Another thing to think about is, sometimes there are people that you know that are a network, say alumni or other people, and they will give you well-intentioned bad advice. For instance, "Oh, don't apply until you have $5k MRR," or, "Oh, you know, I'm really tight with the YC partners so let me put in a good word for you." Like, you should be very skeptical of this stuff. Self-appointed people that are giving you well-intentioned advice that's essentially putting up barriers between you and the process, I would just be, like, really wary of that. I'm sure it's coming from a good place, but, again, a lot of times where I answer questions for people that are applying, some of the weirder ideas come from people that are vaguely in the network. And so if someone is telling you, "You're too early, or too far along, or something, something, something," I would be fairly skeptical, right? And, again, you don't need a network to get in so expecting the network to give you all the perfect advice is not always great.
Does that make sense? Same thing, hardware, you know, our nuclear companies, there were no programmers that were the founders of the nuclear companies, but you would hope to see a couple of folks with PhDs in something related to the nuclear field, right? So some sort of domain expertise. And the reason is we fund lots of startups, and if you have all these great ideas and no one on the team can actually do it, you're going to have a hard time. And so just having a really good sense, both in the application, and in general, I would recommend having someone on the team that can do it is highly recommended and changeable.
So let's talk about what makes a good application. The first one, I promise this is not redundant. This matters. And it's because I read so many applications, I have a very good idea of what they actually look like. And I realized that this talk will go on the internet, and many of the things that I say will be reflected back. Like, I'm creating a feedback loop for the things that I read, and so things that I'm putting in here are actually meant... Like, I want these ideas to get dispersed and people knowing what makes a good application, because I think that will make my job easier, right? So this is very intentional.
And so, again, there's a lot of ideas around there that, like, the right way to apply to YC is to wait until you have a certain amount of stuff. Someone asked me a question, "What's the right amount of MRR to get into YC?" And like, "Holy cow, the answer is zero," right? That doesn't mean you will definitely get in every time, clearly. But any kind of roadblock you put for yourself that you're too early, I would argue, is your own self-constraint roadblock, not something that's coming from us.