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View Diary: No, Silicon Valley, you do not get a pass (98 comments)

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  •  I think there is a third ingredient... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade

    ...missing in your recipe.

    •  If you are thinking of Capital as the missing (0+ / 0-)

      ingredient.

      Those with the talent and drive can get funding.  Silicon Valley startups, including very prominent ones have been started by those without wealth.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 09:54:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm wondering (0+ / 0-)

        Have you started a company?

        Are you aware that most don't actually succeed, that it's not an easy path to riches?

        •  Started 3 companies (0+ / 0-)

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 10:33:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  all succeeded? (0+ / 0-)

            And by succeeded I mean earned back the opportunity cost?

            With you working, say, 50 hours a week with a relatively normal family life, and with above-average but not 1% ability and connections?

            Because if your advice only works for the top 1%, or people who can rely on bank of mom-and-dad, it's useless.

            •  A mix of results (0+ / 0-)

              One business did exceptionally well by any reasonable measure.  

              One business completely failed.

              One business is in play right now, too soon to tell if it succeeds, just started shipping first product in Q4 2013.

              Technical, sales and marketing skills is far more important than "connections."  These skills give you the ability to make the connections you need.  

              Initially no connections, education at Stanford and Harvard.  After school had student loans little cash and a cheap car. Over the years developed connections but never through the schools. By having demonstrated expertise in a field companies were highly interested in and with good presentation skills I would routinely get in front of decision makers in companies in the US, Europe and Asia.

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 11:08:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  ok, so step back from yourself and look at that (0+ / 0-)

                and remember that you were giving general advice (which is why I listed the conditions.)

                Stanford/Harvard puts you in 1% education. (Yes, it's more complicated than that, but I'm simplifying.)

                It's one thing to show that a startup w/o capital is possible (I don't think anyone would disagree.)

                •  whoops, didn't mean to post (0+ / 0-)

                  But I'll finish.

                  Not to take away from your accomplishments, but there's a big difference between saying something is possible (for 1-5%), and giving it as general advice, even for the top 40% (which is what you seemed to be doing).

                  •  Companies can be of different sizes and (0+ / 0-)

                    there are many opportunities for early employees in startups if those employees join early stage companies that have shipping product with good customer acceptance.  While these situations don't have as great an upside as for the founders, they have much lower risk and don't require as high a level of talent and drive to join.

                    Even in the case of the business I had that failed, the technical and marketing employees developed expertise in a new field and received excellent offers at other companies interested in the new field.

                    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                    by nextstep on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 11:33:20 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Recent studies indicate that Capital (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      llywrch, The Termite

                      specifically Venture Capital, will not talk to anyone who is over 35, doesn't have a specific academic pedigree, and fall out of their gender ratios.  

                      Good ideas get delayed until they are no longer viable because funding can't easily be found.

                      THERE IS NO MERITOCRACY

        •  Yes there is a high rate of failure (0+ / 0-)

          But, you have more than one shot at starting and joining early stage companies.  It is important that the potential upside is sufficient to more than compensate you for the risk (as most people will underestimate the risk).

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 10:38:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You are ducking the point (0+ / 0-)

        I have started a company. A digital publishing company. I went out and found an investor along w/ my co-founders. We made it 20 months and I had to exit because I ran out of runway.

        During that time I immersed myself in the startup culture/ecosystem/whatever you want to call it. I read all the books. I went to all the conferences. And I asked a lot of questions.

        The fact is that if you do not have some mode of support, whether that be a nest egg or a trust fund or a spouse that works a paying job, you are a fool for trying to start a company. You will starve, and the odds are you will starve en route to a failure.

        Seed or angel rounds no longer accommodate salaries, so if you're lucky enough to get that far (most won't) you still have to demonstrate viable product and "traction" before a Series A gets you to some modicum of survivable compensation. That's probably a 2 year proposition for most startups. So it's 3 years of 7 hour days and no money that someone is likely to have to endure to start a business and start to realize some modest income. Are you really pitching that as a viable solution for a code jockey at a company that he thinks is stiffing him?

        Are you serious?

        •  Building a business with value Vs building a job (0+ / 0-)

          Some businesses have the potential to build significant equity value.  Some businesses don't build equity value and at best just provide jobs for the owners and some employees.

          The first of these has the potential to make taking the risk worthwhile.  The second is not worth the effort, as it just means success means you have a job, that you could have done otherwise working for someone else.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 02:38:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are still ducking the question (0+ / 0-)

            You suggested that one viable option for a programmer who's being unfairly compensated is to simply quit and focus on starting his own company. I'm asking you whether you really believe that's an option for anybody without deep pockets or fallback income.

            •  Each situation is unique (0+ / 0-)

              Ranging from individual cash compensation needs, and how attractive the business is to investors can determining if one's personal finances work to start a business. Founders need an initial team of driven people, with exceptional talents in product development, sales and marketing.  Few people can do this and have the focus to succeed at this level.

              If the programmer is an exceptional talent but not exceptionally business or product savy, and not fitting into what it takes to be a founder, taking a job with meaningful stock options in an early stage company that is already shipping a product with market acceptance would be better that starting their own company. Thousands of people have become millionaires this way in Silicon Valley.

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 04:41:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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