"HISTORY SPEAKS" BLOG
You are faster than you think, better than you feel and stronger than you look. If you’re still breathing, it’s a good day to be alive. (Rick Chromey)
According to 2021 Pew Research Center: The U.S. Asian population has seen an 81% increase since 2000. It’s projected by 2060, the number of Asians living in the United States will be 35.8 million, which is more than triple their 2000 population.
In the metaphorical computer “Garden of Eden,” today was the day the Apple was born.
Love like there’s no pain. Learn like there’s no end. Lead like there’s no failure. Laugh like there’s no tragedy. Live like there’s no tomorrow. (Rick Chromey)
I would be honored to have you join me for the Official Book Launch Party for GenTech September 25th on Zoom from 6-7:30 pm! We had an in-person event planned originally in May and had to postpone it a few times, so we decided it is time to do our book launch to celebrate – gone virtual! When you buy your ticket to attend, you will receive Zoom information to join us on September 25th. Your ticket provides you with your space at the event, a personalized signed copy of GenTech we will mail you, and some fun swag too! Don’t miss out on this family fun event, to learn all about technology over time, and how it has changed. Share it with your family and friends, for the cost of one ticket. Just like gathering family and friends for a movie, you can gather together for a fun Zoom event that will include a talk, book reading, Q & A, and a tech show and tell that will include things that will bring back memories and introduce your kids or grandkids to tech we used back in the day. I have a wonderful collection I look forward to sharing with you!
We will also have a drawing for a few great prizes, like gift certificates to Amazon, Bonefish Grill in Boise, and more. Go to Eventbrite here to buy your ticket, and learn more about the event. Be sure to hurry as we need to get your signed copy of the book and other goodies to you!
See you soon!
Society changes. Society evolves. Society advances. Technology changes.
If you lived in 1400 A.D., life was harsh and short
Diseases, viruses, and plagues wiped out whole communities. A family rarely traveled more than a day’s walk. Nearly everyone worked a farm. Wheat, rye, and barley were staple foods. Mysticism, folklore, and Catholic religion guided a family—which was five to six people—children and grandparents—in number. Local lords and the clergy kept political peace and rule. The church was the center of life: marriage, births, holidays, and burials. Most people never saw age 60.
The printing press changed this cultural trajectory and unleashed a new machine culture that reigns to this day
The ability to mass-produce information, weapons, vehicles and other products sparked countless political, economic, and religious changes. Without, Gutenberg’s press, the foundations for Renaissance, Reformation or Enlightenment wouldn’t have happened. Every great social revolution since 1400 A.D. was helped by the printing press.
The Protestant Reformation, for example, demanded a literate culture
It needed peasants to read and write. As common literacy rose, so did family opportunity, wealth, education, health and life spans. The family has always been a social cornerstone and the father a stabilizing factor. A fatherless family posed greater risk for poverty, ignorance, disease and death. Until the 1800s, nearly every culture was purely patriarchal. The father centered the home and, in most cases, was the most literate and educated. It was his job, in part, to communicate what was happening outside the walls of the home…and teach his sons not just the family business but how to read and write (so they could earn a living, vote, teach and serve). The Sunday School and free public-school movements in the late 18th and 19th centuries—thanks again to Gutenberg technology—repositioned learning from the home to public spaces.
But other technologies also contributed to social change
The mechanized clock compartmentalized time. The microscope advanced human understanding of life. The telescope helped man envision a new horizon, then advances in the compass and ship transported him there. Eventually, whole populations migrated to new worlds thanks to technology and fashioned new societies from old cultures. It’s why we have a “New” York, Jersey and Hampshire. Its why U.S. states were religiously and ethnically centric initially. From Rhode Island Baptists to Pennsylvania Quakers to Massachusetts Puritans, every state had a unique faith culture.
The American idea (really ideal) emerged from a collective and revolutionary desire to forge a “more perfect union” that granted the right for all Americans to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Of course, even that ideal was far from realized in 18th century America—given illiteracy and slavery—but the technologies on the horizon would help America improve and evolve into an international powerhouse.
The emergence of the photograph proved a mid-18th century game-changer, as were advances in human warfare, communications and transportation. The ball musket of the Revolutionary War was replaced by rifles in the Civil War. The rifling of a bullet allowed it to be more accurate at farther distances, not to mention more damaging and lethal. The sporadic use of the repeating Gatling gun (invented in 1861) by Union forces brought new terror. The locomotive allowed the Union to transport troops and supplies while the telegraph (personally used by Abraham Lincoln) spread messages instantly. But it was photographic images that transformed American culture and evolved human opinion. Until the photograph, the dead were captured only by memory. Now their images were caught on paper and mass-produced. The American Civil War was the first human conflict to show the horror and reality of war.
