The Most Valuable Truths

Paul Graham on start-ups:

For a while it annoyed me to hear myself described as some kind of irresponsible pied piper, leading impressionable young hackers down the road to ruin [via Y-Combinator, which helps young hackers start companies]. But now I realize this kind of controversy is a sign of a good idea.

The most valuable truths are the ones most people don’t believe. They’re like undervalued stocks. If you start with them, you’ll have the whole field to yourself. So when you find an idea you know is good but most people disagree with, you should not merely ignore their objections, but push aggressively in that direction.

This applies to the Shangri-La Diet, of course: It proposes a way to lose weight that strikes most people as crazy. There’s a lesson for me here. I have disliked being called a “snake-oil salesman” and SLD being called “absurd” and a “fad diet“. But now I realize Graham is right: These are good signs.

2 Replies to “The Most Valuable Truths”

  1. Very good signs, indeed. Or they can be red flags. It depends on your perspective on the issue, and what you can perceive that others are not seeing. That kind of seeing is creative genius in the act…

    looking closely
    into green shadows, something
    stares back at me


  2. I’ve always found when I introduced a new concept or idea to the management team for approval the best factor for estimating the future impact of the idea is the number of “stunned deer in the headlights” looks in the audience. The first patent I ever got was for an idea where the manager flatly stated “it’ll never f*cking work” and it went on the ship tens of millions. Keep the fascinating articles coming.

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