Born Digital? Mobile, mobile, mobile! Creative Commons licensed image via Youth and Media
Thoughtworks is an Information Technology consultancy which started in Chicago and now has offices all over the world. This year they’ve been running some interesting events called Quarterly Briefings which discuss topical technology, with the help of some case studies.
So for example, back in October some Google Guys ‘n’ Girls looked at Big Data. Following on from this, last Wednesday tackled the emotive issue of mobile with Move Over Desktop, Mobile is here! looking at agile software development using the mobile part of LastMinute.com as a example.
These events are fun, good for networking, handy for keeping abreast of what’s happening – all lubricated with free food and drink – what’s not to like?
Two of the speakers, John Crosby (LastMinute.com) and Renee Hawkins (Thoughtworks.com), offered lots of food for thought, more than I can document here. However, three things stuck in my head:
- Renee pointed out twenty-somethings often have the best ideas, innovation comes from Generation Y. Senior staff, decision makers and leaders in many organisations are often baby boomers or Generation-Xers. When they think of software applications, they often think of web first, then mobile. The current generation of undergraduates and graduates from our Universities were born after the invention of the web. They aren’t just born digital [1,2], they’re born mobile too, iPhones and Androids aren’t new – they’re just normal. Desktops and web-applications are old school to them, its tablets and mobile smartphones where all the action is – that’s what many of them are now growing up with. So it shouldn’t be surprising that Generation Y often have good ideas in science & technology.
- Renee also talked about doing agile vs. being agile: many organisations claim to be doing agile software development: they have the stand-up daily scrum meetings, kanban boards covered in post-it notes and practice pair-programming but they’re often just ticking the boxes – they’re not actually able to deploy software quickly. They look agile, but really they are doing agile, not actually being agile.
- John quoted Googler Eric Schmidt on mobile first from a few years ago, who said something like organisations should put their best software developers on mobile projects. Schmidt said this a while back, and many people at the time thought, “Hmmm, yeah maybe”. The current trajectory of mobile technology is proving Schmidt right… despite the strange Android Engagement Paradox.
So when it comes to software applications, are you born digital, born mobile or born slippy? The latter drink too much and are usually Gen-Xers or Baby Boomers…
…and if you’re interested in attending similar events to the above in your area keep an eye on join.thoughtworks.com/events and thoughtworks.com/radar.
- John Palfrey and Urs Gassey (2008) Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (ISBN:0465018564) Basic Books
- Sean McLane (2012). What Is It With These Kids? – A Generational Insight into Student Workers and Customers SIGUCCS’12 DOI: 10.1145/2382456.2382481
- Mary Meeker (2012) Internet Trends @ Stanford, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
What caused the summer riots of 2011 in the UK? Many reasons have been suggested and a long list of possible causes has been drawn up over the summer. The baby boomer generation should be added to the list of suspects. It is the baby boomers, those born roughly between 1945-1965, that caused the riots – it’s mostly their fault .
Arson and rioting in Tottenham, August 2011 (AP Photo/PA, Lewis Whyld)
UK riots: a long list of suspects
Who or what can we blame for the UK riots? It’s complicated but we could…
- Blame it on the education system: The nations favourite scapegoat is at fault because being a responsible citizen isn’t part of the National Curriculum, according to some sources. Let’s blame the teachers, they are an easy target.
- Blame it on the police. The law enforcers were caught napping and have been accused of having poor relations with local people.
- Blame it on the government. Twenty years of Labour rule under Blair/Brown followed a year of Cameron’s coalition. Depending on your political persuasion, it is all the current / previous governments fault the UK is falling to pieces.
- Blame it on the parents or lack of them. Irresponsible parents let their children run riot, if you believe what you read in the newspapers.
- Blame it on inequality and the widening socio-economic gap between rich and poor. Inequality in society makes people want to steal televisions and trainers that can’t otherwise be afforded
- Blame it on the recession, high unemployment and grim job prospects for everyone, but especially those aged 16-24, the NEETS, not in education, employment or training.
- Blame it on technology especially twitter, facebook and BlackBerry Messenger etc people used technology to incite rioting, and they only needed 140 characters to do it – allegedly. Riot! (that’s only 5 characters)
- Blame it on the baby boomers, they stole their children’s future and they’re not giving it back. Just ask David Willetts MP, he’s written a book all about them . In a nutshell, the book describes how the baby boomers took all the houses, jobs, cheap education, welfare, free health care and decent pensions. To add insult to injury, they undervalue the claims of future generations (Generation X and Generation Y) by spending their kids inheritance (aka S.K.I.-ing). Should it be so surprising that their disgruntled sons, daughters and grandchildren were rioting on the streets?
It is hard to conclusively prove that any of these suspects are guilty as charged because the causes of rioting are complex. However, it seems likely that the unequal wealth and influence of baby boomers was a contributing factor in the UK riots. You can read all about it in Mr Willett’s intriguing book [1,2].
- David Willetts (2010) The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children’s Future – And Why They Should Give it Back ISBN: 1848872313. See full book reviews in The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, The Economist, The Daily Mail and New Statesman