Hipmunk, Airbnb, Dropbox, and Reddit: What do they have in common?
Paul is also a programmer, painter, and writer. Long ago when I stumbled upon What You’ll Wish You’d Known—a high school commencement speech he wrote that got vetoed by the authorities—I knew I’d found a fellow traveler. Here’s a bit of his golden advice for entrepreneurs and self-directed learners from that essay.
On seeking out “smart people and hard problems”:
Smart people tend to clump together, and if you can find such a clump, it’s probably worthwhile to join it.
Writing novels is hard. Reading novels isn’t. Hard means worry: if you’re not worrying that something you’re making will come out badly, or that you won’t be able to understand something you’re studying, then it isn’t hard enough.
One of the most dangerous illusions you get from school is the idea that doing great things requires a lot of discipline. Most subjects are taught in such a boring way that it’s only by discipline that you can flog yourself through them.
Now I know a number of people who do great work, and it’s the same with all of them. They have little discipline. They’re all terrible procrastinators and find it almost impossible to make themselves do anything they’re not interested in.
He has many more essays worth your time. My favorites:
Get a feel for Paul’s genuine good nature with this short interview: