Predicting The Future As You Get Older Can Be Hazardous To Your #Startup #Pitch

I am no futurist. In fact I may be more of a failed fortune teller! At the end of 2015 I predicted there would be flying cars by the end of 2016. Well, I was wrong!

And there are many reasons why I will pretty much always be wrong, with a few exceptions here and there.

Let’s face it. Today is my birthday. I am 52 years old. Right off the bat, I can tell you that a tech startup guy who is 52 years old can not predict or manage their understanding of current fashion trends, design trends, tech trends or any kind of trend. We are stuck with trends of the past. If you think trends have not changed in the last 20 years, well, then you are in the same boat as me!

If you are my age, you may think you know, but you don’t. And getting into a mode of “I know what I like” is not important, because mainly what you like is pretty much something you would have liked 20 years ago! How many times have you looked at a website design that is out of date and you just know the guy in charge is not a teenager. Take a look at Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway website:

We are just old to understand what is hip and futuristic. Face it and stop making fashion decisions. Have your wife, partner or store helper make that decision for you.

I was already too old when I was 30 years old. Styles and trends are really understood by people between the ages of 16 and 25. Once you start to leave that group, you are suddenly in a bag of thinkers like me. It’s like we have the same old ideas over and over again and that’s why we need to get out there and see what the world is doing, because otherwise we will be left in the dust.

Not saying that we shouldn’t follow trends. Just saying we need to follow not lead. And trust me once you think you know a trend, it will just backfire on you the moment you stop using data and information to confirm the trends. In this case intuition is not only not your friend, it can get you in trouble! Charts and big data are your friends. You have to read and read and analyze and analyze.

I’m not against middle aged older tech guys and gals starting up a venture, I am just against people my age making business decisions for users that are much younger, without the guidance of a younger person.

I was fortunate enough while running a startup pitch event to run into a startup guy who had developed a new innovative image software solution at the age of 78. He was impressive. See, he is a great example of someone who just keeps on trying. Funny thing I learned by helping him was that if you are over 75, the patent office will fast track your patent application, goes right to the front of the line.

He was that rare exception, so it is possible! But in the back of mind the same thing persisted no matter what. Obviously he it is unlikely to identify a trend and what will sell or not sell. I secretly thought to myself, please stop!

But from what I have seen, the intuition of an older entrepreneur is their weakness when it comes to a trend. They have a ton of positives, like often capital, for one, and all the lessons they learned in life. Some would say that sometimes these life lessons can be a hurdle as well. But, there are a few great examples of older entrepreneurs successfully jumping on a trend. Look at the KFC Colonel, he did not get that franchise started till he was 62. See, I have at least 10 more years to find a trend!

There are a ton of opportunities to startup your tech venture as you get older. I am not knocking that. What I am saying is I am yet to run into a startup founder older than 40 who really grasps what is going on inside the head of a 15 year old! And when you say you do, you are just being crazy.

Now my pitch as always. StartupPOP has two tech startup pitch events coming up in the next 2 months. Usually we run these in Boca Raton, FL, but these are going to be in Fort Lauderdale and in Aventura, Florida. One is this week, Wednesday Feb 22nd, in Fort Lauderdale at 7pm at General Provision a co-working space in the Fort Lauderale Arts District. We already have about 8 companies ready to pitch. You can sign up here:

We also have a new Meetup Group we formed called North Miami Tech Startups that seems to be growing pretty well with a Tech Startup Pitch event in Aventura on Wednesday March 29th at 6pm at Serendipity Labs, a new co-working space about a half mile south of Hallandale and Gulfstream Park right off of Federal Highway. Here is info about that event:

Have a great day and see you at the pitch event.