Do you think those problems will be solved by attending Startup School? Do you think that you'll meet all the right people, find that co-founder that will perfectly complement you, and learn all the inside information that you need to make your startup succeed? I hope that's not what you think. Startup School is a really good idea. It will give you a nice overview of things to think about, create a sense of possibility, and hopefully convince you to make the jump. Also, if you're there at 9:30, you'll get to hear a talk by a very sleepy me. As great as all that is, it's still just a one day event -- it's unlikely that you'll suddenly know all the right people and be ready to create your own startup.
So where is the REAL startup school, the one where you can find a good co-founder and all that? In my opinion, it's going on right now inside of the thousands of startups that ALREADY EXIST. You don't need to find a co-founder and funding and an idea, you just need to find an interesting startup and get them to hire you. I hinted at this in my previous post, "My startup path", but I'll say it more explicitly now: If you don't already know what you're doing, just join one of the many startups that already exist!
Your new startup job should give you the opportunity to:
- Learn about startups.
- Meet people who would be good future co-founders or employees.
- Witness success or failure -- you can learn a lot from either.
- Do things that you aren't qualified to do. I certainly wasn't qualified to build Gmail. This is another great way to learn.
- Make a lot of money if the startup happens to be a big success, and you don't necessarily need to own a big slice for this to happen.
This startup school will take more than a day, and in fact it could go on for years if the startup fails to go out of business and you decide to stick around. However, my prediction is that you'll learn a lot more from the experience than you did during the years spent memorizing trivia in school, and you'll be in a much better position if you then decide to found your own startup.
Who are these great startups that you should be applying to? At some point I'll try to make a list, but for now, here is one suggestion: Xobni. Adam and Matt are definitely smart and ambitious, and they also have some exciting news, which I can't yet tell you about.
Update: In case it wasn't clear enough, I'm recommending both the YC Startup School and the real world startup school (i.e., joining a real startup).
Update two: Some people have gotten the impression that I'm telling you to join a startup and then steal their employees. This is not what I'm suggesting. What I am suggesting is that in a year or two the startup will either be a success (which is good!), or it will not be a success, in which case your co-workers will be looking for something new. Even if it is a success, it could be acquired by (or become) a big company, and the startup types may want to move on. Furthermore, in all cases you have learned a lot more about startups, which was my main point.