Posts Tagged ‘determination’

Preliminary ITC Ruling: Motorola Not In Violation of Apple’s Patents

January 16th, 2012 01:33 admin View Comments


SpuriousLogic writes with a preliminary ruling in the ITC case between Apple and Motorola. Quoting eWeek: “Motorola is celebrating an initial triumph over Apple, after a U.S. International Trade Commission administrative law judge issued an initial determination (PDF) finding that Motorola Mobility has not violated any of the three patents listed in an October 2010 lawsuit Apple filed against the Droid maker. … The determination isn’t the final say … in March, the ruling will be reviewed by a six-member ITC panel that will announce the ultimate ruling. However, according to Zacks Equity Research, it’s unusual for the ITC panel, which has the power to block device imports, to contradict a judge’s determination.”

Source: Preliminary ITC Ruling: Motorola Not In Violation of Apple’s Patents

HTC Infringed Apple Patents, Says ITC’s Initial Determination

July 15th, 2011 07:09 admin View Comments


CWmike writes “A judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission has made an initial determination that HTC infringed two Apple patents, HTC said late Friday. If the judgment is made final, HTC could be banned from importing phones to the U.S. It’s the latest blow to Google’s Android operating system, which is being attacked by competitors including Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. The initial determination will now be reviewed by a larger panel of ITC judges, who can uphold or reject it. The two patents appear to be fundamental to Android, according to Florian Mueller, a patent expert. ‘They are very likely to be infringed by code that is at the core of Android,’ he wrote in a blog post. The same patents are also at the heart of a dispute between Apple and Motorola, he said.”

Source: HTC Infringed Apple Patents, Says ITC’s Initial Determination

Favorite Moments From Disrupt NYC Day Two

June 14th, 2011 06:41 admin View Comments

Day One of Disrupt NYC was packed with all-star speakers and Day Two was just as memorable. All of the photos and videos can be found here and here, but here is a quick breakdown of our favorite moments from Day Two.

The second day kicked off with a bang. With Charlie Rose scheduled to interview Paul Graham and Ashton Kutcher, people from all over were watching in anticipation, quickly waiting for the interviews to start. When Charlie Rose sat down with Paul Graham, the topic of conversation went towards what Graham looks for when picking the people who are most likely to succeed. What is the first thing Graham asks when he is approached by people with a great idea? “Tell me about your co-founders.” To Graham the idea isn’t the most important, the people behind the idea are.

Graham also talked about how you have to be naughty and devious if you want to succeed. “Startups often have to do slightly devious things,” explained Graham. “You can tell if people have a gleam in their eye. You don’t want people who would be obedient employees. We’re not looking for people who did what they were told in life.”

The whole chat between Charlie Rose and Paul Graham can be found below.


Ah, good morning, we, it’s-it’s-it’s very good for me to be back after last year and, and what we want to do this morning is talk to two people who are both investors and they are both interested in other things. Paul, as you know, I am not, we couldn’t really hear what Mike said so, so I’m just gonna add a couple of things here.

Number one, he was a guy who went to Cornell and got interested in programming and then got a PhD at Harward. Also had a kind of collateral interest in Art, took some courses at The Rhode Island School of Design while he was there. He had an interesting idea which we’ll talk about as to, as to whether, if you, the difference between being a hacker and a painter and how you would become one and not the other.

We’ll talk about that too. What we want to get out of this conversation, I think most of all is to see the world through his eyes and what is he looking for and what is he experiencingof looking at so many projects, how has it sharpened his vision and his experience in terms of identifying those people most likely to succeed?

You know, and what is the criteria, and what’s the profile and those kinds of things? But let me begin with the most obvious question of all, what is YCombinator?

It ‘s a trick in the lambda calculus. Just kidding. It’s a company that invests in a lot of start ups at once.


And then.

What’s a lot?

This summer sixty-two. so far. So we fund sixty start ups at a time, and for three months they come to Silicon Valley if they don’t live there already. We work really closely with them and at the end we have an event called Demo Day.

