At one point I was reduced to essentially defending the very idea of startups and technology innovation. In the stress of the moment I also assumed like the comments were made sincerely (call me naive) so I did my best to pick my jaw up off the floor and explain why they were wrong -- only to be cutoff half way into a sentence. Rinse. Repeat.
When I say I'm "comfortable debating" I don't mean that I need to be comfortable while debating. I grew up with lawyers in my family and in a household where heated debate was part of our every day life. I've worked with some extremely smart and opinionated people. I love a vigorous debate about topics I'm passionate about (like startups). No one who knows me would say I'm a pushover, and most would agree I'm very open to sound logic and evidence.
I think if there's one thing that felt very different in my YC experience it was the intentionally misleading statements. I really am not accustomed to arguing with people who repeatdly make disengenous statements just to judge how I'll react. It's one thing to take an arbitrary position and defend it, it's another to just throw out random misleading statements. To me that would seem to only muddy the waters.
I'm sure I could learn to play that game. Maybe the best founders are great their first run. For all I know I was judged okay on that front. I don't really know.
I do know though that one would learn a lot more about my ability to think by restricitng the conversation to an honest debate of the relevant issues.
Again. I respect all of you guys and know you're good people and ridiculously smart. I'm not making any judgements on that account. One of the reasons I find YC so amazing is that you don't have to be "someone" to get in. It's not an old boy's club. It is disappointing to me to see that tinge of VC arrogance in the interview process, which is why I point it out.
Wait, really?... Being intellectually dishonest is not cool. If you cannot figure out the winning strategy without lying then you're not trying hard enough.
Asking questions where you are honestly open to consideration even though it seems wrong, that's great. Knowingly making misleading suggestions isn't.