So today my co-founder and I hitched a ride to Mountain View for our 3:30 interview slot with the YC. Long story short, we didn’t get in.
Am I disappointed? Well, of course. We spent a lot of time preparing for that interview, and I’d asked several very kind YC alumn to help us. I can truly say that the YC has one of the most supportive networks of entrepreneurs in the world, and that is one of the things that I regret missing out on most. We couldn’t have done it without the support of those people, and of those that like and believe in us. It was pretty cool to walk into the building and immediately meet Kirsty Nathoo, the CFO. She undoubtedly doesn’t remember us, but it’s great to bump into the people that you’ve only heard about. We also met Vivek Shah of SimplyInsured. Nicest guy ever. He put our nerves to ease, helped us clarify what we were going to say, and was just generally very kind. Apparently he used to work for McKinsey. The interview went by fast, way too fast, and before we knew it we were ushered out the door. I still think it went relatively well. We received the following feedback from Gary Tan:
“I’m sorry to say we decided not to fund you. You guys are the kind of bright and passionate founders we especially like to fund, and we liked meeting you. We agree with you that targeting anime communities up front is probably the right initial approach. In the end what gave us pause was how hard it would be for you to bootstrap the initial community into something that could seriously challenge [redacted]. We encourage you to build your product, ship it to early users, and iterate as fast as you can — you should particularly focus on how to reduce the number of steps to make it easy for users to see content and leave positive feedback. As I mentioned, we really liked you and would very much welcome hearing from you in the future, since applying to YC isn’t like college where you only get one shot at it. There’s another train leaving every six months.”
So there’s our grand adventure. I can see why they decided what they did. We haven’t released yet, and it’s safer to wait awhile and view more concrete numbers than invest so much in a possibility. It’s hard to bet on beating down a behemoth, but I think it’s definitely possible. Myspace probably thought it was invincible too. Ultimately, however, we were as prepared as we could have been and we worked very hard on our MVP. I’m proud of my cofounder and we still intend to keep fighting until the end. I mean, what’s real startup life without sleeping on a couple of (metaphoric) floors? Or literal floors. We can be that hardcore too.
I was debating whether or not I should write about this. No one likes to brag about their failures right? (Or near-successes.) My final thoughts were more along the lines of, “Well… so what. Haters gonna hate.” In more eloquent terms, I thought of the following, one of my favorite quotes:
“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong [wo]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.”
Probably overdramatic, but it’s a quote that brings me a lot of comfort. I would rather die trying today, than never knowing what could have been tomorrow. Now back to the grind. Anyways, here’s some pictures of our beautiful faces and far more beautiful dinner:
My co-founder and me in the headquarters! It’s all orange.
“加油。我知道你可以成功。” – 姑姑