Every Entrepreneur Should Read This Guide From A Facebook Co-Founder
Moskovitz created a startup deck that's full of advice about how to launch a successful company and explains what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It's not as glamorous as Hollywood and the media make it look.
It's important to know [why you want to start a company]," Moskovitz explained to a Stanford class. "You may have been mislead by the way that Hollywood or the press likes to romanticize entrepreneurship.
The 4 common reasons people want to start companies are: It's glamorous, you'll get to be the boss, you'll have flexibility, especially over your schedule, and you'll have the chance to have bigger impact and make more money.Advertisement
The reality is just not quite so glamorous, there's an ugly side to being an entrepreneur, and more importantly, what you're actually spending your time on is just a lot of hard work.
So a scene from 'The Social Network.' This is us partying and working at the same time—somebody's spraying champagne everywhere...Advertisement
This is an actual scene from Palo Alto, [Mark Zuckerberg] spent a lot of time at this desk, head down and focused...this is just him signaling his intention to be focused and keep working, not be social.
Then there's the scene demonstrating the insight moment. It's kind of out of 'A Beautiful Mind.'Advertisement
Really, we were just at that table the whole time. So if you compare this photo, Mark is in the exact same position but he's wearing different clothes, so this is definitely a different day.
Why is [a startup] so stressful? You've got a lot of responsibility. You have fear of failure on behalf of yourself and all of the people who decided to follow you... Ben Horowitz likes to say the number one role of a CEO is managing your own psychology. It's absolutely true; make sure you do it.Advertisement
Another reason [people start companies] is you start to develop this narrative [at a job], like the people running this company are idiots.. I'm gonna start a company and I'm going to do it better. I'm going to set all the rules.
But being a CEO is really like this...Advertisement
A subset of You're the Boss is you have flexibility, you have control over your own schedule. This is a really attractive idea.
Here's the reality...Advertisement
This is the [reason to start a company] I hear most...People tell me, 'You know, I'd really like to work for much smaller companies or start my own because then I have a much bigger slice of the pie.'
If you're [not] extremely confident in building a $100M company, it should go without saying that you should have a lot more confidence [working for] Facebook in 2009 or Dropbox...If you think you're the right entrepreneur to build "Uber for Space Travel", a really huge $2B idea, you're actually going to have a pretty good return for that, you should definitely do that.Advertisement
I really think that financial reward is very strongly correlated with the impact we have on the world...It's important to keep in mind the context what kind of company you're trying to start and where you will actually be able to make it happen.
So, what's the best reason to start a company?Advertisement
You can't NOT do it.
You can't not do it in two ways. One is you're so passionate about it that you have to do it and you're going to do it anyways. This is really important because you'll need that passion to get through all of those hard parts of being an entrepreneur...The other way to interpret this is the world needs you to do it.Advertisement
Here's Moskovitz's recommended reading list for aspiring entrepreneurs:
For more early-stage startup advice, check out:Advertisement
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