Startup Life

Is entrepreneurship only for rich kids?

The controversial claim has been made that our entrepreneurial adventure here in Silicon Valley is not built on the back of special risk taking entrepreneurs, but in fact it’s just a bunch of rich kids with little to lose by taking risks. The article makes some interesting points and has some data to back it up, and is worth reading. At the core, I disagree — I think it’s right but incomplete — and lay out my thinking below.

I don’t entirely agree with this. There is an element of truth, but I think that in Silicon Valley, the landscape is changing.

Startups fail. Choosing a career as a founder exposes you to the risk that, in a year or two, you will be out of a job. Who takes this risky path?

People with a higher tolerance … Read More »

On Keeping Notes as a Founder


When Vince Monical and I founded our first company, we had no idea what we were doing.  We knew something about strategy, but hiring, firing, managing, product design, engineering and software development were all pretty much blank slates.  Needless to say, I made a lot of mistakes, and learned more than I have than at any other point in my life.  “Trial by fire” felt more literal than figurative at times.

Having moved to London to start the company, we had little network to rely upon for advice and guidance.  One figure that stood out was Vince’s father-in-law.  Neither of us were genetically driven to entrepreneurship, being the offspring of teachers and accountants.  But through marrying well, Vince had brought an honest to god entrepreneur, CEO and manager into the bloodline.

I can distinctly recall two pieces of … Read More »

In Defense of MBAs

Dan Primack at Fortune re-started a discussion around whether MBAs make good entrepreneurial founders, based on Chamath’s remarks at an HBS event.

While I’ve commented on this on a Quora answer in the past, I’ll weigh in again… While an MBA certainly doesn’t mean you’re going to be a successful founder, it certainly won’t hurt and it might even help.

I went to Stanford GSB, and a great entrepreneur and professor, Irv Grousbeck, inspired me with the notion that I was qualified to be my own boss, and that the life of an entrepreneur was a virtuous choice.  I am certain that without his inspiration, I would not have chosen that path, and it was one of the most important decisions in my life.  So on your scorecard of MBAs not qualifying founders to start billion dollar companies, … Read More »

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