Before the Startup

The second counterintuitive point is that it’s not that important to know a lot about startups. The way to succeed in a startup is not to be an expert on startups, but to be an expert on your users and the problem you’re solving for them. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t succeed because he was an expert on startups. He succeeded despite being a complete noob at startups, because he understood his users really well.

If you don’t know anything about, say, how to raise an angel round, don’t feel bad on that account. That sort of thing you can learn when you need to, and forget after you’ve done it.

In fact, I worry it’s not merely unnecessary to learn in great detail about the mechanics of startups, but possibly somewhat dangerous. If I met an undergrad who knew all about convertible notes and employee agreements and (God forbid) class FF stock, I wouldn’t think “here is someone who is way ahead of their peers.” It would set off alarms. Because another of the characteristic mistakes of young founders is to go through the motions of starting a startup. They make up some plausible-sounding idea, raise money at a good valuation, rent a cool office, hire a bunch of people. From the outside that seems like what startups do. But the next step after rent a cool office and hire a bunch of people is: gradually realize how completely fucked they are, because while imitating all the outward forms of a startup they have neglected the one thing that’s actually essential: making something people want.

– Paul Graham

Before the Startup

Paradoxes of Software Architecture | | InformIT

Paradoxes of Software Architecture | | InformIT

The Trouble With Non-tech Cofounders

“I’ve seen the problem with non-tech founders a few times now, different people, different ages and backgrounds, with different levels of skill, but all with the same thing in common: having to rely on someone else to bring an idea from paper to screen. The most common mistake I think people like this make is to think that they know in advance what they need to get built, and once they’ve paid for that to be done, and a website has been delivered, that they then have a business.”

The Trouble With Non-tech Cofounders