(Answer) Lecture 2 – Team and Execution (Sam Altman)

There are 20 answers in the second lesson “Team and Execution”. you can use for reference:

  1. How do you identify if a market has a fast growth rate now and also for the next ten years?

Just trust your instincts, think about what you’re doing more, and think about what you’re using, what you’re seeing people your age using, that will almost certainly be the future.

  1. How do you deal with burnout while still being productive and remaining productive?

Keep going and just have to get through it.

  1. Co-founder relationships are among the most important in the entire company. Why?

Choosing a co-founder is one of the most important decisions in the life of your start-up and you need to treat is as such. Because, the number one cause of early death for startups is co-founder blowups. So, choose the right cofounders is the best way to run your business last long.

  1. The co-founders don’t know each other is really bad. Why?

Because choosing a random co-founder, or choosing someone you don’t have a long history with, choosing someone you’re not friends with, so when things are really going wrong, you have this sort of past history to bind you together, usually ends up in disaster.

  1. Where are the good ways to meet co-founders?

A good way to meet a co-founder is to meet in college, if you’re not in college and you don’t know a cofounder, the next best thing is to go work at an interesting company.

  1. How many co-founders is the perfect selection for a start-up? Why?

Two or three co-founders seem to be about perfect. Because One, obviously not great, five, really bad. Four works sometimes, but two or three is the target.

  1. At the beginning, you should only hire when you desperately need to. Why?

In the early days the goad of a company should be not to hire. And one of the reasons not to hire is that the cost of getting an early hire wrong is really high.

  1. How hard is it to recruit?

To get the very best people, the founders have a lot of great options and so it can easily take a year to recruit someone. It’s this long process and so you have to convince them that your mission is the most important of anything that they’re looking at.

  1. Picking a rocket-ship if you’re going to join a startup is a good decision. Explain why?

The best people know that they should join a rocket-ship. Pick a company (rocket-ship) that’s already working and that not everyone yet realizes that, but you know because you’re paying attention, that it’s going to be huge.

  1. What is the best thing you can do as a first time founder?

The best thing you can do as a first-time founder is to be aware that you will be a very bad manager and try to overcompensate for that.

  1. Which elements do you need to fire people in addition to firing people who are doing bad at their job?

You should fire people who are

  • Creating office politics
  • Persistently negative

The rest of the company is always aware of employees doing things like this, and it’s just this huge drag – it’s completely toxic to the company.

  1. How much experience matters when you’re hiring people?

When you’re hiring someone that is going to run a large part of your organization experience probably matters a lot. For most of the early hires that you make at a startup, experience probably doesn’t matter that much and you should go for aptitude and belief in what you’re doing.

  1. How does Mark Zuckerberd try to hire people?

Mark Zuckerberg once said that he tries to hire people that

  • He’d be comfortable hanging with socially and
  • He’d be comfortable reporting to if the roles were reversed.
  1. How do you balance firing people fast and making early employees feel secure?

When an employee’s not working, or they screw up once or twice you should know how to solve and warn them, just like being a team, work together. However, if they are getting every decision wrong that’s when you need to act, and at that point it’ll be painfully aware to everyone. And, if someone’s doing everything wrong, just like a consistent thing over like a period of many weeks or a month, you’ll be aware of it and you would know what to do.

  1. What is the best thing you can do as a first-time founder?

The best thing you can do is a first time founder is to be aware that you will be a very bad manager and try to overcompensate for that.

  1. What are the jobs of the CEO? Which one is the critical CEO role that no one but the CEO can do this?

Here are five that come up a lot in the early days: The first four everyone thinks of as CEO jobs: set the vision, raise money, evangelize the mission to people you’re trying to recruit, executives, partners, press, everybody, hire and manage the team. But the fifth one is setting the execution bar. This fifth job is the critical CEO role that no one but the CEO can do this.

  1. How do founders figure out what to focus on each day?

Each day it’s really important to have goals. Most good founders have a set of small overarching goals for the company that everybody in the company knows. The founders really set the focus. Whatever the founders care about, whatever the founders focus on, that’s going to set the goals for the whole company. The best founders repeat these goals over and over, far more often than they think they should need to.

  1. Why is execution speed important?

At a startup you need to be easy to move fast or be obsessed with quality. You need to have a culture where the company has really high standards for everything everyone does, but you still move quickly. You must set a quality bar that runs through the entire company. Related to this is that you must be decisive. Indecisiveness is a startup killer. Thus, execution speed is very important for a startup to move really quickly and get things done really quickly.

  1. How to keep momentum in a good way?

A good way to keep momentum is to establish an operating rhythm at the company early. This is actually one of the best things your board can do for you. Boards add value to business strategy only rarely. But very frequently you can use them as a forcing function to get the company to care about metrics and milestones.

  1. Should you need to worry about a competitor?

Don’t worry about a competitor at all, until they’re actually beating you with a real, shipped product. Press releases are easier to write than code, and that is still easier than making a great product. So remind your company of this, and this is sort of a founder’s role, is not to let the company get down because of the competitors in the press.