Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Startup School Career

I’m at YCombinator’s Startup School at Stanford. There’s a great audience here with lots of hackers. Still, I think a lot of the guys here came with the belief that their first startup is going to be Facebook. That’s not going to be the case.

There’s a disconnect between the public image of doing startups and the realities of the game. The press wants you to believe that startup founders, through a fantastic idea, become billionaires, complete with Boeing jets and petting zoos.

Reality is different: Entrepreneurship is a career. You start your first startup, maybe with backing for YCombinator, and it will probably go well: Paul Graham said that 57 of the 80 startups they funded are still alive, for some value of alive. You’ll learn all these things that today’s speakers are talking about - angel and VC funding, building a product, finding a market, and making money. You might get sold, might go bankrupt, and maybe you’ll make some money. But with a large probability, you won’t own a Boeing jet when you’re done.

The great thing is that you can put another dime in the slot. The second time around, you’ll have more experience, more firepower, and a track record. This was best illustrated by today’s first speaker, who by the time he got around to doing Xfire, instantly got a term sheet, and 100 days later had a built product. Jeff is another great example of this model.

Startups: It’s not a shot for the moon, it’s most likely going to be your career.

PS: I remember the first time I went to Startup School back in 2005. Seems like a decade ago!


Jeff said...

great putting things back into reality

Chris said...

Great post.