02 March 2009
I have a lot of respect for anyone in Silicon Valley or abroad, who has the cahones to stop what they are doing and start something from scratch. Most startups fail, all of them physically and emotionally drain you, and the chess game of raising money, growing a business, and keeping your investors happy is a really just a mine field littered with potential pitfalls. That's why I hold a handful of entrepreneurs in high regards who have not only found success doing this, but have somehow defied the odds twice. Steve Jobs with Apple and Pixar is one that comes to mind along with many of the Paypal crew who have gone on to a new set of challenges after their success their. However only Evan Williams (founder of blogger, and CEO of Twitter) has ever emailed me. With all the buzz about their recent funding, and exponential user growth, I checked out Williams' appearance on PBS's Charlie Rose. Below is my favorite clip
Williams quote which I transcribed below because I think it is great, is the most articulate explanation of why I love blogging so much. " There is still sort of a why would you put yourself out there like that? I think people in general are learning that living a bit more publicly and transparently can have actually really powerful positive effects. You... meet people, are provided with new opportunities, have the ability to express yourself and what's going on. It can be narcissistic and completely ego driven, but it can also be an authentic open way to live your life that people enjoy and makes everyone richer." I know a lot of people who think that starting a blog will be a great primary and secondary source of income. That could not be further from the truth unfortunately. Working in web advertising, I can tell you that for 99.5% people out there, that is just a pipe dream although for many it is tangible. The real return, is in the new opportunities, the new connections, and the new outlet to express yourself. As for the rest of the interview, it was really insightful and covers everything you think it would. I came away liking Williams as he was very spot on in his comments and thoughts, but also in the fact that he didn't overstretch or reach on any of his answers. A lot of startup CEO's like to drop as many buzz words as possible and be as slick as possible in hopes of winning you over and Williams didn't fit that mold at all which was imo a breath of fresh air. Charlie Rose concluded the interview by saying he loved coming out Silicon Valley to learn about all the exciting things that are happening. Made me think back to the clip below from Startup.com, in which VC Kleiner Perkins basically tells a NY guy to take a hike due to them not even being from Silicon Valley. It's pretty smug, funny, with a little bit of truth to it as well. You can certainly start a technology company anywhere (Boston, NYC, Austin, Boulder, LA) but still there is a level of prestige and connectivity that keeps Silicon Valley a step ahead then other prominent tech areas.