Why? DHH is a contrarian. Not for the sake of being one (though you do get the vibe), but because he has something to say. He’s the anti-VC voice.
Part of the reason venture capital is so prominent, Hanson says, is because they trumpet their successes. Chris Dixon told Shane Parrish much the same, “it (VC) gets a lot of attention in the press but it’s a very small industry.”
Hanson is a bit bolder, comparing VC to a casino, lottery, and cabal.
Here’s the beautiful part, both Dixon and Hanson can be right. VC is good, and VC is bad. What matters is whether it’s good for you. Hanson says that if you want to swing for the fences, be a unicorn, then VC might be the way to go. But it might not too.
Here are a few other things I learned.
1/ Invisible scripts. “Hey, why didn’t anyone tell me about these alternatives,” Hanson says about his desire to speak out. He wants people to know that bootstrapping “a nice $5M” business is an option. He wants to unveil this hidden option.
We’ve had invisible scripts pointed out before:
- Venkatesh Rao talked with Andrews about it.
- Auren Hoffman addressed it regarding college.
- Sarah Tavel addressed it regarding careers.
We also know how to bust invisible scripts: reframe them.
- Anthropomorphize the stock market into bi-polar “Mr. Market.”
- Flip a picture upside down.
- Reverse the question. (here’s how I did this for startups)
2/ You can’t measure friendship. “I’ve found a group of people that I do like spending a lot of time with and that’s more special than people give it credit for.”
This Hanson quote brought to mind something Charlie Munger wrote:
“Practically everybody (1) overweighs the stuff that can be numbered, because it yields to the statistical techniques they’re taught in academia, and (2) doesn’t mix in the hard-to-measure stuff that may be more important. That is a mistake I’ve tried all my life to avoid, and I have no regrets for having done that.”
Whether it’s business or life we can be careful about overweighing the numbered stuff that yields to statistical techniques.
If happiness = Lamborghini + Lots of Money + startup + marriage; Hanson would be set. Hanson found this wasn’t the case, writing:
It was like I had pulled back the curtain on that millionaire’s dream and found, to my surprise, that most of the things on the other side were things I already had.
3/ Humility. “I retain the humility of knowing that just because I have hit a homerun with Basecamp does not mean that I have some magic voodoo touch that’s going to turn everything else into gold.”
Thanks for reading, I’m [@mikedariano](http://twitter.com/mikedariano) on Twitter.