Teach Me How to Startup

Are Y Combinator’s Newest Ventures Partners Another Sign That the Coder Is King?

Tech investors, the hackers are here to disrupt you now.
mullenwegmatt Are Y Combinators Newest Ventures Partners Another Sign That the Coder Is King?

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On his blog yesterday WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg (who is not personally responsible for Betabeat being down just now, but sorry about that) noted something unusual about Y Combinator’s newest venture partners, namely their lack of venture experience.

Rather than listing the investment experience or the number of boards that Posterous founder Garry Tan and Appjet founder Aaron Iba have sat on, YC touts their coding credentials. The post calls them both “rare individuals who can both design and program” and “best hackers among the YC alumni.”

Some time in and around The Social Network hitting the cultural ether, headlines started declaring this the age of the nerd. But it seems the nomenclature has gotten more specific. Between startups like Codecademy (Mayor Bloomberg’s a fan!) and Code Academy (two different things! we swear!) and New York City’s drive to grow its engineering base with a $2 billion tech campus on Roosevelt Island and Software Engineering Academy conveniently located in Union Square, it seems there’s a language barrier one needs to cross to stay relevant in the startup ecosystem. And it appears that’s now bleeding over into the sector that funds those companies.

“Take note of this moment,” writes Mr. Mullenweg, of the YC hires.

“The hackers and engineers of Y Combinator are doing what hackers and engineers do to any industry, they’re efficiently and ruthlessly disrupting the traditional model of venture capital and are going to destroy far more more wealth for their contemporaries than they create for themselves, as broadband did to entertainment, Craigslist did to newspapers, and Amazon did to traditional retailers. This is what outsiders, by definition, do.

The dark humor in this is that the same people who delight and celebrate investing in disrupting other industries are blind or in denial about it happening to their own.”

So, investors, better start actually following those Codecademy lessons instead of letting them pile up in your inbox like the rest of us.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com