Culture Hack

Culture Hack

No More “Inside Jokes” For the Wealthy: How Millennials and Gen-Zers are Using the Tools They Have to Combat Gatekeeping

We all need role models and people who inspire us to strive for greatness beyond the simple things that we know. Throughout history, public figures and their impact on others has been carried out as sort of a domino effect; for every distinguished person in one generation, there’s at least one influential person in the next, watching and learning from everything they do in the public eye. When it comes to broadening the horizons of success, it could be argued that those most admired by 21st century society have explored their options beyond the talents they became known for. But with that pre-established influence and the support of the public, is there a fine line between becoming a beacon of hope and a threat to the success of future entrepreneurs?

In a recent segment on his show “Mad Money,” CNBC’s Jim Cramer essentially called the new SPACs “inside jokes” for those already rich and famous, going on to call the new type of IPO “a way for celebrities to monetize their reputations.” Because of the risk investors have to face in contributing to these companies, the people they most often serve effectively have established strong connections with the public and, therefore, have their fame as collateral.

The new versions of SPACs speak to the exclusive concept of celebrity that has felt like a “once in a lifetime” status for most to attain and how easily doors appear open once it is achieved. If you gathered even a small amount of fans during your prime, the opportunities are most likely endless. 

Around 54% of Gen-Z have said they want to start their own company, according to a Nielsen study.

While the majority of other generations have been comfortable with the roles and powers the rich and famous play in society, Millennials and Gen-Zers were born with this desire for more. With social media as their tools for education, connection, and creation,  these generations are fully capable of making names for themselves through the internet. The idea of “going viral” is no longer for random home videos with funny cats; influencers of these age groups utilize the ability to relate to or entertain their peers as a way to network.

According to a Future of Money Study, close to 31% of Gen-Z and 30% of Millennials use “side hustles” as a primary source of income, including — but not limited to — tech-based work. 

While most may not have the names of the fame to be their collateral when it comes to gaining the trust of supporters, they have something far more personable: their empathy. Bigger names might maintain the support of fans from their foundational careers but these homegrown innovators develop communities that will promote them by any means necessary. 

Though the youngest generations have found a way past the gatekeeping of success, the famous, multi-talented entrepreneurs still have something to contribute. In uplifting the small businesses and hustles of people who cannot easily start SPACs or other risky ventures, they bridge the gap between the large pools of fans and the more niche support systems. They also suggest to their followers that stars are not only aware of the brilliant creators they’ve inspired but that they are ready to see what they will do for society and how they will impact the culture.