August 24, 2011

my predictions for the future

on monday, i was invited to be a guest on the live-streamed TWiT web show "fourcast." here's the summary:

You'll get short term, long term, and crazy predictions from some of the smartest people on the planet. From robot overlords, to growing your own meat in a dish, you never know what predictions our guest will make and where the conversation may end up. Join us for a peak at the future.

it's definitely a bit nerve-wracking to be live on the internet for an hour, but i had an absolute blast doing the show with tom merritt, scott johnson, and brian hough.

for the record, i do know a thing or two about nanorobotics, but my attempt at irreverence was spoiled by my inability to remember that cookie robots were featured in despicable me. shame on me. that was a great movie.

August 9, 2011

starting a company on third base

there's an interesting blog post kicking around the internets this week titled "why i quit my job to start a tech company." it follows the path to start-up success taken by a former wall streeter who, at age 25, decided to change his career after seeing the power mark zuckerberg wielded in a room full of media executives.

the blog post has been particularly popular with stanford MBAs, many of whom hope to follow a similar path. i agree that we need more capable people actually building companies that solve problems, but i'm troubled by what appears to be an obvious omission from the story.

although i appreciate the post's sentiment, let's not overlook how much easier it is to embrace this type of advice ("be bold! take risks! follow your passions!") when you have savings from your private equity job to fall back on. the luxury of start-up capital is a very real factor in one's ability to pursue a dream.

there's a saying that it's easy to hit a home run when you're born on third base. similarly, many of the struggles that crush budding entrepreneurs (like overwhelming debt and limited access to talent and partnerships) are greatly ameliorated by access to capital.

i don't mean to diminish the writer's accomplishments -- i admire his drive and tenacity, and it sounds like he created a lot of his success through hard work. but in the viral frenzy to share this feel-good story, i don't want the nuances of reality to get lost: starting a company is hard work, but it's even harder if you truly start from nothing.