Combine all these multipliers, and I'm claiming you could be 36 times more productive than you're expected to be in a random corporate job. 2 If a fairly good hacker is worth 80,000 a year at a big company, then a smart hacker working very hard without any corporate bullshit to slow him down should be able to do work worth about 3 million a year. Like all back-of-the-envelope calculations, this one has a lot of wiggle room. I wouldn't try to defend the actual numbers. But I stand by the structure of the calculation. I'm not claiming the multiplier is precisely 36, but it is certainly more than 10, and probably rarely as high as 100. If 3 million a year seems high, remember that we're talking about the limit case: the case where you not only have zero leisure time but indeed work so hard that you endanger your health.
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Why are there so many startups selling new business drugs or computer software, and none proposal selling corn oil or laundry detergent? The Proposition, 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. Here is a brief sketch of the economic proposition. If you're a good hacker in your mid twenties, you can get a job paying about 80,000 per year. So on average such a hacker must be able to do at least 80,000 worth of work per year for the company just to break even. You could probably work twice as many hours as a corporate employee, and if you focus you can probably get three times as much done in an hour. 1, you should get another multiple of two, at least, by eliminating the drag of the pointy-haired middle manager who would be your boss in a big company. Then there is one more multiple: how much smarter are you than your job description expects you to be? Suppose another multiple of three.
A startup is a small company that takes on a hard technical problem. Lots of people get rich knowing nothing more than that. You don't resume have to know physics to be a good pitcher. I think it could give you an edge to understand the underlying principles. Why do startups have to be small? Will a startup inevitably stop being a startup as it grows larger? And why do they so often work on developing new technology?
Get funded by, y combinator. May 2004 (This essay was originally published. if you wanted to get rich, how would you do it? I think your best bet would be to start short or join a startup. That's been a reliable way to get rich for hundreds of years. The word "startup" dates from the 1960s, but what happens in one is very similar to the venture-backed trading voyages of the. Startups usually involve technology, so much so that the phrase "high-tech startup" is almost redundant.
The bottleneck in the chain of production was composing the printing plates. The linotype and the monotype dispensed with that bottleneck. The essays sent in were compiled to come up with a master list of inventions that were considered to be the top. Wireless telegraphy was on almost everyones list. The aeroplane came in second, although it was considered important because of its potential, not because there were so many airplanes in the sky. Here are the rest of the results: Wireless telegraphy 97 percent, aeroplane 75, x-ray machine 74 Automobile 66 Motion pictures 63 reinforced concrete 37 Phonograph 37 Incandescent electric lamp 35 Steam turbine 34 Electric car 34 Calculating machine 33 Internal combustion engine 33 Radium. The motion picture: The hard-working Thomas Edison helped make this entertainment form technically viable. Image: Scientific American - november 1, 1913 The full contents of all the prize-winning essays is available with a subscription to the Scientific American archives. Want to start a startup?
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In 2013 the annoying aspects of commercial airline flying make transportation by horse and essay buggy seem a viable alternative. Wyman, the turbine deserved credit not only in the utilization of steam as a prime mover but in its use in the generation of electricity. As a means of transportation, dowe gives the greatest credit to daimler, ford and Duryea. Gottleib daimler is a well-known pioneer in motor vehicles. Henry ford began production of the model t in 1908 and it was quite popular by 1913. Charles Duryea made one of the earliest commercially successful petrol-driven vehicles, starting in 1896.
Cars for personal transportation were an improvement on railways. What the track has done for the locomotive, the pneumatic tire has done for the vehicle not confined to tracks. Credit is given to john Dunlop and William. Bartlet, who each had a milestone on the road (pun shorthand intended) to successful automobile and bicycle tires. Marconi was given the credit for making wireless commercially practical. Dowe also makes a comment that could apply equally to the rise of the world Wide web, stating that wireless was devised to meet the needs of commerce primarily, but incidentally they have contributed to social intercourse. The giant rotary press was quite capable of churning out masses of printed material.
