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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.


About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

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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