Generation… Nonsense

Yesterday I was talking to a start up business group about sales when a comment ushered forth from one of the group that struck me as amazing.

Generation Y don’t buy from people, they buy on line.

Now I admit I am a bit grey around the ears and I do forget a lot of things I hear, but I think that it is time to put a stop to all this nonsense around the facts of generation identification. OK I get that some of them might have been brought up in different circumstances than the generation before but using that argument is weak to say the least.

I was brought up in the generation called the “baby boomer’s” which I guess is a politically correct way of saying that after a world war when the men finally got home, for a while, they were interested in sex in a big way. That and the fact that there were no TV sports shows and the pubs closed early.

To then make some stupid broad statement that somehow people who were born in this period were of a certain type beggars belief. The academic who first sported this theory needs a public humiliation and then every word that has been written about this afterwards should be thrown in the rubbish bin where it belongs.

There are some trends

that in the western world that do appear to have changed through out the generations, especially since the war.  My parents generation stayed married for instance even if they hated each other, which by enlarge they did… ” for the sake of the children “. Now that kind of logic is what led to the explosion of psychiatrists and happy pills.

Then our generation came along, just when the contraceptive pill became available “with a doctors consent” which was very lucky as a combination of the the devils music and youthful libido would have made the last generations child production look quaint.The freedom that my generation demanded meant it was inevitable that the divorce rate would soar, especially as now casual sex didn’t always lead to parent hood. Oh yes and before I forget my generation was behind the idea that women could stand up for themselves, in fact it was compulsory.

Then our children’s generation came along and the stigma of being a solo parent had reduced to a level that people weren’t judged on the status of their relationship and it became normal for children to be brought up by just one parent or if they were lucky two.And now in some of the parts of the western world actually having a father you know is considered unusual.

So whats my point

Well I have just been talking in general terms and what I have stated may be a fact but it might not have been your experience, we tend to forget that facts and experience are in no way the same thing, at least not when quoting them. But there are events in generations that do indeed define them, it is just that they are not exclusive to that generation, people have being having affairs since the invention of marriage. There have always been early adopters of technology, take the wheel for instance. You can imagine the inventor pitching that to the tribal council. Well you stick them on an axle, and you attach the axle under the sled.

Whats an axle

Selling new ideas has always been impossible when the influencing people are conservative, risk averse, vested interest in the opposition, dumb etc ”so how do you stop it from rolling backwards” (following that logic we would have never had invented reverse gear). What every new idea relies on is the insightful and often vain early adopters for without them we would never get improvement, or the product in the first place. One of the few differences between the generations has been this generations ability to show vast amounts of people your invention at one time. Just imagine the impact on the world if Leonardo De Vinci had been born in the world of the internet.

In the old days

I am talking pre 2000AD here, inventors had to go to the king, a wealthy benefactor, or a money lender to get the idea off the ground the, where as the Y generation can build it in their spare time and just launch it on the Internet, can’t they?. But that is just nonsense and it is not how the world works. The Y generation are no smarter or dumber than the generation before them, they just have a different range of possibilities and this is where I came in.

I was considered a hyperactive child and sent outside to burn it off, today’s children are classed as having ADHD and given drugs. My next door neighbour loved books and spent most of his time indoors reading. I am dyslexic and spent most of my time building things. Am I to believe that there are no generation Y children who like staying indoors and reading and there are no generation Y children who like building stuff. I am told generation Y employees expect to be treated well and move quickly to another job if they are not respected…mmm sounds like me.

Upon reflection

Anyone who assumes that they can define a group by when they were born and therefore understand what they want and what they will buy is deluding themselves and should take up the Tarot. We are as we have always been individuals who are a mixture of nature and nurture and as we rush headlong to this technological Nirvana it might pay for those who envisage a world of interconnectedness that Yang has a Yin, in this case money. It costs money to buy technology and for a growing group of people the Internet is a luxury they do not need and for them business will always be done has it has through the generations…

Face to Face

So my warning to everyone out there who feels that the next generation won’t be needing sales and interpersonal skills as everything will be bought on line and sold online, think again. We are fast becoming a generation who realises that the Internet can be a deceitful world and I can see a future where if people can’t see you in real time on their screen while you do business no one will buy anything from you. And when we get to that point not to far away, the computer will be able to measure your facial movements and a program will tell you whether that person is lying or not. And at that point all the skills you learn in the face to face world will be the most important ones you can have…

You know

Truth, integrity, humbleness, enthusiasm, knowledge, these are what we measure people on, not on the years they were born. So the next time someone quotes to you about the Y generation or the X generation or any other generation, ask them one question……

Does everyone else in your generation think like you

If their answer is YES I suggest you advise them to seek professional help.



About Nick

I don't say things to be liked I say them because I mean them. Reputation doesn't come from being liked it comes from standing for something.

2 Responses to Generation… Nonsense

  1. Iain Lazenby April 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    I can’t be certain Nick but I bet somebody has already or will write a book based on this claim. After all men are from Mars… was a best seller. Perhaps you should consider writing it, under a pseudonym of course 🙂

    Lumping people into these broad categories detracts from their humanity.

    More dramatically, this particular claim is probably in the process of becoming 180 degrees wrong. Which is the fastest growing generation of on-line shoppers?

    At least here in the UK it’s the silver surfers, the over 60s who find it inconvenient to go to a bricks and mortar shop and who tend to be able to wait at home for their purchase to be delivered.

    • Nick April 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      Hi I an, lovely of you to reply, and indeed it does detract from our humanity, also smacks a little of desperately trying to pretend you are on the forefront of some new wave….Mmmmm might be a song in that.

      Indeed it is the mainstream that take over from the early adoptors and actually use the tool.

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