Young Upstarts

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[Review] No Fear: Business Leadership In The Age Of Digital Cowboys

The digital native, a term first coined by Marc Prensky in his seminal article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants in 2001 (and later a book called – Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning“), is today known by many names. But that generation – arguably those technology-savvy, freewheeling spirits who are born after 1985 and are about to enter or have just entered the workforce – cannot be treated the same way by companies and organizations the way they have previous generations.

This is the crux and the focus of leading business information architect and IT entrepreneur Pekka A. Viljakainen’s book “No Fear: Business Leadership for the Digital Age“. Viljakainen believes that business leaders should be quick to attract and harness Digital Cowboys, essentially the crème de la crème of these digital natives in order to future-proof their organizations.

Viljakainen describes them this way:

Digital Cowboys are the superstars of the PlayStation generation. They – men and women – have grown up being wired, connected and inquisitive. They eat and breathe the tools and the digital know-how. Since their teens, the Internet and mobile phones have been part of their lives. If they have a questions, they “Google” it.

He goes on to add:

Digital Cowboys will be the experts in your value creation network, driving the team’s productivity by leveraging collaboration tools and best practices. They will be the catalyst and driver for the high-performing teams of today and today.”

Viljakainen, along with co-author Mark Mueller-Ebertstein as well as a slew of other contributors, looks at what Digital Cowboys mean to any organization in this new digital age. “No Fear” is less about pandering to difficult or demanding Gen Y-ers and more about understanding the motivations, needs and strengths of a group of workers who are destined to be future leaders. Viljakainen lays out a possible blueprint for you to learn how you can plug these virtuosos into your organizations and leverage them to great effect.

If you’re a what Marc Prensky calls a digital immigrant – one who struggles or is reluctant to fit into the new digital era – and have to manage the Digital Cowboys in your organization, you’ll find “No Fear” to be indispensable. Alternatively, if you believe you’re a Digital Cowboy who is looking to get ahead in this world, you can get into the minds of those who would seek to harness your strengths through reading this book.

To find out more about you can join the No Fear Community here.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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