Demo Day.

They all present your investment.

You have two of those a year?


All right. But let me back up a little bit. There’s a famous story about you making a speech at Harvard. I guess the Harvard Business School.

No, actually it was to undergrads.

It was to undergrads.


Yeah. And tell us what the results were and what it did – said to you.


This was ’95 or so.

Yeah, March ’95. It was We would talk about how to start a start up to the undergrads at Harvard. And in the talk I said if you are trying to raise money, it is better to raise money from someone who made money themselves through a start up because then they would be able to give you advise. And I suddenly noticed they were all looking at me expectantly and I thought oh my god!

I have an idea. You have money. I had this terrifying vision that they would all send me their business plans. So I said but not me, right but then afterwards I felt guilty. So, I said, “Alright, alright, I should finally do some angel investing. So, we setup YCombinator. Initially, we were just going to do normal angel investing.

Invest asynchronously.

And so why did you call it Y Combinator?

Well the domain name was not taken. And it is a really cool mathematical concept actually.

Which is?

Well, you really want me to explain?

Is there not a simplified version.

It’s a way to make a recursive function even when functions can’t have names.

There you go. I got it completely. Yeah.

So when you look at it when you started it verses today, how has it changed?

It’s a lot bigger. It’s a lot bigger. It’s sort of like the difference between seeing some like mom and pop restaurant and seeing like mom and Pop co, some kind of gigantic machine or something like that. It’s got the same essential structure, but it’s just giant.

Is it easier to do a start-up today than it was when you started?

Yeah I think so.

Much easier?

There’s a lot more knowledge out there, and it’s a lot easier to raise money.

Why is that?

Partly because more people want to invest in start-ups, partly because the procedure for raising money is better understood, like the two parties, the protocol for the founders and investors to talk to one another, it’s smoother and more established. There’s less misconnections.

It’s also cheaper, yeah.

It’s cheaper to do a start-up, yes it’s much cheaper.

It’s essentially-essentially free, right, because it used to be that what cost you money were, you had to pay money for computers, well everybody’s got a computer now, for wasting their time now with video games.

A fast computer, now.

Yeah, and like you need a powerful internet connection, but everybody’s already got a big internet action for pirating movies.

So where does angel investing end and venture capital begin?

A million dollars.

About a million dollars.


So now people now want your, they want your ou know, they come to you and they say “I’ve got an idea”. You seem to say that the founder is more important than the idea?

When people come to me and they say, “I’ve got an idea”, I say, “Tell me about your co-founders.”

Is that right?

Oh yeah, yeah. I don’t care about the idea! I mean, I care a little bit. If it’s-if it’s really great, I might be excited if it’s really terrible, that might be a bad reflection on the guy, but what I care about is the founders.

And the most important thing you want to know from founders is-is how they plan to make money?

No, I want to know what kind of people they are.


Right, there are-there are some people who just get what they want in the world.


Isaac Stern, a great pianist and great violin player once said to me that he could always tell who the prodigies were gonna to be because they would walk in front of him to do, just an exhibition,  and they would basically be  saying to him if they were ten years old “Sit down and listen to me, I have something to play”.

Yeah, well, I would not want a bit of that.

I would not want to encourage that too much in the people who come to my company here. I mean were already sitting down and listening.

But-but you did layout in Fortune magazine, in Forbes magazine, 5 things. Let’s go through those.

Well I hope you remember what the word because I do not remember.

I do remember all of them determination. You can spot that, if they don’t have that.

Well I wish I could spot it. Actually the hardest thing about doing Y combinator interviews, which are only ten minutes long, we decided whether or not to fund people.

In ten minutes?

Yes, yes, so it’s hard to tell if they are determined in ten minutes. People often fool us. I mean if they didn’t, every startup we funded would succeed. Right? And that’s certainly not the case. So we can be fooled about determination. You can usually tell how smart somebody is in ten minutes. You know, you hit a few balls across and see how hard they come back.

