Founders at Work

March 20, 2007

I’ve just started reading Founders at Work and I’ve got to say I love it for the most part. I’ve read four of the interviews so far. The one with Max Levchin (founder at PayPal) was incredibly interesting, as was the one with Sabeer Bhatia (founder at Hotmail). It was somewhat shocking (but at the same time not entirely surprising) to hear about the funding problems with DFJ. I’m tempted to ask Tim Draper about it at our upcoming lunch.

The interview with Steve Wozniak was the only one that I ended up skimming so far. The guy obvioulsy loves to talk and the interview was slightly too technical for me, although it this particular section about Jobs was inspiring for me since I’m not an engineer and I just want to build a company:

Livingston: Way back then, how did you guys divide the work between you?

Wozniak: We actually never talked about it even once. If there was any engineering to do…I did it. Never did [Steve] look at a circuit and suggest anything. I don’t want to mess around running a company—my whole life’s engineering—so he’s on the phone talking to reporters…talking to dealers, ordering the parts, negotiating process, getting brochures made up for ads…

Livingston: So you two fit together nicely in terms of your skills.

Wozniak: Well, we added up to the total everything that was needed. If there was anything that neither one of us knew how to do, Steve would do it. He’d just find a way to do it. He was just gung ho and pressing for this company to be successful.

And finally I read the Joe Kraus interview. The long and short of it is that he is one of my favorite role models. He graduated from Stanford in PoliSci without honors. I’m going to—or at least am planning to—graduate in Economics without honors either; there are better uses of my time than writing an Honors thesis, such as working for a startup. As a senior he decided that he just wanted to start a company. He didn’t really care what it was in the beginning. Sounds familiar. Now he’s wildly succseful. Hopefully fortune will guide me down a similar path, whatever that path may be.

I’m excited to finish the book. Reading it makes for a great study break from Econometrics.


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