The Ultimate Collection of Quotes About Startups
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Quotes about Startups

This page contains our collection of quotes about startups. We have chosen them in the hope that they are useful for founders, rather than witty or aphorism-like.

We have edited many of the quotes to make them more understandable now they are removed from the context in which they were written or spoken.

 

Anonymous / Unknown Author

Traction speaks louder than words.

 

Sam Altman

Sam Altman is a co-founder of Loopt, venture investor and president of Y Combinator. He writes a blog at Posthaven.

If you’re just starting out, take the time to build a product your users love, no matter how long it takes.

In the beginning of a company, there is no management. This actually works really well.

Before product market fit, the only job that matters is to build a great product.

Growth solves (nearly) all problems.

If it takes more than a sentence to explain what you are doing, it’s almost always a sign that what you are doing is too complicated.

One of the exciting things about startups is that they are a surprisingly even playing field. Young and inexperienced, you can do this. Old and experienced, you can do this, too. And one of the things that I particularly like about startups is that some of the things that are bad in other work situations, like being poor and unknown, are actually huge assets when it comes to starting a startup.

You should never start a startup just for the sake of doing so. There are much easier ways to become rich and everyone who starts a startup always says, always, that they couldn’t have imagined how hard and painful it was going to be. You should only start a startup if you feel compelled by a particular problem and that you think starting a company is the best way to solve it.

Great execution is at least ten times as important and a hundred times harder than a great idea.

Even though plans themselves are worthless, the exercise of planning is really valuable and totally missing in most startups today.

If you have several ideas, work on the one that you think about most often when you’re not trying to think about work.

Derivative companies, companies that copy an existing idea with very few new insights, don’t excite people and they don’t compel the teams to work hard enough to be successful.

The hardest part about coming up with great ideas, is that the best ideas often look terrible at the beginning.

It’s not dangerous to tell people your idea. The truly good ideas don’t sound like they’re worth stealing.

One of the big advantages of smaller, rapidly growing markets is that customers are usually pretty desperate for a solution, and they’ll put up with an imperfect, but rapidly improving product.

Get very very close to your customers. Try to work in their office, if you can, and if not, talk to them several times a day.

One of the most important tasks for a founder is to make sure that the company builds a great product. Until you build a great product, nothing else matters.

Learn how to stay extremely optimistic when your world is melting down.

Your job is to build something that users love. Very few companies that go on to be super successful get there without first doing this. A lot of good-on-paper startups fail because they merely make something that people like. Making something that people want, but only a medium amount, is a great way to fail, and not understand why you’re failing.

It’s better to build something that a small number of users love, than a large number of users like.

Over the long run, great products win. Don’t worry about your competitors raising a lot of money, or what they might do in the future. They probably aren’t very good anyway. Very few startups die from competition. Most die because they themselves fail to make something users love, they spend their time on other things.

Great founders don’t put anyone between themselves and their users.

Most people think about risk the wrong way – for example, staying in college seems like a non-risky path. However, getting nothing done for four of your most productive years is actually pretty risky.

Startups get distracted by fake work. Fake work is both easier and more fun than real work for many founders.

 

Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen is a co-founder of Netscape and of the venture capital company Andressen Horowitz.

Rule 1: All rules can be broken.

In a startup, absolutely nothing happens unless you make it happen.

Breakthrough ideas look crazy.

The process of planning is very valuable, for forcing you to think hard about what you are doing, but the actual plan that results from it is probably useless.

What we aspire to do is, invest in the startups that have really really extreme strength in a long and important dimension.

 

Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti is a racing driver.

If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.

 

Bill Aulet

[Ask yourself:] Is this something the world could benefit from, and is it something I do well and would love to do for an extended period of time?

Creating an innovative product where no market currently exists is essential to the success of a startup.

If there is a market research report out there with all the information you need, it is probably too late for your new venture.

You should not worry about being focused on too small a market. […] You want to start in a market where you have great ability to dominate in a relatively short time period.

