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Under 30 and On The Cutting Edge 215

conq writes "BusinessWeek has an interesting piece on cutting edge technology entrepreneurs under 30. From the article: 'Don't look at what the industry is doing,' Erchak says. 'Look at what they're not doing and focus on that. That's where the real disruptive technology comes from.'"
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Under 30 and On The Cutting Edge

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  • Heh, exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by suso ( 153703 ) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:52PM (#14910607) Homepage Journal

    Get out there and do interesting things people. Stop making window managers, CMS systems and text editors and start making new things. Things that are useful.
    • by Serapth ( 643581 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:01PM (#14910689)
      I would but I just turned 30, so im no longer allowed.
      • It looks like 30 year olds are still allowed so you still have a year to create something cool and build a business around it. I'm pretty sure cure for cancer or AIDS counts.
        • I hope so (Score:3, Funny)

          by suso ( 153703 ) *
          I hope you're right. I just turned 30 a few weeks ago and am close to releasing my own disruptive technology that will hopefully start a new industry.
          • Me too! It's this system, see, that manages large amounts of content in an online fashion that allows the seperation of the system admin and programmer from the "content contributor". But that's just a tease. You'll have to wait for my disruptive "Content Management Solution" - coming sooooooooon!!
    • Re:Heh, exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TedCheshireAcad ( 311748 ) <ted@@@fc...rit...edu> on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:10PM (#14910766) Homepage
      But whatever it is, make sure it runs in the web browser with plenty of AJAX.

      How exactly is meebo a disruptive technology?
      • Re:Heh, exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MP3Chuck ( 652277 )
        Nevermind "how" ... what is "disruptive technology?" I've seen that term thrown around in place of what seems should be "creative" or such ... but that just doesn't make much sense to me.
    • Re:Heh, exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Peaker ( 72084 )
      The problem is, the computing world is so hopelessly fragmented that every feature, every useful idea ever created, needs to be reimplemented in the context of every platform and often in the case of every program.

      Sometimes it is just stupid, but often it is required because of the nature of the crappy computing world we live in.

      For example, since the registry is just like the file system, but is just a little bit different and uses different interfaces, we need to duplicate all of the tools and features th
      • Re:Heh, exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bzipitidoo ( 647217 )
        Are you over 30, and desperate to show you can still be a worthwhile disruptive thinker?? What you're saying sounds similar to the proposals for the next ReiserFS [namesys.com].

        But yeah, I've been feeling for a long time now that programming and system work is needlessly tedious, boring, anal retentive, and that it's the fault of the languages and systems. We hope and strive for but don't yet expect intelligence from our computers, just very very fast computation. Intelligence is a fine goal, yet we haven't gotten co

  • balance.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by sdirrim ( 909976 )
    With our nation and our economy in such delicate balance, do we really want to disrupt things?
  • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:55PM (#14910636)
    is not that sharp according to Business Week :)

    After all, this guy [businessweek.com] is 31 and this guy [businessweek.com] is 30. Hell, at 37, I might be able to squeak by :)

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:57PM (#14910650)
    So at 36 I'm over the hill and no good? Sheesh... I curse all those Baby Boomers who made being older than 30 a bad thing. They should've made it 64 instead.
    • I curse all those Baby Boomers

      Me too. They ruin everything. They had their fun; free love, relatively safe drugs, protesting, Woodstock...

      Now they're all old fuddy-duddys', and making everything they did for fun against the law.

      It's no wonder todays youth is resorting to crystal meth and bot-nets. Easy sex, easy marijuana, and good music has been ruined by the grups!

    • In the 70's, over 16 is considered old and uncool; In 00's, over 32 is considered old and uncool.

