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The Startup Zeitgeist (ycombinator.com)
469 points by loyalelectron on May 4, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 153 comments

While there certainly is a lot of data, and it is presented very well, the analysis falls into the same traps as analyses of Google Trends data, particularly in the keyword analysis. Causation of changes in trends is ambiguous.

For example, YC applications are optimized for the highest probability of getting into YC by definition, and so it would be expected that terms on the application would be optimized for getting venture capital, not necessarily what is happening in the marketplace today. (The "Slack: King of the Enterprise Tools" slide is a good example; I'm sure the mention of "Slack for X" is a golden flag for some VCs)

A question about the chart presentation: why are some lines straight, and some lines smooth? (e.g in the Startup Competitors slide, Instagram, Airbnb, and Uber have curbed lines but Tinder, Whatsapp, and Snapchat have straight lines)

> I'm sure the mention of "Slack for X" is a golden flag for some VCs

It's crazy how many people in the industry believe that Slack is already more popular than email, is close to overtaking email, or is growing faster than email.

The stupidity in tech has reached the level of being a moral hazard, where it really just incentivizes everyone else to be bad at their jobs.

The NYC Ruby users group just replaced their email list with Slack, it's great, it's cut down participation by about 80%, messages that are not seen immediately go forever unread, and what was once a valuable community for me to reach out to as a freelancer is now worthless. But at least we're on the coolest new billion dollar valuation closed source tech. And we have some great new channels like #general that no one ever posts to. I can't imagine anything better.

This made me laugh because it's also exactly my experience with free community Slack. I suppose there is an argument for a more transient means of communication, and Slack's interface is certainly an improvement over IRC or awful, awful Google Groups, but...

Of course, if you want a better Slack experience, you can shell out an unknown multiplier of thousands of dollars per month for a paid version (which is never going to happen). The pricing gap for free/paid community Slack is just nuts.

Slack amplifies "fishbowl" workplace environments. Imagine if you're only allowed to discuss certain topics in certain channels, but what you can say in each channel changes often. And your boss can't cut you any...slack...about these changes, because his boss is watching all of these channels too, telling him who should say what where.

We've been coping by hanging out in private channels. And so the tribal knowledge remains hidden among a small cabal because management doesn't want it discussed. They prefer the illusion that we are...all-knowing or psychic or something.

What? Managament controlling information dispersal within a company?! How can any place work that way? NDA and GAAP rules limiting discussions to third parties but within companies...?! (shudders). Either the process would need to be trivially linear or the management need to be psychics to know what information is actually needed where.

Happens more than you would think... Key phrase is usually "on a need-to-know basis". It is difficult to argue with such phrase as it seems completely reasonable on the surface, but what happens is that someone has to decide which information someone needs to know. Such decisions are not without mistakes, and to top it off, there is even incentive to keep people out of the loop because information gives the holder some power. So it often happens that people do not get the whole picture and operate on limited knowledge, leading to bad decisions.

Crazy. I've worked in companies ranging from 10 to thousands of employees and never heard before of such a self immolating idea gaining wide acceptance. I must be lucky.

With my group, we started to use slack for email, but the transient nature of the chat did exactly what you describe.

We ended up finding Discourse, a forum system, and have been using that. Now, slack is more about simulating in person discussion (i.e. we rarely use it), and Discourse is more like emails pre-sorted by category. I have to say, it's working pretty well.

I think there's a chance of Slack winning this use case when they add one feature: threaded conversations / topics.

Zulip (https://zulip.org), Dropbox's Slack clone, supports threaded convos out of the box quite nicely.

I truly don't understand the hype around Slack. I work at an EMS provider, and we got a couple of our business facing teams to use it last fall. Maybe 2 people are actively using it now, the rest moved back to only email or never actually used Slack in the first place.

Every job I've held for 20 years has involved keeping a chat window open with my collaborators. At various times it was IRC, Jabber, AIM, iChat, HipChat; but now Slack is suddenly the one worth a jillion dollars.

