Old Dogs, New Tricks: Why Entrepreneurs of All Ages Have Something to Learn

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A colleague recently joked about “teaching old dogs new tricks” and it really got me thinking. It’s one of those expressions about human nature from which none of us is immune. In fact, as I’ve gotten older, the pace of learning has speeded up rather than slowed down.

I’ve been around long enough not only to observe and but to personally adapt to new technologies unimaginable in my youth. Compared to Millennials and Gen-Xers, we Baby Boomers are light years ahead when it comes to the sheer quantity of what we’ve learned and how we’ve adapted. While this post is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I also genuinely hope to prepare younger generations for their future in which they will have to adjust, adapt, and acclimate in order to “keep up” with their successors.

New Tricks Become Old Tricks

There are many "technologies" that were innovations in their day but no longer exist in the market: slide rulers, adding machines, typewriters, AM-only radios and televisions with rotary dials accessing the few major networks.

As a teen with a part-time cashier job, I actually had to use basic math skills to provide correct change to customers. As the new devices were developed, a new dimension of education itself was ushered in as well. That is to say, the group that wanted these advancements had to pay the price of learning to use them. We were, after all, the "Star Wars"/"Star Trek" generation that imagined and wondered, and ushered in an atmosphere of opportunity bequeathed to today’s youth.

New Dogs Become Old Dogs

I’m all for giving Gen-Xers and even Millennials their due. They have produced many of today’s commonly used tools (smartphones, tablets, not to mention Google, Twitter and Facebook) that have helped facilitate better communication and collaboration. Can you imagine living and working without email, texting or video-conferencing? I can’t. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of innovations such as robotics. In the relay of life, they’ve taken the baton and gone farther, faster than I ever could have imagined. That said, someday, they will be the proverbial "old dogs" and will be the generation learning to use technologies they can’t currently imagine.

Entrepreneurs are Learners

It’s said that success stands on the shoulders of those before them. Old dogs, young dogs, we all have something to learn—and something to teach. Whether it’s adapting to a new technology developed by a younger generation or adopting a time-tested principle modeled by an older generation, true entrepreneurship knows no age. I think that is the most important lesson of all.

Mike Muhney in a recognized expert in the field of relationship management. He is the co-founder and co-inventor of ACT!, the software product that created the entire Contact Management software category and is acknowledged as the catalyst that started the entire CRM (Customer Relationship Management) industry. Today, he is the CEO and co-founder of VIPorbit Software, creator of the Mobile Relationship Management category for users of smartphones and tablets, beginning with the iPhone and iPad. VIPorbit provides full-featured, affordable solutions to today’s mobile device user. VIPorbit can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store or www.viporbit.com.

Mike Muhney, co-inventor of ACT!, is now the co-founder of VIPorbit, creators of mobile relationship manager apps for iPhone & iPad. www.viporbit.com

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