Originally Posted by Humperdink
The world needs fewer idiots with pointless start-up ideas. It'd be much more lucrative to be the dude who started Zappos.com rather than the intern just starting out for Zappos.com, but at the end of the day, both m-f'ers are selling discount shoes online. Somebody gets rich, somebody gets a decent 401k, but none of the Steve McQueen, "self-made-man," rosebud shit is as romantic nor as personally or socially valuable as you make it out to be.
"Strike out on your own" is some lame 19th century American Dream bullshit that never had any basis in historical or present reality. So it's appropriate you're quoting a fictional character in Tony Soprano, who passed out at the sight of fucking ducks.
Who's saying everyone has to start the next Zappos.com? I'm talking about, say, starting your own law firm instead of working for someone else's law firm, or your own cab company if you're a cabbie, or your own pizza parlor if you're a pizza delivery guy. Maybe you buy a bunch of apartments in foreclosure and rent them out. Maybe you quit a dead-end job and live off savings while you write that screenplay that has been burning a hole in your imagination.
People, especially immigrants, do this all the time. Native born Americans tend to eschew such entrepreneurial activities because they're both risky and require long hours. It's simply not in our paradigm because we're very risk averse and we've been acclimated into accepting this sort of Novocaine comfort that comes from having a bi-monthly check.
That "lame 19th Century American Dream bullshit" as you call it is very much alive -- just not among too many Americans.
FWIW, I wouldn't have had to stones to do this myself had I not been fired in '07 from the only job I had ever wanted. (Fired, incidentally, three days before my second daughter was born.) When I couldn't find another job like it, I had to do precisely what you say is fiction -- strike out on my own. Frankly, I'm a happier and ever so slightly richer man for it. And when I want to go see a movie at 2:00 PM on a Tuesday, I do it. I'm not better or smarter at what I do than anyone else, I just got abandoned in the woods and had to find my own way out.