When You Wake Up Feeling Old

Yesterday I posted about youth and inexperience. Today I am going to post about getting old. Because I am 47 today and getting close to the age where I have always thought venture capitalists start to fade.

I got into this business young, too young. And so as a young VC, often the youngest person in the room, I formed some opinions about age in the venture capital business.

The 20s are for getting some expertise. The 30s are for building a reputation. The 40s are where a VC peaks. The 50s are where you start managing the firm, handling relations with the investors, and the 60s are when you retire.

Like any generalizations, there are exceptions to this rule, most notably my partner Brad who hit his stride in his late 40s/early 50s. But like any generalizations, there is a lot of truth to it. VC is a young person’s game. It’s about being on the cutting edge of technology and trends.

I try super hard to stay up to speed on the lastest thing. It’s frankly an obsession for me and one of the reasons I blog every day. You all tell me about more stuff than any other source I’ve got. But I see my kids coming home these days knowing more about the latest indie band, iPhone app, and  cool blog. I can’t compete with their youth but I can pay attention to it, and I do. When they are gone from our home, I’ll lose that connection. And that’s not too far away, unfortunately.

We’ve got two great junior investment professionals in our office, Andrew and Eric. They share an office. When I walk into their office and chat for a while with them, I always walk out knowing something I didn’t know when I walked in. They understand how the web works at a level I’ll never understand.

Of course, with age comes experience and I’ve gotten a bit of that over the years. And I try to share it on this blog as much as I can. But experience is something you have to earn. I can tell stories until I am blue in the face, but unless you’ve had to shut down a company, write off $20mm, or shut down your venture firm, you just don’t know what those things are like and how to avoid them.

I honestly don’t relish the idea of being the VC who brings the experience piece to the equation. I like being on the cutting edge. So I am going to try even harder in the coming years to do that. And I will rely on this blog and all of you to keep me there.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. lazerow

    Fred-You’re nuts. OK. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me explain. Age is just a chronological fact. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Some of the “oldest” people I know are the youngest at heart, and that’s what matters. My grandfather was one of my best friends. And when he died at 97, I said then that he was the youngest person I knew. His outlook and energy never changed. He was in the real estate business but cared enough about what I did that he could debate whether CPMs would increase or decrease in the future (he said increase based on targeting as he was sick of spending money in the Baltimore Sun to reach to .2% of the people in the market for his rental apartments). When asked what kept him young, Pop would say: (a) never stop eating well; (b) never stop working out; and (c) never stop having sex. (Though at the end he said what he used to do all night now took him all night to do!!!!) He also never retired. The day he retired was the day he died.So age is just number. Think young. Act young. And the rest will take care of itself! Happy birthday.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks Mike. That’s an awesome story about your grandfather

      1. lazerow

        He was inspiring. Be inspiring. The idea that you retire in your 60s and lose your mojo as you age is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People choose to age and choose to retire. It’s not a foregone conclusion.Your post was a little defeatist (i.e. age is happening to you versus you’re making a choice not to stay young). You’ll look back at this post in 30 years and realize that you’re still young.

        1. aarondelcohen

          Mike is100% right. And let me tell you Brad has been kicking my ass at Pier 40 soccer and that’s inspired me to keep playing.Fred, I have to tell you that you have a responsibility to the AVC community to stay connected because all of us rely on your connectedness. So more than anything you have to keep your youthful passion and exuberance during the next phases of our current revolution.

  2. Seth Lieberman

    As the wise sage Kuato from Total Recall said: “You are what you do. A man is defined by his actions.”

    1. ceonyc

      Nice… Total Recall. Ha!

  3. WayneMulligan

    Happy birthday Fred — and don’t worry, you’re only as old as the last CEO you invested in. So just stay away from CEOs that are already collecting social security and you’ll be fine 🙂

  4. ceonyc

    I call bullshit on this post.Age is a decision. You choose to stay young by participating in the latest trends and being openminded to new ideas everyday.

