Apr 30

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

A Few Tidbits from Startup School

I spoke yesterday at Paul Graham's Startup School. I thought I'd share a few notes that I took during talks by other speakers. (I was only there for a few hours during the afternoon, so I only saw talks by Paul Graham, Caterina Fake, Om Malik, and Chris Sacca, Google's head of special initiatives. (I'll summarize my own talk in a separate entry.) Here were a few of the bits that stuck with me (quotes are not exact and may be a summary of an extended point):

  • Paul Graham: "The only thing you have this is not a commodity is your commitment." Om Malik: "The only thing you have that is not a commodity is time: your time, and your user's time. Don't waste it."
  • Caterina Fake: "They always tell you to hire slowly and fire fast. That was one of the things we didn't do well early at Flickr. But you also have to accept the serendipity. It's because of people not delivering on the front end for Game Neverending that we built Flickr instead."
  • Om Malik: "A truly successful application changes people's behavior." (Think Google, iTunes.) A very nice filter for what really matters.
  • Chris Sacca: Google doesn't just provide food to keep people working, but because the best ideas happen during social interaction. That's also why the cafeteria has long tables, to force people to sit with other people that they don't know. Also, Google's idea of its "secret sauce": "The best engineers. The largest infrastructure. The toughest problems."

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