What did they have to explain?

But people can put on an act, about determination, for ten minutes a lot of the time.

How about the next one was flexibility.


What does that mean?

Well, that we can test, actually.


Sort of mental flexibility. So, people come in and they say, “We want to do such and such idea” and then we’ll say, “Oh have you considered the possibility of like rotating at ninety degrees and doing that instead”.

And how they respond to that?

Right, some people will take it up and say, “Yeah, you know and we could also do such and such, and such and such” and other people will just like, “Oh no, actually we wanted to do the other thing”.

And that shows inflexibility and they’re lesslike fib, that is not good. But, people are often nervous in their interviews, so we have to, the thing is and this is a lot to put in ten minutes. The third thing is imagination. Yeah, very similar kind of conversation to the one about flexibility. We try to say, “Have you tried this, have you tried that?”.

“What do you think about such they are not only be able to grasp what we are saying but will take it further. And, other people just do their best to answer the question.

When you say “we,” what do you mean? Well, there are six YCombinator partners. Yeah, so when you come in to be interviewed a YCombinator, there is going to be so many of this. It is just like a court martial. Rather intimidating.

Yeah, we do not mean it to be intimidating, but the ten minute format and the numerical disparity tend to make it that way. This is the one I did not really understand, naughtiness. Naughtiness, well start-ups often have to do with slightly dubious things.Right .

So, like you know, you can kind of tell if people have a gleam in their eye.

Yeah, right.

We don’t want the kind of people who would be obedient employees.


You want people who understand and are willing to do, that sort of, that kind of stuff held together by duct tape. You have to do to get things done.

That is almost an entrepreneurial quality …by definition.

You can’t, we’re not looking for people who are sort of, did what they were told, in life.

But team building is important.

Well …

Or not?

They don’t, you know, it’s not team building so much, I mean, you just want founders who are already friends, you want founders who have a relationship.

Which is the last one, friendship.


Was is?

There you go.

Yes indeed.

So let me just talk. One of your big success stories is Sam Altman, one of them.


Give us… who were those that… tell us what you saw, in those that you have recently invested in, that make a… difference to you, what was it about them?

Well Sam in particular, when I met Sam he was 19 going on 40.


And I remember..

Going on forty.

Right, right. It’s.. seems like, it’s weird, you know, you don’t realize this until you talk to these, You can kind of guess what somebody’s age is based on talking to them right. Even though you couldn’t see them whether they are young or old. Old people won’t take as much shit but maybe they’re not as mentally flexible either, right?

Sam, when I talked to him he pushed back like he was forty. I couldn’t treat him like a nineteen year old. He was like “Screw you dude, I’m forty inside. Never mind what I look like”.

He was in Stanford then or not?

Yeah, he was an undergrad. He was a sophomore. I tried to reject him actually. I sent him an email saying look, you know, what’s the rush stay in college? You’re only a sophomore. Just do this later and he said you know, actually, I insulted him. I said he was a freshman and he sent me a reply back saying I’m a sophomore and I’m coming, you know, and he was really good.

I’m glad you did!

In all the list of things you cited, friendship, determination, flexibility, imagination and naughtiness, intelligence is not there.


And so your suggesting that, what? By not putting intelligence as one of the things your trying to look at.

Well, partly that, it ‘s somewhat taken for granted. If you’re a programer you’re not probably at least above average intelligence. But also, it really isn’t as important. When we first started, we thought that was going to be the key. Everyone in the startup likes to believe that’s what makes startup succeed, But it isn’t.

There are plenty of smart people who get no where.

Each one is not a lot of money.

You mean each start up Angel investing yeah.

Yeah because we, our goal is only to invest enough money in them to cover their expenses until demo day, when they can raise some more.

So they can live until demo day.

It’s just first year.

And What’s the relationship you develop?

Because the promise for them is that they get, a, imprimatur because you’ve invested in them, they also get a sense of opportunity to meet people, there is a connection, to get a part of a community.

