Paul Graham has the kind of resume that Silicon Valley workers aspire to achieve. In 1996, he co-founded what would become the first application service provider. This allowed internet users worldwide to make their own online stores, and the product was bought by Yahoo for close to $50 million. He’s since co-founded Y Combinator, a venture capitalist company that has helped boost successful companies such as Dropbox and Airbnb.
Graham is also well known for highly acclaimed essays he writes on technology and business. One popular essay is titled “How to Make Wealth”. Although it was written in 2004, many consider its points to still be relevant today (and its philosophies are debated regularly). In the essay, Graham advocates for working at a startup. “Economically, you can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years. Instead of working at a low intensity for forty years, you work as hard as you possibly can for four. This pays especially well in technology, where you earn a premium for working fast.”
He also notes that doing something people really need is the best way to achieve your goal. “The advantage of creating wealth, as a way to get rich, is not just that it's more legitimate (many of the other methods are now illegal) but that it's more straightforward. You just have to do something people want.” In the realm of Silicon Valley, bringing value to a project that many people will gravitate towards is the way to achieve this. To read more, click here for the full essay.