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Quora in the next YC batch (blog.ycombinator.com)
306 points by _pius on May 9, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 177 comments

Hard to imagine what's in it for Quora.

- 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.

Direction probably. Quora has floundered for nearly 5 years, burned millions of dollars and still has a questionable product.

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 Exchange owns the question & answer niche? I don't hardly think so. Yahoo Answers, as bad as it is, is massive, and shows up throughout Google's top results; ditto answers.com; and Quora is a top 500 site.

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.

Sure -- you're right that the SE engine is definitely only good at specific things (namely, fact/data/science based questions), but it is arguably the best in the world at those particular things.

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?

Since neither his comment nor his profile mention it, I'll mention here for those unaware that this guy is co-founder of Stack Exchange.

Well, he resigned from S.O. two years ago (http://blog.codinghorror.com/farewell-stack-exchange/ ) and most of the users here know that the founders of S.O. were codinghorror and spolsky.

"coddinghorror" gives it away though :-)

Only to those who already knew.

Edit for clarity in case I was misunderstood

If true, thanks for disclosing. Amazed commenter failed to disclose. Transparency and conflicts, people!

I would imagine most people reading HN have read at least one blog post on his site, if not many more. It's not that amazing he didn't disclose it in my opinion. I agree it could be mentioned in his profile though, just for the curious.

If that bugs you, think a bit about how the conflicts of upvoters/downvoters are totally obscured.

Fair points. Quora though seems pretty well aimed at the same subcategories which Stack Exchange excels.

To me Quora excels at the areas where Stack Exchange fails miserably. Intelligent discussion over a subject (rather than "closed as not constructive").

Consider that Quora is almost exactly like Yahoo! Answers, except that it has a more professional color scheme.

The quality of the answers is way higher. I don't know what to attribute that to.

I think Quora is a totally different product, content wise. You don't go to Quora for programming help unless it's hello world in php. You go there for /r/iama type of questions.

Or it's just my usage, largely influenced by the weekly email.

If Quora plan to pivot, they should change their robots.txt [1] so that Archive.org can crawl their website or post their data dumps like StackOverflow [2]. Others came to the same conclusion today [3].

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/http://www.quora.com/

[2] http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/06/stack-overflow-creativ...

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7723291

Reddit has semi-anonymous, unverified accounts. Quora requires FB. Kind of makes it a no-brainer for me.

You can still sign up for Quora accounts without a social network OAuth. I just did. It asked for my email, firstname, and lastname.

When you post questions or answer, you can also click the "anonymous" checkbox to remove your name.

yet they require you to have a real 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

The problem with reddit is that it's hard to ask random, potentially "dumb" questions. You have to find the right subreddit, and if you're wrong you'll just be downvoted and receive joke responses. Even in the right subreddit many questions will get instantly downvoted by people browsing /new/. Quota has none of these problems.

Reddit is devouring that use-case. I'm not sure where Quora fits in.

Reddit is only "devouring" it because it has no decent competitors. Quora could potentially be one if it at least let you read without registering. I can understand wanting to restrict it to "real name"-type contributions, but it's a major mistake to make it unreadable imo. This also prevents indexing by search engines.

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."

I don't use Quora very much, but I have noticed that it seems to be very focused on the identity of the person replying, and even the identity of upvoters. It feels like a great place for senior management in organisations to answer questions about topics related to their roles.

Eh, I dunno. I think it creates an egotistic atmosphere that creates problems for both participants and moderators. Someone is much less likely to admit they were wrong or let something go when their professional headshot, real name, and high-powered corporate position is next to it. They reply because they think they get it, find out they were wrong, but feel they risk embarrassment for themselves and their employer if they admit their mistake or don't vigorously self-defend. Under these conditions, you almost need a PR team to manage your Quora account.

I'm not sure there are right and wrong answers to the vast majority of Quora questions. They tend to be about topics where two different people might give extremely different answers.

I agree that that Quora questions are largely subjective, but many are subjective topics that demand accurate conception of prerequisites to answer effectively. I've personally cringe-worthy threads on Quora where a pseudo-technical executive gives a misconceived response to such a question (that is, not providing an unpopular answer, but providing an answer that is not actually relevant to the question) and proceeds to attempt to defend it, sometimes even falling back on "Well, if I was wrong, I wouldn't be the CXO at BigCorp".

Actually I have started using Quora for the stuff that gets pedantically closed on Stack Overflow, for exactly that reason.

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.

stack exchange = tell me a fact

quora = tell me a story

stack exchange = solve my problem

quora = help me procrastinate

stack exchange = solve my problem, help others, feel good.

quora = find question, ask to log in to fb, close window.