The tooling and ecosystem around Slack are quite different than any of the others. (Admittedly I don't follow the IRC space much.)

It's like gluing a phone running iMessage to your computer screen. Useful for quick collaboration where emails can be clunky, interrupt flow, and inhibit dialogue. There's room for both tools depending on the needed communication medium.

Is it useful? Yes. Is it necessary? No. Could it replace email? No. What is the service worth? A lot, according to starving investors.

I've noticed a lot of business/corporate people really don't "get" slack the same way an older person is bewildered by something like snapchat. We have a "legacy" (for lack of a better term) Lync system that they are holed up in and the split along those lines is very noticeable. Those same type of people who are on the teams firmly on the slack side tend to stay offline until they get an email notification, answer the mention or DM and then disappear again.

> the same way an older person is bewildered by something like snapchat.

Damn. At just (now) 35, I'm apparently an "older person".

/me pours another glass of bourbon

31 and feeling the same. Snapchat is the most effective generation splitter I've ever seen

I wrote a blog post about my experience with Snapchat. Not even being a creator, just a story consumer.

Watched some great thought provoking snaps. The fact that I could neither share the video nor watch the snaps on my own schedule drove me crazy.

So I deleted the app from my phone.

I think that what is happening can be described thus: waves of ignorance.

Every few years, generations of technologists evolve from their schooling, and come out into the workforce - competent, yes, but aware, no. Awareness of previous technologies is the problem: if you've never actually used e-mail productively, you may not be aware that people use it extremely productively, so you pitch an alternative - i.e. re-invent/NIH some 'replacement' technology that has a lot of fancy bells and whistles, but ends up re-implementing the stuff that your grandaddy programmers solved, decades ago.

Slack is an example of this - I see nothing in it that I can't do, effectively, with a well-run mailing list and well-configured mail applications, with company policies and, most of all TRAINING of employees/team-members on how to use it properly. The same goes for IRC. IRC and Email already solved the problems of Slack: its just that the mechanism (i.e. understanding) of applying those technologies is not evenly distributed.

It comes in waves, and I think it can be traced back to the timing of graduation schedules across academia.

Young ignorant founder here. If a good email practice can be obtained by taking all those measures, but slack doesn't need the understanding, training, policies etc then surely slack is the better alternative. Just because it 'can be done' with email doesn't make it nonconditionally better.

So you'd rather give monkeys a golden hammer than train humans to use any tool effectively? Very interesting, young ignorant founder ..

Hint: its the people, not the technology, that make all the difference in the world. Invest in the people and it won't matter what technology they use.

If tools are evaluated by their leverage, and if Slack needs less effort (in form of training, etc) to achieve the same result as email/IRC, then isn't it reasonable to suggest that Slack is better? However, I think it is interesting to think about the method they used to achieve that increased leverage. In Slack's case it may not be an entirely new set of features, but just more optimal designs and implementations of existing feature sets. Should that necessarily "count for less"? I would argue no, if tools are evaluated by their leverage.

I'm at UC Berkeley right now. Most the college organizations I know use it (including the hacker's club I was a part of). Almost every computer science class uses it for internal staff communication, which is pretty important considering that our intro CS class has 40+ course staff/assistants. Nobody wants to set up and use IRC, which is ugly, time consuming to set up, and not fun to use.

I hear Slack is also gaining a lot of traction for open source community discussion (although IRC is still common).

This is all on the free plan obviously, but guess what the next wave of tech startups are going to use (or are already using). This is not including the big companies that are already adopting it.

There's probably more usage of Slack among CS students than there is usage of bitcoin, VR, drones, or any other technology popular among hackers that people argue (rightly or wrongly) are poised to go mainstream.

> although IRC is still common

I am sad to see an open-source tech get replaced with a closed source one, but I am glad that the default IM system for talking about code is no longer one that prohibits multi-line comments.

