If You Are 45+, Consider Yourself Old

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Old folks in the digital world.

I will never forget the first time I truly realized my age group was no longer considered important. Forget important, how about non-existent?

I was sitting at a client meeting at Briggs & Riley, the premium luggage company in Hauppauge, Long Island, when the young marketing managers started talking about their target audience. I wanted to slip under the conference room table and hide there until the meeting was over. I didn’t want anyone around the table to see that the person they relied on to pitch their luggage was no longer relevant.

The age group these young whippersnappers identified as the prime market for their luggage was 18 to 45. I was 58 at the time. Maybe I am crazy (don’t answer that), but I felt like someone had slapped me silly. One minute I was significant with a voice, the next I was on the outside looking in. Let’s not forget that folks 55-plus are the ones today who are doing the serious traveling and have the money to spend on quality luggage. What do those empty suits know anyway?

I really try not to focus on my age in business anymore because, as far as I am concerned, I have more energy and ambition than most youngsters today. I recently learned of a Business Insider survey conducted by Survey Monkey that compared the habits of older people who use smartphones to those of younger ones. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Business Insider has declared the age group 45-to-60 “old” compared to the age group below those numbers.

I wonder how it feels to be 45 and categorized as older America. Look at the questions asked and see the results. It’s amazing how the digital world is so divided. Maybe this is a metaphor for the rest of our lives as well.

Here are some of the topics in the survey. I think you will find the answers interesting.

Is it slightly acceptable to answer a phone call at dinner?

Are business calls slightly acceptable at dinner?

Is Facebook acceptable at dinner?

Is texting acceptable at dinner?

Do you leave voice mails?

Do you start your day with emails vs. Facebook?

Do you post a picture of people on Facebook without getting their permission?

You Can’t Have Interactions and Experiences with Co-Workers from Home

Under One Roof

Under One Roof

In one of the biggest decision reversals in the digital world, Marissa Mayer, new CEO of Yahoo, decisively told her employees over the weekend that all remote employees better start checking in on a full-time basis at company headquarters by June. “You have to have interactions and experiences with co-workers, and that can only happen at the Yahoo offices.” This statement is so “yesterday” that I just can’t imagine that they stick to this plan. There is probably a major revolution brewing within the walls of Yahoo. Continue reading

Facebook For Pets

This blog post is dedicated to everyone who has ever owned a pet or who owns one now. This post is also my first time blogging on the WordPress app directly from my iPhone. So if I “F-up,” excuse me.

Blondie and Coco

The last dog I owned, Coco Hess, was the nearest and dearest to me because of her temperament. I took her to work everyday after her sister Blondie died at 11 years old. Coco lasted till she was 16 and my first dog Gucci died at 11. I miss them more than I can ever express here.

Gucci with me circa 1975. I am the one with the perm

I just heard about a new app called Klooff that can help me reconnect with them in a meaningful way that only the digital world can provide. The app was created by Alejandro Russo and NicolasTrajtman from Chile. They’ve known each other since preschool. They were also partners in a previous startup.

Alejandro and Nicolas attended Walkabout, the digital open house I wrote about yesterday. They are visiting New York to introduce Klooff to the American marketplace.  They sat across from me at Business Insider and we struck up a conversation. Almost immediately I learned about Klooff. I knew then and there that Klooff was going to be a part of my life. I downloaded it this morning and posted my beloved dogs’ photos and info. I have much more to do.

Hanna’s invitation

I told Alejandro that on June 23rd I was attending my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah in Los Angeles which is going to feature dogs as the theme for the Saturday night celebration party. Hanna Young is creating her table centerpieces in honor of dogs loved and cherished. You can’t imagine how special I felt when Hanna asked me for pictures of Gucci, Coco and Blondie. Alejandro told me to take pictures of Hanna’s Bat Mitzvah and they would post them on Klooff.  What a woof woof experience that is going to be.

I thank you Hanna and Klooff for making my babies close to me again.

