Mark Bao has posted his notes from this year’s Startup School. Here are my favorite parts (everything below is cut-and-pasted directly from his notes — read the full collection):

Mark Pincus, CEO, Zynga: My Startup Experience

  • what really matters is that YOU CONTROL YOUR BOARD. Mark Zuckerberg claps.

How? (1) Create a board that reflects the ownership of the company. (2) Make a new board seat for a new CEO, (3) Do a term sheet tune-up.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook: Q&A with Jessica Livingston

  • he says he never pitched Facebook a lot. Just got introduced to people because already had x00,000 users

Traction solves every problem. Profit erases every sin.

  • cognizant of the fact that engineers tend to move around companies. Facebook is a place to learn; he’s cool with moves.

That’s a neat solution: retention is a problem — so we “don’t care” about retention. Jeffrey Pfeffer and Bob Sutton from Stanford offer other solutions for retaining employees.

Twitter Founders Biz Stone and Ev Williams: Q&A with Jessica Livingston

  • motivation behind Twitter: two week hackweek at Obvious. they built, used it over the weekend, and they were passionately engaged

Hackdays are a great way to boost morale, clear out the ideas you can’t stop thinking about, and build small, low-priority, high ROI features and products.

Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos: Delivering Happiness

  • Zappos’ Committable Core Values are grounds for hiring and firing, very serious about it

Greg McAdoo, Sequoia Capital

  • good recession-era startups “buy the cash register early,” — they execute their pay business model earlier to generate revenues earlier and bank earlier
  • enterprise sales tip: promote and talk about the HARD DOLLAR ROI. it’s the most important thing to talk about. make them scared to reject your product. make them think “if my boss ever found out we could have saved 50% on software X, he would be pissed.” make them fear that the competition get the product in their hands and beat you out.
  • startups that gain revenue early are disciplined earlier, and get used to being an actual business earlier, and generally are better and more recession-proof

Also see Fred Wilson’s post on Portfolio Screens.

Jason Fried, CEO, 37signals: Funding and Charging for Your Product

  • the difference between a boostrapped and funded company is easy to understand.
  • the bootstrapped company starts off thinking: we need to make money.
  • the funded company starts of thinking: we need to spend money. these investors have given us x million dollars—we should spend it!
  • funding is like crack. it’s an addiction with names like Series C. Don’t keep going back for more and more funding; it’ll make your addiction worse.
  • sorry, failure is not a rite of passage. you don’t have to fail. failing once doesn’t prevent another. Fried thinks the idea of “you have to fail once” and having to “learn about failure” is ridiculous.
  • learning a lesson from failure is learning what not to do. learning what to do is a lot better than learning what not to do.

Read all of Mark Bao’s notes.

Topics Conferences