I was talking with a friend of mine the other day who made a comment that stopped me in my tracks. He said, "I just don’t want to hang out with people my own age anymore, because they aren’t learning new things.” This guy wasn’t at some retirement home like my grandparents lived in, in Lakewood, NJ, 40 years ago. This was a major dude in the midst of some major real estate projects, someone who is, like me, mature :)
But, I totally understood what he meant. A lot of folks our age – 50 plus – don’t appear to be the ones who are on the cutting edge of what’s "new," innovative and disruptive. Most of the folks who are having a profound impact on how technology and innovation are transforming our lives do appear to be much younger. That generation just seems to embrace change and speed faster than perhaps any other in history.
Why? Is it because my generation is intimidated? Lazy? Scared of change? The experience I’ve accumulated on my own personal journey, building my digital news site, The News Funnel, has somewhat echoed these sentiments. It’s been a day in and day out slugfest to get the real estate industry to embrace technology. It is changing, albeit slowly.
Then, I started to think about the comment my friend made. Is it really true?
Steve Jobs wasn’t a kid. Many of the tech industry’s titans are older than me, innovating faster than ever and are still extremely relevant. Think: Marc Benioff at Salesforce.com, Satya Nadella at Microsoft and Ben Horowitz at Andreessen Horowitz.
That got me thinking about the folks in commercial real estate who are way out in front of the trends in our industry. The ones discovering. Reinventing. Pushing ideas further and harder. The ones that are inspiring me. And guess what...
- Allen Buchanan is 57
- Roy Abrams is 54
- Coy Davidson is 52
And while Duke Long says he is only 29, he does appear to be a much wiser, older man than that, but I will take him at his word :) He is clearly one of the folks on the front lines of change, tech and innovation.
On top of my aforementioned list of innovators, there are so many more like these folks out there who are doing the same thing. So, maybe it is a true statement that the young turks are innovating the most. But then again, if you look for the innovators among the old farts in my world, they are indeed there.
And so, here’s to the old dogs teaching the new dogs a few tricks as well!