Occupy Wall Street–I Dare You!!

Is it a coincidence that the two headlines today are about the death of Steve Jobs and the protestors of “Occupy Wall Street”? Truth is most often found in the paradox. To the protestors of “Occupy Wall Street,” I would love to dare you, to double dog dare you, to do exactly what you say you want to do– Occupy Wall Street! I am not talking about the Michael Moore, boogieman, Wall Street of your imagination, where you have set up a Hooverville. I am talking about occupying the Wall Street that Steve Job’s APPL resides on. The Wall Street that has provided the capital to invent your iPhone, your iPad, your iPod that you are playing games on, while camping in your fancy REI sleeping bags on the street.  I dare you to occupy Wall Street while you drink your SBUX, read on your AMZN kindle and GOOG Steve Jobs Stanford Speech.  So please, keep occupying Wall Street, but make it the real street, the one rift with risk and reward, highs and lows, gains and losses, victories and defeats.

This is the Wall Street where every entrepreneur secretly pictures himself or herself ringing the closing bell on the six o’clock news. This is the Wall Street in the back of the mind of every businessman as he “incorporates” his new idea at the division of commerce; an idea that will change the world or at least the community in which he lives. This is the Wall Street that innovators hope to arrive at when they sell their unknown, untested idea to venture capitalists. This Wall Street is the reward for years of sacrifice, long hours, happy customers and new products. This Wall Street is our country’s Main Street and ironically the home of our nation’s first capital.


Sure these are tough times, extremely tough times, everyone is feeling the pain and your future seems uncertain. But, the post-Watergate, Jimmy Carter, oil embargo, double-digit inflation years of the 1970’s were no picnic either. These were the same 1970’s however, that found Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak building a computer in their garage. So quit playing in the street folks, go home and build something, create something, cook something, invent something, write something, invest in something, study something and for God’s sake—read something, Animal Farm might be a good start! Wealth is created not just earned. Problems can be solved, not just bitched about and optimism always trumps pessimism.

I realize that you young people “Occupying Wall Street” tonight were raised in the generation of arranged playdates and organized team sports, where adults did all your planning. However, you are grownups now, you don’t need unions, political thugs and washed up revolutionaries organizing your social events…. or your tea parties. You are perfectly capable of doing your own social networking, just ask Mark Zuckerberg. In their book, The Fourth Turning, William Strauss and Neil Howe call you the Millennial Generation-the Power Ranger generation. You are coming of age during a “crisis”, and like the “world’s greatest generation” before you, who died on the beaches of Normandy, you will rise to the challenge. You will usher in the next great awakening. It will require that you get off your asphalts, roll up your sleeves and like Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear, move to “infinity and beyond.” You are already covering the world with Tom’s Shoes, living locally and thinking globally at Whole Foods and taking the Red Bull by the horns (while jumping without parachutes from airplanes). The iphone has 500,000 apps and young entrepreneurs run YouTube and Mozilla. The world is going to be in good hands, but during this economic downturn leave the “running from the bulls” to the Spaniards, the tea parties to the junior league and the campouts to the Boy Scouts, because Steve Jobs has just passed the torch to the next generation and now you have to run with it!

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9 Responses to Occupy Wall Street–I Dare You!!

  1. Julianna Shields says:

    “The world is going to be in good hands, but during this economic downturn leave the “running from the bulls” to the Spaniards, the tea parties to the junior league and the campouts to the Boy Scouts, because Steve Jobs has just passed the torch to the next generation and now you have to run with it!”
    Love this quote! So well written. Thanks Colleen!

  2. sullivanh says:


  3. Trevor Down says:

    The emphasis on occupying wall street is that the voice of the 99% are being drowned out by the buying power of the 1% “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or individual.” This is not followed enough when the corporate giants are cutting jobs, and then with the tax payers bailout money, give themselves more than modest bonuses for a “job well done.” Unfortunately not everyone has an entrepreneur bone in their body and entry-level jobs are always going to be desperately needed for the masses (hence the disorganization and lack of leadership of these protests). I respect the campers out there because they are making it clear that the 1% can not be the only voice heard. they do not claim to have the answer- but are assembling to search for one. The campers are educated (and likely in debt to their ears from student loans) unemployed (therefore have the free time to camp out for a week or two) and aren’t going to let 1% of the population who controls the money control the country as well.

    • colleendown says:

      I am glad to hear that you have a general idea of what is going on out there. There will always be diametrically opposed philosophies vying for our attention. What is important is that we follow where these philosophies lead us—clear to the end. What the last century has taught us is that socialistic ideas have bitter endings. While people figure out “what the next step is” we do not have to walk down paths that have already proven to be dead ends. However, like I said your generation is bright, sharp, prepared and I have great faith that the world will keep moving towards being a better, more just, more tolerant place.
      P.S. Take your toothbrush if you head downtown! 😉

  4. Cathy says:

    Great post, Colleen. I read an article this week in the Wall Street Journal about Obama’s plan to have the wealthy “give back”. It pointed out how much many of the great minds of our day have given back in the creation of their patents and inventions, ie pacemakers, computers, Iphones
    (I -everythings!) etc. How just by going into business they have given back and changed the world forever. Clark brought home the list of demands made by the Occupy Wall Street group and they aren’t even reasonable nor would I want to live in a country that abided their standards. I agree that it is a generation that can change the world, but they will have to put effort into it.

    • colleendown says:

      Some of those lists of demands are pretty laughable–reminds me of Student Council elections in sixth grade when we heard promises of kool-aide in the drinking fountains and all day recess!

  5. Stephanie Finau says:

    WOW!!!! WOW!!! WOW!! Well said, well put!

  6. Alison Moon says:

    Colleen, I have read through your blogs and I am so touched by your insight and your ability to peel back the layers. You have an amazing gift and I am so grateful to read your eloquent words. Thank you so much for sharing. Alison

  7. colleendown says:

    Thanks for you kind words Stephanie and Alison–it is always nice to have new visitors here!

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