Takeaways From YCombinator’s Free Startup Class

Videos posted 4pm every Tues & Thurs here

…  selective loosely transcribed points with my notes emphasized

  1. first time on the record
  2. 720 companies funded
  3. every speaker has been involved in creating a $1B+ company – not theory
  4. ALL advice geared toward businesses seeking hypergrowth and building a large company
  5. startups different from
  6. 4 key areas you need to excel
  7. luck is a random number between 1 and 10000
  8. even playing field – young and old alike
  9. weaknesses can be strength
  10. why – easier ways to get rich
  11. compelled by a problem – passion first, startup second
  12. great ideas matter – too much emphasis on pivoting today
  13. altman is a recent convert
  14. if it works it will be a 10 year effort LONG TERM PLANNING MATTERS
  15. plans are worthless – the exercise of planning is valuable
  16. someday you need to build a business that’s difficult to replicate – this is an important part of a good idea
    1. important for hypergrowth but is that what your village needs
  17. you have to believe in the mission
  18. it’s easier to start a hard startup than to start an easy one
  19. be mission driven
  20. best ideas often look terrible at the beginning
  21. you want an idea that turns into a monopoly but you can’t get a monopoly in a big market right away – need to get a monopoly in a small market and expand
  22. fine line between right and crazy – early on most people will think it’s a bad idea
  23. seeming like a bad idea shields from theft
  24. have to think about the growth rate of the market not just the company
  25. why now
  26. don’t clone existing ideas
  27. quoting 50 Cent
  28. student oriented
  29. product s/b the focus
  30. build something a small number of people love – having lots of people like it won’t get you far and if a lot of people love it now Google or another big entity else will do it … hmmm maybe not, maybe they have blinders or conflicts with existing revenue streams
  31. early growth by word of mouth is really important
  32. most startups don’t fail from competition
  33. start with a small subset of the problem – even if you see a bigger set of problems to solve
  34. don’t needs lots of early users, but ones that provide regular feedback
  35. Dustin Moskovitz on why
  36. realize it will be stressful – very stressful
  37. financial rewards for employee #100 slide
  38. if you really, really have a very big idea and are really, really prepared you shouldn’t be in this class – just go do it!
  39. don’t need to start a company to have a big impact on the world
  40. passion vs aptitude

From Sojourner To The Mountain Top

The Mars Curiosity Rover has reached Mount Sharp its primary destination for exploring Martian geology. 17 years ago, Curiosity’s ancestor Sojourner became the first rover to land on another planet. A decade before Sojourner’s launch, NASA’s current leader and interplanetary history maker Charles Bolden was commanding a Shuttle mission. Congratulations are in order for both Bolden and Sojourner Truth!



Momma – there goes that quantum cat!

The image above was captured by a quantum camera that was never pointed at the cats. Strange as it may seem this experiment may have practical  applications in optical imaging:

In medicine, for instance, doctors might probe tissues using invisible wavelengths of light that won’t damage cells, while simultaneously using entangled visible light beams to create clear images of the tissues.

National Geographic – “Spooky” Quantum Entanglement Reveals Invisible Objects

The NatGeo article does a good job of explaining how the experiment was conducted and why it worked as does this IEEE Spectrum article. But quantum entanglement is notoriously counter-intuitive so sometimes a simple analogy helps

Here’s another way to think about it: imagine I want to see an object, so I shine a flashlight on it. But I don’t look at the flashlight beam. Instead I shine a second light in the opposite direction, and that second flashlight shows me the object.

Physics Central


Online Security: Don’t Blame Apple or the Cloud

Yes there are things we need to be aware and this Slate article Blame Apple does a good job laying them out. Ironically given the title, the last sentence actually makes the case for not blaming Apple:

Apple will probably survive though. IPhones are so cool and pretty.

One commenter adds:

The thing is, I expect most people with iPhones don’t understand any of this, and use iPhones mostly because they don’t want to learn about it or be bothered with it.

Is it really that people are too lazy or is it that we teach people from childhood that it’s ok to choose the easier path. As the AI entity known as Agent Smith in The Matrix film notes there will be serious consequences for us choosing to have machines and programs do  our thinking for us.

Maybe a heavy dose of the Kobe method mentioned in the previous post is what’s needed. How would learning more about online security tools help you improve in areas you are passion about?

How To Make STEM Interesting To Everyone

I didn’t like school. But if you look at it differently… This is the way I looked at it. When I was in a classroom, and the teacher was talking, I looked at it like [I was] training my mind to be sharper, more focused for when I play basketball. I just flipped it.

“So I’d be training for basketball even when I was sitting in the classroom. When I’m organizing my thoughts and notes and learning about history, let’s say Napoleon or Julius Caesar, [I’m thinking] what can I learn from that that’s going to help me over here [he motions to an imaginary basketball court], because this is what you’re passionate about? So if you take whatever you’re doing and you just kind of converge it into what you’re passionate about, then all of a sudden everything becomes f—ing interesting.”

Kobe On Education – Sports Illustrated