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Betting on the Boom(ers)

Passersby at the Charlestown Navy Yard, just down the block from Old Ironsides, could have been forgiven Monday night for thinking an old time revival meeting had taken up residence on the grounds.

Passersby at the Charlestown Navy Yard, just down the block from Old Ironsides, could have been forgiven Monday night for thinking an old time revival meeting had taken up residence on the grounds.

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Inside a big white tent, an animated crazy man with a microphone was pacing back and forth, calling out names, urging folks to step up and be counted, and leading the crowd in cheers of “Boom, boom, boom!”

No handicapped threw down their crutches, but Jane Seymour, age 53, (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) did recount how she bared her bosoms to get her most recent gig in The Wedding Crashers.

In short, it was just a typical launch party for another Jeff Taylor business. Taylor, you may remember, founded the super-successful job site Monster.com. Now he’s back with a new idea: eons.com, a sort of MySpace for the over 50 crowd.

Taylor, who at 45 is too young to qualify for his own site, says he was attracted to this market because of its size and financial heft. “Every day, 10,000 people turn 50,” he says. There are lots of these folks: some 77 million of them. And they have fat wallets. In 2001, they controlled 67% of the country’s wealth, or $28 trillion.

But they’ve been underserved by Madison Avenue, which prefers its target audience young and foxy, even if impecunious.

Taylor plans to change all that by making 50 the new, well, 40?

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Eons will showcase a variety of features targeted to those who once spurned anybody over 30…among them, a longevity calculator that will let you figure out how many years you’ve got left (and how to extend them if you’re willing to put down that smoke and double bacon cheeseburger), a search engine (called Cranky) that only returns four results (the four best, according to the Eons’s team’s reviews); and the largest free Obit database in the nation (an homage to Jim Morrison, who famously noted, “No one gets out alive”).

It’s also intent on flipping ageism on its ear, urging Boomers to “live their biggest life possible after 50” by setting big, hairy audacious goals, which Eons.com hopes to chronicle on minisites devoted to travel, love, health and wellness, and money.

To that end, the company – pre-launch – challenged 5,000 Americans to send in their top life goals after 50. Unfortunately, the Boomers aren’t yet thinking as big as their Pied Piper. Their number one goal? Sadly, the eternal, soul-sapping challenge to lose weight. Number two? The predictable, ‘write a book.’ Five more goals were about travel: Italy, Europe (isn’t Italy IN Europe?), Australia, Hawaii, and a cruise. Others wanted to “stay healthy,” or “pay off my mortgage.” Finally, at #10, the Boomers just wanted to retire.

People! Perk up! Think big! Where’s that lust for sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll that defined your youth? Roll off that La-Z-Boy and start working on those goals! (might help lose that spare tire in the process, so you can think about tackling Machu Picchu instead of the dessert buffet on Carnival Cruise Lines, too.)

Clearly, Taylor has his work cut out for him, bucking up the pedestrian aspirations of this no longer so revolutionary crowd.

But led by mentors like Seymour, with her feisty job-snagging strategy, we still hold out hope. And led by the irrepressible Taylor, we’re guessing Eons may turn into something quite monstrous yet.

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About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.

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