Staying Old in a Young Business

Robin is far right.

My girl friend Robin Raskin wrote a brilliant piece for Huffington Post on what it’s like to be old in a young person’s business..I wanted you to read it because some of you are starting to take part-time jobs in environments that are mostly populated by people that are in their 20s, 30s and 40’s.

Life can be fun at your new job, but beware, office life is very different from the days when we were the stars. Here are a few tips that will keep you happy and satisfied. It works. Listen to Robin.

Robin Raskin

“Youth can not know how age thinks and feels. But old men (and women) are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I’ve thought about writing this piece for the last two decades which means I am not getting younger. But now that no amount of hair dye, gym time, or makeup does the trick, it’s time for me (and many of you) to fess up. For those of you who were pioneers in the world of technology, congratulations, you are now old people in a young person’s business. Can you survive in a world where a cloud is no longer a cumulus in the sky and an incubator isn’t just for chickens and babies?

Understanding age and ageism in a young person’s world is going to take some effort, some humility, and some crafty thinking. Here’s my to do list for growing old after forty years in the tech business.

1. Try new tech, even if you screw it up: When I began writing about tech, you could screw up in the comfort of your home; no one was the wiser. Today, social networking (a likely place to screw up) makes your errors totally transparent. Get over it. If you haven’t used Instagram or SnapChat, you need to try it. If you haven’t tried to navigate VR, you must. And you must summon the same child-like sense of wonder you did when you first typed Ctrl+Alt+Del.

My thirty-something kids call me out when I mix up my messaging systems, my photos show up upside down, or my voice to speech texts are laden with the word PERIOD spelled out. I accidentally stick lines of thumbs up emoji into every chat, and my touch typing is a lot faster than my texting. But I do it and am deprecating about my often very public screw ups.

2. Humor ‘em: They take life very seriously, as you did when you needed to prove yourself to the world. Remind them that to screw up is human (and probably machine-like, too).

3. Laugh about the culture divide: I love my young assistant to death, but when I give her a list of “to dos” and she tackles them in the order she sees fit, I’m apoplectic. “When I give you a to do list, it is not a pick list,” I tell her. We laugh and move on. We also have honest discourses about everything from corporate dress to politics. I love every minute of it.

4. Dole out a complement: Would it kill you to say something like “that’s such a novel idea” or “I love your thinking” to a twentysomething? At least complement them on their rapid fire texting or their ability to divvy a Venmo tab. You may be wiser, but chances are they’ve got more mobile dexterity.

5. Don’t bring up the good ole days more than once a week: Seriously, they weren’t so great (okay, the pay and benefits were better). But files got lost on hard disk drives, user interfaces were inscrutable. In contrast, new technology is more inclusive for many more people. If you survived the early days of technology, you’ve earned your badge to tell your story. Just not too often.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask: What is an ICO? Or what’s the difference between an incubator and an accelerator? I’m not familiar with that acronym. Asking questions is not a sign of idiocy; it’s a sign of interest. Asking for help is a skill that takes a while to develop in young employees, and you need a refresher course as you get older.

7. You are what you wear: I’m not saying you need to be a walking advertisement for the connected lifestyle, but you won’t be taken seriously if you don’t cart around the tools of your trade. Think of it like your business card, only more expensive. Super lightweight notebook, late model cell phone, appropriate looking laptop bag, etc. Start weaning yourself from quaint practices like paper business cards.

8. Collaborate: No one in the tech business toils in an ivory tower anymore. There are so many group project trackers, calendar add-ons, voting systems, video conference tools, shared documents and collaborative tools that you’ll probably want to enter a nunnery, but get proficient. Dropbox, GoogleDrive, Trello, MS One Drive, Zoom… just to name a few. If you’re going to do business in the tech world, you’re going to have to be fluent in collaborating with them on the platform of their choice.

9. Cultivate your persona: You have earned the right not to wear khakis and black t-shirts. You cultivated a look from a different era. To my older friends: Think Iris Apfel or Donna Karen —two icons who’ve kept their status in a young person’s industry. Guys, I’m afraid you’ll still be stuck with the khakis, but lose the suit (unless you’re Vint Cerf or Graydon Carter).

10. Add to your diversity checklist: The world has changed since I was the only woman in the tech room, and there’s room for lots more. Seek out diversity and you’ll expand the rather limiting world you knew in the early days of tech.

11. Never be complacent: Survivor badges are a reality show myth. You need to earn the respect of your industry every day. Riding on your laurels? It’s not part of the the new DNA.

