Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Startup school

I attended Paul Graham's Startup School this past Saturday. (Thanks to Drew Houston for letting me crash at his place!) I took fairly detailed notes on the speakers; I think this is the most comprehensive overview available, actually. (Note that these are in the order they actually spoke, which isn't quite the same as the plan.)

  1. Langley Steinert, entrepreneur. Short "entrepreneurship 101" talk. Lots of interesting Q&A.
  2. Marc Hedlund, Entrepreneur in Residence, O'Reilly Media. Talks about over a dozen startups he's seen in the last couple years -- most of which you'll recognize -- and why they succeeded.
  3. Qi Lu, VC at Yahoo. One subject: Why yahoo rocks. Total advertorial; skip this one unless you're a yahoo fanboy.
  4. Hutch Fishman, part-time CFO for startups. Talks about VC founds, directors, liquidity. Pretty basic stuff if you've read up on this at all, but his Q&A is worth reading.
  5. Paul Graham, author of entrepreneurship essays, VC, and Lisp fan. This was my first time seeing Paul speak; I was surprised to find out that when one of his essays says "... derived from a talk at ..." it really means "I read this essay at ..." So you might as well read the transcript instead of my notes, up until the Questions section. (Respect to Reg Braithwaite, who stood up to challenge the conventional wisdom that entrepreneurship isn't for people with kids.)
  6. David Cavanaugh, lawyer. Standard slashdot-style IP overview. If you know what the differences are between patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret, you won't see anything new here.
  7. Michael Mandel, economist. Before the lunch break, I told my friends that this talk was either going to be very interesting or very dull. I'm glad I was right (and it wasn't dull). One of his points is, "The USA has certain systemic advantages that encourage entrepreneurship and growth." But I hesitate to call that his main point, since he talks about a lot more than that. Worth reading.
  8. Steve Wozniak. Sort of a retrospective. I don't know that I learned much, but hey, I got to shake Woz's hand.
  9. Mark Macenka, IP lawyer. Somewhat more useful than the other lawyer's talk. Read the "Founders issues" section.
  10. Stan Reiss, VC. Interesting take on startups from a VC's perspective: when taking VC money is worth it, and when you shouldn't. Long Q&A session.
  11. Stephen Wolfram, founder of the Mathematica company. I figured when I saw shots of cellular automata on the projector while he set up that this wouldn't be about entrepreneurship, and I could tune it out. I was right.
  12. Chris Sacca, head of new business development for Google. As much of a cheerleader as Qi Lu was, but less blatant and more interesting.
  13. Olin Shivers, professor and entrepreneur. Talks about failure and attitude in a Nietsche-ish way. Moved really, really fast; Olin was the only speaker I felt like I couldn't keep up with, note-taking-wise. Catch the video when it goes up. (If you just look at his slides, you'll miss a lot.) Excellent talk.
  14. Summer founders, the guys (all of them were male) who took seed money from Paul's VC firm. Probably most interesting if you're college-age-ish and also thinking about applying to Y Combinator.

See also the slides for those presenters who had them. Supposedly videos will be up eventually.

Of the other blogs I've seen, Fred Ngo's and Robbie Allen have the best speaker coverage.

Thanks to Paul and the speakers for organizing this! I had fun and learned a lot.

1 comment:

PabloC said...

Thanks for sharing this!