I somehow happened across one by Guy Kawasaki at Pali (weird coincidence…), I particularly liked one of his points:

#10: Live off your parents as long as possible

When I spoke at this ceremony two years ago, this was the most popular hindsight-except from the point of view of the parents. Thus, I knew I was on the right track.

I was a diligent Oriental in high school and college. I took college-level classes and earned college-level credits. I rushed through college in 3 1/2 years. I never traveled or took time off because I thought it wouldn’t prepare me for work and it would delay my graduation.

Frankly, I blew it.

You are going to work the rest of your lives, so don’t be in a rush to start. Stretch out your college education. Now is the time to suck life into your lungs-before you have a mortgage, kids, and car payments. Take whole semesters off to travel overseas. Take jobs and internships that pay less money or no money. Investigate your passions on your parent’s nickel. Or dime. Or quarter. Or dollar. Your goal should be to extend college to at least six years. Delay, as long as possible, the inevitable entry into the workplace and a lifetime of servitude to bozos who know less than you do, but who make more money. Also, you shouldn’t deprive your parents of the pleasure of supporting you.

Exactly what I’m trying to do… 🙂

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

‘Equity is like shit’

February 22, 2007

Although I wasn’t there to see it, I was watching this video recently. Jerry Kaplan is the speaker (he’s the CEO of Winster) and one of his pieces of advice is don’t be greedy. He uses a great analogy to justify not hoarding equity as a founder:

Equity is like shit. If you pile it up, it just smells bad, but if you spread it around, wonderful things will grow.

A lot of what the ETL speakers have to say is often very similar. Usually it follows the pattern of great people make great teams, you have to take risks to succeed, market timing is important, etc. What’s interesting is that this isn’t necesarily a bad thing–it serves to reiterate some of the most important aspects of starting a company (which a lot of people obviously still don’t understand). One of those is equity. It surprises me when some people expect to get venture funding and still own 60, even 70% of the company. What surprises me even more is when they use that as an excuse not to pursue VC funding. As my mentor Joe told me once,

I’d rather own 1% of a multi-million dollar company than 100% of a zero-revenue company.