Ive not used Quora, what is their struture like? SE is fairly fragemented now, is Quora similiar?

I'm not sure if you were insinuating that SE's fragmentation was a bad thing. If you are, SE actively fragment's itself for a reason. Watch Spolsky talk about it here: http://vimeo.com/37309773

Quora's non-fragmentation is it's ultimate downfall.

I'm all bull on SE and bear on Quora.

Im not sure yet if the SE fragmentation is a good thing or bad yet. From one perspective I see where they are coming from and why they are doing it. But in today's age of IT where the specialists is dead and people are more-or-less required to be an expert generalist it is very frustrating to use SE. I find myself more or less giving up when a question gets migrated to a SE Im not a 'member' of yet (they should really just make all users IDs members on all their sites whether people use them or not). Whether you are a webmaster, server admin, programmer, general PC user or just want to ask a general question about how SE works, I shouldn't need to go so many places. It's really 50-50 in my mind if they are doing a good thing or bad (and it probably doesnt matter in the end)

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.

K. How do you express those views? Are you buying SE shares via MicroVentures, etc.? How do you go short Quora?

I meant metaphorically. Both companies are capitalized privately.

There are 20 million programmers in the world, that is the maximum S.O. can get. There are billions of people looking for just the type of answers you find on Quora.

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.

I've followed many links to Quora but bounced every single time because of the stupid signup wall. Subsequently, I've banned them from my Google search results, same as Experts Exchange. SO and Reddit are sharing the Q&A lunch.

" There are billions of people looking for just the type of answers you find on Quora"

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.

StackExchange has much more than just programming sites, and I've done all sorts of discovery via the "questions from other StackExchange sites" ad units and sidebars.

That's a strawman. Don't compare Quora to Stack Overflow (which is, indeed, limited to programmers). Look at the entire Stack Exchange network.

Or Wikipedia?

that is the maximum S.O. can get

This is why they formed a parent company with a broader focus (Stack Exchange). Joel Spolsky wrote more about their thinking here:


Very interesting move. I love the concept of Quora and used to lose many hours going "Quora surfing." But as I fine-tuned the categories I followed, I found the fun of surfing random topics less enjoyable as my homepage feed filled with the same ole' topics and content.

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!

Or perhaps YC is the one making the pivot? :)

They've been morphing into a seed stage VC firm for a long time, the new deal and increase in partners reflects this.

Asked the same question on Quora [1]. Adam D'Angelo's answer:

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.

[1] http://qr.ae/y2vdI

I wonder if YC is not taking any stake (or a very small stake) in Quora. They do not really need it, perhaps it's just beneficial for both parties.

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.

The post says they're "participating in Quora's most recent investment round". The normal meaning of that would be that they're buying at the same price/valuation as that Series C round, so if it's anything like YC's usual size of investment it would be a very small stake.

(Ex-Quora employee, but I have no inside information.)

I think that's probably the rationale.

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?

Sam said they did invest but did not disclose the terms

Regarding the "Why join YC?", Adam has answered this on Quora:

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.

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.

Link - http://qr.ae/yY9x4 (does not require login)

YC is run by some of the smartest people in the valley. Quora obviously see their ability to help with the direction and strategy of their business valuable.

Is there a webapp that lets us take/make bets on things like this? Not for money of course, but purely to gauge sentiment.

Thank you! I need to do some sort of HackerNews/Long Bets mashup for 1-click betting.

I'd be down to help you in making that.

There's a good argument (I think by balajis of a16z) recently for using blockchain type stuff for these long bets. And the recent "truthcoin".

I'd use that if you make it frictionless enough (i.e. automatic parsing of HN comments, a bookmarklet or something).

if you're serious about this I'd like to help :)

Or better yet, is there a webapp that lets us ask questions and post answers for others?

Yahoo Answers has been doing ok in this space, there's perhaps room for another solid contender though.

quick pic polls http://polarb.com/

jelly app is kinda like that. Except with a focus on pics and maps.

well I created http://www.startupbets.com/ for fun at the last TC disrupt hackathon, but requires me to create the questions


Funny thing, I visited Quora today, for the first time in a while. Years, maybe:

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 rarely initialize my use of Quora by visiting the website - I have found immense value in the digest emails they send. They are a mix of things they know I'm explicitly interested in, and generally "interesting" things (presumably defined by popularity). Probably 90% of the time after receive a digest email, I open at least 2 or 3 of the links within.

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.

Agree about the digest emails. That's the only reason I go on Quora anymore but they have about 100% CTR for me.

I've never signed up to the site, but find this quite interesting. Does that mean you only consume the content via email or do you click through? Sounds like a massive headache for Quora in the first case.

