How to Choose Your Startup Idea

Editor’s note: This is a guest post on TechCrunch by Greg McAdoo. Greg’s interests include collaborative consumption, the cloud infrastruture and the post-PC era. He currently works with companies like Airbnb, Bump, Songkick and Y Combinator

Tomorrow hundreds will meet up for Startup School, YC’s annual event for gutsy hackers thinking about founding a company. It’s one of my favorite events, and this year’s attendees will get to hear from everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Stripe’s Patrick Collison to Weebly’s David Rusenko. It’s oversubscribed again, so here are some thoughts on how to choose an idea for your startup for those who can’t make it.

Investors always tell you to pursue big ideas, find your passion and iterate rapidly.That’s valuable advice, but there are some other important considerations that you don’t hear very often: tackle a small market, look for bizarre behavior, don’t make waves, and be unwilling to do anything else. Paul Graham also has some helpful suggestions here and here.

“Always think of yourself as an underdog. You are more prone to attack and take risks.”

Doug Leone to entrepreneurs at Stanford BASES E-Bootcamp 2012

“At that point I would barely have been able to pick California off a map, and I certainly had no idea about anything called venture capital. I’ve worked for the past 30 years in Silicon Valley. There is nothing that comes close to this place. That’s not an indictment of Britain, just a reflection on the wonderful benefits of living in America.”

— Michael Moritz on making the move from the UK after advice from Bill Deedes.

OnStartups: Some Surprising Reasons Why Sequoia Wins At The VC Game

The following is a guest post by Brian Halligan, my co-founder at HubSpot.  It’s not usually his style to lavish such gushing praise.

As many of you know by now, HubSpot just closed our Series D round led by Sequoia Capital with participation from Google Ventures and  I got a chance to work closely with Sequoia over the last two months and have thought a bit about how and why they are the top dog in the venture business and came up with 9 reasons.  At least a couple of them might surprise you.


1.  Brand:  Since they funded companies like Apple, Cisco, Google and Yahoo, they have the best “brand” in the business.  Because of this, nearly every aspiring entrepreneur pitches Sequoia (or would like to) in hopes of having some of that brand rub off on them.  This gives Sequoia a first crack at many of the best deals.