Kevin Systrom: Start Now | Summary and Q&A

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May 31, 2011
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Stanford eCorner
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Kevin Systrom: Start Now

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Summary

In this video, the speaker emphasizes the importance of taking action and starting early in one's entrepreneurial journey. They recount their own experience of building a website while studying abroad, despite facing challenges such as limited internet connectivity. The speaker highlights the value of hunger to create and put ideas in front of people and encourages individuals to start regardless of their circumstances or level of knowledge. They also mention the significance of acquiring additional skills through side projects to aid in the entrepreneurial journey.

Questions & Answers

Q: What was the speaker's experience while studying abroad?

The speaker studied abroad and applied for the Mayfield Fellows program. During that time, they created a website called the 'Tree List' which was a subpar imitation of Craig's List for Stanford. They worked on building the website in a room without internet connectivity and had to go to the library, even in snowy conditions, to push the code out using the limited free WiFi available.

Q: How did people respond to the website the speaker created?

Despite being in Italy while people at Stanford started using the website, the speaker experienced a strong connection with them. This showcased the value of building something and putting it in front of people, giving the speaker an understanding of the importance of hunger to create and share.

Q: What is the speaker's opinion on starting one's entrepreneurial journey?

The speaker believes there is no better time to begin than now. Whether someone wants to join a startup or start something on their own, the speaker encourages them to take the leap and start. They emphasize that studying abroad or lacking knowledge of programming languages should not be barriers to starting. Additionally, for those involved in non-consumer internet ventures, the speaker advises considering the idea, conducting interviews, and connecting with individuals who can contribute to its success over time.

Q: What has helped the speaker along their entrepreneurial journey?

The speaker emphasizes the significance of the skills acquired through side projects. They explain that the little skills picked up from hacking on the side have been instrumental in their progress. They highlight the value of continually learning and gaining additional knowledge through practical experience.

Q: What obstacle did the speaker face while working on the website during their study abroad?

The speaker had to deal with the challenge of limited internet connectivity. To push code out for the website, they had to go to the library that offered free WiFi, even in snowy conditions.

Q: Apart from technical skills, what does the speaker consider valuable in entrepreneurship?

The speaker highlights the hunger to create and put ideas in front of people as a crucial aspect of entrepreneurship. They believe that this hunger, coupled with the ability to take action, can contribute significantly to one's entrepreneurial success.

Q: How did the speaker feel when people started using the website they created while they were in Italy?

The speaker experienced a remarkable connection with the users of the website, despite being physically far away from them. This positive response reinforced the speaker's understanding of the value of building and sharing projects with others.

Q: Is there any particular time the speaker suggests for starting on the entrepreneurial journey?

The speaker emphasizes that there is no better time to start than the present. They believe that delaying the start of one's entrepreneurial endeavors serves no purpose and that taking action now is the best course of action.

Q: What advice does the speaker give to those lacking knowledge in web development?

The speaker encourages individuals to pick up a book and start learning HTML, CSS, or Javascript, regardless of their current knowledge level. They emphasize that a lack of programming skills should not be a deterrent to starting entrepreneurial projects.

Q: What lessons did the speaker learn from their experience building the website in a foreign country?

The speaker realized the value of hunger and enthusiasm in the process of building projects and putting them in front of people. They understood that these traits, combined with practical actions, are vital components of entrepreneurial success and growth.

Takeaways (in one paragraph)

The key takeaway from this video is the importance of starting early and taking action in the entrepreneurial journey. The speaker's personal experience of building a website while studying abroad demonstrates that circumstances should not hinder one's ability to create and share ideas. Whether someone is knowledgeable in web development or not, the speaker encourages them to begin learning and pursuing their entrepreneurial endeavors. Additionally, the speaker highlights the significance of hunger and enthusiasm in the process, as well as the value of acquiring additional skills through side projects. Ultimately, the speaker emphasizes that the best time to start is now, and delaying the process serves no purpose.

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