The Power of Being Marginal

If you haven't seen Paul Graham's latest essay you really really really really really need to go read it. And if you don't understand it, you need to read it again. A few quick quotes:

The eminent, on the other hand, are weighed down by their eminence. Eminence is like a suit: it impresses the wrong people, and it constrains the wearer.

Outsiders should realize the advantage they have here. Being able to take risks is hugely valuable. Everyone values safety too much, both the obscure and the eminent. No one wants to look like a fool. But it's very useful to be able to.

Seriously, go read it.

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  • It’s a great essay. For instance “For example, rising up through the hierarchy of the average big company demands an attention to politics few thoughtful people could spare… Bill Gates can grow a company under him, but it’s hard to imagine him having the patience to climb the corporate ladder at General Electric– or Microsoft, actually.”

    This essay is full of truth and the author pulls no punches. Thanks for the link.

  • Jason

    Agreed. I like a lot of what Paul Graham has to say, though I think he can be a bit optimistic about how (relatively) easy a startup can be. To be fair though, he is still far more balanced in his assessment then most of the other books I’ve read on the topic.

  • Ben

    I’ve been a Paul Graham fan for ages. Thanks for pointing to another great essay. He has great insight.

  • Ben

    Here’s a great quote, “If I could go back and redo my twenties, that would be one thing I’d do more of: just try hacking things together. Like many people that age, I spent a lot of time worrying about what I should do. I also spent some time trying to build stuff. I should have spent less time worrying and more time building. If you’re not sure what to do, make something.”