This week, four Silicon Valley bigwigs told a room full of Zuckerberg-wannabes exactly why they shouldn’t start a company.
Asana’s Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein and venture capitalists Matt Cohler and Ben Horowitz conducted a panel-style Q&A with interns from some of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Google and Facebook.
But this was no warm and fuzzy pep talk. The four panelists left the eager young minds with a cold, hard dose of reality: entrepreneurship isn't a career path and it's not a way to get rich quick.
The panel instead stressed the importance of becoming an entrepreneur if you had an idea that you wanted to make a reality.
“It’s total nonsense,” Moskovitz said. “I’m not really sure where it comes from, but every time I meet someone who says ‘I really want to be an entrepreneur’ but has no idea what they want to do, I really just think: ‘This person is totally aimless,’” said Moskovitz according to Wired.
He added: “It’s much better to start with: ‘I really want to manifest this. I want to bring this into the world. Decide if somebody else is doing it, and if you think they’re doing it well, go help them do it.”
The three other panelists agreed with Moskowitz, continually stressing that a desire to start a company is not a good enough reason to start a company.
“I don’t think you should choose to start a company,” said Matt Cohler, a venture capitalist at Benchmark Capital. “I really think it’s something you should do if you don’t have a choice.”
Oh, and the group also stressed that the Mark Zuckerbergs--the rags-to-riches entrepreneurs--of the world are the exception, not the rule. Or Moskovitz put it: a low-level engineer at Facebook will make more money than a majority of start-up founders will ever see. Ouch.