CompTIA ChannelCon 2014 CEO Keynote: Millennials

CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux outlined at ChannelCon why it's time for channel partners to accept the changing landscape of the IT workforce and embrace Millennials.

CJ Arlotta, Associate Editor

August 6, 2014

3 Min Read
CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux says IT shouldn39t be pushing millennials away
CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux says IT shouldn't be pushing millennials away.

CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux told ChannelCon 2014 attendees that it’s time to accept the changing landscape of the IT workforce — and stop running away from Generation Y.

Millennials aren’t going away, and it’s time that IT leaders embrace this generational shift, Thibodeaux said during his keynote. To help channel partners accept millennials, he outlined Generation Y’s characteristics and defined their motives.

Here’s a quick recap of what channel partners might have missed during this morning’s keynote session:

CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux (on how the IT industry must embrace millennials).

There’s a shift in technology, and Generation Y is leading the way. The focus of CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux’s keynote wasn’t on himself or his peers. It was on millennials — the next generation of IT professionals. It’s a group consisting of 80 million United States alone.

  • More opportunities for companies to make mistakes. Technology is moving at a rapid rate, but people are moving even faster, Thibodeaux pointed out. What does this mean? There’s more room for companies to make mistakes.

  • Democratization of IT. Geeks aren’t the only ones with IT knowledge. He said more and more people are understanding technology because they’re using it more often than they have in the past. Think: Less people are calling their neighbors over to fix a computer issue.

  • What makes millenials unique?. Thiboxdeaux said nearly 50 percent want to own their own business. That’s a top life priority; they want to be entrepreneurs. “This is a very entrepreneurial generation,” he said. “They’re realizing now they need to make their own way.”

  • Technology transforms businesses. “It’s no longer about the technology alone,” Thibodeaux explained. Millennials are now becoming both your employees and your customers; this generation will demand more.

  • Brand disposability. Millennials dispose of brands when they’re unhappy, he said. Make them happy by understanding their needs, wants and desires.

  • Brand loyalty. “This generation is much more likely to adopt more brands, rapidly,” Thibodeaux said. Brand loyalty is something you’ll have to earn and keep, because it can go away pretty quickly.

  • Millennials are coders. Generation Y was brought up coding, creating applications, he said. He expects this generation to apply that knowledge to cloud, mobile and M2M.

  • The future of IT training. IT training will and must be different in the future. How will CompTIA do this? “We’re going to have to create a new environment,” he said.

  • IT geeks have changed over time. Millennials are now focused on usability and user interface, and how these two can be brought together, Thibodeaux said.

  • Think you don’t need millennials? Think again. He said 75 percent of the workforce will be millenials by 2015, meaning 40 percent of the individuals in the room will be retiring in 10 years.

Futurethink CEO Lisa Bodell (on how to kill your company but not really).

The main takeaway behind Futurethink CEO Lisa Bodell’s speech: keep what works and discard the rest of it (in other words, kill your company).

  • Make room for things that work. Bodell said in order for companies to be successful, they need to being willing to let go of the things that don’t work to make space for the things that do.

  • Context holds us back. Innovation can be so disruptive that it hurts. The more disruptive an idea is, the less likely we’ll have a concept for it, she said. Sometimes customers don’t know what they want.

  • Change your mindset by being open to new things. Don’t say things are weird (right or wrong), Bodell pointed out. Say things are different and be willing to be open to alternative ways of doing things.

  • How to change your business environment. One way is to “kill stupid rules,” she said. And if you can’t kill them — for a legal reason or any other reason — modify it in some way.

Keep checking back for our coverage on the latest insights, rumors and updates coming out of CompTIA’s ChannelCon.

Follow CJ Arlotta on Twitter @cjarlotta and Google+ for further updates on the story above — or if you just want to say hello.

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About the Author(s)

CJ Arlotta

Associate Editor, Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton Media

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