It will be even more interesting to see if their combined insights and approach can increase their chances of identifying these rare black swans.
Regardless, this has to be among the most formidable grouping of startup talent and brains in the valley.
When they hear about it or get the invitation, do they get it via a medium filled with a lot of spam?
When they follow the invitation, and see your service for the first time, will they go through the onboarding process?
After they complete onboarding, will they have a compelling reason to come back? Such as transactional notifications?
If they come back, will they form a habit in their mind of using your service for something? This is the "mindshare" that you are fighting for, that is the level on which competition really matters. How do you position yourself?
What network effects, social proof and social convenience / pressure will cause the person to use your service?
What are your customers currently paying for that you can do better / cheaper?
Thus, one aproach is to tackle this problem at the start, the other is to tackle this problem later on.
Awfully broad statement. I might agree if you added "cash" to the list. ;)
99% joking, but they have a big enough brand that it would be interesting, at least.
Not that they'd necessarily want to - they get to pick the best YC graduates and take bigger stakes in them, anyway.
And of course, for some kinds of businesses, one of the real competitors to seed funding is bootstrapping.
PG's "don't worry about competition at all" rings true by bringing Thiel in and allowing a competitor in a way see how a top performing product runs on the inside.
Who says Thiel isn't just gaining more knowledge to start another one later, then YC and Thiel can have a federation.
Following your reasoning there should be no tech startups and everyone should join Google, Facebook regardless of the particularly of each business/industry. Not all incubators/accelerators are targeting the same demographics. Thiel could create one that is completely orthogonal to what YC is doing as of today.
Honest question: if a company receives investment from Peter Thiel, do the founders have any choice but to express the opinion above?
They could choose to say nothing (and often do about lesser investors).
This move just deepens YC's monopoly in its domain, as sama would say, "in the Peter Thiel sense."
Which was an insight in Blue Ocean Strategy (Kim & Mauborgne, 2005).
And before that, if you squint, in Competitive Strategy (Porter, 1980) and Competitive Advantage (Porter, 1980).
And the B-school theorists basically got their ideas by peeking over the fence of the Economics dept at how monopolies are formed and abuse their power and saying "hey, let's teach that to our students".
And before that, George(s), Charles, Henry, James, Elizabeth, Kahn, Alexander, etc, etc.
Thiel suggests becoming a monopoly in a small market and vertically integrating
(I'll leave Ecclesiastes 1:9 as an exercise for the reader.)
Yes, surrounding yourself with smart people is great, but surrounding yourself with hungry people is another.
Otherwise, good luck and more success to YC!
And YC is roughly a representation of Sam Altman's philosophy.
Or just nootropics. If there's more smart people then additional anti-ageing tech will follow—since all arguments against said tech are fallacious; even if they seem reasonable prima facie!
Also, the creation of nootropics which offer greater upgrades to cognition should be a priority. There have been a few promising chemical such as PRL-8-53, but when people have tried such chemicals on themselves they haven't lived up to their promise.
Nothing to do with me. I plan on purchasing the results.
> If it's not very much, that's not a fallacy, it's a demonstration.
Rats' lifespans have been doubled. And there are medications which are used for other conditions being looked at: like rapamycin (or the development of a variant), and metformin.
There are also supplements like the newly released nicotinamide riboside.
Plus, people such as Google (via Calico) are developing treatments targeting the longevity gene FOXO3.
The area is vast. And you've just demonstrated my point. What you've said sounds reasonable, but is actually bullshit.
How is something in medicine proven? It's not with deduction, it's with induction! So nothing in medicine is proven with 100% certainty. What's left is probability! Even as an anonymous nobody, I'm able to point to hints of life extension in humans today, or 100% increase in lifespan of mammals! Or the work being done on various vectors; ranging from the slowing of ageing, via metabolism, to the reversal of ageing!
Then there's something like SENS which has enumerated seven types of ageing. If those seven types of ageing are reversed, then ageing will be reversed. I believe those seven categories are yet to be disproved.
