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How to Start a Startup 
SAM ALTMAN 
President, Y Combinator 
@sama 
sam@ycombinator.com 
IDEAS, PRODUCTS, TEAMS AND EXECUT...
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...
! Good communication skills 
! Manically determined 
! Pass the animal test 
! Would feel comfortable reporting to them 
2...
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 ex...
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 thin...
Can you get it done? 
! Focus 
! Say no. A lot. 
! Set overarching goals. Repeat them. 
! Communicate. 
2. Product 3. Team...
Can you get it done? 
! Focus 
! Maintain growth and momentum. 
! Work together in person. 
2. Product 3. Team 4. Executio...
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 actio...
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. Produc...
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. Pr...
The competitor to be feared is one 
who never bothers about you at all, 
but goes on making his own 
business better all t...
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 journalis...
1. Idea 2. Product 3. Team 4. Execution
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How to start a Startup - Sam Altman

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Sam Altman's slides from the CS183B course "How to Start a Startup".

The CS183B course website: http://startupclass.samaltman.com/

Find all the course materials on: http://bibblio.org/o/Gx/how-to-start-a-startup

I am not the owner of these slides. The materials and their associated copyright is the property of Sam Altman. They are reproduced here under attribution and solely for educational and non-commercial purposes.

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How to start a Startup - Sam Altman

  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

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