James emailed me a link to this presentation by Paul Graham at Startup School.
Some great thoughts here about the value of benevolence to business: if you’re really helping people you will be more motivated and that will make you more confident. Reminds me of the improv principle of making your partner look good.
Since most startups will come close to death survivability is key. I enjoyed his use of a cockroach as a metaphor for startups: “If you’re really committed, and your startup is cheap to run, you become very hard to kill” And doing good for the world may turn out to be what makes you harder to kill than pursuing more selfish projects. And it’ll help you attract the smartest employees.
I also loved his suggestion that lying doesn’t scale well: being good is a better algorithm.