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Poll: Should we push the YC deadline back by a day because of the storm?
238 points by pg on Oct 30, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 145 comments
I have no idea what the situation is like on the east coast, but it's no problem to push the deadline back by a day if it's necessary. Let us know.
1403 points
324 points

I don't think pushing the deadline back by one day is a good idea. The people who are not affected by the storm don't need the extra day; the people who are affected by the storm will probably need considerably more than a day.

Given that YC already has a policy of considering late applications, I would opt for keeping the deadline where it is but loudly announcing "if you couldn't get your application in by the deadline because of the hurricane, please submit a late application". And possibly add a "I'm applying late because of the hurricane" checkbox to the form.

I suspect somebody will be struck by an epiphany during the storm. technology + disaster situation experience + kickstarter could be interesting.

It may not be an epiphany, but watching just a few seconds of the news coverage I thought of the number of times many of those things had happened to NYC in summer disaster movies.

If I had cameras, boats/kayaks, a few actors & friends to help out, shoot overnight on the deserted river roads, a few lines of dialogue and a rough idea for a story, I'd be out there trying to shoot with big-budget backgrounds that would normally cost tens of millions in sound stages or post-production. Though since I'm currently in Toronto, can't really do it.

If I'd been able to plan (or had the idea a few days ago to be able to plan and know in advance how it would likely look), for perhaps $10-20k (mostly for rented boats, cameras and bail money) could have had a semi-decent looking disaster movie or a good short film. Getting the moment the lights went out from some high vantage points & down on the water would have been amazing too.

While it appears clever it is in fact inhumane. While people suffer and die during these days and every spare pair of hands is in need, you'll be making a movie out of it to entertain masses and make a buck.

False equivalence: clever (here: profitable) vs humane.

You can easily be one without being the other. Or both, or neither.

Moreover, people suffer and need every spare pair of hands these days just as they do every day. In NY, in NJ, everywhere. What's your excuse for "making a buck" and not helping, the rest of the year?

So you are implying that it is acceptable to have a camera crew filming people while they are dying? Well, that's being too literate, but anyway, if it was a documentary film - I would have no problem with that. The author however quite clearly compares it to "disaster movies" which are not. And making a profit out of an event that caused people's sufferings without helping them out is not what I consider to be good.

Ad absurdum, appeal to emotion.

Personally, I would find it in bad taste. Profitable? Perhaps... but likely not. At least not directly -- a PR stunt, at most.

So, a rather bad combo overall IMO: would piss people off & not make the buck.

> The people who are not affected by the storm don't need the extra day; the people who are affected by the storm will probably need considerably more than a day.

They might need another day, or days, if their power is currently out.

If there is a way to integrate this in the application form you could confirm whether you are from an affected area or not.

A special checkbox for late applications is a great idea. I would also suggest asking the teams affected by the storm to send an email to YC or post to a new thread (assuming they have some Internet access, I still see lots of tweets from NY!) This will give you an estimate of how many late applications to expect.

Add a team location flag - those east of point X will be given extra consideration time.

I think it's probably better to ask people if they were affected rather than trying to guess based on their location. It's not something you can get really get away with lying about, since it just takes an interviewer asking "so, tell me how you were affected by the hurricane" to get someone blacklisted.

"I was glued to the Weather Network for like two days straight, and didn't get a chance to complete my application form."

Also, not all teams are located in one area.

yeah thats probably not a bad idea - allowing users to flag if their application is late due to storm and just accept it

Trains in NYC are expected to be down through the end of the week, Connecticut has closed highways to non-emergency traffic, chunks of Manhattan have no power and patients at one NYC hospital are being evacuated due to generator failure. Homes in NY and CT are being flooded, some banks are being closed indefinitely.

I imagine that a lot of YC folks may be scrambling to check on homes and loved ones and trying to keep generators working, etc.

I think a deadline extension would be appropriate. I know there's an argument to be made that folks should be prepared, but this (like many of the weather events I got to experience in Western Mass last year) really is unprecedented.

(I have no stake in this, I just think extending the deadline is the right thing to do).

The National Institutes of Health, which is serious about deadlines in grant applications, gives applicants extra days when they are affected by a natural disaster. One day per day their institution was closed. It seems like it would be sensible to pick an institution (like the New York Stock Exchange) and allow extra days via a similar policy.


Force majeure is typically a good reason to push back a deadline.

[edit: Originally said "deus ex machina". My mistake, thanks Falling3]

That's not really how that phrase is used. Deus ex machina != act of god.

