Right now, somewhere in the world, a child is being born into an uberly rich family. That child will grow up to inherit millions for absolutely no work. He'll live the good life full of yachts and private jets.
Right now, somewhere in the world, there is a party happening full of gorgeous wealthy people who need not lift a finger to attain the luxuries that they have. Their success is only a matter of genetics and luck.
Right now, somewhere in the world, is an investment banker who is making literally millions after clicking a few buttons and making a few phone calls to a few friends. He knows the right people and is in the right place, and that's all that matters.
Right now, somewhere in the world, is a 20-some year old guy who is worth billions because of a website he started. He was born into a family that sent him to the right high school. He then went on to one of the best universities in the country, built his website, moved, met the right people, and raised $500+ million in funding. He and likely generations down the line are set for life.
Right now, somewhere in the world, is a 17yr old teenager who started a company with some money from his parents, built a product, with help from friends and family, and got acquired for $30 million.
There's always someone becoming richer than you for much less work, every second of the day. Look past that and just keep working. I get down about how unfair that is from time to time, but there's nothing you can really do about it, other than focus on your work.
Edit: Others are asking where in the article is jealousy mentioned. It isn't, but I took the entire post as one rooted in envy and bitterness. There certainly wouldn't be any of this type of reaction had the guy been a 40-year old who finally got acquired after years of failed attempts. If anything, I'm sure people would be applauding him and the whole affair.
The fact that your comment has received the most upvotes indicates that people generally agree with your sentiment that nobody should be bitter or jealous. Yet nobody is suggesting any bitterness or jealousy... So who exactly is this directed at? Hey HN... I think you're "projecting." :)
It does not, however, mean shareholders can't/shouldn't complain about throwing money away, though.
$30 million could be spent on building daycare for all Yahoo mums and dads who can no longer work from home.
The one thing that I have learned about corruption is that at least small instances of it occur everywhere, even if its not "the norm." Wherever there is way to make money, people might very well be doing it.
And yes you are right although I tried to imply that shareholders were the ones being screwed - this is obviously unfair to shareholders, whether the transaction is corrupt or not.
I think the OP sentiment and many comments here are mostly classic HN resentment of success.
Or, when the bizdev team is told to spend a billion dollars this year, (1) is is easier for them to like in extra money into each deal than to find more smaller deal, and (2) they don't get bonuses for only spending 500million and saying there is nothing else worth buying.
It's also just kind of how people are. You can't reasonably expect a large corporation -- which is just a big group of people who are all trying to make decisions and getting in each other's way -- to be able to make logical choices when they're subject to every large stakeholder's whim and every bit of incompetence that happens everywhere along the line.
Is it happening in a capitalist setting here? Yes. But it happens in all settings all over the world, so to suggest it's unique to this system ignores the actual nature of the issue (which is the Human Condition).
The downsizing and outsourcing is driven by incentives to remove cost from the balance sheet. If there's no incentive to do so wisely, if there's no disincentive against doing so poorly, people will inevitably make bad 'outsourcing' deals, just to have made them. Quality might take a hit, direct billings might skyrocket, products might have to be scrapped, etc. But if you don't fix the incentives, it will happen over and over.
Similarly, if you incentivize a person to make deals, if they have a stronger incentive to make deals than to make good deals (e.g. if they have no effective disincentive against making bad deals) bad deals will get made.
1- Is the traction convertible to any Yahoo properties?
2- Are the 1 million "downloads" legitimate interested users? Do any of them still use the app?
3- Did the "traction" come from paying firms to get them to the top of app store(s)?
I assume Yahoo knows more about this stuff than I do, and I'm not a Yahoo shareholder. Still, I didn't get the impression that the article was just complaining about rich teenagers.
Technical parity is a bad way to price a company, i.e. the value of Summly cannot be approximated by what it would take to replicate the technology in-house.
For $30 million, even an order of magnitude less, I think a lot of us could put together a team good enough to implement the Summly app. That's what's being questioned by the blog post.
I regret upvoting you prior to finishing your post.
This is bullshit. Of course we can do something about it. We're members of a society, and if we collectively think something is bullshit, we can do something about it.
I'm tired of people looking at these absurd inequities and shrugging and putting their head down and hoping maybe they'll get lucky too. In the meanwhile, these people at the top are ensuring that only people like them can continue to succeed.
Let's tax everyone who didn't earn their wealth. Let's put an end to dumb gambles that only reward people born at the top.
I'm saying is maybe increase high end income taxes, maybe look into the viability of higher capital gains taxes, maybe find and create some kind of disincentive for companies to be bailing out VCs.
Find some way to even the playing field. I'm sorry, but you don't need to have come from Stanford to be smart enough to work at Yahoo! or Google or etc.
