Tag Archives: home school

Explaining ISIS – Securing a better future

Also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State (IS).

ISIS aims to create an Islamic state called a caliphate across Iraq, Syria and beyond.The group is implementing Sharia Law, rooted in eighth century Islam, to establish a society that mirrors the region’s ancient past.

ISIS is known for killing dozens of people at a time and carrying out public executions, crucifixions, and other acts.

READ: ISIS goes global: 90 attacks in 21 countries have killed nearly 1,400 people

ISIS is believed to be holding 3,500 people as slaves, according to a 2016 United Nations report. Most of the enslaved are women and children from the Yazidi community, but some are from other ethnic and religious minority communities.


Hello Young Leaders!

President Obama waving from airplane with rainbow behind him

As I leave office, I wanted to take a moment to thank you. Your involvement in the Young Leaders Initiatives– YALI, YSEALI, and YLAI– has demonstrated the power of young people to make positive change in their communities. Whether you are an entrepreneur, work for an NGO, serve your government, or are still a student, you have proven that you are prepared to tackle the challenges we face as global citizens.

Wherever I have traveled around the world, I have seen the impact of this generation. You aren’t waiting for permission; you’re taking action where you see the greatest need. I’ve seen firsthand the remarkable efforts of the nearly half a million young people that are a part of the Young Leaders Initiatives in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. You’ve fought for the rights of the disabled and the LGBT community. You’re taking steps to reverse the effects of climate change. You’re starting businesses that are helping your economies grow. And, you’re using music and art to fight violent extremism and promote pluralism.

While I will no longer be the President of the United States, I will continue to find ways to empower young leaders across the world. I want to stay in touch with you. Click here [https://act.barackobamafoundation.org/Stay-In-Touch] to stay connected with me and find ways we can continue to make positive change.

I believe in you and look forward to working together in the future.

–Barack Obama

Lives Are Being Changed!

Victory Women in Development Association (ViWiDA)-USA   is designed to enrich and change lives; specifically, targeting Women and Youths. Unlike competitors of VIWIDA-USA, programs offered by VIWIDA are unique because of the heritage/culture from which it is derived.

dina1In 1998, the founder, Dinnah Walton who is a CFO for Victory Women in Development Association VIWIDA USA, returned home to Tanzania, East Africa after sixteen years of residing in the United States. When she got home she found that since she first left the country, the living conditions in Tanzania have deteriorated further into extreme poverty, political disharmony, with HIV aids diseases running rampage among other things.

Albeit the democratization of the government and the privatization of businesses in Tanzania seemed to have changed the social climate; AIDS, lack of decent education, and extreme poverty continues to run amok.  It became apparent that the values, integrity and aspirations of a greater Tanzania, including the island of Zanzibar have been lost.  Aids, famine, and diseases are taking lives every day as 1.3 million people are affected with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. Children of the effected remain homeless; so many of them are orphans left behind by their dying relatives. Large percentage of Youth are lacking education, and direction in their daily lives; while, most women remain not only uneducated and married young, but also are victims of either domestic violence or trafficking.

Even with modern technologies reaching the people of Tanzania; most of them are unable to capitalize on these resources because of sub-par education achievement, and political tension that has been brewing for almost half a century, because of the union between the Tanganyika and Zanzibar governments when they formed Tanzania early in 1960s.

Education standards in Tanzania are far below international standards. Many schools lack basic resources; operating without books or even desks, forcing dedicated students to learn while sitting on classroom floors, which may or may not be a finished concrete floor. Meanwhile teachers go months without pay, and whom they themselves may be lacking in the skills to efficiently train students.  While mainland Tanzania is utilizing what resources they have to improve education, the island of Zanzibar is lagging far behind because of political tensions between the Zanzibar and the government of Tanzania as mentioned earlier.

On returning to United States, Dinnah decided to do something to change the situation in Tanzania, but in doing so became aware to similar hardships faced by people at her home, in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Thus, Dinnah felt compelled to create the nonprofit organization that would work to combat homelessness, extreme poverty, and empower women, youth, underprivileged by helping get the resources they need. For example transitional housing for homeless individuals, life skills to empower women, and helping to close the education achievement gap among urban youth in America and in Tanzania, E Africa.  After much collaboration with dedicated people in the community she serve, and the support of family and friends, Victory Women in Development Association,(ViWiDA) U.S.A. was formed in 2001 by Dinnah and other two founders, Dr. Alwiya Omar and Edythe Shapiro; with the help of Mr. Ari Merratezon, a dedicated community developer and U.S. Veteran.

Today, ViWiDA-USA provides programs to empower Women,Youth and Underprivileged individuals in Local and International Communities. For example, The Youth Educational & Exchange Program, which is a 9 month curriculum designed to enrich inner city education with cultures exposures and offering students a chance to learn how they can help other people not only in their communities, but to learn about the hardships shared by people in Tanzania, Africa, and the world in general. Participants are empowered through volunteerism and willingness to serve the human kind. The programs encourage participants to own businesses also.

A special note from the founder:-  ” I wish some women and men around the world will adopt the same kind of an organization which is victorious to women, youth and empowering communities. They can copy what we do, and may be we will hear about Victory Women in Development Association ViWiDA-Japan, or ViWiDA-Europe, ViWiDA-China, ViWiDA Malaysia, ViWiDA-Asia, India, or ViWiDA-Africa and so on. Let the movement to Empower Women and Youth grow around the world till there is PEACE; till Women are no longer VICTIMS of Impunity; till Youth are empower to create a better world for their parents; till Poverty and Diseases are no longer a problem to humanity!” – dswalton @ ViWiDA-USA

VIWIDA-USA improves and enriches the life experiences of Women and Youth across the globe.

Some of the initiatives of VIWIDA-USA includes:-

Empowering Women Program designed to help women become independent, escape domestic violence, learn the skills to find better jobs. The program also works to educate women on high risk medical conditions, as well as provide free or low cost individual counseling and support groups. VIWIDA   empowers, also encourages women, and youth to be Industrialists.

