We have the power to make change
I was mentioned in an excellent article on ageism today. It reminded me that we STILL have the power to make change, even when we’re old. In fact I’m not old, I’m not young. I’m middle.
Dan Lyon’s new book “Disrupted: My mis-adventure in the startup bubble” has had a very direct effect on HubSpot’s stock price:
HubSpot’s reaction and handling of the whole affair has been pathetic at best, complete with paid blog posts, blowing off comments and a general lack of direct response. Their reaction further justifies and validates all of Lyon’s claims — which (surprise, surprise) has now caused their stock to drop in value.
I bet they were wishing they never hired Dan in the first place. That’s how ageism works. They don’t even SEE how closed minded, bigoted and wrong they are. All they can do is provide excuses and slide into that “well everyone is doing, so whatever…..” mode of thinking.
I have been running into this kind of thinking — for almost forever. I was already old when I tried to “come back” during the first dot com era. Unless I was willing to play ball, perpetuate the status quo and just act “like a mentor” — then there was no place for me.
Our industry didn’t know what to do with some entrepreneur, who acted like he was 25, yet sure seemed to be older (I’ll be 60 next year.) I’ve found that as long as I keep acting like an entrepreneur and inventor, I keep letting the ideas flow, the inspiration and dreaming reverberate through my psyche; then companies keep getting born.
They may not ALL become successful, but I’m getting good at the whole process: finding partners, identifying markets, dreaming out at Version 3.0 and culling it all down to an MVP, pivoting, tweaking, prototyping, hustling and most importantly — throwing the dice and praying.
Cause a LOT of this game is luck. And prayer.
How can we make change?
Change is hard, innovation is important, ageism is bad. There you go — I said it. From a dogmatic perspective I’ve done my job. But that’s all words.
The only thing that matters is action.
Everytime you KNOW what should happen (from a strategic or tactical perspective) = speak up! Don’t let some young punk fuck it up!
Everytime you KNOW that someone is making the same dam mistake you made = 20 years prior, speak up. You owe them that much. All they can do is ignore you.
Everytime you KNOW where “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” can make up an incredible product offering, “go to” strategy or just provide killer advice = GIVE IT, cause the source of ignorance is to ignore — and they’re gonna do it anyway, so “what the hell” — GO FOR IT!
I’ve sat in rooms where I’m the oldest person in the room, yet my mind is racing, collaborating and interacting — just as fast (if not faster) than anyone else in the room. I remember vividly seeing chess games played out, alliances born and snuffed out, well intentioned “kum-buy-yah” efforts never go anywhere — and the reasons were very clear.
But stopping these inevitable failures would have taken people — to listen. And that never happened.
I also wanna point to this mesmerizing video interview of Doug Engelbart — where he talks about change and tools. It doesn’t take a genius to see genius at work, and anyone who knows Doug’s life would know that the trials, tribulations and ignorance he confronted was tantamount to the birth of ageism in our industry.
The fact that Doug was never “leveraged”, taken advantage of, that no one could find a home for him — was just criminal.
Google has given Vint Cerf a home.
Lots of people lined up for Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Linus Torvalds, so how come it was so hard for anyone to take care of Engelbart? Not enough profit margin?
That’s the human face of ageism — right there.
I have to admit something. I’m old enough to have seen many of these 40-year old somethings put ageism on me, back 15–20 years ago. Now those same 40 somethings are seeing what ageism is like. Its come back to bite THEM on the ass.
Oooops — payback is a bitch!
I enjoy life, I have an awesome family, I have been through several gauntlets — and yet I’m STILL a player.
Everyone go out and check out Cola Messenger — if you wanna see what us “oldsters” can still produce. Timely, relevant and we STILL had time to stop at 5 and go home. That’s called “working intelligently.”
Ageism is real.
Now is it as bad as racism, sexism, capitalism, exploitation or sex trafficking?
No — but it’s still pretty dam bad!