分类

Paul Graham:未来的互联网创业(上)

作者: 阮一峰

日期: 2008年1月24日

根据Paul Graham的简历,他是一个计算机博士,一个程序员,一个风险投资家。

但是,在我眼里,他其实是一个思想家。他的很多观点深刻地启发了我。

比如,他说,程序员就是当今时代的手工艺人,其他行业的人都必须依附于流水线的工业化生产才能谋生,只有程序员可以靠个人的手艺谋生。再比如,他说,互联网公司就像蚊子,唯一的竞争优势就是数量多,作为种族可以生存下来,作为个体九死一生。

bg2008012301.jpg

我一直想翻译他的文章,下面就是他去年10月写的《未来的互联网创业》。全文分两次贴出,我觉得有启发的话,都加上了黑体。

=============================

The Future of web startups

未来的互联网创业

作者:Paul Graham

译者:阮一峰

原文网址:http://www.paulgraham.com/webstartups.html

October 2007

2007年10月

(This essay is derived from a keynote at FOWA in October 2007.)

(本文根据作者在2007年10月Future of Web Apps 会议上的主题演讲改编而成)

There's something interesting happening right now. Startups are undergoing the same transformation that technology does when it becomes cheaper.

眼下有一件有趣的事情正在发生。初创公司正在经历着一种转变,它很像发生在成本降低时期的技术转变。

It's a pattern we see over and over in technology. Initially there's some device that's very expensive and made in small quantities. Then someone discovers how to make them cheaply; many more get built; and as a result they can be used in new ways.

这种转变,我们在技术领域已经一再见到。一开始,新设备非常昂贵,只能小批量生产。然后,有人发现了降低成本的方法,生产数量开始增加。最终,这种设备找到新的用途。

Computers are a familiar example. When I was a kid, computers were big, expensive machines built one at a time. Now they're a commodity. Now we can stick computers in everything.

电脑是一个大家熟悉的例子。当我还是孩子的时候,电脑体积巨大,价格昂贵,一次只能生产一台。现在,电脑只是一种普通商品,我们可以把电脑附加在所有东西上。

This pattern is very old. Most of the turning points in economic history are instances of it. It happened to steel in the 1850s, and to power in the 1780s. It happened to cloth manufacture in the thirteenth century, generating the wealth that later brought about the Renaissance. Agriculture itself was an instance of this pattern.

这种模式已经有很长历史了。在经济史中,可以找到许多例子,关于技术变迁的转折点。比如,19世纪50年代的钢铁,18世纪80年代的发电。13世纪的纺织业,正是纺织业产生的财富,带来了文艺复兴。农业本身也是一个例子。

Now as well as being produced by startups, this pattern is happening to startups. It's so cheap to start web startups that orders of magnitudes more will be started. If the pattern holds true, that should cause dramatic changes.

现在,初创企业也在经历这种模式,或者说这种模式正在影响初创企业。因为互联网创业的成本如此之低,所以初创企业的数目将呈指数式增长。

1. Lots of Startups

1. 无数的创业者

So my first prediction about the future of web startups is pretty straightforward: there will be a lot of them. When starting a startup was expensive, you had to get the permission of investors to do it. Now the only threshold is courage.

关于未来的互联网创业,我的第一个预言很简单:无数人将会创业。以前创业很昂贵,你不得不找到投资人才能创业。而现在,唯一的门槛就是勇气。

Even that threshold is getting lower, as people watch others take the plunge and survive. In the last batch of startups we funded, we had several founders who said they'd thought of applying before, but weren't sure and got jobs instead. It was only after hearing reports of friends who'd done it that they decided to try it themselves.

甚至就连这个门槛也正在变得更低,因为人们不断看到周围其他人创业成功。在上一批我们资助的初创企业中,有几个创始人说,他们以前就想创业,但是下不了决心,不敢放弃现在的工作。只有当他们看到朋友们创业成功,他们才下决心亲自创业。

Starting a startup is hard, but having a 9 to 5 job is hard too, and in some ways a worse kind of hard. In a startup you have lots of worries, but you don't have that feeling that your life is flying by like you do in a big company. Plus in a startup you could make much more money.

创业是艰难的,但是一份早9晚5的工作也是艰难的,在某种意义上,甚至比创业还艰难。你自己开公司,你会因为很多事情担惊受怕,但是你不会感到虚度生命,在一家大公司里打工,常常会有这种感觉。而且,创业可能会使得你挣来多得多的钱。

As word spreads that startups work, the number may grow to a point that would now seem surprising.

