Colleen Taylor

Colleen Taylor

Editorial Director at Y Combinator, formerly at TechCrunch

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON March 30, 2016

Discussion

Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
Hi, I'm Colleen Taylor, the editorial director at Y Combinator and the editor in chief of The Macro. I've been covering technology and business for 10 years, most recently at TechCrunch, and I love to talk about media, startups, founders, and the future. I'm excited to be here -- ask me anything!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hey, Colleen! Great job on The Macro, consistently putting out great content. I recently visited NY to meet with several media companies and reporters. Many of them are heavily investing in video content, largely influenced by Facebook's push toward the media (and increasingly Snapchat). Are you/YC planning to produce video content? You have so many interesting stories and a fun opportunity to document the YC experience for others.
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
I totally agree about the potential for video at YC! Well-made video content is difficult to create -- it's great to see more outlets properly investing in it. One of the projects I was most proud of at TC was a mini-series called Inside Jobs, where we talked to people in different roles at tech companies (like facilities manager, data scientist, software engineer) about their jobs and how they got there. I'd love to do something like that at The Macro.
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
@loyalelectron Loved the TC inside Jobs series. And yes, YC video content would be awesome. I think that great story-telling and content would be more important here than shooting it with the latest high-end equipment...
Jonny Miller
Jonny Miller@jonnym1ller · Cofounder @Maptia
Hey Colleen – if you could clone yourself, and have your clone work on a startup idea... what might that idea be? (assuming that human cloning technology is already a crowded market)
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
If there's anything I've learned at YC, it's that being a founder is more difficult than most people imagine. I like the idea of delegating this to my clone so that I can keep some semblance of free time and sanity in my own life! I'm personally quite passionate about American manufacturing: I try to buy my clothes, furniture, accessories, and electronics from companies that make things in the USA and/or places with fair pay and unquestionably ethical labor practices, which is harder to do than I'd like. I really love what Maker's Row is doing in this respect. So maybe I would do something in that realm. Hopefully my clone could help come up with the actual idea, too :)
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
@loyalelectron American manufacturing is making a comeback and Elon Musk is leading the way. That said, it would be great to see more of it across different industries...
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Colleen! What has most surprised you about working at Y Combinator?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
Internally, the lack of drama and politics. The traditional VC and investment fields have a reputation for being political, opaque, and difficult to maneuver. YC is refreshingly pretty free of that.
Harry Stebbings
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
HI Coleen, Thanks so much for joining us today, I would love to hear how YC differs from the madness at TC? Would also love to hear what the majority of your work at YC is?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
I'm not as tied to the news cycle! There are entire stretches of hours or even days when I don't check Twitter -- it's a whole new world for me :) At YC I help tell stories from our large and growing community of founders, partners, and staff -- right now I mostly do that through The Macro (at http://www.themacro.com), the YC blog, and interviews at events like the Female Founders' Conference next week. I also help the companies in each batch with their messaging and press launches. It's really exciting to see their stories evolve during the three months of the YC program.
Chris Herbert
Chris Herbert@cgherb · CEO, TrackR
What are some of the key aspects of companies that shine at the Y Combinator Demo Day?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
Hey Chris! The companies that have the clearest pitches tend to shine the most. But it's hard to predict who that will be until the day itself. And the responses afterward are always surprising. The ideas that resonate with the press aren't always the same ones that resonate with investors.
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
@loyalelectron I'm curious to hear what some pitches were that resonated well with the press, but fell flat with investors.
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
Hello Colleen, So great to meet you here. 1) I am curious to know which is the craziest office while shooting for TechCrunch Cribs? 2) What is the best way a startup can be covered by a tech magazine?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
Oh wow, there were so many great ones. One that stands out as especially crazy/fun was Lit Motors:
. It was a bootstrapped electric vehicle startup operating out of a garage in SOMA. No fancy micro-kitchens or interior designed lounges. Just a bunch of really inspired people building cars from scratch, with gnarly equipment and tools lying around. I'm pretty sure I should have signed a waiver -- but it all worked out, and it was so much fun. The best way a startup can be covered by press is to have an amazing product that lots of people love. It's annoying advice, but it's true. If a startup thinks they need press as a catalyst for growth or fundraising, they should rethink their strategy. That said! If you want to target a specific publication or journalist, it's best to meet them in person when they're at a conference or similar work event, or get a warm intro from someone they've already written about or know. Form emailing or mass spamming a totally generic press release to a list full of people is a waste of time. I'm shocked at how much it still happens.
John Campbell
John Campbell@john_campbell
Hi Colleen very few (zero) YC Demo day companies in the brain-enhanch-with-tech/life coach space. We seem to be missing using tech to improve our own inner lives and performance. Surprised?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
Wakie is one company in our W16 batch that could fit into the life coach/advice bucket. But I agree, I'd love to see more things explicitly helping with our inner lives. I wouldn't say I'm surprised -- it's a difficult space to tackle!
