How to Start a Startup

Sam Altman


When the course was in progress, viewers were able to complete the projects below and have them peer evaluated on the HTSAS Projects subreddit. You may find the projects below instructive, especially if you have a group you are watching the videos with, to discuss your ideas.

Project 0, released with Lecture 1

For two weeks, keep a log of all the things that seem to be missing and all the problems you encounter in life. Notes: Use a platform that allows you to easily add to the log on your phone. You want to be able to pull out your phone and jot something down quickly whenever you notice something missing or problematic. This reading is helpful for context: As PG suggests, turn off all of your other filters, including whether the thing that’s missing could be a startup idea. Also don’t worry about whether the problems you encounter are too trivial. The idea is to get this background process running, and get you in the habit of noticing more potential startup ideas. By the end of the 2 weeks, there should be plenty of items in your log.

Project 1, released with Lecture 3

Come up with 5 business ideas. For each, briefly answer the following questions: what are you going to build? Who needs it? How do you know? Why is this a good idea? Note: The ideas don’t need to be related to any of the things in your log, but it would be surprising if none of those problems had a related business idea.

Project 2, released with Lecture 5

Choose one of your ideas from Project 1, and refine it. Write a 2 page overview fleshing out answers to the questions: