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Y Combinator announces two new partners, Paul Buchheit and Harj Taggar (ycombinator.posterous.com)
344 points by pg on Nov 12, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 77 comments

Congratulations to Paul, Harj, and YC. Really glad to see important things like Y Combinator grow, since even a small change at YC results in a huge effect on the industry given the influence that YC has.


I believe YC is one of the most innovative places in silicon valley and has the potential to truly change the world by helping to create hundreds of new tech companies. It's exciting to be a part of that.

To expand on harscoat's comment, it's exciting to me (and I imagine to many others) that you'll be part of it, and I expect YC to be even more world-changing now.

Really glad to hear that you've decided to join YC Paul. Especially in this "Golden Age" (http://goo.gl/RESDb) of startups.

A great addition to the YC team. :)


What does it mean to be a 'partner'? Do they then get some percentage share of the company?

Is YC structured as an LLC? I thought funds are generally LPs.

Usually in a VC firm each "raise" from limited partners is structured as a separate LLC. One VC might have a dozen different LLC's, each one associated with a different fundraising period.

Yes, YC is an LLC.

Is YC an LLC?

I think it speaks to the character of YC to promote Harj based on the job he has done; when I think a lot of others companies would have kept him where they hired him in at.

You don't have to promote people to show them they are doing a great job. Now, I'm sure Harj wanted the promotion, it's a big win for him, but promotions aren't the answer all the time.

There are lots of people who do NOT want a promotion, and you shouldn't feel you have to give them one. Often you can give them something more meaningful to them in the form of more compensation, bonuses, internal/external recognition, equity, etc.

When it comes to engineers, many prefer to keep writing code, not managing people, and simply want more recognition, equity or comp.

Receiving a promotion does not always require a significant shift in roles. Good tech companies allow engineers to climb the ladder while maintaining their propensity for writing code.

Will Paul take part in the interview/selection process? Will he participate more than the mentors dinner? & Congrats.

Yes, he's going to do everything we do. Kate Courteau is arranging for us to get a new, longer table for interviews right now.

Comments like this are an essential and incredibly fun part of the appeal of Hacker News and of YC. We don't get a bunch of marketspeak blather. We get straight answers like "Yes" and more partners --> longer table.

Because he is leaving Facebook at the same time! http://venturebeat.com/2010/11/12/y-combinator-paul-graham-h... Talent leave Google to FB. Now "one of the world's best hackers" leaves FB for YC.

Y Combinator is the next Facebook.

It's nice of you to say that, but it's impossible. The portfolio effect means that no investment firm ever ends up as big as the most successful individual startups. Nothing beats putting all your eggs in one basket, and having that basket turn out to be an outlier.

This argument makes sense, but aren't many large PE shops and Hedge Funds (which either acquire large companies whole, or make many small investments in thousands of companies) a counter example to this? Many have $5B+ valuations, often limited intentionally by a desire not to expand beyond 40-50 investment professionals.

Seems like there is no inherent law preventing a portfolio manager from becoming bigger than any single item in his portfolio.

What about Berkshire Hathaway? Though, it's a pretty focused portfolio.

Perhaps YC will acquire companies in the future?

BH is more like a conglomerate than an investment firm. They're just a super-disciplined conglomerate, unlike the random ones that gave the term such a bad name in the 1970s.

More to the point, Berkshire Hathaway itself had only 19 employees as of the 2006 letter.

Is it too soon to sign up for our custom YC email addresses?

... or in the process of helping build the next Facebook.

Does this mean YC will be able to fund more startups in the future as you add more partners?

We should be able to, yes.

At this point, you guys have seen a significant slice of the startup world. Has YC ever thought about how large your batches could become? You've said several times that the only real limit is the number of quality teams... but have you ever thought about how big that number really is?

We've always approached that question the way hackers approach scaling software: we don't know where the limits will be; they'll probably turn out to be higher than we'd expect; the only way to find them will be to repeatedly expand, and hit and remove bottlenecks.

So while we often hypothesize about what YC would look like if we funded e.g. 10x more startups, we know better than to plan to. It's a question to be decided empirically.

I've been wondering for a long time, and this might be a good opportunity to ask: How do you pronounce "Buchheit"?

Looks German.

Buch = 'bookh', similar to 'ach' or 'Bach'. Some Germans will pronounce this closer to 'boosh'

Heit = 'height', as in 'Gesundheit'

Boosh-ite, I'd guess. You'd need two aitches for bookh-hite.

There are 2. It's Buchheit.

Ah, flip my comment around, then. Thanks for the correction, I didn't notice!


I toggle between b-yew-kite and b-yew-shay followed by, "you know, the gmail guy."

Boo height

I just can't believe it took so long. PB has always seemed (from the outside) like a de facto partner. This can only make YC better. Congrats PB, Harj, and YC.

I do not know who HT is but it is nice to see 'promotion' from within (being that he previously co-founded a YC company and exited).

Congrats to YC, Paul and Harj!

I'd love to sit down with Harj one day and see how much he's changed since our school days. I'm really inspired by how much he's accomplished. Although, he's obviously worked very hard for it and it's well deserved!

ha i'd seen you on HN and dismissed the possibility you were the same Paul Joslin from school, that's funny you actually are. hope you've been well!