Often your toughest competitor will be the customers’ status quo.

Your competitive position should be delivering maximum value for your customers’ top two priorities.

 

Anna Barber

Anna Barber is the Managing Director of the Techstars Los Angeles Accelerator.

A learning mindset […] is probably the single most important quality in an early stage founder.

There is a close to zero percent chance that the plan you have today will be the best plan in six months.

 

Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff is the founder of Salesforce.

The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.

Jeff Bezos

If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.

Steve Blank

Steve Blank is an entrepreneur and the originator of the ideas behind the Lean Startup philosophy.

Great grades and successful entrepreneurs have at best a zero correlation.

To most founders a startup is not a job, but a calling.

It’s critical to understand that an MVP is not the product with fewer features. Rather it is the simplest thing that you can show to customers to get the most learning at that point in time.

Most startups change their business model at least once if not several times.

In a startup building MVPs is what turns theory into practice.

If you’re a founder, you need to be able to go up to a whiteboard and diagram out how your investors will make money in your startup.

Early-stage investors don’t read business plans.

By the time a big company gets the committee to organize the subcommittee to pick a meeting date, your startup could have made 20 decisions, reversed five of them and implemented the fifteen that worked.

Essentials of how to do a startup do not include writing a business plan.

Entrepreneurs start their own companies because existing companies don’t value the skills that don’t fit on a resume.

No one besides venture capitalists and the late Soviet Union requires five-year plans to forecast complete unknowns. These plans are generally fiction, and dreaming them up is almost always a waste of time.

Startups are painful, stressful and at times demoralizing. You need to be a true believer in the vision of what you are doing. You need to be passionate about it and love what you’re doing. If you don’t, there is no way you can sustain the hours, stress and disappointment. There’s no way you’re going to be able to convince investors, customers and most importantly recruit a world-class team if you’re not building something you think is going to change the world.

Entrepreneurship isn’t a career choice it’s a passion and obsession.

Business plans rarely survive first contact with customers.

A startup is not a smaller version of a large company. A startup is a temporary organization in search of a scalable, repeatable, profitable business model.

There’s only one reason for a business plan: some investor who went to business school doesn’t know any better and wants to see one.

 

Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is founder of the Virgin group of companies.

You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.

Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital, so that you can do more of it and move forward with it.

Why do I start businesses? The answer is the same today as it was when I launched my first company five decades ago: to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I believe that companies should have a similar desire at their core, no matter what industry they’re in.

 

Yevgeniy Brikman

An MVP is a process that you repeat over and over again: Identify your riskiest assumption, find the smallest possible experiment to test that assumption, and use the results of the experiment to course correct.

Nolan Bushnell

The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.

 

Patrick Campbell

Building a product to satisfy a market’s problem starts with communicating with your potential customers.

Shawn Carpenter

The single most effective strategy to give your startup a clear, singular focus is to define your North Star Metric.

Andrew Chen

Startups need to get to “Product/Market Fit” or die trying. Most die trying.

Make sure you’re creating a product that competes because it’s taking a fundamentally different position in the market.

 

Ian Christie

Just because somebody invents something doesn’t mean it deserves a place in the market.

Cheng-Tao Chu

Startups should always try to validate the highest impact hypothesis with the cheapest experiment.

Giff Constable

Giff Constable ist Autor des Buches Talking to Humans.

If you cannot get early adopters, you cannot move on.

Being told your idea is cool is not useful; seeing behavior that validates your customer’s willingness to buy is very useful.

Never stop asking hard questions about your business.

No matter what stage you are in, you’ll usually find that your best insights will come from talking to real people and observing real behavior.

Founders commonly obsess about product at the expense of the understanding the customer or the business model.

Behind your startup is a belief system about how your business will work. Some of your assumptions will be right, but the ones that are wrong could crater your business.

