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Ask HN: The YC Application "Check, Double Check, Silence" Pattern
7 points by mcu 1782 days ago | hide | past | web | 18 comments | favorite
Something that I've noticed is that there's a pretty reliable series of events that take place before you're rejected.

Rejection seems to go something like this:

First, you'll notice that someone is reading your application. It'll trigger one of your alerts and you'll switch to watching your logs in real-time. You see what they're clicking on and groan in horror: "Oh no! They didn't look at the wireframes!!?!"

And then it's over. Silence.

BUT! About 2-4 hours later you get another alert! Someone else is reading the app!

You think: "Neat! We must have impressed someone enough to make it to the next round of review! This will change our lives! I need to get ready to move to San Francisco! I just bought two dozen eggs at Costco today, how am I going to get all of those chickens out to California?"

And then it's over. Silence.

An hour passes, two, three, four.

You spend the rest of the night sifting though your logs with the enthusiasm of an FAA crash investigator. The next day you wake up and immediately check your logs and analytics again.

Silence. It's over. Back to work.

It leaves me wondering, what kind of activity do you see before an application is accepted? Is there a calm before the storm as they make their way through all of the applications or is it a steady stream of activity?

What have others experienced this round?

You're reading too much into it. We don't coordinate our efforts; applications are read independently in parallel.

Thanks for the response. That's nice to hear.

I'm happy to hear it isn't just me:) I saw the views on my youtube video and have been f5ing the shit out it since then:) I have stopped looking though, knowing that I'm not going to hear anything until the 13th and that is still super quick. I'm used to working with federal grants which take months before you see anything, so I'm happy that we only have a 13 day turn around time (and I have to give them credit for getting through that much so quickly).

So to answer your question, "what have others experienced this round", I'm gonna go with: 1. "oMGBBQ!!!, I got 2 views!" 2. followed by "f5,f5,f5,f5,f5,f5,f5" then.. 3. "ok, so if I get in, I"m gonna do (enter stupidly long list of things that I'll forget to do here) which then leads to.. 4. I should have talked about xyz in the application, DAMniT! which then goes back to number 3, then 4, then 3 and ends with 5. "shut up and go to sleep brain!" (and then I start all over again)

If I were YC, I'd probably turn down most applicants the first time anyway and then wait and see who re-applies and see how much they've done since the first application. It's like interviewing someone and waiting to see if they follow-up.

This would weed out a lot of the wantrepreneurs who expect some external source to make them successful vs. building something.

It would probably be better at this point to think about what you're going to do over the next 6 months to build your product, which in turn will only help your odds for YC.

In my case, no one signed up. I actually doubt they even visited the website at all. My video got less than 30 views and I'm pretty sure my wife watched 25+ times just to laugh: I actually look abnormal in my application video, I tried several times but I always came up looking like a psychopath.

I thought that applying to YC wouldn't change anything, we would just keep working, talking to users, et al. But that was not what happened. It changed my state of mind, it made me start to 'plan' what would my steps be once accepted, it made me less productive, I'm anxious.

Can't wait for 13th.

YouTube has analytics for each vid that tells you where it was viewed (by State), when, how long, whether it was a unique viewer, etc.

Probably more useful in determining whether or not YC specifically viewed your vid if it's unlisted and you don't live in California.

Thanks! I didn't know about the youtube analytics. I got 2 views from California.

It really isn't worth worrying about it or counting your chickens before they hatch. The YC app asks you to lay yourself bare when writing it, so applying to YC can be a bit more emotionally involved than other types of fundraising.

I had the same problem; fortunately, my partner didn't. He just showed me what he's done in the last week and now I'm motivated again.

Check with your team; you can probably boost eachother back into productivity.

Maybe you could post your video and a link to your site? You Getting it out into the aether can help.

Also, I can't imagine that your wife is laughing at you.

She laughed in a 'lovely' way. But, it feels great to know she will not hesitate to shove truth in my face. It makes me more confident actually, couples dynamics are one complex thing. :D

We are not ready to have real users, this is why we didn't put the website out there yet (not because we are special or in 'stealth mode') Some changes we are making causes users to loose all their data. Also, I'll be way too embarrassed to show it around right now.

If I remember correctly, the saying goes, "If you're not embarrassed by it when you release it, then you've released it too late."


Don't sweat it. Keep building. Your service matters more.

When you refer to activity, are you talking about activity on a website/demo you provided with the application?

Yeah, "activity" being any indication that someone is reading the app. (e.g. Clicking on links, downloading attached files, watching the video, etc.)

Is it a bad sign if our application video has only one view, from Nov. 3?

can I have your eggs if you get in?

You mean my 24 chickens? Yes, you may have them.

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