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Random Startup Generator (ykombinator.com)
327 points by omergertel on Feb 8, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 53 comments

Yuri Milner is investing $150K in each reload of this page.

But seriously: sometimes randomness breaks assumptions and generates great ideas. See also:


Added: Sites with working online decks: http://www.joshharrison.net/oblique-strategies/ http://music.hyperreal.org/artists/brian_eno/oblique/oblique...

A friend of mine swears by a strategy he calls "smashing ideas" to generate ideas for research: Take two fundamental ideas from the literature (the more fundamental the better) and try to smash them together into a new idea. Says a remarkable amount of research (and successful papers) can be viewed in this light. The strategy is obviously a great creative tool, generally. Though, for business I still reckon the best primary mindset to have is identifying real world problems and thinking of solutions to these problems (perhaps smashing comes in at this point). In research and art, creativity pays off more because real world benefit as voted by paying customers is not as important.

I propose the ycombinator turing test. Can you generate an application which will get accepted by ycombinator? This may require generating additional content to establish team credibility including twitter posts, blog posts, etc.

Stranger things have happened: http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/#examples

Since the main thing we care about is the people, you'd either have to lie or be genuinely good.

How do you know who the people are? Presumably, the app would create blogs, facebook pages, linkedin, twitter, etc. Passing a phone interview would be harder, though not impossible. You might need really good voice recognition. Speech generation probably wouldn't be insurmountable.

In person, this might be trickier. This might require a robot mannequin. Alternatively, you could hire an actor with wireless ear plugs. Presumably, the computer would tell the actor what to do.

While the idea proposed is important, I believe pg cares more about the the team, which I think is reflected in the application. So you could very well generate a random idea and be accepted as long as you have an awesome group of people.

That's a slightly harder Turing test. pg will insist on them moving to Silicon Valley, so we'll have to use tech like this:


"CloudPerfect is a creative new way of getting you upvoted on Quora. Between trolling /b/ and marriage, people believe they can't learn how to paint. This is where CloudPerfect comes in, with lots of coffee and an army of monkeys, CloudPerfect will revolutionize your social experience."

Sounds reasonable.

Oh sweet, I've always wanted to learn to paint, but I'm much too busy getting married and trolling /b/...

Funny, a few of the startups I generated are actually available domains (and kinda catchy):

  crunchmob.com <-- considering buying this one
Good design, btw.

Every once in a while for fun, I try to find as many good .com domains as I can. There are a lot of good ones out there.

I've considered having a best available .com competition here, but think it might be considered wasteful, doing the work of squatters for them.

There was a recent XKCD[1] on pairs of words that sound good together and quite a few of those domains were available. So I don't know what it'll be yet, but my next project is going to live at lasernarwhal.com.


Lol. My surprises of the day were toogeo and talkik. I think I have a knack for finding these. I should charge. :) Ooh, talkic is even better. It's like talk and topic!

crunchmob.com ... Crowd control?

no its a new cereal

Yes, I believe a crunch mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place and eat Kashi GoLean.

inpoke.com is good too

Good Grief - never announce in a public forum, even one as trusted as HN that you are interested in a domain. Nefarious individuals (Domain Squatters) will grab it - then good luck ransoming it away from them.

I've grabbed it via 1&1 - if you're going to do something useful with either of them - let me know so I can transfer it to you gratis - just create something interesting. :-)

We could DOS domain squatters: Generate and post as many cool domain names as possible, until they run out of money for registering them.

I think domain tasting [1] would unfortunately reduce the possibility of this working.

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_tasting

That reminds me of Network Solutions registering domains that people searched for as "nice service". That was a fun day.

Wow, I had always been nervous about that, but I assumed I was being paranoid: "Network Solutions may reserve domain names that are searched on our Web site for up to 4 days. During this period, these domain names will only be available to register at networksolutions.com" http://about-networksolutions.com/customer-protection-measur...

I grabbed jotperfect.com ... now I've got to start a new writing related site ... or maybe learn + create a webapp? Hmm :)


I just randomly generated these available domains (I'm hoping they will inspire a startup):







...I like the ykombinator premise too.

Hmm, notabot.com hasn't been available since 2004. You might want to reassess your availability check.

I knew somebody would check my work. Notabot.com is the only domain in that list that is available only as a premium domain name ($1,888.00). All the rest are up for grabs.

I had an idea for a similar joke website a few months ago, but their algorithm is much smarter than mine. Looking at their code, it looks like they are essentially randomly combining sentence fragments together in order:

    var A = ["A new and improved", "A better, faster", "An awesome", "A vibrant", "An innovative", "A faster", "A rapid", "A quick and dirty"];
    var y = ["Searchable", "Virtualized", "Cloud-based", "Mobile", "Application-aware", "Viral", "Friendlier", "Online", "Web-based", "Streamlined", "Performance-oriented", "Next-gen", "Revenue-shared", "Professional"];
I attempted to mine Crunchbase profiles and then build "descriptions" of a startup based on a markov chain, but I found that there was too much noise in most of the Crunchbase descriptions to produce text that sounded at all plausible. Their method is a lot smarter (and easier).

What do they call that style of illustration that looks like it was done with a fish-eye lens effect. (City with guy playing golf picture).

Is there a stock image site that has a collection? Edit: Found it here, but no mention of what the "style" is called. http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-10284891-beaut...

Great execution but needs more "$X is a dead simple way to $Y" so as to properly channel TC/Arrington.

or the popular "$x is the $y of $z"

Or, as the Simpson's put it... "Anything that's the 'something' of the 'something' isn't really the anything of anything"


facebook meets napster, but for dogs. One of my preferred ones.

This is the first context where the dollar sign sigil made complete sense to me. :)

Click on their about page: http://www.joinfireplace.com/#topics/d1e41f00330b11e0a86e27b...

Then click on their logo.

Love the instant load.

I love the text it proposes to share on Twitter:

"OMG ShopMob is the next Quora!! #omgnextquora"

Thanks for the love guys :)

Not quite complete, nowhere does the description say the team is "passionate" about technology and/or design.

I'll admit to spending 5 minutes flipping through - well done :)

"this is where xxxx comes in"

wrote the phrase down to my english idioms book. all investors are mine!

I wish I could meet an investor now, just to say to him "This is where the jousting monkeys come in".

This is where investors come in...

"Pure Javascript, HTML and CSS. No server side at all. Simple and easy."

Surprisingly surprising - the average framework X programmer would automatically use framework X. What a great example of using the right tools for the right job.

No need to overengineer. Server side scripts are not needed in their case.

Great! This is how you make a generator. The Malcom Gladwell one was dumb and totally not funny. This one make me laugh.

The names were very catchy too.

is it a parody on the startup bubble?

how funny it would be if some sophomore really implements one of these mock ideas and become a blnaire

Great website. Can't be viewed in landscape mode on android. The socks and twitter link obscure the text. At first I thought that was part of the joke. Whatever. Gave me a laugh this morning and that is worth its weight in gold.

hahah i always suspected my NoSQL database was missing A SOCIAL TWIST!

Can you make it so we can submit silly/lousy ideas we've had or heard from others? Or maybe ideas that were rejected from YC? That would be a fun collection to look at.

StumbleUpon for startup ideas. Awesomely amusing!

Hehe. Nice one. it is a good way of scanning through a bunch of crowd sourced ideas though.

Back to scanning through.

geez, I almost entered my email on the "notify me" first time I opened this!

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