"Deus ex Machina" is the ultimate hack!

So you've had months to prepare this and you're still not ready? You knew about this storm for the past week and didn't scramble to finish before it hit?

Hitting a deadline "no matter what" is a great metric for effective entrepreneurship. Your users, customers, prospects, business partners, investors, and regulators are unlikely to cut you a break. Why should YC?

(I don't mean to sound harsh on so many who are suffering now. I really wish them the best. I'm just saying that a good business person takes care of business (submits YC application) before the storm and focuses on the really important things like family and safety during and after.)

I don't think I've ever really disagreed with any of your comments on HN before Ed, but this time I do. YC stands to win from having everybody that wanted to apply under the original deadline to do just that, and it shows that they care more about people than about their arbitrary time-tables.

Those that live in an area that is right now an absolute mess will be happy to see their power restored in the next few days and it will be tough for everybody in the region to pick up their lives.

"No matter what": What if your parents had to be moved out of their house and you had the choice between helping them or applying to YC?

And a ton of other examples that I could come up with but you get the idea.

There is a time to be rigid (when there are no other options) and there is a time to be flexible (when things were arbitrary to begin with and being rigid makes everybody lose).

Sure life isn't fair. But if it is possible to make it a bit better by being nice to each other then I see absolutely no reason why you should not do so.

A good business person is running a business, they're not applying to YC. The New York Stock exchange is currently closed for business, the area is an official disaster area. In light of that I think we can forgive a few start-up applicants that they don't have their ducks in a row just yet.

Extra points for those that did apply under the deadline.

I agree with you, and more generally I find the "life isn't fair/no excuses" mindset to be a strange phenomenon. The idea that being prepared for adversity, planning ahead, etc. is a good thing is totally sensible. And sometimes you get some bad breaks, and you have to take your lumps and move on. But I can't help but feel that sometimes those that take the "no matter what" position are doing so less in response to the specific situation, and more because they have been conditioned/hardened against the many people that do look for shortcuts or are too quick to make excuses.

It seems like many in the no-excuses camp often frame the hard line as teaching a lesson for "the real world." But I would argue that a main reason deadlines are important in the real world is because other stakeholders need to have clear expectations to use for their own planning. It's unreasonable to expect them to adjust their plans do to one party's shifting schedule, and it's generally a bad idea to treat deadlines lightly.

But if there's a sensible reason and it doesn't cause a big problem for anyone, I don't see why the "principle" of a deadline should trump empathy and business judgement.

Especially since YC can always use the timing and circumstances of the application as additional pieces of information in their process.

It's tough balancing "fair" in this case. Is it fair that my family in the northeast is without power while I read HN? Probably not. I would support changing as many deadlines as possible to be compassionate and to remove any incentive for them to focus on non-essential stuff like YC (similar to what you're saying).

Is it fair for the person in southern California to get an extra couple days to revise because others are going through a hardship? Probably not. I would want them held to the original standard (similar to what the grandparent is saying).

That's the tension I see with this decision. And how do we handle the special cases with teams that are split between coasts?

I don't think one rule will be completely fair, and I would ask pg to apply wisdom regardless if the official date changes. The date is just a date. It's better described as a spam filter than a deadline since YC accepts late applications anyway.

Another thing is time considerations for the founders to review applications. Assuming they remain on schedule with the interviews and such, extending the deadline gives less time for them to review applications - which gives less time for each individual application to be reviewed. This affects those who applied before the original deadline.

This is all speculative of course (I don't know the effect the deadline has on the founders), but I agree that there is no right answer.

This sounds reasonable but it's not how things work in practice. Some of the best startups we've funded applied at the last moment. David Rusenko of Weebly for example decided to apply so close to the deadline that he didn't even have time to tell his cofounders he was doing it.

I think is an unrealistic approach.

Most people cram for exams and leave it all to the last minute - that's life. So in juxtaposing such a common example - I will generalize and assume a lot of people do the same for just about anything else. It's not some crazy ideology - it's called being a human being. Factors outside someone's control shouldn't mean they should be punished for something that everyone does everyday or has done at some time. No one is perfect, people make mistakes and entrepreneurs more than anyone - that's the beauty of it. However, this isn't some exam - it's an application to find great people, great ideas and amazing companies.

The suggestion from your comment is that great people hit deadlines "no matter what". I couldn't disagree more. Running a startup is about elasticity - not "no matter what". If someone has spent weeks getting their video just right - after doing 1000x iterations of it because they wanted to reach the submission date by 30th "no matter what" but then some act of god comes along - it's fair that it destroys their chance ?

