It used to be that you had to have an actual company for capture investors’ attention. Last March, entrepreneur and investor Paul Graham upended that basic standard, inviting candidates with no plan whatsoever into his Y Combinator program. Now, Upstart, a 10-month-old, 10-person company based in Palo Alto, is making even Graham’s unconventional thinking seem quaint.
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Most of today’s founders will fail. And when they do, they probably won’t leave with riches or celebrity. At least they’ll have a fairly solid resume.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organization development at Stanford, has been teaching students about power dynamics in the workplace for the last 30 years. This fall, Pfeffer published a book — Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t — that explores why what’s best for your employer isn’t always good for your career, and suggests that backing down never pays off.
I caught up with Pfeffer this morning to talk about the book and its applicability to startups.