The 34 inventions mentioned are a small set -- that's just at the threshold of large-sample statistics for normally distributed data, and the datapoints here may well not bbe.
For a larger set of inventions, Joseph Needham's Science and Civilisation in China might provide an interesting basis. Under development for over half a century, the 27 volume work (several still in process) details thousands of years of innovation in China, in excruciating detail. The work's Wikipedia entry alone is staggering. Needham's biography has been written by Simon Winchester, and is highly recommended.
There are numerous books on innovation I recommend. There's What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelley and W. Brian Arthur's The Nature of Technology both cover inventions and inventing.
Robert Gordon's The Rise and Fall of American Growth (2016) looks at the era of invention and development since 1870. Gordon writes in great detail, but very readably, of the tranformation of the US landscape, cityscape, and suburbscape over this period, focusing especially on domestic living and lifestyle, transportation, food, medicine and health, work, communications, and entertainment. I've got disagreements with some of Gordon's economic thinking, but his history is solid.
Really this is when people got lucky enough (or perhaps influential enough) to be attributed with an invention that is considered historically relevant.
I guess the real takeaway is just to keep trying to do great things
Also, what about the people who invent/innovate on a smaller scale, which doesn't get recognized as much as these inventions but is in aggregate perhaps as significant? This analysis sort of rings bells of the "Great Man" theory of history.
When you're told you need to achieve X by 30, you may end up destroying relationships, having health issues and depression.
He joined Microsoft in 1988 , when he was 46 , to work on the NT kernel. No doubt he had a many brilliant achievements before that , but his greatest work came in his 40s. Something the youth obsessed programmers of today should remember.
Of course, some people may be faster and some slower..
Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg do not.
Interestingly, of those, Bezos was the MBA manager, the rest were all programmers.
Also you need to waste a lot of time writing a thesis (I'm talking about the nitty-gritty process of coming up with the words and fighting TeX or worse, MS Word) that essentially is worth the paper it's printed on.
(well at least Campus life is better than sharing a flat with 3 other people with questionable hygiene habits)
There's a certain insanity to counting off risk because of something you think will happen. People seem to do it too much.
If you think it's about anything more than this, you don't know capitalism.
I get paid ~4 times as much but only work ~1/4th as much as I did 15 years ago primarily because I'm not foolish and 19 ... I'm unlikely to actually be 16 times more productive for being 16 times more expensive.
Or is anybody forcing you to accept this or that kind of work?
Do we need to handicap more experienced negotiators so that 19 year olds do better?
If you are trying to get in and get out you don't want experienced people who are going to ask a lot of questions. You want young, naive people who are willing to play the lottery.
I don't attribute to malice what could equally be explained by ignorance. It's not deliberate ageism, it's the path of least resistance. I would agree that that path is a bad thing overall.
Think about it, each one of these groups is primarily about not accepting divergent viewpoints:
Tech is about intelligent machines that can't empathize with anyone.
Science is about having one very strict epistemology (the scientific method) and pretending no other ways of knowing are used in the lab.
Atheism is about deciding all god beliefs are wrong even the ones you haven't heard about yet.
Libertarianism is about removing all forms of structural social coordination except contracts.
These are groups who have set up walls that help them ignore other people. Any sensation of "rationality" you get in these places is just calcification of ideology due to a strong program of stifling dissent.
If you want true rationality go look for communities where dissent is celebrated.
If you want to invent, do it.
If you want to discover a major invention, invent more often.
I also think that youthful rebellion is a bit of a myth. The youth often rebel how, against, and in the ways they are told to rebel by elder philosophers and polemicists. It also often takes a lifetime to genuinely critique your culture in a way that is truly incisive.
I think Tim Leary was joking about this with "don't trust anyone over 40." He was over 40.
Once you can see what's happening, you can start trying to solve a problem. It takes 10 years for you to get good at the basic skills. It's not that likely that your pre existing skills are the ones you'll need. Then the world changes while you're watching and now you have all the ingredients:
3) a head start
So 35 is sort of a bottom limit for some kinds of invention.
Of course there are exceptions. If you have skills in the family you can start learning them at 5. And some people are just born in the middle of the kerfuffle and can see what's going on at a very early age. That's where someone like Bob Dylan or Fiona Apple comes from, doing world class work at 16-17 years old.
And the Internet makes the first step of "seeing what's going on" much more accessible, for both young people and everyone else. so I would expect the curve to expand out quite a bit this century.
The skill training is really just about hours though so I don't think the Internet accelerates that much.
I thought I'd also see how my own, admittedly very minor, inventions (http://web.onetel.com/~hibou/Patents.html) fit into the pattern. Patents were filed when I was 32, 36, 36, 39, 44, and 55. So, 40.3, and that can only change upwards.
Lilienfeld went on to invent the electrolytic capacitor in 1931 when he was 51 years old. He was 44 years old when he patented the FET. This is very much in line with the other data.
I think this one is more illustrative of Tesla's character and the fact that he was not driven by financial motivations.
Look: many, many props to the guy for the induction motor and polyphase AC, right, but he was rather in love with himself. He was an ingenious tinkerer with a subtle mind, but there are some very good reasons to believe that he didn't really understand half of what he was trying to do, especially at high frequencies. There's a reason why radio doesn't look like Wardenclyffe now, and never did. Oh, and no financial motivations? That's a wee myth grown out of his sale of patents to Westinghouse, without which arrangement AC would have failed (because the onerous royalties due Tesla would have made it too expensive compared to Edison's DC). He had no trouble begging for money while looking for further fame and fortune.