Meet the People Taking over Hacker News

I did several different things while I was working on Hacker News, and these will now be taken over by different people.

Kevin Hale (HN id kevin) will be in charge of design.  I don't think he plans to change much about the appearance of the site, but users will be happy to hear he has a plan to make it work better on mobile devices.

Kat Manalac (katm) and Garry Tan (garry) will be the voice of YC on HN.  They'll be the ones who respond to most "Ask YC" posts and individual comments related to YC.

Nick Sivo (kogir) is going to continue working on the code.  He's been working on HN for a while, and is the reason it's actually faster now than it was a couple years ago, despite increased traffic.

Finally, I'm delighted to announce that Daniel Gackle (pronounced Gackley), who has already been doing most of the moderation for the last 18 months, is going to join YC full-time to be in charge of the HN community.  Many HN users know Daniel as gruseom, though now he's going to switch to the slightly more legit sounding dang. Daniel is one of most thoughtful (in both senses of the word) people I've ever met. It kills him when people say mean, stupid things in comment threads. Moderating an anonymous forum is hard, and the fact that we get roughly equal grief for HN comments being bad and for being too quick to ban people is a sign he's been doing a good job so far.  He has plans for new tools that may not merely arrest the decay of HN comment threads, but actually improve them.

I'll still be around as a user, but less frequently than when I felt I had to check the site every hour or so to make sure nothing had broken.

Sam Altman for President

I'm delighted to announce that Sam Altman has agreed to become president of Y Combinator starting next batch.  I'll continue to do office hours with startups, but Sam is going to lead YC.

Why the change?  Because YC needs to grow, and I'm not the best person to grow it.  Sam is what YC needs at this stage in its evolution.

I'm convinced there's a fundamental change happening in the way work gets done.  It's becoming normal to start a startup.  There will be a lot more startups in 10 years than there are now, and if YC is going to fund them, we'll have to grow proportionally bigger.

Of all the people we've met in the 9 years we've been working on YC, Jessica and I both feel Sam is the best suited for that task. He's one of those rare people who manage to be both fearsomely effective and yet fundamentally benevolent–which, though few realize it, is an essential quality in early stage investing.  Sam is one of the smartest people I know, and understands startups better than perhaps anyone I know, including myself.  He's the one I go to when I want a second opinion about a hard problem.  And his association with Y Combinator is only about a month shorter than mine, because he was one of the founders in the first batch we funded, in 2005.

So when Sam became available in 2012, I started trying to recruit him.  It took me over a year, but eventually I succeeded.

YC should feel the same to the startups we fund. Office hours are the way founders interact with me, and I'll still be doing those.  In fact, since I'll only be doing office hours and not also worrying about running YC, I'll probably be able to give better advice.

New YC Partner Investment Policy

As of this batch we're introducing a new policy for investments by YC partners in the companies we fund.

YC partners have invested in the startups we fund since the first batch. In the beginning it was harmless, and occasionally even necessary. And other investors couldn't treat investments by YC partners as much of a signal when I was the only one doing it, because I was so haphazard about it. But over the years this gradually changed, as there came to be more YC partners and they paid more attention to picking likely winners, till by the last couple batches, other investors could treat investment by YC partners as an accurate sign of how promising we thought a startup was. Which meant we were now making it harder for the startups that partners didn't invest in to raise money.

Our new policy is designed to prevent this by depriving other investors of this signal till it's too late. The new rule is that YC partners can't be in the first $500k a company raises, unless it's 3 weeks past Demo Day. And since a startup's fundraising trajectory is almost always established, one way or another, by 3 weeks after Demo Day, this should mean that we can't affect anyone's fundraising unless they've raised $500k, at which point their fundraising is already successful.

This should fix the problem.  If it doesn't we'll try something else.