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Help keep the Y Combinator Wikipedia page updated (wikipedia.org)
37 points by erikstarck on Nov 24, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments

I keep a list of every YC startup I've found here:


I compiled the info as part of my master's thesis this summer. Likely not 100% correct, but very close.

I've actually been compiling my own list which has details of things like further investment amounts, etc. Once I'm done I'll run a comparision against yours and let you know any differences.

Are you tracking who invested the further amounts?

Would you care to share it when your done? I am putting together a wiki/public database of that kind of info (see elsewhere) and finding reliable data is something I haven't had a free week to do yet :D

I will also happily take edits, suggestions, etc. While I scan enough news to pick up quite a bit of YC-company related news, I'm sure I don't get it all.

My e-mail is in my profile.

Can you please link to your thesis as well?

"The lists in this article may contain items that are not notable, encyclopedic, or helpful. Please help out by removing such elements and incorporating appropriate items into the main body of the article"

I have to agree, listing all funded organizations is not useful. Just list those which are notable, and mention the total count somewhere

I respectfully disagree. Having all YC funded startups at one place is incredibly useful. I especially dig for stories of funded startups which eventually shutdown so as to learn what went wrong for them inspite of having funding. Maybe one can categorize on basis of _notability_ but the list should have all YC startups.

Having all YC funded startups at one place is incredibly useful.

Yes, and Wikipedia is not that place. You know what would be a good place? Somewhere on the YC website.

Yes, maybe. But I don't have a problem with Wikipedia having that information either. What is wrong with having lists?

This might have made sense in 1900s when Encyclopedias came as huge books where space was extremely limited. But putting in less information (than available) in an Encyclopedia today makes no sense to me. Challenge should be to come up with better information filters so that people get what they are looking for, not limiting information all together.

The solution seems obvious to me:

Have only the most notable companies listed on the main Y Combinator page itself, then have a link to a List of Y Combinator-funded startups that lists every last one of them.

I disagree. The more comprehensive Wikipedia can be, the more information we can share with each other on any particular topic.

Having all YC funded startups at one place is incredibly useful

There are lots of things which are useful but not notable and do not belong in an encyclopaedia.

The spouse and children of a notable person are not generally notable in their own right (although of course sometimes they are). None the less, an encyclopaedia article about a person might quite reasonably say "She married Joe Blow in 1973. The couple had one child, Oliver; they were divorced in 1984" or whatever.

A list of companies funded by Y Combinator, unless it's outrageously long (which it wouldn't be at present, right?), might be an entirely sensible thing to have on the WP page about YC even if most of the companies don't deserve their own WP pages.

(Of course there are limits. The WP page about the Oxford English dictionary should not have a section "Words defined in the dictionary".)

If someone had 100 children, I don't think it would be worth listing them all in an encyclopaedia article.

YC has funded somewhere around 100 startups, hasn't it?

I think it would be worth listing them if others find that useful. I fully believe a large percentage researching YC wants a comprehensive list. If you look at the famous alumni lists on Wikipedia of universities, you'll see quite a few lists of over 100 people (some famous; some obscure). Having a large list isn't out of the ordinary. I think YC's page should restore the company list.

Especially one as tight on space as Wikipedia.

Kidding aside, I think having a 'scorecard' somewhere is pretty interesting, and quite relevant to YC. Maybe Wikipedia isn't the right place though?

your welcome to use http://www.startupwiki.co.uk :)

Ycombinator has some listed: http://www.startupwiki.co.uk/investor/ycombinator

But not all of them yet (I haven't had time to add the rest recently)

sigh As a die-hard inclusionist, I'll never understand deletionism...


There is too much information in the world to include it all in Wikipedia. That leads to information dilution, which has the consequence that you cannot find what you are looking for anymore.

Die hard inclusionism is as stupid as die hard deletionism. If you cannot understand the opposing viewpoint, you do not understand your own position.

