The genius of Paul Graham – essays

Paul Graham of Y Combinator fame has to be one of the sharpest startup minds on this humble planet. His essays on the topics of business, culture and startups are nothing short of genius. I was catchup up on his work recently I found his essay on Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas simply gripping.

If you haven’t happened upon his writings yet, I suggest you log out some time to do it. You’ll be so inspired you might just start to get amped up and take some serious action. They are another reminder of how lucky we are in this day and age to have free and omnipresent access to the worlds greatest thinkers who share their philosophy and ideas for free.

Paul Graham Essays



  1. love yur blogsite design esp the cartoons on the left sidebar cool how did you do that interested to know. Want to earn more money for my Nevis adventure will get out your favourites – money is/not the route of all evil heheh

  2. Wow, I’ve got to be honest when I say that the word “essay” tuned me out. But these ones are fabulous! Thanks for sharing them and congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  3. Paul Graham is obviously smart; that much can be verified by the success of Viaweb. However, there are things which annoy me about his way of thinking. Like many strong advocates of a language path which had technically superior elements in the past, but was largely passed over for alternatives (see also: Smalltalk), he doesn’t seem to appreciate the reasons *why* Lisp hasn’t come into the mainstream.

    For one thing, there are far too many variants of Lisp; most of the languages which have become popular have either a /de jure/ or /de facto/ standard, and ANSI Common Lisp simply came too late. Secondly, Lisp lacked a vector on which to travel on; MIT was a pretty closed environment, and that seems to have been the major place where Lisp was used, aside from the Lisp Machine experiments of the 1980s. Meanwhile, look at all of the organisations using Unix – universities, research departments, military facilities. Plenty of room for C to get out into the open (although at least Paul Graham doesn’t seem to resent C – so that’s one consolation). Finally, Lisp was for many years dog-slow (and for that matter, so was Smalltalk); this was a pretty damning characteristic when computers were much slower than they are today.

    Nevertheless, in terms of the business side of computing and so on, he does prove insightful. His views have merit, certainly, especially when it comes to new ideas for startups to take.

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