      So maybe come 2015, only those over 64 will be considered old and uncool.
    • I curse all those Baby Boomers who made being older than 30 a bad thing

      Actually, no. If you consider that the 'baby boom' generation was born between 1945 and 1960, then the bb's are all well over 40 now. You can thank the baby boomers for phrases like: "40 is the new 30".... now you're even hearing: "50 is the new 30". They don't want to get old, so they keep changing the threshold.
    • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:14PM (#14910795) Journal
      ...at your age, Mozart was already dead.
    • Yes, in the world of computer programming, 36 is by far way over the hill. Are you looking towards management?
      • Yes, in the world of computer programming, 36 is by far way over the hill.

        That wasn't the case in any of the four software shops I've worked in. :-) Heck, I was laid off in 2002 because at age 39 and 13+ years of experience I was tied for the bottom spot experience-wise on a team of 14 people.

        That's one of the big differences between working in a larger mainframe shop with complex vertical in-house applications and writing shrinkwrapped software, though. The former tends to have a lot of people who ha

        • Thanks for your solid comment. I play in the J2EE web development, Ajax Web 2.0 world of enterprise consulting. Most of the groud-level coders (folks who code full time or more) are very young and work crazy hours. Most of the 40+ folks are management (which includes architects and security leaders, etc..). I'm 33 and am worried coding jobs will dry up as I get older.....
          • Who knows what the future will bring? Some organizations will *always* need veteran software developers (who generally do a mix of analysis, design and coding, not just coding), but it's hard to say if those places will become the norm or the exception.
          • I worked in a company with lots of programmers in their 40s and 50s. We got bought out by a company with lots of young coders working crazy hours. And you know what? After 6 years of running as fast as they can, they've produced almost nothing. In fact, the core product they were working on was just tossed, along with the programmers that were working on it.

            Meanwhile we've been trying to keep moving and developing, but with all the "rush rush rush internet time must code and release right now!!!" it's p
  • I'm surprised we made it to 2006 without thinking of this.
    • Oh, yes, and don't forget "buy low and sell high".

      All these money making paradigms are childishly simple aren't they?

      But in all seriousness, I often get the impression that there's more than a little brainwashing in many business publications, which tend to be thin in the useful business information department and fat on the kind of flattering profiles that are the business equivalent of the text that you get with the Playboy centerfold.
    • "We" didn't, and I happen to have a patent on "Inventing something new that everyone wants." It was filed in early 2002, but I have inhouse development files which document our research activities quite a bit further back. I anticipate the patent will be granted with the most recent round of inquiries and, needless to say, all of these whippersnapers will be receiving a letter from my lawyers any day now. I'll be suing BusinessWeek as well, for..um...I don't really know yet, but it seems that McGraw-Hill h
    • "Something that everyone wants!" Why didn't I think of that! *slap* No wonder my Fortran 77 programming tools business is failing!
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:00PM (#14910680) Homepage
    Eight out of the ten "new ideas" are Internet applications. And every one of those eight is in an area where someone else already has an entry. Web-based instant messaging. Call center outsourcing. Social networking for teenagers. Yawn. Some of them are cool, but none of them are really needed.

    The two new ones are a simulator for pharmaceutical development and a new approach to solid state light sources. Those may or may not work, but they're real developments.

    • His point seems to be more about "disruptive" than "new".
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That article is incredibly biased in favor of American entrepreneurs. "Businessweek" should have also included a healthy helping of European entrepreneurs.

      Also, "Businessweek" should have considered the quality of the new businesses. Even though the per-capita number of startups in Europe is lower than that in the USA, the quality of those startups is higher than the quality in the USA. Remember all the failed startups in the DotCom boom?

      Now, consider 2 stellar European startups that have made a diff

    • This NY Times article [nytimes.com] speaks to that. For these under 30 somethings in NYC, success is not so much about doing something new as it is about doing something that another company, with deep pockets, wants. The exit strategy is being acquired.

      • ...success is not so much about doing something new as it is about doing something that another company, with deep pockets, wants. The exit strategy is being acquired.

