Advice to Startup Entrepreneurs. Just say NO!


After some excellent insight in a recent email from Jason Calacanis (a VERY sharp and successful startup entrepreneur), I revisited my working hypothesis about folks doing startups.   It’s a bit ironic since I did NOT follow this advice myself, but now it’s too late for me, and I’m doing pretty well.    

I do think Jason and other entrepreneurial geniuses like Mark Zuckerberg  are among the VERY few exceptions to my rule, which is this:

Smart folks should NOT bother with startups.   My “research” is only anecdotal but it’s fairly extensive with respect to  my own online efforts and the many startups and websites I’ve watched over the years, but I think the typical pattern is for smart entrepreneurial folks to invest many years and get only modest returns.    Few – and by few I mean probably less than 10% – are better off with their startup effort than they would be simply working for a big player like Google or Yahoo at 120k per year and saving like crazy.  

For a 25 year old, retirement with a few million can be had in an almost guaranteed way by age 50.    [math is simple here.   A 120k employee can easily save 40k per year over 25 years = 1,000,000. With very modest compounding this will be well over 2 million at age 50.   If you are married you can spend more or save more.

I’m doing pretty well myself as a moderately successful entrepreneur with a few decent websites, but even I’d I’d be much better off had I joined up with Google 10 years back (their stock is up about 1000% as well as paying big salaries.   I’d be a bit better off if I’d joined up with MS or Yahoo 10 years ago [no stock gain, but I probably would have made more money in salary than I’ve made as an entrepreneur).    

The many brighter-than-me folks who have NOT had success with their own startups would be dramatically up after 10 years with a big player.

I think the analogy are the gold miners vs the shopkeepers of the CA Rush of 1849.   Most miners left with little to their name, where the bar, brothel, and shopkeepers did pretty well, building the great state of California in the process.

So to summarize my advice to bright young entrepreneurial folks is to … take a deep breath and fill out an application to work for a big player in Silicon Valley.
 
Joe

 

 
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WordPress – Inspire Me ?! lololoooool?


WordPress has a new feature that’s supposed to inspire folks to write in their blogs.   I guess that’s cool, but it seems kind of funny to me.  If you are a big victim of writers block maybe you should consider… not blogging at all?   

Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

 

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Climate Change, Bjorn Lomborg, and why we need more nuclear power.


I’d really urge people to read Bjorn Lomborg more carefully.  He is a very good analyst but unfortunately he’s become a major lightning rod for controversy because people don’t like to hear such well presented views that challenge their sensibilities about global climate change policy.   Thus he’s often branded a “climate denier” when this is ridiculous.

Lomborg should certainly NOT be called a climate change “denier”. First, hose terms simply get people thinking irrationally about the issues, which are about science and policy.    Also because he *agrees* with even the most active activists that climate change is happening and that it poses risks to humanity.    He just feels those risks should be managed rationally in line with the many other challenges faced here on the planet. 

The basic science seems clear: 
* There is global warming – about a degree last century. 
* Most or all of that warming is very likely to be caused by humans via CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. 
* Increasing CO2 emissions, with China and USA leading the pack, will continue to influence the environment both as pollutants and as catalysts of warming.

So, up to here most climate activists and Lomborg would be in total agreement.

However, it’s the NEXT step that matters most in terms of policy, and that’s where I don’t agree at all with most activists.  Based on observations and current science papers, I’m not convinced that we are facing catastrophic environmental damage.   Sea level rise is very small and manageable.   Even the island nations of Tuvalu is actually *increasing* in land mass due to the complex geological patterns there that appear to be swamping out the effects of sea level rise.  

More importantly it’s very clear to me that *even if we are*, people are not willing to make the changes needed to lower C02 enough to matter more than to lower perhaps a few percent of the increased warming. 

Prioritizing our concerns matters because about a billion people are *currently* facing truly catastrophic conditions in terms of poverty and health in poor countries, and curbing C02 (which is expensive), will divert resources and make it harder for those countries to realize the higher standards that come from modern industrialization/globalization. 

Although I strongly believe that the first diversion of resources to fight poverty should come from our bloated defense budget – now topping a staggering 600 billion per year, I don’t want us to turn around and spend billions trying to stem environmental changes that are likely to happen anyway.   Let’s spend that on saving people *now*.

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It’s OK to HOLD STRONG OPINIONS! Just respect other’s rights to do so also.


I’m very concerned about a trend among smart people.   I’m very fortunate to have many sharp friends and family members, but there seems to be a tendency to think that holding strong opinions is somehow unreasonable or unwise.  Most absurdly some seem to think this reflects a lack of understanding – ie the notion that an informed mind is by necessity … ambivalent.

Discussing your opinions passionately and in an assertive fashion IS NOT A CRIME.   Of course you need to respect the opinions of others and, perhaps more importantly, LISTEN to them and see if your views may be wrong or too narrowly focused (I know my views often need modification to fit better with the facts, and sometimes I need to … OMG … completely change my mind.    

