Jan 12, 2010

Visiting Scholar Vivek Wadhwa on Silicon Valley Ageism

From the San Jose Mercury News

O'Brien: Age bias and Silicon Valley

By Chris O'Brien

Each year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management brings dozens of its students to the West Coast in early January to soak up the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley. On their most recent trip, they also got an unexpected glimpse of the valley's darker side.

During a reception at the Computer History Museum, Sloan Dean David Schmittlein was interviewing Douglas Leone, a partner at the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and Sloan alum. Leone was dispensing advice about entrepreneurism when he let slip a remark that made me do a double take.

Leone told the audience that Sequoia focuses on younger entrepreneurs because people over 30 aren't innovative....

Since I needed more ammunition, it was a good excuse to meet up with Vivek Wadhwa, a former entrepreneur and now academic when we were both living in central North Carolina. Wadhwa has appointments at Duke and Harvard universities, but he's currently a visiting scholar at the School of Information at the University of California-Berkeley.

As part of an ongoing research project, Wadhwa's team surveyed 549 entrepreneurs in high-growth industries. Average age of founders: 39. By coincidence, that was how old Wadhwa was when he started Relativity Technologies in Cary, N.C.

"Real innovation comes from those with the most experience," Wadhwa said. "Taking an idea to invention to product takes experience," Wadhwa said. "And that's what's missing in the Sequoia logic."...


Last updated:

October 4, 2016