Paul, you’ve always encouraged the startups you’ve coached at Y-Combinator to focus on their users, to get out of the office and talk to people.
What Paul Graham Is Missing About Inequality
Tim O'Reilly

Thanks Tim.

I find this editorial on point and the theme of the future of work absolutely essential for our society.

In particular, to your point, the divergence of value generated for the customer and value represented in the stock price is at the very core of the issues we see today.

In his editorial, Paul claims (rightly so) that companies generally are only able to improve one metric at a time (“you make what you measure”). Thus, if you can’t measure your most important variable, you have already lost the battle.

Along these lines, the core metric that most speculators (which VC’s technically are by definition) focus on is future wealth. Now, unfortunately from the perspective of a lot of investors, whether this future wealth is actually tied to value created is besides the point.

This is the smoking gun.

We need to refocus our priorities as individuals and as a society on the value of the work not the value of the stock.

And this is not because of some idealistic ethical argument. It is because, over the long-term, it is simply good business and good practice.

In my opinion, the future of work hinges upon our ability to grasp the importance of this principle for us as individuals, as companies and as communities.

The time for all dollars being created equal is over. I believe the future of work is in realizing that there are good profits and bad profits. Each type of profit comes with very real financial consequences.

Bad profits will hurt you in the end, either through customer attrition, through loss of share or through catastrophic implosion (i.e. Enron, ’08 mortgage crisis et al.).

Good profits, on the other hand, will build a sustainable foundation for long-term growth, creating advocates out of customers and partners out of employees.

In any case, I appreciate this piece and look forward to future discussions on the future of work.

PS — I had additional thoughts on the future of work below which I would be very interested to hear your feedback on if you have time.