Unconventional Advice by Garry Tan

Lessons and advice by Garry Tan, current CEO of YC

  • Get therapy early to deal with childhood trauma, which manifests in unhealthy conflict behaviors: Garry grew up in poor Asian household, bought a big house and car and was spending a lot of money after getting his first job at Microsoft
  • Say yes to compelling opportunities even if they seem risky: He declined Peter Thiel's offer to join Palantir early, losing out of hundreds of millions, but joined as employee #10 eventually
  • Good ideas seem dumb at first, look for the intersection of ideas that seem good and ideas that are good: He and his friends at Stanford thought Google was dumb, but it's because it was unconventional.
  • Learn from big tech jobs, but leave before they make you soft: he was working on a minor features in Microsoft that no one cared about, and rage quit to learn new things and build meaningful things
  • Make products, don't just sell your time. Product equity can make money while you sleep: he worked as consultant for building websites, but also started building his own products (Posterous blogging platform) which created equity and value.
  • 3 things founder needs: Excellent co-founders, solve real problems to get customers, and use that to raise capital and grow.
  • Act small when you are small: offer incredible 1:1 customer support and solve problems manually before scaling (related Do things that don't scale)
  • There are too many problems, not too few ideas, believe in your ability to solve problems with technology: climate change, disease, poverty, lack of education, etc.