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Part 1: gen e > e isn't x - Pg. 10

10 Chapter 4. e isn't x Crude attempts have been made to capture gen e in a neat demographical box. Try to package our bagel queen as a sociological or demographical grouping and you end up with a group of one. Celebration is more appropriate than categorization. That doesn't stop people trying. Gen e have been defined, for example, as those born between 1965 and 1977. [] This overlaps with Generation X, named after Douglas Coupland's 1991 novel. Gener- ation X was always a loose term to describe a fragmented group. Gen Xers were portrayed as shiftless and unambitious people. The lost generation, slackers. More apathetic than previous gen- erations, nihilistic even, the stereotypical Gen Xer was addicted to MTV, lacked drive or a basic work ethic and drifted from one McJob to the next. This made a good story and fitted in with the nihilistic and short-lived grunge movement in music. However, it was only partly true. One good album does not make for lasting impact. The reality is that Generation X was never a homogeneous group. It was a neat label for social change. Demo- graphically speaking, gen e is largely a subset of Gen X, which now extends to Generation Y (born between 1979 and 1994 -- in the US alone this amounts to some 60 million people; three times as many as there are in Gen X). [] We are not much interested in demographics and nor are venture capitalists: a good business idea is a good business idea; a smart entrepreneur is a smart entrepreneur regardless of their age, social status, or shoe size. In reality, gen e is much more about new patterns of thinking than it is a hard and fast demographic grouping. Typically in their late twenties to mid-thirties, gen e are not distin- guished by their date of birth, but by their attitude. Gen e is inclusive. There are 50-year-olds with gen e attitude, just as there are 20-year-old dinosaurs. Clearly there are overlaps between different generational groupings. But people are not lumpen masses, easily contained or constrained by demographic or any other pigeonholing. Bruce Tulgan wrote the influential book Managing Generation X . In it he tried to distil the work ethic of his gener- ation. Tulgan himself is pure gen e; he left Wall Street in 1994 to start Rainmaker Thinking, a firm which researches the working lives of Gen Xers. Some, though not all, of his conclusions ring true for gen e. In Work This Way , he describes the "post jobs era". [] "It's all over," he says. "All of it. Not just job security. Jobs are all over. We have entered the post jobs era and there's no turning back." Jay A. Conger, a former visiting professor at Harvard Business School and INSEAD, and now based at the University of Southern California, has carried out extensive interviews with Generation X managers, and confirms a significant shift in attitudes. "In a nutshell they distrust hierarchy," he says. "They prefer more informal arrangements. They prefer to judge -- and be judged -- on merit rather than on status. They are also far less loyal to their companies." Again, we believe this is generally true of gen e. While the overlaps between e and X are many and varied, differences also abound. They are divided by more than the rest of the alphabet. Gen X were portrayed as apathetic; but gen e are prepared to work long hours to get a business off the ground. They are driven -- sometimes obsessively. e stands for entrepreneurial, but it's also for energy -- and much more. Gen e are an increasingly powerful group in the business world. Many are in the vanguard of the new economy, either running