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Hey, I hope Pioneer tournament winners will see this post. How winning a Pioneer tournament affected your product, business, and most importantly your life?
The community and events are cool. I think it was helpful in getting into YC. Looking forward to meeting everyone in person after things go back to normal.
But it's just a milestone (hopefully one of many). There's no silver bullet that is going to magically make you successful. You have to put in the work and grind it out trying to get better one step at a time (usually over the course of many years). That motivation comes from inside of you (not from winning a contest, doing an accelerator, or raising funding).
Out of interest, why do you think it was helpful in getting into YC? Did you mention it in the application or interview?
A few reasons:
• Office hours and preparing for the livestream helped us hone our messaging
• On the application they ask about "previous accelerators" you've done and I think having Pioneer listed was a plus
• Daniel did a review of our YC application and a mock interview for us
Whoa, OK. Pretty cool.
I think the winners community on slack is really nice, and the group zoom calls and stuff can be fun. Quite enjoyed the Pioneer 'camp', had a great advisor in ours who was super enthusiastic. I think otherwise I'd agree with Brad, it's definitely a stepping stone and mostly just good validation you're onto something promising.
The YC thing is partly true, but it's also linked to Pioneer making quite a few companies that are 'on trend' their tournament winners, and those same trends align with interests of YC e.g. machine learning, or remote work tech etc - Pioneer essentially spots some of the promising companies a little earlier. Having someone like Daniel on hand to offer advice about the application is of course an excellent opportunity too :)
One thing I would say is that we have literally only used like 1 or 2 of the things from the prize bundle, which is funny cause at first that was one of the motivating factors to join!
I think a big part of start ups is just believing you can do it.
And the best way to convince yourself that you can do it is to surround yourself with people who you consider to have done it.
This is more useful for people who are not in silicon valley, and have not spoken to a single person that have gotten VC funding.
There is "magic" of simply being in the same Zoom chat as someone like Bryant Chou from Web flow, Blake Scholl from Boom, Brad from Roboflow ;)
It gives you the feeling of "I'm not that different from them, I can probably do it too".
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