“You called me earlier?”
D— replies, “Oh yeah, I was at the hardware store. Something there reminded me of a blog entry of yours.”
“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.