Sounds interesting. I always kinda hated how people fresh out of high school with zero credit can have so much money handed to them for going to school. While if they wanted to get a business loan or buy a house they would be much more scrutinized.
I wonder with that money instead and right mentorship if they could come out ahead of their peers who used that money for college instead.
I know some people who just go to college because they feel like they have to, and get degrees they don't even use. Imagine one spending 4 years going into debt, the other coming out a head with a real world profitable startup. One thing I always hate about school work is I feel like I'm just doing stuff for the sake of being graded or being busy. I rather spend my time creating stuff that's more real instead, learn as I go. There's a bunch of free and even paid training on-demand on the internet to fill in your skill gap.
I still think college has value, but the costs have been increasing much faster then inflation, while the value has been declining due to the systemic efficiencies of acquiring knowledge in the information age. Together these are making the value proposition worse and worse. I can't judge anyone for wanting to skip college.
There is a lot more we can be doing as a society to encourage entrepreneurship. It would be nice if in the future we could let our children use 429 college savings plans for angel/seed funding instead of educational expenses. Especially if tuition becomes free in the next 10-20 years anyway.
That's only because you can't default out of student loans and are government backed. Which if you could default and didn't have government backing, students would never be able to get loans.
I think the "startup community" needs to have a serious conversation about this . If we agree that machine learning is going to be a major underlying technology moving forward and that as a result, data is the new Oil , then the top 5 technology companies serve as the new Oil Barons.
It goes further than that actually in my mind, as these firms are disrupting themselves and innovating as fast if not faster in many areas than small startups can. They are in every industry and if they can't move as fast, then they buy the talent or the whole team. Granted, a small team will always move faster, but I think that these mega corps know enough now to know that they can pivot on trends if needed.
I do worry about the likelihood of a startup that could beat google, facebook, microsoft etc... with humble roots. Maybe if a "startup" came in with 100M+ in funding, but more than likely at this point those companies would be funding that startup, if only for the intelligence value.
So while "we've seen this before - someone always comes out of nowhere" which gave rise to the current crop of major companies, it would have to be pretty left field at this point for a company to compete with the major players without investment from an arm of theirs. Considering Snapchat is the biggest IPO in the coming year, I don't have a lot of hope that there will be something coming through.
I think part of the conversation is if Google et al are engaging on new kinds of monopoly practices that are not covered by the law. For example, the balance between the amount of information contributed by users in a platform like Twitter or Facebook vs. API restrictions to consume this information.
At the same time, antimonopoly laws don't help to create competition in, for example, the search engine space. Google innovation is unique in this aspect and even companies with virtually infinite budgets like Microsoft can't compete.
For a specific example: Lets say you are a PhD computer vision team and you want to create a machine vision API, where anyone can upload an image and return a list of objects in that image. Your product will be less capable than the Google Vision API or the Microsoft Vision API to start with, simply because they have orders of magnitude more data and personnel they can train their networks with. Now lets say you have a novel technique that is faster or needs less data. Ok, well more than likely Google or Microsoft would come to you with $XXM and offer to buy you out. You say no, we're gonna win this space. Well unfortunately, Google/MSFT personnel go to the same vision conferences, recruit equally if not more competent personnel and they just recreate your solution, even if slightly less capable. They also have a much bigger sales staff so they can always beat you at BD and support etc...
So the question in my mind is: Is the bar to compete unreasonably high such that you effectively need hundreds of millions of dollars to compete?
I use Machine Learning examples because they are literally where the biggest competitive gains and fastest growth are happening - also what I know the best in this case.
However I see this happening in almost every market, home furnishings (the market we play in most) is seeing the same thing, but with logistics/fulfillment instead of machine learning - such that the big retailers/manufacturers can take advantage of more efficient fulfillment than smaller ones can.
Yes, I think it is so high that we are launching startups in denial and the startup community, in general, is very naive. At the same time being [partially] irrational can be an advantage.
