About the talk
YC Partner Eric Migicovsky introduces Startup School W2020, launching January 20th. Find out more and sign up for our latest course at https://www.startupschool.org/ !
01:48 Motivational Stats
03:00 About Startup School
05:09 Tips from SUS 2019 founders
07:19 Indy-Cloud like a synergy platform
11:40 About Startup school and features that you should know
12:37 Weekly Updates
15:25 About Group sessions
20:30 Conclusion and contacts
Eric Migicovsky founded Pebble Technology (YC W11), which was acquired by Fitbit in 2016. While studying engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2008, Eric began building smartwatches with a group of friends. In April 2012, Eric and his team launched Pebble on Kickstarter, where it became the most successful crowdfunded project in Kickstarter’s history. Pebble sold over 2,000,000 watches.View the profile
Welcome to start of school. My name is Eric migicovsky. I'm a partner here at y combinator. I'm going to be the facilitator. This course, it's really great to have you. I'm excited. This is actually the first course that I've ever taught. It's me fun. My wife is actually a lecture, a biochemist rate at University. So, she wished me. Well as I set off to work today, as long as they don't have to grade 15,000 final exams. I think I think of you as I see, we try to treat a lot of the projects that we work on as if they were startups themselves. So we apply a similar methodology to them doing that
vein. I figured maybe the best way to kick off. Start up school is actually the picture to you. Start up school is a free online course that teaches you how to start a company is 8 weeks long and we offer some of the best advice available on the internet. We also have an amazing community of Founders from all over the world. Probably one of the largest communities of startup Founders on the internet. We also offer you over $30,000 worth of deals with a w. S r x cloud digitalocean and many other places. So that's it. That's that's that's what starts school is
really excited to have you on board for the next eight weeks. There is still time to sign up. So if you have any friends or family or so you think she should be part of the course as well. Just let them know. So the sign up for Lincoln start school. Org and get them in as well. So to get you pumped up. Boat Service, cool. I've got a couple motivational status. The first one is from last batch of start of school over 9,000 companies launched their product to the public during the batch. We had over 30% of the entire cord. Do this launching is one of the most critical things that you can do. As
an early-stage startups were really excited to see this. The second thing we noticed was that over 50% of the companies that we interviewed for the YC core program participated in start of school. That's tremendously shoes. And we can start of school is the perfect way that you could learn about starting company. And we're excited to see so many of you applied a y c after that. Finally, over 120 companies, who participated in the start of school were actually funded. And are now NYC in this batch, is more than 50% of the bachelor before I see you again. Start of school is really
designed at the perfect way to get your startup going and eventually to get into. I see how you can get the most out of start of school, number 1, set yourself a hard coal. If you haven't lost your company yet, maybe your goal for the eight-week program will be the launch and to get your first users, if you've already monster company, maybe you could set a really tough call for yourself, like growing your Revenue week-over-week by 10% or maybe growing. The number of users that are using your service. Every week, by 10%, really tough gold. Helps you focus your energy and make sure that you're
always working towards the most important thing for your startup. The second thing is to be Honest with yourselves about what's working and what's not? We've collected, some of the best start of advice specifically to solve a lot of the common problems that you may have as an early-stage startup, but you won't begin to actually solve them until you recognize what the problems are. And begin to seek out advice on the start school, library, or the lectures that we put together to solve those problems. Third thing is to participate. We got a ton of different things that you can do as part of
startup school, including weekly group of Sarah sessions question, answer video sessions that we got every week form threads about many different topics. So now that you're here now that you're in the course, it's really important to participate as well. Finally, I got to reiterate it launched your company, many of the early stage companies that are participating in start of school, haven't launched yet. So the most effective thing that the best use of your time and be to launch your company. This is not actually the first time that we're running start of school, obviously, so we've