It had better not be just those two things though, because imprimaturs live and die pretty quickly. Brands. Right. Introducing people, you know.

So, what is it?

You help them understand the Silicon Valley culture.

I would like to believe we actually give them good advice.

About their business.

Yeah. Yeah.

But tell me about the t-shirts that you have.

We have t-shirts that says on the front, “Make something people want”.

So, what do you mean by that?

Well, because the the biggest mistake that start-up founders make is to be disengaged from their users, right?


The thing I tell people above all, is go tell your users, you know, go talk to your users. Find out what your users want, because the amount of value you create is sort of this rectangle where the number of users on one axis.


And how much you improve their lives on the other axis, right? So ideally, you want to be something like Google where it improves a lot of people’s lives a lot, right? But the area of that rectangle is the value you create and ultimately your net-worth.

Yeah. But all of them that you’ve funded have that the drive to make something that people wanted.

No, we thought all of them that we funded, had that drive after interviewing them for ten minutes.

So, what’s your percentage of success?

You know, it’s hard to tell ya. It takes years!

You used to be said like one in every ten investments of a venture capitalist will be hugely successful, a few will be moderately successful, and the last five will fail.

You know our definitions of success are lower too. A venture capitalist: if a start-up gets acquired for 30 or 50 million dollars, that’s a failure to them. It’s certainly not to us. And not the founders either, if they’re not very diluted, that’s enough, definitely enough to make them rich.

Take off for us, where the investments are, and why you thought these were good ideas, and what made a difference? Who is in the portfolio?

Well, there’s are 313 companies.

Well, give me the best ten.

The best ten. Oh my God. Oh Drop Box.

Drop Box.

Drop Box is very popular, right. Airbnb Right, Airbnb. being Loopt, Heroku which just got acquired, Scribd, Greplin, Xobni,,
I don’t know if I can name ten or not.

O.k. but we can find it.

They all share these qualities of the founder, number one.

The founders of those companies are all driven.


But do they share something else about where we are in terms of this moment in the evolving history of technology and the web?

A lot of them were building something that they themselves wanted.


A product that they wanted or service they wanted.

Right, like Drew made Dropbox first for himself and even the founders of Airbnb, they were their first users too, right.

Sam Altman was, built Loopt for himself, the original incarnation of Loopt.

It’s so important to understand your users that, if you build something for which you you are yourself the user, then of course you understand them. You have like, the recipient for the ideas and the creator of the ideas in one head.

How do you keep up?

Practice and software. YCombinator includes a lot of software for keeping track of everything.

Yeah And today The relationship you’ve maintained with these investments is what?

It depends what they want. Right? Like Sam Hoffman I still talk to regularly and reinvested in them 6 years ago.

And they come back when they are successful and provide C capital to be invested through you?

Sometimes, sometimes they come back and do YCombinator again.

Is that right?


For another deal?

Yeah! This-this summer, we have nine alumni coming back.


When you at the point I made earlier about. Tell me this story, when you, somebody once asked you, I think it is on your website about questions I might have asked or something like that, which was, whether a hacker could become a painter, or a painter could become a hacker, remember that?

Yeah, vaguely, yeahBasically, you said that and I thought it was fascinating, is that you have to choose something that’s mysterious to you and if you have to do it when you’re really young, Oh, because you’re too stupid to realize how hard it is.

Exactly right.

Do most people have that quality when they come to you;
they are
too stupid to realize how hard it is and all they want to do who has worked as harder as I can.

It’s not all of them.

Not all of them because they’re not all.


That’s one of the misconceptions about YCombinator,
the founders are all 22. We funded-

Because part of the conventional wisdom was anything over 30.

I don’t know yet.

I don’t know.

A lot of our goal, YCombinator are actually one of our secrets is that our goal is not only to make money, it’s also to get more data about what works.


Originally that was our entire goal when we first started.

