What do you like so much about Reddit?
‘It’s the human condition plus points,’ is what I told Jason. What I love is it takes conversation and improvisation, and turns it into a game where you can see the points rack up in real-time. It almost makes it more addictive than the real world. It you’re speaking with someone, you can see if they like what you’re saying or not — but you don’t get points for it.
The problem with praising kids for their innate intelligence — the “smart” compliment — is that it misrepresents the psychological reality of education. It encourages kids to avoid the most useful kind of learning activities, which is when we learn from our mistakes. Because unless we experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong — that surge of Pe activity a few hundred milliseconds after the error, directing our attention to the very thing we’d like to ignore — the mind will never revise its models. We’ll keep on making the same mistakes, forsaking self-improvement for the sake of self-confidence. Samuel Beckett had the right attitude: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
I've read this time and time again. I just hope I'll remember it for when I've got some wee ones.
It's hard for people to realize now how inconsequential YC seemed at the time. I can't blame people who didn't take us seriously, because we ourselves didn't take that first summer program seriously in the very beginning. But as the summer progressed we were increasingly impressed by how well the startups were doing. Other people started to be impressed too. Jessica and I invented a term, "the Y Combinator effect," to describe the moment when the realization hit someone that YC was not totally lame. When people came to YC to speak at the dinners that first summer, they came in the spirit of someone coming to address a Boy Scout troop. By the time they left the building they were all saying some variant of "Wow, these companies might actually succeed.
As someone lucky enough to have been in that first round of Y Combinator, I too thought it was rather inconsequential at the time. I never expected all of this....