You really have to visit the site, the emails only contain snippets of conversation.

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.

Yeah - I second that. Quora is one of the few sites that sends me weeklyish emails that I haven't unsubscribed from because the content is fantastic. I always seem to learn something from clicking through it.

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.

Well not feeling the same. At first it was ok but now in the mails I get the 50 answer to "what are good advices for a good life?" And the nth reply on topic China by a user who regurgitates the western party line that I know already, in the same time and depth that you'd have in a newbie backpacker bar near the most spoiled tourist spot in Thailand.

Same here. 100% CTR, then end up spending ~30 minutes on the side. I would love to know how they put those emails together.

Like russell_h said, the email includes just a teaser snippet so you have to click through - and I've never encountered the BWoD (Blurry Wall of Death) after clicking through.

That would mean you signed up and so have no restrictions. But they are knowledge base, does not matter how they got the information or who posts them. Asking to sign up to see content is like asking to sign up to see google results. Also their traffic through google must be higher that their traffic coming from YC crowd. So I cannot imagine why they would restrict their site like that.

I guess this will be interesting in light of yesterday's Founder Ethics post (http://ycombinator.com/founderethics/)

Are you suggesting that putting content behind a registration wall is somehow unethical?

I think some people find the apparent gaming of Google unethical. They seem to expose the content to Google but hide it from people who click through.

That might not be what's happening. It does give that impression though.

Putting my content behind a registration wall was pretty unethical, so I deleted my account and all my posts.

To remove that & avoid logging in / registering, just add "?share=1" to the end of the URL.

i avoid logging in / registering by avoiding quora. There's plenty of sites out there that don't engage in scummy growth tactics and try to harvest my personal information unnecessarily, i'll visit them instead.

But most normal people won't know how to do this.

And the rest of us will forget 10 minutes from now.

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.

There is a weird hivemind effect on display here and in other various Silicon Valley discussion circles where there is an unstated but very solid agreement that certain companies are "cool" and thus receive the most charitable interpretation of their plans and financial situations, but others which do essentially the same thing are run out of town on a rail, so to speak.

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.

iHeartRadio is owned by Clear Channel and is advertised on their radio stations and billboards. My mother used to listen to a Clear Channel radio station and whenever I would listen with her, every other group of ads mentioned iHeartRadio back in like, 2010 and earlier. Before Spotify was available in the US, even. Now I see that said radio station has replaced all of their custom players to just redirect to iHeartRadio's streaming or music playlists.

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 actually like Quora's answers typically, but I always forget the share 'trick' to removing the blur, despite seeing it here numerous times. I won't actively use Quora because of the blur, I simply disagree with that tactic (and I think they're cheating when it comes to SEO (by presenting a different experience to visitors than they do Google's bots), and that Google is choosing not to punish it).

EE moved stuff to the very bottom to get around it. but I agree, quora should get nuked from SERPs for this behavior. Despite having an account, it's a pain in the ass to login to see something with results blurred out.

Off topic but every time I see ExpertsExchange not capitalized I almost do a double take. :)

With ExpertsExchange you had to pay money.

And with Chrome soon hiding the urls, we will have hard time doing it too.

It's not hard you click the address or press ^L and it exposes the entire URL the only time it introduces more work is clicking in the start or middle of the URL instead of the end

Most normal people don't care about having to sign up. Or how Quora is allegedly gaming Google.

Actually, research by UIE shows that requiring registration is a great way to massively increase the website's bounce rate.

I do this all the time, even though I actually have an account. I don't like the process where I search google and then have to login to see the result I searched for.

I've never liked Quora. I guess to each their own but they always seemed like the 9gag of Q&A to me. Maybe I just don't "get it".

AFAIK, there is a trick involving pasting a specific url after the Quora link that you are interested in to get past their sign up wall, but usually it's a waste of time.

I am curious to see what their pivot is, in the current form, I find the site to be incredibly annoying.

Technically they are spamming the hell out of googles results, but google seems to be fine with it

Agreed. Though now there's something even worse in my google results that makes me even more annoyed: wiki.answers.com. It's pretty much like being treated like an idiot child.

Keep a link to this for the initial office hours ;)


PG isn't always right you know. :)

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.

Here, in the very temple of PG, you speak such blasphemy?


He is right about this though. Just one of Quora's many problems.

This is very exciting.

More great companies in YC = more value for the whole YC community!

Thanks for including us!

It would be awesome if you could give more info to the community regarding your decision to join YC!