  5. Sean

    It’s not sports – where I’ll admit there is inexorably a losing battle against time and age (at least for now, notwithstanding Mr. Kurzweil’s efforts) – and I’m sure you know this but state of mind is at least as important a factor as how many years you’ve roamed the planet when it comes to bright, creative, “cutting edge” thinking. I remember working with people in my 20s who were as stuck in their ways already as any 80 year old. And I have had the pleasure of dealing with people in their 70s who were as alert to the possibilities around them as any teenager. So – if you can keep this state of mind – 47 sounds like a hell of a sweet spot: cutting edge + experience (something that is impossible to improvise).Of course I could be just talking my book as well… 😉

  6. DonRyan

    I’m with Charlie on this one. Old is a state of mind. You can’t do a thing about the body aging but staying on the cutting edge of tech, music, art or whatever is a choice. It’s who you hang with, talk to and what you choose to immerse yourself in. I turn 40 next month and am determined not to turn into an “old man” just because the calendar passes another year. I have to be intentional about it but it can be done. And you’re still investing in some pretty cool stuff.BTW- Happy Birthday.

  7. Fascinated in this subject

    As a CEO in his 20s one of the biggest things I look forward to is growing old.I have been amazingly fortunate to have awesome mentors who have backed me, believed in me, worked with me, exhausted their patience on me, and are still here encouraging me on.I’m now 26, my company secretary with whom I launched the Company is now 66. He’s an awesome guy, and one of the most online, in-touch people I know. He knows his tech.But the biggest thing for me is the fear that I’ll never grow old as gracefully as my mentors. I will not have the patience, the unnerving support to give to someone.That scares me. I want to be that person. I want to be everyone who has backed me and believed in me. I want to give that back to people who are coming through after me.That’s the biggest gift someone ‘older’ can do to a ‘young’ (read inexperienced) person. I will forever be indebted to them and I can only wish I will one day be able to be half the man these people are.These people will never know the affect they had on me and my life.I look forward but also fear the day when that will be me.

  8. Tom Summit

    Fred-A sign of being “old” is becoming set in your ways and not wanting to learn and discover new things. By this definition, you have a while to go before you succumb to senility. I believe that there are VCs out there much younger than you that have become set in their ways and inflexible. Your approach and energy should be a model for the “younger” VCs.

  9. Tony_Alva

    Happy birthday Fred! Take a day off for christ sakes!!!

    1. fredwilson

      Can’t do that today. I’m in boulder for a board meetingI think I’ll take a few days off next week around the labor day weekend

  10. mdoeff

    Happy Birthday Fred. I don’t think you’ll have any problem staying on the cutting edge. Like others have said here, it’s all a state of mind. FYI – my wife and my brother share the same birthday as you.

  11. Brett

    I’ve just started following this blog (maybe 3 months ago) and think its great. Happy b-day Fred. Thanks for all the insights you give aspiring VC’s and entrepreneurs. I flagged this post in my rss to revisit someday.

  12. GlennKelman

    This is my favorite of all your posts, and that is quite a competition.You have an amazing natural voice Fred.

    1. fredwilson

      i write by speaking to myself. i copied the gotham gal on that one.

  13. Dan Cornish

    Happy Birthday Fred,The thing I like to think about is that Frank Gehry, the great architect did not hit his stride until he was near 70. He is now doing his best work. I will argue that if you have the energy, you should be doing better more important things in you 70s than in your 40s.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s inspiring. i’ll try to be the frank gehry of VC

      1. jimbo

        Fred- I guess that means you may make forbes midas list of the 100 best vc’s at 70, when gehry reached his prime? will your investors wait 23 more years?

        1. fredwilson

          What is the forbes midas list?I’ve never heard of it

  14. Steve Hansen

    Fred,Happy Birthday! first off, thanks for all the support while i was at GeoCities. Being a fellow octaganerian i actually think it comes down to intellectual curiosity, energy level and the human animal. if you look at what is happening in 2008 v. 1998, much of what is happening today is an extension of the fundamental behavior patterns of an earlier era, enabled by better technology and infrastructure. i submit, that good venture guys are about recognizing patterns and from those patterns drawing conclusions. the experience gleaned over your career suits you well to see things that others cannot. it comes down to your willingness to make the effort to continue to apply that experience to a dynamic landscape, which, while more complex is at some level a linear extension of what you have seen before. the demographic that is embracing the web and technology today is indeed behaviorally different, but the human animal, at a primal and emotional level is substantially unchanged. embrace your younger colleagues and accept that you will never see the world as they do and perhaps in time, they will be fortunate enough to see it as you do.

