40 Hours of YC's Startup School
Y Combinator (YC) is an early stage seed accelerator based in Mountain View, California. YC has funded 1,588 startups since 2005 with over $80B in combined valuation among funded companies. Startup School is YC’s attempt to provide any founder with the tools and insight to start and build a startup business through a series of video lectures by successful startup founders.
YC offered office hours at the University of Pennsylvania in late February. Fitalyst was fortunate to grab a spot to meet with YC partner Eric Migicovsky. Eric, who also founded Pebble, was very easy to talk to and was excited to hear about new startups. After showing Eric a demo of our Tag product that focused more on dancing, we joked about how poor dancing plagues the best of us. And how a product like Tag could help solve that problem while also helping people improve their wellness in a fun way.
Chatting with Eric definitely sparked my interest in learning as much as possible about YC. This led me to Startup School’s wonderful database of videos.
Firstly, I’ve been in love with Ted Talks for several years now. You know how people binge watch Netflix shows in their free time? Well, I binge watch Ted Talks. Startup School lecture-style videos are very similar to Ted Talks. The videos focus on everything from starting a startup to obtaining users to managing teams. Our number one goal at Fitalyst is to build a product that our users want. Since our users are currently both students and college wellness services, we want to structure Fitalyst as a win-win that provides value to every stakeholder involved. My 40 hours with Startup School has essentially taught me that in order to develop Fitalyst into a win-win for all, we must embrace every loss as a learning experience and use every win as momentum towards our pursuit of innovation.
Here are some of my takeaways from the lectures:
o People don’t know what they want until you show them. How To Build a Product II - Aaron Levie
o Art is a lie that tells the truth. How to Invent the Future I - Alan Kay
o Environment takes things and normalizes them —> make things thinkable. How To Invent the Future 2 - Alan Kay
o If people are disenchanted or not impressed —> people aren’t going to come back. How to Think about Public Relation (Sharon from Continuity)
o Starting a startup is when gaming the system ends. How to Start a Startup (Sam Altman, Dustin Moskovitz)
o You want to be the last mover of an industry. Competition Is For Losers (Peter Thiel)
o Do things that don’t scale. How To Get Started Doing Things That Don’t Scale, Press
o "Don't think that when someone is walking through your company doing the Shmoney Dance, that other people aren't going to notice." How to Manage -Ben Horowitz
You can check out all of the Startup School videos here.
Our experience with Startup School and YC Office Hours has given us enough confidence to apply for the Summer 2018 batch. Wish us luck!
The Fitalyst Team consists of recent Penn graduate, Jonathan Muruako, Founder and CEO; Cameo Hazlewood, a current Penn junior studying Cognitive Science and Consumer Psychology, CMO; and Michael Berk, a current Penn sophomore integrating his Computer Science and Data Analytic skills as CTO. Find more at Fitalyst.com