In this context, capital is critical. For example, Uber received almost $ 9B in investments, Spotify $ 1.6B and obviously those investments are oriented to having an advantage that goes much beyond building an app.
I don't think you can obtain an advantage creating a better vision API while you don't have access to the amount of information that companies like Google have. Sooner than later your algorithm will be used by anyone. You can find an apparent contradiction of what I am saying with what Google initially achieved with PageRank but nobody spent too much attention to mimic it at that time while Google was quietly running low cost server for years without revenue. When a few ones started to pay attention it was late: Google has a crawling at hyperscale and moved much beyond PageRank.
Looking at your company (http://www.pair3d.com) I found pretty exciting what you are building. I don't know about AI, AR, or your competitors but probably you have build something that goes beyond just using vision algorithms, and at the same time you have some kind of temporal advantage. I think you should focus on having an advantage at the distribution stage engaging companies to use your platform. Google et al can copy what you did but I don't think they are laser focused in the way you are doing it. Please take it with a grain of salt. You never asked for advice nor I know about your company, but I think it is good to talk using concrete examples.
That's exactly what we're doing. Thanks for the well thought out response.
What happened is that the landscape shifted out from under many of the incumbents...from hardware to software. The one survivor (I won't consider Oracle because Altman didn't), was the one given an excuse to change its very profitable business practices by anti-trust prosecution. Not that it happened fast by internet standards. But super tankers don't turn on a dime and Wall Street beholden oil tankers probably turn even more slowly.
I guess my big take away is that AFGAM is more of a concern if the world is a finite pie and less so if it isn't.
The infinite pie theory is for all practical purposes impossible. Growing pie theory works on beyond lifetime scale, but not for decade level scale. So it does matter because a startup can't last for two decades to try and gain market share against an incumbent.
Anyway, Amazon is still the underdog going up against Walmart which twenty years on has really good technical chops and turns over a lot more goods and has phenomenally good logistics...think about who is going to benefit more from autonymous trucks. While it has the overhead of a vehicle fleet it is not at the mercy of UPS and Fedex and for a lot of goods, ordering online and picking up at the local Walmart is about as good as door to door shipping.
Anyway, in some ways Netflix is more likely to be crushed by Walmart than Amazon...and Disney is even more likely than either of them. As internet purchases and bandwidth increasingly become commodities, companies with long horizons become more formidable particularly in markets that matter...the players in the mobile market are Deutsch Telecom and ATT not plucky entrepreneurs. The big car makers are moving on self-driving cars and they already have down the really hard part of making cars...software can be copied.
Edit: Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft
And for most founders, taking that offer is a rational move, even when the company is quite mature. For a non-diversified human, a 100% chance of $50m is worth enormously more than a 10% chance of $500m.
What fascinates me is the strategy, pioneered by Facebook, of pushing that logic as far as it will go, and spending hitherto-inconceivable amounts of money to acquire any social networking or communication product that could possibly compete with it, long after they achieve product/market fit but before they're so big as to be a sure thing. I remember when $1bn for Instagram was a lot...
If you don't sell, then the big companies don't get bigger. Unfortunately in that case if you do get big enough despite that, they will just target you and take a chunk of your market (Instagram Stories vs Snapchat) so that you can't dominate.
Look, it's brilliant and exactly what every firm should do. The question is really, if it's a net positive to have 5 companies run everything* in consumer technology. I don't know but history seems to not like that.
ML in its current form - efficiency optimization across a ton of different vertical industries - is also a reaction to decreasing productivity. If you can't grow your revenues, you need to shrink your costs, and ML/analytics do that well.
Once we see a new technology or infrastructure driver that jumpstarts productivity growth (distributed electricity, refrigeration, plumbing/running water, public roads, combustion engines, more recently the internet and mobile phones) startups will be able to once again flourish and will be able to return to the public markets with their own company/brand rather than look for acquihire exits as many do in the current climate.
