Gen X 'Saves the World'

Last Updated Jun 23, 2008 6:44 AM EDT

Another note on Generation X, this time more positive. They may be the bashful 'dark-horse' generation between the limelight-hogging Boomers and Millenials, but X-ers are behind some of the most radical social media businesses in the world.

This is the upshot of the fantastically named book, 'X Saves the World', by Jeff Gordinier, reviewed on Wikinomics by Naumi Haque.
Gordinier on YouTube gives a flavour of the book. In brief:

In their quiet, questioning way, Gen X-ers are changing the way the world does business, especially online through Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist -- "those companies have altered the face of global media," says Gordinier, not without justification.

Gen X-ers, rebelling against the 'macro' approach of the Boomer, create businesses with a "niche quality, in-betweener, middle-child sensibility", says Gordinier, contrasting Google's low-key founders with Apple's mythologised Boomer boss.

They like to influence their immediate sphere, radiating out from there: Architects for Humanity is a perfect example of the X-er's "indie philanthropy".

Gordinier deems the X-er "anti-collective" and not especially motivated by money. Yet the business examples he cites are often both extremely rich (Brin and Page of Google, for example) and creators of sprawling online collectives.

Whether X-ers meant to become captains of industry or not, many have. Now in charge of some of the world's biggest businesses, they'll have to tap into Millenials' sensibilities as employees and customers.

That's going to be tough if all X-ers share Gordinier's view of the next generation -- "in it for the money" and "completely greedy". Not a great start to a fruitful working relationship.