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Selling dirt takes skill  

Elli Kanal has some respect for a man who, without any advanced degree, can get by selling dirt from the Holy Land to religious pilgrims. Although he makes a few interesting points, I can't help but feel that this misses the mark:

My skillset: (1) I can program in five languages. (2) I’m able to interpret neural signals and tell you what you’re thinking before you even know it yourself. (3) I know how to create a machine learning program that learns from it’s past mistakes. (4-inf) All the other stuff I’ve learned along the way.

This guy’s skillset: (1) Selling dirt.

In the words of the wise master Yoda, "this is why you fail." Selling dirt successfully, making a business out of it, takes a lot more skills than it seems on the surface. Sure, you can summarise it all as "selling dirt" (and even then, you're only looking at the skills that are directly used to make money), but then you could also summarise Eli's skills as: (1) doing computer stuff; and, in fact, this is how many people who know nothing about computers summarise the skills of the average technical cofounder.

The first step to learning to be a successful businessman is to realise that business creation is a technical field that must be learned and figured out just like any other. And, unlike engineering, which is taught to relatively high levels at university, there is no course that will really help you pick it up (MBAs are widely recognised as being far from effective at training entrepreneurs).

It's a common misconception of technical founders that there's nothing to "all that business stuff". But that view is as uninformed as the opposing one that "all you need is to hire a coder to implement your vision".

More from the library:
Don't drink your own kool-aid
Patrick McKenzie's work on the Fog Creek website
Why your startup shouldn't hire a Marketer from Microsoft
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