Incredible journeys that shape the present & future of food & beverage industry

Written by Hema Reddy / December 17th, 2015



Charlie Guo started his first company at Stanford, left it, and did the famed YCombinator in Silicon Valley. While the startup fizzled out, Charlie learned a lot of lessons along the way.

He made some friends. Charlie interviewed startup founders from companies including DoorDash, ZeroCater, and Zenefits, and turned it into the book Unscalable. The founders share the behind-the-scenes “dirty work” to success. Working 20 hour days, managing 100’s of orders in a simple excel spreadsheet, etc.. whatever it takes.

“These interviews pull back the veil on a much more eclectic mix of strategies and experiments, revealing the longer and less predictable road to success in Silicon Valley.”

The book will be released January 19th, 2016 (Pre-order now: I read an advanced copy and it is phenomenal). We discuss:

    • Why Charlie decided to write the book
    • Behind the scenes at YCombinator
    • Develop an unscalable mindset in startup mode
    • “The costs of starting these businesses is plummeting, but the costs of building these businesses is skyrocketing.”
    • The luck factor
    • How to deal with fast growth
    • Mythology of brilliant leadership and “overnight” success stories
    • Bootstrapping vs VC
    • Establishing a monopoly

More about Charlie Guo

Charlie Guo based in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the heart of the world he portrays. A software engineer by trade, he has also founded two companies. While getting his undergraduate degree at Stanford, he founded the education-tech company ClassOwl.

ClassOwl partners with Stanford and other schools to improve student-teacher communication and productivity, and in startup-storybook fashion it was sold by Guo’s cofounders in 2015 to Branch Metrics. After graduation, he launched a second company, FanHero, which was accepted into Y Combinator, a prestigious startup accelerator program based in Silicon Valley.

His own experiences working to make his ideas fly exposed him to the inner workings of the startup culture and inspired him to reach out to a fascinating mix of tech founders to share their experiences.

 

 

Selected Links from The Episode:
Unscalable The Book
Unscalable – Amazon!
Charlie on Twitter
How I Crashed and Burned at YCombinator
ClassOwl
DoorDash
ZeroCater
Zenefits
Github
Tilt
Flight Car (Note from Matt: I remember reading about this a few years ago and was so excited. I forgot about it, but am looking to using it in 2016!)
When Startups Fail: 99 Dresses

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