It definitely is a small world! I work as a software developer for a UK software consultancy, but dabble in my spare time on personal projects.

Techcrunch / HN / Reddit has been on my daily reading list for years. It's definitely been interesting seeing your story unfold.

If I'm ever over in Silicon Valley, I'll have to drop you a message as it'd be great to have a catch up and laugh about the old BGS times.

Congratulations again!

Congrats all around!

Incredible announcement, 3 days before (rumors say) Facebook opening their "gmail killer". I am reading this like a fat slap on zuckenberg's face(book hehe) Big thumbs up for PG for messing in facebook vs google brains war.

(edit: seems I wasnt able to explain I was trying to congratulate YC for being able to play in the big league where such companies are punching each other. I think this speaks a lot about how YC name is growing.)

> ..."gmail killer". I am reading this like a fat slap on zuckenberg's face(book hehe)

Maybe Paul just didn't want to participate in killing his own brainchild.

Didn't meant (I realise how unfortunate writing the comment I was) it was PG objective crushing anyone. Its only I can not imagine a worst moment for an engineer with so huge webmail background like this one, moving out of fb only 3 days from launch (the rest was buggy literature)

Looks like http://ycombinator.com/people.html doesn't list Paul Buchheit yet.

Does this mean that PB is leaving Facebook?

Congrats - That's great news for everyone

I thought it was "do no evil", not "don't be evil". Subtle difference, but not the same thing.

No, the submission has it right (AFAIK). My guess as to why so many people use the former instead of the latter is because they get their wires crossed with the whole "see no evil, hear no evil, do no evil" saying, which has a different source.

Congrates Paul and Harj.

Congratz to YC and Harj another step forward

Ok great, but why?

Is there more to hacker news than the frontpage? How many people are needed to maintain it?

In case you're not trolling...

There is more to YCombinator than Hacker News. HN is just the social news website intended to serve the YCombinator crowd. Your best bet to learn more is to go to the YCombinator website; you know, the one without the "news" in the url: http://ycombinator.com/

Reactions like this (when genuine) bring more attention to the fact that HN has grown waaay beyond the YC participants.

Thanks, tried actually that but no page loaded, therefore the comment. Page loaded fine now though.

I assume this was a serious comment - HN is merely a small part of YCombinator.

See: http://ycombinator.com/

This, along with other things, feels like we're headed into a new renaissance period in silicon valley. There's talk everywhere about fundamental changes to how venture capital is done. There's ycombinator, 500startups, founder institute, etc.

Paul Graham's goal is obviously to be the valley's biggest patron for starving artists, err, hackers.

All of this is very fresh and exciting.

congrats to Y Combinator, Paul, and Harj.

it's an interesting choice to reinforce the demographic biases rather than trying to counter them. when you decided to add two partners, did you consider any women?

I don't think that's how it works. YC didn't decide that 'its time to add two partners' and then start looking for candidates. What actually happened is that there were people who were already acting like partners in everything but title, and this is just a formalization of that.

according to the interview with Paul B in the LA Times, "Paul Graham had mentioned it several years back but I was looking to start FriendFeed at the time. It’s hard to do anything else when you are trying to start a start-up. He mentioned it again this summer and it got me thinking again." So it sounds like they actually _did_ seek out at least one candidate.

Not exactly. Before and during his time at FF, PB was informally involved with YC by dropping by often to chat with startups, and probably in other ways. Saying to him "let's get you involved more and formally" is not the same as seeking out a candidate, because "seeking a candidate" implies that there are a few people available for a position, and you choose one. In the YC case, however, it was probably "either with PB or without PB", not "either with PB or with someone else"

i was surprised to see this downvoted. it seemed to me that i had introduced a fact that directly contradicted YuriNiyazov's point above. people on HN pride themselves on being evidence based. what am i missing?

Actually, what you are missing is the subtext of my original message. I have to go now and tend to my startup, but if you want to email me directly I'll respond when I can

i don't really like email ... how about Facebook?

here's some subtext for my question: http://www.talesfromthe.net/jon/?p=2091

in other words, they didn't bother to think about the risks of reinforcing their blindspots (or the opportunities to counter). a couple of guys were there and doing the job so they formalized it.

Nope, not "in other words". That's not even remotely close to what I said.

It looks very close to what you said, (it just adds the claim that they didn't consider acting otherwise).

Why are you downvoting such a good point? It's an often repeated idea around here that you should partner up with people who add things to your company that you don't add yourself, so "we met and liked him instantly" should be a warning flag to consider that you might be doing what feels good not what will help most.

YC might have considered or not, but don't downvote someone for asking, eh?

Thanks for the comment. My summary of the conversation so far at http://www.talesfromthe.net/jon/?p=2091&cpage=1#comment-...

Demographics are a distant 100th to competence, talent, personality, and 97 factors of more import. If anybody thinks otherwise, let them build a diversity rainbow startup fund that outperforms the rest.

Now these are all fine people.Maybe it's time to add some color and character to YC.How about a James Bondish cat stroking villain type as partner,who sits in a dark corner of the room during the interview.Meow - Make stuff people want.

That's either Elon Musk or Peter Thiel for bond-villainy.

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