The Slums of Palo Alto
How to Be Ecstatically Happy After Ten Failed StartupsBook - 2014
Juxtapose: The dark side of startups. Ten startups, ten failures. Increasing visibility into how and why startups fail. Increasing influence and skill at making startups succeed. Investing hundreds of thousands of dollars. A Caltech pedigree and decades of experience & striving. But the startups keep failing. Every time.
With: The dark side of Silicon Valley. Multimillion dollar houses that many people rent, not own. From which they can be evicted with 30 day notice, and have to rapidly find a new place for a whole family. With monthly rents in the thousands. Many, many thousands. And in communities with all these stresses, significant unemployment, plus foreign investors who buy up houses to leave them vacant.
With: A relationship that has survived and thrived for more than thirty years. A family of four (the author, his wife, and two daughters) that believe heavily in family, education, and community. A protagonist that while weathering the grueling life of startups, continuously invested in his family and community. And these investments all paid off.
And ultimately: Protagonist takes "the red pill": becomes someone who sees the world in its true form, and believes it is harsh but amazing. Whose random acts of kindness includes giving away bread to strangers, running free robotics clubs for children, and buying people Macbook Airs, delivered to their desk in thirty minutes, for mother's day. Because he can. Because it might help. Because we should always strive to do better. Failure is a reality. Success is possible. Progress through failure, to succeed.
I am one of the happiest and successful people you will ever meet. I have no wealth, own no home, and have weathered ten failed startups. But I am successful in the ways that really matter. And I can help others succeed too. Or maybe just entertain them. These are my stories.