Paul Graham Office Hours – Startup School 2011

All right. I use this microphone, so we are getting to you I just hours located at TechCrunch disrupt new merger last hours with for start-ups actually applying so might know a little bit work out there in their visions by its former shanty there’s got very. Yes, well, there are, we get 40 get 30 minutes the opposite or sponsor for or 6 minutes/for real sellers. Incidentally, it’s not that realistic, but that means 6 minutes of so I can I can give an impromptu tomorrow, that’s something I’ve been thinking a lot of sense in reading. We like is that are here. This can be like Louis Farrakhan for any one that’s it on the floor here in the real serious. Just reading thousands how many repetitions and there’s one thing I find myself thinking readings applications well there several things, there’s one particular thing. So many people. So many people’s cases the desire to start a start up precedes the idea people decide I once did a starter. I did think of an idea for a start and then apparently judging by the results they perform an operation in their head, it’s a lot like Mark cheating on a corporate TechCrunch articles. So here’s what you should you instead right and probably a lot of people have gotten comments from and the application, probably a lot of people have gotten comments from me on the application seeking something like this, but the best start up ideas don’t come from people try to think of start-up ideas they come from people trying to solve problems. What you need to the problems. Look for some missing or broken in the world. If you look at all the best start up ideas came from problems. I mean it’s enough to find a problem. The best thing to find is a problem that you yourself out. If you look at all the biggest start-ups, they tend to have out of problems that the founders themselves had built its you know micro computer comes along. It’s got 40 of memory. Yet the program machine language he’s really excited about have be able to have his own computer instead of having to wait time share but it would be great if you programing in basic machine language. So we think himself for you know I Ike oil that would fit in the 4 of memory and leave a little bit over for the program. Right, and that’s where start of gross out he wasn’t thinking I need to start a company he wasn’t thinking in the beginning, at least I’m gonna Dominique Michael computer soccer for decades and the way to start. It is by reigning basic interpreter for the off here. No, he just like one at a program the thing in basic and machine language. So, Apple to rate to euro. No. Apple started because Steve Wozniak wanted a computer he wasn’t company. So don’t try so hard to start companies go look for problems just look for problems that need fixing and that is where good ideas come from. Okay. It’s the old now the so with built for start-ups and look. They’re all here are, you know for start-ups were the people to do you upstairs and they all year. For start-ups. The people are starting to be okay. You can see, well, I mean a time took 66 minutes. What is usurped him cloud services cloud services for metrics is it like mixed. Oh no, it’s the backend of metrics. Yes it was a deal exactly what’s been sitting up its since yogurt and give us later on. On top of that expelled whether they want be an hour or an hour. It’s not specifically that metrics. Isn’t it just let you can analyze whatever that’s what okay well neither Yahoo back though. Sorry. Really, someone artist artist look easy. Ex-Lions president presentation stuff like speakers you know my which is. This is like the before and after story that technology. That’s a pinpoint that those of us started service don’t have you I think. So okay, so it is it is specifically a backhand for analytics, like most of what matters most of what people use it afford tricks. Why is it not just mix. Because power since they came out. And it’s painful. So, no, no. Iain you what. What makes the difference on its super generic and an article I should go, but I mean your problems it’s it’s it’s good. It’s like it’s an API and cloud platform that away the database and everything else you have to build to do your internal metrics on anyone who uses mixed now kiss metrics has to supplement or something, something build house usually usually dislike Romano Viennese films the fatten and right right maverick whose jobs just as you. Sort invent rate revenue measure you measure when this is happening. Yes a kiss metrics and expand our super event based events like a generic term right on that our the system they were a higher level that’s traction it specifically that it supports any kind of noun, so you could use it for events in fact expect people to dissidents say every time an event and send it matter to Senator Max panel were if it has a property that says to me then send the differences I still don’t get what the difference. It’s what’s the difference is in the mix depresses when you have to supplement whatever’s out there if you company and platform that’s what it comes down to. There are come there a view of reporting company if you need something they don’t have a future to solicit examples. So here he is your thing. As an ex-con and making his case. Yeah, I mean we had revenue and zero there’s good reason for our. It’s a start of series company in reveal space and we signed a social game company too and what it was, what was asked on this, so I can give specific use cases like here’s good for instance like an event comes in and you’re using external and the of birds are using what I’m doing in the name of the event is let’s see here to be we not see your source