- Network connections? Their CEO is the former CTO of Facebook.
- Help with fundraising? They raised $80mm at $900mm valuation not more than a month ago.
I strongly suspect Quora is planning a huge pivot which they feel is ambitious but doable in 3 months, and YC believes in the value of this pivot; that is the only plausible explanation I can think of.
Meanwhile Stack Exchange has been around only a year longer, a fraction of the funding, and pretty well owns the entire question-answer niche.
Stack has seven sites getting at least 100,000 visits per day. One is a break out homerun (Stack Overflow obviously), and it drastically dwarfs the other sites. All but a few of their top 20+ sites are strictly technology focused, and the others are geek friendly (math and video games), so they cross over conveniently.
Most of their network is flailing. Photography is 3 years old and gets a whopping seven questions per day - that's what most of their network looks like.
Stack doesn't even remotely own the Q&A category. They own one piece of it, and will never own anything more than that, because they can't translate success in technical Q&A to other categories well. You can beat StackExchange at any given of their smaller niche sites, because they can't do them as well as someone that is dedicated to just that niche - the same reason Quora et al can't compete with Stack Overflow.
What is the Quora engine the best in the world at?
I'd look at growth, too. Even the less popular SE sites grow at very respectable rates. How much is Quora growing?
Edit for clarity in case I was misunderstood
Or it's just my usage, largely influenced by the weekly email.
When you post questions or answer, you can also click the "anonymous" checkbox to remove your name.
if you don't, they'll flag you and until you update your name, your account will be frozen (you can read and follow but can't answer) and all your previous answers hidden
I even have a Quora account, but rarely log into it. Most of the time when I come across an interesting question on Quora and it asks me to log in to read more than the first answer, I say, "Well, I guess it's not that interesting anyway."
It is useful to get an opinion on which library / language / framework is better for a particular task, or what the pros and cons are. Stack Overflow has a real attitude problem, closing these questions as "not constructive" despite the fact the question has hundreds of upvotes.
Quora is not tech focused, and still feels a bit more like facebook (questions feel more like they are based on how recently they were asked as opposed to outright relevance - though that may the way I view the site, and the way it markets itself to me). But there is a huge opportunity to pick up where Stack Overflow is failing its users.
quora = tell me a story
quora = help me procrastinate
quora = find question, ask to log in to fb, close window.
Quora's non-fragmentation is it's ultimate downfall.
I'm all bull on SE and bear on Quora.
But I have never used Quora, so I know nothing about it beyond getting the blurred webpage when you are not a member there. Ill check out that video now.
Also you go to S.O. to find a specific answer than move on, on Q you stick around and read other stuff, go back for discovery.
I am not saying which one is more valuable, perhaps S.O. is more monetizable.
And how many of them are going there? Every indication is "not many".
"Also you go to S.O. to find a specific answer than move on, on Q you stick around and read other stuff, go back for discovery."
By "you" you mean?
I've visited quora maybe a dozen times, usually by following a link from an aggregator like HN. I didn't feel compelled to poke around once I got there, and the comments and replies (though they came from the people with higher reputation) generally ran the same gamut as everywhere else.
This is why they formed a parent company with a broader focus (Stack Exchange). Joel Spolsky wrote more about their thinking here:
Recently, I've begun an experiment to see if answering questions within my domain can help with "personal branding." It seems to have netted me a few new followers on Quora and Twitter, but I haven't noticed a substantial benefit yet.
I also started using it as inspiration for blog posts, though I'm blogging on my own site and not on Quora (not sure what's in it for me to blog on Quora). In the past, I've seen other blogs (e.g. TechCrunch) use Quora posts as the basis for articles too.
In terms of the "is Quora a vitamin or pain killer" question, it's very much a vitamin for me. Stack Exchange is a much better community for getting specific technical answers, which are the most common kinds of questions I hunt for on the web. I tend to ask my personal network for business & marketing questions, since it's difficult to explain my specific situation in a Quora question. (Being too specific sometimes runs the risk of no answers; being too general sometimes runs the risk of unhelpful answers, I've found.)
