Tony Wright on Startup Lessons from Y Combinator

Tony Wright of RescueTime has a wonderful post at FoundRead talking about his lessons learned from his RescueTime / Y Combinator experience. It should be a must read for early-stage tech entrepreneurs. A couple great tidbits:

I think we were the first YC company in our session to launch. Our product now is pretty polished and has a nice long (and accelerating) growth curve… Which nips the, “Does anyone want this?” question in the bud. Launching is an admission that your users are smarter about what they want/need than you are. Or at very least, it’s an admission that you have a lot to learn about your users. Dive in!

This sentiment maps to a mini-thread I’ve been pursuing with regard to speed vs. quality. The moral: fail faster.


The most common question neophyte entrepreneurs ask is, “Now that I’ve built it, how do I market it?” If you’re asking that question, I think you need to go back to the drawing board. In low-cost / high-distribution markets that we’re all playing in, you need some combination of SEO-fu, viral loops, and tremendous word of mouth. Alternatively, if you actually have a product that you’re SELLING, you need to have some proof that you can bring in buyers without a sales force…

The moral here? Build for customers, not for the ideal product in your head.

Great stuff. Tony is a regular poster on the Seattle Tech Startups listserv and seems like he really has his entreprenurial act together. Go read this post and see if you don’t agree!


1 Response to “Tony Wright on Startup Lessons from Y Combinator”

  1. 1 SoftwareSweatshop April 3, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Not only is it important to market your web app to users, you need to be aware that users are fickle, and are presented with more and more web apps that are supposed to change their life.

    Build something worthwhile, and get embedded like a tick.

    Raza Imam

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