From the Editor’s Perch…


That Little Bread and Butter Business Everyone Would Like to Own

A review of Nathan Heller’s Article, “Bay Watched”, in The New Yorker

“Before the Industrial Revolution came along, everyone kind of had their own little farm, their own little house, their own little job, and their own little worksmith,” Naval Ravikant, a San Francisco based entrepreneur told Nathan Heller, in an article published in this most recent edition of The New Yorker.

Nowadays, “the same systems that make outsourcing more efficient have driven down the cost of launching a company,” Nathan Heller continues this thread of thought in the article.

He is talking about a new breed of entrepreneur, whose ambition is to birth a small company which gives them autonomy, rather than an industry colossus like Microsoft or Google, which they would have to push before them like Thoreau’s barn for the remainder of their lives.

“So the cost to build and launch a product went from five million”… “to one million”… “to five hundred thousand”…  “and it’s now to fifty thousand,” Ravikant continued.

“All this scaling down,” Ravicant thinks,” has encouraged new, more rewarding lifestyles,” continues Heller, in the article.

"Good things CAN happen."

“Good things CAN happen.”

And taking the money out of this equation has taken the opprobrium out of failure.  Newly hatched techies who re-invent themselves in this fertile, warm bed of entrepreneurial activity, not uncommonly can fail 2, 3, 4 times – and maybe they hit it on the first or the fifth.  Or, in between, in the troughs, they feed themselves by working for a big entity like Google or for a fellow start-up.  They network, and they work the edges between tech, commerce, culture and the arts – exploiting every day like a flaneur – as they parse the puzzle to produce their products for these newly aligned neighbors.  When successful, they create a small, useful app, something like a bag clip, which becomes widely used.  And they are forever freed from the cubicle farm.

This is the wish, and this is how it’s playing out in San Francisco, where creative endeavor and holistic thinking look to get a little of their own back from the businessperson.



Photos by Carl Nelson

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: