Career Advice: Simplifiers Go Far, Complexifiers Get Stuck. “If you can’t explain it to a six year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein There are two types of people in business: Simplifiers: who make complex things simpleComplexifiers: who make simple things complex Quick joke Question: What does a complexifier call a simplifier?
The One Key to Dealing with Senior Executives: Answer the Question! I can’t tell you how many times over the years that I’ve needed to coach people to “answer the question” when dealing with senior executives.
It amazes me to sit in meetings and watch people hem, haw, dodge, extemporize and do just about anything but answer the question they were asked. Subtle Mid-Stage Startup Pitfalls - Founders at Work posthaven. (This post is derived from a talk I gave at SV Angel's CEO Summit.)
A lot has been written about the dangers that early-stage startups face. But startups face a different and equally lethal set of dangers in what we could call the mid-stage–the stage after the company has figured out what it's doing and has raised some money to go off and do it. Because of where YC sits on the funding timeline and the volume of startups we fund, there is probably no one who has watched more companies negotiate the mid-stage than us. Twice a year we accept a batch of startups (the last one had 114 companies in it). We work with them for several months on whatever is their biggest problem, and then help them raise money from investors. If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough. Tech My most useful career experience was about eight years ago when I was trying to break into the world of VC-backed startups.
I applied to hundreds of jobs: low-level VC roles, startups jobs, even to big tech companies. I got rejected from every single one. Big companies rejected me outright or gave me a courtesy interview before rejecting me. VCs told me they wanted someone with VC experience. Allmyapps — Story of an Almost Successful French Startup. Allmyapps — Story of an Almost Successful French Startup Since a few months, I am a free man again.
Ch. Raynaud - ISAI sur Twitter : "'@paulg, @ycombinator, about adversity and ... Be Nice Or Leave. We have a sign like this in our beach house.
We got it in New Orleans many years ago. A Dozen Things I’ve Learned From Marc Andreessen. Marc Andreessen is able to explain himself so well that I should have less commentary to add to the quotations in this post than usual.
But where is the fun in that? My primary task with this blog post has been assembling the quotations and placing them in an order which flows well, since understanding the earlier topics helps the reader understand ideas which come later in the list. Each set of quotations is a mash up from sources like the links identified in the notes at the bottom of this post. My transcription of video interviews may not be perfect and the text is sometimes edited to reflect the brevity required in a blog format. 1/ “The key characteristic of venture capital is that returns are a power-law distribution. Why power laws? Justin Mares. You’ve decided you want to do something in this world.
You’ve internalized the fact that you can do anything you want. How do you succeed? Let’s say your goal is to be a millionaire by age 30. What do you do? Focus on becoming the type of person that can become a millionaire at 30. Optimization hidden costs - Xkcd. Life lesson. Willful Delusion - Startups and the Stockdale Paradox – Correlated Causation. Early when I was starting PrimaTable, a friend and mentor told me about the Stockdale Paradox.
Described in Jim Collin’s Good to Great, the paradox is named after Vice Admiral Jim Stockdale, an American naval officer held captive for eight years in the Vietnam War. Stockdale’s Paradox When asked about about how he coped with captivity and regular torture, Admiral Stockdale responded: “I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.” When asked who didn’t make it home from Vietnam, Stockdale replied: Rate-of-learning: the most valuable startup compensation. The frothiness of today’s environment in Silicon Valley makes it easy to get sucked into a warped sense of reality.
Valuations are high, capital is cheap, housing prices are skyrocketing, and RSUs are flowing like wine. A DOZEN THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT BUSINESS. Ruthlessness and Grit in Startups. Startups are in a state of perpetual change. During a startup's first few years of establishing product market and winning the first set of customers, this state of change is obvious. But as a startup scales, the company must adapt by learning and reinventing. Whether it's building the processes to grow the team, creating new sales and marketing initiatives to pursue adjacent customers, developing customer success teams or handling an unforseen crisis, this process of reacting to the market and evolving the company happens at every level in each function. The Sure Thing. How entrepreneurs really succeed. In 1969, Ted Turner wanted to buy a television station. Fail Fail Win: Never Give Up. On a Mission. One of the interesting things I have seen, especially in the last 10 years, is that many of the big winners in technology have been what I call “mission-driven” versus “mercenary-driven” companies.
There are a lot of companies that cut corners. A Dozen Things I’ve Learned about Business from Bill Gates. 1. “Business isn’t that complicated” and “Take sales, take costs, and try to get this big positive number at the bottom.” Many people make a living trying to make “business” sufficiently complex that you feel the need to pay for their services. Their business is to make business complex, when it is actually simple. 2. The Two Key Skill Sets Startups Must Develop To Grow. Dustin Curtis. Despite being the cheapest usable tablet on the market, and although the Kindle is already one of its best selling items, Amazon cut the price of the Kindle Fire HD today from $199 to $169. At that price, it’s almost impossible to imagine any profit at all; when it was released in late 2012, some speculated that the cost of materials and manufacturing alone amounted to more than $185. It’s easy to imagine the strategy here–that Amazon expects to make money on digital content sales–but, historically, the numbers behind that strategy haven’t panned out.
With billions of dollars in content sales, Apple still claims to run the iTunes store at “practically break even.” What makes Amazon think it can pull a profit when even Apple can’t? While trying to figure out what Jeff Bezos is thinking, I remembered something he told the New York Times in 2011: Startups Are Hard. So Work More, Cry Less, And Quit All The Whining. Willing to be misunderstood. Jeff Bezos appeared on Charlie rose two weeks ago and spoke about Amazon’s history, future and best of all, its culture. In the interview, Bezos discussed Amazon’s core values: Can-Do vs. Can’t-Do Culture. “God, body and mind, food for the soul When you feeding on hate, you empty, my n! Believers vs non-believers. Is it Time for You to Earn or to Learn?
This is part of my Startup Advice series. Are You A Pirate? I read blog posts by Don Dodge and Glenn Kelman today about people jumping from Google to Facebook and it got me thinking about entrepreneurs. The credentials trap. I talk a lot to people who are deciding between startups and established companies. Are you in a startup career path or are you one and done? Sometimes peoples' first startups are successful. Why I am long on French Tech Board Observers.
Generalists. The Depressing Day After You Get TechCrunched. How Well Do You Take A Punch? Program Or Be Programmed. Working smarter. The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get. Ideas have a 2 week shelf life. Occam's razor. Tenacity. The Wisest Entrepreneurs Know How to Preserve Equity. The Startup Curve. The Hardest Lessons for Startups to Learn. Why Do Harvard Kids Head to Wall Street? How I Graduated from Harvard, Turned Down Google, Got a Job On T. The VC And Startup Industries Must Do A Better Job Seeding A Sta. Risk and Reward Are Not Obvious. Startable - Healy Jones' & Pras. The Career Path to Becoming a Venture Capitalist or an Entrepren. The best companies are analytical. Gamers make faster decisions than nongamers, just as accurate. 'StarCraft' Gameplay Boosts Mental Flexibility, Says Study - Digits. You need to use social services to understand them. Long Live the Web. Why Your Startup Should Be Involved in Open Source. Technology generation gap.