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What a founder should do to make a startup worth a few and even hundred billions dollars
A very short transcript of a conversation, held by Paul Buchheit and Geoff Ralston back in October 2018. They talked about the path to a $100B company. Paul is an inventor of Gmail. Geoff sold RocketMail to Yahoo, which eventually became YahooMail
Compiled by Yuriy Yatsiv
Image credits: Y Combinator Startup School


1. Believe in your product. In a sense, you've got to be irrational, with unshakable faith in what you've created.

2. Make sure you're not chasing after hype. If the wind changes, the weathervane will spin the other way and you'll be left with nothing.

3. Start small. Don't wait till you've created the perfect product. Test the market with what can be used right now.

4. Create a product based on the principle of accretion, where functionality is enhanced step by step. A step is an iteration that is formed based on user feedback.

5. Figure out who is becoming happier by using your product. For example, in social networks this is not a specific individual, but a circle of friends. This enables you to concentrate on the end value.

6. Run a thought experiment about the future, imagining that you are 10 years from now. And then you ask random passers-by, what's changed in your product over the decade?

7. Find your first collaborators and co-founders among your friends and acquaintances, including former colleagues. Remember who was the best at solving a particular problem in past performance.

8. Inspire your team with your vision. Explain what your product will be in five or ten years, how it will change the lives of millions of people.

9. Create a scale. Your employees have to feel that what you are creating will one day turn the world around. This should also be communicated outwards.

10. Be prepared to take care of your key employees. When the startup spirit is gone and the company gets big, some people will reach the top and leave for their own pursuits.

11. Don't hire a team just to break down the competition and the market. Continue learning methodically from your own mistakes and producing new iterations of the product.

12. Do more for less money and in less time. Look for hacks and methods to work around limited resources. Most competitors do the opposite. Their success will dry up along with attracted investments.

13. Stay close to your users, communicate with them and understand what they want. A mistaken idea of your own genius and the uniqueness of your product can entail large initial investments. It's blinding.

14. Provide incredible care to your customers. They have to get the feeling that your support is so great that they definitely want to tell others about it.

15. Hiring your first people exclusively on salary, in 99% of all cases, is a direct path to bankruptcy. Look for people who will also inspire what you are doing.

16. Your first customer is not the one who'll be saying, what a cool product you have, fine, we'll put you in our budget for next year. Your first customer is the one who is so hot to use your product he'll even use the buggiest version of it.

17. You should expand only when you realize that you can't keep up with the flow of requests from your users. At Google when they realized this they stopped building their data centers. At this point, you can start hiring big.

Source video
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