The Y Combinator Podcast: Office Hours with Michael Seibel

Full podcast here.

  • Question: Why is YC worth the 7%? A: I tell founders to start building up unfair advantages in their startup (0:22) 

  • YC companies get higher valuations, less dilution, faster fundraising and better investors. (1:31) 

  • If you hit product-market fit you’d be growing uncontrollably, everything in your company would be breaking, you’d be doing everything you can just to keep up with customer demand. It’s unambiguous whether that is happening to you. Product market fit is what happens after you’ve built the right product and you distribute it well. (12:54)

  • To be clear if your company raises money through YC and goes on to be wildly profitable that’s a great outcome. No dilution. (16:28) 

  • Strangers email me every day. I reply to them every day- this is the way of the valley- the only thing we have in common is we are all crazy enough to do startups.....inside every founder there is this feeling that if you are stupid enough to do a startup we should have each other’s back because I’m stupid enough to do startups too. (23:05) 

  • Clarity and conciseness are important. More words are actually bad. When you study really good salespeople on the phone it turns out the customer talks a lot more than the salesperson. (28:20) 

  • Most apps can be explained in 3 sentences. (a simple idea executed well) (28:56) 

  • Most people tell a story chronologically and I’d argue you should be thinking more like pulp fiction - tell me the most interesting parts first - get me hooked. (29:08)

  • When you are communicating ditch the jargon- communicate on a 6th to 9th-grade level. (31:55)

  • Investors know like 2 inches on a lot of different subjects. If you know like 6 inches they will think you are very smart. If you know 1 inch they will think you are dumb. So know some facts. (34:29)

  • Resilience is more important than intensity. It doesn’t feel like intensity when you are doing the thing you like to do. And your startup should be the thing you like to do. (46:39)

  • Sometimes people find hard to understand how most of the norms are invented by engineers or former engineers. Not wanting long meetings, people wanting concise communication. These are stereotypical traits of engineers - salespeople and engineers are different / opposite. (47:42)