I am that man who stuck his hand up (Entrepreneur is not a dirty word), and you are absolutely right that I was very bemused. There is obviously a very real perception gap based on age.
The interesting thing for me is that I am no spring chicken who wears my jeans under my bum cheeks. I am 35 years old. Reading your article (and I enjoyed it and your session very much despite being beumsed), it might appear that the younger generation you refer to is in their early 20s with piercings and their iPods never far from hand. I don’t think this is the case.
The problem for me with the entire afternoon was that I was the youngest person there! Surely the Government must be interested in the opinions of a broader cross section than simply white males in their 50s. Everyone there was in a suit (except for me), and many were bankers and accountants.
I gave a speech last week at a business networking event. Over 200 people ranging from 20 to 50 years of age were champing at the bit to become more entrepreneurial. I think you would have received a very different reaction to the questions you posed if this had been your audience. There was hardly a suit in sight.