Photo: Bloomberg TV
Want to become a billionaire? Then you should try building one of the following seven companies, says Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham.Graham knows a thing or two about building companies. Y-Combinator is a startup school that helps young entrepreneurs get their companies rolling. He’s seeing thousands of applications to Y-Combinator annually, so he knows what people are trying to build.
The following ideas are “frighteningly ambitious,” and would take an extraordinary amount of work to make happen. However, Graham thinks it’s possible.
Here are the ideas:
1. A better search engine. Google was once an awesome search engine. It is now bloated up with all sorts of extra features. Graham says, “Google search results used to look like the output of a Unix utility. Now if I accidentally put the cursor in the wrong place, anything might happen.” He suggests building something closer to that old-school, super simple version of Google.
2. Make email better. Email is just a “todo” list says Graham. As it’s built right now, it’s a terrible todo list. We need a new protocol for email. “As a todo list protocol, the new protocol should give more power to the recipient than email does.”
3. Kill off universities. There has to be a better way to do education than what we’ve got right now.
4. Deliver great TV programming through the internet. The content companies have been slow to embrace the Internet. So, some startup needs to figure out a way to deliver the drama that people love on TV through the Internet. Says Graham, “There are two ways delivery and payment could play out. Either some company like Netflix or Apple will be the app store for entertainment, and you’ll reach audiences through them. Or the would-be app stores will be too overreaching, or too technically inflexible, and companies will arise to supply payment and streaming a la carte to the producers of drama. If that’s the way things play out, there will also be a need for such infrastructure companies.”
5. Be the next Steve Jobs. Graham believes Apple is toast without Steve Jobs. As a result, there’s an opportunity for a visionary to come up with an idea for a new hardware company like Apple.
6. Re-invent Moore’s law. This one is a little complicated. Graham says Intel can’t deliver faster CPUs, just more CPUs. “It would be great if a startup could give us something of the old Moore’s Law back, by writing software that could make a large number of CPUs look to the developer like one very fast CPU.”
7. Improve medical diagnosis. In 50-100 years, Graham thinks people will consider our current methods for diagnosing serious health conditions “barbaric.” There has to be a better way to figure out if we have cancer, or if our arteries are being clogged up.
For a more complete look at Graham’s ideas, as well as his tactical advice on how to make it happen check out his blog →
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