  15. terra210

    It’s your choice to define the world and your business as you see it. But then, this is how the world will define you too, (at least in your expectations). I think diversity is interesting, and have always enjoyed people of different ages, etc. in my world. I want the influence of and information from many sources. I want to learn as much as I can, as I am a curious person.I understand your idea of the “value” of youth. It is part of the start-up world. And you have made these investments work. It is your world, and it has been right for you. Just don’t judge yourself too harshly with the same frame. You have exceeded frames in the ideas you choose. Let yourself live outside of them as well.Happy Birthday and have a wonderful year!

    1. MParekh

      A little paranoia is always good Fred, especially when it comes to age. But you’ve long been one of the youngest folks I know in the world of tech investing, VC or otherwise. Happy Birthday!

  16. Martin Owen

    Age does not debar you from being cutting edge. I would say that as I am 59 and doing the entrepreneur thing for money for the first time. I would say that as an academic I was entrepreneurial as well. I haven’t stopped having new ideas most days, I haven’t stopped analysing possibilites and taking risks. I haven’t stopped learning and I haven’t stopped playing.One of the stupidest concepts floating in this culture is that of digital natives (born post SNES/Apple2/internet delete or insert as required) and digital immigrants. Some of us were aboriginals. We still follow the songlines.So please don’t diss the sixty year old guy who will be sprinting up the stairs at Union Sq to give you the pitch. It could be me. I am a soixante-huitard who still wants to change the world.many happy returns.

  17. ppearlman

    dont listen what these guys telling you fred, theyre all young and bushy tail and have apparently learned too well the courtesy of kindness to elders… 47? u fucking old like tut…

    1. kenberger

      kind of troll-ish, but damn is that funny.insert Steve Martin king tut video here…

      1. ppearlman

        ken, i kid bc i love

      2. fredwilson

        thankfully phil is not a troll, he’s a friend who gave me the gift of a laugh on my birthday

  18. Ben

    You don’t give yourself enough credit. I’m 24 years old and I read YOUR blog to stay current. And I also started blogging so I could keep on top of trends. You are at a great age because you can combine the experience with being cutting edge. And thats why people read what you have to say! O yeah, and happy bday

  19. Al

    Feliz cumpleaños.from Spain. I follow your blog from time to time, i learnt a lot.I think age gives you the chance to have other experiences you would not have before. Be a father, be profesional, be a husband… now you have a chance to be a mentor, coach, yoga teacher for instance(i love yoga too), but not only for the companies you invest on, just for fun. Then you got the chance to share things with young people…I have been looking for someone to mentor me too many times, here in my country, nor in english because is not my mother tongue, but was not so lucky. but i think life need more mentors all over the world, you got a chance. I would like to be one at your age.

  20. kenberger

    While it’s easy to nod in agreement about historic trends noted by decade of one’s life (as outlined here), I don’t use such formulaic reasoning, find them restrictive and even destructive.”50 is the new 30″ and derivations on that meme are so true. I flipped out upon facing 30, and other numbers, only later to realize it was because I was comparing myself to my parents’ positions at those markers. They don’t apply, and I believe there’s scientific reasoning for that. Kurzweil’s “Singularity” and “Spritual Machines”, while a bit out there, point to our living much longer than people near life’s end do today. It should follow then that markers like “middle-aged” and other such notions should be moved.

  21. jerome camblain

    joyeux anniversaire.I think there is nothing to worry about the relationship between age and staying sharp. No correlation. in Tech, as we say in France: plus ça change et plus c’est la même chose. (the more things change, the more they stay the same). So there is nothing to worry about… you will just become a better person, more human sensitive (as your recent posts show)Staying sharp means remaining on the cutting edge not on a younger edge (age).

  22. Jeff Janer

    Boy – or should I say man – I can relate to this post. I’m a 52 year old serial entrepreneur launching a new company that’s targeting the 25-35 year old demographic. I’ve not only had to stay up to speed, but also look to my younger co-founders to guide our direction. Working with the younger generation is personally energizing; and I’m confident that the combination of those “in the know” and the resident gray hair will build a great company.

  23. Darren Herman

    Fred, happy bday. We still need to catch up.Age has been both a blessing and curse for me. Charlie blogged about it in response to your post.http://www.thisisgoingtobeb…I’ve found that being ‘young’ – you need to earn your cred when you walk into a room, but too often, I see young people try and be cocky. That’s not the answer.If you know how to manage yourself, manage the company you keep, and have an everlasting thirst for knowledge, you can do well. Atleast that’s what I’ve focused on.

  24. jaredhanson

    Happy Birthday, Fred!

  25. William Woody

    If you believe your age will slow you down, then you will slow down–but not because of your age, but because of your beliefs.My father is in his mid 60’s. He learned to fly just a few years ago, and now he’s currently going for his commercial pilots license, which involves a lot of learning and a lot of practice–and unlike running a company, you screw up a landing approach, you’re dead. High stress, lots of learning, split second timing and he loves every minute of it.Me; I’m in my early 40’s. And after putting away some savings, I’m right now putting my application in to get a Ph.D. in computer science at UCLA, USC and Caltech. If I’m accepted I should be graduating with a degree right around 47 or 48.And if you want inspiration, how about a 41 year old mother of two who decides to get back in shape in her sport of choice, who not only qualifies for the Olympics but took home three silver metals in a sport where 25 is considered old?Ninety is old. Forty-seven? Not even close.

  26. jer979

    You’ve hit on an issue that everyone faces. How to stay young at heart/spirit even as we age. Plus as you “make it” it is possible that your hunger for new, cutting-edge wanes, particularly as life’s other priorities come up (kids, aging parents, whatever).I hope you occasionally come back to this topic as it adds depth to your posts and persona.

    1. Hana Kim

      I completely agree, and I also think that further (as Mr. Wilson has pointed out), one of the best ways to keep in touch with the current trends is by surrounding yourself with the people who are a part of it. As your peers age, they also will be less likely to keep up to date on the latest innovations (at least from a laymen/users perspective), which probably adds to the difficulty.

  27. bernard lunn

    Happy Birthday. Fred, the honesty and humanity of your posts make them an inspiring read. I turned 54 in August and am still starting companies, although now more as mentor to younger CEOs. My father is 94 and skis every day of the winter and water skis in summer, so I hope I have his genes or determination or both. He told me a long time ago that when you are young you are prized for experience and when you are older you are prized for your experience. I love filtering all the new tech stuff through 30 years of experience. I love this business. Its also the most fun time to be an entrepreneur, with way more opportunities than any time I have known. Bernard

  28. Geoff

    Happy Birthday Fred! I’ve just turned 61 and have never felt fitter, Yep and my kids still rely on me for the latest net! Pity about twitter shooting themselves in the foot here in the UK , although GPSTwit is suberb 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      Well shooting itself in the foot is a bit harshIt’s hard to justify the money they were spending servicing 4% of the userbaseBut I’d like to know more about GPSTwit

      1. Geoff

        Obviously we are not privy to the actual numbers and we are just a small island :-(However, I think it is against the spirit of 2.0 collaboration to just cut off a service at a moments notice. Surely an approach would be to ask the users for a solution/ opinion, once twitter could see the escalating costs.As it is, early adopters, like myself who were spreading the twitter word amongst our social circle are left with egg on our faces when the service is so abruptly ended.GPStwit is an iPhone application that reads the phones GPS data and adds it to the twit, no need to say where you are eg:- On train to kings Lynn for the Norfolk Twitters meetup 🙂 Location: http://gpstwit.com/4vn 09:41 AM August 20, 2008 from gpstwit btw I’m really impressed how you follow all the comments up. 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          Well if we totally cut off the users, you’d have a stronger point but there are web and mobile apps people can use to follow on their mobile and you can still use sms to post

          1. Geoff

            A reasonable point except;- a) The Isle of Man (and earlier the Channel isle) number twitter used was outside the standard UK mobile operators calling plans (except O2) so typically texts to twitter cost 20p or so.b) The mobile apps do not, as far as I’m aware, auto update in the same way that SMSs do.c) The incoming SMS tweets was a ideal soft introduction to bridge the gap between early adopters who are mobile net savvy and main stream folks. Also data plans still typically cost £7 per month.My main point is still that twitter could have used their blog or some other way to raise the issue with their users prior to costs getting out of hand.

