Marc, I don’t think Engelbart is a good example.
As you know — I have worked on outliners my whole career. I didn’t know about his work until I moved to California and started circulating in the community in Silicon Valley. I sought him out, of course, but didn’t get to meet with him until I was working on my second company, UserLand.
I wanted to work with him, but it had to be on his terms, working on his codebase. That was an unnecessary constraint and a deal-stopper. His code ran on hardware no one used, and wasn’t up to date on modern UI techniques. It was too high a price to pay.
I am a little older than you, and have been experiencing what you describe, of course. It’s awkward to find yourself in a conference room with 15 other people all of whom are 1/3 your age. I feel so self-conscious. What must I look like to them? I’d much rather be working on problems with people closer to my own age. I’m sure they feel the same way.
I remember when I was running my first company. I had a guy who I hired to be my mentor on PR. He was a former reporter at the WSJ. It worked well. But we were young, and it was hard to relate to people as equals who were our parents’ age. So we didn’t hire too many of them.
I think the challenge is to learn how to accept each other. To work with whoever shows up. Doug should have said yes. I had something going on. We could have used him.
BTW, same with Ted Nelson. ;-)
PS: I feel ridiculous about commenting here. Ev is being a greedy SOB. He should make this system completely open. How much money does he need!