Meet this year’s incoming high school freshman class. Prepare to feel old

By Michael Carney , written on July 7, 2014

From The News Desk

Chances are, if you’re a regular Pando reader, you’re well into your professional career. High school, let alone middle school, are but a distant memory. But whether you’re an entrepreneur, an engineer, or an investor, the things created within today’s startup ecosystem affect consumers far and wide.

With that in mind, it’s imperative to get to know these consumers. That means not only today's professional crowd, spanning from so-called Millennials to Boomers, but those much older and much (often much) younger. Consider this your friendly primer on some of today's youngest tech consumers.

Prepare to feel old.

The following list was compiled by an LA-area high school and distributed to faculty and administrative staff. Over the weekend, a group of friends and I had a good laugh at its contents, before admitting how old we all felt.

Here are some facts about our incoming 9th graders... the class of 2018!
  • Incoming high school freshman were born in the year 2000 or 2001.
  • They were newborns when Wikipedia was formally launched.
  • They have lived [entirely] in a world in which monthly texting limits do not exist.
  • They were toddlers when MySpace was launched. They were about to enter Kindergarten when it was acquired by News Corporation for $580 million, and were rising 5th graders when it was sold again for mere $35 million.
  • They were in preschool when Facebook moved to Palo Alto, CA.
  • Some of them were born the same year the first Apple store opened.
  • They have been alive for 3 (maybe 4) Harry Potter books.
  • They do not know that “Blockbuster” was a video-rental place.
  • If they pay attention to the news, all they know about Clay Aiken is that he is running for Congress.
  • Paris Hilton was never popular.
  • The Spice Girls are middle-aged British singers.
Reading this list reminds me of a recent experience my wife had with a 14-year-old earlier this year. While manning a phone bank during a fundraiser, this teen picked up a corded-land-line phone only to remark, “I think this one’s broken – it’s making a funny noise.” An adult staffer checked the phone and pronounced it to be in good working order. It was only then, after the student protested again, that everyone in the room realized she had never encountered a dial tone before – ever.

It’s a brave new world out there. Best to keep your eyes, and your mind, open. Oh, and avoid making too many historical references, lest you out yourself as being born in the 20th century.

[Photo by Kevin Krejci]