Clo Willaerts is a digital marketing specialist, blogger and Managing Director of Dentsu Consulting. The internet is her second home. With over 30,000 followers on Twitter, thousands of Facebook friends and a blog on digital technology, Clo, and her alter ego @bnox, are well known in the digital world. Internet technology reinvents itself every six months. That makes some people nervous. But for Clo, it’s precisely what makes it so fascinating.
Digital and analog have long been interwoven. She sees the hype and buzzwords of the day for what they are and dares to ask (and answer) uncomfortable questions about online security, privacy and identity.
Simon Sinek is a visionary and author of the bestseller ‘Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action’. He shares his unconventional views on business and leadership via keynote speeches and by writing in The New York Times, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, etc. or on startwithwhy.com.
Clo Willaerts: “There are some widely differing definitions of millennials in circulation, often based on the year of birth. Millennials were born roughly between 1984 and 2000. It should be noted, however, that millennial behavior cannot always be linked to a specific age. In general, millennials can be described as an alarmingly good generation. You expect a new generation to oppose the previous one.
With millennials that is not the case. They don’t rebel. They stay at home for a long time, take things as they come. Go with the flow is their motto. At the same time, they attach a great deal of value to authenticity. They don’t lose any sleep over a prestigious job and a big company car. They are very much against everything they see as fake.”
Simon Sinek: Millennials lack deep friendships. Their contacts tend to be superficial. They haven’t learnt enough to deal with emotions, stress or love. Instead of falling back on friends, they reach for their smartphone.
Clo: “If you tell a millennial that virtual contact is worth less, you can expect a vehement reaction. It’s true that they are constantly exchanging messages via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat and other social media. For the older generations, that seems very superficial but, for the millennials themselves, these are very valuable social signals. After all, they keep in touch with lots of people this way.”
Simon Sinek: Millennials are impatient. The previous generations often had to show patience to forge a relationship, get promoted at work, etc. It seems that millennials aren’t prepared to take the time for this.
Clo: “Millennials are not so much impatient, but they seek instant gratification: the immediate satisfaction of a need. If they order something online, they want it straight away, preferably the same day. Millennials don’t put off buying something until the weekend in order to go to a – real – shop. As time goes by this whole online world becomes somewhat magical. A click produces instant results but, at the same time, millennials have no idea of the whole logistic machine behind online shopping.”
Simon Sinek: Millennials have never had to work hard to achieve anything. What’s more, these days, companies adapt to millennials, rather than the other way round.
Clo: “Companies are very often organized along traditional lines: accounting, marketing,IT, etc. That stands in the way of the flexibility that millennials are looking for. Millennials are indeed not as focused on their career as the previous generation. But when they need money, they are quite ready to work hard. If necessary they’ll work as a barista for a while, until the worst financial need is over. Millennials see their job as a relationship: it’s a strong commitment, but will it last forever? You can’t know in advance. And if the relationship doesn’t feel right anymore, that’s not dramatic. Go with the flow. Millennials can afford to have this attitude, because they have a safety net. If the worst comes to the worst, they can always go home to mom and dad for a while.”
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