In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head to headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas--he's the controller--and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land.
There's a reason why scientists use controlled studies to disentangle causal effects from mere correlation. I'm sure there is some value in the startup genome for people with the right mental framework, but I would be careful about interpreting the data as "guidelines for success".
You have a point, and I softened up the language in my post.
I've done this before with good results. I think the ideal strategy is to pick someone better than you, imitate them, and then once you surpass them to pick a new person to imitate, and so on. It's only after imitating five or six different people that you're able to develop your own theories, which is ultimately necessary if you want to reach true mastery.
To tell you the truth I don't agree with any of this. I think that we're dealing with human beings and you just can't find data on this. What you're searching for is a set of emotional traits that leads to this sort of behaviour, but identifying those traits is something really, really hard (try identifying the traits behind Endymion by Keats. We all know it when we feel it, but can we identify it down to certain x variables of y quantities [whatever they may be]? I really don't think so]. Defining them is harder still ( i.e. narrowing them down to 1 pint of magical substance A + another quart of shiny liquid B + a sword that has been dipped into the holy grail...). So, in my mind all you can do is learn and try. Try again.
I hope that this makes sense.
NOTE: I'm just pointing this out. I haven't read the report, and even if I had, I still wouldn't be even close to qualified to talk about whether it is valid or not.
Focus group studies have value. They're a kind of evidence that pushes weakly across a very broad front. Controlled studies are a scalpel: they produce high-confidence answers to very specific questions. Sometimes instead you need an axe. You don't know what specific question to ask, and sitting there doing controlled studies with no real clue about what's going on isn't going to be productive.
I'll put it this way: when you don't know much about a subject, there's an almost limitless number of hypotheses to consider. It doesn't make sense to prematurely promote one of those to the status of "working theory" and start doing properly controlled studies to test it. You have no real reason to believe it in the first place.
...the world’s biggest problem isn’t poverty or disease or any oft-stated major problem, but that we don’t have enough people engaged in trying to solve these problems.
I'm not sure if there is any way to prove or disprove it but if it's true then we should be looking at those problems very differently. Great concept to discuss on a lazy Sunday.
("The problem is that we don't understand the problem")
Perhaps we need to iterate over potential solutions faster.
One thing I've been wondering lately is how a "technical cofounder" is defined?
I graduated from my college with a degree in economics. My career thus far (in Internet startups and companies) has mostly been on the biz dev and marketing side. However, I have always created and managed websites on the side. I have a deep passion for hacking (more than biz dev & marketing) and I'm pretty good at it.
So my question is - at what skill level can you be considered a technical cofounder? Do you have to be an expert-level coder on the cutting-edge of technology? Is there a cutoff point with skill level to where you would need a tech cofounder?
I know when I create my first startup I will want a technical cofounder. It's not so much that I don't think I could get good enough to code a large-scale website, it's more that the biz dev and marketing stuff comes easily to me so why would I need someone else to do that?
If you feel confident that you can code almost anything you can dream up, then you are probably a technical founder with business skills. If you feel like you would need help in accomplishing your vision (like hiring a programer or outsourcing the development) then you are probably not a technical founder.