A discussion of how V8 makes trade-offs - running a single line of code vs iterating through a loop, memory usage in laptops vs mobile - can be found in the Google I/O talk here.
Andrey and I talked about startups over a fun coffee chat today. We have a tendency as developers to build something cool that we think will translate well into a startup, but in doing so overlook two key skills.
The first is the skill of 'making money'. This involves being mindful about the commercial aspects of the product (potential user base, how to monetize, pricing) as well as the business in general (accounting, payroll, AWS bill). Naturally the idea here is to have money in exceed money out, or at least, be able to pitch VCs that you'll end up in this state.
The second is sales. While it's easy to think of sales as a part of the first skill, it's clearer as a separate skill when you think about how you can sell something that's free. Sales more broadly involves growing the adoption of your product; a large user base helps create a large paying user base.
A useful analogy is to think about being a good developer and being good at interviews. The two skills reinforce each other but involve different training regimes. Keeping the two distinct helps us break down real-life examples into 'case studies' and assess how well they do in each dimension.
What's very interesting is how Andrey uses this framing for open source software - he leans towards building something that's cool but also something easy to explain and easy to demo.
Content: Sam Altman
The article has a brief history of YC and how it's changed under Altman, including this great excerpt.
Launching a startup in 2016 is akin to assembling an alt-rock band in 1996 or protesting the Vietnam War in 1971 - an act of youthful rebellion gone conformist. Since 2005, the year Y Combinator began, accelerators have sprung up everywhere to help transform startups from a skein of code into a bona-fide company.
Altman has since moved to leading OpenAI. He's true to form on gambling on the next moonshot, as per the advice from his post. The question for myself is, what's my success metric?
It’s useful to focus on adding another zero to whatever you define as your success metric - money, status, impact on the world, or whatever. I am willing to take as much time as needed between projects to find my next thing. But I always want it to be a project that, if successful, will make the rest of my career look like a footnote.