I had a very interesting experience this week as I gave the closing keynote to the annual meeting of the Virginia Cable Television Association, in Williamsburg, VA. My topic was the events, trends and developments shaping the industry looking out over the next decade. You can view my slide deck below, with some of the imbedded video that I used, now available at SlideShare. Before too long we will have a video of my full presentation from the Association.
But back to the experience. In the program, as I usually do, I discussed the Millennial generation, who comprise all the new workforce now age 18-31, and their oft-cited moniker as the “digital native generation.” They are the generation most deeply imbedded in what I call the full-on network society. They are, currently, unplugging from Cable and going “over the top” as the industry likes to call it. When I was finished, among the people who gather around to chat was one young woman, one of about a half-dozen Millennials in this audience of mostly cable executives. She put a challenge to me, expressing frustration with being, essentially, stereotyped as technology obsessed. Instead, she asserted, Millennials are as likely to become less enamored of and imbedded in technology as the other way around.
Her comment immediately reminded me of the article I wrote the week before for FastCoExist.com, on the future of collaboration. They titled my piece “The Future of Collaboration is About Looking Backwards.” Check out the full think piece here, but using some stats from a study of the American workforce by Cornerstone OnDemand, in this article I was pointing out that while Millennials and other workers wish there was more collaboration in their workplaces, only 6% of Millennials and 5% overall would prefer to collaborate via phone of video conference. 60% of Millennials and 72% of all workers would prefer to collaborate in person. The remaining numbers would prefer to collaborate online. But, here were some numbers supporting my young Millennial questioner at the Virginia Cable TV show – don’t pigeon hole them as technophiles only, as they just might lead a move back to the future, in person.