        Thank you Cpt. Obvious. We all learned this in the 90's didn't we?
      • That's the Microsoft strategy. You don't need to be 30 or younger for that. My friend and I are going to do the same thing once we figured out a ground-breaking new idea that would change the market forever and Microsoft will just hand over all the extra cash. Maybe a portable video game player?!
    • by Samrobb ( 12731 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:36PM (#14910980) Homepage Journal
      And every one of those eight is in an area where someone else already has an entry.

      Not neccesarily a bad thing. Guy Kawasaki [guykawasaki.com] has commented that there are a lot of smart people in the world... if you come up with an idea, look around, and see abolutely no competition, then you have pull a Scott Adams and ask yourself, "which is more likely?"

      • I am incredibly smarter, luckier, and/or more insightful than each and every other person on the planet who might have ever had the chance to come up with this idea. In a sea of six billion faceless drones, I alone am unique.
      • There are smarter people in the world - much smarter than me - who have thought of and then discarded this idea as the disgusting piece of trash that it is.

      Now, you see, the trick is that if you are somewhat smarter, luckier, or more insightful, you have two choices. You can attempt to come up with something completely original and new, which is really risky, as shown above. Or, you can enter a known, existing, money making market where your somewhat-smarter brain, store of luck and somewhat novel insgihts will allow you to out-maneuver the barely sentient cretins who currently inhabit that market niche. Still somewhat risky, but not anywhere near as risky as trying to create a completely new market.

      • /shrug

        A graduate advisor I once had said that if you weren't coming up with one new idea a month, you shouldn't be in academia. That's a pretty fast pace, IMO, but I have come up with ideas nobody else has thought of, am working for a family business (because my mother thought of a business model nobody had done before), and my dad just sits around all day putting things together to try stuff completely new. He was working on free metropolitan WIFI nets years before you started hearing about them going up a
      • The problem with estimating things that way is that it assumes other smart people have not discarded it because another smart person probably thought of it. If you think of something for which you find no competition, but it seems relatively reasonable, you should at least be able to win on marketing.

        Entering into an existing, money making market is an awesome strategy if you are smarter at the things that will help you make money. Computer science especially is littered with stories of better designs/pro

    • .... but half of them don't have much of a business model.

      Take Meebo for example. Sure, it's cool, but what's their model? Ads on the site? What?

      Plus they are going to have the problem of competing with the IM networks themselves. I mean, GTalk already has a web client. So do ICQ and Yahoo!, although they are Java based. And if you are , you really think it woul dbe a big deal to whip up an AJAX IM client? I think not.

    • >>The two new ones are a simulator for pharmaceutical
      >>development and a new approach to solid state light sources

      In, hmm, 1999 or so I worked for the Bionengineering Department at UCSD for a grant funded by Proctor and Gamble. The BIONOME project sort of went nowhere, really (you can find the hacked apart website still up at bionome.sdsc.edu. Or, wait. I guess it's down now. But there's something of a reference here:
      http://cgi.ncsa.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/General/CC/irg/cl earing/projectAbstract.pl?pr [uiuc.edu]
  • by ExE122 ( 954104 ) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:00PM (#14910684) Homepage Journal
    This all makes sense because by age 30, most of us nerds are broken shells of mangled human flesh: Thick glasses, crooked spines, carpal tunnel syndrome, high blood pressure... long term effects of working in the high speed world of information technology.

    And lets not forget about the stress-related impotence! How do you expect anyone to be innovative when they're out of libidious mojo?

    We hit our mid-life crisis at age-15 when we spend all our allowance on the newest AMD chips, graphics cards, and video games.

    I'm half way through my 20s and I'm not looking forward to being a grizzled and worthless dinosaur in the next 5 years... but such is the price we pay.

    (sorry to anyone over 30)
    • Re:The Nerdy Blues (Score:5, Informative)

      by AlterTick ( 665659 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:14PM (#14910803)
      We hit our mid-life crisis at age-15 when we spend all our allowance on the newest AMD chips,

      Nobody over 30 spent their allowance at age 15 on anything AMD, junior! Try "Commodore", "Apple", or maybe "IBM".

