Essay


Fundraising Rounds Are Not Milestones

Raising a round should be a byproduct of success. By deemphasizing investment rounds we would have more opportunity to celebrate companies who develop measurable milestones of value creation, focus on serving a customer with a real need, and generate sustainable businesses with good margins.

Navigating Mid-Success

When you start a startup, you get pushed off the side of a cliff with a bag of aerospace parts. You hope they are the parts for a spaceship but a reasonable amount of the time, it turns out you have the parts for an airplane. An airplane is still a cool and valuable thing to build, but if you try to fly an airplane to the moon you are going to be in a world of hurt.

Athelas: Our Road From Hack To Product

A couple years ago, Athelas (YC S16) started as a proof-of-concept project built overnight at YC Hacks 2014. This month we started shipping our first devices to patients and hospitals around the country. We learned a lot in the process and wanted to share a few thoughts here.

How Do You Measure Leadership?

It’s tempting to measure leaders simply by the success of their businesses. But even the most successful founders know how much timing and luck can be confounding factors in this approach. Measuring leadership through bottom-line company performance also fails to provide any clues as to how someone can improve as a leader. So is there a better way?

How to Use Both Your Wits in a Startup

Startup culture places immense value in our logical thought process. I do too. But without incorporating both sides of your brain in your decision-making (slow logic and fast intuition), you risk being swept down the river when the dam of startup stress bursts.

VR

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a number of VR companies apply to YC but because of the lack user base it was hard for them to build software. I think we are no more than two years away from an explosion of new consumer startups and I cannot wait to start funding them at YC.

Notes for the New Year

I made some notes before my brother Jack interviewed me for How to Build the Future, where I mostly talked about how ambitious young people should think about their careers. I thought I’d clean those up to share for the New Year. Here they are.

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