Garry Tan

Garry Tan quotes on problem Solving

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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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.


Don’t solve with process what you can solve with a conversation


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.


When there is a lot of competition you have basically one tool: specialization Pick off a smaller set of customers and solve their problems completely and in a deeper way. Focus on one city or locality and drive network effects. Then expand. Do what the competition won’t.


I did an analysis of the dead startups I invested in the past 5 years and the two most common causes are: 1/ People didn’t want X (not a problem or not good enough solution) 2/ People wanted it but weren’t willing to pay Y (low gross margin) Both totally solvable before 💀


The key to a good online business: 1/ make a great product that solves the problem 2/ figure out how to get users cheaply and repeatably 3/ keep them around forever (high retention) Seems to be the answer to half the startup q’s I get on IG DM Simple to say, hard to do obvi


You can solve a problem vertically but end up with TAM problems. Or you can solve a problem horizontally but end up with CAC problems. Pick your poison.


Quality assurance is the most underrated function for early stage startups. Yes your product works on the golden path. But what if you deviate by 1%? 5%? Your users will. And if you don't fix the "edge case" bugs then they'll never come back.


The world is all made up, and that’s a great thing Don’t forget, you get to make it up too. Don’t like something? Replace it. Make a better version and grow it from there. To overturn boulders, find a thin edge of a wedge and then apply force. It’s not easy but it is possible.


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.


Middle managers write a 5 page email justifying why a bad product decision was made. Great builders fix it and send a one line email after, saying that issue is now fixed.


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.


Startups are so hard that founders don't need to create more problems for themselves. If it's not critical path, don't worry about it.


If your startup is a chemical reaction, the key to growth is often identifying and solving for your limiting reagent.


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


If you’re a startup and your main competitor is apathy, then you’re not solving a big enough problem.

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