My goal with this article is to help YOU decide whether and when you should take YC’s course on HOW TO START A STARTUP. That’s why I wrote a summary as a quick overview of the class to help you decide on these two important questions.
There is so much advice out there on how to start a startup.
But there is only ONE source you should go to and listen over and over again and study the course material.
It’s Y Combinators course on how to start a startup.
The course combines videos, presenter’s slides and reading material in one place for you. It’s great. For in-depth studying, you also want to go to their Startup Class video series and read through each presentation’s transcript that is even annotated (via Genius) by Silicon Valley’s most profound figures.
AND Sam Altman wrote an amazing Startup Playbook that is nicely designed. It tackles the advice YC gives to their startups distilling the many years they have been mentoring and advising startups. And here we’re speaking about AirBnB, Dropbox, Stripe and many more. In fact, they invested in more than 500 startups by now.
Also, join their public Facebook group of more than 55,000 members. Introduce yourself and get right into it.
Why do I think you should still read this article here?
My goal with this article is to help YOU decide whether and when you should take this course. That’s why I wrote a summary as a quick overview of the class to help you decide on these two important questions.
Because before deciding to take it, you firstly want to know what starting a startup is all about. You want to know more so you can better determine whether you need to spend your time on the course.
If you don’t want to start a startup or work in a startup but rather be a digital nomad, I think there are other resources out there better suited for this goal.
So make sure you know what you want! If it’s starting a startup or working in one, take the class!
But be careful …
If you decided to spend your time and energy on it, you secondly want to know when you should do the class. I don’t believe in randomly sitting in on classes and doing them to acquire knowledge and don’t ACT on it or taking the class as a procrastination not to do other stuff (e.g., learning for your exam).
This always happens to me. Whenever I wanted to learn for an exam, I delayed doing so and cleaned my room and did other annoying tasks and justified not learning for the exam with doing these shitty tasks. But this is sloppy. This is lying to yourself. This is self-sabotage. I don’t want this to happen to you.
So try to reflect honestly: Do you have time and energy to engage fully in that class? If so, take it. If not, make a reminder in your calendar right NOW, to reevaluate your time and energy in a month from now. Maybe shortly after your exam period, or shortly before your summer break or holidays?
Don’t let FOMO — the fear of missing out —stand in your way. Don’t sign up for another course and not follow through. Don’t burden yourself, not do it and feel guilty and bad afterward. That’s not progress. That’s not how you design a happy life for yourself.
There will always be new and maybe better stuff. Don’t freak out and try to accomplish all at once. Be careful with your time and energy. Be careful with your commitments.
Only commit to things that you know you can follow through.
So AGAIN – MY GOAL with this article is to help YOU decide whether and when you should take this course …
Please leave a comment and tell me if I were of any help to you. Thanks!
Table of contents
Revisit the post? Directly jump to the section, you want to re-read:
- Prolog: What is a Startup?
- #1: Preparation & Mindset
- #2: The Idea
- #3: Co-Founders and Team
- #4: Getting your first users
- #5: Single Most Important Goal is to Reach Product Market Fit
- #6: Funding
- #7: Ups and Downs
Prolog: What is a Startup?
Before we talk about starting a startup, let’s quickly get on the same page. Because the term ‘startup’ is poorly understood and greatly misused by a lot of people, it’s important to know what the term ‘startup’ actually means!
Not surprisingly, there isn’t a common definition everyone agrees on. It creates myths and false illusions — especially set up by outsiders who mistakenly write and talk about this phenomena.
It feels like every entrepreneur starting a business nowadays calls his business a startup — either an agency, a freelance activity or a bakery with an online e-commerce store.
They might aim at using the startup-like mindset for their business to accelerate it — what I call the StartupGeist — but they are not a startup.
In my article ‘What is a startup,’ I collected opinions of several startup experts and showed you why a startup is NOT a smaller version of a usual business.
