Let The 20 Something’s Play

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

The platform that you are reading this blog on has something in common with all social networks…it was started by a 20 something.
Matt Mullenweg started wordpress almost 10 years to the day (May 27th, 2003) in his early 20’s which was not a unique thing for a 20 something in those days. In fact, facebook, twitter, tumblr and many more social networks were all started by 20 somethings who had a new way of envisioning the web.

With the recent news that yahoo has acquired tumbrl for 1.1 billion dollars it was another ringing endorsement for a social network that people doubted was profitable or sustainable. And for that matter, that a 20 something could start, maintain, grow and sustain a business was unheard of.

As a 20 something, who is looking to learn, grow and lead, the battle continues to wage on in how do I get the most out of my 20’s? The common response to this stage has been “wait your turn.”

But more and more, 20 somethings are doing amazing things and not waiting in line to get into the game. They are not waiting to get the right connections, gain the valuable internships or for that matter go to school.

It leads me to ask the question, why don’t more organizations, churches, businesses let 20 somethings participate?

The short answer that I have heard: experience.
But in reality this seems to be one of the biggest excuses I have heard.
Experience comes down to what you have experienced. Depending on how you grew up, you have been placed in several situations that have forced you to lead, take responsibility and even speak up, all before the age of 20. Experience doesn’t wait until you turn 20, it starts the day you were born.

But in reality this answer is probably not one you can fully capture here, but the response is inevitable.
20 somethings will continue to leave to create their own game. They will go where they can be creative, free and encouraged. They will be in places where they can create something that could be worth something. And they wont wait to get experience by watching, they will be experience by leading, experimenting and sharing. 

It is time to get in the game.

20 somethings: start creating now and don’t ask permission
Everyone else: remember that we are wanting to learn from you, but we also want to be heard by you. We are always watching what you are doing, but also looking to be heard, valued and remembered. Help us fail and learn, but also help us succeed.

For a list of 20 something bloggers go here

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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • TrevorG

    I believe this is an ongoing thought for me so don’t take it as, “This guy thinks he knows what he’s talking about”. Cheeky, I know, but I think the moment I have it locked down is the moment things get shaken up just jar loose that notion.

    Enough of that. What you’re saying here made me think along the lines of apprenticeships. Its great that these 20 somethings were able to go out and create these behemoths. I, personally, am looking around my church at what different conversations, ideas, experiments are happening with all of the kids to see what sparks. I think that ones like Mark Z, this Tumblr dude, Sean Parker, etc started with an idea but would never have been able to grow it on their own without any help from anyone else.

    I used to work for a startup that was run by a guy out of his garage originally in his early twenties. It did eventually sell around the time he turned 30. The one thing that struck me about the whole thing was when I found out that he was constantly talking to an investor in S.F. (we were in Southern California). He mentioned once that he was not just an investor, but a mentor or even a father figure. I hadn’t really heard that used sincerely in the whole start-up/angel investing realm so it perked my ears.

    I worked for a finish carpenter who was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I watched him carve and sand a block of wood to fit a turn for a stair railing that he couldn’t order because the angle was too drastic. I will never forget the things he taught me because it wasn’t about the money. Sometimes we didn’t make much money. Sometimes he literally paid me to hang out with him, talk, eat breakfast and drink coffee because we didn’t get an order of parts we needed or maybe he just didn’t feel like busting his back that day.

    This is going to sound totally disjointed, but I just read your about section and am just now realizing where you’re coming from. Perfect!

    I think these 20 somethings need real lab-time and they need someone to connect with, be mentored by, talk to you, fail with, love, get frustrated by, irritated, pushed, challenged and in all of that never lose sight of the importance of the relationship.

    That’s how my close circle of friends/family/relationships work. We try things, we screw up, we talk, we submit ideas, we get told no, we say no, we listen to each other, we react, and through it all we remind each other of what we’re really doing.

    Oh wow I didn’t realize I wanted to get these ideas out like this. I love what you’re saying and I want young adults to keep sight of the importance of having mentors, parents, friends, and family involved in their lives.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      I am loving what you are saying.

      that has been something I have been advocating for a while. Mentorship.
      It is the only way to go. The issue that I am seeing is that most that find themselves under a mentor are not gaining anything or for that matter being mentored.

      But I love the thoughts here. Thanks for sharing.

      • TrevorG

        I totally agree with you. That brings to mind 2 thoughts.

        1) I have never set out to, “get a mentor”, but I have had several. I haven’t found there to be a magic formula to any relationship. And, a mentor, is a type of relationship the way I see it. Sometimes I’ve thought that it would be easier to just spend my time with someone else because John Smith isn’t that valuable to me. What I didn’t look at was how that person was valuable to me by just being there. I think that even the biggest thinkers do get value from relationships whether they’re focused on growing market value or growing a community garden. I think that makes sense.

        2) If 20 somethings see the value in having the right type of mentor in their lives for what they are doing with their lives they’ll find it. The entrepreneur I mentioned had almost nothing culturally in common with his mentor except their vision. Vision can be the same whether wise or foolish, but wisdom shows in our actions. That’s where I feel mentors are immeasurable in their value.

        Ok, I said 2 but inevitably I have a 3rd.

        3) 20 somethings don’t have to only be mentored. When I was in my early 20s someone told me the best way to learn the bible was to teach it. So I would learn something that I would talk about on a Friday night and then I would talk about it to others. I helped lead the youth program, run our A/V department, and I worked full time with out a bachelor’s degree (although, I did manage to accrue school loans that would equal a BA even without the paper). I think in America it is common to focus on particular stages of youth we find most important to ourselves and let the others figure themselves out.

        My mind almost exploded the moment I realized that I could just as easily teach a child how to write code as I could the english language. There’s great children’s books that familiarize children with HTML just the same way there are books that familiarize them with farm animals and proper spelling.

        I just say that to remember that at any age we need connections that help to create us and we can do that for others as well. Mentoring is hugely important to me and part of mentoring 20 somethings should be about mentoring them in their single digits as well as double digits.