What if “Experience” Really Isn’t Prized Anymore? What Then?

Asked what they valued most in a candidate, young voters said integrity, level-headedness, and authenticity, in that order. Political and business experience were far down the list.
New York Times Editorial Board, Young Voters, Motivated Again

Consider these valuations, and the number of jobs involved:

2007 — YouTube Google — $1.65 billion – 65 people — $25 million per employee
2012 — Instagram Facebook — $1 billion– 13 people — $77 million per employee
2014 – What’sApp Facebook — $19 billion – 55 people — $345 million per employee
(from Rise of the Robots)


Here’s a frightening thought. Frightening because I am no longer young, and that means I may not be valued…

What if younger adults – you know, those Millennials, and the next generation coming up after them – really don’t value experience? What if they think that the “long-timers” no longer have the best insight and wisdom and answers?

There may be good reason for this. The oldest, most revered companies seem to be in trouble. At least, many of them are. Kodak is gone. Macy’s is apparently in deepening trouble. Sears is hanging on by a thread.

And that oldest of “Internet Era” companies, Yahoo, is the subject of a steady barrage of articles regarding its travails. In December, Farhad Manjoo wrote about the problems at Yahoo in Transformation at Yahoo Foiled by Marissa Mayer’s Inability to Bet the Farm. Here’s his opening paragraph:

It’s not a big surprise that Marissa Mayer has failed to resurrect Yahoo. When the celebrated Google executive took over the web’s most iconic basket case in 2012, the odds were stacked against her. Turning around any company is difficult; turning around a tech company is nearly unheard-of. There’s just one example everyone can think of — Apple — but that effort took nearly a decade to show results, and anyway, if your requirement for success is to be like Steve Jobs, good luck to you.

And here’s something to remember – there were, and are, really competent people working in each of these companies.

So, I called a top-notch business consultant, and asked him what to make of this. We talked, and decided that the observation is accurate – “experience” is not prized like it used to be. And, we don’t quite know what to do about that.

You see, I’m a pretty big fan of experience. So, I am baffled indeed. If you come up with a strategy, let me know…


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