One of the bad learnings you get from YC is that there’s a formula for success, and it looks like this: First you do some brainstorming. Then you come up with a good idea that can scale to a billion dollars (otherwise what’s the point of getting out of bed in the morning?) Then you work hard until you find “product-market-fit.” And then if the noises from investors indicate you won’t be getting a next round of funding, you start looking for a “pivot.”

This so-called formula is nonsense. First, good ideas rarely come to us from a brainstorming session. They come from wandering about with an open mind until we stumble on an opportunity worth pursuing. Most of your ideas will be bad ideas, because unfortunately you’re not a genius visionary. So the best way to find good ideas is to have many ideas, try them out, take what works, and throw away the rest. But this is not what YC wants you to do. YC wants you to pick an idea that has market pull (or the potential for it), and to then dig a hole in the same spot until you reach the boiling magma. Because what if you stop digging just before you strike gold? When you’re cheap and expendable, that’s not an optimal strategy for the YC fund. You must go all in. Diversification is for your YC overlords, not for you.