Something that makes sense to me would be some form of basic human sleep/energy acquisition optimization. We spend 1/3 of our time asleep - is there a way to use VR/AR to enhance productivity during this time, or to avoid it altogether without killing us? It seems unnatural, but many facets of our current lifestyle would have seemed unnatural to someone 50, 100, 200 years ago.
It isn't that you can't dominate, but the thing is, you need to have a product that others can't copy.
I think he says what he means here; these largest companies "have powerful advantages that are still not fully understood by most founders and investors." And it's compounding. Given that, I think being a bit more cautiously considerate and unpresumptuous about these issues as well as on any views or insights one might have makes a lot of sense.
Basically this is a shitshow still in progress. There are startups that in hindsight had a too early, under-valued liquidity event. And there are many many startups that turned down acquisition offers never to see that many zeros offered again (I think Pebble just sold under these conditions). Whoops.
Also don't forget how a startup's risk profile and internal planning changes dramatically when/if an acquisition offer is turned down. Too early is not the problem here. If Amazon or FB wants to buy you and you say no, well good luck. Competitor risk is a real business cost and it can weigh you down no matter how fast you may be growing. If anything I see uneasiness more than complaint as the playing field has warped where hills are now mountains only giants can cross. The rulebook has changed too, startups aren't even playing the same game as large tech companies anymore. As the letter suggests, startups can play at the fringes and margins, then maybe try to sneak into grown-up business land but this is increasingly, laughably unlikely if you model it. What is more likely is startups miscalculating how big and lucrative their idea is and they are screwed, or they miscalculated how fast and easy Google can crush their prospects once Lar and Serge notice what you're up to. The options are lose now or lose later, with only the rarest of startups as exceptions unless someone or something steps to address the underlying structural realities.
If you are a self-driving car start-up today with $120MM in funding, you still have no data on how humans drive or how pedestrians walk. That's something that is going to be really important. And Apple and Google (both working also on self-driving cars) have a massive amount of data on drivers.
Put something together here:
That assertion may be correct regarding purchases, browsing habits (especially for Google) and places you visit via their respective map applications, but it doesn't compare to the staggering amount of raw data  that Tesla has on drivers.
The competition is too high now to be friendly.
Our antitrust laws have been focused primarily about the anticompetitive aspects of owning a whole market, but has missed the boat so far on the anticompetitive aspects of vertical integration. Google simply doesn't have to compete in many cases because it's stronger products promote and protect it's weaker products.
Users tend to either be Google people or Apple people or Amazon people, and that trend is only getting larger.
This is simply historically false; vertical integration has been a central focus of antitrust law from day one (it was a key consideration in the drafting of the 1890 Sherman Act and the 1914 Clayton Act.)
Also, most of what you describe is participating in multiple markets that aren't part of a vertical supply chain, so while it is integration, it's not vertical integration.
First time I have seen those numbers, very impressive. I thought there were a lot less users.
I have over 8 years of daily Reddit use with 0 comments made as well. Just a personality thing.
The founder of Rails saying he would fire any of his employees that supported Trump was sickening and that kind of attitude will never allow us to move from bloodshed and war to one people.
Of course, it's because of money, since Thiel is powerful -- any other guy would have kicked out immediately, but nevertheless considering SV is a liberal echo chamber I give them some respect.
Now only if they has protested against Obama wiretapping the whole world as well...
Which innovations over the last 2 years most indicate a new age of artificial intelligence?
I undertook some research, and noticed:
3 Months Ago: Google Translate AI had a breakthrough
5 Months Ago: Amazon/Facebook/Google/IBM/Microsoft launch an AI Partnership
1 Year Ago: AlphaGo has a big win and OpenAI is founded
2 Years Ago: Google (now Waymo) performs its first public driverless ride
3 Years Ago: Google acquires DeepMind and interest in Deep Learning takes off
6 Years Ago: IBM Watson wins Jeopardy
Climate change may be the defining issue of the next century, and it would be a shame to be stymied by the communications challenges. I hope you'll consider it.
