What Matters Most To Millennials

Yesterday, during a meeting meant to hammer out our “message” for promoting a large fundraiser, the question came up: what really matters the most to Millennials?

M1The answer we settled on turned out to be hiding in plain sight: Time, and the anxiety of choosing how best to use it.

How did we settle on “time”?

We started by looking at a habit commonly ascribed to Millennials, namely their reliance on smartphones, along with their increasingly if still presumed bias for images in lieu of words.***

Why would Millennials have either preference, and especially that bias towards imagery? Yet another answer hiding in plain sight: if pictures are worth a thousand words — and they are — then those images are powerful timesavers. As are the smartphones themselves.

What else drives Millennials? Yet another answer there for us to see, if only we looked at it: their quest for quality.


The only proof positive for Millennials that they have wisely chosen how to use their time is their sensing, at the end of a given task, that they have uncovered quality.

For sure, each Millennial gets to define his or her own version of what “quality” is. One may like vanilla ice cream, another chocolate, and still another mango gelato. This said, all three will feel equally wonderful having truly enjoyed what they have taken the time to choose. Think about it: why else would speed-dating have such appeal to such time-conscious people?

The real truth in those facts, however, is not the ice cream or gelato, or a smile seen across the table within the first 10 seconds of meeting someone else. For sure, an icy cold tasty treat on a very warm day may have thrilled each one. Same for that smile.

But just below that surface fact is the more compelling reality that all of these people feels terrific for having used their time in a way that ended up thrilling them.

Let’s repeat that thought, only slightly differently: all of these Millennials come away from an experience thrilled that they wisely traded their time (and perhaps a bit of their money) for quality.

TakeChancesAh, but we can replace money, can’t we! But we can never replace time. Never.

I want to know that I have used my time wisely. So do you. I absolutely loathe finding out that I haven’t. So do you.

And, as I think about all this, I ask myself: am I any different than Millennials?

So should you.

It makes no difference how old or young we are. The fact is that every last one of us craves proof positive that we have used our time wisely.

That proof positive is in hand only when we believe we actually have come upon the quality we so earnestly want, and for which we give away a bit of our time … never to get it back.

Quite a gamble, isn’t it! For Millennials, and for the rest of us, too.

*** See this VERY interesting August 3, 2015 New York Times article for more information on Millennials’ preference for images.