Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light. For complete details, see below.
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March This essay is derived from a talk at the Harvard Computer Society. You need three things to create a successful startup: Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.
And that's kind of exciting, when you think about it, because all three are doable. And since a startup that succeeds ordinarily makes its founders rich, that implies getting rich is doable too. If there is one message I'd like to get across about startups, that's it. There is no magically difficult step that requires brilliance to solve.
The Idea In particular, you don't need a brilliant idea to start a startup around. The way a startup makes money is to offer people better technology than they have now. But what people have now is often so bad that it doesn't take brilliance to do better.
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Google's plan, for example, was simply to create a search site that didn't suck. They had three new ideas: Above all, they were determined to make a site that was good to use. No doubt there are great technical tricks within Google, but the overall plan was straightforward. And while they probably have bigger ambitions now, this alone brings them a billion dollars a year.
I can think of several heuristics for generating ideas for startups, but most reduce to this: For example, dating sites currently suck far worse than search did before Google.
They all use the same simple-minded model. They seem to have approached the problem by thinking about how to do database matches instead of how dating works in the real world.
An undergrad could build something better as a class project.
And yet there's a lot of money at stake. Online dating is a valuable business now, and it might be worth a hundred times as much if it worked. An idea for a startup, however, is only a beginning.
A lot of would-be startup founders think the key to the whole process is the initial idea, and from that point all you have to do is execute. Venture capitalists know better. If you go to VC firms with a brilliant idea that you'll tell them about if they sign a nondisclosure agreement, most will tell you to get lost.
That shows how much a mere idea is worth. The market price is less than the inconvenience of signing an NDA. Another sign of how little the initial idea is worth is the number of startups that change their plan en route. Microsoft's original plan was to make money selling programming languages, of all things.Learn software, creative, and business skills to achieve your personal and professional goals.
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