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The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's Most Exclusive School for Startups by Randall Stross
affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, always be closing, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Burning Man, business cycle, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Elon Musk, high net worth, hockey-stick growth, index fund, inventory management, John Markoff, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, selling pickaxes during a gold rush, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, transaction costs, Y Combinator
Raising so much capital gave Justin.tv’s founders a lot of time to learn the things that they would need to know. And they express no regret that they had not taken business courses in college. Learning what you need to run a business, when you need to, is part of the appeal of startup life. When Justin.tv opened to everyone, traffic grew and grew—sometimes by 50 percent in a single month. The founders had to figure out how to build their own network infrastructure to reduce their costs by two-thirds, which they did. They began running advertising in 2008 and Justin.tv did well enough to survive.
Such sponsorship had not been anticipated when the founders were scrambling to get a bare-bones Web site ready just five months earlier.5 • Justin.tv’s founders have decided that its two promising, but technologically dissimilar, experiments—Twitch.tv, video game broadcasting, and Socialcam, the app for sharing videos captured with a smartphone—are best pursued separately. Socialcam has been spun off as a separate company with its own offices. Michael Seibel is its head and two engineers from Justin.tv have gone over to the new startup. Meanwhile, Twitch.tv, overseen by Emmett Shear, continues to grow rapidly. In December, it drew twelve million unique visitors, which is 600 percent more than Justin.tv had attracted to its gaming content a year previously.
Or Don’t,” A Really Bad Idea blog, February 27, 2011, http://areallybadidea.com/drop-out-or-dont. 3. Justin Kan, “Selling Kiko,” A Really Bad Idea blog, February 21, 2011, http://areallybadidea.com/selling-kiko. 4. Justin Kan, “Why Starting Justin.tv Was a Really Bad Idea, but I’m Glad We Did It Anyway,” TC, February 12, 2011, http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/12/starting-justin-tv/. This account of Justin.tv’s history and its double pivot is also based on the author’s interview with Kan and Shear, December 29, 2011. 5. John Gaudiosi, “Pro Gamer Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins Discusses Meteoric Rise of Major League Gaming,” Forbes, December 6, 2011, www.forbes.com/sites/johngaudiosi/2011/12/06/pro-gamer-tyler-ninja-blevins-discusses-meteoric-rise-of-major-league-gaming/.
How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success From the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy Raz
"side hustle", Airbnb, Apple II, barriers to entry, Bear Stearns, Ben Horowitz, big-box store, call centre, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, fear of failure, glass ceiling, housing crisis, inventory management, iterative process, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pets.com, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tony Hsieh, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, Zipcar
That’s how it was for Justin Kan, Emmett Shear, and Twitch, the livestreaming video platform that got its start in March 2007 as Justin.tv, a single 24-7 live feed of its creators’ lives. Like Stacy’s D’Lites, Justin.tv found success right away, but on a much larger scale. The creators got a ton of national press for starting the “lifecasting” revolution, which quickly drew hundreds of thousands, then millions of unique monthly users. But by that summer, the ongoing, constant exposure had started to drive Justin insane, so he had to stop. Fortunately, Justin.tv’s CEO, Emmett Shear, said, “lots of other people wanted to stream live, and the technology we built to support the live video stream was actually broadly useful, so we pivoted to being a service that anyone could use.”
The Art of the Pivot “lots of other people”: Adam Lashinsky, “Why Twitch Pivoted to Video Games, and Why It Worked,” Fortune, March 28, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/03/28/twitch-startup-pivot/. “capped out growth”: Ibid. At the same time: Greg Kumparak, “Justin.tv Shuts Down to Let the Company Focus on Twitch,” TechCrunch, August 5, 2014, https://techcrunch.com/2014/08/05/justin-tv-shuts-down-to-let-the-company-focus-on-twitch/. “The only content on Justin.tv”: Lashinsky, “Why Twitch Pivoted to Video Games.” 19. It Can’t Be All About the Money But before he got: Ann-Marie Alcántara, “Meditation App Expands Its Subscription Membership to Google Assistant and Alexa,” Adweek, June 29, 2018, https://www.adweek.com/digital/meditation-app-expands-its-subscription-membership-to-google-assistant-and-alexa/. 20.
By April of the following year, they had 30,000 broadcaster accounts and multiple categories for users to search and explore. Justin.tv evolved along these lines for the next few years, adding millions of users and dozens of channels as they went. By 2011, though, the founders had “capped out growth and didn’t know what to do next,” Shear recounted in a talk at a Brainstorm Tech dinner put on by Fortune magazine in early 2019. At the same time, they realized that one of their video categories—Gaming—was drawing more users than all of the others combined. That was no surprise to Shear. “The only content on Justin.tv that I watched was the gaming content, because that’s the only thing that I actually enjoyed,” he told the Brainstorm Tech audience.
Free Ride by Robert Levine
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Anne Wojcicki, book scanning, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Firefox, future of journalism, Googley, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Joi Ito, Julian Assange, Justin.tv, Kevin Kelly, linear programming, Marc Andreessen, Mitch Kapor, moral panic, offshore financial centre, pets.com, publish or perish, race to the bottom, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks
Scribd, a site that lets users post documents the way YouTube lets them display videos, can be used to make public information easily available, but it draws considerable traffic for hosting an array of pirated books. Pirated television shows and sports events are a major draw for live-streaming sites like Justin.tv and Ustream, which allow users to stream live video the way YouTube lets them upload short clips. All of these sites have plenty of legitimate uses, but the fact that almost all of them try to strike distribution deals with entertainment companies suggests they need professional content to build a viable business.
“I cant live without fox sports [sic],” “If all sports were available online, we absolutely would get rid of satellite.” An ESPN analysis of Nielsen data found zero cord cutting among heavy and medium viewers of sports.23 Unfortunately for the television business, live events can now be pirated as well. For the past few years, sites like Justin.tv and Ustream have been streaming sports games as they happen. Technology-savvy viewers run television signals into their computers, then upload them as live streams to sites that let anyone watch them. From a technical standpoint, these sites work like the live video-chat program Chatroulette, except the video is coming from a television broadcast instead of a Webcam.
(These sites are presumably covered by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which means content owners have to ask them to remove infringing material. But this doesn’t do much good for live events, since the damage is done before sites can act.) Most of the live-streamed video features teenagers flirting with one another, much like Chatroulette, but there are also plenty of pirated shows. Visiting random channels on Justin.tv, I saw a teenage girl doing homework at her desk, a Harry Potter movie dubbed in Spanish, and several South Park episodes. (Although Comedy Central makes South Park available for free online, it remains a popular program for pirates.) These sites also allow U.S. West Coast residents to watch television shows earlier than they otherwise might.
The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Boris Johnson, Burning Man, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collaborative consumption, East Village, fixed income, Google X / Alphabet X, hockey-stick growth, housing crisis, inflight wifi, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Necker cube, obamacare, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, San Francisco homelessness, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar
In the site’s third iteration, the founders endeavored to make renting a room as easy as booking a hotel room. There was a search box that asked travelers where they were going, a large green book-it button, and sizable photographs of the hosts and their residences. Every Friday that spring, Gebbia and Chesky brought mock-ups of the new design to Michael Seibel at Justin.tv. Seibel and his Justin.tv co-founder, Justin Kan, observed their progress, identified problems, and sent them away to make improvements (the early payment mechanism, they recalled, was a particular mess). Seibel and Kan weren’t paid for this and received no equity in the fledgling startup. It was simply how things worked in Silicon Valley’s cliquish network of founders.
It was simply how things worked in Silicon Valley’s cliquish network of founders. “On the East Coast you give money to charity,” Seibel says. “On the West Coast in the startup world, if you want to give back, you help young founders. This is a game where karma matters.” By spending time at Justin.tv, the Airbnb founders got to see what a real tech startup looked like, one with real offices, real employees, and actual venture capital in the bank. (Justin.tv later spun off a video-game service, Twitch.tv, which was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million.) Continuing this education, they attended a one-day event called Startup School, organized by the startup incubator Y Combinator and hosted by Stanford University.
