One of the first things we brought to his attention was some of the problems we faced when trying to come up with an idea. His response elaborated on the misconception that the idea is what is most important and it needs to be perfect from the start. The idea is not as important as first finding a group of people to be a part of team. People will different skill sets and backgrounds make for a good team. However, the team should not differ too much. Otherwise, there will be too much clashing and nothing will get done. Multiple minds are better than one. Once your team is formed, the idea is not to create one seemingly perfect idea. Odds are that it is not perfect and it will most likely fail. The key is to go in knowing that. It will help in the long run. Just know you have people who are willing to help.
Another thing he talked about was the importance of being somewhat established when you pursue ventures involving a startup incubator like y combinator. They look through hundreds of applications. If you have not launched your product, don't have a customer base, statistics and some type of prediction regarding the future of your product, they will probably not give you a second glance. It's more beneficial to not haphazardly submit something that is not complete. They want to see certainty and a finished product. Only then will they give you a chance.
We sat for a long time talking to Michael, hearing about his time in school and his pursuit of his dream. He made it very clear that he and the other entrepreneurs we visited (and many others) are beyond willing to help out budding entrepreneurs still in school. He said that so many people were there for him along the way, so he would love more than anything to return the favor and help out students. I spoke of this in an earlier blog post, but I really want to reiterate something that is very important. Every single person has the ability to do great things. Whether that be in a startup or in some other career remains to be seen for many people. As long as you have the motivation and are willing to accept that things may not go your way 100% of the time, you too can become the next Weebly, Socialcam, Hipmunk, Sincerely, or Dropbox.
All of the people we met this week were in our shoes not too long ago. They worked together and buckled down and were able to do something incredible. This trip has been life-changing. I have a whole new outlook on every aspect of life after college. I hope that after reading our blogs and following our trip you have been inspired on some level and may one day make the trip to San Francisco. Even if you go just to do what we did initially and get a feel for startup life, it's completely worth it. Life is what you make of it. Do what makes you happy and the rest will follow.