No Country For Old Geeks: Moore’s Law and Ageism in Silicon Valley

connector Moore's Law
Written by David Michaelis

Is there room in Silicon Valley for anyone older than 30? Is Moore’s Law the law of the land for more than just transistors? Commentary by David Michaelis.

aNewDomainMoore’s law dictates the pace of innovation in Silicon Valley. As we race towards 25 billion transistors per chip, our life in the face of this prediction becomes clearer in ways we don’t expect. Not only does it date new gadgets and products at an exponential rate, but it also has a direct influence on consumer culture and tech hiring and firing. Your new Apple Watch will be dated by 2020 and the same is true for your employability in Silicon Valley.

Many articles have been written about the unfair — and even illegal — practices by CEOs in many companies in the tech industry. The data is clear — anyone over the age of 30 has little chance of being hired.

Just six of the 32 companies [Payscale] looked at had a median age greater than 35 years old. Eight of the companies, the study said, had median employee age of 30 or younger. “

But is it just the “bro” culture of a social networking mentality? Are the VCs profiled in this famous essay about brutal ageism cruel and dumb investors?

I believe that, as in “No Country for Old Men,” the real story is the misunderstood force that is much larger than Sheriff Ed Tom Bell can comprehend.

No Country for Old Men, Moore's Law

The Innovation Paradox

In the 21st century, we have an expiration date for everything. The world of products dictates when you are out of date, and worse, when you are as obsolete as an iPhone 4.

Liquidation is the exclusive principle that informs the construction of machines and gadgets. What we try to do with machines, apps and software is produce an effect that does not require our presence or our help. We aim to create innovative machines that function not only to serve us but, in the end, also serve to make us superfluous.

Innovation pushes us towards unknown possibilities, promising a longer life, but one where unemployable geeks who are just behind the curve live. These are the rules of this revolution, one that devours its own members. It is in the DNA of the cutting-edge, competitive and cutthroat tech culture. It is the nature of the high-tech beast. Moore’s law makes your life-long employment a mission impossible.

old skool Moore's LawThis is a country for old men and women, but not in the tech industry. This unique next-new gadget mentality influences the whole food chain of tech employment. The VC partners and startup entrepreneurs all believe in the dogma of being as fast and furious as the latest Intel microprocessor.

If you look at the rate of new tech adoption you can see that the consumer plays along nicely. It is a winner take all strategy in which the older you are — and here 35 is ancient — the greater the chance you won’t even be given the opportunity to be a winner.

Old geeks do not die … they just become marginalized.

For aNewDomain, I’m .

Images courtesy of A Potpourri of Vestiges and Etsy

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