Silicon Valley and Baby Boomers: Finally noticing a $750 billion market.


Jon Nathanson, in “Silver is the New Gold“, writes about Silicon Valley’s obsession with hiring young IT founders and young employees in order to target the younger market.  That makes perfect sense, therefore it also makes perfect sense to hire IT Baby Boomers to target an untapped the $750 Billion dollar Baby Boomer market.  

It is natural for entrepreurs to go after the biggest honey pots markets which in IT are the early adopters.  You people tend to adopt technology and innovations earlier and over the last 15 years, most apps were targeted to this large segment.  It begs the question as to whether this market is maturing (no pun intended) and it is time to focus on other age cohorts.
Who understands Boomers better than other boomers.  I think however we Geezer Geeks will not be as reluctant to have a mult-generational focus when it comes to building our companies and teams.  Nathason says:

“There’s no shortage of boomers ready to get to work. Paul Irving and Anusuya Chatterjee, writing for Forbes, note that nearly half of all entrepreneurs founding new companies in 2011 were between the ages of 45 and 64. And 80 percent of boomers currently in the workforce would be willing to mentor millennials.”

This resonates with my experience in IT.  Most older information technology workers I’ve encountered are often more than willing to mentor the young.  One manager was initially surprised that a forty year old was on his team for a year long census project.  He was gracious but I knew he was expecting some kid.  Each of us on the team were running a regional LAN, providing support, training and anything else needed for the national census.  Over the course of the year long project I was able to mentor some of the young workers on 1. How to say “No” to requests and not have people angry at you.  2. How not to freak out when everything appears to be blowing up.  3. How on a dispersed team (any team) to intentionally build relationships.  These were just a few of the things that young people often don’t get.  Of course, they taught be new ideas as well.  I am a strong advocate for multi-generational teams.

Take note fellow Geezer Geeks that 1/2 of new companies were started by people in our age group.  The times they are a-changin’.  One strategy I am going to explore are the hiring trends of the teams of these seasoned entrepreneurs.  I suspect the hiring trends may parallel the mentoring statistics.  One out of five will hire within their age cohorts (all Boomers) and others will be multi-generational teams.  These will be the companies for those seeking employment and big opportunities (ie stock options).

Tell me what you think.  Do you know of any companies which hire older information technology workers?

Why Geezer Geeks Rock!

An article called “The Brutal Ageism of Tech: Years of experience, plenty of talent, completely obsolete“, by Alex Barinka inspired me to create this site.  Actually it was the story of Dan Scheinman and the genius who got Cisco to purchase VMware. 

Dan Scheinman said, “during a meeting with two bratty Zuckerberg wannabes, it hit him: Older entrepreneurs were “the mother of all undervalued opportunities.” Indeed, of all the ways that V.C.s could be misled, the allure of youth ranked highest.”

This holds true for not only ageing Venture Capitalists but the IT industry in general.  Older geeks are the mother of all undervalued opportunities and I want to celebrate their stories.

While there are indeed bratty Zuckerberg wannabes, who’s amusing over-inflated sense of self importance is always delightful to encounter.  Honestly, I think its cute, especially since Geezer Geeks know that reality will soon enough cure them of this hubris.

I enjoy hearing young geek stories too as well as enjoying the horrified looks on their faces when someone older than their dad beats them at Counter Strike. >:)  I’ve been gamin’ since 1978, young Padawan!  Remember Magnavox Odyssey then the Atari 2600?  Oddly enough, lots of Young Geeks know about the Atari system which came out in 1977.

Silicon Valley ageism is real and I plan to highlight some of those stories too, however always with a positive ‘take-away’.  Most Geezer Geeks have re-invented themselves numerous times over their careers and certainly all have adapted to change.  Loss of status in the IT industry however is something that can ‘sucker punch’ aging geeks.  The shift from ‘IT Guru’ to being seen as ‘Doddering ol’ obsolete useless appendage’, can be ‘soul crushing’.  Yet, the good news is that many Geezer Geeks have found a new niche and yes, a good income again re-inventing themselves.

Join my newsletter and I’ll share success stories, strategies for Geezer Geek success, and we’ll have a laugh together.  Tell me your story!

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