New kids on the block

April 25, 2013 9:00 am

Are the days of the grey-haired CEO numbered in the content-driven online world?

The stereotype of the CEO as the golf-playing, aged-whiskey-drinking, mahogany-office-dwelling hip-replacement candidate is fast becoming a myth. CEO 2.0 is at least three or four generations below the current crop, and it’s much more likely that instead of hand-crafted Italian leather loafers, they’ll be wearing Converse.

For decades, age and experience have been two of the most prized weapons in a businessperson’s arsenal. But in the Internet era, age and experience can actually hamper progress. The more years you have under your belt, the more time you’ve spent NOT working in the online space. A 55-year-old marketing executive may have had 15-20 years (at the absolute most) working (and learning how to work) in the online space. A 25-year-old graduate has spent their entire adult life, not to mention most of their adolescence, using the Net for everything from socialising to gaming and education.

When a child learns a second language before the age of 11, it is stored in the same part of the brain that their first language lives in. After puberty, however, that section of the brain is fully formed, and therefore any new languages have to be crammed in another section, which is never as adept at storing and using the information. This is an excellent example of the advantage Gen Y ‘digital natives’ have over their Baby Boomer counterparts who are more like refugees fleeing the sinking ship of traditional business models, hoping to make new lives for themselves in an unfamiliar world.

Climbing the corporate ladder was once something that took time and tenacity – it was one hell of a long ladder. These days, it’s not so much a case of the ladder being easier to climb, but the fact that the ladder has been removed all together.

Quality content trumps experience

In the online space, identifying a niche can be followed very quickly with a fully fledged and successful business. Not a week goes by where you don’t read about one start-up or another that is experiencing huge success and being led by someone who barely looks old enough to be riding a bike without training wheels. The thing they have in common is that all started out as a great idea, and all are driven by – or, at the very least, include an element of – quality content.

The obvious example, of course, is Mark Zuckerberg, who reached the enviable title of the world’s youngest billionaire at the ripe old age of 23. Yet it’s not just in America where youngsters are causing a serious stir. Take Nick D’Aloisio, the 17-year-old Aussie who has reportedly sold his news reader app, called Summly, for an amount somewhere between 20-40 million pounds.

Then there’s Anthony Goldbloom, the 28-year-old economist-turned-entrepreneur whose data-mining website, Kaggle, has seen him relocate from a Bondi flat to Silicon Valley to further expand his successful concept.

Whichever way you look at it, the image of the stately CEO, removed from the minions in a glass-walled office, is quickly being replaced by a geeky, eager and fearless young entrepreneur, who could very well arrive on a skateboard.

The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Featured Image of Nick D’Aloisio courtesy:

Anthony Goldbloom Image courtesy:




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