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How to Start a Startup Week 9: Top Three Takeaways

Last week we published our Top Three Takeaways from Week 8 of Stanford’s How to Start a Startup course. If you are sitting hear wondering, “what the heck is How to Start a Startup?” see below. Otherwise, scroll down to see our top three takeaways from week 9 of How to Start a Startup. Learn lots and enjoy!

Over the next several weeks, Y Combinator President, Sam Altman, is teaching a Stanford course lecture series designed to be a one-class business course for people who want to start startups. It is “everything [they] know about how to start a startup, for free, from some of the world experts.”

The caliber of founders and startup gurus lined up to talk is impressive. Several of our Maestronauts decided they wanted to follow along and learn from the successes and challenges that are shared. So over the next several weeks we are meeting before work to watch and discuss the lectures.

1. Everything is a system.

Don’t think about your ideas and your products discretely as a piece of hardware or simply as an application. Think about everything as part of a larger integrated and fully connected system. How, when, why do you use this? Is there a sound or button to indicate that it started? Where do you innovate and where do you keep it classic? Do you go for long battery life or the new feature? It’s all about how the pieces come together. Everything that touches the experience matters, everything is a system. Think about your product across the whole spectrum.

2. Invest time and resources into ideas that cross the value threshold.

It’s important to make sure you are providing your customers with things that they will LOVE. In order to make sure that happens, release products to them that cross things off of your list. You could have tons a good ideas, but you need to whittle it down to the great ideas that will provide the most value.

3. All founders need to have equal(ish) equity.

The question “how should we divide up the equity?” is inevitable. Initially, the answer is easier than you might think. The equity should be divided equally - or at least as close to equal -as possible between all founders. Founders need to be equally dedicated to the company and equally responsible for the company. When ownership is disproportionate it begs the question – where is the trust between the owners? At this point it shouldn’t matter who came up with the idea or who has the fanciest college degree. All founders need to be committed 100% and compensated accordingly.

Want to watch the lectures yourself? Follow along on Sam Altman’s page or subscribe to the YouTube channel!

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