Among the throngs that gathered to brave the mid-Atlantic-winter chill, two groups of young entrepreneurs from San Francisco were on the verge of not just watching history but making it. The three founders of a little-known website called Airbedandbreakfast.com decided to attend at the last minute. Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk convinced a friend, Michael Seibel, the CEO of the streaming-video site Justin.tv, to go with them. They were all in their midtwenties and had no tickets to the festivities, or winter clothes, or even a firm grasp of the week’s schedule. But they thought they saw an opportunity. Their company had limped along for over a year with little to show for it. Now, the eyes of the world would be on the nation’s capital and they wanted to take advantage.
We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin
4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, compensation consultant, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, disinformation, Donald Trump, East Village, game design, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, independent contractor, Internet Archive, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Stephen Hawking, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technoutopianism, uber lyft, web application, WeWork, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator
Kiko.com sold later that month to Tucows, a Canadian telecommunications company, with a final price tag of $258,100. Now they’d teamed up with Seibel, their friend from Yale, to found something new. Kan had a wacky idea of wearing a video camera on his head and live-broadcasting every moment of his days and nights. He’d call it Justin.tv. Shear coded what would be Justin.tv all day—well, starting around noon—and most evenings. His main break was the near-daily arrival of Huffman. Seibel would cook elaborate themed dinners—sushi, or UK cuisine, replete with Yorkshire puddings—and then the guys would play video games and plow through the thirty-pack.
It was a black device a bit smaller than a soda can, with a headset that could perch above Kan’s right ear. One Wednesday night in January, a couple days after Vogt arrived, the guys decided to take the camera out in the world for a test run. The four Justin.tv guys plus Huffman killed a fifth of rum between them before departing the Crystal Towers for a dive called Mojito. It was their favorite bar in North Beach, just a block from historic Caffe Trieste. They’d sent out the beta-testing link to the Justin.tv website to about fifty friends, but weren’t sure anyone was watching. Still, they wanted to test the practicality of the entire endeavor: the camera’s battery, Kan’s tolerance for wearing it, others’ social reactions to it.
“Did Justin just get arrested?” “How did you hear that?!” Shear said. “I was watching!” It was crazy. And validating. Maybe Justin.tv would work. Day one and they had an audience. The cab slowed at Broadway and its driver turned around. “Where do you want me to go?” he asked. The SFPD van had turned—illegally—from Columbus. The driver refused to follow. “We basically spent the rest of the night flying to different police stations, trying to figure out where our friends were,” Seibel said later. (Tuning in to Justin.tv was no longer an option, as the headset had both run out of batteries and been confiscated.) At each station, in the wee hours of the morning, their inquiries were met with blank stares, and any searches police information officers made on their behalf turned up dry.
How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story by Billy Gallagher
Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Nelson Mandela, Oculus Rift, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, QR code, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, social graph, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, Y Combinator, young professional
See YesJulz (Julieanna Goddard) Goldroom Goldwyn, Emily Good Luck America (election show) Google app revenue Googleplex IPO Los Angeles office privacy and Snapchat compared with user activity and See also Schmidt, Eric Google AdWords Google Circles Google Glass Google Maps Google Ventures Grande, Greg Green, Diane Greylock Partners group messaging Hamburger, Ellis Hamby, Peter Hastings, Reed Hatmaker, Taylor Hawkins, Billy Hazelbaker, Jill Hewlett-Packard Honan, Mat Hurley, Chad Hwang, Sharon Hwang, Steve Hyland, Sarah Hyperloop Technologies IBM Innovator’s Dilemma, The (Christensen) Instagram Arsenic and demographics of users Facebook purchase of Instagram Stories investors and funding launch of Snapchat compared with Snapcodes and Institutional Venture Partners Intel Interview, The (film) Intuit iOS James, Nicole Jenner, Kylie Jobs, Steve Jordan, David Starr Joss, Bob Jurgenson, Nathan Justin.tv (Justin Kan) Kan, Justin. See Justin.tv (Justin Kan) Kerr, Miranda Khan, Imran Kinney, Abbott Knight, Phil Kravitz, David Krishnan, Sriram Kundera, Milan Land, Edwin Landrieu, Mitch Lane, Randall Lasky, Mitch Lee, James Lee Tran & Liang Leica camera Li, Frank Lieberman, Tressie Liew, Jeremy Life Time Value (LTV) Lightspeed Venture Partners Line (messaging app) LinkedIn Looksery Luck, Andrew Lynton, Jamie Lynton, Michael Madonna Madrigal, Alexis Magnusson, Peter Mailbox (app) Malik, Om Major League Baseball Mandela, Nelson Markowitz, Harris Masters, Blake Matas, Mike Mayer, Marissa McBride, Shaun.
