Bad Girl, Good Business

Tech and Sex: Wasted on the Young? (Chapter 2 of Millennial Mania)

“Sex is wasted on the young…college is wasted on the young…youth is wasted on the young.”

These are all expressions I’ve heard throughout my 60 years on earth, and I tend to agree with all of them (although I might not have when I was younger). I’m adding another one to the list…tech is wasted on the young.

Or, more accurately, millennials “get” tech, but only a millennial/Boomer collaboration can evolve and perfect tech and help scale businesses — especially when the technology has the potential to solve a real-world or business problem.

Take Pokemon Go, for example. What started as a VR game (which may have originally been invented as an April Fools joke)  quickly morphed into a technique for driving business into retailers. (The jury is out on its long-term value, but it sure has made for some interesting news articles.) Facebook is the best example of a technology-driven “project” that had its roots in college popularity/socialization and then morphed into a marketing/media/communications empire once its business value was recognized by grown-ups.

As a Boomer with dual citizenship in the digital world and human world (now affectionately known as IRL, as if real life needed an abbreviation), I’m now able to look at a new app or other tech-y invention and jump right to, “I bet this could be used for XXX .” Alas, not all apps have a market or a purpose. Sometimes starting by asking “What problem do I need to solve?” or “Where does a gap exist in the market?” is not a bad thing to do.

Where the education system is currently failing its youth is that teachers/professors are not giving students enough intelligence about how new technologies can be applied IRL. When I learned how to type in 7th grade (on one of those ancient manual typewriters that required white-out if you made a mistake), I also learned how to format and write a business letter. No one seems to be teaching e-mail etiquette these days — even in PR and marketing programs. When I needed to find information, I had to comb through the card catalog in the library or read a book index. Most kids who grew up with Google have never been properly trained on how to creatively use word combinations to research a particular topic.

We Boomers have a responsibility to teach the millennials we work with the basics of how to apply technology and other amazing innovations to the business world. That requires us to stay on top of technology ourselves so we can connect the dots between tech and utility. We’ve all read about epic Twitter fails. They are never truly the fault of an intern or a 20-something. They are a symptom of flawed hiring/leadership practices. “I’ll just hire a recent college grad to run my social media program!” is something I hear all too often. Would you allow the mailman to run your direct mail marketing? He may know how to deliver a message, but does he know how to craft one?

Having a flawless body and unlimited energy doesn’t do you much good if you have no clue what you’re doing in bed. Living on a college campus without parents or a boss, surrounded by entertainment, unlimited learning, and friends is meaningless if you if spend all your time playing beer pong.  Access to incredible technologies at your disposal 24/7 makes the most sense if you’re able to apply them to solving world problems, running business better, freeing-up time to enjoy life, or communicate with others.

Meaningless tech…meaningless sex…both may be fun, but have limited long-term value.

Here are some fun facts about tech and innovation — at all ages.

 

 


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