Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Book of Graham

Paul-Graham-Y-Combinator

I emailed my 22 year old cousin Eric, who’s graduating Summa in Economics from Harvard, to see if he needed any help getting interviews at prestigious financial institutions. I was sure there would be recruiters on campus, but I didn’t want to run the risk.

“Paul Graham says prestige is for suckers,” he emailed back within 2 minutes. “Paul Graham says I should follow my passion.”

“Who’s Paul Graham?” I asked. No response.

It turns out Paul Graham runs a “startup accelerator” located on 320 Pioneer Way in Mountain View, CA called Y-Combinator. Y-Combinator makes micro investments into very early stage companies and then helps these companies raise venture capital. Thousands apply for a few slots in two “classes” per year. AirBnB, Dropbox, and Reddit are among its alumni.

The accelerator takes small amounts of risk and offloads that aggregate risk onto a market of investors (the VC’s). Its Demo Day, which first showcases its companies, is a coming out event, like an IPO. And it attracts top young graduates, like my cousin, from across the world. I spent nearly a decade on Wall Street, and let’s be clear: that’s our model. Employing Type A personalities to shuffle around amorphous blobs of questionable value is not called a “startup accelerator”; it’s called Investment Banking.

And this guy Paul was about to steal Eric, brainwash him into thinking he was doing something else, and pay him next to nothing.

I could picture Eric at our east coast Christmas dinner in his startup T-Shirt, his sunglasses still on his head. “Every day we wake up and tell ourselves we have to just fail faster,” he’d say. My father would have a stroke. In six generations, our family had not failed once. Many Y-Combinator founders pay themselves less than $60k a year, about half of what you make your first year in finance. When I saw my cousin a few weeks later, he was flicking through his iPad. He raised his open hand in the air when I walked over to try to talk some sense into him. “Reading Paul Graham,” he said. “YC results in a week.”

I didn’t have much time.

I looked up Paul Graham’s essays. He attacks finance head on. “Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy,” he says. “It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.” Instead, he encourages: “Do what you love.”

I researched Y-Combinator companies and found ones like HomeJoy and Prim. “Eric – what do you love more, house cleaning or laundry?” I emailed.

That day, I sent Eric a business class train ticket to come down to New York. We went out to dinner and then to PH-D. Two girls joined us at our table, and Eric asked which one he should go after. “Follow your heart,” I encouraged. And when the check came, I passed it to Eric and watched his eyes widen at the total. The host came over, expecting his card. I could see Eric sweat. “Oh, this shouldn’t be a problem,” I assured him. I turned to the host: “You accept equity, right?” Her face contorted. I elbowed my cousin. “Eric – tell her about your startup.”

That night, we were out until 5am, and at 8am, I woke up and saw Eric on his knees on the floor of my living room. His “love” was asleep in a t-shirt on the sofa, and he was hunched over his iPad, rocking back and forth, mumbling to himself. As I got closer, I saw Eric flipping through and reading Paul Graham’s essays out loud.

“The danger is when money is combined with prestige,” he said. “Odds are you just think whatever you’re told.” “Hackers and Painters are both makers.” He repeated that: “Hackers and painters are both makers.”

I kicked him with the side of my foot. “What are you doing, dude?” I said. The girl on the sofa rustled, but Eric stayed in his trance. I went back to sleep, and when I woke up, I found Eric in the exact same position, still studying his iPad.

“Your cousin is really…passionate,” sofa-girl said, yanking on her boots.

It was then that I started to realize just how formidable an adversary Paul Graham was. Eric had been ensnared in Paul’s net and now, wrapped in its warmth, all he and Paul’s militia of “hackers” felt they needed to survive was an Internet connection and a cup of Four Barrel drip coffee. Paul had actually convinced my cousin that he would be more than just a cog in Paul’s low risk (but Eric’s high risk) brokerage machine. I could feel him slipping away.

I texted a friend who still had YC ’11 in her email signature even though her company failed miserably. “What the hell goes on over there?” I asked. “What doesn’t?” she replied. I learned that Y-Combinator goes beyond just being a brand. It’s a community. In finance, we had a blowout holiday party and a liberal corporate card policy. Y-Combinator hosts weekly office hours and dinners and online forums. Constantly brainstorming and discussing and ideating their never-ending list of impractical concepts, Paul’s disciples begin to feel a shared identity, like they are part of something bigger than themselves. It becomes their religion.

“Eric!” I shouted. I snapped my fingers in front his face.

