|First, I guess I should say that I have started five companies. All were successful; two had successful NASDAQ small-cap IPOs. I have also had a few books published, and spent a number of years as a widely read computer columnist in the 1980s. Meh.|
Of late, I have been doing medical technical writing for large medical companies. I'm pretty financially secure, so I only work on short-term contracts, and only when I feel like it. But it does put me in the world of highly skilled contract workers, which is interesting, and the reason for this note.
First, I agree with 99% of what you say about entrepreneurship. The one thing that I would add is that people who want to be successful had better be nice people.
Smart talented people don't want to work with jerks, no matter what the compensation. Here, of course, we come to Steve Jobs. Steve asked me to come to Apple to write one of two "first books" about the Macintosh. (the other was written by Cary Lu, much missed.). So I spent 1983 at Apple, hanging around, being nosy. And got to spend quite a bit of time with Steve. That made me want to start my own company…to see if I could do it and succeed. More importantly, it made me want to start a company and not be an asshole, and see if I could succeed. The answer was yes.
So it was with some interest that I looked at the job postings for the companies that you are involved with. Of the 12 companies listed, 10 of the openings were for programmers. No surprise.
The humor, to me, is in the consistency. They all want really really really really good programmers. Not one company is willing to put forth a salary number, but they all say they offer excellent compensation. In the bay area, that must be a lot of zeros!
And most wave their hands about how hard they work. Get the code? We intend to work you like a dog. To enrich the founders, of course.
And most offer the added incentive of equity. Although only a fool or a recent graduate would fail to realize how easily one can be washed away in later rounds.
So here we have greed and capitalism operating in its purest form. You want to make a lot of money by funding startups. The start ups want to make a lot of money by making things. But…as you so correctly state, the wealth will primarily be created by the programmers. And they don't have programmers! Or at least not the really really good programmers they need to make a really really big bunch of money.
If Marx were alive today...you get the idea. It is obviously hard to exploit the working class, when the workers you need are so rare and so valuable to your aspirations. Hence all the frenetic handwaving in the job postings on your site
I have a friend. A young man who has an international tea distribution company, which services bubble tea shops, owned by his father and other investors. He wants business advice. I keep saying: dude, you have an international tea distribution business! Run with it!
But I really like the guy. So I dug deep, to come up with the best business advice I could offer. I finally arrived at this: make sure that everyone who works for you, and everyone who works with you, makes a ton… an absolute boatload of money. Do that, and make sure that they really do, and you will do fine. No worries. And you will become a better person in the process; which is the only justifiably selfish reason to be in business in the first place.
Maybe some of your companies could take those notions into their efforts to hire ditch diggers?
ps -- All this we work really hard bullshit? As if it is a merit badge or something? Your fundees should realize that the very best code written in this century was written for the space shuttle. And the folks who wrote it, without going into too much detail, worked 40 hour weeks. And were not allowed to work more than that. Period. It is no fun to win if you don't play by the rules. A 40 hour week is a good rule. I suspect that a 36 hour week is a better rule. :-)