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I was wondering why companies like Microsoft always get defended by Objectivists.

I mean I was reading how Bill Gates bought the code for his first operating system, modified it slightly and sold it to IBM. This reminds me of Peter Keating and not of Howard Roark. I mean it was Apple who invented the idea of having windows on the screen and again Bill Gates copied it.

I think Bill Gates and Microsoft are motivated primarily by money. They love the stuff as it allows them to do what they want with their lives.

I completely agree with them. I would never do what Roark did and sacrifice a commission because what the client wanted wasn't what I wanted to provide. These are the kinds of things you can do once you are rich.

I suppose it comes down to what you are passionate about. If I was really that passionate about something then I might not change it in order to market it to a customer.

But what if you are not passionate about anything? This is something which I have been struggling with. I enjoy doing certain things. And I can get really excited about doing them. But sooner or later I will get bored and move on to something else.

One example is paintball. I love it. I would love to own a paintball site. I would design it, play on it, compete and basically have a great time. Now if I was really obscessed I would make a career out of it and life would be great. But I am not obscessed - eventualy I would get bored. There are other things I want to do in my life. For example, another thing I would love is to own a plane and fly it.

So to do all of these things I need primarily to make money. Which means I need to satisfy customers. I need to be practical. In other words I need to be a Keating or a Bill Gates. Balls to any ideals, money is the goal in order to satisfy all of my desires.

I know that this probably disgusts a lot of people on this board. But, this is what I am talking about. To make it in business your love must be money. This is how it is for most successful businessmen I think. What do you guys think?

PS

Please no references to TFH in your replies! I am half way through it and would hate it to be spoiled. Its such a good book! At the moment, Keating is getting all of the business and the money and is proving my point. I hope that Roark triumphs in the end though!

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I smell troll-bait. But if that is wrong, then I have a suggestion to offer:

All of us might wait until you have finished The Fountainhead, thought about it, and studied the entries in The Ayn Rand Lexicon for "Money," "Integrity," "Love," and "Pragmatism," at least.

Then you can come back and revive this thread by telling us your thoughts.

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I mean it was Apple who invented the idea of having windows on the screen and again Bill Gates copied it.

Actually, Apple and MS both lifted the idea from Xerox. Xerox was responsible for the mouse, windowing, ethernet, and many other technologies. They never capitalized on these early on, as they didn't believe there would be a significant market. :(

I think people admire Bill Gates for many reasons, although you're correct that he isn't much of a programmer. That's also a bit of legend. But he has been able to find and direct good programmers, enabling them to create products that have changed the world. For a long time now, he's directed his company in offering the best product available at the most competitive price. Better still, when he's had competition he's taken them head on. Unlike too many other tech companies, MS beats competitors in the marketplace rather than asking for government protectionism or playing expensive court games. What's not to like?

Regarding the rest of your post, I think you need to finish reading. Nobody here would be upset by the idea of making money hand over fist. We love producers and the creation of wealth.

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I'm being tempted to make a reference to The Fountainhead, but I'll resist it.

I have asked myself the same questions you did sometime in the past. There are many things I like doing in my life too. I don't like paintball much, but I do like climbing mountains, writing novels (or for now just short stories), photography... and there are many things I'd like to learn too! For example, I can't play a single musical instrument, but I like to imagine myself playing even the most complex and lively melodies on a piano. And, I've recently discovered a new passion (as I did some research for my first novel), and that is learning how to prepare certain things (I looked for recipes for ink) out of raw substances one can find by simply walking outside.

And guess what! My interest whithers away from time to time in certain of these things, only to be awakened later by ... well, something.

The trick here is to learn what is your real passion. What do you want more than anything and which of your interests is always there, whether only to some extent, or fully. Mine, for example, is programming. Some of the best moments in my life were exactly those that came as I wrote a line of source code. It was, incidentally, my first passion ever.

Pay attention to where your attention goes to most frequently. Which thought enters your mind most often? If you are in a noisy, crowded place, what thing would you have to be doing to draw your attention from all the noise (except leave)?

