Essay


The Decentralized Future Series

A good method for discovering startup ideas is to look into technological breakthroughs and think about what they unlock that wasn’t possible before. In this introductory post, we’ll look at Bitcoin and consider potential use cases that we can directly deduce from its properties.

Why Toys?

Some of the biggest technology companies look like toys in the beginning. From a classical business building perspective, this shouldn’t happen. Toys are for fun. Businesses, especially huge ones, are for making money. Toys are small and of limited use. Large companies contain multitudes and perform a huge array of functions.

Mistakes in Time

I often think about things I want to learn and the reasons I cannot do so. I come up with plenty of excuses, from not having a practical need for learning that thing to not being smart enough to learn it. My biggest excuse, though, is that I simply don’t have the time.

13 Startup Ideas

Startup ideas aren’t actually a scarce resource. In fact, they’re only becoming more abundant — as the world moves faster and more new businesses are created, more novel niches appear for profitable, productive companies. With that in mind, we asked YC alumni and staff for startup ideas that they wish existed but aren’t currently working on.

The Hidden Forces Behind Toutiao: China’s Content King

Toutiao, one of the flagship products of Bytedance, may be the largest app you’ve never heard of–it’s like every news feed you read, YouTube, and TechMeme in one. Without any explicit user inputs, social graph, or product purchase history to rely on, Toutiao offers a personalized, high quality-content feed for each user that is powered by machine and deep learning algorithms.

The Customization Curve

A few months ago, I was talking to a startup about how individual customers wanted them to do different things. I think about this optimization as operating along three variables: cost of customization, happiness generated, and cost to support that customization. The goal is to find a level of customization that makes as many customers as possible happy while not incurring support costs – through personnel or burn – that would kill your company.

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Why Should I Start a Startup?

A lot of people ask themselves why they should start a startup. My answer to why you should start a startup is simple: there is a certain type of person who only works at their peak capacity when there is no predictable path to follow, the odds of success are low, and they have to take personal responsibility for failure (the opposite of most jobs at a large company).

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