How Banks Can Finance Permanent Supportive Housing by usichgov

 Ending Youth Homelessness by 2020


The VIWIDA-USA Youth Educational & Exchange Program is conducted through the coordination of MLADEF (formerly VIWIDA Tanzania); Mizat Tours & Travels, and other collaborators of VIWIDA.

This Video Was envisaged in my house by My Son MoWalton & his FRIENDS.  2012 Election-YOUTH EMPOWERMENT-MALARKEY is not! @ VIWIDA-USA! DEBATE 2012 – OBAMA V/S ROMNEY RAP BATTLE….


Video#2 is up on Free E-Business Course/Want to start a startup?

Empowering Women and Youth Worldwide with Education and Life transformation programs, resulting in industrialists’ generation. Empowering communities economically at ViWiDA-USA. Follow us on Facebook for great stuff especially Cultures Exposure Weekend!

AND NOW YOUR FREE CLASS IS ON! brought to you by Y Combinator from Stanford University


Sam wrapped up the four topics today, covering Team and Execution. The video is up on the lecture 2 coursepage.     

Links and more FAQs:

  • You can also access the videos on startupclass.co, where there are separate discussion threads for each video and reading (scroll down to Curriculum). Tuesday’s discussion thread is here, and today’s is here.
  • For those who have trouble accessing the Youtube videos, videos will also be available on Stanford’s iTunes U, and the Stanford Youtube channel (which is more accessible). Videos will be up on those channelswith subtitles, at a 2-3 day delay.
  • Translations will be added to the Youtube video directly, also at a 2-3 day delay. If you want to help add subtitles in a language of your choice,volunteer on Dotsub.
  • Presenter’s slides will be available on each coursepage.
  • A list of all readings (including readings for upcoming Tuesday’s lecture) is on our website as well.
  • The form for submitting Q&A for Lectures 3 and 4 is still open (and all Q&A will go through the same form, which will update over time).


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Thanks for signing up for Sam Altman’s How to Start a Startup class! Stay tuned for information regarding lecture videos as well as assignments and other community engagement.

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The Free Online classes are on NOW!  We’re live, everyone!  here is the video for lecture 1! Happy watching!

  • The twitter hashtag for this class is #CS183B

Readings for Thursday are:

Stupid Apps and Changing the World by Sam Altman

Do things that Don’t Scale by Paul Graham

The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself.

The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing. Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook all began this way.


Why is it so important to work on a problem you have? Among other things, it ensures the problem really exists. It sounds obvious to say you should only work on problems that exist. And yet by far the most common mistake startups make is to solve problems no one has.

I made it myself. In 1995 I started a company to put art galleries online. But galleries didn’t want to be online. It’s not how the art business works. So why did I spend 6 months working on this stupid idea? Because I didn’t pay attention to users. I invented a model of the world that didn’t correspond to reality, and worked from that. I didn’t notice my model was wrong until I tried to convince users to pay for what we’d built. Even then I took embarrassingly long to catch on. I was attached to my model of the world, and I’d spent a lot of time on the software. They had to want it!

Why do so many founders build things no one wants? Because they begin by trying to think of startup ideas. That m.o. is doubly dangerous: it doesn’t merely yield few good ideas; it yields bad ideas that sound plausible enough to fool you into working on them.

At YC we call these “made-up” or “sitcom” startup ideas. Imagine one of the characters on a TV show was starting a startup. The writers would have to invent something for it to do. But coming up with good startup ideas is hard. It’s not something you can do for the asking. So (unless they got amazingly lucky) the writers would come up with an idea that sounded plausible, but was actually bad.

For example, a social network for pet owners. It doesn’t sound obviously mistaken. Millions of people have pets. Often they care a lot about their pets and spend a lot of money on them. Surely many of these people would like a site where they could talk to other pet owners. Not all of them perhaps, but if just 2 or 3 percent were regular visitors, you could have millions of users. You could serve them targeted offers, and maybe charge for premium features. [1]

The danger of an idea like this is that when you run it by your friends with pets, they don’t say “I would never use this.” They say “Yeah, maybe I could see using something like that.” Even when the startup launches, it will sound plausible to a lot of people. They don’t want to use it themselves, at least not right now, but they could imagine other people wanting it. Sum that reaction across the entire population, and you have zero users.[2]


When a startup launches, there have to be at least some users who really need what they’re making—not just people who could see themselves using it one day, but who want it urgently. Usually this initial group of users is small, for the simple reason that if there were something that large numbers of people urgently needed and that could be built with the amount of effort a startup usually puts into a version one, it would probably already exist. Which means you have to compromise on one dimension: you can either build something a large number of people want a small amount, or something a small number of people want a large amount. Choose the latter. Not all ideas of that type are good startup ideas, but nearly all good startup ideas are of that type.

Imagine a graph whose x axis represents all the people who might want what you’re making and whose y axis represents how much they want it. If you invert the scale on the y axis, you can envision companies as holes. Google is an immense crater: hundreds of millions of people use it, and they need it a lot. A startup just starting out can’t expect to excavate that much volume. So you have two choices about the shape of hole you start with. You can either dig a hole that’s broad but shallow, or one that’s narrow and deep, like a well.

Made-up startup ideas are usually of the first type. Lots of people are mildly interested in a social network for pet owners.

Nearly all good startup ideas are of the second type. Microsoft was a well when they made Altair Basic. There were only a couple thousand Altair owners, but without this software they were programming in machine language. Thirty years later Facebook had the same shape. Their first site was exclusively for Harvard students, of which there are only a few thousand, but those few thousand users wanted it a lot.

When you have an idea for a startup, ask yourself: who wants this right now? Who wants this so much that they’ll use it even when it’s a crappy version one made by a two-person startup they’ve never heard of? If you can’t answer that, the idea is probably bad. [3]

You don’t need the narrowness of the well per se. It’s depth you need; you get narrowness as a byproduct of optimizing for depth (and speed). But you almost always do get it. In practice the link between depth and narrowness is so strong that it’s a good sign when you know that an idea will appeal strongly to a specific group or type of user.