I would suspect this is the foundation for a pivot too. The advice from the YC partners and alumni network could be pretty helpful.
So best of luck to whatever they are going to pivot into!
There are a bunch of reasons why it's valuable for Quora to be a YC company:
>>We'll have Sam and all the other partners to help us.
>>We get to be part of the YC community / alumni network of founders.
>>We get access to all the resources of YC.
We were raising money anyway, so there was no overhead in letting YC participate. And independent of the benefits to Quora, I think it will be fun personally to participate in some of the YC events. I hope my perspective can help some of the other companies.
Quora gains a large number of connections, possible companies to fund/buyout, a network of founders to answer questions, complimentary services, and some prestige.
YC gains a larger network, another large(ish) player in the tech industry, and potentially some money from an investment.
Perhaps YC put something like $8mm into Quora for a slice of the pie, but I'm guessing the first one.
(Ex-Quora employee, but I have no inside information.)
Good engineers are hard to find. Quora actually has a lot of smart folks participating -- what better place to find people for your startups and companies than that?
here are a bunch of reasons why it's valuable for Quora to be a YC company:
We'll have Sam and all the other partners to help us.
We get to be part of the YC community / alumni network of founders.
We get access to all the resources of YC.
Link - http://qr.ae/yY9x4 (does not require login)
Googled something, Quora near top results, clicked link, "signup" nag screen, results blurred out, left page.
I guess I still don't get it. Curious to see what this will be about.
I have tried visiting the site directly and am rarely able to find content as stimulating as the links they send in the digest emails.
That being said, the emails are brilliant. I don't know how the content is selected, but almost every time I open one I see something eye-catching enough that I click through.
It's kind of a bummer that they're needing to pivot and find a way to revenue - from a non-business, purely consumer perspective I find the site really enlightening and valuable.
That might not be what's happening. It does give that impression though.
I really don't understand why people give quora a free pass on this when expertsexchange was nuked by the rest of the online community for inventing these tactics.
Take for example the story from today about Apple supposedly buying Beats. When the subject of Apple trying to compete in the music streaming space came up, everyone only talked about Spotify. Pandora, which has more than 3x the user base and is still growing? Not a mention. IHeartRadio, which was founded two years after Spotify and has more than double the number of paying subscribers that Spotify does? Never heard of them! It's as though Spotify is the only streaming music service that ever existed. In reality, they are near the lower end of the scale when it comes to customer traction, but they have mindshare on HN that is completely out of whack with that.
That they have a lot of users by going that route is completely unsurprising. Not sure about paid, cause I'm pretty sure it's always been a free service so there is no paid subscription.
Clear Channel is also on such a different level from Spotify and Pandora right now that I'm quite sure that HN would start caring a lot more about iHeartRadio if it weren't owned by the 800 pound gorilla in the industry as opposed to the two startups. Only if iHeartRadio was owned by the record labels themselves could people care less, really.
I am curious to see what their pivot is, in the current form, I find the site to be incredibly annoying.
He told the reddit guys that the logo was a distraction and if they must have it it should be at the bottom out of view.
Sometimes he does make a mistake. This previous statement of his could be one of them.
More great companies in YC = more value for the whole YC community!
I'm hopeful Quora will too--as the YC community grows larger, we can help companies in lots of ways, including with things like hiring that are particularly important for later stage companies.
Seems like there could be some potentially misaligned incentives for YC founders there...
So starting with awesome people creating awesome content helped. Over time, Quora has done a few things really well: (1) growing the community while keeping it fairly high brow, (2) their topic taxonomy, and (3) their email digests.
My problem with Quora is that it's more entertainment than useful. SE/SO is more functional. Who really cares what are the things about San Diego that most people don't know?
YC seems ideal for this. Just because they've spent millions, doesn't mean they aren't stuck, and need that magic juju sauce help to do the perfect pivot, which YC can perhaps help with.
