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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

The self-fulfilling prophecy of success

Consumed => “Internet Entrepreneurs Are Like Professional Athletes, They Peak Around 25” by Michael Arrington on TechCrunch.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/04/30/internet-entrepreneurs-are-like-professional-athletes-they-peak-around-25/

=> Value add (i.e., left a comment)…

First, there’s an obvious media bias to this perception. Let’s face it, the MSM wouldn’t be gaga over Zuckerburg (for example) if he were middle-aged. Yes, they’d be interested. But let’s face it, much like Gates, Dell, etc. it’s part of the story the publicist spins to give the story some traction. Rich successful middle-aged white guy…Been there, done that, eh? Look at Cuban. He’s loaded and how many TMZ types or anyone “mainstream” for that matter know him.

This bias in turn creates a VC/investor bias. Let’s face it, even the greedy bastards at Goldman Sachs wouldn’t have given grandma a dime if she came up with BingoBook a couple years ago. Investors invest to make money. If the perception is you have to have a twenty-something to win then that’s what they’re going to look for. It’s literally part of the buy/build/sell. SV Angel’s study sounds interesting, but without a control group the info pulled from the data has no context, and as mentioned biased.

In short, in many ways it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’d also like to add that if anyone believes that (again for example) FB scaled to half a billion strong strictly on the strength of Mr. Z then you are extremely naive. When the VCs step in they bring “juice” and they use that juice. You’re right, the market still has to decide. But the game can be (and often is) tilted to favor certain arcs.

That being said, ultimately marketing is about empathy. Therefore, if Start-up X’s early adopter target market is twenty-somethings then a 20 year old probably has an advantage over someone not the target. It doesn’t matter how hard anyone older tries they still won’t have the same context, collective unconscious, etc. as “the kid”. That edge with the right backing and…bingo (pun intended)! You have a winner.

And finally, we also don’t have enough data – yet – to know if today’s twenty-somethings when they reach say a more seasoned mid-forties won’t dominate the then to be twenty-somethings. Maybe that will be their edge once everyone grows up an internet baby?

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