The second-prize essay, by george. Dowe, also of Washington,. C., who may have been a patent attorney, was more philosophical. He divided his inventions into those aiding three broad sectors: production, transportation and communication. Electrical fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. As natural fertilizer sources were depleted during the 19th century, artificial fertilizers enabled the further expansion of agriculture.
Preservation of sugar-producing plants. McMullen of Chicago is credited with the discovery of a method for drying sugar cane and sugar beets for transport. Sugar production became more efficient and its supply increased by leaps and bounds, like a kid on a sugar buzz. Maybe this is one invention we could have done without. By adding tungsten to steel, tools so made were able to cut at such a speed that they became almost red hot without losing either their temper or their cutting edge The increase in the efficiency of cutting machines was nothing short of revolutionary. Another success of chemistry. After tungsten replaced carbon in its filament, the lightbulb was considered perfected. As of 2013 they are being phased out worldwide in favor of compact fluorescent bulbs, which are four times as efficient. Not yet in wide use as transportation in 1913, but to samuel Langley and to the Wright brothers must be awarded the chief honors in the attainment of mechanical flight.
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The linotype machine enabled publishers—largely newspapers—to compose text and print it much faster and cheaper. It was an advance as large as the invention of the printing press itself was over dessay the painstaking handwritten scrolls before. Pretty soon we wont be using paper for writing and reading, so the history of printing will be forgotten anyway. The electric welding process of Elihu Thomson. In the era of mass production, the electric welding process enabled faster production and construction of better, more intricate machines for that manufacturing process. The electric welder invented by Elihu Thomson enabled the cheaper production of intricate welded dom machinery. The turbine invented by Charles Parsons powered ships. Assembled in numbers, they provided an efficient means of driving electrical generators and producing that most useful commodity.
Systems for transmitting information between people have been around for centuries, perhaps millennia. Telegraph signals got a speed boost in the. From Samuel Morse and Alfred vail. Wireless telegraphy as invented by guglielmo marconi, later evolving into radio, set information free from wires. It appears on this list for only one reason: It is used to extract gold from ore. Gold is the life blood of trade, and in 1913 it was considered to be the foundation for international commerce waldo and national currencies. The nikola tesla induction motor. This epoch-making invention is mainly responsible for the present large and increasing use of electricity in the industries. Before people had electricity in their homes, the alternating currentproducing motor constructed by tesla supplied 90 percent of the electricity used by manufacturing.
the next 10 years. A huge improvement in powering ships, the more far-reaching use of this invention was to drive generators that produced electricity. Many inventors worked toward the goal of a self-propelled vehicle in the 19th century. Wyman gave the honor specifically to gottleib daimler for his 1889 engine, arguing: a century's insistent but unsuccessful endeavor to provide a practical self-propelled car proves that the success of any type that once answered requirements would be immediate. Such success did come with the advent of the daimler motor, and not before. Entertainment always will be important to people. The moving picture has transformed the amusements of the multitude. The technical pioneer he cited was Thomas Edison. For the realization of an age-long dream he gave the laurels of success to the Wright brothers, but apart from its military use reserved judgment on the utility of the invention: It presents the least commercial utility of all the inventions considered.
The airplane: The Wright Flyer for military purposes, being demonstrated at Fort myer,., in 1908. Image: Scientific American - november 1, 1913. Following are excerpts from the first- and second-prize essays, along with a statistical tally of all the entries that were sent. The first-prize essay was written by william. Wyman, who worked in the. Patent Office in Washington,. C., and was thus well informed on moliere the progress of inventions. His list was:. The electric furnace (1889) It was the only means for commercially producing Carborundum (the hardest of all manufactured substances).
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A competition sponsored in 1913. Scientific American asked for essays on the 10 greatest inventions. The rules: our time meant the previous quarter century, 1888 to 1913; the invention had to be patentable and was considered to date from its commercial introduction. Perception is at the heart of this question. Inventions are most salient when we can see the historical changes they cause. In 2013 we might not appreciate the work of nikola tesla or Thomas Edison on a daily basis, as we are accustomed to electricity in all its forms, but we are very impressed by the societal changes caused by the Internet and the world Wide. A century from now they might be curious as to what all the fuss was about. The answers from 1913 thus provide a snapshot of the perceptions of the time.