September 21, 2014

“Should I apply to YC?”

Last month I presented Product Hunt to a room full of investors at Demo Day, marking the end of Y Combinator’s Summer 2014 batch. Since then, several people inquired about my YC experience, often asking “Should I apply?”

In almost every case, I encourage them to do so, not because I think they should join YC[1] but instead for the process itself.

I first applied to YC back in 2011. A week later, Kirsty sent us this email:


Rejection sucks. We were bummed. I spent hours on the application but the truth is, it was one of the best uses of my time.

The YC app asks all the right questions. We often get caught up in pixel shifting and group think that we ignore obvious, simple questions like, “How do you know people need what you’re making?”

Whether you get into YC or not, I strongly recommend founders to think about these questions, thoughtfully and without defense. It may inspire new ideas or (rightfully) make you question what you’re building and why.

YC is accepting applications until 8pm PT on October 14. Read the questions and apply here.

[1] Not everyone should start a company and not every idea needs funding. There’s a lot of sex-appeal in joining YC and raising money. Both are strong signals of validation; however, neither are required for success and some businesses and founders are best off bootstrapping. Someday I’ll share more thoughts on this topic.

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