Of course, all this I could have explained better with making some references to The Fountainhead, but I don't want to spoil it for you. Instead, I suggest you read it.

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To add to McGroaty, although Xerox labs were the original creators of technologies like the mouse and the graphical user interface, these prototypes were terribly unwieldly and no consumer would pay money for them. The mouse was a large box, with tiny little buttons! What Microsoft and Apple did, the value they created, was an improvement over the original idea to make it actually usable. The reason Microsoft succeeded and Apple failed in their similar missions is twofold: 1) Apple had a good headstart but they were always better innovators than managers and business people, which is why they completely bondoongled their advantage, and 2) Microsoft has always had Bill Gates who was a brilliant businessman. Although he started far behind Apple, he not only overcame them in strikingly quick time, but he outinnovated them in many key ways. Have you used the Apple mouse? It's terrible! Have you used the Mac Operating System? Even the latest MacOS X is not more than half of what Windows XP is.

So that's the primary reason why Microsoft is defended by me, and others. They aren't just a successful company, their success has often been misunderstood and undervalued, and their contribution to everyone's lives and personal prosperity is truly hard to overestimate.

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2) Microsoft has always had Bill Gates who was a brilliant businessman.

Bill Gates is a brilliant engineer who has incredible abilities to see the big picture technically. It's Steve Ballmer that is the business mind behind Microsoft.

Ballmer is the mind who markets the products and makes sure Gates has the tools he needs to do his thing. Gates' genius lies not in inventing the wheel, but buying other people's wheels, combining them with an axle and putting a something between them. Ballmer is the genius that convinced people to give them money and more inportantly, do business with them.

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It is not a legend. Have you seen his code? Gates is a superlative programmer.

What Gates code have you seen? So far as what he did with MS, he only had designing role in BASIC with Paul Allen doing the majority of the work and a third party doing the rest. Past that, there was always a team of people working with Bill Gates as a manager, unless I've missed something. I know he did some programming in college, but I don't know of any of those projects being made public.

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...[bill Gates]...isn't much of a programmer.

What Gates code have you seen?

No offence, but I hope you will first reply to your own question.

As for me, I have not just seen Gate's code but have also seen some detailed memos he has written about it. From these, I have concluded that he is an excellent programmer. Also, he is the type of person who actually remembers little details of code he designed years ago, indicating a level of involvement that is characteristic of "artisans".

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As for me, I have not just seen Gate's code but have also seen some detailed memos he has written about it. From these, I have concluded that he is an excellent programmer. Also, he is the type of person who actually remembers little details of code he designed years ago, indicating a level of involvement that is characteristic of "artisans".

Any references? As a programmer myself, I'd like to see that (the code and the memos).

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Actually I have not seen a really good Objectivist answer to this one before.

There are lots of starving artist-types that claim they have nobility because they do not bow to the marketplace. That is not the kind of person that Roark is.

For people raised religiously this can also be confusing, because religious people are taught that the only way to make money is to be unethical pragmatists. To be virtuous, they are taught, they must be like the starving artists.

The way I would best explain Roark's actions is that he wants to be an architect, not a badmitton player or professional smoozer. If Roark wanted to be a salesman, I suppose he might do more of the Keating-type things. There is a marketplace for those skills, but that is not what Roark wants to do. Some people, notably architects, engineers, and inventors, are only happy when they are creating things. That is why Roark is happy even performing manual labor, because that is closer to creating buildings than smoozing. Notice how Roark sleeps well at night when he is working in the quarry. Rand did not mention this, but I bet that a real Keating would be an insomniac.

So there is no dichotomy between making money, and doing what he wants for Roark.

Keating is a financial success because he uses sales skills in the field of architecture. He is a depressed and miserable failure as a person because sales or achitecture is not what he wants to do in life.

Read to the end of the book and see what happens to Roark.

BTW, Bill Gates is a salesman, and a programmer. He seems to enjoy doing both.

As far as your paintball. It sounds like fun, but nobody will pay you to do it. That's what hobbies are for.

I was wondering why companies like Microsoft always get defended by Objectivists.

