I'm the blurry one

In 2009, I was part of a Y Combinator-funded startup that crashed and burned. The startup didn’t work out, but the experience was memorable, and years later I ended up at Swiftype (another YC-funded startup) through the YC network, so it’s not all bad.

Paul Graham talking about Prototype Day at Y Combinator Summer 2009 (Photo by Kevin Hale)

One of the weird things about my YC experience is that I’m featured in the photo used on Wikipedia to illustrate the Y Combinator entry. Since the photo is in Creative Commons licensed, it gets used in tons of articles about Y Combinator. It was taken by Kevin Hale, who was then running Wufoo, and is now a YC partner.

This is from Prototype Day, which is about half-way through the 3 month session. Everyone presents what they’ve been working on. I’m the blurry one getting up to demo our software. Most people gave what was more-or-less a pitch of their company, but I tried to do a live demo. People didn’t really get it – which should have been a wake up call – and the demo flopped because we had some DNS setting configured incorrectly. So at least I was able to fix that problem! More clearly, you can see Patrick Collison sitting next to me, working on what would become Stripe.