One of the recent article by New York Magazine gained quite a high popularity recently. Its titled The Steve Jobs and Mark Zurkerbergs of Tomorrow. Its a 5 page article, but every page is worth the time.
Page 1: Bubble Boys –The story of how Feross Aboukhadijeh got famous after the created Youtube Instant.
If you have an idea for an app, do it now. Throw it up online. Find an audience. Worry about quality later. Best-case scenario, you create the next Facebook. Worst-case, you try again.
Angel investors are blessing start-ups left and right, and launching a software company is cheaper than ever.
Page 2: How coding is like a cocaine
Everyone here has a project.
“I got into CS because here it’s cool,” he says. When you understand the pleasure of hacking—the application of creativity and problem-solving—spending a Saturday night writing code doesn’t seem that crazy.
Pleasure comes with pain. You code for hours, you run the program, it fails, you debug it, run it again, pass out on your keyboard, wake up, code some more. But when it finally works, it’s a rush. Thompson, who has dabbled with cocaine in the past, compares it to the drug. “Writing code to me is the same experience,” he says. “It’s misery, misery, misery, misery, euphoria.”
Hackers don’t always sit down at their computers with a goal, says Feross: “They just want to see what they can make a computer do, even if no one uses what you build.”
Zuckerberg has an ethos: “Move fast and break things.” Several times a year, the company holds 24-hour hackathons. Facebook also brags to prospective hires about its enviable engineer-to-user ratio, which as of two years ago was about one to 1.26 million—the kind of leverage most successful start-ups can’t match.
Even if Geomon doesn’t work out, he won’t go back to Microsoft. “I think I’d rather stay and do more start-ups,” he says.
“Taking a job is in some ways like a second option,” says Akshay Kothari, who with his friend Ankit Gupta converted a Palo Alto garage into office space for their iPad-news-app company, Pulse. “If you say you’ve taken a job, it’s like, ‘Oh, you haven’t figured it out?’”
“If you’re an entrepreneur, you have a kind of delusion,” he says. “You’re willing to do something that’s kind of ridiculous, which is probably gonna fail 99 percent of the time, because the adventure of doing the thing itself—the journey—is so enjoyable that you don’t give a crap about the end.”
Entrepreneurship is all-consuming. Starting a start-up isn’t work—it’s parenthood. “If your company could be worth half a billion dollars by the end of the year or zero dollars, the decision of whether to work this weekend is no longer a decision,” says Brandt, the Stanford graduate.
“The incremental cost of starting a start-up beyond hanging out and doing nothing is basically zero,” says Paul Graham, the Viaweb co-founder turned tech sage who now runs Y Combinator, a start-up incubator in Mountain View
And thanks to social networks and mobile devices, your audience is right there: If you build it, they will download.
The most important shift for programmers isn’t the economy or even social networking. It’s a concept called abstraction. Abstraction basically means automating low-level tasks (like designing a button for a website from scratch) so that you, the creator, can focus on high-level problems (like how the website looks and feels).
YouTube Instant is, in essence, a mash-up of two existing technologies: Google’s “suggest” algorithm, which lets you search the most common terms, and YouTube’s embedding capability. “I didn’t do these things myself,” says Feross. “I just combined them together in a way that hadn’t been done before.”
When I point out to Feross that the whole playlist thing has been done before, he smiles. “Ideas are a dime a dozen,” he says. “Execution is what matters.”
“I’m not a big believer in ideas,” says Panagiotis Ipeirotis, a professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University who’s also a programmer. “I believe in execution much more than the idea.”
For example, Thompson was recently working on an app for the iPhone called Recollect, which would use Bluetooth to help people find stuff they tend to lose, like their keys. Thompson wasn’t the first to have the idea—Phone Halo and Cobra Tag already exist. The difference, Thompson says, is he’ll do it better.
The idea that there are no new ideas is not a new idea. But as the barriers to entry for tech entrepreneurs drop, it’s truer than ever. If ten people have the same idea for a piece of software, the one who succeeds will be whoever launches it fastest, then iterates as quickly as possible. “You have to be embarrassed by your first product,” says Lee, who helped create Geomon. “If you’re not embarrassed, you’re taking too long to get it out there.” As Feross puts it, “Done is better than perfect.”
Ideas still matter. But the ability to tweak and hone and hack and crack—to move fast and break things—is essential to the idea-formation process.
“I now realize I have the power to make something people will use. I had the power all along.
“Successful people aren’t any different from you and me,” he continues. “They’re not inherently more brilliant. The difference is they had the wisdom to get their hands dirty and be part of the game instead of just observing it.”
Failure is an option—and it’s not even a bad one. “I’m not as afraid of uncertainty,” says Feross. “I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg knew what he was doing when he built Facebook.”
People like Zuckerberg and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs surrendered to the process and changed the world before they really knew what they were doing. It can happen. A lot of kids in Silicon Valley are counting on it.