insights in culture

The Cultural Code of the Cool Old Guy

With guest speaker Martin Karaffa

I know we’re not supposed to talk about “the generations” because segmentation like that is usually an oversimplification. I get that and it’s true.

But there is a right way to talk about it, and when you do, you see the underlying conditions that explain our beliefs and behaviors, a.k.a. strategic gold. 

In our newest episode of Talks at Concept Bureau, global brand strategist and researcher Martin Karaffa talks to us about “The Cultural Code of the Cool Old Guy”, and the identity of older men in today’s society. It’s a fascinating topic that reveals truths not just about a generation of older men, but about all of us, in any generation.

Some insights from this talk that I still can’t get out of my head:

  • How Boomers danced on Soul Train vs. how Gen Z dances on TikTok and what that tells us about anxious cultures 
  • Both Boomers and Gen Z were born into unique social and political climates that shaped their tendencies toward self-fulfillment and apprehension, respectively 
  • “It’s expensive to live in your head”, or how climbing up Maslow’s hierarchy makes happiness more costly 
  • Reinventing the story of age will require us to see the patterns that bridge the people of every living generation

America and much of the western world still hasn’t figured out how to fit old age into its youth-centric narratives. Youth is such a powerful symbol of all that is desirable, but where does that leave the masses who have aged out? Where does that leave the men who hit higher numbers but are living longer and healthier lives?

Why is the matter of age still such a difficult thing for our culture to resolve?

As partner at Hofstede Insights (now the Culture Factor Group), Martin has done a great deal of meaningful study around age, masculinity, global belief systems and values. There is so much to learn and understand here.

This talk will give you an incredible awareness of how generations evolve over time, and a deep respect for the ways in which different people navigate their worlds. 

If you want to reinvent the story of age, start here.

Written By
Jasmine Bina​

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