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Millennial Mashup Speaker Q&A: Randi Zuckerberg

Ypulse is calling our Mashup event Millennials Reassessed* for many reasons. It’s time that we stop thinking about a generation that is 80 million individuals large as one general group that can be painted with the same stereotypes and characteristics, so we have segmented the Millennial population and are digging deeper into who they are. Millennials are aging up, so we are examining how they are tackling, redefining, and lifehacking adult milestones. And we are looking at how Millennials have been shaped and helped shape the events of the last 30 years, so we’re thrilled to be closing our event with a keynote from Randi Zuckerberg. Today, Randi gives us her views on her own generation as a Millennial who has been involved in some of the biggest movements and shifts they have experienced. She tells us how they might value unplugging more than anyone else, their views on The American Dream, and why Facebook and the iPhone have shaped them into who they are today. 

* Register for the Ypulse Mashup: Millennials Reassessed here

 Ypulse: What would you say is the biggest misconception when it comes to the Millennial generation?

Randi Zuckerberg: That they don’t value their relationships. So much has been written about how Millennials are solely focused on tech, but the reality is that technology provides them with even more ways to keep in touch and share with those they love. Millennials might even appreciate more deeply the value of unplugging and digital detox, since they have grown up with technology.

YP: This year at the Mashup we’re reassessing Millennials. What would you say is the thing about the generation that needs to be reassessed the most?

RZ: That Millenials are concerned about what this constant connectivity is doing to their lives, and aren’t going to be as easy a sell on many lifestyle changes/products as their parents were.

YP: What, if anything, has been the biggest change in Millennials since the recession?

RZ: For Millennials, industries that were once considered “safe” (banking, automotive, etc.) are starting to suffer. Which means that Millennials are excited to take risks, join start-ups, etc. since the safe alternatives aren’t a fallback anymore.

YP: What is the biggest difference between Gen X and Gen Y?

RZ: Generation Y doesn’t expect that they will move up in the income bracket from their parents; they’re a bit disillusioned with the social strata in place. They realize that the era of the “American Dream” is over and that hard work alone isn’t quite enough to rise through the ranks anymore

YP: Which generation would you say Millennials have the most in common with and why?

RZ: Millennials have a lot in common with the generation that grew up right after World War II and were learning to navigate a new economic structure and new social norms. Millennials are also struggling to get settled in new industries and negotiate acceptable behavior and social norms.

YP: If you could name the one thing that has been the biggest shaper of who Millennials are today, what would it be?

RZ: Facebook and the iPhone. We do things not just for personal satisfaction, but to be able to share them and earn personal clout and feel connected. Because of social media, relationships define us more than ever. Also, Millennials recognize the value of being an individual; they embrace their individuality and that’s leading to some fantastic results.

YP: How is working with a Millennial different from working with an Xer or a Boomer?

RZ: To successfully work with a Millennial, recognize that being online and being social doesn’t necessarily take away from their productivity, but can help inspire them and showcase who they are. Let their creativity soar and recognize that they may have an entirely new way of viewing the world, but that awesome ideas might come from that. Additionally, Millennials don’t respect suits and rules as much as intelligence, drive and work ethic.

YP: Are Millennials right or wrong to be optimistic about their futures?

RZ: Millennials are absolutely right to be optimistic about their futures. The past decade has just been the start of a revolution in how we live, work, play, and interact with one another. There are boundless opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and new exciting career opportunities. And with the help of technology, the notion of “balancing it all” becomes more viable every day.

YP: In your experiences with Millennials, what is the one thing that has taught you the most about the generation?

RZ: Millennials are emotionally engaged and intimately involved with everything they do. They are passionate and committed to what they do in and out of the work sphere, and not against those two worlds mixing.



Randi Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media. As an early executive at Facebook, Randi created and ran the social media pioneer’s marketing programs. She led the company’s U.S. election and international politics strategy and created Facebook’s live streaming video capability during the 2008 Presidential Inauguration. Randi was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011 for her innovative coverage of the 2010 mid-term elections that integrated online and TV coverage in unique formats.

Since starting Zuckerberg Media, Randi has produced shows and digital experiences for BeachMint, the Clinton Global Initiative, Cirque du Soleil, and the United Nations — and most recently, Randi signed on as executive producer of a new show for Bravo, titled “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley.”