The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Hitchhikers Guide To Age …
July 3, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So I recently saw something Douglas Adams – author of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy – wrote about how we react and relate to technology as we get older.

It’s amusing and it’s certainly got an element of truth to it … but overall, I think it’s wrong.

Or at least the bit post-35.

I’m not saying that because my Mum is a technology fiend and she’s 82, nor am I saying it because I’m now 44 and will embrace tech like a fat boy embraces cake … I’m saying it because it has little to do with attitude and more to do with usefulness.

You see pre-35 [and I don’t even agree with that age as a cut-off] we tend to be a society who seeks out the new and the exciting. If you’re very young, it’s because everything is new and you want to grasp as much of it as possible … however if you’re in your mid 20’s, new stuff represents an element of escape and possibility from a World where you’re just coming to terms with the fact life isn’t this free-for-all we’d been led to believe it was, but a place where bills and expectations weigh heavy on our soul.

However for those of us who are older, it’s not about any of that, it’s about selfish usefulness.

We have become immune from the sparkly hype … the promises of the ‘next big thing’ … and we sit there with an attitude of ‘impress us’.

And here’s the thing, when something does do that … when something empowers, enables or engages us, we embrace it with a zeal like no other generation, because we see it for what it is and what it can be. It’s not a case of it simply being the new, new thing, it’s a case of us seeing it as the new way to help us to do the old thing.

Whether that’s banking, traveling, spending, exploring or escaping.

Post-35 and you embrace tech based on on action, not hype.

In some ways, this is the audience that can give technological evolution its validity – we can give it acceptance, mass, distribution and possibilities – and yet so many people in tech view this group as the stubborn, the cynical, the slow … but that simply shows many in the tech industry understand us far less than we understand their creations.

What this is all trying to say is that while the young might initially be more open to change, it’s often the older guys who can turn tech potential into tech commercial reality.


27 Comments so far
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spoken like an old fucker trying to kid himself he still has a fucking relevant point of view and that the rest of the planet give a flying fuck about them.

Comment by andy@cynic

He’s going to be a nightmare at PTA meetings.

Comment by DH

And so are you Dave.

Comment by Pete

He’s right though.

Comment by Pete

I always said you were smart.

Comment by Rob

Yes, I am aware of that – but I have chosen to ignore it, like all people living a deluded life do.

Comment by Rob

and if you have to put what youve achieved under your fucking name on a fucking powerpoint slide, you are officially in the where are they fucking now dustbin along with five star, culture club and fucking queen.

Comment by andy@cynic

Can’t be more on spot

Comment by Miguel

It comes from a book publihed after he died an not from his own presentation. Sadly, it appears at every other tech or advertising conference these days.

Comment by John

In my limited experience, the survival of any tech product depends on the 35+ group, most of the inventory will be purchased by them since they have enough disposable income to make said purchases.
The 20 somethings group (me included) love the hype, but don’t have the cash to actually buy the gadgets as they are launched into the market.
High-end products from cellphones to cars are marketed to young people, ignoring the people most likely to actually buy them… don’t know why.

Comment by Miguel

because old fucks want to feel young and its cheaper for them to buy a fucking iphone aimed at a 15 year old spotty fuck and feel relevant again than getting a fucking facelift.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sounds right to me.

Disclaimer – can’t afford an iPhone and a facelift wouldn’t help.

Comment by John

thats why you rely on the old faithful of ply them with booze trick.

Comment by andy@cynic

Works every time. Better results when they have daddy issues. But John would know that.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Which is why anti-wrinkle creams feature 23 year old models who haven’t had a wrinkle in their life.

Comment by Pete


Comment by DH

That doesn’t show you are culturally informed Dave. You do know that don’t you?

Comment by Rob

I am still awake.

Comment by Marcus

So you came here to fall asleep?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Boom Tish.

What the hell are you doing awake Marcus? And judging by the fact you didn’t add another comment, it [sadly] appears Billy’s observation was correct. Bugger.

Comment by Rob

So now George has a reason for the google wave failure.

Comment by DH

It is interesting you write this today, because this morning I met a very successful developer who mentioned he felt turning 30 was the foundation for his long run of success. He said when he was in his 20s, he was too preoccupied with impressing his peers when he hit 30, he realised real success was when he created things that appealed to the people outside of his bubble.
Not that dissimilar to the advertising industry.

Comment by George

Last night my 24 year old son asked if I thought he’d be able to buy a hoverboard in his lifetime.

My grandfather was born before the Wright brothers first flew, and he lived long enough to see Concorde, so my answer was ‘perhaps, but don’t hold your breath’.

Comment by Ian Gee

So very true. I’ve never seen it so clearly so expressed.
Which is another reason why adland needs to embrace employees over the age of 40 a little more. I would have said that digital agencies need to embrace them even more so they do more of what they should rather than could, but to be honest with you, while I’m finding loads of media folk are far more grown up than many creative cousins, they’re extremely guilty of selling in the latest wheeze because it’s a little bit shiny. I work with the sourest, most cynical man in media and his nose for Emperors New Clothes is more highly developed than Peter Parker’s Spidey Sense

Comment by Northern

Whoever your colleague is, I think I love him.

Comment by Rob

are you fucking complimenting campbell in your first sentence or being a sarcastic bastard. i know which one it should be but im worried youve lost your fucking mind.

Comment by andy@cynic

I went to bed.

Comment by Marcus

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