Three Drastically Different Links

1. Datacenter review by James Hamilton. Random, I know, but isn’t engineering so cool? Ductless cooling, direct current power… A geek’s delight!

2. Jumping to another planet, here’s an interesting thought on networking.

After you identify your key contacts, think about how you first met them. In the center column of the work sheet, write the name of the person who introduced you to your contact (if you met the person yourself, write “me”). This column will reveal the brokers in your network and help you see the networking practices you used to connect with them.

These are the people you already know who are clearly able and willing to help you branch out. They should be the first people you call and where you invest a disproportionate amount of your time and energy.

Who are the super connectors in your life?

3. And, finally, Paul Graham has another essay out:

Most hackers who start startups wish they could do it by just writing some clever software, putting it on a server somewhere, and watching the money roll in—without ever having to talk to users, or negotiate with other companies, or deal with other people’s broken code. Maybe that’s possible, but I haven’t seen it.

One of the many things we do at Y Combinator is teach hackers about the inevitability of schleps.

The question, then, is this: if you cranked up your willingness to ‘schlep’ by a few percent, would the value of your activity go up exponentially? The answer here is normally ‘yes’. One way I like to think about this is that people are only willing to pay someone to do things they either cannot themselves do or do not want to do. These obviously aren’t mutually exclusive, but finding a problem most people couldn’t solve and none of those who could are willing to even try would be quite the business.

Here’s another interesting observation:

Frankly, the most valuable antidote to schlep blindness is probably ignorance. Most successful founders would probably say that if they’d known when they were starting their company about the obstacles they’d have to overcome, they might never have started it. Maybe that’s one reason the most successful startups of all so often have young founders.

In practice the founders grow with the problems. But no one seems able to foresee that, not even older, more experienced founders. So the reason younger founders have an advantage is that they make two mistakes that cancel each other out. They don’t know how much they can grow, but they also don’t know how much they’ll need to. Older founders only make the first mistake.

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