My first company made glider planes.
The first glider plane I ever saw was a model that my dad brought home for me when I was about 10. It was a little larger than the toy planes you would get in a cereal box, but it had much better performance. The wings were thin and swept back, and the tail assembly was balanced so that the plane could glide in circles without banking.
I took it outside and threw it up in the air. It made a wonderful sound, something like a distant lawn mower starting up, as it circled above me with its engine off, coming in lower and lower until I grabbed it out of the air at the last moment.
I lost track of that plane over time; it got broken or lost or left behind somewhere we moved. But by then I had become interested in how things worked, and I knew more or less how to make one myself. So I did.
For Christmas that year I made a glider plane for each member of my family. In retrospect, this may have been excessive: there were eight of us at the time, which meant spending several weeks making nothing but planes, testing them out on friends to make sure they worked well, then wrapping them all up just before Christmas.
It’s not just that there are more things you can do when you’re older. It’s that there are things only older people can do.
One of the things I did at my last company, Fog Creek Software, was to set up a branch office in New York City. This allowed me to hire people who wanted to live in New York, rather than in our main office in Philadelphia. Being in New York also allowed us to stay on top of what was happening in the tech industry and get face time with companies like Google and Microsoft.
But we could not have done this when we were younger.
Why? Because we were risk-averse. We had a good thing going in Philadelphia and didn’t want to mess it up by opening a branch office–an expensive prospect, with a totally unproven track record for success. But after working together for over 10 years, we took the plunge and did it anyway–and it worked out really well!
The point is that the older you get, the less risk-averse you should become–because now you have nothing to lose!
For young entrepreneurs, there is no such thing as failure. If your first startup doesn’t work out, don’t worry: starting a second one will be easier
Our first glider plane made it about 6 feet before nosediving.
We were disappointed, but not surprised. We had been told that the hardest part of aviation is getting airplanes off the ground. Getting them in the air is easy once you’ve solved that problem. But we hadn’t solved it yet.
Our second attempt was more successful: it flew a full 15 feet before crashing into the ground.
Attempt number three put us within spitting distance of our target: 20 feet!
The fourth glider went 25 feet and then floated gently down to the ground with a perfect landing, as if carried by invisible hands.
It was only after we reached our goal that we realized we were already there.
It took most of my life to learn what I’m about to tell you. I started with nothing. I was a poor boy from a poor family. I grew up in the slums of New York, and spent most of my youth trying to keep out of trouble.
I’ve been broke, and I’ve been rich. And believe me, rich is better.
If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ve already succeeded far beyond your childhood dreams. And if you haven’t, don’t worry: success takes time. I still know plenty of people my age who are just starting out – just getting their first taste of big money; but it’s coming to them, I promise you that.
The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself. The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing. Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook all began this way.
Microsoft was founded to make software for the Altair. Their original idea was not to start a company selling software in boxes–in fact they had no idea how you went about doing that–but just to write the BASIC interpreter and sell it to hobbyists. They were essentially doing it for themselves.
Apple wasn’t originally a company; it was just a project Woz and Jobs were working on because it was fun, like most of their projects. The two companies started out at about the same time and for about the same reason: because the founders wanted their own computers.
Yahoo! got its start because David Filo wanted information on his special area of interest (electronic circuits) but couldn’t find an existing website that had organized it for him. So he made one himself.
Google began when Sergey Brin decided that the Stanford computer science department
The Glider is a low-power electric airplane. It was developed to teach kids science and engineering in a fun, rewarding way. It can also be used as a hobby, much like radio-controlled airplanes.
The Glider comes in two versions: the Propeller Glider and the Jet Glider. Each one has its own advantages, and it’s up to you to decide which one is best for you. Both have high quality foam bodies and move with the help of an electric motor. You can purchase one of our prebuilt models or build your own from scratch using our plans!
The Propeller Glider uses an electric propeller as its main means of flying through the air. It is powered by batteries that are charged using our solar panels. The propeller glider can be controlled using your hand, or you can build a remote control system for it!
The Jet Glider does not have a propeller at all! Instead, it uses compressed air to create thrust, which allows the plane to fly through the air. This glider flies well in light wind conditions and can be flown indoors or outdoors. It is powered by batteries that are charged using our solar panels or compressed air cylinders that are filled with a bicycle pump. The jet
One of the problems we had in the early days of glider planes was that they didn’t glide very far. If you could glide ten feet, you could probably glide twenty. But if you started at a height of ten feet, by the time you got down to zero you were doing only five feet per second. But if you started at a thousand feet, by the time you got down to zero you would be going fast enough to kill yourself. So people doing interesting things don’t tend to do them near ground level.
This is a problem for any technology with an S-curve, but most especially for planes and computers. The first airplanes were gliders. The Wright brothers built their own wind tunnel and made over two hundred models in it before they flew. But no one else could have done this– not even Orville and Wilbur themselves in the beginning, because at first they weren’t good enough engineers to know how to build a good wind tunnel or make good measurements in it. They learned by doing what they could do: building and testing gliders on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where there was plenty of wind and sand for soft landings.
The history of computers also shows an initial phase of free flight followed by one of