Hungry Houston: Netflix’s Ugly Delicious goes to H-Town


Chef David Chang is probably the most trending celebrity chef in the world right now, thanks in no small part to his hit Netflix series, Ugly Delicious. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s outstanding. Educational both gastronomically and culturally, with a healthy dose of Chang’s unique brand of raw honesty and opinionated commentary. For Houstonians, particularly those of us who are invested in this city’s food scene, the show marks an important milestone in our city’s struggle for culinary respect. Episode 4 of season 1 brings to global attention what proud Houstonians have known for years; the Bayou City is a food destination on par with, or better than, any of the world’s great food towns. In terms of diversity, authenticity, and creativity, H-Town may well be second to none.

“Crawfish vs. Shrimp” is the name of the Houston-centric episode 4 of Ugly Delicious, though the first 20 minutes could have been called “Houston vs. New Orleans”, as this is the comparison that Chef Chang uses as a launching point for the episode. As a lifelong Houstonian who spent three years living in Louisiana, and has more Cajun friends than one cares to admit, I’ve heard more than my fair share of Houston trash talk. Nowhere is this anti-Houston sentiment felt more strongly than in New Orleans. New Orleanians just seem to hate Houston (because I guess they hate strong economies, diversity, functional roads, and competent government). But honestly, for those of us Houstonians who truly love the Big Easy, their irrational hatred of our city kind of stings. So I must admit that watching Chang gush over Houston’s Viet-Cajun crawfish while absolutely lambasting New Orleans chefs who refuse to break tradition was deeply satisfying. Chang does conveniently gloss over the fact that, while culinarilly creative and culturally inspired, Viet-Cajun crawfish is typically much spicier than traditional Cajun crawfish, and as such does not tend to agree with the average American palate. Nevertheless, his outpour of support for Houston’s multi-cultural food industry is pretty fun to watch.

The show is not without its faults however. Around the thirty minute mark, Chang sits down for a traditional Vietnamese dinner at the home of a Vietnamese-American family of shrimpers. During the dinner Chang peppers the self-described “Vietnamese Rednecks” with loaded questions about Middle-Eastern refugees and whether they should be given the same economic opportunities as Asian-Americans received back in the 1970’s. Johnny Tran, the son of Vietnamese immigrants, born and raised in the Gulf Coast as a fisherman and shrimper, answers Chang’s questions in a more conservative way than the obviously progressive chef was hoping for. Chang later uses Tran’s answers as an indicator that the city’s immigrant populations have naturally integrated with Texas’ strongly conservative mindset, which the host sees as a tragic loss of empathy for modern immigrants. I took issue with this assumption for two reasons. First, the Tran family are shrimpers living along the Gulf Coast, most likely in Pasadena or one of the many fishing towns that, while technically still within the greater Houston area, are far more politically conservative than Houston proper. Second, as Chang mentions earlier in the episode, Vietnamese immigrants in the 1970’s faced a harrowing journey to America, followed by years of racism and attacks by the Klu Klux Klan. In the 40 years that followed, families like the Tran family have found acceptance in the Gulf Coast, in part due to their willingness to assimilate, both culturally and politically. Chang, in an unintended display of his East Coast mentality and privileged upbringing, fails to see the Tran family’s conservative values as a fundamental aspect of their ability to coexist within their community.


As the episode draws to a close, Change sits in the dining room of Houston’s culinary crown jewel, Underbelly, with his makeshift panel of Houston chefs, led by Underbelly owner and executive chef, Chris Shepherd. Chang poses a question to the group that illustrates an unfortunate misunderstanding that he has about Houston. He asks the group if Houstonians will soon be able to accept Middle-Eastern food as widely as they have accepted Asian food. Immediately every member of the panels responds that Houston already does accept Middle-Eastern food and culture in the same way. Of course, they are absolutely correct. Houston has more shawarma shops and Halal grocers than nearly any American city outside of New York. In fact, sitting in the dining room of Underbelly, Chang was less than two miles away from Halal Guys, Houston’s widely popular food-truck turned brick and mortar, and within five miles of dozens of halal-fusion eateries serving anything from fried chicken to Chinese food. Chang sadly brushes off the emphatic responses of his panel and quickly changes the topic.

