Sounds like not much would get done..but it could be more fun. In today’s smart phone social culture, information is more readily available than ever before. As of now, no one really knows the full repercussions of this on our society, but some signs have already begun to pop up.
Probably the most obvious is Mark Zuckerberg who is now 25 going on 26, and was only 20 when he started Facebook in 2004. 6 years later his website has over 350 million members and even old lame people are forced to jump on. Why is this? Because Mark came up with a better way to use the web as a tool to communicate than was previously in place. In my opinion, this could have only come from a younger person.
Being born in 1984, the exact year 29 year old Steve Jobs and Apple Computers launched their most famous product ever, the Macintosh, Mark Zuckerberg had grown up with computers. He was even programming in middle school; something which a decade before would have been reserved for only the most experienced hardware and tech nerds, and something which may not have happened if it wasn’t for people like Jobs and Woz.
For my father(58), to have seen the transformation from black & white photos and TV to all of the ridiculous gadgets made available today, like 3d printing and color multi-touch phones, just to have had email would have been sufficient. Email works soo much better than what he was used to growing up, that imagining better is made much harder, and seemingly useless in his eyes.
The bar with the younger generation is being set way higher, and we can expect this trend to continue exponentially. Another point to make is the rate at which change and innovation in business online can occur. Computers and the internet make everything amazingly easier to edit, update, change, delete, recover, and so on. This new medium has the potential to implement changes on a society scale much faster than was ever possible in the past, and increase our societal advancements exponentially as well, to follow along with the trend of doubling microchip capacity every 1-2 years.
Another reason for the breakthrough successes of many younger entrepreneurs may very well be their “naive” outlooks on the world. They seem misaligned with reality’s crushing sting and unfazed by thoughts of the many hopeless boundaries awaiting. However they’re amazingly successful..how could this be? Check out this excerpt from an AOL Small Business Blog titled A Teen Millionaire’s Three Principles to Success
“Ive been fortunate enough to make my first million before graduating from high school and buy my own house at 20. At 21, Ive now put away enough in savings and other investments that I could practically retire today . . . if I wanted to. But of course, thats the last thing on earth Id want to do. I just enjoy it all too much. Not to say the money isnt important, but frankly, its not why I do what I do. I do it because I love it.” – Cameron Johnson
I can hear the passion in his voice just reading his words. Is this naive, or relevant? Actually, the answer to this question is a bit peculiar.
We are in the middle of a strange paradigm shift where the technology created by the older generation has effected society so much, that most of the problems that they faced in the past can be solved by this new technology. This doesn’t mean however, that the problems have been solved, because the older generation has somewhat failed, or has been slower to realize, that this is possible. Now though, It does mean that many members of the younger generation are beginning to realize these solutions that the internet and computers provide, and we’re beginning to implement them at tremendous paces.
Here’s a great analogy:
It’s like if the inventor of the light bulb was blind, and couldn’t really see the potential for his invention, so it sat idle; until one day another thinker with sight comes along, sees the potential, and installs telephone poles to carry the light around the globe. Now with this first invention of the light bulb, any innovator after will be able to see and work much longer, increasing the productivity for these potentially younger generations, solving potentially many problems at once, that would not have been solved if the potential of the lightbulb had not been realized. It wasn’t enough just for the invention to be created, but the potential had to be reached. Younger generations will always find new applications for great inventions. Thomas Edison would have never imagined 3D Imax Movie Projectors, or LEDs.
The internet’s progress has almost been put on hold compared to how fast it could be moving, because of the failure of the older generations to realize the true potential of computers, and especially the net. The main problem right now is that all of the best innovators are mostly too young to afford to maintain a start up, and only the most savvy, or lucky ones, actually make it.
This reminds me of a story. I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Doug Herzog, the President of Viacom. This is the same Doug Herzog who was president of Fox a while back and decided to cancel Family Guy..a mistake which the younger generation would haunt him with until he eventually left a year later. He was also featured in an episode of South Park that wanted to show a picture of the Prophet Muhammad, but Doug decided to censor it, which earned him a place in the show.
We met to discuss my business plan for Beat-Play. (BeatPlay Beta Overview) I won’t get into that right now, but one of the first things he told me was that he really had no idea what was going on at MTV on the “ground level.” He said he was just “so far separated from it.” After explaining my model to him, he couldn’t understand how Beat-Play was any different than iTunes. He couldn’t see how a completely free website that could solve piracy, promotion, and revenue problems for independent artists all over the world, was different than paying 99 cents for mostly artists heard on the radio. Me being 19 at the time, and him being unwilling to be schooled by a “kid”, I thanked Doug for his time, and strolled out.
This was one of the first signs of this “Senior blindness” that I had encountered. The truth is, iTunes doesn’t even begin to solve the problems the music business is still plagued with, but I guess being able to download music onto a mobile device you fit in your pocket is far enough away from old 45’s and 8-tracks that it’s easier to settle for the current circumstances. It may be better than before, but that doesn’t make it good! Also, a problem that still occurs to this day is that the problems with the music industry have been around so long that it’s not even feasible for many people that they could actually be solved..probably because before the internet, they couldn’t be..
This is a great quote from Inc Magazine blog titled A Portfolio of Young Business Owners
“Only five years ago, two enterprising teens might have mowed lawns to earn spending money. Today they can start a company on the Web. That’s how it worked for the co-founders of Switchpod, Weina Scott and Jake Fisher. And, oh yeah, they live 1,440 miles apart–she’s in Miami, and he’s in Rochester, Minnesota.”
Now wait until the younger generation reaches the full potential of the internet. Imagine how many other problems will be solved by more efficient organizational structure embedded into our societies.
Dare I say this is the first time in history that the younger generation may actually know better than the ones before it. Well..isn’t that what you would hope for? Things have changed..now it’s just up to people to realize it.
Written by: Dante Cullari, Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC