Whom do you idolize?”
At school or college, in competitions of every nature, from friends and family members, the question of who one wants to be like in a few years seems to crop up invariably. Over a decade ago, when I was growing up, the answer would largely cover a few regular names. A celebrated cricketer, an astronaut, maybe an actor, a social worker, a historical figure or perhaps a businessman or two. Circa 2015, however, things are decidedly different.
The same question quickly gets answers like Jack Ma, Steve Jobs, Lei Jun, Mark Zuckerberg … the list goes on. There is an equally large number of Indian entrepreneurs and startup CEOs that a college-goer or a fresh professional hero-worships ardently. The youngsters are closely following their international idols’ every step, every tweet, every interview as they have become almost synonymous with that romantic notion of ‘following your passion’.
Many of the top entrepreneurs in the country today are engineering graduates from regular middle-class families. Most of them have no political connections, great family wealth or business inheritance backing them. They are, therefore, symbolic of completely self-made success.
Unlike the earlier generations that often viewed business as the preserve of those who have the clout and the luck to navigate through the country’s red-tapism, startup pundits make it clear that no obstacle is too large. In addition, many entrepreneurs are viewed as mavericks. They have made a success of their companies entirely on their own terms, doing things differently and always taking the uncharted path. These elements make for a highly palatable recipe as far as the youth goes.
Young adults today don’t want to be told what the set path is. They don’t want to believe that if they do things differently, success will elude them. This is exactly what their startup idols personify. The new-age entrepreneur’s zany policies, belief in ideas against all odds, innovative strategies, courage, confidence and complete disregard for traditional parameters of judgment validate the youth’s own desire for freedom, flexibility and love for the unconventional.
What also makes the new-age entrepreneurs connect with the youth is how they leverage technology. Many of these founders and CEOs have either found a solution to a real-life problem through technology or have just managed to make life simpler and smoother using tech.
Tech, as we all know, is something that the youth is most passionate about and feels strongly about. A man who makes booking a cab a matter of seconds is bound to be liked and admired by the youth. He who makes a phone recharge possible in the middle of the night also automatically becomes someone the young citizen views with affinity.
The fact is new-age entrepreneurs have their finger on the pulse of the youth and offer solutions and technologies that wow them.
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