Millionaire founder: This is the No. 1 skill young people need to thrive in the AI era—it’s not coding – CNBC

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There is one skill all young people need to thrive in the workplace — today and in the future — and it’s been around for thousands of years.

“If I could give my 13- and 16-year-old one competence that I think would stand the test of time, it’d be storytelling,” millionaire entrepreneur Scott Galloway told CNBC Make It, following a live recording of Vox’s “Pivot” podcast at SXSW last month.

The type of storytelling may not matter, because the platforms people use to communicate can rapidly change. The important part is developing an “ability to write well, an ability to articulate ideas and an ability to present ideas with data, infographics, slideshows,” said Galloway.

Galloway is a marketing professor at the New York University Stern School of Business who, in 2005, started L2 Inc. — a research project that grew into a business intelligence consultancy and helps brands learn how to market to audiences online. IT business consultancy Gartner reportedly bought L2 Inc. for more than $130 million in 2017, according to regulatory filings.

Today, for his brand strategy and digital marketing courses, he describes how a brand’s storytelling can directly contribute to, or hurt, its success. The importance of storytelling is particularly why young people shouldn’t rely solely on generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT — not now, not ever, said Galloway.

“We don’t know if in five years some neural network is going to replace ChatGPT. We don’t know if coding is going to be outdated,” he said.

Management experts agree — understanding AI is important, but it isn’t the sole skill needed to succeed at work. Employers want to hire candidates with a combination of soft and hard skills, like analytical thinking, creative thinking, leadership skills and curiosity, a report from management consulting firm Oliver Wyman noted earlier this year.

Another piece of advice, Galloway says: Finding a way to be an expert in your field is a good way to become successful, no matter what else happens around you.

“The specific crowds out the general,” Galloway says. “Find a niche, no matter how narrow it is, and try and own it. Commit to being one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on a domain … You’re never going to be an expert in anything if you don’t enjoy it.”

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