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Future fortune

Thursday 1st May 2014

The question of what to do with your life never goes away, I’ve been told by more than a few people decades older than me.

An often repeated line for generations emerging out of university over the past 10 years is that we’ll have five or more careers in our lifetime. We don’t even know what jobs we might be doing in the future because they haven’t even been imagined yet, is another line from tech futurists.

The answer may be taking the future into our own hands.

“Traditional careers need to change,” entrepreneur Derek Handley yesterday told the audience at the Digital Disruption conference in Auckland. People need to focus on careers that have an impact on society and solve issues, instead of building a professional career focused purely on money, he said.

As the lines between work and life blur, and when for many of us work is part of our identity, he’s got a point. As Derek says, in previous generations entrepreneurs made their millions then in their later years moved in to philanthropy. He’d like to see more people with a social agenda as part of their business model.

Also on stage at the conference were emerging tech entrepreneurs Andy Wilksinson and Sebastian Hallum-Clarke.

At only 16, Sebastian has already released a handful of apps and was named Youth Wellingtonian of the Year last year. He’d like to see programming workshops in primary schools, to promote it as a career path and fuel future development of the country’s tech sector.

“If you think about how much effort we put into youth sport – think of all the coaching, the academies, all of those things – imagine if we could harness a sliver of that. Imagine where we could be for our youth tech sector?” he told the conference.

Andy, 23, warned that “start-ups are real hard but you don’t believe it until you start”. He also spoke of the need to stay true to a personal vision of the business. “You need to navigate by the stars, not by the islands.”

This month on The Wireless you’ll hear more from young entrepreneurs, including a profile on Derek Handley, as we explore the theme of Fortune. Megan Whelan will take an in-depth look at tech start-ups while the newest member of our team, Aleyna Martinez talks to young business people about finding the path to success.

A white cat in collar and tie doing business things

Elle Hunt will ask whether the economy prioritises middle-aged and elderly interests over younger generations, and in two separate features Nina Fowler explores gambling targeted at young people and how the WINZ system treats young beneficiaries.

We also have former student media horoscope writer and “profound, ardent skeptic” Uther Dean visiting a fortune teller. Plus there'll be plenty more.

In the meantime, if you are thinking of starting a business, here are three tips from Andy Wilkinson:

1. Learn as you go - Start with identifying a problem and finding a solution to it. You don’t need a grand vision in place when you start off.

2. When you do have your vision, keep it in focus -  Don’t get side-tracked by the ideas of others. Be proactive, not reactive.

3. Keep a balance - Be persistent in pursuing your goals but don’t burn out. Take time out to decompress, it might be when you have your best ideas.

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On the eve of kicking off our new theme we unfortunately suffered a stroke of misfortune. Due to a technical issue we appear to have lost our content from the past six weeks. We’re working to get all the feature content and blogs republished to our archive over the next couple weeks. In the meantime, there’s new stories coming, so please bear with us.