Startup School 2008

The Startup School 2008 is a one day conference geared towards entrepreneurs put together by the folks behind YCombinator. This year the speakers included David Heinemeier Hansson creator of Ruby on Rails, Mike Arrington founder of TechCrunch, Paul Graham founder of YCombinator, Peter Norvig Director of Research of Google, Paul Buchheit of GMail/FriendFeed, Greg McAdoo of Sequoia Capital, Marc Andreessen of Netscape/Ning, Jeff Bezos founder Amazon, Sam Altman founder of Loopt, and Jack Sheridan from Wilson Sonsini.

Here are some of the advice given to the entrepreneurs and starter-uppers present.

When going in the wrong direction, it doesn’t matter how fast you are going.
Peter Norvig

Data is more agile than code.
Peter Norvig

Semantic Web; the future of the web, and it will always will be.
Peter Norvig

The odds are not created equal.
David Heinemeier Hansson

Often the simplest idea in the world, like treating your customers nicely, while still asking for money for what you do, can work. And you can build great businesses like that.
David Heinemeier Hansson

Make something people want.
Paul Graham

If you are really committed, and your startup is cheap to run, you become very hard to kill.
Paul Graham

Be soo good that they can’t ignore you.
Marc Andreessen

Always have a blog, always have twitter, always be part of the discussion.
Mike Arrington

Embrace criticism. … Don’t embrace the trolls.
Mike Arrington

We are more innovative, and do more interesting things if we stay customer focused instead of competitor focus.
Jeff Bezos

Invites are good to keep users away.
Paul Buchheit

I think, unfortunately, in startup and probably in all other worlds there is like this cargo cult tendency where they see something successful and they immediate the superficial attributes of it, like they say ‘oh that site has like a rounded logo, that must be the key to success.’
Paul Buchheit

More people, if they are really good people, I found I never really had problem figuring out what to do with. More really great people, if they are great they can take care of themselves.
Paul Buchheit

Funding does not make you successful.
Sam Altman

Create some Sand Hill Buzz around your deal. Make investors feel like if they don’t act fast, they’re going to miss the next Google.
Sam Altman

If you can get your company and your space talked about at drinks on Friday afternoon at Four Seasons in Palo Alto, that is a net win.
Sam Altman

1 – Market. 2 – Team. 3 – Product. 3.5 – Revolutionary, not incremental.
Sam Altman

Surf someones else’s wave.
Sam Altman

Raise 2x what you think you need.
Sam Altman

A great surfer can’t exist without a great wave.
Greg McAdoo

If you want to build a truly great company, you have to ride a really big wave and you got to look at market waves and technology waves in different ways than other folks and see it happing sooner and know how to position yourself out there.
Greg McAdoo

Don’t get it perfect, get it good enough, get it out there, listen very carefully, and make changes very quickly.
Greg McAdoo

Video of the Startup School 2008 is available on Omnisio, a YCombinator company.

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