In the end, episode 4 of Ugly Delicious is still a triumph of Houston’s cultural diversity and incredible culinary attractions. Despite his political interjections and brash oversights, Chef Chang does far more good for Houston’s reputation and image than harm. His approach of brutal honesty and controversial questioning is a refreshing alternative to food shows that typically feature a host pouring undeserving love and admiration onto every restaurant and/or chef that is ever featured on their show. When dealing with Chang’s brand of unbiased coverage and raw opinions, one must learn to take the good with the bad. Despite my objections to some of his opinions, I applaud the show for its goal of cultural outreach and political education through the medium of food.

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today, the illusion of American Presidency was shattered. As Donald Trump put hand to bible and took the presidential oath, he effectively killed the grandeur and pomp once associated with his now disgraced office. Naturally, of the 44 men who preceded Donald, not all were worthy of the office. American Presidents have been racists, warmongers, crooks, and diplomatic failures. In those categories Trump shares notable and historic company. Still, until 2016, there existed a notion that, POTUS, was a title reserved for an individual of intellectual and strategic capabilities greater than the average man. That despite political positions and moral shortcomings, the President would be a man or woman who would represent this nation with dignity and strength, especially on the world stage. Donald Trump lowered the bar of presidential prerequisites to a level so morbidly embarrassing, that the very future of American global leadership is now in question. And so, as a toast to the 45th best President in American history, on the day of his first anniversary in office, and on the first day of our federal government shutdown, I have compiled the following list of some of POTUS’ most splendid failures to date.

#1 – Government Shutdown (duh)

How could I not start with the most obvious and most recent public embarrassment for Mr. Trump? This one is particularly important, as it also represents a failure of historic proportion for the GOP controlled congress who, despite every political advantage, has failed to pass all but one of the major bills they proposed in 2017. Perhaps everyone on Capitol Hill should have read “The Art of the Deal” before negotiations began?

#2 – The Wall

This one is debatable as a failure. If you assume that Donald really intended to build an 800 mile long wall along the southern border, payed for courtesy of the Mexican government, then, emphatically, this has been an obvious failure. However, if you believe the promise of a border wall was a farce meant to trick racist illiterates into voting for him, then this can actually be viewed as a strategic success. Since no one in Trump’s camp can seem to agree on the truth of the matter, I’m going to go ahead and call it a failure.

#3 – Prosecute Hillary

Well, he did promise us a major investigation by the justice department. I’ll call this one 50/50.

#4 – Keeping Jobs in America

One of POTUS’ most important and consequential campaign promises, was that he would keep manufacturing jobs in America, AND force American corporations to bring overseas jobs back to the states. This promise won Trump the overwhelming support of rust belt union workers, most of which have been lifelong democrats. Unfortunately for those men and women, over 93,000 American jobs were lost to foreign competition in 2017…. Ouch.

#5 – Replace and Repeal

Thank you Senator McCain.

#6 – Vacation Days

After slamming Obama during the course of his presidency with tweets like this, and promising that he would be the hardest working president in American history, Donald spent 43 days away from the white house during his first year in office. His leisure time included a 17-day trip to Mar a Lago, almost as long as the entirety of Obama’s first year off days.

#7 – A Revolving Door of Cabinet Positions

Since he took office, Trump has been unable to control the chaos in his administration. In the first year of his presidency, a dozen members of the executive branch have been fired or resigned for one embarrassing reason or another. From conflicts of interest, claims of corruptions, and an ruthless culture of backstabbing in the White House, it seems that no one will come out of this presidency unscathed.

In an effort to keep this article brief, I’m going to stop at 7. I could probably also mention the degrading opinion of America among global leaders, the president’s many personal scandals, the firing of Director Comey, the White House leaks, and much more. Instead, I’ll just leave you with these neat articles to read!

Happy anniversary Donny! Keep up the shit work.



Tobe Nwigwe Uses Hip Hop to Teach Self Determination



“I grew up listening to Fela Kuti, who was like the James Brown of Nigeria […] But I never, ever in my life thought about doing music, ever.” Tobe Nwigwe sits on a bench in the middle of a popular Houston streetwear shop, framed by sneakers and Supreme shirts, to tell me about life growing up in the SWAT*, and how a first generation Nigerian –American discovered a hidden talent that changed his life.

*Southwest Alief Texas

If not evident from the opening quote, Tobe’s personality is deeply rooted in his Nigerian heritage. He is one of five children of immigrant parents, raised in the Alief neighborhood of southwest Houston. “There were seven of us in a two bedroom condominium,” he recalls. Nwigwe’s childhood was fairly standard for an immigrant family from one of Houston’s rougher neighborhoods; low on money, short on opportunity. But young Tobe would develop a special talent early in life that paved the way for a better future.