I mean I was reading how Bill Gates bought the code for his first operating system, modified it slightly and sold it to IBM. This reminds me of Peter Keating and not of Howard Roark. I mean it was Apple who invented the idea of having windows on the screen and again Bill Gates copied it.

I think Bill Gates and Microsoft are motivated primarily by money. They love the stuff as it allows them to do what they want with their lives.

I completely agree with them. I would never do what Roark did and sacrifice a commission because what the client wanted wasn't what I wanted to provide. These are the kinds of things you can do once you are rich.

I suppose it comes down to what you are passionate about. If I was really that passionate about something then I might not change it in order to market it to a customer.

But what if you are not passionate about anything? This is something which I have been struggling with. I enjoy doing certain things. And I can get really excited about doing them. But sooner or later I will get bored and move on to something else.

One example is paintball. I love it. I would love to own a paintball site. I would design it, play on it, compete and basically have a great time. Now if I was really obscessed I would make a career out of it and life would be great. But I am not obscessed - eventualy I would get bored. There are other things I want to do in my life. For example, another thing I would love is to own a plane and fly it.

So to do all of these things I need primarily to make money. Which means I need to satisfy customers. I need to be practical. In other words I need to be a Keating or a Bill Gates. Balls to any ideals, money is the goal in order to satisfy all of my desires.

I know that this probably disgusts a lot of people on this board. But, this is what I am talking about. To make it in business your love must be money. This is how it is for most successful businessmen I think. What do you guys think?

PS

Please no references to TFH in your replies! I am half way through it and would hate it to be spoiled. Its such a good book! At the moment, Keating is getting all of the business and the money and is proving my point. I hope that Roark triumphs in the end though!

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  • 2 weeks later...
So there is no dichotomy between making money, and doing what he wants for Roark.

Keating is a financial success because he uses sales skills in the field of architecture. He is a depressed and miserable failure as a person because sales or achitecture is not what he wants to do in life.

I think you're a little confused here, Pericles. Roark doesn't want to be "an architect" if that were true building any building would be enough for him, as you seem to state. That's not what he wants. He wants to build HIS buildings. He wants to create what he sees in HIS mind.

>>SPOILER ALERT<<

Keating initially enjoys financial success in the book because he is willing to pander to people that have no concept of what really constitutes beauty and functionality in architecture, or in anything else for that matter. He was trained to do this by his mother, by his school, by everyone that surrounded him, he generates no thoughts of his own, possesses no ideas of his own; his ego hardly exists at all.

Roark, on the other hand, is possessed of spectacular ego. He will not act against his principles (i.e. that the building should look like THIS) in order to acquire a short term gain. He knows that such short term gains would destroy anything in him that was worthwhile and heroic.

This is eventually what happens to Keating. In gaining unearned fame and fortune by copying from his betters, Keating is eventually only ABLE to maintain his fame and fortune by copying from Roark, which Roark permits because he thinks to enjoy the creation of one of HIS buildings by proxy. He was wrong, though, and he discovers his error when he sees what the commitee did to his buildings. So, he corrects his error in the only manner available to him: dynamites the buildings.

Roark's entire attitude towards financial success is summed up in single quote: "I don't intend to build in order to have customers. I intend to have customers in order to build."

>>END SPOILERS<<

Objectivists generally admire wealth because we know that wealth can only be created through the reasoned activity of man's mind. There are other ways to acquire wealth, however . . . the slimy, vile methods of panderers, looters, moochers and thugs. Anyone that creates wealth is due some admiration, for to that extent they have acknowledged reason and used the power of their rational mind.

I don't know if Microsoft or Bill Gates qualifies entirely for this accolade, but the actions of the government and litigation-crazy competitors are despicable. That is why Objectivists defend Microsoft.

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I don't disagree that Roark was about creating his vision.

I was trying to frame a response to the criticism that the Fountainhead heroes are not interested in making money.

How does what Roark wants to do correspond to refusal to make money? See the original question by the first poster for the false dichotomy.

Also, in what sense of the term would you say that Keating is an architect?

As far as whether Bill Gates is true to standards or has a vision, it depends on what you want to accomplish. In many respects Bill Gates has created the standards in the IT world where none existed before. Many who criticize him do so by using the very standards he has created to find fault with him. Bill Gates is Roarkian in that respect.

I think you're a little confused here, Pericles.  Roark doesn't want to be "an architect" if that were true building any building would be enough for him, as you seem to state.  That's not what he wants.  He wants to build HIS buildings.  He wants to create what he sees in HIS mind.

>>SPOILER ALERT<<

Keating initially enjoys financial success in the book because he is willing to pander to people that have no concept of what really constitutes beauty and functionality in architecture, or in anything else for that matter.  He was trained to do this by his mother, by his school, by everyone that surrounded him, he generates no thoughts of his own, possesses no ideas of his own; his ego hardly exists at all.

Roark, on the other hand, is possessed of spectacular ego.  He will not act against his principles (i.e. that the building should look like THIS) in order to acquire a short term gain.  He knows that such short term gains would destroy anything in him that was worthwhile and heroic.

This is eventually what happens to Keating.  In gaining unearned fame and fortune by copying from his betters, Keating is eventually only ABLE to maintain his fame and fortune by copying from Roark, which Roark permits because he thinks to enjoy the creation of one of HIS buildings by proxy.  He was wrong, though, and he discovers his error when he sees what the commitee did to his buildings.  So, he corrects his error in the only manner available to him: dynamites the buildings.

Roark's entire attitude towards financial success is summed up in single quote: "I don't intend to build in order to have customers.  I intend to have customers in order to build."

>>END SPOILERS<<

Objectivists generally admire wealth because we know that wealth can only be created through the reasoned activity of man's mind.  There are other ways to acquire wealth, however . . . the slimy, vile methods of panderers, looters, moochers and thugs.  Anyone that creates wealth is due some admiration, for to that extent they have acknowledged reason and used the power of their rational mind.

I don't know if Microsoft or Bill Gates qualifies entirely for this accolade, but the actions of the government and litigation-crazy competitors are despicable.  That is why Objectivists defend Microsoft.

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Mmm . . . I may have misunderstood your posting, Pericles. My apologies.

How does what Roark wants to do correspond to refusal to make money?
I can't tell if this question is meant to be rhetorical. The simple answer is that Roark doesn't really want to make money, he wants to build buildings. Making money is dealt with in Atlas Shrugged. The Fountainhead is more about originality and art.

Also, in what sense of the term would you say that Keating is an architect?

Keating was an architect to the extent that he designed buildings. Yes, he borrowed everything from SOMEONE, so I suppose it might be more technically correct to call him a draftsman. Salesman, though? He was largely incapable of recognizing that he was a cheat. Toohey was the salesman. Keating was a sponge.

Returning to the Microsoft question, the most damning evidence I EVER heard against Microsoft was a memo Bill Gates supposedly sent out saying that they needed to do everything possible to put a competitor (Oracle?) out of business. Am I remembering this correctly?

To me, this smacks of a fear of competition, a certain mark of a second-hander. What I recall of the anti-trust suit, though, was that the competition was angry because Microsoft was conveniently packaging Explorer in with their operating system and seeking government protection against this unfair convenience. Edit: the competitors were seeking the government protection, not Microsoft.

To any Objectivist I've met this is utter absurdity. Shall we persecute fast-food because the drive-through is more convenient than going into a restaurant? Shall we put Amazon.com out of business because it's easier to buy books online than to go to a store, discover they don't have it, wait for them to order it, etc., etc.

Bah. Bill Gates may or may not be a brilliant programmer, he may or may not be the author of Microsoft's success, I don't know. Microsoft is a great company that is being persecuted because it is great.

On that, I KNOW where I stand.

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I was wondering why companies like Microsoft always get defended by Objectivists.

