Startups, Luck and Poker
A special note needs to be made about the startup accelerator YCombinator, which seems designed to play the “startups as poker” game. They look for and encourage tight play from their teams. That is why they strongly prefer engineering-heavy teams, do not worry about what your initial idea is, do not mind when you pivot, give you just enough money that you are forced to bootstrap, and have a fixed deadline of three months before you are forced to demo your product. They also encourage aggressive play through their Demo Day to help their startups raise a lot of money fairly early on. Best of all, they are able to place a Rovio’s worth of US$11-20,000 antes every six months in the hopes of landing another Airbnb or Dropbox. In poker terms, they’re like a poker bot with perfect memory and near-perfect play playing 50 machines’ worth of hands at once. It’s almost cheating.