Starting a Startup

I’m starting to remember why I wanted to take a semester off from school. It wasn’t really to work longer at Google (though I love it), or even to travel the world. I can (and will) do those things after I graduate. It was to start a startup.

I went to Startup School in March 2007, and somehow I’ve nearly forgotten the tremendous things I’ve learned there.
I can handle the risk right now. The tuition money I spend on school is probably enough to cover the modest costs of a small startup.

(I cut a paragraph that was here. I apologize for the misquote.)

Here are some Startup School notes at, Scribd,, and VentureBeat (lots of comments). And for when I actually do get that startup running, how to cut up the founder’s pie. Here’s a post on the topic of splitting equity (part 1 about splitting evenly, part 2 on team stability), and some ideas for dividing ownership.

Also, I should remember a tip from BusinessWeek: don’t divide evenly. And don’t worry about entrepreneurship school– they’re often not right.

I’ve previously posted about what Paul Graham says, and it’s pretty inspirational. Finally, some links on avoiding mistakes and lots of pictures. Boy, that’s a lot of links. But at least I won’t be lacking information!

“A startup is like school, but you actually learn something.”

“You’ll do things you’re unqualified for. Paul [Buchheit] was unqualified for writing Gmail, but he was successful anyways.”

All things considered, I’m really not at a good time in my life to go back to school right now. But I highly value education, and will be returning to it when the time is right.

4 Responses to “Starting a Startup”

  1. Eugene says:

    Hey, I don’t have any good projects going on right now but I’d be interested in working on a startup at some point. I’ll keep you in the loop…

  2. Stanley says:

    It’s pretty cool how so early on you already have the drive to want to start a startup. For many people I’ve heard, that’s the hardest part of the process, simply deciding to put together a startup. Best of luck to you in your future ventures both this semester and in the future.

  3. Stanley says:

    Another website you might add to your list of links: It’s a magazine (both paper and online) that offers lots of advice for starting and running an entrepreneurial venture. The website also offers plenty of useful resources to draw from. I’ve found it very helpful and informational myself.

  4. James Miao says:

    “James Miao argued that I don’t have much to bring to the table, and that it would be difficult for me to convince people to let me join them.”

    I never said this and am slightly disappointed that you misquoted me nearly 5 months since we last were together — remember, I ENCOURAGED you to come to Startup School and even provided free room & board.

    What I told you was my honest opinion — simple knowledge of C/C and basic PHP may not be enough to provide immediate impact at most web startups. On the skills side, I was suggesting that you try to pickup additional technical skills.

    Experience and whether you’re ready for a startup is a whole other matter. Your only professional experience last March was JPL, period. If you’re going to start a startup, you better do so for the right reasons, and a big reason would be that you’ve seen enough of the “professional world” to know that it’s not for you.

    Thus, by starting a startup, you know what you’re avoiding.

    Along this line, your internship at JPL was a fairly limited datapoint. Aside from it being your first real “work” experience, it’s important to realize that government-affiliated orgs don’t operate like companies like Google. So, based on your “experience,” I suggested that you might want to do the Google thing before making the startup plunge to gain a better taste of what it’s like to work at a large company. If the Google thing doesn’t work out, at least you’ll know why you don’t want to work there, have a little more money in your pocket, and probably picked up some valuable skills along the way.

Leave a Reply