Garry Tan

Garry Tan quotes on finding ideas

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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When choosing a startup idea, you must be able to check either of these boxes [ ] Truly novel (nobody else has tried) [ ] 10X better product The absolute best check both. 99% of startups check neither. A good pitch is sometimes a strong story explaining how to get the 1st ☑️


People often ask if a startup idea is viable based on a description alone. Hard to answer without knowing all of these— 🧲 Can you get customers (CAC)? 🤩 Will they be delighted (NPS)? 🗓 Will they stick with it (long term cohort retention)? Only then can you answer viability.


The right idea in the wrong hands is indistinguishable from the wrong idea.


New founders generally should avoid over-indexing on what is hot. What reporters write about, and what VCs post about on Medium are almost always the thing that was viable to work on 6 to 18 months ago. Look for first-hand problems that you can directly solve. Then solve them.


Trends are the ultimate red herring. Make things people want. There are lots of things nobody is talking about that are huge problems, totally solvable, just with the right smart people, the right product, with the right go-to-market. Follow first principles, not the crowd.


Don't start with a vague capability. Start with a concrete problem for specific users with a clear path to getting off the ground.


Shake Shack started as a money losing burger kiosk to revive an NYC park. The best things start with love, not money.


While everyone else is chasing buzzwords, the biggest opportunity remains in just plain ole software eating traditional markets.


1st timer startup idea pitfall: Focusing on novelty. It's not enough to be new. It also has to have 10x impact otherwise nobody cares.

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