Garry Tan

Garry Tan quotes on founding team

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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1

Why is every startup a 10 year overnight success? 80% of new businesses fail in the first 5 years. Another 80% fail in the next 5 years. If you can last 10 years your business is in the top 4% of cos that are still kicking. If you start, be ready to commit for 10 years.

2

Ability to focus for long periods of time to become great at something, coupled with the ability to cold call your way to anyone can get you a really long way in this world.

3

Show me a fancy resume and I feel nothing. Show me who else is investing and I see lemmings jumping off a cliff. Show me a big unaddressed problem and I am listening. Show me the solution you’ve built and I lean in. Show me the team of true believers you built and I invest.

4

Most underappreciated skill for new founders: Numeracy. Can you speak with authority about your numbers, now and in the future? Can you define the levers of your growth, pick feasible goals, and then hit them week after week, month after month? This is true product market fit

5

Great startups are cleverly selected groups of talented people running hard in a particular direction in lockstep, making valuable things. The money is the byproduct. Focus on the money too much and you mess up the group, the direction and lose the money.

6

Most startup founders end up spending their entire careers trying to catch lightning in a bottle even once. I caught it once and lost it myself. It’s hard to hold— so much can go wrong. When you catch lightning in a bottle, you have to do everything in your power to harness it.

7

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. If you are here in startups to get rich quick, if you’re good you’ll get your money. If not, you won’t. See you never. If you are here to go far, I’m here for you. Let’s go there together.

8

More founders would survive if they thought of their seed round as not $X M in the bank but 24 months to grow 3X+ a year or be profitable.

9

Give all the startup advice you want but please never advise new founders to lie about anything. It’s fraud.

10

Great experiences require makers who have taste, vision and execution. Taste is discernment. Vision is the ability to articulate a future. Execution is the ability to realize it. We meet teams that can do some partial set every day. When you meet a team with all 3? Magic 💎

11

Great founders are great magnets, constantly convincing customers to buy, investors to invest, press to cover, great employees to join.

12

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

13

Strange paradox: some of the industries that require the highest integrity founders seem to attract the lowest integrity founders Finance, anti fraud, medical technology, nonprofits There’s a reason why smart investors do a lot of due diligence work. Know who you work with.

14

Founders starting out usually have products, business models and go to markets that don’t work or barely work. In frustration some just pursue any startup-like activity as a short salve. Find long term fixes: Talk to users. Try to fix the product or go to market. Ship & Repeat

15

Founderhood is truly a game with escalating levels of difficulty Before you start: you must learn to do things well, then learn to be a part of a team Then eventually you must build your own team, and when that team is good, you’ve got to scale that team It always gets harder

16

The best founders have a plan, have data, and are direct and plain spoken. The worst are evasive, unprepared and over-rely on social proof.

17

Good relationships are built on long duration, but most people are too focused on the short term. Being a steadfast stalwart allows you to play long term infinite games that contribute to bigger ideas and ideals.

18

VCism that I wish wasn’t true: OK founders in a great market usually succeed. Amazing founders in a bad market always fail.

19

Often new markets are won before anyone knows there's a contest. Great founders secure the prize before others are even aware it exists.

20

One of the most valuable and rare traits a founder can possess is knowing when the product is imperfect but usable vs. unshippable garbage.

21

Founders need to be convinced of a thing themselves before they can possibly convince others. People join rocket ships, not question marks.

22

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

23

Equity is for full time founders. If someone wants a full time share without putting in the work or capital, be wary.

24

The biggest mismatch in tech is too many founders can execute but can't sell. Others only sell and can't execute. Both are necessary.

25

One thing I am starting to realize is if you can’t get either, the founder is better off cutting burn and starting over (or shutting down) One of the hardest convos in the life of any startup Sometimes you just know. But sometimes your friends have to nudge you. Never easy.

26

The most rewarding part of advising hundreds of just starting out founders is how formidable and fearsome they become after a few years. 💪

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