Hackernoon logoThe Zen of Y-Combinator by@kerryjones12

The Zen of Y-Combinator

Kerry Jones Hacker Noon profile picture

Kerry Jones


This is an unofficial list of repeated sayings I have found in my studying of startups. This comes from reading, listening, watching, and working in a YC company.

  • Make something people want. [1, 2, 3]
  • Talk to users. [4, 5]
  • Do things that don’t scale. [6, 7]
  • A small number of users that love your product is better than a lot of people that like your product. [4, 8, 9]
  • Be careful with cofounders. [17, 18, 19, 20]
  • Growth solves all problems. [4, 10]
  • Solve your own problems. [2, 11]
  • Release early and iterate. [8, 14, 15]
  • You make what you measure. [8, 15]
  • Be relentlessly resourceful. [13, 16]


  1. Be Good by Paul Graham
  2. Jessica Livingston’s Pretty Complete List on How Not To Fail by Jessica Livingston
  3. Y-Combinator Motto
  4. Playbook by Sam Altman
  5. How To Start a Startup — Lecture 4: Building Product, Talking to Users, and Growing by Adora Cheung
  6. Do Things that Don’t Scale by Paul Graham
  7. How To Start a Startup — Lecture 8: Do Things That Don’t Scale by Walker Williams, Justin Kan and Stanley Tang
  8. Startups in 13 sentences by Paul Graham
  9. Five Founders by Paul Graham
  10. Startup = Growth by Paul Graham
  11. Startup Ideas by Paul Graham
  12. Relentlessly resourceful by Paul Graham
  13. Startup Lessons by Paul Graham
  14. “ If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” — Reid Hoffman
  15. Value is created by doing by Sam Altman
  16. How To Start a Startup — Lecture 2: Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part II by Sam Altman
  17. What Startups Are Really Like by Paul Graham
  18. The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups by Paul Graham
  19. Early Stage Startups: The Biggest Killers by Jessica Livingston
  20. What We Look For In Founders by Paul Graham

Other Resources

  1. Y-Combinator Website
  2. Y-Combinator Resources
  3. The Macro
  4. Paul Graham’s Essays
  5. Startup School Radio
  6. Sam Altman’s Blog
  7. How to Start a Startup Stanford Lecture Series
  8. Aaron Harris’ Blog
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