          2. fredwilson

            Agreed on the communication point

  29. stanley

    (i’m 22, 3 months out of college…) this is an interesting post b/c my job, along with my partners (he’s 24), is keeping our CEO and upper-mngmnt “up-to-date” on all things digital. quite a task in itself, but one i def love doing everyday (and part of that is reading your blog). but nonetheless, wanted to let you know you’re not alone and now i have a reason to start giving you feedback (in the form of “cutting edge” material). good luck!

  30. Jason_Chervokas

    Happy Birthday Fred….here’s my latest yardstick for how old I’m getting….you know you’re old when your friends are smoking pot not for the fun of it but because it helps w/ their chemo….Stay young.

  31. Adi

    Happy Birthday! really enjoyed this post.

  32. Nick Molnar

    I’m 22, and my friends are frequently impressed by how hip my music collection is, largely thanks to you (Zutons were my latest discovery, thanks). In the spirit of giving back I thought I would point you to a cutting edge startup that has actually decreased my reliance on Google: aardvark.im. Maybe you’ve heard about it, but they seem to be doing a pretty good job of keeping themselves in stealth mode. It’s like a turbo version of yahoo answers or Naver. Fits into your vision of lazy web. Crazy cool tech behind the scenes.note: I have nothing to do with the service other than being an alpha/beta tester (with an invite or two)

    1. fredwilson

      I’ll check out aadvark.imThanks for the tip

      1. Nick Molnar

        Invite sent

  33. Elie Seidman

    If you are getting old, what does that make Bob Lutz? He is 76 and in charge of designing America’s first wide scale commercially available all electric vehicle (the Chevy Volt). He still flies his own helicopter and military jets! That is not a typo. He has a blackberry on his hip even though he was born in 1932.You should watch the interview he had with Charlie Rose last night for inspiration – it inspired me and i’m 34. http://www.charlierose.com/…And listen to the Nobel interview with Daniel Kahneman. He’s asked about whether or not older scientists – big breakthroughs are often purported to be the domain of the young in hard science – can still make an impact. Very thoughtful answers: http://nobelprize.org/nobel…The body follows where the mind goes.

  34. Aruni S. Gunasegaram

    Happy Birthday and keep giving to the entrepreneurial community the way you so passionately, professionally, and persistently do.My grandfather started a medical college in Sri Lanka that rivaled the rest in the country in his 70s after having a sextuple bypass. It’s all about impacting/helping others.

  35. Dave Morgan

    Happy Birthday Fred!

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks Dave.

  36. Karen E

    Incredible post and fantastic comments, Fred! I’ve been a reader since almost day one (I just like to say that). When I turned 34 I decided to stop loafing around and complaining. I wrote down my goals: get a modest career, a modest family, and a modest home by the time you’re 40. Three years ago I bought a small condo at a good price in a desirable Boston neighborhood. In the last 4-1/2 years I built a career in marketing which pays me pretty well and is a lot of fun. I wanted to work for the best in my sub-field, and I got there. I even won an award, “member of the year”, amongst my 300-member chapter of a well-respected professional organization. Did I mention I am not a Type-A, so I am working very hard against type? This year, I got married to a wonderful guy (who also reads this blog). So I succeeded in these goals. Now I am walking toward a horizon of fear and uncertainty as we try to get pregnant and bear, and then raise, children – who will surely be expensive, and who will watch them while we are at work? – at the ripe old age of 40. Your kids are leaving the nest, mine might be just coming along. Face the fear and do it anyway, they say. What a thrill it is to think of the grandpas at age 90 doing great things that people are writing about. It’s true what they are all saying, Fred, you’re so young! Look at that baby face! Now, get back to the gym!

  37. howardlindzon

    47 is pretty damn old dude. wow.bummer 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      yup, that was the point of my post howard. i am glad you got it.

