Might be Zuckerberg she’s talking about. There’s also the irony that this discrimination is partly fueled by older people teaching the younger people they fund the same stuff. This mindset isn’t there to penalize older people: it’s specifically to trick younger people into working non-stop during their prime for almost no money to get the VC’s and maybe them rich. Endless waves of them in Silicon Valley burning through all kinds of ideas cranking out quick prototypes trying to grab markets.
Watching for biases is the kind of thing you do when being contemplative. Young people doing more of that might not work at startups, though. ;)
It’s not just startups that show ageism. I think young people are groomed from childhood to do what they are told. Eventually, as you get older you are slowly “unschooled”. It makes “good business” to hire people are easier to control. Similar to how many businesses fire pregnant women because it saves them money.
Yeah, that’s a real thing, too. Very widespread. My company’s turnover is partly due to them constantly hiring young people since they’re easier to underpay and manipulate. Then those young people cause them lots of problems. Then they keep hiring more young people to keep specific numbers down. We do have more older folks and upward momentum for them than many companies, though. It’s specific positions with low skill and high number of bodies needed that they focus on young people.
In conclusion, young people work for less money and follow orders better. Therefore, they have outcompeted the older people out of some market.
Old people should try to compete where they have a comparative advantage, or simply reduce their price.
That’s simplistic. If ignoring everything but economics (your focus), then I’d call this a massive, market failure that created the demand structure that led to the outcompeting you described. I’ll just run through some random points:
They want things built as effectively as possible with little risk vs the startup itself. Experienced people work more efficiently with less screwups. Silicon Valley throws them out to get people who know nothing and screw up a lot. That’s irrational. That it’s happening across the market is a massive, market failure showing it’s not following free, market economics which should be judging talent based on risk/reward analysis (aka value they provide).
The startups are supposed to do development and business practices that maximize chance of success. The culture focuses on lots of partying, people doing random stuff on networking side, and so on. The experienced folks with good management and/or marketing track record will know to reduce a lot of stuff that’s a distraction, making them miss talent, and/or missing entire market segments that young people didn’t find cool. Rather than that going down, VC’s are still warning startup founders about such risks. And startups are still collapsing due to them. With no correction, we find that once again a small percentage of people are breaking the model due to their negative biases, missing benefits free market would’ve brought them.
The older people weren’t just out-competed: the folks in control are acting more like a cartel than a market, idiotically blocked valuable talent across the board, maximized risky practices older folks avoid (rationally), minimized boring tech that works that older people prefer (rationally), and then young people were allowed to out compete more-valuable, older people. I’ll add that them wanting obedient, young people is kind of hypocritical for an area that is about innovation and disruption. True innovators and disruptors won’t be obedient conformists.
If that is the case, why don’t old people start their own VC that does not fall into these traps and thus be able to outperform the current ones?
Imagine you go into a village where the cart maker sells carts with square wheels and every use them. Would you complain that it’s a market failure that the people selling wheel rounding devices are competed out of the market because the ‘market failure’ or would you simply start a cart business with round wheels and make buckets of seashells?
Or maybe the VCs optimise for something else and to do that they need young people.
As far as I understand this is not about price. If salary expectations don’t match that is a valid reason to reject an applicant.
I’m not that old, so I’m only just starting to see “ageism” in the past five years or so. But there’s something slightly more insidious that I’ve been seeing for a while longer. I’ll call it “experienceism.” Because of a magic combination of my age, my upbringing, and other things I haven’t listed here, I ended up joining the software industry full-time before I was old enough to drive a car. So I’m under forty, but with two decades of experience. A lot of what people say they see and identify as “ageism” I see as well, but it’s not related to my age.
It’s a bit better here in Sweden. If you’re happy with a jobby job moving jira cards from left to right at a large company for mediocre pay, you can carry on regardless of your age. But if you want to work on something interesting at a small company, you’re going to run up against rampant ageism.
There’s idiot managers all over industry. I had multiple interviewing managers ask me if I realized that working tech for a university was different than working for a company, as if a) the thought never crossed my mind, or b) my former student employees didn’t work for the manager. AFAICT, the chief difference is the interviewing process is less vetted in industry.
And yea, ageism sucks. I know a guy locally that can’t find work with a PhD in a relatively niche field at the age of 70. You can groom a resume to appear less ‘old’ but it’s more difficult to pull that stunt in the interview itself.
I can’t find the article, so I won’t name names, but at least 10 years ago I heard the founder of a well-known software company say, “Subtract the average age of your company from 35. That’s how many years of innovation you have left.”
I was kind of shocked, because I’ve been through enough management training and legal briefings to know that is a radioactive statement. As Rachel said, lawsuits have been started for less.
People really just need to start suing the crap out of them. Simultaneously, highlight people who actually have skills who are older. Maintain lists of them. The first result of the lawsuits is they’ll probably do token hires since that’s the minimum they legally have to do. The lists will get lots of people jobs fast.
From there, it will be slow progress with initial groups probably treating the older people like shit. Much like it was for non-whites and women getting into parts of the job market when companies didn’t want them there. We must remember Silicon Valley as been around for decades. It might take decades to fix its culture. Best to get started by hitting them in the wallet establishing some basic standards in the court debates.
What do you think about older tech workers organizing to discuss experiences/help each other out?
I described that here with an example from a company I shop at with a union whose contract I’ve read and members I interviewed. The terms were not only reasonable: many of them are already in compensation packages at good, tech companies. Due process, health/dental, and esp no price-fixing of labor are probably most important.
Why health/dental? Have you seen how startup workers live? They need it. I mean, everyone needs it but I had to highlight them. ;)
These sort of thoughts about older people are bizarre. Wouldn’t the first thought be that a person work now experience would be better at their job? Whenever I see an older colleague at my company I assume they know so much and that I can learn from them. A good mix of experience levels is necessary in a team.
person tag is not needed here.