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Prod Cohort 3.0 Application

At any point throughout the process, please reach out to Anne Brandes over phone (917-833-9231) or email ([email protected]) or Joseph Gross over phone (786-602-2601) or email ([email protected]) if you have any questions about the application. 
The application process should take a significant amount of time in the upcoming week. It will be an intense but very rewarding process. The form itself, however, should not take more than an hour to fill out. You should plan to spend the vast majority of your time focused on building your company. Below is a full copy of the application. The application opens September 15 and closes September 23.

Part I - Basic Information

1) Name
2) School
3) Graduation Year
4) Email

Part II - Short Answers (≤100 words each)

1) Prod prides itself on creating a community of founders with extraordinarily high standards. Tell us about a time when you held yourself to an extraordinarily high standard.
2) Please tell us about a time you successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage.
3) At its core, Prod is a community in which we help each other. Tell us about a specific instance when you helped someone get through a hard time or achieve something awesome. 
4) (Optional) What else would you want to brag about? Be concrete and quantitative.

Part III - Logistical Details

1) Do you have a co-founder? If so, who? If not, are you planning to find one? Please detail your plan and if not, explain why.
2) What other concrete ideas and problem spaces could you see yourself working on?
3) How and when did you hear about Prod?

Part IV - Progress Submission

From our perspective, this week helps us answer two questions:
1. Do you have the minimum amount of competency to build what you hope to quickly? If your building in robotics, we hope you’ve already learned C++. If you’re doing sales tools, we don’t expect strong technical skills, but would hope to see good sales progress.
2. Do you actually want to do this? If you are really trying to build a company, you shouldn’t really change how you spend this week over an average week (besides perhaps clearing your schedule more than typical). While we care about absolute progress, we care more about how you approach problems, how feedback-oriented (from users, mentors, friends) you are, and whether starting up is a logistical priority for you this year.
To that end, we like to say that Prod is a tool, not a program. You don’t “do” Prod — if you hope to find a fancy schedule and programming after joining you will be disappointed. Prod is a force multiplier on your existing progress.

If you’re not already working on something: You are not expected to build a unicorn overnight. That being said, our standards are quite high: we are looking for people to achieve impressive progress in a short period of time. 

If you're already working on something: If you're already working on your startup, you and your cofounder(s) should instead apply the same prompt to your own startup instead of doing a completely new idea. In other words, your team should make as much progress as you can in one week. Be sure to delineate between the work you've already done and the work you've done this week.
If you have co-founders who are applying to Prod as well, please submit individual applications and document what each individual contributed to the progress you made in the week. The task submission can be the same.
Submission Format: Tell us about what you did. For this, aim for brevity — all we want to know is what you’ve attempted, what you’ve accomplished, and how you’ve gone above and beyond. There is no template for submissions, so get creative and do what is best for you!
Make sure to only report on work that you’ve done between September 15 and September 23. Applications that report progress done not in the application week will be automatically disqualified. Building a startup requires extreme intellectual honesty — we can only help if you give us an accurate picture of your company.

Examples of Prod Applications

[Successful] Pearl, Maggie, and Savannah from Glaze held a clothing resale event at MIT with 2,000 attendees and $10,000 in revenue
[Not Successful] A slide deck

Something To Look Forward To

Here is a list of what Prod teams have done in a week... after they benefitted from Prod mentorship and community:
1) Built and deployed a production-ready and revenue-generating product suite
2) Acquired 10,000+ new users a day with a customer acquisition cost of less than one cent
3) Secured their first million dollars of signed LOIs (letters of intent)
4) Closed the largest early-stage round in an industry's history while not actively fundraising
Additional inspiration for moving quickly from Patrick Collison (Founder and CEO at Stripe)

Additional Remarks:

The most common failure mode of previous application is they just... didn't make enough progress. Maybe they just talked with some friends about their ideas and wrote up their thoughts, or alternatively, made a pitch deck.
This is not what we want to see. We want to see you getting stuff done, going outside your comfort zone, doing stuff you wouldn't normally do. Send us a picture of you selling to people in the yard. Go get contracts from big companies. Get a term sheet from a VC (you don't need to sign it). Build a cool MVP that we would want to use. You get the picture.
Lastly, spend the week working hard on your company, and don't over-optimize for short term progress. We care more about how you approach a problem than the sheer results you can generate (although both are helpful to see.)
P.S. We'd prefer late and awesome to not-late and not-awesome, within reason. Just let us know in advance.