Generation Entrepreneur

For the current generation, innovation is key.

By Maureen Lu, Staff writer

Today’s generation of 16 to 34 year olds, known as Millennials, are marking  career paths that are quite different from the previous generation.

Compared to the clearly planned careers of the previous generation, young social entrepreneurs do not necessarily strive for linear professional paths. We move around. Start businesses. We are in a world heavily affected by the culture of salespeople. Everyone is selling something, because even if they aren’t literally selling products, they are selling themselves through the self-images we created in social media. On Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr, people design, promote, manage and sell the brand they create for themselves. Growing up in the generation of consumption, the youth of today are an entrepreneurial generation.

Rock ’n’ rollers used to be the symbol of rebels. For the new generation, however, the Rock’n’roller is no longer the symbol of our time. We belong to a “post-emotional” generation, and entrepreneurship is the spirit of the millennial generation.

The word “entrepreneur” involves much more than launching a startup, but also a perception of the world—an individual’s state of mind. Associated with innovation and risk-taking, an entrepreneur is primarily a businessperson with the ability to generate new ideas, create new products, increase efficiency and productivity, and fill a gap in the consumer lifestyle. It is definitely a label that holds a certain appeal.

On the other hand, parents are often frustrated by the vague dreams of their children. Recently, there has been a lot of criticism of the youth of our nation, some of which even makes the news: spouting concerns over ever-changing interests and priorities, little patience and lack of long-term commitment, some believe that young leaders can be naïve, immature, undisciplined, inexperienced, and ignorant in ways that may be harmful or even catastrophic to an organization.

In the eyes of the previous generation, the millennial culture is simply too easy to describe: skinny pants, piercings, ironic t-shirts, tattoos and video games. But what is lurking underneath that hipster exterior?

David Murphy was born in 1981. Like many of his millennial peers, he chose a less rigid career path and traveled around the world. It is hard to believe that, without any Chinese connection or family members of Chinese background, Murphy fell in love with the language when he accidentally had a Chinese class in primary school.

After graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Studies, Murphy worked at ITS Global, a policy consultancy in Melbourne, Australia for 2 years. He was specializing in writing and presenting reports on business and government policies towards China.

“My job was to analyze how Chinese cultures policies affected its businesses with Australia, especially at the time when Australia is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Chinese Government,” Murphy explained. For the most part, Murphy had a dream job until he quit and moved to Beijing when he decided to have his own business in consultancy.

“But, I need to practice my language and presentation skills first,” Murphy said. “I decided to go to China”.Murphy

Murphy spent one year in Tsinghua University in Chinese language study, and another year working for oil energy consultancy in Beijing and Hong Kong, before he started his own business in Melbourne.

“When I discovered that there is a lack of information and voices from the Chinese academic domain, I felt I [had] the opportunity to fill the gap and start something different,” Murphy explained. “I don’t have business degrees or skills, but when I had the knowledge, [the] business is not something you learn from [a] book.

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