Meg Whitman: What I've Learned From Quibi's Millennial and Gen Z Staff

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The veteran tech executive, 63, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, 68, may be mentoring their young staff, but they've been taught a thing or two as well.

Jeffrey and I were very deliberate about building a company that was a reflection of who we thought our audience would be. Our target audience at Quibi is 25 to 35 years old, so we said, "What better way to get content for that target demo than hiring our target demo?" Over 70 percent of our staff is under the age of 40 and more than 30 percent is under the age of 30. We had the same demographic at eBay back in the day, so I've experienced this before.

What I've learned is that this age group sees the possibilities. They're not jaded. They haven't lived through 20 or 30 years in a corporate environment where they've been told no. So they imagine that they can do things that sometimes it's been hard to get done at big, older companies. I love their enthusiasm and can-do attitude. They work very hard and they want to do great things, and I think they love that they get more responsibility at a startup like Quibi.

Since we have only 200 people, everyone is probably in the most senior job they've ever been in, and that's exhilarating for them. They're learning things every single day, they're being stretched and pulled. And our job is to coach and mentor because we've seen almost everything — we can see and avert the disaster. There's no playbook for us either.

Startups are not for everybody, so we have to look for someone who embraces risk and has the ability to deal with ambiguity. We've got a really strong, smart group of people and I think it keeps me current in a way that I might not have been if I had not been surrounded by these employees. There's a whole social networking language; sometimes I have to ask, "What are you talking about?" Like with the terms "stans" (big fans) and "fam" (work friends). But I will say this about the next generation: Don't underestimate them. They will do amazing things.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.