怎样验证创业理念?(Startup Playbook from Sam Altman I)

创业,从一个有意思的想法开始。但不是所有的想法都能成就一个公司。

创业由四个部分组成,理念、团队、产品、执行力。Startup Playbook 是YC掌门人Sam Altman对这四个方面的完整阐述,这是第一部分关于创业理念。

One of the first things we ask YC companies is what they’re building and why. We look for clear, concise answers here. This is both to evaluate you as a founder and the idea itself.

我们会问所有YC创业公司的第一个问题是,你们的产品是什么,以及,为什么想做这事。我们期待明确、简洁的回答。这样问,是为了对创业理念进行评估,同时也是为了评估创始人本身。

It’s important to be able to think and communicate clearly as a founder—you’ll need it for recruiting, raising money, selling, etc. Ideas in general need to be clear to spread, and complex ideas are almost always a sign of muddled thinking or a made up problem.

作为一名创始人,必须有很好的思考能力和表达能力,在招聘、融资、销售等环节都会需要。创业理念通常来说应该非常简洁,这样才易于传播。复杂的理念通常意味着没想清楚,或者本身就是一个伪需求。

If the idea does not really excite at least some people the first time they hear it, that’s bad.

至少要有一些人在第一次听到你那理念的时候感觉到兴奋,如果没有的话,那就有点糟糕了。

Another thing we ask is who desperately needs the product. In the best case, you yourself are the target user. In the second best case, you understand the target user extremely well.

我们还会问,哪些人会极度想要你的产品。最理想的情况下,你自己就是目标用户。次一级的情况是,你非常理解目标用户的需求。

If a company already has users, we ask how many and how fast that number is growing. We try to figure out why it’s not growing faster, and we especially try to figure out if users really love the product.

如果项目已经有一些用户,我们会问用户的增长情况和增长速度。我们会尝试去找出用户没有快速增长的原因,也会特别想弄清楚用户是否真的热爱这款产品。

Usually this means they’re telling their friends to use the product without prompting from the company.

通常情况下,如果用户真正热爱这产品,在公司没有推广的情况下也会主动和身边的朋友推荐的。

We also ask if the company is generating revenue, and if not, why not.

我们还会询问公司是否已经有收入,如果没有的话,那是什么原因。

If the company doesn’t yet have users, we try to figure out the minimum thing to build first to test the hypothesis—i.e., if we work backwards from the perfect experience, we try to figure out what kernel to start with.

如果目前还没有用户,我们会想办法建立最小的可行性产品去测试自己的假设——也就是从产品未来完美的模样往回倒推,尝试去找到那个最初的基本内核。

The way to test an idea is to either launch it and see what happens or try to sell it (e.g. try to get a letter of intent before you write a line of code.)

测试理念的方法不是发布产品看看用户有什么反馈,就是先拿下订单(比如,先拿到客户的意向书)再写代码。

The former works better for consumer ideas (users may tell you they will use it, but in practice it won’t cut through the clutter) and the latter works better for enterprise ideas (if a company tells you they will buy something, then go build it.)

前一种方式适用于直接面向个人消费者的产品(用户可能会告诉你他们会使用产品,但实际上并没有真正去做),后一种方式适用于面向企业的产品(如果有企业客户承诺愿意为你的产品付费,那么你就可以去动手了。

Specifically, if you are an enterprise company, one of the first questions we’ll ask you is if you have a letter of intent from a customer saying they’ll buy what you’re building. For most biotech and hard tech companies, the way to test an idea is to first talk to potential customers and then figure out the smallest subset of the technology you can build first.

特别是当你的产品面向企业客户时,我们会问的第一个问题是,是否已经有客户承诺一旦你们的产品发布他们会出钱购买。对于大部分的生物科技和硬件科技创业公司来说,测试创业理念的最好方案是,先和潜在的客户交流,然后找出可以先用起来的技术最小子集。

It’s important to let your idea evolve as you get feedback from users. And it’s critical you understand your users really well—you need this to evaluate an idea, build a great product, and build a great company.

随着你不断得到用户的反馈,你的想法也要不断随之演进。理解你的客户非常重要,这是你评价自己的理念,打造伟大的产品和建立伟大公司的前提。

As mentioned earlier, startups are really hard. They take a very long time, and consistent intense effort. The founders and employees need to have a shared sense of mission to sustain them. So we ask why founders want to start this particular company.

如上所说,创业的道路非常艰辛。需要长时间,高强度,持续的努力。创始人和团队成员需要共享一个核心的理念来支撑。所以我们会问所有创始人为啥特么想要创立这家公司。

We also ask how the company will one day be a monopoly. There are a lot of different terms for this, but we use Peter Thiel’s.

我们同样也会问这家公司将如何成为一家垄断企业。在这件事情上有各种各样的说法,我们比较认同的是Peter Thiel的观点。

Obviously, we don’t want your company to behave in an unethical way against competitors. Instead, we’re looking for businesses that get more powerful with scale and that are difficult to copy.

显然,我们不希望你的公司采用不正当手段对付竞争对手。相反,我们寻找的是那些随着扩张会变得更强大,并且难以复制的公司。

Finally, we ask about the market. We ask how big it is today, how fast it’s growing, and why it’s going to be big in ten years. We try to understand why the market is going to grow quickly, and why it’s a good market for a startup to go after.

