When we read Y Combinator applications there are always ideas we’re
hoping to see. In the past we’ve never said publicly what they
are. If we say we’re looking for x, we’ll get applications proposing
x, certainly. But then it actually becomes harder to judge them:
is this group proposing x because they were already thinking about
it, or because they know that’s what we want to hear?
We don’t like to sit on these ideas, though, because we really want
people to work on them. So we’re trying something new: we’re going
to list some of the ideas we’ve been waiting to see, but only
describe them in general terms. It may be that recipes for ideas
are the most useful form anyway, because imaginative people will
take them in directions we didn’t anticipate.
Please don’t feel that if you want to apply to Y Combinator, you
have to work on one of these types of ideas. If we’ve learned
nothing else from doing YC, it’s how little we know. Many of the
best startups we’ve funded, like Loopt,
proposed things we’d never considered.
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