This was one notion I was reluctant to believe. I almost didn’t want to. It made the world unfair.
Then I read Max Levchin’s interview. This post even generated some jealous remarks on Hacker News. In many ways it seems unfair that Max and Theil got access to the best engineers and MBA’s to build great companies. But the truth as I’ve learned is, this unfairness increased theirs odds of winning by magnitudes. Palantir, Microsoft, Google and a ton more are examples of such success. When I left Zynga to start Cucumbertown little did I realize this was implicit until I saw other startups struggle. I had access to the best product managers, recruiters, advisors and co-founders of startups from the network. Cucumbertown even got some of them as investors.
What this taught me is to build your network. One way or the other. If you didn’t get the chance to go to a great university, go get a network value job. If weren’t able to do that, write a blog, publish, talk, create something and build respect. This gets you into circles. These days most investors don’t even talk to people outside their network. This is not easy. This world is not fair. You and I, we’ve got to work against the odds.
Every bit of access into networks directed towards your goals is breeding more chances for you to succeed. There are of course exceptions.