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July 18, 2008


Gerri Sinclair

Carlos, my sister just sent me the link to your blog and I was shocked to see your comment that I had reminded the audience at my talk in Madrid that "Pacman was born in 1972." I couldn't believe my eyes because Pacman didn't actually come out until 1980. I meant to say (and actually thought I had said) that 1972 was a major turning point because that was the year that Pong was released.

At any rate, I am sure you heard me correctly so I apologize for the slip and would like to go on record with the correction:

Pong was a first generation video game which ran on a black and white TV and was first released by Atari as a coin-operated arcade game in November 1972. Pac-Man was first released in Japan in May 1980.
So in terms of my talk we could say that Pac-Man was the popular culture icon of kids born in the 1980's - the Digital Native generation.

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take a look at them:
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Luis Mateos Keim


I totally agree with you specially in the last part of your post where you state that you understand why companies struggle to innovate because of their "managers"...

I have to admit that in this sense I'm enjoing the crisis since it will (I hope) force us to make the change from the "RIGITAL" to the digital world...

We suffered a revolution a revolution a decade ago when a "cuple of people got into their hand an incredible bunch of new technology and (like if it was drugs, and maybe it was) the creativity started to flow... business plans based on forecasts made on drugs, that are now now taken out of the drawers...

My point is that NOW society will make the change... and (as you said yestarday @ ENTER) many people are becomming obsolete in a very short period of time...


a bunch of people will be able to create 1000000000 times more value than the obsolete...

The digital gap will be very harmful if we don't have a plan B after the "crisis"...

just a comment: I have a 23 month old kid... and it's incredible how he interacts with technology...

It's perfectly obvious for him that the widgets on the phone are buttons which he can touch and expect an effect... this is like this since he was 10 months old, before he could even WALK...

cheers Carlos, I'll try to follow your posts


Hi Carlos, I think we should not treat the age boundaries in those "alien", "immigrant", "native" categories as being "hard lines". [that way you can be happy to place yourself as a native! :-)], but instead treat the boundaries has being soft ones.

Because the world we are born into often has it's impact on us at different times in our upbringing. For example; my age places me in the digital adpative camp also, and yet I was fanatical about email (electronic mail as it was then) in 1985 when it's use was largely non-existent or confined to academia).

I do agree with the overall sentiment in the classification though, they are very relevant and applicable to behaviours and attitudes that we can clearly see. However: I am a little less comfortable about the definition of the final category - "avatars".

Most under-ten tear olds that I know (and I have two young children in that kind of age group) do not *primarily* communicate in the digital world. Rather what I have observed is that when they are in the protective environment of their parental home they *do*. I think this is more a by-product of the risk management that the digital immigrant and adaptive generation are applying to the responsibility of parenting.

For example: in our young days Carlos; our parents had little problem allowing us to socialise with our friends in the streets and in the parks during the evenings after school. These days this does not happen so much, especially in the cities: kids are kept in the home more often. This is parental risk management in action. It is this that is driving today's children to exploit digital technology as an outlet for that which they naturally crave: social status within the peer-group.

Dr Norman Lewis (ex strategy at Orange) did a presentation a few years ago which I think summarises this quite well. Although his presentation style is very much focussed on the verbal narrative you can get a feel for the overall concept here. The overall take-out from that hypothesis is that parental risk-management is what is fuelling the digital avatar category; and that is is not so much the urge to *communicate* using those means; but the urge to express and "personalise" in their peer-group. For example; my children are in the digital avatar category but they are way behind me and you in terms of advocacy for many of the new-generation digital pathways that we now have available for communicating. Rather, they put more time and effort (and attribute more importance) into expressing themselves very richly in a narrower set of outlets; e.g. windows live messenger; xbox gamer profiles etc. A great deal of effort goes into "dressing up" the icons and profiles; colours, backgrounds etc and the free-text status updates than actually using them to have conversations.

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