Most things I read tend to slip away unless I make the effort to reflect and internalize them. So anytime I stumble upon something useful & worth remembering, I add it here with a tiny summary. This page will constantly update as I read, learn & explore more; bookmark it if you wish to check back in a few months!
"There is a connection between freedom and self-confidence: When you are kept from expressing your deepest needs and wishes, you lose trust in their validity and in your own judgment. You survive by finding out the rules and following them, thus hiding what you really want. You make it your purpose in life to please others rather than to affirm yourself."
"Most people give up too early. They try something, it does not immediately work and after 7 weeks, they call it quits. Most founders that have gone to be super successful spent a very long time on their idea when a lot of other people would have given up. The best founders I know make an internal decision about when to give up or when to keep working on something."
COWEN: "Why is being quick and decisive such an important personality trait in a founder?"
ALTMAN: "That is a great question. I have thought a lot about this because the correlation is clear, that one of the most fun things about YC is that, I think, we have more data points on what successful founders and bad founders look like than any other organization has had in the history of the world. We have that all in our heads, and that’s great. So I can say, with a high degree of confidence, that this correlation is true. Being a fast mover and being decisive — it is very hard to be successful and not have those traits as a founder. Why that is, I’m not perfectly clear on, but I think it is something about the only advantage that startups have or the biggest advantage that startups have over large companies is agility, speed, willing to make non-consensus, concentrated bets, incredible focus. That’s really how you get to beat a big company."
COWEN: "How quickly should someone answer your email to count as quick and decisive?"
ALTMAN: "You know, years ago I wrote a little program to look at this, like how quickly our best founders — the founders that run billion-plus companies — answer my emails versus our bad founders. I don’t remember the exact data, but it was mind-blowingly different. Difference of minutes vs. days on average response times."
"Slowness anywhere justifies slowness everywhere. Moving fast compounds so much more than people realize."
- Most things in life are not as risky as they seem. Humans always miscalculate risk.
- The best ideas start out looking pretty small.
- Thanks to compounding, it’s never intuitive how big something can grow.
- Be clear when describing your idea to investors and users ("this is exactly what we do")
- Build something a small number of users really love
- Word of mouth is the best marketing strategy (19:41)
- Small markets that are going to be big in 5 years > Big market
- Biographies > your avg startup book. You can trust everything cause it’s already been played out!
- Don't forget to make something great that people want so they tell friends about it (even better if it’s at the intersection of something you’re obsessed with.)
The entire thing!
- "Go deep on things"
- "Aim to read a lot"
- "Figure out a way to travel to San Francisco and to meet other ambitious people."
- "People who did great things often did so at very surprisingly young ages (they were gray haired when they became famous, not when they did the work). So hurry up!"
- "Nobody is going to teach you to think for yourself. A large fraction of what people around you believe is mistaken. Internalize this and practice coming up with your own worldview."
"The dead outnumber the living 14 to 1, and we ignore the accumulated experience of such a huge majority of mankind at our peril."
I always thought the o-1 was for geniuses and scientists. The jargon on the USCIS articles makes it seem so. But you can be of average intelligence and with some effort and luck, qualify for this visa!
- "Life off your saving to do something ambitious"
- "If you can’t - get a grant"
- "Learn how professionals email by reading leaked emails"
- "Fly to people for in-person meetings/visits to demonstrate seriousness"
- Ask for things. Even crazy things. You can always mollify afterward by saying I know that’s a crazy thing to ask for, but I have a rule that I always ask.