Shut Up About the Age Thing

There has been lots of chatter in recent months about the supposed age issue in entrepreneurship, the idea that most of the people worth backing are under 35. I’ve laid out my view on that subject already, so I won’t repeat it. I do, however, want to prod people to generally shut up about the age thing.

Case in point: I know too many thirty-something (and younger) venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, media people and others who chatter about their age as if it’s a tangible, manipulable attribute. Similarly, I know many eminence grise in all these areas who do the same thing.

Stop it. Sure, age sometimes can be an asset, and it does go either way now and then, but go easy on it. There are many things in life you are or can be responsible for, but the date of your birth is not one of them. When I meet someone who makes too much of their calendar age, one way or the other, I usually find myself thinking fairly quickly that I’m meeting someone who doesn’t have much of importance that they’ve accomplished on their own to talk about.


  1. I haven’t heard of any 30 somethings (or older, or younger) who “boast” about their age. I suspect this is in the minority. Age is an interesting issue to discuss vis-a-vis the success rate of start-ups, but no good entrepreneur would use it as a selling point….except, of course, the business targeted a very specific age demographic (such as the college market) and the entrepreneur happens to fall in such demographic.

  2. Next time you meet someone who makes too much of their calendar age and are relating that to success, suggest they go read “Fooled by Randomness” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. That might help them understand they might have just been lucky, or maybe they just haven’t been through the down trend yet.

  3. I understand you have small kids. That’s where the age thing is more of a pain: “my kid learned to read at two”, “mine rode a bike at 5”, etc. Maybe those are the same people that grow up to brag about how they have done this or that at a young age.

  4. This is why I love reading about entrepreneurs who didn’t get their start or didn’t hit their stride until they were in their mid-thirties or much, much later.
    While I’m still in my mid-twenties, any meme that hints “you’re screwed (or won’t build the next Google) if you’re older than 27” just isn’t cool in my book. =)