Do you want to know how to tell if you have a business idea that will succeed? You know what? I don’t know how you know that. And if I did, I’d be a venture capitalist, right? But I do know how you can tell if you have a business idea that is worth reorganizing your life to try.

Who knows if you have a good idea?? No one. Actually, in some cases some people can tell you for sure that your idea definitely sucks, but no one can tell you for sure that your idea is good. And, if nothing else, any for-sure good idea is already being pursued by ten people, or ten million, depending on how big the market is. Which makes it, again, not a for-sure good idea because maybe you won’t do it best.

So if you want to know if your idea is one that you should actually try, don’t spend time figuring out if your company will be the next Web 2.0 darling. Instead, figure out if it’s going to give you a life you want. The best way to figure this out is to look at how other entrepreneurs are living their life.

I did not do this. I purposely ignored what the lives of other entrepreneurs look like, because a gazillion studies show that entrepreneurs work longer hours than everyone else. And they are under more stress than other people.

I ignored this research because I told myself that a startup would be a good thing for my kids. I told myself that my blog was growing too fast and I couldn’t keep up, and if I spun part of it off into a startup then I would have people helping me. I am a great delegator. I imagined the list of things I could delegate to the slew of people who would go into business with me.

It is not uncommon for people founding startups to lie to themselves about how much work it will be. It’s similar to having a baby. Everyone tells you the baby will take over your whole life. Daniel Gilbert even tells you that kids will not make you any happier than you already are. You go ahead with it anyway. You tell yourself that the kid-time-crunch will not happen to you. You are the exception. Other people are incompetent time manager and you ‘re not. But if we didn’t lie to ourselves, who would have kids?

So, anyway, denial goes very far in both the birth of a child and the birth of a company. Which means it is should not be surprising to you that I have done things like let my son dump boxes of cereal all over the house so that I could be on a conference call, or that I hid in the broom closet at swimming lessons so I could do a radio interview with no background noise. (Please, don’t send me emails telling me I am a negligent parent. Negligent is relative. And why are you reading this column instead of playing Candy Land, huh? )

When you imagine your life doing your startup, do you imagine laying in bed at night worrying about money? Because no matter how great your idea is, you will worry about money at the beginning, in that terrible time between when you quit what you had been doing and you start drawing a salary form the startup. And you know what is worse than one person stressing about money? The two or three people who do the startup with you, all stressing about money together. At some point during the early time, it’s not even about the idea any more; it’s about just getting through the early, tough part.

Now, go back to your idea. Go back to the question of is it a good enough idea to try? Entrepreneurship is not about one, static idea that you implement. It’s about an idea that you go with, and mutate, and act on because you want to do a company so much that you are willing to delude yourself into thinking that maybe it won’t be so hard.

Are you there, to that point? Then you have an idea that’s good enough for starting a company.

There’s a lot of advice on this blog about how to interview: Tell good stories, ask good questions, be a closer. But here’s only one most important thing to remember: when it comes to discussing your potential salary, never give the number first.

The right answer to the question, “What’s your salary range?” is almost always some version of “I’m not telling you.”

The person who gives the first number sets the starting point. But if that’s you, you lose. If you request a salary higher than the range for the job, the interviewer will tell you you’re high, and you’ve just lost money. If you request a salary lower than the range, the interviewer will say nothing, and you’ve just lost money.

So you can only hurt yourself by giving the first number. You want the interviewer to tell you the range for the position, because then you can focus on getting to the high end of that range. But you can’t work to the high point if you don’t know it.

So if there are two good salary negotiators in the room, it will be a game to see who has to give the first number. Fortunately, the company cannot make you an offer without also offering a salary, so the cards are stacked in your favor, as long as you hold your ground.

So here’s a list of responses for all the ways the interviewer will ask you how much money you expect to make. The more times you can fend off the question, the less likely you will have to be the one to give the first number. This works, even if you don’t have the upper hand and you really need the job.