The only reason we started funding Favorite Moments From Disrupt NYC Day Two

Y Combinator’s Paul Graham: We’re Looking For People Like Us

May 24th, 2011 05:34 admin View Comments

The second day of TechCrunch Disrupt NYC just kicked off with a bang as Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham sat down with world-renowned interviewer and journalist Charlie Rose. The topic of conversation: what is Paul Graham looking for when it comes to identifying the people who are most likely to succeed?

Graham says that when people come to him and say they’ve got a great idea, his first response is, “Tell me about your cofounders”. In general the idea is less important, though he says that if it’s a really terrible idea that might reflect poorly on the founders, and a really great idea might lift them up.

“There are some people who just get what they want in the world. If you want to start a startup you have to be one of those people. You can’t be passive and wishy-washy,” Graham says.

Rose followed up with a key question: how can you tell which people have that kind of determination in ten minutes (which is how long YC interviews are)?

Graham says that it’s hard to tell. “We can be fooled about determination — you can usually tell how smart people are in ten minutes. But people can put on an act for determination for ten minutes.” The YC partners also look for mental flexibility — they’ll ask a company to rotate their idea 90 degrees to see how they respond. “Some people will say yeah, that would work. Others will say, ‘Oh no, actually we wanted to do the other thing.’”

Another key factor: Naughtiness. “Startups often have to do slightly devious things,” Graham says. “You can tell if people have a gleam in their eye. You don’t want people who would be obedient employees… we’re not looking for people who did what they were told in life.”

Graham recounted his initial interactions with Loopt founder Sam Altman, who he first spoke to when he was only 19. (“19 going on 40″, Rose added). Altman was actually initially rejected, but he “pushed back like a 40-year old” and told Graham that he would be joining the program.

Asked about the recurring arguments that we’re in a bubble, Graham said, “I worry prices are high, but I’m reluctant to use the word bubble. Things are not crazy. I warn people that prices are high and that they should raise money now, because things could change tomorrow.”

Overall, Graham says that YC partners are “looking for people like us”, explaining that many VCs are MBAs, whereas YC partners are mostly entrepreneurs. This, Rose later added, appears to be the lowers common denominator uniting the people that YC invests in.
Some other interesting notes from the conversation:

  • The latest YC round includes 62 startups, 9 of which are YC alumni
  • YC was initially going to do typical angel investing, and actually only did the ‘batch’ model initially so that they could learn what to invest in
  • Graham says that angel rounds end and VC begins at a million dollars
  • YC’s acceptance rate is around 3%
  • Asked to list ten of YC’s best successes, Graham listed off: Dropbox, Airbnb, Loopt, Heroku, Scribd, Grepplin, Xobni,
  • Y Combinator keeps track of the successful companies that they initially rejected. One anecdote: Graham says that MIT Professor and YC Partner Robert Morris is a notoriously low grader for the applications. He had given one app a ‘C’, which sunk it in the ratings, and it went on to be successful. Now YC double-checks every app Morris gives a low grade to.
  • The total value of YC companies is now around $3 billion — YC has invested a total of around $5 million.

Source: Y Combinator’s Paul Graham: We’re Looking For People Like Us

Medical Researcher Rediscovers Integration

December 5th, 2010 12:10 admin View Comments

parallel_prankster writes “I find this paper very amusing. From the abstract: ‘To develop a mathematical model for the determination of total areas under curves from various metabolic studies.’ Hint! If you replace phrases like ‘curves from metabolic studies’ with just ‘curves,’ then you’ll note that Dr. Tai rediscovered the rectangle method of approximating an integral. (Actually, Dr. Tai rediscovered the trapezoidal rule.). Apparently this is called ‘Tai’s Model.’”

Source: Medical Researcher Rediscovers Integration

Will Adobe Sue Apple Over Flash?

April 13th, 2010 04:34 admin View Comments

An anonymous reader writes “Apple’s iron-bound determination to keep Adobe Flash out of any iWhatever device is about to blow up in Apple’s face. Sources close to Adobe tell me that Adobe will be suing Apple within a few weeks.”

Source: Will Adobe Sue Apple Over Flash?