If the idea does not really excite at least some people the first time they hear it, that’s bad.Another thing we ask is who desperately needs the product.In the best case, you yourself are the target user.In the second best case, you understand the target user extremely well.This is meant for people new to the world of startups.Most of this will not be new to people who have read a lot of what YC partners have written—the goal is to get it into one place. Though one-on-one advice will always be crucial, we thought it might help us scale Y Combinator if we could distill the most generalizable parts of this advice into a sort of playbook we could give YC and YC Fellowship companies.
So we ask why founders want to start this particular company.A word of warning about choosing to start a startup: It sucks!One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we get from YC founders is it’s harder than they could have ever imagined, because they didn’t have a framework for the sort of work and intensity a startup entails.Joining an early-stage startup that’s on a rocketship trajectory is usually a much better financial deal.On the other hand, starting a startup is not in fact very risky to your career—if you’re really good at technology, there will be job opportunities if you fail. I personally think the riskier option is having an idea or project you’re really passionate about and working at a safe, easy, unfulfilling job instead.
Obviously, we don’t want your company to behave in an unethical way against competitors.