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  1. More by Trace Peterson
  2. A young woman, bereft since the death of her twin, tries to forge a new, singular identity
  3. In Case of Laughter, Break Glass: The Recession Essays
  4. Economists in Glass Houses
  5. In Case of Laughter, Break Glass: The Recession Essays by Tony Machi

They were also in prohibition, which led to corruption and organized crime groups like the mafia. The Roaring Twenties was known to many as an infamous age of sex, lawlessness, and prohibition. The twenties were much more than that actually it was time where the American society had a dramatic shift from its rural roots to the bustling city. American society was changing from the rural farm days. Many people were moving into the city and buying new gadgets that were being invited. Society was turning into a consumer Society this meant that many people across the country were buying the same products.

The s, also known as the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties, was a time of economic prosperity, automobiles, consumerism, music, film, fashion, and literature. All of this created a new American popular culture. The American economy flourished after World War I. The United States was involved in the war as part of the Allied Powers, and continued. People start to enjoy their life and having parties, alcohol, everything is about money and goods.

But was The life at Twenties really this wonderful? The name suggest a time of wild enjoyment, fun, loud, crazy and a musical age. The Twenties showed a revolution in art, literature and music, which greatly reflected the nations changing values. The economy was prosperous, there was a widespread of social reform, new aspects of culture were established, and people found better ways to improve their lifestyle and enjoy life, such as the.

The Roaring Twenties were distinguished by a distinct breakage from the societal norms of the preceding generations. Nicolette Johnston Mr. During the s, major changes occurred. The Twenties marked the start of a new lifestyle for the world, in which styles such as appearances were different, the system of money changed, and things were viewed much differently than they were in past generations.

There was a major shift in living conditions. On the outside, many people observed Americans with prosperity, lavish lives, and new opportunities through new technology and inventions. However, although America seemed to be well off at the time and enjoying life, it was only a slight cover up. Inside the country, there was turmoil which included debt and war. For this reason, America earned the reputation. The decade portrayed the American Dream of women, money, alcohol, music, and partying. In the twenties dresses were. The s opened up a world of change to Americans; some did not approve and others, especially those in the big cities, celebrated with music and dance every day.

There were numerous inventions that were being created throughout the s and because of nationwide advertisement; people all over America were able to buy all the same stuff as one.

More by Trace Peterson

It was an age of prosperity and change. The United States experienced a recession that was followed by a period of unlimited prosperity. Although the United States encountered both positive and negative experiences, it proved to be very influential in the future. The 's were definitely "Roaring" in more ways than one. There were major changes in American Society during the 's that.

The Roaring Twenties Do you ever find yourself wondering why the s were called the Roaring Twenties? The Roaring Twenties was a celebration of youth and culture. During the s, many different forms of art, music, and literature began. There were many changes that took place in the s, and many people were influenced by these changes. Many customs and values changed in the United. The Roaring Twenties The decade of was a time of great change, reform, improvement, adjustment and alteration of everything Americans had come to rely on.

In other words everything changed. Not one part of common life was unaffected. Exciting new events happened in sports, entertainment, science, politics, communication and transportation. It was the age of prohibition, it was the age of prosperity, and it was the age of downfall. The twenties were the age of everything.

It has. Throughout the 's decade, Americans were a part of the fevered frenzy that accompanied the dream of total freedom; a dream that encompassed the ideas of rebellion and equality. New and different forms of dance, music, clothing, behavior, and lifestyle were developed nationwide. As this time period brought profound changes, conflict, cultural excitement, and experimentation. Roaring Twenties: A Decade of Extravagance The Roaring Twenties was a time of fun and delight the stock market was booming and America was thriving while other countries were experiencing turmoil in aftermath of the First World War.

Returning from the horrors of war, writers were inspired by romance and the riches America had. Using their unique creative expression, many of the writings from the Twenties were a commentary on social life, the good and bad. Each story holds a different theme, different. Mass Culture More Spending Money.

A young woman, bereft since the death of her twin, tries to forge a new, singular identity

Tension in the Twenties All major societies throughout our world's history have experienced periods of major change. Tension inevitably arises as a result of the new environments in which the people live. Our country is no exception, especially through the era known as the Roaring Twenties. Just being another decade on the timeline was not good enough for the s. When its brief turn came, it had to be the biggest, the loudest, and the brightest. A calamity gave it birth, and a calamity. The Wild and Roaring Twenties The roaring twenties, also known as the Jazz Age or the Golden Twenties, was a time of dramatic social changes, lifestyle changes, and changes in culture that took place in the United States, the United Kingdom, and in Canada.