Tobe’s first skill was hitting people; both on and off the football field. Though as he puts it, “I was trash in football all through little league.” He tells me how a “physical altercation” in the fourth grade gave him the confidence to excel in both a violent sport and a violent community. He eventually earned a scholarship to play linebacker at the University of North Texas, where a season ending injury his senior year derailed a potential NFL career. After football, the young man from Alief searched for a new purpose in life. Through his faith he was inspired to start a nonprofit organization he named Gini Bu Nkpa Gi, “but you can’t pronounce that,” he says. “So we just call it TeamGini.” TeamGini has a simple mission; to help people find their purpose. The phrase literally means, what’s your purpose, in Igbo. Nwigwe is obsessed with the concept of purpose. More specifically, with helping others find their own. His organization uses “edu-tainment” to teach low income middle and high school students in the Houston area leadership skills, responsibility, and financial literacy. It was through his work with TeamGini that he developed a relationship with Eric Thomas, the popular motivational speaker and “hip-hop preacher” whose YouTube videos boast tens of millions of views.

Eric and Tobe developed a strategic partnership a few years ago. From their shared focus on community improvement and enlightenment through entertainment, the pair began working on various projects together. That was how mere happenstance led Eric, and his business partner, to discover Tobe’s untapped hip hop potential. “Long story short, CJ just happened to be scrolling on Facebook and saw me doing a freestyle with my family. After that he told me I needed to be doing music” Despite his reservations, CJ and Eric convinced Tobe to pursue a career in hip hop. Soon he would become the debut artist for their new label, ETA Records.


In a town known for breeding hip hop talent, Tobe Nwigwe’s music stands alone. His sophisticated lyricism and raspy baritone vocal style are somewhat out of place in the city of candy cars and purple drank. While Houston hip hop has been prolific in the past, the city has largely lacked artistically driven lyrical voices that can remain relevant in the age of Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. In discussing his musical influences and favorite artists, I found it interesting that Tobe did not mention a single Houston rapper. Instead, stating that his two greatest musical inspirations are Lauren Hill and Andre 3000. “I always want to speak honestly about who I am and where I come from,” Tobe says. “Whenever I do music I always want to make sure I say something when I say something; if that makes any sense.” The Alief rapper goes on to say that much of what is considered “positive music” in today’s hip hop industry would be considered “corny” by the members of the communities with whom he has developed a rapport. He aims to bring a refreshing level of authenticity and street-cred to his music while still delivering a message of self improvement and positivity.

I finish my interview by asking Tobe what he wishes to bring to both hip hop culture and the city of Houston through his music, his organization, and his life’s work. He gives me a one word answer.


I guess you could say he has found his.


Cuba – A Photo Series

The following is a collection of photographs from a recent trip to Cuba. It is important to understand that while lush, tropical, and lined with beautiful colonial architecture, Cuba is a nation in a constant state of depression. This depression is both economic and literal. The people of Cuba are humble, kind, and surprisingly high spirited given the political and economic oppression under which they live; however, one thing they should not be called is happy. Happiness is a luxury not afforded to the overwhelming majority of Cuban citizens. The people of Cuba live a life devoid of economic mobility, personal liberties, even the freedom to travel outside the confines of their island nation. Some believe that positive changes, though gradual, have already begun. Still, many who have lived their lives under the Castro regime are suspicious of promises and doubtful of hope. These images represent my experience in Cuba. They reflect the incredible natural and architectural beauty of the island, as well as the hardship and the somber existence that is life in Cuba.


Why the Working Class Rejects Climate Science

Climate change and the varying opinions on its existence, gravity, and origins have become political lightning rods in the modern age. Along with race tensions, LGBTQ issues, and the pro-life/pro-choice debate, the issue of climate change is a clear line in the sand between the two Americas. Unlike social or theological issues however, climate data seems to polarize the nation along more than just the left to right political spectrum. This is a disagreement that goes deeper than party loyalty. It divides America along socioeconomic and educational lines, which is precisely what makes it a difficult and tumultuous topic for so many. In terms of the climate debate, the working class finds itself, as it has before, caught in a battle between the political mechanisms of the right and the left; manipulated, misinformed, and mistreated by both.

