You are on page 1of 4

Why YCombinator is a waste

of time
Let me tell you a story about my cousin, Steven. Steven wanted to
become a musician. He had a rock band he diligently put together, and
they actually came together and recorded an Album. When he played the
album for me, he described it as a mixture of Green Day with some Linkin
Park. He told me how he took the best of both bands and created his own

The problem was, his music was boring, and his band sounded like
hundreds of other indie bands.

Steven was just an average looking guy, his band was good but not
brilliant, his music was solid, but not different. Steven believed in his band,
and he was just good enough for everyone to encourage him to go on
working on music, but never good enough to attract a fan base.

But Steven never even tried to build up fans. He never played his music
for totally random people, and asked them for their opinion. All he did was
try to get the people at the record labels interested in his music. He called
and hounded, he stalked and staked out. He kept chasing those labels for
years and years, and then suddenly gave up.



Paul did not care about the music. Paul cared about the money. Paul did
not concentrate on getting his music to the people, he concentrated on
getting his music to the people who would guarantee him money and

You are doing the same thing with your software. Instead of getting your
idea and your software to the people, you are making your idea for the
person with money and connections.

If you are planning to apply for the Winter funding round if you
get rejected this time, then you are going to fail at business. Let
me explain what I mean:

A person who has true passion for software and for creating FUCKING great
software does not care about funding. He is going to go out there and start
coding. There is no software project that is too expensive to code, there
are just software projects that are starting off too ambitious. If your
software is too expensive it’s because you have not effectively reduced
the feature set to something you can actually manage!

Look at the billionaires in the world. In more cases than not, they started
one small shop. They expanded the shop to a chain, and from there the
money started rolling in. They do not go to an investor with an idea for a
chain of shops, and get money to build that chain right away. You have to
approach software the same way – reduce your idea so that you can do
without external capital or influence.

If your idea needs this capital to work – then just find another
bloody idea! The world is full of doable things – if you get stuck on
something you cannot achieve, then you are nothing but a dreamer, and
you will never be a doer.

You should not have a “backup” plan for YCombinator. When I hear the
words “backup plan”, what I imagine is that you guys are staking
yourselves and your projects on YCombinator, and you have to “fall back”
on something if it fails.

This is the absolute wrong attitude! YCombinator must be something you

do on the side. If it fails, you should just continue on the way you already
planned! You continue your guerilla marketing techniques; you continue
your ways of making money.

This here internet is tiny. It’s real tiny. Look at Alexa ranks of small
insignificant sites. They are well in the top 1 million sites. It’s very easy to
become the 200.000 most popular site. If the internet were a country,
you’d know a relative of almost everybody.

If your software is good, word is going to spread around! If word does not
spread, your application is not something people want and will
recommend. Learn and change! More money and more marketing are not
going to help that!

Entering a program like YCombinator for marketing purposes just gives you
a boost at the beginning. It does not guarantee that you will still have
traffic after 6 months. It’s the same bloody thing, don’t you see?

If you do this on your own, your traffic grows slowly but exponentially,
assuming your application is good. You have time to iteratively fix the
problems that people have. After a few months, you have a really great
application that does what people need.

I read YCombinator Startup News. I read that thing that Paul wrote saying
that anybody who contributes regularly is going to fare better. That’s shit
from a bull! Anybody who is spending time posting on a site that is a
collection of links to dream money instead of working on his project is
never going to make money. Anybody who cares about “karma” on that
site instead of spending time reaching users for his product is an idiot.

Imagine a Donald Trump. You think Trump is the type of guy who cares that
his Karma is two or three points lower? No! That’s not business. Posting
comments on a forum is not teaching you anything about business; it’s not
showing you anything useful. Don’t do it.

I look with derision at all these blogs like “I will teach you to be rich”.
Bloody hell, that guy just goes on and on about nothing. There is an easy
way to be rich, and it involves selling a product, and making people aware
of this product.

Take a piece of shareware and actually sell it. It makes small money a
month, but the lessons you will learn are huge. Do affiliate marketing for
other software. Such things teach you far more in 3 months than reading
blogs for years ever will.

What I am saying is this: YCombinator does not matter. You do not need
YCombinator. Just do the following:

• Actually have a product or an idea

• Test this product or idea against many diverse people

• Find out if people will buy this product

• Reduce the scope of the product to the one thing people are most
willing to pay for, and that is doable. If this is not possible, drop the
idea and find a new one!

• Develop the product on the side while you have some other source
of income

• Put product on internet

• Market product!

YCombinator only helps you with some of those steps. But you can also
figure out those things yourself and get things done without YCombinator
or external money.

I’ll say this: A lot of people who applied to YCombinator are probably hacks
with derivative ideas and little ability to actually accomplish things. You
are probably one of them. A dreamer who sees external capital as a
shortcut towards making money without actually working for it.

If YCombinator is critical to you, then you are a dreamer.

Just go out there, be aggressive, and show you can create software, and
you can sell software. Once you show that, people will be begging to put
their money in your product.

Let me conclude: Business is about creating something of value to other

people, and selling this thing to the people. Do not get sidetracked by the
dream of fast money and fast fame. Try for it, but don’t let it become
important for you. Just work on what you want to create. If you do it well,
you will succeed.