Youth isn't just respected in tech—it's worshipped above almost any other trait. Be reckless! Make mistakes! Take chances! Watch these clowns juggle! This is probably a lot of fun, unless you're a middle-aged engineer, in which case you are maybe worthless.
The San Francisco Chronicle talks to a few hapless (former) startup workers who can't get back inside the business, just because they perhaps remember being alive during parts of the Cold War. Firing people with experience is a problem in every industry, but for a field that idolizes youthfulness (or its approximation), things are even worse:
"It's been quite a shock, coming out of my last job, which I had for 11 years," said Robert Honma, 49, of Sunnyvale, his resume filled with senior tech positions in multinational companies and small startups. He's been out of work for 10 months. "The Facebooks, the Googles are driven by the young."
Driven by, and in search of. It makes sense—in an awful way—that you'd want a fleet of fleeting, impressionable staffers to build your company. In all likelihood, it'll end up shifting into an entirely other idea or business, and need an almost entirely different team. Eagerness to fail, like youth, is a chief virtue around these crowds, and when you have decades of experience, that probably sounds insane. Because it is insane.