Paul Graham is one of the great thinkers and writers on the Internet. I was first introduced to his work back in 2002 with his “Plan for Spam”, where he introduced the concept of Bayesian filtering to the world. We later ended up incorporating a form of Bayesian filtering ourselves in our consumer antispam product.
He writes occasional essays on various issues related to technology, all of them interesting and thoughtful. And, as with all good writers, you may not always agree with him, but you certainly respect the thinker behind the writing.
One of latest essays, Ideas for Startups, goes into the process behind coming up with new ideas for startups. And, he recently wrote The Venture Capital Squeeze, which discusses the problems facing venture capitalists:
When we started our startup in 1995, the first three were our biggest expenses. We had to pay $5000 for the Netscape Commerce Server, the only software that then supported secure http connections. We paid $3000 for a server with a 90 MHz processor and 32 meg of memory. And we paid a PR firm about $30,000 to promote our launch.
Now you could get all three for nothing. You can get the software for free; people throw away computers more powerful than our first server; and if you make something good you can generate ten times as much traffic by word of mouth online than our first PR firm got through the print media.
Take a look, you can find the site here.