当越来越多的人相信创业是可行的,初创企业的数目就将增长到一个现在的人们会感到难以置信的程度。

We now think of it as normal to have a job at a company, but this is the thinnest of historical veneers. Just two or three lifetimes ago, most people in what are now called industrialized countries lived by farming. So while it may seem surprising to propose that large numbers of people will change the way they make a living, it would be more surprising if they didn't.

眼下,我们觉得有一份工作是正常的生活模式,但是这是最不可靠的历史假象。在现在所谓的工业化国家里,仅仅二三代人之前,大多数人都是靠务农为生。如果将来许许多多人改变谋生的方式,这也许会令人感到惊讶,但是如果没有发生这种改变,会令人感到更惊讶。

2. Standardization

2. 标准化

When technology makes something dramatically cheaper, standardization always follows. When you make things in large volumes you tend to standardize everything that doesn't need to change.

当技术极大地降低一件东西的成本之后,标准化就会接踵而至。当你大批量生产某种东西,你就会将那些固定不变的部分标准化。

At Y Combinator we still only have four people, so we try to standardize everything. We could hire employees, but we want to be forced to figure out how to scale investing.

在我的风险投资公司中,我们现在还是只有4个人。所以,我们试着将一切都标准化。我们可以雇用更多的人,但是我们想强迫自己,找到有效投资的方法。

We often tell startups to release a minimal version one quickly, then let the needs of the users determine what to do next. In essense, let the market design the product. We've done the same thing ourselves. We think of the techniques we're developing for dealing with large numbers of startups as like software. Sometimes it literally is software, like Hacker News and our application system.

我们经常告诉创业者,尽快地发布一个最简版本,然后让用户的需求决定下一步该做什么。从根本上,让市场设计产品。我们自己也是这样做的。我们想象自己,正在开发一种处理大量创业者的技术,就像开发软件一样。有时,它确实就是软件,比如Hacker News和我们的风险投资申请系统。

One of the most important things we've been working on standardizing are investment terms. Till now investment terms have been individually negotiated. This is a problem for founders, because it makes raising money take longer and cost more in legal fees. So as well as using the same paperwork for every deal we do, we've commissioned generic angel paperwork that all the startups we fund can use for future rounds.

我们正在着手标准化的最重要的事情之一,就是投资条款。到目前为止,投资条款都是一对一商定的。这对创业者来说,是一个麻烦,因为它使得融资周期更长,法律费用也更多。我们对每一个交易都使用同样的文件,我们还授权让我们资助的创业公司,将通用的融资文件用于以后的融资。

Some investors will still want to cook up their own deal terms. Series A rounds, where you raise a million dollars or more, will be custom deals for the forseeable future. But I think angel rounds will start to be done mostly with standardized agreements. An angel who wants to insert a bunch of complicated terms into the agreement is probably not one you want anyway.

一些投资人依然坚持制定个性化的投资条款。在可预见的未来,成熟期的企业在融资100万以上美元时,仍然需要个性化的合同。但是我想,早期的天使投资合同,大部分都将使用标准化合同。一个想在协议中插入一大堆复杂条款的天使投资人,可能根本不是你需要的那种投资人。

3. New Attitude to Acquisition

3. 对待并购的新态度

Another thing I see starting to get standardized is acquisitions. As the volume of startups increases, big companies will start to develop standardized procedures that make acquisitions little more work than hiring someone.

另一件我看到正在标准化的是并购交易。当大量的初创企业出现后,大公司开始发展一套标准化程序,使得并购就好像雇用一个人那样简单。

Google is the leader here, as in so many areas of technology. They buy a lot of startups-- more than most people realize, because they only announce a fraction of them. And being Google, they're figuring out how to do it efficiently.

Google是这方面的领导者,正如它是很多技术领域的领导者一样。它买进了许多初创公司----比大多数人意识到的还要多,因为google只公开了其中一部分的交易。站在Google管理者的角度,他们会考虑如何使并购更有效。

One problem they've solved is how to think about acquisitions. For most companies, acquisitions still carry some stigma of inadequacy. Companies do them because they have to, but there's usually some feeling they shouldn't have to--that their own programmers should be able to build everything they need.

