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‘Essential startup advice’ from top Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator

The folks at Y Combinator have seen a lot startups succeed and fail, so it’s probably worth listening to their advice if you’re launching your own company.

The renowned Silicon Valley accelerator published a blog post on Monday written by YC partners Geoff Ralston and Michael Seibel outlining “the most important, most transformative advice for startups” as deemed by YC.

The advice is a must-read for entrepreneurs. It ranges from launching your product quickly; not scaling too fast; raising investment; the 90/10 solution; removing distractions; learning to grow; measuring success; and more.

YC has funded nearly 1,500 startups since 2005 that have a total combined valuation of $80 billion. It has backed several Seattle-based companies; more recently, startups like Poppy, Deako, BloomAPI graduated from the program.

YC has put out similar tips for entrepreneurs like the Startup Playbook written by YC founder Sam Altman. Here’s the “pocket guide” version of YC’s “essential advice”:

  • Launch now
  • Build something people want
  • Do things that don’t scale
  • Find the 90 / 10 solution
  • Find 10-100 customers who love your product
  • All startups are badly broken at some point
  • Write code – talk to users
  • “It’s not your money”
  • Growth is the result of a great product not the precursor
  • Don’t scale your team/product until you have built something people want
  • Valuation is not equal to success or even probability of success
  • Avoid long negotiated deals with big customers if you can
  • Avoid big company corporate development queries – they will only waste time
  • Avoid conferences unless they are the best way to get customers
  • Pre-product market fit – do things that don’t scale: remain small/nimble
  • Startups can only solve one problem well at any given time
  • Founder relationships matter more than you think
  • Sometimes you need to fire your customers (they might be killing you)
  • Ignore your competitors, you will more likely die of suicide than murder
  • Most companies don’t die because they run out of money
  • Be nice! Or at least don’t be a jerk
  • Get sleep and exercise – take care of yourself