Sam Altman’s CS183B – Lecture 2

Lecture 2 was part 2 of the first class i.e. Ideas, Product , Teams and execution with focus on Teams and Execution. The class started with Sam answering a couple of questions from the questionnaire.

Q: How does someone identify markets that are growing quickly?

A. College students instinctively have better know how of this, better than older people, since they see friends, market trends etc., everyday closer than others.

Q: How do you deal with burnout?

A. It sucks, but keep going. Address the challenges, things that are going wrong , and things would get better. Founder depression is a serious issue

Team Notes:

1.) Choosing Co Founders is very very very  important. Co Founder blow up is the main reason for failing YC Startups. Best place to find a co founder – college or a very interesting startup type company – FB, Google. Don’t go solo, very difficult.

2.) Best friend\Friend\Acquaintance Co founder > Solo Founder > Random Founder you meet. Founders = 007 , Hire James Bond type people – do whatever it takes to achieve goals,tough+calm.

3.) Hire slowly, hire correctly.Get the best, don’t settle. Recruitment is hard! Spend either 0% or 25% of time hiring. Use personal referrals liberally. Look outside the valley.

4.) Hire the Venn Diagram intersection of Smart, GTD and Like to spend time with. Try to work together on something instead of just interviews. For interviews ask  for projects and call references.

5.) Give lot more equity to employees vs investors. Do this very soon. Be near equal, this is a very difficult decision, vest equity. Employee retention is a big part. Do simple things to do this , not micromanage, praise teams. Fire fast.

 Execution notes:

1.) CEO –> Vision, Raise money, evangelize, hire and manage, make sure the company executes.

2.) FOCUS –> What are you spending time and money, find two things to do everyday with laser focus. Say No a lot, Set overarching goals and repeat them over and over again, communicate.

3.) INTENSITY–> Not for work life balance, all consuming. GTD!

4.) INDECISIVENESS is a startup killer – Bias towards action.



Don’t let competitors worry you unless they don’t care about you.


Slide Deck


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s