The smell of a tech startup that is
early stage and bootstrapped is often not unlike the Army.
Young men mostly, out trying to find themselves and change the world…
College dorms and high school locker rooms are similar.
Honestly, I wish I had tried something grand like this at some point – but most of us are just trying to survive.
Soon enough, X.com had a major competitor. A couple of brainy kids named Max Levchin and Peter Thiel had been working on a payment system of their own at their start-up called Confinity. The duo actually rented their office space—a glorified broom closet—from X.com and were trying to make it possible for owners of Palm Pilot handhelds to swap money via the infrared ports on the devices. Between X.com and Confinity, the small office on University Avenue had turned into the frenzied epicenter of the Internet finance revolution. “It was this mass of adolescent men that worked so hard,” Ankenbrandt said. “It stunk so badly in there. I can still smell it—leftover pizza, body odor, and sweat.”
-Ashley Vance, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Amazon)