How to Start a Startup

Sam Altman

Everything we know about how to start a startup, for free, from some of the world experts.

CS183B is a class we taught at Stanford. It’s a sort of one-class business course for people who want to start startups.

Videos of the lectures, associated reading materials, and assignments are all available here. There are 20 videos, some with a speaker or two and some with a small panel. It’s be 1,000 minutes of content if you watch it all.

We cover how to come up with ideas and evaluate them, how to get users and grow, how to do sales and marketing, how to hire, how to raise money, company culture, operations and management, business strategy, and more.

You can’t teach everything necessary to succeed in starting a company, but I think we were able to teach a surprising amount. We’ve tried to take some of the best speakers from the past 9 years of Y Combinator dinners and arrange them in a way that will hopefully make sense.

We did this because we believe helping a lot of people be better at starting companies will be good for everyone. It is hopefully valuable even for people who don’t want to start startups.

Talks like these have really helped Y Combinator founders create their companies. We hope you find it helpful too!


Hundreds of meetups have been held around the world to bring people together to watch and discuss the videos. You can see the list of sessions that have previously been held here.
Many viewers found it valuable to have a group to discuss the ideas from the lecture videos, as well as to discuss their own startup ideas. If you want to organize a viewing session in your area or at your university, feel free to do so at the pace you choose.

Videos as a Youtube playlist, or podcasts through Stanford's iTunes U.
Recommended Readings
Optional Projects
The How to Start a Startup ebook
Lecture pages below include slide decks and lecture transcripts.
Lecture Speaker Topic
1 Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator
Dustin Moskovitz, Cofounder, Facebook, Cofounder, Asana, Cofounder, Good Ventures
Welcome, and Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part I

Why to Start a Startup
2 Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator
Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part II
3 Paul Graham, Founder, Y Combinator
Before the Startup
4 Adora Cheung, Founder, Homejoy
Building Product, Talking to Users, and Growing
5 Peter Thiel, Founder, Paypal, Founder, Palantir, and Founder, Founders Fund
Competition is For Losers
6 Alex Schultz, VP Growth, Facebook
7 Kevin Hale, Founder, Wufoo and Partner, Y Combinator
How to Build Products Users Love
8 Walker Williams, Founder, Teespring
Justin Kan, Founder, Twitch and Partner, Y Combinator
Stanley Tang, Founder, DoorDash
Doing Things That Don't Scale


How to Get Started
9 Marc Andreessen, Founder, Andreessen Horowitz and Founder, Netscape
Ron Conway, Founder, SV Angel
Parker Conrad, Founder, Zenefits
How to Raise Money
10 Alfred Lin, Former COO, Zappos and Partner, Sequoia Capital
Brian Chesky, Founder, Airbnb
11 Patrick Collison, Co-Founder, Stripe
John Collison, Co-Founder, Stripe
Ben Silbermann, Founder & CEO, Pinterest
Hiring and Culture, Part II
12 Aaron Levie, Founder, Box
Building for the Enterprise
13 Reid Hoffman, Partner, Greylock Ventures and Founder, LinkedIn
How To Be A Great Founder
14 Keith Rabois, Partner, Khosla Ventures
How to Operate
15 Ben Horowitz, Founder, Andreessen Horowitz, and Founder, and Opsware
How to Manage
16 Emmett Shear, Founder and CEO, Twitch
How to Run a User Interview
17 Hosain Rahman, Founder, Jawbone
How to Design Hardware Products
18 Kirsty Nathoo, Carolynn Levy, Partners, Y Combinator
Legal and Accounting Basics for Startups
19 Tyler Bosmeny, Founder and CEO, Clever
Michael Seibel, Partner, Y Combinator
Qasar Younis, Dalton Caldwell, Partners, Y Combinator
Sales and Marketing

How to Talk to Investors

Investor Meeting Roleplaying
20 Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator
Later-Stage Advice