Business Challenges For The Millennial Generation

Found this post sitting in my drafts folder from July 2013. I don’t necessarily agree with the 2013 version of myself but the post was already finished and new blogging ideas are hard enough to come by. Enjoy!

For the past few weeks I’ve been reading “The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century” on the train to and from work every day. Progress has been slow since it is only a total commute time of 30 minutes but what a great book. I originally started it about 2 years ago when a CIS professor (Bala Ramesh) recommended the class read at least the first chapter. So I did and then forget about it until a couple of weeks ago. I could spew out interesting facts to you until your mind blows but I don’t want to ruin any surprises for you. The version I’m reading was published in 2007 and the advances in technology from then till now astounds me.

On the train this morning, the author began discussing VoIP and how amazing and game changing it is. He discusses Skype (pre-Microsoft) and how X Company adopted it and cut their phone bills by 10%. I kind of laughed to myself and thought, “Well duh, of course VoIP makes sense and videoconferencing is important.” As I continued to half read, I tossed around the idea of what challenges my generation will face when we’re CEOs of major corporations or running call centers like Company X.

As of right now, the number of Millennials running multi-million/billion dollar companies is low, but for good reason. With the exception of Facebook and Tumblr, we’re either still in college or just recently graduated. Trying to figure out this big bad world doesn’t happen overnight, so here we are biding our time and gaining necessary experience. But in 20 years we’ll be primed and ready to run these companies, so what will our challenges be?

Great question and I don’t know.

And that’s fine. But I do know what we won’t be discussing and I’ll take a stab at what we could possibly maybe perhaps talk about.

The Non-Issues:

  • Mobile First:  Today’s CIOs should have that nailed down within the next 2 or 3 years. By the time we run big companies, a solidified standard should be in place.
  • Big Data: Ugh, what a painful term. In 20 years “Big Data” will just be “data” and life will go on. So shut your traps about it. You sound like a toddler who just learned a new word.
  • BYOD: Come the next 10 years, OSes will be unified across all devices with just two major players. We will be able to easily separate work and personal on the same device. I think Microsoft with Windows 8 is the first major step with unifying mobile and desktop. Apple will follow suit soon and Android will be the ugly step child that no one knows what to do with but keeps around just in case.

The Issues:

  • Gamify the work place:  Making work into a game rather than a job will improve efficiency, collaboration and morale. All of which increase the bottom-line; the goal of any good CEO.
  • Execute on “data”: Now that Big Data has become just data, businesses will just be tweaking its use cases, like we are with data today.
  • Cut the fat: Businesses need to be leaner than ever powered by improvements in efficiency tracking. You’ll never have to ask yourself, “What does that guy even do?” Corporations run by Millennials will be far more thorough and efficient than ever before.
  • Provide Global WiFi: Steve Jobs’ idea of a perfect cellphone was not connected through cellular towers but over WiFi. Cellular providers will turn into WiFi providers and just charge to access their network, and of course miscellaneous fees. This will open up the internet to billions more users.

Over the past 200-300 years, companies have evolved in how they’ve done business. Way back when, companies only cared about selling their products. They used the lackluster technology given to them to produce their items. Then came the industrial revolution. Technology advanced so quickly, business just wanted to produce as much as possible regardless of how ethical. The most recent generation, the ones currently in charge, put ethics (mostly) first compared to prior years. Now that we can produce a ton of materials in a somewhat ethical matter, the Millennial Generation can focus on efficiency more so than the current generation. Every last function will be monitored, tracked and reported until all systems run at 100% 100% of the time. Since the Millennials will have access to more information than ever imaginable our success all depends on what we do with it.

To really succeed in business, the Millennial Generation will have to out-innovate, out-execute and out-perform the previous generation. Not the most difficult feat ever attempted. It happens every 20 years or so. My advice to the old white guys running companies: put together a nice retirement plan because the Millennials are hungry.

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