|Each YC startup gets one chance to do a Launch HN thread that gets placed on HN's front page . This is one of the three things that HN gives back to YC in exchange for funding it . We started doing these in 2017 and they've worked out pretty well over the years , I think mostly because they're more interesting than job ads. However, they have to be written in a special way for that to work (more on this below).|
Problem: HN's front page can only accommodate a fixed number of startups while YC keeps funding more (700+ a year and growing). We do two Launch HNs a day during the stampede before each Demo Day, but I think we overdid that in W21, and even 2 per day all year, which is out of the question, still wouldn't be enough.
Other problem: I work with the startups to edit their launch texts into a form that HN is more likely to find interesting. Mostly this consists of cajoling, persuading, and (when that fails) forcing them not to sound like marketing, sales, or PR. If you'd like to see the instructions we give founders about this, they're at .
Founders are used to talking to customers and investors, and those styles are terrible for HN, so most Launch HNs need a lot of editing. Unlike the front page, this work should be scalable, but it has to be done by someone who's familiar with what HN likes and what its conventions are, and it hasn't (yet) proven easy to train anyone to do it—you sort of have to dip them in the vat of HN over and over until they get steeped, and most people don't want to be dipped in a vat, or at least not this vat. So in practice I still do the editing and am still the bottleneck. 40 startups are currently in the pipe and it's backing up faster than I can process them.
Hence, new idea time: we're going to try aggregate launch threads for YC startups, tentatively called "Meet the Batch". These will be like Launch HNs, but with more than one startup, and shorter blurbs. Each startup will post its blurb as a comment and then HN readers can discuss and interact with the ones they find interesting.
Since each of these will be in lieu of a Launch HN, the number of frontpage threads won't go up, but throughput will. We have no idea how well it will work—it's just an experiment. We'll probably start with one per week and do traditional Launch HNs the rest of the time.
Which startups will get standalone Launch HNs vs. being in the aggregate threads? I'll decide that based mostly on what I think HN is likely to find interesting. That's not the same thing as which startups are good (or I think are good!) so please don't take it as that sort of signal.
So anyway, that's the plan. I wanted to give you all a heads-up, first so you know what to expect, and second so we can answer any questions and have any meta discussion now, instead of later when comments should really be about the startups. If you have questions, feedback, flames, or hounds to unleash, have at it—also, any ideas about how we can do any of this better are most welcome.
p.s. Late Sunday is the HN equivalent of a Friday news drop but it's the only spare time I had. We might re-up this thread tomorrow (a la ) so others get the info.
 https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html#yc - the other two are job ads and orange usernames.
 Past posts about this: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...