How to start a startup series
Lecture 2 – Team and Execution (Sam Altman)
Sam Altman finishes up “Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution” by covering Team and Execution, in Lecture 2 of How to Start a Startup.
… Cofounder relationships are among the most important in the entire company. Everyone says you have to watch out for tension brewing among cofounders and you have to address is immediately. That’s all true and certainly in YC’s case, the number one cause of early death for startups is cofounder blowups. But for some reason, a lot of people treat choosing their cofounder with even less importance than hiring. Don’t do this! This is one of the most important decisions you make in the life of your startup and you need to treat it as such….
…So, you’re looking for cofounders that need to be unflappable, tough, they know what to do in every situation. They act quickly, they’re decisive, they’re creative, they’re ready for anything, and it turns out that there’s a model for this in pop culture. And it sounds very dumb, but it’s at least very memorable and we’ve told every class of YC this for a long time and I think it helps them. And that model is James Bond. And again, this sounds crazy, but it will at least stick in your memory and you need someone that behaves like James Bond more than you need someone that is an expert in some particular domain…
…it sucks to have a lot of employees, and you should be proud of how few employees you have. Lots of employees ends up with things like a high burn rate, meaning you’re losing a lot of money every month, complexity, slow decision making, the list goes on and it’s nothing good…
Full transcription here