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Why Teaching Grandmothers to Code Isn't a Crazy Idea


Older graduates.

Stanford University fellow Vivek Wadhwa suggests older workers and retired people should be included in efforts to teach the fundamentals of coding and entrepreneurship currently focused only on youngsters.

Credit: Getty

The same efforts being directed at teaching youngsters the fundamentals of coding and entrepreneurship also should be extended to older workers and retired people, who may have the perspective, experience, and knowledge necessary to craft technological solutions to the world's problems, writes Stanford University fellow Vivek Wadhwa.

He notes there is a well-known bias for youthfulness in startups, especially in the tech sector and among venture capitalists that finance many startups. However, these same venture capitalists often generate returns below that of the stock market, bringing into question the validity of this preference for the young.

Wadhwa says educational programs promoting entrepreneurship and intensive day- and week-long programs designed to teach children coding skills could be extended to older workers, and initiatives to fund and incubate startups should be more welcoming of those headed and even staffed by older workers. He also suggests a modified version of billionaire Peter Thiel's initiative to pay students to drop out of college to pursue business, which would instead pay workers to quit their jobs to pursue a startup idea.

Wadhwa says support for such initiatives is not a zero-sum game, as both older workers and the young can be supported and mentored simultaneously.

From The Washington Post
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