That makes no sense - they were going to hit the deadline according to your logic but now something has come along and destroyed that. The "no matter what" is now irrelevant - its time to be flexible, compassionate and understanding. Walk a mile in their shoes for just one second.

The world we live in is not some crystallized inflexible place and YC is not either - if your idea fails, start another. I, for one, hope that someone amazing comes along because they were allowed to submit after the fact. That's what entrepreneurship is all about - people.

"More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost." - Charlie Chaplin (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEUA7owEl7c for some inspiration)

Totally. Entrepreneurship isn't fair, and there's never enough time.

But if it genuinely has hit the fan, and you're honest, then people will usually cut you a break.

EDIT: A day is kind of arbitrary anyway.

If you get an outstanding application a couple of days late, from a team who literally spent two days without power or phones, and instead of submitting their application they helped their neighbours clean putrid mud from their homes, would you reject it?

You're saying people should focus on family and safety during and after the storm? I should think family comes first, before the storm. When did Noah build the ark? Before the flood. A good business person can balance work and home life, and especially the safety of one's family. I'd rather delay an important project and take care of mine than rush a crappy job.

Noah didn't have much if a choice from what I remember of that particular fairy tale, he was under direct instructions from god that was about to destroy the earth (what a great guy!)

Not exactly a helpful comment to bring Noah into this... But there's always one that has to bring up Revelations or some other end of days nonsense wherever there's a storm.

While you're right, these are YC applications, not GE. The goal here is to maximize the return for YC and the odds are best that that will happen by letting these applications through.

These are future CEOs making the applications, not necessarily future COOs.

I realize what you are saying, I just dont think its is processing in my brain.

There are people who have died. There are possibly people who applied to YC already... who have been killed or ... No.

You may have the approach of you should of prepared.. and thats fine to have as your opinion, but I hope to god you aren't the person applying as your companies CEO.

I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, memphis is a poor place for the most part but the people there will go out of their way to encumber you with hospitality. Now when New Orleans flooded, we didn't get the majority of people from Katrina, but we had a lot come our way, my high school classes swelled, and it was overall hard to see the faces every day of those who lost their homes, or friends, or family, but the point is, we went out of our way to do our duty as human.

This is the point where we all are given two options, we can realize that this natural disaster could have been (http://xkcd.com/1037/), perhaps an earthquake, lets say you and your friends were in an attic hiding away from a fire that was slowly moving its way up a stairs.

If you can honestly tell me that you would find falt in that sort of a situation with someone protecting their family instead of hitting a submit button, let me know.

Maybe, but YC applicants might have other things on their mind today. And I have seen no evidence that making hard deadlines is any kind if good indicator about entrepreneurial success.

It doesn't sound harsh, it sounds incorrect. People (customers, prospects, investors etc) are flexible and forgiving during times of adversity, it's one of the most basic human characteristics.

While I hope everyone is safe from the damages Sandy brought, I have to agree that deadlines are deadlines. My interview with Google 2 years ago, despite it taking place during a winter freeze when power and Internet was out, was not rescheduled; and neither was my bulk of college work then.

Completely agree, speaking from NYC my founder (in London) and I were able to finish our app and record a video all with plenty of time to spare before the power went out and the storm really got going.

Surprised at the number of people who said "No". Why does everyone need to have this cut-throat mentality? You realize, we'd all live longer and age slower if you guys would just relax.

NYC is a mess right now.

Just the perspective of a guy who comes here for the articles.

I didn't vote, but my reasoning would be that a day won't help. Allowing late submissions with explanation (as cperciva mentioned) or have the deadline tied to something (michaelhoffman) would probably be a better idea.

If you think that those are good ideas, I think you should (a) vote for extension, and (b) upvote those suggestions so that The Powers That Be see them. If they see those suggestions, but also see significant vote opposition to extending deadlines, they probably won't implement them.

I said no because 1 day is not going to help. Its a very kind gesture but if you are affected by the hurricane (This coming from someone living in Florida), one day is not going to make a difference and at this point YC is probably not even on any of their minds.

Most of Manhattan is without power. While some people may think it's badass to hack through the storm oblivious, the situation out here is pretty intense. I would encourage some leniency with the deadline, especially since as far as I know for NYC, things won't be back to normal for quite a few days.

