---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Paul Graham <##########>
Date: Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 5:57 PM
Subject: Re: yc applicant
To: Justin <########>, Jessica Livingston <##########>
Tell them to go to http://news.ycombinator.com/apply2 and apply. They literally have to do it tonight though because we are deciding tomorrow.
Tell them to be concise and to explain how they'll make money; the former is always rare and the latter we're looking more closely at these days.
On Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 8:30 PM, Justin <########> wrote:
Are the YC applications for the next round completely, 100% closed? There's a company that Mike, Emmett and I have been advising for months that I think would add a lot of value: Airbed and Breakfast (http://airbedandbreakfast.com/). They are basically a CouchSurfing.com for money, where users can list rooms in their houses/apartments for rent to travelers. All of us at JTV are big believers in their business and they've proven that they can knock stuff out and are well on their way to product-market fit (and are making money). Any chance you want to take a look?
I crept down stairs with her phone and mine to video the pitch in the kitchen of the close-to-derelict-renovation job-extraordinaire of a house I'd just bought. Videoing with her phone and timing myself on mine, it took me 15 recordings, fumbling around with 2 phones. You can see the exposed pipe work and partially tiled and stained walls of the filthy kitchen in the back ground; we had no kitchen, bathroom or hot water. The lighting is terrible....it looks more like an interrogation.
A week later our Malaysian based co-founder was on a marathon 7 flight trip around the world only to land into a marathon of meetings I’d set up with YC companies (14 in total) first in London and then in the valley. 5 days later we'd hacked something together whilst meeting these companies and were sat in front of PG having spent the week sleeping on Justin Kans floor with about 5hrs sleep a night.
Live and hope......what better a reason to base decisions on.
I submitted the application the night it was due and spent that week hacking together a prototype with a friend. Here's the video we sent Jessica after the YC deadline had passed: http://vimeo.com/2044353
Is YC funding really considered a class?
Edit: Sorry, I accidentally downvoted you. I really did not intend to. I hope someone may come along and vote you back up to 1.
How would you fix that though?
[up arrow] 2 points [down arrow] by stevejohnson 1 hour ago...
Greatly reduces the chances of accidental downvotes due to misclicks.
We got a call from Jessica that we were admitted for an interview a few days later, and booked a flight for Boston. We were there for less than 24 hours, and I remember Harjeet taking the acceptance call from PG as we were walking through airport security, with the TSA yelling at him "put down your phone! Put down your phone now!". In our excitement, we hadn't arranged a place to stay, or bought a US plug adapter for our laptop for the demo. We woke up extra early that morning to get to Cambridge to buy one, and were early to the interview. (I remember reading that being early was bad, so we did our best to lurk around/stay out of sight til it was our turn).
I distinctly remember the euphoria of being accepted. London back then was a horrible place to run a startup and I ended up writing about the move for the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6355289.stm (which ended up stirring a lot of debate back in the UK and eventually led to the creation of things like SeedCamp).
I found out about YC that day while reading a Slashdot article that said the deadline was coming up. I put together the application in about 2 hours and sent it off, and marked that Dan would not be able to come out, and Chris would (a total guess).
I called them both the next day and was pretty surprised that after telling them about YC, they both instantly agreed to drop out of our last semester at Penn State and move to San Francisco.
Joe and I had applied the year before with an idea that didn't make it. We were a bit discouraged, and our next venture, which was Fanvibe, was already doing pretty well. We didn't think we needed YC, but boy were we wrong.
YC was the best thing we could have done for Fanvibe! We had metup with Harj the week before the late interviews, and he let us know that YC would absolutely be perfect for us.
That was good enough for us to immediately try for it.
I made a blog post about our experience here:
I think we convinced the airbnb guys to apply for YC on the day of the deadline.
In retrospect this was clearly a great decision.
I'd been aware of the impending deadline a couple weeks out, but as we didn't rate ourselves as a big chance we didn't make it a priority. At the beginning of that week I decided that if we had time, we'd spend Friday afternoon on an application, on the off chance we'd get through. Had something important come up relating to a paying client (we were both contracting at the time), it's quite possible we'd have forgotten about it.
It was only after finishing, that from reading through it ourselves and showing it to Fenn's girlfriend, we thought "hey, this actually isn't too bad, maybe we have a chance".
We were REALLY worried we'd be way behind everyone else, because we started later (or didn't even have an idea yet in the Anywhere.FM case), but turns out that the pressure of being behind helped us launch by month 2 both times.
You should apply even if you have to put the application together today. Just for the experience. At worst, you'll waste an afternoon. At best you'll get in, like we did (Cloudant YCS08 - Boston)
The problem was my cofounder and I were 300 miles apart, so we needed to get online and record a video. I was working long hours and he was finishing his masters, so it was hard to both get online at the same time. We ended up recording it around 4am.
The deadline was going to be while we were over the Atlantic and I had written the application on the flight down from SFO to LAX.
I distinctly remember fumbling trying to pay for the stupid T-Mobile hotspot before hitting submit and running for the gate.
What were we thinking? Get it out the door and done as quickly as possible. We were stil at our previous employer at the time and hadn't finalized an idea, so there was some doubt about applying. But once the momentum got underway, our only thought was submitting the best application possible, and fully sketching out our idea. I read the blog posts from other YC companies about the application process, and they were very helpful making us understand what was expected from YC, and what was coming in the application process.
I think that first demo was written entirely in October 2007, but I can't seem to find our old subversion repository anywhere.