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Ask HN: How Many of You Are Like Me?
82 points by seanMeverett 3 hours ago   67 comments top 24
15 points by frevd 2 hours ago replies      
lol - you're not alone ;].
see, i'm here for 800 days now but stopped commenting on most of the threads long ago when I realized that my views are somewhat diametrically different and would not be accepted easily by those so more wise and better connected than my dumb self. they installed a nice feedback mechanism that effectively limits my input - whenever I post something I must fear ridiculous downvoting by those higher priviledged clergy folks. I guess that keeps the platform at a common standard, unfortunately I have not much to say at that point.. and I know some more people that do not post a single response, people much brighter than me. Not everybody communicates at the same rate, though.
1 point by lhnz 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
I consider myself technical but I can't comment here about that kind of thing since I will not be knowledgeable enough to hold my own... I feel like I'm just about intelligent enough for other non-technical discussions.

I actually agree, I find it a lot easier to learn here than I did at University. I think it's because I'm mixing with people that care about knowledge.

3 points by pasbesoin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I try to comment when I have something of value to add, that has not already been contributed. Mostly information. To a self-imposed limited extend, a bit of anecdote and/or humor. [1] The latter usually only in accompaniment to information.

I support the original attitude that pervaded HN, that karma is about surfacing interesting information. It's not personal, nor should it be.

Personal relationships do develop here, but not as a direct function of karma (I'm sure karma plays some role, inevitably, due to visibility and so discovery.)

In short, what would the other person want to know? (That's "want", not "should", the latter being a slippery slope.) Keeping in mind the composition and goals of the community, this makes participating pretty straight forward.


1 Maybe I've been veering too far in this direction, lately.

1 point by mkramlich 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
info sponge here too. plus agree think you can acquire edu approx equiv to an MBA via all the free and cheap info and resources avail on the web and in libraries.

key is to put it all to use!

4 points by charleso 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Active reader here, but I avoid commenting.

Whenever I do, I seem to find myself caring too much about the responses. This leads me to returning again and again to a thread I've already learned from and replying to responses in an attempt to clarify my position. Before I know it, a half-hour has passed to no benefit.

Since arrows tend to be clicked to reflect a worldview which conforms to a reader's own and not to promote posts of substance, I find the result is more poking a hive-mind than learning through discussion. That agitates me far more than it should and, for myself, it's best by far to simply lurk.

1 point by david_p 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Same here. I almost never comment or post. I learn/read a lot here and mostly don't think of a contribution worth posting.

I actually think that most comments add more noise than information, and therefore decrease the value of a thread as a whole. This get worse as commenting gets easier, because easier posting means more comments, but most people don't actually have something interesting to say/write. Information gets diluted and less accessible/visible.

In fact, this applies to the whole Internet and I sometimes wonder how much time it would have taken to learn the same things I learned while browsing through tech-related blogs by, for example, reading books (which are, often, denser in terms of information).

8 points by ireadzalot 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Sometimes I don't comment because the other comments seems so well-thought-out and expertly laid out. Level of knowledge of some HN commenters is almost intimidating sometimes.
1 point by ww520 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
I used to comment but found that I got dragged into heated "discussions" that were big time sink. I then tried short responses/comments, attempting to leave the investigation part as homework for the interested readers, but I was called as troll and asked to clarify things in long posts again. Also similar to frevd's case, my points of view don't usually align with the mainstream trends in HN. I just rather get my stuff done than spending time arguing with people online.
2 points by wallflower 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I lurked for about a year before I posted. Don't do it :) It's very addictive once you start amassing bits of attention.

Chicago has an excellent reputation!

2 points by shareme 49 minutes ago 0 replies      

What Chicago startup did you end founding or joining?

3 points by tomrod 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I comment more than I should, and soak up an enormous amount of intellectual capital I now employ.

Thanks, great minds!

1 point by cfaubell 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
> How many of you soak up all this knowledge like it's nicotine but don't comment much or post at all?

That perfectly describes my relationship with Hacker News.

As another first time commentor but long time lurker, I'd like to thank those of you who do comment. You've created a truly great resource.

2 points by citricsquid 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I comment, but add no value, does that count? We're all leeches! :p
1 point by b3n 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've been on HN for years and read it daily, but I comment very rarely. I can't answer your question but I suspect there are a lot of others like us. Perhaps some traffic stats would shed light on the number of lurkers vs contributors.
1 point by xilun0 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
I haven't be scammed of $100,000 yet so I guess I'm not completely like you :p
1 point by abest 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am in the exact same boat. I visit HN 10 times a day, but this is my very first comment here.
4 points by kaeluka 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Its my first post here - still I am a very active reader.
1 point by peteypao 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is an MBA really that raw of a deal??
1 point by us 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been on here for the past few years as well but more recently started this account and in the past three days (literally speaking) have been trying to make an effort to comment and help out as much as possible to the HN community. I haven't posted anything yet but may soon sometime in the near future when I have something of value to provide. I know a few others that don't even have accounts that just come on here to read. It's not uncommon.
1 point by zwadia 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
I feel I add value. But gravity here loves me much. Happy V-day HN.
1 point by noig3 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Hey Sean. Are you in San Francisco? Do you want to start a company? I will be moving to San Jose in a couple of weeks. Maybe we could just hang out. I could use some friends.
1 point by mvid 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
i have shattered the paradox
1 point by theprodigy 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I think there is a lot of people who just lurk around and read everything, that is ok, but if you participate in discussion I think you will definitely learn a lot more.

Google cone of learning.

4 points by jparicka 2 hours ago 1 reply      
i won't comment
Ask HN: Burned out. How can I make the most of a sabbatical leave?
75 points by PostBurnout 6 hours ago   100 comments top 55
23 points by SandB0x 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Do you have a wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend? Are you tied down to anything? Do you have money to travel? I'm going to assume you're a single male between the age of 25 and 35.

The right ideas will slowly come to you, but getting some perspective is essential and that's not going to come from sitting in your apartment staring at your laptop. The two things I suggest are:

* Exercise. Mens sana in corpore sano. Lift some weights. Run, cycle. Anything. Be yourself, only better (as seen on a t-shirt). You will not believe how much regular exercise will change your state of mind.

* Travel. Get out of town. Get out of your hole. Get some perspective. Even if you just go to stay with some relatives in another city for a few weeks. If you can afford the flights, go somewhere warm and cheap and bask in the sun like a lizard. Meet some strangers. Make friends. Talk to girls. Read, eat, drink.

I wish you the best of luck, and please let us know how you get on.

Edit: I also really, really recommend reading Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. It will definitely help shape your thoughts, and it's a very quick read.

13 points by kabuks 5 hours ago 0 replies      
After my burnout, I quit my job at Microsoft. Rented my house. Paid $2000 for a bright orange vw bus, and drove south.

I ended up at Esalen for almost 6 months in their work/study program


I worked in an organic garden overlooking the pacific picking/planting food that we ate the same day for 32 hours a week.

And had cheap access to incredible massage/yoga/healing programs, and the support of intelligent and conscious people who were also trying to find their center again.

Best thing I ever did, and I highly recommend it.

My advice: Give yourself time. I believe we are all fundamentally good and have the will and energy to work and express ourselves in the world. Sometimes, it's ok to rest and step back, and find our grounding again. Give yourself that permission.

4 points by fleitz 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Relax. After a month you'll be in a much better place to evaluate. You should focus solely in that month on doing little things you've been meaning to do. eg. Spending more time with friends / family. Going to see that exhibit you've been meaning to. Watching a movie you just haven't had time for.

I took time and founded a startup but it wasn't until a week ago (9 months from the start that I really found the right niche)

It sounds like your in Vancouver, I am as well let me know if you want to grab a coffee and have a more in depth discussion. Also, have you spoken to your doctor about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? Around Feb/March of every year is when I want to make drastic changes to my life, I've sort of chalked it up to SAD and have made a point to get outside during the sunshine more often.

The ideas that you think are crazy are probably whats going to snap you out of your funk. Think of doing something crazy as making yourself available for new ideas, opportunity and inspiration. I can tell you that if you bike from Vancouver to Halifax you're probably going to meet some very cool people doing interesting things. Those interactions will probably drive your next idea. It will flood your head with experiences and environment that few other people have. I just wouldn't start any big new projects until you've given yourself a month to evaluate in a de-stressed environment.

12 points by ebiester 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've taken two. The first one (10 months) I met my boyfriend, spent a couple weeks in Paris, and generally did nothing of importance. It's exactly what I needed. That's okay!

The second one (8 months), I tried a startup but didn't get far. (I am not the type for a large solo project.) I spent two months in Turkey. I wrote a third of a novel (that I'm still working on.) I worked on learning Turkish.

Honestly, I'm not ashamed that I didn't do anything of major value. I found true love, that was enough for me. :)

5 points by oogali 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm 27. I was burned out from June 2009 to January 2011. I made it out of that funk, and will never go back.

- Drop all timelines for recovery.

You didn't go into burnout overnight, so you're not coming out of it overnight. I saw the warning signs of my "batteries" getting low in early 2009, but I kept pressing on at full speed because I wanted to get ahead of the workload, and kept hoping that relief would come.

The relief didn't come, the workload increased, and my mind essentially shut down. I felt like a zombie some days -- a zombie too down to even chase after brains.

- Change your scenery.

I tried to cheat by doing all the little things and hoping for immediate results.

There were days I'd spend 8-10 hours biking through Manhattan and Brooklyn. But my mind would wander back to work ("I'm only X blocks from work, I wonder if building security will let me bring my bike through the lobby, so I can work on this bit of code that'd improve operations... wait, what the hell am I saying?")

I moved from one apartment to another. Granted, certain things about my original apartment (and neighborhood) were annoying me, but not as much as I thought they were. The move helped put me closer to where I wanted to be mentally, but there was still a long way to go.

I resigned from my job in June 2010, even though we both wanted to make it work. I was just too far into the abyss. I considered a sabbatical, but I wasn't sure that I'd be willing to return at the end (plus there was word that someone else had did the same -- left and didn't return, so I told myself that my 1-year request would probably be denied).

I spent the next two months throwing parties, going to parties, catching music acts, traveling to visit friends and family, and doing new and old things (photography, skydiving, sailing, etc).

I didn't set a travel itinerary or any schedule whatsoever -- I would just randomly look at air/bus/rail fares and weather forecasts, say "that seems reasonable", and book my ticket.

- Don't work during your recovery.

During my traveling downtime, I'd do some consulting work for a few clients. I enjoyed working with most of them, but out of the latter bunch, there was one over-demanding client that threw all of it into chaos.

In my burned out state, I desperately tried to make it work with this client ("if I just try harder..."), but no, it just reversed any progress I had made at this point. And affected the other clients I really liked.

- Don't beat yourself up.

I had all the same fears you currently have, and the biggest one was not having a plan. I felt like crap that I let myself deteriorate to this state, and that it was affecting people around me.

Eventually I made one plan that I'd stick to no matter what: to get better.