Not to make light of the situation at hand, but that would be a pretty epic story; I'd definitely read the post on "How I hacked my way into YC by stealing a jetski to get away from the floods, then hitchhiked across the US to hand delivery my application to PG's door within 15 minutes of the deadline"

False, just lower manahattan near the financial district. (unless i'm just a lucky manhattanite who's not read the right news sites and has lovely power)

that said, subways being closed is going to be a huge hassle for the next few days.

ConEd shut of power to the Financial District at approximately 7PM, but there were a number of explosions at substations including the one at 14th Street. There are over 1 million New Yorkers without power; ConEd reports most places below Midtown are dark.

They evacuated NYU Langone Hospital when its backup generator failed, so yes, consider yourself very lucky.

Lots of transformers blew. My power is out and I'm at 10th street and 6th ave.

After walking up Madison this morning, there's no power below 39th Street AFAICT.

I'd do until Friday (if not next week!) rather than tomorrow -- some places seemed a lot more disrupted than just a day.

The entire eastern seaboard from Richmond, VA to Maine is flooding/expecting flooding. Chicago and Michigan are also expecting to have some issues with storm surge.

An extra day isn't going to change anything. I'd say push it by a week or don't bother changing the date.

Most importantly, 75 Broad just flooded; pretty soon they'll lose 55 Broad, 25 Broad, 60 Hudson, and potentially 111 8th. The problem is the generators are not on particularly high floors, and people only keep certain amounts of fuel (<24h, often around 8h), and even with "guaranteed refueling contracts", a lot of people won't be getting diesel in time.

(EDIT: these are the main carrier hotels and colocation facilities in the Northeast, all in Manhattan.)

I was wondering, if you happen to know, why there are so many colos in NYC / Manhattan? In general wouldn't you locate a server farm somewhere with cheap land / electricity / cooling? What advantage do they get from being there?

They're not really server colos (except for some wall street stuff, but even that is in Northern NJ now). The Manhattan facilities are mainly carrier interconnects between carriers and for equipment to provide leased circuits to businesses, a lot of which serve customers in Manhattan or grew up around telephone infrastructure to serve offices in Manhattan.

Big scale server colos are usually in WA/OR (cheap power), SFBA (fiber, tech companies), TX (cheap land, sort of cheap power, or at least available power), or DC metro (sort of cheap power, cheap land in some areas, lots of government users).

you're historically right about this, but wrong on a bunch of other levels. there is a few million square feet of real server colo in 111 8th ave, and at least an order of magnitude more than that combined across the other spaces mentioned.

The reason they locate there (as with in London) if to reduce the latency for financial trading programs. It may not sound like a lot, but when you have an automatic trading application processing billions of trades a year it can make a huge difference to receive the information a little earlier, and place your orders that little bit quicker.

As a side note, Internap's LGA11 datecentre facility on 75 Broad Street is currently being evacuated, and most of the fuel reserves are submerged below water...

Most importantly, 75 Broad just flooded

The report I heard (at about 11PM EDT) was that the basement was flooded and the building was being evacuated, but servers would keep running for 5-7 hours until the back-up generators ran out of fuel.

Last I heard, 111 8th had 4 days of fuel and the generators were safely high up. It's possible I misunderstood.

Where are you getting this information?

IRC. (with people who lived out of colos in Lower Manhattan after 9/11, since if they left the area they wouldn't have been allowed back in -- living off vending machine food for a week or two reconfiguring equipment for themselves and other networks to account for the missing part of the city)

Also, woo, no more 111 8th. Building power is down for most of the building (all of it?) (per floor), although some of the areas have their own generators (Level(3) and the old AboveNet area)

The biggest problem is that the basements where the fuel is stored are flooding, which is taking out the pumps to get the fuel to the generators!

Was just listening in on FDNY radio scanner and they mentioned oil/diesel floating down the street in water.

Hearsay says that all of 111 8th was taken down voluntarily to prevent damage from flooding.

rdl, do you know what the water level is at 111 8th? Any other information about that immediate area would be greatly appreciated.

How about a day for each day the market remains closed.

pg - its better to be compassionate than not be. if moving the date isn't that difficult for you and doesn't adversely affect the operation of YC - it only goes to strength the resolve of the community.

it would be crazy to allow someone to loose out on their dream of even applying because the mother of all storms decided to hit the east coast of America. surely its http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_God exception :)

Lets remember Winston

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Only good things can come from opening it longer given what's happened.

Agreed. Look at the situations reversed : Earthquake on the west coast... How tasteless it would be for the New Yorkers to insist that YC keeps to its original deadline.

A day?

I lost ten days of power/connectivity in Isaac.

