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15 Comments

You weren't meant to have a boss

  1. 5

    I always tend to think this advice is bad for young people. Getting a regular job or internship in the field that you want to found or work in massively accelerates your learning. Striking it out on your own w/out getting any experience in your field-of-choice always seems like a bad idea to me.

  2. 3

    As a new founder, I can 100% identify with this. My wife started commenting recently about how taller I suddenly seem. And yes, it's from confidence and happiness and knowing I'm following my dreams and not someone else's. I'm so grateful to be able to pursue what I want in life and I wish I'd done it sooner.

  3. 2

    PG blog is always good...

  4. 2

    Starting a business is like running a marathon - it's easy to get started, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to keep going.

  5. 2

    I do and don't agree with this. If everyone suddenly quit their day job then the world's economy would collapse. We need people to be followers/employees. But yes, I also agree that there are a large group of people slogging along under a bad manager when they are meant to be their own boss. It's not all one or the other and it certainly isn't just devs either.

    1. 1

      I agree with this. Not everyone is meant to quit their job and go do their own thing. Quite few are cut out for entrepreneurship.

      And besides, if one doesn't know how to have a boss and respond to it then it's quite unlikely to do well "out in the wild".

  6. 1

    Last year I've read all Paul Graham's essay and summarised them.
    Here's the summary of this one:

    🖍 In one sentence
    Working for yourself is more natural than working in big organizations.

    📝 In short
    Working for yourself is more natural than working in big organizations.

    People weren’t meant to work in large groups of 100s and 1000s of people, so they divide themselves into units small enough to work together. To coordinate these groups people have to introduce something new: bosses.

    Smaller groups are always arranged in a tree structure. These groups have to act as if they were one person — this is the point of creating a tree-like structure. The result is that each person gets the freedom of action in inverse proportion to the size of the entire tree. The lower you are in the tree, the less freedom you have.

    Working in big companies is especially bad for programmers.
    The essence of programming is to build new things. And when you're part of a big organization, you face resistance when you do something new.

    You can adjust the amount of freedom you get by scaling the size of a company you work for. If you start the company, you'll have the most freedom. If you become one of the first 10 employees you'll have almost as much freedom as the founders. Even a company with 100 people will feel different from one with 1000.

    Working for a small company doesn't ensure freedom.
    The head of a small company may still be a tyrant.

    Employees transformed into founders make it clear that the difference is mostly in the environment. In the first couple of weeks of working on their own startup they seem to come to life. Three months later they have so much more confidence that it seems as if they've grown several inches taller. Strange as this sounds, they seem both more worried and happier at the same time.

    Working for yourself VS working for a big company is like lions in the wild VS lions in the zoo. Lions in the wild seem about ten times more alive. They're like different animals. Life in a zoo is easier, but it isn't the life they were designed for.

    You can subscribe to my tg-channel, where I post more PG essay summaries:
    https://t.me/fomofighters

  7. 1

    What's so unnatural about working for a big company? The root of the problem is that humans weren't meant to work in such large groups.

    On the other hand, humans also weren't meant to work alone.

  8. 1

    This is a great read, and it resonates with how I felt in my career, even though I am a marketer, not a programmer. Smaller agile organizations always made me feel so much faster and more alive.

  9. 1

    Great read, thanks for sharing :)

  10. 1

    Love this article! He has singlehandedly transformed the way how founders should think about building their startup. I still remember the brief conversation I had with him a couple of years ago and how he so passionately preaches the serve the customer methodology

  11. 1

    Everyone, at some level, has a boss. Ultimately, your customers are the boss and have the power to decide whether they will purchase your product or not. It all comes down to who you want to serve.

  12. 1

    I've been on both sides: working as an employee within a small group in a large organization and now being my own boss. I may say that the main difference is your level of responsibility. Under an authoritative boss, employees end up behaving like irresponsible children. When you are "in the wild"-you have to be a responsible adult.

  13. 1

    His comparison to food is relevant. It's funny that I have started to eat better when I left my job to start my own projects.

  14. 1

    I have to admit I was really happy to see this piece, it's the kind of paper that you generally can't find through a normal google search yet it speaks the truth that is very important to hear, although it seems that many are naturally feeling this way but few have the courage to admit it. You can have a company of 8 and all of you living fulfilling lives, the high demand can be met by other people, it's not mandatory that every single product on the market should be created by the same company, I guess large companies as they are today are mainly driven by greed for wanting everything, few have thought of fair distribution of wealth and creativity.

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    This comment was deleted 17 days ago.

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