      1. Steven Kane

        yeah. i’m freshly 46. and let’s be honest – 40 is not 20. 60 is not 40. nor vice versa. etcneither is better or worse, they’re just differentthe wisdom and experience of age is precious and very very valuablebut so is the blessed naivete of youthtrick is to adapt to one’s age and leverage its opportunities to the max. enjoy whatever hand you are dealt – its the only hand you are dealt. don’t fool yourself into thinking feigned youth is better than natural age. its just a recipe for heartbreak.(personally, i cringe when i hear folks (mostly screwy baby boomers) proclaiming, let’s never get older! fools.)

  38. slowblogger
  39. slowblogger

    I am most amazed by people who start a new project after 60. Ju Young Chung, founder of Hyundai Group, started ship-building business in his 60s, which is now the #1 ship builder in the world. Before, he was in construction (and auto manufacturing was still another startup of his). Callaway, who was in textile, entered golf club manufacturing in his 60s.If no one has done something, that’s an opportunity for a new world record. Why not a heavy metal band of 70-year olds? It may be a lonely lifestyle, as the founder of Victoria’s Secret (forgot his name) said, but the world needs them.”Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” (George Bernard Shaw)

  40. Jason

    You are too strong, young at heart, still riding on the trend

  41. Ray Abram

    Happy belated birthday Fred!

  42. lindsaycampbell

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!It’s normal to feel melancholy about the passing of time. It’s part of what makes you great. Enjoy the day anyway. 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks lindsay!

  43. kenberger

    btw: I want to amend my long-standing suggestion about adding a “Best of AVC” flag for posts. I’d now also like to include a “Worst of AVC” flag, because each time you bring up this age sh*t it pisses me off! :(:-)

    1. fredwilson

      I do it for just that reason ken.

      1. kenberger

        Touché, my friend. Touché !

  44. Liz

    I worked in the music business when I was in my 20s but one of the reasons I got out was because I ran into few people in alternative-indie music area who were over the age of 40 (besides entertainment lawyers). It’s a young person’s industry. There was a constant hunger for what was new, hot, & young which meant almost everyone I got to know was eventually fired as they got older unless they managed to find a way to buy into the business.A reason that higher education was appealing to me as a second career is because, unless you are a mathematician or a flash in the pan, you start doing your best work after 40/50 and there are scholars publishing valuable work who are in their 80s or 90s. I wanted a career where I’d be improving as I got older, not declining in perceived value and scholarship/writing is a field where that is by and large the case.Every business has its own age biases and it is wise to think about them while you work in an industry even if you try hard to be an exception to the rule.

  45. rajeshduggal

    FYI> My comment below is more about science, and not about you specifically Fred..Also> I don’t think 47 is old at all. (I suppose “old” is a relative word), and I also agree that the age number is just a number.–I have my black hat on today. ;)( http://en.wikipedia.org/wik… )The brain ages along with the rest of the physical body. Mental ability diminishes with age, and can be exercised to reduce the rate at which it looses it’s effectiveness.Physical activity to keep the blood flowing is more important than brain teaser puzzles.Exercise and stay smart!Rajesh.

  46. Vijay Veerachandran

    Fred, Many many returns of the day. You are amazing and aging very gracefully. Only thing I wish is to have more VC s think and try to share the wealth of experience accumulated over time through blog or so. Atleast this will help us to get over some of the experience requirements and may be you will see younger vc.

  47. Paul Higgins

    Hi Fred. Happy BirthdayDon’t say old about being 47 because that is my age as well. My mother always says “Old is someone who is 10 years older than you, no matter how old you are” which I think rings true.One of the things you need to think about is that the average age of people in the population overall is rising as we have less kids on average (look at China in particular which has a huge problem coming on in terms of their population pyramid – you can see them at http://www.census.gov/ipc/w… if you are interested). With the evidence that most Nobel prize winners do their best work in their late twenties and in to their thirties this is a bit of an issue for the whole world. I think that we need to rethink was we make people more innovative and creative into their fifties and sixties – shift the paradigm which is mostly what you are about anyway.Paul

  48. Jim Louderback

    Happy Birthday Fred! You beat me there by a few months.It would be interesting to see what you think about a first time CEO not in his 20s, but in his 40s.. Frankly I’m interested to see how it all works out too.I just keep trying to do new things. This week I’m ostensibly off, it’s foggy in Pacifica, so I’ve been learning about and installing/planting bamboo. It’s an amazing plant. I’ve been digging big ditches with my son, and having a great time being a laborer rather than a CEO.That, to me, is the key. Keep trying and doing new things. Dig ruts, but don’t get into them. It’s worked for me so far. Probably need more advil now than I might have 10 years ago though.FWIW, finally moved my front-page web site to a blog this week, in between shoveling. We’ll see how long I last. It’s at my lastname dot com.

  49. steps

    day or two late, but Happy Birthday.

  50. jackson

    It’s better to burn out than fade away.Happy Birthday

    1. Guest

      jackson,are yout he younger or the older one?

      1. fredwilson

        He’s the youngest and wisest of the three of us

    2. fredwilson

      I think I am working on the former too much this summer

  51. ellen

    This post makes me feel that you are very guilty of age discrimination in your businesses and that is not a good thing. This post wants to explain to all those out there that you can still think and feel and invest iin the cutting edge. For you cutting edge= young face. If you have been in the avant guard you are not suddenly going to go conservative on us. All this post does for me is to tell me that if I am over 40, I don’t have a chance with you investing in my company, because you discriminate against gray hair..

    1. fredwilson

      Well then it was a bad postI think about half of our investments were started and are run by peopleover 40, maybe more than half, certainly not less than half

  52. Guest

    Fred, you’re a Leo? You too grounded for a Leo. I myself had a b-day three days ago, and I am waaaaay crazier than you. So, so much about these signs meaning something…Here is why you should feel lucky: these dudes Andrew and Eric that you talk about, they still let in on their stuff. The biggest challenge I face is when my students are trying to suck up to me, throw sand in my face with stupid cliches, and stuff like that… The worst is when I see them talking excitedly about something and then when I approach, they put on these obedient expressions: “How is your day, boss?” … When the youngsters start tuning you out you are in trouble…

  53. Jimbo

    fredwilson 3 days ago:that’s inspiring. i’ll try to be the frank gehry of VCjimbo 1 day ago :Fred- I guess that means you may make forbes midas list of the 100 best vc’s at 70, when gehry reached his prime? will your investors wait 23 more years?fredwilson 13 hours ago:What is the forbes midas list? I’ve never heard of itGood try Fred ;-)For your readers benefit, I’ll indulge you. You, as “A VC,” fill out a form each year on the realized financial return of each deal you have led, and Forbes selects the top 100 successful VC’s on the US. Criteria: $ return on your deals, (contributes to $ return to your fund’s investors.)That is what you tell your investors you are in the biz for, right?????(Of course none of the top 100 VC’s blog frequently, very few of them blog at all. David Cowen is one that does, but not too often. Neither you nor your co-web2.0-blogger, Brad Feld (nor any of your or Brad’s partners) ever been on the Forbes Midas list, if I’m not mistaken ??)http://www.forbes.com/2008/…

    1. fredwilson

      I’ve honestly never heard of this list, never seen the form, and could care less about itMy investors matter to me, the readers of this blog matter to me, but some forbes list I’ve never heard of is useless to me

  54. Michael Lucca

    A belated Happy Birthday, Fred! I certainly hope you will stay at the VC thing for a long time to come, and even more importantly continue A Vc, as I Iook forward to it each day. I also hope that there will continue to be room for VCs in their 50s and beyond. At age 53, as a technology executive with 30 years in the industry, I still hope to become a VC, having had a short run with an early-stage fund under development that we were unable to close.

  55. fredwilson

    it’s a theme running through my veins. but i’ll try to leave my own age out of things from now on charlie

  56. fredwilson

    but the thing about about Bruce, as great as he is and his lives shows have all the vitality of the shows he did 20 years ago, is that he made two amazing records, Born to Run and Darkness, both in his 20s. Nebraska, another favorite of mine, was made in his early 30s.

  57. charlie crystle

    Magic, The Rising, and Ghost of Tom Joad, the River–even born in the usa if you drop the 80s production are good records as well–just not epic. I’d say that both his songwriting and performances have improved and sharpened, and both are stylistically different.But I know the sentiment–getting older is a mixed bag.