I’m quitting, since I’m over 30

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures touched a nerve when he cranked out this post debating the prime age for being an internet entrepreneur.

Dave Winer, the creator of RSS, was ticked off. Steven Hodson had this to say – “kiss my ass.” And Fred wound up having to defend his position.

A good ol’ fashioned pissing contest. Fortunately, Fred pointedly qualified the discussion right up front:

  • Now don’t get me wrong. We’ve only funded one of these net natives out of close to fifteen portfolio companies. We’ll certainly fund more. There’s a lot more we look for in an investment than a 23 year old design whiz.

And even more fortunately, some folks did get him wrong – the ensuing “debate” would have never happened otherwise. Scattered amongst this interaction were some points I found interesting – I’ve grouped them together as a way of scalping away the noise:

On VC intent and business models…

  • 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. – Fred Wilson
  • The thing is that VC’s don’t want to deal with experience and knowledge because it is too expensive. It is cheaper to latch onto the 15 year olds, the 20 something’s because they don’t truly understand the value of knowledge. VC’s don’t want paradigm shifts because in the end it might threaten their business models. – Steven Hodson

Pretty self-explanatory, and Fred was certainly cognizant of the potential repercussions. I’m just curious as to what other think about this.

Where’s the “paradigm” shift…?

  • The Internet is their medium and they are showing us how it needs to be used. – Fred Wilson
  • Paradigm shifts come from knowledge of the past, the vision of the future and the ability to bring them together. Twenty something’s might be hot to trot and they might be able to JavaScript into the wee hours of the morning but they haven’t produced any paradigm shifts. – Steven Hodson

I’m going to chime in here. Creating a web full of widgets tied to other services tied to other widgets tied to Google Adsense isn’t exactly a paradigm shift, and this will become extremely clear the moment the money runs out.

If launching a blog and filling it up with tons of widgets is the path to embracing this groundbreaking new web, I guess I’m missing something.

The only option I see is to quit now (right after I turn off my browser’s Javascript). But I won’t be blaming Fred Wilson for the decision.

UPDATE: Wilson concurs that the discussion was “the beginning of something”, although what “that” constitutes is still undecided.

UPDATE 2: The money isn’t even there for some.

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