YC Founder’s Response To 16 Common Doubts About Starting A Startup

February 12th, 2015

8,739 tech startups in San Francisco are listed on the AngelList network, which helps new tech companies connect with investors. Startup fever is spreading around the world, but many people who are excited by the possibilities are also intimidated by them. Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham has a response.

Walking from San Francisco’s startup-infested SOMA area into the city’s financial district, the difference in energy and culture is obvious. The atmosphere among the newer tech companies is more relaxed, creatively alive and diverse… and more positive. By contrast, the energy of the financial district is sedate and formal, everyone dressed similarly as they file along the sidewalks between skyscrapers, worker bees in the hive.

Unsurprisingly, many are finding the security promised by a traditional job at an established company to seem weak in comparison to the excitement, dynamism and potential payoff of launching their own startup. With technology development becoming increasingly accessible to innovative thinkers, the appeal of creating something new over fitting into something old is growing. But undertaking such a venture is no small thing and people naturally have their doubts.

In 2007, Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham published an essay entitled, Why To Not Not Start A Startup, consisting of his detailed responses to 16 doubts people typically have about launching their own tech business:

1. Too young
2. Too inexperienced
3. Not determined enough
4. Not smart enough
5. Know nothing about business
6. No cofounder
7. No idea
8. No room for more startups
9. Family to support
10. Independently wealth
11. Not ready for commitment
12. Need for structure
13. Fear of uncertainty
14. Don’t realize what you’re avoiding
15. Parents want you to be a doctor
16. A job is the default

Business Insider’s Anna Vital has neatly summarized Graham’s essay in an infographic entitled, This graphic will demolish every excuse you have for not founding a startup. Check it out before diving into Graham’s longer piece.