Stop Complaining, Make Something

Earlier today I tweeted:

Dear #OWS and other young people:

Stop whining. Get out and make something. You are in charge of your future, no one else.

Thanks, –USA

Today we live in a truly extraordinary time. Never before have we lived in an era where more opportunity is available to more people. Computers and the internet have knocked down nearly every barrier to success. Seth Godin wrote about the opportunity:

The opportunity is there for anyone (with or without a job) smart enough to take it – to develop a best in class skill, to tell a story, to spread the word, to be in demand, to satisfy real needs, to run from the mediocre middle and to change everything.

Occupy Wall Street (and all the associated movements) completely defies what is amazing about today. I hate it because it’s sending young people every wrong message. Instead of inspiring the youth of today to create amazing things that add value to the world, it’s inspiring them to complain.

I guest lecture for undergrads at my alma mater, UT Dallas, every semester. It’s hard enough for young people who are being bombarded with messages that the economy is tough, that companies aren’t hiring and the unemployment rate is high. You think that complaining about some finance conglomerates (who by chance employ hundreds of thousands of people in the US) is making anything better?

Get out of the park and rethink the finance industry. Instead of protesting their ways, build something so great that society has to listen to what you’re doing, and take them down.

Stop kidding yourselves, we have nothing to complain about. Our parents’ generation actually had something to fight about. Young men were being forced into risking their lives in military service for a country no one even wanted to defend. We don’t live in the days of a feudalist society where “the 99%” are oppressed into serving people.

Instead, make something. Make a dent in the universe. The only thing holding anyone back today is your own drive, determination, and execution. VC money is flowing faster than tap water. Make something people want to pay for. Sure, you’re not going to be a puppeteer, but you can still change the world if you’re passionate about what you do.

And to our media. Let’s spend more time talking about amazing people like the 6th grade iPhone developer. People are completely rethinking the world as we know it. Media, Finance, Banking, and everything in between is about to change.

You can be a part of it. Or keep playing into our Gen Y stereotype and complain and act entitled.

Take your pick.

November 15, 2011