September 4, 2008

Business of software - YCombinator - Jessica Livingston

Y Combinator LogoImage via Wikipedia Jessica wrote the great book founders at work, which I briefly talked about here. The bottom line when you start a business, - you don't have all the answers, get over it. They have made 102 investments up until now since they have founded Y Combinator. They are doing small investmentsabout 25k from what I understand. In there 102 investments, every single one of them had to adap, change their original ideas to get to release. startups are productive in part because there is no politics, no meetings, no comittees, no reviews. It's a theme I hear more and more and I'm thinking I will need to pay attention how addicted to meetings we are at Macadamian. Startups are also more productive because they have a culture of ask for forgiveness, as opposed to ask for permission. In a way I find this so right, and this is what I would like us to do, but somehow I don't think this is what we're doing. Ask for foregiveness is about empowerement, while ask for permission is restrictive. Some more thinking required for me there. Another conclusion she came back with - she mentioned she always wondered why people CEO at the top were so pig headed sometimes. After looking at so many startups and writing her book, she says that determination is so important when you strart a business, that ultimately the ones that are not determined enough are the ones which will die, as such it's a natural selection. Interesting supporting fact - lack of determination is the #1 reason of failure in the first 6months of startups they invest in.
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