One important thing to understand as Paul Graham, founder of YC, puts it:
“A startup is a company designed to grow fast.” — Paul Graham
Startups are meant to conquer the world and become billion dollar businesses. Of course, you can also do innovative things without having that sort of ambition, but then this class might not be precious to you.
The course is designed to advise startup founders with grand visions for the world! They want to leave a dent in the universe. Are you at this point in your life right now? Or would you rather be working on something smaller, to learn and then work on your grand vision a little later?
#1: Preparation & Mindset
Most guides about how to start a startup have something in common that I don’t agree with: they start with starting a startup. ”Okay, here you are & you want to found a hyper growth company. What are you waiting for? Get started now. Get an idea. Find the best co-founder.”
It’s motivating if such a text tells you that you can start a company too and that you can even do it today. However, the tricky thing about it is that starting a startup is a tricky thing. As Sam Altman says: “It sucks!”
I’ve learned this the hard way myself… There was a point in my life when I was all like “I WANT TO START SOMETHING NOW!” and I just created my first company with two co-founders.
What I dreamt about was doing the things from the Silicon Valley stories myself. Solve a problem and create value for my customers.
With my first startup, we believed that it was crucial for local shops and restaurants to be found online. That’s why we created a platform where they could track and manage their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Google+, Yelp and Tripadvisor presence at once. And engage with their local customers. And, of course, we dreamt about making this company big, becoming rich and being considered extremely successful.
However, it turned out far from being so glorious. It was overwhelming and stressful. Though my co-founders and I whacked ourselves up pretty decently, our company never made it off the ground. We didn’t fail disastrously, but our dreams of creating a big thing popped like soap bubbles despite all our efforts.
Most startups fail. Only a few succeed.
By now, I know that I just wasn’t ready for such an ambitious project. I lacked experience and knew far too little about launching products, acquiring customers and seeing a future no one else believes in.
The game is very much about learning by doing. You can’t just find out everything you need to know by studying some books and blogs! Every founder has to learn a lot of lessons by doing things and falling flat on his or her face.
— Sam Altman
However, this does not have to happen the hard way. You can prepare for a lot of the skills you will need by doing simple things like creating your blog or being a leader of a student organization. Yes, a lot of billion dollar companies have been started by founders without a distinguished track record… That’s why it looks like either anyone can do it or you have to be born as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are NOT born. We are self-made!
No one can help you with the luck or timing part of your idea. But as you will see, as you focus on entrepreneurial skills, skills about starting and doing, staying motivated, being focused, being productive and mindful, StartupGeist might be your source to ACT. DO. EXPERIENCE. What it means to START.
Six things to prepare for the Startup Rollercoaster
- Knowledge: Learn the Startup Basics
- Network: Visit Startup Events and Meetups
- Experience: Do an Internship at a #Startup
- Passion: What Topic Motivates You?
- Goals: What do You Want?
- Execution: Start a Side Project
AND make sure if you want to start or join a startup. Being a founder or team member is not for everyone. Are you ready to sacrifice your life? Ready to overcome extreme chaos? Check out my article Startup Life: The Scary Truth No One Tells YOU.
#2: The Idea
Every company starts with an idea and with a founding team. So those are the two things you will have to find first. There is no right order for finding.
To have a successful startup, you need: a great idea (including a great market), a great team, a great product, and great execution.
Three important insights I want you to be aware of at this point:
- Don’t think about startup ideas. Most things you will come up with will sound plausible but attract no customers.
- It’s about problems, not ideas. Find a common problem and try to solve it. That’s value creation right there. Always think about problems.
- You’ll find problems and exceptional opportunities by becoming an expert in something.
These insights are taken from Paul Graham, probably the person that has given the most and best advice on this topic. In his essay “How to Get Startup Ideas” and his lecture, he explains what he means:
Many people start their search by asking themselves what things they could build. They think about what things would be cool and what hasn’t been done yet. This approach is quite dangerous, because it will not only result in crappy ideas – it often lead the founders into building something that sounds plausible but no one really wants! The result is that they have spent an amazing amount of time and effort just to to create another chapter in the long history of shelf warmers.
