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A More In-Depth Look at Generation Y

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generation Y for dummies, yo


This week, I wrote about Generation Y and created quite a bit of uproar in the comments section (which you will have to read in order to make sense of today’s article). Benn and I wrote the below article as a comment, but it organically snowballed into the article that you see before you. Comments are now closed at the previous post, so please let us hear your voice in the comments here.

A thesis IS a generalization

Bob, you’re right– I know it feels like we’re making broad generalizations (and we are), but hear us out. I wrote a 100 page senior thesis in college (yes, it was after the millenium) and had to defend it before a panel. The subject was African fiction and before that course, I had no insight into African fiction, language, or culture. After slaving for a year over this paper, my thesis was that despite glorified accounts of Shaka’s reign of the Zulu nation, he was actually a blood-thirsty killer, not a heroic leader who banded small nations against the large. This stance was not popular and contradicted the rosy depictions of the leader many of my classmates chose to take. I was the only student to have ever received an A in his class he had been teaching since like 1800. How did I achieve this? I thought differently, I examined all sides, and I made the generalization that Shaka was bad. Sure, he accomplished great things during his short reign as a “diplomat” but many people died gruesome deaths at his hands, so I generalized that he was not a good person. The point is that any thesis has to be based on a generalization, a broad hypothesis and yes, supported by factual evidence.

Generation Y still deserves great service

What is exciting to me about your comment is that you proved my thesis that GenY is ushering in an era of egocentrism- your client needed coddling, needed to be made to feel special, and needed you to connect the dots for him. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a valuable human being, that he isn’t actually smart/educated, or that he doesn’t deserve excellent customer service despite any baggage he brought to the table.

Hundreds of case studies prove my point

So where is my proof? I’m so glad you asked, Bob! 🙂 First, as I’ve said before, I’m a member of Generation Y. That means that not only am I basing my thesis on every day of my own life as a case study (as Benn said, I’m guilty of much of what I’ve posited above), I have many many friends my age that I associate with- people I went to high school and college with. Let’s just call my group of friends hundreds of independent case studies, shall we? Observing and interacting with hundreds of people my age including myself leads me to the conclusions I’ve outlined in my article.

Median ages differ between cities

Secondly, I think that in our business, we interact with a different demographic than you do. Although San Diego is a super hip place to live, the median age is 38 which is Generation X, not Generation Y. Austin’s median age is only 30. Added to the population are the University of Texas’ undocumented (meaning their permanent residency is not typically in Travis County) residents at roughly 50,000 students, St. Edward’s University (5,000 students), Hutson-Tillotson (600 students), Condordia University (2,000 students) and Southwestern University (1,300 students), totaling nearly 59,000 people who are living here, and often use real estate professionals for their housing. Because of this influx population, it’s my opinion that the actual median age of residents in Austin that real estate professionals interact with is lower than 30 making it more likely than not that when practicing ANY business in Austin, you’ll be dealing with Generation Y clients.

In previous comments, Benn was not attacking you, rather retooling the conversation to avoid the re-arguments about how stupid realtors are or about commission rebates. This was always intended to be an article about how real estate professionals (and all marketers for that matter) compete by getting to know more about the demographic they’re interacting with and will continue to interact with in the future.

Generation Y has been studied extensively

I wish I could make a zip file of every Agent Genius article written and just *poof* have it in your brain in a matter of seconds so you could see that we’ve been studying this new Generation since the dawn of our professional careers, one of which (Benn’s) is over 15 years in public relations. A good example of our studies is an article Benn wrote last June that addresses understanding GenY so marketers don’t miss out on the opportunity to work with that demographic:

“The perception is that they have no knowledge, no money and no focus- the way maybe you were when you were 20-something. The reality is, this modernized post teen makes more money than our parents did at a much younger age, and they’re investing. They’re asking great questions about the market and they just want validation of their knowledge.”

Bob, you noted that you simply responded to your client’s need for validation (again, proving my point) as you agreed with him that other agents are stupid and acknowledged how much you two are alike- you’re already courting the GenY demographic. In order for marketers to more fully understand GenY, there have been extremely detailed studies completed about GenY media consumption and the drastic trends toward Internet use over other media instead of news outlets, and about GenY’s use of social media. At the end of the page linked above, you will find the most concise summary of how to understand GenY that I’ve ever seen.

The Internet is changing everything

Also written this week on Agent Genius was an article about NAR that addressed the use of social media, noting from Wikipedia that “social media uses the “wisdom of crowds” to connect information in a collaborative manner. Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies such as blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, group creation and voice over IP, to name a few…”

All that said, the majority of our business is now GenY creating even *more* case studies under the belt to base the thesis on.

GenY parents can’t see past their own rhetoric

Third, (and I am opining here) when you are a parent of the GenY generation (or old enough to have a GenY kiddo), it is hard to be taken out of the equation. My friends’ parents (you know, the ones who allowed viewing rated R movies at age 12, never gave curfews, gave exorbitant allowances without chores or tasks associated and never punishing slacking/drinking/backtalk) could never understand my article because they are the source of the problem I’m addressing. There, I said it. If someone spent the last 20 years telling someone “you’re special no matter what” and “don’t worry about working hard, you’ll be fine because the world owes you something because you’re from my loins and let’s watch Barney, you’re special,” it is impossible to recognize the symptoms of the disease they’ve caused.

