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How to Start a Startup 
SAM ALTMAN 
President, Y Combinator 
@sama 
sam@ycombinator.com 
IDEAS, PRODUCTS, TEAMS AND EXECUTION PART II
1. Idea 2. Product 
3. Team 4. Execution
3. Team 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
A. Cofounders 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
Relentlessly 
Resourceful 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
Know your cofounders 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
B. Try not to hire 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
C. Get the best people 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
Mediocre engineers do not build 
great companies 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
! Are they smart? 
! Do they get things done? 
! Do I want to spend a lot of time around them? 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
! Good communication skills 
! Manically determined 
! Pass the animal test 
! Would feel comfortable reporting to them 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
Also: 
1. Idea
D. You’ve hired - 
the best - 
now keep 
them around! 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
E. Fire fast 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
4. Execution 
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
The CEO has five jobs 
! Set the vision 
! Raise money 
! Evangelize 
! Hire and manage 
! Make sure the entire company executes 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Can you get it done? 
Focus 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Can you get it done? 
! Focus 
! What are you spending time and money on? 
! What are the two or three most important things? 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Can you get it done? 
! Focus 
! Say no. A lot. 
! Set overarching goals. Repeat them. 
! Communicate. 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Can you get it done? 
! Focus 
! Maintain growth and momentum. 
! Work together in person. 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Can you get it done? 
Intensity 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
Can you get it done? 
! Intensity 
! Relentless operating rhythm 
! Obsession with Execution Quality 
! Bias towards action 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Every time you talk to them, 
they've gotten new 
things done. 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Can you get it done? 
! Intensity 
! Quick 
! Do whatever it takes 
! Show up 
! Don’t give up 
! Be courageous 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Always keep momentum. 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Always keep growing. 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Sales fix everything 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Set an operating rhythm 
! Shipping product 
! Launching new features 
! Reviewing/reporting metrics and milestones 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
The competitor to be feared is one 
who never bothers about you at all, 
but goes on making his own 
business better all the time. 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea 
”! 
“! 
HFeonrrdy
more 
Don’t spend more 
money than you 
have. 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Generate revenue 
early on. 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Profitagbrilaistyp within 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
Deals 
Build a great 
product 
1. Idea
Deals 
Develop a personal 
connection 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
Deals 
Have a competitive 
dynamic 
1. Idea
Deals 
Be persistent 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea 
ppeerrssiisstteenntt persistent
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
Deals 
Ask for what you 
want 
1. Idea
Get a sales and 
marketing engine 
going 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
Sales and marketing: do it yourself 
! Identifying key marketing messages 
! Developing tight relationships with journalists 
! Learn how users decide to use or buy your 
product 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 
1. Idea
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution

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Y Combinator Startup Class #2 : Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution

  • 1. How to Start a Startup SAM ALTMAN President, Y Combinator @sama sam@ycombinator.com IDEAS, PRODUCTS, TEAMS AND EXECUTION PART II
  • 2. 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 3. 3. Team 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 4. A. Cofounders 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 5. Relentlessly Resourceful 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 6. 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 7. Know your cofounders 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 8. B. Try not to hire 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 9. C. Get the best people 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 10. Mediocre engineers do not build great companies 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 11. ! Are they smart? ! Do they get things done? ! Do I want to spend a lot of time around them? 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 12. ! Good communication skills ! Manically determined ! Pass the animal test ! Would feel comfortable reporting to them 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution Also: 1. Idea
  • 13. D. You’ve hired - the best - now keep them around! 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 14. E. Fire fast 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 15. 4. Execution 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 16. The CEO has five jobs ! Set the vision ! Raise money ! Evangelize ! Hire and manage ! Make sure the entire company executes 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 17. Can you get it done? Focus 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 18. Can you get it done? ! Focus ! What are you spending time and money on? ! What are the two or three most important things? 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 19. Can you get it done? ! Focus ! Say no. A lot. ! Set overarching goals. Repeat them. ! Communicate. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 20. Can you get it done? ! Focus ! Maintain growth and momentum. ! Work together in person. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 21. Can you get it done? Intensity 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 22. 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
  • 23. Can you get it done? ! Intensity ! Relentless operating rhythm ! Obsession with Execution Quality ! Bias towards action 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 24. Every time you talk to them, they've gotten new things done. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 25. Can you get it done? ! Intensity ! Quick ! Do whatever it takes ! Show up ! Don’t give up ! Be courageous 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 26. Always keep momentum. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 27. Always keep growing. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 28. Sales fix everything 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 29. Set an operating rhythm ! Shipping product ! Launching new features ! Reviewing/reporting metrics and milestones 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 30. The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea ”! “! HFeonrrdy
  • 31. more Don’t spend more money than you have. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 32. Generate revenue early on. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 33. Profitagbrilaistyp within 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 34. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution Deals Build a great product 1. Idea
  • 35. Deals Develop a personal connection 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 36. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution Deals Have a competitive dynamic 1. Idea
  • 37. Deals Be persistent 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea ppeerrssiisstteenntt persistent
  • 38. 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution Deals Ask for what you want 1. Idea
  • 39. Get a sales and marketing engine going 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 40. Sales and marketing: do it yourself ! Identifying key marketing messages ! Developing tight relationships with journalists ! Learn how users decide to use or buy your product 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution 1. Idea
  • 41. 1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution