Why is Y Combinator giving away its trade secrets for free in a YouTube class?


News out of Silicon Valley top tier accelerator Y Combinator was a little confusing today. President Sam Altman decided to give away the organization’s secrets…for free. Altman is teaching a “How to start a startup” class at Stanford and releasing the 20 lecture videos on YouTube for the masses.

At first glance, that doesn’t entirely make sense. YC is a prestigious program, with a three percent acceptance rate. Doesn’t it diminish the wow factor if the same lessons YC grads get are available for everyone? Not really, Altman told me.

“There’s so much we do at YC that’s one-to-one individual advice,” Altman said. “That’s important.” Not to mention the benefits of the YC network, which not only involves top-tier investors, but also includes a huge family of alumni portfolio companies that attend private, exclusive events like Alumni Demo Night. “If we give away a little more knowledge, that’s okay for me because…

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