BSG Alliance, my employer, changed its name to nGenera (en-gen-ER-a) this week. I really like the new name and logo. Because we’ve grown so fast (acquiring 5 companies in less than a year), it was important to mash-up all the humans under one single identity and brand.
I’m sure someone in my company will correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was my idea to center on this meme we call “Next Generation Enterprises.” We kicked around a lot of strategic messaging ideas in the early days and this one stuck. Everyone and their half-brother is now moving into the space we scoped out about a year ago. Of course, we are ahead of the game and have a strong revenue story, so we can be smug for about 5 seconds.
The nGen meme comes to us by way of our in-house guru, Don Tapscott. Most readers of my blog should have already seen Don’s talk this year at one conference or another. I’m incredibly proud to be associated with the think-tankers up at Don’s research organization in Toronto. If you aren’t feeding the Wikinomics blog, today’s the day to start. Terrific bits of brilliance on the 2.0 scene come out of there on a daily basis.
We also have a deep and wide reservoir of expertise in the Talent arena with voices such as Tammy Erickson who is blogging on Harvard Business Online. One of the areas where we excel is pegging trends in the demographics of the workplace. Don refers to the cohort of kids who’ve grown up digital as N-Gens. In Don’s talk, he tells a story about how he thought his son was a prodigy when he was young, but soon realized all his son’s friends were prodigies too. They’re born digitally wired.
So it’s this particular slice of our nGenera story I want to focus on in this post– how different the “youngsters” are from us. This weekend I took my son and his friends to see “Shine a Light” the Martin Scorsese concert film of the Rolling Stones. I kid myself that just because I share an appreciation for 70s bands with my son, I’m cooler than my parents. I’m so not cool in his eyes at all.
I already blogged a while ago about how my son is a guild master on World of Warcraft, but the latest development came this year when his 6th grade teacher asked the class to take a keyboarding speed test. I remember taking typing in high school. A passing grade was 40 wpm, and it was tough for most of my peers to pass that test. My son Alex types 118 wpm with one error. He’s 11.
In the past month, Alex figured out how to use iMovie. He is now the neighborhood film director/producer/publisher. I am arranging for tutoring lessons so he can learn Final Cut from an nGenera GenY who works in our office. Like Don’s son, my son seems like a prodigy to me, but he’s just a normal nGen kid. He lives online. T.V. is a background noise if it’s on at all. He goes to school with his iPod, txts his friends with his phone, and IMs from his MySpace page most of the night, while surfing YouTube for skating videos.
Is Enterprise ready for my son and his friends? No. That’s my mission for nGenera: To make work like play so you can make more money doing what you do.
I’ll leave you with one of Alex’s videos. Taking a page out of Debbie Weil’s comment handbook, feel free to leave a comment for Alex. “No need to say you know me.” 😉
What is your nGen story?
3 thoughts on “What’s your nGen Era Story?”
Ah, the students become the teachers. I, like you Susan, am learning much from my own kids on how to best use all the new digital tools that are available. And by participating with them, to the extent that I am able, I get to be a part of their lives and talk about some of the “old school” things I still know a little more about than they do. They seem to appreciate that I try to keep up. Great story.
Thank you, Don. Alex is an excellent student. He attends a competitive school here in Austin where he brings home mostly As, but some Bs. His least favorite subject is music class where he plays the trombone. I wish that were not the case, but ohwell.
He does play sports too. He is planning on going out for football in the fall with his friends. He used to play football when we lived in N.J. He also loves basketball, so I imagine he’ll want to go out for that, as well.
Right now, however, skating is consuming his passion. Skateboarding requires a lot of skill and athletic ability too. He will be in good shape for the upcoming sports seasons.
Thanks for dropping in. They are prodigies though, aren’t they?
Susan, what an amazing and beautifully written story. I’m going to try and get into my new book Grown Up digital. Thanks!
By the way how does Alex do at school? Does he do other stuff like any sports (besides skateboarding 😉
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