 

Ron Conway

When you’re talking to me in the first minute, I’m thinking — is this person a leader?

Procrastination is the devil in startups. So no matter what you do, you gotta keep that ship moving.

When you first meet an investor, you’ve got to be able to say in one compelling sentence what your product does.

 

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban is an entrepreneur and startup-investor.

Part of every entrepreneur’s job is to invent the future.

Someone is out there looking to put you out of business.

Your customers can tell you the things that are broken and how they want to be made happy. Listen to them. Make them happy. But don’t rely on them to create the future road map for your product or service. That’s your job.

Wherever I see people doing something the way it’s always been done, the way it’s ’supposed‘ to be done, following the same old trends, well, that’s just a big red flag to me to go look somewhere else.

Peter Drucker

The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.

Sean Ellis

Sean Ellis is a Business Angel und originator of the term „Growth Hacking“.

Achieving product/market fit requires at least 40% of users saying they would be “very disappointed” without your product.

It’s very difficult to build a business around a “nice to have” product, so you should keep your burn low while you iterate your core experience to make it a “must have”.

 

Brad Feld

Brad Feld is a venture capitalist and co-founder of the startup accelerator TechStars.

The only thing that we know about financial predictions of start-ups is that 100 percent of them are wrong.

Startups are about testing theories and quickly pivoting based on feedback and data. Only through hundreds of small – and sometimes large – adjustments does the seemingly overnight success emerge.

Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom

Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom are the authors of the startup guide Nail It Then Scale It.

Great businesses begin with a customer problem that an entrepreneur solves.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a co-founder of Microsoft.

I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

 

Dave Gilboa

Dave Gilboa is co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker.


I’ve come to realize that at no point are you fully prepared. At some point you just have to take a risk.

I would try to encourage a younger version of me to have more confidence and understand that you can figure things out as you go along. You don’t have to have every box checked before you take that leap.

There’s a natural tendency for people to look for reasons why something won’t work. But it takes courage and belief in yourself to blaze a path that doesn’t exist. You need to ignore those naysayers, and understand that most people are pretty risk-averse and are going to find opportunities to poke holes in something. I’m glad we didn’t listen to all those people in the early days.

You should be working on things that challenge you and excite you and things that you have to force yourself to stop doing to go to sleep at night — because that’s the only way that you can have a massive impact.

Seth Godin

The only thing worse than starting something and failing is not starting something.

How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?

Please stop waiting for a map. We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them.

Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.

Paul Graham

Paul Graham is a co-founder of Y Combinator. His essays on startups are widely read.

Make something people want.

If you want a recipe for a startup that’s going to die, here it is: a couple of founders who have some great idea they know everyone is going to love, and that’s what they’re going to build, no matter what.

Be relentlessly resourceful.

[At Y Combinator] we’re not looking for the sort of obedient, middle-of-the-road people that big companies tend to hire. We’re looking for people who like to beat the system.

Paradoxically, if you’re too inexperienced to start a startup, what you should do is start one. That’s a way more efficient cure for inexperience than a normal job. In fact, getting a normal job may actually make you less able to start a startup, by turning you into a tame animal who thinks he needs an office to work in and a product manager to tell him what software to write.

If a group of founders seemed impressive enough, I’d fund them with no idea. But a really good idea will also get our attention — not because of the idea per se, but because it’s evidence the founders are smart.

Startups are so weird that if you follow your instincts they will lead you astray.

If you try to start a startup right out of college and it tanks, you’ll end up at 23 broke and a lot smarter. Which, if you think about it, is roughly what you hope to get from a graduate program.

One of my tricks for generating startup ideas is to imagine the ways in which we’ll seem backward to future generations.

What investors are looking for when they invest in a startup is the possibility that it could become a giant. It may be a small possibility, but it has to be non-zero. They’re not interested in funding companies that will top out at a certain point.

Turning down reasonable offers is the most reliable test you could invent for whether a startup will make it big.

