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To Clueless Startup Founders: Read Hacker News Everyday

I met someone at last year’s Echelon conference in Singapore. I remembered he was sitting at the last row of the conference hall during a panel discussion. He was wearing a t-shirt with Pinterest’s logo. Not many people knew about Pinterest at that time, and he was the first person I’ve seen wearing Pinterest t-shirt. So I went and talked to him.

Turned out, he was Sahil Lavingia. We exchanged emails few months before the conference when I asked for his permission to publish one of his articles in Hacker Monthly. Back then, like Pinterest, nobody knew about him too (he’s all over the news now).

“A lot of these startups would never survive in the valley”, Sahil obviously wasn’t impressed with the startups showcased in the conference. “They are really clueless”.

I nodded in agreement.

“You know what’s the single biggest advice I would give them?”, he continued. “Read Hacker News, everyday.”

“That’s it?” I was surprised by the simple answer.

“Yeah. At least that’s how I got started,” he affirmed.

And he was right. I recalled how “clueless” I was 3 years ago before starting to read HN (Hacker News). I wished I started earlier. Heck, I wished HN existed earlier.

I remembered how I started to learn how to code few months after joining Hacker News. I remembered the first app I wrote and launched on Hacker News. And then, there was Hacker Monthly, and couple more interesting projects that made headlines. I learned so much and more importantly, it shaped my thinking on how I should do startup.

So yes, if you are looking to start a startup, or already doing a startup, and not reading Hacker News regularly yet, you know what to do. Don’t take it from me, take it from the most interesting teenager in Silicon Valley.