Nicolas and Alejandro minutes after I first spotted them

Here is more about Klooff:

Hi Lois, WELCOME to KLOOFF!

YOU are the newest member of Klooff, the app for pet lovers.
We’re excited to have you onboard and we can’t wait to see pics of your pet!

A few tips to get the most out of Klooff:
Start by creating a profile for your pet.
Upload some nice and fun pictures of your pets.
Follow your friends and connect with other Pet Lovers.
Earn Klooff points and Badges by interacting with your pets and other Pet Lovers!
Turn your pics into cool products!

Go to the app store and type in Kloff. You will find the app.

…..The Klooff creators are supposed to visit my office tomorrow. If I learn more I will let you know.

I Am A Digital Voyeur

I spent the afternoon yesterday visiting two Internet centric companies in the Gramercy Park, Flatiron districts of Manhattan. I had no idea that Business Insider and Tumblr were steps away from my office on 21st and Broadway. Yes, I should have known, considering my company has been located in the area for a year and a half. I have been so busy working that I never considered canvassing the neighborhood. I knew that when we moved across the street from the Flatiron building we were in the heart of the NYC digital world. That is why I became intrigued by an email I received a few weeks earlier, asking if I wanted to participate in an open house program called Walkabout NYC.

The email said that “Walkabout NYC is a celebration of the technology and entrepreneurial culture in New York City. On Friday May 18, 2012, tech companies behind some of our favorite products will host a citywide open house. Stop by and check out their workspaces, see how they work, and meet the people leading the technology movement in NYC. This is about meeting new people, seeing awesome office spaces, learning about how people work, and having fun. The companies are thrilled to have you visit, and we hope you have a great day exploring!”

Walkabout NYC was founded by Danny Wen and Shawn Liu of Harvest HQ, a time tracking and billing company in SoHo servicing thousands of customers around the world, from freelancers to small businesses to departments within Fortune 500 companies. Danny and Shawn have always enjoyed taking tours of creative and entrepreneurial workspaces. No matter what size, they found that the spaces always fostered inspirational energy. Today, Harvest HQ has become a gathering point where the founders invite others to visit their workspace and share their tools of the trade. Walkabout is also expanding internationally. Voxel, an Internap Company, started a Walkabout in Singapore. The philosophy is the same, inspire people in the local technology community of Singapore to explore the spaces, culture and unique energy of digital companies.

We never had anything like this when I was in the earlier stages of my career. I guess the local Chambers of Commerce had the same premise by gathering businesses to meet each other. Walkabout NYC was different because you got to visit a lot of companies in one afternoon. Most of the people in the hosting companies were busy working, so the visitors actually got to see a true business day. I am still stunned that I spotted Henry Blodget, CEO and Editor-In-Chief of Business Insider, sitting right in the middle of the news room (in my days they called it a city room) typing away. I had just seen him on a TV news show with Eliot Spitzer, the former NY State Attorney General. Both of them were commenting on the recent financial troubles at JP Morgan Chase. Before they started the report, Henry said something like “Nice to be with you under different circumstances” and then got right in to the topic. I thought Henry was referring to the downfall of Spitzer’s political career a few years ago due to his womanizing. If you Google Henry Blodget you will see it was an entirely different situation.

Look closely. Henry Blodget on the right typing away

Henry is someone to be admired. He is a great role model as to how to reinvent yourself and always be of significance. I loved that he was immersed in whatever he was writing and didn’t even know there was a room filled with visitors. Someone from BI confirmed that the workspace he was sitting in was his office. He has two computer screens, one where he sits, the other where he stands. I have never seen anyone stand and write but apparently he does. My friend Adrian Rice from Steelcase should pitch him on their workspace treadmill, which is now a big favorite for those who want to get some exercise while they work.

I was so enamored when I saw Henry working away, I couldn’t wait to get back to the office to write my blog and handle several of the hundreds of tasks I have to do for my PR clients every day. The list is always endless. We all need to be motivated as often as possible. I can’t wait for the next Walkabout NYC.