I’m enjoying the first week of the Y Combinator class How to Start a Startup. The most recent session was with guest lecturer Paul Graham about the Counterintuitive Parts of Startups, and How to Have Ideas. Paul writes regular essays on startup topics that I enjoy (like real, in-depth essays), so I was expecting his session to be good.
Even if you don’t have time to go through all of the readings, or don’t think you can keep up with twice weekly lectures, take 50 minutes to watch this (or one of the other) sessions. I’ve been enjoying watching over lunch (or while nursing my 2 month old – hey, it’s more intellectually stimulating than Facebook!). Or, instead of watching a TV show tonight, take some time to learn and grow your mind.
My main take-aways from Paul’s talk.
- How to prep for a start-up? Learn about things that matter, work on what interests you, and work with people you like and respect
- If you think of tech as a fractal that is ever expanding, every point on the edge is an interesting problem
- Even the guys who act like they know what is going to work don’t – while running Y Combinator Paul ‘guessed’ at companies that would be successful
- Growth graphs have no gender – do well and make a product people want and need. Paul had tweeted out a growth graph of a woman-founded startup that was having trouble getting funding, and he quickly had investors asking what the company was (though he acknowledged that women have a harder time getting funded).
- You don’t need productivity or efficiency tricks when you are doing what you enjoy and what comes naturally. And it takes time to figure those things out – part of why he recommends people don’t start start-ups while in or right out of college.
Share what you got from the talk, and let me know if you are engaging regularly. I have a discussion group going over email with a few people.