These 3 videos are probably ones of our favorite YC startup school lessons. These sharing and insights address frequent questions or challenges founders face.
At iiiNNO, we help entrepreneurs and startup companies to accelerate 10X. The things the speaker shared blew out of our minds, and hopefully the knowledge will also help you all. The idea of presentation profoundly changes the way we designed our incubation/accelerator program and the way we mentor.
YC Startup School: How to Win by Daniel Gross (Video #1)
Would you like to achieve 10X grow? If yes, then this is a video just going to help you with such. However, many of the things may not be intuitive to what you have already known.
Who should watch this video?
want to know how world class entrepreneurs are performing and delivery consistent progress
how to move to the next level
want to know what is a mental model
Essentially, entrepreneurs need to perform at the peak as if you are training as an Olympic athlete with a strong mindset of taking care of all aspects that may impact the progress of your startup. Working hard may simply not cut it as input does not equal output. Founders need to both work hard and work smart. One needs to have a mental model where you will be able to bill someone 500 USD per hour and more.
Don’t cut your sleep unless there is an urgency, and sleep as much as you need. As lack of sleep may risk your cognitive capability.
Don’t depend on alarm clock.
No junk food as it impairs your judgement.
Eat what is healthy.
Drink lots water
Spend time outdoor with sun
How to fall in love with exercise
Don’t over do it
Surround with active people who runs, and sign up with running event
Sabbath: Spend one day not as hard as you can per week to refresh (e.g. go to the beach, woods)
Read: Reading book is not simply about the information, but begin to think
Mindfulness: experience yourself as 3rd person when things go south. People tend to do something negative as by-product of insecurity. (e.g. I am angry vs I am experience anger)
Spend time in flow
try to work yourself in a flow
try the team work in a flow together
Don’t be auto pilot
try different and optimize through iteration (e.g trying different time of having meeting)
How to become a really inspired leader : Robert Kegan’s Adult Development Theory
Why is this important and applicable? Knowing which stage you are and other, give you insight in how to work with other and building an amazing team.
acting out by emotion (e.g. cry when hungry)
Stage #2: Imperial Mind
extremely self-fish, focus on one goal
not able to think for others
Failure to leadership & challenge
hard to collaborate, don’t feel compel
Note: most kids here
Stage #3: Socialize Mind
see very well how other people see yourself too clear as result one loses
decision is driven by how people see them
Failure to leadership & challenges
hard to have independent view of this phase
Note: most adult here
Stage #4: Self-Authoring Mind
less affirmation by society
have independent mind and take on the “3rd person view rather then 1st view”
have your own morale
play infinite game
Failure to leadership & challenges
good for early stage founder, bad to scale, hard to learn from others
Note: great phase for founder before product-market fit
Stage #5: Self-Transforming Mind
game designer rather a game player
embrace opinion of others. Run any idea when it comes
drop the entire existing idea for some other better qualify idea.
think in system, and quickly be able to have people’s idea in map and where that idea resides.
able to manage high productivity and senior executive
very few people are here.
ability to get A+ player to work together
be here after product-market-fit
You are an Olympic athlete and learn how to bill other people 500 USD per hour
The competition is about stay health and eat well
Express yourself as 3rd person view specially during the bad days, and not be caught in bad days
Launch and iterate yourself. Collect data of yourself and know what works for you and not in order to perform at next level.
Ask people interesting and compel question.
Play finite game. It is not zero sum game.
YC Startup School: How To Evaluate Startup Ideas by Kevin Hale (Video #2)
So you have an idea and you want to know if you have more likelihood to succeed? Here is how YC selects their applicants and how they coach team and ones they invested in.
Who should watch this video?
want to know how to get to YC and build a startup that grows
you have a lot of idea, don’t know which one to select
you are in middle of building your product, how to pivot
you are startup in in scale mode, but the growth has slowed down
Why some investor shutdown your ideas and some work with you?
At YC, the founder Paul share that investor needs to think how an idea can possibly win and work with the founder. Therefore, they welcome all the idea
What does good problem have in common?
