Thursday, January 7, 2010

What Startups are Really Like

This blog entry comes from a link from my fellow Shifting Gears cohort bud Brian Pinkelman -- Thanks, Brian!

Paul Graham is one of the partners in Y Combinator, a venture firm in California specializing in funding early stage startups. Graham was trying to develop topics for an upcoming Startup School event for new entrepreneurs. So he asked the founders of the startups that had already been funded by his firm, "what haven't I written about yet?"

So I sent all the founders an email asking what surprised them about starting a startup. This amounts to asking what I got wrong, because if I'd explained things well enough, nothing should have surprised them.

I'm proud to report I got one response saying:   What surprised me the most is that everything was actually fairly predictable!   The bad news is that I got over 100 other responses listing the surprises they encountered.

There were very clear patterns in the responses; it was remarkable how often several people had been surprised by exactly the same thing.
Graham continues on 19 items that were revealed as common themes in the responses. He also ties the list together, which could be quite surprising for anyone looking to move from the traditional working world to entrepreneurship.

Link to Paul Graham's essay here...

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