91-year-young Tech Designer Lands Job in Silicon Valley

91-year-young Tech Designer Lands Job in Silicon Valley

Barbara Beskind grew up during the great depression dreaming of becoming an inventor.  Now eight decades later, at the young age of 91, she is living her dream working at one of the top design firms in Silicon Valley.  I’ve believe the expression is, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.”


Her initial dreams of becoming an inventor were dashed when her high school guidance counselor told her that engineering schools don’t accept females. Instead, she served in the U.S. Army and as an occupational therapist while also writing books and learning to paint. Two years ago, she read about the Silicon Valley design firm IDEO and decided to apply for a job at the firm, which is famous for designing the first mouse for Apple and dozens of other well-known devices.

“Our culture is telling us, aging equals decline,” IDEO associate partner Gretchen Addi told TODAY. “And Barbara is very solidly standing there and saying, you know, ‘I’m gonna call you on that.'”

Beskind now takes public transportation and walks a few blocks to IDEO’s office in Palo Alto, California, every Thursday, where she is a beloved member of the staff. There’s even a company-wide email that gets sent to alert her co-workers, many of whom are six or seven decades younger than her, to when she arrives.

Her projects are focus on aging, which she then tests out at her retirement home.  She feels that while people try to create products for the elderly, without being elderly themselves they don’t always know what works and what doesn’t.  Her experience is one you can’t teach.

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