Is there too much information in the world to include it all on Google?

My position is that we should work to improve the tools by which we organize information without ever having to destroy any. I firmly believe that "non-notable" pages should remain marked as such. By default, penalize them in search results and hide them behind a confirmation gate. But don't delete them. Decorate the hell out of them with boxes indicating they don't meet quality standards, but if just one person thought it was notable enough to write about, it deserves to be included. Inclusion need not lead to information dilution. The binary nature of "notability" is overly simplistic, so redirect the destructive energy spent on the deletion debate towards constructive classification of data.

On second thought, I guess you are somewhat right. I don't see how having more articles would hurt, but imagine every single article being 1000 pages long. Google would not help with that.

I still wouldn't consider deleting stuff the best solution to that. It just is a matter of organizing the data better. A hard problem, no doubt. I suppose for the YC example, the list of YC Companies could be a separate article.

Maybe this is also a hint as to what the next search engine after Google could provide. I guess that would be more like what Wolfram Alpha had promised to be.

So, you're making the case here that on the page about Y combinator there should be lots of relevant information about Y combinator left out ?

Giving every start-up including the failed ones their own page would be a waste of space, but to give them a single line in a list is pretty good use of the space available I would say.

Why is giving each their own page a waste of space?

Even if it is only a one sentence stub, it might be interesting to someone and their mother. No one else will ever know it is there, but a tiny piece of history, no matter how insignificant it may seem now, will be preserved. It's not hurting anybody.

Imagine if some YC startup did some interesting things, but ultimately failed and was promptly forgotten. Two years later, the same team builds something fantastic rooted firmly in the work they had done previously. This new startup becomes an astonishing success. Suddenly, that prior effort (especially why it failed) is noteable. Oh noez! We deleted it!

It is arrogant for any individual or even any group to believe they have any knowledge of what was, is, or will be noteable.

That makes the assumption that failure of the company is something that the notability of "something interesting" would be judged on...

Which in my experience is not the case: if it was interesting or unique people will write about it - and then it is notable.

(wikipedia is not really for recording primary information; that makes it a little useless)

How does including information prevent me from finding other information? Sure, it makes the "random page" option (which really should have a bias toward popular articles) less interesting, but if you're looking for information on something, the article on it will be the first search result and you can go straight to it ignoring all the other ones. I have never in my life been incovenienced by insignificant articles getting in my way.

!#@!@^% deletionists are ruining Wikipedia. They'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

I completely agree with your sentiment. Listing all Y Combinator participants may approach what Wikipedians label "fancruft" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Fancruft)

"Fancruft is a term sometimes used in Wikipedia to imply that a selection of content is of importance only to a small population of enthusiastic fans of the subject in question. The term is a neologism derived from the older hacker term cruft, describing obsolete code that accumulates in a program."

Well, I think those actually researching YC on Wikipedia would find a comprehensive list relevant. The alumni lists on Wikipedia, for example, aren't very interesting to a large population, but it does serve those researching those universities.

It's extremely useful. The page is about YC, notability comes in to account when you give the startups a page of their own, that should be limited to notable ones.

Is there a good place somewhere to find a list of all the YC alumni? The YC homepage sure ain't it.

Is this not all of them? http://ycombinator.com/faq.html

Unfortunately, no. (If you view source, you get a few more, but that's still not the full list.)

Wow, good find jedc.

Of all the times I've checked faq.html, I never thought to view the source! A commented-out company seems to mean that the startup officially launched at one point but is now acquired or gone (sometimes reincarnated).

Full disclosure: I didn't think of it. I was pestering pg and jessica for details of YC companies, and they pointed me to it. :)

Interesting - there's a lot of info in the page source. In particular the "Why didn't you accept our application" question.

Another reason to loosen 'notability' -- it makes survivorship bias an official policy.

It would be interesting to get an estimate of the aggregate exit values of YC start-ups so far (i.e wealth created)

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