This is a list of books currently on my To Read shelf... literally. I do not suggest or anti-suggest any of them at this time as I haven't read them yet.
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In the last few weeks, I've had numerous discussions involving economic theory ranging from the complex to the mundane. After having six slight variations of every single conversation, I thought I would start documenting them here. And besides, I figured I should actually put my economics minor to use..
In the US, when we talk about tax policy there are two phrases thrown around regularly: "the rich need to pay their fair share" and "after $X how much more does someone really need?" Without going into what might be a "fair share" or what $X might be, let's look at the underlying reasoning for the second statement.
The people who say this believe that someone who makes 2*$X should be reduced to $X in order to be "fair". They look only at the dollars without considering the effort that created them. More importantly, they believe that even after they take $X the first time, the person will still be motivated to earn or create 2*$X next time.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Joining a Startup. In it, I discussed some of the important things to consider before joining a startup including responsibilities, career path, v1.0 vs the Vision, and funding. The post itself got a great response but more importantly, it generated some questions about funding. Apparently, many geeks don't know how startups are funded, so here's some perspective.
There are a variety of ways that a company can be funded. One route - bootstrapping - involves building revneues to take the next step, building those revenues to take the next step, lather, rinse, repeat. While this can work, it tends to be slow and plodding and it's not what I'm talking about here. When a company needs a certain critical mass (Eg. Ebay, Amazon, Twitter), this doesn't work very well. The alternative is Funding.
As many do this time of year, I'm taking a few moments to review last years' goals and set new ones for this year. I don't do this lightly. I simply share them here as a form of public accountability. Without further ado...
In the last few weeks, I've talked with a number of friends about career changes. Some are feeling antsy and just want to move, others are starting their own consulting, and others are starting and joining startups. While I've done all the above - to varying levels of failure success - I thought I'd share the things I've learned along the way.
Under no circumstances am I being critical of any friend or associate's startup, this is about patterns.
First, everyone does everything. Check your ego at the door. In the first startup I was with, I was in charge of adding reporting to the eCommerce application and taking the garbage out. Was it an effective use of my time? Not at all. Did it have to be done? Yes. Did we have the money to hire someone else? Nope. If your startup is renting office space, you probably won't have to worry about this... but who signs for packages? Who re-orders coffee? On the flip side, you could be the one taking technical questions at the next investor pitch or invited to the big customer Christmas party.
Last week, I was teaching the Security Class for php|architect and talked not only about protecting your applications from security vulnerabilities but what to do after you've found (or have been notified of) one.
Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you, it's not a question of "if" you'll have a problem, but a question of when.
Depending on the type and scope of the vulnerability, this can range from "doh" to "call the lawyers and update your resume". Either way, it can be a disaster.
And we all know there are two times to come up with a disaster recovery plan:
Before it happens OR
While it's happening... oh wait, that's not planning.
I use this space about once or twice a year to talk about political issues. Honestly, I try to avoid it as much as possible but it's impossible to separate economic policy and entrepreneurship. If you read anything from Paul Graham, you'll notice how he intricately threads these issues together time and time again.
If you've ever read my Twitter stream, it's not hard to guess what I think of the Bailout/Stimulus Bill signed into law recently. In short:
I think the "Stimulus" is irresponsible, illogical, and a threat to the economic liberty and risks that entrepreneurs require.
While I'd love to write a whole treatise on this, I'll keep it to three points: