Just the other day, a friend of mine invited me to attend an enterpreneur conference. I wrote back him to explain – I’m no enterpreneur. Yes, I make money off the internets, but I’m suprised everyday that I am still making money and that someone has not come to kick me off this thing. I make about $12k a month, which is not very much in the global scale of things, but it’s fine.
You see, there are lots of enterprenuers out there. They have glossy homepages with gradients, and they describe themselves are enterprenuers and have a list of companies they have founded. They attend conferences, they IM with other enterprenuers, they have a contact list that includes some VCs and Angel Investors. They have twitter accounts, they tweet about the latest enterprenueral news and they know exactly when the iTablet is coming out, because well, they read it on TechCrunch.
I would love to do this also, but I’m just a butchers son. My dad told me a long time ago when I was getting an advanced degree – Max, you will never be your titles, you will never be your friends, you will never be your car or your house. What you will be is a guy who knows how to use a cleaver, and when you stop knowing how to use it, all those things you have acquired will be held up by nothing, and will collapse into the nothing you have become.
I’m a hack, and my methods are hackish:
- I don’t have website because nobody knows me or cares
- I use PHP because indian programmers know PHP and they are cheap
- I don’t spend money on design, because a lot of customers don’t care about subtle shadows
- I don’t attend conferences because the amount I spend on them is always less than the benefit
- I only do marketing I can measure. If I cannot measure it, I don’t do it
- I don’t change working things
- I stay 2-3 years behind the trend. After the early adopters have left, there is this gap that can be filled by people who are willing to learn from the failures of the early adopters
- I don’t invent shit. Look at what is invented already and make it a bit easier to use
- I like romanian programmers for web work & design and russian programmers for algorithmical work
- I write all services I need, begging them for a discount because I cannot afford what they have
- I use the free version of dropbox and just keep deleting files to keep it under 3GB
- If code works, it is released
- If there is a bug that happens in 5% of the cases, and the users are unlikely to publicly complain, then release
- If there is some flickering or flashing or otherwise unsightly thing in the code, release anyways
- Test cheap. Release a really crappy version to see what the response is. No response, abandon. Complaints, improve
- I don’t know shit about this stuff. I email people and ask them how they do it. They tell me. I implement
I sure as hell would not quit my job to start a company.