October 11, 2005
Paul Graham's Report on the Summer Founders Program

high power rocket drag race
High power rocket drag race in the desert.

Paul Graham, “What I Did This Summer”.

Two Summer Founder companies have turned down acquisition offers. The ones that are seeking it seem to be finding non-Y Combinator funding, which is a good sign.

We would have been happy if just one of the eight seemed promising by the end of the summer. What's going on? Did some kind of anomaly make this summer's applicants especially good?


I was surprised how much time I spent making introductions. Fortunately I discovered that when a startup needed to talk to someone, I could usually get to the right person by at most one hop. I remember wondering, how did my friends get to be so eminent? and a second later realizing: shit, I'm forty.


When we asked the summer founders what surprised them most about starting a company, one said “the most shocking thing is that it worked.”


If I'm right, “hacker” will mean something different in twenty years than it does now. Increasingly it will mean the people who run the company. Y Combinator is just accelerating a process that would have happened anyway. Power is shifting from the people who deal with money to the people who create technology, and if our experience this summer is any guide, this will be a good thing.

Speaking of end-of-summer assessments, is there any official word on the Summer of Lisp results (other than Kenny Tilton posting a bit in comp.lang.lisp)?

Posted by jjwiseman at October 11, 2005 11:09 AM

out of the 9 students mentored by LispNYC, one found very early that he was unable to finish-the project was bigger than he thought it was-and one failed to deliver an acceptable project. So we went 7 of 9. I don't know how that compares with the other teams, but I am very happy with the results. I had figured that about 50% success would be pretty good.

Posted by: matt knox on October 11, 2005 05:17 PM

So, what was the project that was bigger than previously thought? I know the other failed project is the cl-socket one, but I can't find any info about the other.

Posted by: anonymous schemer on October 12, 2005 10:00 AM

Actually 2 of the 8 SFP projects are written in Lisp: Reddit and another that hasn't launched yet.

Nearly all the rest used Python or Ruby, though one had to use Java because the app runs on cell phones.

Posted by: Paul Graham on October 12, 2005 10:04 PM
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