The Mentor Myth: What Native Analogs Can Learn From Native Digitals (And Vice Versa)
In this rapidly-evolving world, we need each other.
Dear Friend, Subscriber, and Category Pirate,
Exiting the world of Analog Knowledge Work and setting sail for the new world of Digital Intellectual Capital is one of the most important decisions you will make in this lifetime.
(And you know we don’t say that lightly.)
However, oftentimes when we start a dialogue about this profound shift happening in society today—how Native Digitals are a new category of human, how Native Analogs are the last of their kind to walk the earth, and how this is a fundamental change in the definition of what a human being is—we often hear back (typically from Native Analogs, which we find interesting…) is that we are discriminating against people who are “older.”
That we’re being “ageist.”
(Some even say, “I started programming with punch cards! I was digital, before digital!”)
This is a misunderstanding of the point.
While there is an obvious age difference between Native Analogs and Native Digitals, their age is not what makes them different. It’s the way they experience life that makes them different. Just like how the music you love tends to be the music you discovered as a teenager. It’s why two different people can have wildly different tastes in music, largely because of how they experienced that music at a formative time in their lives.
It really doesn’t matter whether you think of yourself as a “digitally savvy” Native Analog. The factual, honest truth is: you are a Native Analog because a) of when and how you grew up, and b) because how you grew up shaped the way you view and use technology today. (Pirate Christopher has been working in technology for decades—still doesn’t make him a Native Digital...and he will always think Punk Rock is legendary!)
Here’s an easy way of making sense of what we’re talking about:
Moving To Japan Doesn’t Make You Japanese
Let’s say you are an American, and you decide to move to Japan.
You spend 20 years living in Japan. You learn the language and become fluent. You know your way around Tokyo and Kyoto like the back of your hand. You decorate yourself in the finest authentic Japanese clothing. You even marry someone who is one hundred percent Japanese and co-create Japanese people with your spouse.
Is all of that great? Yes.
But does that make you Japanese? No.
At the end of the day, you are still an American. (And for your most formative years, you grew up in America. And “American” will always be your primary life lens.)
The exact same is true for being a Native Analog in a Native Digital world.
You could spend the next 20 years “living” inside the Digital world. You could learn the language and even become fluent in Twitter lingo and Reddit speak. You could buy Bitcoin, change your profile picture to a Bored Ape NFT, and always be first in line for the next iPhone. It doesn’t matter. Because at the end of the day, you are a “Learned Digital”—and you will always see technology as an “addition” to your primary, Analog reality. (Whereas Native Digitals—especially the Native Digitals being born today with an iPad in their hands who become tech savvy before they can even wipe their own behinds—see their primary reality as the Digital world, and the Analog world as a secondary reality.)
This is not ageist.
This is a profound shift in the definition of a human being.
And if you want to have any hope of remaining relevant in the working world, then understanding what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what it means for you and the world, matters.
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