I'm not in this YC run, but to be honest, I don't think a day's really enough.

The water level in Battery Park was 13 feet at its highest and broke previous record 11 feet at 1821. Manhattan south of 39th street lost power since 9:00pm.

This is probably the first time in last 100 years for dwellers living in Manhattan downtown see flood in their homes. Especially for people who lives in ground floor or basements.


The hurricane wasn't a surprise... the effects shouldn't have been a surprise.

If you're going to run a startup, this is a good test of being prepared for a (known, impending, likely) shit tsunami, and being agile, and resourceful, and flexible, and, well, you get the idea.

If pg wants to appear compassionate about changing the date, that's fine, but this isn't like a tornado (no warning), or Katrina (total destruction of an entire city).

If people were going to apply at the very last second, guess what - moving the date forward by N days just means they have N more days before applying at the very last second.

If out of compassion pg wants to move the date, or more likely to avoid potential criticism of keeping the original date, then fine. But would this make a real difference, I doubt it.

Besides moving the date back might actually prevent some great company from getting in who are right now, demonstrating extraordinary resourcefulness at finishing the application (typing away on an iphone), getting it in on time, and providing a really cool story of how they did it.

Wow, what an asshole comment.

I have absolutely no dog in this fight but I think that postponing the entry deadline for those in the affected region is absolutely the thing to do. Whether or not it is worse than Katrina remains to be seen. Millions of people without power and you think that some great company won't be able to get in because they're busy with the application showing how 'scrappy' they are rather than taking care of the people around them (and themselves) is tantamount to giving an advantage to those without a heart.

Really, a day is much too little, a week would be more appropriate.

I do not think his comment was an "asshole comment". He made a pretty great argument why he opposes shifting the deadline. It was presented in a very respectful manner*

You could have countered it without declaring him an asshole.

*I want to assume we are seeing the same comment so I am replicating it below.

"The hurricane wasn't a surprise... the effects shouldn't have been a surprise.

If you're going to run a startup, this is a good test of being prepared for a (known, impending, likely) shit tsunami, and being agile, and resourceful, and flexible, and, well, you get the idea.

If pg wants to appear compassionate about changing the date, that's fine, but this isn't like a tornado (no warning), or Katrina (total destruction of an entire city).

If people were going to apply at the very last second, guess what - moving the date forward by N days just means they have N more days before applying at the very last second. If out of compassion pg wants to move the date, or more likely to avoid potential criticism of keeping the original date, then fine. But would this make a real difference, I doubt it.

Besides moving the date back might actually prevent some great company from getting in who are right now, demonstrating extraordinary resourcefulness at finishing the application (typing away on an iphone), getting it in on time, and providing a really cool story of how they did it."

That last paragraph specifically is what I think is completely without any connection to reality and utterly disrespectful towards those that right now put their humanity before their financial or career interests and that spend the time helping their fellow human beings.

No great company is going to be left out because they could not show how resourceful they were.

There is a time to be hustling and there is a time to put a human face on things, natural disasters are not the time to show off who is resourceful other than in helping to combat the disaster if you're in the area.

If you don't have your priorities straight at times like these then you shouldn't be running a company.

"If you don't have your priorities straight at times like these then you shouldn't be running a company."

You have a good counter-point there. However, I believe you could have stated it clearly without the asshole remark.

(S)he thinks it is resourceful that a candidate found a way to complete and submit an application under dire circumstances. Maybe using the neighbor car battery to power a laptop or something more crazy.

You assume Grand OP is deliberately advocating risking life to submit a YC application.

You could have disagreed without the name calling. If everyone branded a comment he disagrees with an "asshole" comment, I do not think here would be a pleasant place to discuss.

> You assume Grand OP is deliberately advocating risking life to submit a YC application.

No, I understand from the original that someone that is 'scrappy' enough to make their application reach YC under these circumstances would be allowed to jump the line at the expense of those hit hard enough that they can't make it. As if such behavior is something that is to be commended, and as if the reward should be that they make it while others do not. Deadlines are imaginary lines in the sand, they can be moved without penalty or further aggravation if the situation warrants it.

YC seems to have the right idea here.

Plenty of people will work really hard to make their submission as good as possible and will submit the final product at the last moment. Being without power or communications (possibly for days) in a region that is hit by a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) storm front means that obviously the rules of the game have temporarily changed.

The NYC stock exchange seemed to have its priorities straight, I think some two bit unproven start-up should be able to live with the possibility of having to compete with a few more entries, especially when those fellows are in the middle of what now officially qualifies as a disaster area.

