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Billionaires built. How to get accepted to YCombinator by Paul Graham

Go Global World runs YC Mock Interviews so more bright founders have more chances to get accepted there.

But remember YC is not the only great accelerator to look into, see 500 Startups or look at smaller ones but lazor focused on you like Gold Coast Innovation Hub in Australia or Start-up Chili. You may want to explore top Technoparks and Universities. They have their acceleration affiliate programs such as Station F in France. In Russia: Technopark Skolkovo and Moscow School of Management Skolkovo, Innopolis, Ingria, Akadempark. In Uzbekistan: IT Park. In Kazhastan Astana Hub and many more.

I have outlined for you some key recommendations, questions, and quotes on how to pass YC Interview from Paul Graham's essay:

- What YC looks for, above all, is founders who understand some group of users and can make what they want. This is so important that it's YC's motto: "Make something people want."

- A startup must sing for its supper, by making things that genuinely delight its customers. Otherwise, it will never get off the ground.

- The conversation during your YC interview will have to be about something new: either a new need or a new way to satisfy one. And not just new, but uncertain.

- Whether what you're making will ever be something a lot of people want.

- Is there a path to a huge market?

- The ideal combination is the group of founders who are "living in the future" in the sense of being at the leading edge of some kind of change, and who are building something they themselves want. Steve Wozniak wanted a computer. Mark Zuckerberg wanted to engage online with his college friends. Larry and Sergey wanted to find things on the web.

- The crucial feature of the initial market is that it exists.

- Who are your first users going to be, and how do you know they want this?

- The most convincing answer is "Because we and our friends want it." It's even better when this is followed by the news that you've already built a prototype, and even though it's very crude, your friends are using it, and it's spreading by word of mouth.

- if you want to prepare for your interview, one of the best ways to do it is to go talk to your users and find out exactly what they're thinking.

- YC partners want to rely on the founders to tell them about the market.

- Think about how VCs typically judge the potential market for an idea. They're not ordinarily domain experts themselves, so they forward the idea to someone who is, and ask for their opinion. YC doesn't have time to do this, but if the YC partners can convince themselves that the founders both (a) know what they're talking about and (b) aren't lying, they don't need outside domain experts. They can use the founders themselves as domain experts when evaluating their own idea.

- The worst advice I ever heard about how to succeed in a YC interview is that you should take control of the interview and make sure to deliver the message you want to.

- If you don't know the answer to a question, say you don't and tell them how you'd go about finding it or tell them the answer to some related question.

- Make sure you brainstormed what could go wrong with your idea, never say "nothing".

- The YC partners know that competitors don't kill startups, they won't hold competitors against you too much. They will, however, hold it against you if you seem either to be unaware of competitors or to be minimizing the threat they pose.

- The partners don't expect your idea to be perfect. This is seed investing. At this stage, all they can expect are promising hypotheses. But they do expect you to be thoughtful and honest.

- The path to a big market depends on three things: the general qualities of the founders, their specific expertise in this domain, and the relationship between them. How determined are the founders? Are they good at building things? Are they resilient enough to keep going when things go wrong? How strong is their friendship?

- Be genuinely interested in what you're building. This is what really drives billionaires, or at least the ones who become billionaires from starting companies. The company is their project.

- YC looks for in founders: authenticity.

- People's motives for starting startups are usually mixed. They're usually doing it from some combination of the desire to make money, the desire to seem cool, genuine interest in the problem, and unwillingness to work for someone else.

- But if the founders seem like they're doing it just to make money or just to seem cool, they're not likely to succeed on a big scale.

- Y Combinator certainly sees founders whose m.o. is to exploit people. Their exploitation usually begins with their own cofounders, which is disastrous, since the cofounders' relationship is the foundation of the company. Then it moves on to the users, which is also disastrous, because the sort of early adopters a successful startup wants as its initial users are the hardest to fool.

- The most reliable way to become a billionaire is to start a company that grows fast, and the way to grow fast is to make what users want. Newly started startups have no choice but to delight users, or they'll never even get rolling.

- What do users want? What new things could you build for them? Founders who've become billionaires are always eager to talk about that topic.

See the original essay on Paul's website:

Now go and build something your users want!

Danil Kislinskiy

Founder of Go Global World

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