The Age Question (final post)

So yesterday I pissed off Dave Winer, Scott Karp, Steven Hodson, and a host of others who have weighed in heavily in the comments.

I guess I knew it was gonna happen because I was uneasy about writing the post in the first place.

I’ve been reluctant because I don’t want to pick at this scab of a
meme. I really don’t want to be the guy who made it harder for anyone
older than 30 to get funded in the web services market.

It’s also a bit frustrating to me to be so misunderstood. Yesterday’s post was the third in a series of musings (yes, that is what they are) on the age question.

It all started with a post where I mentioned several conversations with mid life entrepreneurs I know well who are struggling with "what to do next" issues.

That post was also misinterpreted as a "young is better" post. It wasn’t. In that post I pointed out that in our portfolio, there are more 40 and 50 somethings than 20 somethings.

But because I was unhappy with the way people interpreted that post, I followed with one where I said age is a mindset and encouraged entrepreneurs of all ages to go for it. Clay accused me of "waffling" with that second post.

I guess I should have left it at that. But Brad and I were talking on Friday about the sheer volume of young entrepreneurs we are seeing that is unprecedented in my 20 years in the VC business. Contrary to one of the comments from yesterday, this is not like what happened during the bubble. Back then it was newly minted MBAs starting companies out of greed. This is different. This is 15 to 20 year old kids building and launching authentic web services that fill a real need in the market.

Let me re-emphasize a point that I’ve now made three times but seems to be ignored by all the people who I’ve annoyed. We have funded only one 20 something entrepreneur in close to 15 investments we’ve made so far in our fund. I am sure we’ll do more but we are not going to be a fund focused on 25 year olds and younger as Scott Karp suggests.

Dave Winer has been a frequent recipient of praise on this blog for inventing the concept of syndication that drives the whole distributed media model. He knows that I think his contributions to the Internet and web services are huge.

So to Dave and everyone else I’ve pissed off, please take a second to read everything I’ve written on this subject. I am not an ageist. I would gladly back an entrepreneur who was 80 if they were doing something interesting.

This blog is about transparency – sharing with everyone what I am seeing and thinking. I am seeing way more super young entrepreneurs than I’ve ever seen. That’s a fact. End of story. No more posting on this topic.