But while demand shaped like a well is almost a necessary condition for a good startup idea, it’s not a sufficient one. If Mark Zuckerberg had built something that could only ever have appealed to Harvard students, it would not have been a good startup idea. Facebook was a good idea because it started with a small market there was a fast path out of. Colleges are similar enough that if you build a facebook that works at Harvard, it will work at any college. So you spread rapidly through all the colleges. Once you have all the college students, you get everyone else simply by letting them in.

Similarly for Microsoft: Basic for the Altair; Basic for other machines; other languages besides Basic; operating systems; applications; IPO.


How do you tell whether there’s a path out of an idea? How do you tell whether something is the germ of a giant company, or just a niche product? Often you can’t. The founders of Airbnb didn’t realize at first how big a market they were tapping. Initially they had a much narrower idea. They were going to let hosts rent out space on their floors during conventions. They didn’t foresee the expansion of this idea; it forced itself upon them gradually. All they knew at first is that they were onto something. That’s probably as much as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg knew at first.

Occasionally it’s obvious from the beginning when there’s a path out of the initial niche. And sometimes I can see a path that’s not immediately obvious; that’s one of our specialties at YC. But there are limits to how well this can be done, no matter how much experience you have. The most important thing to understand about paths out of the initial idea is the meta-fact that these are hard to see.

So if you can’t predict whether there’s a path out of an idea, how do you choose between ideas? The truth is disappointing but interesting: if you’re the right sort of person, you have the right sort of hunches. If you’re at the leading edge of a field that’s changing fast, when you have a hunch that something is worth doing, you’re more likely to be right.

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig says:

You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.

I’ve wondered about that passage since I read it in high school. I’m not sure how useful his advice is for painting specifically, but it fits this situation well. Empirically, the way to have good startup ideas is to become the sort of person who has them.

Being at the leading edge of a field doesn’t mean you have to be one of the people pushing it forward. You can also be at the leading edge as a user. It was not so much because he was a programmer that Facebook seemed a good idea to Mark Zuckerberg as because he used computers so much. If you’d asked most 40 year olds in 2004 whether they’d like to publish their lives semi-publicly on the Internet, they’d have been horrified at the idea. But Mark already lived online; to him it seemed natural.

Paul Buchheit says that people at the leading edge of a rapidly changing field “live in the future.” Combine that with Pirsig and you get:

Live in the future, then build what’s missing.

That describes the way many if not most of the biggest startups got started. Neither Apple nor Yahoo nor Google nor Facebook were even supposed to be companies at first. They grew out of things their founders built because there seemed a gap in the world.

If you look at the way successful founders have had their ideas, it’s generally the result of some external stimulus hitting a prepared mind. Bill Gates and Paul Allen hear about the Altair and think “I bet we could write a Basic interpreter for it.” Drew Houston realizes he’s forgotten his USB stick and thinks “I really need to make my files live online.” Lots of people heard about the Altair. Lots forgot USB sticks. The reason those stimuli caused those founders to start companies was that their experiences had prepared them to notice the opportunities they represented.

The verb you want to be using with respect to startup ideas is not “think up” but “notice.” At YC we call ideas that grow naturally out of the founders’ own experiences “organic” startup ideas. The most successful startups almost all begin this way.

That may not have been what you wanted to hear. You may have expected recipes for coming up with startup ideas, and instead I’m telling you that the key is to have a mind that’s prepared in the right way. But disappointing though it may be, this is the truth. And it is a recipe of a sort, just one that in the worst case takes a year rather than a weekend.

If you’re not at the leading edge of some rapidly changing field, you can get to one. For example, anyone reasonably smart can probably get to an edge of programming (e.g. building mobile apps) in a year. Since a successful startup will consume at least 3-5 years of your life, a year’s preparation would be a reasonable investment. Especially if you’re also looking for a cofounder. [4]

You don’t have to learn programming to be at the leading edge of a domain that’s changing fast. Other domains change fast. But while learning to hack is not necessary, it is for the forseeable future sufficient. As Marc Andreessen put it, software is eating the world, and this trend has decades left to run.

Knowing how to hack also means that when you have ideas, you’ll be able to implement them. That’s not absolutely necessary (Jeff Bezos couldn’t) but it’s an advantage. It’s a big advantage, when you’re considering an idea like putting a college facebook online, if instead of merely thinking “That’s an interesting idea,” you can think instead “That’s an interesting idea. I’ll try building an initial version tonight.” It’s even better when you’re both a programmer and the target user, because then the cycle of generating new versions and testing them on users can happen inside one head.


Once you’re living in the future in some respect, the way to notice startup ideas is to look for things that seem to be missing. If you’re really at the leading edge of a rapidly changing field, there will be things that are obviously missing. What won’t be obvious is that they’re startup ideas. So if you want to find startup ideas, don’t merely turn on the filter “What’s missing?” Also turn off every other filter, particularly “Could this be a big company?” There’s plenty of time to apply that test later. But if you’re thinking about that initially, it may not only filter out lots of good ideas, but also cause you to focus on bad ones.

Most things that are missing will take some time to see. You almost have to trick yourself into seeing the ideas around you.

But you know the ideas are out there. This is not one of those problems where there might not be an answer. It’s impossibly unlikely that this is the exact moment when technological progress stops. You can be sure people are going to build things in the next few years that will make you think “What did I do before x?”

And when these problems get solved, they will probably seem flamingly obvious in retrospect. What you need to do is turn off the filters that usually prevent you from seeing them. The most powerful is simply taking the current state of the world for granted. Even the most radically open-minded of us mostly do that. You couldn’t get from your bed to the front door if you stopped to question everything.

But if you’re looking for startup ideas you can sacrifice some of the efficiency of taking the status quo for granted and start to question things. Why is your inbox overflowing? Because you get a lot of email, or because it’s hard to get email out of your inbox? Why do you get so much email? What problems are people trying to solve by sending you email? Are there better ways to solve them? And why is it hard to get emails out of your inbox? Why do you keep emails around after you’ve read them? Is an inbox the optimal tool for that?

