The “Born” Legacy

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Legacy: denoting or relating to software or hardware that has been superseded but is difficult to replace because of its wide use.

There’s been plenty of chatter recently about WPP CEO Mark Read’s ill-fated comments that his company was fortunate to have employees with an average age of less than 30 who did not “hark back to the 1980s”, (he subsequently apologised).

Vendors are also fobbed off on a daily basis that Client X can’t look at anything new as they are focusing on a replatforming to strip out and replace legacy platforms.

Or there’s the alternative, where folk seem to want to keep their heads below the parapet, stick with substandard solutions and refuse to embrace new and evolving solutions. Because it’s safe.

Well let me posit that this behaviour is Legacy as it can be just as fairly applied to mindsets as well. (“We’ve always done it this way…..”, “I’ve always used this software solution….”, “We always use the Big Four”…. ). And it doesn’t matter if you are 25 or 65 – if your mindset is locked into a certain way of doing things or you have become too comfortable with the platforms you grew up with, then you are Legacy.

Legacy implies inflexible and not able to be updated.

So does this also mean that old is shite? Out of date, irrelevant and analogue. In a world where things need to be surfaced, socialised or laddered up (pass me a bucket please)?

Just hold your horses….

There is a difference between Legacy and Experience. Experience does not need to be inflexible. Experience means that you’ve lived through change and adapted as needed. Experience means learning and evolving and questioning the status quo.

At greyhairworks, we believe that advancing age (some of us are now eligible for Saga membership) is a huge advantage. Because we have seen a lot of this stuff before, we’ve embraced Darwinism. Because many new things are just reworked old things in new wrappers or using new channels. Sure, new models are emerging (D2C, sharing economy, Uberisation etc) but traditional business values and discipline must not be jettisoned in the headlong rush into the new, just to be the first. That’s why you should engage with folk who have the “chops” to both separate the wheat from the chaff (Warning: old person expression alert) and see through the inevitable marketing bullshit.

Having been around the block delivers older folk like us a huge competitive advantage. Stuff typically happens in cycles (recessions, channels, business models). We’re old enough to have seen a lot of these models before, experienced enough to have lived though and implement them, clear-headed enough to remember the pitfalls and generous enough to want to share these with others so they don’t have to endure the same crap we did.

So, next time you decide to act “Legacy” in your approach, take a moment to consider whether it would be advisable to call in some folk with grey hair who are still capable of knowing their shit from Shinola (Warning: old person expression alert again) who can help, advise and share their experiences without being seduced by shininess like incontinent puppies.

Now where did I put my spectacles again?