YC创业课笔记2: Stupid Apps and Changing the World

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:41:24 GMT

Facebook, Twitter, reddit, the Internet itself, the iPhone, and on and on and on—most people dismissed these things as incremental or trivial when they first came out.

People often accuse people in Silicon Valley of working on things that don’t matter. I have a thought about why. There’s the famous observation that the value of a network grows as a function of the square of the number of nodes, and also many of these services/products double their userbase every N months, with N decreasing as the service gets more valuable.

So the value/importance of the service grows hyperexponentially. I’ve never met anyone in my life that has a good intuition for hyperexponential growth—most of us even struggle to comprehend exponential growth.




There is all sorts of emergent behavior as something grows in importance a millionfold in a short period of time. If some users really love what you’re building, engage with the service or product as an important part of their daily lives, and interesting new behaviors keep emerging as you grow, keep working on it.


As an aside, pay no attention to market predictions—some of the worst predictions in the history of business (a market for 5 computers, a market for 900,000 cell phones) have been the most costly.

In closing, I have two pieces of advice for the “arrogant fucks” who make the world go round. One, don’t claim you’re changing the world until you’ve changed it. Two, ignore the haters and work on whatever you find interesting. The internet commenters and journalists that say you’re working on something that doesn’t matter are probably not building anything at all themselves.