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Paul Graham writes:

Here is a brief sketch of the economic proposition. If you're a good hacker in your mid twenties, you can get a job paying about $80,000 per year. So on average such a hacker must be able to do at least $80,000 worth of work per year for the company just to break even. You could probably work twice as many hours as a corporate employee, and if you focus you can probably get three times as much done in an hour. [1] You should get another multiple of two, at least, by eliminating the drag of the pointy-haired middle manager who would be your boss in a big company. Then there is one more multiple: how much smarter are you than your job description expects you to be? Suppose another multiple of three. Combine all these multipliers, and I'm claiming you could be 36 times more productive than you're expected to be in a random corporate job. [2] If a fairly good hacker is worth $80,000 a year at a big company, then a smart hacker working very hard without any corporate bullshit to slow him down should be able to do work worth about $3 million a year.

That's pretty much a perfect description of why I could one day see myself doing a startup. I know that if I concentrate, I can work harder, faster, and better than most of the people I've worked with (people at startups already for the most part excluded). Using that to my advantage would be cool.

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It would be.

I don't think I'm nearly as motivated or focussed as it takes to "run myself", so if you can, more power to you! (Especially if you hit something that people are actually willing to pay you for, rather than something that tanks because it's in the wrong place at the wrong time.)

Er, that probable sounds more negative than it's intended. I wish you success in whatever you do!

I'm pretty good at it, when it's for me. In a corporate environment, of course, there's no motivation to do more than the minimum required, so you don't, but elsewhere, it can be done.

boy, that is some fuzzy math.

It also assumes that there's no motivation to do more than the minimum required when you work for someone other than yourself. It also assumes that the company isn't taking several of your factors (intelligence, motivation to work, etc) into account when determining that you are worth 80k/year.

Not that I don't support people doing their own start-ups, it's just that I think this is an overly optimistic view of things.

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