Because Microsoft has been unjustly attacked by Antitrust laws. Although they did not deserve the punishment given to them for violating such laws, I believe, however, that Microsoft is not a good company. If we, the customers, didn't put up with Microsoft's stupidity maybe they would produce quality products. They put out beta versions to be tested, but then it is sold afterwards under false pretenses. The purpose of beta release is to fix problems. Since they do not fix their problems after their beta releases, I consider their market releases to be beta. Therefore, I refuse to pay for it.

--Brian

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Because Microsoft has been unjustly attacked by Antitrust laws.

Yes, because the anti-trust laws are inherently unjust.

Although they did not deserve the punishment given to them for violating such laws, I believe, however, that Microsoft is not a good company.  If we, the customers, didn't put up with Microsoft's stupidity maybe they would produce quality products.

Microsoft, almost single-handedly, made possible the entire computer industry as it exists today by providing a useful people-friendly operating system installed on millions of personal computers throughout the world, and it spawned a software industry measured in the trillions of dollars yearly, and you want us not to put up with Microsoft's "stupidity?" Thanks for pointing out how amazing it is that so many of us have been duped by the poor quality of Microsoft's product. Ah, yes, we all long for the good old days of the Altair computer in 1975, before Bill Gates messed it up with Basic. :D

They put out beta versions to be tested, but then it is sold afterwards under false pretenses.  The purpose of beta release is to fix problems.  Since they do not fix their problems after their beta releases, I consider their market releases to be beta.  Therefore, I refuse to pay for it.

Fine. Good luck with your abacus.

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  If we, the customers, didn't put up with Microsoft's stupidity maybe they would produce quality products. 

Therefore, I refuse to pay for it.

--Brian

Why would we put up with MS's stupidity? We don't put up with any other product's stupidity, so why the special case here? There have always been alternatives.

The two best alternatives out there are SuSe Linux and Apple. Why don't we go with these products? Why is the whole history of the market (of people choosing the best product) turned upsidedown here?

The best Linux (SuSe) still cannot play games that come anywhere near MS systems. Updating and installing software is still a nightmare in some cases if it doesn't already come with the distro. Some of the programs that come with distros don't even work, and there is no across the board standards for libraries (which is why software upgrading can be such a pain). Also, new programs are still installed using the command line. Security is the only real plus that Linux has, and price. That, and I think it looks a lot better than Windows, and it is more flexible as far as user control goes, that comes in a price of a lot of learning though.

Apple is expensive, proprietary, and the hardware (especially for the price) is not quite up to PC levels. Although it to has the above advantage of security, or so I've read. It also has the advantage of great sound, and video software.

I don't want to come down too hard on the competition. I prefer Suse Linux myself, and when I am online on Windows, I never use a MS product.

For people that want to get on the computer to get work done, and not work on the computer itself, Microsoft has been the one that has delivered. That has been the bottom line.

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I don't want to come down too hard on the competition. I prefer Suse Linux myself, and when I am online on Windows, I never use a MS product.

For people that want to get on the computer to get work done, and not work on the computer itself, Microsoft has been the one that has delivered. That has been the bottom line.

Scientific academia has traditionally been Unix systems. When Linux first started I saw it as an inexpensive PC alternative to use for controlling experiments and processing and analyzing experimental results. My home system became Linux and I kidded my Windows friends by saying I used a "manly" computer. I loved Linux since its inception.

About a year ago I finally gave in and agreed to try Windows at home with a dual boot Linux system, just to play around. I simply could not believe how easy Windows was to use, and I was just blown away with the intelligent integration of all its component parts. Linux (Unix) seems so primitive to me now, at least from the perspective of a home system. I now use Windows almost all the time.

I understand from my friends that earlier versions of Windows were not quite as seamless and reliable as is my Media Center Edition XP system. Still, the achievement of putting such useful capability into the hands of many people who might otherwise have difficulty using a calculator, is simply astounding. I have the greatest respect and admiration for what Microsoft has achieved, and the entire world owes them a debt of gratitude (which, in fact, the world repays in the form of continuing to purchase their marvelous product).

