What Matters to the Millennial Generation

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In this article by Derek Thompson and Jordan Weissmann of the Atlantic, they identify the challenges and issues of a big industry – Car manufacturers – face when they try to sell cars to the Millennial Generation. Here are some insights to the thinking and practices of this generation

“Since World War II, new cars and suburban houses have powered the economy and propelled recoveries. Millennials may have lost interest in both.”

“The typical new car costs $30,000 and sits in a garage or parking spot for 23 hours a day. Zipcar gives drivers access to cars they don’t have to own. Car ownership, meanwhile, has slipped down the hierarchy of status goods for many young adults. “Zipcar conducted a survey of Millennials,” Mark Norman, the company’s president and chief operating officer, told us. “And this generation said, ‘We don’t care about owning a car.’ Cars used to be what people aspired to own. Now it’s the smartphone.”

And sometimes its amazing to see how slowly the car industry adopts the technology of others into itself. 

Subaru’s publicist Doug O’Reilly told us, “The Millennial wants to tell people not just ‘I’ve made it,’ but also ‘I’m a tech person.’ ”

According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, between 2006 and 2011, the homeownership rate among adults younger than 35 fell by 12 percent, and nearly 2 million more of them—the equivalent of Houston’s population—were living with their parents, as a result of the recession. The ownership society has been overrun by renters and squatters.

If the Millennials are not quite a post-­driving and post-owning generation, they’ll almost certainly be a less-­driving and less-­owning generation. That could mean some tough adjustments for the economy over the next several years.

Education is the “obvious outlet for the money Millennials can spend,” Perry Wong, the director of research at the Milken Institute, told us, noting that if young people invest less in physical things like houses, they’ll have more to invest in themselves. “In the past, housing was the main vehicle for investment, but education is also a vehicle.” In an ideas economy, up-to-date knowledge could be a more nimble and valuable asset than a house.

This got me thinking that we often assume what we ourselves may value is what the other person might value. This assumption is invalid and can be circumvented through empathetic sensing. I though more about this as I am now preparing a talk on innovation focused on the importance of sensing. I hope to share that with you real soon.

Read the full article here
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