Consolidation of corporate media combined with algorithms of biggest, online providers have really cemented the effect in. Past few years, esp election, had strongest effects on isolation and reinforcement I've ever seen.
>> funded over ... 1,470 companies
>> more than 50 of our companies are worth more than $100 million each.
can you give a broad overview of what software YC creates? What does it do? is it internal tracking and stats, or exclusive libraries that YC-funded companies get to use to build their products?
YC's software lets us evaluate thousands of applications per year and use the data we generate to continually get better at that. We also run bookface, a private site just for YC founders.
Sometimes overlooked is the importance of the software that we make accessible to everyone: Hacker News, of course, and our soon-to-launch MOOC Startup School.
I think they developed it in-house.
> We are only about 30 years into the age of software, about 20 years into the age of the internet, and about 2 years into the age of artificial intelligence.
Software has been around--and actively making bank!--for over 40 years. The internet has been around longer in the form of academic institutions, email, and BBS than you mention.
And AI has, of course, been around at least as long as software.
I appreciate you have a message to send, but maybe don't ignore the path we took to get here.
The periods are subjective, fuzzy things. I think I agree with Sam's definitions although I would probably say age of machine learning rather than age of AI.
On the software side, people found that safety, scalability, and maintenance were important. They needed high-level languages that did things like bounds-checks or stack protection. They needed the ability to freeze and inspect errant programs instead of crash them. They needed the software interfaces to check for right data being passed. They needed to scale on multiple CPU's. They preferred their OS's to come with source code for easier fixes or extensions.
Im sure you know all about those two mainframes from IBM (1963-1970's) and Burroughs (1961) that did those things. Then came to power most large business and government institutions critical apps to this day. Anyway, I hear people made incremental improvements doing similar things with x86, Linux, and vastly lower cost-per-resource. Incremental improvements on capabilities that took off in the 60's. ;)
No, it says that more people downvoted it than upvoted it by a certain number of votes. Says nothing about the community as a whole which may have never seen the comment due to the downvotes.
HN has no such rule.
* "Bay Area: Tech job growth has rapidly decelerated" (from here: http://www.siliconvalley.com/2017/02/10/tech-job-growth-slow...)
* "Tech Jobs Took a Big Hit Last Year" (from here: http://fortune.com/2017/02/16/tech-jobs-layoffs-microsoft-in...)
The first of those two articles has been submitted twice to HN with zero comments both times. The second has not been submitted at all as far as I can see.
Is it possible there is a bit of a collective head-in-the-sand phenomenon going on?
Can you please elaborate on that?
I know you wrote that YC Research will likely not expand in the near future. If you do I think the most interesting topic would be the destruction of the journal industry and freeing information. At least in my opinion it would make a lot of sense for YC to try and free as much research as possible which entrepreneurs could build upon. I can only wonder how many more interesting startups we'd get if a random hacker in India or Ethiopia had access to the latest journals on medicine, biology etc.
That would take a lot of commitment and being in active position to some powerful interests. This should be attacked from a legal, political and technological angle.
> Without this, I usually get bored. More importantly, companies that don’t have this usually have a hard time recruiting enough great people to work with them, and thus struggle to become very large.
I find this one interesting. When Google started, there were many incumbent search engines. Their mission was to provide better results than what existed, i.e. improve on an existing product.
Uber's "mission" was to get privileged people with smart phones and disposable income a sexy/cool ride home from the bar.
Facebook was a social networking site targeted at college students...what was it's mission? To allow people to see what that cute person in their Psych class was up to this weekend?
Snapchat...the clear and important mission to allow for safely sending risqué pictures?
While I believe Sam's belief that they WANT to work with companies with clear important missions, that doesn't seem to be a/the deciding factor in becoming "very large", or attracting great people. If anything, it seems like the "spaghetti at the wall" approach is what happens - some startups gain momentum, and then it's the high growth trajectory that attracts a ton of talent.
Uber's mission is "Transportation as reliable as running water."
Facebook's mission is "Make the world more open and transparent."
