The Irish Independent recently published an article entitled “Forty Under 40: the young turks and tycoons of tomorrow”. The article gave a run down of 40 successful Irish business people all under 40 who have, for want of a better word, made it.
The 40 overachievers draw quite the inspirational spectacle and anybody looking for a kick to go out and conquer the world should read with keen interest.
I decided to run the numbers on the cohort to see what are the essential ingredients for success by 40.
Well firstly there is no immediate rush. While the youngest, Shane Curran of Libramatic is just 12, the average age of our go-getters is 34.2. In fact just 15% of the list are 30 or below and 40% of the entire list is 37, 38 or 39. So the notion of being a millionaire by 25, or indeed 30, or even 35 doesn’t seem to bear out – looks like we’ll all just have to keep slogging away!
The other thing to avoid, if you want to be a tycoon of tomorrow, is being female. Just 17.5% of the list are ladies and it seems that if you are a female entrepreneur you can forget it. 57% of the ladies on the list rose through the ranks of large companies. It also seems that ladies have to wait that little bit longer for success. None make it onto the list of 30 or below and 3 of the 7 ladies on the list are 37, 38 or 39. So the message is ladies hang back for a while, if you bother at all!
Getting a good education is seen as laying the foundations of a successful career. However it seems that it is what you do with that education that counts. On the list just 12.5% (or 5 of the 40) included details of any sort regarding college education. That’s not to say that the rest didn’t go to college. Most with the exception of Shane Curran, you would suspect did. However it seems that education is not a means in itself; it is just a means to an end.
For anybody looking for the inspiration to set up themselves take note now. If you want to be successful in business by 40 you’ve gotta go it alone. 67.5% of people on the list are self employed. If you want to make it to the top by 40 you have a better chance of getting there if you go it along. In fact of those who are self-employed 85% did not have a significant history in a large company prior to striking it out on their own. It seems that the notion of going to learn your trade first does not have to apply to those who make it big.
Having a family business to slot into used to be seen as a guaranteed road to success. Indeed if this list were complied 5 years ago many sons and daughters of former property tycoons would most likely feature prominently. Not so anymore, only 10% of people have family pedigree behind them. Also of note only one name on the list, Jamie Rohan, is from (his dad’s) property background.
Finally what industry is most likely to pave a way to success? It’s pretty cut and dry really: 45% of people on the list operate in the tech and internet space. By a long shot our best and brightest rising stars are looking to the tech world to generate riches and success. There isn’t really a runner up industry: advertising gets a nod with 7.5% of participants, retail takes another 7.5%, recruitment gets 5% as does industry. After that it’s a smorgasbord of industries from gaming to gambling, animation to alcohol, biotech to bread. The old staple of property gets just one entry and banking, the most lucrative of lucrative endeavours in the past is conspicuous by its absence.
So in a nutshell how do you become a roaring success by 40? Well you need to be male, a techie, in your late 30’s, not from a family dynasty, self employed and not overly hung on your college education.