Considering the amount of skilled time and effort that good UX takes, I suppose closed-source was the most likely thing to happen.

Being able to use inline LaTeX and Markdown is the killer feature of Gitter for me.

> I hear Slack is also gaining a lot of traction for open source community discussion (although IRC is still common).

The white elephant in the room is if there's really value there: Would most open source efforts actually pay for Slack as a group communication tool? I think the answer is no, almost by definition.

quick question, have you ever setup irc? it's actually really easy, and as far as clients for IRC go, there is such a huge range that it's hard to believe you really tried it. there are all the functions of slack and then a ton more. just an FYI, IRC is awesome and you own the data.

paying for chat is ridiculous IMO.

Nope. And why would I bother learning when I can just click a few buttons to get Slack? I'm pretty lazy and have no interest spending the weekend learning all the features of IRC.


> This is all on the free plan obviously, but guess what the next wave of tech startups are going to use

I'm really curious as to what you're saying here:

"The stupidity tech has reached the level of being a moral hazard, where it really just incentivizes everyone else to be bad at their jobs."

I honestly don't know how Slack incentivizes somebody to be bad at their job.

In regards to the first sentence I assume you mean the venture capital industry? I'm not in that industry but I have to imagine that Slack is not more popular than email or close to overtaking email. I do imagine that it is growing faster than email as more internal communications move to that medium.

Slack isn't even close to email. "Worldwide email use continues to grow at a healthy pace. In 2015, the number of worldwide email users will be nearly 2.6 billion. By the end of 2019, the number of worldwide email users will increase to over 2.9 billion"[1]. Slack has a bit under 3 million DAU [2].

[1] http://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Email-... [2] http://techcrunch.com/2016/04/01/rocketship-emoji/

Right. I agree that Slack is nowhere close to overtaking email in absolute terms. But I suspect it is growing faster than email. Your figures project email users growing by 11.5% over the next four years. Slack is growing by that rate every quarter (at least).

Not hard to grow fast when you're starting small. If I launched a new chat service later tonight, it'd be the fastest-growing communication technology in the world tomorrow, since it'd be going from one to two or three or possibly even four users. Slack would kill for a 300% daily growth rate!

Sure. Think it'll maintain that pace for more than a couple years? Especially given the strange interest in chat bots that people seem to also have.

I am honestly so perplexed by the bot mania.

Don't get me wrong, they have their uses, but how is this suddenly perceived as a multi-billion dollar market?

Indeed, it is baffling. Am glad someone else is also confused.

is growing faster than email

I'd assume that this is true - it would be astonishing to me if it weren't simply because of the law of high numbers.

Am I wrong about this and email is growing at ridiculous percent?

What even constitutes email growth at this point - more people gaining access to the Internet? Creation of new MX servers? Signups to Gmail?

Probably directly correlated to developing world internet penetration.

email is at least growing as fast as slack since slack requires you to have an email to sign up ;)

Not true since those email addresses often already existed.

I have 10+ Slack teams associated with my one email address

Gitter is becoming standard in Developer community with Slack practically dying. No surprise given Slack's inferior UX. Fragmenting my teams and asking separate passwords for each? What a stupid idea!

Yeah I don't get the hype too. I used it once or twice. Then I was like "how is this revolutionary?". A new password per team. Nop bop pop.

Its just like music. Kids don't love your rock 'n roll until they get old enough to actually understand what the guy is singing about. So we get punk. Then we get punk bands, covering rock 'n roll classics. Then, we get punk rockers. Then, we get old rockers, complaining about the quality of the current generations' music.

This seems to be cyclic.

Does it also apply to the multiple team accounts with separate logins, or is it regarded a tolerable inconvenience amidst other amazing qualities?

Personally I think its very obnoxious, and quite punk rock of them. Not that there's anything wrong with punk rock, its just .. you don't necessarily want it in your cornflakes...