In reality, every war (and revolution) since has benefited from technology (and who got it first)
In World War 1 it was the submarine, automobile, tank, motorcycle, airplane, chlorine gas, telephone and motion picture. In World War 2, it was radio, walkie talkie, penicillin, radar and nuclear bombs. In Vietnam it was satellites, Huey helicopters, Claymore mines, Tow missiles, grenade launchers and supersonic jets. In recent wars it’s been lasers, GPS, night vision, drones, Tomahawk missiles, robotic mules and “flybots,” microwave ray guns and the Internet. Every social revolution in every culture has ridden on the back of war.
But without communications technology, the common man would’ve been left isolated and ignorant. Just like the printing press mass-produced ideas and information, particularly in use of newspapers, other technologies altered how the family and community lived, worked, learned and worshipped. The telephone connected us for immediate audio conversations. The motion picture reimagined the story into a visual. The ability to electronically amplify the voice (and later the image) through microphones and speakers allowed for larger audiences. Vinyl records democratized entertainment, permitting the user to control who and what was heard.
But it was radio that first decentralized civilization. It brought a voice directly into every human space (within radio signal). This medium tipped in the 1920s with a power to unify or divide, inspire hope or create fear, entertain or inform. A radio broadcast and station could be controlled. It could also censor alternative opinions, views and truths. It was the perfect medium for agitators, dictators and reformers.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to use radio to his advantage, whether lifting a nation’s spirits during the Great Depression or communicating news of a Pearl Harbor tragedy. The radio replaced the book (particularly the Bible) as the center of family life during the 1930s and 1940s. The family evening hours were now spent listening to Abbott and Costello, Fibber McGee and Molly, Burns and Allen. Religion and sports also co-opted radio to attract fans and followers, with “church”—like sports and concerts—now becoming a Sunday event. Steeples were replaced by microphones. Church bells swapped for radio spots.
In the 1950s, the living room radio was exchanged with a box named television
This mega-tech technology transformed culture into a visual society. We now think with our eyes. Brands are visual. News, music, sermons, lessons and products are delivered via video. Television, like the printing press, reimagined how we communicate. A screen culture emerged and eventually evolved a computer screen and later smartphone and touch screen culture. Ronald Reagan used the power of television while Barack Obama and Donald Trump the power of social media.
Every generation since 1900 has been uniquely demarcated and tattooed by the emerging technology in its coming of age years. It’s why America has a Transportation-Telephone Generation (1900-1920) or a Radio Generation (1920-1940) or a Television Generation (1940-1960) or a Gamer Generation (1960-1980) or a Personal Computer-Cell Phone Generation (1980-2000) or an iTech Generation (2000-2020). It also has tech generations rooted to motion pictures, vinyl records, space, cable television, the Internet and, most recently, robotics.
You cannot understand a culture or its evolution without recognizing its technology. We truly are a GenTech world.
It’s been that way since man sparked his first flame.
And, trust me, you haven’t seen nothing yet.
#generations #GenTech #society #culture #war #television #radio #personal computer #iTech #robotics #technology
I had the honor to provide content for Jeff Bullas on his world-renown website, www.jeffbullas.com. (https://www.jeffbullas.com/team-productivity-output/) On his site, over 25 million other readers have been educated and inspired to transform their life and business.
My guest post follows:
When it comes to team productivity, the problem we face is rooted in generational myths that narrate perceptions, practices, and team cohesion.
These false narratives are adventures in missing the point. They are prevalent in the workplace, schoolroom, and church house. They soak our social media streams.
- Millennials are self-absorbed, entitled, and disrespectful. This politically correct “baby on board” generation needs continual coddling, incentivizing, monitoring, and cheering.
- Gen Xers are independent, greedy, and nontraditional. This “black sheep” generation is packed with goonies, bad news bears, exorcist kids, and breakfast club delinquents.
- Boomers are arrogant, selfish, and authoritarian. This “leave it to Beaver” generation grew up economically, materially, parental, and culturally blessed.
These narratives create dangerous interactions, bad feelings, and faulty ideas. Much ink has been spilled to explain, defend, understand, and create working strategies for productivity for these generations.
