Too Late To Start? A timeline infographic of founder age.

The timeline infographic is the most universal infographic template of all. No matter who you are, we all go through time the same. All humans experience time. It’s the only thing we can’t stop, change, or slow down. In this timeline infographic , I am looking at the timeline of success.

Visualizing a Timeline of Expectations vs. a Timeline of Reality

The reason it is interesting to look at success through data is that society definitely sets expectations about when people should succeed. It’s not set in stone, but one expects to succeed before the mid-life crisis, at the latest. That is assuming one can get past the quarter-life crisis (the quarter-life crisis assumes you live about 100 year, so it happens around 25.)
Are these expectations realistic? Let’s look at the data and map it on a timeline.

The Data Behind The Success Age

Looking at the biographies of top 100 founders on the Forbes List shows that 35 is the most common age to start one of the top companies in the world. We excluded the companies that were inherited from previous ones, and the companies where governments were heavily involved. For example, one of the largest companies in the world is Agricultural Bank of China. It was founded by Mao Ze Dong while he was the country’s chairman. This types of founders we excluded, to make sure the list only contains self-starting founders.

The Middle Of Life or Mid-Life Crisis
The result is a bell curve, just like in school most people get grades somewhere in the middle, in life most people succeed mid-life, that is about 35, for the current generation.

Intuitively then, we expect some major life achievements to happen around the middle age, otherwise – the mid-life crisis.

The Quarter-Life Crisis
When you graduate college, with expectations from parents on your shoulders, seeing teenage CEOs in the news can make you feel like a late bloomer. Even at 25. Since today we expect to live longer than today’s average life span of 78 years, at 25 you can reasonable think you are through a quarter of your life. This is a newer term than the good old mid-life crisis.

Late Bloomers, Not Losers
A late bloomer is only “late” to fulfill the expectations of other people. I started Adioma at 29. Would it be better if I started at 19? Or course, and of course not – it would not have been possible then. It would be a completely different website.
So if you ask yourself if it is too late, ask more specifically, “Too late for what?” It’s never too late to start, to learn, and, if you need to, start again.

And remember to keep the big picture in mind. Share this with others.

You can make your own timeline infographics on Adioma in 5 minutes.