Re: the tendency to “bolt on” virality at the end- if you have a viral loop that doesn’t actually cohesively fit into your product, you end up with a really disjointed experience. Instead, the thinking has to start at the beginning- pick something where the sharing/invites are embedded into the idea in the first place. It’s not always about tightening the viral loop, it's about making it as smooth as possible. It's smooth when it makes sense
When people come to Paul Graham and say they’ve got a great idea, his first response is, “Tell me about your cofounders”.
“There are some people who just get what they want in the world. If you want to start a startup you have to be one of those people. You can’t be passive and wishy-washy,” Graham says.
YC looks for mental flexibility
“Startups often have to do slightly devious things,” Graham says. “You can tell if people have a gleam in their eye. You don’t want people who would be obedient employees… we’re not looking for people who did what they were told in life.”
Sam Altman was actually initially rejected, but he “pushed back like a 40-year old” and told Graham that he would be joining the program.
Angel rounds end and VC begins at a million dollars
Y Combinator keeps track of the successful companies that they initially rejected.
The total value of YC companies is now around $3 billion — YC has invested a total of around $5 million.