If Building Your Startup Doesn't Hurt, You're Not Doing It Right
When asked about whether or not he would build the type of startups he's advised for years, Y-Combinator cofounder, Paul Graham, is not even a little tempted.
“No, no. Never,” Graham said onstage at The Launch Festival in San Fransisco. “Building a startup hurts.”
For a man who has been at the helm of the US' most prominent tech startup incubator, one might expect Graham to celebrate the act of plunging into the depths of entrepreneurism and applauding those who aspire to become businessmen and women.
Instead, Graham, who recently announced that he was stepping down as a partner at Y-Combinator, has shined a light on the less glamorous side of entrepreneurship.
He also added that he hasn't hidden that side from the more than 600 startups that Y-Combinator has nurtured over the years. He and his partners, in fact, have made it a point to inform their apprentices that if their work in building a business doesn't involve pain, then they are "probably not trying hard enough."
Of, course, Graham wouldn't be the great advisor that he is if he didn't offer his tips to, ironically, work towards the pain that serves as a sign that things are going right. Chief among those tips was the idea of concentration.
While there are numerous examples of startups that have done okay while trying to do many things well, there is a growing case for the type of startup like WhatsApp; a business that aims to conquer one service only with laser focus.
And if the suggestions that Graham made onstage in San Francisco are any indication, the tech veteran is likely to be a fan.
"The most important things for startups to do is to focus." Graham said. "Because there's so many things you could be doing. One of them is the most important. You should be doing that. And not any of the others."