Women began to demand equal rights as the wealth of these nations doubled. Some of the many social changes included the women getting their hair cut short, in a bob-like style, by male barbers. The women also began to wear shorter skirts, as. The Roaring Twenties were a time of new behaviors, attitudes, and freedoms which were all presented during the Prohibition. The Roaring Twenties were an era of social, political, and dramatic change.

During this age, freedoms were expanded yet, in some cases, they were diminished. Prohibition was an enormous part of this era. Prohibition was ratified as the 18th Amendment in , banning the manufacture and sale of alcohol. The three main contributions from Prohibition were: bootlegging, organized. Culture, values, and the technology of America changed and it had only just begun. The many experiences that came from WWI had transitioned into the growth of new industries, cities, and new morals.

Women finally gained the right to vote in , and there. The s, or better known as the roaring twenties changed the lives of women in America politically, physically and mentally. Women were granted more freedom, the right to vote, changed their physical appearance, and focused on materialistic goals instead of moral values. Before World War I, women would wear a high collar, long straight skirts below the knee and long hair that was tied loosely.

The roaring twenties brought along swing dancing and jazz which changed the way women dressed and danced. Scott Fitzgerald and it was published in This novel is one that defines the Twenties. The speaker of the book is a young man who goes by the name of Nick Carraway, who is from Minnesota. Throughout the book, he both narrates the story and casts himself as the author of this book. His father taught him to reserve judgment about other people that crossed his path. This is because if he deals with them through. The Roaring Twenties in America In the first three decades of the twentieth century America became the richest and most powerful country in the world.

America had so much money it could lend money to Europe after World War One. The average wage for an American was five times more than the average workers wage in Europe. America's wealth, population and industry boomed. The 's are often known as the roaring twenties in this essay I will find out if this is true. It has been. A time in the United States that roared with prohibition, jazz, and tub made gin.

The 20s were not only about the fun but also some of the greatest inventions that have made our lives better were created. Radio broadcasting began in with the first broadcast done from Pittsburg. The three positioned traffic light, which I believe to be one of the most interesting inventions. The s was a decade of exhilarating societal changes and reflective cultural conflicts in the nation. For many Americans, the expansion of cities ignited the ascend of a consumer culture, the upsurge of mass entertainment, changes in the religious and moral climate, the boiling tensions of the black racial movement and the changing role of women in society.

The United States was going through a cultural civil war where traditional values conflicted with an era of modernity. Mass culture and. Victorian age to the roaring twenties to today. The most dramatic change was from the Victorian age to the s. The roaring twenties ideals of beauty and fashion are similar to today's society by what women do to their bodies, what women wear, and how women see themselves.

Every women can find something wrong with her body. Women try to change, fix, or hide what they do not like about themselves. Women express what they love about their bodies as well.

In Case of Laughter, Break Glass: The Recession Essays

Therefore the roaring twenties ideal of beauty. The roaring twenties was a different. Two famous literature pieces are very similar connecting key events and issues from this time period. Whether or not the term 'Roaring Twenties' is an adequate description of the character of Australian society from to depends on the circumstances of the Australian population in this decade, because 'Roaring' implies the 's were full of dramatic social changes, which may have came about from spontaneous economical or political incidences and new inventions.

In the s Australian politics was dominated by the conservative parties and, despite some industrial discontent and hardship. People flocked to cities to be part of this great industrial boom that was taking place. The s was a period of economic prosperity and glamor, but in time, the glitter of the era would be brushed away to expose the grime that lay just below the surface Roaring. The people responsible for this great reveal were called Progressives. The Roaring Twenties. The value of interpersonal relations diminished, and the very meaning of reality was synthesized and then deconstructed.

Fitzgerald utilizes the character of Owl Eyes and the billboard of Dr. When everyone feels they're getting a slightly bad deal, that they're doing more than they should for the amount of stock they have, the stock is optimally apportioned. There is more to setting up a company than incorporating it, of course: insurance, business license, unemployment compensation, various things with the IRS. I'm not even sure what the list is, because we, ah, skipped all that. When we got real funding near the end of , we hired a great CFO, who fixed everything retroactively.

