Paul Graham business tips

Paul Graham

Last night I saw Paul Graham speak at PARC about how to sell a startup. Eventually the text of the speech should be posted to Paul’s site. Paul sold ViaWeb to Yahoo! in 1998 to create Yahoo! Stores. Paul believes startups should be created and quickly sold for profit. Below are some tips shared by Paul last night.

  • The most powerful motivator is the fear of loss.
  • Startups get bought for one of two reasons: revenues or strategic purpose.
  • You have to convince people at big companies that not buying you would be a big mistake, either as a competitor or being bought by a big competitor.
  • Structure your business for multiple acquirers.
  • Think about what big companies should be doing but are not doing very well.
  • An early buyout is more like a hiring bonus. The acquirer picks up talent and some good ideas.
  • Hire people who are willing to move when acquired.
  • You should only be willing to lose control of your destiny for money upfront. It is not smart sell your company for stock in another non-public company.
  • “The way to get users is to make something really good and then be sure people find out about it.”
  • With most big companies you could hand over your source code and your business plan and they still would not be a threat to you.

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