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Paul Graham

Startup School 2008

19 Apr, 2008

Graham tells the event that two pieces of advice for startups combined give an interesting result:

Make something people want, don’t worry too much about making money…you’ve got a description of a non-profit. When you get a weird result like this, either it’s a bug, or it’s a new discovery

He says Google and Craigslist are successful businesses that have been blurred the line between for-profit and charities – for instance Google ran no ads for the first year, and Craigslist doesn’t maximize its revenue but is amazingly successful and has high revenue-per-employee count:

Most startups would like to trade places with Craigslist

He says that Google behaves benevolently towards customers with money, and earns money that way, while in another example, targeting a problem like malaria could increase productivity in areas affected by the disease, also potentially earning money.

Paul Graham at Startup School 08