A Pioneer Pontificates
Jim Clark knows how to create valuable things. He’s one of the few people in the recent history of American business to start three different billion dollar companies.
Clark also knows about technology: all three of his billion dollar companies were Silicon Valley startups.
We should, in other words, take his thoughts seriously when he discusses productivity in the digital age, which he did, a few years ago, in an interview with Stanford president John Hennessy (see above).
Around 41 minutes into the event, Clark delivers the following heterodox judgment on social media:
“I just don’t appreciate social networking, which has blown up in recent years. In part, because [I recently attended a panel on social media where a panelist was] just raving about people spending twelve hours a day on Facebook…so I asked a question to the guy who was raving: the guy whose spending twelve hours a day on Facebook, do you every think he’ll be able to do what you’ve done? That’s the fundamental problem…people waste too much time on that.”
Clark then provided a glimpse into his own highly productive work habits:
“In my life, it’s been a lot about hard work and focus and study and very concentrated study, not about – you know – lots of interruptions, I’m guilty as anyone — but I turn my phone off or turn the buzzer off and make it unavailable for a good six hours a day. And I work — I still work. I like programming, I like doing things that are productive.”
In other words, no one every made a fortune being good at using Facebook. But there are many people like Clark who made a fortune putting in the deep work necessary to create the type of complicated systems that run services like Facebook.
Which group would you rather belong to?
(Hat tip: Gabriel)