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The Technology – A Talk by Paul Buchheit

Great talk by Paul Buchheit, creator and lead developer of Gmail.

We often sweat life’s big decisions, but it’s the little decisions that matter the most — the ones we make thousands of times a day, often without even realizing it. The big decisions are the inevitable result of those small decisions. They steered the ship into port, created the conditions that gave rise to the situation. And then perhaps we feel that our hand has been forced, the big decision must be made, but really it was made by the thousands of small decisions leading up to it.


The ability to accept a greater range of outcomes opens the door to another pattern: Choose the more interesting path.

Interestingness is a sign of unexplored or under-explored territory.


I can guarantee success by simply redefining success to include learning something interesting. In this way, I’ve always succeeded, and also learned a lot.

Real work always seems to involve a certain amount of unpleasant, grinding effort though, and startups often have a lot of it. It’s like having a baby. It’s 5% cute, adorable moments, and 95% dirty diapers and vomit.

The key to loving these more unpleasant moments is meaning. If we genuinely care about and believe in our mission, then those difficult times begin to take on a more heroic quality.

Although it’s critical for a startup to have very immediate and actionable plans, such as write code and talk to users, I believe it’s also important to maintain a meaningful and inspiring vision.


Maintain a healthy disregard for the impossible. Potentially impossible goals are much more inspiring than realistic ones.


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