What salary range are you looking for?
“Let’s talk about the job requirements and expectations first, so I can get a sense of what you need.” That’s a soft answer to a soft way to ask the question.

What did you make at your last job?
“This position is not exactly the same as my last job. So let’s discuss what my responsibilities would be here and then determine a fair salary for this job.” It’s hard to argue with words like “fair” and “responsibilities”—you’re earning respect with this one.

What are you expecting to make in terms of salary?
“I am interested in finding a job that is a good fit for me. I’m sure whatever salary you’re paying is consistent with the rest of the market.” In other words, I respect myself and I want to think I can respect this company.

I need to know what salary you want in order to make you an offer. Can you tell me a range?
“I’d appreciate it if you could make me an offer based on whatever you have budgeted for this position and we can go from there.” This is a pretty direct response, so using words like “appreciate” focuses on drawing out the interviewer’s better qualities instead of her tougher side.

Why don’t you want to give your salary requirements?
“I think you have a good idea of what this position is worth to your company, and that’s important information for me to know.” Enough dancing–this is one last attempt to force you to give the number first. Hold your line here and you win.

You can see the pattern, right? If you think you sound obnoxious or obstinate by not answering the question, think of how he feels asking the question more than once. The interviewer is just trying to get a leg up on you in negotiations. If you give in, you look like a poor negotiator, and the interviewer is probably not looking for someone like that.

So stand your ground, and understand that the interviewer is being as insistent as you are. And it might encourage you to know that research shows that if you mirror the behavior of the interviewer, you are more likely to get the job. Sure, this usually applies to tone of voice, level of enthusiasm, and body language, but who’s to say it doesn’t apply to negotiation tactics, too? Try it. You could come away lots richer.

Since today’s job market is employee-driven, many candidates are fielding more than one or two offers at a time, and at this point, maybe it’s the employers who need the advice on how to attract the employees, instead of the other way around.

There is lots of chatter about how resumes are on their way out. There will be blogs, and videos, and LinkedIn profiles and other mechanisms to downplay the concept of a linear career and put upfront the way someone thinks and the ideas he or she has. There should be similar chatter about the near-death of the job listing.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of consulting to companies about how to recruit and retain employees. So I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic, and here are five of my favorite ways companies can hire people without focusing on the job listing itself.

1. Tell people where they’ll go next.
Michael Arrington, co-editor of the popular blog TechCrunch, just lost his right-hand man. What did he do? He wrote a very public thank you for good work done – so that people know how appreciative he is. And he wrote a little side note about how everyone who has left TechCrunch has gone on to amazing jobs.

I was talking with Dylan Tweney, senior editor at Wired, and he was using a similar hiring tactic, showing people how a stint with him at Wired is a stepping stone to places like The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

2. Use your public relations team to prop up the manager.
One of the most important aspects of a job is who you are working for. A good manager can help you to get where you want to go next, and a bad manager can be so undermining that the job becomes a blemish on your resume. So it’s odd that companies advertise jobs instead of managers. Instead of publishing a laundry list of dream traits of a dream candidate (usually unreasonable anyway), companies should list the dream traits of the dream manager this job falls under.

3. Get some respect for speciality recruiters.
It used to be that companies owned the employee’s loyalty. But today, with employees changing jobs every two or three years, they are more likely to be loyal to the recruiters who placed them than with the companies they work for. Especially when that recruiter is there to place the candidate again and again.

Art Papas knows a bit about recruiters. He is the chief executive of Bullhorn, which makes staffing and recruitment software. Bullhorn is a testament to the fact that both candidates and employers are relying increasingly on the recruiting industry for help. Bullhorn has more than 12,000 users and the company grew by 70 percent in the last year.

Most recruiters are running their own business in one way or another, and Papas points out why recruiters are poised to take on an increasingly important role in the employee-driven market: “Generally speaking, recruiters are high energy, good with people, and they are incredibly tenacious and persistent.”