Robin Raskin is founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations that intersect lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances every aspect of our lives through the eyes of today’s digital consumer.

You can also click here to read Robin’s Huffington Post article.

https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_59b54cebe4b0c50640cd6846

Extreme Staircases

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Just because we are a little older doesn’t mean we have to give up the adventure in our lives. In fact, this summer when Eliot and I found ourselves 2,000 feet above the Douro River amidst the most gorgeous winding vineyards in Portugal, I thought, I’m glad I didn’t miss this.

The more I travel, the more I feel like we have a lot of living left to do. It makes me feel as if life is going to go on forever. Yes, I know the realities of my day dreams, but as long as we are healthy enough, I want to go, go, go.

From time to time, I scour the Internet for places I would like to see. I have little interest in resort-time vacations. I want adventure. I am learning to use sites like Jetsetter (member discounts), Kayak (good airfares), Hotel.com (accommodations), Yapta (travel fares), Trip Advisor (hotel reservations and walking tours), and Home Exchange (home swapping).

I just came across several destinations that are so not me, but boy would l like to give them a chance. I love setting my eyes on something I have never seen before and looks like one of the wonders of the world. When I first saw this on The Huffington Post, I couldn’t wait to share with you.

These are destinations with extreme staircases. I don’t do well on stairs because I get a slight vertigo. If I can hold on to Eliot or someone else who volunteers a lending hand, I may be able to conquer. Take a look at the photos below. For the entire story, click here. All I want to do is pack my bag.

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Don’t stop now. See the other spots.

Look at the Tweets I Found

Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost)
Twitter set to make almost $1 BILLION off mobile ads in 2014 huff.to/15Vtgbf

Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki)
Billionaire bored of his yacht – see photos is.gd/dSC8PL
Continue reading

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

There Is Not A Tech PR Woman Alive Who Wouldn’t Want To Be Married to David Pogue

David Pogue

David Pogue, the personal tech reporter for the New York Times, has something that no other man alive has, his column. He is also an author, TV host, public speaker and a Broadway song and dance man.

If you don’t know who David is, then I suggest you “Google” him. His personal tech column probably has more readership than any other source for digital news. That is true for both print and online. I am not saying there are no other powerful tech writers around. There certainly are. However, if David writes about a tech company, the PR person representing that client, has hit a home run, right out of the park. If David likes the product or service and recommends it to his readers, the PR person responsible for the placement, has achieved one of the greatest moments of his or her career.

David calls it “The Pogue Experience.” I had the pleasure of experiencing “The Pogue Experience” several times. One of the most memorable times was when he wrote about an iPhone app we represented at HWH PR, called “Line2.” “Line2” adds a second line on your smartphone so you can have two numbers, one for business, the other for personal. The day David wrote about “Line2,” 72,000 of his readers immediately download the app and brought down the “Line2” servers.  No one at “Line2” was prepared for such a heavy duty, positive reaction.

There are many other scenarios, but the one I want to tell you about today is David’s marriage proposal to a tech PR gal from Silicon Valley. He lives in Connecticut. The 3,000 mile romance has been written up before but not as much as the attention they are getting today. The video he created to be a part of the surprise for his girlfriend went viral. It is the talk of the romance and tech editorial pages all across the country.

Watch his marriage proposal video below.

Mazel Tov David

Check out other stories about David’s marriage proposal in Huffington Post, Gizmodo and Media Bistro. Just click on the bold type to access the stories.

 

 

 

The Baby Boomer Digital Divide

Are you a baby boomer digital native (an early tech adopter) or a baby boomer digital immigrant (someone who is happy with analog)?

A Huffington Post blogger, Ira Wolfe, asked that question recently in the tech section. He was expressing his concern for baby boomer digital immigrants who refuse to truly engage in technology. He worries about their future in the next decade or two as boomers live longer than previous generations.

While Wolfe does admit that three out of four boomers, 50 to 64 years of age, use the Internet (according to a Pew Internet Study) he claims that many are not really connected. They check their emails every few days and only use their cells for making calls.

As technology gets more and more sophisticated, Wolfe feels many boomers will get left behind. “There will be a digital divide amongst boomers. There will be those who want to stay relevant and experience the rewards of the digital revolution and those laggard boomers, lamenting the decline of print media, longing for the good old days, and struggling to stay current. They are resisting digital technology like the plague.”

I think the most interesting point that Wolfe mentions is that the gap between baby boomers is going to change friendships and relationships. Some want to grow older talking about the wonders of technology, and others who want to talk about their aches and pains forever and ever.

What do you think?

Happy 62nd Birthday Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington

Arianna turns 62 on July 15th. I am getting a head start on this story.

I am pretty sure that everyone who reads DigiDame knows who Arianna Huffington is. If you don’t, I encourage you to read on to get inspired and learn some very important life lessons:

1. You can be relevant in the digital world or any world when you are a senior citizen.

2. A woman changed the media landscape by creating a blog that combined original content with collaboration and aggregation. Huffington Post attracts more readers than the New York Times. (According to UK Telegraph story below, the Huffington Post became the most visited English-language news source in the world, outranking even America’s so-called “Gray Lady”, The New York Times, attacting 60 million unique monthly visitors. It recently won the coveted Pulitzer prize for journalism and has attracted more than 155 million comments since it started.)

3. You can be single and still be invited to parties for couples only.

Last week I was feeling sorry for myself and our client because I had to be the PR representative for Westinghouse Digital at a trade show. I had a head cold, my nose was running, my eyes were drooping and I probably looked 100 years old. When I went to the ladies room to wash my hands, I looked into the mirror and saw young, perky PR gals to my left and right. I wanted to run into the streets screaming “Who stole my youth?” Somehow, I managed to get more press appointments and more editorial coverage for our client than any of those stunning, skinny, trendy, sexy numbers did for theirs.

No question, my competition is far better to look at, but I am going to keep on pretending that I am Arianna Huffington. If she can do it, so can I (and you can too)!

Please read the following story. It talks a lot about the economy, the future of journalism, and the pace of one red hot mama.

How Arianna Huffington has breathed new life into the media – Telegraph

MY DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

I have to admit this in the first line of my post. I listen to audiobooks. I listen to them on my iPhone, iPad and iPod, whatever device is accessible at the time.  It has changed my life. I never would have experienced James Michener, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Walter Issacson, Stephen King and lately, Joyce Carol Oates, if I didn’t belong to Audible and other audio book clubs. You can poo poo me all you want. I can hear you now, “There is nothing like sitting down with a book and reading it yourself page after page.”  Let’s not get into a discussion about printed books versus eBooks at this time. We can save that for another discussion.  Yes, reading a book with your own interpretation and visual sense is a very satisfying and rewarding experience. I still read books and I also read several newspapers each day (okay maybe peruse). Also, six online blogs (Huffington Post, Mashable, AllThingsD, The Daily Beast, CNET, Tech Crunch) and countless news, entertainment and specialty magazines. There isn’t enough hours in the day to cover all this, do my job, shower, dress, make phone calls, see friends, exercise, watch TV or a movie, read and post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

However, there is always time for an audiobook. I listen while I am on the treadmill (yes I know it doesn’t show), in the car, the subway, on a flight to wherever, waiting for my doctor, a business appointment that is always late, in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, when I knit, on the beach, in the park and during long walks. It is just marvelous. It is a different kind of experience than reading the book yourself. Frankly, I think you capture more. You hear stuff your eyes can’t capture, especially from the authors who read their books themselves. I remember when I listened to Harry Markopolos reading “No One Would Listen, A True Financial Thriller.” That was his book about trying to get the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to take a meeting with him so he could expose Bernie Madoff. I almost fell off the treadmill when I listened to the part about his paranoia that Bernie was going to have him killed. He bought a gun, barricaded his home and was always on the lookout for thugs.  I was laughing a little too much. What was very serious to Harry was somehow humorous to me, since we all know that Harry was not even on Bernie’s radar screen most of the time. I don’t think you could have picked this up through the written word. Maybe, but it was pretty remarkable hearing Harry describe his emotions.

I also don’t feel I would have grabbed the highs and lows of what Joyce Carol Oates describes in her book “A Widow’s Story,” the immediate experiences of widowhood. I felt her 13 months of pain, anguish, terror and depression. Very few authors write like Oates. She describes peeling an onion like an exhilarating experience. You don’t want to miss a word. I tried reading her in the past, but didn’t have the patience to comprehend what she had to offer. I can do it now because I’ve learned to appreciate her every word. I was so involved in her story, that I got very upset when I found out that she had remarried  13 months later, but had left that out of the book. Her publisher defends her in a story in the New York Times, saying that her subsequent life had nothing to do with what she went through after the death of her husband, Raymond Smith. Hmmm!

I can go on and on about the virtues of listening to an audio book, but I have gone way beyond the limits of how long a blog post should be. Tomorrow I will tell you about the intricacies of belonging to an audio book club and other personal experiences I’ve had listening to James Michener and even,  I hate to admit, Steven Tyler.