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What are some specific tips for using in a Y Combinator interview?

Be concise. Get straight to the point, while making sure you cover all the important points, while also maintaining partner's interest.

Convey your “3 things”, the points that you want partners to remember about your company. Even if the conversation sways in other directions, it is your job to find a way to bring those key points back into the discussion.

Don't be defensive, and don't use jargon. Make it easy to understand you, and show that you can take and evaluate criticism. Have a lead speaker, but also enable the rest of the team to answer some of the questions.

Lastly, be confident. Remember that you’re the expert in your business. You know much more about the space than the partners interviewing you. Walk into the room knowing that you understand this subject better than anyone else.


How should founders prepare for a Y Combinator interview?

1. Find people who have done it. Y Combinator network is large and strong, and you should have no problem finding founders willing to help you.

2. Talk to them, and write down concise answers to their questions, and practice. You don’t want to think on the fly and have to worry about saying the wrong things.


How can founders excel in a Y Combinator interview?

Justin Kan, the founder of Twitch, a Y Combinator alum, and a long-time partner, says you have to get these three things right:

(1) Know what you are doing. You have to convince the interviewers that you are a great founding team, primarily by projecting confidence, and showing your expertise in the industry.

(2) Understand the small and the big idea. You should be able to convey the reasons why you are going to attack and dominate a niche area with your product, and then use that as a platform to successfully enter a much bigger arena. Expansion can happen in many ways, often by expanding geography, product category, or target customer. The important part is that you make a bold claim about how you will grow into something much bigger once you dominate your core niche.

(3) Convey founder synergy. More often than not, startups fail because of the founder conflicts. You have to show that you know how to work together, have clear areas of expertise/focus, and are able to resolve conflicts without sinking the company.


How is Smash Notes helping podcasters with SEO?

Every Smash Notes segment is a searchable bit, which means an hour long podcast can now be split into dozens individuals searchable queries. For example, you can now find answers to questions like: Why is it important to pay attention to mental health, or How much does a billion dollars change your life?

Previously all this information was hidden deep inside a long audio, and only searchable through transcripts, available to those willing to invest the time. With Smash Notes, you
can now find thousands of questions like this, available in short bits, consumable in seconds.

Take a look at the post The story of how My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast turned Smash Notes upside-down for an example of how one simple SEO query could yield tens of thousands of visitors, and millions of impressions.


How do we know that notes on Smash Notes are legitimate?

All the notes are backed up by the original podcast audio. Whenever a Smash Notes looks interesting, you can click to play the audio where the note came from. This way not only can you get relevant and concise information fast, all of the knowledge is backed up by a credible source.


How can I sign up for Smash Notes ?

Simply login and find your favorite podcast in search, and start making notes. Eventually, there will be premium paid features for the podcasters to subscribe to, but right now the service is free to use for anyone who would like to help and extend the human knowledge with all the interesting bits hidden inside podcast audio.

Andreessen Horowitz released a report saying there are 700,000 podcasts available and counting. That's roughly 80-years worth of audio. There is lot of work to be done to ensure that all that knowledge is unlocked and available to the world.


How can one learn how to code?

Google a lot. Professional developers spend half of their day on Google and Stack Overflow, looking for the same answers they've looked for before. All the answers are already freely available online, but you have to learn enough about code to know what to look for, and how to find it.


How did Kirill Zubovsky learn how to code?

At one point after college, Kirill moved to Seattle to get time on his own, without any distractions, to learn how to code. He learned through books, blogs, and just writing a lot of code. At one point, he rented a desk from TeachStreet, a local startup. Whenever he'd run into technical issue, he would ask their lead engineer and get help, which was incredibly useful to resolve issues quickly.


Should founders code?

Kirill says it definitely helps to know how to code. Instead of designing something first, and then building it out, he can just go through the whole process in code, and be able to iterate with a live product very quickly.


How did Kirill validate the idea for Smash Notes?

Kirill says that being a developer it's a lot faster for him to create a product and put it in front of the user than to start with a splash page. He created a quick initial version, made some notes and emailed to a group of friends to see their response.


