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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Zulip (https://zulip.org), Dropbox's Slack clone, supports threaded convos out of the box quite nicely.
Is it useful? Yes. Is it necessary? No. Could it replace email? No. What is the service worth? A lot, according to starving investors.
Damn. At just (now) 35, I'm apparently an "older person".
/me pours another glass of bourbon
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
paying for chat is ridiculous IMO.
> This is all on the free plan obviously, but guess what the next wave of tech startups are going to use
"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.
Don't get me wrong, they have their uses, but how is this suddenly perceived as a multi-billion dollar market?
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?
This seems to be cyclic.
I love it. I'm stealing this. :)
Made a quick file to illustrate: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uq0apjt69zadiii/YC%20Blog%20Resize...
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 "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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
Isn't that just AI? The term has never meant anything but "the future".
It's not meant to be a serious definition but IMO the phenomena is very real.
I still think it's a bullshit marketing term.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And of course separate graphs for all applications vs accepted applications.
(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.
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 ;)
are counted as separate terms. Joining them would make more sense to me.
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).
Maybe not next year, but not far off.
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.
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.
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.
Nobody would actually want to use it.
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.
Seems pretty obvious to many of us that it has huge potential. Why do you think it does not?
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?
Unfortunately, I'm pessimistic and think people want to use it to do things that they shouldn't irl.
You'd still be using Bitcoin if your building things on top of the blockchain.