The product is about what the company does today, the mission is about what the company will do in the future. It's usually not a good idea to come up with the mission statement before you have a viable product, but it's critical for bringing on board employees, executives, and investors.
That was not their original founding mission. It was
"Thefacebook is an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges [Harvard only]"
In 2006 that mission was changed to include other universities and colleges.
Which is a long way from their current stated mission.
In other words, mission statements evolve - and the founding mission is seldom the final mission for many companies.
Google's is "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", and yet - if you leak anything about them as an employee, you are insta-fired. If you try to figure out any sense of organization about their product portfolio, good luck. If you try to scrape any of their results or content, you will be banned quite quickly.
Facebook's is "make the world a more open & transparent place", and yet they have done more than any company since AOL to turn the web into a series of walled gardens. Plus Mark Zuckerburg bought the 4 houses adjacent to his so that neighbors couldn't look onto his property, and walks around with a 24/7 security team.
Uber's is "make transportation as reliable as running water", but their goal is for people to give up their own cars - which they can use any time, any where, for zero marginal cost - to be at the mercy of Uber's service.
Palantir's is "Palantir Technologies is a mission-driven company, and a core component of that mission is protecting our fundamental rights to privacy and civil liberties", and they sell to the CIA so they can spy on you.
At the same time, these companies also do many things that actually are in accord with their mission statements.
I think that you can reconcile this by realizing that the fundamental imperative for every company is continued existence. Those who fail at this are replaced by those who succeed. The mission statement is a tool to ensure continued existence, because it serves to align & recruit employees with similar values, without which there would be no organization. But when there are other imperatives that are necessary for the company's continued existence, even when they contradict the mission statement, the company's existence takes priority. Hence Google is very strict about their proprietary information, even though their mission is to make all information universally accessible; Facebook wants all content on Facebook, even though they claim to be about making everything open & transparent; Uber wants to make transportation reliable & easy, as long as it's on Uber; and Palantir wants to protect civil liberties only so long as it involves buying Palantir software.
That's not exactly what you're talking about in each case, but it could be relevant.
I'm not sure what car you're driving, but in my experience there is a significant marginal cost. I no longer own a car, exclusively using public transit + Lyft, because I don't want to deal with maintenance, paying for parking, gas, insurance, etc.
Parking in the suburbs is subsidized by business owners & the city itself - you can usually park for free, and the price of it is reflected in land values.
Gas is the only marginal cost for suburban driving, and I can basically guarantee that Uber costs more than gas does. The marginal cost of driving across Silicon Valley, in gas, is under a dollar.
The CIA doesn't spy on Americans.
I would bet on them being discreet. Good security is very good at making people unaware that security is present. I recall showing my relatives around the Googleplex when I worked there, having my brother-in-law comment on the seeming lack of security for such a high-value target, and then telling him "No, they're there - if you try to walk off with a laptop or take pictures of something you're not supposed to, they'll come running."
Consider that Steve Jobs famously chided his friend Larry Ellison for having 24/7 bodyguards.
Facebook has succeeded in making the world a more open and transparent place - people have the ability to share information that matters to them and have people around the world find out about it. There are fewer places around the world for those in power to hide information away now. That's different to whether Facebook as a company is transparent.
Uber likewise may or may not be reliable now - surge pricing only ever increases the price of an Uber to the same as the price as a black cab where I live, but it's pretty clear that Uber's ambitions of self driving cars do not include surge pricing.
Call it what it is, PR puff.
What you're describing is products, which represent a manifestation of one piece of the mission, and are a building block that helps construct a world in which the mission is possible.
Google, for example, is (and was) on a mission to do much more than build a really sweet search engine. Their goal from the beginning has been (though now refined): "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." That's a little bit easier to get behind, isn't it?
Uber isn't about "getting privileged people with smart phones and disposable income a sexy/cool ride home from the bar;" its mission statement is, "make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone."
Facebook? From the beginning Zuck stated his goal was to "Make the world more open and connected."
