Founders at Work

Monday, April 30, 2007 02:49 AM

I've been reading, "Founders at Work" by Jessica Livingston. I think everyone that's technical, and inspired with starting up has read, or is reading this book. I love it, and it's exactly what I was looking for. I was in search of a book that uncovered what it's like to be in a startup, but I really want to know about the companies that startup and fail. So far the most inspirational story is about, Blogger.

Livingston: How did you feel that morning?

Williams: This was a really bad time. Actually the day that everyone told me they were leaving... I told everyone they were laid off and said, "Work with me if you can." And at the time, everyone had already missed one paycheck, and they'd had it. These are, of course, my friends, and we were hanging out all the time and we socialized together, so it's much more than just the employees. I think that same night I broke up with my girlfriend of 6 months.

Livingston: What advice would you give someone?

Williams: I think on of the things that kills great things so often is compromise--letting people talk you out of what your gut is telling you. Not that I don't value people's input, but you have to have the strength to ignore it sometimes, too. If you feel really strongly, there might be something to that, and if you see something that other people don't see, it could be because it's that powerful and different. If everyone agrees, it's probably because you're not doing anything original.

Livingston: What was the most surprising thing?

Williams: One thing that I used to be bad at was paying attention to how other people are feeling. So when problems came up with some of my coworkers, it totally surprised me. That stuff shouldn't surprise you, and it did. I think I was also surprised by the success of something so simple. That's a mantra for many people in the technology world--simplicity. But what we built wasn't that amazing. It was the idea of putting a couple of things together and being able to establish a lead by doing something really, really simple. How far you can get on a simple idea is amazing. I have a tendency to add more and more--the ideas always get too big to implement before they even get off the ground. SImplicity is powerful.