Pages tagged paulgraham:

Keep Your Identity Small

Don't constrain your self by making too much part of your identity (reminds me of much of Tom Robbins's writing)
Paul Graham
Startups in 13 Sentences
One of the things I always tell startups is a principle I learned from Paul Buchheit: it's better to make a few people really happy than to make a lot of people semi-happy. I was saying recently to a reporter that if I could only tell startups 10 things, this would be one of them. Then I thought: what would the other 9 be?
What I've Learned from Hacker News
The key to performance is elegance, not battalions of special cases
Probably the most important thing I've learned about dilution is that it's measured more in behavior than users. It's bad behavior you want to keep out more than bad people. User behavior turns out to be surprisingly malleable. If people are expected to behave well, they tend to; and vice versa.
Paul Graham on communities
addictiveness of games and social applications is still mostly unsolved || <is that w/ chiefdelphi? feels diluted to new members and forbidding?> to keep away bad people But this way gentler and probably more effective than overt barriers || Fluff Principle: on a user-voted news site, the links that are easiest to judge will take over unless you... || <again, transparency> it's important that a site that kills submissions provide a way for users to see what got killed || compare quality comments on community sites, average length good predictor. || <there's hope for me? 'cos I am always afraid my ideas are stupid> Prob stupidity more often ... having few ideas than wrong ones. || <so being able to make people laugh is not always admirable? hrm> put-downs are the easiest form of humor. || So the most important thing a community site can do is attract the kind of people it wants || <ouch> disaster to attract thousands of smart people to a site that caused them to waste lots of time.
Time Slider
Amazing javascript work. It's sure a heck lot of work unless there is a tool to make it really easily. Anyway here is an awesome javascript timing example.
watch Paul Graham type an essay
「Startups in 13 Sentences」の作成過程。文章の作成と推敲過程がよくわかる
Why TV Lost
Now would be a good time to start any company that competes with TV networks. That's what a lot of Internet startups are, though they may not have had this as an explicit goal.
How to Be an Angel Investor
When we sold our startup in 1998 I thought one day I'd do some angel investing. Seven years later I still hadn't started. I put it off because it seemed mysterious and complicated. It turns out to be easier than I expected, and also more interesting. The part I thought was hard, the mechanics of investing, really isn't. You give a startup money and they give you stock. You'll probably get either preferred stock, which means stock with extra rights like getting your money back first in a sale, or convertible debt, which means (on paper) you're lending the company money, and the debt converts to stock at the next sufficiently big funding round.
nor tactical advantages to using one or the other. The paperwork for convertible debt is simpler. But really it doesn't matter much which you use. Don't spend much time worrying about the details of deal terms, especially when you first start angel investing. That's not how you win at this game. When you hear people talking about a successful angel investor, they're not saying "He got a 4x liquidation preference." They're saying "He invested in Google."
How to Be an Angel Investor
Notes from Paul Graham on angel investing. Actually pretty interesting. The key, as he describes it, is to pick the right companies... the terms you get when investing don't matter much and can even hurt your chances of success if you're strict enough.
Be Relentlessly Resourceful
The 10 Secrets of Selling Online
for online business
The 10 Secrets of Selling Online
We're often asked, what is the secret of selling online? We're happy to tell you. We make tools that help you sell online. So we don't want these secrets to stay secret. We want you to succeed.
Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule
Interesting thoughts on why simple meetings blow the entire day's schedule for a programmer (via Justin Miller)
When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in.
If you can't actually avoid meetings, then at least try to schedule them so you can maximise your productivity. Rings true...
Paul Graham pitches 'flow' from a different perspective.
Ramen Profitable
Please do not take the term literally. Living on instant ramen would be very unhealthy. Rice and beans are a better source of food. Start by investing in a rice cooker, if you don't have one.
Ramen profitable means a startup makes just enough to pay the founders' living expenses. This is a different form of profitability than startups have traditionally aimed for. Traditional profitability means a big bet is finally paying off, whereas the main importance of ramen profitability is that it buys you time.
The Anatomy of Determination
Ambition makes determination, and then determination makes wealth.
This feels like it needs some more fleshing out.
good blog on determination. Indeed, if you want to create the most wealth, the way to do it is to focus more on their needs than your interests, and make up the difference with determination.
Post-Medium Publishing
An excellent analysis of whether people actually pay for content -- a point I've made before. And colleagues look at me like I'm crazy.
"In fact consumers never really were paying for content, and publishers weren't really selling it either."
