Paul Graham Essays

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Paul Graham Essays

Who knew? Sometimes we advise founders of b2b startups to take over-engagementto an extreme, and to pick a single user and act as if they wereconsultants building something just for that one user. Its easy to see how little launches matter. Let the nerds keep their lunchmoney, and you rule the world.

Theintermediate stuff-- the -- can be anything thatsrare and portable. The hard part about gettingbought is getting them to act. How many of their launches do you remember?all you need from a launch is some initial core of users.

I have never once seen a startup lured down a blind alley by tryingtoo hard to make their initial users happy. The biggest danger of not being consciouslyaware of this pattern is for those who naively discard part of it. One is a combination of shyness and laziness.

The strategy works just as well ifyou do it unconsciously. Far older, in fact ants have wealth. Why are there so many startupsselling new drugs or computer software, and none selling corn oilor laundry detergent? Economically, you can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years.

Johnsmith, age 10, a student at such and such elementary school, orjohn smith, age 20, a student at such and such college. I think this made us seem naive,or liars. Meraki, the founders were robert morrissgrad students, so we know their history.

A big company is like a giant galley driven by a thousand rowers. Youcant wait for users to come to you. Its that it tends not to happen at all. The initialuser serves as the form for your mold keep tweaking till you fittheir needs perfectly, and youll usually find youve made somethingother users want too. Im not trying to make a deep philosophicalpoint here about whichis the true kind.

Do Things that Don't Scale - Paul Graham

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Paul Graham Essays

How to Make Wealth - Paul Graham
(This essay was originally published in Hackers & Painters.) If you wanted to get rich, how would you do it? I think your best bet would be to start or join a startup.
Paul Graham Essays So thecost of having someone from personnelcall you about a form you forgot to fill out can be huge. One is that youcant choose the point on the curve that you want to inhabit. The world is-- andyou specifically are-- one pristine old car the richer. The advantage of creating wealth, as a way to get rich,is not just that its more legitimate (many of the other methods are now illegal) but that its more if you want to create wealth, it will help to understand what it is. Instead ibm ended up using all its power in the marketto give microsoft control of the pc standard. This is why hackers give you such a baleful stare as theyturn from their screen to answer your question. Once youre allowed to do that, people who want to get rich can do it by generatingwealth instead of stealing it. What novice founders dont getis what insanely great translates to in a larval startup.
  • What is Paul Graham's best essay? - Quora

    Startups building things for other startups have a big pool ofpotential users in the other companies weve funded, and none tookbetter advantage of it than stripe. You need to be in aposition where your performance can be measured, or there isno way to get paid more by doing more. There are plenty of other ways to get money, including chance, speculation, marriage, inheritance, theft, extortion, fraud, monopoly,graft, lobbying,counterfeiting, and prospecting. In both cases, what it all comes down to is users. I wouldnt try todefend the actual numbers.

    Viaweb one of our rules of thumb was suppose you are a little, nimble guy being chased by a big,fat, bully. They would have both carrot and stick to motivate them. Instead of accumulatingmoney slowly by being paid a regular wage for fifty years, i want to get it over with as soon as possible. Its even ok if investors dismissyour startup theyll change their minds when they see growth. In airbnbs case, these consisted of going door to doorin new york, recruiting new users and helping existing ones improvetheir listings.

    Any startup that could be described as a marketplace usually hasto start in a subset of the market, but this can work for otherstartups as well. There is no personneldepartment, and thus no form nor anyone to call you about it. Its the way we all do things. Eric migicovsky ofpebble said one of things he learned was how valuable it was tosource good screws. Technology thats valuable today could be worthlessin a couple years. Imagine the stress of working for the post office for fifty years. Another reason founders dont focus enough on individual customersis that they worry it wont scale. Once you realize that existing conventions are not the upper boundon user experience, its interesting in a very pleasant way to thinkabout how far you could go to delight your users. A restaurant can afford to serve the occasional burnt dinner. You fry eggs or cut hair one customer at a time.

    Nov 27, 2015 ... I would read his book Hackers and Painters to start. But the indispensable essays are: 1. How to Make Wealth: 2. How to Start ...

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    In response to a question on YC News ( ) I've computed something similar to the Page Rank algorithm for the. Paul Graham Essays ...
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    One is that a lot of startup founders are trained as engineers,and customer service is not part of the training of engineers. . It would be a little frighteningto be solving users problems in a way that wasnt yet automatic,but less frightening than the far more common case of having somethingautomatic that doesnt yet solve anyones problems. When manual components look to the user like software, this techniquestarts to have aspects of a practical joke. So why do founders think launches matter? A combination of solipsismand laziness.

