Some people really benefit from hearing advice that everyone knows, for the same reason we keep schools open despite every subject in them having been taught before.

In that spirit, here's some quick Things Many People Find Too Obvious To Have Told You Already.
Your idea is not valuable, at all. All value is in the execution. You think you are an exception; you are not. You should not insist on an NDA to talk about it; nobody serious will engage in contract review over an idea, and this will mark you as clueless.
Technologists tend to severely underestimate the difficulty and expense of creating software, especially at companies which do not have fully staffed industry leading engineering teams ("because software is so easy there, amirite guys?")

Charge more. Charge more still. Go on.
The press is a lossy and biased compression of events in the actual world, and is singularly consumed with its own rituals, status games, and incentives. The news necessarily fails to capture almost everything which happened yesterday. What it says is important usually isn't.
Companies find it incredibly hard to reliably staff positions with hard-working generalists who operate autonomously and have high risk tolerances. This is not the modal employee, including at places which are justifiably proud of the skill/diligence/etc of their employees.
The hardest problem in B2C is distribution. The hardest problem in B2B is sales. AppAmaGooBookSoft are AppAmaGooBookSoft primarily because they have mortal locks on distribution.
Everyone in Silicon Valley uses equity, and not debt, to fuel their growth because debt is not available in sufficient quantities to poorly capitalized companies without a strong history of adequate cash flows to service debt.
Investors in venture-back companies are purchasing a product. It is critically important to understand that that product is growth. The reason tech is favored as an asset class that it appears to be one of few sources of growth available on the market at the moment at any price.
The explosive growth of the tech sector keeps average age down and depresses average wages. Compared to industries which existed in materially the same form in 1970, we have a stupidly compressed experience spectrum: 5+ years rounds to "senior." This is not a joke.
The tech industry is fundamentally unserious about how it recruits, hires, and retains candidates. About which I have a lot more to say than could fit in a tweet, but, a good thing to know.
If you are attempting to hire for an engineering position, greater than 50% of people who apply for the job and whose resume you select as "facially plausible" will be entirely unable to program, at all. The search term for learning more about this is FizzBuzz.
Software companies in B2B which aspire to growing quickly will eventually spend more on sales and marketing than they do on engineering. You can read S-1s of successful IPOs and calculate the ratio; it is sometimes 2X++.
The chief products of the tech industry are (in B2C) developing new habits among consumers and (in B2B) taking a business process which exists in many places and markedly decreasing the total cost of people required to implement it.
There is no hidden reserve of smart people who know what they're doing, anywhere. Not in government, not in science, not in tech, not at AppAmaGooBookSoft, nowhere. The world exists in the same glorious imperfection that it presents with.
Significant advances shipped by the tech industry in the last 20 years include putting the majority of human knowledge in the hands of 40%++ of the world's population, available on-demand, for "coffee money" not "university money."
Weak-form efficients market hypothesis is a good heuristic for evaluating the public markets but a really, really bad heuristic for evaluating either technical or economic facts about tech companies, startups, your career, etc etc. Optimizations are possible; fruit hangs low.
Startups are (by necessity) filled with generalists; big companies are filled with specialists. People underestimate how effective a generalist can be at things which are done by specialists. People underestimate how deep specialties can run. These are simultaneously true.
Most open source software is written by programmers who are full-time employed by companies which directly consume the software, at the explicit or implicit blessing of their employers. It is not charity work, any more than they charitably file taxes.
The amount of money flowing through capitalism would astound you. The number and variety of firms participating in the economy would astound you.

We don't see most of it every day for the same reason abstractions protect us from having to care about metallurgy while programming.
CS programs have, in the main, not decided that the primary path to becoming a programmer should involve doing material actual programming. There are some exceptions: Waterloo, for example. This is the point where I joke "That's an exhaustive list" but not sure that a joke.
Technical literacy in the broader population can be approximated with the Thanksgiving test: what sort of questions do you get at Thanksgiving? That's the ambient level of literacy.

