Founders at Work

Stories of successful founders

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#2 Product of the DayMay 23, 2015
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Alexis Ohanian
Alexis OhanianHunterPro@alexisohanian · Co-founder, Initialized Capital, Reddit
Jessica was the reason Steve & I got into Y Combinator - without her, there'd be no reddit. She collected interviews with a range of founders talking about the early days of their companies and it did a lot to demystify starting a startup for the two of us, a couple recent college grads.
Jessica Livingston
Jessica LivingstonMaker@foundersatwork · Cofounder, Y Combinator
Dave, I started another version years ago but between YC and 2 small children, I don't have those beautiful, long chunks of time needed to work on a book. I'll try though!
Carl Shan
Carl Shan@carl_shan · Data Science Fellow, UChicago
@foundersatwork Haha. That reminds me of what the psychologist Erik Eriskon said: "Babies control and bring up their families as much as they are controlled by them; in fact the family brings up baby by being brought up by him." Is there anything you think that the greater community might be able to help you with, in order to make V2 happen? I loved Founders at Work, and it inspired me to create similar books for different communities (data scientists & product managers).
@foundersatwork Please do, we can't wait
Michael FitzGerald
Michael FitzGerald@mfitz406 · CEO/Founder of Submittable
One day Amazon pushed Founders at Work into my recommendations list while I was researching oral histories and narratives (I also highly recommend "Please Kill Me," an oral history of punk rock by Legs McNeil) At the time, I was a working writer and interested in how to write sentences that sounded like people talking. (The format for Founders at Work is Q&A) I had never considered starting a company before and always assumed founders/entrepreneurs were jugular-seeking Gordon Gecko-types. I ordered the book on a whim, started it late on a Sunday night and didn't sleep until it was finished. Jessica showed founders to have more in common with struggling artists than Masters of the Universe. Within weeks, I talked two friends into starting our company, Submittable. Five years later, we're the fastest growing tech company in Montana. It's fair to say, we wouldn't exist if I hadn't read the book. If you're interested in starting a company or anything, the book in an invaluable read.
Dave Gerhardt
Dave GerhardtHiring@davegerhardt · VP of Marketing at Drift
One of my favorite books. Great to hear those stories, and the Q&A format makes it super easy to read. One question for Jessica though: how do we start a movement for V2 of this book? I think it's time :)
Erik Torenberg
Erik TorenbergHiring@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@davegerhardt that's true a lot of YC legends since. perhaps @rrhoover and I (& team) should make a PH version :)
Tim Finnigan
Tim Finnigan@timfinni · Founder of
Excellent book! Jessica does a great job of extracting helpful information from these founders. Here are some of my favorite quotes and lessons from her book: