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Millennials and Business

Millennials and Business

There is a sea-change happening across many fields, business included. The change has to do with the way “millennials”, in general, approach things.

The effect is the opposite of globalization – it can be termed digital localization.

If taken on average, it seems that a millennial in business and as a customer has different sensibilities to a range of things, different from what would have been seen in previous demographic groups:

  • Those in authority are not viewed with either respect, admiration, or distrust, as much as the less deterministic feeling of: “There is a gatekeeper who will likely be in my way”
  • Certificates or diplomas are like long-hand division versus using an app
  • Relationships are vastly more important than meeting sales goals
  • Trust in a relationship is like crystal – once clouded or cracked, it is gone.

Gatekeepers are in the Way

A millennial just wants to get something done.

They usually have the perception that a person who is in “authority” is there as a gatekeeper, not to assist but to be in the way of direct action.

Gatekeepers are an anachronism from the era of long-hand math – a curiosity to be tolerated.

Where complex tasks need to be done, and an app will not do it, it is expected that a person will be found who can help start the process then hand it off so that the new tasks can be learned sufficiently to be completed – expert knowledge is an occasional convenience.

While anyone can learn to be an expert in anything, focusing too much on one topic smacks of obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

Long-hand or App

Taking the time and effort to achieve a certificate or diploma does not carry the caché it once did.

Having spent years of one’s life to add a few letters to one’s name merely places one in the position of possibly being a gatekeeper.

To accomplish a difficult task, it is not necessary to pull out one’s diploma and a slide-rule – just search for the right app and get it done.

Being able to quickly search for needed information or the right app is more personally and socially satisfying than showing off with the innate ability of a savant.

Relationships and Trust

A millennial does seem to value self more than the formal hierarchies of family or business structures. It is not that family or business cannot be part of relationships – they will receive an initial free pass into one’s relationship group, but the pass may be revoked.

Rather than applying the pejorative term “narcissistic”, a millennial thinks of self as the starting point by which relationships can be best understood and enhanced – it is a convenience and not an obsession.

To be able to make one’s way through the world, relationships and trust are necessarily interwoven.

Relationships are extended through trust.

Trust binds the network of relationships.

Clouded trust shatters the network.

Philosophy

Without the rigor of academic analysis, a millennial’s philosophy appears full of presumptions and randomly chosen concepts.

One of the commonalities is that everyone starts off on the positive side of neutral, so it is up to the individual to make additions or deletions to that assessment in the minds of those they contact.

Society should be set up to enable people to make those small positive contributions, while being tolerant of minor issues.

Respect is expected; lifestyle is important in decision-making; new experience is to be sought; relationships and trust are the foundation.

Being able to get a job will usually trump some philosophical prerogative.

For instance:

“They believe global warming is real – but they want jobs. So they take policies from both sides and develop nuanced views that are able to balance their needs and desires.” – from the Interview noted in References

Philosophy and Politics

There is usually a presumption that large-scale politics (or large-scale organizations of any sort) breeds large-scale corruption, so that local communities should take priority.

The necessity of technocrats is reluctantly accepted for certain things that need extensive use of resources – a few people are inclined that way so it is convenient to give them a confined outlet.

Paradoxically, millennials view politics as a smorgasbord, by choosing to support elements from any side, based on pragmatic requirements.

Decisions that affect a community can be made by algorithmic analysis of the general mood, determined from the transactions within social media.

Occasional flash-mobs are good, where the energy of physical togetherness can reinforce the sense of community.

Determined consistency of purpose is viewed with suspicion.

Businesses and Millennials

Millennials understand that businesses, large and small, are a fact of life. Where possible, local businesses are supported, even if there is a premium.

It is accepted that businesses must make a reasonable profit.

Millennial employees will work hard if given respect, learning opportunities, and the ability to build relationships.

Those businesses that stay within the bounds of certain expectations will be supported.

Since millennials make decisions based on a combination of personal reasons and pragmatic constraints, a business can (while staying authentic) use the transient wants of millennial shoppers to direct them to discretionary purchases.

However, the principles of relationships and trust should not be violated, so there must be perceived value in the products, even if they were discretionary.

Can This Be Profitable?

Business factors that may be useful:

  • Clearly state what the customer will receive
  • Authentic, lifestyle, value and new experience are important concepts to consider when marketing and selling
  • Do not place “counters” in the way – putting physical or procedural obstructions in the way of products or services will turn off customers
  • Sell by proving you have a worthwhile product or service – hard-selling may make one sale but not a second sale to that customer, nor to the friends who will quickly hear about it
  • Use social media as a way of building relationships and networks – “selling” via social media will place you in quarantine
  • Show respect by listening to, and acting on, customer comments – even if a suggestion cannot be implemented, show that you listened and considered it

References

More ideas may be found here:

copyright(c)George Opacic 2016

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Choosing an Editor

Editing • Proofreading • Spell-checkingIdeas

An Editor may be contracted to perform any of several functions. First, one must clearly define the type of work to be done. Is it intended to be “editing” or “proofreading”? Further, there are two broad considerations for a contract, along with several more within each path. It can get complicated!

