The “Founders” – AV/IT’s Next Generation

As we look at future prospects of the AV/IT industry, we discuss technology, markets, manufacturer, integrator and consultant perspectives and more. The Millennial generation has become entrenched in the technology space for several years now and while there has been much conjecture as to what their standing really is (in certain consternation to some of them as I know), it seems that the jury may still be out in certain circles on their place in the AV/IT industry.


I had a recent conversation based on the Millennial discussion with someone who just happens to be one himself, and we discussed all present generations among the industry as well. It appears to me that those who are standing with the Millennial generation (including myself) and all that they have and can potentially contribute to the industry, know full well that they are a true base for targeted forward movement of this industry.

However, for those of the “older generation perspective” who question motives, decisions and more it’s apparent that there is still a fight for their right situation going in. Being a boomer myself, I am standing up to say that the Millennial generation is here, they’re strong and they’re looking to revolutionize and innovate as they go. Look at a number of individuals that are already involved and well-known in the industry – I know a good many of them and see the hard work, the dedication they put in and it’s apparent that the message is clear, be a part of it, or don’t. OK granted you do have your middle managers who want to run the whole show types, as well as the “entitled” who want the promotion here and now after six months of employment. And then there are those hoodie wearing CEO’s that I’ll agree have gone too far already – how about a bit of professional dress, you are a CEO you know.

Now it’s not only time to see what’s present in front of us here, but to look out at the next to come, the new generation. As the Millennials have fully moved in, the next generation is upon us – Generation Z or what MTV has determined to be “The Founders.” They are young, intelligent, connected, resourceful – and yes they do pack an attitude as Millennials have been “accused” of as well. Yet for those that I know of in this current generation, they are full of drive and desire – in fact I could tell stories that would make any older generation member of the industry who isn’t accepting take notice. And the next generation will be bringing it too – double.


In a recent article in The New York Times Move Over, Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z, it begins:

Hear the word “millennial” and plenty of images spring to mind. There’s Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in his hoodie, earning his first billion at the age of 23.

There’s Miley Cyrus preening for the cameras in a flesh-baring act that recalls a Snapchat…

There’s Lena Dunham, TV’s queen of overshare, spiraling into navel soliloquies…

They’re brash, narcissistic, they’re entitled. Or so the cliche goes.

Calling the Millennial generation in the article, raised during boom times of the 1990’s, one of “innocence lost,” as a result of growing up during one of the worst events in our nation’s history on September 11, 2001 as well as the economic crash of the late 2000’s is somewhat significant to the challenges they’ve faced potentially at the hands of older generations, those who were effected as I was too – working for years in my late teens and 20’s at the World Trade Center, as well as my integration sales business during the economic collapse as were many others in the industry over this time. Is there a sense of blame issued in all of this to a generation who has passed through and in numerous ways has thrived? Knowing that this current generation is an asset to our industry’s forward focus and movement will only pave the way for what’s to come next – otherwise for those who still fight, they may likely have a larger fight on their hands, as well as a continued struggle to find the right individuals for employment in the industry as is a known crisis and has been for several years now.

Stating that Generation Z has it’s eyes wide open from the very beginning, coming along in the aftermath and not very much affected (we do try to educate them concerning the events) – they’re connected with their smart phones and tablets, download and use the latest tech and social apps with great regularity, they’re pro gamers, they are motivated in class by the latest technologies (of which we know there are many available in this industry) where they can use a mobile device as they are native to in every day life. There is much documentation of numbers and facts in this article and it is recommended reading for those who want further insight.

Eighteen year old U.C.L.A. student Hannah Payne is at the forefront of this next generation’s movement, she was noted in the article as stating “we are the first true digital natives.” In discussing how she does things “I can almost simultaneously create a document, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone, all from the user-friendly interface of my iPhone.” She then goes on to state – with impact:

“Generation Z takes on information instantaneously, and loses interest just as fast.”

Just how to prepare for this generation that is highly motivated, works quickly and resourcefully, lives on numerous social media platforms and multi-tasks like there’s no tomorrow, losing interest if the task presented isn’t challenging enough? There are many of us in the industry, including myself, who may do some of these things already, however what this particular generation brings to the table has not yet been witnessed in any way, shape or form.

4 friends sharing on smart phones.

The Atlantic, a well known publication which covers news and analysis on politics, business, culture, technology, national, international and life, published an article on December 2nd 2015 simply titled: All Hail ‘The Founders’, followed by a sentence – At long last, a name for the generation after Millennials. Yes, since Generation Y gained a name and identity, it was certainly right for Gen Z to have their own too. The article began:

With civilization in flames and popular culture disrupted beyond recognition, the world is looking to a new generation to rebuild it. Enter “The Founders.” According to a new nationwide survey conducted by MTV, the children of the new millennium will rescue the world from the sins of the past, and befitting this worthy mission, they get maybe the most self-important name imaginable.