You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.
– Zig Ziglar
When I was in grad school, one of my entrepreneurship professors hit us with this Did You Know? video. This was back in 2008, right before the economy tanked. It really opened my eyes to what the future was going to hold.
Two things in that video completely blew me away when I first saw it:
- Half of what technical students study their first year of college will be obsolete by their 3rd year.
- There are students earning their degrees for jobs that don’t exist yet because the tech used to do them doesn’t exist yet.
It’s been nearly 7 years since I first saw this video. Wow. If you think it’s bad in college, time really REALLY does fly when you get out of school.
When I think about these two points now, I think “Well, duh.”
That’s the thing. Not even 10 years ago it was common to think that everything we had was going to stick around a few years (decade?) as the premiere technology. That’s the way it had always been. However, as we’ve explored already, the world is speeding up.
People are Going to School for Jobs That Don’t Exist
As a society, the US has been focused on more kids studying STEM majors – Science Technology Engineering and Math – for at least a decade now. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with this. There are still a lot students that don’t have a secure knowledge of these topics. Also, with the economy being tech driven as much as it is, it only makes sense that individuals have a strong.
However, with the two statements above, it’s easy to question “what’s the point of going to school if I’m not going to be taught what I really need to know?”. That’s a good question. The truth is that you should never stop learning. If one does go into a STEM major for college, just realize what college actually is: a way to get a certificate that proves that you know the basics. Don’t ever think that it stops there, or you’ll find yourself quickly behind the rest of the world.
More Customers Than Ever
Something else I want to point out from the video is the part when it was talking about major technologies getting 50 Million users faster and faster. This is true but it’s only one side of the coin. The other side is that technologies are coming faster and faster. It was a much longer time between the radio and TV than it was between the internet being utilized for residential use and Facebook coming online.
In 2007, I heard an Amway CD that talked about both sides of the coin. However, the speaker looked at it from another perspective. He viewed the users as potential customers. If you think about it from a business point of view, he was right.
More Game Changing Technologies X Users Using Them Quicker = Even More Eyeballs Seeing Things for Sale.
You see companies capitalizing on this all the time. Especially if you have multiple types of media coming in to you. Might be one reason why we’ve stopped paying attention to ads on TV? We’ve already heard about the new sandwich at Arby’s!
The Next Best Thing: Defining Our Buying Habits
Many people are about the next best thing. It’s simply the culture we live in. Much of this is driven by a culture where big advertisers are part of the main stream. I mean, how many Chevy ads do you see on a regular basis? Or a phone commercial? Plenty, apparently.
As Millennials, we’re starting to see that this might not necessarily be the best thing for our culture. We are starting to purposefully cut out the next best thing because frankly, many of us, I believe, feel that something is wrong with being materialistic. We feel that we’re being taken advantage of. Many of us are choosing to be Retroists or even Minimalists.
A Retroist, chooses to live in the past (and loves nostalgic everything) where a Minimalist chooses to cut out extra stuff in general. Neither one of these is inherently bad. It just doesn’t seem like either one is moving forward. If anything, they seem like a step backward.
That being said, I think it’s human nature that we want to move to the next best thing. Many would believe that our economy won’t survive if we move away from our current form of commercialism. But many would also argue that we can’t keep our materialistic ways up or we’re asking for some major hurt.
So how do we keep our economy growing but at the same time start limiting our buying habits? It’s something that, I believe, our generation is going to have to figure out. But I think it starts with defining our buying habits and that entails even more customization.
Personally, I think just as the internet has helped people share their voices, I think it’s also starting to help people distribute the wealth (not by taxation) that only a few big brands have had control of in the past. Just as the major media companies are no longer the go to sources for media, I think we’re going to see more and more companies starting out of a house or garage.
No longer must we worry about keeping up with the Jones’ in spending. We need to start figuring out how we’re going to make our own products. How do we become part of the Sharing Economy?
Setting the Curve
Obviously, the economy has changed drastically in the past couple of years. We need to start thinking about how we can use it to our advantage. What kinds of things do you see switching from big brands to more localized ones? What kind of company could you see yourself starting that would give those around you more value than the national brands? Leave your thoughts below!
Next week we’re going to be driving home even more. We’ll be exploring the phrase: The Lost Generation and the mindset that goes along with it.