译:为什么聪明人会干蠢事(Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas)

《为什么聪明人会干蠢事》,覃永良/译。

译自Paul Graham博客 http://paulgraham.com/bronze.html

"Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas"

April 2005

2005年4月

This summer, as an experiment, some friends and I are giving seed funding to a bunch of new startups. It's an experiment because we're prepared to fund younger founders than most investors would. That's why we're doing it during the summer—so even college students can participate.

今年夏天,出于实验目的,我和我的几位朋友将为一批创业团队提供种子基金。之所以称为实验,是因为大多数投资人都不会投资这么年轻的创始人。这也是我们选择夏天的原因——让在校生也有机会参加。

We know from Google and Yahoo that grad students can start successful startups. And we know from experience that some undergrads are as capable as most grad students. The accepted age for startup founders has been creeping downward. We're trying to find the lower bound.

谷歌和雅虎的经验告诉我们,研究生可以创业成功。我们从经验中也得知,有些本科生比大多数研究生的能力都强。创业者的年龄限制不断刷新下限。我们希望找到这个下限。

The deadline has now passed, and we're sifting through 227 applications. We expected to divide them into two categories, promising and unpromising. But we soon saw we needed a third: promising people with unpromising ideas. [1]

截止时间已过,我们正在检阅这227份申请。我们原计划将申请分为两类:有前途的,和没戏的。然而我们很快发现需要第三类:人有前途,但是事情没戏。[1]

The Artix Phase

Artix 阶段


We should have expected this. It's very common for a group of founders to go through one lame idea before realizing that a startup has to make something people will pay for. In fact, we ourselves did.

我们早该料到的。对于一帮创始人来说,在搞清楚“创业就是要做人民愿意付钱的东西”之前,经历一两次没有成果的奋斗,是很常见的。好比当年的我们。

Viaweb wasn't the first startup Robert Morris and I started. In January 1995, we and a couple friends started a company called Artix. The plan was to put art galleries on the Web. In retrospect, I wonder how we could have wasted our time on anything so stupid. Galleries are not especially excited about being on the Web even now, ten years later. They don't want to have their stock visible to any random visitor, like an antique store. [2]

Viaweb不是我和罗伯特创办的第一家公司。1995年一月的时候,我和一帮朋友创建了一家叫做Artix的公司,目标是把画廊搬到网上。回溯既往,我无法想象我们居然会把时间浪费在如此愚蠢的点子上。如今,即便已经过去十年,画廊对互联网仍然不感兴趣。它们并不想像旧货店一样,把自己的藏品展示给广大网民[2]。

Besides which, art dealers are the most technophobic people on earth. They didn't become art dealers after a difficult choice between that and a career in the hard sciences. Most of them had never seen the Web before we came to tell them why they should be on it. Some didn't even have computers. It doesn't do justice to the situation to describe it as a hard sell; we soon sank to building sites for free, and it was hard to convince galleries even to do that.

除此之外,艺术品贩子是这个世界上最不谙科技的一类人。他们倒卖艺术品,并不是因为他们差一点就当上科学家。在被我们拜访之前,绝大多数连互联网都没听说过,有的甚至连电脑都没有。当时面临的局面已经无法用语言形容;我们很快就让步到帮画廊免费建站,但就连这样他们都不乐意。

Gradually it dawned on us that instead of trying to make Web sites for people who didn't want them, we could make sites for people who did. In fact, software that would let people who wanted sites make their own. So we ditched Artix and started a new company, Viaweb, to make software for building online stores. That one succeeded.

渐渐地我们搞懂了,与其为那些不需要网站的人做网站,不如为那些需要网站的人做——确切的说,可以帮助有需要的人制作自己的网站的软件。于是我们放弃了Artix并创立了一家叫做Viaweb的新公司,编写可以搭建在线商城的软件。这家公司最终获得了成功。

We're in good company here. Microsoft was not the first company Paul Allen and Bill Gates started either. The first was called Traf-o-data. It does not seem to have done as well as Micro-soft.

我们并不孤单。比尔盖茨和保罗艾伦成立的第一家公司不叫微软,叫Traf-O-Data,而这家公司似乎不如Micro-Soft成功。

In Robert's defense, he was skeptical about Artix. I dragged him into it. [3] But there were moments when he was optimistic. And if we, who were 29 and 30 at the time, could get excited about such a thoroughly boneheaded idea, we should not be surprised that hackers aged 21 or 22 are pitching us ideas with little hope of making money.

根据罗伯特的反驳,他当年其实并不看好Artix,是我拉他下水的。[3] 其实当年他比谁都看好。说实话,我们当年都29、30岁了,却还为了这么个SB创业计划激动个半天;如今一帮21、22岁的年轻俊杰向我们递来一个个完全没戏的创业计划,也该在意料之中。

The Still Life Effect

静物写生效应


Why does this happen? Why do good hackers have bad business ideas?

为什么会这样?为什么优秀的黑客(译者注:hacker特指具有出众研究能力的计算机爱好者,下简称黑客)会想出愚蠢的商业计划?

Let's look at our case. One reason we had such a lame idea was that it was the first thing we thought of. I was in New York trying to be a starving artist at the time (the starving part is actually quite easy), so I was haunting galleries anyway. When I learned about the Web, it seemed natural to mix the two. Make Web sites for galleries—that's the ticket!

先看我们自己的案例。我们之所以坚持这么蠢的创业方案,是因为它是我们的第一感觉。当年在纽约,我曾想当一名穷画家,于是便在画廊间流连。当我了解到互联网这个东西的时候,将两者结合似乎天经地义——为画廊做网站——妙,妙啊……

If you're going to spend years working on something, you'd think it might be wise to spend at least a couple days considering different ideas, instead of going with the first that comes into your head. You'd think. But people don't. In fact, this is a constant problem when you're painting still lifes. You plonk down a bunch of stuff on a table, and maybe spend five or ten minutes rearranging it to look interesting. But you're so impatient to get started painting that ten minutes of rearranging feels very long. So you start painting. Three days later, having spent twenty hours staring at it, you're kicking yourself for having set up such an awkward and boring composition, but by then it's too late.

如果为一件事花费数年的时间,你也许会觉得,先用几天时间来考虑各种选择,会比跟着第一感觉走更明智。也许。但人们普遍冲动。事实上,这是静物写生过程中的常见问题:你在桌子上摆了一大堆静物,然后花五到十分钟对它们进行排列。由于你实在是太急着动笔了,即便十分钟的排列过程,都令你感觉十分漫长。于是,你动笔。三天过去,在你花掉将近二十个小时盯着它们之后,你开始抽自己嘴巴:这组静物摆得实在是太仓促、太平庸了。

到那时,就太晚了。

Part of the problem is that big projects tend to grow out of small ones. You set up a still life to make a quick sketch when you have a spare hour, and days later you're still working on it. I once spent a month painting three versions of a still life I set up in about four minutes. At each point (a day, a week, a month) I thought I'd already put in so much time that it was too late to change.

这种问题,一定程度上是因为:大项目往往源自小项目。你摆放好静物,花一个小时空闲时间打个草稿,但几天后你会继续完善它。有一次我整整花了一个月,为一堆静物画了三个版本,而这堆静物的摆放,当初只花了四分钟。在每一个时间点(第一天,第一周,第一个月)上,我都觉得既然我已经花了那么多时间,现在再改已经太晚了。

So the biggest cause of bad ideas is the still life effect: you come up with a random idea, plunge into it, and then at each point (a day, a week, a month) feel you've put so much time into it that this must be the idea.

综上所述,聪明人做蠢事的最主要原因,就是“静物写生效应”:你从一个随意的想法出发,埋头苦干,然后在每个时间点(第一天,第一周,第一个月)你都觉得既然你已经花了那么多时间,这个想法一定是值得坚持的。

How do we fix that? I don't think we should discard plunging. Plunging into an idea is a good thing. The solution is at the other end: to realize that having invested time in something doesn't make it good.

怎样才能避免这种情况呢?我觉得我们不应该放弃埋头苦干;为一个想法埋头苦干是一件好事。解决方案在另一头,必须搞清楚:花时间,并不能把坏事变成好事。

This is clearest in the case of names. Viaweb was originally called Webgen, but we discovered someone else had a product called that. We were so attached to our name that we offered him 5% of the company if he'd let us have it. But he wouldn't, so we had to think of another. [4] The best we could do was Viaweb, which we disliked at first. It was like having a new mother. But within three days we loved it, and Webgen sounded lame and old-fashioned.

