Garry Tan

Garry Tan quotes on success

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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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.


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


Being the best listener in a room pays more long term dividends than being the loudest


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.


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.


Reminder: It takes ten years to be an overnight success.


Every ten year overnight startup success had nine years of eating glass where the founders wanted to quit... but didn't.


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.


Beware work that feels good but has no tangible result.


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 💎


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.


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.


Great teams are the basis for all change in the world. One person can do only so much. Leaders must recruit the best, THEN give structure, guidance and safety, and get out of the way. Ego helps the former, but hurts the latter. This tough balance is at the heart of success.


Reminder: People do their best work when they are loved and have the right amount of structure.


At the earliest possible stage of startups, basing your success on the approval of anyone except your customer is basically instant death 💀 Don’t leave it in the hands of others to say no. Make something better/faster/cheaper that helps your customer and solves a problem.


When you figure something out, the copycats come and fast. The trick is to always be better/cheaper/faster—they can only copy what you did 6 to 9 months after the fact if they're good, and never if they suck. Related: That's probably one of the few reasons to raise mega-rounds


Creators must remember that it matters far more what you will create in the future than everything you’ve done in the past. This is as true for someone starting out, who might use their past as a reason not to try... to the accomplished who might fall prey to that reason too.


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.


One thing that is useful is if someone can think coherently: it is totally possible to think your way to novel ideas or solutions. There is an idea maze and you can describe the walls and constraints. The big problem is thinking coherently is surprisingly rare.


Do a few things really well. Apple spends $2B in R&D on a product line that could fit on top of one normal sized desk.


It’s fun to talk about new things you’re gonna do, but greatness comes from actually doing them, well after all the novelty wears off.


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


In a crowded startup market with lots of competition you must either out-raise your opponents or out-cockroach them.


Startups can be good and/or hot: Just because you're hot doesn't mean you're good. Reverse also: Not being hot doesn't mean you're not good.


Constraints are valuable and are often the key to building something that can make money. When the resources are there, restraint is needed, and often unfortunately is only learned through brushes with death.

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