of income. Yes, events called by gems as James your premium currency and that means that risk. In real dollars. Let’s say you want to treat people who bought one thing different people who’ve bought zero you you’ve, you wanted to do what 5 things very differently if they spent $200 more willing to them differently in my and insists that we’re building, you can say drip onto a gantry. As you can see when that comes in call by GM’s first find out and users this event then take that number in based on if its budgets it lets you one then prospect to my API and say they’re now paying user if it’s 5 back maybe I and 7 status that you you can get arbitrary prospects in your own application. The bill also sending stickers metrics and panel program of the mix. Well, which is holed up in your. You get a whole these things close your mouth so hard just if more before more program. Is is the different is the difference basically that it to more programmable version of mixed. In that example that’s indict simple yes it is a sad event. But you could very well Smith something else like click click if you wanted you all you are checking in Portugal click on what happens is you turn to those guys on these events and you can only react to the name multiplex that field was strangers stashing all this kind of data like oh he publishes number 8 was the event was even called published novels and you go and if we can build reports on the number 2 is Newton’s ground to potential customers why different from panels this what you tell them no you are usually is talking about the metrics, and they asked me to be asking how to do things in it for that. This is great for that whoever can do that and there’s always something that’s domain specific for the generic reports the writing reports to hit the common denominator needs there isn’t a platform that you can customize, so we’re just trying to elevate the technology for developers to hook in and build what makes them special. Okay. So it sounds like you do. Of lower level abstraction next month here we’ll hear more. Yes, right. The dozens of mixed handles high level and therefore somewhat constraining your Morris somehow. Because there they they have it’s it comes under approach, they said, what are the features people need let’s build those look at very future now second highest features like a traditional 30 more seconds and we’re saying what makes metrics metrics and how we make the technology closer to that, so that these because I mean you you have had to. I mean, believe me, if you don’t know. But like every sort of out there that just supplements was something eventually. And they had to do it all completely from scratch and we’re sticking out away and sentiments of something in house they just build a letter assisting well bike you just use make commodity because you have people run that he may now you developing a trail of product for you cannibalize engineering resources have those people spend some time building metrics I’m sure people who’ve had to do this and it’s a serious pain point for developers. So we’re starting as a developer facing platform. But I think that there’s also a consulting with kids the consultant does metrics who wants to use it because yesterday role this every time it no point. Time is now very, very well. We never got to the point, keeping faith and still with this company. There’s no sorry a technical difficulties. Yeah. All right, well, glad and if you get more. So you’re watching that that that illustrates the value of be able to explain precisely what you do you rate yeah okay so precisely what is your a few. Health records in the cloud, but the problem is actually bigger than that. So Bill Gates actually just gave a talk at UW. Not too long ago. And the point that he made is that our health expenditures grow almost exponentially. If you look at the curve, but our availability of GDP obviously to cover that worry at 17% and it’s gone up exponentially. Over the last several years and there is no way to avoid the rationing of care, unless you can find a way to lower health costs, so the recent health records in the cloud is health records are central to the practice of medicine and putting them in the cloud to lower the cost of other effects. That’s it. You know it took it was enough and who are instantly. Okay so to be each. What do you have to do, you have to you to you of all sorts of government regulations. Great. You have to sell to someone. So do you sell to China hospitals or individual medical practices. So, there’s basically 2 options, you have to embody the ambulatory care and inpatient care ambulatory care commentary in private practice physicians, and that’s where I wanted to go after the island daughter a practice physicians to start because you a price, you don’t have to Donna Fraser decision. Hari Syria to you need charring approach these individual physicians what’s special about where you do it. So, innovation in the health care industry has kind of been stagnant for a really long time. I know that we doing but special out of what one of them are so there’s several things well originally got started on this, we’re interested in doing data mining for medical records but you couldn’t really do that, the systems were closed, there is no API for another lies in the records for medical research. Rent. So one of the things that we want to do is make the data mine a ball and anonymous. So you can have an ability for people who want to do medical research to come in and if you give them permission a in mind the record. Doesn’t sound like it would be a big selling point to these individual doctors’ offices and he tried to. Okay, I’m not done. So tell me, the best part for, so the part that the doctors are you know like the most is it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than anything else out there that’s that’s it is, it is easy to use, to you it’s all going to be easy to use. Would anyone they can even intentionally that’s hard you know or so. Yes some specific. We, my my on usability and the way that I’m gonna try to sell this and show that I thought about it. Yeah. Is there is an author, he’s an MD PhD he’s he’s gone out but is leery reads you know all of this stuff in the ’70s on the problem oriented corrected indeed the thing he pointed out is everyone makes source oriented records the employer, you have all your meds. Of all your physicals. But that’s not actually how you practice medicine you practicing medicine image he’s there. You know you’re gonna take the software and the record keeping and make it match the practice of medicine. So they’re always trying to solve your medical problem so you end up with a problem oriented medical records. Can he just wanted to be a lot like the systems. This is there’s gonna be an initial I think Niger reaction turn out like it as much as it is different on the other hand the Forest Hills. Oh dear. And against you is a him Microsoft you you know you can have an initial Niger reaction and eventually you prevail. Well, yes. As much money as Microsoft said, but no so know he was great as much venture as much seed money is like this. That seems fair. Do you know how much money Microsoft had nothing more. Did you guys get onto building medical staff like is this in your background holy. It’s so I I really got involved because I’m interested in it. As I get bored with problems and there’s a lot of complexity and kind of the medical industry in treating all why the medical stuff in particular, all this stuff that then will but I mean for me personally, it’s. Issues and trying to solve those problems and they’re not really being addressed. So there’s a huge market rally in this world. He worked in electronic health records. Not exactly. So I worked as a DOD contractor for 2 years and I kept trying to get on in health innovation related projects, but they are few and far between but I ended up networking with a lot of doctors at Emory from Atlanta. I went to side of that you run your view that any sort of be no worse. I have been here for big positions that I’m doing testing with really. Yeah, so you have suffered in the field of physicians use it, they’re not using it lively doing testing for me. Okay so I itself is about where, what is it and they like it a lot more than what they’re using that they keep saying it needs more functionality, which it wasn’t. What’s the biggest war honestly I don’t completely there’s there’s just so many ICT. It’s like 900 pages of documentation. And it’s not realistic for them to know that, so there’s a lot of matching things that you need to integrate with the other software Italy is the doctors who use this where the clear, it’s, it’s really the positions and their medical staff so like their office staff will use it you typically don’t have like the people cleaning the rooms using it, but you know like the actual nurses and other, kind of, but now they’re using paper. About 50% are using paper and 50% are. But those numbers are down 39 seconds that 50% of the people you’re testing 50-50 percent of physicians in the United States have got the lake you’re testing this this only 2 of newspaper records. Get so the other ones are comparing this to some existing solution that they use it. Correct. That’s why they wanted a complete the paper guys and think again it nearby complete like okay so we all get a few seconds. You my advice is your and very dangerous territory rape as you do nothing really don’t have any domain expertise, all you have is a sort of general interest in this field rate Sue guided the empirical. Well, we watch these doctors and treat this like a science experiment, to see what will make the doctor a lake. You know around in this little wheel very good wrapped up so you lick watched as doctors and like a lot of the right of software like keep wicket asking what they want. Keep doing it, until they’re happy. All right, well, don’t worry. Okay. What are you working on where the working, we are building a put the engine for experience on these pages to make to make sense of that and it can be, you get park into this thing to go for the year and I think that was it to people that delay. Analysts thank you really easy for people to book online on their Facebook pages are it. This is for booking experiences like walking tours cooking classes dance workshops is it from for booking of people who are already in the business, because I think that this is a sign of these European Union ministers. Yeah, we get a lot of these get 20 night so actually these 2. Yeah, yeah. They have websites for him say I where people can look like it or not he now or flown so you email tax phone tagged as this they work for. You know, what about the state could be go on adventures like right in. But these things and find it such a pain more or. Are you, are you use is going to be people who are using something now and they’re gonna switch where they’re just people hurried resorting to email and phone calls. People either to email and phone calls, but who have really active Facebook pages you know people who are not technical and also their web pages. That said, and that means that they’re on Facebook interacting with the customers that he’s used so what it’s nothing. What do you think will be in in your first hundred users which take will be the most common, so we will be yoga