PG, Ryan Junee and me.

It was announced today that Google has acquired Omnisio.

Y Combinator funded Omnisio last winter. Like most founders who participate in Y Combinator's 3-month funding cycles, Ryan Junee, Julian Frumar and Simon Ratner built a remarkable product in a very short amount of time. Omnisio addressed a real need: it gives everyone an easy way to annotate online videos.

We put them to the test last April when we used Omnisio to capture and display all the talks from Startup School. They did an amazing job.

I am so delighted for Ryan, Jules and Simon and wish them all the best now that they are part of YouTube's team.


I’m looking forward to speaking at the Business of Software Conference this September in Boston.  I plan to talk about trends in early stage software startups and what I’ve learned from the 102 startups Y Combinator has funded.

I’m honored to be part of such a great line-up of speakers: Joel Spolsky, Seth Godin, Eric Sink, Steve Johnson, Richard Stallman, Dharmesh Shah, Jason Fried, Paul Kenny, Tom Jennings and Mike Milinkovich.

Hope to see you there!

Female Founders



Today's San Jose Mercury News has an article reporting that there
are now zero female CEOs at top Silicon Valley tech firms.  I spoke
with the reporter for this piece and shared a few Y Combinator
statistics. Between the 102 startups we've funded-- about 250
people total-- only 7 of the founders have been female.

This ratio is reflective of our applicant pool. There just don't
seem to be a lot of women founding tech startups. This is not new
news to me-- I struggled to find women to interview for Founders at Work, and I've thought a lot about this topic.  I don't have time now to share all my thoughts in depth, but I'd like to point out that women who want to start startups shouldn't be discouraged by statistics like this.

By nature, startups are very non-discriminatory. As a founder, your success is directly tied to the success of your product. You must please the market, not your boss or other executives. The market doesn't care how old, what race, religion or what gender you are. It cares if the product is actually good.

So make something people want, and try not to let depressing
statistics hold you back.

Why I Do YC



I think the past 4 months have been the busiest of my life. We
wrapped up YC's winter funding cycle, hosted Startup School for
more than 700 people, conducted interviews for the summer funding cycle, I interviewed people for the second volume of Founders at Work and made the semi-annual cross country move, and we recently kicked off YC's summer funding cycle with 22 new startups. And in the midst of all this I got married.

At times, I felt a bit overwhelmed. But I wouldn't change things
for the world, because I love what I do.

Paul and I spoke with a reporter recently who was trying to determine what motivates us to work on Y Combinator. He asked if we'd still do it if it were never profitable. I answered that I'd keep going anyway-- that I love working with the founders and I'm enormously pleased when good things happen with their startups. I felt a little sanctimonious afterward (since I definitely hope YC doesn't turn out to be a non-profit), so I spent time thinking about why I want YC to succeed.

Most reasons were kind of obvious: I enjoy working with startup
founders, love being part of a small company where I have some skin in the game, I like playing a role (albeit small) in the creation
of new technology, and I'm genuinely interested and challenged by the work I do. Plus it will be fascinating to see how the new model of investing that YC represents will eventually play out.

But then I realized something that surprised me: one of my biggest motivations for wanting Y Combinator to succeed is that I want to give other people a better opportunity than I had in my professional career. Like a parent who wants to provide their children with a better life, I don't want young people to endure corporate America like I did if they don't want to.

YC was founded on the principles in Paul Graham's essay Hiring is
For the smartest and most ambitious people, a startup is a better alternative to climbing the corporate ladder. You get more control over your fate, instead of being averaged together with a bunch of other people who aren't as talented or driven.

I spent 13 years in corporate America, mostly because I didn't
understand what my other options were. I was hypnotized by the
security of an established, respected company. At the end of my run, I felt pretty successful too-- I had a nice, steady paycheck, a fabulous window office, and found some of the work I did pretty interesting. But not all of it. Meetings, consensus-building, office politics-- the list of "not-actual-work" distractions could go on-- took up an exorbitant amount of my time.  Our group would sometimes devote an entire day to crafting a response to someone's disparaging internal memo. A total waste of time and, in hindsight, an inefficient use of my most energetic adult years.

I wasn't technical, but I did have the energy and high standards
that would have been well-suited to a startup.  At the companies I worked for, they were wasted.  Only a few of the top executives had significant equity, so all the long hours I put in never benefited me financially. And because I was never any good at office politics, my hard work didn't help me climb the corporate ladder any faster than usual.

Since they can't really increase the amount of money they make but they can increase their power, ambitious people in the corporate world often turn to politics. Their energies are pushed in the wrong direction. And it's usually frustrating and depressing to work with these people. Especially if they are your superiors. (Luckily, my last boss was marvelous and offset a lot of the bad stuff I'm talking about, but the company as a whole was full of politics.)  And because hiring is driven by the random methods that prevail at big companies, the number of mediocre people infiltrating an office can be astounding. In a startup, you choose to work with people you think are talented. At a big company, you're stuck working with whoever else they've hired.

Y Combinator has always had 4 people. And luckily for me, my 3
partners are the smartest people I know. We have no bureaucracy. I can't remember us ever having a disagreement about anything.

YC is kind of a startup itself.  We have a novel approach to seed
funding that is still in the early stages and unproven-- and therefore has led to a dramatic increase of uncertainty for me. But I'll happily take working 24/7 on my own company over being an employee at a big firm.

A lot of the people we've funded have told me that they wouldn't
have started their company without YC.  As well as a business, YC
is a vehicle for the spread of very valuable information: that it's
easier than a lot of people think to start a startup, and for
talented hackers who can afford the risk, usually a net win over
joining a big firm.

I feel like YC has had a big impact on some people's lives. It seems
like most of our founders are happier and more self-confident working on their own thing. It may not be as easy as the job they had before, but they seem happier. Certainly, the founders of the startups who've been acquired are glad they did it. But even the YC alumni whose startups have failed seem to be better off-- they have a better job at a more interesting company, etc. This is what makes me want YC to keep going.

The majority of YC startups' futures have yet to be determined.
Probably a lot will fail. But I know that some will succeed, and
then those founders will have the financial freedom to choose what they want to do with their lives. They will have successfully
bypassed the frustrating experience of climbing the corporate ladder. Some may never realize what they've avoided, but as someone who spent years on it, I do.

Working from home a few months ago (a rare interruption).