—Your call to action: Engage in things you love ending up being an expert and potentially discovering a meaningful problem to solve.
Three important insights I want you to be aware of at this point:
- Your GOAL: Build painkillers, not vitamins. Think about your business model as much as the customer’s problem.
- Life is too short to keep on building something nobody wants or not enough people want!
- Scratch your itch that means to solve a problem you have.
—Your call to action: Learn and deliberately practice how to validate your ideas in days, not months — before building and investing in any solution! Two important principles of practice are Customer Development, the art of interviewing and understanding people and Lean Startup.
#3: Co-Founders and Team
It’s life or death decision. Be extremely critical about whom you will start your startup or business with.
Picking a co-founder is your most important decision. It’s more important than your product, market, and investors.
— Naval Ravikant, Co-Founder Angellist.
We tend to admire a single person. But this is wrong. No one ever achieves anything without a team. Think Jobs and Wozniak (Apple), Allen and Gates (Microsoft), Ellison and Lane (Oracle), Hewlett and Packard (HP), Larry and Sergei (Google).
Find the right co-founder and business partner to increase your chances of success.
BUT be aware that finding the right co-founder is hard.
You will be bound for many years. It’s like finding your future wife. Like a marriage. Hence, choose wisely and take your time. I rushed too quickly in my first startup engagement without questioning our team’s underlying values, beliefs, and motivation.
In the Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Co-Founder, you find out what experts think about choosing co-founders and which six question help you to choose and decide for a partner.
What about team members?
Get team members only IF you need them! In the beginning, you can get a lot more done (with a lot less of money) when you start only with a committed founding team.
Having team members will draw the cash out of your company fast and reduce your runway. It’s not a good idea to take that risk.
Furthermore, the greatest companies take a lot of time to make their first hires and are picky as hell. Just as a co-founder, each early team member will determine the DNA of the company!
This choice should be made wisely. Keeping your culture intact will slow you down at this point, but it will give your company a lot more stamina.
Steve Blank provides an overview on what implications the startup stage has for team members. I dived right into his questions to help you decide whether to start or join (and at what stage to join) a startup:
- What roles are there in early-stage startups?
- Do you want to be a startup founder?
- Do you want to be an early-stage employee?
- Do you want to be an employee at a later-stage startup?
- How can I find out which startup is right for me?
—Your Call to Action: Build a deep expertise in one of the three key roles and answer each of the questions carefully.
#4: Getting your first users
Getting your first customers is a counterintuitive thing. Most founders expect it to be quite easy because there are so many possibilities for getting attention through marketing, partnerships or press coverage, but it’s not true. Getting your first customers is hard because no one believes in your product or doesn’t want to switch to your service. Your product must offer real value to your customers. 10 times more perceived value compared to their current solution. It seems evident that they will get excited about it, doesn’t it?
The bad news is that it doesn’t work like that. Getting your first customers is incredibly hard. Because there are literally thousand ways to acquire customers and thousands different hurdles and obstacles to overcome to convince them to try your product or service.
I want to highlight two points that I think are important…
Don’t expect this to be easy
Most founders and their teams struggle with that. It’s the number ONE reason that keeps them up at night. It’s not developing a product. It’s convincing people to use their product.
Somehow we all underestimate it. And of course, it also happened to me when I started my first company Spotistic.
The good news is that it doesn’t mean so much if your sales dashboard doesn’t purr like a kitten from the beginning. You might have heard these stories of guys who started their company by setting up a shabby test website and instantly drowned in requests… It’s awesome if it works that way, but it’s rare. And it’s not a required sign that you’re building a great company.
Just keep in mind what Walker Williams, co-founder of Teespring, notes in his “How to start a Startup” lecture: Even most of the companies with monster growth curves struggled heroically with getting that first few sales or signups.
Don’t lose faith!
Because that’s exactly how AirBnB started — WITH NO GROWTH. They needed to find out that the secret sauce to successful listings is professional images. When they started hiring photographers to take excellent pictures of flats that are listed on Airbnb, it’s when Airbnb took off.