- Keep at it.

In September 2010, I legitimately started feeling better and began at a new job, but I continued to travel (weekends, 3 day weekends, holidays). Kept doing the things that made me happy, and my recovery kept progressing.

With this new job, I made a rule of not working at home -- only in the office, except for emergencies, until I could find a better balance. Sometimes, I felt like I was coming close to max capacity, so I'd ease off the throttle. Just being aware of what your limits are is a big win.

For a while I was starting to hate tech, and consider my options as a farm or construction worker (a la "Office Space"). But I'm back to twiddling knobs and some hacking -- I've probably written more code in the last two months than I have in the last year.

Here I am in February 2011, and I'm in the tail end of this thing. To put a number on it, I'm probably at 95% and as long as I keep at it, I'll be better than ever.

* The most important thing out of this is you have to take the time out to recover. You cannot try to multi-task/juggle/whatever because you will fall right back into the rut you were climbing out of. *

Hopefully this helps you all shake off some rust, and better yet, avoid the dark road I went down for almost two years.

6 points by Tichy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe you should do one of these things, as it sounds like you have some serious self esteem issues. I bet you you could manage to get a bicycle and even manage to ride it. There are people running marathons without any preparation, after all (not that I'd recommend that, but I don't know).

I've discussed my problem with a fellow procrastinator recently and we agreed that this feeling of "I won't finish what I start anyway" was a major contributing factor.

Granted, some things on your list sound easier than others. Namely the bicycle thing. I suppose you need some planning for such a big project. On the other hand, if you just jump into it, you'll probably figure out quickly what you need. If you have some money left, you can always just stop at some bicycle gear shop by the road and get what you need.

And even if you fail (take a flight home), it doesn't seem like such a catastrophe.

You could combine the bicycle thing with the grassroots protest by simply claiming that you are "cycling for cause X" (I never understood those, but lot's of people do that and it seems to work). Hm, maybe I could eat chocolate to help save the whales?

A startup could work, if you chose something else than Java. But it might be more beneficial to do something entirely different than your day job.

9 points by peregrine 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd found a startup, make products and services that people love, build überscale infrastructure using ultracool tech, and cash out for a fortune (I can't even refactor this putrid pile of Java in front of me)

The reason you can't re-factor the pile java in front of you is because you don't really care about it. If its a startup and something you own, something you create then its likely to be easier to get yourself to work on it. And the code will be new and not carry all the horrible baggage that old java tends to.

You discount yourself too much, you clearly are smart, and you clearly are a hard worker(otherwise why would your boss let you go for a year) and you clearly know a thing or two about things you care about. Get out and do something, anything -you- care about.

8 points by yesno 5 hours ago 0 replies      

1) Your problem will be there for a few days but will most likely be forgotten in weeks.

2) Bring a notebook, write your journeys in detail. The food you eat, the tea you drink.

3) Observe local culture.

4) Take a lot of pictures.

Basically, try to forget your day job.

If you travel, I'd suggest you to go to Asia (Japan, Korea, China, India, and SE. Asia countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia). Go to a place with rich culture. Spend a few weeks or even months there.

Those pictures and stories would hopefully make you feel better on your gloomy days.

I've been living in North America for almost 10 years (in particular Vancouver) and the cities get boring quickly. Lack of personality and culture. Asia is completely different; more vibrant.

More importantly: change your perspective on how to live life.

5 points by ankeshk 5 hours ago 1 reply      
1. Join the slow movement.



2. Meet a lot of new folks. Find meetups happening that have nothing to do with your field. Buy lunch to one new person everyday and have long conversations. Go on a road trip maybe to meet and connect with all your old college friends.

3. Read good fiction. Read magazines that have nothing to do with your interests.

4. Travel. But without fix leaving dates. Slow leisure travel.

5. Eat healthy. Exercise. Sleep well.

Inspiration for this post taken from the quote:

"There are four ways to know much:
live for many years;
travel through many lands;
read many good books;
and converse with wise friends."
- Baltasar Gracián

4 points by random42 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Travel. Explore yourself and the world. Meet new people, learn their culture.Learn new languages. Eat new cuisines. Read other religions. See documentaries. Watch old classics. Join an art class. Exercise. Do something out of your comfort zone

Do NOT do anything remotely close to your profession, there more to life than picking up a new programming language to learn.

4 points by commanda 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I recommend that you see a therapist. My therapist's practice is mindfullness-based, which I highly recommend. One of the things I've learned is how to look at all my own italicized parenthetical statements as the bullshit excuses they are. The monkey-mind is what's making up all those stories that you tell yourself about why X is impossible -- it's telling you that you can't possibly found a startup because you've had difficulties refactoring some Java? Come on now. Just pick one of those goals and go for it. Don't pay attention to any of your excuses.

A wise friend once told me "If someone else can do it, you can totally do it."

2 points by techiferous 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Diagnose what is causing your burnout.

Is it your own beliefs and attitudes about work? If so, changing jobs won't help. Are your work responsibilities so large that you don't have time or mental energy for other things in your life? If so, changing jobs would help. Is your diet messing with your brain chemistry? If so, changes in your diet would help. If the causes of your burnout are in the circumstances of your job, then the sabbatical will only help temporarily. Coming back to the job will reintroduce the causes and you'll see the effects of burnout again.

If you are able to diagnose the causes well, sometimes only small changes are needed to ameliorate the problem. If you don't diagnose well, you may end up making a large change without much positive effect.

For the past two years I've been in the habit of tracking my mood every half-day along with a short sentence or two of what was going on. This process has been great in getting me in touch with what tends to stress me out or make me happy. I'd recommend starting a habit like this.

3 points by electromagnetic 5 hours ago 1 reply      
In my opinion you've probably worked too long and pushed too hard in a job that doesn't let your brain shut off. I get into similar situations when I'm focusing on my writing, I get to the point that I just can't shut my brain off. I'll resort to trying to relax, but I end up reading news and doing things that just keep my brain in that point of over exertion.

I resort to physical work, it still requires me to keep my focus but it doesn't require me to think nearly as much, in fact I'll find myself zoning out completely. I hand wash dishes and it gets me into the same zone where I don't have to think for 30-minutes.

If you've got property and you'll have no work commitments I would suggest learning how to maintain your property, there's lots of physical work that will release your mind and keep you away from things (IE technology) that will keep your mind in that exhausted state.

Build a shed, you'd be surprised how difficult it is to actually get it to sit level. You'll have to work the ground, then frame it and then side the walls and shingle the roof. It can be especially daunting if you've never done this sort of work, but it may be worth it to learn because not only is there economic benefits (IE you can do the work yourself rather than pay the 6x mark up companies charge from the cost of materials for this work) but 5 years down the line when you start recognizing you're feeling a bit burnt out you could use the skills you've learnt to put up a fence or something.

Physical work also has the added benefit that it helps your diet and metabolism, both of which can contribute to that burnout feeling. I'm not saying your diet will improve, I'm saying you're likely to end up eating more protein and fat, which certainly helps me. I always get into that burn-out feeling when I start eating more carbs.

4 points by ngom 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I have read the great suggestions written so far - exercise, travel, etc. Great, I hope something hits the mark.

I have two things to suggest. I hope they help. If I'm being blunt, I apologise.

1. Simplify your thinking.

If you have a habit of overly abstract thought, you can make problems more complicated than they need to be. You could say it's a bit like spiritual java programming.

For instance, aims such as "become a virtuoso musician" don't mean anything. They lack concreteness. "become ascetic monk on mountain top". Also intangible.

You say you recognise them as daydreaming. But your whole way of thinking is daydreaming - "What I think ..", "What I fear ...", "doom", "failure". All abstract daydreaming. Do something about it. Stop daydreaming.

Make a promise to yourself: you will reject thoughts that don't have a tangible aspect you can act on immediately. They are tiring you. Let your brain rest awhile. And if you have to think about problems, think about other peoples' problems not your own.

That means real, tangible people. It could be anyone. This is not a moral injunction. It's practical - if you look to see how you can help other people it requires empathy and if you develop empathy you start to see other patterns of thought. It may help you see different ways of thinking and get you out of your rut.

Only think a few days in advance. Reject all thoughts of the future for a while.

2. Tone down the ambition.

You imagine a virtuouso musician or some epic bike journey, some massive startup. Therefore anything you actually you do seems crap in comparison - attempts noodling on the piano or going for a small bike ride around the neighbourhood seem silly. Trivial. Pointless. Why bother? Stop comparing yourself and your life to your daydreams (see point 1).

I write this because this is what helped me. Please ignore it if it doesn't feel right.

Best of luck, I wish you all the best.

1 point by eftpotrm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
At the moment, you're stuck in the burnout. It's draining your energy and enthusiasm, so you're not going to have the cool ideas to go off and do something better because your brain just isn't in the right place. If you can afford to get away, do so, try new possibilities and see what they bring to your mind. Getting out of the current self-fulfilling pit of despair sounds like it'll do you good.

The only caveat I'd say is that 'travel the world while you're free and single with no-one to tie you down might sound great, but.... In personality tests I tend to come out as an introvert but I'm fairly sure I'm actually an extrovert with poor social skills (and hey, self awareness is the first step to improvement...) - I know I need others around me and that that takes more time in a new environment than for some. For me, the 'travel the world, see the sights' advice would make me lonely and miserable in all these beautiful places I'd spent a fortune to see. Make the most of the opportunity to do things you wouldn't otherwise get a chance to, but be honest with yourself about what it takes to make you happy; don't press on regardless with the 'opportunity of a lifetime' if taking it will cause you greater pain elsewhere.

2 points by gcheong 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"I'm not ready for a new job or project -- I'm in no shape to work. I could travel, but my problems will just follow me around the world. I could volunteer, but I'm so emotionally empty that there's no heart for me to pour anywhere."

One thing that might help here is to understand that motivation generally follows action. If you wait until you feel motivated to do something you might end up waiting a long time, or until some external pressure forces you, or you will fall into the trap of only doing things that give you immediate pleasures. So once you've taken care of your immediate physical needs, make some kind of longer term goal - do that bike ride, do some charity work, start a small project, it can be anything but do something.

4 points by quadrant6 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm in a similar situation. I haven't left work and can't afford to but came very close to quitting even though I had nothing else to go to, just because it was making me sick and so stressed.

I still plan to leave but now am at a point where things are more manageable so I have time to plan what I'll change my career to. Whereas 1-2yrs ago, I was feeling very low, totally tired all the time, quite depressed etc.

Here are my 2 cents and what helped me:

• Try and find a girlfriend, online dating can be useful. Failing that a female travel partner. This is a big one and made a huge difference for me. The first girl I meet was really not right for me, I mean we had nothing in common but it didn't matter. It's all experience. I regret now not taking opportunities to meet girls earlier when I could have, just because I was scared.

• Travel is good, yes your problems will be with you but you will be seriously distracted, forced to look at new things, experience new things and gain new perspectives. I personally don't think it matters where you go. If it were me, I'd go to a few different places with a rough idea but try to avoid planning too much (like me, that probably goes against your nature!).

