Tag Archives: USA Today

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs: Trick or Trend


Thanks to the Wall Street Journal’s 8 Monday Morning Must Reads I discovered USA Today’s Older entrepreneurs find new niche in startups. This doesn’t surprise me at all, but it was good to see it in print. The quick summary:

Over the past decade, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55 to 64 age group, according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City, Mo.-based entrepreneurship institute. The 20 to 34 age bracket has the lowest rate. Kauffman’s latest study shows that about 23% of new entrepreneurs in 2010 were in the 55 to 64 age group, compared with 15% in 1996.

Much as I like these numbers, there’s a bit of a statistical ruse here. Basic demographics. there’s The trend may not be anything more than the influence of sheer numbers. Take a look at this chart:

US Birthrate

The line there is births per year, and the pop up in the line, the blue portion, is the baby boom years. The so-called baby boomers — me included — were born from 1946 to 1958. They are the blue portion of that birth rate line above. So in 1996 we were 50 to 38, and therefore not included in the 55-64 stats. In 2010, however, we were 64 to 52, right in the sweet spot of the statistics. So it might easily be that the pop in the stats isn’t a change in trends, but a reflection of higher numbers of people in the 55-64 age group.

On the other hand, I hope it’s not just statistical distortion. I’d like to think it’s a reflection of increasing longevity and a decline in the strength of the myth or retirement. I think retirement is a social tradition developed in the past for very old people; to a lot of the baby boomers, me included, it’s a nightmare. But careers change and life changes around the ages 55-65, as kids grow up and careers stagnate. And a 60-year-old competent person has another 20, 30 or more years of life expectancy. That’s a long time to sit in a rocking chair. For my part, I posted here just last week about me getting involved in new startups. And I’ve posted here before on how much I don’t want to retire, ever.

Furthermore, there’s a bit of a push and shove in these statistics. Try leaving a job and getting another when you’re 55 to 64. Good luck with that. So you build your own job. And more power to you.


(image: wikipedia)

With or Without Paper, the News Lives On. I hope.

As the newspaper business seems to die slowly, I console myself with the idea that journalism isn’t dying with it. The Huffington Post is booming. The New York Times will bring in about $350 million this year. The new iPad shows us how we can spread the paper in front of us with coffee and a newspaper in the morning. There’s hope. They capped the stupid oil spill overnight. Maybe they’ll cap the journalism spill too. Eventually.

I wish I knew who I’m quoting here, but I don’t. Somebody mentioned this quote to me recently:

I don’t care about newspapers. I do care about journalism.

iPad NewsWhat if news didn’t come on mashed-up trees? What if it came online instead? What if the iPad is the future of the daily newspaper? I can still sit with my coffee and page through the news. Sort of.

Can we survive with a few big online news organizations, but no newspapers?

In that case, who’s going to cover the city council meeting? Who’s going to spend months doing investigative reporting? And who’s going to pay the salaries of the people spending months on investigative reporting?

Meanwhile the Huffington Post, by far the most successful news business of the last half decade, is paying journalists full time incomes to develop the news. They have a handful of their own correspondents. That’s not the answer to those questions, but it is a start.

And I read this morning on TechCrunch how Ex-Google News, Bing Engineers Set Out To Build ‘Newspaper Of The Future’. Oh the irony: my stream of consciousness goes from TechCrunch to blogs to declining print advertising to slow death of newspapers; and I read about it in TechCrunch.

And, then, without hesitation, I signed up for both the apps mentioned, Apollo and Pulse, to go with my New York Times, Huffington Post, CNN, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and SkyGrid. So it’s not like I won’t have news. And local news? That icon in the lower left of my iPad picture above is the Eugene Register Guard, which is my local newspaper. Now, as long as the local paper can figure out how to survive on its online revenues … sigh…

No, I’m not suggesting the iPad is the big answer or magic solution. It’s mostly just a good illustration. This is a long-term change of worldwide news landscape, and the iPad is significant here because this is how things are going to be. The iPad will have good competition soon enough. Let’s hope it does, and that the competition generates money for news organizations, so that the journalism survives.