Unless you're a total hater, this is an amazing achievement no matter how you look at it.
I just have one concern, however.
Like most people on HN, I have a ton of respect for PG i.e. how smart he is, his willingness to share his knowledge with the world, and the way he has helped change Silicon Valley for the better.
However, what happens if/when PG decides to hang it up? OR if "God forbid" he's forced to hang it up like e.g. Steve Jobs?
Some cynics accuse YC of essentially being a (benevolent) cult with PG as the guru with his own cult of personality. I wouldn't go that far, but you can't deny that PG essentially IS YC and without him it may be very difficult to maintain this kind of success, much less scale it.
I have no affiliation with any of these accelerators and forgive me for overgeneralizing, but it seems like 500 Startups and/or TechStars, while not quite as heralded as YC, have done a much better job of hedging this kind of risk via a much more decentralized network with multiple mentors/"gurus" in multiple cities.
So I have two questions - (1) PG, do you ever see yourself "moving on" and starting something brand new that is not YC-related, and if so, (2) what is the "Steve Jobs contingency plan" for YC?
The difference between me and the other partners is mostly that I got to be publicly known by writing. On most topics there are other partners who can give better advice than me. PB gives better advice about hacking. Geoff gives better advice about b2b questions. Jessica is a better judge of people. Garry and Kevin are better on design. Sam Altman is better on fundraising. If I were hit by a bus tomorrow, YC would be pretty much as good as it is today.
This business is more naturally decentralized than a company like Apple. It consists mostly of individual conversations between founders and YC partners, and most of those conversations already don't include me.
I have no inside knowledge of YC, but I get the impression that "PG essentially IS YC" is just not true. He is the public face, communicator and prime founder; but the other partners, the people who support them, and the YC alumni network, at this point, I would wager, together contribute more value than he does.
However, as the public face of YC, the public perception of YC would be greatly affected if he left that role. And this could potentially have an adverse effect on attracting the best startups, and thus over time weaken the whole structure.