“You called me earlier?”
D— replies, “Oh yeah, I was at the hardware store. Something there reminded me of a blog entry of yours.”
“I forgot. So hey, speaking of that. Chris was annoyed about your lame post.”
“Yeah, it was so lame that it was actually a rehash of an earlier blog entry.”
“Oh really? The article didn’t make any sense to me. What’s a Y Combinator?”
“It’s a Paul Graham idea, where they give you a chunk of mon…”
D— cuts me off: “Oh yeah! I remember now. It’s the ‘microloans for geeks’ thing. That sounds pretty stupid to me. I don’t know…you probably think it’s a good idea since they’ve had a single success.”
“It’s a good idea for Paul maybe. But it’s like no money. It seems a lot when you are a student. But… you know $5000 would have been 1/4 of our yearly income when we were grad students and we were the king of the hill back then so that seems like a lot. But, shit, their parents are paying $100k for their education here—you’re telling me they can’t hit them up for 5% of that? As for the rest. One trip to Lunch 2.0 or any other geek event in the city and you’d have a better network than… it’s still an echo chamber, but at least it’s a bigger chamber you know?”
“Yeah, it’s like no money now.”
“The problem is we can’t determine the null hypothesis: how would those startups do without that ‘assistance.’ My suspicion is that those that succeeded would have succeeded anyway and might have even done better without some half-assed business guidance. And those that failed would have failed faster. Anyway. So I was thinking that you could talk about how you could look at anything in terms of how many ‘Combinators’ it is worth. You bought that new car recently: 8 combinators. So you can go, ‘Shit, I could have funded eight startups with this car.’ I thought it was a hilarious.”
“Heh. Terry, you should set up a micro-Combinator. Since a micro is 10-6…”
“That’s like half a cent. If they have two founders, it works out to a penny. At least that’ll force them to have multiple founders if they want my money. What a great idea!”
“Haha. Remember T— in grad school and his Helens?”
“Uhh. I forgot.”
“You know. he said that Helen had a thousand ships. But nobody is that beautiful so they’re like one ship…”
My turn to cut D— off. “Millihelen! I forgot that one! Hehe. Thank you for reminding me about that. Now I have something to blog.”
How to quantify beauty
- A unit of measurement. The amount of beauty necessary to launch a thousand ships.
- Since nobody rates a full helen anymore. Beauty should be expressed in terms of one-one thousandth of a helen. This is the amount of beauty necessary to launch a single ship.
- Fractional milihelen. See above.
4 thoughts on “Quantifying beauty”
What really amazes me is that you remember these conversations!
This concept is fascinating to me. How does the eye of the beholder quantify his views?
Actually, it was a microhelen which is known as a “rowboat”. There is no negative, helen.