Aaron Clarey brilliantly uncovers a core problem of my Millennial generation through the lens of corporate business strategy.

A Valueless (Though Highly Profitable) Generation

Millennials are the largest generation alive today.  They are also in that “sweet spot” of being young enough to still be “hippish,” BUT also old enough to make money to spend (well…ok, let’s be honest, BORROW money to spend).  They are  the largest consumer group in the US and the western world both by numbers and dollar volume amount.  They should be the most targeted group of consumers by corporations around the world, and they are.  But for all their youth, numbers, and purchasing power, they have one tragic and horrific flaw.

They are truly valueless.

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Beatrixe

Oh, dear Beatrixe. I saw you see me, and that was enough to tell me everything through the noise. Walking past you was my first reply, embodying the city below me was my next. I didn’t have a plan when I grabbed your wrist, and that’s why you loved it.

Hi, I said. I can’t dance, you said. You told me your name, I didn’t hear you. I told you I had no girlfriends, you didn’t believe me. Why doesn’t anybody else dance? We danced for them because this floor is ours and you mine.

I still don’t hear your name. You said you like tall guys. Is that what Spanish girls like? Your lips burned all of the fire we had for the night into mine, and I swept you across the bar because I could. Your friends don’t understand, so they rushed us from behind. You are too attractive for them anyways. Now they insist you leave with them, and you can’t say no.

When I finally whip it out you are amazed. Is that T9? You hadn’t seen a flip phone since High School, so I make you write your name. Beatrixe. You didn’t mean to spell it like that but now I have something to work with. You pressed your lips to mine and were gone; it took you longer to write your name.

My friends swore they never saw you but they are just like your friends. I saw you again on the street and you rushed me for another kiss; strangers we never were as strange we are to strangers.

Even though you didn’t remember me the next day our night was always meant to be. I know how to spell your real name and you know I was just a passionate passerby. Your number was promptly deleted.

At the risk of starting a new hipster trend, I’ve decided to document what life is like in the modern world with a flip phone. How has switching from an iPhone to the LG Exalt brought me so much amusement that I’ve started blogging about it? A few reasons:

  1. I’m a Millennial and this puts me in an alienated minority in my generation
  2. The reactions from others has been a case study in psychological projection and others’ refusal to take action
  3. To document the real differences I’ve noticed in myself and lifestyle without a smartphone

Disclaimer: I still own my iPhone and tend to use it when I’m on Wifi, but in a far different manner than I did before at my peak addiction.

Any cheap humor aside, I’ve made enough discoveries and have had enough notable interactions with strangers and friends that I couldn’t resist writing about it.

So I’d like to welcome you to the Flip Phone Chronicles.

And I’d like to start off by telling you something you already know about yourself:

You know that you frequently use your smartphone and often have difficulties releasing your hand from its grips.

You know that your smartphone is valuable tool and a godsend in human evolution, although it often controls you more than you’d like it to.

And you know that instant connectivity, unlimited dopamine rushes, and endless jingles are oftentimes worth more than where you are in the moment.

This is not a series designed to shame or signal a sense of superiority, but a case study in personal development, human psychology, and thriving in the modern world.

Instead, I’ll satisfy that nagging curiosity you’ve had about living in an overly connected world without a smart phone, and I’ll show you why that statement is not as ridiculous as it sounds.

What can I say about running a business?

When the good times are going, there’s not much that can knock you off from that “top of the world” feeling.

Money coming in, customers are happy, and you’ve built something your proud of. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Conversely, it doesn’t get much worse than waking up one day realizing that everything you built is gone; realizing that you could have done something to prevent it.

But this isn’t about regrets and this isn’t about living in the past. A business isn’t built on what worked in the past but on how it innovates for the future. This was a tough lesson for me to learn because for most of my career, I knew nothing but success after success.

Maybe that’s why it took me so long to get a damn clue.

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Last night I made a declaration that really helped me put my life into perspective. That declaration was about what really mattered the most in my life and I had to be brutally honest about what those things are.

There are things from my past life that I haven’t been able to let go of that I have been holding me back in ways I never cared to acknowledge.

I can’t say what triggered these revelations but I’d like to try and start making sense of some things by talking about this quote I read earlier that day:

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Everyone is becoming an entrepreneur these days. Such a loaded word can mean so many different things to people, but the constant that remains true in any definition is simply:

You need to put in the work.

Entrepreneurs work long hours for themselves so they don’t have to work fewer for somebody else.

Entrepreneurs live their lives like nobody will so one day they can live their lives like nobody can.

These mantras personify what it means to be an entrepreneur and sound great when you have no other way of describing what you do to “normal” people, but what is it that makes an entrepreneur truly different?

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I’m sitting in Barnes and Noble in Union Square, New York writing this post and looking around in amazement. What’s the big deal, it’s just a bookstore, right?

But I’m looking at a bigger picture. Something a lot bigger than just sitting in a bookstore typing away on my computer.

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