The startups we've funded so far are pretty quick, but they seem quicker to learn some lessons than others. I think it's because some things about startups are kind of counterintuitive. We've now invested in enough companies that I've learned a trick for determining which points are the counterintuitive ones: they're the ones I have to keep repeating. So I'm going to number these points, and maybe with future startups I'll be able to pull off a form of Huffman coding.
October 2006 In the Q & A period after a recent talk, someone asked what made startups fail. After standing there gaping for a few seconds I realized this was kind of a trick question. It's equivalent to asking how to make a startup succeed—if you avoid every cause of failure, you succeed—and that's too big a question to answer on the fly. Afterwards I realized it could be helpful to look at the problem from this direction.
February 2009 One of the things I always tell startups is a principle I learned from Paul Buchheit: it's better to make a few people really happy than to make a lot of people semi-happy. I was saying recently to a reporter that if I could only tell startups 10 things, this would be one of them. Then I thought: what would the other 9 be?