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At first I did worry that the problem was on my end. That is always one's initial assumption when people don't seem to understand. Maybe I wasn't clear enough, you think, and you try again to to explain it a different way.

The reason it seems unlikely that the problem is on our end is the correlation between being difficult to talk to and failure in the outside world. If the problem was on our end, we would experience difficulty talking to both successful and unsuccessful startups.

Incidentally, if all you've seen is "office hours" on stage at a conference, you don't really know what office hours are like. Office hours onstage at an event are about 1/4 as long as real office hours, and with people I've never met before. So of course they are all over the place. Office hours at events are more like YC interviews than YC office hours.




But do you not see the flaw in that logic? "We are not the problem so we are not going to try something else". What advice would give if one of your groups said that? Paul everything I have studied about you and YC over the last 5 years tells me your an incredible person but you are stubborn and you know it. You love experiments, the next office hours simply try this approach with one of the groups. Ask them questions and then just sit back and listen. I know it is hard because you are an excitable guy but try it. They look at you as an authority figure, this larger than life person who just made there dreams come true. That holds so much power, I wonder if you realize it? Ease that stress by leveling the playing field. One or two meetings like this, where they feel you are actually listening, and they will be right back to your level and its business as usual. I bet you dinner at your favorite spot that if you truly give this a chance, it will work.

I understand the difference and don't pretend to know the daily goings on at YC, am just putting an alternate perspective on the table for consideration. Tonight when you reflect on this conversation, I think an idea will come to you. I am sure this is something that bothers you very much, because you are obsessed with solving tough problems. I think people also forget that you are human and have feelings and your not always on the top of your game. When people are overcome with a tough process they shut off. As you stated, that doesn't mean they don't know how or that they are not capable. They just don't know how to get back on the right track. These situations don't need force they need delicate leadership. If they don't respond from there, then you have done all you can and that is all anyone could ask for.

I even up voted you because I know you have taken time to have this conversation. I most likely will never get into YC because I am a single founder, therefore I fear no recourse. When the terms are level, inspiring conversation and progress can be made. I appreciate that you have listened to me and considered my thoughts, as someone trying to reach a goal, that means very much!

Think about this conversation and then what I just said, the answer is right there staring at you my friend.


I don't think pg is saying his communication is flawless, he's saying that the good teams could get past whatever those flaws are and the bad teams couldn't. The same would likely apply to another investor/mentor's differently-flawed communication style.

That of course is no reason for pg to not try to relentlessly improve, but the point about the founders stands.


I think we would all agree, none of our communication is ever flawless, including mine. I also think that from PG position he can only hold peoples hands for so long until they have to be big boys and get on there own feet and get there ass in gear. For all those who have played sports, great coaches treat different players differently based on how they best respond and that allows them to get the maximum effort from their talent. All I am offering in this thread is maybe there is something more that can be done from a new angle, for both PG and the founders growth and a solution to make the YC process even better.


Sure, and there's probably a subset in there that would actually be successful with someone else but just have a personality mismatch with Paul. But it's probably a minority of those who couldn't make it work with him.


I think to be fair, we need to point out this is not all on Paul's shoulders. His statements were from the viewpoint of YC and what they have noticed.


> The reason it seems unlikely that the problem is on our end is the correlation between being difficult to talk to and failure in the outside world. If the problem was on our end, it we would experience difficulty talking to both successful and unsuccessful startups.

Not necessarily. YC's advice and guidance have huge value; so communications challenges with you and other mentors have a big impact on your startups' success. Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it doesn't rule it out either.


That is true. Think about how hard it is to find the right person to date and then marry. In the business world that is exactly what is happening. If the founders don't feel support and connection the way that best helps them, then even the best people will ultimately find it difficult to succeed.

It is why even the very best of entrepreneurs have failure. The relationships matter, it is one of YC's guiding principles.




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