      • Nobody over 30 spent their allowance at age 15 on anything AMD, junior! Try "Commodore", "Apple", or maybe "IBM".

        Wrong. "Commodore", "Apple", or maybe "IBM" was for the great unwashed masses. A real nerd would have built a custom computer out of AMD2900 bit slices (circa 1975).

        • Actually, I take that back. IBM certainly had possibilities for the true nerd of that time. In the mid-70's I had the opportunity to buy a used IBM business computer - I think the model number was 700-something, perhaps 702 (if my memory is correct) - that used vacuum tubes! It was offered to me for $600 by a salvage dealer. That is the honest-to-god truth. I was actually seriously considering it for a while, but the thought of the impact it would have had on my electric bill eventually made me decide
    • I would write a lengthy reply but my arthritis is bothering me... How it pains me to be 34!
    • Re:The Nerdy Blues (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rrohbeck ( 944847 )
      Agree 100%. By 30 I was getting fat, my back was bothering me and I had no enegry.

      Now I'm 46 and in better shape than at any point in my life before. Probably in better shape than you kiddo :P

      You probably expect some exercise machine or miracle supplement spam now. Sorry to disappoint. :) Hey, you're a nerd, you are capable of learning, right? Buy a few books on nutrition and exercise and get a gym membership. Prepay for 3 years, that'll give you the best rate available. Maybe they'll even throw in a few pe
  • meebo peepo (Score:5, Funny)

    by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:01PM (#14910685)
    Advice: "Surround yourself with really, really smart people and don't be afraid to give them equity, because it's all about the team," says Sternberg.

    Translation: Surround yourself with women at your workplace, and you are halfway there to actually getting a date.
  • Look at what they're not doing and focus on that. That's where the real disruptive technology comes from.

    First reaction is... well, duh. Don't do what everyone else does if you want to stand out.

    But actually isn't that often not true? The better mouse trap is often disruptive. Portable music players were around for a long time before the iPod. The Apple Newton was out long before the Palm. People were downloading music long before iTunes.

    Don't know why I'm focusing on Apple, but those are what came to
    • Re:Duh (Score:3, Interesting)

      Look up terms like first mover advantage, second mover advantage etc. This has been studied ad infinitum.
      Marketing is complex, as much as we like think of the guys in marketing as the ones who, despite being 40 and white, call each other bro and are really competitive about pick up basketball games.
  • by meteau ( 101450 )
    Any idea on if security apps will be big this year?

  • Like Logan's Run? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Colonel Panic ( 15235 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:03PM (#14910705)
    So does this mean that if you're over 30 you don't have a chance at creating anything innovative?
    • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 )
      That's why they put us in management positions.
    • House, mortgage, kids, car payments etc etc. Your attention is divided, you've got no chance of coming up with the next big thing because you're laden down with frankly far more important problems to solve.

  • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:03PM (#14910706)
    ...if BusinessWeek authors read Slashdot

    http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=179 921&cid=14898939 [slashdot.org]
  • Not just startups- (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alex P Keaton in da ( 882660 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:07PM (#14910737) Homepage
    From the article...
    What's the most common error made by startup entrepreneurs?
    Easily the biggest problem is when you have a founder who is sentimentally attached to his company to the point where he won't let go and accept help. Especially with technology firms, the founder tends to be passionate about the product and tends to come out of an educational-engineering environment with very little expertise in the business world.
    This is so true- whether in business or on message boards (like this). I got my start in tech, but went on to get a JD and a MBA- and now my true techie friends love to make fun of me. But the truth is, hubris can sink about anything- Knowing a lot about tech does not mean that you know anyting about business (and vice versa)
    • Hi,

      I'm actually thinking of going the same route. I have a degree in software engineering and another which is a mix of computer and telecomm engineering. I have a bunch of great ideas, but I have no idea on how to implement them, i.e. start of my own company; which if why I'm thinking of getting my MBA.

