The Youngest and Oldest Man in The Room

Another guest blog tonight, this time from my husband.  Enjoy!


This week I was making a business presentation when the audiovisual system crashed.    Since no one jumped up to fix it, I joked, “Who’s the youngest person present?  Bet they can fix it.”   This supposition is based on long-term personal experience in our household.  Without any doubt the go to person in our family when something electronic breaks is our youngest son, Evan.  Whether it’s a computer problem or a plug-in appliance, he just seems to know how to make it work.   He’s now 22 years old, and has been able to work his magic for nearly a decade.    So, I’ve gotten the message that it’s the young who are motivated to learn new technology and master it.   If you disagree, go to any Apple store and see how many pre-teens are playing with i “devices.” It’s what young people do.


Now, fast-forward to my business meeting.  I ask my question about the youngest person in the room, and to everyone’s surprise, up jumps a 68-year-old balding guy who claims, “I’m the youngest and the oldest person here!”  And indeed, he was.


This individual is an icon in Silicon Valley who is known for his ability to identify early stage technologies that have a way of becoming part of mainstream life.    As you might imagine, he’s made a substantial fortune by investing in such companies.  Even though he’s now semi – retired, it hasn’t dampened his interest in learning new things.  I’ve been working with him for the past few months, and really enjoy watching him approach technology for the first time.  He does it with a sense of wonder and exploration reminiscent of how kids approach their first iPad:  “Just think about how many cool things I can do with this when I learn how it works”.    When you mix this youthful exuberance with a highly successful sixty-something, you get something truly special.   The “cool things” a pre-teen might think of doing with new technology, now become some highly original out of the box ideas for applying technology in ways no one ever thought of.   The result is nothing short of “WOW!”.



I spent a good deal of my life trying to be the smartest person in the room.  This was basically the key to survival – and promotion – at Harvard Medical School where I spent nearly 20 of the most productive years of my life.    But now, I aspire to a different goal.  I no longer strive to be the smartest one around (I couldn’t accomplish this even if I wanted to).  But rather, my new goal is to be both the youngest and the oldest person in the room.  I’ll wager that the younger and the older I can become, the happier I’ll be.   Anyone willing to take this bet?


  1. I certainly am having a lot of fun as a mid-60s tech geek. The best part about it is how it connects me to 30-year-olds, and younger folks, by way of technology. When I can interact with them on those grounds it gives us a greater connection.

    I will say, though, that I am only able to do this because I am now semi-retired. It requires a lot of (my) brain power to master the new technologies and I didn’t have enough energy and smarts to achieve that while I was also working full-time.

  2. My two granddaughters are my built-in trouble shooters. I am not the youngest, but I just might be the oldest, but I am the luckyest.

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