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MILLENNIALS ARE BECOMING OBSOLETE—ALREADY!

by Tom McBride

The first time I heard the word “obsolete” was when I overheard my father talking to a stranger on a bus. They were speaking about a new expressway that the city had built, and the stranger said, “That thing was obsolete before they ever opened it.”social media MS OFFICE

I was impressed. I went home and looked up the word. And in time I realized the stranger was right. The builders of the new road had put in four lanes but should have put in six. Soon enough, traffic was snarled, and eventually cars started avoiding the route altogether. Then the side streets became overcrowded with autos. The whole thing was a mess.

“Obsolete” was a terrible word. It still is. If something or someone is obsolete, then he, she, or it no longer works. He, she, or it languishes in irrelevance. And then he, she, or it comes to be avoided altogether. Everyone would rather take the side streets. Obsolete things are just in the way. They are like old professors on college campuses. The young sneak behind buildings in order to avoid them.

Today’s Millennials are not obsolete—yet. Born between 1980 and 2000 they came to this planet during a fairly prosperous time, so they represent a population glut. There are already more Millennials alive than Baby Boomers, who constituted the mother of all population explosions.

percent of workforce MS OFFICE

Corporations are working overtime to figure out how to market to this bunch of fickle young consumers, who have an embarrassment of choices. Human resources directors are wondering how to motivate them in the workplace. They are praised for wanting a more healthy balance between work and life (some of them think overtime is evil), and they are feared, almost, for being digital natives. Unlike the rest of us, they grew up high-tech, so what do they know about cyberspace that we don’t?

phones and tablets MS OFFICE

Others can’t stand them—why won’t they look us in the eye at Starbuck’s instead of staring at their phones all the time? And a few of us older people see them as symbols of a world we don’t want to have much to do with. The whole idea of “looking something up on your phone” (which has more data than your local public library) seems repugnant somehow.

infographic MS OFFICE

But there’s one thing these non-obsolete Millennials can’t avoid: In time, they will become obsolete, like the city expressway of my childhood. They will seem irrelevant. They will be in the way. Young people will hide from them. The new generation will have to work around them.

The question, though, is how can Millennials tell when they’re becoming outmoded?

startup venture MS Office

Like, invest in my startup, huh?

The answer is simple. It’s when they start beginning sentences with “These kids nowadays…” I’ve heard early rumblings of this sentence, as when an older Millennial said of younger Millennials, “These people just take wireless computing for granted.” He was too young to say “these kids,” but give him another ten years.

loft MS Office

The truth is that older Millennials are already far enough along to have teen-aged children. A Millennial born in 1980 is now thirty-six and may well have a fourteen-year-old around. In just ten years that will be true for Millennials born in 1990. They will enter that most dreaded source of becoming old-fashioned and resented: parenthood. And then you will hear such sentences as these:

“You kids have it so lucky. We actually had to flip switches to get lights on in a room—none of this decadent voice-activation stuff.”

“You’re lucky, you kids: When I was your age we couldn’t get our genes edited at birth to make us better-looking.”

robot MS Office“When I was your age, we didn’t have to pay extra to get an actual human being to teach us calculus—unless you kids can learn on a machine, you’re going to bankrupt me.”

“Yes, that’s right, kids. Only when a political party isn’t in power does it object to big government deficits. That’s the way it’s always been. Don’t think that you kids can change it!”

“You kids just trust technology too much. I don’t want to have a robot remove my appendix even if it is cheaper.”

Do you hear the notes of weary impatience in these sentences? Do you detect the tone of resentment in the voice of older people when they encounter the youth and idealism of their kids? Do you sense the envy of the young? Do you pick up on the fatigue of bearing parental burdens?

time magazine MS OFFICE

Yet every one of these sentences will be spoken by…a Millennial. They will be speaking to their offspring, which will be called something like Generation Alpha.

And what about the rest of us—old Boomers and Gen X types? Most of us will be even better than obsolete. We’ll be dead.

But don’t you feel better knowing that these young whippersnappers today will also go the way of all flesh? That’ll be true even if, as predicted, people will be immortal by having their brains downloaded into a computer.

Eventually, even the computer will become…obsolete! Ha!