'Resourcefulness' in a storm doesn't mean wasting your phone's battery. If one has ample shelter/water/heat/food/electricity, they are sitting pretty and can go about their business without having to be very resourceful. If not, their only thoughts should be on preserving what they do have and using their intellect to improve their immediate situation. I hope that the YC hopefuls in emergency situations are wise enough to focus on taking care of themselves and figure that the application process will work out later.

i guess you're not the one being evacuated from a flooding or burning building. nor are you someone who has loved ones anywhere in lower manhattan.

you make it seem like natural disasters are easy to predict down to the precise movements and effects for eacn individual.

i'd love to see that app or service you're making, sounds really powerful. dare i say clairvoyant?

Take a look at this blogpost... from 10/23


Jeff Master's Blog is excellent as well: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html

And yeah, I was born in NYC. We're tough.

I think you're missing the point.

It's important to not only empathize with things you could believe personally might happen to you, but also to the millions of others who you might know.

Maybe someone has updated their YC several times. But they also haven't heard from a family member in 24 hours in Manhattan.

I don't need proof that we knew the storm was coming, I'm just asking you to put yourself in other people's shoes and anticipate that maybe things are bigger and more out of control than we think.

"Get off the cross, we need the wood".

Equating human tragedy with an application to YC is inane. It's an application, that's all it is. Apply next time. Or drop a note to pg with an explanation if it's that important to you.

ps - it would be a real bummer if someone spent the whole night worrying about sick family in those hospitals that are being evac'd and missed out on the chance to apply.

You could always work on your YC application while you're sitting in the waiting room.

You have to be kidding me. I would despise working for someone who cared more about an application to YC than they did spending time with the rest of their family in the waiting area, or trying to calm their emotions by relaxing. Wow.

Some things take precedence over an application that allows for lateness anyway

Personally, we're down one founder for our video due to the storm (he lost power/internet). We've completed our app a couple weeks ago but were taking our time with the video. The storm actually disrupted our Google Hangout-based video mid take (take number 3, but still).

If we didn't have an extension, we'd probably just put an addendum to the start of our video noting the lack of polish due to this complication, and just run with it. We'd hope the video wouldn't be a deal killer anyways.

But yes, it would be a nice gesture to push the deadline back.

Ironically, the people who need this extension the most can't actually vote at the moment. So I would consider some multiplier to the number of Yes votes to account for them.

The people most affected by this storm are likely not able to see the poll.

It really says something then, that 80% of the vote is still Yes.

I'd expect people who are affect to be more likely to vote "no", out of a desire to not use (or appear to use) the disaster to their advantage. They want a level playing field, and that means to them not getting special treatment because of outside circumstances.

I'd expect a lot of people not affected to vote "yes" out of a desire to not gain (or appear to gain) at the expense of other's suffering a disaster. They want a level playing field, and that means to them not having the competition disadvantaged because of outside circumstances.

It's the same reason Inigo Montoya let the Man in Black rest after the latter's climb up the Cliffs of Insanity, even though the Man in Black was willing to fight as soon as he got to the top.

I gathered he let him rest because that was what was written in the script.

Ahh, nerd message boards. Not even The Princess Bride is spared.

Rochester, NY guy here, with parents in central NY and grandparents on Long Island.

Like other commenters have said, it's an absolute mess. ConEd is predicting up to 7 days for power to return. I voted "yes" but a day won't be enough. Some people trapped won't even be able to click submit for a week.

I think that a deadline extension isn't the best option. The best option would be to give grace to late entries that come from hurricane areas (like others have mentioned, a checkbox would work). However, I'd add an additional box for those ticking the box that asks about their hurricane experiences. After all, isn't YC looking for amazing founders? What better way to see who a person is than hearing about their experiences living through a record-breaking storm?

Sure, people would game the system but if they do make it to the interview stage it'll be easy to tell who's faking.

What is the most impressive hack you've accomplished?

We had to hack our way in a storm to submit our YC application.

* Note for application reviewers: Email is in my profile, thanks.

+1 for this

Sure, whatever. Maybe the "next Dropbox" will apply last minute.

We started our application a few weeks ago and running it through several feedback and rewrites I'm surprised to find myself till the last day and still making adjustment.

If I lived in NY and I was hit by the storm I would have been really bummed out about missing the deadline.

One reason I'm applying to YC is to be among an awesome ecosystem of founders who are there for each other and seeing a large ratio of yes to no votes is a delight.

There will people without power from VA/DC on up the coast for several days, if not a week or more.

Given that situation, a delay would be symbolic more than anything.

Still worth doing.

he hurricane wasn't a surprise... the effects shouldn't have been a surprise. If you're going to run a startup, this is a good test of being prepared for a (known, impending, likely) shit tsunami, and being agile, and resourceful, and flexible, and, well, you get the idea. If pg wants to appear compassionate about changing the date, that's fine, but this isn't like a tornado (no warning), or Katrina (total destruction of an entire city). If people were going to apply at the very last second, guess what - moving the date forward by N days just means they have N more days before applying at the very last second. If out of compassion pg wants to move the date, or more likely to avoid potential criticism of keeping the original date, then fine. But would this make a real difference, I doubt it. Besides moving the date back might actually prevent some great company from getting in who are right now, demonstrating extraordinary resourcefulness at finishing the application (typing away on an iphone), getting it in on time, and providing a really cool story of how they did it.

How do I delete the above. It was a quote I mistakenly posted as a comment. See here http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4716779

Since you should have been saving your answers for storage on the application page, why not auto-submit anyone who hasn't done so by the deadline and then allow edits after? You should be able to see who manually re-submits after the deadline (I would think) and allow them to explain their situation. Drop any auto-submitted apps that are not manually re-submitted after a certain time frame.

As an applicant who lives in NYC and has already submitted an application for this round, I think a day (or more) extension would be helpful. One day should be enough for those who lost time preparing for the storm but were not affected enough to drop their whole application(for this round) due to significant loss.

I disagree with the suggestions to add a "I'm late because" or special consideration for late applications. This will postpone a decision and create unneeded complications with the selection process. What I can suggest, is that YC creates an "I will be late on my application because..." area and provide a 3 day extension for those groups. At the very least, this gives YC an opportunity to see if anything is coming in and allow for YC to make a decisions with some "wiggle room" for the late applications. I'm not sure how the selection process works at YC, but the bottom 2-3 fundable on-time applications could be on "stand by" until all applications are submitted and a final decision could be made for the last 2-3 groups.

The "Why not"'s don't outweight the "Why"'s, imo, so go for it. No need not to be humane, civil, and all that jazz.

You have to push the deadline back.

Right now youtube is readonly - can't change video permissions to "anyone" from "private".

Yes. In my experience with events, at least, most of the proposals come in on the last couple of days of the CFP. In an ideal world, I'd say.. that shows how unprepared they are!.. but I'm pretty much the same and it's just how people work ;-)

My relatives are in NJ and from what I hear, they lost power all around them. Given last year's snow storm, it will take a week to get electricity/internet back to normal. At this point, a day won't make a difference.

Although I don't think that one day will make a huge difference (it'll take more than a day to get back to normal) I also don't see why the deadline shouldn't be extended.

Majority of people submitted their applications and I'm sure many keep editing them (in fact I am right now) but the reality is that the last day editing won't change that much anyways. So if everyone gets an extra day, your chances of getting in will most likely remain nearly unchanged, while the people on the East coast will at least get some kind of a chance to submit the next DropBox or AirBnb.

Before and after pics of FDR @54th St, 1pm and 10pm pic.twitter.com/wqwkTXoK

I would say yes.

Why poll this? Either extend it or dont.

I live in Ontario and already numerous people have been killed by the high winds, debris is all over the highways, power is out to numerous parts of the GTA, and trees are falling left right and center. All of this already, and wind speeds are expected to DOUBLE by tomorrow morning.

I would say postpone it at least a day.

If the stock markets aren't running, you can't expect a startup to get much done either.

F.Y.I. the GTA (the section of Ontario I am talking about) is a good 500 miles from the eye of the storm.

The power company told my family in PA that the power will probably be out for a week. They are charging their phones at my father's hospital office (possibly drawing off of the generators.) The news reports that roofs have been torn off of houses in their town. The storm seems to have had much more impact in NYC and NJ.

Sure, it's possibile that somebody will claim "the dug ate me hamework", but I think it's rational to keep your eyes open and use your judgement.

While we were gathering supplies I joked: "I'm glad that I got the YC app in, I want to enjoy my hurricane."

Supplies: https://twitter.com/mikeurbanski/status/263028329483997185

Best. Hurricane. Ever. https://twitter.com/mikeurbanski/status/263117753995644928

Read the book "Masters of Doom". There's a part where John Romero wades across a flooded river during a huge thunderstorm to get to their secluded house where they are building what will become the game Castle Wolfenstein. He makes it across the river and into the house, and finds John Carmack already there, coding, who and had done the same thing to get to the house.