Pay particular attention to things that chafe you. The advantage of taking the status quo for granted is not just that it makes life (locally) more efficient, but also that it makes life more tolerable. If you knew about all the things we’ll get in the next 50 years but don’t have yet, you’d find present day life pretty constraining, just as someone from the present would if they were sent back 50 years in a time machine. When something annoys you, it could be because you’re living in the future.

When you find the right sort of problem, you should probably be able to describe it as obvious, at least to you. When we started Viaweb, all the online stores were built by hand, by web designers making individual HTML pages. It was obvious to us as programmers that these sites would have to be generated by software. [5]

Which means, strangely enough, that coming up with startup ideas is a question of seeing the obvious. That suggests how weird this process is: you’re trying to see things that are obvious, and yet that you hadn’t seen.

Since what you need to do here is loosen up your own mind, it may be best not to make too much of a direct frontal attack on the problem—i.e. to sit down and try to think of ideas. The best plan may be just to keep a background process running, looking for things that seem to be missing. Work on hard problems, driven mainly by curiousity, but have a second self watching over your shoulder, taking note of gaps and anomalies. [6]

Give yourself some time. You have a lot of control over the rate at which you turn yours into a prepared mind, but you have less control over the stimuli that spark ideas when they hit it. If Bill Gates and Paul Allen had constrained themselves to come up with a startup idea in one month, what if they’d chosen a month before the Altair appeared? They probably would have worked on a less promising idea. Drew Houston did work on a less promising idea before Dropbox: an SAT prep startup. But Dropbox was a much better idea, both in the absolute sense and also as a match for his skills. [7]

A good way to trick yourself into noticing ideas is to work on projects that seem like they’d be cool. If you do that, you’ll naturally tend to build things that are missing. It wouldn’t seem as interesting to build something that already existed.

Just as trying to think up startup ideas tends to produce bad ones, working on things that could be dismissed as “toys” often produces good ones. When something is described as a toy, that means it has everything an idea needs except being important. It’s cool; users love it; it just doesn’t matter. But if you’re living in the future and you build something cool that users love, it may matter more than outsiders think. Microcomputers seemed like toys when Apple and Microsoft started working on them. I’m old enough to remember that era; the usual term for people with their own microcomputers was “hobbyists.” BackRub seemed like an inconsequential science project. The Facebook was just a way for undergrads to stalk one another.

At YC we’re excited when we meet startups working on things that we could imagine know-it-alls on forums dismissing as toys. To us that’s positive evidence an idea is good.

If you can afford to take a long view (and arguably you can’t afford not to), you can turn “Live in the future and build what’s missing” into something even better:

Live in the future and build what seems interesting.


That’s what I’d advise college students to do, rather than trying to learn about “entrepreneurship.” “Entrepreneurship” is something you learn best by doing it. The examples of the most successful founders make that clear. What you should be spending your time on in college is ratcheting yourself into the future. College is an incomparable opportunity to do that. What a waste to sacrifice an opportunity to solve the hard part of starting a startup—becoming the sort of person who can have organic startup ideas—by spending time learning about the easy part. Especially since you won’t even really learn about it, any more than you’d learn about sex in a class. All you’ll learn is the words for things.

The clash of domains is a particularly fruitful source of ideas. If you know a lot about programming and you start learning about some other field, you’ll probably see problems that software could solve. In fact, you’re doubly likely to find good problems in another domain: (a) the inhabitants of that domain are not as likely as software people to have already solved their problems with software, and (b) since you come into the new domain totally ignorant, you don’t even know what the status quo is to take it for granted.

So if you’re a CS major and you want to start a startup, instead of taking a class on entrepreneurship you’re better off taking a class on, say, genetics. Or better still, go work for a biotech company. CS majors normally get summer jobs at computer hardware or software companies. But if you want to find startup ideas, you might do better to get a summer job in some unrelated field. [8]

Or don’t take any extra classes, and just build things. It’s no coincidence that Microsoft and Facebook both got started in January. At Harvard that is (or was) Reading Period, when students have no classes to attend because they’re supposed to be studying for finals. [9]

But don’t feel like you have to build things that will become startups. That’s premature optimization. Just build things. Preferably with other students. It’s not just the classes that make a university such a good place to crank oneself into the future. You’re also surrounded by other people trying to do the same thing. If you work together with them on projects, you’ll end up producing not just organic ideas, but organic ideas with organic founding teams—and that, empirically, is the best combination.

Beware of research. If an undergrad writes something all his friends start using, it’s quite likely to represent a good startup idea. Whereas a PhD dissertation is extremely unlikely to. For some reason, the more a project has to count as research, the less likely it is to be something that could be turned into a startup. [10] I think the reason is that the subset of ideas that count as research is so narrow that it’s unlikely that a project that satisfied that constraint would also satisfy the orthogonal constraint of solving users’ problems. Whereas when students (or professors) build something as a side-project, they automatically gravitate toward solving users’ problems—perhaps even with an additional energy that comes from being freed from the constraints of research.


Because a good idea should seem obvious, when you have one you’ll tend to feel that you’re late. Don’t let that deter you. Worrying that you’re late is one of the signs of a good idea. Ten minutes of searching the web will usually settle the question. Even if you find someone else working on the same thing, you’re probably not too late. It’s exceptionally rare for startups to be killed by competitors—so rare that you can almost discount the possibility. So unless you discover a competitor with the sort of lock-in that would prevent users from choosing you, don’t discard the idea.

If you’re uncertain, ask users. The question of whether you’re too late is subsumed by the question of whether anyone urgently needs what you plan to make. If you have something that no competitor does and that some subset of users urgently need, you have a beachhead. [11]

The question then is whether that beachhead is big enough. Or more importantly, who’s in it: if the beachhead consists of people doing something lots more people will be doing in the future, then it’s probably big enough no matter how small it is. For example, if you’re building something differentiated from competitors by the fact that it works on phones, but it only works on the newest phones, that’s probably a big enough beachhead.