Slack used a carefully planned and extremely well-executed LAUNCH plan to kick start their hyper-growth!
So, what can you achieve this?
Do things that don’t scale
It’s one of Y Combinator’s famous mantras. It’s quite simple: In the startup lingo, “scalable” means that whatever you do, you want to do for one user or a million. You might wonder now why Y Combinator recommends focusing on things that cannot be scaled because scaling is exactly what startups are made for!
There are two reasons for this:
The first reason is that they will allow you to get a base of loyal users who love your product. In the beginning, it’s better to have a handful of dedicated users than a hundred ones who are only mildly excited about your product. Your so-called “evangelists” or “early adopters” are the ones that will stick with your product, take the time to give you feedback and tell their friends about you.
The second reason is that unscalable things are unique opportunities to be close to your users, talk to them and watch them interact with your product. And this is the single most important thing you can do!
The secret sauce behind the success of many startup rockstars like Facebook, Wufoo and AirBnB is that they always strive to understand their user’s needs and even care for small details in the user experience. They don’t only want to solve the problems they identified when searching for an idea, but also all these small and big problems that their product yields for their users. You can only do that if you take a lot of time and interact on a personal level with them!
—Your Call to Action: You shouldn’t automate, streamline and delegate all these tasks that allow you to interact with your users. Too many founders hire sales guys quite early… Resist that temptation! Do not immediately create standardized mailing campaigns or sales process guides.
Instead, focus on things that seem costly but will give you maximum exposure. Many founders of famous companies started by doing crazy things. For example, Homejoy got its first customers when the founders went to a street fair and handed out cooled water bottles on a hot day!
The second thing you should do is to show your first users that you care for them. Create Christmas cards, invite them for a beer at your office, ask them why they quitted your service, set exceptional standards for customer support!
You want to make people not only feel special but like they are a part of your success.
Turning your first customers into champions will get your startup crucial advantages. As Walker Williams from Teespring noted in his Y Combinator lecture, every company with an excellent growth strategy does that.
#5: Single Most Important Goal for Your Startup
After you’ve found a meaningful problem and a potential solution, the stressful part won’t be over for a long time yet! Your next milestone is the hardest one:
Build something people really want!
The emphasis is on “build” now. This milestone is also commonly called “Product Market Fit”. Let’s learn what it means!
Paul Grahams writes that growth defines startups. Everything else follows.
Where does growth come from? From ‘Product Market Fit’! There are three different camps how you could look at product/market fit.
- Market View: Marc Andreessen says if there is no market, even a great product and a great team will not get you there.
- Business View: Steve Blank says if you can’t realize the business model, there is no Product/Market Fit.
- Product/Analytic View: Eric Ries, Ash Maurya, and Dave McClure say if there is no retention and referrals, there is no Product/Market Fit.
Three key insights as outlined in my article about What is Product Market Fit are important:
- Product Market Fit is about finding a great market, building a product that this market wants and figuring out how you can sell this product effectively.
- If you haven’t found product/market fit yet, you won’t be able to grow your business effectively.
- Customer discovery means problem/solution fit and customer validation means achieving product/market fit.
—Your Call to Action: Focus all your efforts of finding product market fit until you are there. It’s mostly about building a great product in a great market with a great team that executes extremely well, so that’s what you should concentrate on! Easy right? 😉
Marc Andreessen believes that many of the most successful startups just got so much traction because they had a Product Market Fit (even though they messed up most other things).
In contrast, he sees many well-managed companies go straight off the cliff because their product, or the market for their product, isn’t great.
Better focus on finding product market fit.
When a great team meets a lousy market, market wins.
When a lousy team meets a great market, market wins.
When a great team meets a great market, something special happens.
Three key insights for my article about How to reach Product Market Fit I want to share:
- There are two ways to measure product market fit: qualitatively and quantitatively (Ellis test).
- Ellis test means if 40% of your users tell you that they would be “very disappointed” when you shut down, you have found product market fit!
- There is no golden rule to find product/market fit. Even if you reach it, you can ‘lose’ it.
