Tag Archive: “The Greatest Generation


“This is the greatest generation any society has ever produced.” – Tom Brokaw

“To whom much is given, from him (or her) much is expected.” – Luke 12:48

Every day is a gift.

For my mother Marjorie, April 4, 2019 is day #36,500 … to be exact.

Please feel free to double-check the math: 365 days x 100 years = 36,500.

Even though a critical mass of our extended family celebrated her birthday during spring break (March 23), today marks 100 years since my mom came into the world.

For Almost DailyBrett it’s extremely difficult – if not impossible – to make a third-person singular assessment of the woman who provided the ultimate first-person singular experience: My own birth.

Therefore your author has to acknowledge right here and now: The following epistle is woefully biased, and there is no remedy in sight.

Let’s get to the point: Marjorie M. Brett is without doubt, a superb representative of the “Greatest Generation.”

Her father, Randolph Myers, lived to his 100th birthday and beyond. He was as sharp as a tack at the community celebration of his century birthday in 1989. Ditto for Mumsy. Longevity runs on the Myers side of the family … and follicly challenged dudes too.

She may have slowed a tad here and there, but that didn’t stop California DMV from renewing her driver’s license for another five years.

And what a century it has been. We are now blessed to join her as she embarks on her second 100 years.

An Amazing Century For The Ultimate Go-Getter

Que será, será; Whatever will be, will be; The future’s not ours to see; Que será, será; What will be, will be.”

Sorry Doris Day: Que será, será is NOT my mother’s motto … not even close.

Similar to her father, Marjorie Myers Brett, is a supreme doer and an impressive achiever.

As Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher reportedly said: “Life must have purpose.” My mother’s life has purpose in spades.

It’s simply amazing to ponder what she witnessed, endured and celebrated during her incredible tenure on the earth from 1919 to 2019 … and counting.

Growing up as the daughter of a Western Pennsylvania lawyer, my mother witnessed the Great Depression, World War II, gave birth and raised three Baby Boomers; marveled as man walked on the moon, and now watches her AI vacuum cleaner “Rob” beautify her floors with more technology horsepower than NASA possessed when Neil Armstrong descended to the lunar landscape.

Without doubt, she did not approve of everything that transpired during the past century … she cared too much. Her laser-like focus does not permit nuances. She assesses white from black, good from bad, useful from irrelevant. She calls ’em as she sees ’em. She leaves diplomacy to others.

Her over-achieving worldly father did not have patience for those who wasted time. There was no teenage wasteland with “Pappy.”

The same is true with mother, one of the few liberated women of her time who earned a college degree, who taught classical piano to musicians, and who spoke confident French in the cafes on the Île Saint-Louis. There is no reverse gear with my mom’s transmission, let alone neutral. It’s petal to the metal, all the way.

One can argue that much was given to my mother, but at the same time much more was expected. She responded with an overachieving life, confronting and surmounting every challenge thrown her way to our fast-changing increasingly complex digital world.

Today’s widespread male parasite plague of doing nada, exhibiting zero pride and leaving it to women to take care of them, was not even remotely fathomable for any son of Marjorie M. Brett.

Even though the punitive word “privilege” raises the blood-pressure of your author, my mother provided me with winning biological lottery advantages (much is given), but she also was strict, demanding … yet understanding (much is expected).

It was sink or swim.

Your author would not be the person he is today without the caring, guidance, encouragement and love provided by my mother.

Mumsy will never admit to this statement, but it’s nonetheless true: The world is a better place because of the century-long contributions … both large and small … of one Marjorie M. Brett.

I am not worthy, but eternally thankful.

Love you, mom. Always have. Always will.

 

 

 

 

There seems to be an ongoing national sport associated with categorizing and contrasting generations.

If you listen to Tom Brokaw, there was “The Greatest Generation” (born 1922-1943) who overcame the Great Depression and Fascism and is now heading for the history books.

Next up were the Baby Boomers (1944-1963) with the defining events of the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, and Neil Armstrong on the moon. The most mature of this group are now entering their Golden Years.

