Sunday, September 19, 2010

Generation X Slackers That Changed the Technology World



So, in a few days I will reach the grand old age of 41 and it has caused me to think about the last 20 years and the classification of my generation (Generation X) over the past 20 years.

Generation X is a U.S. generational classification for anyone born between 1961 and 1981. As a 20 year old in 1989, Generation X was seen as irresponsible and lazy slackers. I’m not sure if the term Generation X was coined at the time but these negative perceptions were strong. I recall hearing a Baby Boomer at the time state that she thought that society should start over with the next generation because Generation X was a total waste. I replied to her that the World War II Generation said the same thing about the Baby Boomers with their easy living and free love in the 1960s and that the Baby Boomers turned out okay. My reply was met with silence.

Now, let’s think about these lazy Generation X slackers. Some of the greatest technology companies in the history of our country were started by Generation X “Slackers”.

In the early 1990s, I was a Computer Science student at Michigan State University. Meanwhile, about 60 miles away there was another Computer Science student (getting better grades than me) at the University of Michigan. His name was Larry Page. A few years after graduating from the University of Michigan, Larry ended up starting a company called Google. You may have heard of it.

Here’s my short list of technology companies that changed the world founded by Generation X “Slackers”.














CompanyGeneration X "Slacker"Birth Month/Year
GoogleLarry PageMarch 1973
Yahoo!Jerry YangNovember 1968
TwitterJack DorseyNovember 1976
YouTubeSteven ChenAugust 1978
AmazonJeff BezosJanuary 1964
WikipediaJimmy WalesAugust 1966
eBayPierre OmidyarJune 1967
BloggerEvan WilliamsMarch 1972
SkypeNiklas ZennströmFebruary 1966
LinkedInReid HoffmanAugust 1967
ExpediaRichard BartonJune 1967




Here’s my message to all of you old crusty Baby Boomer dinosaurs who want to hate on the younger generations or anyone who wants to hate on future generations. Don’t hate, congratulate! Every generation has its success stories. So, if you are not uplifting the next generation then you probably need to shut up! So, what do you think?

6 comments:

Jai Stone said...

Loved your post! I recently had my 20yr high school reunion and many of my classmates had notable accomplishments. Contrary to what we had been told in school. It seems we turned out to be a very innovative generation, not bound by the traditions of society. Maybe there is hope for Gen Y.

EHAM said...

Jai, Thanks for the kind words... You are correct about our generation... and Generation Y will be fine. They are off to a fantastic start with Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook leading the way...

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

As a 20 year old in 1989, Generation X was seen as slackline irresponsible and lazy slackers. I’m not sure if the term Generation X was coined at the time but these negative perceptions were strong.

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