It turns out that no one comes and arrests you if you don't do everything you're supposed to when starting a company. And a good thing too, or a lot of startups would never get started. This does happen. So when you set up the company, as well as as apportioning the stock, you should get all the founders to sign something agreeing that everyone's ideas belong to this company, and that this company is going to be everyone's only job.

One of the worst things that can happen to a startup is to run into intellectual property problems. We did, and it came closer to killing us than any competitor ever did. As we were in the middle of getting bought, we discovered that one of our people had, early on, been bound by an agreement that said all his ideas belonged to the giant company that was paying for him to go to grad school. In theory, that could have meant someone else owned big chunks of our software.

So the acquisition came to a screeching halt while we tried to sort this out. The problem was, since we'd been about to be acquired, we'd allowed ourselves to run low on cash. Now we needed to raise more to keep going. But it's hard to raise money with an IP cloud over your head, because investors can't judge how serious it is. Our existing investors, knowing that we needed money and had nowhere else to get it, at this point attempted certain gambits which I will not describe in detail, except to remind readers that the word "angel" is a metaphor.

The founders thereupon proposed to walk away from the company, after giving the investors a brief tutorial on how to administer the servers themselves. And while this was happening, the acquirers used the delay as an excuse to welch on the deal. Miraculously it all turned out ok. The investors backed down; we did another round of funding at a reasonable valuation; the giant company finally gave us a piece of paper saying they didn't own our software; and six months later we were bought by Yahoo for much more than the earlier acquirer had agreed to pay.

So we were happy in the end, though the experience probably took several years off my life. Don't do what we did. Before you consummate a startup, ask everyone about their previous IP history. Once you've got a company set up, it may seem presumptuous to go knocking on the doors of rich people and asking them to invest tens of thousands of dollars in something that is really just a bunch of guys with some ideas.

Economists in Glass Houses

But when you look at it from the rich people's point of view, the picture is more encouraging. Most rich people are looking for good investments. If you really think you have a chance of succeeding, you're doing them a favor by letting them invest. Mixed with any annoyance they might feel about being approached will be the thought: are these guys the next Google?

Usually angels are financially equivalent to founders. They get the same kind of stock and get diluted the same amount in future rounds. How much stock should they get? That depends on how ambitious you feel. When you offer x percent of your company for y dollars, you're implicitly claiming a certain value for the whole company.

Venture investments are usually described in terms of that number. How do you decide what the value of the company should be? There is no rational way. At this stage the company is just a bet. I didn't realize that when we were raising money. Julian thought we ought to value the company at several million dollars. I thought it was preposterous to claim that a couple thousand lines of code, which was all we had at the time, were worth several million dollars.

Eventually we settled on one millon, because Julian said no one would invest in a company with a valuation any lower. It was also the value of our ideas, which turned out to be right, and of all the future work we'd do, which turned out to be a lot. The next round of funding is the one in which you might deal with actual venture capital firms. But don't wait till you've burned through your last round of funding to start approaching them.

VCs are slow to make up their minds. They can take months. You don't want to be running out of money while you're trying to negotiate with them. Getting money from an actual VC firm is a bigger deal than getting money from angels. The amounts of money involved are larger, millions usually. So the deals take longer, dilute you more, and impose more onerous conditions. Usually the claim is that you need someone mature and experienced, with a business background. Maybe in some cases this is true. And yet Bill Gates was young and inexperienced and had no business background, and he seems to have done ok.

Steve Jobs got booted out of his own company by someone mature and experienced, with a business background, who then proceeded to ruin the company. So I think people who are mature and experienced, with a business background, may be overrated. We used to call these guys "newscasters," because they had neat hair and spoke in deep, confident voices, and generally didn't know much more than they read on the teleprompter. We talked to a number of VCs, but eventually we ended up financing our startup entirely with angel money.

The main reason was that we feared a brand-name VC firm would stick us with a newscaster as part of the deal. That might have been ok if he was content to limit himself to talking to the press, but what if he wanted to have a say in running the company? That would have led to disaster, because our software was so complex. We were a company whose whole m. The strategic decisions were mostly decisions about technology, and we didn't need any help with those. This was also one reason we didn't go public. Back in our CFO tried to talk me into it. In those days you could go public as a dogfood portal, so as a company with a real product and real revenues, we might have done well.

But I feared it would have meant taking on a newscaster-- someone who, as they say, "can talk Wall Street's language. And now Wall Street is collectively kicking itself. They'll pay attention next time. Wall Street learns new languages fast when money is involved. You have more leverage negotiating with VCs than you realize. The reason is other VCs. I know a number of VCs now, and when you talk to them you realize that it's a seller's market. Even now there is too much money chasing too few good deals.

VCs form a pyramid. At the top are famous ones like Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins, but beneath those are a huge number you've never heard of.

What they all have in common is that a dollar from them is worth one dollar. Most VCs will tell you that they don't just provide money, but connections and advice. But such advice and connections can come very expensive. And as you go down the food chain the VCs get rapidly dumber. A few steps down from the top you're basically talking to bankers who've picked up a few new vocabulary words from reading Wired. Does your product use XML? So I'd advise you to be skeptical about claims of experience and connections.

Basically, a VC is a source of money. I'd be inclined to go with whoever offered the most money the soonest with the least strings attached. You may wonder how much to tell VCs. And you should, because some of them may one day be funding your competitors. I think the best plan is not to be overtly secretive, but not to tell them everything either. After all, as most VCs say, they're more interested in the people than the ideas. The main reason they want to talk about your idea is to judge you, not the idea.

So as long as you seem like you know what you're doing, you can probably keep a few things back from them. The most efficient way to reach VCs, especially if you only want them to know about you and don't want their money, is at the conferences that are occasionally organized for startups to present to them. Not Spending It When and if you get an infusion of real money from investors, what should you do with it?

Not spend it, that's what. In nearly every startup that fails, the proximate cause is running out of money. Usually there is something deeper wrong. But even a proximate cause of death is worth trying hard to avoid. During the Bubble many startups tried to "get big fast. But it was easy for the meaning to slide over into hiring a lot of people fast. Of the two versions, the one where you get a lot of customers fast is of course preferable. But even that may be overrated. The idea is to get there first and get all the users, leaving none for competitors.

But I think in most businesses the advantages of being first to market are not so overwhelmingly great. Google is again a case in point. When they appeared it seemed as if search was a mature market, dominated by big players who'd spent millions to build their brands: Yahoo, Lycos, Excite, Infoseek, Altavista, Inktomi.

Surely was a little late to arrive at the party. But as the founders of Google knew, brand is worth next to nothing in the search business. You can come along at any point and make something better, and users will gradually seep over to you. As if to emphasize the point, Google never did any advertising. They're like dealers; they sell the stuff, but they know better than to use it themselves. The competitors Google buried would have done better to spend those millions improving their software.

Future startups should learn from that mistake. Unless you're in a market where products are as undifferentiated as cigarettes or vodka or laundry detergent, spending a lot on brand advertising is a sign of breakage. And few if any Web businesses are so undifferentiated. The dating sites are running big ad campaigns right now, which is all the more evidence they're ripe for the picking.

Fee, fie, fo, fum, I smell a company run by marketing guys. We were compelled by circumstances to grow slowly, and in retrospect it was a good thing. The founders all learned to do every job in the company. As well as writing software, I had to do sales and customer support. At sales I was not very good. I was persistent, but I didn't have the smoothness of a good salesman. My message to potential customers was: you'd be stupid not to sell online, and if you sell online you'd be stupid to use anyone else's software. Both statements were true, but that's not the way to convince people.

I was great at customer support though. Imagine talking to a customer support person who not only knew everything about the product, but would apologize abjectly if there was a bug, and then fix it immediately, while you were on the phone with them. Customers loved us. And we loved them, because when you're growing slow by word of mouth, your first batch of users are the ones who were smart enough to find you by themselves. There is nothing more valuable, in the early stages of a startup, than smart users.

If you listen to them, they'll tell you exactly how to make a winning product. And not only will they give you this advice for free, they'll pay you. We officially launched in early By the end of that year we had about 70 users. Since this was the era of "get big fast," I worried about how small and obscure we were. But in fact we were doing exactly the right thing.

Once you get big in users or employees it gets hard to change your product. That year was effectively a laboratory for improving our software. By the end of it, we were so far ahead of our competitors that they never had a hope of catching up. And since all the hackers had spent many hours talking to users, we understood online commerce way better than anyone else. That's the key to success as a startup. There is nothing more important than understanding your business. You might think that anyone in a business must, ex officio, understand it. Far from it. Google's secret weapon was simply that they understood search.

I was working for Yahoo when Google appeared, and Yahoo didn't understand search. I know because I once tried to convince the powers that be that we had to make search better, and I got in reply what was then the party line about it: that Yahoo was no longer a mere "search engine. Well, a small fraction of page views they may be, but they are an important fraction, because they are the page views that Web sessions start with.