But what if we’ve got it all wrong? It is time to blow up some myths and provide more realistic strategies for how we can be more productive at work in a mixed generational atmosphere.
Myth #1: Boom, Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z are good working labels
Truth: These popular generational nicknames say and mean little.
Generational analysis has operated for decades, but definitive labeling has been around roughly since 1980.
That’s the year Landon Y. Jones released his book Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation. In this watershed work, Jones definitively named a generation and their birth years (1946-1964).
Jones’ analysis unlocked a new fascination with generations. Suddenly every sociologist, historian and thought leader commenced to name (and frame) generations.
Kids born after the Boomers were quickly tapped as “Busters” and eventually Gen X (thanks to a 1991 Douglas Coupland novel). Initially, Millennials were labeled “Gen Y” (because they followed Gen X) but the generational theory of Neil Howe and William Strauss birthed a stickier moniker: “Millennials.” Howe and Strauss even named (and framed) American generations back to 1584 AD!
In the 2000s “Gen Z” came knocking (a.k.a. iGen, Centennials, Homelanders). Nobody knows why the unimaginative Gen Z nickname stuck. Just say, write and post anything enough and it’ll root. Some now tag the newest generation (born since 2010) as Alpha or Generation Alpha.
Unfortunately, none of these mean (or say) anything. Even the “Millennial” name is ambiguous. But what if we’ve incorrectly tagged, labeled, framed and defined all these generations? What if we really aren’t Boomers or Xers, Millennials or Gen Z?
How would this effect how we hire and grow within the workplace?
In my new book GenTech: An American Story of Technology, Change, and Who We Really Are, I propose a fresh perspective for generations that argues within a technological frame. Approximately every 20 years a new generation emerges that’s defined by particular communication and/or transportation technology (telephone, radio, television, internet). A technology that reimagines how we interact with the world. It changes how we shop, learn, worship, and communicate. It reinvents cultural institutions from entertainment to education.
When we view certain cohorts through technology, we gain better insight and application for generational interaction (via their “coming of age” technology consumed between the ages of 10 to 25). It is why a Boomer raised on vinyl records, television, and space travel is vastly different than a Millennial who matured on personal computers, cellphones, and the internet. I explore this in-depth in my book GenTech.
|BORN: 1940s -1950s||BORN: 1960s – 1970s||BORN: 1980s – 1990s||BORN: 2000s – 2010s|
|Vinyl Record (late) Television Space (early)||Space (late) Gamer Cable Television (early)||Cable Television (late) Computer/Cell Phone Net (early)||Net (late) iTech Robo (early)|
|Snail Mail||Text||Social Media|
|Rotary Phone||Touch Tone Phone||Cordless/Flip Phone||Smartphone|
|Antenna Television||Cable Television||Satellite Television||Streamed Television|
|Spock kids, Disney “Mouseketeers,” Leave it to Beaver||Latchkey kids, Rosemary’s Baby, Bad News Bears||Baby on Board kids, Three Men and a Baby, Spy Kids||Reality TV kids, The Incredibles, Robo Child|
|Vietnam War||Gulf War||Iraq War||War on Terror|
|Civil rights||Women’s rights||Gay rights||Transgender rights|
|Sputnik, JKF assassination||Nixon resignation, Challenger explosion||Columbine shooting, September 11, 2001||Great Recession, Covid-19|
|Department store||Local mall||Supercenter||Online retail|
|Pizzeria||Pizza Hut||Chuck E. Cheese||Zume|
Myth #2: Generational differences are the problem
Truth: Generations have more in common than we realize.
We’ve been led to believe the generation gap is the problem, but it’s not. Most differences are rooted more to our place in life than cultural preferences. The Beatles and Johnny Cash remain popular among kids while older folk enjoy Facebook, Netflix, and Zoom. Our hairstyle, fashion, and tastes in music, movies, and art reflect a moment in time. It’s why nostalgia sells.
Every generation matures through three predictable phases:
- Inexperience (needs validation)
- Competence (needs empowerment)
- Expertise (needs respect).
This is why new, inexperienced “need to be heard” young employees spark fireworks when they interact with a tenured, skilled older worker or manager (wanting respect). One wants validation and the other desires respect.
How do you change the trajectory of this thought process for better work productivity?
Myth #3: Change isn’t welcomed by older people
Truth: All ages embrace change if it’s empowering and productive.
