Are you an ORC? I am & Proud of it.

Being young, urban and creative is great, but baby boomers aren’t dead yet

Apparently Hipsters are dead. I know that will make some of my readers jump for joy in hopes that their local coffee shop will no longer be occupied by youngster’s sporting loafers, beanie caps and black rimmed glasses lacking magnification properties.  Before you get too excited you might want to read the article on Mashable that proclaims their death and announces who they’ve been replaced by.  The Yuccies.  Young Urban Creatives.

I, personally, held no ill will toward Hipsters, so I doubt I’ll have a problem getting along with the occasional Yuccie either.  It’s probably because I’m part of a demographic that no one has identified yet.  The on the cusp, post-hippie, baby boomer.  If we’re going to be applying cool names to demographics I think you could call us ORCs. Older Rural Creatives; not to be confused with anything from Middle Earth.

ORC history

We were born right at the end of the baby boomer years, let’s say between 1960 and 1970. We are the generation that watched older siblings wear headbands, fringe and tie-dye as they rebelled against authority and protested.  We opted for ‘the natural look’, ushered in the equal rights amendment (ERA) and voiced our concerns about the eco-system, starting the environmental movement. We played Pac-Man at the video arcade and Pong on our television at home. If we were lucky we got some time in the computer lab at school, usually a closet sized room with two or three terminals and a huge mainframe.  By the time some of us were high school seniors, the luckiest (or wealthiest) of us might even have a personal computer at home.  During our prime we ushered in a generation of change that would bring more information to the fingertips of our children than could fit in the local library.

We’ve come a long way, baby

Unlike Hipsters and Yuccies, we didn’t see the idea of business ownership as an obvious or easy choice.  For years we opted for the security of a paycheck over the freedom of doing what we dreamt of.  We were led to believe that making a living with our creativity was a long shot that most of us were afraid to take.  It wasn’t until the recent turn in the economy proved there was no such thing as job security that we came to the realization that it was perhaps preferable to rely on ourselves rather than someone else’s business plan to make a living.  Years of working for others, probably in a variety of different fields, gives a richness and depth to our businesses that makes us unique.  Growing up being told we could do anything we set our minds to means that if we don’t know how to do something we learn.  Adopting new technology is part of who we are, after all, we are the generation that first used videotapes, CD’s, DVD’s, home computers, laptops, iPods, cell phones, PDA’s, tablets and smart phones.

What are some of the signs that you’re an ORC too? (with a nod to the author of the aforementioned Mashable article)

  • Your first home computer ran on DOS, you played text driven role playing games on a Commodore 64 and chances are at some point you received an Atari game system for Christmas
  • You remember when your grandmother made donuts that would now be labeled ‘artisanal’
  • You love Seinfeld reruns because you remember when the episodes first aired.
  • You could care less about going to Austin because it’s hip, but have considered it as a ‘snowbird’ destination.
  • You attend boozy paint classes with your friends just because it looks like fun…and it involves wine.
  • You haven’t picked up an actual newspaper in years, getting your headlines online is the norm.
  • You tend to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but for different things. Facebook for keeping in touch with family and friends, Twitter for business and Instagram to share your social activities. You really don’t pay attention to the number of followers you have on any of them.
  • Your job experience is extremely diversified. Waitress? Done that.  Banking? Done that. Real estate? Done that. Legal office? Done that too.
  • You’re living your dream of business ownership and loving it, even though it’s probably the scariest thing you’ve ever done.
  • You’ve done your time in urban settings, now you’re enjoying the rural (or suburban) life.

We are the hidden demographic, the one that no one seems to be aware of.  We aren’t mentioned when companies talk about diversity in technology, but we are perhaps those most motivated to learn.  As a generation we’ve seen the rise and fall of more technology than any other, giving us a unique perspective on the sustainability and longevity of not just tech, but also products and services. Perhaps it’s time we move out of the shadows and showed the world what we can do.

We’re ORCs and we’re proud of it!


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.