Skip to main content

How to Start a Startup

  • Published Jan 4, 2018
  • Difficulty Beginner
  • Average rating: 0 Number of reviews: 0
  • (0)
  • Categories: Entrepreneurship

By Julia Huprich

How to Start a Startup is a series of video lectures initially given at Stanford University in Fall 2014; the course was taught by Sam Altman. In this path, Sam will lead the learner through 20 lectures with the likes of startup experts like Peter Thiel, Aaron Levie, and Reid Hoffman to discuss how to come up with ideas and evaluate them, how to get users and grow, how to do sales and marketing, how to hire, how to raise money, company culture, operations and management, business strategy, and more. For more information on the Startup School, visit

Lecture 1: Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part I

Sam Altman introduces the class and drills into 4 key areas needed for a successful startup: ideas, products, teams, and execution. Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz follows this up with his reasons to start a startup.

Lecture 2: Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part II

In part two of this lecture, Sam Altman talks about the importance of 2 of the 4 key areas: team and execution. Topics covered in this lecture include hiring the best, setting an operating rhythm, and handling sales and marketing.

Lecture 3: Before the Startup

Paul Graham delivers an informative (and highly amusing) talk, addressing counterintuitive parts of startups, in lecture 3 of "How to Start a Startup."

Lecture 4: Building Product, Talking to Users, and Growing

How do you go from zero users to many users? Adora Cheung, founder of Homejoy, covers 3 topics: building product, talking to users, and growing, in lecture 4 of "How to Start a Startup."

Lecture 5: Competition is For Losers

Peter Thiel, founder of Paypal and Palantir, discusses business strategy and monopoly theory in "Competition is For Losers".

Lecture 6: Growth

Lecture 7: How to Build Products Users Love

Lecture 8: Doing Things That Don't Scale

Lecture 8 features 3 speakers: Stanley Tang, founder of Doordash, covers "How to Get Started." Walker Williams, founder of Teespring, covers "Doing things that Don't Scale," and Justin Kan, founder of TwitchTV and partner at Y Combinator, covers the topic of dealing with the press.

Lecture 9: How to Raise Money

Sam leads a panel Q&A on fundraising in this lecture with Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz; Ron Conway, founder of SV Angel; and Parker Conrad, founder of Zenefits.

Lecture 10: Culture

Brian Chesky, Founder of Airbnb, and Alfred Lin, Former COO of Zappos and Partner at Sequoia Capital, discuss how to build a great company culture.

Lecture 11: Hiring and Culture, Part II

Stripe and Pinterest are two companies well-known for their strong cultures. The founders - John Collison, Patrick Collison, and Ben Silberman - take Q&A from Sam in part 2 of Hiring and Culture.

Lecture 12: Building for the Enterprise

Lecture 13: How To Be A Great Founder

So you've learned how to get started, how to raise money, how to build products, and how to grow. Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and Partner at Greylock Ventures, addresses many of the questions and confusions that you may have about how to be a great founder.

Lecture 14: How to Operate

What should the CEO be doing on a day to day basis? How do you make sure the company is moving in the right direction? Keith Rabois, Partner at Khosla Ventures and former COO of Square, tackles the nitty gritty in this lecture.

Lecture 15: How to Manage

You are not the only one whom your decisions impact. Ben Horowitz, founder of Andreessen Horowitz and Opsware, discusses this important management perspective that founders miss, with, of course, the gratuitous rap lyric or two sprinkled in.

Lecture 16: How to Run a User Interview

Building product and talking to users: in the early stages of your startup, those are the two things you should focus on. In this lecture, Emmett Shear, Founder and CEO of and Twitch, covers the latter. What can you learn by talking to users that you can't learn by looking at data?

Lecture 17: How to Design Hardware Products

Hosain Rahman, CEO and Founder of Jawbone, covers the design process for building hardware products users love.

Lecture 18: Legal and Accounting Basics for Startups

There's a lot that goes behind the scenes in running a startup. Getting the legal, finance (equity allocation, vesting), accounting, and other overhead right will save you a lot of pain in the long run. Kirsty Nathoo, CFO at Y Combinator, and Carolynn Levy, General Counsel at Y Combinator, cover these very important topics in this lecture.

Lecture 19: Sales and Marketing

There are three segments in this lecture: Tyler Bosmeny, founder and CEO of Clever, starts off today's lecture with an overview of the Sales Funnel and how to get to your first $1 million. Michael Seibel, founder of and Socialcam and Partner at Y Combinator, then goes over how to talk to investors - the pitch.

Lecture 20: Later-Stage Advice

Sam caps off the "How to Start a Startup" series with things you should ignore when you start, but become important a year in.