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Startup School Notes

Some notes from Y Combinator's startup school lectures.

Track KPIs regularly
A single metric every week
The top metric to track: revenue if you plan to charge.
For free apps like Facebook, it can be usage.
Other metrics
- number of trials
- number of users
 
Development
For each feature, rank as easy, medium, hard.
Start with the hards - most likely the features that will impact KPIs the most
- most likely the features that will impact KPIs the most
Release early, release often.
Once product hits some rhythm, aim for weekly release cycles.
 
Think long term (over 2 years)
You want to change the world, build the startup of the century and corner new
markets, you have to take a long view.
It is rare to find and corner a market in a a few months.
If you want to do something that hasn't been done before, it'll take at least
a year or so.
 
Charge as early as you can
The minute you have enough to charge, do it.
Ex: $40/month.
It's the only way to know if you product is solving a problem worth paying for.
 
Track everything in your website
Don't use google analytics. Use mixpanel or something like that.
 
Marketing
When tight on budget initially, find innovative ways to market.
E.g. Build your own webcrawler to find companies that match your target market
instead of buying a list.
 
How VCs think about investing
Whether a company has revenue or has prospects for revenue in the near term.
 
Whether a company's business is growing as measured by an increase in users,
increase in revenues, progress in bookings, or improvement in company objectives.
 
Whether the company's business is scalable.
 
Whether there is a reasonable path for the company's business to become a
billion-dollar company.
 
The feasibility of implementing the company’s proposed business objectives.
Each of the criteria is weighted equally.
 
On Branding
A brand is a promise made real by experience
Broken promise negatively impacts strength of brand.
Delivery on brand allows you to command a premium