Yesterday Versus Today

Starting a company seems like a daunting task.  Adam D’Angelo recently quit his job at Facebook to start up a new firm, Quora.  There is an interview with him here.  One question we found interesting was this. 

Why do you think our generation has so many entrepreneurs. Were we just raised to think that way?

There’s been a lot of change in the world that makes it easier to start a company now than it used to be.

I’ll compare what it’s been like starting Quora, to what it was like at Facebook in the early days.  Facebook had to have a full-time guy managing their data center. We would drive down to Santa Clara to set up new servers, buy them, and then wait weeks before they would get [to Facebook’s’ headquarters]. 

Now we use Amazon Web services.  It takes a few minutes to write a script and then we can turn on 20 new servers if we need them. And we don’t have to drive anywhere, it’s just an engineer in our office just running some code that he wrote, and it will set up the whole data center basically.  So that’s just one example of how it’s just so much easier now than it used to be.

And you know, you can do so much more the on the Web than you used to be able to. You used to have to get people to download software.  Now all you have to do its type in a Web address.  And there are things like Y Combinator and more angel investors, so there are easier sources of funding.

It’s easier than ever to start up your own firm.  Financing options are much easier to get at as well.  Angels are more accessible.  The pieces come together much quicker.  This speed allows the entrepreneur to really focus on their business plan.  

What is really interesting is that the ancient history of “yesterday” that we are referring to is only 2004.  Six years ago!  

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