So a good problem has one of the following elements
popular: happen frequently (million people have it and use everyday)
growing: more people have it (> 20 %)
urgent: need it solve now (need solution right now has addressable market > 1 billion)
expensive: willing to pay (total addressable
mandatory: no choice but to solve (the law has change or regulation requires new service)
Good problem would allow people to switch
if startup wish to change a behavior of switching from an existing service to a new one, then need to clearly understand the following theory (Behavior = M + A+ T)
Behavior = motivation (customer really feel the need) + ability (what startup can offer) + trigger (what does need to happen)
Don’t search for a problem for a solution
Often YC encounters entrepreneurs to decide first what the solution or underlining technology, then try to search for the problem. It is better to define the problem first, then growing the use case and scenario, then be open to the solution
What is the unfair advantage?
Really great companies have most of it, but start your startup with at least one
Founder advantage: (are you 1 in 10 of all the people who can solve this problem? Most entrepreneurs to start with does not have such advantage)
Market advantage: Is the market you are addressing growing at more than 20% (if this is your only advantage, then it would be one of the weakest advantage)
Product advantage: Is your product 10X better/cheaper/faster than your competitors?
Acquisition advantage: Are you able to attract customer at 0 cost? (can your company grow by word of mouth?)
Monopoly advantage: Would be be more difficult for other to enter? (such as market place <where winner may take all> or network effect <where company grows as the network grows)
How to talk to user by Eric Migicovsky (Video #3)
Talking to user is critical factor of building a startup. Founders need to extract market insight from the users and need to maintain a long lasting relationship during the start to the end of life cycle.
Great founders maintain director relationship, and it is CEO’s role to do such.
Who should watch this video?
all founders need to participate in speaking with users
all engineers and people involve in building the products/service
Two things that YC encourages founders to do
talk to the users
build the product
Common mistake founders
Talk about user’s life and not your product
the goal is all about to extract data to improve your market position, your product building and NOT about your product/service
Talk about specifics, and not hypotheses
please don’t ask question, if we build this function or this.. would you more likely to pay or use
ask questions about the context or motivation about how users encounter such problem
Listen and don’t talk
speaking to users is not the same as pitching to investors. Please listen and take notes about what the users want to share. The key is to bring hard data
Top 5 questions to ask during user interview
what is the hardest things about approaching solving this problem?
what are the pain points?
what are the inconvenience?
need to make sure
what is the last time you encounter this problem?
need to extract the context of how this problem occurs and how the user currently solve
extract such data allows you to make sure your product/service actually solve the real cases or past life actual examples
why would this hard?
what are the specific things are difficult?
the goal is to also understand how to market your product/service
customers don’t buy what, and customers buy the why. (e.g. this is the reason why I bought this product/service because I was trying to …)
what have you done so far to solve this problem?
are the users already trying to experiment or tools used to solve this?
this question help to understand what are the better tools (who are the potential competitor(s) or if the users are active to solve (is it worthy to solve?)
what don’t you like about the problem you are trying to solve?
this is your potential feature sets?
what is the differences between existing function and your potential solution
Three stages to ask users question
Ideal stage: what is the problem?
find first users with problem with signing up or interested
how to find first users? --> start with yourselves by test out interview question, then with your friends.
drop in to where users are (e.g where are the fire fighters? then go to fire station) --> you are helping people to solve their pain and not selling.
go to events and conference
take note, take note, take note (or bring a friend or see if you can record with permission)
keep it casual and feel free to react
Prototype stage: who is your best customer?
this is critical as it may set the path of your company
3 questions that may guide you to pick the right customer
how much the money spent or wasted?
how frequent do people encounter? (more regular basis, the pain is hight and more receptive to new solution)
how large is the budget for solving this problem
Launch stage: how to iterate to product market fit?
note: what is product market fit?
many people have a very different description of it, one of the best definition I hear from various YC mentor is --> when people are marching to your office, and want it more than you can handle)
ask people top 3 feeling people have if this product/service is taken away
don’t ask customer what feature people want
ask people willing to pay more for the feature intend to built
discard tactical comments (such as I love your product). Need to be specific about what like and don’t like