Millennials in the Shark Tank – and Not Surviving It
I love the reality show, Shark Tank. Of course it is entertaining…but more than that, it is rich with solid advice and direction onhow business owners and entrepreneurs think and have become successful.
In season 4, episode 11, two young adults from a California college – one a grad student, one an undergrad – were pitching their product to the sharks. They had manufactured and sold successfully a small quantity of their item via a website priced at $17/each. They had run projections and “in theory” felt they had a winner with a value of $500,000 despite very few sales of the original prototype they had made themselves. They were asking the sharks to invest $100,000 in their business. But, they had no orders and nothing manufactured yet; just an idea and enthusiasm.
The sharks weren’t buying it and were both frustrated and aggressive in sharing their experience and wisdom with the young entrepreneurs who in turn, were not listening and equally emphatic in return. Even argumentative. The sharks called them “arrogant” and “thick skulled” and were genuinely appalled by the exchange. It was one of the more poignant episodes because it reflected one of the often heard complaints between generations in the workplace: “they’re not listening.” They may be lacking in experience and talent, but millennials are often full of confidence and optimism, not ready or willing to invest the time and patience required. Shark Daymond John shared these wise words, “Life is a cruel teacher. She loves to give you the test first, and the lesson later.” This will be how some still need to learn.
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