1. Give the originally accepted applicants access to a separate pool of 100 $10k grants - so they have the same odds of accessing the grants.
2. If 1 isn't possible, try to think of other perks that the accepted pool gets access to (in addition to what was already offered to make up for the larger pool of people with access to the grants)
3. In tandem with 1 or 2, put some meritocratic constraints around all participants. In order to stay in start-up school, partcipants must read x book, conduct x experiments, etc. This way those who will really put effort into the program and be a part of the community will get to participate. After all, as Duckworth's book Grit outlines,and some research at Google, effort coupled with curiosity is an important predictor of success.
you’ll be able to use the company update feature so that you’ll also be eligible for one of the hundred $10k equity-free grant
So I think the competition is still among the actually selected 3000 applicants and there will be one slot for the rest of them.
For all the other founders and teams who had that momentary confidence of outside reenforcement -- remember how unstoppable and brave you felt in that moment! That glow doesn't have to go away with a retraction email. Hold onto the feeling. Go make great things, go make a difference.
I became a developer after spending odd hours trolling Hnews and finding learn to code tutorials; I watched all of the previous Startup School videos on my own time; and despite the discord that can sometimes occur on this platform, I really looked up to Ycombinator.
While this is a feelings setback, I'd like to just say -- I wouldn't be where I am in my career without the Hacker News community that got my started on my way. So I think what I'd like to focus on tonight (while I nurse my hurt pride) is thanking everyone here who comments and submits links and reaches out and spreads the openness and community that drew me to software in the first place.
People who run things will make lots of mistakes; communities will make lots of mistakes, too; but if we just keep talking, we'll stay moving in the right direction.
Thanks to all the Ycombinator commenters here responding to the very justified hurt and embarrassment being shared here. Cheers to a tomorrow full of possibilities.
Exactly. It doesn't make two fucks what YC thinks of you, your company, or anything else. Just go win without them. Muster up a little outrage if that sort of thing helps you, be pissed for 30 minutes or so, then buckle down and start writing code, or whatever you need to do to move forward.
As a wise man once said:
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place, and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth, but you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody.
And if I may add to your excellent quote, as Leslie Knope said, "This thing we call failure is not the falling down, it's the staying down."
Thank you mindcrime, we'll be back at again in the morning!
Can't check them right now, so I'm not posting the direct video link, but hearing it is even better than reading it.
This comment picked me right back up. Thank you.
We got the "you're in!" email, and the whole team was pumped. Having to go back to them hours later to let them down was really hard to do.
The fact that Ycombinator sent the "oops, sorry!" email from a do-not-reply address and basically did nothing to make up for it showed a real lack of respect for the companies that were affected.
Will it make a difference in the long run? Probably not, no one wants to shoot themselves in the foot over what is basically just a disappointment. But it really does lower Ycombinator's brand for a lot of people. Not a great example to set.
People at YC are trying to come up with ways to make this at least partly better. If you have an idea, or anyone else has, this thread would be a good place to post it. Or email the team at email@example.com.
Giving us a chance to shine is what gave us so much hope. For those 90 minutes anyway.
I get that it wasn’t malicious but knowing this doesn’t really change anything for us. Thanks.
Ran a legit email service for over a decade and at one point we had list with 800k people it, I'd pucker up every time I had to hit "send".
While it doesn't excuse our mistake, for what it's worth, Startup School makes the classes and all the materials available online to everyone. So even if you didn't get accepted to the advisor track, we hope you will follow along, watch the videos, and find the material useful.
My apologies on behalf of everyone at YC for letting you down. We're still trying to figure out exactly what happened, and make sure nothing like it happens again.
- how many companies applied?
- how many were accepted into advisor track?
- how many received false acceptance email (if not the difference of the former 2)?
- 15k applied
- 4k were accepted
- 11k received false acceptance emails
If we make a mistake like this as a company, we at least try to make up for it in some way, and make our users feel valued.
Sending the follow-up from a do-not-reply was also our mistake. Our default outbound address is do-not-reply, and we forgot to change it as we were drafting the correction. Please follow up to firstname.lastname@example.org. :(
Could you shine some light on what your criteria were for acceptance? I have now seen a few projects that were actually accepted. They seemed pretty generic and not at all what I thought would have been accepted. As products, the only benefit they seemed to have were that they were in maybe the alpha or beta stage of development. For our future reference, could you please elaborate a bit on what you were looking for in these applications?
P.S. If you were accepted, congratulations! I am not saying your product is generic :)
Please confirm this bug. My company is basically a unicorn.
"We are in stealth-mode, currently"
"Ah, what stage are you at, can you share that?"
"Yeah, like I said, we are a stealth-mode pre-unicorn startupschool audit track company"
List of achievements:
Startup School Advisor Track for 20 minutes
Thanks again and good luck with everything!
Did the "Your in" emails go to everyone who applied, or was it a subset of applications?