gotten a bunch of feedback from the last course in from a couple of courses that we run and how to make it better. One of the things that you report it to us. The other Founders were at The Forum wasn't as useful as I could be. So we're overhauling it this year. We've hired a community community manager to help run it. So we think that it's going to be much more effective in a much better place for you to spend time. I'm doing this course. Second bit of feedback. We got was that the group sessions could be more effective. So over the last year, we worked over all these group sessions,
making it making it easier for you to connect with other Founders in your space or other Founders in your geography. We really encourage you to try them out. And to participate with, with the weekly group sessions. We've decided to run the course more frequently. Mostly people start companies at all different times during the year. They couldn't afford to wait to get the advice from start of school just once a year. So we're now running the course. I'm more during the year. We're also constantly experimenting with tweaks and adjustments to the course. We sometimes send out surveys or we
post questions on the forms. So please, if you get them help us by answering the questions any feedback you have will help us directly improve. The course not just this course as well as some other courses that we're planning to run, here's some tips from Founders, that went through start of school last year, to help you improve your experience. The first thing is, during the weekly sessions, that you have be clear and concise as you describe your company to other Founders, the number one problem that Founders have is talking about their company. I'm sometimes we can I get our
head, get ahead of ourselves and use too many words, you sure, as you're participating in the weekly group sessions to to be clear and concise the second tip Defenders have is to use the weekly. Update section as a chance to check in with your goals. So as your tracking, towards a vehicle that you've said for yourselves. Be sure to update the system every week with, how your tracking towards that uses. It use it as Benchmark and always use it too late for Giselle to do better than next week. Now it's time for your first office. Our similar to the way that the university runs start school
was designed around lecture content as well as working directly with companies. I'd like to take the time now to work directly with you to work on two important. First steps. Of course, first one is how to explain exactly what you do. And second one is how to set goals. We like if I see you like to talk about something called a one-liner basically, a one-line description of what your company does. What's your product is or who? It's for Austin, time companies, use their one-liner to explain what they do to potential investors employees customers vendor suppliers, even their
parents. So it's Important to figure out how to explain your company quickly. And effectively, you'll be practicing this during the week on Thursdays actually. One of the first things that we encourage all companies to do, when they join the session is to go around the earth to go around and share their one letter as Founders. We love to talk. So often times when we explained what our company does we try to use as many words as possible. I'm totally guilty of this as well. But that's not the most effective way to describe what you do. The second problem that we usually have.
When were describing. Our company's is we use industry-specific. Jargon or complex words to describe. It has ample Indie cloud, is a know-how and Synergy platform, actual one liner from a start-up stuff that effective because it doesn't explain anything that the company does keep in mind, as you're putting together your one liner that it should be conversational. You should be able to use it in kind of casual conversation can't use. Jargon. Don't assume that the person who's listening to your one liner. Actually knows what your industry or knows any specific words. You don't need
a preamble. You don't need to explain the entire backstory to your startup before explaining what you do. In fact, the skull, burying the lede, sometimes people will talk for a minute before they actually explain what in the world does start of does finely, as we've mentioned before, be concise. You want to take up too much time. You basically want to, you want to catch someone's attention, catch their imagination and then get the opportunity to answer more questions every time. There's an example of a great one line from from Lexi company from the past bash, tandem is building
a virtual offices for remote teams. Simple clear explains exactly what they're working on but the same time offers the opportunity for people to ask questions and to find out more. Another good example. Obviously, it's something like Dropbox Dropbox, synchronizes files from your computer with your team's computers again, explains exactly what it does without using jargon or without being too complex. Okay, and that's the most important thing that you can work on is to set a tough call for you, for your team, to accomplish over the upcoming eight weeks.
