If you wanted to get rich, how would you do it? I think your best bet would be to start or join a startup. - Paul Graham
Money Is Not Wealth 💸
People think that what a business does is make money. But money is just the intermediate stage-- just a shorthand-- for whatever people want: food, clothes, houses, cars, gadgets, travel to interesting places, and so on. What most businesses really do is make wealth. They do something people want.
Startups compress your working life 🪗
Economically, you can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years. Instead of working at a low intensity for forty years, you work as hard as you possibly can for four. This pays especially well in technology, where you earn a premium for working fast.
There is a conservation law at work here: if you want to make a million dollars, you have to endure a million dollars worth of pain.
Seek measurement and leverage ⚖️
Everyone who gets rich by their own efforts will find themselves in a situation with measurement and leverage. Everyone I can think of does: CEOs, movie stars, hedge fund managers, professional athletes. A good hint to the presence of leverage is the possibility of failure.
You need to be in a position where your performance can be measured, or there is no way to get paid more by doing more. And you have to have leverage, in the sense that the decisions you make have a big effect.
The mosquito proposition 🦟
Like guerillas, startups prefer the difficult terrain of the mountains, where the troops of the central government can't follow.
A startup is like a mosquito. A bear can absorb a hit and a crab is armored against one, but a mosquito is designed for one thing: to score. No energy is wasted on defense. The defense of mosquitos, as a species, is that there are a lot of them, but this is little consolation to the individual mosquito.
It’s an all-or-nothing proposition.