I have been impressed by the students of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who in the wake of tragedy, are elevating the discussion on the embarrassment that is our national gun policy. On the one hand, I am proud of them for stepping up and filling this void in leadership. On the other hand, I'm sad that our public officials are saddling children with yet another burden to carry. This is a remarkable group of young people, and it's thrilling to see it unfold.
In this morning's Axios AM newsletter, which I read everyday, there is a summary of an interesting exchange between David Brooks of the New York Times, and Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei of Axios on the subject of Generation Z (generally, the group of people born between the late-1990s and as late as five years ago). It gave me hope about where this generation might take the country.
The exchange was prompted by David's column published in The Times yesterday, "A Generation Emerging From the Wreckage," in which he describes a generation that has already had to endure "the Iraq war, the financial crisis, police brutality and Donald Trump — a series of moments when the big institutions failed to provide basic security, competence and accountability." I would add mounting education costs, a degraded environment, and depleted public funds to that list, and that's just the half of it.
As a result of this, according to David's reporting (he's been speaking with students on college campuses), young people have little faith in large institutions, yet are driven by a desire to improve society. To this, VandeHei responds "these kids are growing up with incomprehensible access to people, ideas and information, and [are] armed with immeasurable and invaluable skills and tech/social media savvy, giving them the power to do much more and much earlier in life than those before them."
That's when it hit me—will this be a generation of entrepreneurs? Will they use their creative instincts, technological savvy, and a distrust of the established order to bring radical change to our business and social sectors? These are the right conditions for creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship to flourish.
I have written extensively in the past about a simultaneous rise in venture-backed, high-tech entrepreneurship on the one hand, and a sustained declined in business formation across the economy on the other hand. The economic and social problems our country faces are evident.
It gave me great hope to think that perhaps an entire generation of young people will take on these challenges, shaping a more positive destiny than the one they've been handed. Here's to them.