Confession: I have a fear of numbers. It stems back to a bad experience with fractions in the 4th grade. If there’s a reason I’m surviving at all in the finance industry, you can probably find it somewhere between my instant empathy for any other person’s numerophobia, and my assumption that everyone else knows more than I do.
I’m prefacing this next series of posts with this admission because we’re going to think about trends, waves, and generational dynamics. I promise no scary numbers or formulas. Our goal won’t be to derive any absolute truths, but to look deeper into the “time” aspect (Level 3) of the Seinfeld MBA we just earned. We are eternally after practical understandings.
So why trends, waves, and generational dynamics?
Imagine you are holding a fish tank that’s half-full of water (no fish). You tip the tank to the side and the water starts to move – that’s a trend. When the water does that fluid-dynamics thing (see? No math!) it creates a wave which CRASHES into the side, sending ripple effects back.
Now think about each moment in that process (i.e. “generationally”). There was a calm experience before anything happened, a swelling trend experience as it tipped, a crashing wave experience at the extreme, and an after-shock experience as things stabilized again.
Culturally, we all have experiences that inform our viewpoints. When we communicate across generations, we frequently have different understandings, despite all living in the same world.
When we were working towards our Seinfeld MBA, this element of competing decisions over time worked really well in a fairly closed system (picture Seinfeld Inc.), but now we’re ready to look at it in a more open system (picture Seinfeld Inc. vs. Letterman Inc. vs. Oswalt Inc. vs…)
We’re ready to start to unpack how we can spot the trends in cultural direction, waves, aka tipping points, and how people of different ages and experiences might absorb those experiences dynamically.