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Nobody Ever Got Rich Working for Somebody Else. #horseshit (monsef.com)
17 points by dariusmonsef on July 18, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

I agree with most of it. Plenty of people have gotten "rich" working for someone else. That's undoubtedly true.

Not everyone has the ability, work ethic, brilliance, and 50 other things required to be an entrepreneur and/or and innovator, let alone a leader. Most of the time, people are just lazy and want the easy way out. So they empower themselves with bullshit reads like "start a company and be rich" when they have zero drive in the first place. Most people that are "rich" never became rich because they wanted money money money - they believed in something, worked day in and day out to accomplish when everyone else told them they're crazy. But they kept at it, worked hard, sacrificed, and money was a result of this.

"I don’t have any exact numbers, but I would guess that there are actually more rich people in the world who got that way working for somebody else than there are rich people who were entrepreneurs at the start."

What kind of argument is that? It's backed by absolutely nothing. It also conflicts with everyone I've ever known.

Also, from the discussion here, the OP's definition of rich is a dubious one: "But generally, I think if you have a couple hundred grand in the bank you're rich."

If you're an employee, and assuming you've already paid taxes on that 200k, and you don't have kids in school or health problems, that's going to get you a few years down the road. It should be enough runway to get a new job with room to spare. As emergency money it's pretty good.

If you're working with 200k in the bank what does that get you? A down payment on a house you can't really afford? Maybe a sports car? Again this is assuming you're not going to put kids through school. That 200k means you're rich if you don't spend it on anything rich.

That 200k is decidedly not an amount you're going to retire on. You could take that 200k and start a business, but then we're in conflict with the idea that starting a business is completely unnecessary for obtaining riches.

Having said that, I'd be very curious to know how many startup jobs made an employee 200k richer after they've moved on. Given that many startup jobs (at least in the US) are in the Bay Area with its high rent and high taxes and that the average startup salary is what, 100k? IIRC, 100k is going to put you at close to a 40% tax bracket in SF. So that's 60k - 24k for rent for the year? That's not a lot left for a lifestyle in that area. Assuming you saved very aggressively you could, at the outside, put 20k away a year? So that's 10 years. What could you have accomplished working for yourself over those 10 (critical) years? Possibly less, though I think the numbers are probably in favor of a 10-year entrepreneur in a field with low barriers to entry.

What percentage of the current crop of startups will ever see employees make significant amounts via their stock? If you want to roll the dice that way certainly the numbers favor the entrepreneur.

Work for someone because you believe in what they're doing or you simply need the money. Don't ever do it to get rich.

"What kind of argument is that?"

Not a very strong one. I wasn't trying to argue, but rather suggest a new perspective. That out of the very few who strike it rich founding startups, there are many more who have earned a good salary and saved away a good amount of money while working their way up the corporate ladder.

"Rich" is a moving target for most people. As I noted, mine is different than most in the startup / bay area. I've been enough 3rd world countries to know what I need for comfort and happiness in my own life.

To have a few hundred $k in your bank account liquid is meaningful wealth. If you think in only sports cars and large houses, then yes... that goes quickly. If you think about it as the ability to travel, have leisure time, afford quality foods, etc. Then it is a quality of life that most in the world can't enjoy.

I agree with your last point to never do any kind of work just to get rich. Work on what you love, as a founder or employee.

FWIW, I'm pretty sure it's a bad argument.

Most rich folks are self-made, full stop. Here's some data: http://www.benefitspro.com/2012/07/20/fidelity-finds-86-perc...

However, I think you're dead on with most of your points. Being self-employed is in the "necessary but nowhere near sufficient" category on the road to wealth. The vast majority of self-employed folks never get rich. The vast majority of them work harder and earn less than their employed counterparts (there's good data on this, but I'm too lazy to Google it).

Short answer: work hard. Be self-employed because it makes you happy and more satisfied, not because you want to get rich.

Two issues.

1. The definition of "rich". I've responded here that I mean a level of comfort that is better than 99% of the rest of the world. Not necessarily millions of dollars.

2. Yes, a large percentage of millionaires are self-made... But were they self-made thousand-aires? Or did they earn the seed capital they started their businesses with? There are no doubt, those that had not a penny to their name but went and started collecting cans for the refund and used that to invest into a food cart or something... But I think most of those self-made people were able to create their businesses because they had a certain level of comfort that could be defined as rich to most in the world. (ie, if you even have access to get a loan for $100k to start a business, you're rich compared to a huge part of the world population.)

We can say that most rich people (as most Americans think of it) were self made or born into it. I think you're right that people should have better perspective on wealth. You should be able to find happiness with more wealth than 99% of the planet. On the other hand, a person earning $50k in New York City is making more money than 99% of the world. But I don't think either of us would call him rich. Context matters. A LOT. Source: http://www.globalrichlist.com/

Re: #2... I bet you're right. I bet many (most?) of them had pretty well-to-do parents, a free college education, easy access to credit, friends-and-family investors at their fingertips, etc. It's not a fair game by any stretch, but I think that's a different discussion.

Bubs, there are plenty of people that got rich sitting on their asses. But other then that, I completely agree with everything you said.

Those lucky bastards.

Clearly this hinges largely on the definition of "rich." I suspect that as yearly income increases the percentage of entrepreneurs increases. The richest people on the planet generally started or invested in successful businesses, but if you call making 200,000 USD a year "rich" I suspect the vast majority will work for somebody else.

All the large tech companies (Public) made the first 100+ employees "rich" by getting them to work for them. "Rich" compared to their peers who did not work at these companies early on. "Wealthy", now that's completely different. You will find that of the 1201 (Mar 2011) billionaires, only 28 worked for someone else.

How do you define rich? Receiving a windfall of cash? A high salary? Financial independence via constant cash flow that provides you time/flexibility?

Could be any of those. "Rich" is able to live comfortably with no financial stress. For some that is a small home in a village somewhere off the grid spending their days fishing. For others it is millions of dollars. But generally, I think if you have a couple hundred grand in the bank you're rich.

People who live off the grid also live off the grid during a disaster such as Japan's tsunami. So there is the same trouble from lacking during a disaster as there is in this independence you connect to riches.

Needed to be said.

431 words without the word "probability" or "likelihood". And his examples of getting rich as an employee are ... ballmer and marissa mayer. I can't believe he forgot the employees at Instagram -- they're good examples too!

I'm stupider for having read that drivel.

Still smart enough to use the word drivel, so I don't feel so bad.

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