The Sound of Mortar Fire in the Blogosphere

I have some advice for both Dave and Fred.  It won’t matter because I can’t ever get either one of them to talk to me, but here goes.

First, as is often the case in the blogosphere, everyone is so interested in being heard that they forget to listen.  It’s just mortar fire as each party lobs bombs blindly at the other, hoping to get close enough to the target to do a little damage.  And get rich and/or famous in the process.

sourgrapesDave, stop telling us how you invented everything.  Even if you did, people are tired of hearing it.  Don’t keep saying “I’m ready to do the really big ideas.”  Just go do it.  If you want to win an argument about age and innovation, either go invent something new and wonderful or, if that’s not feasible, at least attack the argument in general, not personal, terms.  It’s not about you.  It’s really not.  It’s about everyone over 30.  Your petulance undermines the truths you speak. Truths like this: “In every other creative field people are active into their sixties, seventies or eighties. For some reason in tech we assume people are washed up at 30? Based on what? Marc Andreessen’s experience. Hmm.”  The point is that there are so many people with skin in the game who want to extrapolate all sorts of earth shaking developments out of these little recycled science projects that we read about every day.  That there are so many logical and economic holes in the VC process, particularly as it relates to online stuff, that it’s hard not to fall into one.  That’s the point, not whether you’re getting the reverence you think you deserve.  Oh, and one last thing.  Fred’s post was really not a personal attack on you or anyone else.  So what if he wants to fund youngsters.  Maybe youngsters are the best ones to create things that other youngsters (the current and future target audience) want to use.

Fred, don’t confuse the little high school science projects we call Web 2.0 with true innovation.  According to a National Bureau of Economic Research study on Nobel Prize winners in physics, chemistry, medicine and economics over the past 100 years and on outstanding technological innovations over the same period, 42 percent of innovations were created by people in their 30s, 40 percent occurred when the inventors were in their 40s and 14 percent appeared when the inventors were over 50.  There were no great achievements produced by innovators before the age of 19, and only 7 percent were produced by innovators at or before the age of 26 (Einstein’s age when he performed his prize winning work).  Hanging out in AOL chat rooms, IMing and joining Facebook has about as much to do with becoming an innovator as taking a shower has to do with winning the 100 meter freestyle.  These kids may be creating some cool little projects, but cool does not equate to revolutionary, profitable or necessary.  It’s the brain not the birthday that matters.

Carry on.

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