You don’t need to know anything about business to start a startup. The initial focus should be the product. All you need to know in this phase is how to build things people want. If you succeed, you’ll have to think about how to make money from it. But this is so easy you can pick it up on the fly.

If you start a startup, it will take over your life to a degree that you cannot imagine.

It’s so important to launch fast that it may be better to think of your initial version not as a product, but as a trick for getting users to start talking to you.

If there’s one number every founder should always know, it’s the company’s growth rate. That’s the measure of a startup.

If you make a conscious effort to think up startup ideas you will think of ideas that are not only bad, but plausible sounding – meaning that you and everybody else will be fooled by them.

It’s the bold ideas that generate the biggest returns.

When I encounter a startup with a lame-sounding idea, I ask, „What Microsoft is this the Altair Basic of?“

The recipe for impressing investors:
– Make something worth investing in.
– Understand why it’s worth investing in.
– Explain that clearly.

There may be nothing founders are so prone to delude themselves about as how interested investors will be in giving them additional funding.

The very best ideas have to start as side projects because they are such outliers that your conscious mind would reject them as ideas for companies.

The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself.

By far the most common mistake startups make is to solve problems no one has.

Live in the future, then build what’s missing.

You should take extraordinary measures not just to acquire users, but also to make them happy. Your first users should feel that signing up with you was one of the best choices they ever made. And you in turn should be racking your brains to think of new ways to delight them.

„Entrepreneurship“ is something you learn best by doing it. The examples of the most successful founders make that clear.

We usually advise startups to pick a growth rate they think they can hit, and then just try to hit it every week. […] Focusing on hitting a growth rate reduces the otherwise bewilderingly multifarious problem of starting a startup to a single problem. You can use that target growth rate to make all your decisions for you; anything that gets you the growth you need is ipso facto right.

Beware of research. The more a project has to count as research, the less likely it is to be something that could be turned into a startup.

„Why doesn’t someone make x? If someone made x we’d buy it in a second.“ If you can think of any x people said that about, you probably have an idea.

One of the hardest parts of doing a startup is that you have so many choices. There are just two or three of you, and a thousand things you could do. How do you decide?

Here’s the answer: Do whatever’s best for your users.

It’s exceptionally rare for startups to be killed by competitors — so rare that you can almost discount the possibility. If you have something that no competitor does and that some subset of users urgently need, you have a beachhead.

it’s only by bouncing your idea off users that you fully understand it.

Launching too slowly has probably killed a hundred times more startups than launching too fast.

You can’t build things users like without understanding them.

I don’t know why it’s so hard to make something people want. It seems like it should be straightforward. But you can tell it must be hard by how few startups do it.

The companies that win are the ones that put users first.

Most startups fail because they don’t make something people want, and the reason most don’t is that they don’t try hard enough.

Tren Griffin

The first rule of startups is that without making something that people want to buy, you’re dead. The second rule is that you should not forget the first rule.

Kevin Hale

Kevin Hale is a co-founder of Wufoo and a partner at Y Combinator.

The best way to get to $1 billion is to focus on the values that help you get that first dollar to acquire that first user. If you get that right, everything else will take care of itself. It’s a sort of faith thing.

Acquire new users as if you are trying to date them, and treat existing users as if they were your partner in a successful marriage.

People who are very good at product discover moments and make them memorable: the first email you ever get, what happens when you got your first login, the links, the advertisements, the very first time you interacted with customer support. All of those are opportunities to seduce.

Marketing and sales is a tax you pay because you haven’t made your product remarkable. Word-of-mouth is the easiest kind of growth, and it’s how a lot of the great companies grow. Figure out how to have a story that people want to tell about your product where they are the most interesting one at the dinner table. And then that person is your sales person. That person is your sales force for you.

Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman is a co-founder of LinkedIn. His blog can be found here.

The metaphor I often use for entrepreneurship is jumping off a cliff while assembling an airplane on the way down.