I had put together my own presentation for him. I called it: “Science.” I slid my iPad in place of his and began my pitch. Slides 1-5 were dedicated to the complete failure of venture capital as an asset class over its entire history. I had charts and quotes from the world’s most famous economists. Slides 6-10 listed all the defunct Y-Combinator companies, laid out in three columns in size 6 font. Next to them, the handful of wins looked insignificant. In my last slide, I showed Eric Y-Combinator’s hypocritical homepage, where it calls itself “the most prestigious program for budding digital entrepreneurs.”

Paul-Graham-Y-Combinator

“Do you see?” I asked.

Eric looked up at me, and for a moment, I thought I saw recognition. Through his eyes, I swore I could make out the gears slowly turning into place. Finally, I thought. My body started to relax. Then Eric picked up his iPad, turned it towards me so I was staring directly at his guru’s face, and said:

“But Paul Graham says I must create.”

I grabbed Eric’s iPad from his hands, lifted it over my head, and hurled it down towards the floor as hard as I could. The screen smashed, and a piece of Gorilla Glass spun out and cut the top of my foot.

“ENOUGH!” I screamed.

The iPad was still on, and through the cracks in screen, I could see Paul staring up at me, smiling.

I went back to my room and slammed the door.

A few days later, my family received a group email with the subject line: “Changing the world!” My head sunk into my hands. Eric wouldn’t be going into finance. He and his co-founders had gotten accepted into Y-Combinator for their startup. “The pest control industry has no idea what it’s in for!!” he wrote. He quoted Paul Graham quoting Steve Jobs and assured us that everything they would do would be “insanely great.” No one responded.

Congratulations, Paul.

The legacy infrastructure to snatch young talent was built on the basic human desire of greed. But you, you leverage a much deeper insight. In constructing your 2%-10% value capture contraption, you’ve utilized something that didn’t even cross our minds in banking. You’re able to drive people to risk their lives and work long hours on your behalf with no Seamless account, no black car, all under the guise that it’s their idea. And to achieve this, you play upon a much more powerful human emotion, one that every successful campaign to delude America’s youth and lasting institution throughout history has had at its core:

Hope.
 


65 comments for this post.

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  1. -5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Lowercase or upper, italics or not – for “summa”? Discuss.

  2. +59 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I would use Google incognito if I was navigating to Y-combinator’s site too.

  3. +6 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Welcome back, its been too long

  4. +27 votes + -
    Anonymous Tech Banker Said:

    “The accelerator takes small amounts of risk and offloads that aggregate risk onto a market of investors (the VC’s). Its Demo Day, which first showcases its companies, is a coming out event, like an IPO. And it attracts top young graduates, like my cousin, from across the world. I spent nearly a decade on Wall Street, and let’s be clear: that’s our model. Employing Type A personalities to shuffle around amorphous blobs of questionable value is not called a “startup accelerator”; it’s called Investment Banking.”

    Gold.

  5. +2 votes + -
    cynic Said:

    So true. Perfect timing to send up the VC/startup scene.

  6. +2 votes + -
    Joe Said:

    I am so glad you are back. So. Glad.

  7. +3 votes + -
    Phil Rykoff Said:

    So, where the heck is the book?

    I would instantly buy it, even if it was not YC 13 funded ;)

  8. -4 votes + -
    CircleJerker Said:

    Brilliant

  9. +15 votes + -
    Ugo Said:

    As a former banker now in a startup, this is still pretty hilarious.

    Bottom line: Do it because you feel strongly about the problem you’re solving. Not because an IPO sounds cool.

  10. 0 votes + -
    They still don't see Said:

    :) Hat off to you, sir.

  11. +12 votes + -
    Shital Shah Said:

    Hi, could you please share the slides you have mentioned in your post. Looks very interesting.

  12. -3 votes + -
    Galen Mason Said:

    Fantastic stuff. The next Michael Lewis is somewhere now. He’ll be a Gordon Gecko.

  13. -79 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Absolutely hilarious!

    It reads like a great parody of *exactly* how we would expect a Finance-idiot to react to something like YC.

    You’ve completely misunderstood Paul Graham and YC because you can only analyse it with the worldview and mental models of the grotesquely corrupt world of Finance.

    Deep down, beneath the money and “prestige” (in your eyes – society has *long* since passed on its investment banker fascination since the real ways you make money were exposed during the financial crisis), beneath the day to day swagger and imaginary hard work…. you KNOW that what you do is useless to the world, useless to society, doesn’t make anyone meaningfully better off or healthier or happier.