You might ask yourself where you can get that first money which is often called “seed money” to start your project.
Not at Banks, they don’t understand this new concept, yet. These guys like to play it safe with their credits while startups are the riskiest type of businesses there is. Don’t waste your time with applying there!
However, there are lots of other options you might use …
- Pre-sale your product! Set up a landing page and offer people a not-to-resist offer. This will not work in every case… But if it does, you have the best kind of proof that you are solving a meaningful problem.
- Do consulting/freelancing or have another side business! There are numerous sexy opportunities for doing a “lifestyle business” or a “smart passive income” while you build your startup: create a blog that brings you advertising money, create an ebook or just offer consulting services.
- Self-funding! The most commonly used option. Save 15.000-20.000 $ and then get cash from your users quickly.
- Friends + Family! Lending money from loved ones is also quite common.
- Credit Cards! Don’t use that until you are committed to what you’re doing!
- Awards/Prizes! Competitions that allow you to turn into a business idea or business plan often offer small seed sums as a reward. Check your local startup events for them.
- Accelerators! A bit like incubators, but for a restricted time frame (generally three months). They take less equity and build up less dependency. It’s a possibility to get a small cash injection and some support, but don’t focus too much on getting into one. According to recent research, there is no evidence that they make startups more successful (except for a few notable ones like Y Combinator, 500Startups or Techstars).
- Incubators! Some incubators are often called company builders. They offer you office space, a network, cash and operational support in return for a big slice of equity. Be aware that you’re highly dependent on them once you enter.
- State funds! There are lots of entrepreneurship support programs. Talk to your local public business counseling agency and see if you can apply for a program!
- Crowdfunding! Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to collect money for small projects. You won’t have to pay your cash back or give away equity, but it’s common to offer small presents to the supporters.
- Online investment platforms! There are some platforms (e.g. Seedrs) that connect startups and investors. You will have to give equity away like in “regular” venture capital investments.
- Corporate Venture Capital! Many big players like to do “strategic investments” in startups though it’s quite restricted to the high-tech sector. Some of them even do competitions etc. for newly founded businesses!
- Business Angels! People who offer money and advice in return for equity. For finding one, you might tap into your network, do research and contact potential candidates yourself or reach out to local business angel associations.
- Seed stage VC firms! A few years ago, venture capitalists would only do big deals with advanced stage companies. However, some of them have entered the “seed market” now and give money to early-stage companies. However, don’t focus too much on them unless you already have an impressive track record!
If you want to learn more about these options, I suggest you check out my article “What Options for financing my Venture are there?”
A word of warning
One mistake many startups make is being focused on fundraising from the beginning. Don’t do that. It just makes no sense! Raising money doesn’t prove anything. It doesn’t even help you if you do it at the wrong time. Talking to investors slows you down and eats tons of your time away… I could go on like this forever!
What I want you to learn is the following thing: Raising venture capital shouldn’t be an issue for your company at the beginning, unless you REALLY need it to realize your business idea (believe me, you most likely don’t).
To get most projects of the ground, you will only need a few thousand dollars and a founding team that is ready to live on low standards for a while.
Always consider bootstrapping for starting
Gather a bit of cash, squeeze every goddamn dollar you have and try to bring your company to a point where you have “traction”. That is when it is empirically proven that users passionately want your product and will pay for it.
However, to build a big company, you might need the big money at some point! That’s when venture capitalists come in. Let’s talk about the right time for dealing with them.
When to get VC funding?
The best moment is never! Don’t raise venture capital if you don’t need it. Many experienced entrepreneurs — like Elad Gil, serial entrepreneur, startup advisor and blogger, and even some investors agree that fundraising sucks away too much time and investors create a lot of problems. However, only a few companies manage to grow without cash injections.
If you can’t avoid it, go fundraising when your company has “traction”. That is 4000 subscribers or 5 enterprise customers. A 50% increase of your user base during the last month. The first 15k dollars of annual revenue. In short, some that proves to people that other people want your product and that they want it a lot.
