Full disclosure before this one begins:
I am the proud father of two incredible, unique young men:
- My younger son Hayes, at 19, is wise and toughened well beyond his years. He has a sparkling creative mind and applies it with the nimbleness of his hands as he goes about learning and performing his passion of designing innovative, expectation-bending high-end furniture.
- My elder son Aidan is independent, adventurous and equally creative, expressing himself more flamboyantly than his somewhat more-subdued brother. Aidan's tools are words, ideas and social interaction, and he melds them together into something special with every project he takes on (and with every outfit he wears).
Today is Aidan's 22nd birthday, and the best birthday gift is the one he's given himself...and has chosen to share with the digiterati.
Speaking objectively now, I gotta say that Aidan's recent wordsmithing at Posterous.com, a blog called "Journal of a First-Time Entrepreneur," is among the most insightful, honest, raw, endearing and frightening writing on the web.
Subtitled "A GenY's Adventures in Entrepreneurship," Aidan is painstakingly and perhaps too-openly documenting the daily trials and tribulations of launching an Internet-based start-up called Youphonics. More than just diarizing it, he summarizes each post with homework/action items and the all-important lessons learned.
As someone who has gone through a couple of these himself, and who has counseled dozens of others in their start-up dreams, I find this full-bodied exposure to be incredibly heartening, educational and sometimes just juicily voyeuristic. When I spoke at a youth entrepreneurship conference in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, I urged the brilliant kids there to jump into this blog head first. It's that good.
I don't know where Aidan's Youphonics project will land up--it could be a game changer, an expensive lesson, or somewhere on a thousand points in between those two extremes. But I do know three things:
- "Journal of a First-Time Entrepreneur"should be required reading for anyone wanting to start--or are in the throes of starting--their first business.
- I regret not doing the same thing during my times doing the same thing.
- If all else fails, Aidan will have at least documented a story that could find life as a book, speech or college course.
But, knowing Aidan, I don't think all else will fail.
Read this. Go back and start at the very beginning. And pass it on to someone young you know who can benefit from it.
And know why I'm proud of him as an individual, not just as my son.