22 year olds should design everything

22 year olds should design everything.

Old menI am just 22 years old and I’ve decided that’s the first line on my resume. I turned 22 just a few days ago and it was an opportunity to reflect. I decided we live in an oligarchic society ruled by just a few men with receding hairlines. This is not meant to be an insult to anyone, but more an acknowledgment that the past is holding us back.

For me to move forward at the speed I’d like, I would have to dye my hair gray…but I’d still look like I’m 15. So I’ll just need to rail at the system that puts old people in charge of what gets designed and sold to everyone.

Who decided it would be that way? Wait, I know. Old guys.

Email is so yesterday

My experience shows met that the people in charge are often scared to learn about new technology, try out new software, know the latest trends, or accept new ideas. I think of the tools I use at work and I know Prezi would be better than PowerPoint…but no one else would adopt it and I’d be an island. Why do we use email? Wouldn’t it be far easier to use a professional site like Facebook where social interaction and messages are in a single place, making it easy for collaboration and transparency? At work, I use tibbr, but so many people are stuck on email regardless of the better tools available.

I could go on about the youngsters who changed the world. That would include names like Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker and the like, but has anyone heard of V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai who started working on the idea of email when he was only 14? Email was born in 1981, the brain child of a 14-year-old kid. That surprises but even more surprising is the fact that we still use his invention so many years later only because it is the lowest common denominator of communication. There are better tools, but not better tools that everyone can use. Email has grown old with its users. And there we stay.

The young and the restless

Let’s let 22-year-olds design our world with the tools of today. Businesses won’t adapt or adopt quickly enough otherwise. People of my generation don’t need training on social platforms that many people are trying to figure out. We mastered them because our brains aren’t stuck on anything older. We don’t have the limitation of past experience.

With that said, I understand fully that we need to be able to bridge the gap between the young and the old. Experience, matched with being technologically savvy is a perfect combination. I would never write off the experience a manager brings to the job, as that kind of expertise comes with age and hard-work . But we cannot ignore the expertise of those Facebook kids with a million friends. Face it – they have a better brand than many businesses.

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Categories: Leadership, Workplace Reality

Author:Kevin Jordan

Kevin graduated from Stanford in three years and is a contributing writer for The TIBCO Blog. Graduating from a engineering-focused university, Kevin quickly developed a passion for technology and its role in business. Still continuing some of his other creative ventures as well, he enjoys doing stand-up comedy and professional acting. Appearing on the Disney Channel and performing on stages from Las Vegas to the Bahamas inspires him to continue entertaining through written word, on comedy club stages, and on television screens. Bridging his creative ambitions and technical curiosity creates the balance he strives for.

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14 Comments on “22 year olds should design everything”

  1. February 11, 2013 at 5:04 am #

    Large companies need to use e-mails for internal record keeping, security checking, and auditing… if you work in a large company, all your e-mails are company property and filtered and checked for security leaks. Other communication method lacks required tools.

    • February 11, 2013 at 6:42 am #

      Minsoo, the top social tools today have the same security built in. Not all…but the good ones do.

  2. February 11, 2013 at 6:48 am #

    In my experience, 22 years can have excellent grasp on technology, but often fail to see the bigger picture surrounding that technology. New and better technology is not always the best technology for every organization. It doesn’t always meet the long and short term goals for that organization.
    There is definitely an advantage to creating a clean slate design when you are young and unfettered by unnecessary tradition. But I also find that experience and wisdom is an advantage when examining the problem and issues you are trying to solve. The 22 year olds I know tend to disregard a lot of issues or diminish their weight.

    • February 11, 2013 at 10:00 am #

      Maybe the ideal situation is pairing up the less comfortable with those who’ve embraced innovations. Experience paired with Flexibility.

    • February 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

      Thank you for your comment Ben! When I played golf as a kid with my dad he would tell me that I could hit the ball straight because my mind wasn’t fettered with bills or worries. I never understood him until now. I definitely agree that wisdom and experience just come with time and you are right, disregarding the whole picture will ultimately lead you to miss the ball completely. We just have to be careful not to disregard the generations coming in either.

