This piece "The Boomerang Kids Won’t Leave" from the NY times, caused great reflection on my work experience since graduating from college, five years ago.
It made me realize that the boomerang generation is still accessing the social safety net, but now it’s being run by the older working generation and not the government. Which I believe caused a negative cycle of economic problems for everyone involved.
I know there are many factors in the difficulties that the so called ‘Boomerang Generation’ have experienced, but the one I have seen most readily is the unwillingness of the older generation to leave.
My first job out of college was at a very large technology company that earns tens of billions in revenue a year. First as a contractor then as full hire. My contract position was in a job no one wanted as a tester, just sitting pushing buttions, then I took a full time job no one wanted working as Quality Assurance Test lead.
The lead job was thought by many to be a dead end job, as few people were able to climb the corporate ladder or merge into a software development career. I spent the next two years attempting to turn this job into a career in software development, which I eventually did at the end of that two years.
Every step of the way I was blocked by people twenty to Thirty years my senior. I would be competing for jobs where the reqs required 1-3 years experience in software and the other people applying had 20 to 30 years experience and were happy to take the same pay. It was difficult and a bit baffling.
While it’s obvious that the economy was contracting and the company I was working at was eliminating positions, it was also equally obvious that the people eligible for retirement were not retiring. These are people over 60 working as software architects and managers of all kinds. Which were the jobs people traditionally took when they had acquired 20 or 30 years of service.
So not only were there far fewer jobs to take, but far fewer people were exiting the work force.
Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to work with many of these older workers and find out what was going on. They almost all wanted to retire. But the vast majority had their 401ks ravaged by the economic collapse. This made it incredibly impractical to retire if not impossible. On top of that many were supporting their kids and some even their grand kids.
I can’t help but wonder if the privatization/slashing of our social services creates economic avalanche of sorts. Where the burden of the poorest falls to those with the best jobs, which (right now) means the oldest folks, forcing them to stay in those jobs, which then blocks the younger generation from independence which then puts more pressure on that same group of people.
Seems like a lose, lose, lose.
The main part that’s important to me when I recommend something to family and friends:
Will it work how they want it to?
Will they bother me about it?
With the Fire phone I think the answers are yes and no.
As a software engineer I get way too many tech support calls from friends, relatives, and most of all my wife. The number one thing I have to deal with is the classic, “My phone is full, how do I save my pictures?”. With the amazon fire phone that problem is solved, and so are many others.
Side Note: If you write software, apparently any recommendation is an implicit guarantee for tech support for forever.
A quick checklist of why I think it will work for family and friends:
- Curated app store with all the apps they love
- Unlimited Cloud hosting of pics(huge win for my wife/mom)
- Mayday easy fast tech support right on the phone(Can I get an Amen?)
- Free prime for a year == Free Netflix(equivalent), Music, and Other Junk (people love free content)
- They can show off 3D crap to their friends(people love showing off crap)
I think this iCloud drive movement is going to make a big difference in the apps landscape. I think it will solve two major problems, that from the user side has always been confusing.
One saving stuff, especially games. It’s just hard to know in many apps if your games are being saved and if so where ? Is it local, in a private cloud, in iCloud? And so on, I hope to see game makers start to use iCloud drive to more explicitly and seamlessly game information.
Two music apps. I love making beats and loops and stuff on my phone. I hate the idea that I need to buy a third party app to transfer files around, or use a really shoddy copy and paste feature. I’m hoping this will transform the music landscape on IOS devices and help all the music making apps to inter-operate much more smoothly and intuitively.
Here’s for pinning all my hopes and dreams on Apple making a great cloud product. This will solve the majority of my pain points on ios.