John Campbell
John Campbell@john_campbell
many thanks - appreciated
小嶋大貴/Daiki Kojima
小嶋大貴/Daiki Kojima@dktky18 · Be My Style(TechMedia) founder
Hi, Colleen! Thanks for this livechat. I'd like to know what media u love to read. And, what do you take care the most as a editor.
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
I love this question, and could spend all day answering it. I'll keep it to the things I regularly pay for: I have subscriptions to the New Yorker and the New York Times, and very frequently buy Vanity Fair, Vogue, and the WSJ. These publications are still the best at long-form profiles of interesting businesses, people, and topics, which is what I like to read in my spare time. In the tech press, The Information, the online publication started by Jessica Lessin, will probably be the next subscription I pay for -- their recent story on Nest and Dropcam was so excellent, and they do consistently amazing and trustworthy work. I also have a yearly paid subscription to Newsblur, which is an RSS reader for the hundreds of online feeds that I read for free. As an editor, my main job is cutting out all the superfluous words -- the trick is to cut out the right ones! ;)
Steven Chan
Steven Chan@chanstvn · Ops/Data @ Y Combinator
If someone made a movie about any startup you've interviewed and you got to play a lead character, which startup & role would that be?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
Oh man. The YC story would make a decent movie. Maybe I'd play our CFO Kirsty Nathoo. That way I could keep my red hair, and speak authoritatively on finance in a crisp English accent.
Simon Burns
Simon Burns@realsimonburns · Growth at Opendoor
Hey Colleen, what is the most recent story you read? Like the very last journalism story in your Chrome history! And second question, what will be the leading publications in the new paradigm of decentralized tech journalism where anyone can post high quality writing to Medium and be a thought leader?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
It was: https://blog.roam.co/why-does-co... , by my former colleague Kim-Mai Cutler. It's about communal living and why arcane regulations make it so difficult to do in the US. She's great. (I'm glad it wasn't something in Us Weekly, whew.) That post is on Medium, which speaks to your second question. I have no idea who the leaders will be yet. But right now, it's exciting to see so many voices percolate up and move around more freely.
Ivan Dimitrov
Ivan Dimitrov@proffi · Growth Hacker @ pCloud
Hello Colleen, What is the best way to contact editors in TC when you are providing really valuable tip? I tried the tips email and tried to pitch an editor in a specific niche for but so far no answer. How do you decide what is newsworthy and what isn't?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
Tips@techcrunch is read by everyone on staff, so you're on the right track there. Newsworthy-ness is so subjective to the writer. I always think: "What would I want to read? What would I click on?"
Koji Kanao
Koji Kanao@twelvejapan · Web/iPhoneApp dev/legal tech startup
Hi Colleen! I have two questions for you. 1) As you know, right now it's easy to have a thing which he/she calls media on the Internet. How do you define internet media or what should internet media have? 2) If you could do anything in tech industry, what would you do?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
1) I like the parameters of "interesting" and "thoughtful" that Paul Graham set when he introduced Hacker News several years back: https://news.ycombinator.com/new.... Those are good qualities to shoot for, and it's the metric I use to think of what should be published on The Macro. 2) In terms of the tech industry today, and my skills and interests, this is the tops.
Andrew Flynn
Andrew Flynn@andrewpflynn · Growth, Staance
Hi Colleen! After The Macro (this could be years from now!)- what do you think you'll do next?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
If I could save a bunch of money, maybe I'd buy some sheep, and have a sheep farm, and sell sheep's milk cheese. It'd be fun to do something totally different. There's a big wide world out there!
Danny Denhard
Danny Denhard@dannydenhard · Founder & CEO of Denhard Media
Thanks for taking the time to do this. In a world where content is king and distribution is queen what's your best and must do tips for large companies or outlets (struggling to get traction) to have the best and most effective content strategy and cut through the noise?
Pete Heslop
Pete Heslop@pwheslop · Co-Founder ThisisTap.com
How competitive are the tech blogs on scoops? Say TC vs Verge?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
Oh, very competitive. And now that more national attention is on Silicon Valley, it's not just the blogs competing among each other -- they're going up against the New York Times, WSJ, Bloomberg, CNBC, Charlie Rose, Katie Couric, etc. etc... It's an exciting time for sure.
Kalina Zografska
Kalina Zografska@kzograf · Product fella @trygigster & @publitas
What do you think of FB instant articles and Apple News as emerging formats? Will static but usable form win versus the open web?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
I think they're great for distribution, but I prefer content to also live on the open web -- for posterity, accessibility, and search-ability.
Hi Colleen! Would love to know what hobbies or sports you did as a kid. What skills or lessons from them had the biggest impact on your life?
Colleen Taylor
Colleen Taylor@loyalelectron · Editorial Director, Y Combinator
The biggest impact probably came from my early jobs. I started working pretty young, with a newspaper route. Once I was old enough for a work permit, I worked at Dairy Queen, the snack bar at my local pool, retail shops, restaurants, as a bartender in college, etc. I learned how to relate to lots of different people and do lots of different things. We had a good contributed story on The Macro about how tech companies should hire more people with service industry backgrounds: http://themacro.com/articles/201...
jack rometty
jack rometty@rometty_ · student
Hey Colleen! what are your favorite blogs/online publications? what do you read for fun?
Mark M. Whelan
Mark M. Whelan@mark_m_whelan · Founder, Fellow and Executive Coach
Hello Colleen, how do you decide what to write about/ feature? What is your criteria for choosing start-ups and founders? (this would be really helpful for foreigners, like myself, new to the Bay Area)