Gaming The System Doesn’t Work, And Everyone Has Worries

One of the exciting things about Paul Graham handing over the reins of Y Combinator to Sam Altman is the fact that it gives Paul more time to write. Paul has long been one of my writing inspirations, and his concise yet conversational style has always struck me a near-perfect fit for his topics. I’m … Continue reading Gaming The System Doesn’t Work, And Everyone Has Worries

I’m a founder, and I’m feeling down. What should I do?

As a founder, your own emotional health is another key metric you need to manage, and you need to treat it as such. I rely on three simple interventions: 1) Get a good night’s rest.  Failing that, take a nap. On days when I haven’t had enough sleep, every problem seems like a mountain, and … Continue reading I’m a founder, and I’m feeling down. What should I do?

Escaping The Mental Money Trap

When the Bible said, “love of money is the root of all evil,” it was focused on the ability of greed to tempt people away from their faith.  But you don’t have to be religious to worry about the impact that money has on our minds. As a true blue capitalist, I believe that money … Continue reading Escaping The Mental Money Trap

Wealth and Entrepreneurship (why the rich get richer and why we should help the poor)

The popular belief is that entrepreneurs are “hungry” because they come from modest backgrounds. Here in America, we love a great “rags to riches” story.  Of course, it should be noted that America’s two richest men, Bill Gates (son of a wealthy attorney) and Warren Buffett (son of a stockbroker/Congressman) don’t exactly provide validation for … Continue reading Wealth and Entrepreneurship (why the rich get richer and why we should help the poor)

Don’t Stay Hungry

Entrepreneurs are frequently admonished to “stay hungry.”  These words are almost like scripture, having been cited by Steve Jobs himself in his legendary 2005 Stanford commencement speech. Intuitively, these words seem to be true across a host of domains.  Starving artists of all types feel the curse of the sophomore slump; going from hungry unknown … Continue reading Don’t Stay Hungry

I Am Not My Talent

One of the perils of living in Silicon Valley is the way it encourages us to develop a fixed mindset. Our vocabulary uses the language of traits.  Someone is a “Rockstar Engineer,” or an “A Player.”  Companies like Google scrutinize candidates’ resumes, discarding those who didn’t attend the right universities. Even successful entrepreneurs aren’t exempt.  … Continue reading I Am Not My Talent

Lazy Consistency and Denial

Most of us have the desire to be consistent.  In general, this is a good thing.  Think of how frustrating it is to deal with someone who is always changing his mind.  As just one example, look at how we treat politicians who can be branded as flip-floppers.  “I was for it before I was … Continue reading Lazy Consistency and Denial

The Power of Surprise

Humans love to be surprised (as long as the surprise isn’t a nasty shock). As thinking creatures, our ability to develop an accurate working model of the world depends on our ability to spot the unexpected. Surprise is a great mechanism for rewarding that ability. Wharton conducted a study of viral videos.  They had research … Continue reading The Power of Surprise

You get the job you train others to give you

People have this concept of a Dream Job.   Yet they go about getting their dream job in exactly the wrong way. Most people chase their dream job like the protagonist in a romantic comedy chases their “true love”: A frantic effort to find The One. Yet getting a job doesn’t determine your job. Rather, you … Continue reading You get the job you train others to give you

Why collecting business cards makes sense

Even though I believe that one good conversation beats 100 business cards, collecting cards still has its place. First, while people won’t necessarily remember you after a single encounter, my philosophy is that you need three casual encounters to build familiarity.  Even if a person doesn’t remember you after an initial meeting, it still counts … Continue reading Why collecting business cards makes sense