Quick notes from Startup School 2012

I got to go to Y Combinator’s Startup School this year and had a great time. Between the reception dinner the night before and the day of event I got to meet a lot of great people and reconnect with some I’d met in the past or only talked to online. Most of the speakers were really good.

I took some very brief notes during some of the talks of the 1 or 2 things that stuck out to me as either surprising, motivational, or instructional.

Zuckerberg: He never thought they’d be the people to build what they knew would eventually exist. They expected someone huge to build it, but it turned out none of them cared as much.

Uber: Doesn’t own any cars or employee any drivers, or spend any marketing money. Avg customer spending $105/mo. 50% of all riders have ridden in the last 30 days.

Jessica Livingson: The keys are determination (resilience + drive), rejection, build something people want

Patrick / Stripe: Trying to be the economic infrastructure of the Internet. Build something that enables others and you’ll succeed. Both are addictive: the day to day debates and the high level strategy stuff.

Horowitz: Create something people don’t even know they want that eventually they will need.

Companies follow extreme power law curve
– Needs to generate $100M in annual revenue
– breakthrough idea
– founder with the courage and skill to build the great idea into a great company
– leadership vs management – can you articulate a vision, get people to work for you, and the confidence to make it all believable

Pinterest: 3000 users within first couple months after launch (but most weren’t very active). However, it was XX months to get there before launching.

Joel Spolsky: Do not straddle the line between get huge fast and bootstrapping. But both are good strategies.

Weebly: Worked on it for 20 months before seeing first real traction! Working business model took 3 years.

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1 Comment

  1. daniel hobbs said,

    October 21, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    Great post, Phil. The Horowitz quote is awesome/inspiring. Hope you are well!

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