Book Description: Number of teams that applied to Y Combinatorâs summer 2011 batch: 2,089Teams interviewed: 170Minutes per interview: 10Teams accepted and funded: 64 Months to build a viable startup: 3Possibilities: BOUNDLESSÂ Â Investment firm Y Combinator is the most sought-after home for startups in Silicon Valley. Twice a year, it funds dozens of just-founded startups and provides three months of guidÂance from Paul Graham, YCâs impresario, and his partners, also entrepreneurs and mostly YC alumni. The list of YC-funded success stories includes Dropbox (now valued at $5 billion) and Airbnb ($1.3 billion).Â Receiving an offer from YC creates the opporÂtunity of a lifetime â itâs like American Idol for budding entrepreneurs.Â Acclaimed journalist Randall Stross was granted unprecedented access to Y Combinatorâs summer 2011 batch of young companies, offering a unique inside tour of the world of software startups. Most of the founders were male programmers in their mid-twenties or younger. Over the course of the summer, they scrambled to heed Grahamâs seemingly simple advice: make something people want.Â We watch the founders work round-the-clock, developing and retooling products as diverse as a Web site that can teach anyone programÂming, to a Wikipedia-like site for rap lyrics, to software written by a pair of attorneys who seek to âmake attorneys obsolete.âÂ Founders are guided by Grahamâs notoriously direct form of tough-love feedback. âHere, we donât fire you,â he says. âThe market fires you. If youâre sucking, Iâm not going to run along behind you, saying, âYouâre sucking, youâre suckÂing, câmon, stop sucking.ââ Some teams would even abandon their initial idea midsummer and scramble to begin anew.Â The program culminated in âDemo Day,â when founders pitched their startup to sevÂeral hundred top angel investors and venture capitalists. A lucky few attracted capital that gave their startup a valuation of multiple millions of dollars. Others went back to the drawing board.Â This is the definitive story of a seismic shift thatâs occurred in the business world, in which coding skill trumps employment experience, pairs of undergraduates confidently take on Goliaths, tiny startups working out of an apartÂment scale fast, and investors fall in love.