Paul Buchheit (r) with founder Josh Wilson
Paul Buchheit was YC’s guest speaker last week. He also spent the day meeting with the new batch of founders and giving them product advice. With 19 startups, this was a Herculean effort!
I first met Paul when I interviewed him for Founders at Work. He’s the author of Gmail, developed the first prototype of AdSense and suggested Google’s now-famous motto “Don’t be evil.” As much as anyone, he set off the “Web 2.0” phenomenon.
Needless to say, we were delighted to have him join us in Cambridge. Paul never fails to be thought-provoking when he gives talks. I’ve heard him speak a few times and I usually come away with this overall message: listen to users, not convention.
This talk to the founders was no exception. I was really sick and had to leave before Paul’s talk, but I asked Paul Graham for a few highlights. My favorites were:
“Anything that’s different or innovative, people are going to predict isn’t going to work.”
It’s true. Anything that hasn’t been done before people tend to reject. In fact, practically everything really good was rejected at first-- from the Apple computer to Google.
“You just have to find some group of people you can make really happy.”
It’s much easier to broaden the reach of something some people love than to get people to love something they only like.
Thanks again Paul for coming to YC and for all your support!