On the circuit

Cynthia Wisehart on the Millennials

Their Innovations and Culture 7/23/2017 5:37 PM Eastern

One of the most important products in the AV industry turned 10 last month. I don’t have to tell you what that product was or why it has mattered so very much. The tech press went overboard with paeans and fun stories about using a 2007 iPhone in 2017. David Pogue wrote about the day that he and Walt Mossberg got their hands on the first one.For me it seems like the iPhone just happened—and I’ve always had one forever. Like many people I can’t imagine the last 10 years without the memories, expectations, experiences, workflow, and personal brain evolutions (for better or worse) that were shaped by the iPhone. Without the iPhone I would not have the hunched neck and shoulders that eventually led me to yoga. Without the iPhone, my teenage daughter would be ignoring me in a different way. I would not be texting my own family within my own house. “Mom, I’m completely out of storage.” She does not mean her closet. I could go on. And so could you. I lived long enough without an iPhone to know that my life and self are different in a million ways from what it would have been. Again, better and worse.

What else has happened in the last 10 years? The so-called Millennials are hitting their 30s; some are mid-thirties. So they are mainstream grownups and leaders.

What do iPhones and Millennials have in common, besides the whole biologically inseparable thing? They were the two most-read topics in my Pro AV Today newsletter last month by a long way, so I know that many of you are interested in them.

So it made me wonder: what will we talk about in 10 years hence when Millennials are nearly middle-aged and are running most things and being president, etc.? On the technical side, I say pay attention to Alexa-style voice control because it is the first really big workflow breakthrough since the swipe. Already in whole parts of the world people talk to their iPhones.

So—if I may give advice: buy an Alexa speaker and start digging—try writing some little programs to integrate it with the lighting and AV in your house (that is not yet plug and play). Get to know it for yourself.

On the other topic. I’m grateful to Millennials because I’ve benefited from their innovations and culture and happily appropriated all the good bits without having to shoulder any of the things that suck for them. And like you, I struggle to manage them because I don’t have the same sensitivities they do. So I’m hiring as many as I can and seeking them out as much as possible. I don’t expect them to have the kind of confidence that comes from having to be self-reliant (they didn’t get to be) so inevitably there will be a give and take of expertise and viewpoint, and that to me is even more interesting than my phone.

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