• Give the computer a break.

• Exercise is all good and necessary but not the key in itself. Though I can reccomend surfing - I started to learn and even though I totally suck, there is something about it. The message is: if you can find a form of exercise you really enjoy, so much the better,

• Don't be afraid to party sometimes, perhaps you don't have the sort of friends to do this with right now. But if you get the opportunity to go out, have a good time and get drunk do it (occasionally).

• Meditation: yep, mindfulness. Try getting some books on Zen, Adviata or by Krishnamurti.

3 points by presidentender 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You need to exercise. I specifically recommend Mark Rippetoe's "Starting Strength," but any exercise will be good for you.

I find a meditative activity to be of some help. I enjoy rifle marksmanship, gardening, and washing dishes.

12 points by petervandijck 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"I could travel, but my problems will just follow me around the world."

They might look and feel different though.

6 points by mbesto 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Travel - Go somewhere that makes zero sense. It will make sense when you get there and when you leave.

Athletics - Pick something that is so far out of your reach that it doesn't make sense why you would do it. For example, I just signed up for a double-marathon without having ever done a marathon first.

2 points by _corbett 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Retire early and often is my motto. I've now been through my third (fourth?) sabbatical. My advice: keep yourself busy but allow for spontaneity, you don't have to pack it all into one sabbatical, and multitask in your actions (i.e. you can choose activities and locations that fulfill several fun things you've been meaning to try). Realize that it's not a picnic and even if you sit at home it's going to be tough; you don't go through personal growth without some pain.

For ideas (and possibly even inspiration) of what might be possible in a few sabbaticals:
I took a year in Denmark between high school and college, learned Danish, how to paint, and toured Germany with an orchestra playing the clarinet (which I had also just learned). I also developed a taste in music by going through an entire library's worth of records in alphabetical order among other adventures, including backpacking on my own for some months.

I took a year between my undergrad and my Master's, in which I worked for a software project I was passionate about, traveled the Middle East, taught programming in Jerusalem to Palestinian high school students, and studied Arabic and Topology at Harvard.

I took a year between my Master's and beginning my PhD, in which I worked as an astronomer in Switzerland, founded a startup in the bay area, and did a ridiculous amount of traveling stateside.

In addition I've taken a few month(s) here and there... moved to the Arctic to work for a startup, to Egypt to scuba dive and study Arabic, etc.

Think positive and big! Best of luck in your adventures! BTW I am not rich or independently wealthy, just was very creative out of necessity at finding external funding sources. All of the above were self-financed in this manner.

3 points by tezza 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi. I agree with some of the others that you sound depressed as well as burnt-out. I've also seen that you have few encumberments.

What I'd suggest is learning to surf the ocean. I don't do it personally, but a lot of my good friends are surfers from Victoria in Australia.

There is a good perspective amongst surfers. They may wonder who the fuck you are at first, but once you've wormed your way into their scene, they are most welcoming.

Good luck... you need to chill out, have some wild parties and come back refreshed.

4 points by websockr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Work on filling your emotional (motivational etc whatever you want to call it) gas tank and develop a process to keep the energy coming in the same as the energy going out.

How I've found that people (myself included) get into burnout is that they work their hardest on things with no positive emotional feedback. (such as completing a physics phd or dare I say programming for a startup pre-launch) Its not about toughness or anything here, that "some people just cant cut it." What is going is that the people that stay afloat have family, friends, hobbies and fun to keep them going.

What I would do is the following:

1. Identify the things emptying your gas tank (programming is extremely taxing after long periods of time)

2. Identify the things filling your gas tank (... as I said earlier ... friends, family, hobbies and fun with them)

3. Make sure you are working out, eating right and sleeping decent hours. (if your body's hormonal systems are going to be a help not a hurt they need to be taken care of)

4. Work on adjusting your balance much towards the fun stuff for a while and less from the draining stuff.

5. Slowly integrate some more draining stuff making sure the filling stuff isn't coming in faster on average.

I've burned out before, and this is how I got out of it. I wish you the best of luck here and hope to follow your way out.

3 points by Jach 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Go on a camping trip for a few weeks or months. Stay away from electronics. (Maybe go visit a foreigner-friendly tribe in Africa?) Or sink into your lowest depravities until you get sick of those and decide you want to program again, though I can't vouch for that.
1 point by bajsejohannes 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What worked for me (although I wasn't really burned out, just wanted a sabatical):

- On day one I was a new person. I suddenly had 8 work hours of extra energy. No need to set aside time for relaxing (it'll quickly get boring).

- Work on a farm. Getting up early, and really sweating for your food is fantastic. There are general applications forms here: http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/shortterm/far...

- Travel. Everyone else has already said it, and they say it for a reason. I pretty sure your problems won't follow you. Personally, I prefer travelling with couchsurfing.com or airbnb.com. You meet great people there.

- I travelled to friends around the world. Some of the greatest moments were actually pair-programming with those who wanted to. It extremely fun and social. None of the projects were ever completed, and it doesn't matter. :)

If you ever travel to Norway, let me know, so I can show you around.

9 points by clarkevans 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Take 2 weeks off. Do nothing. Meditate. Breathe. Plant Flowers. Take long, exceptionally pointless walks -- if you find yourself thinking about anything, stop, and look up at the clouds till you recover.
2 points by zipdog 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like your self-esteem could do with a boost. Other things may work better, but I'd suggest getting involved in some sort of craft group (make pottery or whatever).
1. It's hands-on and you'll be making and creating, so you'll get a real sense of accomplishment when, after a little while, you can look at something you made
2. Chose a group you feel welcomed in, and you'll get encouragement as you learn the ropes
3. It'll take time and some focus, but (depending on the craft you pick) it is entirely achievable.

Otherwise, the suggestions to exercise are great. Travel is also a great idea, but I'd say go somewhere and stay there for a week or month, get a sense of natural rhythm and pace. Also, try and just hang out and talk with some people, without any goals.

Good luck.

1 point by drawkbox 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Pick up a new platform... Java tends to drain, come back ready to learn something new.

And if you aren't, get some more sun, by your comments, your body is probably wanting a shift into earlier hours? Get up early and hear the birds chirping without having to rush into an office. I think the same thing happened to me from 28-ish to 31-ish. I went back to school and finally entered the game industry and focused on less, just being good at that. Is there a field you want to get into that you haven't really tried? Just do it, start now in small goals.

Also, set some lower goals for yourself in smaller tasks and get them done quickly. Sometimes you are tied to bigger projects that make the rush of accomplishment numbed from the pain of larger projects if they are longer and less driven by smaller accomplishments/releases. Control some of these on your own.

Also, play some Red Dead Redemption or your video game of choice. They can really help reduce stress and provide escapes to clear your head after a day of work or when you need to shift to relax.

2 points by frevd 3 hours ago 0 replies      
same situation here, thanks for this nice description.
tell you what - I'm currently planning on abandoning my routine and go for an extended travel. the main problem probably is to break the daily routine behaviour, it isn't easy, but the will to do it is the first step and only requirement. if you're suffering from computer addiction as much as i do, it's probably a good choice to execute a "format c:" (or any likewise more physical action although i'd consider it cruel).
i decided to ignore all the seamingly enourmous bureocratic things that should be done (e.g. getting insurance, buying stuff you think you'd need) and go for a backpack with only those things i think are absolutely necessary.
besides this good will for a change, I constantly wonder whether it is wise to abort the daily routine (I'm earning an awful lot doing stupid programming jobs but only as long as I stay involved and up2date). however, as you mentioned already, soon there will come a time when my output approaches level0 and that's a unconcious force put up on me so I think it is a rational choice to have a break. additionally, I don't see any future in doing contract work without any purpose. Since there seems to be absolutely no inspiration by waiting day by day (aka staring at the clock), the only option is to stop making plans (an illusion after all, when did longterm speculation ever work out) and jump into cold water, i.e. do something you are not prepared to do and deal with any problems when they come up, not when you anticipate them. i think this is the only possibly way to break this spiral, since it is actually nothing else than worrying about some hypothetical failure one might do, which is simply nonsense. so - stop wondering what might be the best choice and decide for the very first opportunity that crosses your mind or face, you simply cannot know in advance what new experience will bring (however, make sure you are not being abused).
my 2ct
1 point by georgieporgie 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It doesn't really matter what you choose, it's more important to simply get going on something. As for "finding yourself" I think being social and doing something outside your usual norms are what point you back to who you are the fastest.

> I'd ride my bike across the continent from Vancouver to Halifax (I don't own a bicycle and haven't ridden one in years)

I can recommend a long bike trip. I rode from Canada to Mexico between September and November 2010. I've been a 'cyclist' most of my life, but don't ride all that far nor often. Take it slowly and build up the miles gradually. I had never done more than a two day bike-camping trip, and met several people with zero bicycle touring and negligible general cycling experience.

I would buy a good selection of maps and, if it's feasible in the areas to be crossed, an Internet-connected device. Couch surfing would be ideal, since it keeps costs down and provides precious social interaction. Canadian camp sites are expensive.

Also, bring an iPod stocked with audio books, courses, or something else to engage your brain (I found a "This American Life" collection invaluable). Music is nice, but when you're grinding up the tenth hill of the day at 3mph, it's nice to let your legs do the work while your brain focuses on what you're listening to.

If you are genuinely interested in this and have no idea where to start, let me know. I think you could get all your touring needs together for $2,000 or less.

1 point by davidandgoliath 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I often ran into these roadblocks around February of every year -- the same thing. Every February I would reflect, and suddenly realize I didn't like something (or everything) about my life and I'd make drastic changes.

* Lost ~80 pounds starting in February a few years back. 200->120. Hovering at a healthier weight, or so the wife says.
* A few years back, I had a consistent contest on one of my projects (hostjury.com) where we'd give out ipods once a month. I hand-delivered one of them ~6,000+ miles away, by car.
* The next year, I got a motorcycle. February.
* The next year, I moved to Vanvouer. February.
* The next year, I put ~80,000+ miles on my car. February through June. Anywhom..
* Found a wife, the next. She's put me under some new limits but we're probably moving to San Diego or *.in.cali. soon. //February, again. Uhaul is cheap ;)

There isn't anything inherently wrong with having sudden desires or your mind screaming at both your body and soul that it's in a rut. I too would highly recommend getting some exercise.

Try doing the grouse grind a few times a week. I used to live right up at the top of the mountain and would make my way up there each morning. It's a beautiful way to start the day, and is a fantastic starter workout. My time was about ~35 minutes once I got into the habit, but initially it was 1.5 hours -- so keep that in mind.

Start small. And hey, changes of scenery don't hurt either. Take a trip, wield your vacation pay. Change your personal life, your work life will follow suit.

In the meantime, eat a bit healthier & get some more exercise. Oh, and get a bicycle. Steed cycle is on the North Shore & that's where I bought mine. Put ~40miles a day on it in Vancouver and loved every minute of it.