Fully agree. It's unfortunate that these "trends" are actually trailing and imitating recent successes. It only goes to show that VCs (YC included) don't shape the future of technology, but rather try to squeeze money from their own investors by pitching ideas that relate to things they hope the latter are familiar with thanks to news coverage.

The analysis is limited to statements of what was observed in YC applications, not what is happening in the larger marketplace. This is exactly what you get when you look into a crystal ball: a warped view of your local environment.

> This is exactly what you get when you look into a crystal ball: a warped view of your local environment.

I love it. I'm stealing this. :)

There's a larger statistical significance issue here. Check the different scales + the degree of certainly is even worse when the you're talking about minute changes to a fraction of a percentage, year-over-year.

Made a quick file to illustrate: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uq0apjt69zadiii/YC%20Blog%20Resize...

With a couple of thousand applications per year, each one of those small percentages is going to have a 95% bound in the neighborhood of +/-0.5%. The closer a fraction is to 0 or 1, the more significant it is per given denominator. The bounds on some of these will certainly overlap y/y but the large swings over a few years are very much statistically different.

Also, if this analysis is on the full population of YC apps, there's no statistical error if you take it for what it is: trends within YC apps. Not every metric needs to be extrapolated to the maximum feasible population to be interesting.

Finally, the scales on the two graphs you resized shown changes of a factor of 5-7, not counting the first data points, otherwise even more. I'd argue that your scales are the ones that are misleading in this scenario. You'd be right if they had that scale for an 82% to 94% growth, vs. the 2% to 14% or .2% to 1% that they are illusrating.

The axis scales are fine as long as the comparisons are apples-to-apples. Since the charts were split between startups and nonstatups, I believe it's fair.

The "statistical significance" issue with using small percentages is fine as long as the sample size is sufficiently large. YC receives thousands of applications each year, which is enough...

...although in 2016, there's only been 1 round of applications so far, whereas other years have 2 rounds of data. Therefore the sample size might be smaller, which can create doubt in the "Slack is 850% better" conclusion. Again, I do not know the exact sample size to verify.

I get persuasive writing, but calling "Slack: King of the Enterprise Tools" because it went from 0% in 2014 to 1.2% in 2016 is absolutely an over statement.

Apples-to-apples on the chart? I'd bet a Tubman that 70%+ of the readers didn't catch the scale differences as they went chart-to-chart, following the writer down his/her path.

Everyone draws the line somewhere on this stuff, and I'm just surprised where Priceonomics (who's stuff is normally AWESOME) and YC placed their collective line. Then again, maybe I'm all alone out here with this concern.

---------- *If that wasn't bad enough, did they search for other potential "enterprise tools" or just the ones that are trending today? Curious if Yammer, MS Excel, MS Office, Jira, charted in an "significant" way?

Yes, it also shows how volatile people are when it comes to doing a startup.

I understand the usefulness of pivoting, but as it stands, people are pivoting across entire industries (into industries where they are completely inexperienced) for the sake of getting funding.

Some cross-pollination between industries is beneficial, but right now you have too much of it - It turns everyone into a snake oil salesman - All bling no substance... Everybody knows a bit about everything but nobody knows everything about anything.

YC encourages a breadth-first mentality which is subpar when it comes to encouraging deep innovation.

The YC decision process should be seen like a decision tree with the minimax (adverserial search) algorithm switched on... Applicants are YC's opponents, not their ally and they are always looking for ways to subvert the system.

Well, the terms section is certainly misleading. I prefer to see data where the plural is grouped with the singular. Looking at the chart, VR ranks above drone(s). VR has no commonly used plural, so without combining singular and plural terms, and without the raw numbers displayed, it's not a useful chart.

I'm incredibly surprised they didn't use stemming to combine singular/plurals consistently. It's totally standard in information retrieval.

I appreciate your contributions to HN and am interested that you're skeptical(?) as well.