It’s actually pretty easy to become contrarian. It’s hard to be contrarian and right.

Well should I be doing the work? Or should I be recruiting people and delegating the work? In fact you need to do both. Not only do you need to do both, you need to sometimes do both at 100%.

As you go into the battlefield, you ask, „Am I in fact increasing confidence in my investment thesis?“

An ability to constantly have a vision that’s driving you but to be taking input from all sources and then to be creating networks all around you is essentially what makes a great founder.

Sometimes, crazy works.

I’m a huge believer in references. I only meet with someone when they come to me through a referenc

In software, speed to market and speed to learning are key.

If I ever hear a founder talk about how they have a balanced life, they are not committed to winning. Really great founders put literally everything into doing it. Now it may only be for a couple of years, but while I am doing this I am unbalanced. You have to be super focused.

If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.

 

Ryan Hoover

The more you communicate with users, the higher the chance you’ll build something they want

 

Drew Houston

Drew Houston is founder and CEO of Dropbox.

Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once.

 

Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh is a co-founder of Zappos.

Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.

 

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was founder and CEO of Apple.

I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.

If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.

Don’t let the bozos grind you down.

The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning; to create a product or service to make the world a better place.

Kawasaki’s Law of Pre-Money Valuation: for every full-time engineer, add $500,000; for every full-time M.B.A., subtract $250,000.

 

Zach Klein

Zach Klein is a co-founder of Vimeo.

A good idea is worthless without impeccable execution and a commitment to iterate.

 

Eugenia Koo

Features perform actions. Products solve problems. Businesses deliver value.

 

Philip Kotler

Philip Kotler ist Marketing-Professor an der Northwestern University, USA.


There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market.

 

Mikhail Ledvich

Your overall goal should always be to build a product for as large a market as possible, but you can’t start there. The singular focus on a specific niche will allow your product and marketing to prove demand in one area, and build a customer base that loves you. That’s your growth and expansion lever for your next tier of growth.

 

Ash Maurya

Life’s too short to build something nobody wants.

By purposely limiting your customer throughput batch size at the earlier stages, you can focus on finding the best early adopters for your product and on delivering the best possible high-touch experience to validate your value creation hypotheses.

Before investing months or years of effort towards building a product, the first step is determining if this product is something worth doing.

The true product of an entrepreneur is not the solution, but a working business model. The real job of an entrepreneur is to systematically de-risk that business model over time.”

 

Dave McClure

Dave McClure is an entrepreneur, angel investor and founder of the accelerator 500 Startups.

Entrepreneurs usually don’t listen to people. Trust them to do their job. Remember, you invested with the understanding the project was likely to fail.

A ‘startup’ is a company that is confused about (1) what its product is, (2) who its customers are, and (3) how to make money.

Peter Mollins

Marketing is about experiments. If you’re not measuring results for your experiments, you’ll never be able to improve.

Measure the cost of customer acquisition and lifetime value. If you’re not measuring those, you don’t really have a marketing program.

Dustin Moskovitz

Dustin Moskovitz is a co-founder of Facebook and Asana.

The best reason for founding a startup is that you can’t not do it. You’re super passionate about this idea, you’re the right person to do it, you’ve got to make it happen.

The reason we like best for becoming an entrepreneur is that you are extremely passionate about an idea and believe that starting a new company is the best way to bring it into the world.

 

Matt Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg is the originator of WordPress and co-founder and CEO of Automattic.

Usage is like oxygen for ideas. That means every moment you’re working on something without it being in the public it’s actually dying, deprived of the oxygen of the real world.

Grace Ng

Many entrepreneurs realize too late that the problems they’re trying to solve are not painful enough to sustain a business.

Dan Norris

Dan Norris is the author of the book The Seven Day Startup.

If you have a conversation with a friend about your business idea this month, and next month you are having the same conversation, you are a wantrepreneur.

(A „wantrepreneur“ is someone who claims to want to start a company, but never gets started.)

