Blog / You Feel Old When… A Boomer’s Insights into the Millennial Generation’s Adoption of Tech
I grew up in the days of smoke-filled living rooms, cocktails parties, multi-table bridge games, and charades; these were the social activities of my parents (born in the late 20’s.) I can remember on several occasions rolling my eyes at my parents when they made some reference to their advanced age-appropriate culture and technology. The tech of their generation consisted of the Black and White TV with rabbit ears, a stereo (the size of a small fridge laid on it’s side), and the rotary-dial telephone. The TV had vacuum tubes in it and as they aged, the TV would go on the fritz. Dad was a bit of a tinkerer – and thrifty, so he would peel the back off the TV while it was running and gently tap the tubes with a screwdriver, to “freshen” them up to work again (actually, there’s a scientific case for doing this.) It was highly dangerous, as all sorts of lethal voltages were just a few millimeters away.
In my early teen years, and as I was introduced to my age-appropriate technology (8-tracks, cassettes, and transistor radios), I vowed never to be caught in the time-warp of technology middle and old age. I was going to embrace emerging tech and the people who used it.
Fast-forward 50 years.
Like most of you, I think I’m immersed in technology. I spend my day surrounded by – and working on – technology products of all shapes and descriptions; a laptop and Smartphone are my essential companions. I send far more Emails than have conversations on the phone. But I’m using the technology in traditional “old school” ways – a glorified high-tech typewriter. I shun Social Media; preferring to think it’s frivolous, an invasion of privacy, and a huge security risk. If pressured, I’d default to sending an Email or a letter.
Of course, Millennials have been stereotyped as the tech generation who fully embrace technology and all its’ methods – good and bad. Even though we have several staff of the Millennial generation, I struggle to “get it.”
So, when I attended a recent conference hosted by Lenovo – now the largest PC manufacturer on the planet, I was very interested in their sessions that targeted the Millennial generation; I wanted to know what I was missing. Rather than have aging corporate executives expound on this topic, they invited 4 Millennials from Forbes “Top 30 Under 30” list of entrepreneurs in America. It was an eye-opener. At the risk of over-simplifying this generation, here are some highlights from what I learned.
- Are the most studied demographic group ever. The very technology they embrace allows them to be under the study-microscope like no other generation. That means lots of information and analysis.
- Are the first generation where technology has been ingrained since birth. Thus, they have a much broader technology view and its’ place in their lives; it just feels natural to them.
- Are impatient with poor performing technology; they just won’t use it.
- Are application driven; they care less about the device and more about what it can do.
- Want a premium tech experience, so aesthetics, ease-of-use, personalization, and agility are important.
- Want to use technology all the time, so battery life is important.
In short; while I use technology; Millennials embrace and immerse themselves in it.
On the social front, Millennials value trust, personal connections, and authenticity. They have a global perspective and are environmentally conscious. They are VERY visual; videos are their primary method of consuming information. Videos need to be short (1 to 2 minutes), tell a story, and have high entertainment and production values.
Why is this important, not only to TRINUS, but our colleagues, associates, and clients? MIllennials are the next-gen workforce of decision-makers. They already occupy positions of influence in just about every organization and are fast moving into positions of authority. They are also today’s entrepreneurs; many successful start-ups are the brainchild and efforts of a Millennial. Their view of technology and its’ place in the workforce will drive the scope and breadth of tech; think ingrained technology that will help facilitate, implement, and complement every workday task. For example, I use a stapler and calculator every day without giving a thought to their underlying technology. But they were the Miracles of the Modern Age in their day. Millennials think of a Smartphone like I think of a calculator; it’s just a commonplace tool.
As a Boomer, I (and our readers in this group) need to encourage and accommodate our co-worker & client Millennials, by understanding their views on technology and provide them with the tools and means to embrace it in the workforce. Otherwise, we risk losing them.
At TRINUS we understand the requirements this universal adoption of technology will place on the back-engine room of our clients. Massive Internet pipes, robust (wireless) networking and data storage, and sophisticated Cyber Security protection will all be part of this new infrastructure. It requires forethought, planning, and budgeting to be ready.
So, it was inevitable; I’ve become my Dad. I confess that one of my hobbies is restoring vintage radio equipment. Yes, some have vacuum tubes, and yes, l I have been known to tap them with a screwdriver now and then. Yikes!
If you would like more information about how to plan for the Millennial-driven Technology of the future, please contact me or your Account Manager at TRINUS, for some stress-free IT planning. You can talk to either Jon Harmon or Damin Massicotte; both Millennials on our Account Management team.