Did Nostradamus Predict the iPad and Silicon Valley?

Van Morrison: the new Nostradamus for hip techies

The cool thing about the predictions of Nostradamus (1503-1566) is that you can pretty much retrofit any outcome into the sage’s pronouncements. Lately it seems we have seen a resurgence of interest in the prescient old gent – 400 hundred years is plenty of time for pundits and seers to figure out just what he meant; plus, he’s off the hook for any explaining.

NostradamusWhether it’s forecasting wars, medical breakthroughs, space travel or whatever, the trick is to wait until after the event before claiming to find the right answer. We’ve all had bosses like that.

Not to be outdone, we channeled – well, Googled – our inner Nostradamus and uncovered a breakthrough reference to Silicon Valley. No, really. Honest.

Century II, Quatrain 89 below is obviously about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates; line #4 may apply to IBM – or not, depending on their attorneys’ level of indignation.

  • One day the two great masters will be friends,
  • Their great power will be seen increased:            
  • The new land will be at its high peak,                  
  • To the bloody one the number recounted.

Nostradamus was not alone in his insights about future life in The Valley. Boomer Van Morrison nailed it in 1971 with Wild Night Is Calling “… all the girls walk by, dressed up for each other.”

The clairvoyant meaning is clear: in the self-centered Millennial techie ecosystem, how the in-crowd appears to one another is all that matters.

Meanwhile, billions of dollars go uncontested in the 50+ consumer space; focused on innovators, younger marketers forget that the real money is made in the early and late majority segment.

Uncontested $Billions … that’s billions with a “B”

Washington Post columnist Vivek Wadhwa has written about the value of older entrepreneurs, and consultant Jon Nathanson has opined in Slate on Boomers as targets for healthcare start-ups. However, few marketers realize the 50+ space is already a huge source of revenue for everyday tech products.

iPad_Tablet sales among 50 plus 2012_2015For instance, consider the 36 million PC/iPad tablets that Boomers, older Gen Xers and members of the Silent Generation bought in 2012 thru 2014. And the 15 or so million they are on track to buy in 2015, about one-third of total sales according to the Pew Research Center 

Not only do Boomers buy a huge number of tablets, but we also like smartphones. A lot as it turns out.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers study (2014) found users age 50-plus were twice as likely to intentionally click on a smartphone mobile ad as were MillennialsMobile ad clicks. So why are Boomers so undervalued by technology advertisers?

Well, on conformist, self-centered Madison Avenue openly targeting the 50+ market is (yuk) embarrassing. Van Morrison said it best:

… all the girls walk by, dressed up for each other …

Let your fingers do the walking: Boomers respond to creativity

The 20th century was a mixed blessing in terms of advertising.

On the one hand, it suffered from an old philosophy that, supposedly, American consumer adaptability dims at age 50, after which we are not worth targeting by mainstream brands.

On the other hand, the industry created great and durable work. In 1999, awash in nostalgia for the departing millennium, Advertising Age listed its top 15 slogans of the 20th century; coming in at #12 was the Yellow Pages – Let Your Fingers Do The Walking.

Well, “old” fingers are still walking up a storm … on their smartphone and tablet keyboards.

Manufacturers responsible for Silicon Valley’s vast digital treasure trove would do well to look beyond the soon-to-be saturated 18-49 demo. Brands that want to steal market share from less savvy competitors should remember all those truckloads of PC/iPad tablets that drift their way, unsolicited, from Boomers, the Silent Generation and, starting this year, older Gen Xers.

Taken together, these are the people who own over 70% of U.S. household net worth and represent the world’s 3rd largest economy – a larger, affluent market than any EU nation and far bigger than Canada and Australia combined.

Fortunately, some disruptive tech company and Madison Avenue Millennials are breaking with old-think. We invite them to let their fingers do the walking to VizioNation for bigger profits.

Opportunity Yellow Pages

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