I was doing my usual full-scale digestion of the Sunday NY Times the other day when I came across a book review by Harry Hurt, entitled “A Generation With More Than Hand-Eye Coordination“.
Hurt was writing about a book by Don Tapscott called “Growing Up Digital” – in it, the author takes a deeper look at the generation now commonly called the “Millennials” – those born between 1977 and 1997.
His thesis, based on interviews with nearly 10,000 people, is that as the first generation that came of age in the Internet era, the Millennials are “smarter, quicker, and more tolerant of diversity than their predecessors”
Why? Because of the “collaborative” nature of the Internet. Us older folks, baby boomers weaned on the one-way medium of television and radio, were apparently dumber, slower, and less tolerant at a similar age.
Or were we?
On behalf of Baby Boomers throughout the world, I will take on the list of 8 “norms” that supposedly give this generation their superiority, according to Tapscott. Here we go…….
- Tapscott: Millennials (“M’s”) prize freedom Starbucker: Baby Boomers (“BBs”) also prized their freedom, but in our case it revolved around enjoying getting Dad’s car on a Saturday night, instead of a Blackberry with texting ability.
- Tapscott: M’s want to customize things. Starbucker: BB’s were just as good at this – it was just more “analog”. For example, I could still make “mix tapes” in the 70’s with my cassette deck- they just took longer to put together. Much longer.
- Tapscott: M’s enjoy collaboration. Starbucker: I more than enjoyed collaboration. I LOVED collaboration. I collaborated frequently with my friends in the 70s and 80s to organize very good parties- with those mix tapes mentioned above (and my Dad’s car).
- Tapscott: M’s scrutinize everything. Starbucker: BB’s didn’t have the Internet to research everything under the sun in seconds flat, but that didn’t stop us from hitting the library or the good ol’ encyclopedia if we really needed the straight scoop. Or better yet, actually having a face to face conversation with someone to pick up those nuances missed on those text messages.
- Tapscott: M’s insist on integrity in institutions and corporations. Starbucker: Hey, we always wanted our school administrators and early bosses to level with us when it came to how much beer we could have at our parties and happy hours. In fact, we demanded this transparency constantly – especially on Fridays.
- Tapscott: M’s want to have fun even at school or work. Starbucker: And we didn’t? I challenge M’s to go back in time to my younger days and see if they could “hang” with us at night and still get their work done during the day. At least most of it.
- Tapscott: M’s believe that speed in technology and all else is normal. Starbucker: Anybody who’s ever driven with me knows that I always “feel the need for speed” (thank you, Tom Cruise) – that was certainly the case back in those earlier days.
- Tapscott: M’s regard constant innovation as a fact of life. Starbucker: BB’s have known and practiced this always – how else did we manage to figure out how to sell pet rocks, or black light posters, or bell bottom pants, or AMC Pacers, or…… I rest my case!
There you have it, the generational smackdown. I think us BB’s hold up pretty darn well.
So let’s just call it a tie, shall we? 🙂