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YC W13 application guide - what is "impressive achievement" (acunote.com)
40 points by gleb on Oct 29, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments

"Alex is the maintainer for KDE project's IDE - KDevelop."

I remember that from the application, so we must have been impressed by it.

Hey PG, would you regard climbing a ~20,000 ft Himalayan mountain (~single digit known previous attempts) as an impressive achievement?

"This guy really knows how to keep it up" (no way I could say that without it sounding bad to some of you sick people)

From what I know of applications to things like YC, this looks like great advice.

Re: Putnam, this thread was awesome. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35076

"Did you win the Putnam? If not, don't be bolder than this guy." "Yes, I did."

Looked great but... still we didn't hear too much about Colin Percival, did we? Although, his success may be somewhere close - I don't know exactly.

He seems pretty successful to me. Unless you define success as being famous to yourself.

Guess, I got a problem with defining success of a person who works in a sphere that I don't know very well, unless there's an article in Wikipedia about him. That's my problem but I don't know how to resolve it.

I'd say Colin is substantially more "successful" than tarsnap has been as a business -- he's well regarded by basically everyone in the BSD community, crypto software community, etc. -- but that's because (IMO) tarsnap is a fairly niche product, executed well for that niche, but without much effort to make it a larger category product. Which is fine -- the effort to turn tarsnap into a more consumer-friendly or enterprise-IT-department friendly product might not be something he wants to do, and since he doesn't have external investors, no one is pushing him to do it.

Thanks for the info.

Interesting read. It was even cooler to see Drew from dropbox posting in the comments there.

I've seen a ton of examples of applications that have been accepted to YC. It would be very informative to see applications that were on the cusp of getting in to have a better gauge of mistakes to avoid.

I know that will never happen for a number of reasons - but it would be interesting nonetheless.

Do YC partners find stories such as "I grew up poor and in low income housing. My parents didn't graduate from high-school. By all measures I shouldn't have made it to a university nor should I have succeeded. But I paid my way through college and graduated with a high GPA in Computer Science" impressive?

I ask because it is my story albeit it is neither technology nor entrepreneurship related.

Similarly, is "I got rejected by a girl thrice, but turned that around over the course of 4 years, from the other side of the world" impressive at all? Depending on your perspective, it either shows extreme determination and ability to succeed, or a foolish aversion to "pivoting".

Thanks for the blog post. My answer for this question on the w13 application is almost entirely unrelated to tech - now I think this is okay.

> I ate 20 hot dogs in one sitting.

Wow, does this really happen? I wonder what percentage of applications have obviously bad answers like this.


I'm assuming they are more like "I know HTML and Java" which is conceivably related to building a tech startup than "I ate 20 hotdogs in one sitting," right?

Most answer the question "what would your Facebook friends find most amusing."

I don't think it's an execution problem. People seem to misunderstand the question. That's my impression, anyway.

There is so little room on the application as it is to try to sell yourself and your cofounder (not your idea) that I could honestly not even imagine wasting it.

But in my case, I don't have a fancy school to list in the founder question, so I would have to find other ways to convince them that I'm good.

News.YC is giving me a nice week here. I'm starting to feel that I tend to undervalue my achievements and I feel much better about my answer now. (Self trained myself through HS to get a D1 Volleyball Scholarship)

I'm a business guy in our startup (and work with to tech cofounders) and wrote about starting and gaining reputation for my consulting company. Hope, that suits well. :)

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