Feeling Old(er) at Big Omaha

For many years I was often the youngest person in the room. I started my first company at 19 and had already had several bizarre “too young” experiences by the time I was 21. I vividly remember almost losing our largest client at the time because they had taken my partner Dave out for drinks (he is three years older than me) and they somehow pried out of him that I was only 21. That generated a lot of anxiety for a week or so.

I’m at the Big Omaha Conference today for the first time. I’m a big fan of Jeff Slobotski and have been semi-gracefully dodging his invites for years. This year I thought I’d come hang out for a day. So here I am.

Last night I went to the VIP pre-opening party. I hung out and talked to some folks and then realized I was hungry. They only food at the party was meaty stuff (other than some creamy artichoke dip) so I went for a walk around the part of downtown Omaha we were at (11th Street-ish) looking for dinner. I found a Mexican place and sat down for a nice quiet meal before the event started. About half way through I was joined by two others – both locals – who are at the conference and recognized me. Both are younger VCs so we had a nice conversation that was hopefully helpful and interesting to them. I learned a little about the scene in Omaha, so that was useful to me. And I enjoy small dinners a lot, so three people was perfect. And the cheese enchilada was exactly what I wanted.

We wandered over to the opening party around 8:30. I was already tired but I figured I’d give it a try. The entryway was subdued and pleasant as people were checking in and getting name badges. They were all a lot younger than me.

We then walked down a long hall and up some stairs into a huge room throbbing with music. Over the next 30 minutes, I said hello to a few folks I recognized, had a few others introduce themselves to me, and noticed that the room had filled up a lot. The music must have gotten louder because I could no longer hear anything anyone was saying to me without leaning over and putting my ear next to their mouth.

At one point I looked around and noticed that I was one of the oldest people in the room. It was 9:30 and I was tired. So I went home, did email for a little while, and went to sleep.

I’m heading out to the conference now and I’m looking forward to it. But I’m very aware of the age shift today for some reason. Interesting …