What’s the best way to navigate competitive forces?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Startup Playbook

99% of the time, you should ignore competitors. Do not worry about a competitor until they are beating you with a real, shipped product. In the words of Henry Ford: “The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time. “

What’s the best way to manage your own wellness?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Founder Depression – Sam Altman

Most of the founders I know have had seriously dark times, and usually felt like there was no one they could turn to. For whatever its worth, youre not alone, and you shouldn’t be ashamed. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel just by talking to people about the struggles youre facing instead of saying we’re crushing it.

What’s the best way to manage your board?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Board Members – Sam Altman

Board members are very useful in helping founders think big and hire executives. Board members are also a good forcing function to keep the company focused on execution. In my experience, companies without any outsiders on their boards often have less discipline around operational cadence. As a side note, bad board members are disastrous. You should check references thoroughly on someone before you let them join your board.

What’s the best way to know if your idea is a good one?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Stupid Apps and Changing the World – Sam Altman

People often accuse people in Silicon Valley of working on things that don’t matter. Often they’re right. But many very important things start out looking as if they don’t matter, and so its a very bad mistake to dismiss everything that looks trivial.

What’s the best way to know if your idea is a good one?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Electrons and Atoms – Sam Altman

The key thing is enabling users to do things they do in real life much more easily yes, you could have called a cab company, but it took a long time, the cab didn’t always come, you didn’t know when it was near, you had to have cash or get a nasty look from the cabbie, etc.

What’s the best way to know if you have product market fit?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Before Growth – Sam Altman

A startup that prematurely targets a growth goal often ends up making a nebulous product that some users sort of like and papering over this with growth hacking. That sort of works at least, it will fool investors for awhile until they start digging into retention numbers but eventually the music stops.

What’s the best way to know if you have product market fit?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Before Growth – Sam Altman

I think the right initial metric is do any users love our product so much they spontaneously tell other people to use it? Until that’s a yes, founders are generally better off focusing on this instead of a growth target.