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Anyone one of his thousand claims could be an interesting article.

For instance "equity is a better way to get rich than working". Is it, I bet the average googler accumulates more wealth than the average start-up founder.

Or "how much start-up success is based off luck versus founder?"(from what I've read it's more luck, and if you include the birth luck such as intelligence, energy-levels, focus and health it would be almost all luck)

Or is capitalism natural? I'm not an anthropologist but it seems like a lot of early human communities were probably not run capitalistically.

He talks a lot about risk, but a interesting article would be how to reduce the risk of "product market-fit", "having the wrong skills in your startup", "choosing the right niche to develop "specific skills"

I think the most reproducible way to achieve freedom is develop a high paying skill and save your money. Or the most direct route is develop an in-demand skill and a low cost way of living just structure your life so you have freedom.

This guy seems like someone who has done very well and assumes that the cause is because of some system of how he made choices. If that's true he could put his money where his mouth is, teach this life skill, and everyone would be fabulously wealth. And since he believes that all you need is a functioning body and brain he could admin pretty much everyone.




I made a lot more money at Google than from various startups I've worked at or founded.

I made a lot more money from equity I got while working at Google than I did in salary. The ratio when I started working at Google was about 3:1:2 salary:bonus:equity; the ratio as it stands 10 years later, after a 7:1 appreciation in the stock price, was about 3:1:20.

This is not inconsistent with "equity is a better way to get rich than working".


This is the exception though, you caught the end of the tail. People joining Google now are not going to experience this. Moreover to be in the situation you described even in the given time frame one had to be fortunate to be on the "right" projects.


Man, that's a really good point. You can't get ahead at big companies by just keeping your head down and working hard. You don't need to become a weasel, but you do need to keep your eyes open and jump ship early when a project or org starts to go sour in the c-suite's opinion


> For instance "equity is a better way to get rich than working". Is it, I bet the average googler accumulates more wealth than the average start-up founder.

His point more specifically is that if you want to scale above a certain point the only way to achieve it is to own equity of something successful.

your average startup guy doesn't own equity of anything really successful.


Or take a more gradual approach and aggressively save as much as possible, then retire 10-30 years early


> I bet the average googler

The point is that the average person is not the average Googler.

His philosophies are intended for people who aren't lucky enough to be a Googler, or to inherit wealth, etc.


Getting a job at Google is way easier than starting a large successful software company.


And both are effectively impossible for many people in the world.

His advice is meant to be applicable for people who aren't lucky enough to have either of those options.

The option to invest in income-generating assets over costly status-signalling devices is available to far more people in the world.

E.g. https://www.kiva.org/about/impact/success-stories


So he's arguing buying stock instead of a nice car will make you wealthier? No argument here.


Well yes, buying stock, sure - though a small shareholding in a mature stock is not going to get you very far.

But a significant shareholding in a small-medium business that provides a valuable product/service and ends up generating steady cash flows over the long term seems like the optimal approach in terms of risk/reward, and is something that a lot of people in the world could figure out how to do if they put their mind to it over a long enough period of time.


> though a small shareholding in a mature stock is not going to get you very far.

Sp500 Average real return is 6.5% per year. So If you invest $1'000 per month, you will be a millionaire in today dollars in 30 years with just over 1.1 Million Dollars

That is a save income of around $38'500 per year.


> If you invest $1'000 per month

Sure – if you're lucky enough to have that amount of spare money to invest, that's great. Many people don't. (i.e., they aren't that lucky - remember this is about how to do well without relying on luck).

Some people who do have that amount to invest may want to get better returns and invest in something over which they have more control.

But let's not get stuck in the weeds over the specifics.

Either path is far better than wasting money on costly, depreciating status symbols.


You're talking about a save income that's above/around many people's gross.


How easy is it to go from nothing to a position where you can afford to make a "significant shareholding" in a small-medium business?


If you start a company yourself you own 100% of it.

If you have nothing to invest in it, and if it needs capital to get started, then you need to borrow funds to invest or sell part of the company to an investor.

In the former case your net worth will be the value of the company less the value of your debt. In the latter case you'll own less of the company, but you can still own most of it.

This applies whether you're in a rich western country starting a company that needs big amounts of capital, or in a developing country and starting a small business with micro-loans or micro-investments through bodies like Kiva.

But none of this is about what is easy. It’s never easy to attain something that is prized and scarce.

It's about what decisions will give the greatest probability of the outcome you want, given the opportunities and resources that you have available to you.


One (starting a successful large software business) is still much harder than the other (getting an offer at google, which people like me have got). It's a matter of order of magnitudes of difference


Sure, that may well be true for you, because you're lucky enough to have at least one of those options.

It remains the case that both options are largely/completely out of reach for many/most people in the world.

Naval's advice is applicable for many more people in the world than the few who are lucky enough to be able to get a job at Google or start a successful large software business.

That's the whole point of his list of recommendations.


True, but usual you do not start with a large and successful software company. I think starting a small software company is much easier than getting a job at Google. However, growing a small company into a large and successful one will be significantly harder. If for nothing else, it will take much more time and effort.




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