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I read on Gabriel Weinberg's recent blog:

"Startups are a long-term game. My best advice is to treat entrepreneurship as a career path, but it is easier said than done absent some amount of success. For me, I had a taste of it three years in and some real success six years in."

How does the grammar of in work here:
I had a taste of it three years in and some real success six years in.

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It is the adverbial use of in to refer to a distance in a particular direction. In this case it is a distance in time, measured from the time that Gabriel Weinberg started his entrepreneurial career, so somewhat metaphorical.

in (adverb) 2. to or toward a certain place or direction: "he flies in today", "they live ten miles in". [yourdictionary.com]

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  • To be read as "inwards of (point-in-space/ point-in-time)"? "I had a taste of it in the past under (within the last) three years and some real success in the past under (within the last) six years." Right?
    – Kris
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 6:35
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    @Kris- I'm not sure I understand your phrase with under in it. In any event it's to be read as: I had a taste of success after spending three years on the project, and some real success six years after starting the project. I don't believe it means during the first 3 years, but rather, at the 3-year mark.
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 6:55
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    I have to agree with Jim. @Kris, your comment only muddies the water. Under has nothing to do with the adverbial 'in' in this context. Instead, to say something happened 3 years in is the same as to say it happened 3 years into the project (or as Jim rightly states after 3 years). Thus, the in in the OP context has the same meaning as into, only into is used when there is an object, and in is used when there is not.
    – Darling
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 7:15
  • @Darling, Take your time, my comment was a question to the answerer and we need to wait for a response. Even otherwise, you could substantiate your argument if you had any.
    – Kris
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 7:19
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    @FumbleFingers Good idea. Did.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 23:36

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