Hey guys! I was in the middle of reading this great paper, and I had to stop immediately to tell you guys about it. It is a paper by the great Paul Graham, the guy who brought you such things as Y Combo, The Arc Programming Language, and a litany of essays which have inspired hackers for years, and years to come.
What led me to this paper, was a simple Google search (I wouldn’t use Bing if my life depended on it) that was very simple, but had been burning in my mind the last few years…
“Where did Yahoo go wrong?”
I find myself often typing questions like this into Google. Google just feels more human to me. Let’s not make this a giant Google circle-jerk, but I ran across this article that Paul wrote about his times at Yahoo in the late 90′s.
Here is the article; “What Happened To Yahoo?”
Why would great programmers want to work for a company that didn’t have a hacker-centric culture, as long as there were others that did? I can imagine two reasons: if they were paid a huge amount, or if the domain was interesting and none of the companies in it were hacker-centric. Otherwise you can’t attract good programmers to work in a suit-centric culture. And without good programmers you won’t get good software, no matter how many people you put on a task, or how many procedures you establish to ensure “quality.”
This was a powerful statement. You can really feel the frank honesty from Paul, here. Silicon Valley has always been equal parts wit, intellect and foresight. The companies who lack that, and coincidentally those that chose to appoint ‘suits’ rather than ‘hackers’ as management reflect the difficulty in surviving in the tech-forward ecosphere of the valley.
I am going to go back to reading this article here, entitled “How To Start A Startup” which is another post by Paul detailing his experiences floating along hyperspace and history and shedding light on much-needed lessons learned from his mistakes and the mistakes of others, and the things learned from being the top 1% of tech-startup VC’s, Y Combinator.
Hope you guys enjoy the articles! I’m still in bed with the flu, so I hope you will pardon the lack of tutorial-substance in this post.
If you have any questions, comments, or opinions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!