Serious people in positions of power eat Thanksgiving dinners, too. Guess what they ask at them.
Salaries in the tech industry are up *a lot* in the last few years, caused by: a tight labor market, collapse of a cartel organized against the interests of workers, increasing returns to scale at AppAmaGooBookSoft, and the like.

Investor money *does not* pay most salaries.
This concludes, for the moment, an off-the-cuff list of things which would otherwise be too obvious to bring up in conversation.

Meta thought: you radically underestimate both a) how much you know that other people do not and b) the instrumental benefits to you of publishing it.

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More from @patio11

23 Sep
"Roll for initiative" is, in addition to one of the most evocative phrases I know, something that I see happen over and over again in the business world.
At least in real life you can realize "Hey we just rolled a 2. Do we accept the 2?"
Of course also in real life if your org structure allows it you may not notice a roll has happened for several years after the fact.
Read 4 tweets
23 Sep
Hahahahahahahahahahahah. *wheeze*

No seriously this is brilliant both as a business idea and as marketing for the firms that thought of it:

bigtechfellowship.com
I have long thought (and this is stealing a frequent dinner conversation topic from @kevinakwok ) that friend groups should have their own version of this, because relatively tiny amounts of capital and social support can cause step-increase changes in life trajectory.
"Are relatively well-off BigTech employees the most efficient recipients of a $50k no-strings-attached donation?"

I don't perceive it as exactly no-strings-attached; there is an actual business transaction being done here.

I do think the same intuition could be used elsewhere.
Read 6 tweets
22 Sep
Expect to hear more from me about this topic in the future but for the moment "Hallelujah, there's about 10k lines of code I'll never ever have to write again."

stripe.com/revenue-recogn…
I always ran my businesses on a cash basis rather than an accrual basis, because I wasn't intending on taking investment for them, didn't intend to sell, and didn't want the extra complexity.

Then I sold them.

Do you know how fun doing *retroactive* accrual books is?
(The acquirer wants to value your company based on how much money it has earned over the last 12 months, but a user pre-paying for 12 months 3 months ago shouldn't matter as much as you having 4 customers sign up for month-to-month.

Plus, COGS in future.)
Read 15 tweets
21 Sep
A repeated experience in working in infrastructure:

As a civilian, you assume civilisation has long since solved X.

You then find out that it has not, and instead there has been a bandaid over X, for 40 years. That bandaid is mindblowingly... words do not describe it.
And then you think "Maybe the experts here know something about it that I do not. Here, let me ask." And so you do. And they say, yes, we know the bandaid is a terrible kludge, but we are worried that it will summon an eldritch horror from beyond spacetime if we think too hard.
And then you think "I mean, eldritch horrors from beyond spacetime seem a little unlikely. How bad could it actually be?"

And then the expert says "Oh it could lead to food riots in Kansas if this system goes down for more than an hour."

And they're right.
Read 4 tweets
20 Sep
Torn between “not really thrilled by gotcha journalism in general” and “forcing people to evaluate hard tradeoffs concretely versus abstractly best way to make sure that some evaluation of tradeoffs happens.”
No subtweet rule: this is about pandemic policy, specific subgenre the politicians who violate generally applicable restrictions on liberty designed to improve population-wide health outcomes such as e.g. the SF mayor violating the mask ordinance, and the discourse about it.
As somebody who was and is very much on team Smash The Big Red Button This Is Very Bad, I wish there was some acknowledgement that the policy regimes implemented have constrained liberty to a degree that I would have had difficulty imagining a few years ago, largely w/o debate.
Read 7 tweets
20 Sep
X, who very plausibly *has never set foot in the United States*, then talks to a lawyer as to how to avoid these actual life-impacting issues which were literally designed to hurt “fatcats and fatcats alone”, and is told the only pathway is to renounce U.S. citizenship.
“Simple solution: we mandate that our legislation has no second-order consequences that we don’t want!” is an unfortunately popular point of view on this.

(CS fans may note that this requires a solution to the halting problem.)
“Still worried about Mohammed, Patrick.”

So one of the many pathways by which this happens: the Bank Secrets Act obligates financial institutions to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) for any of a long list of predicates, including a generic “Something looks fishy.”
Read 16 tweets

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