So your statement hints at the science of philosophy, and what constitutes proof. As I've said above, I say probability!
That should say 'philosophy of science'... Proofread, ftw!
It's not hard to be competitive with YC. The thing is, nobody is even trying to be.
Note that I said implicitly. There is no explicit age discrimination that I am aware of, but the entire program is structured in a way that makes it horribly impractical for anyone who isn't a bachelor/bachelorette and childless. You must move to the Bay Area, put in family-unfriendly hours, and live on a quantity of money that would make it impossible to live in the Bay Area with a family (assuming you don't have a lot of savings, a trust, or a high-earning spouse). It just won't work for a huge majority of older people or people with families.
The implicit assumption is that all the best talent and ideas can be found among those who pass this implicit filter function. Anyone over 25-30 or who has children is "washed up."
... which creates room for an accelerator to test that assumption. What if -- gasp -- people who have been doing this stuff for a long time are actually better at it?
But as you say, nobody is even really trying to compete with YC within their own segment let alone exploring alternative modalities.
Edit: another one would be to question the assumption that sole founders are intrinsically doomed. They are certainly at a disadvantage, but that'd create an interesting niche for an accelerator that helped them to compensate for their disadvantages if they otherwise had really great skills and ideas.
Startups move to the Bay Area for three months and go anywhere it makes sense to put their startup afterwards. Many companies even move the founder's families over the three months (easier in the Summer).
Also https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9031697 and http://www.femalefounderstories.com/erica-brescia.html
Did you incorporate in US and move your family to the US? Did the pressure to do long hours cease once you finished the YC programme and got funding?
> Our lives, and the lives of our kids are much better for it.
This implies some level of financial success from your participation :-)
I would actually go so far to say that if you are doing a startup and have kids, YC is by far your best chance of creating a successful startup without having to go through financial distress. In that sense it is the most family friendly incubator. Having done 4 startups always with kids, I speak of experience.
> When you have kids you are more aware of the consequences of failing, you value your time more and are less likely to "play house" as PG calls it, in my opinion.
Yes I agree with this. I think having kids is kind of training for some aspects of start-up life. Definitely in juggling a lot of things at once with limited time.
In terms of success I just wanted to know if it carried on beyond the YC incubator period and it sounds like it has so well done and good luck with it :-)
"It was hard and it required sacrifice." because of the implicit bias brought up by the GP. For someone in their mid twenties, no relationship or dependents, moving for 3 months is no big deal. Good, even.
No, how did you get that? I'm also not suggesting they shouldn't. It's just not at all what I was talking about.
Who knows? Maybe it's the case that people who put in family-unfriendly hours and live on impossibly low amounts of money are those most likely to survive the rollercoaster of a venture backed startup. On balance, younger founders who have low personal burn / high free time may be better suited to the lifestyle demands.
I'm saying this as a 28 year old, married, solo founder with kids, so this is clearly not always true. However, distributed across 1000's of YC founders and hundreds of startups it's hardly surprising to find a lower age trend.
Maybe they just don't need accelerators as much, therefore there's no niche for one that caters to that crowd.
The social capital you get from dinners and networking is all very well. But it's not quite enough to provide that proof in an objective business-case sense.
They've never said, at least publicly, that the best ideas are found among people who are of a certain age or parental status. They have said that they think it's better if all of the startups they fund in a batch are in one geographic location for X number of months. It's a matter of preference, not a moral judgement. Anecdotally, several of the YC partners have families and children of their own. I find it hard to believe that they aren't sensitive to the situation you're describing.
Personally, I think that doing a startup can be very difficult and demanding. It's been known to put a strain on family relationships. I would encourage people with families to think twice and to put in a lot of extra effort in the planning, research and MVP stages. It's one thing for a 20 year old to go through the stress of a startup, it's another when the lives of children are involved. I've seen the experience test people and get the better of them. If I encouraged someone to do that and it caused their family to fall apart, I would feel significantly worse about knowing that negative outcomes are assured for some. That's just me, though.
