How Can We Achieve Age Diversity in Silicon Valley?
Steven Levy
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Many Silicon Valley funded start-ups don’t care about the skills, knowledge and wisdom that experienced workers could bring because they don’t really intend to create viable businesses. Priority #1 is raising more money. They hope to exit before the stick village folds. In the mean time, older workers work against the Potemkin Village-type appeal that the start-up wants to project to the next round of investors. Remember from the Ellen Pao trial, John Doerr explained the VC bias toward “white male nerds who dropped out of Harvard and Stanford and absolutely have no social life.” The VCs themselves can be old — but, they enforce this bias. It’s a weird dynamic between VCs and funded start-up management: like Catherine the Great and Potemkin, they seem to like lying to each other. When a founder is replaced due to failing initiatives, a new CEO is hired by VCs for their Investor Storytime potential — ie, how well they can spin lies back at them. Ellen Pao lost her case. But, her story explained how the behavior inside VC firms echoes throughout Silicon Valley and beyond.

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