Dominic Orr

I’ve done enough startups now, so if you ask me to distill the formula of success of a small company competing against a big company, it all boils down to one factor: that is speed. Speed of execution, and speed of innovation.

 

Trevor Owens

By far the biggest mistake every new entrepreneur makes is falling in love with their idea. It’s natural, we all do it. But it will really mess you up.

 

Larry Page

Larry Page is co-founder of Google.

Always deliver more than expected.

 

Aaron Patzer

Aaron Patzer is founder and CEO of Mint.com.

The reason people should start a company is because there was a problem that needed a solution.

It’s natural to doubt yourself: „Who am I to do this?“ „If it was a good idea, someone would have already done it.“ It’s okay to doubt yourself; it’s okay to feel down; just never give up.

Tell anyone and everyone your idea without fear they’re going to steal it.

In the first three years of Mint, from when it was founded to when it was sold, I can honestly say that in a sustainable way, I couldn’t have worked any harder on it. I put every bit of myself, every bit of my thinking—when I was in the shower, when I was on a walk, when I was eating meals, when I was talking to people—everything I was, it just consumed me in a very good way. I dedicated my existence so completely to it, and I think that has something to do with its success.

Solve a real problem. You don’t start a company because you want to be an entrepreneur or the fame and glory that come along with it. You become an entrepreneur and you create a company to solve a real problem.

We have a very rigorous hiring process. For tech people, we might screen 50 people and hire one. In the history of Mint, I’ve only fired two people and only one has left voluntarily.

Nicole Policarpio

If you target everyone, you get no one.

Leo Polovets

Leo Polovets is an angel investor in Redwood City, California.

A lot of founders think their special sauce is how well they execute. The problem is that almost everyone thinks they have superior execution skills.

During first meetings, most investors are looking for reasons to say „no“.

Hila Qu

[…] you need to understand the core value of your business and identify the metric that indicates the core value is delivered to your customers. 

Andy Rachleff

What are you going to build, who is desperate for it, and what is the business model you are going to use to deliver it?

Nick Rakis

100 customer interviews [is] the bare minimum target before launching anything. Anything at all.

Eric Ries

Eric Ries is the author of The Lean Startup.

A startup is a human institution designed to create under conditions of extreme uncertainty.

Every business plan begins with a set of assumptions. Because the assumptions haven’t proven to be true (they are assumptions after all) and in fact are often erroneous, the goal of a startup’s early efforts should be to test them as quickly as possible.

Lean thinking defines value as providing benefit to the customer; anything else is waste.

The goal of a lean startup is to learn what is valuable to the customer.

Learning is the essential unit of progress for startups.

Our job is to find a synthesis between our vision and what customers will accept.

If you don’t know what you’re testing, all the results in the world will tell you nothing.

Begin with a clear hypothesis that makes predictions about what is supposed to happen.

The goal of every startup experiment is to discover how to build a sustainable business around the vision.

Early adopters are those who crave a solution to the problem you’ve identified.

Ask yourself: Do consumers recognize that they have the problem you are trying to solve?

Build not only a product that can sell well, but a platform through which to deliver it.

If we do not know who the customer is, we do not know what quality is.

The three A’s of metrics: actionable, accessible and auditable.

Vanity metrics allow you to form false conclusions and live in your own private reality.

The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.

The lesson of the MVP is that any additional work beyond what was required to start learning is waste, no matter how important it might have seemed at the time.

John Russell

The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.

Chris Savage

Chris Savage is co-founder and CEO of Wistia. His blog can be found here.

Like everyone else first starting out, we had no clue whether our product solved a widespread need. There’s a considerable gap between a potential customer’s pain point and your hypothetical solution.

 

Alex Schultz

Alex Schultz is Vice President of Growth at Facebook. His blog can be found here.

Retention is the single most important thing for growth and retention comes from having a great idea and a great product to back up that idea, and great product market fit.

