In Defense of a 2-Year-Old Secretariat

While reading Warren Buffett’s letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders last week, I came across something very interesting.

Apparently, Warren Buffett just hired 39-year-old Todd Combs as part of his succession plan.  Some are up in arms, saying he “lacks experience” and is too green.  Since Todd and I share the same generation, I was intrigued by the following explanation by the “Oracle of Omaha” himself:

“Our goal was to find a 2-year-old Secretariat, not a 10-year-old Seabiscuit.”
– Warren Buffett

I want to be clear that I have absolutely no problem with experienced people.  In fact, I’m on the lookout for an experienced mentor myself.  I believe that experience may bring additional maturity, strength, and other positive traits to a person.

However, in a time when our world is changing faster than ever before, I want to caution people who focus on “experience” rather than talent and learning ability.

Just look at the last 10 years, as Google went mainstream and some of the most popular marketing tools in the world wove themselves into the fabric our lives:

  • Wikipedia (2001)
  • Linkedin (2003)
  • Facebook (2004)
  • YouTube (2005)
  • Twitter (2006)
  • iPhone (2007)
  • Groupon (2007)
  • Foursquare (2009)

The Attention Age has begun!

With New Media entering the stage, business leaders must deal with 24 hour news cycles and the collective attention span of a world constantly seeking out the next big thing.

Personally, I’m enjoying it.

I’m embracing it.  I’m learning it.  I’m living it.

Whether you’re a “10-year-old Seabiscuit” or a “2-year-old Secretariat”, one thing is for certain:

Experience isn’t as important as it used to be.

We’re all students in these new and exciting times, and the leaders who are best with creativity, learning, and vision will win big.

Todd, I’ll be cheering you on.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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