Recorded live at Y Combinator’s Female Founders Conference in New York, Jessica Livingston shares lessons learned while starting and operating Y Combinator. Illuminating storytelling that will leave you inspired.
And, she’s more than just Paul Graham’s wife. He summed it up better than anyone on his website. “Jessica and I were already dating when we started YC. At first we tried to act “professional” about this, meaning we tried to conceal it. In retrospect that seems ridiculous, and we soon dropped the pretense. And the fact that Jessica and I were a couple is a big part of what made YC what it was. YC felt like a family. The founders early on were mostly young. We all had dinner together once a week, cooked for the first couple years by me,” Graham wrote. “Our first building had been a private home. The overall atmosphere was shockingly different from a VC’s office on Sand Hill Road, in a way that was entirely for the better. There was an authenticity that everyone who walked in could sense. And that didn’t just mean that people trusted us. It was the perfect quality to instill in startups. Authenticity is one of the most important things YC looks for in founders, not just because fakers and opportunists are annoying, but because authenticity is one of the main things that separates the most successful startups from the rest.
“Early YC was a family, and Jessica was its mom.”