A commonly-used term for a quick reading with corrections of basic spelling, grammar and minor suggestions is called “blue-penciling”.

Regarding definitions, editing may be a simple reading of chapters to confirm that each one follows the overall trajectory, and that locations, characters and concepts are consistent; more value-added editing is done by penciling in suggestions for elements like tone, story development, character growth, concept extensions, or chapter additions. Proofreading can be as simple as checking for spelling and appropriate grammar.

More formally, copy editing addresses the mechanics of the paragraph, highlighting grammar issues. Line editing takes that a step further by working on the tone, tempo and time-line. The more interesting and extensive form of editing is referred to as developmental editing. An analogy for these would be in the progression that an athlete would take. A runner might start by feeling good that he/she can run faster than the others in class; then an instructor could show some details such as stride length, pace and push-off; later, a coach could match training and practice regimens; next, the athlete’s career is considered in context, incorporating capability and competition. This is the same as developmental editing, where you step back to look at the overall product and make long-term decisions.

A contract may be time-based or lump-sum based. For instance, doing the least expensive version of proofreading would be done electronically via tools like MS Word’s spell-checker and grammar checker (which authors can do by themselves) for $25 to $50. There are online services that do this. Some services charge by the page, which may be between 50 to $2. Blue-pencil readings can be $20 to $50 for a one-hour session.

If the fee is time-based, it could be anywhere from $5 per hour to $40 per hour. This could quickly escalate to a very high cost. The lower the rate, the longer it usually takes to be completed.

A version of lump-sum contracts gives you the security of knowing what the final cost will be and that the reader is committed to finishing to a deadline.

Editing adds the real value. General editing will cost upwards of $500. This will be a process that includes a certain amount of back-and-forth discussion with the author regarding elements of the plot, characterizations, tone, style and intended audience.

Finally, the best end result may be obtained by engaging an editor who acts almost as a ghost-writer. If the author has great ideas but is not experienced in writing for the publishing market, this can be the preferred choice for the most professional outcome. Fees for this service may start with a down-payment, depending on the genre, of between $100 to $1000; with a monthly fee of $100 to $600. A fee reduction may be offered in exchange for a percentage of gross sales.

Another advantage to Media_film-man engaging the right editor is employing one who can convert the story to filmscript format. As this is a completely different way of writing, with many formal and stylistic changes applied to a story, the fee is negotiated separately.

To discuss your editing needs, please contact George Opacic

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Crossing the Bridge

Right Left Write,

Breaking Through Writer’s Block

We are told that the language side of our thinking apparatus (left side) sorts the world into compartments of data that describe things that have happened, and has further compartments for what can happen in the future, as a result.

The right side is solely and completely occupied with the mass of data coming in NOW.  (See https://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight)

The bridge between the two sides is the corpus callosum.

In the literary field, writers struggle to varying degrees with the many topics within which life’s adventures can occur, and how to organize a particular thread of events into the conventions of a story.  The past and the future are multitude, while the present is a blank line on a page.  Making coherent sense out of that relationship is the profession of a literary artist.  As a writer, what does your bridge look like?

When writing non-fiction we must rely on those extensive files of what happened.

Fiction writers may daintily pick through the details of the past, then bring them forth boldly into their creative NOW.  Science fiction writers will stare long into the future, then bring their creative sparks back, sometimes reluctantly, to the present so that a narrative may be fashioned.

Writer’s Blank

If a writer’s blank line begins to gather dust, it may be that a bridge is needed.

The blank line can occur when each side fights for control over what you are doing.

While writing, that fight means loss of focus, inconsistency between sections, and a petering out of your desire to carry on with this project.

So you drop it and go to another one…
Let’s bridge that gap.

Use facts to improve your characters

Grounding your characterizations within a rational methodology will open new avenues for your creativity.

Character development is important for a smooth flow along the arc of the plot line.

Plot Arc

For the highly structured genre of film scripts, a standard description of the plot arc goes like this:

  • Eye grab – start with a scene that grabs the viewer’s immediate attention
  • Introduction of the thread character – usually the protagonist, this person carries the thread of the story all the way
  • Incident – the event that gets our attention
  • Turning point – something changes to engage the previously reluctant protagonist
  • Sweet spot – near the middle, when we are confirmed as pulling for the protagonist
  • Reversal – our protagonist runs into a critical decision, and/or gets slammed hard
  • Climax – fighting the other characters and maybe “fate”, we don’t know if our protagonist is going to succeed
  • Closing – success!  Wrap up the loose ends.

Plot-Arc

We should link the dramatic aspects of a character effectively to the various points along that arc.

There is a way to develop consistent and believable characters whose actions can be followed without having to write too much of a backstory.  This taps into the endless files of data from your left side in an effective way.

Traits

A person’s traits are defined as a set of enduring characteristics, by which you could recognize someone you knew at just about any time over the years.

They seem to be hard-wired.

While potentially changeable as a result of some dramatic event, for most of us, a few minor changes come only through maturity.