      Anyway I was just wondering how much an MBA from school X is really worth, if you plan on being your own boss for a tech startup? Does an MBA from a more renowned school matter more than a less renowned scho
      • The only programs that might appeal to you more than others would be the highly quantitative/statistical programs (UC/MIT are the best known), although you will be with very similar people. Most of the value of a top teir MBA is in recruiting so if you are just doing it for yourself, pick a good regional program but you might want to inquire about their entreprenurial professors/classes.

        Most of the educational value of an MBA will depend on what your professors' experience is you should be able to find
      • Do a little research before you dive into something like an MBA. You may end up spending more time and money than you really need to, and not really learn the stuff you're looking for.
        Look at some of the books at nolo.com, tons of great small business stuff there. Also, look in your area for any free or low cost small business seminars.

        The technical parts of starting a small business are easy. Just takes common sense and some research. The hard part is making it work, and bringing in money. Alot of techie
    • Perhaps it is a sentiment leftover from our college experiences wherein the dumb students were the ones that were business majors. :)
      (not that there were no dumb kids with other majors, but business seemed the default major for the kids with no brains or talent at anything but drinking with their frat buddies. ;)
  • Bad advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    Inventing something that no one has ever thought of is a lot like winning the lottery... nice if you can do it, but don't bet your future on it.

    Having been involved in a number of successful businesses over the years, I can tell you that good ideas are a dime a dozen. There's no huge mystery about what's successful and what isn't... look around you.

    The difference between someone who is successful and someone who isn't is execution. The world is full of people who dream big but don't get off their ass and do it.

    What people don't get is that you don't have to be the dominant player on the block to make a LOT of money, but what it does require is taking a risk and putting yourself out there. Find your little niche and set up shop. The world is like a raging river of money. You don't have to set up a very big flume to get a pretty good stream coming to you.

    And if (or when...) you fail the first couple of times, learn from your mistakes, get back up and try again.

    Just a step at a time, folks. Just take a step a time. It's not how fast you're stepping, but the fact that you're stepping at all.

    • The difference between someone who is successful and someone who isn't is execution. The world is full of people who dream big but don't get off their ass and do it.

      That reminds me of my brother-in-law. He came up with a lot of good ideas but gets bored quickely and hop on to another get-rich-quick scheme. I guess that's why he'll never be in articles like this.
    • Mostly cutting edge developers under the age of 30 starting companies up to do what nobody else was doing. They formed Dotcom corporations but had an Underpants Gnomes type Business Model:

      #1 Develop cutting edge applications that nobody else are doing.

      #2 ?

      #3 Profit

      If you are going to develop cutting edge programs that nobody else is doing, make sure that there is a market for it. You will find a market for it if it is meeting customers' needs. What you need to do is find needs that nobody else is filling, a
      • What you need to do is find needs that nobody else is filling, and design cutting edge programs to fill those needs.

        Actually, my point is that you DON'T need to find something that "nobody else is filling". It's incredibly hard to find totally virgin territory. If you're waiting for that to happen, you'll probably have a very long wait.

        The play with a much higher probability of success is to find a niche with a lot of demand. The fact that there are a lot of players making money there means that it's a successful niche! The trick is to find a way to elbow your way into your share of the business (that's also called "marketing"). Of course, you want to choose a niche that you're good at.

        Take Internet hosting companies. Tons of 'em, right? Well, that's because the market is big enough to support tons of them. You don't have to reinvent the idea of a hosting company to have a successful little business with recurring income. That's just an example -- there are lots of little businesses like that.

        • But what distingises your company from the others? Why would a customer choose your Internet Hosting Company over Yahoo Geocities, Pair.net, GoDaddy, and many others? It would only be because you are filling a need that the others are not filling. Who knows maybe you support PHP, ASP.NET (via Novel Mono), JSP, and Perl for scripting languages and the others do not? Maybe you have a different pricing plan? Maybe you designed an easier to use web based HTML creation program?

          I wanted to make the better eCommer
    • So I understand what you posted, and wholeheartedly agree with it...but I have somewhat of a different issue...