Startups should not have growth teams. The whole company should be the growth team.

How do you drive to the magic moment that gets people hooked on your service

Think about what the magic moment is for your product, and get people connected to it as fast as possible.

What is that one metric, where if everyone in your company is thinking about it and driving their product towards that metric and their actions towards moving that metric up, you know in the long-run your company will be successful?

You need to have product market fit to drive growth, you need retention to drive growth, otherwise every growth tactic, every  acquisition tactic you could possibly run doesn’t matter.

The number one problem I’ve seen for startups, is they don’t actually have product/market fit, when they think they do.

 

Michael Seibel

Michael Seibel is the CEO of Y Combinator.

If you are not drowning in demand, you don’t have Product-Market Fit.

For YC companies, the major cause of failure is thinking you have attained product-market fit.

We like backing people who’ve jumped off the ledge because it is a necessary condition for success.

An MBA is not a credential I would value highly when hiring for a startup.

 

Emmett Shear

The goal of talking to users is not to get them to tell you what features to build, because users are really bad at that. They actually have no idea what features to build. The goal of talking to users is to get to understand them really well.

 

Jason Shen

Deeply understand your users, make them extremely happy and know how you’re going to find them.

 

Sally Strebel

Sally Strebel is a co-founder of page.ly.

We never thought of it as customer service. We just treat people how we would want to be treated.

 

Reid Tatoris

Reid Tatoris is a founder of the startup AreYouHuman.

Basically, most people who say they want to work at a startup really want to work for Facebook.

 

Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel is a venture investor and a founder of PayPal and Palantir.

I sort of have a single idée fixe which is that if you’re starting a company, you always want to aim for monopoly and you want to always avoid competition. And so competition is for losers.

If you’re a startup, you want to get a large share of the market. How do you get a large share of the market? You start with a really small market and take it over and then over time you find ways to expand that market in concentric circles.

You want to be a one-of-a-kind company. You want to be the only player in a small ecosystem.

All happy companies are different because they’re doing something very unique. All unhappy companies are alike because they failed to escape the essential sameness in competition.

Don’t always go through the tiny little door that everyone’s trying to rush through, maybe go around the corner and go through the vast gate that nobody is taking.

A Great technology company should have proprietary technology an order of magnitude better than its nearest substitute.

Exaggerating your own uniqueness is an easy way to botch the monopoly question.

Real technologists wear T-shirts and jeans. So we instituted a blanket rule: pass on any company whose founders dressed up for pitch meetings.

Great companies have secrets: specific reasons for success that other people don’t see.

The perfect target market for a startup is a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by few or no competitors. Any big market is a bad choice, and a big market already served by competing companies is even worse. This is why it’s always a red flag when entrepreneurs talk about getting 1% of a $100 billion market.

 

Dave Thomas

What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.

 

Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares

With investing, always remember that traction trumps everything.

 

Allan Wille

Too many young companies spend years trying to push what they think is a valuable product instead of asking themselves why anyone needs their product in the first place.

Roy Williams

The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.

Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson is a venture capitalist from New York.

You simply can’t be tentative in a startup. You have to go for it at every chance you get. So if you are starting a company or building one, face your fears and move past them.

 

Y Combinator

If you build a great company, the pitch will write itself.

What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don’t get?

 

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is a co-founder and CEO of Facebook.

If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.

The key is building a company which is focused on learning as quickly as possible.

Making something that could grow fast was the most important product feature that we built for Facebook.

If you’re trying to grow a product, the best way is when the product does it itself.

The best companies that get built are ones that are trying to drive some kind of social change, even if it’s just local in one place.

Part of what gets you through [difficulties] is believing in what you’re doing and knowing that what you’re doing is really delivering a lot of value for people, and that’s, I think, how the best companies end up getting made.

 

And finally…

Wendy Soon

Now that you’re done reading, GET BACK TO WORK ON YOUR STARTUP!!! 🙂