> I'm sorry, but you don't need to have come from Stanford to be smart enough to work at Yahoo! or Google or etc
It's like every other human relationship, the more you have to offer the higher your standards can be. Google can afford to hire only top CS people (or accomplished non-traditional ones) because they're Google. Yahoo!... I don't think that's going to work out so well. The market will take care of it soon enough.
>It's like every other human relationship, the more you have to offer the higher your standards can be.
It's more complicated than that. Since the prestige of your alma mater is largely divorced from the quality of the teaching therein, it's also an expression of class discrimination.
I have this burning suspicion - borne out by my own anecdotal experience - that the most important thing distinguishing the median Harvard undergraduate from the median Good State School undergraduate is a capacity to absorb the tuition fees.
Setting up a system that rewards having been born to rich parents is ultimately detrimental, in my opinion. It's just a lot easier to check whether you came from Stanford than to determine if you're smart.
Not true. Even near the upper end, the price tag is not insanely high compared to top state schools --
Harvard policy states that families with annual incomes below $60,000 pay only a student contribution of a few thousand dollars, and families with annual incomes between $60,000 and $180,000 pay the student contribution plus a family contribution averaging 10 percent of annual income.
This assumes that a more reputable school necessarily represents a higher quality of education, which isn't necessarily true.
After all those million-a-year investment bankers did just that.
It's just plain to me that we're getting fucked by those much further up the chain and being admonished for having the gall to find it unpleasant.
Ah, so you are saying this kid should have his not $30M but $29M taken away from him, because you perceive he didn't earn it. That's quite diferent!
Right now, somewhere in the world, a child is being born in a farm house with a dirt floor. That child will grow up to die in a civil war before age 14.
Right now, somewhere in the world, there are people waiting in line to get food from a charity.
Right now, somewhere in the world, someone is suffering from a disease because they can't afford the cure.
Right now, somewhere in the world, a man goes to work carrying bricks for 10 hours a day to feed his 3 children.
Right now, somewhere in the world, a woman rides her bike to work in polluted air at 6am, to a factory job where she will work 12 hours a day putting together tablets that all the "unlucky people who have to work" trying to be dot com millionaires will buy one day on a whim and then discard less than 6 months later. And this is good, because she has a job.
The real interesting thing is these people generally don't complain much, not nearly as much as we do.
My life was very different from my Mom's. My Dad was a police officer and, though we weren't wealthy, I never went without. But, I got to grow up in a household where two things were valued - hard work and education. Consequently, I'd spend summers working in my Grandma and Grandpa's business - I had my first job (with an actual hourly wage) when I was 8 years old and worked every single summer and during Easter break.
Grandma never complained because she got herself in that mess and by golly, she'd get herself out. That sense of resilience carried through the generations and now, finally, my generation has the benefits of a middle class upbringing, combined with the work ethic that only comes from having been very poor one generation ago.
I think that it's wonderful you're concerned with people who are less fortunate and I respect what you wrote. However, poverty is a great motivator and frankly, I'd rather hire someone who knows hunger than someone who went to prep schools and fancy Universities with billion dollar endowments...
It's worth talking about. It's worth criticizing. It may not be worth obsessing over, but it is worth some portion of our attention.
It's laughable that a programmer would worry about how unfair the industry is on the top end. Do you get how lucky we are compared even to other engineers? To say nothing of service workers who work much harder for much less.
The tool is buggy though: after ~$1M/year it does not change results.
Now, let's suppose you make $15k/yr. (By the way, how's that for your estimate of a European salary? See why I said I hate generalizations?) This site says you're in the top 13% richest people in the world. Immediately, a ton of questions arises: OK, top 13% - what of it? Was it practical to take everyone in the world into consideration? Why and how should this (unverified) information change your feelings about your well-being? Is the current wealth distribution, as represented by the chart, really not OK? Will the knowledge about being in the top 13% help you pay your bills? Should you, now knowing that you are ahead of 87% of population, start to think about redistribution of your wealth and transferring it to those behind you? Should you not be pissed off by those guys higher than you? What if you'd find yourself in the lower 50%? Should you get depressed, or get to work, reaching the 50% mark and then stopping, or what? I could go on and on, but the point I'm trying to make here is that all those questions can be answered in a dozen or so ways, exact number depending on your will to participate in rhetoric battles, and that's why I just can't figure out how this chart can be of any use. There's probably some statistical value in it to me, but almost none practical value. I hope you now see what I was trying to say in the GP comment.
Lastly, and moving from the comparison chart itself to the idea that it's used to be backing up here: I dislike cheap attempts to make people participate in some charity out of induced guilt, and I dislike portraying of being wealthy (whatever that means) as a kind of being unclean with money and obliged to share as a tool of said shame/guilt feeling inducing. I don't think charity should work this way and I think this instills the wrong views of the basic principles of economical and social responsibility in the readers and just exploits the guilt feeling.