1 point by beagle3 2 hours ago 0 replies      
There isn't a lot of love for Tim Ferris around HN. But you definitely should read "The four hour work week". It will give you some ideas of what to do, but more importantly, it will give you some ideas of how to efficiently do whatever it is that you want to do (time and money wise). Nothing he writes there is secret, and yet, it is unconventional on one hand and potentially extremely useful on the other.
2 points by mrj 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Do any of those things, whatever interests you. Nobody here can tell you what is going to hold your interest.

I'm convinced the only way to really "cure" burn-out is to change scenery and time. It sounds like you've got both, so go do something, or do nothing at all. It doesn't matter too much.

I know you have lots of things you're thinking about doing now, but start your sabbatical anyway. It only takes a couple of weeks of doing nothing until you're ready to plan -- anything -- to get out of the boredom.

Take the time, do nothing, and then decide.

2 points by paydro 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I would highly recommend traveling without a planned timeline. I was in a similar state you were last August. I quit my job and booked a ticket to fly to Madrid, Spain. I didn't have a place to stay until the day before I flew out. This was how it went for every city I visited afterwards. I didn't book any travel or accommodations until the day or two before. It was awesome to take off or stay when I felt like it. It felt like I was in control of my life.

I spent the next two months traveling through Spain, Italy, France, UK, and Ireland. I met some of the most amazing people in my life and I still keep in touch with them. I went running with a bull in Valencia, scuba diving for the first time in my life in Nice, had the most amazing pizza in the world in Naples, and got my geek on with Roman history.

At the same time, this cured my burn out. I didn't think it would, but when you start using other parts of your brain to communicate and live with people who don't speak your tongue your mind opens up.

I also wrote about every city I visited on my blog as a travel log of sorts and as a way to show my friends what I was up to. I started in Boston which you can read here: http://paydrotalks.com/posts/103-boston-clam-chowder-pigs-an....

I wish you the best of luck. Being burnt out is a horrible state to be in, but it's awesome that you're taking yourself out of work to treat yourself.

2 points by stanmancan 5 hours ago 2 replies      
And so I stop. These aren't real goals; I recognize them as daydreaming. I'm already defeated before I've even begun.

And thats where you're going wrong. There's nothing stopping you from doing a single thing on your list besides you. Sometimes being naive about what it will take to accomplish something is actually whats needed to do it.

Not to mention most of the things on your list, while amazing experiences, take little more than minimal finances to do so. Pack a backpack, fly to vancouver and buy a bike and just start riding. Plan as you go. You could be biking across Canada by Tuesday and $1500 later if you wanted to.

Just because you don't donate money or pick up litter doesn't mean you can't go volunteer. There's plenty of organizations online you can look up, most of them will plan your trip from start to finish, you just put up the cash. Go teach english somewhere, provide medical assistance, build a school.

Stop focusing on what you are(n't) doing now, and have(n't) in the past. It takes little more than an idea or goal and the drive/desire to do it to make it come true. Clearly you feel that who you _think_ you are right now limits you to who you can be. That's not true at all. Do what you have to do to be the person you want to be. You only live once, don't let anything hold you back from being the person you want to be, and experiencing the things you've always wanted to. Live your life with no regrets. Every day you spend thinking "if only..." is another day wasted.

The good thing about this is you realize where you're at now and you're actively taking steps to improve your situation. Be strong, follow your dreams and dont get intimidated. Try and take a small step forward every day and in a few months you'll feel like a totally different person and in a way better place.

2 points by xpaulbettsx 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This sounds really stupid on its face, but try taking Vitamin D. While it certainly won't fix any of these problems, I found it helped my mood a bit and generally made me feel better, health-wise. And worst-case scenario, it does nothing and you're out $10.
2 points by Mz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
With sleeping nine hours a day and wondering if you are just "lazy", let me suggest that you look at your health as a possible root cause. I was diagnosed late in life with a relatively mild form of a serious, life-threatening medical condition. I was called "lazy" my whole life because I lacked the energy of people around me. Dietary changes, lifestyle changes and such have done a lot for my health and I am getting my life back.

Also, I was a homemaker for a long time. I didn't join the "9 to 5" club until relatively recently. Go do something with a different relationship to time. It can be very mentally and emotionally freeing. I think that is part of the theme of your "escapist fantasies": A completely different kind of schedule/lifestyle/relationship to time and the world. Those can very much be good things.

Good luck with this.

2 points by wallflower 5 hours ago 0 replies      
volunteer either at the level of technical contribution or just helping man an event

non-profits are always grateful for someone who wants to help, beyond the token one day of service

1 point by rphlx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The fix depends on the cause. Did you burn out due to an oppressive/insatiable boss, or due to pressure you placed on yourself? The first is largely correctable by a better working environment. The second, unfortunately, requires deep introspection to figure out and address the true source.
2 points by atleta 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't figure out what to do during your sabbatical, because you're burned out and completely unmotivated and you won't be able to find it out until it changes. So the solution is to do nothing 'meaningful' for a while. Don't think about projects, PhD, start ups or anything. Just take a break and do nothing tat resembles work.

Starting wit traveling is a very good option. This is also what I did. Go to a totally different place. A different (non-western) culture. Not to help or work, just to be there. A lot of people go to South-East Asia. I did that too and loved it. My thinking and problems were reduced to what to eat, where to eat, where to sleep and what to see next.

You can do this for months. Then you may start to miss your work, you may start to have ideas again. You'll probably miss thinking and you will find out what to do during the rest of the leave.

2 points by just_testing 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm.... been there before. What I did: started training martial arts. 6 hours of harsh training, every sunday. My body ached a lot during the week, but my mind started to feel a lot clearer. Exercise: lots of it. Will allow you to regain some of your strength. Not necessarily martial arts, looong bycicle rides can also do the trick.

There are also some changes to the diet that may help you (started with vitamins and eating some meat - helped to alleviate my symptons. May help with you, may not).

But that is just a first step. You must then strive to find the causes of your problem, only then it will disappear. Usually, heavy meditation does the trick. If you train martial arts, your teacher may know something about it. If you don't find anyone, there are lots of books on the subject.

Please note that whatever cure you're offered, you'd better not believe it at first. Test it, and if it works, stick with it.

I hope what I wrote helps you. Feel free to contact me.

2 points by utx00 5 hours ago 0 replies      
can you motivate yourself to finish something small? say something that will take you one week? if nothing comes to mind, can you say wake up at 6am everyday for a week? or walk 2 miles everyday for a week? or cook for yourself, as best you can, "interesting" dinners? just for a week.

after that week is over, maybe report back?

i would not make any life changing decisions just now.

1 point by Maro 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd recommend you travel. You write "I could travel, but my problems will just follow me around the world."

So I re-read your post, but you don't really tell us what your problems are.

So, what's the problem, really?

1 point by kevinburke 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd refer you to a book which really helped me out - "Learned Optimism" by Martin Seligman, which will teach you a better way to interpret the events that happen to you, and a quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez - "What matters in life is not what happens to you, but what you remember and how you remember it."
2 points by pestaa 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Reading your words almost terrified me. Just as my brain projected my thoughts onto the wall. I consider myself an intelligent person, with plenty of time on my hands, yet I don't find a thing I could passionately do. I have a girlfriend for 4 years (I'm 20), I know programming languages, have a couple startup ideas. But nothing outstanding to love.

Not sure how many people are in the world like me or us. I'd like to know how they cope.

1 point by pvdm 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Right now, I am reading "The Importance of Living" by Lin Yutang and this is one of points that he was trying to get across. There is no point in striving to do something, our best moments in life are those when we are just loafing and doing nothing in particular.
1 point by arethuza 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd recommend the travel thing - as many have already done.

If you fancy a pint or two - I'll buy. But you have to make it to Edinburgh first!

2 points by zacharyz 5 hours ago 0 replies      

I recommend reading Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel.

Traveling can be extremely enlightening. If for no other reason than it will give you plenty of time to think. If you find yourself thinking about different startup ideas (like I do when I travel) then you know you are probably in the right line of work.

You will also open your mind up to a million other things that you probably weren't aware of before.

1 point by mkramlich 3 hours ago 0 replies      
get a lot of good veg time, exercise, food, sex, sleep and reading

but then that's good even when not on sabbatical

1 point by methodin 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The key to happiness is variety. Ignoring health, emotion, free time or work completely in favor of another will always end disastrously. Our brain naturally tends towards equilibrium and keeping it tipped for too long is not worth it. It's better to take a day or a couple days off here and there when sprinting then to let it crash and have to result in a year sabbatical. Find something else enjoyable and focus on that until things return to normal. Once you get grounded again make sure and pepper your life with other things that keep you happy (for me, for instance, music, gym and grilling are the things that keep me sane). I've been there before and realized I had been doing myself a disservice by ignoring aspects of my life under the assumption "it would all pay off". It might... but if it doesn't you're screwed.
5 points by andrewstuart 5 hours ago 1 reply      
You sound depressed.
1 point by djoncarlson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Come down to Ecuador and climb some mountains. There's something incredibly humbling/powerful about sucking in the thin air at 16,000 ft and looking down on the world around you. Sure it won't take a year, but you can definitely reinvent yourself in another country by traveling around for a bit.
2 points by andrevoget 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I think you're already on the right way with classical music, long walks, reading books, etc. (except for the Internet addiction). I guess if you keep on doing things you like you will recover. All the best to you.
1 point by ljf 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Read 'what color is your parachute' to figure out your direction and drive then read 'how to live on 24 hours a day' to figure out how you are going to fit it in.
1 point by kgleong 5 hours ago 1 reply      
have you tried yoga? Especially Bikram Yoga. I find that this amazing practice can fix almost anything physically and mentally.
What's it like to be non-technical and own a company?
6 points by x0ner 1 hour ago   3 comments top 3
3 points by keiferski 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm solving the "I have no technical co-founder" problem by becoming the technical co-founder.

Let's hope it works out. I am very familiar with tech and computers, but not in the programming sense.

3 points by us 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well you have two primary types of non-technical people. Those who understand tech but can't write code and those who don't understand any of it at all but have ideas. It's the ones with just ideas that rarely (although it does happen) succeed. Your relative seems to be the kind that doesn't understand.

But I think there is a bigger problem here. Even if he doesn't understand the technical stuff, he SHOULD be able to understand what it should do, how it should solve the problem, and ways he can make money. You don't need to know a lick of code or any technical stuff to know what you want out of your product. I think the problem is a bit different than just feeling out of element.

As long as he genuinely wants to solve a problem and is actually innovative and passionate about doing it, money or not as a primary motivator is not the issue. The issue is whether or not he can figure out all the things he need to figure out as the business guy.

1 point by ainsleyb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have a good technical understanding, but am no developer. That said, I am jumping into the start-up world and here's how I'm working at it:

Step 1: find a cofounder who is as excited about your ideas as you are with his, and whom you enjoy working with and vice-versa.
I am still new to the startup world, but am working well with my co-founder. Hiring someone to code every time your product has a problem is not the correct way to go about it. You have to be able to constantly work and change to keep pushing something forward.

