The Youngest Generations
The topic of Millenials (1981-1997) has been a hot-button issue over the past several years. Numerous outlets have produced articles which have blamed the generation for failing businesses, challenged their work ethic, and claimed everyone from this age bracket is lazy.
While the ad hominem attacks are comical to those who care about facts or are a part of the Millenial generation (myself included), the continuous click bait headlines have allowed a disturbing narrative to revolve around the generation.
While being unaware outlets pushing these articles are shunning the largest portion of the workforce and those who are most active on the internet – which isn’t a good business strategy for those looking to meet their ‘click goals.’
Post-Millenials (1997-2013) have also been lumped together with the Millennial generation, receiving the same negative press coverage and taking the blame for aspects of society they had no part in creating.
What The Generations Bring To The Table
Over the past year, I have interviewed a number of Millenial entrepreneurs who are attempting to combine business and social responsibility. I recently was able to speak to Cam Wilkie, Chase Dobbie, Everett Vane the co-founders of func.media, who are interested in merging these facets of society.
“I think the value for me lies more in my experiences than just the number in the bank account. From the very beginning, we’ve used func. as a platform to live the lives we’ve all dreamed of living – one way or another,” Cam stated when asked about his motivations beyond money.
“For me, the real motivations are the freedoms that we have while working. We don’t have to settle for the norms of the traditional work environment. We are able to travel and live the lives we used to see others living while putting our own spin on things,” Chase added.
Best friends, Cam and Chase met each other when they were five years old, through youth baseball in Toronto, Canada. Cam went on to study at Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) where he played varsity baseball all four years. Chase would continue his baseball career at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.
The two had conversations concerning creating their own company. “I loved the freedom Brown gave me to pursue my passions – their open curriculum is a remarkable way to expedite the process of self-discovery. My passion for entrepreneurship fostered in an environment that was rich in support and understanding – it was a special four years for me,” Cam explained concerning his time in college.
Cam introduced Chase and Everett (Ev) to one another when the company was first coming together. “[I] Grew up doing the same as every other kid playing hockey, skateboarding, biking and a good amount of video games. Always been pretty quick at picking something up and was good with computers,” Ev stated about his childhood.
He worked at another company prior to func.media when he realized the traditional work environment associated with past generations wasn’t for him, “I’ve always just wanted to create my own thing, work on my own schedule, and have the freedom to do what I want in life. I could just never see myself sitting in a 9-5 environment every day working for someone else.”
What They Do
“…We always try to be different and take an approach that sticks out from the crowd, which in my opinion is the most important thing since there is so much noise in the industry,” Ev responded when asked about their work at func.media. “We don’t have to settle for the norms of the traditional work environment,” Chase added.
Func. specializes in digital content catered to the youngest generations which grew up in the digital age. However, Chase says that their work goes far beyond monetary gain, “I think the money has become less important in the sense of our happiness. For me, the real motivations are the freedoms that we have while working. We don’t have to settle for the norms of the traditional work environment.”
“What makes func. unique is we’re all aligned on the “lifestyle economy” mindset – we realize we don’t need to postpone our wildest dreams because we’ve created this special avenue for ourselves – and more importantly, others,” Cam added.
“I don’t really see my work any more important than others as there are countless talented people out there that are more skilled than me,” Ev responded when asked why he feels their work is important.
“…Millennials are exposed to an overwhelming amount of input in the digital age – and for many, I think there’s a growing pressure to conform to societal norms presented on social media. From day one, we’ve always represented something different, challenging, and refreshing. Our platform is important because it’s significant beyond any traditional boundaries or boxes society can check for us – and we’ve always used that as a source of inspiration in everything we do,” Cam added.
Chase added an extremely important point, “Our unique offering takes this pressure off the companies and lets us make the impact for them. The benefit of having a staff that is all under 25 years old is we’re are able to constantly create, push and generate content that is timely and relevant for our clients.”
What This Strategy Means For The Future
As Chase stated, younger generations have different goals and authenticity is extremely important to them in their daily lives. Millennials and Post-Millennials care more about the environment, social equity, and finding solutions which are beneficial to society as a whole. They are also interested in following their goals and staying true to themselves.
During our conversations, Ev relayed the story of how he became involved in content creation and video editing:
About a month before applications were due someone told me about OCADU and I put together a pretty amateur portfolio and hoped for the best. Originally I wanted to go for graphic design but I knew my chances were slim at that point, so I applied for Advertising which was pretty similar. Somehow I got in and ended up maintaining a scholarship throughout my 4 years there. I was getting more into photo & video as a medium and I ended up spending my entire savings investing on a higher end camera. By the end of OCAD, I wasn’t planning to pursue a career in the creative agency world and had a pretty promising job doing strategy for TD Bank. I was then contacted by Cossette for a design intern position and decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
His story is extremely similar to numerous individuals I have spoken to and my own personal story. Happiness and authenticity are vital to younger generations, which extends to how we view ourselves.
Cam, Chase, and Ev began a company and are attempting to stay true to their authentic selves while helping others cut through the chatter and promote positive messages.
While several outlets continue to attack the younger generations, it’s important to remember what these individuals are actually doing and how they plan to change the world…
For the better.