Stith believes people don’t talk about anxiety enough and felt early on like she was the only person on Earth who got panic attacks, so she finds her time on Snapchat deeply meaningful. She gets letters all the time from followers thanking her for helping them with their anxiety. One Snapchat star found the platform years after attempting stories on his own. In 2007, entrepreneur Justin Kan launched Justin.tv, a 24/7 show of his life, broadcast from a webcam on his head. He thought it was a cool, crazy idea that he could maybe turn into a business one day through advertising or sponsorships. He eventually shut down the show, but kept developing the video streaming platform, which eventually became Twitch, a place to watch people play video games; Kan and his partners sold Twitch to Amazon for $970 million in August 2014.
In his own words, “I tried it, mostly for industry research purposes, found the UI confusing, saw I had very few friends active, felt old, and then didn’t open it for two years.” In 2015, friends were talking about DJ Khaled getting lost on his Jet Ski and laughing and watching the story over and over again. Kan decided to give Snapchat another shot. He found Snapchat was a much better version of what he had tried with the original Justin.tv. Broadcasting 24/7 was just too much time and involved too many boring moments. With Snapchat, Kan distills an entire day down to two to three minutes of the most interesting ten-second photos and videos. Kan leaves his messages open for his eleven thousand followers and typically gets ten messages an hour.2 In May 2016, Kan worked as a partner at the prestigious startup incubator Y Combinator; he let his followers apply to take over his Snapchat account for an hour and pitch their startup for funding from Y Combinator.
The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions...and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher
Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, hockey-stick growth, housing crisis, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Justin.tv, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Network effects, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, RFID, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tony Hsieh, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Y Combinator, yield management
Additionally, after the event was over, they heard from a few potential customers who said they were traveling to other places, but not for a conference. Was it still possible to use AirBed & Breakfast? The founders said no. The Godfounder At South by Southwest, Chesky and Gebbia also made a key connection. Their third roommate at Rausch Street, Phil Reyneri, was an employee at a start-up called Justin.tv, and he, too, was there in Austin along with his CEO, a twenty-five-year-old entrepreneur named Michael Seibel. Chesky had decided to stay an extra night, and Seibel let him crash in his hotel room. Chesky told Seibel about their idea, and he liked it. “I was, like, ‘Yeah, that makes sense,’” Seibel recalls.
He had used Couchsurfing.com, and while he didn’t foresee AirBed & Breakfast’s becoming a multi-billion-dollar juggernaut upon hearing the idea, he didn’t think it was out of left field either; they were, after all, themselves crammed into a small hotel room during a conference. “We were sitting in the home of the problem,” Seibel says. Seibel is now an established entrepreneurial adviser with two major successes under his belt: he and his cofounders sold Twitch (which is what Justin.tv eventually became) to Amazon for $970 million and Socialcam, a video app, to Autodesk for $60 million. But back then he was twenty-five, had only recently become a first-time CEO, and didn’t have much experience. “I wasn’t someone people pitched,” he says. Chesky and Gebbia were the first founders who had ever asked him for advice.
Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg, Justin Mares
Airbnb, Firefox, if you build it, they will come, jimmy wales, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, side project, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, the payments system, Uber for X, web application, working poor, Y Combinator
Without you this book would not be possible: Jimmy Wales, Cofounder of Wikipedia Alexis Ohanian, Cofounder of reddit Eric Ries, Author of The Lean Startup Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz Noah Kagan, Founder of AppSumo Patrick McKenzie, CEO of Bingo Card Creator Sam Yagan, Cofounder of OkCupid Andrew Chen, Investor in 500 Startups Dharmesh Shah, Founder of HubSpot Justin Kan, Founder of Justin.tv Mark Cramer, CEO of Surf Canyon Colin Nederkoorn, CEO of Customer.io Jason Cohen, Founder of WP Engine Chris Fralic, Partner at First Round Capital Paul English, CEO of Kayak Rob Walling, Founder of MicroConf Brian Riley, Cofounder of SureStop Steve Welch, Cofounder of DreamIt Jason Kincaid, Blogger at TechCrunch Nikhil Sethi, Founder of Adaptly Rick Perreault, CEO of Unbounce Alex Pachikov, Evernote Founding Team David Skok, Partner at Matrix Ashish Kundra, CEO of myZamana David Hauser, Founder of Grasshopper Matt Monahan, CEO of Inflection Jeff Atwood, Cofounder of Discourse Dan Martell, CEO of Clarity Chris McCann, Founder of Startup Digest Ryan Holiday, Exec at American Apparel Todd Vollmer, Enterprise Sales Veteran Sandi MacPherson, Founder of Quibb Andrew Warner, Founder of Mixergy Sean Murphy, Founder of SKMurphy Satish Dharmaraj, Partner at Redpoint Ventures Garry Tan, Partner at Y Combinator Steve Barsh, CEO of PackLate Michael Bodekaer, Cofounder of Smartlaunch Each of you played a critical role in shaping this book and making it a useful resource.
Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed by Alexis Ohanian
Airbnb, barriers to entry, carbon-based life, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Hans Rosling, hiring and firing, hockey-stick growth, independent contractor, Internet Archive, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Occupy movement, Paul Graham, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, software is eating the world, Startup school, Tony Hsieh, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, Yochai Benkler
Our friends from the Y Combinator summer class of 2005, Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, sold their company, Kiko.com, for $258,100 (on eBay, of all places) when Google launched their web-based calendar. The Google calendar’s integration was so tight with Gmail that the writing was on the wall for Kiko. The Kiko team, ever the intrepid founders, used the sale as an opportunity to pivot. They repaid their investors and dove into Justin.tv, which is now the world’s leading live streaming video company. In the early stages, surrounding yourself with the right people is infinitely more important than having a good idea. Your relationship with your co-founder(s) is what’s more likely to make or break your company than your idea itself.2 Picking a co-founder is actually quite a bit like marriage, only there’s no sex—though from what I’ve learned from married couples, that’s actually just like marriage.
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston
8-hour work day, affirmative action, AltaVista, Apple II, Bear Stearns, Brewster Kahle, business cycle, business process, Byte Shop, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, don't be evil, eat what you kill, fear of failure, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, game design, Googley, HyperCard, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Justin.tv, Larry Wall, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, nuclear winter, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, software patent, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, Y Combinator
He wound up winning on Saturday and he took the red-eye to Boston that night and arrived for his interview—just him—on Sunday. We met with him for 25 minutes or so and I remember thinking in the first 5 minutes, “This guy is amazing.” All of us were just blown away by Sam. His poise and intelligence, and just the way he was. We knew that there was something special about him. We also had Justin Kan and Emmett Shear of Justin.tv. We originally funded them to make an online calendar called Kiko. They built it that summer and got a little bit of angel funding, but Google Calendar came out soon after and crushed them. So they came to us later on and said, “I think we’re gonna move on from Kiko,” and they started talking to Paul and Robert about new ideas.