GenY is going to HELL

But wait, is GenY going to hell, Lani? No!!! I’ve already pointed to the generous nature of GenY- literally everyone I know that is my age volunteers their time AND gives to charity without question; it’s normal. GenY, as we speak, is creating “charity” applications for Facebook and telling their friends about their Habitat for Humanity project this weekend- Kiva is a great example at the forefront of this generous GenY movement! Even Benn’s article last June noted that 3 GenY clients led to $1 million in sales in 30 days- there’s no underestimating GenY in our camp.

GenY is extremely intelligent which is why we are researchers. We know that we need to know *something* but the Internet is a blessing and a curse for reasons we’ve overdigested already (reach back to the “connect the dots” point of clients being overwhelmed). GenY is innovative- the bar is now set so high by 19 year olds that at age 26, I feel old and behind, hoping the younger of my generation will let me keep up! No matter the reason, GenY has huge dreams and is extremely ambitious.

The bottom line

Our mission here at Agent Genius is *not* to beat up on and call other Realtors stupid; many haven’t figured out yet why clients are falling off, callers are hanging up on them, breaking contracts, demanding free information, and are second guessing agents at every turn. We’re here trying to offer solutions, and why I think that Realtors could take a page from Redfin.

The takeaway is that GenY has a lot of baggage making us self-important, but watch out world- we’re here to make big changes because we’ve been empowered. In the meantime, this empowered feeling will make the jobs of people offering products and services complicated as we all finish scrambling to figure out Generation X while Generation Y is already influencing Generation Z.


Co-written, researched and opined by: Benn Rosales. If you have not read this and the previous article in their entirety, there is no need for you to comment.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Todd Carpenter

    February 2, 2008 at 2:37 am

    You know, there’s like 100,000 GenY’ers serving our nation in Iraq. I only know three of them, but they fit your mold like a camel fits in an ice cream cone. Sorry, I don’t buy it. I think your perception is influenced just as much by the kind of young adults you’ll might find in a college town, as the fact that they are a certain age.

    When I broke into sales, the first thing I learned was to judge people one by one. Many people do fit into general physiological profiles. But the identifiers are not specific to age, or race, or sex. With a bit of experience, a good salesperson can identify these profiles, and sometimes leverage it to their advantage. But in my opinion, establishing a preconceived notion of how a client will want to be treated based predominantly on their age, is flat out bad advice.

  2. Chris Lengquist

    February 2, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Okay, here I go. But first, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m 42. Some studies say I’m at the end of the Boomers. Some say I’m at the beginning of the X’ers. I prefer to associate myself with X.

    To me, Boomers were the first American generation to make changes in how societ perceived itself and did business. Some was good, much was self-indulgent. But over time, by in large, those changes were neutralized or lessened because of the ongoing pressure of life. Nobody proclaimed they were going to change things more than the Boomers. And while they have been in charge of society for much of the last quarter century the changes they’ve made, at least politically, haven’t been nearly as earth shaking as they proclaimed they would be.

    Now socially, that’s another story. Acceptance of other cultures is an area that I think the Boomers excelled in. As a society in whole we still fall short of where we could be, however. Boomers brought with them the sexual revolution. I would ask, was this good?

    Why do I say all of that? Because I think Y will follow a similar pattern. These were the kids brought up with 153 channels, the internet and file sharing. When you are 18-22 lifting someone else’s intellectual property doesn’t seem like any big deal. But allow time to wear on this generation, add a few pounds, a spouse and 2 kids and I believe some of that bravado may begin to lessen.

    You can think the world owes you something. And you can think you are going to change it. But life has a way of teaching you differently.

    I love the Y spirit. The energy and enthusiasm. Nothing great ever got accomplished by keeping the status quo. Let’s hope the changes Y makes will be productive. I believe, over time, they will. The Y’s I work with are more knowlegable than I was at that age and do make more money. But they still need guidance and they are smart enough to seek it out.

  3. Jonathan Dalton

    February 2, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Feeling empowered and holding actual knowledge often are two very different things. Let’s forget generations for a second and focus on the idea of real estate information on the web. There’s no end to real estate search sites … seems like there’s a new one every three days. None of them, however, contain complete information. Searching five sites with incomplete information does not complete information make.

    > Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start, and may contain false or debatable information.

    My Encyclopedia Britannica never had such a disclaimer.

  4. Jonathan Dalton

    February 2, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    > You can think the world owes you something. And you can think you are going to change it. But life has a way of teaching you differently.

    I think you can make this argument for every generation going back to the cavemen.

  5. Mariana

    February 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    “My generation is better than your generation. Nanner Nanner Boo Boo.”

    That seems to always be the consensus. And that is just fine, but when we are in a working world, like Real Estate, is is completely inappropriate to leak your internal dialougue to your “other” generation clients. IMHO.

