Can the Hacker News crowd predict the success of YC companies?
A regular occurrence on HN is a new YC company launching and a bunch of people lambasting it as derivative/trivial/lame.
PG has often pointed out that the people judging these companies based on the intial launch are almost certainly not judging them very well.
It’s hard to disagree with that. Of course we don’t know what their World Domination Plans are, as he does. He saw their application, heard their pitch, and worked with them for months.
It got me wondering though. If the HN crowd can’t predict whether something is going to be a failure or not, could it at least predict the big successes? Are the comments indicative of anything?
I proceeded to do a little unscientific poking around, looking at HN’s reaction to the first significant post each company got. To make it simple I looked only at top-level comments and only ones with unambiguous sentiment.
The Big 3
Total comments: 36
Total comments: 72
Total comments: 13
Total comments: 80
Total comments: 53
Total comments: 18
Total comments: 38
Total comments: 68
Total comments: 23
Total comments: 49
Total comments: 54
You decide. I’m not confident about the methodology I used or the results.
I think it would be pretty interesting to do this kind of analysis in a more rigorous way. It would also be rather interesting to compare HN to TechCrunch, since they’re famously rather dickish on TC — but who knows, maybe they’re also more honest. I know I’m pretty much rooting for every single company that launches on HN, even if I have serious doubts about their chances.