The best goals are actually numeric, the things that you can track on a weekly basis and you can see the numbers move qualitative goals are also useful things. Like, how do you launch or not? But the most, the most effective goals to set for your company or numeric, because then you can very very clearly track your progress for most companies that have launched, the most important metric to track is revenue. For an early-stage startup. We usually like to recommend companies track track their revenue and set instead of some other metric because it's the
it's the clearest expression of whether the company is on the good is on a good track or not. I'm companies that are earning Revenue, have already solved. A lot of the other problems. Like what? Exactly the product who is the product for how to get your first company, how to get your first customers. So when you're, when you're sharing sharing your status or your progress with investors, they don't have to ask because they know that any company that has Revenue has already solved those early problems. If you think that you're further away from getting your first customer to start
paying you money or to earn Revenue, then it might be good to track other things. Like, how do you launch your not again? As I mentioned before, can't really begin to earn Revenue until you actually launched publicly and begin to begin to get customers. The metrics that you track a really important to to be visible to your whole team. There's a good story. The founders of Airbnb when they were going through y c. Back in the day. They actually kept. They actually put a sign up with their revenue goal for the week in the bathroom. So every time someone had to use the bathroom, they would like
they would see exactly how they were tracking towards their weekly goal, the best Founders that I've worked with set weekly goals rather than monthly or kind of quarterly goals because they feel it, tighter connection to them. It's easy to set, say, a month-long goal and then really only noticed that you haven't hit that in the few days leading up to it. Think about writing a term paper and University and it's very easy to keep pushing off until the last night for its do. So again, we did the best Founders that we work with. They set weekly goals and they track their
progress towards them every week. We've got an upcoming lecture with Michael Seibel about how to work on how to create a product. Open process. Those prophecies only work. If you've already set goals and you're beginning to track your metrics this week, take the time with you and your co-founders to figure out what the most. What's the most important metric you can track is whether you can use revenue or not begin to set a weekly goal for yourself as well as the overarching 8-week goal for the start of school course. Next up. We've got Kyle who's an engineer here at YC and running start of
school. Hey everyone. I'm Kyle. I'm the lead developer and start of school and I'm going to spend the next few minutes. Talking about the software features you're going to use as part of this course. So there are six main parts to start school course on the software side, and I'm going to go through all of them. But the most important thing you need to know is that the first two are, the only required ones and those were the company updates and attending group. So, I'm so I'm going to go through a lot of other things. I resources that are available to you as well. We hope there
really useful to you. But only use. What will actually help your company be more successful. We don't want you spending anymore. I'm on this, then then we'll be the absolute most helpful for your company. Let's talk about company updates. The company update to sort of the backbone of the, you start school software. This is an update that you'll submit once a week. We start counting for it on Monday at midnight, Pacific time. And if you're going to fill out the progress, you made on your company during the preceding week there. Like 8 or 10 questions is very simple and most of them are
just like number if you type in this should not take you more than 15 minutes. If it takes you more than 15 minutes to fill this out. Your you're doing it wrong. You should not much time on it. It's it's really simple and they're really two main reasons. We asked for this out. I'm the first one. Is it just gives you a chance to step out of the grind for a few minutes and really think about, you know, what your primary metric is and whether the work you're doing is actually the most important thing to drive towards that it's really easy as a Founder to sort of like get off on some tangent and
and it's really not what you need to be doing to drive your company for it. So we hope you take these updates as an opportune. To think about that. And really concentrate on what matters most. The other thing is it will help you track your progress over time. So there is a number to fill out like a primary metric. The number of users you talk to every week, you know, your morale, things like that. And just you getting a sense overtime of how your company's doing. I just really diable, just for introspection. Like I said, we start those on Monday and they need to be submitted by 1 today.
The reason why we asked you to submit it by Wednesday, is because we use those updates for scheduling your group sessions. And so that's what I'm going to talk about. Next sessions, are video calls that we set up with your peers that happened once a week and they're really just a chance for you to meet others in Star community and support each other. I'm there a few reasons we do this, a big part of it is just sort of like the motivation, it's hard, especially for those of you who are so the founders out there. If you're not around, other people who are really doing the same thing in
the same grind, sometimes it's hard to stay motivated and we found the group sessions can be really helpful for that. Talking about talking to others in a similar situation and it's also just kind of like a commitment device, you know, if you know that this is coming up it helps at least for me when I first hit in need in the past and helps me to make sure that I'm that I actually have something new to report and we find it. That's really helpful. That's the reason that we do group sessions on Wednesday. When you submit your update, after all those update are collected, we will form the groups
and then we go set to get an e-mail sometime on Wednesday evening or perhaps Thursday morning, depending on your time zone with a link to your actual group session the page for your group session, and the other companies that you'll be meeting with. The actual group sessions will take place at some point on Thursday for all of you. You have a chance to, to choose kind of which time you want to have the group session depending on that will schedule you for sometime on Thursday. The discussion format for the group. Sessions is really simple, and when you join it, you'll see that there's
