Business is an interesting thing. It is a mix of old tricks and new ideas. An ever-changing medium that one can never get comfortable with.
I'm thinking about this today because the world of journalism is changing so much. With that, the world of business, technology and everything else changes. I see many reactions across generations. Older generations are mostly stubborn, insistent on doing it the way they know how. They don't want to give up what they've grown up with. They write off the new ideas as unnecessary and harken back to 'better' times. This may be true in some aspects. Newspapers, for example, have a timeless quality to them. There is no news medium more historical and prominent throughout history. But that alone should not be a reason to stay stuck in our old ways. If a person has nothing to do with the world of journalism and just prefers to read a newspaper on his lap until the day he or the newspaper industry dies, then no problem.
The problem comes when you have people involved in the business or teaching it continuing to be stubborn. There is only so much history can teach us until we eventually need to rewrite it and make new history. A professor talking about the history of newspapers may be interesting (not to me), but how will it help those students get jobs in a world that will likely be devoid of newspapers in the next decade?
The same goes for business. Why preach the same old processes that don't work? The world of advertising has never been more confusing or exciting. Television commercials aren't as effective as they used to be due to DVR's and short attention spans. Staying power is extremely difficult these days. So instead of spending 3 quarters learning about the history of advertising, maybe make one of those classes into a brainstorm seminar on the future of advertising. After all, those who go to college now are supposed to be the innovators of the future right?
I'm not trying to blast the older generation by any means. In fact, I think the current generation's lack or respect or knowledge on the older generation's accomplishments is nothing short of a travesty. However, the older generation better get with some of the new ways or they will find that they will get flushed out, no matter how innovative and masterful they used to be. There is a time for pride and a time for survival. I don't know how you could survive in the world as it is now without knowing at least the basics of computers.
For that reason, I keep up with all the trends. Call me a sellout, call me a self-involved kid, call me a follower, but for all that I am also someone who won't be out of touch. That's one thing I hope never happens to me. At some point I will have my ways that I prefer (I already do), but everytime I see a new website, new technology, and new ways of doing things, I check them out. Why be stubborn and get left behind? Many will find this hard because they get sentimental attachment to certain ways things work, and I understand that. But I like change. I like seeing the new ways of the world. I see good business as a model that constantly improves on itself, constantly looks for ways to get better, constantly looks at competition and tries to take the good and the bad and improve.