Comedians are rarely universally funny before they turn thirty. The average age of all comedians is 38. Certainly there are exceptions: Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K. et al, but they are few and far between.
Why is this? Most comedians will tell you it’s because comedy comes from life experience, and you just don’t have much experience in life when you’re 18. What would you joke about, how small your dorm is? How gross cafeteria food is? These topics have a limited shelf life, and limited audience reach. When you’re 28, you have perspective. The size of your dorm is now a foreign, insignificant memory, just barely hanging on. When you’re young, it’s hard to connect the dots in a way that’s truly, objectively funny.
The same applies when starting a business. People create startups from life experience. The contrast from comedians is as one grows older, time becomes more scarce, and ambition suffers. And yet, with age comes additional responsibilities. The problems that need solving only seem to grow. Think of times in your life when you’ve been annoyed, and nothing existed that could quickly deal with the issue. Most would acknowledge the problem, but not that they could solve it. “I’m too busy with other things to start a company.” You rarely hear of a 38 year old starting their first business.
In those little “annoyed” spaces is opportunity. And the wisdom, perspective and experience of age can only help, not hurt, the exploration of that opportunity.
How do we foster the entrepreneurial spirit not in college kids, but in folks who are ten years into a career they never wanted?