      I have great ideas, not necessarily new...but in-demand enough to be sellable...except I have a marketing/advetising background. I'm a geek, and am definitely familiar with computers and whats going on, but when it comes to programming, or creating a prototype of an electronic device, I'm hosed since I don't have those skills and by the time I was able to teach myself them...it would be obsolete.


      • except I have a marketing/advetising background [...] Can you suggest any resources for someone in my situation to find people who can fully handle those aspects of it?

        Here's my advice for someone like you: don't try and invent the wheel yourself. By that I mean don't try and find a programming consultant to program something for you. There is a 99% probability that you'll get screwed. Number one, it's EXTREMELY hard to find good people. By the nature of programming, you can't tell easily how well somethi

  • [this] guy triple majors at Harvard, with his buddy from Jr. High, who is double majoring and they start a dating service... He He. Either venture capitalists are retarded, or these guys are too smart for humanity [not having any other information-- I think it's the prior].
  • Watch the other end! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by monopole ( 44023 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:14PM (#14910800)
    Cringley has pointed out that the retiring boomer hackers will have more impact especially on the open source movement.

    The under 30's have the advantage/disadvantage of not knowing what is impossible. On the other hand the old hands know the old tricks.

    I was astounded to encounter teen interns who looked astounded at the concept of sub-Gigahertz machines.
    • I was astounded to encounter teen interns who looked astounded at the concept of sub-Gigahertz machines.

      When I worked at Atari, the kids (18 to 20 years old) were generally astounded that I played Pong when it first came out long before mall arcades became popular and had an Atari 2600 in early 1980's. They were astonished that video games existed before the Sony Playstation. If that didn't throw them for a loop, another co-worker used to work on pen-and-paper games in the 1970's.
    • I am astounded to to see a /.er that was astounded to encounter teen interns who looked astounded at the concept of sub-Gigahertz machines !
  • by Quirk ( 36086 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:15PM (#14910809) Homepage Journal
    I've been involved with successful businesses and have seen many more fail. I don't think there's a set of answers to follow laid out like the yellow brick road, and, even if there were, you'd most likely just end up talking to some flim flam artist proclaiming himself to be a wizard while hiding behind a curtain.

    There are people who are technically gifted and are chrismatic enough to sell whatever it is they're working on but they're few and far between.

    A few simple rules:

    (1)know your product and be able to explain it to investors who might not have the technical training to immediately grasp what it is you're proposing. Stay away from the trap too many technical trained people fall into of overwhelming potential investors or customers with unnecessary detail, (I failed this test repeatedly).

    (2) Have a business plan and enough money to go 5 years without outside investors. Many government agencies provide templates that will allow you to lay out a business plan that a banker or investor can easily understand. Don't go to a bank or potential investor with a bunch of loose papers and a lot of hand waving. Most businesses I've seen fail went into business looking to turn a profit in the first year. Statistics show the vast majority of businesses need at least five years to break even.

    I'm currently about to undertake development of two ideas that I've worked on for the last ~5 years. I'm fairly sure both will succeed. As per the article both of my ideas are innovative and not visible on the web today, but along with the innovation I've spent a few years laying out a plan, both as to actual development and marketing. You must know why your project will succeed, you should know what might cause it to fail.

    And then there's luck, just being in the right place at the right time.

    • I'm currently about to undertake development of two ideas that I've worked on for the last ~5 years. I'm fairly sure both will succeed. As per the article both of my ideas are innovative and not visible on the web today

      Got a link? 'Cause I'd be like, curious, and stuff...

    • I would say 80% effort/presistance, 10% intelligence, and 10% luck.
  • by GeekBird ( 187825 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:18PM (#14910829) Homepage Journal
    This tripe from Business Week is just another paean to the cult of youth, a slap in the face of those who've actually been around a while.

    People forget that the "under 30" crowd was responsible for some of the stupidest, lamest, and most ridiculous excesses of the dot bomb. The recipe for dot com success was to only hire "young" (under 30, RCG) developers, because you "can't teach an old dog new tricks". It didn't work then, and it's still stupid now.

