More objectively, I think about it in purely economic terms.
- Can you raise money at the same price outside of YC as inside of it? And can you raise money as easily?
- Do you already have a network as strong as you’d get going through YC?
For the vast majority of first-time founders — it’s a 100.0000% no-brainer. You’ll get a higher valuation, with an easier time raising $$$, and develop a 10x better Initial Tech Network — going through YC.
For second timers, with a track record, it’s more complicated. But maybe still a no-brainer in many cases, especially if it’s a different industry or your prior track record isn’t 100% portable to your next gig, and/or if VCs won’t see you as the true founder that led that prior success.