Nancy MacIntyre co-founded Fingerprint Digital shortly after her 50th birthday, a departure from the common image of the young startup entrepreneur. Eight years later, her children’s app platform employs 32 people, has raised $25 million from investors and plans to become profitable this year.
Older entrepreneurs like MacIntyre aren’t anomalies, though. A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests middle-age and older founders of high-growth companies are more successful than their younger counterparts. I recently wrote about MacIntyre and the NBER research for Forbes.com.
Enjoyed interviewing La Colombe Coffee Roasters CEO Todd Carmichael recently for my first Forbes story, published Sept. 25. The company’s canned Draft Latte became the fastest-growing ready-to-drink coffee product within months of its national rollout.
The novelist David Westheimer (Von Ryan’s Express, My Sweet Charlie) was my grandfather’s first cousin, although, born 20 years later, was closer in age to Grandpa’s children and attended high school with some of them.
I never met first-cousin-twice-removed David in person; he moved his family from our hometown of Houston to California around the time I was born. For a while in the 1990s, however, we struck up a friendly e-mail correspondence. He was kind and generous — inquiring about the leaves on my branch of the family tree and providing writing advice when I asked.
I no longer have easy access to our emails. On my end, they arrived via now long-retired AOL software — the kind you could load from floppy disks — on my IBM desktop with 14.4 dial-up modem. (I think the computer came with a coupon for a free Windows 95 upgrade.) If you’re 30 or older, you remember those heady days, right? My e-mails and other digital correspondence from that time are saved on a couple of CDs and, I suspect, are irretrievable except by the most savvy and costly computer sophisticate.
Anyway, while I may not recall the exact words, I do remember a helpful bit of writing advice from David Westheimer: Keep your seat in the chair. As in, keep your bottom in that chair and keep writing.
Sure, this advice may fly in the face of the current medical consensus on the dangers of sitting all day, but it’s great advice for making progress on your writing projects. The advice may seem obvious, but for us fidgety, short-attention-span types, it’s sometimes easier said than done. Lately, though, I’ve been pushing through more often, keeping my seat in the chair for longer stretches, even if they’re interrupted by bursts of activity to ward off premature death from a sedentary lifestyle (here’s hoping).
Doing this leaves me with a good, productive feeling, and for good reason — I’m getting more done, sooner, than I would otherwise.
Whether working on the great American screenplay or the next women’s literature bestseller, covering hedge funds or reporting on warehouse logistics trends, writers generally benefit from keeping seats in chairs. For the sake of health, the concept extends to standing desks as well. In that case, keep your feet on the floor? Keep standing, and keep writing. -By Dinah Wisenberg Brin
Do you have a success story to tell? Readers — whether they be news subscribers, employees, clients or members — are hungry to learn how someone made it. Here’s a piece I did a bit over a year ago for Above, RE/MAX’s magazine for its real estate agents. In this story, listing agent Cecilia DeFreitas (not the woman seen jumping for joy in this stock photo) shares tips on selling luxury homes. Whatever your endeavor, what success tips do you or your team have to share?