Though one-on-one advice will always be crucial, we thought it might help us scale Y Combinator if we could distill the most generalizable parts of this advice into a sort of playbook we could give YC and YC Fellowship companies.Then we thought we should just give it to everyone.It’s important to let your idea evolve as you get feedback from users.And it’s critical you understand your users really well—you need this to evaluate an idea, build a great product, and build a great company. They take a very long time, and consistent intense effort.Usually this means they’re telling their friends to use the product without prompting from the company.We also ask if the company is generating revenue, and if not, why not.try to get a letter of intent before you write a line of code.) The former works better for consumer ideas (users may tell you they will use it, but in practice it won’t cut through the clutter) and the latter works better for enterprise ideas (if a company tells you they will buy something, then go build it.) Specifically, if you are an enterprise company, one of the first questions we’ll ask you is if you have a letter of intent from a customer saying they’ll buy what you’re building.
One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we get from YC founders is it’s harder than they could have ever imagined, because they didn’t have a framework for the sort of work and intensity a startup entails.
In the best case, you yourself are the target user.
In the second best case, you understand the target user extremely well.
We also ask how the company will one day be a monopoly.
There are a lot of different terms for this, but we use Peter Thiel’s.
It’s important to be able to think and communicate clearly as a founder—you’ll need it for recruiting, raising money, selling, etc.