Smart People Should Build Things

This is a great book that every soon-to-be or recent college grad should read to help figure out if they're making the right career choices for themselves. Here are some notes and quotes I jotted down as I was reading it:

Hiring top talent is a zero sum game

Finance throwing money at very smart technical people - reducing numbers of startups over time

Trading doesn't do much to innovate

A lot of capital available

Your appetite for risk generally diminishes as you get older

Lifestyle keeps scaling upwards and hampers ability to take risk

Financial services and management consulting are conflated with "business"

All very appealing to college seniors

Lawyers start law firms and consultants start consultancies - people do what they're used to and good at

PayPal helped found a ton of prolific startups 

“Professional services are being used as a de facto training ground for our top college graduates— with mixed results for everyone concerned. In particular, going into banking or consulting to learn how to a start or run a business is not always ideal; the processes are very different, and give you a sense of companies trying to do different things. It’s like trying to learn how to become a chef by going to a company that runs analyses for large restaurant chains. Yes, you’ll get a better grasp of how chain restaurants work. But will you learn to cook?”

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t” -Anonymous

“What sort of experience would you suggest to a twenty-two-year-old who wanted to start or run a business some day? You could ask him or her to start a company and learn the hard way. But this would be a bridge too far, and an extraordinarily costly endeavor. A better alternative would be to send him or her to work at a startup, working alongside a more experienced entrepreneur”

“It’s hard to feel good after such a conspicuous failure…But eventually you pick yourself up. You realize that no one died. Everyone will find other things to do, including you. Your family still loves you, your friends still like you, and women don’t know you have a net worth of negative $100,000 unless you tell them. 

“resource curse”

“If he can maneuver to be close to the geyser, he’s going to get paid a lot regardless of whether the geyser works measurably better due to his being there...Our financial services industry plays an equivalent role to the oil industry in Saudi Arabia in terms of talent attraction”

rent-seeking vs value creation

“These people—the builders who work with the founders to help these companies grow and prosper—are, in many ways, more appropriate role models. The plan should not be, for the most par, “start a company.”. More realistically, the plan should be “join a team.” “