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RailsConf talk: Paul Graham Keynote

  • “The Power of the Marginal”
  • It’s cool if people have never heard of your programming language.
  • Many of the best companies started in garages.
  • Don’t major in what you like unless the thing you like happens to have a great teacher (and business classes typically don’t have good teachers, because most good businesspeople are too busy being good businesspeople to teach).
  • Big companies make bad people filter up to the top, since thoughtful people wouldn’t manage to play the politics as much as is necessary.
  • Outsiders have a big advantage in the extent to which they can take risks; if they fail, who cares.
  • Stupid ideas don’t make you stupid. Not risking enough to have stupid ideas probably means you’re not taking enough risks.
  • Eminent people just don’t have enough time to come up with earth-shattering ideas.
  • One way to make sure things are done right is to not delegate. Do everything yourself.
  • Since outsiders haven’t specialized and become known for one thing, they have the opportunity to work on a wider variety of things.
  • Eminent people refer to things they’re scared of as “not ready yet.” If someone refers to a programming language as “not ready yet,” jump on it.
  • Small projects have the potential to be perfect. They can have a personality. They can be done tonight!
  • Most people care more about the opinions of the ten people they care about most more than the rest put together.
  • If you end up being eminent, you may find that the best part is having an audience. (At this point he glances at the audience and smirks_).\ * Since the marginal do have so much potential, people will try to dismiss you before you can get your act together: You’re on the right track if people say you’re 1. “Unqualified” or 2. “Inappropriate.” These are just other ways of saying, “we don’t like your type around here.” So if they say 1 or 2, keep rolling and they’re busted. \ I definitely don’t like this guy less after having heard him speak. Check him out – his essays are all chilling._