Snapchat, according to Spiegel, is about making it easy to "communicate with the full range of human emotion."
It takes years and insane amounts of effort from large numbers of people to build even one tiny piece of each of these missions (which makes sense - they're enormous missions). But working for a very mission-driven company, I can attest that it's the mission that keeps me going, even when I'm only one tiny spoke in one of the many products that will contribute a tiny piece to making the mission eventually more achievable.
It seems you are viewing these products in a very negative light, and in doing so you're missing the forest for the trees. I would guess that all of the companies above will be wildly successful, and will have a wide range of products, all dedicated to achieving their stated mission. Rome wasn't built in a day.
That's exactly the point. Google didn't start with that mission, it had to be refined. And Google, meaning Larry and Sergey working on algo's prior to actually starting a commercial entity. The parent's point is that many of the most successful tech investments have come from businesses that are generally dismissed as toys in their initial phases. YC invests in companies at their earliest stage, so it seems odd that the mission statement needs to be so well refined. This invariably means there's a disconnect between what pg has traditionally said and what sama is dictating now.
> Don't be discouraged if what you produce initially is something other people dismiss as a toy. In fact, that's a good sign. That's probably why everyone else has been overlooking the idea. The first microcomputers were dismissed as toys. And the first planes, and the first cars. At this point, when someone comes to us with something that users like but that we could envision forum trolls dismissing as a toy, it makes us especially likely to invest.
Anyway, I think the reason that sama says this is because it is absolutely essentially for a company to get big, but that doesn't mean they need to have it right away. Also, let's be fair, determining something that is clear and important is very subjective.
I want to add the mechanism of success-due-to-toy: incumbents dismiss you, not as incompetent, but as irrelevant to them. You're not stealing their customers, because you're meeting a different need, and are worse at what their customers want - further, the incubents couldn't fight you even if they wanted to, because they can't afford to desert their customers.
Then, over time, you improve til you are good enough for their customers - while stll meeting those other needs. The exodus begins.
When Larry and Sergey worked on their PhD thesis of an algorithm to rank pages relative to each other, went to a party, and received a $100k check in the garage, was the pitch really "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" or did they arrive to that later?
Likewise, when Travis rolled off from Scour to connecting for hire cars that sit idle, again was the intention already "make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone" or did they arrive at that later?
And Mark in his dorm room figuring out how to scrape and upload his classmates photos to a PHP website, he was delightful with glee that he has achieved his mission of "making the world more open and connected" or did he and others figure that out when he moved out here to Palo Alto?
These things took off, they got more money, the money brought more help, more help created an organization.
Mission statements, like code, is refactored over and over then massaged by marketers and publicists and recruiters until it hits you.
> Uber isn't about "getting privileged people with smart phones and disposable income a sexy/cool ride home from the bar;" its mission statement is, "make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone."
I don't think that was from the get go.
> It seems you are viewing these products in a very negative light, and in doing so you're missing the forest for the trees. I would guess that all of the companies above will be wildly successful, and will have a wide range of products, all dedicated to achieving their stated mission. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Yes and no. I most certainly don't view Google in a negative light. I'll admit I view Facebook as largely existing to promote rampant consumerism. Snapchat...don't even know where to begin.
Nonetheless - the point of my comment, and why I found sama's statement interesting - was the assertion that lacking a large, important mission statement (or big hairy audacious goal, if you will) is an impediment to growth (or ability to "become very large".) When you look at the winners - they usually do have a lofty, all encompassing mission statement - but it would seem not to have been that way at inception. If anything, I thought the preaching in the startup world has been about finding a niche, an angle someone hasn't seen, make something people want...and then expand from there.
A final thought - even Y Combinator itself seems an example of this (at least in my eyes.) What started out as a fund/startup incubator is now truly trying to tackle and invest in very audacious things (such as Universal Health Care.) It's able to do that now that it has become a successful, large brand in and of itself.
The danger is in forgetting that all the big companies with lofty mission statements ("Make the world more open and connected", "Organize the world's data") did not start out that way at all. They didn't develop them until well after the point that some place like YC would be investing.