How did the idea of Smash Notes come to life?

Kirill Zubovsky has a podcast called Rad Dad where he interviews dads, often entrepreneurs, They talk about many different subjects: kids, education, work and all kinds of things. He needed Smashed Notes to share his own podcast with different audiences.

Specifically, it started with Chris Ballew, who goes by a stage name Caspar Babypants. Kirill and Chris talked about his punk rock career, MTV, parenting, divorce, business and more, and at the time there was way to share this this multidimensional episode with Kirill's friends, without asking everyone to listen to the whole hour+ recording. Smash Notes was born.


What is Smash Notes?

For a podcast listener, Smash Notes is a way to quickly experience any podcast and to find things that really resonate with you. Instead of listening to a full 30 minutes of this episode, for example, you can look over the segments and listen to bits you like first, then if you like it, dive in to the entire episode on your phone or wherever else you're listening to the podcast normal. For podcasters, Smash Notes is a tool to segment the podcast in a way that's sharable among different audiences.


How can parents talk to kids about difficult topics, like consent or bullying ?

Talk to children both candidly, and in a way that makes sense to them. They will understand.


What is one important lesson to teach young children about bullying?

When someone else is being bullying, do not be a passive bystander, stand up for them.


Should kids stand up to bullying?

Yes. If anybody is bullying you and hurts you physically, you stand up for yourself and you punch back.


What was it like growing up in a small American town?

When Jonathan arrived back to the US, after more than six years abroad, his parents made an effort to make sure he felt welcomed. Non-the-less, it was still the suburbs of Edmonds, Washington in the 1976. People didn't know what to do with a family of a Caucasian husband and an Asian wife.


How did Sposato get his Italian last name?

Jonathan's mom married Dawn Sposato, who subsequently adopted Jonathan as his son, and to honor that gesture Jonathan is keeping with his Italian last name.


What's new with Somewhat Frank?

Somewhat Frank is a podcast hosted by Frank Gruber about technology innovations, startups, and personal life - while also giving you a slice of what’s going on inside the brain of CEO, entrepreneur, author, journalist, personality, and early-stage startup investor, Frank Gruber.

This new seasons will have a new format and a new co-host! Together, leveraging Frank's newsletter, they'd be able to deliver Somewhat Frank faster, and better than before!


Did Jonathan get to see his mom while living in Hong-Kong with his grandparents?

Jonathan says he knew he had a mom, that she lived in New York, and that she would send back money and Christmas presents, but he did not actually see her for six straight years. However, he has nothing but fond memories of his childhood in Hong Kong, growing up in a massive city, gaining independence, learning a lot.


What was life like for early Microsoft millionnaires?

Microsoft taught their employees to be great engineers and managers, and marketers and strategists and technologists, but very few had any kind of mentoring on how preserve wealth or to be philanthropic with it.


How did luck change Sposato's perspective on life?

Having some luck in life enabled Jonathan to feel very grateful for what he already has, while giving him grounding to not take things for granted and to always appreciate how far one can go. He knows first hand how much impact one can make even by simply helping others to have a sit at the table, so to speak.


How can we all live better together?

Jonathan Sposato wrote a book about this called Better Together, in which he talks about gender and how we can do better in the business by having more women be in positions of senior leadership.


How did it feel to be living in Hong-Kong as a little boy?

Even though Jonathan did not speak Cantonese, nor did he really know much about Hong-Kong or his grandparents, he says it was a fantastic experience. He learned a lot and got to meet his extended family.


What was Jonathan Sposato's early childhood like?

Jonathan was born in London to a Chinese mom and a Korean dad. Due to circumstances, his mom ended up raising him on her own. At first, they lived in Brooklyn Heights, NYC, and although it was not quite a ghetto, it was not a great neighborhood at the time. They were poor, and unable to provide great care to Jonathan, his mom sent him to live with grandparents in Hong-Kong.


How can we remember important details when networking in large multiple events ?

Grapevine.ai is a voice-activated networking assistant which creates a footprint of an individual and can input additional details you deem important to remember. this is extremely useful in a business context when networking various events and meeting dozens of people.


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