Eric: Hi everyone. My name's Eric Migicovsky. I'm a partner here at YC. I actually started a company that went through Y Combinator back in 2011. I started a company called Pebble. We made one of the first smartwatches. I am really excited to be here to talk about talking to users because this is one of the perennial things that you always hear about as one of the critical factors in starting a company. The best founders maintain a direct connection to their users throughout the lifespan of their entire company. They maintained a direct connection because they need to extract information from their users at all different stages of running their company.
And lastly, this matters so much to us at Y Combinator that's why we're here. We intrinsically believe that by working with great founders like you all, we make the world a better place because you guys make the world a better place. So be good for the world. So in summary. Find your path, find your own unique path to startup success. You do this by focusing on what matters and by building something people want. Remember, things will go wrong, they do go wrong but be determined, resourceful in the face of adversity and you will outlast those problems. The best course of action is action, so default to it. Default to action. In action in a startup is the death of the startup. Don't be sad, be determined. And lastly, be good, be kind, and create the kind of company that you would like to work at.
We say this all the time at Y Combinator, startups are hard. The books written about startups talk about how hard they are. Well, there's no easy decisions. It's hard, and it's all-consuming, and it's the most wonderful thing in the world. PG wrote an essay where he quoted a founder saying it's surprising how much you become consumed by your startup, you think about it day and night but it never does feel like work. However, one of the constants of startups is that things will go wrong, things will go wrong with your startup, they always do. It's almost the beauty of startups. And you guys are the problem solvers in chief. The times I remember the most when I was at startups are where things went wrong and we found solutions. Even when I was by myself when I quit HP to start a startup, I was lost, I didn't know what to do until I realized I needed to make something and I started coding and I started talking to customers.
When I first came to Silicon Valley to work for the venerable company Hewlett Packard as a coder, I dreamed of starting a startup. We used to go drinking Friday nights and talk about...well drinking was the important part and talking about startups was the second most important part, but that's what we did, we always talked about what our path would be, what our founder path would be. But we had no idea how to go about it. PG hadn't started Y Combinator yet. We couldn't go online to ask basic questions about how to start a startup. Actually, there wasn't even online back then. Venture capitalists were these mysterious suits who only would talk to MBA's. We didn't know where to go. It actually took me 12 years to find my path to start my startup. And that was my path and it worked out, but everything's different now.