Much of America’s working class, particularly those in southern and gulf states, depend on the oil, gas, and coal industries for their livelihood. Most lack a college education and, at least since the Kennedy/Nixon era, most lean Republican when it comes to party loyalty. Democrats have struggled to regain any foothold or influence in the oil and gas dependent south for at least 40 years. Although much has been said about the political realignment of the South and the various issues of race, religion, and economy that drove it, I believe that the climate debate, and its implications for the southern economy, is as much to blame for the current polarization of the country as anything else. It is important to realize that the discussion about climate change itself is very different from the discussion on the implications of either denying or accepting its existence. Furthermore, one should understand that for the working class, information and its mechanisms of delivery are widely controlled by forces outside of the individual’s control. Fear tactics and misinformation have historically been leveraged for the purpose of shaping public opinion in support of political agendas. In the case of climate change, the widespread acceptance of the phenomenon by the American working class would be detrimental to the large, global organizations that largely employ it. It becomes easy then for these organizations to manipulate climate data and the delivery of such data to a population that is both under-educated and highly dependent on the continued well being of the carbon industry. Furthermore, it is all too easy for these same organizations to influence the policy and public messages of a political organization to whom the working class is already loyal. The situation is only compounded by a political opposition that, although factual in their message, has long been incapable of connecting with the working class on any level. Too often has the message of the Democratic Party been deaf to the concerns of the blue collar fossil fuel employee. Given the historic collapse of America’s blue collar industries, and the rapid loss of labor jobs to automation and foreign competition, carbon polluting companies offer the working class what few other companies can, promising and stable careers.

Personally I accept the realities of man-made climate change despite my own employment by an organization dependent on fossil fuels. Because I acknowledge the very real scientific evidence in support of the concept, but more importantly, because my education and skill set make me employable in other industries. Were I to put myself in the position of a pipeline welder without a college degree, the acceptance of climate change would mean the terrifying possibility that I will soon be out of a job. This is a scary thought for so many Americans today that live in oil dependent economies. The past three years have been a period of continued growth and stability for the greater US economy, yet they have been a period of massive layoffs and depression in an oil industry wrecked by low prices. Many see this temporary industry recession as a sign of more permanent future downturns if world governments continue a global push away from fossil fuels. Add this to the effects of propaganda machines that reject climate science and a Republican party so far corrupted by private interests that it no longer represents any discernible ideology, and the widespread rejection of climate change becomes all too predictable. The Democratic Party lost the 2016 election in part because of its inability, or perhaps refusal, to engage the working class. Long standing frustrations over the party’s focus on what some consider trivial social problems, and a general lack of solutions to the economic woes of the middle class, left millions of voters siding uncomfortably with Trump. The same issues confront the party in the fight against climate change. It is impossible to engage the middle class on an issue like climate change without first outlining clear and specific steps that will be taken to ensure job retention and cost savings in the communities most depended on fossil fuels. Climate activist Al Gore often discusses the economic upside of switching to renewables; subsidies to reduce our electricity bills, construction jobs, manufacturing jobs. But as a voter and an O&G professional living in the deep south, I have seen little penetration of this message in the areas where it most desperately needs to reach. Rather, activists and politicians on the left use traditionally liberal outlets to deliver a message to their own supporters in an echo-chamber of opinion. 

It is also impossible to engage a working class lacking higher education by belittling their intelligence and scorning their beliefs, as is standard for so much liberal collective in America. For a celebrity whose mansion’s carbon footprint exceeds that of entire city blocks, and who vacations in private jets, to preach to the middle class about climate change is both infuriating and perverse. These incidents only serve to further alienate the middle class and the blue collar voters needed to make real progress in the fight against climate change. Alternately, the patronizing of middle America by right wing news outlets and the GOP, only serves to further polarize an already divided nation. I believe that Americans are not as dimwitted as they are divided. The problem lies, as it usually does, within the systems that create information and the mechanisms through which that information is delivered to the public.

The Power of Language: Why Donald Embarrasses Us All

“The limits of my language, means the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Immigrants in every corner of the globe know one thing to be universally true. Your value in a society is largely dependent on your mastery of the language. Without fluency of tongue, foreigners in any nation find it difficult to communicate and subsequently to assimilate. These language barriers create cultural isolation potentially leading to economic hardship. For many immigrants, like my own family, the obstacle of mastering a new language is paramount to their future success. I have watched as my mother, who moved to this country at nearly 30 years old, worked to improve her English over the course of my life; from a harsh accent and barely passable pronunciation to complete fluency and professional literacy. The same is true for my father, my aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and family friends. Millions of immigrants come to this and other western nations and learn the language, some better than others. Is it not reasonable then to assume, given his harsh rhetoric against immigrants, that Donald Trump, president of the United States of America and leader of the free world, should at least demonstrate fluency of the English language? It seems not.

