There’s a great moment in a Michael Lewis interview that I heard recently on NPR. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a specific link.) Why, Lewis was asked, would anyone in the financial industry talk to him for his book The Big Short after the devastating picture of Wall Street he’d painted in his first book, Liar’s Poker, nearly twenty years earlier? You have to understand, Lewis replied (more or less), that many of those people got into the financial industry after reading his book. Their big takeaway was how easy it was to make a lot of money without regard to the niceties of creating much value. He finished with the memorable line, “You never know what book you wrote until you know what book people read.”

That turned out to be a major problem for me at O’Reilly. I talked so much about our ideals, our goal to create more value than we capture, to change the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators, that I forgot to make sure everyone understood that we were still a business. Even when I said things like, “Money in a business is like gas in the car. You have to fill the tank, but a road trip is not a tour of gas stations,” people heard the “road trip is not a tour of gas stations” way louder than they heard “you have to fill the tank.”

An interesting perspective of the value that you create. This is just an excerpt from How I Failed by Tim O’Reilly.