Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Paul Graham on 'Why There Aren't More Googles'

Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham writes one or two essays a month. (They're much more thoughtful and elegantly written than the typical blog post.)

The latest one is on 'Why There Aren't More Googles.'

From the piece:

    [Computer science pioneer] Howard Aiken said "Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." I have a similar feeling when I'm trying to convince VCs to invest in startups Y Combinator has funded. They're terrified of really novel ideas, unless the founders are good enough salesmen to compensate.

    But it's the bold ideas that generate the biggest returns. Any really good new idea will seem bad to most people; otherwise someone would already be doing it. And yet most VCs are driven by consensus, not just within their firms, but within the VC community. The biggest factor determining how a VC will feel about your startup is how other VCs feel about it. I doubt they realize it, but this algorithm guarantees they'll miss all the very best ideas. The more people who have to like a new idea, the more outliers you lose.

Given that Graham and Y Combinator need to work with VCs -- the start-ups that Y Combinator funds typically rely on VCs for a next stage of funding -- his candor is refreshing (and a bit surprising).

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Blogger G-Fav said...


(Vigorous applause)


April 16, 2008 5:33 PM  

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