How and Why to Start a Startup — Week 1 / Part 1

Y Combinator Startup School ( Speakers: Sam Altman, Dustin Moskovitz)

1. What is the intent of being an entrepreneur?

  • Financial outcome: Think about if joining an established company would be a better outcome then starting a company.
  • Massive Impact : Join an existing team can also ensure that you have an impact ensure to weigh in on the options.
  • Lifestyle: Understand the stressful lifestyle startups demand.
  • Control: As an entrepreneur one has less control as you are dependent on others working with you.

2. Why are you building your startup?

Passion (more of a pathological obsession not just interest) is useful to build a startup. Along with passion, Aptitude is an essential component. Ask yourself if your idea is an extension of an existing company and if it will be a good idea to partner with them or does it need to be a stand alone idea.

3. Why Silicon Valley is the hub?

In Silicon Valley there is relentless belief in future. It offers a paved culture for startups. No “Tall Poppy” syndrome.

4. What is path of a successful Startup?

  • Ideas come first.
  • Identify the big tectonic shift that will be taking place.
  • Co-Founder is important to help build the company. Useful to have a rapport so that the relationship is smooth.Co-Founders needed to be a trusted relationship.
  • Dogged persistence & Relentless execution is more important than having exact skill set to be successful.
  • Start with finding small set of users that love you (Hint: measure usage, retention of early users). Use iterative growth approach to improve the product ( See Figure 1).

5. How to get your first 100 users?

  • Email people you know to onboard them and make them an early user.
  • Research people who would really like to use your product and send targeted emails.
  • Social media outreach have a long term strategy to stay relevant.
  • Ads on Facebook or Google. (Good idea but not a driver to long term success).
Figure 1: Cycle of iterative growth