Edit: ok, here's what we've got: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17806459.
I think the least we can do in exchange for the free content from auditing the course is forgive you.
If nothing else, this situation is just more motivation to succeed in spite of obstacles and setbacks.
Don't rush, there are plenty of options.
Initial reactions maybe harsh from everyone since lots of people are emotionally attached to their startups and YC at the same time.
But, in some time, I trust most of the champions here will understand this error.
Guys keep plugging! I see lots of community already being formed here to share their lecture journey. I believe it's nice to have that kind of place to interact with everyone.
Felt like shit.
You don't need a "startup school" or a YC acceptance to be successful.
This application allowed me to type like 45 words about my company, and that was it. I imagine they had thousands of applicants.
Once a week with an advisor that's working with 25 other companies? Startup School definitely won't be the thing that moves the needle for your project.
Pessimistically, I see this more as a feeder for YC. This "software glitch" is somewhat telling of the care they are putting into this. In other words, "It's a numbers game".
Keep putting in work. We don't need $120K for 7% in funding for "connections" to get our products off the ground anymore. We don't need this. We can bootstrap.
I just got rejected with https://dependabot.com despite $6k MRR and 2,000 active users. I'm sure there are lots of other great companies in the same situation - let's keep building great things.
We’re building a massively ambitious banking alternative. Principal engineer ex JP Morgan Chase Senior Dev. Angel investment from the founder of a hugely disruptive British Unicorn. Support from a number of other important sources.
Not to criticize the decision making process, historical precedent speaks for itself. We thought we fit the mould but apparently not.
Back to implementing.
Got ~1,000 users desperate to test the beta and a very compelling reason 100k will migrate in the first 12 months.
Startup School would of been external gratification of what we know is an awesome idea.
Also you have a typo: "Outwith" -> "Without"
Best of luck with your launch!
So yeah just because you don't look like what they want you to look like (school, history, network, etc), that's no judgement on you. Keep on keeping on.
I just got accepted (after initially rejected) and my startup is pre-launch and has zero customers/revenue. But I do have a degree and have worked for a dozen very large enterprises e.g. Apple, Oracle.
It's great to be accepted but my passion for my startup hasn't changed one iota. Still going to work 24/7 regardless and so should everyone. Do it because you love it.
Not sure if it'll help anyone, but I feel better when I see the backgrounds of the people who got in:
Yeah, very telling indeed.
Startup School Lesson One: How not to treat your users.
The program is free after all.
So I’m not a paying customer.
And I am incredibly grateful to YC for everything they do for the startup community.
But it is absolutely gutting to get the thumbs up, tell the team, and then get the thumbs down.
I can handle it, but my team is demoralised.
Time to find something to boost them up.
I feel for you all. :/
Add a second chance--not just for those who received an incorrect email today, but for everyone who was rejected but fully audits the program. Toward the end of the ten weeks, allow startups auditing the course to submit a progress report or a second application, with some of those candidates--perhaps those that have shown the most growth over the course of the program?--accepted to participate in a later 10-week advisory program like the one Startup School offers on the advisory track. (I'm sure a chance at $10k would be appreciated as well.)
That would make Startup School a more appealing proposition for those who were not accepted, relieve some of the sting for those who are upset today, and to some extent correct for the fact that the selection process is inherently imperfect. From YC's perspective, it would increase participation in Startup School without requiring huge numbers of new advisors; you'd have 10 weeks to find a couple of new advisors for a small batch of accepted second-chancers, or perhaps some of the first-run advisors would be willing to commit to a second round. Plus this would give YC another opportunity to get in early with some of the most promising startups they rejected today.
(I think giving hope to people who were misinformed today would help alleviate some of the PR problems YC is surely going to face, but I'd add this as a permanent feature of Startup School anyway.)
1. Class Begins Next Week!
> Thank you for applying to Startup School Online. We're sorry to say that your startup was not selected for the upcoming Advisor track....
What I understood is that I was not selected. But then 1:30 minutes later I got a second email.
2. Your Company was ACCEPTED: Startup School Advisor Track
> Thank you for applying to Startup School Online. Your application looked promising and we would like to invite you to the Advisor track!
So I am accepted? I see others have the opposite happen so I am confused.
When I click on the link and log in, it shows:
> Thank you for applying to Startup School!
> We will let you know whether you’re accepted by August 20th, 2018.
The website has updated to show that I have been accepted. Good luck to those who haven't received an update yet.
"we are happy to inform you that we are very sorry to inform you of our previous information that you were accepted to starupschool, when that was sadly, an error on the part of our rejection system falsely telling you that you were accepted, so I am here to tell you that sadly, you were not accepted by our rejection system and your rejection has summarily been rejected by our acceptance department of rejected rejections and sent to the appropriate signatories for sign-off on your sign-up down-below.