TL;DR: Do you need money? You should probably stop contemplating 'global salary comparison charts' of questionable real world value, and instead get your statistics straight and start working on your skills/paycheck/whatever keeps you wealthy. Do you want to participate in the charities? Stop getting anxious and building guilt inside you for no reason, get informed (really, get your statistics straight already) and get involved.
with that said, I do consider myself tremendously lucky, but when looking at such lists there are more dimensions to consider than just salary number.
True, the world is unfair and it will remain so. But much of its unfairness is not a result of cruel nature, but as a result of our political actions. And I won't even go into what actions we should take to adress the issues you've raised, only to say that we should, and must act to change society, and that there's quite a lot we can do. We are not sheep.
Can the shareholders do anything about this? It seems incredibly stupid.
Fairness is a fictional manmade concept. That we expect some sort of fairness in life is solely due to our social contract. It's not fair to me that someone steals my car and thus we have systems in place to address that. However, nothing in our laws, norms, ethics, or philosophy says that people must get everything they deserve and no more or no less. Hence the concept of fairness does not apply to kids of billionaires or friends of politically connected.
I don't see this.
Fairness is about mathematical expectation. Fairness means people have equal opportunity (often within a restricted domain, or ignoring certain starting conditions). There is [nearly?] always going to be a locus in which fairness is asserted outside which it is no longer the case.
* The race is fair because both runners run the same distance. Ah but the ground is uneven.
* The race is fair because the ground and distance is even. Ah but one runner is poor and hasn't eaten for days and so is weak.
* The race is fair as the runners have been nourished equally, the distance and going are controlled. Ah, but this runner's family have a genetic disposition that enables them to run faster without tiring ... et cetera.
If mankind didn't exist a situation could still be fair or unfair for a creature - a combat test for leadership is unfair because this creature had a greater opportunity for nourishment and so grew stronger than the others. That of course doesn't mean it's the wrong test, just that each creature able to take the test doesn't have equal opportunity to achieve through their own efforts.
>It's not fair to me that someone steals my car //
Everyone had opportunity to steal a car, including you, that's fair!
I don't equate fairness and just deserts [ie justice]. For example two people can compete in a fair competition but the least deserving - the one who made the least effort or the one whose lifestyle is least noble - can win; the competition was still fair though.
Because other peoples' concepts of fairness certainly do consider the ultra-rich.
While many might feel that kids of rich people have an unfair advantage, we haven't as a collective decided to do anything to put that to an end. We have made it a bit easier for non-rich kids to get some of the benefits that rich kids get like daily meals, access to education etc. but the gap is far too wide to bridge for everyone.
You can certainly try to design a social structure where nobody is rich or nobody gets preferential treatment but those haven't worked well so far for numerous other reasons. In a capitalistic, democratic/republic society, we haven't legislated the unfairness of being born rich, mostly because most of us don't think it is unfair enough to be illegal. In fact, most of us would think it is fair when looking at it from the parents' point of view. If you work hard and make a lot of money, why shouldn't your kids have it better than you did?
What I was trying to say to the parent was that fairness is not a concrete standard, especially when it comes to things many of us can disagree on.
So not entirely manmade.
With the traditional bigCo job market in the tank there is a push right now to get young people interested in entrepreneurship so stories like these make excellent narrative supporting that.
So you hear stuff like "bootstrap your company!" , "Be your own boss!" , "Be a risk taker!" and this message is being pushed to everyone, including those on the lower rungs of society.
I know a few people who bootstrapped reasonably successful businesses and have been asked to give talks on how anybody can do it and how they started with no investment and nothing more than $50 in their bank account etc.
Problem is that most of these guys had backgrounds that allowed for risk taking. They had families who were not necessarily uber wealthy but were quite happy to subsidise them for often over a year for things like living expenses and keeping their car on the road. The narratives often don't mention these sorts of factors.
As awesome as it is for the guy, this doesn't change the fact that a Summly got paid so much for a 2 employees and a founder. I mean the app hardly had traction and $30 million can you get you a nice army of talented mobile developers with signing bonus'. $30M really isn't justified in this case.
Congrats to the summly team, but it's also really sad how desperate and pathetic Yahoo is.
I think that's far from truthful.
The fairest time would be before [mass] land ownership, when anyone could stay with their tribal group or, should they choose, set off on their own and find land a-plenty to hunt/develop/farm as they see fit.
Hard times, sure; but that sort of situation seems most fair to me.
I took it as looking objectively at the deal, something that no mainstream press coverage of the Summly aquisition I've seen does.
Yahoo may be clueless here, but we really can't say that until we see if they get $30M in value out of the deal or not. So really all we can say is that we cannot see how they came up with that valuation. Then watch what they do to see where it goes looking for insights into their thinking.
 I recognize that "loser" is relative to the job they were asked to do, as opposed to the individual. At the time I was much less forgiving of people who weren't in jobs they fit (or didn't fit) with.
 I am still incredulous but I don't get angry and jealous over it any more.