I'm itching to know more too, but I'm sure we will all learn plenty in due time. From the post: "they’re participating in the batch like any other company". To me, that means Quora will be participating in demo day, and I'm sure their will be reporter coverage of their pitch. Really excited to see what's in store!

Note that the above comment is his first comment in 4 years :)

He gave some in an answer (to HN user bhaumik) on Quora: http://qr.ae/y2vdI

I want to like Quora, but I hate how pushy they are about forcing you to sign up to read their content. I thought I'd remembered pg making a similar comment a while back: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5217449 Maaaaaybe this will encourage them to change?

I'd love to hear more about why. It makes sense for YC (and is probably being treated as a normal investment rather than "Adam filled out a YC application and did a 10 minute interview"), however I feel like it makes Quora seem weak.

Clearly makes a lot of sense for us :) I think the other companies in the batch will get a ton out of this.

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.

I'm reading this as implying that a potential benefit to Quora is using YC as a hiring filter, presumably from failed startups.

Seems like there could be some potentially misaligned incentives for YC founders there...

I'm guessing 5k + 5k per founder for ~6% of the company wouldn't work for a later stage company. Would this be more like a Series A investment?

What do you think were the qualities that helped Quora rise above the many other similar Q&A websites? The layout and UI doesn't really seem too immersive.

Something that Facebook and Quora have in common is that the initial set of users were cool enough to prime the pump of viral growth. With Quora, you had awesome people giving answers only they had. Like a startup co-founder talking about the early days of their now successful venture.

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?

Usually deals are all about the capital/equity/valuation balance, right? Perhaps YC was able to make this a better deal for themselves and Quora by getting them to take part in a YC batch. The hypothesis may be that the other YC startups are so much more likely to succeed after being heavily exposed to an already quite successful startup.

Right! Quora is before product market fit - it has no revenue, and its core product seems to have stalled (given the valuation its investors need).

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.

I wonder if Quora actually applied, or if the idea was generated outside of the application process. I'm also pretty curious what the terms of the deal are (although I don't expect to actually get those details) with the new standard funding package.

adam and i talked about it outside of the normal application process

Wow, what a great experiment. How can Quora employees get involved?

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.

we did invest. as a general rule, i think investors shouldn't disclose terms, but if the company wants to, fine w/me.

Hasn't the premise of YC --since the beginning-- been to explicitly state the investment amount and percentage? This move feels like dilution of both purpose and brand.

Exceptions don't change how open they are. Companies as successful as Quora joining YC is great for YC and the alumni.

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.

This actually makes quite a bit of sense. At the scale that YC is at now, there are already a few companies worth 10x Quora (Dropbox, Twitch, AirBnB). I'm sure even at Dropbox et al's scale both Dropbox and YC get a lot out of the ongoing relationship. Therefore, in these types of mutually beneficial scenarios why would YC or companies for that matter artificially limit themselves to only getting into such a relationship during some arbitrary timeline?

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!

Hope JesusChristSiliconValley has something to say about this. http://jesuschristsiliconvalley.tumblr.com/post/48962035819/...

Haven't heard a thing from him since http://jesuschristsiliconvalley.tumblr.com/post/50931471868/... ..

But yes; that post is all I can think of when I hear Quora.

Until Quora stops requiring you to log in to see anything, I'm never touching the site again (workarounds don't count).

Quora needs to change. I get the weekly emails that they make me double click to get though (the UI here is awful, but it doubles page views) and that is basically it.

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.

>> make me double click to get though

I really don't like it. At first I thought that a link is broken or something.

oh, I didn't realize it does double click. I clicked the link and it redirected me to their home page and that's it for me.

It would be interesting the learn the terms of the deal. Presumably it's nothing like the standard $120k for 7%.

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?

Quora would have to be having an extremely difficult time hiring for it to be a recruiting move. A Venn diagram of engineers or designers for whom Quora is more interesting when affiliated with Y Combinator, whom Quora would also want to hire, but who could not already join most other Y Combinator startups does not overlap.

Ya, I tend to agree with you, but without some sort of recruiting angle I'm left with nothing. Still scratching my head.

Help pivoting.

I believe it was made clear that their last raise will be the final round they will take so whatever they do will need to make the business sustainable in the long run. My guess is by participating in YC, they can:

- 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.

My guess that's what's in it for Quora is the ability to poach talent from YC startups.

I was a frequent Quora user with a relatively well-regarded reputation.

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.

Why would YC taint itself with all that pg's quite accurately criticized Quora for.

Scammy SERP practices and forced user count inflation. Hardly something to encourage.

Seems like a good move for Quora. They'll get early access to acquihiring super talented folks at struggling/failing startups. At the least, they can generate goodwill and word of mouth as a good place to work. Talented people know talented people, etc.

