This afternoon I reread a quote from Christopher Hitchens which for a long time has been my go-to response when talking about the value of religion:
Good people do good things and evil people do evil things. To get good people to do evil things, you need religion.
Although this quote originates from Steven Weinberg, Hitchens makes it his own with his trademark wit and humour.
With this thought fresh in my mind, I stumbled across a discussion on Hacker News about a startup which managed to raise $120m in funding to bring a luxury juicer to market. Unfortunately for the startup (and their investors) it turns out that the juice-packs they are selling can be squeezed by hand and don’t need the juicer at all, destroying their business model.
Now I don’t know whether that startup could have brought a product to market without $120m from investors — but I’m pretty sure that if it was their own money on the line, someone in the team would have double-checked to make sure the super-expensive juicer was really necessary to squeeze their proprietary juice-packs before spending their collective life savings on it.
Thus, I’d like to propose what I’m calling Hitchen’s First Law of Startups:
Good founders execute well. Bad founders execute poorly. To get good founders to execute poorly, you need Investors.
To all early stage founders out there, consider this a (tongue-firmly-in-cheek) warning about the dangers of raising money at the wrong time.
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