Malleable Musings

February 8, 2009

Gonna get myself connected

Filed under: Commuting, Millenials — Brendan @ 8:13 pm

I get fed up with people thinking that technology is just a Gen Y thing so I was pleased to see this older guy on the train plugged in to his iPod using his crackberry – it’s proof if it was needed that not just GenY are digitally connected.


January 24, 2009


Filed under: Conversations, Life at home, Millenials — Brendan @ 10:18 pm

I had a really interesting conversation today at my parents-in-laws house.

The conversation touched on all sorts of topics in between but we started talking about my wife’s aunt who has just lost her husband of fifty years just after moving to rural Ireland a few years ago. She’s a very sociable person who now finds herself many miles away from her family and friends.

Her 17 yo grandson was taking part in the discussion which ended with
us talking about how the mobile (cell) phone is his absolute lifeline (but for SMS and internet access rather than calls).

It was one of those conversations involving people from three generations which highlights the differences across the generations and across people generally.

I was obviously reminded that technology moves on. When my Father in law (who is in his seventies) was 17 I doubt he had used a fixed-line phone much. When I was 17 mobile phones didn’t exist (car phones did but they cost and weighed as much as the car).  Today’s teenagers have mobile phones and get used to the technology from an early age – my 4year old probably has more idea how to use my iPhone than my wife does!

However, it wasn’t the technological change, or the cultural changes related to this (think about how we’re moving to a society that know how to convey extremes of meaning by SMS) that really interested me.

What really got me about the conversation was the point that people are different.  Some are naturally more sociable than others.  Some people want to hear their own voice and lead a conversation, some want to contribute to conversations, some will sit quietly and listen taking it in, whilst some will sit quietly and ignore the conversations going on around them.

December 3, 2008

What’s going to be normal in the future…

Filed under: Conferences, Millenials — Tags: , — Brendan @ 10:07 am

Tom Savigar's presentationTom Savigar gave the first session that I thought was really good from the EducationUK Partnership Conference although I think the briefing he may have been given might have been a bit off as whilst his presentation was interesting it didn’t really address what the technology changes actually mean for International Education recruitment.

Tom has a really interesting background.  The main theme of the presentation was the suggestion that there is a firm line between under 25’s and over 25’s

He’s currently giving the example of a 5 year old who uses SkyPlus to book Christmas presents (rather than the Argos catalogue) and how when she went to Highbury for an Arsenal game – she asked, “why can’t I pause it”.

The rest of this post will continue as a simple serious of quotes that I take. I may tidy it up later.  There will hopefully be a link to the presention (as yet it hasn’t gone live).

Key quotes so far:

Future’s happened just not very well distributed.

Am interesting explanation of slash / slash kids. Kids that want to do this slash that slash this slash that…

Social networks still the first place for the newest interesting thing.

Moving in to a more female age…. it’s not about making things pink but it is about collaboration.  People who thing that they know more about us than the they know about themselves.  Beginning of womenonomics.

Example of Paul Griffith Babycakes clothing utilisation of MySpace and RSS and other.

Example of the internet taking over as the main media resource.

Role of video games fastest growing sector (bigger than film, books and music). 36,000 batteries for the Nintendo Wii were sold in the UK at Christmas.

Some examples of democratisation of broadcast quality, always on equipment, example of Cybershot camera linkng directly in to Flickr.

3G phones in Africa…..

Facebook profiles being printed as CV’s used as memorial notes at funerals.

Pico projectors – linked to mobile phones

2D barcodes – QR codes / links to RFID tags as well

iSkills (US Eductaional Testing Service)

People are surpassing Moore’s Law.

Haptic technologies.



Developing a brand, network or experience around what they or the friends like.

Role of men diminishing – not taking part in the revolution as much

Recommend reading: David Pink (A whole new mind) – should this be Daniel Pink

Need enabler technologies.

Trend adoption is getting faster.

An I can do attitude – careering between jobs.

People are now self-actualisers (in the 80’s this was not on our radar).

How can we fit in to these relevant spaces.

People are people – they are human beings. They go in to shops and look, and socialise, but they might well buy online.

Multi access points for content (cross platform is key – we have to be seamless)

Assimilation is of surface information.  Not interested in time consuming meditiative media.

Expect our systems, hierarchies and processes to be over-writen.

(Side note: book tokens may not be the best sort of prizes for competitions.)

November 29, 2008

Gen X, Y and Z

My wife works every other weekend which means I have the pleasure of looking after my two little monsters sons, Malachy (4) and Ciaran (3) on my own.  Today they woke up at around 6am.  They have a sense of irony – they wake up early every weekend but are impossible to drag out of bed on a weekday.  The boys bounced on my bed until I got up and came downstairs to find them wanting to play computers.

Anyway whilst they were pottering about on the superb CBeebies website (well worth the TV license fee) or playing Purble Place, I was getting breakfast sorted.  However having seen them connecting with technology I started thinking about some recent articles and posts I’d been reading about Millennials (Gen Y) and I also remembered a photo that had been in our local newspaper some 28 odd years ago of my then two year old kid sister playing some simple recognition games on a Commodore Pet.

Now I should say that although I’m in higher ed marketing, I probably don’t take this sort of stuff as seriously as some in the industry do.  Not yet, anyway, because most of the potential students I’m trying to reach are more likely Gen X rather than Y – and indeed they are probably more likely to be Baby Boomers or Joneses or whatever names suit the 45’s-70’s than Gen Y.

There are bound to be some commonalities between people who share similar upbringings but I really don’t think you can take too much for granted, especially when you market internationally as I do.  People are individuals and should always be treated as such rather than being labelled, categorised and processed accordingly.  However such thinking leads to the “segments of one” CRM approach that seems so elusive.

Anyway much later on in the day after I’d done my chores, having decided it was too cold to go to the park we went off to Jam Jam Boomerang, a thoroughly excellent playcentre by Coventry Airport, and whilst the kids were playing in the ball pool or on the slides I remembered a summary of a speech by Neil Howe at AMA’08 that talked about Millennials and parents.  Karlyn – thank you for extremely interesting post.

Although they all seem very sensible and valuable, personally I was less interested in the lessons for colleges and universities.  Instead what I was thinking about, over my coffee and later crawling through the climbing frames after the little monkeys, was what events are going to shape my kids’ lives, what values and traits will I help to instill in them and will be these be typical of Generation Z?  I also couldn’t help but thinking should they want to go to college, how much of a help or hindrance would I be to them.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.