What percentage of the company does YC get? Did you even make an investment? Given their huge fundraising and valuation, getting even 1% and giving them around $100K both seem odd.
The main reason I'm interested in the ownership amount is that other companies applying to YC should understand whether their valuation at a recent round is fair for YC to get, or if even Quora thought 7% is worth it.
If I were to apply to YC with my startup YesGraph (which took a large seed a year ago), this would be a really important question, especially considering I'm an alum and already how everything else works.
When you think about it, putting such an arbitrary limit doesn't make sense, and voila you've broken a mental barrier and can now change the rules of the game. As a founder of a YC company I would absolutely love it if YC becomes this broad "old boys/girls" network of awesome tech companies. Who actually cares about what stage the company was at when they joined YC. The more great companies part of the club, the better!
But yes; that post is all I can think of when I hear Quora.
They need to change, which is why I think YC is such a good fit for them. The deal was probably $1 for 0.1% or something like that. Mostly symbiotic relationship. Quora needs the reboot cred and YC likes shiny people.
I really don't like it. At first I thought that a link is broken or something.
I'm struggling to figure out how this makes sense as a part of the y combinator investment portfolio.
EDIT: The only plausible thing I can see Quora wanting that Y Combinator has is access to talent. Is this a recruiting move?
- Find up-and-coming businesses that are tangentially related to Quora's mission that they can groom and perhaps invest in.
- Incubate within the YC ecosystem some spin-off businesses that may not fit well under the Quora brand and what they're doing.
During an Ask to Answer session a user took offence to being proved wrong about some fact or other and threatened a retribution.
Over next few days emails began arriving in my personal inbox which the User had incorrectly identified as the email of my business clients.
The emails were pure vitriol accusing me of fraud etc telling the "clients" to jettison me.
I immediately contacted Quora as the information he had access to could only have come from an Administrator (which I had previously clashed with on the thread). Quora denied all knowledge but the Administrator refused to engage with me personally.
At that point I realised it just was not worth the exposure.
Scammy SERP practices and forced user count inflation. Hardly something to encourage.
Not sure about the impact on YC though. It may create an environment of mixed incentives. Quora's incentive is almost perverse, in that they get the most value out of YC from failing startups.
The startups would have immediate access to Quora's user base and a space to focus on (Q&A value added services). Quora gets an infusion of fresh ideas without have to take the risk themselves. Quora could develop some fee based structure for its platform and look at acquiring the most promising startups.
I guess Quora will be treated the same as other batch's participants (except I wonder how many of Quora's employee will be physically in SV), but Quora got different deal.
StackExchange has a strong, super strong moderation. You can't just start a random question and not expect someone close it in ten minutes. SE's divisions makes asking question and finding related questions very difficult. Sometimes you don't even know where to ask the right question...
If Quora has the active user base that SE has I will sure people will flood there.
Quora to me is the modern Yahoo Answer but with the hope of quality control.
A year ago or so, the links in the email digest were genuinely interesting. /r/iama, kind of. Now, many of them is stuff like 'the best thing you have been told' or 'how does it feel to be in love'. No thanks. If I wanted that, I would be browsing those instagram-ish images with pathetic captions. Is it their ML getting something wrong, or a general trend?
I tried to just visit quora.com but found it fairly boring and hard to browse, so I visit only through the email.
I'd have more faith in Quora long term if they were asking for donations like Wikipedia.
I hope joining YC they find a more open way to do business. Why should I answer questions to build their closed knowlege base?
They sure aren't happy enough with where they are or heading to; still they know they need help to change ways.
It's a neat idea. (My lack of specificity isn't a sign of cynicism; in fact, I like the idea.)
I'll give a hint: semi-supervised learning.
Now PG and his team of suits will use their persuasion to convince a bigger fool to buy Quora, and let all the investors off the hook. And so it goes.. in Silicon Valley.
While I keep saying I'm not sure if it'll be a good business, I love Quora. They've done something truly unique in the Q&A space and I'm happy they have so much funding that they'll be around for years to come regardless of whether it's a "business".