Why Millennials, Generation X-ers and Baby Boomers have reached their sell-by date

Stereotypical image of an older woman and younger woman in a business environment
I stumbled across an article last week, mentioning a term that was new to me, yet simultaneously enraged me: Xennial. 

Apparently, Xennials are people who straddle the Generation X and Millennial generations – born between 1977 and 1983.

The term has been ‘invented’ specifically to accommodate a group of people who don’t feel as if they fit into the X or Millennial bucket…

And this neatly sums up my irritation with the lazy way we ‘label’ people and why it has to end.

Let’s just examine this for a second: you take a group of around 7m people (in the UK) who were born between the mid-1960s and early-1980s and apparently they’re all meant to think and do things in the same way?

This group covers people who would have experienced punk at the age of 13, as well as those who experienced Pulp’s Common People and Oasis’ Roll With It at the same age. 

How can they be similar?

Baby Boomers are no different. My mum is at the front end of the so-called Boomer generation, who turned down tickets to see The Beatles live. A fellow boomer at a comparable age would had to turn down a Duran Duran gig.

Like each other? I think not…

And yet these ‘buckets’ of people are used widely – and very often pejoratively – to describe how the UK acts and thinks.

Millennials are regularly tarred with the ‘lazy’ brush, for some inexplicable reason. Boomers are all rich, while Gen X-ers are sceptical risktakers. 

As data allows us to be more nuanced about what people think and want, can we not expunge these lazy, wholly-inaccurate phrases from our language?

Charity vs ethics: you decide

ux-salon-dark-patterns-3-638Ever heard of “dark patterns”? The term was coined – as you can see from the photo above – by Harry Brignull and is used to describe ‘naughty things’ companies do to try and trick you into doing something you don’t necessarily want to.

As companies try ever harder to make money and get more out of people, these dark patterns are becoming ever more common.

So where’s the link to charity, I hear you cry? Well, last night I spotted this tweet:

The crux of the issue is that a £1 discretionary donation was added to the final bill by default, thus making it less likely that it would be removed.

The restaurant concerned – a very good Indian one in Brighton – was very contrite, but rightly pointed out that the £1 charity discretion was clearly advertised and would have been happily removed. Continue reading

Forget the big idea – start with the user

Steve Jobs
We think of Apple as being the great modern-day innovators, but actually what they do is take an initial idea – more often than not one that a competitor has created – and then improve on it, based on customer needs.

Even in 2016, this is something that so many brands still fail to do.

In her book Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly, Bernadette Jiwa starts one chapter with this spot-on quote from Steve Jobs.

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it … And as we have tried to come up with a strategy and a vision for Apple, it started with ‘What incredible benefits can we give to the customer, where can we take the customer?’ Not starting with ‘Let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have and then [ask] how are we going to market that?’

Steve Jobs