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On Ageism

by Dru Wynings. Average Reading Time: about a minute.

“Sequoia focuses on younger entrepreneurs because people over 30 aren’t innovative.” – Douglas Leone, General Partner at Sequoia Capital

Innovation in technology has rapidly lowered the barrier of entry to doing a web startup. In the past, one would need to raise a multimillion dollar Series A round just to get a working prototype. Today skilled hackers can pull together a bootstrapped startup with a few hundred dollars, a weekend of coding, and some caffeine.

As the necessity for capital has decreased, there are more opportunities for younger entrepreneurs to get started.


While I don’t want to trivialize how work experience, which one typically acquires with age, can be beneficial to a startup’s success, it’s no longer a necessity to executing well.

Executing a plan perfectly is not necessary. Adaptation and iteration are key tenets to a successful startup. Founders have to be willing to adapt to the changing markets.

Young entrepreneurs have that je ne sais quoi. Forced to overcome stereotypes and generalizations from their older counterparts, young entrepreneurs work relentlessly to disprove them.

There are certain characteristics that younger entrepreneurs have that are beneficial to doing a startup. Flexibility, lack of family commitments, willingness to challenge the status quo, a lack of financial obligations, and perhaps even naïvety.

Will the drive and motivation that young entrepreneurs have continue to be present in the future?

To be honest, I can’t say. As it becomes the social norm for young entrepreneurs to attempt and achieve success, the motivation to undermine the past generation’s preconceived notions could lessen.

Age is not at all indicative of a person’s capabilities. Neither is their race, sex, or how they dress.

Being a young entrepreneur, I hate being labeled as such. I truly consider it a success when I can conduct business without the other party realizing my youth.

I don’t strive to be the best 20 year old entrepreneur. I strive to be the best entrepreneur. Period.

Why limit yourself to other’s definitions of success?

You should follow me on twitter here, because I’m only 20 you want to.

 On Ageism
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  • Anonymous

    I am beginning to think that the older entrepreneurs are the people that are having to fight a sort of ageism that works against them …especially when it comes to techie companies and the internet…

  • tonybordonaro

    I am beginning to think that the older entrepreneurs are the people that are having to fight a sort of ageism that works against them …especially when it comes to techie companies and the internet…

  • http://startupi.st/ Dru Wynings

    Tony,

    I certainly agree that it’s hard for older entrepreneurs to get their
    foot in the door at internet startups, just as it’s hard for younger
    people to get their foot in the door at cleantech and bio startups.

    Thoughts on what can be done to counteract this?

  • http://startupi.st/ Dru Wynings

    Tony,

    I certainly agree that it's hard for older entrepreneurs to get their
    foot in the door at internet startups, just as it's hard for younger
    people to get their foot in the door at cleantech and bio startups.

    Thoughts on what can be done to counteract this?

  • Anonymous

    Im thinking that using the one thing that years provide for you …experience . There are some things that older folks can bring to the table that maybe the younger set just hasnt come across yet or thought about. That being said I am terribly impressed with the knowledge, wisdom and great work ethic of the startups I read about . I have to admit I keep trying to learn from them .

  • http://startupi.st/ Dru Wynings

    Experience is certainly a potentiality. (Obviously I’m biased)

    Hard to say whether experience is truly applicable in a real market
    disruptor, where the rules of the past simply don’t apply.

  • tonybordonaro

    Im thinking that using the one thing that years provide for you …experience . There are some things that older folks can bring to the table that maybe the younger set just hasnt come across yet or thought about. That being said I am terribly impressed with the knowledge, wisdom and great work ethic of the startups I read about . I have to admit I keep trying to learn from them .

  • http://startupi.st/ Dru Wynings

    Experience is certainly a potentiality. (Obviously I'm biased)

    Hard to say whether experience is truly applicable in a real market
    disruptor, where the rules of the past simply don't apply.