Step 2: immerse yourself in technology
Really, I don't feel out of my element because I have surrounded myself in my life with technical people and technical things (went to MIT, have taken tech classes, worked at [stereotypical corporation] doing design and working closely with developers, and am learning how to dev in the process).

Step 3: learn your product and learn it well (including the technical parts)
You have to understand your product in and out in order to make sure you are able to speak to those who need the product. If someone asks about security: know it. If they ask about a specific API you don't want to have to "get back to them."

Step 4: find a good balance between what you're doing, what everyone else is doing, and what needs to be done.
I think the hacker/hustler combo is really valuable At some point the devs will be way too hosed in the development of the [product/site/whatever you're doing] to go out and find funding/sell the product. You need people who are confident to talk about what you're doing and will have fun doing it.

and Step 5: have fun.
Getting into the start-up world is hard. You really have to enjoy taking risks, moving around, getting out there, and meeting people.

I'm sure I'm missing steps in all of this, but the steps above really help.

Ask PG: Are friends upvoting friends looked down upon on HN?
4 points by borski 1 hour ago   4 comments top 2
2 points by SamReidHughes 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Even if there wasn't, how are friends distinguishable from an automatic voting ring?

Even if they were distinguishable from a voting ring, it still makes sense for their upvotes to be ignored (since they're artificial votes, and a poor measure of a submission's value).

There could very well be some other logic at work, too, like being more likely to ignore votes by people who visited the submission directly, or ignoring votes that happen too soon for the voter to really have read the article. It is fun to speculate.

Do your friends ever upvote other submissions? It would be useful to consider this.

2 points by RiderOfGiraffes 1 hour ago 1 reply      
There are measures to detect voting rings, and it's plausible that you've triggered the detection mechanism. Think about the problem. Anyone can create a dozen accounts and upvote their own stories - of course there has to be some protection against it.

If you and your friends participate regularly and upvote other stories as well then you're less likely to have a problem, but the exact algorithm isn't public, so I can't say with certainty.

Tell HN: Rejected from App Store - "customer damaging their iPhone."
49 points by qixxiq 8 hours ago   59 comments top 22
28 points by ljf 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Rework it for Android, no pesky risk of rejection there ;)

I'd most likely install it on my android phone, if it were free/ad supported. Could see it being a very viral game, with people finding interesting ways to game the scoreboard.

This is what insurance is for, right?

9 points by TimothyBurgess 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I made an iPhone app called "HammerTime!"

Round #1 instructs you to place your phone on a hard surface, find a hammer of any kind, and hit your phone as hard as you can.

Rounds #2 and up instructs you to repeat Round #1.

A permanent blank screen indicates you have won and you may receive a prize (a brand new iPhone!!) if you can convince Apple your phone is malfunctioning because of something they did.

5 points by kabdib 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I had an idea for an Xbox 360 achievement involving peripherals with accelerometers (the Lips microphone, and Kinect).

"One Minute of Free Fall"

The Vomit Comet is about 45 seconds . . .

9 points by rbanffy 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Too bad. It would be wildly popular with astronauts... The screaming can be disabled, right?
3 points by Tichy 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool, I had a similar idea, which was to make people throw their phones into the air and try to make it do as many flips as possible. Great to see that you actually built something like that.

I was well aware of the "risk your phone" aspect, "iDare" was my working title...

4 points by bergie 6 hours ago 0 replies      
We have a game like that on Maemo: http://maemo.org/downloads/product/Maemo5/n900fly/
5 points by kmfrk 7 hours ago 0 replies      
9 points by lipowicztom 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Recently i have started taking photos throwing my iphone in the air. Do you think you could extend app functionality to trigger camera while phone is free falling?

Let me know :)

6 points by rhizome 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There was another app that got rejected on the same criteria some time back. It's just the way it is.
5 points by gcheong 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a great game for people switching to Verizon from ATT.
4 points by JonathanWCurd 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You can push the app and generate buzz by giving away a replacement phone to the top scorer over some period. If its ad supported and grows large enough the money should cover the expense.

Something like:

"Want / Need a new phone see how far you can send yours flying for a shot at new hardware."

3 points by shareme 7 hours ago 0 replies      
change game to user jumps or throws self while holding iphone..or would Apple object to user throwing oneself?
3 points by inji 8 hours ago 0 replies      
3 points by Geee 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Obviously the winners in this game would be those who damage their iPhones by throwing them from 1000 ft buildings. :)
1 point by oemera 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Hey I really don't know you and I don't want to be personal but it's ideas like this that make me happy that Apple is taking care what comes to the App Store and what not.

You know I really don't understand how someone could enjoy a game which encourages people to throw a 600 dollar device onto a "soft" surface. You how this ends right? Kids want to play this and they will throw the from EVERYWHERE and BOOM you have to buy another 600 dollar phone.

You want to make money? Write something useful.

However I really like that you put the source code on GitHub.

5 points by koobe 7 hours ago 1 reply      
sounds like n900fly, right?
1 point by mthreat 7 hours ago 0 replies      
There was an app called Hangtime that did this, http://iphonehangtime.com/, but it seems like it's gone. I just searched the app store and found another app, also called Hangtime!, that appears to do the same thing under the guise of measuring how long you yourself are airborne (not just the phone).
1 point by kgc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I submitted a similar App in 2009, and it was rejected for the same reasons.
1 point by Skywing 4 hours ago 0 replies      
haha, omg. that scream is terrible.
1 point by Void_ 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you! I'm pretty sure it will help people to learn about iPhone development.
0 points by izak30 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Step 1. Attach to carousel.

Step 2. ????

Step 3. Profit.

-1 point by adharmad 6 hours ago 1 reply      
1endraqshexyzzzzzzhrwrgttwweojaohfojjvjkvjvjr0 b vxjcgbcvchgchcgixurfosouf0e b odj ujwi oiendidej4uie uwuwu2 uy
Would You Accept a Google Job Offer?
9 points by temp270 3 hours ago   15 comments top 13
1 point by cfinke 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've turned down an offer from Google; here were my reasons:

1. I had just started at a startup (Mahalo), and I was excited about being 1/5th of a company's development team; being 1/1000th of a company's dev team felt less appealing.

2. They offered the same amount of money I was currently making, but I would have had to move from the affordable Twin Cities metro area to San Francisco.

3. I've telecommuted for every job I've had since college; I don't know how well I'd make the transition to commuting and wearing office-appropriate clothing every day.

At the time, #1 was the most powerful reason I had for declining, but now, it would be #2. They've called a few times since then to see if I've changed my mind, but with inertia being the powerful force that it is, I can't see myself moving out of Minnesota, away from my family and my wife's family. (I have told them that as soon as they open an office in Minneapolis, I'd be happy to talk to them again.) Although, with three feet of snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures over the past few weeks, I'm reconsidering my four-season climate policy.

1 point by skybrian 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Do you know what you'll be doing? If not (which is common at Google), you might want to push back on that, to make sure you'll like your first job there.

It's likely they'll say that it's something they don't normally do. This may be because they haven't decided yet, and the system isn't set it up to support it. So make it clear that you're on the fence and want to talk to the team you'll be joining, and you can wait while they figure it out.

1 point by solost 1 hour ago 0 replies      
You say the only reason you struggle with the decision is because of the honor you feel in the validation of your work that Google is giving you by providing the job offer. Well if that is the only reason you haven't turned them down, then you have already answered your own question on whether or not to accept, don't.

In your situation, based on what you have shared I wouldn't take the job. It sounds like you took the interviews to acquire the personal validation a job offer would represent to you and now that you have it, there seems no real reason to up root your life.

I hope my interpretation of the situation helps and I wish you all the best no matter what decision you may make.

1 point by Mz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what comes to mind for me, though I have no "advice" as to whether or not you should accept the position:

I lived in the same house from the age of 3 until adulthood. I graduated high school with some of the same folks I went to kindergarten with. I got married at a young age to a man who only wanted to join the army. He did and we moved around for a couple of decades until we divorced.

The transition at the first duty station was quite hard for me. My then husband had grown up as a military brat and hit the ground running. I had no clue how to do that and he was zero help to me with this major adjustment. For that and other reasons (like a pregnancy where I threw up for 8 months out of the 18 months we were there), I was really miserable at that first duty station and it took me years to realize it wasn't the fault of Texas and to "forgive" Texas. I irrationally hated Texas for quite some time.

I wanted out of my home town and I have no regrets, though I resented my then husband's lack of support at the time (and never did feel he did the right thing in that regard). I returned to my home town during the divorce and I have been here about 5 years or so. I intend to leave again someday (basically as soon as I can arrange it, logistically) and I don't think I could be making such plans had I not left to begin with. For me, it was very much a growth experience and I think my life is vastly better for all of it.

But if you do this, I would suggest you be prepared to help the spouse and kids adjust. Maybe they will be fine. Maybe your wife is more resourceful than I was at, oh, age 21. Maybe she will have no problem finding hobbies, friends, and whatever else floats her boat. Maybe your kids will also jump in with both feet, gleefully. But if they do not, odds are good that they will blame you for their misery. Being sensitive to that and willing to assist will most likely go over a lot better than my ex husband's choice to let me just sink or swim on my own.

Good luck with this decision.

1 point by inetsee 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's my understanding that Google expects its employees to work very hard. You say that "We're all happy now with our current life." Would you
continue to be happy if you had to work a lot harder than you do now?
Would your family continue to be happy if your job was taking much more
of your time, leaving less time for your family? I can understand the appeal
of working with so many really, really smart people, but the transition from
a happy life in a rural area to a high pressure job in California seems to me
to be a fairly risky choice.
1 point by rdouble 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Google will let you work from home if you've got special skills and negotiate.
1 point by sbisker 2 hours ago 0 replies      
First of all, you should never feel stupid for feeling proud of yourself. Getting a job offer from any top technical company is an accomplishment, let alone from a company whose work you admire. It's obviously not something you should let get to your head, but our society doesn't give us nearly enough time to enjoy and appreciate our accomplishments and how they reflect on our hard work - this sounds like a perfect time to do so. Seriously, congratulations.

As for the decision, well, I'm in a very different place in my life - 26, single, etc. I can't exactly give first hand experience. (I can say that living in cities is often cheaper than it seems, especially if you or your kids can take advantage of public transit - car insurance and gas adds up quick!) I think the important thing to remember is, all getting a job offer does is give you more options, not less. Whatever you decide, I'd take your offer as a vote of confidence that with or without working for Google, you'll do just fine.

1 point by madhouse 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't accept, for a multitude of reasons, ranging from not liking google, through no willingness to move, to loving my current job.

Google might be hot, and can be an amazing place to work at, if you're the kind of person who prefers that.

Myself, I'm not. Perhaps I'm silly, but it would take tons of money to 'persuade' me to leave my current position, because I value my co-workers, my job and the general atmosphere here more than I value my income.

