Making Entrepreneurship Cool!


I work on 20Skaters, ThreeFortyNine, Ontario Startup Train and a few others. My vanity site is

I had a great discussion the other night with a friend about what our city will offer our kids as they grow. What will they gravitate to? What will they think is cool? As Logan points out in this great video, when kids are asked what they’ll be when they grow up…

“See, us kids are going to answer with something we’re stoked on, what we think is cool, what we have experience with and that’s typically the opposite of what adults want to hear.”

I’ve read enough John Taylor Gatto to have questionable faith in traditional schooling. Gatto talks a lot about the experiences he facilitated with his students. He connected them with real people doing real jobs to have them experience our world in an authentic way. Kid’s heard adults bitch and moan about their work or scream with joy. It wasn’t filtered, or delivered as curriculum. Gatto’s years of experience as an award winning teacher led him to create his list of what our school system really teaches our children:

  1. It confuses the students. It presents an incoherent ensemble of information that the child needs to memorize to stay in school. Apart from the tests and trials that programming is similar to the television, it fills almost all the “free” time of children. One sees and hears something, only to forget it again.
  2. It teaches them to accept their class affiliation.
  3. It makes them indifferent.
  4. It makes them emotionally dependent.
  5. It makes them intellectually dependent.
  6. It teaches them a kind of self-confidence that requires constant confirmation by experts (provisional self-esteem).
  7. It makes it clear to them that they cannot hide, because they are always supervised.

Rather than this being an anti-school rant, I’m curious what else can we add? My kid’s attend school but we drag them to places like DIYode. My kid’s use power tools, light fires, create and build all the time.

In the ThreeFortyNine context, how do we allow them to experience entrepreneurship so they can decide if it’s “cool” or not? My kid’s dabble with a few projects and we have other parent’s doing the same. We’ve begun discussing what a kid’s version of our Founder’s Club event would look like. For kid’s interested in hacking and creating things of value to others, how can we help?

Is your child entrepreneurial or an inventor? How are you helping? How can we help? Do you see value in an event that allows your child to discuss and work on entrepreneurial projects with kid’s their age? Please comment here or email me.