    YC is not some fly-by-night scam, as much as you try to understand it as one because that’s how people operate in your world.

  14. -5 votes + -
    Catherine Said:

    Awesome. Yes, please share the slides!

  15. -49 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    The truth is that YCombinator is really for the next dropbox or airbnb. People who make a startup like that don’t give a fuck what you think. You’re welcome to working 80 hours per week without doing anything other than shuffling money around.

    Meanwhile, they actually create value out of thin air. YC is infrastructure to support that.

    Zuckerberg coded facebook in a dorm room on a shitty laptop. You really think he’d be doing any better, or any happier, if he had gone into finance instead?

    The key difference is that nobody told him to create facebook – the VC and angel ecosystem of which Paul Graham is a part, is about helping people who want to do something be able to do it.

  16. +8 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    For me I love the irony that I’m here reading this entertaining page having followed the link from ycombinator/news!

  17. +5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Zuckerberg wouldn’t be getting angry about this article. He’d joyfully take the website down.

    There is a new greed at play here. The greed of hubris. 1.) Cousin Eric is no Zuckerberg, 2.) Turning down a job interview that your Uncle wants to arrange is both rude and foolish. What if that evil financial fellow knew Zuckerberg and would introduce you?, 3.) “Following one’s heart” is a luxury reserved for the wealthy – just like organic food, or, alternatively, it’s a passion for those who eschew their earthly belongings and walk amongst the poor like Mother Teresa.

    Just get over yourselves kids.

  18. -17 votes + -
    Kyle Said:

    This was a interesting read but it is authored from a very biased perspective. I think you and your cousin are both wrong in many aspects. It sounds like you drank the wall st. kool-aid a long time ago and it’s altered your perception of what it even means to be happy. Flashing cash in your cousin’s face or showing what a failure VC is in comparison to regular finance is a really unpersuasive route to take.

    Personally, I’m not a Graham lover and I’ll take his advice with a grain of salt but I love building stuff, and money is second rate to making things.

  19. +2 votes + -
    Michael Kariv Said:

    I came here from HN link too.
    I myself like what Paul preaches. I am perfectly happy in the startup world, would not change it for 4 times the money. I could and I passed.

    I have never been to YC, nor will be, too old by their standards. From where I stand, the problem is not what he says, but what young people hear.

  20. +4 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    When I wanted to join YC, I was explained the value you proposition.

    “On your side, the math is straightforward: it’s a good deal if we improve
    your expected value by 7.5%.”

    I was a very disappointed to hear that… But deep down I believe there’s more to it than that, so I joined anyway. I have mixed feelings.

  21. -49 votes + -
    YC W14 Class Member Said:

    Hey! So I’m in the YC Class now, and there’s not an Eric that went to Harvard doing a for-profit. There’s someone doing a non-profit, which I guess is not your cousin. In fact, not an Eric since a class in 2011. There’s some food for thought…

  22. -59 votes + -
    Class member of YC W14 Said:

    There’s not an Eric from Harvard in our class. In fact, not an “Eric” at all in YC since 2011. Your opinions are interesting–but without an Eric to back it all up….well, it’s very “wall street” of you. (to put it nicely)

  23. +13 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Whats more busted bro? Your start up or your girlfriend’s face?

  24. +10 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Fact is, the older cousin is right. Go get some experience and money. For every college dropout Zuck there are 10,000 failures. The pest control industry can wait.

    BTW, “change the world” – no one ever says “make the world a better place.” If your only goal is to change the world, it’s pretty easy to succeed. If your goal is to make the world a fundamentally better place, you will live a different life and you will see value in far more than your own selfish blind ambition.

  25. +12 votes + -
    Riegel Kempton IV Said:

    Glad to have you back good sir!

    The best part of LSO’s return is going to be dearth of SF kids that come out of the woodworks to chime in.

    Get back to your Blue Bottle and leave the heavy lifting to me.

  26. +5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Is there a chance Eric is an alias????????? :D

  27. +53 votes + -
    Anonogirl Said:

    Holy crap – I underestimated the potential level of stupidity coming out of someone in YC. YIKES!…!!

    “There’s not an Eric from Harvard in our class. In fact, not an “Eric” at all in YC since 2011. Your opinions are interesting–but without an Eric to back it all up….well, it’s very “wall street” of you.”

    “Hey! So I’m in the YC Class now, and there’s not an Eric that went to Harvard doing a for-profit. There’s someone doing a non-profit, which I guess is not your cousin. In fact, not an Eric since a class in 2011. There’s some food for thought…”

  28. -36 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I’m amazed by how threatened you seem by technology and startups.

    Startups create the value. You throw away your 20s just for the chance to suck off its tit.

    While we create the future you’re lucky if you get to make a power point.

    Everyone knows people in finance are total douchebags. You prove the rule.

    Enjoy your seamless and black cars bro! When you’re in a back room mindlessly exercising your excel key strokes for some other asshole every waking hour of every day they’ll need you to have both to so they can keep you alive – barely anyway.

  29. +25 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    YC’s business model feels a little icky to me. Its scale and low funding amounts lead to a plethora of “me-too” startups (e.g. how many Airbnb-type startups has YC funded so far?). That said, it fills a profitable niche supplying fodder to the VC’s who need a stream of investment candidates. Being a venture capital portfolio company sounds pretty miserable–if you don’t make an (unlikely) homerun, the VC’s liquidation preference will render the founder’s return insubstantial.

    I instead advocate a lonelier path of figuring out what you care about and working towards it slowly (e.g. in one’s spare time while or after working a job in the relevant industry) rather than taking a cram course at YC and “failing fast”. Failing fast means one doesn’t have much skin in the game–not knowing the industry and not necessarily having a technical interest which relates to the customer’s problem. It’s like a class of eager graduating MBA’s swarming out to “create value” (or at least latch onto value). It’s a scattershot approach which implicitly has a very low hit rate. YC makes out because of its low investment rate and their ability to deliver the experience inexpensively at scale. Kudos to them but I wouldn’t encourage someone to enter their program.

    There are alternatives–such as the the ones with which I am familiar: the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research program (NSF SBIR) and the NSF Innovation Corps (NSF i-Corps). There are many other grant-making agencies, depending on the subject matter of a proposed startup and its location. The funding is more substantial than YC’s (NSF SBIR Phase I and II are $150k and $750k, respectively), the likelihood of success is greater (NSF awards ~18% and ~30% SBIR phase 1 & 2, respectively), and the grants don’t dilute equity. It’s a slower, more onerous process…but what’s the rush…and if you’re too lazy to navigate a difficult application process, how are you going to deal with all the problems inherent in a startup? If the grant timeline is too slow for you, you’re implicitly either 1. believe the opportunity to found a web startup is about to soon go away (or become substantially harder)–which no one is espousing–or 2. care mostly about the money (despite Eric’s mantra of “following passion”). The latter sounds as materialistic as stereotypes of MBAs…but more impatient since MBAs at least expect to have to intern for a while before they’re competent at anything.

    I opine that most people are not suited by personality for a startup. It’s lonely (though YC attempts to make it less lonely), filled with frustrations, long hours, etc. Maybe YC is selecting for this up-front but I suspect, given the age of applicants, they’re finding out by letting them try and fail. That is _an_ approach… On graduation, I was instead advised by a trusted professor to get a job at the best company I could find in an industry in which I was interested to see “how things are done right before starting my own company”. It’s held me in good stead so far; after working several years at a great company, I founded multiple companies and worked on problems I found personally interesting with some great people. Some people are born entrepreneurs and some of these know what they want to work on immediately after college or even earlier. Most do not and should develop some perspective and character before going through a startup process. Paul Graham wrote (yes, I’ve read all his essays–they’re great!) that a startup burns you out faster than a regular job. If you’re going to hurt your body and your relationships, wouldn’t it be great to do it for something you find meaningful? I don’t much believe in shortcuts…what’s the rush?

  30. +20 votes + -
    Anonymouse Said:

    Man i wish all the HN circle jerkers on here grew the fuck up. And no i’m not some finance d-bag. As someone who’s worked in a YC startup or two, this is actually too close to home.

  31. -26 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Psychologists would have an absolute field day with you. I hope your rant did a little bit to temporarily mask the void that your paycheck has failed to fill.

    Laugh at this if you’d like and downvote it to the depths of the Internet, but we both know what I’ve said is true.

  32. -9 votes + -
    Jeff Rose Said:

    Does your distaste for YC and Paul Graham’s ideas stem from your own insecurity about the value of banking? If your cousin is a software developer he can make plenty of money any time he wants, and with that security comes a willingness to do more than just make money. Money is useless unless you have ample time and pursuits on which to spend it, and for a hacker the joy is in creating, and yes hoping that your creations might touch people’s lives. Banking is an important institution that helps grow and support businesses, but as an industry it cultivates greed and shortsightedness. High frequency trading, day trading, and many forms of derivatives do not contribute anything to society besides scraping money out of the pockets of some and putting it into the few.

