No matter what you choose, build stuff and be around smart people.

— Sam Altman

The most successful Sam Altman quotes that will inspire your inner self

You can create value with breakthrough innovation, incremental refinement, or complex coordination. Great companies often do two of these. The very best companies do all three.

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Founders are usually very stingy with equity to employees and very generous with equity to investors. I think this is totally backwards.

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Everyone starting a startup for the first time is scared, and everyone feels like a bit of an imposter.

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No growth hack, brilliant marketing idea, or sales team can save you long term if you don't have a sufficiently good product.

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If you don't need it yourself, and you're building something that someone else needs, realize you're at a big disadvantage.

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1 of the hardest parts about being a founder, is that there are a 100 important things competing for your attention each day.

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Most investors are obsessed with the market size today and they don't think about how the market is going to evolve.

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Startups are not the best choice for work-life balance, and that's sort of just the sad reality.

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If someone is difficult to talk to, if someone cannot communicate clearly, it's a real problem in terms of their likelihood to work out.

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The natural state of a start-up is to die;

most start-ups require multiple miracles in their early days to escape this fate.

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What being a founder means, is signing up for this years long grind on execution - and you can't outsource this.

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Study the unusually successful people you know, and you will find them imbued with enthusiasm for their work which is contagious. Not only are they themselves excited about what they are doing, but they also get you excited

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About Sam Altman

Quotes 235 sayings
Birthday April 22, 1985

The startups that do well are the ones that are working all the time.

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The tenth social network, and limited only to college students with no money, also terrible. Myspace had won.

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Wait to start a startup until you come up with an idea that you feel compelled to explore.

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Investors will sort of like write the check and then, despite a lot of promises, don't usually do that much; sometimes they do.

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We've seen a lot of data at YC now, and the most successful companies and the ones where the investors do the best... end up giving a lot of stock out to employees- year after year after year.

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One of the pieces of advice that we give at YC is: try to work together on a project rather than just doing an interview.

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In general don't start a startup you're not willing to work on for ten years.

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A third advantage of mission oriented companies, is that people outside the company are more willing to help you.

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You're either not hiring at all or it's probably your single biggest block of time.

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Some day everyone will find out everyone else's comp, if it's all over the place, it will be a complete meltdown disaster

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Momentum and growth are the lifeblood of startups.

This is probably in the top three secrets of executing well.

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So you should always stay on top of people's vesting schedules.

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By the way, that's my number one piece of advice if you're going to join a startup: pick a rocket ship.

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Here's a good rule of thumb: don't worry about a competitor at all, until they're actually beating you with a real shipped product.

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One of the keys to focus, and why I said cofounders that aren't friends really struggle, is that you can't be focused without good communication.

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You cannot create a market that doesn't want to exist.

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Most of the best hires that I've made in my entire life have never done that thing before.

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Most startups are not nearly focussed enough.

They work hard...maybe, but they don't work hard on the right things.

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If you ever take your foot off the gas pedal, things will spiral out of control, snowball downwards.

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Most things are not as risky as they seem.

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Really dig into projects people have worked on and call references;

that is another thing that first time founders like to skip.

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A small communication breakdown is enough for everyone to be working on slightly different things. And then you loose focus.

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Every thing at a startup gets modeled after the founders.

Whatever the founders do becomes the culture.

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Move fast. Speed is one of your main advantages over large companies.

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It's better to have no cofounder than to have a bad cofounder, but it's still bad to be a solo founder.

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Losing focus is another way that founders get off track.

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It's become popular in recent years to say that the idea doesn't matter.

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You need this sort of a tailwind to make a startup successful.

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Unfortunately the trick to great execution is to say no a lot.

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You can have a startup and one other thing, you can have a family, but you probably can't have many other things.

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I think as a rough estimate, you should aim to give about 10% of the company to the first 10 employees.

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It takes years and years, usually a decade, to create a great startup.

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We hear again and again from founders, that they wish they had waited to start a startup until they came up with an idea they really loved.

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You need to have a culture where people have very high quality standards in everything the company does, but still move quickly.

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So always keep momentum, it's this prime directive for managing a startup.

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If you compromise in the first five, ten hires it might kill the company.

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Unpopular but right is what you're going for.

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