"In the real world, management is an art, not a science. The formal techniques for decision analysis that business schools teach are fool's gold, a vain and misguided attempt to systematize the chaotic. The mere existence of these methods betrays a darker truth: we harbor a desperate desire to believe that the world is ultimately predictable. But anyone who has managed a startup knows that predictability is an illusion. In this environment, you are faced with an endless stream of arbitrary challenges that bear down on you with the relentlessness of an automatic pitching machine. There's no time to think. The trick is to know when to swing and when to duck. But I suspect that each arbitrary decision is like smoking a pack of cigarettes -- somehow, somewhere, it shortens your life."
-- From Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure, by Jerry Kaplan (Houghton Mifflin, 1995)* * *