最显著的例子就是公司的命名。Viaweb最早其实叫Webgen,但我们发现其他公司的一个产品也叫这个名字。我们太爱这个名字了,甚至愿意用5%的股份,向那个人换取Webgen这个名字的使用权。最后他不肯,于是我们才换了名字[4]。Viaweb是我们当时能想到最好的名字,但也是我们最开始首先否定的名字。

最开始我们感觉很不爽,但三天之后我们就爱上了这个名字,并认为Webgen听起来很土很low。

If it's hard to change something so simple as a name, imagine how hard it is to garbage-collect an idea. A name only has one point of attachment into your head. An idea for a company gets woven into your thoughts. So you must consciously discount for that. Plunge in, by all means, but remember later to look at your idea in the harsh light of morning and ask: is this something people will pay for? Is this, of all the things we could make, the thing people will pay most for?

如果连改个名字都这么困难,放弃一条创业路线有多难就无需说明了。一个名字仅仅是你脑海中的一缕思绪;而创办一家公司的计划,则是脑海中的航空母舰。因此你必须对此有清醒的认识。

该埋头苦干就埋,但在这之后,不要忘记在早晨刺眼的阳光下审视你的商业计划:人们真的会为此付钱吗?这个产品,是我们能实现的所有产品中,人们最愿意掏钱的吗?

Muck

富贵苦中来


The second mistake we made with Artix is also very common. Putting galleries on the Web seemed cool.

我们在Artix上犯下的第二个错误也是很常见的。把画廊搬到网上,听起来很酷。

One of the most valuable things my father taught me is an old Yorkshire saying: where there's muck, there's brass. Meaning that unpleasant work pays. And more to the point here, vice versa. Work people like doesn't pay well, for reasons of supply and demand. The most extreme case is developing programming languages, which doesn't pay at all, because people like it so much they do it for free.

我父亲留给我最重要的东西之一,是一句老家的俗话:富贵苦中来。意即越不爽的工作越赚钱。这里的关键在于:反之亦然。根据供求原理,人们喜欢做的工作,工资必然不高;而最极端的例子,是编程语言设计,虽然一分钱也赚不到,但大家都很热衷。

When we started Artix, I was still ambivalent about business. I wanted to keep one foot in the art world. Big, big, mistake. Going into business is like a hang-glider launch: you'd better do it wholeheartedly, or not at all. The purpose of a company, and a startup especially, is to make money. You can't have divided loyalties.

最初创办Artix的时候,我对“从商”的态度仍是飘摇不定的。我仍想留一条腿在艺术圈子里。简直蠢死了,蠢死了。从商就如同玩滑翔翼——要么全心全意投入,要么试都别试。一家公司的使命,尤其对创业公司而言,是赚钱。你不能同时信太多大法。

Which is not to say that you have to do the most disgusting sort of work, like spamming, or starting a company whose only purpose is patent litigation. What I mean is, if you're starting a company that will do something cool, the aim had better be to make money and maybe be cool, not to be cool and maybe make money.

这不等于说你非得干最恶心最肮脏的工作,例如发骚扰短信,或者创办一家每天打知识产权官司的公司。我的本意是,如果你想要创办一家很装逼的企业,那么目标最好设定为“发财第一,装逼随意”,而绝不能是“装逼第一,发财随意”。

It's hard enough to make money that you can't do it by accident. Unless it's your first priority, it's unlikely to happen at all.

没有人会“一不小心”赚到钱。赚钱的默认设定是“不可能”,除非你把它作为第一要务。

Hyenas

鬣狗心态


When I probe our motives with Artix, I see a third mistake: timidity. If you'd proposed at the time that we go into the e-commerce business, we'd have found the idea terrifying. Surely a field like that would be dominated by fearsome startups with five million dollars of VC money each. Whereas we felt pretty sure that we could hold our own in the slightly less competitive business of generating Web sites for art galleries.

在回顾我们创办Artix的动机的时候,我发现了第三个错误:胆小。当年不管谁提出进军电子商务,大家都会觉得这是个馊主意。诚然,类似电子商务这样的领域,必然会聚集一堆名字响亮、融资百万的创业公司。相比之下,我们觉得我们更有可能在【给画廊做网站】这样的蓝海中,求得自保。

We erred ridiculously far on the side of safety. As it turns out, VC-backed startups are not that fearsome. They're too busy trying to spend all that money to get software written. In 1995, the e-commerce business was very competitive as measured in press releases, but not as measured in software. And really it never was. The big fish like Open Market (rest their souls) were just consulting companies pretending to be product companies [5], and the offerings at our end of the market were a couple hundred lines of Perl scripts. Or could have been implemented as a couple hundred lines of Perl; in fact they were probably tens of thousands of lines of C++ or Java. Once we actually took the plunge into e-commerce, it turned out to be surprisingly easy to compete.

