You Get To Big Ideas By Starting With Small Ones

Another great tidbit from Paul Graham’s unfairly controversial Inc interview: http://bit.ly/1dNuheK Paul has the last word on the “Silicon Valley doesn’t tackle big problems” meme: “I think people underestimate how small big ideas were when they first got started. Microsoft’s first product was an implementation of the BASIC programming language for a machine called Altair. … Continue reading You Get To Big Ideas By Starting With Small Ones

Doug Engelbart and ageism in Silicon Valley

Doug Engelbart’s recent passing elicited glowing eulogies for the computing pioneer who gave “The Mother of All Demos” in 1968, introducing the mouse, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, hypermedia, object addressing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and real-time collaboration all in a single hour-long talk: http://bit.ly/16EGGZn Amazing, right? Yet lost in all the accolades was … Continue reading Doug Engelbart and ageism in Silicon Valley

Success isn’t about Money, it’s about Time

Dave Winer is a true technology legend.  He founded his first company in 1981, and became a high-tech millionaire in 1987 when he sold it to Symantec…and that was all before he created blogging, RSS, OPML, and podcasting.  He’s uniquely positioned to comment on the impact of monetary “success” in Silicon Valley: http://bit.ly/12ABJmx “A few … Continue reading Success isn’t about Money, it’s about Time

The Age of the Aging Entrepreneur

I’ve often compared Silicon Valley to “Logan’s Run“–once your Lifeclock hits 30, the system encourages you to “renew”.  In the movie, this meant death…in Silicon Valley, it means becoming an angel investor or VC (no comment).  After all, this is a place where an investor can say with a straight face, “We love older entrepreneurs!  … Continue reading The Age of the Aging Entrepreneur

The VC Cosmological Constant

In his recent essay on “Startup Investing Trends”, the always insightful Paul Graham referred to the VC cosmological constant: http://bit.ly/13kaUV5 “There’s a rule of thumb in the VC business that there are about 15 companies a year that will be really successful. Although a lot of investors unconsciously treat this number as if it were … Continue reading The VC Cosmological Constant

Warren Buffett and the Circle of Competence

Continuing my Sunday afternoon Buffettology, I want to highlight one of Warren Buffett’s key principles, “The Circle of Competence”. http://bit.ly/19LxN7p What Buffett means is that the size of the circle and the area it encloses is less important to success than understanding the clear boundaries of that circle.  As long as you know the area … Continue reading Warren Buffett and the Circle of Competence

To Eliminate Insecurity, Don’t Pretend To Be Something You’re Not

Imposter Syndrome is rampant in the startup world, even when people don’t seek out the hype.  We love to elevate people to rockstar status, even if they don’t want it.  In my own, modestly-successful life, my attempts to explain how little influence I have are generally taken as humblebrag attempts, rather than as an honest … Continue reading To Eliminate Insecurity, Don’t Pretend To Be Something You’re Not

Stop thinking big and start thinking small

It’s fashionable these days to lament the fact that Silicon Valley doesn’t think big.  Instead, entrepreneurs are focused on building apps that will experience explosive growth and be sold for a billion dollars before ever having to discover a business model (sound familiar?). I was at the 40th birthday party of one of my friends, … Continue reading Stop thinking big and start thinking small

Silicon Valley: The “Ultimate Meritocracy”

My fellow denizens of Silicon Valley are fond of referring to our happy little ecosystem as the ultimate meritocracy.  It’s definitely true that in comparison to the rigid and/or corrupt regimes that prevail in other industries and geographies, Silicon Valley is a meritocracy, but it is far from perfect. I often joke with the female/minority/over-30 … Continue reading Silicon Valley: The “Ultimate Meritocracy”

Culture is never neutral

As you know, I’m a big advocate of working on the culture of your startup.  The instant you start your company, you’re starting to build the culture, and the decisions you make in the garage days are likely to reverberate for years to come, even if your company grows by orders of magnitude. But far … Continue reading Culture is never neutral