Change happens at any age. We spend our whole lives changing. Jobs. Careers. Marriages. Kids. Homes. Vehicles. Younger people can adapt and adopt because it’s less painful. They have less history (tradition) to battle. They have less to lose. Youthfulness blinds us to reality. It emboldens tendencies to risk, fight, or flee.
Younger people also have less input. We change… or leave. In fact, the longer a person ages with a company, the more “starting over” becomes less desirable, even in a world where being with a company for five or more years is considered a lengthy stay. It’s why older workers probably manage change better. They fight through feelings, recognize limits, and adapt.
Shared ownership becomes the key to how we can be more productive at work.
This is why leaders and managers must guide institutional innovation and corporate change through shared ownership. When employees and staff, of any age, sense some control and power in the change, they’ll move, reinvent, innovate and transform. They just want to know if this change is productive. Will it benefit, empower, or produce something for me?
Here are a few ways to begin the process
- Group people by consumed tech by asking questions about their coming of age years and learn what else they might bring to the table – categorize what you learn and then use that to develop gamification strategies to motivate your salespeople (for example).
- Become keenly aware of productivity killers, but take it a step further and learn from employees or team members about the kind of tech they like to use, and leverage it to bring people together – to drive them toward a common goal whether 35, 55 or 65 years of age.
- Leverage consumed technology at the office (no matter how big or small) through artificial intelligence – be the leader in using AI. I am not saying just bring in robots. Consider artificial intelligence in how it works within eCommerce to understand consumers. Remember that those consumers are also the people that make up your teams. So how will you look at AI in helping people work together more effectively?
Technology is how we view our world, understand our culture, enjoy our hobbies, and interact with our family and friends. It’s how we learn, shop, entertain, work and worship.
It is why a 60-something may sometimes appreciate snail mail while a thirty-something may prefer texting. It is why a 40-something learns via video on YouTube and a twenty-something embraces a Zoom conference. Our technology guides how we prefer to interact.
Begin to analyze how you want to move forward within your company and leverage the technology your teams consume for high engagement and performance.
In my book, I reveal how generations since 1900 have fluidly emerged through technology. We aren’t “Boomers.” We are the Television and Space Generations. We aren’t “Gen Xers.” We are Gamer and Cable Television Generations. We aren’t “Millennials.” We are Personal Computer-Cell Phone and Net Generations. And we aren’t “Gen Z.” We are emerging iTech and Robotic Generations.
We are generations of technology and if we look at the people in our workplace from that perspective, think of all the possibilities for growth!
Guest author: Dr. Rick Chromey is a cultural explorer, social historian, generational futurist and international keynote speaker. A best-selling author, he has written over a dozen books on leadership, natural motivation, creative communication, and classroom management. Rick has served as a professor, speaker/trainer, and consultant, working in the nonprofit sector. In 2017, he founded MANNA! Educational Services International to inspire and equip leaders, teachers, pastors, and parents. Rick holds a doctorate in leadership and emerging culture; and travels the U.S. and world speaking on culture, faith, history, education, and leadership topics including GenTech Workshops. Connect with Rick on LinkedIn, (and help us grow on) Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Visit www.MyGenTech.us.
Press received on #GenTech:
GenTech: An American Story of Technology, Change, and Who We Really Are is a great read. It was well written and easy to read. I was intrigued by how much has changed with technology for the past one hundred and twenty years. I found it nostalgic to be reminded of some of the advances that happened during my childhood. It brought back some good memories. In addition to technology, the book tells about many other changes socially and culturally. I am amazed at how far of advancement there has been through the years in my country.
GenTech: An American Story of Technology, Change and Who We Really Are made me think of my grandmother, who passed away at almost a hundred years old. It was fascinating to read in this book at all of the inventions and changes she lived throughout the 1900s and early 2000s. Some of which includes: radios to compact discs; airplanes to rockets; silent movies to watching movies at home; film cameras to phone cameras; televisions; three based television networks to cable; remote controls; credit cards; etc etc. That is not even including the wars, culture and social changes through the years she lived through.
I am giving GenTech: An American Story of Technology, Change, and Who We Really Are a very well deserved 5+ stars. I recommend it for readers who enjoy learning about twentieth-century American history. I see Dr. Rick Chromey has other books he has written that I am looking forward to reading, as well.
I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
What I mean is have you peered outside at the CULTURAL landscape? It is springtime in every way. This new cultural “spring” is blossoming everywhere as retailers, restaurants, schools, and churches try to survive in an online-only world…thanks to a little virus nobody saw coming six months ago. COVID-19 and its effect on culture. This will be written about in history books and will have an enormous impact on everything.
