Masters of Scale: Sam Altman: Customer love is all you need
|David Senra||Jan 27, 2019|
It is better to have 100 people that love your product than 1 million that kinda like it: A product that is deeply loved by a small group of early users is a product that can scale.
What was Loopt? It was an app that let you share your location with friends. We worked on it at Stanford in 2005. There was no iPhone. No App Store.
How Sam found Y Combinator: I saw a post from Paul Graham. It said if you are not excited about your summer job come hack on your project and make a startup. That seemed like it would be more fun than being an investment banker. [Sam’s original plan was to be an intern at Goldman Sachs.]
We were the first company ever funded by Y Combinator: Then it just kept going. We did deals with Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, etc. We got acquired for $43 million.
I started investing. But investing wasn’t fun. I liked running a company: I did not like being on the sidelines. I didn’t get the adrenaline rush I get from running a company. I think a lot of Founders miss it when they start investing.
Paul Graham said a number of times over the years that when he retires I should take over Y Combinator: Sam became president of Y Combinator at 28.
The mantra he tells every founder at YC: Love is better than like. This seems to be objectively true. If you look at the companies that are important and valuable they tend to have fanatical early users.
It’s really important to be loved: Because all the growth hacking stops working at some point. Once companies get to a certain size the only way to grow exponentially is by word of mouth. Your product has to be so good that customers keep telling others to try it.
People don’t stick with products they don’t love: It is easy to get a lot of people to try something with a clever growth act. The value of those users is very low. They don’t stick around. That is not how you build an enduring business.