Behind them are the X-Gens (born 1964-1980), coming to age with the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and now in their prime working years.

Generation Y or the Millennials (born 1980-1999) are now in their high school and college years and supposedly will only take a “yes” for an answer. Reportedly, they are the most educated in history.

And finally, there is Generation Z or the Zeds (born 1995-2009). The acronym “GM” means genetically modified to this generation with the more mature just entering college.

Much has been made about history and the interdependency and clashes between generations (e.g., “Turn that s… off!”), particularly the generational theory work of historians William Strauss and Neil Howe.

But please allow Almost DailyBrett to ask: Is it really this complicated?

digitalimmigrant

Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives

Instead of getting our collective knickers in a twist over generational divides, let’s just focus on the most important divide of all: The difference between Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives.

During the course of the lifespans of Baby Boomers and for the most part, X-Gens, occurred the most important-to-date technological changes.

Bob Noyce (Intel) and/or Jack Kilby (Texas Instruments) invented the integrated circuit in 1959, allowing more than one function to be included on a single piece of silicon.

Gordon Moore promulgated Moore’s Law in 1965, simply stating the amount of complexity that could be incorporated onto a defined slice of silicon real estate doubles every 18-24 months. This law has been accurate for nearly 50 years, and is responsible for more functionality in smaller spaces (e.g., iPhones).

IBM invented the PC and Apple the Mac computer in 1981 and 1984 respectively.

Web 1.0 (websites for surfing) came on the scene in 1990 and Web 2.0 (interconnectivity of wired and wireless computation devices) followed five years later.

First-mover and now all publicly traded social media companies came of age in the last decade-plus: LinkedIn, 2002; Facebook, 2004; and Twitter, 2006.

The point of this discussion is that all or the vast majority of these seminal technology changes came during the lifespans of the Baby Boomers and X-Gens. Under the Diffusion of Innovation Theory, a few will be “innovators”, more will be “early adopters”, even more will be “early majority”, the same amount will be “late majority” and then 16 percent will be bah-humbug, curmudgeon “laggards.”

Alas, many in the Digital Immigrant category fall into the late majority or laggard camps.

Teaching Digital Natives

The challenge lies with Digital Immigrants, whether they be Baby Boomers or X-Gens, teaching Digital Natives, whether they be Millennials/Generation Y or (gasp) Generation Z.

digitalnative

What this means is that Digital Immigrant educators must “get it” when it comes to meaningful technology shifts.

Does that translate into playing “Candy Crush”? Not exactly.

What it does require is daily participation in social media and/or blogging. Whether the good folks at the conventional media outlets like it or not (and in most cases they are kicking and screaming), digital publishing via mobile devices, and in declining cases with a mouse, is now a permanent and irreversible feature of our society.

When it comes to brand and reputation management, one needs to be afraid, very afraid. Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List and others are there to help settle the score. If you are teaching brand management, your Digital Native students need to understand that you get it when it comes to the very fact that reputations can be drastically altered in a matter of seconds.

Only Digital Immigrant innovators, early adopters and early majority denizens can teach the Digital Natives. And that requires keeping pace with the inevitable changes that will occur. Amazon was born 20 years ago. The wildly successful IPO of China’s Alibaba was just this past Friday.

What will be the next killer app and where will it come from?

For Digital Native students, they have their own forms of angst, and they are having their fair share of troubles in finding a job in a stubbornly difficult economy. For them, there is no excuse. They are expected to “get it” when it comes to not only deciphering social, mobile and cloud technologies, but more importantly how to monetize these complex ones-and-zeroes.

It sounds like a mismatch: Digital immigrants, the majority of which did not initially appreciate the technological changes in their lives as they were happening, are mentoring the Digital Natives, who were born seemingly with a video game controller in their hands.digitalnative1

Nonetheless, there are still analog skills (i.e., to-the-point persuasive writing, overcoming Glossophobia, parallel construction, financial communications) that can be communicated to the Digital Natives. After all, Digital Immigrants had to find a job when they graduated too.

