Updated: Jul 6, 2019
I am part of the microgeneration of xennials who had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood.
Ready for this blast from the past? The first computer we had in our home was a WANG. I remember how the dot matrix printer shook the entire table and I always loved pulling the perforated edges and pages apart. My big brother had his own Brother word processor and printer in his room. I knew even back then he was going places. Yes we had AOL and the painful joys of dial-up. But wait! My house had two lines. YES. Two phone lines back in the 90s was unheard of. We weren't rich by any means. In fact, we had all this cool technology at home because my mom would often work from home. We had Lotus Notes. Anyone remember Lotus Notes? I was in love with computers from the very start. My first website was on AngelFire. LiveJournal. Myspace. Blogger. You with me?
My fascination with computers continued on into high school. I tried to take all the tech electives. I didn't do well in high school for various reasons, but always liked the computer classes. My first class was with Mr. M. Keyboarding. Do they still call it that? We had to learn how to type on an old-fashioned typewriter. He removed the correction tape from the machines so there was no cheating. Let's just say when Mavis Beacon came out and taught you how to type, it was a definite upgrade from my experience. I still type pretty hard now that I think of it. After that, I remember taking Basic, Visual Basic, Computer Applications, Microsoft Office, and so on. This was the late 90s and I was usually the only girl in the programming classes. I recall feeling young compared to everyone else. I fit in with the geeks though. They were my peeps. C++ was the next one on the list. I didn't get that far into it. We also had a great marketing program in my high school which brought me to California to compete at a national level. It was fun and I started getting into more of the business classes. I was passionate about it.
Heading to college, I was initially undeclared.
I took several college level challenge exams to get out of taking the required computer classes. It was cheaper to test out than to take the course. I saw it as a way to accelerate my studies.
I was not sure if I wanted to get into computers or marketing so I didn't declare a major right away. I was that group of individuals who had Facebook when you needed a college email address to have an account. Ah yes. These were the early days of Facebook.
Looking back, the parts I enjoyed most about my previous jobs were the technological aspects. Database administration, websites, EDCs, Excel, Grants.gov, Publisher, software testing, PeopleSoft, etc. I loved it. I loved sitting at the computer trying to figure it out.
We recently listened to a NPR PodCast "How I Built This" about Squarespace and I could totally relate to his childhood experience with tech. It inspired me to write this post and think about my own similar experiences.
Why does being a xennial set me apart? Being part of this microgeneration just means that I was growing with technology at a pace that was digestible. Essentially, we all had to learn both analog and digital. There's power in that. Processing power.
The online algorithms keep changing so it is an evolving model. It isn't a set it and forget it thing. It is one thing to create a website. It is an entirely different thing to know how it is performing. Long gone are the days of visible website counters on a page like a badge of honor. Now most business owners have more data than they truly understand. With so much data at our finger tips, it can be easy to fall victim of data overload. Being a xennial sets me apart because it is in my roots to go back to basics. Love what you do and the rest will follow.
Simple advice. Simple solutions.