Essay for the ordinary
basketball and football require a lot of teamwork, basketball players are expected to be a lot more versatile than football players. Google is not just a barbershop whose founders were unusually lucky and hard-working. Good hackers avoid it for the same reason models avoid cheeseburgers. What happens to fast growing startups tends to surprise even the founders. Over the next few years their problem became everyone's problem, as the web grew to a size where you didn't have to be a picky search expert to notice the old algorithms weren't good enough. Maybe the people in charge of facilities, not having any concentration to shatter, have no idea that working in a cubicle feels to a hacker like having one's brain in a blender. But VCs are mistaken to look for the next Microsoft, because no startup can be the next Microsoft unless some other company is prepared to bend over at just the right moment and be the next IBM. So while science and technology may have made our physical lives more comfortable in the 21st century. That's why there's a separate word for startups, and why startups do things that ordinary companies don't, like raising money and getting acquired.
That space of ideas has been so thoroughly picked over that a startup generally has to work on something everyone else has overlooked. You can use that target growth rate to make all your decisions for you; anything that gets you the growth you need is ipso facto right. Bill Bradley had 70; he could see the basket when he was looking at the floor. I've seen occasional articles about how to manage programmers.
For example, if your company wants to write some software, it might seem a prudent choice to write it in Java. In a project like a compiler, you have to solve a lot of problems, but the problems all fall into a pattern, as in a signal. Pretty much every successful startup will get acquisition offers too. In such situations it's helpful to have a habit of questioning assumptions. More than Money, i know a handful of super-hackers, so I sat down and thought about what they have in common. Sample thesis statement for contrast paper: In terms of social networking sites, Facebook focuses on presenting your daily life to others, whereas MySpace allows you to focus more on demonstrating your personal style. You want them to feel this way about the software they're writing for you.
7 Compass We usually advise startups to pick a growth rate they think they can hit, and then just try to hit it every week. The happy Macintosh face, and then the finder. It's more a question of self-preservation. If our hypothetical company making 1000 a month grew at 1 a week for 19 years, it would grow as big as a company growing at 5 a week for 4 years. Because these ideas are so valuable, finding one is hard. Whereas when you hand people a complex tool like a computer, the variation in what they can do with it is enormous. If you're really getting a constant number of new customers every month, you're in trouble, because that means your growth rate is decreasing. What VCs should be looking for is the next Apple, or the next Google. And so to the extent we see incumbents suppressing competitors via regulations or patent suits, we should worry, not because it's a departure from the rule of law per se but from what the rule of law is aiming. I asked some friends, and the number one thing they mentioned was curiosity. The first names that come to mind always tend to be people I know personally, but it seems lame to use them. Growth is why startups usually work on technology because ideas for fast growing companies are so rare that the best way to find new ones is to discover those recently made viable by change, and technology is the best source of rapid change.
Can you cultivate these qualities? Life isn't an expression; how could it have meaning? Even hackers can't tell. Imagination is hard to measure, but in practice it dominates the kind of productivity that's measured in lines of code. But it's a mistake to use the median in a domain with so much variation.