Economics 101: Pricing Matters.

So if older workers are smarter than younger workers, does that mean that we don’t care about their extra experience or that we don’t care enough to pay for it?

Speaking as an “old guy”, I have a personal stake in the answer to this question. There are things about technology that I know which my younger brethren don’t. And while my dated programming skills and understanding of what happens at a command line prompt may not matter any more the decades I’ve spent watching how the choices we make in technology effect the business impact of those choices matter very much. Facebook is a prime example; It does everything, but it’s a nightmare to “get”.

Listen up: the kids at Facebook have done an amazing job building something huge, and I need to be clear: I’m way beyond impressed. And if anyone thinks they’re going to topple Facebook they’re fools. But there’s room—even need for—a business change. Facebook’s steadfast insistence on growth is by definition a model that can’t be sustained; where will they go next? And is there any way in the world that Zuckerberg et.al. can be the people to pull it off?

I’m pretty sure I know what’s next. As I’ve mentioned before I’m part of a team that’s about to launch the next wave in social networking. And seriously; if I wasn’t as old as I am I might have thought of it, but I couldn’t execute it. But this leaves the issue of cost: in constructing the Facelift of social networking I’m going to have to either pay for older, experienced talent, or accept the narrower, simpler understanding of younger help.

Last week I came across a story about this issue: most businesses would rather churn through younger, cheaper labor than pay for expertise. And it seems that can be a smart choice; after a relatively short period the younger help get up to speed on all the things that most of then were ever going to be good for, anyway.

But what if you can hire older workers at a price closer to what the younger guys cost? Is a small(er) premium worth acquiring the extra expertise?

Except in the cases where existing knowledge gets in the way (!!!) the answer is yes. The question is creating a tenable balance between the expertise and cost issues. And that’s REAL business change.

I’m stopping there; this subject could be a book—or two. If you want to know more you’re going to have to ask. Drop Me a Line, and we can talk.

The Facelift of Social Networking. I think I like the sound of that.

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