Video Of The Week: The YC Startup School Fireside Chat

This past week YC did their first Startup School in NYC. I was honored to be part of it. Aaron Harris and I did a fireside chat. It’s about 25mins long. I hope you enjoy it.

By the way, how awesome is the thumbnail they chose for the video? I need to get a copy of that image.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. aminTorres

    Anyone looking to promote their new wearable/headphones can just photoshop them right in = VC endorsement 😉

    1. fredwilson


      1. aminTorres

        if it was only that easy hehe.I can see that the Indeed situation is not an usual one but is there any value for VCs or Angels to make an effort and keep a public facing list of things that interest them? I am talking a very much specific list. As much as I appreciate an investment thesis, they ware way to general as they should.

      2. John Revay

        As an aside – I just got my LG bluetooth headphones ( late father’s day arrival)

        1. fredwilson


  2. Daniel Clough

    Great interview, I enjoyed watching it. Aaron was a good interviewer and asked good questions.

    1. Ck Yap

      Agree. Looking forward for more exciting interviews

    2. akharris

      Thanks. Fred made it pretty easy.

  3. William Mougayar

    I like how you were introduced as someone who started 2 venture capital firms, and not just a VC.Starting a new VC firm and raising money for it is not unlike a startup. There is a product and you’re asking people to trust you’ll return more money than they give you.

    1. awaldstein

      I agree and anyone who creates something from nothing and succeeds is on a short special list in my view of the world. Fred is on the top of that list.The difference of course is that VCs have a standard model that is outlined from the very first wire transfer.In almost every case, startups do not.Not a small difference. One–you know how you make money, the other it is usually to be discovered.Winning is equally impossible and bucks the odds in both cases.

      1. William Mougayar

        True, but the standard part of that model is not sufficient to make VCs win. It’s necessary, but not a differentiating factor. Each successful company whether a VC fund, a startup or any business needs clear differentiation that belongs to them.

        1. awaldstein

          I understand that winners innovate.What I said is that the VC model is somewhat set at the time you raise the fund. A huge difference.Not the same with startups as we almost never know how to really make money from the model when we raise funds against it. Sometimes yes, often no.I have many friends in the VC and banking world. Innovators and entrepreneurs, but they know their model from the very first moment of incorporation. It changes but innovation is not within the financial model itself.

      2. LE

        Saw the article on luli in the NYDN yesterday. [1]Actually I see it’s still a side callout on the homepage. Did it drive any sales to the website?

        1. awaldstein

          This one came out as well:http://www.wellandgoodnyc.c…PR is a really powerful tool when it works and it is working for LuliTonix.To your question–yes, sales happened but I don’t evaluate the effectiveness by short term ROI, although I do like it obviously.Lianna has built something here that is taking hold. That is clear.

          1. LE

            I don’t evaluate the effectiveness by short term ROIOh I know that for sure. To this day I have customers that have paid us money since an article (that happened to get syndicated) appeared back in 2000.The article actually ran in the local paper first. I had taken the time to rearrange my office monitors prior to the photographers showing up in other words I staged things in a way that I thought would be attractive visually (since I am pretty good with this myself). I even had a ladder so the newspaper photographer could get a high angle because I knew that would work (and they used it). It worked and even though others were mentioned in the article my picture ran in papers all over the country and was first mentioned story wise. The writer was excited because his article got syndicated. The photographer was as well. [1]I could tell when it hit a new paper because orders came in from that area.Anyway my point isa) I know it’s long term and it pays long term andb) Put effort into unique visuals if you can. Something that grabs the attention and that a photo editor will go for. Some angle.Obviously your market is local now however even wider PR mention (for future markets or investors or an “Oprah”) may be worth the effort.[1] I never really pitched the writer. I had just written over the course of a year or so offering helpful thoughts every time an internet article ran so he had me on file and contacted me when he was ready to write a story.

          2. awaldstein

            Building brands is one of life’s greatest accomplishments when it come together.Advising this company as an investor is a learning experiences and a real pleasure.btw–her market is national now through shipping and partnerships will make that even more so as time rolls on.

  4. pointsnfigures

    like the explanation of seed vs VC, and there is much more behind that. Good seed investors act like a good VC when they “manage” a deal. But, 99% of seed investors are passive. I don’t know the percentage of VC that is passive, but I bet it’s greater than 50%. I also think VC is an art because it’s a people business. Algo’s can do a lot of things, but they don’t do people perfectly.Good point on capital. Chicago doesn’t have enough-but plenty of startups. Spoke to a guy from Saudi Arabia yesterday; they have lots of money and no startups.

  5. Rosemary|PsychicRevolution

    You mention Europe – don’t forget Australia!

    1. fredwilson

      Too far to be investable from NYC

      1. Panos Georgolios

        how about Greece. we have a good emerging startup scene here

  6. Guest


    1. fredwilson


  7. aminTorres

    btw: screenshotupdate: looks like Discuss is not letting me attach PNGs

    1. fredwilson

      that’s awsome. thanks

  8. Richard

    Fred (and anyone else with an opinion) the 65+ consumer market is large and growing, will we have to wait another 10 years for the 50+ market to grow up and be 65+ mobile consumers? Or do you think it is possible to get a group of highly engaged 65+ users today?