    Civilization is effected by people who have big ideas, create and design things. Banking technology has this potential, but that’s not what 99.9% of bankers are doing. It’s a boring industry that isn’t really going to improve anyone’s life but your own. Power to your cousin!

  33. +2 votes + -
    Tomer Said:

    Thank you for this! You couldn’t be more spot on. The honesty of this article is like a delicious meal. It gets right to the point, calls out all the BS, and just washes over your with an honesty all too rare in this space. I’m licking every bit of truthy goodness from my fingers. Thank you!

  34. +35 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    The Book of Ben Graham: Berkshire Hathaway and the Baupost Group

    The Book of Paul Graham: AirBnB and Reddit

    Scoreboard, dirty SF hippies.

  35. -11 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Scoreboard?

    That might be the dumbest thing I’ve read on here, out of the entire post and all the comments combined.

    You measure your life by a net worth scoreboard?

    You’re an idiot. Go pound sand.

  36. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    ‘You’re an idiot. Go pound sand’

    I think you awe an idiot, actually. You like to sleep in public toilet, not everyone else. Net worth helps.

  37. +4 votes + -
    Cory Said:

    LSO I’m so glad you are back. It has been far too long!

    I honestly can’t decide which is more hilarious: the article itself or the comments from people who are taking it seriously. Great stuff! Keep up the good work my man.

  38. +21 votes + -
    Anon Said:

    Hilarious article, lots of dumb comments. This is a story that illustrates a point. The fact that people are defending Graham instead of seeing the humor and satire speaks for itself. That there’s a kid actually in YC posting about his surprise at not finding an Eric in his class illustrates how dumb that kid is. I hope you fail fast.

  39. -20 votes + -
    Bryan Said:

    Aren’t we chipper… and a bit paranoid.

    Paul Graham is part of a milieu. A transformative time when technologists are making the analog world digital. He’s part of a broader community. Paul isn’t running some kind of racket. He’s training and supporting a generation of entrepreneurs who are at a amazing place in history at the right time.

    You imply that you want stability for your cousin. You show concern when you cite anecdotes of startup failures. Maybe your cousin is wired differently than you are. Maybe he was born to thrive in the high pressures enviornments that startups create.

    Maybe you are more suited to work within a large company. Funny, because if you are an I-Banker, you need these startups to produce a fresh crop of IPOs.

    As for your patronizing companies like Homejoy… Great story: brother and sister founder who toiled 80+ hours/ week for 2.5 years until they finally developed the right product. Today, they are expanding into 35 new cities. Just raised 38M from Google Ventures and Max Levchin cofounder of PayPal.

    They are generating 10,000s of jobs that can’t be off-shored. And providing the middle class access to services once reserved by the rich.

    These folks can spend more time with their families, etc. And Homejoy has a Foundation.

    Again, you are falling prey to the classic pattern of putting your desires/ fears onto others. Just like parents do to their children.

  40. +12 votes + -
    anon Said:

    I guess many of these responders are from SF and are not familiar with LSO. Chill out bros, this is a satirical blog.

    At the same time, I sort of do feel that YC seems like a nicely run racket. Low risk, high return, and having the ability to cherry pick and fund hundreds of startups.

    To be honest, I derive much greater pleasure making millions trading than managing a home cleaning or laundry business, or writing code for a business that does such things. I am sure my parents made me study and go to MIT so that I wouldn’t continue their line of work.

  41. +21 votes + -
    Creativity Quant Said:

    Please, please, please have “bankers vs. entrepreneurs” the music video premier soon.

    Busy on nights and weekends, with no discernible skills?

    I can’t tell if you’re a YC class member or my Uber bill

  42. +5 votes + -
    BallerBanker856 Said:

    So glad you’re back man…

    #bankingisballer

  43. +13 votes + -
    Rasputin Said:

    Well-written piece. Spot on.

    I am hoping, really hoping, that the comments from YC participants are failed attempts at trolling. What hope do we have if inductees of the “most prestigious program” do not actually understand satire?

    Looking forward to more pieces – there’s so much potential in SF (and the Bay Area).

    As to the readers jerking each other about whether increasing “net worth” or “building things” is a better way to live life – don’t worry too much about it. You’re all going to die soon, anyway.

    Chances are, the “finance” trolls don’t actually have much money (or don’t understand what real money is), and the “disruptors” haven’t actually created any value.

  44. -2 votes + -
    Rasputin Said:

    My first post was ill-conceived and distasteful. While I can’t take it back, I regret writing it and I am sorry.

