Deep Dive #2 - Starting your Startup Journey

Things to keep in mind at the beginning

Hey everyone!

Startup Exchange Deep Dive is a newsletter sharing interesting links and resources we find about various topics in the startup world. We also hope to provide opportunities for people looking to break into startups and tech.

If you have any feedback or suggestions let us know!

Now to today’s Deep Dive. Today’s edition will be a bit different than future editions. Since it’s our first version of a new Deep Dive edition, we thought it would be interesting to share some topics we think are valuable for early founders to know about. 

Ideas 🔎

For most budding entrepreneurs, coming up with ideas is a huge challenge. But there are some ways to overcome this. 

One way is to have a multitude of diverse experiences. Garry Tan conveys really well how great startup ideas come from experiences  and the more experiences you have in specific settings, the more likely you are to spot a problem no one else can really see. 

But on the flip side, you could build solutions for problems others experience frequently. The RFS 100 newsletter does a great job of sharing opportunities spotted by top VCs and Operators, and can serve as a great inspiration for what you want to build!

Lean Startup vs. Design Thinking🧠

The topic of when to use the Lean Startup method vs. Design Thinking was introduced to us by Richard Lee

The Lean Startup method is built around building in products of sprints that involves rapidly iterating on products based on user feedback. It really embodies Sam Altman’s and Y Combinator’s mantra of building and talking to users. 

Design Thinking is more about taking a broad approach exploring the problem space of interest and brainstorming as many opportunities as possible in the space. The Design Thinking paradigm was really popularized by Tim Brown and the team at Ideo. If you’d like to learn more check out Brown’s book

Using these methodologies can be really helpful at different stages in your journey to build great products. 

Before The Startup 

But before you dive into an idea and start building a startup you want to really understand what you’re getting into and maximize your chances of success. 

Michael Seibel really frames how hard it is to become successful in the world of startups with the following sports analogy: 

“Another thing, I like using sports metaphors for startups, because I think too many people use professional metaphors. When companies join YC, we tell a batch of companies that three to five of them will actually end up succeeding. If you think about it, that's a really, really high failure rate. If you got into law school, business school, or medical school, and they told you that only less than 5% would graduate, you would probably want to get your money back.

In sports, if you're looking at a great high school basketball team, the chances that any of those players will play in the NBA is small, the chances that they're on the NBA all-star team is smaller, and the chance that they're a Hall of Famer is even smaller. You truly have to be extraordinarily good to make it. I think that's something that you all should keep in mind. It's a very, very high bar, and the death of startups is not talked about. You can read in the press about companies raising money every day. But you only read about companies dying if they’re somehow famous or there's some scandal.”

If you’re unsure of whether the startup world is for you, there are definitely a lot of ways to find out. We won’t give you any advice on this 🙃.  Instead we’ll share this essay by the legendary Paul Graham that has personally helped some of us make this decision. 

And if Paul Graham didn’t scare you away take a look at Garry Tan’s (BIGGGG Garry Tan fans over here) take on how certain skill sets can maximize your chances for success as a founder

And The Rest …..

There are a ton of other topics first time founders should know about such as building a great team, talking to users, acquiring your first users, etc. 

But the fact of the matter is this newsletter would never end and we also wouldn’t be able to get to the good stuff we have in store for future editions. So instead we’ve found a couple resources to help!

YC’s Startup School and the YC Startup Library are two of the most comprehensive collections of information on any topic related to how to go about building a startup. 

Founder Library is also another really well put together collection of just endless resources.

Here’s another cool link to check out for student resources -

Cool video to check out about startup ideas -

Another cool video ( we’re on a roll phew) about essential skills to have when building a startup -

That’s the end of our Deep Dive for this week! If you have any questions or feedback let us know by either commenting on the newsletter or emailing us




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