Doing fundraising before this point will be a waste of time, so don’t try it.
Nevertheless, you will have to start your preparations early! Most investors only talk to people who have been introduced to them and only give money to founders they have kind of a relationship with. Therefore, you should start to get intros early and talk to VCs on a non-committal basis, but don’t start to negotiate until you have numbers that will impress them!
According to Paul Graham, the best way to convince investors is to convince yourself honestly that your startup is a worthwhile investment and then tell them. Don’t get Paul wrong here. He doesn’t mean that it’s all just a mindset question! It’s not about just believing in yourself, but in honestly evaluating if your startup has the potential be a hyper success.
You will have to verify that people want your product and that there is a huge market ahead. They key sentence that investors want to hear is “This business will make hundreds of millions/billions”. Yes, we all know that every founder is supposed to say that, but you’ll have to say it with the knowledge that it is just as true as 1+1=2.
You are almost always better off making your business better than you are making your pitch better [… ] The key to success is to be so good they can’t ignore you.”
—Marc Andreesen, famous Silicon Valley Investor, in Lecture 9 of the “How to start a Startup” Series.
Therefore, you should always work a lot harder on your product than on fundraising. Finding Product/Market fit will not magically open up all doors for you, but you’ll crush your teeth on most other topics until you have it! I’m sorry, but it’s simple as that.
#7: Ups and Downs
Founding a startup can be great! It’s amazing to see that you created something new that makes the lives of many people better! However, building a startup is not a very glorious thing.
If you want to make your company successful, you will have to put an incredible amount of time and work into it. Don’t let all these amazing stories fool you into thinking that having a startup is a constant mix of working and partying.
If it’s not 97% working, the party will soon be over.
However, the worst thing about startups are the downtimes that you are inevitably going to face. You might be a bit better prepared when you know what’s coming; that’s why I’m telling you about it now.
In most of the stories you see, startupland is a country where the sun always shines. Shiny happy people who quit jobs they hated and live their dreams now. However, that’s not how your life will always look like.
From time to time, being a founder can be shitty in the worst way. Or, “Entrepreneurship can be hell”.
There will be phases when a lot of crap comes together: your most important deal falls through, a key team member quits his job, your customers lose interest in your product. That’s when you suddenly feel the consequences of a few stupid mistakes you made in the past. Even if you’re experienced, you’ll start to feel guilty and overwhelmed.
The Struggle is when you don’t believe you should be CEO of your company. The Struggle is when you know that you are in over your head and you know that you cannot be replaced. The Struggle is when everybody thinks you are an idiot, but nobody will fire you. The Struggle is where self-doubt becomes self-hatred.
The Struggle is when you are having a conversation with someone and you can’t hear a word that they are saying because all you can hear is The Struggle.
The Struggle is when you want the pain to stop. The Struggle is unhappiness.
The Struggle is when you go on vacation to feel better and you feel worse.
The Struggle is when you are surrounded by people and you are all alone. The Struggle has no mercy.
The Struggle is the land of broken promises and crushed dreams. The Struggle is a cold sweat. The Struggle is where your guts boil so much that you feel like you are going to spit blood.
According to Ben, every entrepreneur has to go through such a phase if he wants to build something great. Rockstars like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have all endured it. And still, many startups fail here.
How to survive the struggle
Getting back on track again is hard! Ben notes that being in the struggle means that “You have dropped into the abyss, and you may never get out.”
Still, there are a few things that might make it better! I’m listing them now hoping that they might help you someday.
- Focus on the next things to do: The most important thing is: don’t think too much but concentrate on your next task. This technique is simple but useful. Barack Obama once noted that it helped him to overcome his greatest failure.
- Be unstoppable: Many experts like Paul Graham agree that perseverance can get your startup surprisingly far. You might not even have to find that miracle silver bullet, but you might finally succeed if you carry on and adapt!
- Get a support group: Talking to people who have gone through the same shit might help you a lot. Check out if there are any local support groups for entrepreneurs; if there aren’t, you might also tell and discuss your story (without disclosing your identity) at Startups Anonymous!
