like Smart Companies will gear up to find ways to keep them in school.  Even smarter schools will become venture capital partners with philanthropies and develop school based business enterprises in which students and teachers create and own “companies” together, with shares they can cash in or transfer to college if they chose to graduate. And if Uncle Sam is smart, the IRS will allow money earned through such school-based businesses to be tax free when used to fund education.

Smart Schools will identify and teach advanced “net business development skills” as opposed to simply using computers in classes as a teaching tool. Courses will focus on becoming a net entrepreneur, teaching skills like identifying trends, developing ideas into products, seizing opportunities and realizing them at net speed, interdisciplinary team collaboration, jump starting an idea, and even leadership and branding. This is where it will get scary.  Genetic and other kinds of testing will be available to identify the children with the highest potential for “net skills.”  Parents hoping that their child will become the next Bill Gates will literally seek to incubate them.  Speaking of Bill and catching them early, Microsoft has already struck a deal with the Indian government to allow it to cherry pick the brightest from the Indian school system and be sent to Microsoft to be trained as software engineers in return for a sizeable investment in IT in Indian public schools. What a deal for India. Hardly!

 In the meantime, as they seek to leave a legacy that carries their passion forward into the next generation of emerging trends and technological shifts a lot of the “older generation” of net entrepreneurs, 20 and 30 somethings will want to mentor the younger stars of today.  

Opportunities you ask? Be the first Smart School teacher to create the school based business model that makes real money, which engages the 13 year old and weans her away from the ubiquitous gaming and away from the hacking and tweeting she does to get attention.  Help her create a new killer i-Phone app that gets a million downloads from the Apple Store. Be the one who creates a net skills testing program for 6, 10, 12 year olds and spot the Steven Jobs of tomorrow.  Be the first Smart Company to start a mentor program with the local school system to tap into the next generation of Einsteins.  Be the parent who dares to collaborate with her 14-year-old and goes along for the ride into the unknown. Get in there with your child and let her show you how to create something new and daring.  The 70’s may have been the start of the modern day youth movement.  Be warned, we are at the start of a real teen movement that will rock us all.

Let your imagination run wild.

Create the future and smell the roses, it’s your move!

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