We’re Grandparents Doing An Awesome Start-up and Logan’s Run Can Bite Me

Dr. De Mars

Logan can kiss my wrinkled, grey ass. I’m 54 years old. I don’t say I’m 54 years young or you’re only as old as you feel because some days I feel 92. I feel zero impulse to go get a facelift or any other procedure to make me look younger so I can compete with the younger crowd. I’m not competing for Miss America. For those of you, like our CMO, Maria Burns Ortiz who pointed out  that Logan’s Run itself is an old person reference –

Logan’s Run was a book (and movie) with the premise that the maximum age in society was 21 years old. At that age, one was to show up and be put to sleep, or suffer the consequences of being tracked down and painfully killed.

On twitter, @techstepper commented that many start-ups make him think of Logan’s Run. He wasn’t the first to make the connection, in fact, Quigley, a venture capitalist, says on his blog

“So, not to be an ageist, but if you’re old, you should probably be looking for career opportunities outside the startup world. By the time you’ve reached an advanced age, you are a prisoner of having the big paycheck, feeding a family and making house payments.”

Okay, Mr. Quigley, after going to USC and getting an MBA from Harvard, you ought to know that saying “not to be ageist but ….” doesn’t NOT make something ageist any more than saying,

“Not to be racist but Latinos aren’t good at statistics.”

wouldn’t make that statement not racist.

The definition of prejudice is to pre-judge someone, that is, make a judgement before knowing the facts. I was ASTOUNDED that no one took him to task for this comment, but maybe no one wanted to piss off a VC. I know budding entrepreneurs are loathe to do that, and I thought about that for about four seconds, and then I thought, “Fuck it.”

I’m 54. The Rocket Scientist is 57. I had my first child at 24 so she is now married and feeding herself. Same with the second child. And the third. We don’t have a house payment. I sold two houses in the 1990s and since then we have lived in a rent-controlled townhouse where my husband moved when he was a graduate student at UCLA. We are not prisoners of having a big pay check.

Quigley goes on to say,

” If you can’t handle changing your lifestyle, and/or can’t handle working 2-3 years with essentially no money, then don’t work in startups.”

Actually, since The Rocket Scientist is brilliant, he managed to save up enough money and work our expenses in such a way that we could both afford to work for no money full time since we finished our SBIR Phase I award in December. We both worked full time for a lot of months over the past year. I’ve always worked 80 hour weeks so now I work 10 hours or less a week to cover the expenses that our 401k and pension funds don’t cover and then work another 70 hours on the 7 Generations game.

In the past WEEK, I’ve submitted a grant proposal to the Institute of Education Sciences small business innovation research grant competition for educational games, kicked off a Kickstarter campaign and finished the first draft of a SECOND proposal that we’ll submit for SBIR Phase II funding to USDA. While I’ve been doing that, The Rocket Scientist has been revising the beta version of the game that was played by kids in the schools this fall. We are also getting ready for a demo of our game at the 106 Miles Southern Cal edition in less than two weeks. Oh, and by the way, Black Belt magazine released a book I co-authored on winning in judo and mixed martial arts, called Winning on the Ground.

And that is what I did THIS WEEK.

This article by Business Insider cites a lot of the ageist attitudes I have seen

“Older people have families so can’t do a start-up” – that is hilarious because they are defining 40 as “older” of course, people in their fifties may have raised their children. One unique thing in our situation is we had a child fairly late – The Spoiled One is in ninth grade – but another unique aspect is that she received a scholarship to a wonderful college prep boarding school where she is all week and some weekends (because, “I have plans, mom. With my friends, mom.”)

“When you’re young, you think anything is possible. You don’t realize how hard it is to start a business.” – Or, maybe as in my case, you know it is possible because you have DONE it. Three times now. 7 Generation Games will be our fourth venture. I’ve made a profit since 1985.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a client about a program they wanted written. I said,

It will take two weeks. I’ll send you over a contract.

They protested,

We’ve been working on this for over a month and haven’t been able to solve it. How do you know you can do it in two weeks?

I answered,

Because I’ve done it before, so I know how to solve it. Writing the program the first time took me two months. Revising it for you, around my commitments to other clients, will take two weeks.

So, yeah, Logan’s Run can bite me. Oh, and I’m Latina and I’m REALLY  good at statistics.

If you would like to support our awesome game to change the way math is taught, please go over to Kickstarter and pledge.

If you just want to rant about ageism in the comments, go right ahead.



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  1. Speaking of statistics, ageism and startups, sounds like this “expert” is unaware of the research that successful startups are much more likely to be run by older, more experienced people http://techcrunch.com/2009/09/07/when-it-comes-to-founding-successful-startups-old-guys-rule/

    Note the date, 2009. And they are more likely to be married and have kids.

    Perhaps this is why Venture Capitalists are struggling these days. They have bought into the idea that Facebook style Black Swans can be created by cargo cult techniques like creating a startup with all young arrogant people who claim to be rock stars.

    Experienced people, on the other hand, tend to start businesses by first identifying real needs in the market that people will pay for in significant numbers. But doing that requires some real life experience to build up awareness of markets and how well (or poorly) they are served. You can’t play that game with an incubator apartment and a bunch of 20 year-olds.

    P.S. Isn’t Logan’s Run an indictment of foolish youth who were too dumb to know that they wool was being pulled over their eyes. In that film, the sheeple were killed before they got a clue.

  2. you do have to realize not everyone is as awesome as you. Everyone has the ability, but its rare to see someone so motivated still at 54.

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