OK. I get it. I’m a baby boomer. But let me see if I can establish a little bit of credibility with you, and tell you why I’m here. And maybe we can do something useful together.
The Rest of the Story...
First, my interest is in helping you be successful, which hopefully you’ll come to believe as we go along.
Anyway, most likely, you’re young. You want to have a career. You want to make money. And my goal is to help you do that. But I get that you think, or rather, you probably know, that we – the baby boomer generation - screwed things up for you. And you’re absolutely right.
We screwed up the climate. We screwed up the economy. And we’re spending your inheritance.
So, I’m going to talk a little about how that happened, and what you can do about it. Because you can be successful. You just can’t do it by falling for the con job that’s going on around you - some of which is admittedly being perpetrated by my generation.
Some of it’s on you. But the reality is that a lot of it is on people like me.
So here we go.
By way of background, I’ve been in sales and marketing for more than 40 years. I started out in sales, though, after getting my MBA back in the 70s in marketing by working for a software company that had just been spun off by IBM.
I went there because they offered some of the best sales training in the world. And I figure that, if I could combine an understanding of how sales worked, with what I learned in school about how marketing worked, I could shortcut some of the typical 20 years of experience needed to work in strategic planning – which is where I really wanted to be.
Anyway, I eventually wound up at a company called Western Electric, which was the manufacturing division of the old Bell System (the telephone company) – in my ideal job: strategic planning, where my job was to figure out which cool technologies that were being invented at Bell Labs should be funded and commercialized.
And that’s where the story starts to get interesting.
Back then, everything – including things like the telephone, TV and radio - was analog. But some folks at Bell Labs were working on digital technologies, like fiber optics, multiplexers, and digital switching that had the potential to revolutionize these industries by driving down costs, and enabling a whole new thing called “applications”.
And one of the things that I got to do was to conduct the very first market research that justified developing these technologies.
And if I could find a market, I then had to try to convince the higher-ups that they ought to incorporate it into the network.
That worked out, with the help of a bunch of other people, of course, and that’s why we now have things like ISDN, Local Area Networks, On Demand video, broadband, the Internet, and a bunch of other technologies that arguably makes our lives better.
What you should know about this, though, is that what these technologies did to make our lives better – specifically by driving down the cost of information – is the same thing that also makes our lives worse.
This is because, when information is so cheap, a lot of garbage rises to the top.