I spend a lot of time with young entrepreneurs. I love to hear their ideas and dreams. They represent the future of Silicon Valley.

So you can imagine I wasn’t too thrilled when, at a tech party in Silicon Valley, I got stuck between a fire pit and a 60-year old guy with a gray beard. No one else to talk to. No obvious way to escape.

Fine, I’ll chat for a bit.

And what he said blew my mind.

It turns out he was on the original Mac team working directly under Steve Jobs. If you still have the original Mac and open it, you’ll find the signatures of the entire team on the inside of the case. Just 20 people were on that team and they made history.

As you can imagine, I had so many questions for him. I learned a lot. By the way, if you’re fascinated like me by stories from the early days of the Mac, you must checkout folklore.org (warning: time sink ahead).

Maybe I shouldn’t avoid gray beards after all.

Later that year, I went to Y Combinator’s Startup School. There, I’m sitting next to a young entrepreneur who is trying very hard to not talk to me at all. He’d rather tap passionately on his phone or type on his MacBook than introduce himself to me, who is sitting right next to him. To him, I probably look old.

I would have been happy to help him out, hear his pitch, provide feedback, give some advice on who to contact and how to make forward progress.

Instead, he “succeeded” in ignoring me.

Don’t be that person. At The Startup Conference, introduce yourself. Say Hi. Good things will happen.


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