YC创业课笔记1: Advice for ambitious 19 year olds

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:30:31 GMT

通常人们会在上大学、进公司、创业这个中间选择。答案的奥秘在于,哪个都可能是正确答案,得看具体情况。

不论你选了什么,跟聪明人混在一起并且build stuff,这可以作为一个正确选择的标准。

Working on something good will pull you along a path where good things keep happening to you. (In fact, this effect is so strong that there’s a danger of getting sucked into too many interesting things and getting distracted from what you really want to do.)

当你选对了正确的方向,你会发现许多好事情接连发生,以至于你都挑不过来。

In making this decision, you want to take the right kind of risk. Most people think about risk the wrong way—for example, staying in college seems like a non-risky path. However, getting nothing done for four of your most productive years is actually pretty risky. Starting a company that you’re in love with is the right kind of risk. Becoming employee number 50 at a company that still has a good chance of failure is the wrong kind of risk.

选择总是有风险,重要的是选值得冒的风险。

If you join a company, my general advice is to join a company on a breakout trajectory. There are a usually a handful of these at a time, and they are usually identifiable to a smart young person. They are a very good risk/reward tradeoff. Such a company is almost certainly going to be successful, but the rest of the world isn’t quite as convinced of it as they should be. Fortunately, these companies love ambitious young people. In addition to the equity being a great deal (you might get 1/10th of the equity you’d get if you join a tiny new startup, but at 1/100th or 1/1000th of the risk), you will work with very good people, learn what success looks like, and get a W on your record (which turns out to be quite valuable). Spending a few years at a company that fails has path consequences, and working at an already-massively-successful company means you will learn much less, and probably work with less impressive people.

如果你加入一家公司,最好是一家正在爆发中的公司。是的,相比于加入创业公司,你可能只有十分之一的股份,但是风险却只有百分之一或千分之一。你会跟着公司一起,体会到成功的感觉。一家成功的公司放在你的履历上,也非常有价值。

Incidentally, don’t let salary be a factor. I just watched someone turn down one of these breakout companies because Microsoft offered him $30k per year more in salary—that was a terrible decision. He will not build interesting things and may not work with smart people. In a few years, when it’s time for something new, the options in front of him will be much worse than they could have been.

别拿工资作为一个标准!

If you start a company, only do so if you have an idea you’re in love with. If you’re hanging out with your friends trying to come up with an idea, I don’t think you should start that company (although there are many who disagree with me). Remember that there will be lots of other opportunities to start companies, and that* startups are a 6-10 year commitment—wait for the right one*

 如果你选择创业,要保证这是一个你真心喜欢的主意。创业的机会将来会有很多,而创业是一个6到10年的付出,所以一定要谨慎选择对的那个。

One big pro for starting a company is that it’s usually the way to learn the most in the shortest amount of time. One big con is that it’s easy to start a company for the wrong reasons—usually so that you can say you’re starting a company—and this makes it easy to cloud your judgment.

创业的一个好处是,能在最短时间内学到最多东西。但也有一个弊端是,很容易因为错误的动机而去创业,尤其是为了吹嘘。

No matter what you choose, keep your personal burn rate low and minimize your commitments. I have seen a lot of people miss great opportunities because they couldn’t afford a reduction in salary or because they couldn’t move or didn’t have the time.

无论选什么,尽量减少个人的束缚总是对的。比如,如果你有房贷所以不能接受低工资,或者不能搬家,或者没有时间,那你很可能错失好机会。

Think about risk the right way. Drew Houston gave a great commencement speech where he said you only have to be right once. That’s true. The risk is not getting on the path where you get to be right that one critical time.

要正确的认识风险。Drew Houston说过:你只需要选对一次。说得太对了。

[1] Sometimes, a 4th option is being a VC. This is usually a mistake—the best way to become a VC is not to grind your way up the ladder from junior associate intern. Even if you want to be a VC, you’re much better off starting or joining a startup, and getting partner offers when you’re 28. Plus, good founders want to work with an investor that has operational experience.

有时候,去当VC也是个选择。通常这是个错误。成为VC最好的途径不是从实习生开始,而是有实战经验。

[2] Interestingly, no one is ever considering going into academia.

有趣的是,没人想去学术界。