A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Archive for December 2011

Should all Old CIOs be fired?

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Most Ventura Capitalists feel that innovation is tied to youth.  “People under 35 are the people who make change happen,” said venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, “People over 45 basically die in terms of new ideas.”  Vivek Wadhwa  shares us that old can still be gold.  Khosla is the “old school” (pun intended).  His achievements not withstanding, even in his youth he shunned a small investment in Google (which would have made him worth many times more than he is today).  Vivek (with significant research backing him) argues that “Khosla and those who think like him are wrong.”  The young may have good ideas, but there is no substitute for experience. You aren’t born with the management, marketing and finance skills necessary to turn ideas into successful ventures. This obsession with the young may be why the venture capital system is in such steep decline and underperforms key public market indices, such as the Russell 2000. VCs are doing themselves a big disservice by ignoring the real innovators: old, experienced people.

I do not have research to back me, but I feel the same is true for CIOs as well.  While I will readily argue that CIOs need to be innovative and use technology to become key enablers to the enterprise, to dismiss all old CIOs to be “old school” is not correct.  By no means I am suggesting that all older CIOs have readily adapted to the new role of “innovation”, but people like Khosla are doing technology a big dis-service by ignoring experience.

Written by Subbu Murthy

December 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm