It’s now 2015 and hard not to look back at where we were, just a few 25 years ago. The rapid transformation into the digital generation is fascinating. The gap between Digital “Natives” and Baby Boomers is defined by the devices we use and our rate of rapid media consumption.
Did you see where we are today coming? Did you forecast the tablet or Twitter?
Early cavemen might have. Did you know that #hashtag symbols (or number signs depending on your age) were used 15% of the time in French caves in prehistoric cave art?1 Simple images like dots (screens & pixels) and hands (cursors & pointers) weren’t invented by the computer, they were made by man and just had a different meaning.
My career in digital started in 1994, right when computers started to have color screens and monitors. They only showed graphics in RGB and you had to shut off your monitor using a button. As a self-learned developer in a startup environment (yes, packaged with the programmer’s dog “Bully” a Spud’s Mckenzie look-alike with one lame leg who lived at my feet each day) my technology efficiencies included the complexities of memorizing all the combinations of hex colors. Sounds lame, but really, it was a brand new frontier figuring out how to remove the padding from the browser window and getting a graphic to replace the horrible default grey background. If you could make a bitmap edge look soft, yet not blurry, you were the queen “pixel pusher” in town. Other challenges included opening multiple programs at once without crashing and changing the color of hyperlinks. Animated gifs were the trend and if you were lucky enough to get a client to pay you to do a flash “splash” page you were stoked.
The way I am talking, you would think I was in my 70s. Not even close. I won’t divulge my age, but I was born between 1960 and 1980 a Director at the early age of 25 – complete with hiring a firing teams during the .com bust. As part of the Generation X clan, I can look back and laugh, along with my millennial and digital native kids. According to generational psychology, I am pegged at being dualistic, optimistic and like eclectic stuff that’s real.
Sounds about right. Face in a laptop all day and hiking up mountains on the weekend (or in my dreams which lately has been more a reality).
Being a women in a male dominated technology field never bothered me much. Typically a good balanced team was a high performing team and I am sure my womanly and competitive nature increased several different kinds of conversion rates at work. As we look at the millennials, I am thrilled to see that people are being judged more on performance and intelligence than on demographics (or should it be on infographics? That would be cool).
So what do our digital teens have in store for the world when they are in the workforce? I think we can only speculate, but with the emergence of touchscreen, I can only hope their devices are integrated and streamlined into one system. The day of the laptop, desktop, phone and tablet will be gone and everything will be driven from one universal “remote” and an online cookie profile. I will embrace the day when I can tell online marketers that I already bought that new BMW mini and they can stop showing me ads now. When I am in my car, I wish I could create and store my favorite songs and skip through the horrible ones on the radio instead of switching the channel (yes, even satellite has bad songs and reception). I want someone to come tell me what I should be buying for Christmas based on my past behavior and increasing efficiency, ROI and receiver engagement.
There are so many improvements yet to be made and new reward programs incentivizing me as the consumer to make a product choice. Now I only wish capitalism could connect with philanthropy and change our world issues. Here’s an idea, how about all corporations align with a cause and build in that cost of caring into their prices? How about we eliminate education and teachers for secondary school and have students learn on the job. Have managers be the teachers and pay kids to attend work. As a society we can still see traces of dinosaur and savage behavior. We can now stand erect, but then why do we still bend over for traditional corporate conventions and tolerate behaviors in the workplace just because it’s too hard to fight. Do we have to wait until the Boomers leave, or can they understand that the next generation is already hear waiting for that chance to make the money. Try the ultimate DIY and create your own agile startup.
Can we just merge together into one collaborative pack – with one master strategy all focused on the same goals and objectives?
Probably not for another 25 years, but I’ll keep trying.
Enjoy this new infographic and share what you think will be the traits of the next generation.