Startup Recipe for Failure

Bite-sized insights for your early-stage B2B startup.

Christopher Chae
· 3 min read
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Photo by Christophe Rollando / Unsplash


Paul Graham's Recipe for Failure

Recipe for failure: a startup with high burn and a moderately appealing product.

The only way to survive is to keep your burn low and continue to improve the product. This way, even if you need to pivot, you can afford it.

If your burn is too high, then you don't have much time and will die.

What We Learned From Our Five Failed YC Applications and One Successful One

This article was #2 in HackerNews couple days ago!

Sharing our story of pivoting through five pivots and applying six times to YC to get in.

Here's some of the highlights:

  • Five pivots, five rejections
  • The interview with Michael Seibel
  • The final (hopefully) pivot – why did YC finally accept us?
  • Why was YC still worth it after three years
  • Meeting with Paul Graham
With PG :)


Why Figma Wins

Adobe acquired Figma last week with a $20B valuation, and it is the biggest exit to ever exist in the SaaS industry. It's shocking enough that Adobe bought them, but even more shocking is how much did they pay.

Figma is at about ~$400m ARR – so Adobe is paying at 50x multiple. If you adjust for trailing revenue, this number can be even higher, at ~75x.

To understand why Adobe is paying this much for Figma, you need to know why Figma wins.

#Early Sales

From Idea to Paying Customer (YC S20) lets you publish Slack/Discord communication threads into a web version. This article shares the journey of Linen team from writing their first line of code this February to acquiring their first $1,000/month customer.

The article includes the following information:

  • How Linen found the idea
  • What Linen did before developing the product
  • How to communicate with potential customers
  • How Linen developed their MVP
  • How Linen onboarded customers

This article reminds us of our experience, so I wanted to share it with you. The most relatable paragraph was this.

"I could have spent 4-5 weeks coding and polishing up the onboarding process and getting payments ready but as a solo founder it would have been difficult to keep momentum going. Most startups and products lose morale before they run out of money and part of the reason you want to move fast is to build momentum. It will help keep your spirits up when things get tough."

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