far by trading things directly with the people who need them. So as a rule, if you know the "inventor" of something (the telephone, the assembly line, the airplane, the light bulb, the transistor) it is because their company made money from it, and the company's PR people worked hard to spread the story. The Idea, in particular, you don't need a brilliant idea to start a startup bachelor's thesis around. A big company is not afraid to be sued; it's an everyday thing for them. VCs form a pyramid. We did, and it came closer to killing us than any competitor ever did. But if you have a number of people who are expected to contribute in varying degrees, arranging the proportions of stock can be hard.
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It's worth so much to sell stuff to big companies that the people selling them the crap they currently use spend a lot of time and money to. Through the solitude of rare spirits, the collective renews its relationship with divinity. For example, I would be reluctant to start a startup with a woman who had small children, or was likely to have them soon. At Viaweb one of our rules of thumb was run upstairs. A startup is not merely ten people, but ten people like you. So if you're developing technology for money, you're probably not going to be developing it for people like you. This was naturally a great incentive, and possibly indeed the main cause of the second big change, industrialization. What made the Florentines rich in 1200 was the discovery of new techniques for making the high-tech product of the time, fine woven cloth. But I decided not to, because that's implicit in making something customers want. Google's plan, for example, was simply to create a search site that didn't suck. One of the best places to do this was at trade shows.