We're looking at a few "wowee!" graphs that are showing the differences between fractions of a percent. I mean, the claim is "850% growth" of Slack... as it goes from 0% to 1% of "mentions" in some randomly associated keyword analysis. "AI" went from 0.41% to 0.7% of "mentions" in 4 years, looks like it's taking over! Blogging is no longer popular, because it went from 1.5% to 0.5%, but "messaging" is so popular now because it went from...zero to 1%?

What does any of it mean? It looks like the type of analysis where the conclusions are drawn ahead of time. I'd be more interested in seeing the diversity of replies; if only a small fraction of companies see, say, the big guys (FAANG) as competitors, who do the rest list?

Two observations:

web vs. app data seems to be missing something. According to that graph, about 15% of startups are building either an app or a website. Where are the remaining 85% doing? That sounds strange.

I can't underscore enough the "crystal ball" effect of receiving all those pitches. By hearing every idea out there, you get a free crash course in the future. While founders don't like to hear it, a similar idea has already been pitched 10 times. So investors focus on how you are different from those 10 similar ideas. And often, investors will have "amazing" insights for you, just by repeating what those 10 other founders have told them already. It's like being prescient without being especially smart. A very strange feeling.

Also notable: app likely to match for web, but not vice-versa.

If you build an app, you say you're building an app. If you're building a web site, you might say web app.

It'd be interesting to know if this was taken into account.

Same with the artificial intelligence graph. "Deep" seems to be the most popular category of AI, even more popular than "artificial intelligence," up until 2014. Considering deep learning is a subset of machine learning (which only starts appearing in the graph in 2012), I'm confused what "deep" is supposed to represent. Is there another meaning to "deep" in an AI context?

I think it originally just meant "deep neural nets" ie. neural nets with more than one hidden layer. Now it's code for "I'm making magic AI, please fund me".

> Now it's code for "I'm making magic AI, please fund me".

Isn't that just AI? The term has never meant anything but "the future".

Well, no, AI has always meant "making computers do something that, right now, only humans can do." Of course, the term only applies to work-in-progress, because once it's working, it's not AI by definition.

Got a citation for that? Or is that just your definition? As soon as we understand a problem there are better terms that are actually meaningful.

It's a variation of a famous John McCarthy quote: "“As soon as it works, no one calls it AI any more.”


It's not meant to be a serious definition but IMO the phenomena is very real.

The version I'm familiar with: "today's AI is tomorrow's computer science"

That resonates with me; thank you.

I still think it's a bullshit marketing term.

I was wondering the same thing for SaaS Mentions. Has got to be above 3%.

Why SaaS and not the more ubiquitous "Cloud"?

Because SaaS is a business model and Cloud is a marketing term for those who don't know about servers

It's because it's keyword analysis based. For example, you might call your product a "platform", and not use the words "website" or "app", in which case you wouldn't appear on the graph.

Within mobile devices, the iPad was mentioned specifically very often after it first came out. Now it’s mentioned rarely—probably not because people don’t build apps for iPads anymore, but instead because it’s simply so obvious that you will support iPads that people don’t even mention it.

I'm not so sure about this. Outside certain niches developers don't seem to have much interest in iPad apps these days. In three years of building iOS apps for clients I haven't had anyone ask me even once for an iPad version of their app.

Matches my experience. And it's the same for Android tablets: the form factor is barely an afterthought.

I think one of the reasons is the "phablet" convergence. When the iPad came out as a 10" device, the iPhone was a 3.5" device. Today you can get an iPhone in a 5.5" size or an iPad in an 8" size.

The physical difference has blurred, but the use case difference is clear. The phone is the personal device that you use by default for everything. The tablet is a media consumption device at home, or a specialized data entry tool. There doesn't seem to be much market for apps between those extremes.

