Modern Elders Help Young Tech Entrepreneurs Lead

Katina Kenyon
By Katina Kenyon

The brave new world working with today’s young and technocratic leaders requires a modern elder. “Power is cascading to young people like never before in our industrial world,” says Chip Conley, Strategic Advisor of Airbnb.  

The future of business and the tech industry is pulling from the sharing economy, meaning sharing experiences and knowledge in the form of mentoring across not just the typical categorizations like gender, race, ethnicity but now also age.  

I’m writing this blog as a newly anointed 40-year-old after hearing Chip Conley discuss the age differential in the economy today, around his hypothesis that age allows humans to quickly shift from linear to vertical thinking. Key lessons he shared with us today: judgment should not happen on the surface.  

Chip posed a challenge to our group. How do you lead the young? How do you get work done? Get an initiative kicked off, making sure you understand the need and getting team members aligned to achieving that goal.  

This rings so true to us at Applaudo Studios. We are often brought into in-flight software builds that have been kicked off or led by a brilliant founder. Sometimes those founders, who are young and new to the business, lean on us to help them navigate taking their product to the next level. We take many of these nuggets that Chip shared with us in our day-to-day world of supporting our clients.

  1. Curiosity – We ask lots and lots of smart questions. Be ready, we’ll ask 3 more questions to make sure we answer all our curious questions to lead us to partner best with our clients.
  2. Psychological Incentives – Applaudo creates pattern recognition so we can get the gist of your idea quickly. We reward our employees and customers for their ability to see and communicate the simple. It just makes software development cleaner.
  3. Collaboration & Intergenerational Sharing – We find that working with our clients feels like both consulting in nature and partnership. We’ve found that our clients embrace and appreciate the guidance our team delivers daily. Almost a form of mentorship that we find goes both ways. Making it okay for our employees and clients to embrace your “elders” for their industry and process knowledge and vice versa, we embrace our “technocratic brilliant founders” for their foresight and tech know-how.  

Fundamentals like these are how we at Applaudo answer Chip Conley’s question of how you lead new technology startups to take their companies to the next level, come join us!

About Chip Conley

Airbnb Strategic Advisor for Hospitality & Leadership

New York Times bestselling author and hospitality entrepreneur, Chip Conley is a leader at the forefront of the sharing economy.  After being CEO of his innovative company for 24 years, Chip accepted an invitation from the founders of Airbnb to help transform their promising home sharing start-up into the world’s largest hospitality brand.

Chip holds a BA and MBA from Stanford University and an honorary doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University. He serves on the boards of the Burning Man Project and the Esalen Institute.