Old Farts Know How to Code

Nick Bradbury on getting older in a business where youth is celebrated:

I turned 45 this month. In many professions that’s the prime age to be – and in others it’s considered young –  but in my line of work, some people think middle-aged coders are old farts. That’s especially true when it comes to startups.

I turn 39 later this year and Rick turns 51. Personally, I feel like I have written better code in the past year than I ever have before. I’m not certain age is as much a factor in Portland as it is in the Bay area, but he is right that as I age I have less patience for 18 hour days and 100 hour weeks, back to back to back.

There is another advantage to age, I have found, when it comes to building a business: appreciation. In our heyday in the early to mid-2000s, Infinity Softworks couldn’t afford market salaries but I tried to make the work environment as comforting as possible with a leader who understood the creative process behind coding. I tried to create an environment where everyone can be comfortable and hopefully, in time, get paid more. The older employees seemed to really appreciate that aspect; the younger ones struggled with the lower pay and had no perspective on how bad a mediocre work environment could be.

Of course, I wish we would have had both high pay and a great environment but that didn’t work out for that time period.