Lecture 2 - Team and Execution (Sam Altman)

Lecture 2 - Team and Execution (Sam Altman)

The CEO has five jobs (00:30:35)

  • Set the vision.
  • Raise money.
  • Evangelize the company.
  • Hire and manage the team.
  • Set the execution bar.
  • Execution is divided into two key questions:
    • Can you figure out what to do?
    • Can you get it done?
  • Focus and intensity are two parts of getting it done.

Can you get it done? (00:31:29)

  • Founders should focus on the two or three most important things each day and ignore or delegate the rest. Most startups fail because they are not focused enough and work hard on the wrong things.
  • Founders should set overarching goals for the company that everyone knows and executes based on, and they should repeat these goals frequently to keep the company focused.
  • Growth and momentum are essential for a startup and should never be lost focus on. Founders should always know how they are doing against their metrics and have a weekly review meeting to discuss progress.
  • Startups require intense focus and dedication, often at the expense of work-life balance.
  • Successful founders often outwork their competitors by a small margin.
  • Startups must maintain a relentless operating rhythm, combining speed with high-quality standards.
  • Decisiveness is crucial; mediocre founders get stuck in discussions without taking action.
  • Incremental progress is key to success. Break down large projects into smaller, manageable tasks and consistently work towards them.
  • Speed is crucial. Respond to emails and make decisions quickly. Have a "do whatever it takes" attitude and show up in person for important meetings.
  • Momentum and growth are essential for startups. Always keep momentum as the prime directive for managing a startup.
  • For software startups, keep growing. For hardware startups, don't let your ship date slip.
  • Building a good product from the beginning is the best way to maintain momentum and prevent losing steam later on.

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