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Publisher's Summary

Twice a year in the heart of Silicon Valley, a small investment firm called Y Combinator selects an elite group of young entrepreneurs from around the world for three months of intense work and instruction. Their brand-new two- or three-person start-ups are given a seemingly impossible challenge: to turn a raw idea into a viable business, fast.

Each YC session culminates in a demo day, when investors and venture capitalists flock to hear pitches from the new graduates. Any one of them might turn out to be the next Dropbox (class of 2007, now valued at $5 billion) or Airbnb (2009, $1.3 billion).

Randall Stross is the first journalist to have fly-on-the-wall access to Y Combinator. He tells the full story of how Paul Graham started this ultra exclusive institution, how it chooses among hundreds of aspiring Mark Zuckerbergs, and how it teaches them to go from concept to profitability in record time.

©2012 Randall Stross (P)2012 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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Soothing

This book eliminated the fear of failure, and replaced it with a childish and nerdy excitement for starting a start-up.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Perfect intro for outsiders

Loved it, I feel like I finally know a bit of what they look for.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Must have for startup folks

What made the experience of listening to The Launch Pad the most enjoyable?

The story was interesting the whole time and the information was useful

What did you like best about this story?

For someone thinking about startups the book gave an insight into the ups and downs of a startup

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • Irvine, CA, United States
  • 11-13-17

Best audiobook for yc applicant

Must read for yc applicants.
You can see what Paul Graham and Sam Wants
Audible 20 review sweepstakes entry

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I wish I read it two years ago

Great book. Very insightful and educational. As the leading photography platform (think Uber for professional photographers) we thought Splento was an ideal fit for YC. This book clearly explains why it wasn't. Having a great business and team do not necessarily matter, both team and idea have to be right for YC and tick certain boxes. So if you are an aspiring entrepreneur thinking of applying to YC, read this book first to save yourself time and disappointment.

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Start-up Myths and Legends

So you want to be a part of a tech start-up? This book is not meant to dissuade but it might end up doing just that. By taking the listener through a typical 3-month yCombibator batch the author can genuinely make you vicariously feel the dizzying highs after your team gets selected and the absolute misery of the trough after you "graduate ". Great ride!

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I really liked this book

Very interesting book for entrepenour, from begginning to end, it gives the a real vision of what is like to be in an accelerator program. This. book is a must to read for all entrepeneurs interested in be part of one.

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Very inspirational, though not very practical

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I truly enjoyed listening to the book. Yes, it is not a practical guide on how to build a company or secure investment. <br/>However, it (1) explains very well how one of the most known business accelerators work. (2) The story turns out to be very inspirational and motivating. Much more so than the many books from various business guru's that are supposed to motivate and inspire. I found this simple descriptive story to be much more effective than the books filled with prompts and advice to start doing something. <br/>DEFINITELY recommend.

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peak behind the scenes

I really enjoyed this audio book. It gives nice overview of y combinator and that your ideas don't have to be big to be successful.

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Now my favorite book

This book is awesome and has me really excited to pursue startup opportunities, and I'll also look to read anything I can get my hands on about Paul graham or Y combinator

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-23-17

The Best Book for Start-Up

This is the book that I recommend to anyone who is looking to build or is building a startup.

Why is it so good? Because being an entrepreneur is a lonely, random, dark, stressful and most of the time badly rewarded journey. And those who think it's different are going to get hit hard. Be sure that if building a successful company was easy - much much more people would be really rich, and most of startups wouldn't die in the first year. And in this journey you need peers and friend, teammates and likeminded people around you. This book supercharges your surrounding or compensates the possible lack of it. You just get into the whirlwind of great people, insights, results in startups and a lot more.

How does it helps? Aside from feeling energised and a part of an elite group of young entrepreneurs selected to be lead in the worlds best accelerator, there is a huge lot of business knowledge, purposefully and in smart manner given from all sides - from Y-Combinator partners, from brave young people starting their businesses, from the public they sell their products to, from potential employees, and from what is now history of success of those companies.

This is a book to teach in schools - that would be my suggestion for economics/business classes. This is especially true especially considering the fact that current education leads to where our world currently is - political, ecological and energy crisis, with lots of fields where significant improvements are not just welcome, but urgently required. But as we're in the world where money is the key resource - people should learn how to build up the resource to actually patch or fix any part of our world. But that's polemics. Main idea here - this is a book to re-listen at least once a year. To anyone looking to get it and thinking if it is wort it - I strongly recommend you do get it.

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  • Tatiana
  • 12-13-13

Must Read for Startups

Would you consider the audio edition of The Launch Pad to be better than the print version?

No

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Launch Pad?

The paragraph on gender differentiation in the start-up world.

What about Rene Ruiz’s performance did you like?

It was ok.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made a bit frustrated and angry at times with the hypocritical and sexist approach that the lead character selects his start-ups. It's very money driven without any considerations for the best interests of the person. Must read if you are thinking or have recently launched a company - there is some good advice in it about how to pitch and sell your business but i wouldn't go down the route of incubators after this read.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • luke
  • 05-20-15

fantastic

I have listen to this book a number of times
worth while and very informative nothing really ground breaking or new but the story line was very interesting

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  • Jon Searle
  • 05-17-15

Makes me wish I was young and dumb and 24 again.

encouraging or disconcerting that the idea doesn't really matter - it's the quality of the founding team, particularly how well they know each other.