In the wake of the Facebook IPO debacle, a lot has been written about Mark Zuckerberg’s philosophy, “The Hacker Way.” Lori Lewis uses it extensively in her talks and presentations because it represents insights into the way the Facebook platform is constructed.
The idea behind “The Hacker Way” revolves around Facebook’s goal of accomplishing social good and connecting people and communities, ahead of profit. A recent blog post from Greg Satell’s “Digital Tonto” talks about the dichotomy between Wall Street and companies like Google and Facebook when it comes to seeing eye-to-eye about financial issues like shareholder value and ROI.
Satell sees this rift as being generational. And he refers to the pursuit of “questing” which runs counter to the idea of goal-setting and succinct deadlines. In essence, ”The Hacker Way” suggests the pursuit is never-ending as this new generation of digerati continues to work their way through challenges that are ongoing.
And in this context, he talks about how this new cadre of web superstars thinks differently about their jobs, their aspirations, and their accomplishments. As he notes about his own generation, “While we looked to position and affluence for status, they seek achievement.”
This has become clear to Paul and me as we’ve watched our young jacAPPS staff grow, and imprint our company culture. These people are different than us not just because of their chronological ages but because of their mindset and approach to accomplishment.
I believe the radio industry is beginning to come around to this notion, although the motivations may be a bit different. Younger people come cheaper on the front end, and they do bring a sense of vitality and energy to stations and the broadcast culture.
At his MAB dinner celebrating his Lifetime Achievement Award, Saga’s Ed Christian talked about the need for radio to hire the young. I have worked off and on with a group of broadcasters on something called the $75 Solution – a way for stations to spend that paltry sum each week to give someone new from the outside a chance to jock an overnight show every week.
But there is more to gain from bringing in young people into your operation than these aforementioned reasons. They hold a truly different POV about business, success, and the world. They can change corporations and cultures. Silicon Valley companies, and brands like Groupon, Pandora, and Google, all benefit from this infusion of purpose that only this generation can provide.
If radio is to truly “make the turn” and learn how to act and think differently, it is going to have to open its doors to young people and take the chance on putting them in positions where they can make a difference. Internships and promotional assistant jobs are nice, but miss the point and the greater potential to do something truly meaningful.
The sweeping changes impacting media are often thought about in terms of platforms, brands, and gadgets. But in fact, the biggest change in society is being powered by the human capital of a young generation eager to make their mark.
We should truly give them – and us – that chance.