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Face Time: Eternal Youth Has Become a Growth Industry in Silicon Valley 

Tuesday, Aug 12 2014
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In 2012, however, Seattle research firm PayScale published age data that confirmed many commonly-held perceptions about the tech world. The median age at Facebook was 26, while that of Google employees was 29. According to the report, tech companies operating in newer spheres — social media or search engines, for instance — drew younger workforces. Older giants like Hewlett-Packard and Oracle had the oldest employees and the longest worker retention.

"I don't think the campus culture is necessarily youth-driven, more as it is driven by people who are willing to put their lives into their work," a 24-year-old Apple designer writes in an email. She acknowledges, however, that younger people are more likely to have this mentality, since they have fewer out-of-work responsibilities. Another designer in his 20s says most startups he's encountered are "extremely young," with design and development teams in their 20s, and a CEO in his early-to-mid-30s.

Perhaps tech companies are just prone to hiring within their own ranks; a young leadership begets a young workforce. Yet Palefsky and others believe that some corporations make a concerted effort to shut out older workers. Many have cited Mark Zuckerberg's 2007 speech at a Y Combinator Startup School event at Stanford. "Young people are just smarter," the now-30-year-old Facebook founder declared, with no apparent sense of irony.

To some, those words became infamous. To others, they became dogma.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Bio:
Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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