paul graham Quotes

Paul Graham Quotes

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Quotes

    • Architects know that some kinds of design problems are more personal than others. One of the cleanest, most abstract design problems is designing bridges. There your job is largely a matter of spanning a given distance with the least material. The other end of the spectrum is designing chairs. Chair designers have to spend their time thinking about human butts.
    • The best thing software can be is easy, but the way to do this is to get the defaults right, not to limit users' choices.
    • Software has to be designed by hackers who understand design, not designers who know a little about software. If you can't design software as well as implement it, don't start a startup.
    • At every period of history, people have believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you risked ostracism or even violence by saying otherwise. If our own time were any different, that would be remarkable. As far as I can tell it isn't.
    • If you try to solve a hard problem, the question is not whether you will use a powerful enough language, but whether you will (a) use a powerful language, (b) write a de facto interpreter for one, or (c) yourself become a human compiler for one.
    • As a rule of thumb, the more qualifiers there are before the name of a country, the more corrupt the rulers. A country called The Socialist People's Democratic Republic of X is probably the last place in the world you'd want to live.
    • The world seemed cruel and boring, and I'm not sure which was worse.
    • When you tread water, you lift yourself up by pushing water down. Likewise, in any social hierarchy, people unsure of their own position will try to emphasize it by maltreating those they think rank below. I've read that this is why poor whites in the United States are the group most hostile to blacks.
    • Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children.
    • A programming language is for thinking of programs, not for expressing programs you've already thought of.
    • When those far removed from the creation of wealth -- undergraduates, reporters, politicians -- hear that the richest 5% of the people have half the total wealth, they tend to think injustice! An experienced programmer would be more likely to think is that all? The top 5% of programmers probably write 99% of the good software.
    • I've seen occasional articles about how to manage programmers. Really there should be two articles: one about what to do if you are yourself a programmer, and one about what to do if you're not. And the second could probably be condensed into two words: give up.
    • At any given time, there are only about ten or twenty places where hackers most want to work, and if you aren't one of them, you won't just have fewer great hackers, you'll have zero.
    • Your teachers are always telling you [high school students] to behave like adults. I wonder if they'd like it if you did. You may be loud and disorganized, but you're very docile compared to adults.... Imagine the reaction of an FBI agent or taxi driver or reporter to being told they had to ask permission to go the bathroom, and only one person could go at a time.
    • There are few sources of energy so powerful as a procrastinating grad student.
    • Google never did any advertising. They're like dealers; they sell the stuff, but they know better than to use it themselves.
    • Competitors punch you in the jaw, but investors have you by the balls.
    • Consulting is where product companies go to die.
    • European public opinion will apparently tolerate people being fired in industries where they really care about performance. Unfortunately the only industry they care enough about so far is soccer.
    • I actually worry a lot that as I get 'popular' I'll be able to get away with saying stupider stuff than I would have dared say before. This sort of thing happens to a lot of people, and I would *really* like to avoid it.
    • paul graham

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