Back in the old days, getting into startup bootcamp Y Combinator meant having an innovative idea and representing it in a compelling way on your application, no frills required. But with the tech bubble ever-looming, the whole Y Combinator application process is getting quite competitive.
A Y Combinator hopeful who goes by the name of mottis on Posterous issued the following screed entitled “Y Combinator, will you marry me?” against the gimmicky nature of his fellow applicants:
“With rising competition from seasoned entrepreneurs, established companies and even YC alumni who go through the program for the second and third time, many applicants are looking for a way to stand out… One group offered to prove itself through a 72 hours challenge, which I thought was creative. Another person announced his application in a dramatic post and got noticed by YC partner, Paul Buchheit. One other group went as far as posting a Facebook ad explaining why they should be accepted!… So what’s next? Is applying to YC going to become a PR competition? Will we see YC applications become more like fancy marriage proposals?”
Yes, apparently that’s exactly what comes next, as mottis followed this missive with a video of a full-scale flashmob Disneyland proposal and deemed it the ‘best’ possible example of how to ask someone to marry you (we’ll have to respectfully disagree on that one.)
At the end of the post, mottis finally copped to his true motive: “We also applied to YC,” he wrote. “So is this post a PR stunt discussing PR stunts? Well, we hackers love recursions.”
A post decrying gimmicky applications while simultaneously being a gimmick in itself? So meta!
So what’s it gonna be, Y Combinator? Whatever your answer, maybe you should just be thankful mottis didn’t employ the entire cast of Disneyland to win you over in song.