4. Advertise in niche communities.
Joel Spolsky is chief executive of a midsized firm, Fog Creek Software, and he spends a lot of time blogging, at Joel on Software. Spolsky makes it clear he’s blogging to make himself part of a community of smart, curious, high-performing engineers who become Spolsky’s employee pool.

Here’s another example: Lots of companies talk about the importance of catching women re-entering the workforce after they have children, but it’s hard to get those women. One way is to be a part of their communities. Websites that focus on women and careers like WorkIt Mom are places where you can become a part of the social fabric of the community you want to hire from.

Bonus idea: Make it part of someone’s job description in your company to truly become part of the community, and swoop in to scoop up promising candidates for interviews. It’s so tough to get A players to interview today that people are actually charging companies for an interview at But coming from a trusted friend, an invitation to interview is hard to turn down, even if you’re not looking.

5. Leverage social media.
Why don’t companies use social media tools to attract candidates? It’s already a proven recruiting method for young people.

The Center for Market Research at University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth reports that, “Colleges are adopting Internet technologies such as podcasts, message boards, blogs, and social networks faster than Fortune 500 companies. The explosion of social media, higher education specialists say, is revolutionizing the college search process and the way colleges and prospective students interact.”

Standout Jobs is a new site that provides easy-to-use social media recruiting tools for small companies and then aggregates them into a sort of recruiting network. This is a great on-ramp for companies with trepidations about social media

A lot of people worry that they can’t get another job because they don’t have time to find one. This is why hunting for a job from your cube is totally standard. It used to be that people stayed in their jobs 40 years, and a job hunt was an earth-shattering event, and there was no Internet. In that environment, telling people to keep the job hunt out of the office was fine.

Today, people switch jobs every two years between the age of 18 and 32. Which means that most job hunts do not have a start and finish—they are continuous. And this is smart, because so much of job hunting is being aware of the market (i.e. surfing at work) and networking (long lunch, anyone?).

In today’s environment, job hunting from the job you have is totally mainstream. Here are tips on how to do it right:

1. Don’t feel guilty.
Employers expect that you will look for a job while you have a job. Your boss probably did it. And your boss’s boss. And if they didn’t, why not? Why would you quit a job before you have a job when every statistic in the world shows that people who are employed are more likely to get hired by someone else?

It would be absolutely impossible to do all your job hunting from home, because business hours are the hours that both you and your possible new manager are working. Get your work done well at your current job no matter what. You owe that to your employer. Beyond that, your time is yours and job hunt if you want.

2. Schedule interviews for the beginning or the end of the day.
The goal is to interrupt your current job as little as possible while you’re looking for a new job. In terms of schedule, this means an interview before you’d typically need to be at work or an interview at the end of the day. In the latter case, you might even be able to get all your essential work for the day done before you leave. Less disruption means fewer inquiries about your intentions.

3. Don’t dress up for interviews if you can help it.
It’s awkward to tell your current boss that you are looking to leave. It makes working with him hard because he knows he’s not your first choice. So you don’t need to be sneaky beyond what is ethically comfortable, but you don’t need to beg the question either. This means that if you have an interview, you can leave early from work simply by saying, “I have personal plans,” which would be true. But if you have personal plans and you look like you’re dressed up, people will ask. Who dresses up for anything at 4pm except an interview?

4. Don’t do phone interviews from your cube.
Your voice will sound insane—like you’re running from the FBI or hiding an illicit phone call from a parent. Which you sort of are, since everyone in the office can hear you, and as soon as there is a hushed voice in a cube, the rest of the office hushes to try to hear. On top of this, there is no way that you will give your best interview when you are trying, in the back of your mind, to convince yourself that none of this is happening.

A potential employer will respect you for saying that you cannot do the interview immediately but they can schedule a time—at lunch perhaps?—when you can leave the office to do the interview. You will sound like a good time manager.

The most important thing to remember is that what you’re doing is in the range of normal and fair. If you sound unsure of yourself during your job hunt, you won’t land a job. So the first thing to get sure about is the fact that you should be hunting. From your cube.