As long as I love my job, and can live a comfortable life, I'm satisfied. Throwing money my way is not a motivation for me in any shape or form, and that's the only thing Google could offer me.

1 point by dqh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Not stupid at all, I would feel the same way. Congratulations on being awesome!

Aside from yourself, it's obviously a big call for the wife and kids to begin new lives .. potential source of resentment. Especially if your wife is a homemaker - she'd be leaving behind her well established and important social and support networks for your opportunity, without the distraction of a new job to ease the loss.

On the other hand .. it's Google. An opportunity to play with some of the biggest systems on the planet! How secure is/are your current job(s)? Will you be harder to hire in 10 years if you didn't take the Google job?

Good luck with your choice. Good problem to have!

1 point by NiloParedes 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems to me that all you need was some validation. And you got it. Well done. Doubling your salary will not double your happiness. Don't move for money or prestige. Move because it aligns with your longer term goals.

Although I am no expert, my wife and kids moved to Paris, France not more than 1 year ago and now we may be on the verge of moving back to the US. As you can imagine, it's no picnic moving with a family. (And the stay in Paris was/is aligned with my longer term goals.)

1 point by jhferris3 3 hours ago 0 replies      
a) there are sites that will compare cost of living between places, so thats probably worth looking up

b) How does the rest of your family feel? Uprooting a family is never a particularly pleasant experience, but there are better and worse times/situations.

c) Why do you want to work there? Is it for the prestige? Is it because you'll get to work on something you really enjoy? Not saying theres any wrong/right answers, but at the least its a worthwhile thought exercise.

1 point by ohashi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations :)
1 point by gjvc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: How to politely quit my job?
3 points by soapdog 1 hour ago   4 comments top 4
2 points by kjksf 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's easy:

You: Boss, we need to talk.

Boss: Ok, let's talk.

You: I decided to leave ${CompanyName}.

Boss: Ok, is there anything we can do to make you stay?

You: No, I've made my decision. How long do you want me to stay to transfer my responsibilities?

Narrator's note: the standard is 2 weeks.

Other things: they might ask you why you're leaving. It's not the time to provide them with a list of complaints (especially if you haven't raised them in the past). You can be vague but truthful: the other opportunity looks like a better fit for you.

That is essentially the script I followed when leaving my past jobs. All my bosses were professional about it and understanding.

2 points by Mz 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
I would try to be polite and as emotionally neutral as possible. People don't always react the way we think they will but, at the same time, if you broadcast your negative expectations too much, some people will react to that even if they would otherwise not have been all reactionary. There is a scene in "While you were sleeping" where the character played by Bill Pullman finally tells his dad that he doesn't want to inherit/takeover the family business. He has been avoiding it for years, while pursuing his real dream on the side. His dad is like "If you had told me sooner, I could have sold it to your uncle". It's very, very anticlimactic, involving none of the emotionalism or drama that Bill Pullman's character feared.

Good luck with this.

2 points by symmet 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
I just went through something very similar. I had been working with a smaller company all through school and for a while after I graduated. The people I worked for were family friends and just great to have as employers. Then, I had the opportunity to join another company that I felt would allow me to do more of what I enjoy and had more room for me to grow, so I went for it. It was quite difficult telling my boss that I was leaving, no doubt about it. He offered everything he could to get me to stay, but in the end I knew that it was time for me to move on to something new.

That being said, here's a few tips that I think could help you.

1. Remember that this is business. That doesn't mean forgetting about the people involved, just that the most important thing in this situation is your career.

2. Do as much as you can to help the transition. The new company that I went to work for wanted me to start asap, but I was willing to give my previous employer 2 full weeks of my time since I did value the relationship and wanted to leave on the best terms possible.

3. Just be honest. While they may not want you to go, they should understand that this is what you need to do.

Good luck! Hope it all goes well.

1 point by Skywing 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm preparing to put in my 2 weeks notice this upcoming week, too. I'm expecting a job offer that will require me to move out to LA, from TX, on Monday. My current job is similar to yours, minus the family friend aspect.

I am one of 2 developers at the 7 person company. The company is full of enjoyable people, for the most part. The job itself is one that I've wanted to quit for the past year and a half. Perhaps worse in my scenario is that when I leave, they're going to be pretty much left floating dead in the waters until they find another developer. And, even when they do find a replacement, it'll take a few months for that person to get up to speed. I've been there a year and a half and I'm not even 100% knowledgeable about everything there. So, I'm a little nervous about when I put in my 2 weeks notice.

To answer your questions, though - I'm just going to do it. I'm the kind of person that usually stresses out a ton, and would probably be closing to passing out due to stress within the moment prior to putting in my 2 weeks. It's all going to be fine, though. It's not up to my boss, it's up to me. It's my future. So, with that in mind, I'm just going to notify him as soon as possible and that'll be that. I'm going to be polite and thankful for the job, since it has been very accommodating. (they let me finish up school part time while working)

In your case, I'd just be extra friendly. If he's a family friend, then he will understand.

Good luck.

How to keep your idea secret during the prototype development?
5 points by puente 3 hours ago   5 comments top 4
1 point by keiferski 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Make your idea so out-of-the-box that the people with immediate skills to implement it, won't (or can't).

What does that mean? Pick an idea that is either inherently non-technical or requires significant non-technical work to launch. Your idea can't be stolen if it takes a massive amount of research and pre-programming work to launch. Most hackers (typically the people most capable of executing quickly) will try to solve a problem technically. So, don't solve the problem technically.

1 point by flipside 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The approach I'm taking is to make myself invaluable to the project.

At first, like you, I was scared that anybody could copy it and do it themselves, but after revealing my idea to others, I realized they didn't "get it" like I did. Every idea has subtleties, even something like Groupon which has been copied to death.

I've spent hundreds of hours on improving my understanding of the problem I'm trying to solve. Now I have the confidence that anyone smart enough to help me execute will also see the value of working with me and not against me.

The key is to make sure everyone's interests are aligned, that's how you build a real team. It's not what you've done in the past that counts (idea), it's what you'll do in the future (execution).

4 points by rmah 3 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't. Get over it.
1 point by homecoded 3 hours ago 1 reply      
You can always try an NDA. It won't keep anyone from stealing but with a bit of luck you have a bit more meat if you want to take legal actions after someone stole your idea.

In the end, it boils down to "an idea isn't much worth. It's the execution that matters." Just try to be quick.

One thing that we did was, we gave all the people who started our company a small share. With this, everyone involved in the early stages had a good reason to keep quiet about our prototype. Worked for us. May not be the best for every start-up though. Especially if you want to hire people abroad.

Ask HN: Why is Canada startup unfriendly?
12 points by martinshen 6 hours ago   10 comments top 4
8 points by pg 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Canadian cities have the same problem most cities in the US have: lack of angels.
1 point by cal5k 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem is not with "startups". The problem is with scaling - there is TONS of startup activity going on in the Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, and Vancouver areas. If you look for it you'll see that it's thriving as more and more people consider startups to be viable career options.

Very few of these companies manage to break out and go big - when the dotcom bubble burst, all of our former giants like Nortel and Corel imploded, leaving only RIM to pick up the pieces in the tech sector.

There are reams of tech companies in the $1MM-$300MM space, a few in the $300MM-1B space, and basically one (RIM) in the $10B+ space.

Getting capital to scale aggressively is a huge problem - it's just not as easy or as free-flowing as in the USA. However, foreign financiers are starting to notice that they can get better returns on Canadian companies because of a paucity of funding, so I'm hoping that will improve things over time.

Otherwise, Canada is a fucking awesome place to start companies. We just need more people with the balls, the drive, and the unwillingness to accept no for an answer when it comes to raising money.

1 point by pedalpete 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've always thought the biggest limitation for the start-up environment in Canada is the risk-averse nature of Canadians and particularly Canadian investors.

In the US, angel investors and VCs are more apt to take risks and aim for the huge rewards. In Canada, it seems the investors are looking for singles, and even then, they expect you to already have market traction.

Check-out Basil Peters stuff to get an idea of what I'm referring to. Early Exits, not going for the home-runs.

At the same time, there is a large Canadian contingent in Silicon Valley doing great things. So I don't think its the entrepreneurs, it's the investment market.

1 point by tonyarkles 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm in Saskatchewan. Around here, it seems that there is a fair bit of startup investment but it's not quite the same as a lot of the programs in the States. Looking at things like TechStars or YCombinator startups, many of these startups are Great Ideas. Investment around here isn't nearly as focused on Great Ideas, but rather much more focused on Great Technical Secret Sauce. This shifts the types of startups that get funded; around here, there seems to be quite a bit of Biotech, Renewable Energy, some "hard" Computer Science-type problems, etc.

Would Twitter have been funded here? Not likely. Freshbooks? Not likely. RIM? Possibly.

Ask HN: what's up with HN and Lisp?
9 points by CoffeeDregs 5 hours ago   7 comments top 5
1 point by dandrews 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm using Clojure for small personal projects, and a few toy applications at the office. ("The office" operates an IBM mainframe under z/OS -- sometimes this "write once run anywhere" stuff really works.)

Before my infatuation with Clojure I spent a couple of years intermittently hacking at SBCL, writing other toy applications, flirting with CLSQL and UCW and struggling with the ASDF ecosystem. CL became a disappointment because of the library problem, and because I couldn't shake the feeling that the language was overburdened. How many operators for equal do you need, anyway?

(Joke, joke. Well, sorta.)

Frightfully smart people, worthy of your respect, say you should know Lisp.

You've already surmised that there's some groupthink here on HN. PG is one of Lisp's principal cheerleaders, he writes in lucid prose and has a couple of very nice textbooks to his credit. (On Lisp is probably the best macro treatment out there.) HN is itself written in PG's own Lisp variant, and there's lots of us here who have drunk the Kool-Aid.

So do invest some time in Lisp, but don't believe for a moment that you can do a few Euler problems and have a good feeling for the language. Your effort will take some time, however long it takes to learn to recognize design patterns in Lisp code. (This is where those autoindenting editors shine.)

And which Lisp? You'll get as many opinions as there are Lisps. Clojure's emphasis on FP attracts me, and its heavy emphasis on Java interop is immensely practical. You've got eight months to go before the next Conj; better get cracking, and good luck.

1 point by mindcrime 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you use Lisp/Clojure? On core projects at work? On utilities or side projects at work? On serious personal projects? On small personal projects?

Not yet. I've only recently started making a concerted effort to learn Clojure; so I haven't written any "production" Lisp yet.

Do you aspire to or want to use Lisp/Clojure? Why? Learn something new? See if you experience some of that wonderfulness that everyone talks about?

Yes, and for all of the reasons you mention. I've been hearing about how incredible and productive Lisp is, so I want to find out first-hand if it really lives up to the hype or not. If it does, then maybe using Lisp (via Clojure) could actually represent a real competitive advantage.

Do you know others who are serious Lispers? Are you reading HN and assuming that there are lots of serious Lispers out there? (I am.)

