Demographics eat culture (which eats process)

Demographics eat culture (which eats process)

It’s been said that “culture eats process for lunch” and that’s certainly true. I’d add to it and say that “demographics eat culture.” Ultimately, massive changes in culture are driven by generational change.

Think about it: There is not a person in the United States who does not “get” the idea of television. We all use it, see it, hate it, love it and have incorporated it into (or rejected it from) our lives in one way or another. You couldn’t say that in the 1960s or 1970s because there were still large swaths of people in the country who had not grown up with the “tube” in the living room.

What happened to help push forward the mass adoption of TV, such that it is woven into the fabric of American culture? Lots of things but chiefly this: People died.

The people who did not grow up with a TV died, leaving behind more people—and eventually the vast majority of people—who did grow up with a TV. Same thing with the automobile, the light bulb and soon, democracy.

We are seeing a struggle now in the business world between the people who “get” things like open source technology and data-driven marketing and social media and those who “don’t get it.” If you perceived that you do “get it”, be ready to fight the fight for another decade or two. Change the culture; that will help. Change processes; that will help, too.

But those who “don’t get” it are still running a LOT of companies out there. And a lot of those people have a lot of money.

Remember this phrase: Money doesn’t care who owns it.

It won’t be until the demographics in American corporations begin to tip in favor of the “get it” generation that mass adoption of the changes mentioned above (and many others) become woven into the fabric of our society.

Bob Lefsetz—you do read Bob @Lefsetz don’t you?—talks about this in his column