In the past few years, postpartum depression has had a lot of press. Brooke Shields had it, Marie Osmond had it. Tom Cruise denied it exists. All good for raising awareness. Now we all know it exists, and maybe some of us know the warning signs. But no one talks about this: What if you have post-partum depression and you must continue working?

Three years ago, I was in this position. I haven’t written about it because it was bad. Very bad. I keep waiting for someone to write about what it’s like to have to continue working even with post-partum depression. I guess I will be the one.

Here is what you need to know about postpartum depression if you are the breadwinner of the family:

1. Take maternity leave. Even if you have to make it a little unconventional.
I was a freelance writer, with a husband who did not work, and we were living paycheck to paycheck. I thought there is absolutely no way I could take maternity leave. We’d starve.

But I tried to think of ways to craft an unofficial maternity leave by getting ahead with my writing. I didn’t tell my editors I was doing that, but my plan was to not have to write very much.

2. Plan ahead, for the worst-case scenario.
In our heart of hearts, we know that the best case scenarios don’t actually need planning for. So why make plans assuming best case? Make contingency plans.

I did that a little. Because I’m a freelancer and my husband and son are nearly uninsurable, for prior medical conditions, we usually have crappy, near-nothing insurance. But we raided the last of our savings to buy great health insurance for the baby and me, just in case something happened during delivery.

Other than that, I assumed that things would go smoothly when we got home from the hospital since this was our second child, and I already knew how to care for a baby.

3. Admit that no time off means you’re high-risk for postpartum depression.
The baby came early, and I was not really ahead on columns, and my book wasn’t finished.

So right after the baby arrived, I had to finish my book, which was behind schedule. And, my agent told me that there was no way I could promote the book when I was 40 pounds overweight. After all, there was a chapter about how bad it is for your image to be overweight. So I spent two or three hours at the gym every day.

The baby came everywhere with me—to my book publisher, to my agent, to my newspaper syndicate, to the gym. I breastfed in everyone’s office. I breastfed in the cardio room and the weight room.

I cried all the time, and I felt that I had no idea how to take care of the baby, but I looked okay in all my meetings, so I kept going.

4. Ask for help from people you don’t work with.
Then, one night, the baby was screaming and our three-year-old wouldn’t go to bed and my husband was telling me that I needed to get the three-year-old some milk and I was saying that he should and I’ll get the baby and he rolled his eyes, and then I took a knife out of the dirty dishes and stabbed my head.

I don’t actually remember doing it. I remember my husband saying, “Oh my god. There’s blood everywhere.”

Here’s how crazy I was: I just put the knife back in the sink and went to get the baby.

The next day I went back to my old therapist and told him. While I breastfed the baby.

My therapist said he didn’t think I’d ever hurt the kids, but he had to send me to the emergency room to be checked out. So I went there. With the baby, and my cell phone, and I handled edits for my Boston Globe column from the hospital hallway.

The doctor I saw wanted to admit me to the mental ward. I had a friend call all over looking for a hospital that could take me and the baby into a mental ward together, and not one could. “It’s a huge breaking point in the mental health system,” she said.

The psychologists did not want me to leave, but I was convincing, telling them that we would not be able to support ourselves if I did not work. And I was also convincing telling them that I did not want to risk losing my breast milk permanently by separating from the baby for a week in the mental ward.

The doctor said I could go back home with the baby but I couldn’t be alone with the baby.

5. Postpartum depression is one of those times when you should break the bank.
When I left the hospital, I told myself I would just ignore the doctor’s advice because it would be impossible to not be alone with the baby. My husband had to take our older son all over the city for school and activities. And we could never ever afford round-the-clock care.

But on the way home, I remembered Andrea Yates. I had always felt empathy for her, but now I felt like maybe I could be her. I know it came out of nowhere to her: first she was just sort of depressed, and then she was killing her kids.