在求稳这件事上,我们错的离谱。事实证明,口袋里有百万融资的公司,其实也没啥好怕的——他们碌碌终日地将这笔钱全部投入到软件开发上。在1995年,电子商务这个行业,看新闻觉得硝烟四起,看产品则未必。事实证明:根本没有硝烟。OpenMarket公司作为当时的肥肉(愿逝者安息)不过是一家假装自己是产品公司的咨询公司[5],提供的服务在我们看来就是几百行Perl而已——或者说,可以用几百行Perl完成;实际上他们估计用了几万行的C++或者Java。当我们真正转向电子商务时,竞争形势可谓如履平地。

So why were we afraid? We felt we were good at programming, but we lacked confidence in our ability to do a mysterious, undifferentiated thing we called "business." In fact there is no such thing as "business." There's selling, promotion, figuring out what people want, deciding how much to charge, customer support, paying your bills, getting customers to pay you, getting incorporated, raising money, and so on. And the combination is not as hard as it seems, because some tasks (like raising money and getting incorporated) are an O(1) pain in the ass, whether you're big or small, and others (like selling and promotion) depend more on energy and imagination than any kind of special training.

那我们当初怕什么呢?我们自认擅长编程,但对一种叫做“商业”的神秘而不可测的事物缺乏掌控的信心。事实上,根本就没有所谓的“商业”。有的只是销售,推广,搞清楚大家的需求,决定收多少钱,客户支持,解决水电费,让客户开始付费,成立公司,募资……诸如此类。这些事情加起来也没有看上去那么困难,因为其中一些工作(比如募资和成立公司)只带来O(1)烦恼,无论规模如何。而另一部分工作(比如销售和推广)实际上更依赖行动力和想象力,而非职业技能。

Artix was like a hyena, content to survive on carrion because we were afraid of the lions. Except the lions turned out not to have any teeth, and the business of putting galleries online barely qualified as carrion.

当年的 Artix 就如同一条鬣狗,因惧怕狮子而只能靠吃腐肉为生。结果发现,其实狮子们都没有牙,以及【将画廊搬到网上】的方案根本不算腐肉。

A Familiar Problem

一个著名问题


Sum up all these sources of error, and it's no wonder we had such a bad idea for a company. We did the first thing we thought of; we were ambivalent about being in business at all; and we deliberately chose an impoverished market to avoid competition.

将以上所有错误叠加起来,就产生了我们愚不可及的创业计划。 我们跟着第一感觉走;我们不想与商业世界有太多交融;为避免竞争,我们选择了一个贫瘠的市场。

Looking at the applications for the Summer Founders Program, I see signs of all three. But the first is by far the biggest problem. Most of the groups applying have not stopped to ask: of all the things we could do, is this the one with the best chance of making money?

看着创业团队们发来的申请表,我发现三种情形都齐了。其中第一种是最头疼的。大部分申请者都没有坚持探索一个问题:我选择的这个事业,到底是不是我能做的所有事情中,最有希望赚到钱的?

If they'd already been through their Artix phase, they'd have learned to ask that. After the reception we got from art dealers, we were ready to. This time, we thought, let's make something people want.

如果他们都经历过Artix阶段,应该对此有所领悟。在吃到艺术品贩子们的闭门羹之后,我们已经领悟了。这一回,我们觉得,我们应该做一些为人民服务的东西。

Reading the Wall Street Journal for a week should give anyone ideas for two or three new startups. The articles are full of descriptions of problems that need to be solved. But most of the applicants don't seem to have looked far for ideas.

详读《华尔街日报》一个星期,你至少能得到两三个创业方案。上面的文章对这个世界亟待解决的问题描述得很详细。而大多数申请者,估计根本就没有找过其他的创业方案。

We expected the most common proposal to be for multiplayer games. We were not far off: this was the second most common. The most common was some combination of a blog, a calendar, a dating site, and Friendster. Maybe there is some new killer app to be discovered here, but it seems perverse to go poking around in this fog when there are valuable, unsolved problems lying about in the open for anyone to see. Why did no one propose a new scheme for micropayments? An ambitious project, perhaps, but I can't believe we've considered every alternative. And newspapers and magazines are (literally) dying for a solution.

