How millennials differ from generations in the past

4 min read
11 Dec 2018

aving grown up in the age of the internet, Generation Y –alternatively known as the millennial or internet generation – are more globally connected than ever before. But who will be the first among them to change the world?

This article was written by the original owner of, Ryan Allis, and published on his website in 2012. Read more about why Ryan was happy to hand over his website domain to us here.

Generation Y is a different generation than those that have come before it in many ways. Most notably, the advent of the internet and our ability to communicate with each other globally like never before has given us the ability to connect to each other like no prior generation.

Over the next 40 years, we truly have an opportunity to make a huge positive impact in the world.

I define folks in Gen Y as those born between 1980 and 2000. I was born in 1984. Today in 2013, the oldest of us are about 33 and the youngest of us are about 13. Over the next 40 years, we truly have an opportunity to make a huge positive impact in the world.

Let’s look at what’s different about the millennial generation. Then we’ll look at how their future looks.

We are deeply aware of social issues

First, we are deeply aware of social issues. We are able to access information from around the world like never before. Since the mid-1990s, we have had access to the internet from the beginning of our life, or, at least, from our early teenage years. We’re aware of what’s going on in the world and are more globally connected.

We understand the importance of sustainability

The second thing is that we understand the importance of a sustainable world – a world in which we can leave a tremendously positive future for our grandchildren.

We see business and entrepreneurship as a good thing

We see business and entrepreneurship not as tools of evil capitalists, but as tools to make scalable, positive change in the world. We see conscious capitalism as a change in capitalism that doesn’t look at creating short-term quarter-by-quarter profit results as its primary objective, but rather thinks about creating value for society. 

And when you create value for society, for customers, for employees, for community, you actually end up creating lots of shareholder value. We see that social responsibility and economic returns are actually positively correlated, rather than tradeoffs.

We see business and entrepreneurship not as tools of evil capitalists, but as tools to make scalable, positive change in the world.

We’re used to a faster pace of change

We have so much information coming at us through so many different media outlets all at the same time that we can multi-task quite well, and we’re often impatient with the status quo because we believe we can do anything.

We believe we can truly change the world, and together we have the ability, resources, and technologies to make change faster than ever before. That brings with it an important requirement that we take time to talk to each other, to connect and to make sure we make the right changes.

But having been brought up in a generation of immediacy, we’re used to a faster pace of change. We don’t like bureaucracy.

We’re globally connected like never before

Next, we’re globally connected through technology like never before. I can now jump on Facebook and talk with a friend in Syria or Egypt, or even a friend in South Korea or Iran. We have the ability to connect with people globally, regardless of where they are. The reality is young people are the same everywhere.

Human beings just want the same thing, and that’s to live a good life with opportunity. We all want to take care of our families, and create a better world for our kids than the one that we lived in. We all share the same goals. And really, at the end of the day, we’re all humans.

As we become more conscious of how globally connected we are, we will be able to create a more peaceful, stronger, more secure world for everyone.

We have the tools to topple corrupt leaders

We also now have the tools to topple corrupt leaders and hold bad leaders accountable.

We’ve seen with the Arab Spring in 2011 the leaders of countries like Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya all be overthrown just within about a six or nine-month period. We are seeing that today with tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Google that we can connect, communicate, interact, and organize like never before.

To me, that is exciting because one of the great principles our country [the United States] was founded upon was that people should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. People coming together should be able to get rid of a corrupt government.

Gen Y’s biggest challenge

Our biggest challenge, and simultaneously our biggest opportunity, is creating once and for all an environmentally sustainable world in which we’re using renewable energy sources, and enabling everyone, regardless of where they’re from or to whom they were born, to have access to the basic needs of food, water, shelter, education, medicine, electricity, and the cloud.

The great news is our generation cares and are deeply passionate. We give a damn and we have the tech tools. We can innovate like hell and we’re highly competent. I’m excited about what the leaders of our generation will create in the decades ahead. I hope to be part of it.

Main photo: Unplash/ Jezael Melgoza

*This article was originally published on October 17th, 2018 and updated on December 11th, 2018.