Young, hip, determined, full of new, cutting-edge ideas and hard-working. Are those the typical characteristics of an entrepreneur? Or is there more to the story? That’s what we were determined to find out at last month’s Stammtisch!
Are age-diverse teams a thing?
Let’s face it, our startup-bubble is filled with the young and hungry. When it comes to age – how diverse is our professional network, really? Then again, do we ever come in touch with people much older than ourselves? If you think about it, there aren’t a lot of chances to hang out with elderly people, other than your family members. So, it’s no surprise that age-diverse startups are rare –at least that’s what one might think.
Typically young, typically old…
We commonly attribute innovativeness, energy and curiosity, in short, entrepreneurial skills, to the young. Especially when it comes to startups, what do elderly really know? Entrepreneurs these days need to be tech-savvy, quick to adapt, and committed to their business 200% in order to potentially, maybe, eventually be successful. Who do you picture when hearing these keywords? Here’s the plot twist: a study conducted by Joshua Gans, a professor at the University of Toronto, shows that Silicon Valley founders who managed a successful exit are, on average, 47 years old. Imagine that!
Valuing each other’s strength!
Is it because older people have more experience, a better understanding of people, are more confident and better at sales? Whatever the reason, instead of thinking in stereotypes, it’s more than time to value each other for what we are good at, regardless of age – or anything else, for that matter. A number, the years we’ve lived, doesn’t define how and who we are. It’s all about the mindset. How many young people out there live a narrow-minded, mainstream life, while some older ones are longing to create something new, to make a difference?
What would you do?
“Would you found with a person significantly older than yourself?” I asked a friend today. “NO, definitely not!” Wow, I thought my friends were more open-minded than that. “I would start a company with somebody regardless of their age. What matters to me is the way they think. If they are up for new challenges, good at what they do and are an asset to the project, I would work with them.
And you? What would you do? We are challenging you to go out and actively seek the company of people a good amount older than yourself. You might be surprised – and have stories to tell at our next Stammtisch! See you there!
Credits to Klaudia Bachinger – WISR, Konstantin Klingler – LOBU, Markus Ertler – Business Angel, and Michael Schramm – Meine perfekte WG, for contributing to our last Stammtisch and for inspiring this blogpost!
Moderator: Can Ertugrul
Author: Katharina Binder