  3. Tricia S.
    February 11, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    In my opinion, the root problem isn’t that 22 year olds aren’t leading designs. The root problem is our lack of flexibility in many corporations. I’m 38 and I’m familiar with the technology you speak of and I welcome it’s entry into the workplace. But I’m also very familiar with the competing needs many companies have: budget constraints, higher priorities, and inflexible technologies making it difficult for a new technology to integrate seemlessly and quickly. However, don’t let these constraints curtail something you feel passionately about. A 22 year old’s passion is an asset in any discussion.

    • February 11, 2013 at 9:58 am #

      Well said, Tricia. Kevin is an awesome person and knows the value of experience. He also knows the frustration of slow adoption of new ideas, which is made worse when things change so rapidly.

    • February 11, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      Very well put and thank you both. In many meetings I do something I think is very valuable: listen. I take in everything everyone says around me because they know what they are talking about. When I have a chance to contribute an idea I do, but that does not happen without me listening first. If you do not have the impulse to want to come in and make some changes and see things improve then complacency is starting to kick in. Managers are there to reel in the overzealous kids trying to “change the world,” but I definitely would grow frustrated if change for the better was never accepted. Not all ideas are good ones, but different perspectives are.

  4. Brandon Taylor
    February 11, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    The only point this article made to me is that 22 year olds think they know it all. Come back in ten years and tell me you are a worse designer than you were at 22 and I will be shocked.

    • February 11, 2013 at 9:57 am #

      Brandon, can’t speak for Kevin, but he clearly said that experience matters. I think the key point he was making was that older folks often resist new ideas and slow the pace of technology adoption and innovation. See Tricia S.’s previous comment, especially her conclusion.

    • February 11, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      In ten years I will either need to go back to college to figure out what the 22 year olds are doing and innovating, or hire one in order to stay competitive. That is my whole point in that there has to be both. The moment someone dismisses the creativity, passion and knowhow of a worker (on either side 30), is really the moment a person gets stuck in a “know it all” frame of mind and will only be left with a company of one – one field of expertise, one ideology, one growingly outdated way of thinking. The hard-work and expertise of a manager brings a whole new skill set that the 22 year old will not have coming in, but that expertise is in the business, industry, services, product etc. of the company (all very important). Undeniably the company is using some sort of new cutting-edge technology or social media platform for variety of purposes and that falls under the expertise of those know it alls. Technology does not stop improving the moment someone is given a diploma from high school or college, yet we are not using tools that are coming out of dorm rooms TODAY.

  5. Sandra Moorhead.
    February 11, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Great article – totally agree, except I think it’s a state of mind rather than a number (apologies for the cliche). I was fortunate enough to work for a 50+ year old with the mindset of a 22 year old. He tried to get tibbr in to our organisation, knew more about new technologies than anyone else I know, and changed my paradigm. I had thought that as you get older, your tool set becomes more complete, and you choose a tool from your tool box depending on the problem you see. Wrong! Things change so fast these days the old tools are increasingly obsolete and worthless – but still dominant in most organisations! My boss left. I’m still trying to get tibbr up and running 2 years later…….

    • February 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      Hi Sandra. Thank you for the comment and I 100% agree; you said it perfectly. I really try to keep my ear to the ground and stay up to date on everything current (even at 22). I recently graduated, but when I go back to my university my friends are always talking about “the new thing” or the latest technology. There is nothing wrong with hitting the refresh button once in a while to see what new updates are out there. tibbr for example is such a valuable asset and really opens up communication channels. I wouldn’t give up on that initiative

  6. February 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Hi Sandra. Thank you for the comment and I 100% agree; you said it perfectly. I really try to keep my ear to the ground and stay up to date on everything current (even at 22). I recently graduated, but when I go back to my university my friends are always talking about “the new thing” or the latest technology. There is nothing wrong with hitting the refresh button once in a while to see what new updates are out there. tibbr for example is such a valuable asset and really opens up communication channels. I wouldn’t give up on that initiative

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