Plus, I remembered two times when people had asked me how the baby was and I said, “Sometimes I want to slam his head into the wall.” Both times I got very concerned looks. So stopped saying it, but I knew it was not good.

So I hired someone to stay with the baby and me. Only then did I realize that I was terrified to be alone with the baby. I still cry thinking about how I was probably a danger to my own child. The babysitter was as much for me as for the baby.

I kept working. I kept seeing a therapist. And we went into huge debt in order to pay for the babysitter.

In hindsight, I wonder, What could I have done differently?

My career could not have handled a three-month maternity leave. But I should have hired the nanny at the first sign of trouble, even though it caused a lot of debt. I was so scared of spending money. I cut corners on things that I thought I could handle but couldn’t. And the biggest thing, in hindsight, that I thought I could handle, was being a working mom with no support system. No one can do that and stay sane.

I recently mentioned a new book about happiness: The How of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubomirsky. The premise of the book is that we each have a setpoint for happiness—we are born with a proclivity toward being happy or not. But we can affect that proclivity to become happier. And Lyubomirsky tells us how.

There are snooty quotes in the promotional material from other happiness researchers saying that this book is superior to other self-help books because it’s based on science. They think that if you use scientific data to tell someone how to be happy, then the advice is more effective than if you use nonscientific data to tell people how to be happy.

The problem isn’t whether the advice is based on science or not. The problem is that you need to find self-discipline in order to execute the strategies in the first place. If all anyone needed in order to change was a scientific reason then we’d all be muscular and thin.

To be sure, tucked deep inside Lyubomirsky’s book on page 274, is the admission that we need “motivation, drive and inspiration” to do the stuff that she has scientifically shown will get us to happy. But that’s the hardest part. That’s the part I need to read three hundred pages about. If we each had the self-discipline to accomplish whatever we set out to accomplish, the world would be a very different place. But what we have instead is a world divided into the people who have self-discipline (those with good careers, good bodies, and good mates) and people who don’t.

I’m not talking about the self-discipline just to get dinner on the table every night. I’m talking hard-core self-discipline, where you conduct routine investigations of how you feel and what you’re doing, and then make changes. What Lyubomirsky recommends requires a whole mind overhaul through amazing self-discipline, but I can’t even stop eating two bagels for breakfast. (Cut back just one a day! That’s like losing 1.5 pounds a week!)

So I called my favorite positive psychology coach and asked her how to get more self-discipline.

She asked me if I had read Lyubomirsky’s book, The How of Happiness.

I told this coach that I’m annoyed by the assumption that self-discipline is just a side note.

And also, I said that by the way, I’m annoyed that in eight years, when only two people have emailed me to correct data in my column, Lyubomirsky is one of those people. I have already written about how people who correct journalists are annoying and generally off-base, so you can imagine how chirpy I was to receive her corrections.

In fact, I remembered from the last time I talked with Lyubomirsky that she was a difficult interview, so I never quoted her directly, so that she would not have a chance to complain about the post. But she ended up sending overly academic clarifications to information that I didn’t even attribute to her. How can she be a happy person when she is such a nitpicker?

If I had good self-discipline, I’d take out those last two paragraphs. Because saying unpleasant things about people will not increase my happiness. And I risk the wrath of the movers and shakers of the positive psychology movement. Leaving those paragraphs in this post is a career-limiting move for me. But we all have recognized a career-limiting move and then done it anyway. So there’s another moment that calls for developing great self-discipline.

My coach has good self-discipline, of course, because she is in the business of teaching people self-discipline. So she did not bite my bait to dis Lyubomirsky. After all, talking trash about people makes you unhappy.

I told the coach that I am frustrated with happiness research because doing any of it requires tons of self-discipline. And I know I have more self-discipline than most people and I’m still overwhelmed with how much more I need.

I tell the coach I want to change the setpoint of my self-discipline. She likes the idea that people might have a setpoint for self-discipline. She has never heard of it, but she likes it. So I am claiming, now, to have coined the term. This, by the way, will only make me happy if it increases my blog traffic. That’s because authentic compliments right after an action are pleasing to us, and what is more authentic than measurable web stats? (Career Advice: This is why you should give co-workers feedback right away and not wait—right away is twice as meaningful to someone.)

