The Digital American Dream: Life, Liberty, And The Exponential Pursuit Of Capital (Online)
There are two types of people on planet earth today...
Dear Friend, Subscriber, and Category Pirate,
We want you to know we have granted ourselves a little, shall we say, “
poetic pirate license” to tell a fun, simple, yet powerful story—to exemplify the BIG IDEA of today’s mini-book. That said, we are not trained historians and in no way are we trying to write the complete history of humanity… (our lawyers told us we had to say that).
Now, pour yourself a pint and let us start at the beginning…
Once upon a time, in a little town far, far away, lived a Hunter-Gatherer Dad and the first ever Farmer Daughter.
“My love,” the Hunter-Gatherer Dad said, “Today, I am going to teach you how to provide for yourself. We’re going berry picking.”
But the Daughter didn’t want to go berry picking. She had a different point of view: “Why? We have a whole plot of land right here! Listen Dad, we could take the seeds from the berries, plant acres of them, and have food for the whole year if we wanted to. And then we could keep the seeds from next year’s harvest, trade them to other Hunter-Gatherers who want to become farmers, and barter for all the other things we need each year. We could earn more, work less, and help the whole town do the same!”
The Hunter-Gatherer Dad looked at his Daughter. Blinked a few times.
“Lady… what on earth are you talking about? Farming. That’s all anybody your age seems to want to talk about these days. Your whole generation doesn’t want to work! I raised you to work hard everyday, not just in spurts. Think about this: if we grow our own berries, and our food just magically appears like you say, what’s going to happen to all the good people in this town whose lives depend on them gathering berries? What about the people who make berry picking walking sticks? They’re going to need the government to bail them out, that’s what! All those jobs, lost to farming. Now quit your complaining, grab your walking stick, and put your boots on—we’re going berry picking.”
But as soon as her Hunter-Gatherer Dad left the room, the Daughter went right back to thinking about farming.
The future was already here—her Hunter-Gatherer Dad just couldn’t see it.
The Future (Many) People Don’t See: A New Category Of Human
“Following the invention of agriculture, Hunter-Gatherers who did not change were displaced or conquered by farming or pastoralist groups in most parts of the world.” –Wikipedia
There are two types of people on planet earth today.
Native Analogs: These are Baby Boomers and Gen Xers born anywhere from the 1940s all the way up to the early ‘80s. Today, they range between the ages of 40 and 75+, and make up approximately 136.8 million Americans.
Native Digitals: These are Millennials and Gen Zers born between the early 1980s to as recently as the 2010s. These demographics are around 35 years of age on the high end today, down to as young as 6 years old—and make up approximately 140.1 million Americans.
Native Analogs grew up in a time when technology was an addition, or better yet, a distraction from their real lives. Whereas Native Digitals grew up in a time when their “real” lives were a distraction from their (primary) digital lives.
Native Analog human beings have existed in their current form for roughly 130,000 years.
Native Digital human beings have existed in their current form for roughly 35 years.
And the Native Analogs living today are the last. (!!!!!)
There will never be another generation in modern civilization that experiences the physical, Analog world as their primary reality and the Digital world as their secondary reality. Instead, they will be flipped (and for Native Digitals alive today, these two realities already are). The Digital world is their primary reality, and the Analog world is their secondary reality—an (often) inconvenience from their lives online.
If you start paying attention, you’ll see the differences everywhere. You’ll see it so much, you won’t believe how much this shift has been hiding in plain sight. (At least that’s how we felt.)
For proof, listen to the words Native Analogs and Native Digitals use to describe the same events, objects, and experiences:
After a Zoom session, Native Analogs will say, “We had a video meeting,” and Native Digitals will say, “We had an in-person meeting.” Native Digitals who spend time together online with other people do not think they are “online” or “on video,” just like how a fish swimming in water does not think it is “in water.” For Native Analogs, however, there is a clear difference between being online and being offline—because the “online world” is not their primary reality.
When talking about getting together in the real world, Native Digitals will specify and say, “Let’s meet up IRL.” Native Analogs do not. Again, the default reality for Native Digitals is “online” (meaning you only need to specify when something is not online), whereas the default reality for Native Analogs is IRL.
When discussing new product ideas, Native Digitals assume the product is going to be Digital first, or even Digital-only. When Native Analogs say the word “product,” it’s assumed to be a physical product first, and the “digital version” will be the Analog version sold online. (Or, as our friend Andrew Smallwood likes to say, “Native Analogs use digital technology to buy Analog products. Native Digitals use digital technology to buy Digital products.”)
Native Analogs created the term “digital transformation” to represent taking the Analog world the way it currently exists today, and making it digital. Whereas Native Digitals do not do “digital transformation.” They do not start with the way the Analog world is today and seek to make it digital. They begin the entire creation process inside the Digital world—where there are (almost) none of the same limitations that exist in the Analog world. It’s not a “transformation of what is.” It’s a creation of what doesn’t exist yet.
After making a purchase, Native Analogs will say, “I bought something online.” Whereas Native Digitals will simply say, “I went shopping.” Again, the default reality for Native Digitals is “shopping online.” As a result, there is no need to specify whether the experience took place online or offline—it’s just assumed to have been online (and, in most cases, if one Native Digital says to another, “I went shopping at the mall this afternoon,” the other will ask, “Why? You can just have it shipped to your house.” The Analog world is the less desirable choice.) But for Native Analogs, the online world is the secondary reality, which is why they naturally specify that they went shopping “online.” As if they just accomplished something very futuristic!
This change of both identity and reality is one of the most profound shifts happening in the world.
And no one seems to be talking about it.
The Future (Many) People Don’t See: A New Category Of Dream
Now, let the Native Analog to Native Digital shift rumble around in your head while we start to connect some dots.
Who was the American Dream originally intended for?
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