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Mark Cuban says Gen Z are the real ‘greatest generation’ and boomers are the most ‘disappointing’

Fortune logo Fortune 9/17/2022 Steve Mollman
Mark Cuban seen on ABC's "Shark Tank." © Christopher Willard—ABC via Getty Images Mark Cuban seen on ABC's "Shark Tank."

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban doesn’t think much of baby boomers. He has high praise, however, for “zoomers.” 

The Dallas Mavericks owner spoke glowingly of Generation Z—those born between 1995 and 2010—on this week’s episode for Re:Thinking with Adam Grant. When making decisions, he told the podcast, they take into account all factors, including the effect on their mental health. 

"I think that's beautiful and it's very analogous to when I was getting started and technology was just happening or the internet was just happening," said Cuban, who sold a video portal to Yahoo for billions in the mid-1990s.

What’s more, he added, “organizations will have to understand that more and more and more as we go forward. Not only for how you treat your employees, but what your customers expect as well."

As for baby boomers, they will “go down in history as the most disappointing generation ever, from sex, drugs, and rock and roll to what we have today,” Cuban said.

Zoomers are often associated with “quiet quitting” and the tend to favor happiness over productivity—and a career detached from their identity.

“Whereas other generations thought that their identity started at 9 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m., Gen Z often feels that their identity starts outside of work,” Jason Dorsey, Gen Z expert and founder of The Center for Generational Kinetics, told Fortune last month. “That puts less pressure on them to define themselves through their current employment.”

Quiet quitting, Thrive Works CEO Arianna Huffington told Fortune, is Gen Z’s reaction to the burnout culture that dominated their parents’ lives.

In a survey by the talent firm Lever earlier this year, 42% of zoomers said they’d rather be at a company that gives them a sense of purpose than one that pays them more.

They prioritize flexibility, too, with 66% saying they’d switch jobs for more control over their work schedule, assuming the salary and job description remained the same, according to a survey by Adobe entitled “The Future of Time.” 

TikTok is littered with videos of zoomers questioning societal values that prioritize productivity over well-being. For them, the pandemic was a defining moment, leading to doubts early in their lives about forever pursuing the next accomplishment.

The pandemic “is the generation-defining experience for Gen Z and will impact them for the rest of their lives,” says the Center for Generational Kinetics, which has studied zoomers extensively. “In the area of employment, there is significant government data that shows Gen Z leaving current jobs, starting new jobs, and reconsidering career paths and work styles.”

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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