他们已经解决的一个问题,就是如果看待并购。对于大多数公司,并购意味着自身有缺陷。那些进行并购的公司,往往是因为不得不如此。他们会有一种感觉,觉得本来可以避免并购的,觉得内部的程序员应该能够开发出他们需要的任何东西。

Google's example should cure the rest of the world of this idea. Google has by far the best programmers of any public technology company. If they don't have a problem doing acquisitions, the others should have even less problem. However many Google does, Microsoft should do ten times as many.

Google的例子对整个有这种想法的世界,是一帖解药。Google有着比任何上市公司多得多的优秀程序员。如果连Google都觉得并购没有什么不好意思的,那么其他人就更不应该感到不好意思了。说实话,同Google的并购数量相比,微软的并购数量本应该多十倍的。

One reason Google doesn't have a problem with acquisitions is that they know first-hand the quality of the people they can get that way. Larry and Sergey only started Google after making the rounds of the search engines trying to sell their idea and finding no takers. They've been the guys coming in to visit the big company, so they know who might be sitting across that conference table from them.

Google没有对并购感到不好意思的一个原因是,他们很清楚地知道,通过这种方式,他们得到的人才的质量。Google的创始人Larry和Sergey,之所以会创立Google,是因为他们向其他搜索引擎兜售他们的想法,结果都遭到拒绝。他们的这种拜访大公司的经历,使得他们知道坐在会议桌另一头的人,可能有着什么样的质量。

(未完待续)

珠峰培训

stuQ

留言(20条)

深夜支持一下!

创业公司获得的第一笔投资叫做Series A,后面的就是Series B/C/D...。我以前没见过angel rounds这种说法,从上下文来看是指从Series B往后的那些。创业的人通常希望一轮投资就解决问题,通常是发现钱不够花,或者意外发现了新方向需要更多资金,才会联系angel rounds。

谢谢! 尽管对有的名词不了解。

想请你帮个忙,很喜欢你以前“每日引言”那个板块,但当时我博客上不支持,现在换博了,能把那个“每日引言”网站的地址告诉我么?Email:wonderkid919@126.com

引用Margin的发言:

想请你帮个忙,很喜欢你以前“每日引言”那个板块,但当时我博客上不支持,现在换博了,能把那个“每日引言”网站的地址告诉我么?

http://tinyurl.com/2lh2er

引用支持一下的发言:

我以前没见过angel rounds这种说法,从上下文来看是指从Series B往后的那些。

根据wikipedia,angel rounds应该是指非常初期的融资。

http://www.answers.com/Securities_offering

引用Ruan Yifeng的发言:

根据wikipedia,angel rounds应该是指非常初期的融资。
http://www.answers.com/Securities_offering


啊,我知道了,angel rounds其实是来自个人的投资,以区别于来自投资银行等的大笔资金。

看一点就看不下去了,我只能说你的翻译很烂.太多误解.

楼上的同志,空口说白话总是容易的,不如你翻译一篇来证明你翻译的更好,呵呵

看过英文的原文,再看博主的翻译,感觉还是很有收获,有时候我也希望做这样的工作可是又觉得没有时间,当然,我浪费了大部分的时间。

感谢博主的翻译,非常有意义!

“互联网公司就像蚊子,唯一的竞争优势就是数量多,作为种族可以生存下来,作为个体九死一生。”

不觉得这话有问题吗?谁都知道,早期互联网公司也是从少量的个体发展过来的。

感谢博主的翻译,受教了!

很受教育,谢谢了

引用AHA的发言:

“互联网公司就像蚊子,唯一的竞争优势就是数量多,作为种族可以生存下来,作为个体九死一生。”

不觉得这话有问题吗?谁都知道,早期互联网公司也是从少量的个体发展过来的。

我想作者是省略了年代,应该是指当今的互联网公司。早期的互联网公司常被归为高科技公司,和其他的软件,硬件等IT公司放在一类。早期的互联网公司应用的技术还不能被大多数程序员掌握,现在互联网公司的技术要大众得多。

阮一峰:
你究竟是何方神圣?
交个朋友吧?

KUERFU@163.COM

20多岁的中年人,迷茫着

感谢分享。
确实是非常有启发性的想法。

对不起 读了你的译文 我觉得自己有点摸不着头脑的样子 不知道为什么 特别是最后一句话

我在阅读之前先谢谢楼主能抽时间把国外的好文章翻译成中文献给读者们,真的很感谢!

我要发表看法

«-必填

«-必填,不公开

«-我信任你,不会填写广告链接