Graham dating

If you think about people you know, you'll find the animal test is easy to apply. And finally, since a few good hackers have unbearable personalities, could we stand to have them around?

Call the person's image to mind and imagine the sentence "so-and-so is an animal." If you laugh, they're not. That last test filters out surprisingly few people.

A startup that does all three will probably succeed.

And that's kind of exciting, when you think about it, because all three are doable. And since a startup that succeeds ordinarily makes its founders rich, that implies getting rich is doable too. If there is one message I'd like to get across about startups, that's it.

And while they probably have bigger ambitions now, this alone brings them a billion dollars a year.

When nerds are unbearable it's usually because they're trying too hard to seem smart.

Google's plan, for example, was simply to create a search site that didn't suck.

They had three new ideas: index more of the Web, use links to rank search results, and have clean, simple web pages with unintrusive keyword-based ads.

A lot of would-be startup founders think the key to the whole process is the initial idea, and from that point all you have to do is execute. If you go to VC firms with a brilliant idea that you'll tell them about if they sign a nondisclosure agreement, most will tell you to get lost. The market price is less than the inconvenience of signing an NDA.

Another sign of how little the initial idea is worth is the number of startups that change their plan en route.

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What it means specifically depends on the job: a salesperson who just won't take no for an answer; a hacker who will stay up till AM rather than go to bed leaving code with a bug in it; a PR person who will cold-call New York Times reporters on their cell phones; a graphic designer who feels physical pain when something is two millimeters out of place.

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