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.

Will we see YC doing (specifically leading) later stage or growth stage rounds now? I think it's great though I do worry about signaling problem for companies who don't do later stage rounds with YC?

Quora at Summer 2014 Demo Day could be really interesting.

My first thought was would there be additional pressure to be awesome? Having already raised $141 million they're worth more than all the other companies there put together times ten.

I'd be willing to make the bet that the valuation of Quora today ($900mm?) is lower than the peak valuation of at least one YC company founded S12 to S15 by 2020, adjusted for inflation.

A well established company with a nice product but no revenue generating business model partners with a bunch of hotshot entrepreneurs looking for a startup idea (or pivot) - I wonder if Quora is going to provide a kind of Q&A based platform which creative startups can leverage, almost like a Quora branded YC mini-batch.

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.

If YC becomes Stanford 2.0, Quora seems like an interesting software collaboration system for all of it's "students." I see the potential especially since Facebook started out just with "students" too.

This is pretty exciting. It's good to see YC diversifying itself through small experiments. I'm curious how much money is YC going to invest in Quora? Same amount as its other startups?

It's funny I never thought twice about registering for stack overflow but I can never bring myself to register for quora. And I always feel bummed I can't see all the answers.

Definitely seems like something pg would have never done.

No way they are taking the traditional 7% ~ $120k deal. From Crunchbase they already got $141M fund, and let us be very conservative and say their valuation is just $400M. 7% percent of that is 400,000k*0.07 = 28,000k.

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.

According to their wiki page, Quora's valued at over 900 million after their most recent round of funding.

Interesting. I wonder if this will aid in finding a business model[1]. Would love to hear more from someone at YC about what is driving this experiment.

[1] http://www.quora.com/Quoras-Business-Model-and-Monetization/...

Quora is awesome but lack of enough users who can actually deliver "answers". As a student I visit Quora for three things: find out some "secrets" about a company written by former and current employees, find out secrets about cities and history and find out just about anything interesting.

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.

7% of Quora for $120k, sounds like a steal. just kidding. there is no way they get the same term

How much time Quora founders are going to spend at YC headquarter during the program ?

I am more interested in whether Quora will avoid the problems SO is facing.

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.

Quora being valued at $900M? Heh, I'd believe it when there's some revenue, or at least some sign of revenue.

I'd have more faith in Quora long term if they were asking for donations like Wikipedia.

For me Quora is useful in finding alternative sites/software. For example, If I am looking for a web chat software, I can find most of the available solutions there. Of course, the information is biased because it is posted by the respective founders/CTOs. Still I can use that as a starting point for my research. I do hate that I have to login to read content but share=1 comes to the rescue.

It's probably not their primary consideration, but I'd imagine that this is really fun and stimulating for the other companies in the batch. Personally I think startup advice feels most valuable when it's in the form of stories ("Here's our N of 1, you synthesize this with others into a worldview.") And having a late stage company or two around can only add to that.

I got an email from a Quora product manager a little while ago asking how I used Quora and what I liked about it. Seems like changes are coming.

YC has always been experimental, it worked out well for non-profits. The more experiments you do the better you can make it work.

StackExchange treats me with respect, Quora currently feels like they are playing the old 'Experts Exchange' game of shady techniques and firewalled user knowledge.

I hope joining YC they find a more open way to do business. Why should I answer questions to build their closed knowlege base?

I wonder if Quora was part of "The New Deal" http://blog.ycombinator.com/the-new-deal

I can't imagine there's anything in this for Quora. They just raised $80M last month! I suspect they're either launching a new product or pivoting completely.

What a humbly ambitious move by Quora.

They sure aren't happy enough with where they are or heading to; still they know they need help to change ways.

Quora has a certain negativity in it.

It'll definitely be a great and encouraging experience for all other companies in the batch -- working alongside a company with that caliber of funds? That's awesome.

Sounds like a partnership not an investment.

I think I know what this is about.

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.

Le Sigh.

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.

WTF with ycombinator taking a string of higher valued startups. Smells like paying for access. Not an incubator. More like paying to sleep with the head of a horse.

great move

could this be a way for quora to evaluate acqui-hires?

Very cool! I welcome Quora!

I still think all the Quora bashing about their signup interstitials is overstated. They've determined the optimal experience is for people to sign up to see an answer. I know that seems antithetical to an open and "easy-to-use" Internet, but this isn't Wikipedia. Quora is about answers but also about opinions. Their email newsletters, although tweaked recently in a not-so-favorable way, are still amazing. You get a ton of value becoming a user, but unless you sign up (or are semi-forced to sign up) you'd never know that.

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".

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