I really don't know anybody personally who I would call a "serious Lisper." But I do know some other people who have gotten on the Clojure bandwagon and are learning Clojure.

Is Lisp really seeing the kind of interest and usage suggested by the submissions? Or is HN groupthinking about Lisp?

Who knows?

1 point by JoshCole 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I do use Clojure. I'm not working yet, so its only for personal projects. However, I've been using it on all sizes of personal projects. I especially like using it for web scraping.

I do want to be using Lisp, mostly because it is giving me a chance to experience programming in a new way. The only really new thing I've learned is a sort of mental click on how programming functionally feels. However, I've also been exposed to a lot of new concepts. I don't think I've had any sort of enlightenment, but I do think I've improved.

The only other people I know who use Lisp are people I met after starting Clojure. It has some really awesome people lurking in its IRC channel.

As to whether or not the Lisp love is group think, I have no idea. I can tell you that most of my teachers in college don't even know Lisp exists and I'm the only student I know who is using it. Subjectively, my teachers don't seem very competent to me and my fellow students don't seem to program outside of the classroom.

I can tell you that Lisp doesn't seem as readable as python, but it is still fun to program in. I don't regret that I'm trying out Clojure.

1 point by igneous4 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Like many folks, I'd reckon, I've really meant to learn Lisp or Scheme better, but it just seems like -- with the lack of syntax -- it would be tedious to write out every single operation as a function/procedure call.

Is Lisp/Scheme as tedious as I'm assuming? I'm not talking about readability -- surely one can get used to the parens and indenting and read (and write) it just fine -- I'm talking about tedium of everything having to be a procedure call.

1 point by bayareaguy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm eager to use Clojure professionally but Python is more practical. Another case of the "worse is better" syndrome.
Tell HN: Please put some contact details on your profile.
11 points by SandB0x 6 hours ago   1 comment top
2 points by us 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Done ^_~
Ask HN: How to switch careers
3 points by jayp08 2 hours ago   5 comments top 4
1 point by deafcheese 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you're looking to work in finance, try switching directly into a finance job before putting down the money for a MBA or MSF. You'd be surprised how receptive the finance community is towards programmers.
1 point by homecoded 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What is it that you don't like being a software developer?It is kind of hard to completely do something else.

I have questioned my being a software developer also in the past. I seriously thought about going back to university to become a teacher. I decided against it. Mostly because of the financial losses this would have caused and because I just try to find outlets for my desire to teach in my current job as well as spare time.

It's usually a shame if you basically throw away 4.5 years of working experience to do something completely different. Unless you really hate what you are doing, I'd recommend trying to slightly steer you career into the direction you want to explore. Drastic changes often come with high losses.

2 points by us 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think a better question is what is it exactly you're trying to do. What are you passionate about. Stating you want an MBA or MS in Finance doesn't really say much. Can't provide good feedback like that.
1 point by zinssmeister 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you would want to stay in your current role and test the waters with what you think your new job would be.

Unless you have enough money to just jump ship and go try whatever.

Show HN: My little app Owe.to
5 points by sandeepshetty 4 hours ago   7 comments top 4
1 point by keiferski 18 minutes ago 1 reply      
I love the domain. Perfect for a simple web app.

A few things:

1. I would move the 'About' tab over next to the 'Owed to You' tab. Stretching it across looks slightly off.

2. The last line of your copy could use a rewriting. Maybe "Try it out! Just use your own e-mail address."Or just take out the comma.

3. Is there a way to remove yourself from the e-mail list on the site? (not just in the e-mail.)

1 point by timthorn 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Take a look at https://www.whosebill.com/ for a more sophisticated take on the idea
1 point by sandeepshetty 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Clickable: http://owe.to/
1 point by sammville 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I must say its a pretty cool idea. Love it..
Ask HN: College startups?
4 points by martinshen 3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1 point by matmann2001 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's funny you mention this. I'm a fledgling programmer, early into my college career. For one of my first projects ever, I'm beginning to write a web application for college students to share and collaborate on ideas, hopefully helping people creating startups.

Just this past weekend, I taught myself enough Ruby (on Rails) to get the basic application down. My next steps involve designing a nice UI and to add more connection features.

I don't really have enough done to post anything here yet, but if there's something you'd really like to see in a web app like this, your advice is most welcome.

1 point by wesleyzhao 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I always felt that HN was a community for the dorm room startup but I may be mistaken about the average age of trolls on this site. I am personally in college and would like to know if my assumption was wrong about the average HN'er.
Ask HN: Advertising a bootstrapped startup
9 points by csouth 6 hours ago   6 comments top 4
2 points by us 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Networking, networking, networking... Do this at local events and meetups and do this at big industry related events. The cost at most is your travel cost and time. Getting connected helps spread the word better early on, especially if you're on a budget and can't afford paid advertising to get the word out. Word of mouth, depending on the context, is not a strategy. Pushing to your friends and family can only go so far. Go connect with people in your industry and get the word out by connecting with them on a personal level. It works out much better.
2 points by rushabh 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You have a nice landing page. Congrats...

Some ideas would be to get small bands/musicians signed up and spread the word to their fans or listeners. If your app is any good, the word will spread on it's own. You are better off not getting a lot of publicity before your app is real slick

2 points by Lost_BiomedE 5 hours ago 1 reply      
YMMV, but I have found advertising with banner ads on targeted user forums gets good return for a small dollar. I always email the admin and have not used any ad placement services. It does not scale well, so eventually a transition is required.
1 point by kayhi 5 hours ago 1 reply      
You can find a lot of advice searching around HN as well as googling. However, you may get some really solid info. if you are able to share more details about your start up. Website/industry/revenue model - no worries if this project stealthy.
Ask HN:Anyone here not want an exit?
11 points by talbina 8 hours ago   11 comments top 4
2 points by frederickcook 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Interestingly, some of the most successful startups today may never "exit". Facebook seems to want to avoid an IPO if they can, and Mark Pincus from Zynga has said he hope he can exist as a privately held corporation indefinitely. [1]

SecondMarket creates liquidity for investors, founders, and employees while allowing the company to still maintain some control of how many investors they have.

At NextGenConf a few weeks ago, Peter Thiel specifically said Clarium prefers to invest in companies that can be successful without any exit. [Can't find a ref here, taken from my notes.]

[1] http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2311

2 points by btilly 7 hours ago 2 replies      
If you don't want an exit, you're not alone. To name just one famous example, Tim O'Reilly has turned down multiple offers over the years to sell O'Reilly for much more money than the company is worth.
3 points by spiralganglion 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My startup isn't accepting VC and we're not looking for an exit. If we get funding, it'll be for one of our (many) products, but never the company itself. It is imperative that we maintain 100% autonomy, even if it means risking our very survival.

As for why, it is because the work we're doing (a particular style of video game) is unproven in the market, and we need to be able to take substantial risks, again and again, where we stand to lose a lot of money. We can't afford to have any external interests guiding these decisions. We're doing this work for love of the work, so an exit would be ridiculous.

1 point by pgroves 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm always suspicious of founders that want an exit. Am I really to believe they think they're doing their life's work and trying to save the world if they want to be done with it in a few years? Do they really think of it as their baby if they'd happily sell it and never see it again?

If I was a V.C., I would dismiss any founder that answered the "what is your exit strategy?" question with anything other than a middle finger. A good V.C. would see it as the V.C.'s job to convince the founder to sell at the right time.

Ask HN: How do you guarantee that your startup can survive to large customer
6 points by saas123 5 hours ago   12 comments top 4
3 points by DJN 5 hours ago 1 reply      
From the undertone of your post, I assume you are not funded. This may be a good time to talk to some angels and get the financial and professional backing that'll put the minds of enterprise customers at ease with your service.

If you don't want to go through that route, and your software can run in a private cloud, then I suggest you offer them a non-hosted version. Giving them your source code is a no no unless you are planning to open-source everything.

In addition, let them know that they'll have to pay for upgrades. Having said that, make sure you price it properly to make the extra hassle worth it.

2 points by RiderOfGiraffes 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Some people talk about getting angel investment to "guarantee" your survival, but it doesn't - really, it doesn't.

You want to put your code in escrow, and have an agreement that if your company folds, the customer gets full access (not necessarily ownership) of the code, and has the right to the engineers' time necessary to get it and keep it working.

These sorts of things are standard in some industries. Get an hour of free consultancy with an appropriate lawyer, and it will work easily. Talk to your customer and say that you are sufficiently confident to give them full access to the code in the event that you can't deliver. They get the full blast of your confidence, as well as the assurance that it will all work.

3 points by trevelyan 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Financial disclosures might backfire if you are setting them up as a potential acquirer. And you are setting them up as a potential acquirer, right?
2 points by Afton 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Isn't this what source escrow is for?


Ask HN: Good books about malware forensics?
3 points by chwahoo 4 hours ago   1 comment top
1 point by borski 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The Jones/Bejtlich book is pretty good: http://www.amazon.com/Real-Digital-Forensics-Computer-Securi...

I'm biased on this one, and it's a little outdated, but Mandia's book is pretty good too: http://www.amazon.com/Incident-Response-Computer-Forensics-S...

Ask HN: What do you think of HuffingtonPost.com?
4 points by solipsist 6 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1 point by keiferski 4 hours ago 0 replies      
They definitely need a new design. I really like the "broadsheet" style of their site, but it badly needs to be cleaned up.
2 points by paradox95 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have always thought that for the amount of success they have they could have hired some decent engineers. Specifically front-end. It is one of the reasons HuffPo isn't part of my regular news cycle. Many sites get 3-4 (sometimes more) views from me every day. If HuffPo looked vaguely good they would as well. Hopefully joining a tech company will bring with it some engineering talent and that will be fixed.
Vim.org problems for 24 hours now
7 points by Nick_C 11 hours ago   2 comments top 2
3 points by zmmz 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is most unfortunate for those looking for scripts, as that entire portion of the website is unreachable.

If you know which you are looking for, you can most likely find it on the github mirror: http://vim-scripts.org/

Should Be: Detroit - Silicon City
9 points by madd_o 10 hours ago   21 comments top 8
7 points by noonespecial 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Detroit: High crime, cold weather, ridiculous tax structure inside city limits, no outdoor activities... just pick some podunk town in Texas, you'll be better off all around.
3 points by balanon 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It's tough for Detroit to shake the negative press about it. I think there is a lot of potential. There's a re-gentrification happening and there's a growing population of artists, musicians, and tech growing in the middle of the city. It's certainly not big enough to garner any attention but it will.

I think it's easy for people to poo poo on Detroit. Detroit needed to burn so something better could rise from the ashes. Change always happens when things hit its lowest point.

1 point by pitdesi 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the idea and have love for Detroit (I went to grad school at U of M) but there are a number of things that make this really hard, including terrible government, deep seeded racism, cold weather, etc. Also - this story is crazy.
And it's not like those auto workers can be employed by your startup.

