Do you know the domain?
Y Combinator (the world’s most powerful start-up incubator), have invested in companies including; Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit, Zenefits, Instacart and Weebly. Since 2015, Y Combinator have funder over 1,500 startups. The lessons learned from those startup experiences include:
- Expertise is not what you need to succeed in a startup. What you should really do is get to know the domain (industry structure, market space, business processes and use cases), within which you are operating, and cultivate expertise on that domain and its users.
- If a founder follows their instincts, those instincts will frequently lead you astray. When you are about to make an important decision… or mistake, always remember to stop, take a deep breath and remember this rule.
- Gaming-the-system’ (bending the rules, abusing, cheating, milking, playing, or working the system) does NOT work in a startup. There are only users, and users only care about what they want, and if your offering meets their needs.
- Startups have a 25 hour workday, and will consume everything you have to give. In other words, the startup will take over your life. There is a serious opportunity costs (cost incurred by not enjoying benefit of second best choice), and there is no glory for most startups, it never gets easy, and the nature of problems encountered during the journey change every minute, hour and day…
- When making the decision to start, you can only guess as to what the outcome will be. Furthermore, there is no, or very little, correlation between the attitude of the founder, and how things will play-out.
- Do not try to simply think of ideas. A better method is to take a step back from the obvious. The very best ideas are often a result of founder side projects (a hobby, a passion…) and frequently those side projects are outlier ideas (disruptive, abstract ideas etc.).
Source: Paul Graham (Y Combinator)
Before Starting (4:30)
The counter-intuitive parts of startups.