Y Combinator

We talk with people who are shaping the future. A show about technology in business, research, and art.




#120 - Austen Allred

Austen Allred is the CEO and cofounder of Lambda School.

Lambda School provides a CS education that's free until you get a job. They were in the Summer 2017 batch of YC.

You can learn more about Lambda School at lambdaschool.com.

Austen is on Twitter at @austen.

The YC podcast is hosted by Craig Cannon.



00:00 - Intro

1:01 - Encouraging people to do something that they're scared to do

5:16 - Where did the insight for Lambda School come from?

6:26 - College vs developer schools

10:26 - Building a network

12:16 - Does Austen see value in a traditional liberal arts education?

14:56 - Steven Klaiber-Noble asks - As competitors begin to copy your model what front do you believe you'll be competing on?

17:56 - Why did Austen choose to raise money?

20:06 - Fundraising falling through on Austen's first startup

21:36 - Moving back to Utah and writing a book about growth

23:26 - Why Austen wrote a book

26:26 - "Starting a company is by definition saying, I think what I can do is worth more than what other people will pay me for."

27:26 - Mispriced human capital

30:21 - Other opportunities for Lambda School

32:46 - Modeling risk

35:36 - David Kofoed Wind asks - When Lambda School is incentivized to take in people that will land high paying jobs, how do you think about the diversity of candidates? One would imagine that it quickly becomes a game of pattern matching the stereotypical SV people.

37:51 - Will Lambda School ever not be remote?

41:16 - Dave Dawson asks - You appear to be on the successful path now, was there a point early in Lambda School when you wanted to stop?

43:46 - Helping everyone become an autodidact

46:46 - Rethinking where to start on an online course

48:11 - Dave Dawson asks - What keeps you up at night at this point?

49:46 - Dayo Koleowo asks - “I have made remarks I do not agree with” - from Austen's Twitter bio. What is that one remark you wish you didn’t have to disagree with?

53:26 - Choosing remote work as a core problem to solve in your company

55:56 - Analysts aren't good at measuring product quality

57:36 - Teaching taste


 03 April 2019  1h0m