HOWEVER I’m proud to have opinions even as I’m very interested in those that are different from mine.   Without the vibrant discussion that opinions can spawn we risk ceding too much of the territory to weak thinking and foolish ideas.

Challenge people on their ideas.  Stupid ideas need to be shut down and smart ideas need the refinement that comes from intelligent conversation.

 

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AVG Secure Search Troubleshooting


It’s nice that AVG provides a high quality free product for computer security, but in what appears to be a scramble to monetize their big and recent venture capital investment it *appears* that AVG has jumped the shark with their “secure search” feature.  I just spent about an hour figuring out how to remove it so hopefully this will help YOU escape from the AVG secure search nightmare.   Please post comments if you find these instructions don’t work for you.   

Here are AVGs instructions for removal of AVG 2013:

WINDOWS XP AND 7

  1. Go to Start -> (Settings) -> Control Panel.
  2. Open (Programs) -> Programs and Features, or Add or Remove Programs.
  3. Select AVG 2013 in the list of programs.
  4. Click the Uninstall or Change/Remove button.
  5. Follow the instructions on your screen to complete the uninstallation.
  6. Restart your computer.

WINDOWS 8

  1. Right-click AVG 2013 on the Start screen.
  2. Click Uninstall in the bottom bar.
  3. Select AVG 2013 in the list of programs.
  4. Click the Uninstall or Change/Remove button.
  5. Follow the instructions on your screen to complete the uninstallation.
  6. Restart your computer.

In case the uninstallation was not successful, use the AVG Remover tool:

  1. Save all your work and close all documents! Your computer will be restarted during the procedure.
  2. Download the AVG Remover tool from our website.
  3. Run the downloaded tool and follow the instructions displayed on your screen.
  4. Your computer will be restarted automatically. After the restart, AVG Remover will finish the uninstallation.

For Google Chrome I found used these instructions from the Google forum helpful:

  • If AVG search pages are opening up each time you start up Chrome, check in Wrench Settings On Startup > next to the radio button for Open a specific page or set of pages, click on Set pages > remove any unwanted URLs by hovering over the URL until you see an “X” appear to the right side of the URL.
  • If all searches that you perform in the omnibox is returning with results from AVG search instead of your preferred search engine, check in Wrench >Settings Search Manage search engines > check the list of Default search enginesOther search engines, and Search engines added by extensions, and remove suspicious entries that you are not familiar with. Depending on your extensions, you may not see the last section for Search engines added by extensions.
    • If AVG search is currently selected as the default search engine, you will have to choose another search engine provider as your default first, and then remove the AVG entry. To select another search engine provider as your default search engine, hover over the search engine until you see “Make Default” appear on the right side. Once you have selected your preferred default search engine, you can remove other entries that you do not want by hovering over the entry until an “X” appears on the right side.
  • If AVG is opening up when you click on the Home button, check in Wrench Settings Appearance > select the Show Home button checkbox > check if the URL that appears below it references AVG.
  • Also check that there are no extensions installed that may be causing these changes. Go to Wrench Settings Extensions > if you see any unfamiliar extension that you do not remember installing, try disabling/removing the extension to see it was causing these changes. To disable, uncheck the “Enabled” checkbox next to the extension. To remove, hover over the extension until you see a trash can icon appear, and click on the icon.

I’m curious if others have been as frustrated as I have by AVG Secure search, which is simply a modification of Google search with AVG ads placed on the top.  I don’t oppose advertising, but AVG’s aggressive approach here made it very hard to remove their features, which in my view are not user friendly since I’m getting a very inferior search experience to a native Google search where the advertising is not as intrusive AND where I’m not automatically (and slowly) redirected to the AVG search application for searches.  

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Got Portland Oregon House Cleaning ?


I’m in Portland visiting relatives and wanted to shout out to Peggy’s great Portland Oregon House Cleaning service called Bridge City Cleaning.   Peggy’s got a team of great cleaners and they are experts at the kind of challenges we face in the Pacific Northewest such as mold and dampness.  Bridge City only serves the Portland area so if you are one of my Southern Oregon or California friends you’ll have to wait until she expands the empire, but for folks in Portland I’d encourage you to check out Bridge City for your House Cleaning needs.

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What Time is the Superbowl? Superbowl 47 – San Francisco 49ers vs Baltimore Ravens.


What time is the big game today?  

Superbowl 47 kickoff is today Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 6:30pm EST, 3:30 here on the West Coast of the USA.    The  San Francisco 49ers will tackle the Baltimore Ravens for one of the richest and most prestigious prizes in all of sport – the Superbowl Championship.    Are you ready for some Football?   American Football that is.  In Europe, of course, Football is Soccer, and the Soccer Superbowl is the World Soccer Championships are the FIFA “World Cup”, held every four years.

Here’s a link to better sites than this that are talking about the game:
https://www.google.com/search?q=superbowl+47

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