people who control a private company to army values essay personal courage funnel its revenues to themselves (e.g. "I will not go along. You have to invent a bubble to explain why founders want to start them or investors want to fund them. If you make software to teach English to Chinese speakers, however, you're in startup territory. One of the young men said I have no arrows." "Arrows are in the canoe they said. And, strangely enough, it's also why they fail so frequently. They said I was hit, and I did not feel sick.". The key word here is "just." If they decide to grow at 7 a week and they hit that number, they're successful for that week. What he meant, I believe, is that it's fine to start software companies constrained in (a) in the same way a restaurant is constrained in (b).
A company that grows at 1 a week will grow.7x a year, whereas a company that grows at 5 a week will grow.6x. A company making 1000 a month (a typical number early in YC) and growing at 1 a week will 4 years later be making 7900 a month, which is less than a good programmer makes in salary in Silicon Valley. Yes, but in another way the obscure little Irishman's flight was the more audacious of the two. Sociologists talk about the connection between learning to understand and then change society as being the sociological imagination. The goal of this work is to create a general purpose module to greatly augment a network node's performance.
But there is no secret cabal making it all work. We're turning starting a startup into an optimization problem. On the other hand, launching something small and then using growth rate as evolutionary pressure is such a valuable technique that any company that could start this way probably should. Most businesses are tightly constrained in (a) or (b). 11 What this means is that at any given time, the great majority of startups will be working on something that's never going to go anywhere, and yet glorifying their doomed efforts with the grandiose title of "startup." This doesn't bother. You're committing not just to starting a company, but to starting a fast growing one, and you're thus committing to search for one of the rare ideas of that type. "Startup" is a pole, not a threshold. Perhaps later they step back and notice they've found an idea in everyone else's blind spot, and from that point make a deliberate effort to stay there. If you look at the average outcome rather than the median, you can understand why investors like them, and why, if they aren't median people, it's a rational choice for founders to start them. It's not merely that you need a scalable idea to grow. There's a parallel here to small businesses.
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