The legal industry is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation disruption.
From the perspective of one who has served as a general counsel in recent years, paying $3 million a year in outside law firm bills, we (or “they” now that I’ve switched teams) are fed up with large firms’ endlessly escalating billing rates and cost insensitivity. With many talented, experienced lawyers having left big firms (voluntarily or involuntarily), and technology making it easier than ever to set up shop as a new solo practice or small firm, Craig’s point is compelling. I started my own firm, Bottom Line Law Group, with a similar philosophy of low overhead and an awareness of clients’ cost sensitivity, in large part because I want to serve early stage startups and other clients who couldn’t afford me if my billing rate were $650/hour. (See http://bll.la/55 for a manifesto of sorts.) Firms like mine, and those founded by many of my colleagues in the last couple years, are the wave of the future. It’s such an obvious win-win — or slam dunk, as Craig said — that I think it’s inevitable. In much the same way that startups seize opportunities that large corporations aren’t nimble enough to pursue, “startup” law firms will rush to meet the market need that’s currently unmet. The only way I see that not happening is if the megafirms move to slash overhead (meaning compensation, not layoffs) and billing rates. With all of the incentives and institutional traits that I’ve described above, I think the probability of that happening in the near future is near zero.
Cómo ser racionalmente ambicioso: consejos para emprendedores
The point when it became clear to me that Microsoft had lost their way was when they decided to get into the search business. That was not a natural move for Microsoft. They did it because they were afraid of Google, and Google was in the search business. But this meant (a) Google was now setting Microsoft's agenda, and (b) Microsoft's agenda consisted of stuff they weren't good at…. If you can just build something that you and your friends genuinely prefer to Google, you're already about 10% of the way to an IPO…
If you want to take on a problem as big as the ones I've discussed, don't make a direct frontal attack on it. Don't say, for example, that you're going to replace email. If you do that you raise too many expectations. Your employees and investors will constantly be asking "are we there yet?" and you'll have an army of haters waiting to see you fail. Just say you're building to-do-list software. That sounds harmless. People can notice you've replaced email when it's a fait accompli.
… Maybe it's a bad idea to have really big ambitions initially, because the bigger your ambition, the longer it's going to take, and the further you project into the future, the more likely you'll get it wrong... think the way to use these big ideas is not to try to identify a precise point in the future and then ask yourself how to get from here to there, like the popular image of a visionary. You'll be better off if you operate like Columbus and just head in a general westerly direction. Don't try to construct the future like a building, because your current blueprint is almost certainly mistaken. Start with something you know works, and when you expand, expand westward. The popular image of the visionary is someone with a clear view of the future, but empirically it may be better to have a blurry one.