Perspectives from the End of a Generation

As a person born in 1980, I fall at the end of Generation X and the beginning of Generation Y or the Millennial Generation. This gives me a unique perspective on life that I’d like to share from my generation.

Sometimes it can be fun to get a little perspective. Age gives us this view. Some of these are related to people you may not know, but I’ll try to keep it as relevant as possible.

Famous Births

Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce Knowles, Kim Kardashian, and Paris Hilton are all around the same age as me (born either in 1980 or 1981).

Space Travel

The last time man left near-earth orbit was in 1972, 8 years before I were born, which was also the last time we landed on the moon during Apollo 17.

The first time man left near-earth orbit was during Apollo 8 in 1968, 12 years before we were born and the first moon landing was a year later during Apollo 11.

Civil Rights

The American Civil War ended 115 years before I was born, but the Civil Rights Act was passed only 16 years before I was born in 1964.

Brown vs. Board of Education was handed down 26 years before I was born, in 1954. If that seems like a long time, consider that I’m now 34 years old.


In our lifetime we’ve lived through ~6 presidents (Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr, and Obama) over a span of 33 years.

In the 33 years before we were born there were ~7 presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter).

Leonardo Davinci and Michelangelo were to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson what George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are to me in regards to age and perspective.


The first nuclear test was 35 years before I was born in 1945, the same year WWII ended. The ENIAC was built a year later in 1946.

In 1986, 6 years after I was born, Earth experienced both the Chernobyl and Challenger Disasters. 27 years later Columbia disintegrated in 2003.

2 years before I was born, GPS was invented in 1978. 22 years later in the year 2000, President Clinton granted nonmilitary users access to an unscrambled GPS signal. 7 years after that the iPhone was released.

Famous Deaths

John Lennon died in December of 1980. Albert Einstein died in 1955, 25 years before we were born. Pablo Picasso died in 1973, 7 years before we were born.


5 years before we were born, the United States lost the Vietnam War (1975). 27 years before we were born, the Korean War ended (1953). 2015 is the same distance from 1980 as 1980 is from the end of World War II (1945).

If you liked this, you might like BuzzFeed’s 7 Mind-Shattering Facts About Time that includes things like how Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barbara Walters were all born in the same year. How’s that for perspective?

7 Mind-Shattering Facts About Time by buzzfeedvideo

Update March 13, 2015 from Reddit

What 2 famous people lived at the same time in history that people wouldn’t think were alive at the same time?

  • Tom Selleck, Bob Marley, Rod Stewart, Bubba Smith, Micky Dolenz, Eric Clapton, Mia Farrow, and Tony Dow were all alive at the same time as Adolf Hitler
  • Cleopatra and Julius Caesar
  • Picasso and JFK
  • Hitler and Einstein
  • Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr
  • Eminem and Elvis
  • Justin Bieber and Andre the Giant
  • Abe Lincoln and Charles Darwin
  • Bill Nye and Ken Ham
  • Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx
  • Walt Disney and Adam Sandler
  • Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla
  • Salvador Dali and Walt Disney

Why I’m Going to Mixwest 2014

Mixwest is an Indianapolis marketing, design, and technology convention with speakers and multi-track sessions spread out over two days: July 31-August 1, 2014. I’m going to meet new people and see old friends.

Mixwest 2014

I first went to Mixwest in 2011 when it was called “Blog Indiana“. Half of all of the people I follow on Twitter I met at that conference and I continue to keep in touch with them today. It’s any not different than many other conferences you might find in New York, Vegas, Austin, or San Francisco, it’s just that it’s in the Midwest, which makes it closer to me. I’m from around here, but it’s close enough that if you really wanted to come you could drive it in a day from Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, or Kentucky.

The #Mixwest14 conference has a keynote speaker that opens each day, then there is breakout sessions, lunch, and an evening big speaker again. The first year they had Jay Baer, who I didn’t know of at the time, but have since realized is a pretty big deal in the social world. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, which is an hour south of Indianapolis.

You can learn more about the conference on Twitter @mixwest and can follow all of the speakers on the unofficial Mixwest 2014 Speaker Twitter list. If you’re looking to socialize with the tech entrepreneurs, social media pros, and freelance writers around Indianapolis, this is the place to do it.

2014 Trends in Technology

We’re just about 50% through the year and a few people have been releasing new reports on trends so I thought I’d highlight some things here:

  • Mobile – while the ability to make money from apps may be harder now, the use of mobile devices is only going up (1,2). The future of mobile is a more integrated society with more access to information formatted in new, useful ways.
  • Biofeedback/Quantified Self – from Fitbit to the new iPhone, sensors are becoming smaller and more ubiquitous. Accelerometers are now embedded in the processors themselves and the new iWatch may include advanced biosensor features.
  • Open Data – is the biggest example, but there are other examples, which you can find at New businesses are being formed around analyzing and using this newly accessible data.
  • API Access – not only do sites like have open data, but now sites like have API access to that data; and sites like IFTTT and Zapier make it easy for non-programmers to move data around in complex ways.
  • 3D Printing – CDW and Staples now sell 3D printers. Kids are designing and printing their own objects. If you want to ride the next PC-like wave, this is it. It’s hard to see now because it’s so new, but this is a new industry.

If this interests you, compare it to the trends I speculated about the 13 trends changing the world in 2013 to see how many of them stayed true:

  1. Crowdfunding – Kickstarter just raised funding for Reading Rainbow.
  2. Crowdsourcing – The Reddit hive mind is the best detective on the planet.
  3. Open Source – Firefox just took their codebase closed-source.
  4. Insourcing – Robotics is allowing manufacturing to be cheaper in America.
  5. Infilling – Inner cities are encouraging growth to raise tax income locally.
  6. Cloud Apps – Chromebooks have risen in popularity and use.
  7. Long Tail – HBO shows now available on Amazon Instant Video.
  8. 3D Printing – SEE above.
  9. Augmented Reality – Facebook just bought Oculus Rift.
  10. Electric Cars – California’s biggest car manufacturer is now Tesla*.
  11. Private Space Exploration – Virgin Galactic not yet having regular flights, but SpaceX* is.
  12. Mobile Computing – SEE above.
  13. Mobile Payment Processing – Square and Starbucks continue to innovate.

Out of the 13 trends, I’d say at least 10 are still going strong, but at least one has stagnated, replaced by Open Data and API Integrations.

*Both Elon Musk companies.