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Startup Playbook

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Startup Playbook

Sam Altman,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Start-ups are hard work and most of them fail. Learn the secrets to becoming one of the success stories.

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Editorial Rating



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In this beginner’s guide to start-ups, Sam Altman of start-up accelerator Y Combinator presents a frank account of what to expect when you launch a new business. He reveals common mistakes that founders make, such as not having a viable idea or trying to sell a product that customers don’t love. He also describes the skills and personality traits a founder must have to drive a start-up to success and explains how to avoid becoming demoralized in the process. getAbstract recommends this playbook to anyone who would like a realistic view of how start-ups work.


Start-ups involve hard work, but having four things will drastically improve your chances of success: “a great idea (including a great market), a great team, a great product and great execution.” Old ideas don’t inspire customers or investors, so wait until you have an original one. Communicate clearly and say what will make you successful, such as a growing market, new technology and paying customers. Most people will hate your best ideas, but that’s no reason to give up. Keep pitching until you find someone who wants to help. Test your concept by launching it, or get a company to...

About the Author

Sam Altman is an entrepreneur, programmer, blogger, venture capitalist and the president of Y Combinator, a successful US start-up.

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