Others thought YC had some special insight about the future of technology.
Mostly we had the same sort of insight Socrates claimed: we at least knew we knew nothing. During interviews, Robert and Trevor and I would pepper the applicants with technical questions. A lot of the applicants probably read her as some kind of secretary, especially early on, because she was the one who'd go out and get each new group and she didn't ask many questions. It was easier for her to watch people if they didn't notice her.
It was also how we picked founders who were good people. Imagine what it would feel like to have x-ray vision for character. So we'd refuse to fund founders whose characters we had doubts about even if we thought they'd be successful.
Though we initially did this out of self-indulgence, it turned out to be very valuable to YC.
The earlier you pick startups, the more you're picking the founders.We'd started YC because it was something we were interested in.And some of the problems we were trying to solve were endlessly difficult. You could talk about that for years, and we did; we still do.And the fact that Jessica and I were a couple is a big part of what made YC what it was. There was an authenticity that everyone who walked in could sense. Culture is important in any organization, but at YC culture wasn't just how we behaved when we built the product. Jessica was also the mom in another sense: she had the last word.Everything we did as an organization went through her to fund, what to say to the public, how to deal with other companies, who to hire, everything. There was no real distinction between working hours and not. And while there might be some businesses that it would be tedious to let infect your private life, we liked it.
November 2015A few months ago an article about Y Combinator said that early on it had been a "one-man show." It's sadly common to read that sort of thing.