I saw a recent example of hiring decisions based assumptions not reality today. It seems that Silicon Valley has a major issue with hiring people over the age of 40. The common thinking is that anyone over 40 has lost their edge, aren’t innovative and stuck in a paradigm. Based on some research by Vivek Wadhwa, the news of the over-40’s creative demise seems to be drastically overstated.
Here are a few innovators and their over-40 inventions:
- Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod when he was 44. He discovered electricity at 46.
He helped draft the Declaration of Independence at 70, and he invented bifocals after that.
- Henry Ford introduced the Model T when he was 45.
- Sam Walton built Walmart in his mid-40s.
- Ray Kroc built McDonald’s in his early 50s.
- Ray Kurzweil published The Singularity Is Near in his 50s.
- Alfred Hitchcock directed Vertigo when he was 59.
- Frank Lloyd Wright built his architectural masterpiece, Fallingwater, when he was 68.
- Steve Jobs’ most significant innovations-iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad-came after he was 45.
Instead of making the assumption when you’re hiring and cutting out a significant sector of your possible candidate pool, ask some questions that will let you know just how creative that gray-haired guy with few wrinkles really is.