Mr. Trump’s struggles with his native tongue are a matter of national embarrassment. For a man who speaks constantly of American exceptionalism, his lack of eloquence is overshadowed only by his nonlinear and illogical trains of thought. At worst, his speech can devolve into an incomprehensible, childlike babble. At the very best, you are listening to a man who is incapable of using elevated speech, whose Rolodex of adjectives and adverbs is on par with a 7th grade reading level. I promise you this is not hyperbole. I am not applying liberal overreaction to a minor transgression. Simply read his direct quotes and it becomes painfully obvious that he is not an intelligent man.

“Iraq and Iran were very similar militarily, and they’d fight, fight, fight, and then they’d rest. They’d fight, fight, fight, and then Saddam Hussein would do the gas, and somebody else would do something else, and they’d rest.”

“For evangelicals, for the Christians, for the everybody, for everybody of religion, this will be, may be, the most important election that our country has ever had.”

They don’t write good. They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman and others, they don’t – they don’t write good. They don’t know how to write good.”

“You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons and other things. Like, lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things.”

These four quotes are a small sample of the hundreds, perhaps now thousands, of Donald’s confusing and head scratching diction. Much speculation has been made into why, then candidate, now president Trumps’ speeches, tweets, and interviews come off so uneducated. Some have gone as far as to diagnose the man with early onset dementia, pointing to some of his more confusing rants and overuse of simple adjectives. I don’t buy it. Claiming the president has dementia is a poor attempt at rationalizing how so many Americans could buy into the rhetoric of a juvenile and uneducated man. In fact it would be more concerning to me if millions of my fellow country men would have voted for a clearly mentally ill candidate. In my opinion, the president is not mentally ill, he is criminally uneducated. Not only in terms of policy, governance, and diplomacy, but in more general subjects such as history, literature, and speech. Trump is a caricature of the culture he so proudly represents; macho, sexually aggressive, anti-intellectual, confrontational, and insecure. And that is the heart of the problem.

Trump’s language, in and of itself, does not make him a bad president, nor a bad man. I know good men who speak in simple sentences and use poor grammar, and I know men of questionable integrity who speak with intelligence and wit. However, his choice of words and his lack of tact are indicative of a narrow world view and a shallow mind. Two characteristics that, if possessed by the leader of the free world, should strike fear into the hearts of intelligent men. Regardless of one’s political ideology, it should be of concern to us all that our president cannot form one single intelligent sentence. After all, great men and women lead with language. They inspire action and change the world with their words, not with financial accomplishments and self promotion. That is where Donald fails as a leader. So far his presidency has been marked by scandal and by a failure to achieve campaign promises. He blames Democrats, the liberal media, and a wide reaching conspiracy against his presidency, when in fact his failures are his own. Trump has positioned himself in multiple corners by making wild and poorly conceived promises, a symptom of his lack of intelligence. A perfect example of one such blunder is his infamous border wall. Regardless of political beliefs, this wall is a logistical impossibility. Such a project would take more than a decade, cost billions of tax payer dollars, cross through private property, national parks, over mountains, and through some of the country’s harshest dessert. In the end, the project would be a functional disaster, with immigrants and cartels able to cross the border using underground tunnels, climbing equipment, or by air. Trump’s opponents have mentioned as much in countless rebuffs and public statements, to no avail. If Trump were a man who thinks, then speaks, who makes strategic and calculated moves, he would have known these simple truths before spouting an impossible promise. But alas he is not.

The Donald Trump we know is a man of many, many words, and very little substance. His speeches and tweets are a constant reminder to the world, that we are being led by a man who is as bigoted and small minded as he is boorish and unqualified. Language is a tool, and the sharper the tool the more capable the man. Donald’s tools amount to little more than sticks and dull rocks, and he is attempting to lead the strongest and most powerful nation on earth with them. Good luck to him, good luck to us all.