"Almost every form of publishing has been organized as if the medium was what they were selling, and the content was irrelevant. Book publishers, for example, set prices based on the cost of producing and distributing books. They treat the words printed in the book the same way a textile manufacturer treats the patterns printed on its fabrics. Economically, the print media are in the business of marking up paper. We can all imagine an old-style editor getting a scoop and saying "this will sell a lot of papers!" Cross out that final S and you're describing their business model. The reason they make less money now is that people don't need as much paper. "
When you see something that's taking advantage of new technology to give people something they want that they couldn't have before, you're probably looking at a winner. And when you see something that's merely reacting to new technology in an attempt to preserve some existing source of revenue, you're probably looking at a loser.
What about iTunes? Doesn't that show people will pay for content? Well, not really. iTunes is more of a tollbooth than a store. Apple controls the default path onto the iPod. They offer a convenient list of songs, and whenever you choose one they ding your credit card for a small amount, just below the threshold of attention. Basically, iTunes makes money by taxing people, not selling them stuff. You can only do that if you own the channel, and even then you don't make much from it, because a toll has to be ignorable to work. Once a toll becomes painful, people start to find ways around it, and that's pretty easy with digital content...What happens to publishing if you can't sell content? You have two choices: give it away and make money from it indirectly, or find ways to embody it in things people will pay for. The first is probably the future of most current media. Give music away and make money from concerts and t-shirts
What Startups Are Really Like
An article on the difficulties and surprises in starting a startup.
Really good ideas and facts about starting a startup.
Apple's Mistake
Good article on how Apple has got it all wrong re: the app store and more generally comments on software development versus hardware.
I don't think Apple realizes how badly the App Store approval process is broken. Or rather, I don't think they realize how much it matters that it's broken.
"I don't think Apple realizes how badly the App Store approval process is broken. Or rather, I don't think they realize how much it matters that it's broken. The way Apple runs the App Store has harmed their reputation with programmers more than anything else they've ever done. Their reputation with programmers used to be great. It used to be the most common complaint you heard about Apple was that their fans admired them too uncritically. The App Store has changed that. Now a lot of programmers have started to see Apple as evil…"
"Programmers don't use launch-fast-and-iterate out of laziness. They use it because it yields the best results. By obstructing that process, Apple is making them do bad work, and programmers hate that as much as Apple would."
Paul Graham explains why Apple's hostility towards iPhone developers is harming them in the long run.
And everybody else's mistake is to think that Apple is in software publishing.
Organic Startup Ideas
76 Powerful Thoughts from Paul Graham
Check out this nice meaty post by @RossHudgens. So much good stuff here that I keep going back:
Paul Graham is most famous for heading up Y Combinator, a seed-stage startup funding firm, and also for Hacker News, a social news website revolving around computer hacking, startup companies, and as their submission guidelines state, “anything that gratifies one’s intellectual curiosity”. Graham’s essays online are highly regarded for their insight and relevance – and his book, Hackers and Painters, is no different. To help inform the great insights from the book, I included the essay title and summary, as Graham offers in the contents. A few chapters had only one or two notes or none at all, because they were overly technical or not particularly relevant to a wider audience. I have included those at the end.
Great list of thoughts from Paul Graham:
How to Lose Time and Money
The Acceleration of Addictiveness
People commonly use the word "procrastination" to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working.
Paul Graham.
"Most people I know have problems with Internet addiction. We're all trying to figure out our own customs for getting free of it. That's why I don't have an iPhone, for example; the last thing I want is for the Internet to follow me out into the world. [5] My latest trick is taking long hikes. I used to think running was a better form of exercise than hiking because it took less time. Now the slowness of hiking seems an advantage, because the longer I spend on the trail, the longer I have to think without interruption."
"The world is more addictive than it was 40 years ago." "Already someone trying to live well would seem eccentrically abstemious in most of the US... You can probably take it as a rule of thumb from now on that if people don't think you're weird, you're living badly." "We'll increasingly be defined by what we say no to."
as the world becomes more addictive, the two senses in which one can live a normal life will be driven ever further apart. One sense of "normal" is statistically normal: what everyone else does. The other is the sense we mean when we talk about the normal operating range of a piece of machinery: what works best. These two senses are already quite far apart. Already someone trying to live well would seem eccentrically abstemious in most of the US. That phenomenon is only going to become more pronounced. You can probably take it as a rule of thumb from now on that if people don't think you're weird, you're living badly.
You can probably take it as a rule of thumb from now on that if people don't think you're weird, you're living badly.