The Next Generation: Social Media Can’t Exist Without Storage

Social media is all the rage these days; those in generations after me cannot envision life without it – even some in my generation have reached that point. What’s astounding to me is how much those who use these evolving technologies on a daily basis take the infrastructure behind it for granted. I also keep reminding myself that this generation growing up with information at their fingertips is tomorrow’s business leaders – and tomorrow’s NetApp customers.


It’s Hard to Believe How Quickly Technology Has Advanced


I teach Karate to all ages, most are between 7-25.  They are expert users of Social Media and portable devices (email, texting, Instant Message, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Tumblr, Google, iPhones, iPads). Their world is Social Media and immediate access to information.  The thought of life without these necessities (yes, necessities) is horrifying for them to imagine. Talks about my life as a kid brought on comments such as:

  • Mail letters to friends and wait HOW LONG before you heard back from them?  I get upset when our internet doesn’t work – but that doesn’t go on for days.  (“Yes, I prefer email too”).  All we have to do is poke them, doesn’t take long. 
  • How did you remember phone numbers?  You must not have had many friends or you must have a very good memory.  (“I do have a good memory - had seven good friends; we all lived in the same neighborhood”).    BORING - I have 100’s of friends and they are all over the world.  (“Yes, and all you have to do is poke them”).  We poke all the time.
  • How did you ever get anywhere without a GPS?  (“I used a map”)  That’s not fun.
  • Go to the library?  I look up things on the internet, library hours don’t work for me.  (“My library was not open 24x7 either, it had fixed hours and sometimes they didn’t have the book I needed”).  WOW, this is why your generation has invented all this neat stuff because you didn’t have anything when you were a kid.


What Does This Mean for the Next Generation of NetApp Customers?


This generation of technology super-users has a unique understanding of what technology can do to improve life, which presents a unique opportunity for NetApp (and our competitors) in the coming years. While today they may take for granted the infrastructure behind the technologies they rely so heavily on, tomorrow’s business leaders are looking for how technology can spark the next major scientific, health, or communications breakthrough.


And storage is a key part of that; not the storage systems of yesterday or even today, but the way in which data management services like the solutions NetApp provides can help break new ground and lead to the next “social media revolution” – whatever that may entail!


And I’m wasting no time demonstrating that to my karate students. I explain to them that without an excellent storage partner in their life (and their parent’s lives) the world as they know it would be very different. Using Martial Arts analogies, I tell them about NetApp, the place where I work.  NetApp does for data what Martial Arts does for them: gives you confidence, security, protection, and makes you agile, resilient, flexible, fast.  NetApp protects your data, protects your way of life. But more important, NetApp enables the next generation of innovators to build on today’s technologies and develop tomorrow’s revolutions.


I have pointed high school and middle school students to @TomMendozaTalks on Twitter because I believe they can benefit from the messages he delivers about NetApp’s corporate culture.  At first I thought maybe this isn’t quite the audience Tom wants. However, their way of life contributes to the demand/need for storage – they are our customers, indirect now but direct in the future.


When they enter the business world, they will bring their communication skills and technology understandings and expectations with them.  Social Media used to be a radio, TV, newspaper, phone. The list has grown, but the purpose is still the same – communication.  But even as the channels change, the underlying infrastructure needed to keep it all going remains the same, though the bandwidth demands continue to explode.


We have a saying in Martial Arts, “to deliver a message to your opponent, you need to throw more than one technique.”  To be a great communicator and reach customers you need to use more than one technique. Today, that’s social media. And with NetApp and other infrastructure technologies to support innovation, I can only dream about what that may be tomorrow.


A Funny:  When I asked kids ‘What is a Typewriter’  --- Answer – someone who writes about different types of things – mostly about stereotyping people, which is not good and that’s why you never hear about typewriters anymore, because they have been banned.


Evelyn, I enjoyed reading your blog. I have 2 small kids and it is amazing how intuitive they are.  They are super iPad/ iPhone users and have shown me a thing or two. I should take the conversation  further on how they are able to get apps and download songs on itunes .

That's fantastic--your son's  Academy. I passed info on to grandson (14) in Spokane. He went to computer camp at Stanford this summer and is into making games(and money)  on his website.


Good analogy for those who do not understand storage and how it will continue to play a vital role in our lives.