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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

Talk @ in Vilnus, Lithuania, with a 1000+ students interested in starting up. 

Q&A in UAE w/entrepreneurs and @davemcclure at MAKE.

Silicon Valley comes to Beijing and Hong Kong! Awesome crew. 

Silicon Valley comes to Beijing and Hong Kong! Awesome crew. 

YC Interview Pep Talk for Upcoming Candidates

When we got the acceptance email for our YC interview (Cloudkick, W09) it was prefaced with a very memorable message:

You’ve probably noticed that the stock market crashed since the last YC cycle.  We’re going to keep going as we normally do, but we should warn you that we have no idea what’s going to happen come Demo Day.  It may be that all the startups will jump off the diving board as usual, and there will be no water in the pool.

We won’t know for sure till March, but this batch of startups is probably going to have to be extra tough to survive.

Since we don’t know what to expect, we’re offering something new this cycle.  Any group that wants to defer their interview to a future cycle will have the option to. 

That’s right, they were encouraging us to defer our acceptance because the market was so bad. During that class it turned out that we would all discover it was the perfect time to be starting a company. A bad market means easier time hiring devs, less competition, etc. That class was responsible for a solid class of 16 companies, including AirBnB and Cloudkick.

Back to the point of this… we did not defer the interview, and it seems like it was just yesterday. In an effort to give back to the entrepreneur community, I’d like to offer any upcoming YC candidates a 5-10min chat to prep for their interview and any other questions about the YC process.

A few disclaimers:

  • Our interview was in November 2008, and a lot has changed with YC since then
  • The success of our interview is not what got it us into YC, it was the fact that we were the most highly recommended YC candidates of all time (PG, do we still hold that? :) — always be hustling! 

That said, things turned out alright. Cloudkick was responsible for the largest exit in the first five years of YC. If you’d like a little pep talk from a YC alum before your interview, hit me up on skype (alexpolvi) and we can schedule a time. 

Talk at MIT start-up bootcamp.