91-Year-Old Is Living Her Dream As A Tech Designer At Silicon Valley Firm

91-Year-Old Is Living Her Dream As A Tech Designer At Silicon Valley Firm

A nonagenarian has started a new career as a valuable part of Silicon Valley's tech world, bringing her years of wisdom to the industry.

When Barbara Beskind was a child, she wanted to become an inventor. At 91 years old, she's living that dream as a tech designer for IDEO, a firm in Palo Alto, California, according to Today.com. Beskind became an employee last year and has since been working primarily on projects that relate to aging.

She says that her age has been beneficial to her.

"Age is not a barrier to performance. Live life as an adventure, and expect change and endorse it, embrace it," Beskind told Today.com. "I think the beauty of being 91 is that you can look back and see how the little pieces fit into the big pieces of life, and life is a complete puzzle."

Beskind had wanted to pursue a career as an inventor after high school but the job required an engineering degree, NPR reported. Her guidance counselor told her that women weren't accepted by engineering schools, so Beskind joined the army and became an occupational therapist instead.

Two years ago, she saw an interview in which the founder of IDEO, David Kelley, spoke about the importance of diversity on a design team, and decided to apply to work at the firm.

"It took me about two months to write my resume, paring it down from nine pages,'' Beskind told Today.com. "Then I wrote the letter and sent it by snail mail."

Now, the 91-year-old is a much-loved member of IDEO, offering feedback to designers who are working on products for the elderly, the Wall Street Journal reported. She also shares her own prototypes with her team for feedback. Her team members say that Beskind not only brings a new perspective to IDEO, but also has an energy that's simply uplifting.

"I'm sitting here doing a not very inspiring task," IDEO employee Jason Dehler told Beskind, according to NPR. "I'm doing budgets. And listening to you talk and your attitude ... I got more into it."

Beskind has been enjoying her time with her firm. Though the designer has vision problems due to macular degeneration and uses modified ski poles to help her walk, she shows no signs of slowing down, Today.com reported.

"I want to be someplace stimulating, with people who are passionate and creative," she told the Wall Street Journal. "This is the best experience I have had in my professional life."

Before You Go

New Year - Curved Phones
The Consumer Electronics Show, followed by Mobile World Congress will bring back an old familiar friend: the curved phone. LG experimented with the G Flex and while it had its flaws, people enjoyed it. Fast forward to the Galaxy Note Edge and opinion of the experimental technology has further increased. It's ready to be the next major 'gimmick' for smartphones and this time it might actually turn out to be quite useful as well.
Spring - Smart Watch 2.0
The Apple Watch might appear to be just like any other smart watch but when it arrives the functionality it'll bring to Apple's ecosystem of products will almost certainly drive innovation elsewhere. If there's one thing that pushes a technology firm forward it's making sure that they're better than the other guy. Android Wear for iOS? Probably not, but what it will do is drive Google to persuade more people over to Android, resulting in better Android Wear updates, better smart watches. The smart watch may have arrived in 2014 but it'll be something you actually buy in 2015.
Summer - Games That Live
Ubisoft's The Division is looking to be, quite frankly, an incredible game. Not only is it one of the best-looking games around but it also happens to be potentially, one of the most futuristic. Where Destiny failed to live up to its promise of being a 'new genre', The Division has innovation built into its very coding. Players drop in and out of a living world, teaming up, playing solo or just joining the action from their tablet as a 'drone'. If you were disappointed with the phrase 'next-gen' then hold on, it's coming and it's coming soon.
Autumn - A Quantum Leap In Television
4K is the future, if you don't believe us then read this. If you do, then prepare yourself as while 2015 won't bring more pixels it's going to make them look better than you've ever seen before. LG's Quantum Dot technology uses tiny nano crystals which -- dependent on their size -- will show through a different colour. This is then placed on top of a conventional display with the result being that colours look astonishingly defined.
Winter - The Death Of The Laptop
If you still think the ultra-portable laptop still has a place then we'd politely direct you to the Surface Pro 3. Similarly if you think that Apple won't conform to changing trends then just look at the iPhone 6. This is the time of year that Apple releases its new product range and this could well be the year that Apple gives its iPad the overhaul it desperately needs. Hugely powerful in many ways the iPad suffers from a number of barriers that stop it from being a true laptop replacement. To combat this you can expect a larger screen, stylus support and possibly a kickstand. OK maybe not that last one, but still, the times they are a changin'.