As someone who has worked for many years in the marketing space, i’m pretty up to speed with what’s happening in the digital world. Well, at least I like to think I am.
But yet, as (an almost 4o year old, or middle aged) father of very young kids, I still find it hard to stop myself looking at 4, 5 and 6 year old children glued to tablets or smart phones, without my age getting in the way of my better judgement. You see, I still can’t help thinking like a middle aged person thinks: “Why can’t they just bring a colouring book and some markers with them and do what kids used to do?”, or “Why don’t they just go and play nice little fun games that don’t involve technology, like we used to do as kids?”
I know, it’s ridiculous, because I know that Generation Z kids are just wired completely differently to kids of previous generations that have gone before them; colouring books were fine back in my day because in the 1980s, creative options weren’t plentiful and colouring books was where it was at. Now, not so much (though of course i’m not saying that kids never like to colour in anymore!) simply because technology is now a huge part of their everyday lives from as early as the age of 3. And what’s more, they don’t actually even have to learn it; it’s there, it exists, it always has existed in their lives and therefore it’s as natural as learning how to walk.
And this is exactly why so many of today’s successful entrepreneurs are teenagers or in their very early 20s, when they make their mark on the world. And when they make their mark, they make it on a global scale because they don’t just understand existing technology, (yes, because they’ve grown up with it), they create it, re-invent it and create businesses that only they could possibly create.
Take Conor O’Flaherty, Ireland’s youngest entrepreneur, for example. Aged just 17, he set up Pursue, an influencer management agency that works with video platforms such as YouTube – and which, with over 350m views to date, is going to make him a massively successful global entrepreneur. Is this something that someone aged over the age of 40 could ever do? No chance – because only Generation Z’ers (and possibly younger millennials at a push), understand the significance of influencers and the power of the influencer community.
This is just one example, there are literally thousands. Think of any mega successful bloggers (influencers), think reality TV stars, think any moderately or wildly successful online business (stripe, facebook, airbnb, twitter as examples) and you can be almost certain that the person behind the business is so young that you’ll feel like a complete dinosaur (and feel sick at the thoughts of how much money they can make seemingly effortlessly!).