The biggest takeaway so far: SMALL is tall
Essentially, the smaller you are, the better and faster you’ve creatively navigated this COVID-19 economic shutdown. Everywhere you look there are smaller business models, educational strategies, entertainment options and church expressions. Are you buying stock in Zoom? It’s become a household word. Drive-thrus, take-outs and pick-ups are hot (smaller) frames for retailers. And the cloud and stream are the new worlds in which to camp and explore.
A successful dine-in restaurant here in Boise had to close all its doors for COVID-19 but quickly learned it had plenty of something they hadn’t sold before: toilet paper. They also had plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other grocery items. Since this restaurant had a different supplier than larger grocers and retailers, the owner was able to acquire the stuff people were desperately seeking. He’s now converted, quickly and successfully, his dine-in restaurant into a pick-up grocer. He could do it because he was a small local entity. The big chain restaurants don’t have that vision. They’re too large.
But something BIGGER is happening: the BOX is dying
Amazon debuted July 5, 1994, as a bookstore (eventually killing off demand for many brick and mortar bookstores). Now Amazon is the largest retailer, period. Walmart used to enjoy that title but was slow to the online retailing game. They waited until 2016 to get serious. That’s when Walmart bought Jet.com (a third-rate unknown online retailer) and spent $3.3 billion dollars to compete with Amazon. Until COVID-19 Walmart wasn’t competing. But that’s changed rather quickly as Amazon, Walmart and smaller, local retailers (who already had an online presence) are winning the day.
News, sports, and entertainment (and their talent) have also been rocked by COVID-19. Our news is not coming from a dedicated studio but from hillsides, sidewalks, and bedrooms. My weather forecaster delivers the weather from her daughter’s room with an ironing board as her desk. Jimmy Fallon produces the Tonight Show from home, with his kids as guests. Major entertainers are playing live on Facebook and YouTube without a concert hall or stadium. Netflix, Hulu, Sling, Roku and Amazon Prime and other live-streams are killing the cable and satellite stars. Cable is hanging on by a thread. Only competitive sports–which naturally have human contact–are not able to play. ESPN and other sports channels are running old games…and few are watching. We like our sports live.
And then there’s the church. No “box” has suffered more to move online that local churches. It has been in a box culture since the fourth century AD, thanks to the Roman emperor Constantine. He legalized Christianity and made it the Roman state religion. He then gave Christians all of the empire’s pagan temples to inhabit. And the church has lived in a box ever since…until two weekends ago. With large gatherings prohibited, churches (without any live-streamed services) scrambled to get their services online. Most used Facebook to host their services. Smaller churches and groups also gravitated to Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Facetime. With the Church’s biggest holiday (Easter) around the corner, there’s a general feeling of denial. Easter has always been a church’s biggest attendance day. But the reality is church attendance has been fading for the past 20 years. The box was already in trouble.
In general, the boxes (come inside to shop, learn, worship and be entertained) were already losing to online options. Shopping and entertainment were already there. Now the school and church must reinvent in this new cyberculture without boxes. Boxes, after all, have time and space stamps. You have to go to them during certain “open” times. In contrast, the online world is open 24/7/365. And when this COVID-19 crisis suddenly blew up the box it’s forced everyone to think differently–not just the seller but the buyer, not just the teacher but the student, not just the priest or pastor but the congregant. And we are all learning rather quickly we don’t really need these boxes (at least the bigger ones). We can shop, learn, commune, worship and be entertained without them.
Social media has never been hotter in an anti-social shelter-at-home world. As I talk about in my new book, GenTech: An American Story of Technology, Change and Who We Really Are, we are products of our generational technology. COVID-19 will change everything going forward in ways that affect how we will experience everything.
Which begs one final thought: what will Walmart do when they realize it’s a better, cheaper business model to employ robotic pickers (rather than human shoppers) to fill online orders rather than let the general public pick their own groceries? Could Walmart eventually close their front doors to people and convert their stores into food and retail storage? If so, could robot and drone retrieval and delivery be far off too? Why drive to Walmart to pick up your groceries when they could be delivered?
The more expensive model for that idea is currently called “Hello Fresh”. It’s thriving like never before. Watch for more affordable options to blossom in the near future. It’s springtime in Boise. It’s also a new cultural spring, thanks to this virus.
Small is tall. The box is dying.
The flowers are blooming.