Y Combinator = Company Hacking

Paul Graham continues to be my hero. Here is a quote from one of his recent articles:

A new venture animal

“Y Combinator is not in the start-up funding business. Really we’re more of a small, furry steam catapult.”

You’ll have to read the whole thing to get the context, but I recommend that anyway.

While we’re at it, here are another couple of interesting Paul Graham quotes about another Y Combinator company, Reddit:

“Now that conventional ideas have caught up with it, it seems obvious. People look at Reddit and think the founders were lucky. Like all such things, it was harder than it looked. The Reddits pushed so hard against the current that they reversed it; now it looks like they’re merely floating downstream.”
— From: Six principles for making new things


“[Digg] took $2.8 million, whereas reddit, their closest competitor, has taken only $88,000. (I know because Y Combinator funded them.) And yet reddit is not only able to compete, but has a visibly more authentic, participatory feeling. I read that the top 100 Digg users submit 56% of the frontpage stories. The frontpage stories on reddit are much more widely distributed. And that may be because reddit grew organically, through word of mouth, like Flickr and Del.icio.us did.”
— From: TechCrunch interview

Paul Graham

A while back Natasha (who works with us at Trade Me and is also one of the people behind Webstock) asked me to nominate my dream speaker for their next conference.

For me it was an easy question to answer: Paul Graham.

If you’re not familiar with his writing, please stop embarrassing me by reading this relative drivel and go and read some of his stuff instead.

His latest article is here:

Why to Not Not Start a Startup

Here is a quote that appealed to me:

“If you took a nap in your office in a big company, it would seem unprofessional. But if you’re starting a startup and you fall asleep in the middle of the day, your cofounders will just assume you were tired.”