Wednesday, October 7, 2009

30 Under 30 America's Coolest Young Entrepreneurs

Recession? What recession? You'd think the events of the past year would have curbed Generation Y's enthusiasm for the always-uncertain entrepreneurial life, but you'd never know it by looking at this year's 30 Under 30 list. It's a dynamic group of self-starters that has managed to raise money, launch new products, build new technologies, and tap into underserved markets. And they've done it with relentless enthusiasm and resiliency.

Inc. Magazine has released its 30 under 30 America's Coolest Entrepreneurs and I have brought it to you right here at BadskiBlog. Some of these business models are pretty cool, some underwhelm me; it looks like ALL are successful. Inc. Magazine does the 30 under 30 America’s Coolest Entrepreneurs every year and regardless of whether or not you agree with all their picks there are some valuable lessons to be learned. One of the things I liked this year was the emphasis on teamwork and partnering. Coming up a hockey guy I love the team environment. In fact the older I get it seems the more paralyzed I am by working alone. I just don’t see the value in working alone. It’s not realistic and more importantly it's not fun. I don’t feel any shame in reaching out for help and some of my finest life achievements come from standing on the backs of my teammates.

Every year, our 30 Under 30 list is populated by a number of companies that were started by partners. But this year, more than two-thirds of the entrepreneurs we feature launched their ventures with one or more co-founders. Curiously, I came up with almost the same number when I surveyed the people I interviewed for my new book, Upstarts! How GenY Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business. Sixty-four percent had started their companies with partners. So what's going on here?

Generation Y seems to thrive on teamwork and to crave social interaction, so it's no wonder that solo founders are less common than partnerships. But it's not just that these young entrepreneurs want company -- many seem to know what they don't know and are not a bit afraid to acknowledge the gaps in their skill sets. And if those gaps can be filled by a childhood friend, a classmate, or a spouse, so much the better.

Here is a slideshow detailing all the business models for these young entrepreneurs. I love looking at profiles like this because it helps me to see patterns in how successful entrepreneurs built their visions. Even if I would never create a new vintage clothing line or a bottle cap accessory business, I can still learn from their business model and experiences. I am huge fan of IdeaPaint. What a great business model. Simple yet worth talking about. I think the possibilities for markets are virtually endless as well. I can see everyone from coaches to music producers using this simple yet innovative product. Their website is amazing as well. They present their product in a manner that would make Steve Jobs or Garr Reynolds proud.

Another cool slideshow feature Inc. did this year was provide advice from the young entrepreneurs. BadskiBlog readers know my love for quotes and my propensity to latch on to any snippet of advice. So this section was great for me. Although the advice is fairly generic, it is like anything else in the sense that the masters of any skill or profession never take the basics for granted. Quotes are typically targeting the fundamentals of life, or lessons that a broad audience can and should learn from. Generic or not I like reading these types of quotes.

Stick With It

"Start-ups don't die, they commit suicide. In other words, 90 percent of start-ups fail because the founders get bored, discouraged, or something else, and they move on to other things, not because of some catastrophe. No matter how dark it is today, things will always better tomorrow."

-- Justin Kan, Justin.TV

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