我们原本以为,申请中最常见的创业方案,应该是DotA或者LOL之类的。好吧,这是第二常见的——最常见的是把朋友圈、贴吧、QQ空间、知乎之类的东西,按照某种比例混在一起。我同意,也许下一个微信不是腾讯公司的产品,但放弃那些闪闪发光的、亟待解决的问题,而去趟这样的浑水,实在是有违常理。为什么没有人研究微支付模式(译者注:此处原文如此)呢?这也许是一个庞大的项目,但我真的不相信我们已经考虑过了所有可能性。诸如报刊杂志之类的传统行业会为这样的解决方案拼上性命(字面意思)。

Why did so few applicants really think about what customers want? I think the problem with many, as with people in their early twenties generally, is that they've been trained their whole lives to jump through predefined hoops. They've spent 15-20 years solving problems other people have set for them. And how much time deciding what problems would be good to solve? Two or three course projects? They're good at solving problems, but bad at choosing them.

为什么众多申请者中,只有很少一部分真正为人民着想?我认为他们(以及绝大多数二十出头的年轻人)的问题就在于,他们的人生轨迹就是在不断地跨越人为制造的障碍物。他们花15-20年解决其他人为他们设定的问题。那么,他们花了多少时间去决定什么问题是应该解决的?两三个课程设计?他们很善于解决问题,但是不善于挑选问题。

But that, I'm convinced, is just the effect of training. Or more precisely, the effect of grading. To make grading efficient, everyone has to solve the same problem, and that means it has to be decided in advance. It would be great if schools taught students how to choose problems as well as how to solve them, but I don't know how you'd run such a class in practice.

但我相信,这不过是训练的结果。更准确地说,是应试教育的必然后果。要让筛选变得高效,每个人都必须做同一套题,这也就意味着题目必须预先出好。

那能不能开一门课,教大家如何挑选问题呢?然而,我不知道在现实世界中,这个课程该怎么开。

Copper and Tin

铜与锡


The good news is, choosing problems is something that can be learned. I know that from experience. Hackers can learn to make things customers want. [6]

还好,挑选问题是一个可以学习的技能。我的经验同意这一点。黑客们能够学会去做用户需要的东西[6]。

This is a controversial view. One expert on "entrepreneurship" told me that any startup had to include business people, because only they could focus on what customers wanted. I'll probably alienate this guy forever by quoting him, but I have to risk it, because his email was such a perfect example of this view:

这是一个具有争议的观点。一个“企业管理”方面的专家告诉我,任何创业公司都必须要有商务人士,因为只有这些人能够为人民着想。我在这里吐槽他可能会被他拉黑,但我还是要吐槽,因为他的邮件简直完美地证明了他的观点:

80% of MIT spinoffs succeed provided they have at least one management person in the team at the start. The business person represents the "voice of the customer" and that's what keeps the engineers and product development on track.

This is, in my opinion, a crock. Hackers are perfectly capable of hearing the voice of the customer without a business person to amplify the signal for them. Larry Page and Sergey Brin were grad students in computer science, which presumably makes them "engineers." Do you suppose Google is only good because they had some business guy whispering in their ears what customers wanted? It seems to me the business guys who did the most for Google were the ones who obligingly flew Altavista into a hillside just as Google was getting started.

MIT的成功创业团队中,有80%在初期拥有至少一名“管理人士”。这些管理人士代表的是“人民的心声”,也正因如此,工程师与他们的产品才能够走上正轨。

在我看来,这纯属扯淡。黑客完全具有独立倾听用户心声的能力,而无需管理人士帮忙扩音。Larry Page 和 Sergey Brin是 计算机专业的研究生,因而被称为“工程师”。然而,你认为Google之所以牛逼,是因为它们的一帮“管理人士”在向Google传达用户的需求吗?

我觉得对Google帮助最大的“管理人士”,应该是在Google起飞阶段,帮助Altavista(当时市场份额较大的另一家搜索引擎)成功坠毁的那一帮。

The hard part about figuring out what customers want is figuring out that you need to figure it out. But that's something you can learn quickly. It's like seeing the other interpretation of an ambiguous picture. As soon as someone tells you there's a rabbit as well as a duck, it's hard not to see it.

