The visit to Twitter
Today we met Michael Montano who leads the engineering team for the core parts of twitter. He was always building websites in high school to pay for college. He went to a TechCrunch and that was the first time he was in the valley. After school he and his co-founder applied for Ycombibator and that was their ticket to the US.
They were doing a startup very similar to Twitter: BackType. Then they pivoted and Built a very compelling technology working on data analytics and ads business. They built an API and started partnering with companies like Twitter. Then they got acquired by Twitter.
The exit wasn’t the goal they had set out to do however. Michael sometimes thinks they failed to do what they wanted to do. It wasn’tas ambitious or as world changing as they wanted to be at first.
Best Michael’s quotes from the day:
“Best thing I did was hiring the best people. We treated engineers as our second customers. We advertised ourselves really well for employees. ”
One tip to anyone starting a start-up: ” find a good co-founder.”
The value of YC was:
1. The value of the brand.
2. The value of the network. It is incredibly strong.
3. The value of the mentorship.
YC certainly accelerated our ability to raise money and being able to hire incredible people. ”
Tim Marks, engineering manager at Twitter (originally from Brisbane, and has had startups there) said: “Coming to San Fran is a risk and you have to be completely behind your product. Be in it for 6 months to a year before moving here. If you’re not completely behind your product the investors will sniff it out and won’t sniff. But if you have a good idea and are getting traction it is much easier to raise in San Fran than in Australia.
My first criteria for employement: “Does this person really want to learn or are they here for the money?”
Three biggest things Australia needs to do to make it better for Startups:
1. Stop the brain drain.
2. Angle investors really need to stop being so risk averse.
3. Government needs to try to foster innovation.”