instructors, for example. Well done some research on that we’re not your bench that is. Right now, though no burning wood it’ll presumably be all different types of where asking would yeah who’s gonna be who’s gonna want this the most you have anyone using it at the moment. Well, so I think, so we all in building this for 2 weeks by meeting next week to integrate with walking to it and cooking classes this system on the face of pages walking tours because they tend to have very small businesses and they don’t spend a lot of time on the website as much as spend it on social media so people tend to be big on social media and do these tours and things. Okay, so you’re building in our, in sort of appointment Booker, kind of, and it’s a did to Facebook. Also they to have arrived, but they know how to use Facebook are used Twitter because authorities did you. Yeah right. And so we, we, our about working right now. Couple quick thinking Agger booking fees or we’re talking limits should really easy for them to do. Are you talk people who already have been set up one Fay. Yeah. And it’s a very as you just making them like interest yeah interest. Okay. And this is turning into the workings lies to bring me on the Web, you put it on face reckless really interest and election interesting things like a very discounted let them on Facebook and engage the people that are. He didn’t do that in a separate Web so you go but they’re already really active on Facebook. How did he. How did you arrive at this idea did people start we already talking to these like. Well, that’s all right as we asked for it. Yeah. Alex, when we go on trips together and suckers we 10 years. So we like it’s Alaska and we’re on his tour were talking to the Richard rather like the white email the right. They’re not technical and they’re afraid of that kind of stuff, but they are based. Where is he even having a Web forum for people to schedule stuff. Yeah, I mean that is beyond. Yeah. Do you know how much you’re charging for and how much will it pay for that. We’re thinking about a monthly subscription because it’s, it’s very similar like by and those were you can for things US than most of it would you think would be the best thing to ask them how much will you. I was really bad. Our advice away from here. You should try asking do, then let’s leave asking is what. Rate, then you’re in trouble when. Yeah, well, still, you’re in trouble. Okay, so. I would figure out I I didn’t different types of users and have slain different needs that the stimulus and different things wanting to work and that’s why I asked here first users the cause. You got to make sure your first users like you. So we want to use of all the potential users identify a subset most desperate rigging of, you know that’s gonna break the and then they’re gonna be most excited to use this to make sure it works at least for now for some critical feature the yoga is needed walking tours and your initial users in the you know your history is make sure you that that are you if you don’t have initial users. You never get beyond initial users. And in one of the reasons why we chose walking tours including passes it is because things like school but that he have to fill out forms of life your agents and medical release and all sorts of things but like for these things. It really one person who’s trying to grow our business like or all you know going to start. Thanks. Is this the biggest problem you found in the world. I thought you guys technical backgrounds Ray stand for it but I know this is like this is technically to me no is not technically demanding that that the other world more than where you can sell expensive and get people to by look the classes backing present instead of parent teens you’re only think that it was the matter technically demanding to you but this is a problem and other he’ll to sell. Here’s what really really speaks up. Do you have a plan for your do once you get like a large so you have a large number of people or using your software too but these experiences like where do you go from there. We did set up a marketplace right where it’s now you’re considering went on fun this weekend you know this marketplace and boom. That’s all these that so it’s it’s it’s we get around that. I’m sorry. So it’s you or do you, you know, honestly. Honestly, if you do start up if it succeeds, you’re really spend the next 5 years on, at least so like don’t choose your idea lately. I would seriously consider thinking of something else, because I’m not saying that this is, this is necessarily a bad idea, but it’s better to do something that if you’re capable of doing heart pains. You know it’s better to do so, but you guys are both so yes people you should do something that requires serious happy. The difficulties the overall user experience design and his development and going in doing seals that is all that people have that neck and the stuff, and that’s a very relaxed efforts. Yes. Hackers. And we get a hand on the more about, talk more about. Just for the audience. My name is Christian, this is Richard. Okay. You guys what are you working on. We are creating a dating website where users can set up dates between their friends or users can basically request states the friends of friends. RN, that’s an interesting idea we get, we get a lot of that I think there’s something there. So here’s an interesting question. It’s not like nobody else this threat. So why doesn’t it already exists. I think that there can be a combination of factors, one, it could be the time I think that there’s a job. Possible now. But it wasn’t before because now you can get people social graphs. Correct. That’s one of it’s infrastructure