- Do things that provide balance: Disregarding yourself won’t do any good. If you sacrifice your physical and mental health to keep working day and night, you might lose it altogether. “Be mindful” is one of the essential pillars of my philosophy, and it counts especially in nasty situations. Therefore, I suggest that you do some things that detract your mind from your business: go jogging, play your guitar, see a movie.
To learn more about this topic, check out my article “What can I do when I’m having a bad Time with my Startup?”
When to quit your startup
There are two contradictory philosophies in startup space… One says that you should “fail fast and often” (supposedly the view of Silicon Valley), while the other one says that a true entrepreneur sticks to his vision long after the naysayers start arguing that it’s a crazy waste of time.
Now, what is the right approach here? When should you leave your startup and go for something new?
The answer is: there is no proper solution. If you take a look at Quora discussions on this topic, it seems like there are almost as many answers as there are startuppers: “Leave when your users stop caring about you”, “leave when you lose your passion”, “don’t leave until your company is broke”…
The fact is that there are many stories of people who became successful after any hope seemed lost while there are also lots of stories from people who closed a company to do something new and never regretted it!
Final thoughts to make your decision
What you should have learned from my guide is that there are many dry seasons along your startup journey… You feel starvation like the AirBnb founders. They ended up selling Obama and McCain-branded cereals. Paul Graham once described their attitude like being unkillable, unstoppable cockroaches.
However, if you’ve lost your drive for too long, you might as well ask yourself if it’s not the time for a change! No one can know how each decision will turn out (that’s how startups and life are!), so you’ll have to make it on your own.
My goal with this article was to help YOU to decide whether and when you should take YC’s course on How to start a startup.
I hope you got a better understanding what a startup is and how hard it is. There are many more options out there to start a business and be financially independent, be free and work remotely, location independently.
A startup isn’t that option.
If you’re intensely driven to leave a dent in the universe, solve a meaningful problem and don’t care for years of single focus, dedication, and deep conviction, then start a startup.
To sum it up, let’s stick with Sam’s advice:
Why should you NOT start a startup?
“It sucks! One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we get from YC founders is it’s harder than they could have ever imagined because they didn’t have a framework for the sort of work and intensity a startup entails. Joining an early-stage startup that’s on a rocketship trajectory is usually a much better financial deal.”
— Sam Altman
Why should you start a startup?
“Starting a startup is not in fact very risky to your career—if you’re excellent at technology, there will be job opportunities if you fail. Most people are awful at evaluating risk. I think the riskier option has an idea or project you’re passionate about and working at a safe, secure, unfulfilling job instead.”
— Sam Altman
Please leave a comment and tell me if I were of any help to you. Thanks!
- Y Combinators course: How to Start a Startup
- Course: Startup Class video series, each presentation transcript and annotated
- Sam Altman: Startup Playbook
- Join their public Facebook group
- StartupGeist: What is a Startup
- StartupGeist: The Startup Economy
- StartupGeist: The Startup Path
- StartupGeist: Why Startup #Fail
- StartupGeist: Why Startup #Succeed
- StartupGeist: What is Product/Market Fit?
- StartupGeist: How to find Product/Market Fit?
- StartupGeist: My First Startup – An Emotional Rollercoaster
- StartupGeist: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Co-Founder
- StartupGeist: The Truth No One Tells You About
- StartupGeist: Why to Start a Startup, and Why not
- StartupGeist: How to Prepare for the Startup Rollercoaster
- StartupGeist: Three Startup Roles. Be an expert in one of them.
- StartupGeist: How to Get Startup Ideas
- StartupGeist: How to Validate Startup Ideas
- StartupGeist: What is Customer Development?
- StartupGeist: The Art of Interviewing and Understanding People
- StartupGeist: What is Lean Startup
- StartupGeist: How to Start a Startup – The Buffer Way
- StartupGeist: How to Start a Startup – The Slack Way
- StartupGeist: How to Start a Startup – The AirBnb Way