Err on the side of doing things where you’ll face competitors. Inexperienced founders usually give competitors more credit than they deserve. Whether you succeed depends far more on you than on your competitors. So better a good idea with competitors than a bad one without.

You don’t need to worry about entering a “crowded market” so long as you have a thesis about what everyone else in it is overlooking. In fact that’s a very promising starting point. Google was that type of idea. Your thesis has to be more precise than “we’re going to make an x that doesn’t suck” though. You have to be able to phrase it in terms of something the incumbents are overlooking. Best of all is when you can say that they didn’t have the courage of their convictions, and that your plan is what they’d have done if they’d followed through on their own insights. Google was that type of idea too. The search engines that preceded them shied away from the most radical implications of what they were doing—particularly that the better a job they did, the faster users would leave.

A crowded market is actually a good sign, because it means both that there’s demand and that none of the existing solutions are good enough. A startup can’t hope to enter a market that’s obviously big and yet in which they have no competitors. So any startup that succeeds is either going to be entering a market with existing competitors, but armed with some secret weapon that will get them all the users (like Google), or entering a market that looks small but which will turn out to be big (like Microsoft). [12]


There are two more filters you’ll need to turn off if you want to notice startup ideas: the unsexy filter and the schlep filter.

Most programmers wish they could start a startup by just writing some brilliant code, pushing it to a server, and having users pay them lots of money. They’d prefer not to deal with tedious problems or get involved in messy ways with the real world. Which is a reasonable preference, because such things slow you down. But this preference is so widespread that the space of convenient startup ideas has been stripped pretty clean. If you let your mind wander a few blocks down the street to the messy, tedious ideas, you’ll find valuable ones just sitting there waiting to be implemented.

The schlep filter is so dangerous that I wrote a separate essay about the condition it induces, which I called schlep blindness. I gave Stripe as an example of a startup that benefited from turning off this filter, and a pretty striking example it is. Thousands of programmers were in a position to see this idea; thousands of programmers knew how painful it was to process payments before Stripe. But when they looked for startup ideas they didn’t see this one, because unconsciously they shrank from having to deal with payments. And dealing with payments is a schlep for Stripe, but not an intolerable one. In fact they might have had net less pain; because the fear of dealing with payments kept most people away from this idea, Stripe has had comparatively smooth sailing in other areas that are sometimes painful, like user acquisition. They didn’t have to try very hard to make themselves heard by users, because users were desperately waiting for what they were building.

The unsexy filter is similar to the schlep filter, except it keeps you from working on problems you despise rather than ones you fear. We overcame this one to work on Viaweb. There were interesting things about the architecture of our software, but we weren’t interested in ecommerce per se. We could see the problem was one that needed to be solved though.

Turning off the schlep filter is more important than turning off the unsexy filter, because the schlep filter is more likely to be an illusion. And even to the degree it isn’t, it’s a worse form of self-indulgence. Starting a successful startup is going to be fairly laborious no matter what. Even if the product doesn’t entail a lot of schleps, you’ll still have plenty dealing with investors, hiring and firing people, and so on. So if there’s some idea you think would be cool but you’re kept away from by fear of the schleps involved, don’t worry: any sufficiently good idea will have as many.

The unsexy filter, while still a source of error, is not as entirely useless as the schlep filter. If you’re at the leading edge of a field that’s changing rapidly, your ideas about what’s sexy will be somewhat correlated with what’s valuable in practice. Particularly as you get older and more experienced. Plus if you find an idea sexy, you’ll work on it more enthusiastically. [13]


While the best way to discover startup ideas is to become the sort of person who has them and then build whatever interests you, sometimes you don’t have that luxury. Sometimes you need an idea now. For example, if you’re working on a startup and your initial idea turns out to be bad.

For the rest of this essay I’ll talk about tricks for coming up with startup ideas on demand. Although empirically you’re better off using the organic strategy, you could succeed this way. You just have to be more disciplined. When you use the organic method, you don’t even notice an idea unless it’s evidence that something is truly missing. But when you make a conscious effort to think of startup ideas, you have to replace this natural constraint with self-discipline. You’ll see a lot more ideas, most of them bad, so you need to be able to filter them.

One of the biggest dangers of not using the organic method is the example of the organic method. Organic ideas feel like inspirations. There are a lot of stories about successful startups that began when the founders had what seemed a crazy idea but “just knew” it was promising. When you feel that about an idea you’ve had while trying to come up with startup ideas, you’re probably mistaken.

When searching for ideas, look in areas where you have some expertise. If you’re a database expert, don’t build a chat app for teenagers (unless you’re also a teenager). Maybe it’s a good idea, but you can’t trust your judgment about that, so ignore it. There have to be other ideas that involve databases, and whose quality you can judge. Do you find it hard to come up with good ideas involving databases? That’s because your expertise raises your standards. Your ideas about chat apps are just as bad, but you’re giving yourself a Dunning-Kruger pass in that domain.

The place to start looking for ideas is things you need. Theremust be things you need. [14]

One good trick is to ask yourself whether in your previous job you ever found yourself saying “Why doesn’t someone make x? If someone made x we’d buy it in a second.” If you can think of any x people said that about, you probably have an idea. You know there’s demand, and people don’t say that about things that are impossible to build.

More generally, try asking yourself whether there’s something unusual about you that makes your needs different from most other people’s. You’re probably not the only one. It’s especially good if you’re different in a way people will increasingly be.

If you’re changing ideas, one unusual thing about you is the idea you’d previously been working on. Did you discover any needs while working on it? Several well-known startups began this way. Hotmail began as something its founders wrote to talk about their previous startup idea while they were working at their day jobs.[15]

A particularly promising way to be unusual is to be young. Some of the most valuable new ideas take root first among people in their teens and early twenties. And while young founders are at a disadvantage in some respects, they’re the only ones who really understand their peers. It would have been very hard for someone who wasn’t a college student to start Facebook. So if you’re a young founder (under 23 say), are there things you and your friends would like to do that current technology won’t let you?

