Retirees are in capital preservation mode. Their income earning years are behind them, and they are living off their savings or, hopefully, some fixed income like social security, dividends, interest income, or slowly eating into their savings. That’s all fine if it lines up with their burn rate etc.
Young people can take more risks because of their high-income future earnings. If they invest time and money into something that ends up being a dud, it’s okay. They can keep trucking.
Companies are the same. They can be in capital preservation mode or growth mode. Capital preservation mode means no more experiments, no bets, don’t rock the boat. Innovation slows down, and they slowly become irrelevant. They act like retirees who know they’ll die in 10 years and play it safe. The people who work there think and act like the company’s best years are in the rearview mirror.
Young companies are the opposite. Lots of experiments, lots of unknowns, lots of whiffs and hopefully some big wins. They have an experimentation culture, and the people who work there believe they can do better, but more importantly, believe in themselves and the product they are creating.
Ask yourself where you are in your career and what type of company or people you want to work for.