Startup Playbook By Sam Altman

A great blog:Startup Playbook, from Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator.

Following are the notes I took when reading the blog.

The Idea

  • Clear & Concise
  • Targeted users
  • How to be a monopoly
  • Market
  • Prefer something new to something derivative

A Great Team

  • Unstoppability, determination, formidability, and resourcefulness.
  • Have the ability to get things done no matter how hard it is.
  • One founder knows product, service; One founder knows sales and marketing. Can be one person.
  • Have a good co-founder > Be a solo founder > Have a bad co-founder

A Great Product

  • Talk to user -> get feedback -> improve the product.
  • "Do things that don't scale"
  • Break things into small pieces and iterate and adapt as you go.

Great Execution


  • Growth and momentum are key to execution.
  • Have a single metric that the company optimizes.
  • Extreme internal transparency around metrics.
  • Don't need to worry too much about fast growing with a lot of un-optimization.
  • Think about problem in massive scale.

Focus & Intesity

  • Don't do next thing until you dominate the first thing.
  • Fast move in what you do.

Jobs of the CEO

  • Set the vision and strategy for the company.
  • Evangelize the company to everyone.
  • Hire and manage the team.
  • Raise the money.
  • Set the execution quality bar.
  • Stay engaged in the business you love the most.

Hiring & Managing

  • Try avoid hiring.
  • Generous with equality, trust & responsibility.
  • Go after people you don't think you'll be able to get.
  • Spend a lot of time on recruiting.
  • Don't compromise the quality of people you hire.
  • Invest in becoming a good manager.
  • Fire quickly.


  • 99% of the time, you should ignore competitors.
  • Worry about internal problems.

Making money

  • Watch cash flow obsessively.


  • Raise money when need it. Having too much money is almost as bad as not having enough money.
  • Have a good company.