Tony was the up and coming new generation that caused guys like Mandarin, Justin Hammer and Obidiah Stane, who were behind the times, to look like dinosaurs.
Now with the current Information Age, it kids like Ezekiel and Sasha who are more of a threat to Tony, by making him seem like a guy pass his prime.
Stark is the guy whose intelligence allows him to beat guys who have much more money and power wielded much more ruthlessly than he does. That's the fantasy of Stark: someone who is so smart that even if people with more money and power than him capture him and enslave him, he'll find a way to break his chains and fly out of that cave or labor camp or sweatshop. Someone like Zeke misses the point of Stark.