From Paul Graham’s “Hiring is Obsolete” (May 2005):
The math is brutal. While perhaps 9 out of 10 startups fail, the one that succeeds will pay the founders more than 10 times what they would have made in an ordinary job. That’s the sense in which startups pay better “on average.”
Remember that. If you start a startup, you’ll probably fail. Most startups fail. It’s the nature of the business. But it’s not necessarily a mistake to try something that has a 90% chance of failing, if you can afford the risk. Failing at 40, when you have a family to support, could be serious. But if you fail at 22, so what? If you try to start a startup right out of college and it tanks, you’ll end up at 23 broke and a lot smarter. Which, if you think about it, is roughly what you hope to get from a graduate program.