最后,我们会询问市场。我们会问现在市场有多大,增长的速度怎样,以及为什么在十年以后它将成为一个很大的市场。我们尝试去理解为什么这个市场将会快速增长,以及为什么这是一个适合创业公司进入的市场。

We like it when major technological shifts are just starting that most people haven’t realized yet—big companies are bad at addressing those. And somewhat counterintuitively, the best answer is going after a large part of a small market.

我们希望看到的是在主要的技术转型正在发生的时候,大部分人还没有意识到(而你意识到了)的东西。大公司往往很难注意到这些。在某种程度上这是反直觉的,最好的答案在于追逐一个巨大市场里的细分领域。

A few other thoughts on ideas:

其它一些与创业理念有关的是:

We greatly prefer something new to something derivative. Most really big companies start with something fundamentally new (one acceptable definition of new is 10x better.) If there are ten other companies starting at the same time with the same plan, and it sounds a whole lot like something that already exists, we are skeptical.

我们更喜欢新事物,而不是复制品。很多真正大的公司都是从一个全新的事情开始的(一个可以接受的对于“新”的定义是比以前的东西好上10倍)。如果已经有10家类似的公司在同一时间做同样的事情,并且听上去解决方案与市场上已有的非常相似,我们会很怀疑项目的前景。

One important counterintuitive reason for this is that it’s easier to do something new and hard than something derivative and easy. People will want to help you and join you if it’s the former; they will not if it’s the latter.

一个重要的反直觉的理由是, 做一件又新又难的事,比复制一个难度低的东西,会反而更加容易。如果你从事于一个创新性的领域,人们会更倾向于帮助你,加入你。

The best ideas sound bad but are in fact good. So you don’t need to be too secretive with your idea—if it’s actually a good idea, it likely won’t sound like it’s worth stealing. Even if it does sound like it’s worth stealing, there are at least a thousand times more people that have good ideas than people who are willing to do the kind of work it takes to turn a great idea into a great company. And if you tell people what you’re doing, they might help.

最好的创业理念是,听上去挺糟糕但实际上很不错所以对于你的创业想法不用太过保密,很多好的点子在早期听上去根本不值得被偷。即使这个点子看上去是很有价值,也只有千分之一的人真正愿意动手将伟大的想法变成伟大的创业公司。而且,如果你告诉别人正在从事的项目,他们也许还会帮助你。

Speaking of telling people your idea—while it’s important the idea really excites some people the first time they hear it, almost everyone is going to tell you that your idea sucks. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are not good at evaluating startups, or maybe they are just jealous.

说到告诉别人你的创业理念,能让那些第一次听到创业点子的人感觉兴奋是很重要,而事实上是几乎每个听到你想法的人都会说这是一个糟糕的主意。也许他们是对的,也许他们并不擅长于评估创业公司,或者他们只是嫉妒。

Whatever the reason is, it will happen a lot, it will hurt, and even if you think you’re not going to be affected by it, you still will be. The faster you can develop self-belief and not get dragged down too much by haters, the better off you’ll be. No matter how successful you are, the haters will never go away.

不管是哪种原因,这会经常发生,它会伤害你,即使你自认为不会受到影响,它还是会伤害你。你能越快地建立起自信心,不被那些流言所伤害越好。无论你已经多么成功,那些憎恨你的人永远不会消失。

What if you don’t have an idea but want to start a startup? Maybe you shouldn’t. It’s so much better if the idea comes first and the startup is the way to get the idea out into the world.

如果你没有好的创业理念但是仍然想成立一家创业公司怎么办?也许你就不应该这么做。更好的做法是,先拥有一个好的点子,然后通过成立公司把这个点子变成一款实际的产品带到人们面前。

We once tried an experiment where we funded a bunch of promising founding teams with no ideas in the hopes they would land on a promising idea after we funded them.

All of them failed.

我们曾经做过一个试验,投资那些具有潜力但是暂时缺乏理念的创始人们,希望他们在拿到我们的钱之后能够想出一些好点子并且付诸实现。

他们无一例外都失败了。

I think part of the problem is that good founders tend to have lots of good ideas (too many, usually). But an even bigger problem is that once you have a startup you have to hurry to come up with an idea, and because it’s already an official company the idea can’t be too crazy. You end up with plausible sounding but derivative ideas. This is the danger of pivots.

我觉得部分的原因在于好的创始人倾向于产生非常多好的点子(往往太多)。但一个更大的问题是一旦公司注册已经完成,你往往会急于想出一个创业点子。可是因为你已经成立了正式的公司,所以这个新点子就往往不能太过疯狂。最后的结局是你得到别人花言巧语的赞美,以及一个平庸的点子。这是转型的危险。

So it’s better not to try too actively to force yourself to come up with startup ideas. Instead, learn about a lot of different things. Practice noticing problems, things that seem inefficient, and major technological shifts. Work on projects you find interesting. Go out of your way to hang around smart, interesting people. At some point, ideas will emerge.

所以更好的方式是不要急于逼迫自己想出什么理念。相反,学习许多不同类型的事情。锻炼自己观察问题的能力,找出那些看上去低效的事情,观察那些革命性的技术转型。从事你感兴趣的项目。跳出你自己的小圈子,与那些聪明且有趣的人在一起。不经意间,创业理念会自动冒出来的。

原创文章,作者:创业百花谷,如若转载,请注明出处:http://www.liuwanlan.com/interlocution/352

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