Before the Startup w/ Paul Graham (YC)

๐Ÿ”ฎ Strategy & Leadership
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A Stanford Lecture by Y Combinator Founder Paul Graham: Starting a startup is challenging, but it doesn't have to be distasteful. Work with people you know and like, and remember that disagreements can get nasty. Don't worry about being an expert in startups, focus on being an expert in your users. Learn how to speak the language of your users by making something they want.

Published/Updated on Jul 21, 2021

A Stanford Lecture by Y Combinator Founder Paul Graham


  • Work with people that you know and like

  • Business people does not have to be distasteful

  • Get's nasty once you start disagreeing on stuff

  • You don't need to be expert in startups to succeed in startups

  • You need to be an expert in your users

  • In class: Learn how to learn languages but a startup is how to speak the language


  • Run away from "growth hacks" (just tell users what your

  • There is no tricks - gaming the system doesn't work

  • There is only users and all they care about if that you are solving their problem

  • Sometimes faking works to fool investors but your company is doomed at some point anyways and your are wasting your time

  • OK to know zero about fundraising as long as you've made something people want

  • A startup will take over your life beyond imagination

  • If it succeeds: For several years and maybe a decade โ†’ maybe the rest of your working life

  • Every day shit happens and only you as a founder can fix it

  • Nature of the problem changes but it never gets any easier

  • Like having kids - it changes your life forever

  • **Hard to know if you have the stamina **

  • Nothing in life is close to what it means to run companies

  • The way to get startup ideas is not the think of startup ideas

  • Get startup ideas unconsciously

  • Real problems are interesting

  • Learn a lot about things that matters

  • Become good at some tech

  • Get projects done

  • Spend time learning powerful things (Larry page - expert on search)