It's not quite fair to write a post full of optimism and entitlement and then not follow up on it when I'm proven to be wrong. So here it goes: we didn't get an interview with Y Combinator.
I still think we're exactly what they're looking for, whether our application accurately conveyed that or not, but the fact is that we got the rejection letter today. I wasn't quite sure we'd make it past the interview round, but I never really considered that we may not get an interview.
Surprised as I am, there's no point in dwelling on the outcome, so this is the last you'll hear me mention YC until we become a company they wish they invested in, at which point I may or may not reserve a sentence to gloat.
That leaves us with the future. I'm a strong believer that anyone can deal with a good situation, but what defines someone is how he reacts when things don't go his way. It's in these situations that I pay extra attention to make sure that I'm making good decisions, and not reacting emotionally.
Our reasons for applying didn't include the money we would have received. In fact, our plan was to reject the money and counteroffer a smaller percentage of the company. If we needed investment money, we could get it quickly and easily from people we already know.
What we lack now, and were hoping to find in YC, was some guidance from people familiar with the startup game. We know that that there's a need for our product, and we know how to build it, but we're inexperienced with things like scaling, funding, launching, hiring talent, etc. It would be nice to have a team of people we could consult who have dealt with these issues.
Of course, these people are out there. I should probably learn my lesson from this and not get excited about things out of my direct control, but I have some ideas on who might be interested, and have already made contact with one guy who built a far bigger business than any YC company. My next step is to figure out who the dream team is, and do my best to get them on board.
Beyond advice, I secretly liked the structure that YC would have provided. There would have been meetings every week with peer pressure keeping me accountable. There would have been a defined timeframe. As nice as these things would have been, the truth is that I only need them to compensate for a weakness I've developed: a lack of accountability. The proper solution isn't to rely on others, but rather to rebuild my accountability and structure, which isn't unfamiliar territory for me or my cofounder.
So that's where things lie. Some people think that everything happens for a reason; I think that if you do your best with everything that happens, you never have a reason for regret.
In other news, four friends and I go on a cruise from Florida to Rome via the Azores, a bunch of places in southern Spain, and Monaco. Mostly looking forward to working a lot and playing poker every night!
MY BROTHER HAS LEFT AFGHANISTAN! I found out on the same day we got rejected from YC, which helped put things in perspective. Him coming home safely is a lot more important to me. I'm proud of him for going and doing what he committed to do, but mostly just happy that he's safe.
TaskSmash codes (no, that's not my current project. just something I made for myself and friends)
Tynan, please clarify something for me here. Now, you make a blatant effort to market your talents in 'logic,' and I have no reason to doubt you.
But, this is where I need clarification:
Based on your last two posts on this subject, I am making the following assumptions.
A) The most value of Y Combinator comes from the community and the advice.
B) You're product was designed/described to be "exactly what Y Combinator" is looking for.
C) The 20K in funding that you need to continue development is 'boring.' Dinners that last half a day are 'exciting.'
Okay, so - if you think you're creating something 'big' because your product is 'exactly' what this firm is looking for, and Y Combinator is an authority in that space (I have no argument there).
And the advice is worth more to you than the 20k needed to develop your idea.
Then maybe you need to 'reframe' the rejection letter as 'advice.'
They have probably put more resources towards that one piece of personalized feedback then any q/a response that you will receive at a 'weekly half-day dinner.'
It sounds to me like you are in "The Dip." It is more logical to push through, or shift your focus.
You won't get an answer by pushing 'Go!' you actually have to think about it.
If I was you (or a potential investor), I would wonder: If Tynan thinks that he understands the direction/needs of the market better than Y Combinator, then why was he so 'excited' to receive their advice in the first place?
And if Tynan is as 'rational' as he thinks he is, why is he posting an emotional blog post on a subject as serious and this? Does he realize that this isn't a casual conversation with friends, but the whole world can read this?
Is he aware of how this information may effect other people/entities, and if so, what is his objective?
Those are the kind of thinks that I think about, but I don't want to judge you at face value.
My thoughts: I think that they probably have access to information that you don't.
Just like Obama, per your criticisms of political commentary in casual conversations.
I'm sure that this is confusing to you and it's hard to see the value in the situation since you have invested so much time and energy into your idea.
So let me give you some advice of my own. No charge. Straight from "the source."
First - stop frantically working, step back, 'zone out' for a few minutes and think about what's going on.
Advice: Maybe your analysis of Y Combinator was accurate, but they are projecting a change in the next few years that you don't have the perspective to see, yet.
However, if you can identify what that change is, you can get a head start and start developing something around the new model.
This piece of feedback they gave you could put you way ahead of the curve in a year, but you have to stop pushing 'Go!' and spend some time thinking about your next move.
Since you haven't received any funding yet, you don't have any obligations to investors. Take a few weeks to settle your mind, and come up with a new idea.
Once you put something together, you will have more credibility with Y Combinator, and less competition.
You will definitely be better off that if you piece together 20K from inexperienced investors.
But you are a smart guy with access to a lot of knowledge, so you've probably already realized that.
Anyways, I mean no disrespect. Just starting a conversation.
Yo Tynan. YC is just one of many incubators. I hope you're getting in contact with the others like 500 startups etc and ones in europe. Less well known incubators will hopefully take less equity too.
I was rejected by YC too. I didn't give up because I see my idea being launched by a company with deep pocket. The company and I just happen to have same idea. Therefore, I know the rejection from YC maybe is a self-interest and my idea was good that a multi-billion company roll out the product which validated me.
When are you going to just let readers join your site. This is getting really annoying trying all the codes...
Is it possible to find out why they rejected the application? This kind of preparation needs postmortem if it does not work. If you have already done that can you post the details without revealing crucial details about your idea
Just for fun, here are all of my political views. I'm not super into politics at all - in fact before Bush started screwing everything up, I had zero interest in them. I definitely haven't done enough research to have definitive stances on most of these things, so take them with a grain of salt.
This is the one I care about the most. Our tax system is extremely screwed up. Did you know that we're one of only TWO countries in the world who tax their citizens if they don't live in the country or make money in the country? If I spend a year traveling the world, making money online, I STILL have to pay taxes in the US (there's a partial exemption that it's possible to qualify for).
You know how you get excited to do all sorts of stuff, but you forget and it doesn't pan out? Well, like I wrote in "The Joys of Public Accountability," making a public commitment helps you follow up with things.
I'm going to set aside some of my income for charity henceforth forever. I'm thinking 10%, but I'm not sure yet. I just listened to the audiobook of "The Richest Man in Babylon," and it was really amazingly excellent and it's got me inspired. I ran a couple small charity events in the past in London, and given a bit of money to charity, but nothing systematically. So, I'm committing to doing that.
To clarify a few points -
Note that I wrote "set aside" - I'm not going to dump the money on whoever has nice marketing materials, I really need to do some research. If I've got the money sitting in a bank account marked for charity for a year or two before figuring out what has high impact, so be it. The path to hell is paved with good intentions, and I want to make sure I'm supporting the right causes. I'll let you know the who/what/when/where/why/how of how I'll be going about charity later.
Note that I wrote "some of my income" - I'm not sure exactly what I'll donate on. All cash received annually? Earned income? How about if I get stock options as part of a deal? How about if I'm in a deal where I've agreed to automatically reinvest the profits for the first few years? Only when I cash out? I'm not sure on these details yet. Definitely earned income cash, at least. I'll figure out the specifics later.