No-Code February 20, 2020

YC Startup School: how it's helped me so far + links & videos

Ardy @ardalan

Important note: I haven't included the Deals link because SUS has asked us not to share it. I've shared any other link that is public and SUS allows people to share.

Startup School is a free 8-week online course by YC for startup founders. I'm on week 5 right now. It only takes 1-2 hours a week, because they understand we don't have much time to spare as startup founders. You could even skip the videos to reduce that to 0.5-1 hr per week.

Here's what I've got out of it so far:

Sweet Deals

I joined Startup School mostly because I was curious about the materials, and I wanted to get that sweet $3,000 AWS deal (limited to 1 year).

Video materials

The video materials are okay, I did learn some things. If you're not familiar with the topics, they're definitely worth checking out.

Weekly updates

The biggest thing I got out of SUS is the motivation and the sense of urgency. I have to provide a weekly update and the metrics should improve every week.

Group Sessions - Anonymous peer-to-peer feedback

Group sessions are meetings with a few other random founders where you talk about your startup, your goals, and your obstacles, and then write each other anonymous feedback at the end.

One of the things I wanted to improve this week was the feedback from group sessions. On the first group session, 2 people gave me positive feedback and one person not-so-much. They disagreed with "I understand what this startup is building from their pitch." That made me think more about the way I pitch my product and realize how challenging it is.

Today, on the 2nd group session, I decided to take a different approach. Instead of talking more about the product and the top use-cases, I tried to focus on only one popular use-case:

Monitoring and testing your website with no coding. For example, let's say you have an e-commerce site. You can hit Record on Browse AI Chrome extension, add a product to your cart, fill out the checkout forms, and finalize the purchase with a demo credit card, hit Save, and then schedule it to have Browse AI run this flow for you every day or every time you make a change to your site. Browse AI will notify you if something breaks. It also adapts when you make changes to your site, so it's pretty low maintenance as opposed to end-to-end tests you code because those usually need to be updated frequently.

(btw, I'd LOVE to hear your feedback too on this way of pitching Browse AI)

The feedback I received during the session was much more positive than the previous session. Even the anonymous feedback was positive (screenshot above).

Forums

I didn't get much value out of the forums, there's not much interesting content in there, and people don't engage with posts much. Maybe IH raised my expectations too much!

Directory

Founders can choose to showcase their startup and a brief description on the directory. There are 14390 companies listed right now! so don't expect this to bring you a lot of users! (it could bring you more competition though! jk)

I used the directory to see if there are any other companies in my space. I found a few interesting ones that had a tiny bit of overlap with my product, but not much. Still, interesting stuff.

Library

I haven't used the library section yet, because I already have so many articles on my Pocket AND I'm reading two books at the same time! (The Lean Startup and The Mom Test; I highly recommend both books.). But I see there are a lot of great articles in there I've read before (most by Paul Graham).

Conclusion

It's up to you to decide whether all the things I listed above are worth the time. Just don't expect anything to blow your mind.


P.S.: kudos to @csallen and @channingallen and the members for building such a great community. No other online community gives me the same positive vibe or as much practical and useful info.

P.S. II: @csallen @channingallen I really like the concept of weekly updates on SUS. IH Milestones CAN function somewhat like that, but they're public, and it's a free text input, no specific questions. I suggest checking them out on SUS and thinking about whether it makes sense to add a similar feature to IH.

  1. 1

    i still update stuff in SUS... :P

    1. 1

      @8bit I do too! I wish IH had that weekly update feature!

      1. 1

        Just joined! Thanks for the recommendation, guys! ;-)

        1. 2

          No problem Calvin! Hope it helps

      2. 1

        hmm. perhaps post that on meta?

        also, folks use the standup category, right? for stuff like that?

        1. 2

          Just posted on meta! Thanks for the suggestion!

          1. 1

            love it! thanks for making IH such a great place to be!

  2. 1

    FYI, posting a link to the deals offered by the program to participants is a major faux pas. That link contains promo codes that are not "open to the public", even if the SUS program is free. Most of those deals get verified by the provider, and by publishing them on a public forum like this one, if people that are not in the program attempt to use them, they could cancel those deals for everyone in SUS.

    At the very top of the link that you gave it explicitly says "These deals are for Startup School 2020 companies only. Do not share outside of the program or they may be revoked."

    Why you would callously disregard their generosity and other participants in the program by posting it on a public forum?

    1. 1

      @combition Thanks for raising this. I completely missed that note at the top 🤦‍♂️
      I now see how it could be misinterpreted, so I removed the deals link. I included the deals link before only because I was assuming people may want to see what deals would be available to them before signing up for the next SUS course. (to me that was the whole point of this post, so that people know what they'd be signing up for) I wasn't worried about people abusing that because I thought all deals get verified.

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