My friend Jordi mentioned to me the TechCrunch article Is There A Peak Age for Entrepreneurship? where the author writes in conclusion: “Age is only one factor among many to predict the success of entrepreneurs, and anybody at any age can break any molds put forward by “experts.” However, it’s clear that the stories of a few “college-dropout turned millionaire” (or billionaire) startup founders have clouded both the mass media and the tech industry from reality. We have romanticized the idea of a young founder because, well, it’s a great story, but these stories are not the norm. In the end, classic biases of gender, race, and age need to be discarded for a real science of success.”
Well I am not sure I agree so that I reacted and put there the following comment: “It is clearly a recurrent question and I have humbly a tendency to believe that young is better than old. On slide 27 of the pdf you can find on my blog (http://www.startup-book.com/2009/12/16/start-up-the-book-a-visual-summary), there is anecdotal-only illustration that some famous Silicon Valley entrepreneurs (not all of course) were younger than successful European ones. Then, in a more systematic analysis of Stanford alumni, I looked at how many years after graduation people started companies (slide 23 in http://www.startup-book.com/2010/06/18/high-growth-and-profits). The average is about 9 years but of course it includes the multiple companies of serial entrepreneurs. Finally in slide 26, I show that serial entrepreneurs seem to do worse with time. I have more data that show that those who were successful initially tend to do well again and those who did less well do less well again. So?
A couple of additional comments:
– I believe that high-tech is special as uncertainty is higher because of the risky nature of the products and new/emerging markets.
– I agree with some previous comments that experience is to be balanced with energy, ability to take risks and not being too conscious of them.
– Of course age is only one parameter, and there is also wealth, education, energy, entrepreneurial personality.
– Final comments: entrepreneurs and managers are different. Eric Schmidt did not start Google, he was hired in 2001…”