皇冠国际a塔，文 | 邵恒
来源 | 得到app
hello members of the dedao community, welcome to shao heng headlines.
this is our first ever english podcast, and i am your host shao heng.
today’s special guest is kevin lee, who is an expert in chinese youth culture, and marketing strategies. kevin has an impressive track record working with major global companies in china. he has been a strategic consultant to c-level executives at nike, lululemon, loreal, bmw, p&g, to name a few.
we received many questions from you, and today we will focus on understanding the generations born after the year 1990, including gen z.
kevin老师好，我是一个心理咨询师。 我在咨询中也面对过很多90后、00后，也接触过很多80及之前的群体。 我的感觉和文中一样，80及以前的人，多少都有一些共同的时代印记，但90后，就非常奇怪了，我目前没有找出“多样多变”以外的特征。 他们有的非常传统， 比一些70后还传统，有的非常前卫。 我想请教的是，除了“互联网原住民”这个客观事实，以及“多样多变”这样模糊的定义外，他们身上有没有什么共同时代特征呢？ kevin, i’m a psychologist and provide services for people across different generations. i agree that those born before the 1980s seem to share certain cultural icons (the type that everyone knows). but those born after the 1990s don’t seem to have these common cultural icons. the only words i can think of to describe them are “diverse” and “fluid”. some of them are very traditional, some are “avant-garde”. i wonder, is there any common trait that this generation has?
yangluo, i think you have identified exactly what is common about them. what is common is that they are fluid. at youthology, we say “flowing”. and i would first explain why this generation seems to be so diverse and seems to be flowing. what this generation sees is that there is both disruptive opportunity and risk. you know we hear a lot of young people today talking about how things like rising technology, you know, for example, social media, e-commence,big data, ai. these things don’t even exist 5 years ago. that means opportunities are everywhere but it also means that it’s hard to predict where these opportunities would emerge.
on the other hand, this generation can see the world has tension today and the landscape is full of a lot of anxiety. we have things like terrorism and political tension, economic downturns, bubble rise & pop unicorns that rise and fail. young people are realizing that we live in a risky society.
whether we look at risk or whether we look at opportunity, the reality is that everything is changing all the time. so when you ask young person and we ask people all the time where do you see yourself next year or 5 years from now or 10 years from now, we are all given the same answer, which is “i don’t know”. gene-z find it very difficult to tell you what your future will look like and it looks very hard for them to plan it and to make sense of it.
for example, we hear a lot of g-z talking about a new mid-life crisis, we hear stories today even about how for example, your 35-year-olds are being fired by companies because they show less creativity or less energy than maybe some the younger generations. so even though at the age of 35 they still have a long way of career, but they are already feeling that they have zero career stability.
we hear even more extreme stories, for example, younger people are now even talking about even quarter life crisis. young people are talking about how they are afraid of going to do medical check-ups, doing physicals. because they are afraid of what they are going find. young people are talking about:
1. they don’t have the money to do physical check-up.
2. they don’t want to know if there is anything wrong because that would cost more money. and they don’t have money to afford that as well.
we also have another story. young people at very early age start talking about maybe i should have a “living will”. maybe i should prepare for in case i die, and what should happen with my assets. and you would never have heard this in previous generations.
but this generation, because they are realizing that they are living in a risky society and things always changes around them, they are feeling so anxious about their life. so they look for ways to cope with and have protection to figure out how to live.
when everything is uncertain, the flowing is the answer. the only thing you might know is about yourself. the only thing you might depend on is what you create.
youthology came out with a book last year, and we actually call this generation "nomads", because "nomads" are people that you know are standing on the great plains, the place that doesn’t have any routes, you can go to any direction, and that’s actually how this generation feels today.
they feel like the world around them doesn’t have any routes. there is no set path that they can and should go on. the world is constantly changing is all up to them to make the path and set the direction for themselves. and so part of it is about that how do i create this journey? how do i flow to the direction and flow to the ways that make sense for me?
there is actually a famous saying by peter drucker, he says it for business. he says, “the best way to predict your future is to create it.” but in reality, it is not just for business today. for individuals of the younger generation, they do exactly the same thing.
for example, you know, actually young people are being much more proactive in leaving their jobs. we have heard people talking about “minternship” or being a mid-term-intern. a lot of young people are leaving their jobs, they are retooling, they are changing their skill sets. for example, you might be a coffee barrister. at 30 years old, the barrister decided to study to become a lawyer.
that is really unheard of in previous generations. but in this generation, people are constantly thinking about different careers or directions, because there are constantly new opportunities in life.
so when we talking about flowing, we are really talking about evolving.
当代青年人没有经历物质匮乏的时代，他们追求的核心点是什么？精神层面的满足，通过什么来完成？ the current generation of young people never experienced any periods of scarcity. what goals are they going after? what do they do to satisfy their desire for spiritual growth?
i think the best way to describe what this generation is desiring, is authenticity. and in my previous question i have talked about how this generations is wanting to flow. if i am going to make my own way in the world, if there are no paths in front of me, the core question then becomes do i know who i am?
other generations might think it’s easy to know who you are. but it’s actually harder than it looks. gen z are equally aware of how greatly influenced they are by the world around them. they know that the world is extremely gamified. for example, a lot of young people talked about the algorithms used by alibaba or jd. so young people are wondering are they recommending what i want, or is it just the algorithm giving me the desires?
and we see in last year kuaishou has risen in popularity, why? i heard a lot of young people saying that they feel like they are in this “information cocoon”. for example douyin gives them exactly what they have seen before. you start look at dog videos, a thousand dog videos come up to keep you watching. but a lot of people today are saying they really appreciate kuaishou because the kuaishou algorithms are actually more equalized to show more grassroot creators, more diverse content.
