Startup Advice for Students

Some advice by Jared Friedman on startups for students.

  • Go cofounder first (rather than idea).
    • Talk to some of your friends who are startup-inclined, and see who would be up for brainstorming startup ideas.
    • Only about 5% of the college-age founders YC funds are solo founders.
    • The limiting reagent in the # of startups in the world is not the # of good ideas. I'd argue it is the # of high quality teams. A high quality team is 2-4 smart people who know each other well, have at least 1 technical founder, and are all serious about doing a startup.
  • Startups are not a thinking game, they are a doing game.
    • If you don't have good startup ideas now, the way to get better ones isn't to think really hard, it's to build stuff and launch it and learn from what happens.
    • Building and launching your own products, end-to-end, is especially important experience to have. Building software at large companies means tweaking features of large existing products. That's a very different skill from launching your own stuff.
  • Do it first thing after you graduate
    • Why? You don't have to quit anything to do a startup when you graduate. And if it doesn't work out, it just becomes your first job.
    • dropping out should be an edge case. only do it if you're not liking school or your project takes off.
    • working for a few years first has a downside: it'll be harder to convince your college friends then, they'll have settled into their job or moved.
  • Startups >>> big tech
    • choose a startup; you'll learn more relevant skills, pick up startup culture, and meet other people who are more interested in startups.
    • more ex-Stripe founders were funded than ex-Google founders in recent YC batch, despite the fact that Google has 27 times as many employees as Stripe.
  • Apply for YC
    • How much traction? None. Most of the companies YC funds are idea stage or prototype stage.
    • No visa issues at YC, great for international students

More on PG's blog.