My tablet has been a piece of furniture on my desk for nearly a year (received as a gift). I have absolutely no use case for it. Why would I get an iPad when I can get a 10" laptop and bruteforce any OS/app that I need into it. Tablets feel so restrictive, not to mention typing takes ages

Yeah, I only use my ipad for reading ebooks.

I agree. Snapchat doesn't have an iPad app. Instagram doesn't have an iPad app. It's far from obvious that apps will support iPad (other than in "enlarge the phone version" mode). As a heavy iPad user, I wish this weren't the case, but it sure seems to be.

An analysis around iphone vs android vs web strategy would have been more enlightening.

I think the ipad pro could could shape this up a lot. A good ipad app (even if just for slide-over) could become a must for most utility or communication apps.

I'd be interested to see whether there's any link between how an application is written (stylistically) and whether or not they get into YC. The writing itself plays quite a big part in many other "similar" processes, like applying for scholarships or research grants, to which there definitely is an "art", so I'd be curious to see whether this is the case in applying for YC as well.

Could uncover some non-obvious bad patterns that future applicants could be warned against using when applying, and some non-obvious good patterns that can help people write better applications, but it might also uncover a subconscious bias within YC towards certain patterns/styles of writing that YC might want to try to remove.

Would definitely be harder to do than this keyword analysis that Priceonomics did, but I'm pretty sure lots of people have worked on analysing styles of writing etc. over the years so it's definitely doable.

How awesome would it be if the dataset was made available? We've seen some great stuff already done with the HN Api.

I was thinking the same thing. It'd be interesting to compare this analysis with a duplicate analysis exclusively of accepted applications.

I wish this were a continually updated thing after each batch.

Some other trends I'd love to see: team sizes (mean/mode/median). Capital raised pre-YC. Revenue pre-YC. Years in existence pre-YC. Location pre/post YC.

I think you would need to have two separate stats: one for number of founders and one for team size. Some companies might already have employees that are not founders but the YC application only refers to founders IIRC.

The data I would like to see would be industry related but there isn't a specific dropdown for that and would be hard to do with keywords. I'm surprised that more than 2.5% of applications are looking to enter spaces that Uber is either in or the applicant thinks Uber is going into. I suspect that is more due to Uber's distribution potential than their transportation business but really don't know. Definitely surprised it is half of Google in the fear factor.

You have one seriously impressive HN profile.

I'd love to see information on founders over time: % applications with 1/2/3/many founders; % founders by highest educational qualification and university; % founders by city/state/country.

And of course separate graphs for all applications vs accepted applications.

What I think is very curious is that Apple isn't mentioned even once on this whole page. And yet it's behind much of the trends and pursuing many a technology listed on it.

Caution flag: There might be a statistical significance issue on a good chunk of these graphs.

(1) Particularly when the scale isn't fixed (.001 increments to 2% increments - a 200x difference!) (2) When making conclusions on relative trends given small small percentage movements year over year.

AI going from 0.3% to 1.8% is not a trend unless you adopt some Clintonesque redefinition of the term. Similarly for the other graphs. If such tiny percentage changes were actually trends, the stock market has millions of such trends every single day & any of the numerous trend trading systems would have minted millions of millionaires by now.

Others might read that as 600% change, not 1.5%.

Only if your agenda is to show growth. Context is important.

This is really fascinating. An quick eyeball glance suggests that Google Trends lags behind this data by 1-2 years (correlation isn't strong, but seems to be present).


One could have used this data to long shares of public companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and short Ebay, Yahoo, and Myspace.

Crystal balls have many uses ;)

Of course Google Trends lags behind, it tracks waves of trends as they ripple through the public consciousness. YC applicants are a small, and a very technically advanced, minority of the larger population.

But that means that these trends actually are predictive, and not just constrained to the SV echo chamber.

'drone', 'drones'

'vehicle', 'vehicles'

are counted as separate terms. Joining them would make more sense to me.

It's almost like they'd never heard of a Porter Stemmer.

A porter stemmer has disadvantages too as it would combine 'training' and 'trains' (freight).

