Scientist follow the truth...
Y Combinator's Start Up School 2018 has just started! Bring on 10 weeks of topical relevant start up lectures!
In the first video A Conversation with Paul Graham, one theme kept on coming out, a signal in the noise of start up hype and low probability success.
"Founders need to follow demand, the way a scientist follows the truth." - Paul Graham.
The video is full of fun stories and but most of the talk was a little fluffy, and full of the usual start up hype.
Y Combinator is in the Unicorn Breeding Business, they need to pump through a lot of start ups (and burn through founders) to find the big new business trends and technologies. They have to inspire founders, and play on start up hype to cover up the dismal failure statistics that those enthusiastic young founders will encounter. The very high failure rate of start ups, even ones supported by YC, are painful and in my opinion shameful.
A little too hidden in the video is the very valuable lesson, it's all about demand. If you're providing a good or service people want you'll get paid for it, and you'll grow and do well!
This lecture made me think about some of the brutal start up truths uncovered from my own experience:
The most creative people are often the worst founders, as they want to tell people what they need, and don't give people what they want.
Beautiful products and 'great' ideas often fail as there is no demand for them.
Sales (customer research) is the most important role in a start up, not designers, developers, hackers etc etc etc... (Please note developers can be great sales people!)
Sales is about making money, but to grow sustainably its about documenting customer research. I love Pauls quote about start ups following demand the way a scientist is searching for truth. Great sales people are hunting out the new trends, the new needs, the new desires and wants and are then building the products and services to support and cater for them ahead of anyone else. They are at the cutting edge of the market because they are demand research scientists and they are figuring 'it' out before anyone else!