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Chapter 6: How to Make Wealth

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Joined: 2003-06-07

This one had some very personal overtones for me. I enjoyed the discussion at the beginning of the chapter about how wealth is generated, but I was more taken by the discussion of measurement and leverage.

I have worked for three companies: first a small/mid-size consulting company where I was on site at a large investment bank, a financial startup (~75 employees when I was there), and now I work directly for a different large investment bank.

The first company was tough because my paycheck came from the consulting company yet I never worked there a day in the two years I was there. So I had two separate management hierarchies to deal with. Things got complicated. No one was happy. I had neither leverage nor measurement.

Now, the other side isn't always sweet. I went from there to a startup -- bigger than Paul Graham mentions but still a startup. A young vibrant company with some brilliant people. Here I had measurement, but no leverage. Even though the company was small, it was hard for me in my position to effect change. So although my effect on the company was very apparent, it was hard to have an effect.

And now I work for a big investment bank. I lead a client development team. I am in complete control of the client code design and user interface design. It's an in house product, so the community is quite small. But my compensation is decided by the technology group even though the primary beneficiaries of my work are business users (bond traders) What I've found is that I flip-flopped -- I now have leverage, but no visible measurement.

So, you can see, this chapter rung true. No easy answers as I see it. Maybe the startup I worked for is too big. Paul's startup was a really small outfit. But I don't think it's that simple. There has to be software development done outside of small startups. The question is how.