it is crazy that how this generation chooses platforms based on algorithms - that level of sophistication is something that previous generations never had before. they know different algorithm gives them different things, and they are gonna search which algorithm will give them the best advantage e to explore themselves better.
the other part to authenticity of finding yourself and knowing yourself is about creation. one of the most powerful and effective ways of knowing yourself is creation. and today it is so easy for everyone to create, on our smartphones, our ipads and social media. so young people are actively doing this.
this year we start to see a lot of young people who leave the jobs in the big cities and go back to their hometowns, even their villages, because they start to realize their village heritage is also an opportunity for them.
we saw a young person from tencent, who was working at their gaming division, left his job and became a farmer. and actually today he does a live streaming on kuaishou and has a business selling fruits. we have another story of another friend, who went back to a village in shannxi. this person has created three social media companies. they do food videos on douyin and they have 6 million followers.
and all of sudden, young people are saying ah yeah, everything about me, including my hometown, including where i come from could possibly be my opportunities to create.
3. jourdan泆难平、小清澈、谷鸿 、damon：
为什么年轻人会对漫画、二次元、球鞋、手办等等文化那么着迷？甚至有些人不惜花重金或者贷款购买相关的产品？ 这些偏好和消费习惯，我们如何理解？ jourdan, xiao qingche, gu ming and damon: if i may summarize their questions, they are asking why the younger generation would be so passionate about things like manga, acgn, sports shoes and garage kit? they spend an exorbitant amount of money on these products, sometimes even borrowing to pay for it. how do we interpret these preferences and consumption habits?
thank you all for your questions. you spotted some real behaviors of this generation that really set them apart: they are really into what they into. and they are really willing to spend money on it.
for me to explain it , it links easily into what i have previously described: this generations is exploring themselves and they want to know themselves. one of the key ways for them to do that is to put themselves in to a diversity of experiences, a diversity of subject matters. so that why you see this generation go deep into many many cultures and interests and hobbies.
g-z is really the first digital native. so for them the online world is just as real as the offline world. but the great thing is that in the online world actually you can be different personalities, different identities all at the same time. and they are not different personalities- they are just different sides of one personality. so the online world gives the young person a huge diversity of play spaces to explore different facets of themselves.
you know for example, one of the most popular places you can find young people’s content entertainment today is content from bilibili. bilibili starts off being for hardcore acgn, for enemy comes from games and novels today of course it has been expanded a much broader platform for a lot of mass entertainment and media. the great thing is that yes you can still get your manga, your entertainment there, but what you find when you get into bilibili are all of this diversity of sub-culture and groups of what they are doing. and you can actually dive into them and explore them for steps and meet people in those cultures and of course you can explore who you are in.
you know they have a lot of stories and histories behind it. there are a lot of people participating in that culture and its whole world of itself. you know that’s why for example we see sneaker culture is now actually expanded into a lot of street culture, so that is a lot more than just sneaker today. it has the whole history it has great influences from things like american hip-pop and other types of areas that all mixed together to talk about the way of life that’ s why the value it can arise up because it is not just about the shoes itself it about how i participate in this culture.
you know today it’s not just about the rise of sneakers the rise of these products, you know now young people are buying and selling. on xiaohongshu, you can actually see a whole hashtag meaning called “remade lv” there is whole culture now around taking lv products and cutting it up and remaking it into something else and of course selling it into other people. again we are talking about creating today, and this is way for me to explore and express my own identity and also a way for me to engage and interact with other people in the culture as i buy and sell.
so you can see why it’s so valuable to them. it’s not just simply a shoe that they wear, but it’s actually the cultures, values and the lifestyles that they hold so valuable and so dear to themselves. it’s speak to their identity. so when you talk about identity, it’s with a lot, and with a lot more than, let’s just say, regular shoes.
now the last thing i want to talk about, we often originally see consumption as spending money. but actually today, young people really start to see consumption in part as investment. now we are not talking about traditional investment just about making more money, but it’s really about the investment in myself. what i consume should be investing in who i am and opening more possibilities. young people are taking gap years, they are quitting their jobs, they are spending all their money, for example, travelling all the world, really trying to have a diverse experience to invest themselves to grow their perspective and growing their experiences. and so young people really have shifted their understanding of what’s really valuable. valuable is much more about new chances to explore myself, new chances to explore the world. it’s less about spending the money to get status, or spending money to just have pleasure in life.
you know, it’s not just about spending more money. this generation is also becoming more critical and more self-reflective about what money means to them. and a lot of people realize that explore myself does not need to cost money. so we are actually seeing another different type of trend, where young people are seeing i can actually explore myself but i can do it cheaply, but just also as wonderfully. for example, young people are now really interest in things like vintage and second-hand market. they are look at, for example kuaishou, or they are looking at xianyu. these are great platforms that they are seeing i can find great value in products that i can still consume, but i don’t need to spend super-high lot of money, and i can still find the meaning and value i want, because i’m defining the meaning. but it’s really about building a meaningful life and really looking at the diversity what that could be.
this is the “nomad generation” that is going to create their own path and make their own way forward. and that way forward is about building meaning in life.
alright, those were insights from kevin lee, coo of youthology. to summarize, kevin has described the defining traits of the younger generation, especially generation z – which broadly includes people who are born after 1995.
they are “nomads”, meaning that they are unsure about what the future holds, and are flowing constantly to find meaning and their self-identity. in consumption they care less about material wealth or status. what products do they find valuable? the ones that allow them to explore different facets of their own identities, or to meet communities that reflect that diversity.
i’ve also asked kevin, if he can offer one-sentence advices for parents, corporate leaders and business owners who want to engage with this generation. here are his final advices: