Benevolence and morale

karl karl.ramberg at
Mon Apr 21 14:30:28 EDT 2008

Morgan Collett wrote:
> Interesting essay by Paul Graham on running a startup like a
> non-profit - the power of benevolence:
> I found it inspiring in the context of OLPC, given that OLPC is a
> non-profit, yet going through startup-style challenges.
> Note his section on morale:
> "Morale is tremendously important to a startup—so important that
> morale alone is almost enough to determine success. Startups are often
> described as emotional roller-coasters. One minute you're going to
> take over the world, and the next you're doomed. The problem with
> feeling you're doomed is not just that it makes you unhappy, but that
> it makes you stop working. So the downhills of the roller-coaster are
> more of a self fulfilling prophecy than the uphills. If feeling you're
> going to succeed makes you work harder, that probably improves your
> chances of succeeding, but if feeling you're going to fail makes you
> stop working, that practically guarantees you'll fail."
> "Here's where benevolence comes in. If you feel you're really helping
> people, you'll keep working even when it seems like your startup is
> doomed."
> Anyway, read the whole essay to get the context.
> Morgan
I liked this picture from former OLPC worker Ivan Krstic' describing the 
startup process:


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