    I dont think many people like the slow pace of big companies, the interminable meetings,the water-cooler conversations, the clueless middle managers,and so on Buy now Paul Graham Essays

    Martin Luther King Jr Essay

    If a fairly good hacker is worth 80,000 a year at a big company, then a smarthacker working very hard without any corporatebullshit to slow him down should be able to do work worth about3 million a year. They just represent a point at the far end of the curve. If ibm had required an exclusive license, as they should have, microsoftwould still have signed the deal. Sometimes the right unscalable trick is to focus on a deliberatelynarrow market. Supposea company makes some kind of consumer gadget.

    But when they start paying youspecifically for that attentiveness when they start payingyou by the hour they expect you to do everything. He didnt stay long, but he wouldnt have returned atall if hed realized microsoft was going to be even a fraction ofthe size it turned out to be Paul Graham Essays Buy now

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    But there were no takers,so we had to keep going. For potentialacquirers, the most powerful motivator is the prospect that one of their competitors will buy you. Stripe is one of the most successful startups weve funded, and theproblem they solved was an urgent one. No doubt bill did everything he could to steer ibm into making that blunder, and he has done an excellent job of exploiting it, but ifthere had been one person with a brain on ibms side,microsofts future would have been very different. Untila few centuries ago,the main sources of wealth were mines, slaves and serfs,land, and cattle,and the only ways to acquire these rapidly were by inheritance,marriage, conquest, or confiscation Buy Paul Graham Essays at a discount

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    Its common for a startupto be developing a genuinely good product, take slightlytoo long to do it, run out of money, and have to shut down. Even if there arent many of them, there areprobably adjacent territories that have more. Its easy to measure how much revenue they generate, and theyreusually paid a percentage of it. I think this made us seem naive,or liars. Itsjust something we use to move wealth around.

    The larger a group, the closer its average member will be to the averagefor the population as a whole. Combine all these multipliers, and imclaiming you could be 36 times more productive than youre expected to be in a random corporatejob. So long as youre a product company thats merelybeing extra attentive to a customer, theyre very grateful even ifyou dont solve all their problems Buy Online Paul Graham Essays

    Peace Essay

    After all those years you getused to the idea of belonging to a group of people who all get upin the morning, go to some set of buildings, and do things that theydo not, ordinarily, enjoy doing. The company that did was rca, andfarnsworths reward for his efforts was a decade ofpatent litigation. Three so lets get bill gates out of the way right now. Florence in 1200 as it is in santa clara today. Itsjust something we use to move wealth around.

    Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off. All the most successful startups weve funded have, and that probablydoesnt surprise would-be founders. Theintermediate stuff-- the -- can be anything thatsrare and portable. Its easy to measure how much revenue they generate, and theyreusually paid a percentage of it Buy Paul Graham Essays Online at a discount

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    If you sell your car,youll get more for it. Maybe if they go out of their way tomake existing users super happy, theyll one day have too many todo so much for. Florence in 1200 as it is in santa clara today. Johnsmith, age 10, a student at such and such elementary school, orjohn smith, age 20, a student at such and such college. One is that a lot of startup founders are trained as engineers,and customer service is not part of the training of engineers.

    We are all richer for knowing about penicillin,because were less likely to die from infections. Thats the difference between astartup and a restaurant or a barber shop. In the right kind of business, someone who really devoted himself to work could generate ten oreven a hundred times as much wealth as an averageemployee Paul Graham Essays For Sale

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    So in practice big companies only get to develop technology in fields where large capital requirements prevent startups fromcompeting with them, like microprocessors, power plants, or passenger aircraft. If you sell your car,youll get more for it. Developing new technology is a pain in the ass. The initialuser serves as the form for your mold keep tweaking till you fittheir needs perfectly, and youll usually find youve made somethingother users want too. This lets you launch faster, and when you dofinally automate yourself out of the loop, youll know exactly whatto build because youll have muscle memory from doing it yourself.

    But you cant getvery far by trading things directly with the people whoneed them For Sale Paul Graham Essays

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    And the way most companies make moneyis by creating wealth. So there isobviously not a fixed pie. Theyll make sure that suing them is expensive andtakes a long time. But in fact theyrefamous within yc for aggressive early user acquisition. Partlybecause you can usually find ways to make anything scale more thanyou would have predicted, and partly because delighting customerswill by then have permeated your culture.

    Hackers often donate their work by writing open source software that anyone can use for free. If yourea good hacker in your mid twenties, you canget a job paying about 80,000 per year. Some startups could be entirely manual at first. If ibm hadnt made this mistake, microsoft wouldstill have been a successful company, but itcould not have grown so big so fast Sale Paul Graham Essays






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