Sunday, April 20, 2008

Re: [svcef] How to make 3 Million$ in 5 years ?

Following is an interesting discussion regarding "How you can make $3M in 5 years" from the SVCEF mailing list.

On Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 10:43 AM, Li Hong <> wrote:
There are a few questions to be clarified. Or, put in a more intuitive way, what's the definition of "$3M"? I will not take it as a "why $3M instead of happiness" question but how you can identify opportunity, build blocks and monetize it effectively?

First of all, the key question is how much are you willing to challenge your own comfortable zone. 99% of the time, your current comfortable zone is unlikely bring you $3M, be it an engineer or researcher or an ordinary office folks. Some suggestions here, like trading stocks, have slimiest chance IMHO because you are not leaving your comfortable zone enjoying today. Talk is always talk but walk is  more difficult. Y!Combinator founders get it and so do those student entrepreneurs applying. Say you found an idea here to make $3M? So what? I challenge your courage to actually give it a try, human being!

Secondly, are you talking about $3M in cash or something equivalent else? For example, does publishing an article in Science worth $3M? Maybe that will land you a great job in an early life science venture. Does the fact you know Steve Jobs or Jintao Hu (China president) personally worth $3M? Does the fact you get into Stanford or Harvard CS/MBA program worth $3M? It all depends on how you can effectively monetize those resources. Ethically, if you will.

At last, I think there are many many ways to make $3M. The catch is most people just don't have enough patience to work for 5 years, assuming you have the courage to try it for 6 months. Oh, forget about 5 years, say 2 years. It's almost irrelevant about what your idea is and/or what industry are you win.

So let me give you some alternative way in 5 yrs:

- focus on helping highschool students implement their biz ideas for 2 years as a volunteer=>start investing some 2-grand-check for interesting ideas in 2 years and start following up=>see if can harvest in 5th year. (for those who believe balance of life/work is good and want social responsibilities...)

- writing blog to discuss opportunities about localizing Silicon Valley ideas in China context for 2 years=>start being invited to be panelist in some local or China conference as a domain expert in yr 3 and start writing your 1st book=>publish yr book in yr 5/being hired as VP/GM in China for SV companies (for those who cannot leave current job but still speak Chinese well. You can also copy this to other countries if u speak local language.)

- Working hard at current job (assuming many are at good high-tech companies in California), always asking yourself does your work worth the paycheck you got, proactively making extra contribution for the company (extra mile is always appreciated, esp. when it's free for the benefactor, a.k.a, your employer/boss) for 1 years=> as many people just live in a 9-5 life, you should be able to stand out now and being promoted to lead something and your reputation is start circling around in year 2/3=> you become a star employee and  new start up start knocking at your door to have you on bard as the No3  employee in year 4=> choose the  right one, well-funded or most promising. Regardless your stock option, the fact you are VP at a top VC funded startup may already bring $3M.

On Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 12:38 PM, ieeestd802 <> wrote:

I would like to kick a serious discussion.

For an average (smart and hardworking) person, what are some
practical ways to make 3 Million$ in 5 years ?

For practical, I means, with probability > 10%

The following are some of ways I can think of, please add your lists:
1. Start a company, hopefully, it will have a good exit in 5 years
2. Join the ¡°next Google¡± either as an early employee
3. Switch career to investment banking industry, make money on Wall
4. Become a senior VP or CEO of some companies (not every one is
qualified for this, but I listed it here anyway).
5. Go back to China and get into its real estate business (not sure if it
is too later)

This is for a serious discussion. I am sure many people are thinking
about the same question (how to reach financial freedom in reasonable
time frame). We can discuss different options, and pick the best routes
suitable for ourselves.

Please, add your comments.

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Li Hong
MBA Class of 2008 Candidate
Babson College

Li Hong
MBA Class of 2008 Candidate
Babson College

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