It's becoming more common within the startup ecosystem to come across a company with a young millennial CEO. They may have just graduated from college or dropped out to pursue their vision full-time. Young entrepreneurs have the potential to become great CEOs and lead really successful companies -- just look at Facebook at its start, or Snap Inc.
To all of the young CEOs out there: Get ready for a wild ride. Having been in this position myself, I know the challenges and benefits of being a young CEO in the technology space.
As a young CEO, there's so much you can learn from your older mentors--both within the organization and outside. The best way to learn from these folks is to bring them on board full time. It's such a beneficial step that younger CEOs should not overlook.
When I founded Pinpoint Technologies, one of my first moves was to bring in someone who had been doing their job since before I was alive. While it made me feel a bit odd to have an older employee report to me, it's been one of the best decisions in my career.
An aspect of startups I have grown to love is the abundance of unique personalities within your company. Age diversity is one factor that greatly contributes to the personality and culture of your company.
So, the next time you're looking at a potential employee and thinking,"They're older than me, should I hire them?" keep these three things in mind:
1. Focus on the experience gain.
Like I said previously, in one of my previous roles I hired an employee who was much older than me, but had the experience necessary to fulfill the role. As a young decision-maker, there is much to learn when surrounding yourself and your team with employees who have had a long career, and more learning experiences to go with it. After hiring this person, I learned many skills that helped shape who I am today.
2. Add a new perspective.
In today's technology industry, there is always talk about why companies need to prioritize diversification, which leads to a more productive company. The same applies for age diversification.
Hiring employees at different ages brings a new perspective. The older employees can bring all the experience necessary to operate the day-to-day business and continue to move the needle, but hiring young executives allows leaders to come in and provide perspective on what a company needs to do in order to cater to what the younger generation taking over the workforce wants.
3. Keep a team-first mentality.
Many companies come through our accelerator program with a founder/CEO who is younger than the typical age of a founder. Focusing on a team-first perspective will allow older employees to teach the skills younger employees have yet to learn. The dynamic also teaches older employees the new ways of the younger workforce, rounding out the entire team's view on work in the modern age.
An age diverse team can really take a new startup to new heights when experienced and driven folks get together to get more done faster.