I don't think that the YC partners see things that way at all. They've found a process that works for them and if it ain't broke, they don't want to fix it.
This is the price of the otherwise extremely liberal policies of YC. "Ageism," move to the bay area, etc., etc., maybe---but all of that is coupled with the implicit promise that "We won't fuck you over." And the bar for VC's is sufficiently low that that is a surprisingly rare value proposition---no, it's a breath of fresh air.
I'd love to see a competitor (dozens!) to YC arise and fund, like, capital-intensive bio-tech companies in Africa or something, but that's not really what YC is built for. I don't think that it should have to be.
The reality is that neither YC, nor the startup world in general, will work for everyone in every life circumstance. You will always have a more difficult road when your personal life imposes constraints upon you that your competitors (in this case, other founders) don't have. But that doesn't mean that YC was designed to leave those over 25 out in the cold. It means that people who are able to dedicate themselves to their startup for 3 months, with constant access to advice from world-class entrepreneurs and investors, and the opportunity to pitch their ideas to every kingmaker VC in the tech world, will have an astronomically higher success rate than others.
As someone who went through YC at 27, I think the structure, personal input, coaching, and the community (IMO most important) are incredible resources to increase the likelihood of success for your startup.
When you are creating a startup (defined as company hoping to experience hyper-growth/ hyper-impact), it is so hard that you need to accumulate as many resources and success factors as possible.
Knowledge is a huge portion of that - but YC packages significantly more advantages not only into ~3 months but also into the constantly evolving network it has cultivated.
After all that's a bit like thinking that someone has to go to an Ivy League school (let's say Harvard) or "game over".
We all know that there are many successful people that didn't, and that additionally aren't even college graduates (and didn't drop out of an Ivy School either).
And by the way, YC is not the entire entrepreneurial world either.
I wonder if having Peter as an investor is a strong enough incentive that if they knew he liked them, a company would change their behavior for the 3 months after demo day.
I wonder how much of that thinking was involved in the decision making on both sides.
Am I to that assume all of YC is adopting Thiel's beliefs as well? To be clear, I'm not saying both views are mutually exclusive.
Musk has no involvement with GV and SpaceX raised from Google Inc., not Google Ventures.
Substantially more (reputation wise) powerful now than 5 years ago:
- Peter Thiel (and Founders Fund)
- Y Combinator
- Joe Lonsdale
- Keith Rabois
And that whole crew. The PayPal mafia (and @sama) are the new tier one.
Read that as a factorial and giggled.
The one that are given the opportunity to receive funding + support from the Thiel Foundation are incredibly smart and will (probably) succeed in whatever endeavour they end up choosing whether or not they get a full college education.
As a freshman in college, it is incredibly exciting to know that there is such structure existing.
To take the basketball analogy further, is like the NBA champions getting a hold of the first pick in the draft lottery.
I have been a bad fan.
And focusing not on being the first product to market, but the last.
Did I miss any Thiel-isms?
Turning away potentially strong partners with well-understood and compatible investment philosophies and significant relevant achievements because they hold unpopular views in unrelated arenas is not good policy.
The only issue he appears to lean left on is conveniently the one that personally affects him.
Diversify all the attribute :-P
"Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron."
I'm working on something pretty awesome for which, for the first time, pitching it to YC seemed like it could be a good idea; to be honest, I wouldn't feel right doing that now with YC talking out both sides of its mouth.
I've only been around a few billionaires, but most of the multi-millionaires I've known pretty much toe the same schtick w/o the veneer of Ideology.
Personally, I wouldn't, because I like looking myself in the mirror, but your mileage may certainly vary.
(The anti-poor thing is disgusting, too, but I mean, at least there's an argument there.)
Not to say P Thiel is this way but come on bruh let's gain perspective