Garry Tan

Garry Tan quotes on career advice

Founder Initialized. PM/designer/eng turned Forbes Midas List Top 100 VC in startups worth over $40B, before product-market fit.

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Lots of college students reach out to me asking me about how to be a VC. I tell them: be a founder first. The best VCs are chosen by founders based on how much they can help bake the 10 year overnight success. Power laws plus adverse selection equal bad returns. Be a founder.


Early in your career it is important to find encouragement. A lot of failure early on is the result of being discouraged. Later, if you become mega successful, it is important to find people who will keep you moored to reality. A lot of failure later is the result of sycophancy.


You don’t always have to be the smartest person in the world. It is better and easier to be the best at explaining things. That local maximum will get a better outcome most of the time than absolute brilliance if there is no ability to recreate or incept that idea in others.


I have always outperformed my resume. Never let where you came from be the most interesting thing about you. How? Always do good work now. Your past might get you in the door (or sometimes keep you out too) but the good work (real product, users, growth, results) will make you.


Most things are not good It takes cycles of improvement to make them good If you don’t ask and nobody tells you something is great, then it probably still sucks Even if people do shower you with praise there is probably stuff you could do to make it better So, ask.


Early career: Sell your time in exchange for stability and xp. Career in its prime: Buy other’s time to build lasting equity you own.


Startup stock is either life changing or worthless. VCs have a portfolio but employees only have one shot. Choose well and make it count.

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