The next best thing to an unmet need of your own is an unmet need of someone else. Try talking to everyone you can about the gaps they find in the world. What’s missing? What would they like to do that they can’t? What’s tedious or annoying, particularly in their work? Let the conversation get general; don’t be trying too hard to find startup ideas. You’re just looking for something to spark a thought. Maybe you’ll notice a problem they didn’t consciously realize they had, because you know how to solve it.

When you find an unmet need that isn’t your own, it may be somewhat blurry at first. The person who needs something may not know exactly what they need. In that case I often recommend that founders act like consultants—that they do what they’d do if they’d been retained to solve the problems of this one user. People’s problems are similar enough that nearly all the code you write this way will be reusable, and whatever isn’t will be a small price to start out certain that you’ve reached the bottom of the well. [16]

One way to ensure you do a good job solving other people’s problems is to make them your own. When Rajat Suri of E la Carte decided to write software for restaurants, he got a job as a waiter to learn how restaurants worked. That may seem like taking things to extremes, but startups are extreme. We love it when founders do such things.

In fact, one strategy I recommend to people who need a new idea is not merely to turn off their schlep and unsexy filters, but to seek out ideas that are unsexy or involve schleps. Don’t try to start Twitter. Those ideas are so rare that you can’t find them by looking for them. Make something unsexy that people will pay you for.

A good trick for bypassing the schlep and to some extent the unsexy filter is to ask what you wish someone else would build, so that you could use it. What would you pay for right now?

Since startups often garbage-collect broken companies and industries, it can be a good trick to look for those that are dying, or deserve to, and try to imagine what kind of company would profit from their demise. For example, journalism is in free fall at the moment. But there may still be money to be made from something like journalism. What sort of company might cause people in the future to say “this replaced journalism” on some axis?

But imagine asking that in the future, not now. When one company or industry replaces another, it usually comes in from the side. So don’t look for a replacement for x; look for something that people will later say turned out to be a replacement for x. And be imaginative about the axis along which the replacement occurs. Traditional journalism, for example, is a way for readers to get information and to kill time, a way for writers to make money and to get attention, and a vehicle for several different types of advertising. It could be replaced on any of these axes (it has already started to be on most).

When startups consume incumbents, they usually start by serving some small but important market that the big players ignore. It’s particularly good if there’s an admixture of disdain in the big players’ attitude, because that often misleads them. For example, after Steve Wozniak built the computer that became the Apple I, he felt obliged to give his then-employer Hewlett-Packard the option to produce it. Fortunately for him, they turned it down, and one of the reasons they did was that it used a TV for a monitor, which seemed intolerably déclassé to a high-end hardware company like HP was at the time. [17]

Are there groups of scruffy but sophisticated users like the early microcomputer “hobbyists” that are currently being ignored by the big players? A startup with its sights set on bigger things can often capture a small market easily by expending an effort that wouldn’t be justified by that market alone.

Similarly, since the most successful startups generally ride some wave bigger than themselves, it could be a good trick to look for waves and ask how one could benefit from them. The prices of gene sequencing and 3D printing are both experiencing Moore’s Law-like declines. What new things will we be able to do in the new world we’ll have in a few years? What are we unconsciously ruling out as impossible that will soon be possible?


But talking about looking explicitly for waves makes it clear that such recipes are plan B for getting startup ideas. Looking for waves is essentially a way to simulate the organic method. If you’re at the leading edge of some rapidly changing field, you don’t have to look for waves; you are the wave.

Finding startup ideas is a subtle business, and that’s why most people who try fail so miserably. It doesn’t work well simply to try to think of startup ideas. If you do that, you get bad ones that sound dangerously plausible. The best approach is more indirect: if you have the right sort of background, good startup ideas will seem obvious to you. But even then, not immediately. It takes time to come across situations where you notice something missing. And often these gaps won’t seem to be ideas for companies, just things that would be interesting to build. Which is why it’s good to have the time and the inclination to build things just because they’re interesting.

Live in the future and build what seems interesting. Strange as it sounds, that’s the real recipe.


[1] This form of bad idea has been around as long as the web. It was common in the 1990s, except then people who had it used to say they were going to create a portal for x instead of a social network for x. Structurally the idea is stone soup: you post a sign saying “this is the place for people interested in x,” and all those people show up and you make money from them. What lures founders into this sort of idea are statistics about the millions of people who might be interested in each type of x. What they forget is that any given person might have 20 affinities by this standard, and no one is going to visit 20 different communities regularly.

[2] I’m not saying, incidentally, that I know for sure a social network for pet owners is a bad idea. I know it’s a bad idea the way I know randomly generated DNA would not produce a viable organism. The set of plausible sounding startup ideas is many times larger than the set of good ones, and many of the good ones don’t even sound that plausible. So if all you know about a startup idea is that it sounds plausible, you have to assume it’s bad.

[3] More precisely, the users’ need has to give them sufficient activation energy to start using whatever you make, which can vary a lot. For example, the activation energy for enterprise software sold through traditional channels is very high, so you’d have to be a lot better to get users to switch. Whereas the activation energy required to switch to a new search engine is low. Which in turn is why search engines are so much better than enterprise software.

[4] This gets harder as you get older. While the space of ideas doesn’t have dangerous local maxima, the space of careers does. There are fairly high walls between most of the paths people take through life, and the older you get, the higher the walls become.

[5] It was also obvious to us that the web was going to be a big deal. Few non-programmers grasped that in 1995, but the programmers had seen what GUIs had done for desktop computers.

[6] Maybe it would work to have this second self keep a journal, and each night to make a brief entry listing the gaps and anomalies you’d noticed that day. Not startup ideas, just the raw gaps and anomalies.

[7] Sam Altman points out that taking time to come up with an idea is not merely a better strategy in an absolute sense, but also like an undervalued stock in that so few founders do it.

There’s comparatively little competition for the best ideas, because few founders are willing to put in the time required to notice them. Whereas there is a great deal of competition for mediocre ideas, because when people make up startup ideas, they tend to make up the same ones.

[8] For the computer hardware and software companies, summer jobs are the first phase of the recruiting funnel. But if you’re good you can skip the first phase. If you’re good you’ll have no trouble getting hired by these companies when you graduate, regardless of how you spent your summers.

