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10 Questions for Tim O'Reilly

Good advice, bad habits, and the dream of flight.

Patrick Fraser

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1. What is your favorite part of a typical day?

When I let the horses out in the morning.

2. Which part of your job would you gladly give up?

Performance reviews. I don't like the report card part of it.

3. What is the best advice you have ever received?

Early on, a management consultant told me to get a board of directors. It's great discipline to have to report to somebody -- even if you're the sole owner.

4. What skill would you most like to improve?

I'm terrible at being on time.

5. What keeps you up at night?

Wondering how to build a company that survives me.

6. What is your greatest fear?

Being wrong. I don't mean wrong in the sense of making a mistake in business; I mean it in a moral sense. I'm afraid that I'd make a decision that would hurt someone.

7. What is your greatest extravagance?

Books. I have about 10,000 volumes. It's about the size of a gentleman's library in the era of Thomas Jefferson. But a lot of mine are paperbacks.

8. What is your most treasured possession?

A rock from the grave of Robert Louis Stevenson that my brother brought me from Samoa.

9. If you had to do something other than run your company, what would it be?

I'd love to be doing something physical every day. Maybe farming.

10. What talent would you most like to have?

The ability to fly. Or to do handsprings. Or to sing opera.

Last updated: May 1, 2010




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