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Smart Phones at Dinner – Subtle Clues for Commercial Real Estate?

A few weeks ago at dinner, my wife and I were seated amongst a long row of tables set for 2 people. To my left was a young couple (20′s) and to my right was an older couple (60′s+). Being that we are in our 40′s, there was quite a dynamic at work that evening between our three tables.

The younger couple was constantly on their iPhones do various things and they only spoke to each other intermittently and it seemed that when they did talk it was about what they were doing on their phones.

The older couple had no visible phones and spent their meal talking to each other engaged in conversation.

For us, my wife had her phone on the table so we could see the phone in case the babysitter was calling. During the meal, the phone stayed in place and wasn’t used (no babysitter calls). We had a nice meal along with some good conversation.

As I watched this play out and without trying to judge anyone, I thought about how different things are for the younger generation (yes – I feel old). They seemed very happy doing what they were doing – so is this a good way to spend time with someone or are we losing our ability to communicate one on one or is this a new normal?

Does this tell us anything about the young people that occupy our office and apartment buildings? Are there subtle clues here on things we should be doing to meet the needs of the younger generation? If the real estate decision maker for a commercial tenant is 28 years old, do we market differently to him/her than we would to someone that is 50 years old? I think so!

Overall, I think we all had a good time that night – our path was just different.

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