[9] The empirical evidence suggests that if colleges want to help their students start startups, the best thing they can do is leave them alone in the right way.

[10] I’m speaking here of IT startups; in biotech things are different.

[11] This is an instance of a more general rule: focus on users, not competitors. The most important information about competitors is what you learn via users anyway.

[12] In practice most successful startups have elements of both. And you can describe each strategy in terms of the other by adjusting the boundaries of what you call the market. But it’s useful to consider these two ideas separately.

[13] I almost hesitate to raise that point though. Startups are businesses; the point of a business is to make money; and with that additional constraint, you can’t expect you’ll be able to spend all your time working on what interests you most.

[14] The need has to be a strong one. You can retroactively describe any made-up idea as something you need. But do you really need that recipe site or local event aggregator as much as Drew Houston needed Dropbox, or Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia needed Airbnb?

Quite often at YC I find myself asking founders “Would you use this thing yourself, if you hadn’t written it?” and you’d be surprised how often the answer is no.

[15] Paul Buchheit points out that trying to sell something bad can be a source of better ideas:

“The best technique I’ve found for dealing with YC companies that have bad ideas is to tell them to go sell the product ASAP (before wasting time building it). Not only do they learn that nobody wants what they are building, they very often come back with a real idea that they discovered in the process of trying to sell the bad idea.”

[16] Here’s a recipe that might produce the next Facebook, if you’re college students. If you have a connection to one of the more powerful sororities at your school, approach the queen bees thereof and offer to be their personal IT consultants, building anything they could imagine needing in their social lives that didn’t already exist. Anything that got built this way would be very promising, because such users are not just the most demanding but also the perfect point to spread from.

I have no idea whether this would work.

[17] And the reason it used a TV for a monitor is that Steve Wozniak started out by solving his own problems. He, like most of his peers, couldn’t afford a monitor.

Thanks to Sam Altman, Mike Arrington, Paul Buchheit, John Collison, Patrick Collison, Garry Tan, and Harj Taggar for reading drafts of this, and Marc Andreessen, Joe Gebbia, Reid Hoffman, Shel Kaphan, Mike Moritz and Kevin Systrom for answering my questions about startup history.

PA Cyber School – Compare the Home School to Public School-

Compare the Home School to Public School
Parents are the first teacher to the child.They lead to teaching their kids walking, eat, talk and other basic skills or knowledge. Therefore, when it comes to deciding on a facility for their children’s education, debating homeschooling vs. public school always becomes a problem.

The controversy of home school vs. public school always includes the situation on drugs.Since public schools are known to be considered a problem among youth, many parents are afraid of exposing their children with other kids for fear that the child could possibly be introduced or attracted to harmful drugs. With home school, parents are at ease that the youngsters are less likely to make use of and grow dependent on drugs.

Another issue involved in debates with home schooling vs. public school may be the experience of violence. Statistically, violence in modern schools is getting increasingly prevalent all throughout the world. With today’s public schools, fights between students, between teachers and students as well as fights between students and police authorities remain a problem.

Parents today understand that they need to keep their kids protected from potential fights in public areas and schools.Many parents or guardians side with homeschooling vs. public school because they’re afraid that the simple fight at school could lead to a greater problem, such as a social worker that will try and take your sons or daughters away from your guidance.

A perception to mold children by utilizing militarism for obedience may seem like smart choice to keep students studying instead of becoming social problems. The police state sees the youth as a problem that may only worsen when left undisciplined. For this reason, it’s the parents’ decision to decide how they would like to encourage issues concerning on homeschooling vs. public.  For most parents that have chosen homeschooling against public schools, it cost them nothing to mold their kids intellectual, emotional and instill social growth that work effectively in the reduction of violence, drugs experience  and potential issues with legal authorities. Parents can guide children through every stage of the academics in the comfort of their own personal homes by following methods that could mold a child the proper way .

Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program & Summer in Philly, FREE!

More than 100 ways for families to enjoy the summer in Philadelphia for FREE. For a Free, Fun, Safe Philly Summer Guide visit: www.phila.gov/youthprograms/stayActive.html                                                     Opportunity never comes twice! – ViWiDA-USA would like to see Youth not missing this opportunity –   Paid Internship for summer in Philly Experience Philly The “Summer in the City” High School Internship Program with the City of Philadelphia municipal government is a paid six-week internship. As a participating employer with the Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady Summer Internship Program, the City of Philadelphia municipal government will hire 100 students to work in various municipal placements for the duration of the internship term. Students will have the opportunity to be placed in a variety of different fields as part of the internship, including health, human services, finance, and law – just to name a few;  beginning on Tuesday, July 1st and ending on Friday, August 8th. APPLY NOW right here!                 For more information: www.phila.gov/experiencephila/highschool.html

The City of Phila. maintains a resource guide of GED programs and locations. For info visit: http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us


Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program.

2014 Task Force Report at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/

Case for Action

There are an estimated 19,914 children and youth reported to be experiencing homelessness and receiving supportive services through Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program. Of the 19,914 children and youth reported as homeless, 18,231 children were identified as being enrolled in school. This represents about one percent of the Pennsylvania public school population.

Homelessness can be distressing for children and youth, as they can experience multiple moves in a given year, staying in shelters, doubling up in overcrowded apartments with relatives or family friends, or sleeping in motels, cars and campgrounds.

Homeless students have an increased likelihood of being placed in special education programs. Additionally, the instability of homeless students who are in special education, are more likely to lag behind other students academically, are less likely to graduate from high school in four years as their special education peers and have a higher risk of repeating a grade than those who are not in special education. Approximately 25 percent of Pennsylvania students experiencing homelessness who are identified and enrolled in school were designated as having a disability.