    I hope we can all learn to get along, and laugh at the irrationality of the world together.

  45. +5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    LSO, the voice of our generation. Love it. Welcome back, kid.

  46. +5 votes + -
    LehmanLives Said:

    The comments are the best part of the article.

    I guess Eric got his iPad fixed

  47. +2 votes + -
    GreedIsGood Said:

    Was just on that “vocational school”‘s website, when I saw they had this:

    http://www.upenn.edu/fisher/

    Immediately thought of LSO’s new focus.

  48. -6 votes + -
    olanmills Said:

    I can’t tell if this article is for real or a parody.

    Anyway, business and finance, the way it is operated now, is a world of bullshit leeching value and productivity out of society.

  49. +10 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Stop the presses. “Building” and “disrupting” don’t mean much when your only means of monetization is swindling retail investors.

    The flannel, apple products, and low current pay do not hide your greed.

    If you really want to create jobs, stay with your company until is value is largely based on current income and not future what-if’s.

    If you really want to be a “good guy”, go into biotech and try and cure a disease.

  50. 0 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Non-profit accelerators that put the entrepreneurs before any profit-seeking motivation are interesting. I heard the one at Stanford has helped several hundred entrepreneurs raise an average of over $2M per company.

  51. +11 votes + -
    Bro Said:

    Well, now we know why machine learning algorithms can’t understand human language. Thanks for the insight, “Eric” and classmates.

    Welcome back, kid.

  52. +19 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Amazing how many YC apologists here don’t even understand the whole concept of this blog.

    Go start a social media company and leave the reading comp to the grownups.

  53. +9 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    You end up scoring with the other chick?

  54. -5 votes + -
    one eyed man Said:

    This would be a whole lot more convincing without the references to seamless and black cars. Also the entire acela train is business class but really cool of you to emphasize that the prestigious world of finance allows you to pay like 40 dollars extra for a train.

  55. +4 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Lol at all the SF kids coming out in support of Graham/Y combinator/tech startups.

    Welcome back LSO!

  56. +9 votes + -
    The Grim Banker Said:

    Hey YC/SF/Tech/Start upper…

    I just made $7.3MM today shorting your precious twitter, facebook, & tesla. How about you take your skinny jeans, cardigans, and flipflop’s back to urbanoutfitters.com and “blog” about how even your hipster uniform store is damaging the environment. Tonight while your trying to sext with dudes on vine, I’ll be out in Manhattan with a girl who is a 10.

    The Grim Banker

  57. +2 votes + -
    JohnnyO Said:

    Dear LSO,

    After reading the comments for the last two posts I am beginning to think the tech/vc scene out west might be too fertile an area for you. Kind of like sending John Belushi to Columbia. Be careful.

  58. -2 votes + -
    Anon Said:

    What does VC’s failure as an asset class have to do with whether he should be an entrepreneur?

  59. +2 votes + -
    Luis Said:

    The YC 11 convention, Ashton Kuthcer and everything: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/79/Ashton_Kutcher_speaking_at_Y_Combinators_Startup_School_in_October_2011.jpg

  60. +2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I love it – YC preys on ‘hope’. Whereas Finance says, ‘abandon hope all ye who enter here’!!!

  61. +2 votes + -
    anon Said:

    It seems the techies in the bay have a much poorer sense of humor and ability to discern satire compared to the readership from 7-9 years ago

  62. +2 votes + -
    Londoner Said:

    My linguistic abilities are far too limited to describe my appreciation for you and the whole of LSO. I have a strong urge to share these posts with my friends, but then I also want you to remain my little secret bonanza of entertainment. Like your favourite unknown band that you don’t want to grow too mainstream.

  63. 0 votes + -
    Ali Said:

    The point is “hope.”

    Hope is priceless–and while most companies won’t succeed (I also don’t know that YC is for everyone, and startups certainly aren’t for everyone) the idea of hope is so powerful it can trump money.

    I do think that hero worship is a little silly though… the people who build great companies would think Paul Graham would be lucky to have them in their program, not worship him.

  64. +8 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    The sheer number of YC/Paul Graham defending imbiciles who failed to recognize the satire in the piece is simply hilarious. A perfect demonstratuion of why 99% of people involved in tech startups are completely devoid of even the slightest morsel of intelligence(with the respectable and intelligent 1% actually creating value and changing the world).

  65. +8 votes + -
    DPG Said:

    The startup motto: Smart enough to get into YC. Aspy enough to duped by satire.

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