Thursday, November 29, 2012

Too Old to Be An Entrepreneur?


A well known venture capitalist and admitted “old guy” named Vinod Khosla, (he’s 57 years old) was reported to have said at a conference last year that "people over 45 basically die in terms of new ideas." (Please don’t tell my wife, I pretty much bet our house on my ability to start a really clever new business). This Vinod guy is really smart and he explained that he did not mean that old folks can’t do clever stuff; they just need to be more fearless. I guess he’s never seen me in my Super Suit.
I read that quote in an article by Sarah McBride , of Reuters entitled: Silicon Valley's dirty little secret: age bias
I got a kick out of some examples Ms McBride used to show how apparently we have to learn to dress more like 20-somethings:
In one case she mentioned a 60 year old guy (I am getting dangerously close to that milestone) who shaved off his gray hair and traded in his loafers for a pair of Converse sneakers before heading into an interview. He got hired. Later in the article, this same guy goes on to say: In person, older job applicants should carry a backpack, not a briefcase and they should avoid Blackberries and Dell laptops in favor of Android phones and Apple products. And above all, steer clear of wristwatches. "The worst would be a gold Rolex," he says. "Tacky, and old."  (If only I could afford a Rolex – I might be happy to be tacky)
In another example from the article, a 40-something market researcher (is 40 old?) headed to a boutique popular with young women for advice on "something to look hip" and "blend in" before she went to her interview. She ditched her tailored pants and blouses for a dress, tights, and biker boots. She eventually got the position. 
So I am wondering, if I shave my nearly bald but graying head, buy a dress and some tights and put on some Converse sneakers, will I be more attractive to venture capitalists? Or do you think that would be taking it too far? I really could use the money!