Y Combinator: Vinod Khosla on How to Build the Future

  • Great quote: A company becomes the people it hires, not the plan it makes.

  • If you have a large vision it is never a straight line: No one has ever climbed Mount Everest in a straight line. You should be are obstinate about your vision but flexible about tactics as things change.

  • Most investors have not earned the right to advise an entrepreneur: 90% of investors add no value. 70% of investors add negative value to a company. Just because you got an MBA and joined a venture firm doesn’t mean you are qualified to advise an entrepreneur. Have you built a large company?

  • The biggest thing an entrepreneur deals with is which risk to take when: It is like wack a mole. Ambiguity is so hard to deal with but it is the essence of entrepreneurship. The single hardest decision you’ll make is whose advice to trust on what topic.

  • Something I said in an argument with another co-investor last week:Experience doesn’t matter. The rate of learning matters. First-principles thinking matters. Pick for the best athlete. Not the most established wide receiver who only knows how to run one pattern and one pattern only.

  • Why you should give early employees more equity: If somebody can do their own startup they will. You are comparing the job [you are offering] to them starting their only company. If you don’t do that you are including only the people who couldn’t start their own company.

  • Essential reading for entrepreneurs: The art, science, and labor of recruiting

  • How entrepreneurs should think about investors: An investor is an employee that you can’t fire. 

  • Book recommendations: Nassim Taleb’s book Skin in the Game is about the difference between doers and talkers. His book Antifragile: Thing That Gain From Disorder is about the right types of asymmetric risks to take.

  • Full podcast here.