Forty-two percent of homeless children are age six or under, with over 40 percent of the children under the age of five. Children who experience homelessness at such a young age can be significantly impacted and are more likely to demonstrate behavioral problems such as aggression, social withdrawal, depression and anxiety. These can affect academic, social and economic outcomes. These children can have fragile relationships with their parents and limited access to early developmental opportunities. Therefore, interventions that strengthen parent-child relationships and offer easy access to quality early childhood programs and services should be undertaken

Summary of Recommendations from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Task Force on Homeless Children’s Education are:- 1) Collaboration and Coordination; 2) Data Collection; 3) Outreach and Engagement; and 4) Service Delivery.



PA Department of Education: Adopt A Classroom Grants: 9 Out Of 10 Teachers use their own money to buy school supplies for their students. This program partners donors with teachers to provide grants. Register your Class-room. Go To: www.adoptaclassroom.org 

PA. Department of Education: Labels for Education is a program where families and members of the community work together to earn free stuff for their school! Collect UPC’s and beverage caps from over 2500 participating products. Earn points to redeem for Arts, Athlet-ics and Academic merchandise. Visit www.labelsforeducation.com for more info


Join 2.5 Million Young People! DoSomething.org makes the world a better place. It is one of the largest organizations for young people and social change. Visit their website and see what good our youth are doing throughout America. Maybe the kids at your site have an idea for social change! For more information visit: https://www.dosomething.org/about/who-we-are



Turn Your Computer Into A Money-Making Machine

Turn Your Personal Computer Into A Money-Making Machine by Storing; Printed Reports On Disk


Fact 1: Mail order business is the most ideal business to operate from home. Thousands make lucrative incomes and enjoy operating from the comfort of homes, setting their own business completely out of the “rat race” . These people will never work for a boss again. The postman brings them fat profits every day – often more than they earned in a month working for others. A US. Government report states that many one–person mail order businesses are making profits up to $50,000 per year. The more successful mail order dealers have become Millionaires!

Fact 2:The world’s easiest mail order business is Selling INFORMATION BY MAIL. Hundreds of thousands of men and women are making money in this wonderful, fantastic work. When I say information I mean VALUABLE INFORMATION, with intrinsic value-. It could be an idea, a secret a name, an address, but something, of value it at people are willing to pay for it. What could be more profitable than selling paper and ink whereby you print information for pennies… and sell them for dollars?

Fact 3: ””Information by Mail” is a billion dollar a year Mail Order Business with a market of over FORTY MILLION CUSTOMERS, and it is growing faster every year. We are now in an information AGE where there is an explosive demand for valuable information in all sectors of today’s society. With such statistics, it’s easy to see why more and more people are entering today’s most exciting; and more profitable business.

Many individuals just like yourself are making more money in only a week in the Self-PUBLISHING BUSINESS than they can make in a month working for someone else.


There are two ways you can be a SELF-PUBLISHER; the hard way .. .or the easy way.

1. You can write your own self-published materials. You do your own research, find out what topics people will buy and the right price they are willing to pay, develop and advertise your offer or report, test the market, etc. etc.

 Although this may be a more rewarding experience (especially if you love to write and want to be an author), I don’t advise it. As a beginner, I mean. Once you become an expert in this business, you can write your own materials, make more money and have a lot of fun. But meanwhile …

2. You can BUY your own self-published materials by acquiring the best-selling reports and manuals that are available in the market today, including the right to resell and reprint. That’s right. You save the hassle of writing your own reports. You simply pay the full retail price, which will include the right to reprint the items you bought!

Now listen. I am not talking about the sub-standard material in the market. Be careful when you acquire an article or report for resale; You don’t want to purchase incorrect or incomplete information, reports of poor reproduction quality,or information that simply has no apparent value.

To be successful, you must buy for distribution, the kind of quality material that will satisfy your customers and make them want to order from you again. One source of reports with reprint rights is: Infopreneur Box 20412 El Cajon CA 92021. The company offers a free catalog. 

Once you acquire reproduction rights you can reproduce materials as you receive orders. A report of several pages in length can be reproduced for 20 to 30 cents and sold for several dollars. This generally provides a profit of 100% a higher When you purchase the reproduction rights you acquire the right to reproduce the copyrighted materials, which also includes the right to resell the reprint rights. Meanwhile, let’s say you have acquired the reproduction rights for top notch reports


The most important thing that you can do as a Self-Publisher is to convert your printed information into computer-readable moneymaking information! This simple act will give you the leading edge in this business. By combining technology with the information self-publishing concept, you gain tremendous possibilities for success.

1. You keep your information current, accurate and easy to update. You can change, improve and add information as you gain more experience. You can include your own personal identity and unique information regarding your offer or business.

2. You maintain high quality printed information by using the latest technology in printing hardware and software. You have more convenient storage, faster access and better manageability in maintaining your information

3. When printing costs become prohibitive, say in producing a 100-page report, you can sell your information on disk. This automatically eliminates printing costs and reduces mailing costs substantially.

4. Since your information is stored in your computer, you can then transmit via modem, bulletin Board, electronic mail, fax, or any means of telecommunications. Shape of things to come? Nope. This is happening today. This is now a common mode in the business of transmitting (and selling) information.

5. Finally, with the above hi-tech facilities, you will be operating just like a big corporate publishing firm and will be perceived as one. You improve your credibility as an entrepreneur. There are now thousands of small one-person businesses operating from home, just like the big ones.


Here is a summary of the important benefits of operating your own Self-Publishing Mail Order business:

No. inventory to carry and easy to reproduce

Extremely high mark up

Easy and inexpensive to ship via First Class or UPS

Ideal as a primary offer or as follow up offer to existing buyers

Very Large market demand

By the way, you don’t have to own a computer to operate your own self-publishing business.

The purpose of this Guide is simply to show how much more of advantage you will have if you use a computer as a tool in making yourself-publishing business more efficient and successful. Be a self-publisher first, then computerize your information later.


Think about the future. Whether you work part time or full time, you’ll be able to operate this proven, wealth building business from your home, and you’ll have fun making money. You wont need any employees, and you. You won’t have to share your profits with anyone.

NOW IS YOUR MOMENT TO ACT!!! You have much to gain and nothing to lose.




Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Promoting Your Business http://www.promopress.com/earning_money.html