The coach says I can change my setpoint for self-discipline by making small, manageable changes, because small, manageable changes will improve your ability to change other things without trying as hard.

This research is quoted all over Lyubomirsky’s book. I believe it.

The coach asks me what I want more self-discipline for.

I say I want to do the most important thing on my to-do list first, every day.

She asks me why I don’t.

I explain that I write my to-do list the night before. And I star the item that I want to do first. And I block out from 8-9 am for that most important thing. But then I sit down to work at 8am and I answer email. Which is never the most important thing, but it is always the most fun, because a full in-box is like a bucket full of lottery tickets: You never know, but you always hope you’ll hit big.

She says that I should break down the starred task into smaller pieces and just ask myself to do the first, tiny piece at 8am.

This is good advice. Which is why this post got written today. I just wonder if I can keep it up. Or if I’ll have to call the coach again.

For a while, I was a visual artist. Well, sort of. I mean, I made money from it. But as you may know, I am a big advocate of specializing, and I realized that I had a better chance of being outstanding in my field by focusing on writing instead of visual art.

But I did learn some lessons from my visual art mentors, and one really cool thing someone taught me is that the color I choose is most interesting where it intersects with another color. Just knowing the right color to use is not the clever, interesting thing. Rather, interesting is when I am unsure what the two colors will do when they interact. (Here’s a great set of paintings that illustrate this idea.)

The same is true for writing. The interesting part of writing is not the part of the piece where you know exactly where it’s going. The interesting part is when you get to an unplanned moment in a paragraph and you surprise yourself by what you write next. It’s the moment of uncertainty, when you have to look inside yourself to keep going, and pull out something you didn’t know you had before.

When I taught writing at Boston University, it took most of the semester to get students to get to that moment. Most people are scared to get there.

That’s why most people do not appear to be as interesting as they really are.

We each have spots in our lives where two colors are coming together and we’re not sure what will happen. That’s the part we should talk about when we talk about ourselves. If you limit the conversation, discussing only what you are certain about, then there’s no chance to stand on equal footing with your conversation partner. You stand on equal footing when you both reveal your struggles with what you don’t know yet, and the conversation can contribute to the answer.

A while back I wrote about Moira Gunn, and how she is good at interviewing people because she can find what’s interesting about them. She interviews scientists, and she is a pro at finding the quirky, unexpected moment within the topic of their science.

You can do this with any subject. I do it with careers. Every week, for my column in the Boston Globe, I interview someone about their career. The beginning of the conversation is always the part they expect—where they tell me what they know about themselves and their career. There is not room for a real conversation. I just take notes.

And then I don’t use them. Because then I try to ask questions to get to what they don’t know. What are they trying to figure out? And we have a conversation about how people do that. And that is the part I use. Because that is the part that is interesting.

So look, interesting does not come from greatness. Interesting comes from conflict. Tolstoy opens Anna Karenina with the line, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” This is true of everything—not just families. So talk with people about the issues and problems you’re struggling with. That is how to be interesting. You don’t have to describe your life as if it were all struggle, with all the drama of Russian literature. But find that small moment when two of your own colors collide, and point it out to make interesting conversation.

The new wave of entrepreneurship is changing the startup landscape for sure. It’s nearly free to start a company online, even teens are having wild success, and young people are flipping web sites like boomers flip houses.

Life as an entrepreneur has never been so fun, but that is very annoying to hear if you are in a corporate job. Fortunately, this trend is so big at this point, that it’s affecting corporate life as well. Here are five ways to use entrepreneurship to make your corporate job better.

1. Think of entrepreneurship as a safety net that allows you to demand more from your job. If you don’t like the job offers you have, you can leave. Start your own company. The history of the organization man is someone who is defined by whatever track the company puts him on. You don’t want to be that.

