"I like to find (a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and (d) deliver them as informally as possible, (e) starting with a very crude version 1, then (f) iterating rapidly."
Personally, one of the most important principles for creating new things that I care about, is this: "check yourself before you wreck yourself" .. this means, be sure you're aware of your own hubris before you foist it upon others.
And I think the fact that Arc is relegated to the dustbin of failure demonstrates this even more so today. Hubris is a principle cause of unproductive behaviour in the technology industry, imho. Probably the #1 reason why things fail: people are not self-aware to the point of accurately recognising when their own hubris is getting in the way of success...
1. It's just an idea/it's just a prototype.
2. It works but it doesn't support everything I want to do.
3. It supports everything but it's not the way I want to solve the problem.
4. I guess I'll have to reinvent the wheel to show them how it's done...
The only real terminus to this cycle is when you've actually communicated the thing you want to communicate, which is quite difficult to do in the form of a programming language.
It took Lisp several decades to inject its ideas into more common languages. It's now we've been seeing many of its features seeping into popular languages. Some non-Lisps even have limited macros.
Being successful doesn't necessarily mean being popular but having impact. Can't tell yet about Arc.
Some of the best work in history was done because the creator wanted it themselves. Even if no one else uses it, the work speaks for itself.
Arc also played a crucial role in bringing attention to pg’s essays, which YC’s success was a direct consequence of. No essays, no audience; no audience, no founders, and no YC.
Perhaps the form of the product has a role in setting expectations. If so this would have a role in attracting forgiving first customers (e.g. those most in need of your product) and repelling those customers expecting a more "complete" product.
PG announces Arc and receives flack for it. Then writes an article noting that he's always received this same flack for everything that he's done.
Sounds to me like the message is less about Arc or even the principles that he states but more about keeping your head down and working through unproductive feedback.