Editor's Letter: The Age of Learning

It’s painful to watch my Dad use the internet. The simplest tasks require an endless reservoir of patience. Typing emails can be measured with a sand timer. So he must be like the rest of Baby Boomers who are confounded by technology like those “smart phones” and the Twitter.

Actually, he’s the exception rather than the rule. Baby Boomers aren’t far behind Millenials and Gen Xers when it comes to tech literacy. Baby Boomers on average spend 19 hours a week online. Over 70% use social media daily. A Pew Report found that Boomers lagged just a few percentage points behind their younger counterparts in ownership of cell phones, computers and tablets.

My point is that generational stereotypes are easy to fall back on, but they’re not often true. It’s something I think we prove over and over again in this issue, our Back-to-School issue. Our slate of articles has a heavy focus on how different generations evolve and succeed in this industry, starting from college all the way up to the Silent Generation. Here’s what we have in store – and how each article upends the age assumptions we make.

The Modern Salesperson: One of the platitudes repeated ad nausea is that the “old way of selling is dead.” So what does that mean? As we found, the new breed of sales reps still adhere to timeless sales fundamentals that have no expiration date. But they also embrace the digital technologies that define how we communicate with each other.

Generation to Generation: How does a 25-year-old account executive compare to someone five decades her senior? To find out, we profiled six thriving reps, each in a different age bracket. Even more interesting, we asked them what is true about their generation – and what is a myth.

Business School: Most people think of college as a debauched four-year vacation, but a number of go-getters turned their collegiate ventures into thriving industry businesses. We talked to these successful entrepreneurs to find out the lessons they learned from their earliest days.

“Generational stereotypes are easy to fall back on, but they’re not often true – something we prove over and over in this issue.”

Class is in Session: Screen printing has a reputation for being the choice of hobbyists and tinkerers. But for the industry to continue thriving, today’s students need to be engaged. Through college curriculums, academic institutions around the country are doing their part to instill passion and craftsmanship for the art of printing. We visited Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina to get an up-close view.

I believe it’s true that no matter your age, there is always an opportunity to learn. ASI espouses that with its emphasis on continuing education (both online and at our shows), and we try to do the same in Wearables. You never really know it all, and as soon as you think you do, something new comes along and changes the whole paradigm. I hope that humbleness propels you to increased knowledge and greater success. And I hope it will help my Dad learn to send an email in under five minutes.

Thanks for reading,

What’s In My Closet?

Each issue, we ask our readers a simple question: What is your favorite branded apparel item in your closet? Send in a photo of you and your favorite garment, and tell us in a paragraph why you love it. We run one submission each issue, and that lucky winner receives a $25 Visa Gift Card. This issue, our submission comes from Dana Zezzo, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Jetline (asi/63344): “My favorite branded garment has to be my collection of Oakley polos from S&S Activewear (asi/84358). They have a modern look, come in a bunch of hip colors, and are a great fit. Their moisture-wicking fabric is great for travel, and with my schedule that is key!”