This week the Students’ Association organised a number of events forming Employability Week, from CV writing workshops to talks from prominent figures in the media and arts world. We St Andreans marvel at the resources that students in larger cities are offered in terms of internships, work experience and jobs. During the school year, the amount of ‘real’ work’ available to us is tiny, and we take what we can waiting tables or serving ice cream. But I think we're luckier than those that came before us, and this is why.
For a very long time, the word ‘start-up’ has been linked to computer businesses, founded by mathematical geniuses from MIT: the Googles, the Facebooks, the Microsofts and Apples. Technology was scarce, and you had to be lucky if you wanted to use it to create things, like Steve Jobs and Wozniak did in 1975 with a couple of thousand dollars and the design for a personal computer. But now, almost everyone in our generation has access to a computer, and knows it like second nature. We can all edit a video on YouTube, have no problems buying and selling on eBay, and have probably downloaded and uploaded files to MegaUpload. We know and share information without any problems, and our natural reaction, when we organise a party, group or activity, is to go online.
If you've ever upvoted on reddit or backed-up your documents with Dropbox, it's thanks to Paul Graham and Y Combinator. At this Silicon Valley seed-stage funding firm, funding for each potential company is only $17,000. The average valuation for a company after one summer developing with Y Combinator is $22.6 million. Thanks to the easy access to technology that we have now, all you need to start an Internet or IT-base company is a tiny initial investment, a good team and a strong idea.
It's now very cheap to start a company and reach a stable place in the market, thanks to open source software, accessible hardware and a marketing plan that doesn't have to cost millions to put on TV or in billboards. The infrastructure to build and share your own products is already out there. The Internet has made it very easy to make sure that, if people like something, all their friends know. So all you need to do now is create something people like.
Do you need funding to start be able to start your latest short-film? All you need is a good teaser on YouTube, a call for funding on Kickstarter ("a collaborative funding platform for creative projects"), and a camera. Got a knack for fixing up old jewellery? There's a global market waiting to hand their money to you at Etsy, and if you want to go solo, starting your independent shop takes minutes.
Do you want to be a writer but no one is publishing your zombie/erotica novels? How about remixing Dracula vs. Frankenstein: The Love Story? It's been done with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: you can self-publish and be on Amazon in a matter of days. Or why aren’t the bands playing this Tuesday at ‘The Wild Rumpus’ actually selling their songs for 25p a piece online? If no-one is going to hire you to do something fulfilling, for Employability Week, why don't you start your own business and hire yourself?
Images sourced from missjenniferwatson, teatoastblog, keepcalmandgetcreative, and equilibrium2008. Compiled by Annie Faichney.