Tea with the guy who stole a big fish from Facebook

Yesterday you might have heard that Paul Buchheit, co-founder of FriendFeed and the guy who gave Google Gmail and its “don’t be evil” motto, left Facebook to join Y Combinator as a partner.

Why would someone leave a top job at pre-IPO Facebook, a company that seems to be taking over the world? Well, Los Angeles Times got Buchheit’s point of view. I went the other way, and headed over to Y Combinator to have tea with the guy who convinced Paul to leave and join up. Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator.

What is Y Combinator? It’s the top startup incubator in the world. Every few months they hold a contest where they ask entrepreneurs to send in applications (more than 1,000 did just that last month, Graham told me), pick 30-50 (that process happens next week as interviews with about 100 companies starts), then they work together for a few months, improving their idea, which ends in a demo day in front of hundreds of investors. The last crop, founder Paul Graham told me, ended up with almost every company getting funded (which is admits is pretty extraordinary).

We ended up not talking too much about his big hires, but we talked about some things he’s seeing happen in the startup world in Silicon Valley.

After all, we’ve all noticed that things are getting a little heated again. Om Malik wrote yesterday “Irrationality, Welcome Back to Silicon Valley.”

Graham admits that valuations are about three times the size what they would have been two years ago, which were artificially low because of the financial crash.

But back to getting Paul Buchheit “we got him because we liked him.”

Fun tea, hope you enjoy it.

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Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

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