Welcome, and Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part I

Lecture 1: Welcome, and Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part I

Link: How to Start a Startup

(You can find notes to the other lectures here.) 

Sam Altman (@sama)

30% (of startup knowledge) is pretty generally applicable.

You need a great idea, a great product, a great team, and great execution.

If you do really well in the areas you can control you have a good chance of having some amount of success.

You should only start a startup if you feel compelled by a particular problem and you feel a startup is the best way to solve it.

Specific passion should come first and the startup should come second.

Great execution towards a terrible idea will get you nowhere.

Great companies start with a great idea not a pivot.

Some day you need to build a business that is hard to replicate.

The best companies are almost always are mission oriented.

The company should feel like an important mission.

With mission oriented companies people outside the company are more willing to help you.

You need conviction in your own beliefs.

The truly good ideas don’t sound like they are worth stealing.

You need a market that is going to be big in ten years.

You can’t create a market that doesn’t want to exist.

Good startup ideas are almost always easy to explain and understand.

Get to know a lot of potential co-founders.

One of the most important tasks for a founder is to make sure you build a great product. Until you’ve built a great product nothing else matters.

Build something users love.

It is better to build something a small number of users love than something a large number of users like.

If you don’t have some early, organic growth then your product is probably not good enough yet.

Over the long run great products win. Don’t worry about your competitors raising a lot of money and what they may do in the future.

Very few startups die from competition.

Start with something simple.

It is hard to build a really great product so you want to start with as little surface area as possible.

Get users manually.

The company will build whatever the CEO decides to measure.

Growth is the indicator of a great product.

Dustin Moskovitz (@moskov)

Be focused and keep working.

Number one role of being a CEO is managing your own psychology.

You spend most of your time as a CEO on the problems that other people bring to you.

An an entrepreneur you’re always on call. You’re a role model. You’re always working anyway.

After you have two people you need to step it up and be full-time committed.

It is important to keep in mind the context of the type of company you’re trying to start and the best place to start it.

The best reason to do a startup is if you can’t not do it.

Your subconscious can tell if you don’t have passion.

If it is not something the world needs don’t do it. Do something the world needs.