See you next tuesday should this actually be a rejection of your rejection and an ackknowledgement of your acceptance, whichever may come first"
The thing I will miss most is the weekly focus to deliver some progress. No reason that can’t happen in a non-official capacity.
DM me on Twitter if you’re interested:
Told my team.
Then received apology/rejection.
Honestly, while it would be a low probability of us getting into the YC Batch, we thought we were high probability of getting into online startup school.
We have an active MVP for 2 months, a Fortune 500 enterprise customer, and a solid market opportunity using previously validated use cases.
We thought we were a really good fit for this program.
I’m tempted to email to ask them to check again.
One error could be two?
I don’t think it’s wrong to expect better in this instance. In the age of social media news travels fast. I’d received congratulatory messages from several YC alum within 10 minutes of the first email.
But what to do. That's life! We all can use this as motivation!
And let's stop with the blame/reputation stuff - it was a mistake and they apologized. Not like YOU never made any mistakes!
First I received a rejection email than acceptance email - I would have rejoiced - but the 'Get Started' Link goes to 'We will let you know by August 20th' page.
A great quote from the essay:
Startups rarely die in mid keystroke. So keep typing!
Will it stop us from keeping going? It shouldn’t but it might be enough of a blow to slow us down and depress our chances.
I already told people. I scheduled PTO at work to focus. I was on cloud nine and now in the deep dumps.
Having said that, there's no reason why this should keep you from working on your company. I hope you'll decide to give it a shot anyway.
That's just daily life at a startup. You're getting the full authentic experience. This ain't no Disney World ride. It's going to suck and it's going to suck most of the time. Okay actually maybe this is like a Disney World ride.
"the Slacker Start Up school for Start Ups that Can't Read Good and Want to Do Other Stuff Good Too"
is being told we got accepted to audit something like being invited to watch the game from outside the stadium using binoculars as long as we promise to keep the cheering to a quiet roar?
[EDIT] ...drink the celebration beers anyways.
We are all talented. We do not need YC validation / school acceptance to prove that we are talented. Build your application and let the metrics speak for itself. Turn your frustration into energy and motivation. Learn from the experience and move on , good luck implementing everyone.
This is a little tone-deaf when replying to people who thought they were participants, I'm afraid.
In addition to having full access to all the lectures and class office hours, you will also:
- Be assigned an advisor and join their group of companies. Advisors are members of the YC alumni network.
- Have virtual advisory sessions, in the form of Group Office Hours, every week via online video.
- Have access to a community of international founders through the Startup School forum.
- Be responsible for updating your Advisor on your progress once a week.
- You must submit at least 9 out of your 10 weekly updates and attend 9 out of 10 group office hour sessions.
- Upon successful completion, you will receive a certificate of completion and the opportunity to share what you're working on with the public.
- 100 startups that complete the course will be chosen to receive $10K in equity-free funding.
Since 100 will be chosen to receive the 10,000$
Excited, confused, super let down, then came here to see we weren't alone.
"We are deeply sorry, but an error occurred in the software that triggers acceptance emails and you were actually supposed to receive the email below accepting you into the Startup School Advisor Track."
But now I want to be super sure ... ¿Are We In? If I login into the StartupSchool page , I don´t see anything yet.
Then acceptance email. Good thing I had a long list of things to achieve before I went public with rwjwction/acceptance. I am happy to be accepted.
For all those rejected, I have applied to YC 6 times since 2012 or 2013 I think. All rejects. One business was adapted by government (it wasn't going to be super profitable, but was really key to my government ops plus led to a scholarship at MIT). Two startups floundered but led me to my current startup(pivot after pivot supported by a somewhat sufficient consultancy).
All in all continue executing. That's what important.
Let me guess. That would be a hack to engage a list of post-rejection uninterested users.
Sorry to everyone who received the opposite emails. If you believe in your vision, keep focused on serving your customers and growing your business.
Thank you for applying to Startup School!
The course will start on August 28th, 2018
Share with fellow entrepreneurial friends.
Course videos will be available soon after filming has ended. In the meantime, you can check our library of Startup Material.
And it didn't really bother me much.
Can understand that getting into the program can be a great thing. But these things are expected. With strong conviction on the idea small hickups doesn't seem to have any impact.
BTW, for those applied to this program should consider applyin g for https://unusual.vc/academy/. They invest 100k in convertible notes.
I even woke up early (AEST) to check emails and was wonderfully surprised when I got the first email at 6.30am. Not a great start to the day.
Thank you for applying to Startup School Online. We're sorry to say that your startup was not selected for the upcoming Advisor track.
I then received a second email
We are deeply sorry, but an error occurred in the software that triggers acceptance emails and you were actually supposed to receive the email below accepting you into the Startup School Advisor Track.
It seems like this is the opposite of what most other have experienced according to the comments. I guess regardless, everyone is still in?
Here is the key info:
'Update: we will have something to share tonight, and I think people will be pretty happy :)'