Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The graying of Silicon Valley... just one more bubble!

Posted by Tom Foremski - November 18, 2004

by Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

Silicon Valley doesn't have its young whiz kids anymore, those icons of youthful energy and enthusiasm that were common during the dotcom boom years. Some of those kids moved back East. Some moved in with their parents, I'm told. Others stayed here and have “gone native,” becoming hooked on the startup culture.

Overall, it’s an older crowd these days. I'm seeing a lot of entrepreneurs, and a lot of startup teams that have significant numbers of people in their mid-40s to late-50s. If you were to combine the ages of the management in a startup team, you could probably easily hit 500 years.

Were you to also add in the board of directors' ages, you could probably reach 1,000 years. (By the way, I have no statistics on this; but I would love to see someone chart this and map it against local economic cycles.)

That's pretty good: a millennium of experience sits within the centers of many startups. And let’s not forget that we also have a lot of aging venture capitalists out there. There is a huge amount of experience within those ranks.

So, that should mean that the current crop of Silicon Valley startups would be a very successful bunch. Smarter managers plus smarter money must equal lower risk of failure. Is my math right?

After all, many of the people on these management startup teams have survived this downturn, and at least four prior ones. They have business experience that dates back to a time when the IBM PC did not exist.

Plus, they are a highly motivated bunch, far more motivated than the MBA script kiddies of dotcom boom days. These Silicon Valley gray hairs just need that one last decent sized success to cash out. Or as one grayhair told me recently “Just one more bubble, that’s all we ask.”

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