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Ideas for startups are worth something, certainly, but the trouble is, they're not transferrable.They're not something you could hand to someone else to execute.What it means specifically depends on the job: a salesperson who just won't take no for an answer; a hacker who will stay up till AM rather than go to bed leaving code with a bug in it; a PR person who will cold-call New York Times reporters on their cell phones; a graphic designer who feels physical pain when something is two millimeters out of place.Almost everyone who worked for us was an animal at what they did.



What we couldn't stand were people with a lot of attitude.Microsoft's original plan was to make money selling programming languages, of all things.Their current business model didn't occur to them until IBM dropped it in their lap five years later.A startup that does all three will probably succeed.

And that's kind of exciting, when you think about it, because all three are doable. And since a startup that succeeds ordinarily makes its founders rich, that implies getting rich is doable too. If there is one message I'd like to get across about startups, that's it.

A lot of would-be startup founders think the key to the whole process is the initial idea, and from that point all you have to do is execute. If you go to VC firms with a brilliant idea that you'll tell them about if they sign a nondisclosure agreement, most will tell you to get lost. The market price is less than the inconvenience of signing an NDA.