Maybe you just need something that trains your porter stemmer to avoid such mistakes.

guys, I just had a great machine-learning startup idea...

Because of this ambiguity, they could easily configure the stemmer to only de-pluralize instead.

That was an odd oversight and would put drones at #3.

I'm surprised that apps are still so popular, I thought silicon valley had already realised that users do not want to download apps upfront and manage them later, they want web apps or pages for their mobile devices. Maybe the trend is there, but not very explicit in these curves.

Most people I know (admittedly biased towards tech savvy people) despise web apps on mobile, on account of how nearly universally terrible they all are.

Because even with the ease of making websites responsive, it's incredibly difficult to truly replicate the experience of a high quality web app that works wonderfully on desktop/laptop on a mobile device.

I'm shocked that I do not see Amazon or AWS in these lists.

I'm not sure why you can't see it, but Amazon is definitely there, on the most popular terms ranking list. [1]

[1] http://themacro.com/images/articles/startupzeitgeist17-0e624...

I'm more shocked at ebay being listed as a "fallen giant" when most of those shitty startups would be lucky if their business at some point generates at least 1% of ebay's revenue.

Hence, 'fallen giant'.

Good observation. And also a disappointing.

This is completely propaganda. "Zeitgeist", "Crystal Ball" -- These are all lagging indicators and gives no authority to YC as having some predictive capacity to the world of technology.

FYI, the phonetic sound of a German 'z' is the English equivalent of 'ts'. I'd hate for such a novel word to be mispronounced by readers here, as it is on many Youtube videos.

Somebody got a little lazy when it came time to smooth the biotech graph, huh?


So hype analytics? How is that useful?

I'm surprised to see Oculus being separated from VR. I can't figure out the reason behind it (other than it being the most known VR product to this date).

Plus, I'm kind of disappointed personally to see the term "anonymous" dropping so quickly. I do fully understand the drop in the blogging-related tools (not that it's going anywhere, just that it became a technology where there doesn't seem to be any groundbreaking changes going on for quite a while).

I am curious about why India - the only country is in there and why it's at #30.

Probably "X for India" (for essentially all values of X which exist anywhere else in the world).

I'm curious if next year we will have a third player in the graphic web vs app.

I'm guessing at least a third and a fourth.

Maybe not next year, but not far off.

Very less people think Microsoft is a threat. This shows, no body wants to build an office app(like Excel or Word). We don't really see a lot of innovation in slide show applications(I used powerpoint in 2006 and now I also use the same).

The world also lacks innovation in Desktop App. Web Form and C# is very popular and Java Swing seems slow or not attractive. Qt has confusing Licensing terms.

I guess someone should think about some good frameworks for Desktop(like a universal look and feel in Javascript or some open specification).

React + Electron? And eventually replace Electron with react-native.

I'd love to see a contrast between apps received, apps invited to interview, and apps accepted (but I imagine that they're keeping that close to their chest).

It would be very interesting to see a split of these applications vs those that were accepted and those that are still around/exited successfully.

Wow the momentum of Slack is crazy. 850% increase closest to the next highest increase which is 211% (vehicles).

Note the raw percentage values. Slack went from being mentioned in 0.14% of applications (0.14% not 14%) to being mentioned in about 1.2% of applications. If you start out by being mentioned in 1 of 100 applications to 1 of 10 applications that is a 1000% increase, but it isn't necessarily significant. The increase from the year before that was infinite! (No mentions to some mention) Percent increases can be misleading. Not that there hasn't been a significant increase with Slack, but everything looks like a hockey stick when you start from zero. The significance can be hard to quantify initially.

I wonder about it though.

The valley seems to be touting it as "The King of Enterprise tools" yet from my experience virtually no enterprise would actually use it.

It's a tool for small and medium businesses.

Groups within IBM use and generally like it.

