Startup School 2014 – NYC Edition

I was unfortunately unable to attend this week’s New York edition of Startup School due to being in Cannes for the 61st Cannes Lions Festival. Thankfully they’ve just posted the talks on YouTube.

Now if I only had a connection that was capable of downloading video at a reasonable rate…

Jack Dorsey at YC’s Startup School 2013

I’ve been making my way through the 2013 YC Startup School videos and found Jack Dorsey’s talk to be quite refreshing. Rather than discuss how he built Twitter or Square, he decided to read from two books that have helped him during his career as an entrepreneur: The Art Spirit,” by Robert Henri and “The Score Takes Care of Itself,” by Bill Walsh, the former NFL coach of the 49ers.

Some of his points that really stuck with me…

  • the work itself is important, not just the end product, but the craft of doing the work itself
  • there are so many ideas, but its the work of implementing those ideas which is difficult
  • without a shared and common sense of purpose, you will wander about and you will not do anything that is timeless
  • build what you want to see in the world, what you have passion for, as that’s what is infectious and what brings other people to your cause
  • set expectations as to how the company and the people within behave and react, without this you will be rudderless and will chase outside influences
  • show, don’t tell
  • ensure there is a balance between tension and fun
  • as a leader you need to be seen on the front lines
  • there is never a better time to make the hard decisions than when things are going exceptionally well

But beyond the specific points he makes from these two books, the larger takeaway from the talk is the importance of a diversity of other voices in both your work and life. Inspiration and consultation can be found in a myriad of places. But be careful, you don’t want to fall into the trap of chasing every little bit of outside feedback.