“Young people are just smarter,” Mark Zuckerberg infamously said to 650 aspiring entrepreneurs at a Y Combinator Startup School event in 2007. His logic was straightforward–young people lead simpler lives, so they’re able to focus on big-picture problems. Now that Zuckerberg is in his thirties, I’m not sure he’d still agree–in fact, I’m confident he wouldn’t. But this idea continues to resonate. Silicon Valley still fetishizes youth, and a lot of people probably see 22-year-old Zuckerberg as the archetype of a founder. Research confirms that many people perceive young entrepreneur to be more driven and more capable of solving significant challenges. There’s just one problem. A substantive and growing body of data tells us this picture is dead wrong. A study released this year reveals that the average age of a startup founder is 42. Baby boomers, meanwhile, are twice as likely to start a business within the next year, as are millennials. Public misconceptions don’t stop with age. In the U.S., immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses compared to native-born citizens. Meanwhile, women-led firms consistently bring in better rates of returns. In terms of gender, socioeconomic class and ethnicity, most entrepreneurs look nothing like the hoodie-and-sandal-wearing stereotype… Read full this story
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