In fact, there might be an inverse correlation: companies that start out with huge, inspirational missions before they even have a user / customer are more likely to end up failures. I could think of many reasons why.
Says the man whose first big exit was Loopt, a drain-circling "Grindr for flip-phones" that only got acqui-hired because a Sequoia Capital board member who'd invested in Loopt pulled strings to get Green Dot to buy it and cover his investment. Harsh, I know, but hardly inaccurate:
The question of "Does it come down to luck or is there a repeatable process?" is critical to YC's success. I think PG and Sam have made great contributions to discovering a repeatable process, but because they're so prestigious now and attract the best startup candidates they can basically just filter for the ones that already have traction.
I'm a huge fan of what Sam's been doing with YC, but this is what I miss the most about PG. PG didn't have any brand to benefit from, so it was critically important that he understand the physics behind successful startups so that he could deterministically understand which ones would be successful or not before they were already obviously successful. YC doesn't have to do that anymore, they can just choose the startups that apply and already have customers and revenue because they get so many applications.
My gut tells me that the next step in developing a repeatable process for successful startups is a better understanding of markets. If you look at all the startups you mentioned (not Google, but Uber, Facebook, Snapchat), they all applied a relatively simple technology to a new market that the founders had a unique perspective on. Uber had unique access to the SF population that's constantly frustrated by transportation options but quickly embraces new tech, Facebook tapped into the market of college students that most VCs and entrepreneurs overlooked because they weren't in college, and Snapchat did the same with an even younger market. I'll add Slack to the list as well: they built an equivalent product to HipChat and Campfire (which were created years before Slack) but targeted the market of non-developers.
1. It's hard to find supporting evidence, but I have never seen or read a mission statement from a company before they were already massively successful.
If you measure missions by how much the potential audience wants them to succeed, I'd say this is pretty huge.
That doesn't necessarily make it a very compelling thing to work on, but "safer sexting" is way more important than "ads on everything."
Here's a question for you (or other YC folks) on YC recommendations.
Give that I'm planning to apply for the next cycle, would it benefit me to ask for recommendations from 7 or 8 folks who I've worked with in the past and have strong relationships with?
It's not totally clear to me whether it would be kosher to ask for those or if it's something you'd rather that people do spontaneously. I'm also wondering if 7 or 8 is too many given how little time I know you have to spend on each applicant. Thanks!
It's also the new platform for lots of important online communities to discuss and disseminate information.
Oh and a remark on the letter's typography: the double spaces after periods should be single spaces.
Also I happen to think documents are easier to read with double spaces after sentences. Surely there is something more important to complain about than that.
Sam, it's meant with the love of the art. I was going to make the same complaint. For those of us who work in a particular field, certain things just stick out and it feels very natural to point that out and make the world perfect in a way we are confident it can be perfect if some things are changed (I review grants, I convert double-spaces to single-spaces so much that I can spot one from a mile away and change it right away... sadly, I don't have access to change your writings :)).
And while I agree that it may be a personal preference, there is a side effect to using double spaces: layout engines consider single spaces the default for their line breaking algorithm, and sometimes, when using double spacing, new sentences start at a new line with a space before the first letter which, in this very case, looks weird and therefore hinders readability.
Other possibilities, besides someone being untrustworthy, is that the journalist was bluffing. Or perhaps someone's account was hacked.
> we have to work harder to find people doing a startup for the right reason: to bring an idea they’re obsessed with to life, and willing to do something unreasonable to see it happen
I'm guessing what he means to say here is that if x% of the applicant pool is woman/black/latino, then x% of the accepted pool is woman/black/latino, right? The way it's phrased it sounds like every woman/black/latino who applies is accepted
percentage of women who apply ~= percentage of women who get funded.
Can you expand on the "obvious" and "destructive" force? What exactly did Thiel do that is obviously destructive to our whole society? You mean Palantir? Wasn't that there for a while?