Monday, March 26, 2007

Notes from YCombinator Startup School

John went to YCombinator Startup School on our behalf. I haven't read his notes, yet. But I did find some pretty good notes on Scribd. Read them and enjoy.

Here's a taste - notes on Max Levchin's talk. His usual obsession with metrics are represented.

Max Levchin, “A Crash Course in Product Management”

Founder, PayPal

Product management is about:

  • Channeling the user
  • Developing a fantastic interface

The best product managers are people who understand computers.

Why do most startups fail?

  • Most engineers fail to work out the details!

When you design a product, you need to think about whom you’re designing the product for!

  • Try to achieve an out-of-body experience as close you can, while you are using the product.
  • Observe the user closely!
  • The best product can be used effectively while the user is distracted.

How do you find out what works? Metrics, metrics, metrics

  • Measure everything
  • Generate statistics
  • There is no ready made package that will analyze the data appropriately – develop your own

Practical web design

  • Design your sites to use blue; red and green are problematic for the color blind (8% of men)
  • Scrolling is OK now that mice have scroll wheels – “keep it above the fold” is less relevant now