Saturday, June 23, 2012

My notes on Paul Graham's essay on wealth

Lately, I had a discussion with my friend  Bill Zimmerman who introduced me to Graham. I've found his essays and will be studying them one at a time.
This is the first of the essay I've taken : Paul Graham essay on wealth.
While I read, I take down notes. The notes include my own points and important lines drawn from the essay.
In Graham's words
"Startups usually involve technology, so much so that the phrase "high-tech startup" is almost redundant. A startup is a small company that takes on a hard technical problem."

The Proposition

"Economically, you can think of a Startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years. Instead of working at a low intensity for forty years, you work as hard as you possibly can for four. This pays especially well in technology, where you earn a premium for working fast"

Money and wealth
Money is not wealth.
Wealth is the fundamental thing, wealth is stuff we want, food, clothes, houses, cars, gadges, travel to interesting places, so on.
But wealth has money value. Money is no Garantee to wealth [my cousin raymond saying ]
Money is the medium to transport wealth.

About technology and leverage
Write once, run everywhere. Ditto for Wal-Mart.
Use difficulty as a guide not just in selecting the overall aim of your company, but also at decision points along the way. At Viaweb one of our rules of thumb was run upstairs. Suppose you are a little, nimble guy being chased by a big, fat, bully. You open a door and find yourself in a staircase. Do you go up or down? I say up. The bully can probably run downstairs as fast as you can. Going upstairs his bulk will be more of a disadvantage. Running upstairs is hard for you but even harder for him.

Deliberately sought hard problems...." If there were two features we could add to our software, both equally valuable in proportion to their difficulty, we'd always take the harder one. Not just because it was more valuable, but because it was harder. We delighted in forcing bigger, slower competitors to follow us over difficult ground. Like guerillas, startups prefer the difficult terrain of the mountains, where the troops of the central government can't follow. I can remember times when we were just exhausted after wrestling all day with some horrible technical problem. And I'd be delighted, because something that was hard for us would be impossible for our competitors.

This is not just a good way to run a startup. It's what a startup is." 

Getting Users
In a Startup, you're not just trying to solve problems. You're trying to solve problems that users care about.

Wealth and Power
Making wealth is not the only way to get rich.
Remember what a Startup is, economically: a way of saying, I want to work faster. Instead of accumulating money slowly by being paid a regular wage for fifty years, I want to get it over with as soon as possible. 

I look forward reading all the essays.

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