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How many businesses have you started that have realized more than $1000 of revenue?
It's pretty easy to start a business: just get a blog, slap some adsense on there, and you're in business. It's a lot harder to build something non-trivial, and even that point I mentioned above of $1000 revenue is pretty dang trivial.
"We knew what technology was available," Bill said, "and we figured out how little bits of it would fit within the area where we wanted to be. There was not one giant step that we took at any point; there were a lot of little steps. Pretty much we just stuck to our knitting. I think we were concerned about making a technical contribution and we operated on the assumption that if we made a contribution to society, rewards would follow."
Can you imagine any exec at HP saying something along those lines today?