I originally wrote this method out in 2017 while working with a small group of interviewees for the W2018 batch. Since then it’s been read thousands of times, and I personally know many teams who have been accepted after using these ideas in their preparation. The old version was starting to age a bit, so I think now, just before interviews for the W2021 batch, is a good moment to refresh it. I’ve added some new material, revised some of the dated bits, and added some pandemic-era specific advice. Enjoy!

My startup was accepted to YCombinator in April 2014, on…


Lots of people have said this already, but I think I wanted to summarize a bit.

I was really excited when I heard there was a new Picard show coming out. I’ve been feeling for the past few years that the future just keeps looking more and more bleak, and what culture could really use was a positive vision, like we had in the 90s with Star Trek. Something that was part-escapism, part-challenge to us to be better, offering a positive vision for what humanity could look like in a few hundred years if we all just come together and…


I spent a few hours last week working with the riding-by-riding data from the last Canadian election. I found lots I could write about. In fact, for a relatively small dataset (essentially 338 rows of 5 numbers each), it seemed like almost every angle I took on this data told me something I hadn’t known before. Sometimes this was putting a surprising number to well-known phenomenon (like Conservative dominance in Alberta), but other times it was an entirely new fact I hadn’t guessed. I’ve laid out just a few simple results below.

About half the effort of this was first…


We’re two days from the 43rd Canadian Federal Election and everyone is starting to make their final decisions. I’ve thought a lot about this over the last three months, talked directly with two candidates, and volunteered with one, so I thought I’d write down some of my own thinking in the hopes it can help inform others. I’m convinced that Mike Morrice is the best pick in our riding. Here’s five reasons why.

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1. The race in Kitchener Centre is Green vs. Liberal

There is a lot of talk about strategic voting to avoid a Conservative government in this election. The good news is, Kitchener Centre is one place where…


In a past life I ran Tinker, the top cryptocurrency trading company of the mid-2010s. We traded billions of dollars worth of bitcoin and other currencies, and frequently topped 20% of all trading in the markets. The technology we built is now open source as part of the Gryphon Trading Framework, but many of the lessons from those years were not code, and are broadly applicable across many domains.

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Taking risks in a domain with catastrophic events. To win, you have to survive. Code for this simulation at the bottom.

The goal of Tinker was to build the Goldman Sachs of the blockchain-future, and our thesis was good. Granting that cryptocurrencies would be the next medium of finance, we’d start out…


My startup was accepted to YC in April 2014, on our third application and third interview in two years. We followed a simple-but-rigorous method to prepare each time we had an interview, and I think it is a good one. I’ve talked about this with interviewees for every batch since ours, but maybe it will help more people if I write it down, so here goes.

The goal here is to be able to efficiently communicate about your startup. To get into YC you need to have a good startup, but that’s out of scope for now so we’ll take…

Gareth MacLeod

CEO at Tinker, Blockchain, Waterloo & SF

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