I think Yahoo gets that now. Google understands a few other things most Web companies still don't. The most important is that you should put users before advertisers, even though the advertisers are paying and users aren't. One of my favorite bumper stickers reads "if the people lead, the leaders will follow.

If you don't put users first, you leave a gap for competitors who do. To make something users love, you have to understand them. And the bigger you are, the harder that is. So I say "get big slow. The other reason to spend money slowly is to encourage a culture of cheapness. That's something Yahoo did understand. I was impressed by that. Yahoo's market cap then was already in the billions, and they were still worrying about wasting a few gigs of disk space. When you get a couple million dollars from a VC firm, you tend to feel rich. It's important to realize you're not. A rich company is one with large revenues.

This money isn't revenue.


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It's money investors have given you in the hope you'll be able to generate revenues. So despite those millions in the bank, you're still poor. For most startups the model should be grad student, not law firm. Aim for cool and cheap, not expensive and impressive. For us the test of whether a startup understood this was whether they had Aeron chairs. The Aeron came out during the Bubble and was very popular with startups. Especially the type, all too common then, that was like a bunch of kids playing house with money supplied by VCs.

We had office chairs so cheap that the arms all fell off. This was slightly embarrassing at the time, but in retrospect the grad-studenty atmosphere of our office was another of those things we did right without knowing it. Our offices were in a wooden triple-decker in Harvard Square. It had been an apartment until about the s, and there was still a claw-footed bathtub in the bathroom. It must once have been inhabited by someone fairly eccentric, because a lot of the chinks in the walls were stuffed with aluminum foil, as if to protect against cosmic rays.

When eminent visitors came to see us, we were a bit sheepish about the low production values. But in fact that place was the perfect space for a startup. We felt like our role was to be impudent underdogs instead of corporate stuffed shirts, and that is exactly the spirit you want. An apartment is also the right kind of place for developing software. Cube farms suck for that, as you've probably discovered if you've tried it. Ever notice how much easier it is to hack at home than at work? So why not make work more like home? When you're looking for space for a startup, don't feel that it has to look professional.

Professional means doing good work, not elevators and glass walls. I'd advise most startups to avoid corporate space at first and just rent an apartment. You want to live at the office in a startup, so why not have a place designed to be lived in as your office? Besides being cheaper and better to work in, apartments tend to be in better locations than office buildings. And for a startup location is very important. The key to productivity is for people to come back to work after dinner. Those hours after the phone stops ringing are by far the best for getting work done. Great things happen when a group of employees go out to dinner together, talk over ideas, and then come back to their offices to implement them.

So you want to be in a place where there are a lot of restaurants around, not some dreary office park that's a wasteland after PM. Once a company shifts over into the model where everyone drives home to the suburbs for dinner, however late, you've lost something extraordinarily valuable. God help you if you actually start in that mode. If I were going to start a startup today, there are only three places I'd consider doing it: on the Red Line near Central, Harvard, or Davis Squares Kendall is too sterile ; in Palo Alto on University or California Aves; and in Berkeley immediately north or south of campus.

These are the only places I know that have the right kind of vibe. The most important way to not spend money is by not hiring people. I may be an extremist, but I think hiring people is the worst thing a company can do. To start with, people are a recurring expense, which is the worst kind.

They also tend to cause you to grow out of your space, and perhaps even move to the sort of uncool office building that will make your software worse. But worst of all, they slow you down: instead of sticking your head in someone's office and checking out an idea with them, eight people have to have a meeting about it. So the fewer people you can hire, the better. During the Bubble a lot of startups had the opposite policy. They wanted to get "staffed up" as soon as possible, as if you couldn't get anything done unless there was someone with the corresponding job title.

That's big company thinking. Don't hire people to fill the gaps in some a priori org chart. The only reason to hire someone is to do something you'd like to do but can't. If hiring unnecessary people is expensive and slows you down, why do nearly all companies do it? I think the main reason is that people like the idea of having a lot of people working for them.

This weakness often extends right up to the CEO. If you ever end up running a company, you'll find the most common question people ask is how many employees you have. This is their way of weighing you. It's not just random people who ask this; even reporters do. And they're going to be a lot more impressed if the answer is a thousand than if it's ten. This is ridiculous, really. If two companies have the same revenues, it's the one with fewer employees that's more impressive. When people used to ask me how many people our startup had, and I answered "twenty," I could see them thinking that we didn't count for much.

I used to want to add "but our main competitor, whose ass we regularly kick, has a hundred and forty, so can we have credit for the larger of the two numbers? Any of you who were nerds in high school know about this choice. Keep doing it when you start a company. Should You? But should you start a company? Are you the right sort of person to do it? If you are, is it worth it? More people are the right sort of person to start a startup than realize it.

That's the main reason I wrote this. There could be ten times more startups than there are, and that would probably be a good thing. I was, I now realize, exactly the right sort of person to start a startup. But the idea terrified me at first. I was forced into it because I was a Lisp hacker. The company I'd been consulting for seemed to be running into trouble, and there were not a lot of other companies using Lisp.

I realize this sounds far-fetched, but if you're a Lisp hacker you'll know what I mean. And if the idea of starting a startup frightened me so much that I only did it out of necessity, there must be a lot of people who would be good at it but who are too intimidated to try. So who should start a startup? Someone who is a good hacker, between about 23 and 38, and who wants to solve the money problem in one shot instead of getting paid gradually over a conventional working life.

In Case of Laughter, Break Glass: The Recession Essays by Tony Machi

I can't say precisely what a good hacker is. At a first rate university this might include the top half of computer science majors. Though of course you don't have to be a CS major to be a hacker; I was a philosophy major in college. It's hard to tell whether you're a good hacker, especially when you're young. Fortunately the process of starting startups tends to select them automatically. What drives people to start startups is or should be looking at existing technology and thinking, don't these guys realize they should be doing x, y, and z?

And that's also a sign that one is a good hacker. I put the lower bound at 23 not because there's something that doesn't happen to your brain till then, but because you need to see what it's like in an existing business before you try running your own. The business doesn't have to be a startup.

I spent a year working for a software company to pay off my college loans. It was the worst year of my adult life, but I learned, without realizing it at the time, a lot of valuable lessons about the software business. In this case they were mostly negative lessons: don't have a lot of meetings; don't have chunks of code that multiple people own; don't have a sales guy running the company; don't make a high-end product; don't let your code get too big; don't leave finding bugs to QA people; don't go too long between releases; don't isolate developers from users; don't move from Cambridge to Route ; and so on.

Perhaps even more valuable: it's hard to repeat a brilliant performance, but it's straightforward to avoid errors. VCs won't trust you, and will try to reduce you to a mascot as a condition of funding. Customers will worry you're going to flake out and leave them stranded. Even you yourself, unless you're very unusual, will feel your age to some degree; you'll find it awkward to be the boss of someone much older than you, and if you're 21, hiring only people younger rather limits your options.

Some people could probably start a company at 18 if they wanted to. Bill Gates was 19 when he and Paul Allen started Microsoft. Paul Allen was 22, though, and that probably made a difference. So if you're thinking, I don't care what he says, I'm going to start a company now, you may be the sort of person who could get away with it. The other cutoff, 38, has a lot more play in it. One reason I put it there is that I don't think many people have the physical stamina much past that age.


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I used to work till or AM every night, seven days a week. I don't know if I could do that now. Also, startups are a big risk financially. If you try something that blows up and leaves you broke at 26, big deal; a lot of 26 year olds are broke. By 38 you can't take so many risks-- especially if you have kids. My final test may be the most restrictive. Do you actually want to start a startup? What it amounts to, economically, is compressing your working life into the smallest possible space. Instead of working at an ordinary rate for 40 years, you work like hell for four.

And maybe end up with nothing-- though in that case it probably won't take four years. During this time you'll do little but work, because when you're not working, your competitors will be. My only leisure activities were running, which I needed to do to keep working anyway, and about fifteen minutes of reading a night. I had a girlfriend for a total of two months during that three year period. Every couple weeks I would take a few hours off to visit a used bookshop or go to a friend's house for dinner.

I went to visit my family twice. Otherwise I just worked. Working was often fun, because the people I worked with were some of my best friends. Sometimes it was even technically interesting. Like the time the power went off in Cambridge for about six hours, and we made the mistake of trying to start a gasoline powered generator inside our offices. I won't try that again. I don't think the amount of bullshit you have to deal with in a startup is more than you'd endure in an ordinary working life.

It's probably less, in fact; it just seems like a lot because it's compressed into a short period. So mainly what a startup buys you is time. That's the way to think about it if you're trying to decide whether to start one.