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Zen, or the art of YC interview (defmacro.org)
41 points by coffeemug on Nov 10, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments

Good god. We don't deliberately play good cops and bad cops to push people's buttons. We wouldn't have the energy to do that all day long for 3 days. We just have a lot of questions to ask and only 10 minutes to do it in, and we have to switch context completely every 15 minutes. This means there's a lot of randomness in the questions. You get easy ones mixed randomly with ones that seem very critical, but it's not deliberate.

That's exactly what a bad cop would say. Let's see if Trevor chimes in with an opposing viewpoint.

^^ Conspiracy Theorist ^^

I think it was a joke.

I think both of them were jokes. Was yours one too?

this is clearly a conspiracy to get a reddit thread on HN. Just watch me get downmodded.

I find it sad in a way that although you've put a really good thing together, it's started to become the goal for some people, instead of just one of many ways to enable them to reach what should be their actual goal.

Actually that is a problem. We started to notice about two years ago that we were getting applications from people who seemed mainly to want YC on their resumes. We try to filter those out, but we still get fooled occasionally.

How serious could it get?

This seems generally true. Once a measurement of success becomes popular enough, people eventually forget to question it.

How many people live thinking money or material wealth is the point in life with no question?

I've edited the post to include this comment (for completeness), but it felt like a good cop/bad cop situation, even if it weren't deliberate. Lots of teams said the same thing. It was probably all in our mind, but it's something that will be in the minds of future interviewees as well (people really build it up for themselves).

In stressful situations, just being asked probing questions by someone you don't know can feel like an act of aggression, even if it's not meant to be. They can sound like a challenge to your authority on your subject matter; I could see how you would feel like it was a good cop / bad cop scenario (which I really doubt it was).

You've already read six paragraphs of drivel that won't help you, so I'll now try to redeem myself and give a few useful pieces of advice.

That's a writing anti-pattern. Please don't force me to read deliberately bad text, take the time to rewrite it so that the non-drivel paragraphs come first, and nothing else after them.

Man I love Felix Dennis!

"I'll leave you with a timeless piece of advice from Felix Dennis:

The first step? Just do it And bluff your way through it. Remember to duck! Godspeed ...

and Good Luck!"

Wow, that was useless.. Will people really upvote anything that has "YC Interview" in the title?

I know this might be little consolation, but if you knew the author, you might appreciate this post a bit more.

Actually I really appreciate your comment.. I took the time to go back to his page and read some of his other essays, and yes, there is some great stuff there.

Maybe his latest post just needs to be edited down a little bit.

Summary: Be the ball.

I wish Mr Def Macro would go back to talking about Lisp or computing science or something interesting...

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