Using traits we can develop verbal pictures of a character without having to resort to a lot of explanation.  For instance, taking dominance from the list below, we could say, “She wanted, and usually got, her way.”  Looking at the other descriptors for dominance, we would know not to use any of these: deferential, cooperative, avoids conflict, submissive, humble, obedient, easily led, docile, accommodating.

There are a number of contenders to the throne of a definitive theory. The following list is one (of many) that can be useful for writers to consider.

Raymond Cattell’s 16 Personality Factors

Descriptors of Low Range

Primary Factor

Descriptors of High Range

Impersonal, distant, cool, reserved, detached, formal, aloof Warmth
(A)
Warm, outgoing, attentive to others, kindly, easy-going, participating, likes people
Concrete thinking, lower general mental capacity, less intelligent, unable to handle abstract problems Reasoning
(B)
Abstract-thinking, more intelligent, bright, higher general mental capacity, fast learner
Reactive emotionally, changeable, affected by feelings, emotionally less stable, easily upset Emotional Stability
(C)
Emotionally stable, adaptive, mature, faces reality calmly
Deferential, cooperative, avoids conflict, submissive, humble, obedient, easily led, docile, accommodating Dominance
(E)
Dominant, forceful, assertive, aggressive, competitive, stubborn, bossy
Serious, restrained, prudent, taciturn, introspective, silent Liveliness
(F)
Lively, animated, spontaneous, enthusiastic, happy go lucky, cheerful, expressive, impulsive
Expedient, nonconforming, disregards rules, self-indulgent Rule-Consciousness
(G)
Rule-conscious, dutiful, conscientious, conforming, moralistic, staid, rule bound
Shy, threat-sensitive, timid, hesitant, intimidated Social Boldness
(H)
Socially bold, venturesome, thick skinned, uninhibited
Utilitarian, objective, unsentimental, tough minded, self-reliant, no-nonsense, rough Sensitivity
(I)
Sensitive, aesthetic, sentimental, tender minded, intuitive, refined
Trusting, unsuspecting, accepting, unconditional, easy Vigilance
(L)
Vigilant, suspicious, skeptical, distrustful, oppositional
Grounded, practical, prosaic, solution oriented, steady, conventional Abstractedness
(M)
Abstract, imaginative, absent minded, impractical, absorbed in ideas
Forthright, genuine, artless, open, guileless, naive, unpretentious, involved Privateness
(N)
Private, discreet, nondisclosing, shrewd, polished, worldly, astute, diplomatic
Self-Assured, unworried, complacent, secure, free of guilt, confident, self-satisfied Apprehension
(O)
Apprehensive, self doubting, worried, guilt prone, insecure, worrying, self blaming
Traditional, attached to familiar, conservative, respecting traditional ideas Openness to Change
(Q1)
Open to change, experimental, liberal, analytical, critical, free thinking, flexibility
Group-oriented, affiliative, a joiner and follower dependent Self-Reliance
(Q2)
Self-reliant, solitary, resourceful, individualistic, self-sufficient
Tolerates disorder, unexacting, flexible, undisciplined, lax, self-conflict, impulsive, careless of social rules, uncontrolled Perfectionism
(Q3)
Perfectionistic, organized, compulsive, self-disciplined, socially precise, exacting will power, control, self-sentimental
Relaxed, placid, tranquil, torpid, patient, composed low drive Tension
(Q4)
Tense, high energy, impatient, driven, frustrated, over wrought, time driven.
Primary Factors and Descriptors in Cattell’s 16 Personality Factor Model (Adapted From Conn & Rieke, 1994).

Taking a combined example:  Social Boldness  plus  Sensitivity

  aka  Extroversion <> Introversion

Most people would say that a good salesperson should be an extrovert. However if you imagine the extrovert actually selling, you can see that he/she enjoys the conversation, and has trouble getting to a conclusion – since the end of the conversation is not this person’s preferred goal. Making a friend is the objective. An introvert, in contrast, goes through the sales process and focuses on getting the sale. Then on to the next conquest…
So, when writing the scene you would do it quite differently depending on the character’s traits that you chose.
If you wish to write the character of a sympathetic loser, you could assign the salesperson the characteristics of an extrovert (Willy Loman?).  If you want to portray a ruthless winner, then an introvert could be a good choice (Steve Jobs?).

Now, having fleshed out your character, you can choose from the descriptors of the traits to pepper psychologically-accurate bits into your story.

This helping of rationality, of course, spices up the creative juices – merging left and right sides.

Substrate

As you write, the substrate of your ideas should coalesce around the theme that arises out of, either, the right-side-predominant emotional concept that drives your urge to write this piece; or, the unifying idea that is the rational, sequential set of occurrences that you see in your left-side-predominant mind.

Whichever side you feel comfortable starting with, let it be the unifying substrate, the foundation of the road that stretches out through the landscape of your vision for this piece, past definable milestones of occurrences, to a successful conclusion.

Search through Wikipedia’s endless articles on personality traits.

Don’t be confused by descriptions of “personality” that include states.

For instance, consider a Rorschach inkblot test. It is basically a state outcome.  People react to it differently depending on their mood, and what the boss did to them today…

A good example of trait-based psych-testing is the Campbell Interest and Skills Survey.

Write good stuff!