kind of like an outline on side of the walk you through it since they would choose one company. That is the moderator is kind of like running the discussion and That everyone will go around with your one liner to introduce yourself. And then you go around a second time and talk about the progress, you made towards your primary metric in the last week. What most help you or hurt you on your primary metrics and the biggest obstacle you're facing right now. And again, this is just a good way for you to talk to other companies, get supporting feedback and concentrate on what's most
important for your company. As we're forming is group sessions. We are trying to match you with companies that are similar you as possible there. A number of factors we take into account as we're doing that, things like the vertical, you're in your geographic location for commitment progress. Things like that. They were trying to find others were in a similar stage. Do you and can relate to you? Help answer your questions and that you feel like it's a really good use of your time. So we'll put you in a group of four to eight other company and you'll all sort of be a similar stage and be
able to, to understand the problems that the other companies in your group are facing. The next thing in startzville software are the actual lesson. And like I mentioned that these are not technically required. But in my experience, this is perhaps the highest value part of start of school and I really recommend you check them out. The reason why we didn't make the required is because there may be specific lectures that are not applicable to your company, like, for example of her talking about hard tag on. That may not be applicable. However, we find that most of the lectures. In fact,
we've designed most of the lectures to be applicable, to all early-stage startups. No matter what it is your building. And these I can attest to this as a former founder myself and just seen the experience the YC Partners have, these really are going to help you build a better company. And I really recommend you going through and finding the ones that are most applicable for you. So we have the Forum. The Forum is really the center of the start of school Community. This is a place where you can share the struggles. You're having asked questions of the community and also give answers at the
one thing will ask is before you post try and think is this. Question, going to be something that's generally applicable and something that we can really help other startups as well. And if it is then that's a huge contribution. We really wanted. And on the other hand, if you have a lot of expertise like bees, go in the Forum, see if they're people who are asking questions that, you can answer that will just make this whole community. So much stronger. Like Eric mentioned earlier. We have a community manager for making this a really high quality place where we want Founders to be able
to get good answers to the questions that the one like big horn. And I have his daughters, who will try and scrape or spam email. Addresses are company links with things like this off the Forum and they think that this is some way to. I don't know like lead gen or something. It doesn't work. You're not actually going to get leads from behind people and you're going to make the experience bad for everyone else. So please don't do that. It will just hurt the experience and you'll get kicked out of start school. And otherwise the events as well.
114 cities that have 150, or more Founders All Around the World and we've created a local channel. For each one of those, we want you to use those channels, use them to get support for, you know, things that are specific to your market. And for organizing meetups. I'm not something that we really are excited about for this, the start of school as well. So where we are wanting to make those are really great really Byron place and we hope you use them. Finally on the forums. We have a number of amas. I'm really excited about this. We have some great while she found hers YC Partners lined up to
do a maze. Some of those will be just the sort of traditional text animes like you made him, write it for other places. Others of them are going to be the live ammo is that Eric is who spoke earlier is going to be doing with other partners are members of the y c community. I'm I'm really excited. I think there's going to be a wonderful opportunity for you to get direct feedback from experts. And so, I really hope that everyone participates. You'll see the links to those coming out in the Weekly Newsletter, at every Monday. And so, just be watching for that. And as soon as Every Monday,
we'll have a few of those threads live and ready to go. You can post any time during the week and we'll get back to you that. When the AMA schedule, we have incredible deals. This is honestly a huge value of start of school. We have dozens of companies who have offered really great deals. Companies like a w, s r x, Google Cloud retool, stripe and many others have offered great deals for starts with their over, $30,000 worth of deals. And this is something you should take advantage of. Its free money is going to help your startup go check it out. And finally, we have the
library on the library is a collection of the highest value, SAS Vlogs and videos as well on specific topics that are really relevant for you as startup Founders. Not, I do not recommend you go through and read everything link by Linkin the library. It's new, you know, a lot of this will not be relevant depending on exactly where you are and your startup Journey, but I recommend you do go through, click through it, for yourself, with the start of sections. We have your things about, you know, And co-founder is launching evaluating ideas and all of those have like a number of very high
quality articles from people who know what they're talking about. So go through click through there and I think some of those resources will be very applicable to you and your startup that whatever stage you are. If you need help or any support, we on the start school team are here for you. To support you answer questions. We answer many emails every single day. I'm feel free to reach out. You can email us at start of school. I y combinator. Camuy monitor that inbox will get back to you shortly. You can also just post on the forums. We have a special channel for feedback and finally feel
free to tweet at me or direct message me on Twitter. On my panel is on the screen and it's just Corbett. I am really excited to work with all of you. I think this is going to be a wonderful course, and I am looking forward to seeing what all at you build.
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