    I am a Generation X through and through. I am severly independent, sarcastic, sceptical, aloof and stand-offish. I get great joy in finding humor in really, really, stupid-yet-psuedo-intellectual obscure stuff – and sometimes I find even MORE enjoyment knowing that I am the only one who sees something as funny.

    I was a latchkey kid who played pac-man at my neighbors house. I was raised by a single mother who worked 2 jobs and my friend’s parents were crank-heads. One day I had a perm with bangs, peg-legged jeans and a Trapper Keeper and the next day I had jet-black hair, a flannel shirt, Doc Martins and a cigarette. (I have since lost the black hair and cigarette…)

    My point is that we can only be what we are … and we must understand that everyone else can only be what THEY are. We just need to figure out how to make it work with WHOMEVER we are dealing with.

  6. Jonathan Dalton

    February 2, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Couldn’t say it better, Mariana … from what it’s worth from a 38-year-old working mostly in retirement communities these days.

  7. Bob in San Diego

    February 2, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    I honestly didn’t expect the type of responses I got from you and Benn. They are based on a few inaccurate assumptions and you put words in my mouth.

    Bob, you noted that you simply responded to your client’s need for validation (again, proving my point) as you agreed with him that other agents are stupid and acknowledged how much you two are alike

    No I didn’t. I told you his expressed opinion and added parenthetically that I agreed with it. What occurred after that was revisionist history, not topic re-tooling. Benn did take a personal shot and you represented it above in a wholly inaccurate way.

    The point is that any thesis has to be based on a generalization, a broad hypothesis and yes, supported by factual evidence.

    My opinion about many agents in this business is no different than your thesis. It isn’t popular. They got credit for some great sales, and many people have died gruesome financial deaths at their hands. Also supported by a boatload of factual evidence.

    your client needed coddling, needed to be made to feel special, and needed you to connect the dots for him.

    That line reminded me why reading a blog while drinking coffee isn’t always a good thing. Coddling and connecting the dots are part of the job description, regardless of the generation. I’m not the patronizing type, and the only client I’ve had that needed to be made to feel special, I referred to a female buyer agent. I wanted to stay married.

    As noted, I have a problem with generalities that encompass a population almost 80 million strong, so I took on the Redfin aspect of the initial post. I don’t believe Redfin is marketing to ANY generation with any intellectual integrity. They are playing one side against the other. Their appeal to GenY et al is as the anti-agent, which they are not. Because it is all about the money, commissions are at the heart of any discussion that deals with Redfin. You applaud Redfin – I think many GenY tend to quietly mock it, pointing to it as proof that most agents are not worth what they bring to the table. Why buy the milk when the cow will pay you.

    It is the only brokerage I know that couldn’t start from scratch, and, without VC scratch, build something out of nothing like two of the giants that GenY does admire – Facebook and Myspace.

  8. Lani Anglin

    February 3, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Bob, you’re entitled to your opinion and no one’s attacking you here- whatever was said was not meant to be a cheap shot. You provoked a deeper response that was deserving of more than a comment (as a PS: this article was already in the works, we simply retailored it to answer to your comment).

    Feel free to browse the demographic studies we’ve linked to which might give you further insight into what we’re talking about.

  9. April Groves

    February 3, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Just wanted to put money on the fact that Mariana and I are probably the same age and more than likely separated at birth.

  10. JJ

    February 4, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    “It is the only brokerage I know that couldn’t start from scratch, and, without VC scratch, build something out of nothing like two of the giants that GenY does admire – Facebook and Myspace.”

    Uhhh, Bob, I don’t know where you’re getting your info, but both of those companies were built with LOTS of VC scratch. Orders of magnitude more than Redfin has attracted.

    By the way, I don’t think that GenY cares whether a company used VC money to scale out.

  11. Bob in San Diego

    February 5, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Facebook was started without VC money at Harvard, restricted to students at Harvard College before it expanded to include MIT and others. It got its VC influx later.

    MySpace started in 1998 and was an internal project of eUniverse. No VC money at start up.

  12. Janelle

    February 5, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Glenn wears my jacket better than I do.

  13. Benn Rosales

    February 5, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Janelle, I have to admit, I would love to have that jacket tonight down on 6th for the Fat Tuesday Celebrations here in Austin- it is pretty fly in a big pimpin sorta way.

    [See the Jacket here]

  14. Kim in Pensacola Florida

    July 21, 2008 at 5:30 am

    Hi Lani,

    You are right. We have to understand the clients we are selling to. Like it or not Gen Y is what it is and their sales produce commission. So why not just deal with it.

  15. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    July 21, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Kim, according to recent reports, the number of Gen Y buyers will surpass Baby Boomers by 2012 and current Gen Y spending power is estimated around $361 BILLION dollars, so regardless of a positive or negative attitude toward any generation, the numbers *make* them relevant.

    Thanks for stopping by, Kim! You have a great great point! 🙂

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Business Marketing

Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor

(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos

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African American woman working on Canva Video Editor Desktop in office setting.

Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.

The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.

The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.

Caucasian man holding iPhone showing Canva video editor on mobile.

What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:

Collaborate in real-time

Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.

Video timeline editing and in-app recording

Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.

Library of assets

The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.

Animate with ease

Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.

Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.

“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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