But you’re not allowed to ask prospective employees if they plan to have kids soon. Google is again a case in point. What about in the general case? When we got real funding near the end of , we hired a great CFO, who fixed everything retroactively. We did get a few of the more adventurous catalog companies. Graham states if there is one message he wants to convey to anyone looking to build a successful startup it is this: How to Present to Investors.

What Made Lisp Different. I’m guessing here, but I’d say the test is whether you’re sufficiently driven to work on your own projects. Also, startups are a big risk financially. VCs form a pyramid. We used to call these guys “newscasters,” because they had neat hair and spoke in deep, confident voices, and generally didn’t know much more than they read on the teleprompter. I’ve read a lot of economic history, and I understand the startup world pretty well, and it now seems to me fairly likely that we’re seeing the beginning of a change like the one from farming to manufacturing.

In the final chapter of his essay Mr. Graham, the location of the office is very important.

They need to work at something that pays the bills. The Anatomy of Determination. The Future of Web Startups. Graham, this meant the super tenacious, never-let-up, hyper-aggressive attitude of someone who would not be satisfied with anything less than their very best. Graham says used to ggahams up working until 3am, seven nights a week.


paul grahams essay how to start a startup

Fee, fie, fo, fum, I smell a company run by marketing guys. And maybe end up with nothing– though in that case it probably won’t take four years. That would have led to disaster, because our software was so complex. Graham takes us […]. Bow kind of question on the application form that we really care about is the one where we ask what cool things you’ve made.

paul grahams essay how to start a startup

If you’re one of these people, you probably shouldn’t start a startup. Henry Ford did it to the car makers that preceded him. I was working for Yahoo when Google appeared, and Yahoo didn’t understand search. Starfup last test filters out surprisingly few people. But I decided not to, because that’s implicit in making something customers want.

How to Start a Startup

They may also cause you dtart have to buy bigger offices and, worst of all, they slow you down. As such, the opportunity lies in the niches. Graham suggests it would be far better to merely develop a cheap and simple prototype, then see if customers respond, and adjust on the fly. Why There Aren’t More Googles.

paul grahams essay how to start a startup

And for a startup location is very important. God help you if you actually start in that mode.

Why to Not Not Start a Startup

Well, if you’re troubled by uncertainty, I can solve that problem for you: At first we expected our customers to be Web consultants. Even the founders who fail don’t seem to have such a bad time.


What you don’t often find are kids who react to challenges like adults. So if you had friends in college you used to scheme about startups with, stay in touch with them as well as you can. But the most successful founder we’ve funded so far, Sam Altman, was 19 at the time. It’s not unusual to get a check within a week based on a half-page agreement.

Key Lessons from Paul Graham’s Legendary Essay, ‘How to Start a Startup’: Part 3-of-3

In fact, Starhup guess the most successful startups are the ones started by uncertain hackers rather than gung-ho business guys. Notes [ 1 ] The only people who lost were us. I’m not going to say you shouldn’t listen to them. They started projects of their own. We thought so when we started ours, and syart asked several people who were said to know about this mysterious thing called “business” if they would be the president. At most those are interesting the way puzzles are.

One of our goals with Y Combinator was to discover the lower bound on the age of startup founders.