This post was originally published as a guest post on the Telefonica Digital Hub in June 2013.

Earlier this week in London I was fortunate to be invited to attend the FT – Telefonica Millennials Summit.

The event was timed around the release of a brand new report on the Millennial generation by Telefonica and the FT, and included some very interesting findings (see below).

We heard from some real-life millennial leaders such as Joe Gebbia (@jgebbia), Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Airbnb about how he initialy struggled to get his idea off the ground and opted to go for a “Visa round” of funding (paying for everything on credit) as a last resort. This shows true Millennial leader determination.

We also heard from The Rt. Hon. David Miliband (@DMiliband), President Designate and CEO of the IRC and former UK Foreign Secretary who spoke about how he saw the millennials of today, and their view of government and technology.

For me the highlight of the event was an excellent panel with Rokhaya Diallo (@rokhayadiallo), Founder and Former President, Les Indivisibles, Bobby Kensah, Founder, Phase One Network and Alan Mak (@alanmakuk), Ambassador and Member of the Global Advisory Board, One Young World.

One of the key learnings for any business leader is that you all have millennial leaders among you.

The important thing to understand is how to harness their energy, drive and passion in the technology space to help your business.

I am now in my mid-40s, and back when I was a fresh-faced 29 year old living in Sydney, I felt like (and in many ways still feel like) a millennial leader. Back in 2001, I was a member of the Rotary Club of Sydney (something none of my peers considered), and I delivered a speech to 200 business leaders about the need to embrace the younger generation (we did not call them millennials back then), and have them sit on your boards. You can read the speech I delivered online.

I met up one of the panellists, Alan Mak after the event, and he shared with me that he is 29. This reminded me of myself when back in 2001, no-one would listen to a millennial 12 years ahead of his time about the need to harness the next generation of leaders. I was therefore delighted to hear that Alan sits on the UK board of Havas Worldwide.

I just hope that the hundreds of leaders at the summit now also take a more positive view on how important millennials can be for their business.

The report can be downloaded from and is well worth a read.

In summary, here are five findings from the report that jumped out for me as particularly compelling:

  1. Millennials are a smartphone generation – spending an average of 6 hours online every day.
  2. Millennials see technology as a huge driver of opportunities for individuals and view it as a tool to help them find and keep their job, as well as break down language barriers.
  3. Career progression also keeps millennials up at night, with 39% saying that they expect to continue working indefinitely and will not have enough money to retire. In fact they seem less concerned about finding a partner and marriage than economic worries.
  4. Millennials think that education in technology is most important to ensure future success, ahead of economics, foreign language and science.
  5. A key millennial subgroup called “Millennial leaders” live at the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship, and the belief that they can make a difference.

The survey showed that contrasted against their peers, these millennial leaders are more influenced by technology, have a highly optimistic view about the future, and believe they can make a global difference. Not surprisingly, they also see “making it to the top” as a very important life accomplishment.

Take a look also at this infographic built from the report findings – it summarises Millennial leaders quite aptly.