    The best development environment is a mix of young, middle aged, and older developers. The elder developers season the brashness of youth with experience (and pointing out why web businesses to just sell 50# bags of dog food are stupid), and the younger ones inspire creativity where the elders had become complacent.

    Would you trust a 25 year old bank president? Would you want to drive a car designed totally by a 22 year old recent college grad without the benefit of verification by a senior engineer? I wouldn't. So why in the hell should our software and computer hardware be only the product of young minds?

    Business Week should know better than to shill for the "young is best" nonsense. We've seen where that crap leads - I read lots of articles just like it in 1998 and 1999. For shame.

    BTW, I'm 44, and I said it was stupid the last time this "concept" got touted too - seven years ago...
    • Erchak says. 'Look at what they're not doing and focus on that. That's where the real disruptive technology comes from.'"

      I agree with your post. This term 'disruptive' is really tiresome. After the dotcom bust the term seemed to have fallen into disfavor with a lot of other silly expressions, like 'agility', 'service velocity', 'web time'. The only ones who continue to use it seem to be too young know they should be embarrassed. When I hear visionary types prattle on using it I think 'deceptive' instead

    • Would you want to drive a car designed totally by a 22 year old recent college grad without the benefit of verification by a senior engineer?

      Except that physical mechanics and safety rarely change. The experienced engineer certainly has the upper hand in your example. Computer science on the other hand is changing daily, and unfortunately "more experienced" in this field is often a very bad thing. If you've been doing it for more than a few years, it is likely obsolete.

      There are of course many pla
      • by GeekBird ( 187825 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:13PM (#14911287) Homepage Journal
        But if you want in on a new technology, you have to realize your experience isn't worth crap, and your ability to adapt to new ideas real-time is the most important.

        The first part is horseshit. Experience tells you how to take ideas from dreaming and handwaving to real, working versions.

        Any developer worth his/her salt can "adapt to new ideas", and "real-time" is a piece of noveau fluff. Experience lets you dodge the chronic reinvent the wheel syndrome that companies with all of their dev staff under 30 have. A square wheel isn't a "disruptive" new idea, it's just stupid.

        BTW, if my experience isn't worth crap, how come I keep getting hired by smaller companies, rather than big dinosaurs? Maybe they understand that RCG kids aren't the be all and end all of development. Also, why are some of the brightest, most creative developers I know in their 40s? Most of the younger ones just want to play multiplayer online games that just suck money and time out of their lives, not create something worthwhile.

        This all sounds so much like the lame dot com shills from the late 90s that it isn't even funny. It was stupid then, it's stupid now. "Under 30, and on the Cutting Edge" is just a code for age discrimination, lower salaries, and the fake IT shortage that it spawned.
        • Any developer worth his/her salt can "adapt to new ideas"

          Given the number of platforms, development environments, toolkits, and programming languages someone in their 30s+ has seen I would argue they might be better at adapting to new ideas. Every new programming whatchamahoozit is touted as a brand new paradigm, much less a new set of ideas, some even are.

          My point is that experience is important, even if the tools you used for 3/4 of your career are dust now, all of the logical thinking, ability to ada

    • I very much agree. At 45 (a young 45) I feel like I am still able to provide insight and creativity to the business world. I work to keep up with the shifting snads of technology, but what experience has shown me is that the more it changes, the more it is still the same....or worse.

      Today, innovation is more about marketing and getting to market then on solid foundations of incremental improvement. granted that there are times when something can come alongthat truly changes the course of the industry, bu
  • What's a "disruptive technology"? One that disrupts, of course. And just how useful a term is that? Sounds like content-free marketroid jingoism to me.
  • by boxlight ( 928484 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:19PM (#14910839)
    I'm 36, and been programming professionally for 10 years, been part of 2 failed start-ups and 2 corporate layoffs.

