Silicon’s Valley’s Brutal Ageism | New Republic

Silicon’s Valley’s Brutal Ageism; Noam Scheiber; In New Republic; 2014-03-23.


Roughly in order of appearance, the article meanders to tell the story.

  • Seth Matarasso
    • A cosmetic surgeon
    • Practice in San Francisco
  • Robert Withers
    • A job search counselor
    • Clients are Silicon Valley workers over 40
    • Advice
      • Look, act, dress young
      • Show energy
  • Dan Scheinman
    • An angel investor
    • Tango, an investment; recent press cycling [Alibaba]
    • ex-Cisco, 18 years
    • Presentation Bias [to the young, away from the old]
  • Illustrative
    • “We Want People Who Have Their Best Work Ahead of Them, Not Behind Them.”  ServiceNow Careers
    • “You must be the token graybeard,” said the CEO, who was in his late twenties or early thirties. “I looked at him and said, ‘No, I’m the token grown-up.’ ” anonymous source, engineer, aged 40.
    • “Paul Graham”—the founder of Y Combinator, the world’s best-known start-up incubator—“says the most successful [investor] makes his decisions in twenty-four hours.” attributed to Scheinman
  • Nick Stamos
    • age 44
    • Phase Forward
    • nCrypted Cloud
      • founder
      • like Dropbox and Google Drive.
      • Competitor:
      • With Dan Scheinman
      • Needed Sand Hill funding, was declined
      • Claim: Total Addressable Market (TAM) => transferrence from something else [age]
      • Long River Ventures (MA); Acquired funding? or just a lead.
      • [Mr.] Aref; a lead, declined.
    • Prior
      • serial entrepreneur, various
      • ex-Tufts (graduate)
      • ex-Lotus,
      • ex-Verdasys, 2002
  • Generalized Themes & Mentions
  • Dropbox
    • Drew Houston, co-founder, ex-MIT (graduate)
    • founded 2007
  • Google
    • Brian Reid, age 54, age discrimination litigation
  • Freada Klein
    • 1999, starts a 5-year “quality of work study”
    • 22 startups
    • Result: older candidates held to a higher standard
  • Culture
    • Interviewing for “fit”
    • “a college atmosphere”
    • “disruption”
  • Quoted for Background, Verisimilitude & Color
  • Criticism
    • <quote>Unfortunately, the problems the average 22-year-old male programmer has experienced are all about being an affluent single guy in Northern California.</quote>
  • Outbox
  • Mark Goldenson
    • serial entrepreneur
    • age 30
    • founded Breakthrough
    • recommender system for psychiatrist counseling lead generation online
  • Evidentiary

Referenced, Related

  • Dane Stangler, with Daniel F. Spulber; The Age of the Entrepreneur: Demographics and Entrepreneurship; I4J Summit; 2013-03; 27 pages.
  • Moneyball, valley-style: Investor uses age bias to advantage, funds older entrepreneurs; Sarah McBride (Reuters); In San Jose Mercury News; 2012-12-07.
  • Special Report: Silicon Valley’s dirty secret – age bias; Sarah McBride; In Reuters; 2012-11-27.

    • <quote>When Randy Adams, 60, was looking for a chief-executive officer job in Silicon Valley last year, he got turned down from position after position that he thought he was going to nail — only to see much younger, less-experienced men win out. Finally, before heading into his next interview, he shaved off his gray hair and traded in his loafers for a pair of Converse sneakers. The board hired him.</quote>
    • “[The young prospects] They have great passion. They don’t have distractions like families and children and other things that get in the way of business.” attributed to Mike Moritz, when age 49 [9 years ago].
    • “Young people are just smarter.” Mark Zuckerberg at age 22.
    • <quote>In June (2012-06), Benchmark Capital’s Peter Fenton, 40, told a group of journalists that Benchmark strives to keep the average age of its most-active partners under 40 to better relate to young entrepreneurs. Fenton says he is not ageist, arguing that there is a well-documented relationship between youth and creativity. As for partners such as himself who hit 40, “we have a discipline to try and stay young,” he says. “Young at mind.”</quote>
    • Something about Fluid Intelligence; c.f. Jimi Wales’ Wiki
      • Fluid Intelligence (Gf)
      • Crystallized Intelligence (Gc)
    • Advice on how to dress & accessorize “as young”

      • show as hipster: tights, flannels, Converse, boots.
      • avoid and/or fix: gray hair, fat
      • use: Android+Apple contra Dell+Blackberry; avoid wristwatches, especially gold.
  • Education and Tech Entrepreneurship; Vivek Wadhwa, Richard Freeman, Ben Rissing; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; 2008-05; 16 pages; promotion 2009-04-17; landing.

Via: backfill

Confessions of a Tesla ‘fanboy’ | Vivek Wadhwa

Vivek Wadhwa; Confessions of a Tesla ‘fanboy; In The Washington Post; undated, but promoted & syndicated around 2013-02-20 & 21.


  • Was & is a fan.
  • Demonstrates elite access
    • Daily driver was a Mercedes-Benz
    • Has driven a Formula Ford at Skip Barber Racing School
    • Has friends who own Porches and Ferraris, who let him drive.
    • Has direct access to Elon Musk; quotes an email conversation.
  • Demonstrates expertise in the material
    • Something about browsing the web from the dashboard.
  • Nav turn-by-turn is by Navigon (a Garmin company); c.f. com.navigon.navigator_checkout_us.
  • Provides “nuance” (i.e. some negative):
    • He bought the low-end model; didn’t get the “Tech Package” to save money
    • Wants Google Nav (who doesn’t?) because it’s free on phones.
  • Buried lede:
    • Broder was wrong.
  • Other quotes:
    • “Internal-combustion engine technology doesn’t hold a candle to electric. That is probably why Motor Trend named the Model S, car of the year this year. They called it ‘truly remarkable’ and said it would ‘sashay up to the valet at a luxury hotel like a supermodel working a Paris catwalk.’ Supermodel is a good analogy for my Tesla.”
    • “I’ll say that I completely agree with what the Times’ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan said — that Broder had “problems with precision and judgment.” After all, the car has a giant display that tells you how far it can travel, and it provides many options to manage mileage.”
    • “I have found the 200-mile range of my 60-kWh model, to be more than enough for day-to-day driving.”
    • “I assumed that since the Web browser has Google maps, I would get the same features I have on my iPhone. I was wrong.”
  • Claim:
    • Model S version 3, will be available in four or five years. with a range of more than 1,000 miles. [Um rly? That's the singularity talking, huh?]

Recapitulation of the boosterism prior:



Vivek Wadhwa is:

  • Vice President of Academics and Innovation at Singularity University (SciFi U).
  • Vice President of Innovation and Research at Singularity University
  • Fellow at Stanford Law School.
  • Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University.
  • Director of Research at Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University.
  • Previous and/or concurrent academic appointments include Harvard, Duke and Emory, University of California Berkeley.
  • “a leading scholar and public voice on entrepreneurship and public policy.” ref citing ref
  • “Silicon Valley’s provocateur-in-chief” ref
  • Unfailing gushing booster of immigrants & immigration, “startups” and “entrepreneurs.”  Probably not a favorite of the urban underclass reps. on scene today.