Michael has been covering a topic that is of great importance in the valley. While I don’t like the idea of it, we should fully appreciate why it exists.
First and foremost, it’s based in truth. Young developers that are tied to the problem space are the best to build a solution. That is a much better way of stating the case also. That aside, it’s a basic fact that when your young and in the moment, you most likely will build a solution that fits you and your friends needs. You will do it quickly if you have the skills or partner up with your project partners from school and get the job done. Mostly the person in question will not have any distractions, such as a “life” to dealing the desire to complete a project.
Secondly, they are still and school. In that environment you are constantly exploring new ideas and driving them to some point. You are in crowds that are diverse and moving constantly. The problem spaces you see are not those of the Mid 30’s group because they don’t exist there. Lastly, you are often involved in programs that might have derivative work in the private sector. You can, at worst you simply take the idea out of school, or work in the program to bring it to market. Both are things not normally found in corporate america.
Lastly, they can afford to do more with less in the pre- 30’s class. No direct responsibilities if they have kept a tight lifestyle. The future is opportunity and they will work harder for it. All these things are true. But…
Let’s face it, there is a dark side. It’s about the youth who are not wise enough to know better, cheap enough to exploit and most likely easy enough to leverage while hungry allowing the more aware, and above 30 group the most advantage. The dirty little secret is, that the younger they are the more they roll. Why is it that VC’s find such “data driven” models ok, where as banks won’t invest in the same demographic with other models? We should demand a comparison of the data model a bank has for success VS the VC model, strictly on the question of age and viability to success. While success comes from inspiration and solving problems, and that rests largely in the demographic you live in, this makes a great deal of sense.
While we may exploit these apparent “facts”, we should not allow a false mythology. This is not the best thing for our economy or Startups. Change the paradigm before it becomes one. Focus on the contribution and insight youth brings to the table and leverage the wisdom age brings to the seat. Don’t let simple age bias themes and memes rule ruin what may be our best chance at a new economy in years.
See one more answer on this in Quora as well: http://goo.gl/qtpoS