Cell Phone Girl MS Office

Tom McBride is co-author of The Mindset Lists of American History

and The Mindset List of the Obscure,

and the author The Great American Lay: An All Too Brief History of Sex.

He lives in southern Wisconsin.

Graphics from MS Office.

This article appeared in News From Heartland

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FUNDED TONIGHT!

I’m at BNC Venture Capital. I came to see two exciting companies that have already crossed my radar screen. One easily won the recent FFF event and the other was in the top three.

BNC Venture Capital

BNC Venture Capital – jaj

I like Business Network Chicago events because they’re ALL BUSINESS. Most other events are all hype, but here, each company gets grilled with five standard questions:

1.) Exactly what is the product or service?
2.) Why should the customer buy it?
3.) Is the management team the best in the business?
4.) How does the company make money?
5.) How does the investor make money?

That’s tough and hard-nosed and that’s why I like it. Not every startup is ready to subject itself to this kind of rigor, but Len Bland manages to find three each month. The fact that he and Ray Markman are starting the Midwest Renaissance Fund probably creates a big draw to qualified companies.

After the presentation and grilling, the audience votes on a 1-10 scale. A score of “1” is considered “entre-manure” while a score of “10” means, “Where’s Grandma’s pension fund?” I’ll give you a quick peak into what two of these companies are doing:

Youtopia

Editor’s Note – YOUTOPIA picked up three angel investors at this meeting and achieved their stage-one funding goals.

The e-Harmony of Altruism

• Today, school districts across the nation require 40 hours of community service for graduation. Kids get stuck doing meaningless tasks that don’t match their interest. With Youtopia, the engagement starts with “What do you like?” The answer might be, “I like cats.” So maybe the system hooks-up the kid with an animal shelter.

• Under the present system, tracking is almost non-existent. With Youtopia, a web and mobile application enables schools to track and generate an organized social report card complete with recommendations for college admission offices.

• The business connection is huge as well. Corporations dearly want to advertise this kind of altruism.

Simeon Schnapper & Brett Singer of Youtopia

Simeon Schnapper & Brett Singer of Youtopia

Become a Youtopian

They already launched two weeks ago with three customers while they continue to develop their model. I like that aggressive approach.

This company was the subject of my previous article, DOT – A FILM

Some Backstory – I was already familiar with Youtopia.  I saw them present at the recent Funding Feeding Frenzy.  It happened at the end of a long day—after the judges got plenty hot and cranky. One of them turned on the presenter.  The others followed like lemmings.  As far as I could see, they’d just blown their chance to invest in a really exceptional company.

Disgusted, I visited YouTopia at their downtown offices. These guys are highly creative and very coachable. I gave them a transcript of their FFF presentation, complete with Q&A.  They took all my suggestions, even improved upon them.  Then they accepted coaching from Len Bland and crew and delivered a sparkling performance at BNC.  And they picked up three angel investors tonight.  That completes their stage one round.

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PaletteApp

Jerry Freeman of PaletteApp

Jerry Freeman of PaletteApp – jaj

PaletteApp is a digital design tool that helps manufacturers, designers, architects, and contractors, accelerate the design and sample ordering process. With a vast library of products, designers can put together a package in mere minutes.

This company recently walked away with the Funding Feeding Frenzy grand prize—and well deserved. Tonight, at BNC, they make a big stir. PaletteApp proposes to change the 150-year-old way architectural design is done. In the process, they’ll transform a job that takes many man-hours into a joyful process that takes just a few minutes.  What used to take 5 hours now can be done in 15 minutes.

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Contacts

These two tied for first place in the voting. At present time, PaletteApp is further along while Youtopia holds the promise of going viral and becoming over-the-top profitable.

Youtopia – Simeon Schnapper and Brett Singer – https://youtopia.com

PaletteApp –Jerry Freeman – www.paletteapp.com

BNC Venture Capital – Len Bland – http://bnchicago.org/Groups.php?group=8

Funding Feeding Frenzy – David Culver – www.fundingfeedingfrenzy.com

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Go to – MAKE TIME FOR LOVE

Back to – TECH MEETS BRICK & MORTAR

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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