    After watching other managers' hits and big misses for 10 years, and learning a lot about computer programming and marketing along the way -- only *now* do i seriously feel i have the chops to take a shot at building a successful product. But will I do it?

    That's where the youthful enthusiasm comes in. Youthful enthusiasm and being under 30 is great because you don't have a wife and a mortgage payment yet. Like Steve Jobs said, "stay hungry and stay foolish". You have to be pretty "foolish" to leave a great paying programming job to take a shot on the next "digg.com" -- try telling that to you wife -- "but honey, when i get 50,000 visitors a day, *then* i'll figure out how to pay the mortgage".

    For every Bill Gates and Steve Jobs who made it big under 30, there's a thousand guys who failed a dozen times.

    More power to you, entrepeneurs -- I may join you one day. Just have to get a little more foolish first.

    • I don't know. I don't think it's really foolishness. It's more of being more able to take bigger risks. Taking an entrepreneurial risk is foolish if you have a house wife and kids. It's really not foolish if you're single living in your mother's basement.

      What I'm afraid of about your comment is that calling it "foolish" is a way for you to make yourself feel responsible and justified for not taking calculated risks that would really pay off.
  • Age Discrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orion Blastar ( 457579 ) <orionblastar@@@gmail...com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:21PM (#14910857) Homepage Journal
    there are cutting edge developers over the age of 30, why are they not being covered as well? Yet again, another discrimination issue.

    Note, I am a cutting edge developer over the age of 30, and I know of many others as well.
  • by Confused ( 34234 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:27PM (#14910906) Homepage
    Look at what they're not doing and focus on that.

    Has any of those mighty business analyst ever thought, that there might be a good reason why things are the way they are? That perhaps all those people doing business now aren't complete idiots and actually have some idea what they're doing and aren't waiting for a bunch of college kid to tell them how the world works?

    Where are all those so-terribly-bright entrepreneurs from the 90s today? Most of them are failures and learned the hard way that the ideas outside the box have been kicked out of the box because they don't work. Very clever to tell people to sift through the intellectual refuse instead of learning from other people's experience.

    And before launching into the search of the next disruptive technology, one should first check how many came along in the past 20 years. I guess there were no more than 5 worldwide, the rest were just millions of little evolutionary steps from within the box.

    Good business sense would mandate to send your potential competition on a wild goose chase for the next disruption while going on working the established market with proven ideas.
    • Where are all those so-terribly-bright entrepreneurs from the 90s today?

      I'd say most of them cashed out a decent chunk of change, and are living quite happily. Yes the companies they founded may have failed, but I bet most of those 20 something's that actually got companies to the IPO stage made out quite nicely. I actually personally know 2 such people, yeah they still work, but they have > 2 million sitting in the bank against a rainy day, not exactly what I would call failure.

  • at zombo.com.

    but seriously...intersting list of young, solid businesses. The jury is still out on many of these businesses.
  • Seriously. These kids need to be beaten. I'm so SICK of reading about weasels that produce *NOTHING*, but because they can wear a suit and make a fucking PowerPoint presentation, they end up swimming in money from investors. I'm pissed off because I've spent the last 4 years beating my brains out to actually CREATE something (several full-time jobs with benefits, and a shitload of tax revenue for my town, thank you), nobody handed me a cent, and I'm still not anywhere near as loaded as these fuckwads are
    • Damn straight. Out of 11 entries on this list, I've heard of precisely one venture - Skype. Either I don't get out much on the Internet, or this piece is nothing more than PR puff for some bedroom websites. I mean, "Yelp", a review site? "Real people, real reviews". That's what the world needs, another user-created review site. Well excuse me for never encountering it.
    • I'd be pissed, too, if I worked my ass off for four years and have nothing to show for.
  • I haven't used a single product by any company in that article other than paypal :p There are hundreds of multi-million dollar valued/invested companies. I don't see any of the OTHER mentioned companies going anywhere. I see the article (which is only a preface to these little slide notes) as a fluff piece. Thx /. that was definitely news that mattered....

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.