Now it’s time for Digital Natives to write their own cover letters, curriculum vitaes and of course, LinkedIn profiles, to compete for the jobs of the 21st Century.

Don’t forget your attachments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greatest_Generation#The_Greatest_Generation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Brokaw

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss%E2%80%93Howe_generational_theory

http://www.techopedia.com/definition/28139/digital-immigrant

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_native

 

Is the Baby Boom generation dead and we just haven’t bothered to bury them yet?

The Economist reports this week in “As boomers wrinkle” that the first Baby Boomers, born in 1946, are retiring this year with the rest of this motley generation will follow in kind for each of the next 18 years. Oh, what a strange trip it’s been. http://www.economist.com/

There are plenty of accounts of how the agonizing retirement of my generation is going to kick the you-know-what-out-of-social networks throughout the Western world. I am not going to add my voice to this rising chorus. You all know the drill about too many of feeble us and not enough of productive them.

woodstock

Instead, I am going to lament about the “Dinosaurization” of the Baby Boomers. This is not an exercise in stereotyping, albeit all stereotypes are based upon elements of prevailing truth. And let me acknowledge right now so I can avoid the inevitable snarky comments that come when you write about a sensitive subject…yes, yes there are exceptions to every rule and every generalization.

Besides starting to retire, one thing is becoming more common for Baby Boomers besides losing hair and having their parts, yes even those parts, starting to sag, and that is that their bosses, superiors and influential colleagues are getting younger by the day. To which I say, “Get used to it. This trend is going to continue.”

What prompts me to invent the word “Dinosaurization” is that many of the members of the if feels good, sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll generation are actually handing the shovels to up-and-comers to bury them figuratively, and eventually literally. We used to talk about how our parents were stubborn, only to find out that many of us are just as…ah, resolute…as the World War II generation…what Tom Brokaw called the “Greatest Generation.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greatest_Generation

One of the chief ways that Baby Boomers are hastening their own collective demise as well as keeping many of them unemployable is their steadfast refusal to embrace new technology. The world is changing and yet many of our generation are burying their heads in the sand…and it is not silicon sand.

Ask one about reading books, magazines and newspapers via electronic readers and they almost to a person will wax nostalgically about spreading out the printed page on the table while nursing their morning coffee. How long has Norman Rockwell been dead? http://www.nrm.org/

So what are some of the most prevalent excuses that I have heard (please feel free to mentally add to this list) for avoiding at all costs social media, such as blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr?

● The most prevalent excuse, statement, declaration etc. is time, or the lack of it. They have too much to do and not enough time to do it all. They are already overloaded with information. They don’t need to engage in online conversations either as a reader or a participant. “Let’s just work on a contributed article for the trade pub instead.” How about re-prioritizing our time? What a novel idea!

● “It’s all a fad. Social media is hot now but it will eventually burn out. Why should I pay attention to what people are blogging, Tweeting or Friending? Do I really care about little old ladies who write about their cats?”

● “You just can’t communicate in only (Twitter’s) 140 characters. I need more time and space to truly express myself.”

● “Facebook is a waste of time. I just don’t understand what 500 million people are doing on this website.”

● “Do I really need to develop a list of connections on LinkedIn. I have a cool business card folder right on my desk.”

rollodecks

All of these analog answers and several others I have heard in one form or another and at one time or another come from the crowd that arrived on this planet between 1946 and 1964. We are proud to have been part of the Civil Rights, Sexual Revolution and Women’s Rights Movements. We stopped a war and were celebrated as the Pepsi Generation. We burned flags, draft cards, administration buildings and everything we could think of.

We were rebels, man. We were activists. We were idealists. So why are these younger generations more instinctively attuned to a digital world? That’s just the point.

Does this mean that you really can’t teach an old(er) dogs new tricks? If so, then we just transformed ourselves into 21st Century dinosaurs to our own peril.

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