From Kellogg Insight, the publication from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, comes an article that questions the commonly held belief that successful tech entrepreneurs are the domain of the young. The article is based on the research of Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin F. Jones, J. Daniel Kim and Javier Miranda.
There’s this idea that young people are just more likely to have more valuable ideas,” says Benjamin Jones, a professor of strategy at the Kellogg School.
With a body of data from the US Census Bureau and the contributions of MIT researchers Azoulay and Kim the results of the research are quite different. In fact the average period for “great achievement” is closer to middle-age, around 45. A 50-year-old entrepreneur is twice as likely to have a runaway success than a 30-year-old.
If we’re not allocating dollars to the right people in entrepreneurship, we may be losing, in terms of the advances that best raise socioeconomic prosperity,” Jones says. “It’s actually a fairly high-stakes question.
Younger entrepreneurs may be more adept at technology, stamina and lack the habits of how things have always been done. While that may be true, there are other skill sets that have tremendous value for a young company such as how to collaborate, navigate political minefields and a steady wisdom that often comes from experience.
The studies used census and tax data on 2.7 million founders. The average age of a founder was 41 years-old.
The longer you’ve been around, the better your odds,” Jones says.
We’re not sure if this new research will have an impact on how venture capitalists invest in new companies by older founders. The “cult of youth” is so embedded in the tech industry that it will likely take some time for the data to sink in.
Read the full article: How Old Are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs? A definitive new study dispels the myth of the Silicon Valley wunderkind.
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