6 months to a better Iraq

During the boom, if you asked any startup in the Valley when they planned on going public they’d tell you “about 18 months.”

Come back in 18 months and you’d hear the same talk. This continued until IPO’s become radioactive. Post boom you hear these same people espouse having a “path to profitability,” which is a sure barometer for the fact that they actually have no such plan.

After working at four startups, I can see clearly from the inside that most of these strategies are wishful thinking tied together with two matchsticks: that’s why luck is so important.

A lot of startup people spend an inordinate amount of time messing with their Excel spreadsheets of revenue and growth projections until the numbers say they’re going to be profitable. When you read, “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” a startup person knows this is what you get when you elect a CEO president: someone simply forgot to prefix the word “failed” in front of his title.

Tom Friedman

A month and a half ago, I was told by someone that my boss came back from lunch excited about the NPR Fresh Air program he heard where some guy was “telling it like it is.” Since by some coincidence, I had taken the day off to visit my brother that day, I had actually heard that program twice and knew that the guy was Tom Friedman.

The problem is Tom Friedman is an idiot, especially when he expresses his pro-business libertarianism. I mean the guy wrote The World is Flat—how is he qualified to write a book on economics? Answer: he is not, he’s just espousing some libertarian fairy-tale rationalization for unchecked capitalism. He should leave his economics arguments for his betters—people like Paul Krugman.

At a certain point you have to realize that trying to convince Silicon Valley people the stupidity of unfettered capitalism as a means of social justice is like rolling a boulder up a hill in Hades: they’re going to fix whatever facts you tell them around their policy. Of course, I don’t say this stuff at work. (I’m much too polite! Heh.)

Surprisingly, I agreed with many of the things he said in the program. The only thing that bugged me was the part where he said that Iraq was “on the verge” of the Civil War and that it was conceivable to make an 11th hour appeal to commitment to save of our situation there. I remember saying, “Why doesn’t the fucker grow a pair and just admit he was wrong about the entire adventure.”

The problem is I’m not an expert in Middle Eastern politics so I had to defer to his judgement. But as my friend Dave says, “When you hear something wrong in what you are an expert in, it calls into question everything else you have heard from someone.”

That’s why I felt vindicated when I read this article.

I suppose if Tom ran a Silicon Valley startup, he’d be going IPO in 18 months.

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