Dear Friends, here’s an interesting article ,”It Pays to Have Pals in Silicon Valley“, from today’s New York Times regarding the YouTube phenomenon and the numerous other PayPal spinoffs. Some reflections on relevance for Hawaii:
- There’s nothing like having a huge success like PayPal to jumpstart multiple spinoff companies and the acceleration of tech development and creativity. To follow this example, Hawaii should aim for a few huge successes that will ultimately generate spinoffs and accelerate critical mass.
- Startups are hard work and they need to be. The strong will survive. We shouldn’t make it easy for entrepreneurs to fund their companies if we are to complete globally and find sustainable businesses. If we make it too easy for them, then we are actually hurting them in the long run.
- Hawaii should thus be careful about taking risk away from entrepreneurs and investors. As Reid Hoffman (PayPal alum and founder of LinkedIn) is quoted at the end of the article, “Nothing focuses your attention quite like losing money and the sense that you are going to die soon.”
- Entrepreneurs want things to be hard. That’s why they are entrepreneurs. The article makes numerous references to the bonding that occurred through the stress and hard work (nights and weekends) of employees of PayPay in its early stages as a struggling startup. It states: “The long hours, sleepless nights and intense pressure of life inside a start-up often create strong bonds among its employees. In its early years, PayPal was all about pressure and the struggle for survival. The company was losing millions each month.”
We should nurture this type of environment for entrepreneurs.