“Make Something People Want” — the YC/Watsi poster

Today I cross off two things that have been sitting on my to-do list for years. One is collaborating with my designer friend Jay Lorenzini—we met at a tech startup but have longed to make something totally analog. The other is creating a poster out of Y Combinator’s unofficial motto: “Make something people want.”

It’s a phrase that I’d always imagined in poster form. I finished YC almost 3 years ago, but still have vivid memories of Paul Graham (in his uniform of shorts and Birkenstocks) constantly pushing me toward this north star. One of the first ideas my team ever pitched him was, according to Paul, just the opposite. “That sounds like something a small group of people want a little bit,” he said.

Jay and I are launching an official limited-edition “Make something people want" poster today in partnership with YC and Watsi (YC's first nonprofit start-up). The poster was screen-printed by hand in Oakland, CA on 18-by-24-inch French paper. It turned out beautifully. Best of all, 100% of the profits will go toward funding low-cost, high-impact medical treatments for people in developing countries through Watsi.

Watsi is a nonprofit that uses crowd-funding to connect ordinary people with third-world patients in serious need of low-cost medical care. The New York Times just published a nice piece about them last week.

The poster is on sale now at, which, starting today, will serve as a hub for more offline design collaborations between Jay and me. To get updates on this project and/or to hear about the next one, follow us @alvybrooks.

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