Paul Graham writes a long diatribe about how startups dont take money from other people, but instead create wealth. He might be right, but let me remind myself how some of the biggest startups created wealth:

  • YouTube: stole videos from everybody until become so large it afforded to pay royaltlies.
  • Facebook: for the last 2 years stole videos from people creating them, robbing them of the little revenue YouTube is paying them and refusing constantly to take them down.
  • UBER: did a great job by taking away money from dirty and rude cab drivers, but does not pay taxes all the way.
  • Huffington Post: stole and rewrote every article worth stealing and refused to pay the writers.
  • Samsung: stole Apple’s idea for the iPhone while working as a contractor for Apple.
  • Google: put in place algorithms that deranked their competitors’ products, while their products were much inferior.

And so on. All these companies created wealth by robbing faceless people. When Facebook draws 100.000 views for a video stolen by somebody it creates wealth (keeps users in site, shows banners), but at the same time robs somebody of their money. And it’s easy overlooked because it’s not a single individual.

So, yeah, startups create wealth, but sometimes they do it buy outright stealing.