There were a bunch of discussions recently related to issues surrounding Y-Combinator, related as usual to their annual demo day. It seemed worth splitting them off into a post. Bidders at Auction Mostly Think Prices Are Too High YC is in session, so all the usual talk is back.
I'm at a bit of a crossroads personally, thinking about my next move. Two ideas are potential startups (both involve AI as a tool but neither is an "AI company"). The interesting thing is that in my mind, YC only makes sense for the less ambitious one.
The less ambitious one would benefit from the YC connections and playbook - it's B2B, you can build and sell the first version of a product quickly, there are x-promo opportunities with other, adjacent YC startups.
But the more ambitious one - IDK, the only reason I'd go to YC is if I couldn't raise a dollar anywhere else. It's a B2C product that requires significant development time. There's no opportunity to sell something before the YC batch is over. Even a kickstarter would be ill-advised. But if it works, it'd sell on its own merit, YC would provide little benefit. And it's so different from what most YC startups are doing that I doubt there'd be that much useful knowledge.
Just wanted to comment as a podunk prole that I found this post interesting as an...ethnographic survey of sorts. I'm only vaguely familiar with the exciting world of finance, but do know there's a whole ecosystem of Vast And Powerful Forces directing giant chunks of the ecomony which one should know at least a little about. Especially for living right next door in SF. "What's he building in there?"
Also, Paul Graham I think fills the space in my mental map where others would place Tyler Cowen. Smart guy who's not so smart as to be illegible to broader audiences. That "How to Do Great Work" post of his that you linked awhile back was good and relevant, despite vastly different industry contexts. True principles ought to generalize...