Today, you have the freedom to figure out who you are and what you want, even in the context of the company, because if you find out that you are not compatible, you can leave.

The freedom to leave gives you the freedom to truly examine who you are.

Chris Britt is chief executive of accounting firm Priviley. He founded the firm after a quick stint doing finance in the hotel industry and finding that he was not well suited for the environment. Britt is an example of the massive wave of young people who are testing big-company waters and then striking out on their own.

2. Think of intrapreneurship as a launching pad for who are waiting for the right idea. Seventy percent of young people say they eventually want to work for themselves. The problem is that only a fraction of those people have an idea for a company—or a friend with an idea for a company. So there are a lot of people in corporate America waiting for their moment, but thinking of themselves as entrepreneurs at heart.

These people are great at taking a project and making it their own. They create a project arena for themselves that have the feel of a small company within a large company, and then take ownership like it’s a start-up. Of course this is incredibly annoying to some old-school managers, but to a young person hellbent on entrepreneurship, starting something small within something big—which is what intrapreneurship is—often is the only way to make big company life palatable.

3. Get in a rotational program to learn a broad range of skills that many entrepreneurs learn as they go. Some of the most popular post-college routes today are management training programs at companies such as General Electric or Procter & Gamble, where superstar candidates get to test out the work in lots of departments in a company. Candidates often see these programs as stepping stones to running their own business, when the time is right, because as an entrepreneur you wear so many different hats.

4. Recognize that with no clear ladder to climb, you’re an entrepreneur even if you never leave corporate life. Even if you don’t want to launch a start-up, you still end up functioning like an entrepreneur in today’s new workplace. There is no long-term stability, so the way you create stability is with your skill set and your connections. You are the product, and you are the sales and marketing team for your product. On average, people today are changing jobs every two to five years, which means you must function like an entrepreneur nearly all of the time if you are going to bring in a steady paycheck.

5. Think of corporate jobs as a way to fund entrepreneurship. It used to be that you were either corporate or an entrepreneur. Today, people move in and out of big companies and start-ups, using the steady paycheck to fund the risky venture. This is what Britt did, using the money he earned from the hotel industry as the seed funding for Priviley. This model gives founders the benefit of not having to divert their attention to raising angel funding.

The self-funding model has spawned a generation of scrappy founders who use virtual tools and low-budget marketing. Priviley, for example, provides services to a wide range of other start-ups, creating a community of entrepreneurs that model these larger trends.

And, of course, the self-funding model also allows founders to reap benefits more quickly because they don’t have to share large pieces of their pie.

Priviley is doing so well, for example, that at this point Britt is able to take an afternoon off to go flying.

Did you see the rally for Obama in Los Angeles last Sunday? It rocked my world: Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and California First Lady Maria Shriver talking to a packed stadium at UCLA. (Watch the video here.)

For one thing, Michelle Obama is a great speaker in her own right and she is teaching us how to talk about race and women in new ways that only a non-candidate could do. But also, Maria Shriver made an unscheduled appearance to endorse Barack Obama even though her husband, Governor Schwarzenegger, had just endorsed John McCain.

It’s a great picture of how much power women have—women who are so confident in their power that they know they can throw it behind a man to get what they want out of the world.

Some of my harshest critics say that I’m “bad for feminism.” They say I give bad advice to women because I don’t see work as a place for women to fight against men to get equality.

Indeed, I generally see work as a place where women have equal footing with men. And personally, I see work as a place where men have mentored me the whole way. I would be nowhere without all the men who have helped me.

Sure, I know I’m still at a disadvantage because I’m a woman in the workplace. I was reminded of it just the other day when my business partner Ryan and I met with a potential investor. The guy passed on girl-related small-talk and spent twenty minutes with Ryan talking football.

And the same is true for black people in this country. Obama’s success doesn’t mean that things are suddenly great for black people everywhere. But Obama’s success suggests that we can stop requiring everyone to divide everything by black and white.

