Startup School 2013: Insights from Paul Graham and Sam Altman on Building a Successful Startup

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This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Office Hours at Startup School 2013 with Paul Graham and Sam Altman" by Y Combinator
TLDR The video covers various startup stories, including a multiplayer coding game, a video site for skill-sharing, a customs brokerage startup, and the challenges of managing a sales team.

Timestamped Summary

  • ๐ŸŽฎ
    A team launched a multiplayer coding game called "Not Just Badges" to teach programming through a game-like approach, but the server struggled to keep up with demand.
  • ๐ŸŽฎ
    People caused the hug of death on GitHub due to excitement over a new game, while the startup aims to provide qualified developers through coding challenges and recruitment.
  • ๐ŸŽฅ
    A video site called Give it 100 allows users to share their daily progress in learning new skills, while a website hosting coding videos plans to use YouTube for marketing.
  • ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ
    Being a parent can overwrite recent memories, children videos are popular but not organized, a beatboxer improved with community support, and Flex should avoid over-optimizing too early.
  • ๐Ÿšข
    A new software allows easy import of goods into the US without a customs broker, with licensed customs workers on staff to handle the process.
  • ๐Ÿ’ป
    A customs brokerage startup created software to clear shipments electronically, replacing the need for local ports, but the government shutdown caused delays.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ
    A customs brokerage startup charges a flat rate of $100 for clearance and views brokerage as a way to enter the larger logistics space, with each customer worth around $2-3k per year potentially leading to $3 billion in revenue.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ
    Managing a big sales team is tough but crucial for maximizing profits.


  • What is the multiplayer coding game about?

    โ€” The multiplayer coding game is a platform where players compete to complete levels and earn points by writing code to defeat enemies.

  • Why is the server struggling to keep up with demand?

    โ€” The server is struggling due to high traffic caused by the recent launch of the coding game "Not Just Badges."

  • How does the coding game teach programming?

    โ€” The coding game focuses on core programming concepts and gradually increases in complexity to encourage learning through a game-like approach.

  • What challenges did the startup face with unexpected traffic?

    โ€” The startup faced challenges when unexpected traffic from Reddit caused the server to max out at 15,000 people, and they were unable to spin up more servers due to lack of proper architecture.

  • What is the purpose of the level editor developed by the startup?

    โ€” The level editor allows the startup to create three levels a week using live coding drag-and-drop technology, enhancing the gaming experience for users.

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This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Office Hours at Startup School 2013 with Paul Graham and Sam Altman" by Y Combinator
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