Techworld

Too old for tech? Not these Silicon Valley CEOs

Think leading a technology company is only for thirtysomethings? These savvy sexagenarians beg to differ.

If you were hiring an older person, what would you look for?

Noerr: The most telling thing I think is if they have enthusiasm or passion. If they don't, then it doesn't matter what age they are, I won't hire them.

Braun: For every John McCain, there are a lot of people that age who are so set in their ways, or so tired out, they lack the energy or creativity to be really creative. But there are others who have more energy than most 30-year-olds. We're running marathons, doing pushups.

Noerr: Whatever you think about McCain [politically], he is not keeling over into his grave. He may have a toe in the grave, but not a foot.

Massaro: My main criterion is enthusiasm. I have taken younger people without much track record. I'm willing to because I was once CEO at a young age.

Braun: I like that comment Ronald Reagan made when he was running for re-election [against Walter Mondale in 1984, at age 74] -- "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

How much pressure is there for you to do the typical Silicon Valley thing -- cash out, invest, serve on boards, play golf?

Courtot: Absolutely, there is a lot of pressure to do the done thing. I'm not the VC type. I'm on very few boards because I'm not the type who can manage multiple companies. I like to be directly involved with just one.

Massaro: I've seen a lot of that, where money was the objective, and as soon as they made it, people retired. I'm not against that, but it's always been the result, not the goal, for me.

Noerr: Golf is absolutely not my kind of thing, nor is hanging out at the bar smoking cigars. I don't really know what I'll do after this company is sold. I've been offered opportunities to be on boards. I think my nature would be to tell them what to do, and then they would get pissed off. Chances are that I'll go on and build another company.

Tags personnelcorporate issuescareersIT management

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