May 23, 2007, SDF Teen Tech 1: Media

SDForum copy.jpgLouie David face.jpgLiu Shirley face.jpgChinn Paul face.jpg

On Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at the Hewlett-Packard Auditorium in Palo Alto, SDForum presented “Next Generation Tech: Teens Plugged In!” There should be a sign that says, “You must be this tall to start a company.” This is part one of a series on teens and technology.

The teens at this event build technology and make money. It was a science fair with venture capital, where you could literally invest in the future.

Most American teens spend about 200 billion dollars on technology. What do they spend it on? Every teen wants or has a cell phone, an iPod, and a personal computer. They like services that are free. They are more likely to buy if they have a job. The spending limit on a gadget is about $300. No one uses a land line telephone connection unless it is for a toll free call to technical support. They prefer typing full keyboards to awkward text messaging. The fewer hoops they have to go through the more likely they are to use a product or service.

Most of all, they do not like being targeted or treated like exotic animals in a zoo. Teens today are sophisticated as any older demographic and some ways more so. They want a future they can live in. They want energy efficient cars with fully featured entertainment and navigation systems. If they can’t drive, they want European-style train systems so they can spend transit time communicating with their friends or working. They want to be more socially responsible than previous generations.

The dangers to youth online are seen as overblown. Most kids exercise good judgment. MySpace is no longer hot. Facebook is in. They are learning the limits of revealing their private lives online, particularly if they want a job.

Besides me there was the usual media coverage from Shirley Liu, SF Chronicle’s Paul Chinn and ABC KGO’s David Louie.

Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved.