Denham Sadler | StartupSmart

Too many founders choose to “play startup” rather than actually build a sustainable and successful company, Posthaven founder and former Y Combinator partner Garry Tan says.

In a Q&A session on Product Hunt, Tan discussed “toxic” startup culture and the mistakes that he regularly sees entrepreneurs make, often due to them trying to follow a perceived Silicon Valley stereotype.

He says the want to “play startup” and the perks that go along with that too often trumps actually building a good product.

“The perfect is the enemy of the good,” Tan says.

“Most people are really afraid to release software because that’s the moment at which you are face-to-face with failure. If you release it and nobody likes it you’ve failed. But if you are ‘still working on it’ then you are just ‘in progress’ and you can still go to startup events and ‘play startups’.

“That’s really why startups as a lifestyle are so toxic. It becomes a place where people can go play house and basically waste their own time and effort. It’s not a scene and it really shouldn’t be.”

“Focus on shipping and then making it better, don’t play startup.”

Tan says that founders can also often “play startup” when looking to expand their team.

“Don’t hire until you need to – hiring prematurely is another form of playing startup,” he says.

“You’ll notice startups that play startup always talk about number of employees and how much they’ve raised. Those are cost centres.

“I’m always impressed when founders talk about their customers and what they’ve done for them and how they’ve been growing revenue.”

In the Q&A session Tan also passed on a number of useful and insightful takeaways for startup founders and entrepreneurs.


Tan says it’s crucial for a founder to be able to cover all facets of a business, especially in the early days.

Continue reading …

Source: Former Y Combinator partner Garry Tan on toxic tech culture and the dangers of “playing startup” – StartupSmart


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