in part I think that we’re relying on Facebook to provide that social graph showing the connections between people. He previously dating websites to create their own social network, which is really challenging I think another thing is that. You know you’ve got the same problem dating sites. Always have. The trouble is being sites is it’s not interesting to lose a lot of users rate it was terrible chicken and egg problem and you have if you using intermediaries to break. There’s not a, it’s not good for you to fix your friends of the people in this is other people Citron affixed friends of the people, so high income high solve the chicken and egg. Yeah, so we thought about the question like it’s something that you mention before on and if your request for start-ups. I think our primary focus to try and address that problem is through the matchmaker user the matchmaker user is there’s basically 2 types of users as a single person who is trying to find its and there’s a matchmaker. How do you matchmaker honestly it’s going to basically be that in friends we basically need to set up. People say you the current, the current way of doing this is if someone’s a matchmaker just introduced their friends to people or if I see someone like if someone sees someone that they like that’s a friend of a friend, just the calls for an introduction. You know, should you actually. Those who do I have to say. Unfortunately that about probably was a verbatim quote. Finally, it turned out to actually be advice. What you should do you you the chicken and egg problem you can make you make this just make at all for someone who’s like a real busy body matchmaker type person never mind whether this any other users at all 8 just like make it for user for matchmaker any rate. Yeah, we come to the that we actually know people. They don’t buy parties brand they go oh by the way are you gonna bring. After the dating site is just a pitch it as a tool for match-makers break and then eventually when you get enough match makers states. This professional ones you go off the lake professional much makers. Yeah, that’s true, I mean I think it’s compelling that a friend because you can make it, so my public a professional matchmaker is my this guys they want. Yeah and professional matchmaking once they still exist. You can go sign up them their financials and will try to find someone like you but life right now, I think when you go one dating websites. People get a little noise like specially was employed to the subgroup of like heterosexual couples. I think the female population there against India with noise but this something of thing I given mutual friends out. Oh, that was a lie. I totally believe this will match me to think would work. The problem is just the chicken and egg problem. That’s always the hard part was focus on it not being a dating site very kind of marketplace like thing just build a tour for match-makers and you get, I think what will. What will it will individual match me Chris why no one the one broadcast a little bit of what they’re doing, but not a lot. Rain that’s you’re not a I think find some individual like find some of these extreme match makers and like act as if you were a consultant hired by them to write a piece of soccer just for them. This will turn out like no line of could you rate is just for them very. I think that we are actually focusing on the matchmaker experience at least in my mind that’s where our main development is line 23 that experience for them. So right now. Give to cultivate more busybodies. Rates and really it’s challenged, I think that we’re facing, is that when you think about is creating a really compelling experience for them. Keeping their interests. You can, if you can get 10 friends really aggressive matchmaker tapes we can you get to the point where all 10 of your friends are actually voluntarily using your not just out of favor to you, you’re probably already passed the hard part. Great. Once you just had 10 people who were using it ’cause those 10 people. It’s very unlikely have bizarre idiosyncrasies that make them. The only ones who use the software. Jeff ideas and specific things software could do that would be better than just the way they do at the moment the lighting. I think moments talking when you’re playing the existing solutions to me my dating websites for. No, I mean, I mean just low Tech late and just a word of mouth-tenths of an ancient lake me with my friend. All we’re getting drinks when you come along. Think what could suffer due that specifically better than that. I think our software specifically is providing a better connections. For people providing the better connections for people. I mean, one way to think about and this is the very answer but there’s live things are happening in real life that the tightened in the online, it it doesn’t crack with very nice. Thank you, like this to give them an online tool toss to do this. The doing in real life. Maybe they could reach extend their reach to Don Imus. That’s very specific, but they will cook up something. Did you make it a game that might be interesting for the kind of kindness. Well though we were, that was probably the able to brag about. We are at their are thinking about, like some sort of score for them like the amount of success. It doesn’t have to be as lean as badges risk as you just that mean you think if someone could see you know like fighters they shut down. You know, we’re at a time. Well, did you wanna ask them to 5 years. Say you by Jessica anybody’s delegating said US area just you used to, I usually say no, but no sounds interesting deadline.

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