And that makes me also think we can stop dividing things by men and women. I don’t need to vote for Hilary Clinton to show that I support women. I support women by looking ahead to the next generation. My generation—which is Obama’s generation—does not need to fight the women’s fight anymore. Other people did it for us.

So thank you, feminists, but we’re moving on. And to see all those women in California—those women who got their power on their own, using it to support a man—that sends chills up my spine, because I relate to that. I want to stand with the men and be on their team, and the only way to do that is to earn power myself and share it, with whoever deserves it, man or woman.

Watch for this in politics, and do it yourself at work. You can get stronger at work by breaking free of the divide that some people assume is there. We don’t owe it to the last generation to keep fighting their fights. We owe it to the last generation to thank them, and then move on.

We have our own, more relevant fights today. Like how to work to live instead of live to work, how to stop being a slave to money, and how to make time for our families. These are issues for men as much as women. We are in those fights together.

And that’s what I saw happening in Los Angeles on Sunday. I saw a centerpiece of the new fight: For change. Whoo hooo!

I am a columnist for the Boston Globe, so when I first started blogging, I was in the enviable position of being able to get advice from any top blogger I wanted. I called them up, interviewed them about some topic or another, and at the end, I asked them for advice about blogging.

The universal advice was to write posts that big bloggers would link to.

Before I could even figure out how to do that, something happened. I posted one of those Boston Globe columns on my blog, and one of the bloggers I interviewed, Gina Trapani, linked to it. The result was absolutely breathtaking: 10,000 page views in one day. And 40 bloggers linked to it.

At this point in my blogging career, I need more than 10,000 page views just to get a normal day of traffic. But as new blogger, this level of traffic was astounding. I was still in the mode where I answered every single email, and after that day, it took me a week to catch up.

Then I thought, I’m gonna write another post that Lifehacker will link to.

Of course, I couldn’t. They didn’t pick up any of my specially tailored-to-Lifehacker posts. So I gave up. I went back to just posting.

Then I was at the South by Southwest Conference and I was exhausted. I didn’t post for two days and felt like I absolutely had to post. No matter what. I wouldn’t let myself go back to the conference until I posted.

So I banged out a post on how to do a phone interview. I’ve done a million of them—on both sides of the conversation—so I just wrote it off the top of my head. I hit the Post button and went to the conference, and then I worried the whole time that the quality of my blog was going downhill and that I need to do more research and that the post sucked.

Lifehacker linked to it. To this day, it’s the third most popular post on my blog. It was a great lesson: I’ll never know what people will link to.

In general, I have found that it’s easy to know when something will be sensationalist— big scoops, hot sex—and very hard to know what will be popular just because the content is good. Also, while Nick Denton is rewarding his bloggers for traffic based on numbers, which encourages linkbait, I have found that not all traffic is equal, and linkbait doesn’t garner the best traffic.

When Reddit was sold, and I had a scoop on an earlier offer Google made to buy Reddit, I posted it. Of course, the post shot to the top of Reddit’s most popular list. But most of those readers didn’t stay long term on my blog. In contrast, many posts on my blog that did not get as much traffic ended up attracting more people who returned to the blog over and over again.

So here’s something I do know about links. The posts I spend weeks and weeks writing, and I put my heart right on the page, and I give advice that I really know is true, those posts do well. They get lots of links and lots of traffic. Which means the real linkbait is an interesting, useful, well-written posts.

And one more thing. I have found that if I am nervous to post something—if I think I might look bad or reveal too much or give advice that people will hate—these are the posts that people care about, because they further my connection with people and further the conversation we’re having, and connection and conversation are the crux of linking.

There’s one thing about linkbait that I do think works, though. Turning posts into lists. People like to scan posts and find one thing they like, and then they call it out on their own blog. And it’s a gift to the reader anyway, to parse a post into lists of bullets for an easier read.

So I thought of turning this post into a list so that more people would link to it. But how embarrassing to create linkbait in a post about why I don’t like it.