The Effects of the Great Recession on Millennial Economic Behavior


The housing market crashed, Lehman Brothers closed its doors, and the world fell into financial chaos as millions of millennials took their first cautious steps into adulthood. Many of us were students, baring witness to the greatest economic calamity since the 1930’s. The rest, young professionals and college graduates experiencing firsthand the realities of worldwide recession. What followed were several years of unstable job markets, coupled with higher costs of living and wage stagnation. The effects on my generation were not merely economic, but psychological. Our collective response to the uncertainty of the Great Recession was a change of values. Terms like Disrupt, Start-up Culture, and Side-Hustle have become the manifestations of our experiences.

In 2016, Simon Sinek gave a now viral lecture on millennials in the workplace. Pointing to bad parenting, social media addiction, impatience, and environment, Sinek paints a convincing and concise argument for why millennials are unhappy in their careers. What Simon neglects to mention are the many frustrations millennials have developed toward employers, particularly during the Great Recession and in the years that followed. For example, the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio for major US corporations in 2015 was 276-1; up from a 1965 ratio of 20-1. Over the past 40 years CEO pay has increased by nearly 1,000%, while worker pay has increased by a mere 10%. The rise in executive pay is a direct result of the explosive growth of American corporations. However, lower level employee compensation has remained largely unaffected by revenue growth. This disparity is only magnified by the fact that the Great Recession created years of job market instability. Millennials entered adulthood during a period of massive layoffs and financial insecurity. Adding to the problems of low pay and job loss is the fact that corporate cultures are slow to change and often seem to disregard individual concerns. While the economy has now made a full recovery from the recession of 2008, our trust in corporate culture has not.

The theory of Disruptive Innovation precedes the Great Recession and millennial culture by more than a decade. Harvard professor Clayton M. Cristensen coined the term in 1995 to describe an innovation that, through simplicity and affordability, creates a niche market which will eventually overtake an existing one. In today’s business world the term has taken on a much broader definition. Any company or entrepreneur willing to challenge conventional thought or implement innovative culture is deemed a disruptor. Millennials are overwhelmingly drawn to these modern disruptors, often developing cult like obsessions. But what are the economic and cultural factors that drive this attraction? For one, higher costs of living and lower pay have created a need for economic alternatives to everyday products. This need is driving the current explosion of direct-to-consumer business models. Most popularly implemented by Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker and Casper Mattress, direct-to-consumer brands are using online distribution and social marketing to significantly disrupt retail industries. Social marketing is an important facet of millennial culture. We seek to connect with brands that share our values. Social media introduces avenues for brands to form these relationships. Beyond financial incentives and the convenience factor, disruptors represent a lifestyle that millennials crave; one that centers on entrepreneurship and innovation.

Compounding the effects of lower pay and career instability are substantially higher costs of living. Compared to previous generations, millennials’ are saddled with more debt and higher living expenses. What many now find upon entering the workforce is that they simply cannot afford the same quality of life that their parents enjoyed on single incomes. That reality drives our generational obsession with the “Side-Hustle”, a popular term for secondary sources of income used to supplement primary salaries. A 2016 survey by CareerBuilder found that millennials are working second jobs much more often than their older colleagues. While only 29% of workers reported having a second job, 39% of those 18-24 and 44% of those 25-34 reported earning money on the side. Those figures suggest that nearly half of the millennial group most strongly impacted by the Great Recession have turned to side-hustles to supplement their salaries. What’s more, young people who are pursuing secondary sources of income are seeking avenues that fit their values and lifestyles. Companies that focus on mobility, convenience, and flexibility have strongly benefited from the human capital that millennials offer. Firms like Uber, AirBnB, and Etsy have exploded in recent years thanks to young professionals looking for extra cash. Millennial entrepreneurs are also reshaping the business landscape; launching businesses earlier in life than previous generations. On average, millennials launch their first business at 27, compared to 35 for baby boomers. According to Forbes, these younger business owners are having noticeable impacts on business culture. As owners, millennials are able to implement the startup culture they once craved in their work environment with little or no resistance.

As of a 2016 US census report, millennials have officially surpassed baby boomers as the largest living American generation. At 75.4 million, the influence we have on business culture is much more profound than the creation of niche industries. Start-up cultures have begun to replace corporate cultures, traditional retailers are losing significant market share to direct-to-consumer brands, and social media is becoming the primary platform for marketing and the distribution of information. Our generational values, not long ago in their infancy, are becoming the guidebook for successful businesses. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, millennials are using their influence to usher in a new economy.