Paul Graham's "Do Things That Don't Scale"
Startup Codex

Probably the best known and most influential post by Paul Graham, co-founder of top start-up accelerator program Y Combinator.

Do Things that Don't Scale is the most widely distributed advice in the Y Combinator. Counter-intuitive, it encourages the founders to do things manually rather than looking for scalability right away.

Paul Graham describes a path where everything is done to recruit and obtain user satisfaction by non-scalable means.

Through the example of Airbnb or Wufoo, he speaks of the fragility of these startups in their early stages and recommends that founders assume this fragility rather than trying prematurely to resemble companies that are already on the road to hyper-growth.

For Graham, nothing matters more than the user experience. Not even the product, which is just one component of it.

The question to ask about an early stage startup is not "is this company taking over the world?" but "how big could this company get if the founders did the right things?" And the right things often seem both laborious and inconsequential at the time. Microsoft can't have seemed very impressive when it was just a couple guys in Albuquerque writing Basic interpreters for a market of a few thousand hobbyists (as they were then called), but in retrospect that was the optimal path to dominating microcomputer software.