When using technology, we often focus optimistically on all the things it does for us. But I want you to show you where it might do the opposite.
Want to start a startup? Get funded by Y Combinator. March This essay is derived from a talk at the Harvard Computer Society. You need three things to create a successful startup: Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.
And since a startup that succeeds ordinarily makes its founders rich, that implies getting rich is doable too.
There is no magically difficult step that requires brilliance to solve. The way a startup makes money is to offer people better technology than they have now. They had three new ideas: Above all, they were determined to make a site that was good to use.
No doubt there are great technical tricks within Google, but the overall plan was straightforward. And while they probably have bigger ambitions now, this alone brings them a billion dollars a year.
I can think of several heuristics for generating ideas for startups, but most reduce to this: For example, dating sites currently suck far worse than search did before Google. They all use the same simple-minded model. They seem to have approached the problem by thinking about how to do database matches instead of how dating works in the real world.
An undergrad could build something better as a class project. Online dating is a valuable business now, and it might be worth a hundred times as much if it worked. An idea for a startup, however, is only a beginning.
A lot of would-be startup founders think the key to the whole process is the initial idea, and from that point all you have to do is execute. Venture capitalists know better.
That shows how much a mere idea is worth. The market price is less than the inconvenience of signing an NDA. Another sign of how little the initial idea is worth is the number of startups that change their plan en route.
Their value is mainly as starting points: What matters is not ideas, but the people who have them. People What do I mean by good people? One of the best tricks I learned during our startup was a rule for deciding who to hire.
Could you describe the person as an animal? It might be hard to translate that into another language, but I think everyone in the US knows what it means. It means someone who takes their work a little too seriously; someone who does what they do so well that they pass right through professional and cross over into obsessive.
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March (This essay is derived from a talk at the Harvard Computer Society.) You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. We hike, we mountain bike, we run, we backpack, we boat in wilderness areas to retreat from civilization.
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