  9. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Regarding the USV thesis from Brad…As people experience the “Internet of Things” they often consume services that act as continual proxies for their sometime engagement.Are such users engaged or not ?Example: Someone uses medical wearable relying on it (continually) but receiving only periodic feedback – they are engaged (i think) but the network is probably not defensible.So would network devices that represent asynchronous user need (but that also benefit from local peer density) represent a good thesis proxy for “a defensible market of engaged users” ?

  10. Brandon Burns

    There’s a “History of Airbnb” article on TC today. I got a kick out of this slide. :-)…

    1. fredwilson

      Very funny!But those two situations were almost oppositesOne I could not relate to – air mattresses on living room floorsThe other I could relate to too much

      1. LE

        I introduced my much younger brother in law to airbnb a few years ago when I first heard about it. He soon was all in. Both renting his NYC place out (he travels to gigs) and as a user.He recently was married and his new (gorgeous) wife got totally freaked out by having strangers stay in their spare room.While he was away. With just her there.So they no longer do that.To me airbnb was always a non starter not something I would ever consider doing or suggest my kids do.

    2. kenberger

      I was there when he said that onstage to that startup. it was fckn hilarious. He did say it with exactly that smile, rather than being mean. Fred later followed up with “I’m just trying to save you all a bunch of pain!”

  11. Jon Michael Miles

    To Fred / The Group: In the video you mentioned about a ‘dozen or so’ place where startup density was sufficient or at least helpful to a startup. As we think through our business model, one of the things I’m working with my partners on is defining where to be. So if folks could help me build out that list that’d be helpful. I can think of some, help needed for the rest. 1) SF 2) NY 3) Seattle? 4) Tel Aviv 5) Austin (?) 6) New Orleans ? 7) DC? Thoughts?

    1. fredwilson

      This list is not complete. Just what comes to mind immediatelyIn the US in no particular order:SeattlePortlandSFLAAustinBoulderChicagoBostonNYCWashington DCAtlantaOutside the US in no particular order:TorontoLondonBerlinMumbaiBangaloreShanghaiBeijing

      1. Guest

        Sad not to see any hispanic city names in the list. 🙁

        1. fredwilson

          i think there is potential in Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Buenos Aires maybe all of them should be on my listi just don’t know enough to be sure

      2. William Mougayar

        We like to say Toronto-Waterloo from now on 🙂

      3. LE

        Wouldn’t you include Philly on that list?

        1. fredwilson

          yeah, probably should

      4. Jon Michael Miles

        Thanks Fred

    2. realposter

      what happened to Boston?If you are looking to the future – why not get adventurous – like Sao Paolo.

  12. Mroberhozer

    Liked the discussion of rising seed/series A prices, and the response to date. On the other side of the same coin, have exit values seen the same rise to make up for the higher entry price? At least enough to keep the LP’s happy?

  13. William Mougayar

    That’s what you were thinking?

    1. fredwilson

      not exactly. but it will do

    2. kenberger

      obviously, Fred was adjusting his new “Beats Invisible (TM)” headphones.

  14. sofenza

    like the description of seeds vs VC, and there is much more behind that. Excellent seeds traders act like an excellent VC when they “manage” a cope. But, 99% of seeds traders are inactive. I don’t know the amount of VC that is inactive, but I bet it’s higher than 50%. I also think VC is an art because it’s a individuals company. Algo’s can do a lot of factors, but they don’t do individuals completely.Spybubble

    1. Mark Essel

      same here

  15. DELILA

    You’re right my brain has exploded

  16. jason wright

    $2.5mm seed?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. BillMcNeely

    does Chromecast work with TVs from the 2008 era? love to watch The World Cup via Aereo on the Big Screen!

  18. BulldogSpirit

    Thanks for this Fred. Great to get a more discursive narrative around the art and science of investing. 100% agree in the beauty of complex ideas articulated simply as an indication of an entrepreneur who can both manage and promote the essential components of the business. Quick question. In structuring early stage commitments, do you have a strong view on pref shares versus ordinary shares? Constant and fundamental conflict between protecting your LPs and discincentivising the founders. Over here in UK the pref shares seem to have been dominant in VC-space, but that seems to be changing owing to founder pushback. Love to hear your thoughts.

  19. Mark Essel

    Cached to my phone for watching on the train commute in today (handy Titan / Free Video app)

    1. JimHirshfield


        1. JimHirshfield

          iOS only. 🙁

  20. fredwilson

    I had just come from an Etsy board meeting

  21. LE

    Because I’m in and around the city of brotherly stuff, I just registered and redirected it to a page that came up when I googled “Lancaster Startups”. (You are on that page).If you want it to redirect somewhere else let me know.What is needed to encourage and cultivate the Lancaster startup scene is a website that tells founders, and more importantly the indians, why they should relocate to Lancaster. Benefits.That site would include lifestyle, living accommodations, entertainment, outdoor activities, dining, support, proximity to Philly and NYC. Remembering of course importantly who this is targeted towards. In enough detail so that anyone considering “why” would have all the answers very neat clean and precise in one place.You need to market to them.It’s a sell job.If you put something together let me know and I will be glad to give my thoughts and opinion on how convincing it is and anything that is missing.The next step then is a PR effort that will draw attention to what you have identified as the key selling points of the region. I don’t think it’s a stretch and it won’t happen overnight but remember there is fresh young kill graduating every day and you need to start early dropping the ideas into their heads.