Push a deadline back because of a storm?


Go check nytimes.com. This is several order of magnitudes more than "a huge thunderstorm."

If someone affected by the disaster gets their application in a couple days late, and you think from their application that they have a good chance of launching a successful startup, why wouldn't you accept them?

If I were in your position, I wouldn't miss out on people I think are good applicants because a natural disaster prevented them from meeting an arbitrary deadline.

offer bonus points for disaster preparedness/public safety startups :)

... and note that making the deadline while being hit by a massive hurricane is a powerful litmus test. Of course, the question is: A litmus test for what?

Hope y'all are safe out there.

I voted No - not because I think an extension is a bad idea full stop, but I think one day won't help much.

If an extension is a good idea (I'm not sure), then one until such time that people's priorities are back on YC related things would make more sense. This could be a few days, or a couple of weeks depending on how things pan out.

For those who really want to apply you can do it(I live in the Greater NY area). The "Last minute-rs" will get it done tonight if they are sure tonight it the deadline But then a YES in case there is a dropbox or Airbnb waiting out there

I don't need another day, we submitted our application two weeks ago, but if people are having problems because of 'Sandy' it's ok for me if you give them another day or even a week.

If I were in their situation I would really appreciate the help.

In NYC without power, but I voted for the third party candidate here. All I care is that whether or not the deadline is extended we know sooner rather than later so we can work around/with that constraint.

Yes. A side note the NFL office pushed the trading deadline to Thursday. It seems that deadlines across the board are being pushed back. We honestly don't know how the storm could have affected applicants.

Sure. You never know...

"The Starfish Story" http://www.ordinarypeoplechangetheworld.com/articles/the-sta...

People really serious about YC have had this done for weeks.

Edit: I stand corrected. I'm the kind of person who gets things done early and then reads/refactors it every day making minor edits.

A lot of people actively work on their application until the submission deadline. If your product is moving fast, along with adoption, it would be handicapping yourself to submit weeks early, I think.

Actually several of the best startups we've funded applied at the last moment.

A lot of people didn't know about this until recently though, like me. I'm not in any danger from Sandy right now, though and still want them to be able to submit. Obviously a deadline extension would be positive for me, but I was prepared to submit tomorrow regardless of seeing this post.

Edit: Maybe you filter by location? But why make it complex?

Re: rdl's comment, I'm not sure. I'm not experienced with YCombinator process or startups, but can't the founders explain their application was sent as of the submission date (weeks or days before), and then explain during the interview about the important changes? I mean, Parkinson's Law is in play with entrepreneurship big time.

I know lots of YCers who worked on their applications until the last minute, myself included.

Some people (like me) might be working on demos to go with the application. I also dwell on details like appearance and usability, and am hesitant to submit something I am not really happy with. I am going to submit right at the end.

I voted yes simply because of the fact that you might miss out on great team. BTW, I am not applying so I am completely unbiassed. Cheers.

You could push it back by a month and I still wouldn't be able to figure out how to answer the questions in under 120 words each.

You can extend the deadline by n number of days and perhaps give extra credit to those who still submit by the original deadline.

If you push the deadline back, everybody gets the extra time. People affected by the storm get a break. I see no harm in it.

ConEd is quoting November 5 for restoration in some areas. One day is not enough. Manhattan is dark

No. Awesomeness is not correlated to bad weather. To all yay-sayers: invent life storm hack. Submit on time.

I'd say yes. I've been in crunch time situations where I haven't had internet/power and it really isn't fun.

Yes. Extend by a week even, but only for those who submitted at least once before the storm started.

The true essence of a hacker and entrepreneur: they'll figure it out one way or another.

Do the best you can, That is all anyone can ask of a person or group of people.

An extra day shouldn't make any difference if you are really prepared.

I know of at least one team that would appreciate this.

This is possibly the most important post - now we know there's a real user with a real problem.

Yes, Nothing but opportunity in this decision.

Look at the IPs voting yes and if they aren't on the east coast, discount the votes.

If they are on the east coast, discount the votes. They should be completing their application, not voting.


Respect Paul, very considerate boss

So is it pushed?


I am an applicant in SF and ready to submit. As I watch CNN coverage the whole episode, I see that it is really bad. NYSE floor is under 3 feet of water! A day postponement will give the applicant in east coast a breather but don't know how much of help it will be with all the power outage and other hassle with a day. Well, they are going to do the start up anyway. :)

ok, thx.

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