CEO at YesGraph. Previously Dropbox, Facebook, and Tipjoy (YC W08)

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Sharing Is (Still) Hard

My dad had a simple request. He just took a trip, and wants to share photos. Crazy, right? The 200 photos totaling 1.6GB was “too much for flickr”, so he wants to host off of a subdomain of kirigin.com. No problem, just get me the photos.

The problems start. Me:

The simplest way to do that is to share a dropbox folder with me.

  1. Make a folder in your dropbox
  2. put the photos there
  3. Find the folder in Dropbox.com, and share the link


OK, but how do I do that?

These interfaces are not obvious to most people. If you’re reading this, you’re probably in a bubble, doing things with technology that most people couldn’t. Keep in mind that this guy had a computer at work for 30 years. You don’t forecast the value of an oil field 50 years into the future with a slide rule.

He managed to create a Dropbox account and put his photos in it. Now I need to explain how to get them to me. I...

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Are 10X employees working too hard?

Some software designers and engineers are much more productive than others. But it isn’t only a marginal 10% difference. Some people are 10X better than others, and some argue the difference can be 100X.

Now a very simple question: why do we make 10X people work full time? There is a culture in the tech community that you need to be completely dedicated to your company. Dedication is often a filter for recruiting. I don’t disagree that this is great for the company. But what’s good for people? What if they want to start a family? Or get back into making music? Or something else that doesn’t involve 60 hours a week in the company’s office?

When you look at it from this perspective, tech companies treat the most talented people really poorly. We have an industrial era mindset about tracking hourly input even while admitting some people can be 10X or 100X more productive than others.


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Should you even be an investor?

Startup founders become investors all the time. After courting and closing investors themselves for years and understanding what it takes to build a company, they take a natural next step to try to help others. The feedback loop of older founders helping the next generation is part of what makes Silicon Valley so awesome.

However, even with all that experience, they still might make lousy investors. I know a few angel investors that told me they were basically horrible at it at the start. They picked companies they thought they could help, meaning they biased towards those that needed help. They weren’t sure how to balance a portfolio. One angel told me to assume you’ll lose all your money on your first ten investments.

I have the ambition to become an investor, and as is common with entrepreneurs, I have the dubious confidence of believing I’m going to beat the odds. Having done...

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