This is awesome! I love the competition slide how more startups are mentioned than big companies. I remember back in 2010 a response investors (even YC!) had to almost any idea was "won't Google do that?" Now it's not strongly on people's radar.

Next step is to just frontally assault anything Google does which isn't core to Google. (as in, don't go after Search or Ads, but I think anything else is fair game)

It'd be more interesting to see analysis of the 1000+ startups YC has funded, not the apps.

This is best read as a way to stand out from the crowd and avoid overhyped and tiresome areas.

Not trying to be the least bit negative, but objectively speaking it feels less like a crystal ball and more like people reactively gravitating towards the hottest trends. Nonetheless, cool to look at the data. :)

What? Some people in 2016 said, that MySpace is their competition? Srsly?

I think this could be the result of 2 things.

1) This is looking at mentions, so you don't have the context of how 'MySpace' was used, just that it was mentioned.

2) There are, I'm sure, many applications that are completely not well thought out, don't make any sense, from people who don't know the industry and still think MySpace is a thing.

The context might have been "X is like comparing MySpace to Facebook" or some other historical reference.

It would take just one mention for that blip. The y value looks to be 0.02%.

I would be much more interested in contrasting the applications of teams accepted and teams rejected from YC.

Wish there was a representation of uncertainty in the graphs.

There's no need. The sample is the population (all applications).

Ah, let me rephrase variance.

What did you guys use for those plots?

Are you in a position to share a raw, granular form of the data (potentially with more anonymization)?

lots of info.

Why do people believe VR has any potential? Aren't its design flaws obvious?

Nobody would actually want to use it.

The reason it has potential is because it is an unbelievable experience unlike anything that has ever come before it. I'm serious. You must never have had the experience of looking around the tombs of ancient egypt while standing in the middle of your kitchen, or of watching the Master's golf tournament, from the tee box, sitting on your living room couch. And those things are already possible when the device had been out a week and a half. From a place of experience, I'd say the potential is obvious

The problem with that is that there's very little incremental improvement over existing experiences, especially with UHD around.

You can already look at a tomb in ancient Egypt on your computer, for example. Plus, you don't have to have your entire peripheral vision blocked off.

This is why the VR user experience is a terrible idea.

We saw the potential when Oculus Rift DK1 shipped and the improvements made in such a short span betweek DK2 and the consumer version. You don't have to be very creative to extrapolate that forward. Form factor shrinks, resolution increases, VR and AR merge.

Seems pretty obvious to many of us that it has huge potential. Why do you think it does not?

Probably due to the same reasons Apple Watch and Google Glass failed with (most) consumers. It's nice as a gimmick and probably in very specific settings, but not as a general-purpose device for daily use.

If it had infinite resolution and unlimited frame rates, would you use it?

That is why VR's design is flawed: people prefer their physical freedoms. Nobody wants to be in a VR world.

You could invest in it, but know that there's a very limited audience/market for something that would only appeal to a class of nerds, instead of the general audience.

Do you see your grandmother using it like they do their iPhone?

What is wrong with targeting niche markets? Even if only "nerds" were targeted (the gaming market) that would be HUGE.

There is a ton of potential application -- want to walk around Prague but can't afford the vacation time or expenses? Here's virtual Prague for 13.99. Have a blast. Educational experiences. Movies.

Unfortunately, I'm pessimistic and think people want to use it to do things that they shouldn't irl.

Try to keep an open mind. Take any chance to try the HTC Vive and judge for yourself. IMO it's not a gimmick this time around, like smart watches, Google Glass or 3D TV, this is the next big thing in computing. I think VR will change humanity more in the next 20-30 years than the telephone, TV and maybe even the internet combined.

"building things on top of the underlying blockchain is on the rise"

You'd still be using Bitcoin if your building things on top of the blockchain.

I think this means building things on top of block chain technology, not specifically the bitcoin block chain.

"I think this means building something with HTTP, but not using the Internet"

"I think this means building something on the internet, but not using AOL"

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