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I had a dual boot system linux - windows at home for about 3 years. I tried to learn programming on my own and a linux environment was the best to do this. Since my ADSL-modem doesn't work in linux, had to have a dual boot. Now I've realised my interests shifted. I mainly use my PC for surfing on the web and for e-mail. It seemed a waste to have a part of my hard drive reserved for a system I seldom use. If you look around, there enough open source and cheap programs in windows.

I think the genius of Bill Gates lies in his visonary insights in the computer market. He knew DOS was worhtwile and a window environment was the way to go if you wanted to sell computers to the masses. Maybe his imperium is based on the ideas of others and maybe there are better programmers, but he has the talent to see the comercial value. Since he got his wealth by using and developping this talent, he deserves respect.

This reminds me of what happened with video tapes. Philips company had the first idea and developped it with others like Sony. At the beginning of the age of the video-cassette, you had 3 systems: VHS, Betamax and V2000. V2000 was Philips own system and technically the best by far. However, Philips main shareholders are very, very devout chrisians. They banned all sales of their equipment to studios for porn-movies. This was a desastrous marketing decision. Should we critisize the others who didn't make that mistake. Should Philips get money because their system WAS the best? Should we praise Philips because they COULD have become the biggest, PROVIDED people don't watch porn?

:D This is just an example; I'm not saying MS is porn for geeks.

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I simply could not believe how easy Windows was to use, and I was just blown away with the intelligent integration of all its component parts
This is why it is quite possible to claim that without Microsoft we would not have the World Wide Web. Oh sure we'd have a very primitive Internet (i.e. without mIRC for IRC, or WS_FTP for ftp), but we would not have the explosion of multimedia and content called "WWW" that we did in the 90s. The primary reason for the fact that we have World Wide Web now is Microsoft and that it opened the door for a regular person. Without it Internet would still be very primitive, just a small private network for a very small group of research centers.
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This is why it is quite possible to claim that without Microsoft we would not have the World Wide Web. Oh sure we'd have a very primitive Internet (i.e. without mIRC for IRC, or WS_FTP for ftp), but we would not have the explosion of multimedia and content called "WWW" that we did in the 90s. The primary reason for the fact that we have World Wide Web now is Microsoft and that it opened the door for a regular person. Without it Internet would still be very primitive, just a small private network for a very small group of research centers.

Exactly right. There is a sort symbiosis between the advancement of computer-related technology and the software which puts it in the hands of the multitudes. The motivation for the increasing technology comes about only because of the ever-increasing consumer demand, and it is the ever-expanding capability of the software which makes that demand possible. We are truly living in the age of the computer revolution.

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Ah, yes, we all long for the good old days of the Altair computer in 1975, before Bill Gates messed it up with Basic.  :lol: 

Fine. Good luck with your abacus.

That's funny!

It is discouraging when I hear people bashing MS & then I find out their very livelihood depends upon using an MS product.

For people that want to get on the computer to get work done, and not work on the computer itself, Microsoft has been the one that has delivered. That has been the bottom line.

Well said. I work as an IT tech for a small private college & am well aware of the pros/cons of various OSs & IT hard/software. The benefits of using MS products far outweigh any "glitches" or technical issues. It's just not even close. I can understand people in certain industries wanting to do things that are not as efficiently done w/MS products. But, the vast majority of people simply want to get stuff done; they really don't care about boxes, wires, protocols, platforms. MS is absolute genius (Gates, Ballmer, whoever) in providing a productive means for these people.

As far as your paintball.  It sounds like fun, but nobody will pay you to do it.  That's what hobbies are for.

This is just an aside, but because you mention it...

My best friend (BTW, an Objectivist) played paintball as a hobby years ago & it eventually led to a job in the industry. He now makes piles of money as a regional distributor of paintball gear, runs his own tournaments, plays on professional teams globally. It is a fast growing entertainment/sport. So, just for the record, it is possible to make a decent living at it.

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It is?

Yes. Fear of competition is the certain mark of a second-hander. A first-hander does not fear competition, he struggles to produce the best he can regardless. A second-hander shrinks from the necessity of effort, of innovation, and seeks to defeat his competition by deceit, by force, by fiat.

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