Sam Altman visited UC Berkeley and took questions from the audience. Here’s a quick summary of what I found interesting.
What industries are excitable?
- Software startups still have a long way to go
- Biotech (cycle times have come down)
- YC funds the best startups it can find – even if its the same market it’s backed before
- You should be skeptical if heaps of people are doing what you’re doing
- Most successful companies have been the first to their markets, e.g. Facebook was the first college social network (when everyone said you can’t make money of poor college students); Google was the only search engine to launch that year
- The best way to get traction is build something people want and will tell their friends about
- Focus on the product at the beginning –> growth hacking comes later
- Charge early customers so they give honest feedback
Other random tips
- You should only ever go to 1 incubator/accelerator (if you’re not accelerated then there’s something wrong)
- Companies that raise $30m early fail more often than those who raise $300k. The sense of frugality and resourcefulness early on is super important and set the culture for the company which is really hard to change
- Founding team should be able to carry the company a long way. Avoid hiring people for as long as possible
- YC funds the best founders who have a passion around an idea we like