要搞清楚用户需要什么,最难就在于搞清楚【你必须搞清楚用户需要什么】这件事。但这件事并不难学。这就如同看一副双关画(同一副画中可以看出两种不同的物体),只要别人告诉你这是一只鸭加一只兔子,你想看不出来都难。

And compared to the sort of problems hackers are used to solving, giving customers what they want is easy. Anyone who can write an optimizing compiler can design a UI that doesn't confuse users, once they choose to focus on that problem. And once you apply that kind of brain power to petty but profitable questions, you can create wealth very rapidly.

再者,与黑客们善于解决的那些问题(算法与数据结构)相比较,搞清楚“用户需要什么”简直毫无难度。一个能够写出一款带优化的编译器的人,一定可以设计一组不让用户迷茫的UI,只要他们真的沉下心来做。而一旦把这样的脑力用在那些不起眼但是富含利润的事情上,你很快就能创造大量的财富。

That's the essence of a startup: having brilliant people do work that's beneath them. Big companies try to hire the right person for the job. Startups win because they don't—because they take people so smart that they would in a big company be doing "research," and set them to work instead on problems of the most immediate and mundane sort. Think Einstein designing refrigerators. [7]

这就是创业的本质:一帮聪明人,做一些不需要很聪明的事情。大公司会雇佣最适合某个岗位的员工,而创业公司在这方面完胜,因为他们不这么干——因为他们把最聪明的、本来应该在大公司里面做“研发”的人,弄来解决一些最平庸但最紧迫的问题。就好比:让爱因斯坦去设计冰箱。[7]

If you want to learn what people want, read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. [8] When a friend recommended this book, I couldn't believe he was serious. But he insisted it was good, so I read it, and he was right. It deals with the most difficult problem in human experience: how to see things from other people's point of view, instead of thinking only of yourself.

如果你想知道人民需要什么,可以读读戴尔·卡内基的《人性的弱点(书名直译:如何交朋友及影响他人)》[8]。当朋友向我推荐这本书的时候,我开始以为他耍我。奈何他坚持,于是我读了这本书,并证明他推荐得没错。这本书解决的是人类生活体验中的最大困难:如何从他人的视角看问题,而不是从自己的视角。

Most smart people don't do that very well. But adding this ability to raw brainpower is like adding tin to copper. The result is bronze, which is so much harder that it seems a different metal.

大部分聪明人都不善此道。将此道与脑力结合,如同将锡与铜结合。你将得到青铜,它如此坚硬——更像是其他金属,而非铜锡合金。

A hacker who has learned what to make, and not just how to make, is extraordinarily powerful. And not just at making money: look what a small group of volunteers has achieved with Firefox.

一个搞清楚【该做什么】,而不仅仅是【怎么做】的黑客是所向披靡的。这可不仅仅是指赚钱:看看一小群志愿者在Firefox上创造了多么伟大的奇迹。

Doing an Artix teaches you to make something people want in the same way that not drinking anything would teach you how much you depend on water. But it would be more convenient for all involved if the Summer Founders didn't learn this on our dime—if they could skip the Artix phase and go right on to make something customers wanted. That, I think, is going to be the real experiment this summer. How long will it take them to grasp this?

一次如Aritx般的失败,将教育你去做用户真正需要的产品,正如坚持一口水都不喝,将教育你水对人体的重要性。但是,如果各位申请人能够不重蹈我们的覆辙——如果他们能直接跳过Artix阶段,直接去做用户需要的产品,去为人民服务,不是更省事吗?我觉得,这才是这个夏天真正的实验项目:看看他们要多久才能理解这个道理。

We decided we ought to have T-Shirts for the SFP, and we'd been thinking about what to print on the back. Till now we'd been planning to use

  • If you can read this, I should be working.

but now we've decided it's going to be

  • Make something people want.

我们准备为申请者印一批T恤,正在研究背后应该印什么。直到刚才为止,我们打算用

  • 看到这行字,说明我在干活。

但现在,我们决定改用:

  • 为人民服务。

Notes

[1] SFP applicants: please don't assume that not being accepted means we think your idea is bad. Because we want to keep the number of startups small this first summer, we're going to have to turn down some good proposals too.

[1] 各位申请人:请不要认为,我们拒绝了你的申请 = 你的创业计划没戏。我们希望把这个夏天的团队数量保持在一个较小的数字,因此很多不错的申请我们也得拒绝。

[2] Dealers try to give each customer the impression that the stuff they're showing him is something special that only a few people have seen, when in fact it may have been sitting in their racks for years while they tried to unload it on buyer after buyer.

[2]艺术品贩子希望给每一个客户都制造一种“这幅画只有很少人能够一睹真容”的错觉,而真相往往是他们在一件一件地清空满屋子的存货。

[3] On the other hand, he was skeptical about Viaweb too. I have a precise measure of that, because at one point in the first couple months we made a bet: if he ever made a million dollars out of Viaweb, he'd get his ear pierced. We didn't let him off, either.

[3] 其实罗伯特当年也不是很看好Viaweb. 我对此心知肚明,因为最开始几个月的时候,我们打了个赌:如果罗伯特在Viaweb上能赚超过一百万刀,他就得去打耳洞。最后两者都实现了。

[4] I wrote a program to generate all the combinations of "Web" plus a three letter word. I learned from this that most three letter words are bad: Webpig, Webdog, Webfat, Webzit, Webfug. But one of them was Webvia; I swapped them to make Viaweb.

[4] 我写了一个程序自动生成 "Web"加三个字母的单词的所有组合。然后我明白了——大部分三个字母的单词都很烂:Webpig, Webdog, Webfat, Webzit, Webfug. 但其中之一是Webvia; 于是我把它前后调换,产生了Viaweb.

[5] It's much easier to sell services than a product, just as it's easier to make a living playing at weddings than by selling recordings. But the margins are greater on products. So during the Bubble a lot of companies used consulting to generate revenues they could attribute to the sale of products, because it made a better story for an IPO.

[5] 出售服务比出售产品要简单得多,正如在婚礼上播放录像,比出售婚礼录像带更容易赚钱。但产品的利润空间更大。所以在互联网泡沫期间,很多公司通过咨询服务产生利润,再把它归功于产品销售,因为这么说对IPO有利。

[6] Trevor Blackwell presents the following recipe for a startup: "Watch people who have money to spend, see what they're wasting their time on, cook up a solution, and try selling it to them. It's surprising how small a problem can be and still provide a profitable market for a solution."

[6] Trevor 提出的创业宝典:“看看那些舍得花钱的人,把时间浪费在什么事情上,凑出一个解决方案,然后试着卖给他们。令人感到惊讶的是,那些显得微不足道的问题,仍然能为解决方案提供一个利润丰厚的市场。”

[7] You need to offer especially large rewards to get great people to do tedious work. That's why startups always pay equity rather than just salary.

[7] 要让优秀的人做平凡的事情,你必须提供极高的报酬。这就是为什么创业公司总是报以股权,而不仅仅是工资。

[8] Buy an old copy from the 1940s or 50s instead of the current edition, which has been rewritten to suit present fashions. The original edition contained a few unPC ideas, but it's always better to read an original book, bearing in mind that it's a book from a past era, than to read a new version sanitized for your protection.

[8] 买40年代或者50年代的原版,因为新版是按照时下的风格改写的。原版中包含了一些反技术的观点,但读原版永远是好事,因为你知道这是一本来自过去的书;好过去读那些为了你的安全专门消毒过的新版。

Thanks to Bill Birch, Trevor Blackwell, Jessica Livingston, and Robert Morris for reading drafts of this.is.

感谢Bill, Trevor, Jessica(作者妻子)和罗伯特帮我审阅初稿。

[修改于 4 年前 - 2016-07-31 09:43:53]

来自:生活广场 / 科创茶话
 
2016-08-11 11:15:56
1楼
中美之间现在都有这个趋势:老油条+专家干尖端行业创业;90后甚至00后干“点子创业”。
国内最近十年来其实最成功、数量最庞大的创业,是“干一行吃一行”,业内人士脱离大组织自己开摊子是主流。
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2016-08-27 13:52:56
2楼
"将以上所有错误叠加起来,就产生了我们愚不可及的创业计划。 我们跟着第一感觉走;我们不想与商业世界有太多交融;为避免竞争,我们选择了一个贫瘠的市场。"
某种程度上这很像现在比较流行的一个词,
情怀,

[修改于 4 年前 - 2016-08-27 13:53:56]

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