Intel throws a Gen Y curve at its Windows 8 tablet event

September 28, 2012

If you’re Intel, you bring in self-described Gen Y expert Lauren Berger to warm up the crowd.

In addition to frequent speaking engagements, Bergen runs a site devoted to helping companies find interns and potential interns find the right companies they want to work at. "All work and no pay," she joked.

As she explained all this, the crowd of skeptical journalists, analysts and others grew uneasy, despite Berger’s bountiful enthusiasm for the topic, wondering what this all had to do with Windows 8 tablets.

Well, here’s the thing. Companies hiring 20-something Gen Y’ers often don’t get what these folks expect from their employer.

In these troubled economic times you might think it doesn’t or shouldn’t matter what anyone new to workforce “expects” — someone hired you, be happy. But the fact is companies do still compete for talent and skills, and attracting and keeping top grade staff is important.

According to Berger, Gen Y’ers merely want “everything” in terms of technology.

“We’ve never known a world without technology, but we’re also fickle,” said Berger. “We expect technology to grow and move ahead as we evolve.”

“Technology is not part of our life, it is our life,” she added.

To that end, Berger says outfitting a new knowledge worker with just a notebook PC is a non-starter.  This is the generation used to always having a cellphone and, increasingly, a tablet as well among other digital devices. 

Berger uses herself as an example. From the time she wakes up at 5:30 a.m. from the alarm on her smartphone, to a short time later when she’s sitting on her couch, tablet in hand, watching TV and tweeting about anything she finds interesting. By 6:30 a.m. she’s emailing and blogging, getting ready for conference calls and meetings via Skype.

And so it goes.

Here’s where Windows 8 comes in

Bergen wasn’t hired by Intel to tout the iPad, so it’s no surprise she gave a plug to her sponsor for having the good sense to have her speak.

“Intel has me speaking here so maybe they’re on to something, thinking about Gen Y and our needs,” she said. “It feels good to have a brand as big as Intel say it wants to hear what you want, that it’s interested.” 

Berger expressed enthusiasm for the long battery life of Windows 8 tablets and apps like Music Maker Jam as something Gen Y’ers would find appealing.

Companies are of course more likely to buy Windows 8 tablets based on their ability to run Windows software as well as security and manageability features they may find superior to the iPad.

What I found most telling was Berger giving Intel credit for asking what Gen Y wants.

That’s all well and good, but may also help explain why Windows tablets today are barely on the marketshare map versus the iPad.

Steve Jobs didn’t ask Gen Y or any other “Gen” what they wanted. He and his team stayed ahead of the curve by figuring out what people didn’t even know they wanted. 


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