This just out, another great piece from the Hacker/Painter. The central thesis is that to clone Silicon Valley, meaning a tech startup hub, you only need a significant amount (total 10,000) of two types of people: nerds, and startup investors who are rich and adventurous and mostly likely used to be nerds and ran startups.

One interesting thing he says is that the ideal startup hub should be a historical place with an old town center intact, and people can live in/around town center, instead of in sprawling suburbs.

A few days later he has a follow up on why tech startup condenses in US.


Here comes another one on the more philosophical aspect of startup, or business or even life in general, where “outsider” (marginal people) creates and contributes. Sometimes it sounds a bit like Innovator’s Dilemma, but Paul’s writing is good as always. Some notable quotes:

… history suggests it’s dangerous to work in fields with corrupt tests. You may beat the insiders, and yet not do as good work, on an absolute scale, as you would in a field that was more honest.

If most of your ideas aren’t stupid, you’re probably being too conservative. You’re not bracketing the problem.

Lord Acton said we should judge talent at its best and character at its worst.

If you’re an outsider, don’t be ruled by plans. Planning is often just a weakness forced on those who delegate.

As an outsider, you’re just one step away from getting things done. A huge step, admittedly, and one that most people never seem to make, but only one step. If you can summon up the energy to get started, you can work on projects with an intensity (in both senses) that few insiders can match. For insiders work turns into a duty, laden with responsibilities and expectations. It’s never so pure as it was when they were young.

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