How to Start a Startup - Lecture 14 Notes

November 6, 2014

I’m taking down notes for Sam Altman’s class, How to Start a Startup and I figured I’d start sharing them. This is for the fourteenth lecture with the following notes:

How to Operate

Concept of Editing

Barrels & Ammunition

How do you figure out who is a barrel?

Insist on Focus

Metrics & Transparency


Minimal Viable Transparency (MVT)





Q. How would to use transparency especially when people evaluate themselves on the salary that they get?

Ans. Either everyone in the company gets paid the same, or you could have it set by discipline (all engineers get paid the same), or by experience.

Steve Jobs at NeXT did it with bands (high or low). You were either highly experienced or low experience.

Q. Besides food, what other details do people care about?


Q. When you’re in a startup, how do you optimize those things because resources are sparse.


Q. What is the best way to gain street cred when being a new manager?


Q. Can you give more examples on how to consistently have a consistent voice in the company?


Q. Can you talk about how you manage people, how do you give them roles on how to (???)


Q. When do you compromise and hire more ammunition instead of a barrel?


Q. As a VC, how often do you meet with your companies?


Q. How do you harmonize when details matter and you’re only allowed one thing to do. How do you put those things together?


Discussion, links, and tweets

I'm a software enginer that's worked on various Android projects for a while now. If you'd like to follow me on Twitter, I don't always post about tech things.