technology

I love this essay from Paul Graham of Y Combinator. It’s chock full of truths, as Paul’s essays typically are, and I encourage you read the whole thing. Here’s one of my favorite passages:

It’s not surprising that after being trained for their whole lives to play such games, young founders’ first impulse on starting a startup is to try to figure out the tricks for winning at this new game. Since fundraising appears to be the measure of success for startups (another classic noob mistake), they always want to know what the tricks are for convincing investors. We tell them the best way to convince investors is to make a startup that’s actually doing well, meaning growing fast, and then simply tell investors so. Then they want to know what the tricks are for growing fast. And we have to tell them the best way to do that is simply to make something people want.

So many of the conversations YC partners have with young founders begin with the founder asking “How do we…” and the partner replying “Just…”

Why do the founders always make things so complicated? The reason, I realized, is that they’re looking for the trick.

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Who says Google Glass are only for glassholes? It might save your life one day.

Stanford Medical School conducted an experiment recently where two groups of Stanford residents were tasked to operate on dummies, only to be faced with unexpected complications. The group wearing Google Glass did better; they kept more focus on the patient because they didn’t have to look away to check vitals.

As one doctor who’ve experimented with using Google Glass in surgery said:

Being able to see your laparoscopic images when you’re operating face to face instead of looking across the room at a projection screen is just mind-bogglingly fantastic.

Using Glass in the operating room has other benefits, like enabling students and other doctors to log-in and learn. The operating doctor can also use it to consult with colleagues on thorny complications during a procedure.

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If there’s a company I’d work for just because of its leadership, it would be Google.  Larry Page and Sergey Brin are just on another level when it come to thinking about technology, the world and our future.  If we think like ants, they think like giants.  I learn something new every time I hear them speak, and the latest Fireside Chat with Vinod Khosla is no exception.  If you haven’t, see the insightful 42-minute interview as soon as you can:

Khosla had remarked (at around the 13:50 mark) how scary it was that technology and machines are displacing a lot of the work that people used to do and what that meant for jobs.  Page pointed out that 90% of people used to be farmers, and Khosla then added that today the number is 2%.  Page goes on to elaborate how we should be living in abundance, and that in actuality it’s pretty easy to meet everyone’s basic needs, but we’d have a new challenge in giving people something to do.  I agree and disagree with his hypothesis.

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Aspiring entrepreneurs frequently ask me one thing they should know before starting a company; and recently, a university magazine asked me to write an article about the same topic for their students.

I wrote my answer. The magazine didn’t like it.  Said it was too negative and so changed it to be made more palatable to wide-eyed teenagers.  Now here it is, in my little corner of the universe, the original in all its unedited glory.

So you are in school and want to be an entrepreneur. I was there too in 2007 after graduating with an MBA from Stanford University. My first start-up failed. The second one made money. And now I’m on my third riding the roller coaster that is entrepreneurship.

Before you take that leap, here’s my advice.

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