That being said, there are a lot of smart people in the midwest, and given the challenge of finding talent in the valley, there should be more startups in the midwest. Chicago and Pittsburgh seem to be getting there but you don't hear much from other places... Any place with good universities will have some startups, but Detroit hasn't gotten much out of U of M

2 points by SamReidHughes 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Generally speaking, programmers aren't poor. They can afford to live in more expensive places with little snow, less crime, more interesting companies, and VC's.
3 points by NY_USA_Hacker 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The labor unions will kill any such effort. The whole state of Michigan is just in LOVE with the labor union efforts that killed Detroit. Until Michigan gives up on labor unions, f'get about it.
2 points by LoveMich 8 hours ago 1 reply      
VERY reasonably priced housing. Extremely supportive people who will help entrepreneurs in an instant. Lots more to do than the media would like to share. Fabulous live music venues. Great museums. A gazillion terrific restaurants. Four distinct seasons. A quick drive to Northern Michigan will give you views of some of the most beautiful lakes in the world. I'd never move away from here.
1 point by Headfirst 9 hours ago 1 reply      
There are projects like this in Detroit already. I see everyone in this thread passing around old, tired images of a past Detroit. It hasn't been like that for awhile.

I started my business in Detroit and there is no other place I would choose if I did it all over again.

Stop passing old stereotypes about Detroit around and come see the city for yourself.

0 points by dookiet 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Snow is an idiotic argument. In fact if you like winter sports Michigan has an advantage in more consistant snowfall due to the proximity of the great lake (a huge benefit itself). Better to live in a place prepared to deal with snow then set up shop in the south and have you business and community shut down and clear out like a post apocalyptic city.
Ask HN: What startups have you witnessed from its inception to going big?
16 points by twidlit 13 hours ago   11 comments top 9
14 points by nostrademons 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Reddit. I remember when PG posted on comp.lang.lisp about this startup that he'd funded that was using Lisp. Checked it out, thought it was lame, because it was just a bunch of links with voting arrows, and the links all seemed to be submitted by the founders, spez's girlfriend, and PG. Came back a couple months later when they added comments, and stayed ever since.

HN. I joined the day after it opened for public use (it had been in beta for YC founders for about 6 months previous).

FictionAlley.org. I started lurking when they had a couple hundred members, and joined as user 1881. Joined the staff a couple months later, when we were at around 2500 registered users, and when I left the staff 3 years later, we had over 100,000.

Dropbox. Like you, I remember being super impressed by Drew's little demo on the HN forums. I actually had lunch with Drew, Arash, and Aston right after they got their Sequoia funding to discuss joining the company as employee #2. Had my own startup at the time and wouldn't leave my cofounder; I keep wondering if this'll be one of those decisions I'll regret forever, but OTOH the failure of my startup afterwards led me to Google, and that's been a pretty good experience too.

FaceBook. In September of 2004, a couple of my friends were all excited about this new social network that had just expanded to Amherst from the Ivy League. The founders had apparently just moved out to Silicon Valley, gotten some angel funding, and were shopping the company around to acquirers and VCs. I joined, found it kinda "meh", but friended all my friends (and a few people I met just once or twice at parties). At the time, they had profile photos, contact info, and the Wall, but nothing else. No private messaging, no chat, no photo-sharing, no apps, no events, no groups, etc.

Avici (remember them? They sold the massive routers that Enron Broadband and many of the major ISPs of the first dot-com boom used). Sometime in the summer of 1995 or 1996, we were sitting by the pool with the family of one of my friends from middle school, and talking computers. My friend's father said he and a bunch of his coworkers from BBN were founding a new company. They'd wanted to do these multi-terabit/second routers for years, and given how the Internet was exploding, it was now or never. They IPO'd at a market value of over a billion dollars in 2000, my friend's dad cashed out as soon as the lockup was over, and then the company promptly tanked.

Akamai. I was in a support group for gifted & talented kids with Reid Barton, the 4-time IMO gold medalist, when I was a teenager. Sometime around 1998, my dad was talking with his mom about what he was up to. He'd been working on the Cilk programming language at MIT, and one of the professors in the department was leaving to found this Akamai startup. Reid was going to join him as an intern. The irony is that I waited until the dot-com bust, after Danny Lewin was killed on 9/11, then picked up a whole bunch of Akamai shares on the open market at a price lower than the strike prices of virtually all the employees. That pretty much funded my first startup.

5 points by tesseract 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember something called the "Game Neverending" shutting down because its developers, while working on an updated version, accidentally created a photo sharing website instead.
5 points by _corbett 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook probably the biggest example. I remember when it was Harvard and MIT and actually just for college students. although I used it everyday, I did not at all foresee its skyrocket. now any service I visit every day I pretty much assume will go big. well HN maybe not...
1 point by zalew 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Tumblr. I remember first posts around my online social circle mentioning this easy, simple blogging platform, and lots of people including me started using it right away. I'm still a big fan and use it in lots of different ways.

Posterous. Here the first thoughts were different and it didn't kick in among most of my friends. I used it for some time as an experiment and got to know it quite well, but somehow I didn't enjoy it too much, now I know I'll be using this platform for some projects soon.

Flickr. I wasn't much into photography back then, but my mates who were active photogs got crazy about it. At first I really didn't like it, partly because of the early UI/UX, partly because I wasn't really sure about the idea of hosting pics 'out there' and didn't like the ToS. After a few years, when I got into photography as a hobby, started using it right away (exploring and sharing) and I do it actively to this day.


Lots of local companies, which are probably irrelevant to most of the HN crowd, but I'll mention some anyway: gadu-gadu (from a simple sms gate app to being THE instant messenger in Poland completely killing ICQ here), grono.net (first leading social network), nasza-klasa (classmates social network), wykop.pl (digg clone).

1 point by SamReidHughes 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Gee. Every YC startup since the first batch, that was successful, that people paid attention to, was witnessed by those people paying attention to it, except possibly during the dark period when Reddit was in decline and HN was not yet around, so it was a bit harder to notice. Well that's a rather snide way to put it.

Then there are some non-YC things, like Mibbit, Tarsnap, and BCC, which aren't actually "big," but have gotten enough coverage here, and seem to have gained some permanence.

I probably could have gotten a nice Twitter username if I had bothered. Oh well.

3 points by nyellin 12 hours ago 2 replies      
HNers of the right age have probably been witness to every big startup in the last decade. I would be more interested in hearing what effects the big startups have had each person's own projects.
1 point by sushi 8 hours ago 0 replies      

I used it a few days after it was launched public and thought it was just anther blogging platform. I hardly paid much attention. After an year or two the service started to gain traction when some famous bloggers moved to Posterous.

I still don't use it but it certainly has grown big.

2 points by clyfe 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Heroku. I was member no. 601
1 point by NY_USA_Hacker 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What do you use for product delivery (software)?
4 points by nhangen 8 hours ago   2 comments top 2
2 points by DotSauce 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have a bit to invest, aMember is really a fantastic solution and will allow you to expand your business in many ways. The software is the best on the market as far as I'm aware and goes for $180.

I'm finishing up deep integration of aMember, vBulletin and WordPress now and it is going very well. I'm very excited about launching.

aMember is built to manage recurring subscriptions first, but you can set products to "lifetime" and users will only have to make a single payment if needed.

1 point by nhangen 6 hours ago 0 replies      

As I was thinking about it, why isn't there a Bandcamp.com for software?

Some of the things I'd like to handle are:

1. Updates (email list)
2. Storage
3. Integrated shopping cart (like Big Cartel or Storenvy)
4. Tied to Mailchimp's API

Ask HN: Which JS mobile frameworks do you use?
3 points by BornInTheUSSR 8 hours ago   2 comments top
3 points by calebmpeterson 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I've had a good amount of success with jQTouch as well. Built a full app with it last month which works quite well in offline mode with HTML5 cache manifest. My only complaint about it would be that some of the theming is incomplete: the pressed styles don't work for buttons. A small thing which would be easy to fix - I just hadn't bothered.
Ask HN: What mobile SDK should I learn
17 points by macco 10 hours ago   21 comments top 12
8 points by SandB0x 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Simple: Android.

Open source, healthy ecosystem, safe future. Around 60% of my friends with smartphones have Android devices. Don't worry about competition, there's plenty of demand. Just be good at it.

If open source isn't a requirement and you own a Mac then obviously iOS is a great choice too. For the time being I really wouldn't consider learning any platform apart from these two.

4 points by wallflower 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't fret about cross-platform. However, if you want to do games, look at Unity3D ($$) - that is cross-platform.

I'm an iOS developer, now doing a deep-dive into Android.

Pretty much, the consensus among my iOS developer circle is that to be considered a serious mobile player you need three platforms: iOS, Android, and mobile web.

To be more marketable as a developer, there is no single platform that you want to learn (the true answer is to strive to become a better designer than coder - the best coder I know personally is a better designer - and that is one of the reasons he's had top-10 App Store apps). Learning Android has less of a learning curve. Knowing both iOS and Android is hard - I'm trying to do that now - and I've given up - shelved all my iOS projects to focus on Android.

Android is going to win in the long-run. WebOS is going to be a footnote in the history of tablets (unfortunately Nokia didn't buy them 2 years ago). Windows Phone 7 is a wildcard. By mobile web, I don't mean rich HTML5 - I mean decent mobile optimized websites like http://shakeshack.com

If you are going to study iPhone, just dive right in. The analyzer will save you from the most egregious of memory leaks and retain cycles. You will realize that your code you are writing sucks three or four iterations or generations down the line. Don't fret about that. You will go back and forth between the benefits of IB vs writing code for UIs directly.

If you are going to study Android, the code from OpenIntents is some of the best written I've seen so far [1]. A lot of the Android examples don't cover non-trivial stuff (like how do you have a ContentProvider that can handle multiple tables, how do you skin). OpenIntents shows a way, maybe not the best way - but decent, how to do all of that.

[1] http://code.google.com/p/openintents/source/browse/trunk

3 points by kleinsch 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Not sure where you're located geographically, but in the US there's still a major shortage of qualified mobile developers for the major platforms (iOS and Android). Any platform other than those and there will be less competition, but also many fewer jobs. I've started doing some iOS development, haven't even completed my first project yet, and I'm already turning down consulting jobs.

If you're thinking about launching your own apps, the same logic applies. Go where the users are, then branch out if you're successful. There may be less apps on some of the other platforms, but now that there are successful smartphone companies, they're porting to most major platforms, so you're competing with the big boys for a share of a much smaller pie.

3 points by makecheck 9 hours ago 1 reply      
What languages do you know, and what hardware do you own?

If you know at least basic C, Objective-C isn't hard to learn at all, but you need a Mac to do development on.

Android requires Java as far as I can tell, but maybe there are other options for that platform. Java is fairly close to C, but you'll probably still find it easier to learn if you've done C++.

It is also possible to create web apps that are essentially wrapped. Though I'd imagine you still need access to the platform (e.g. a Mac for iPhones) to produce even the wrapper.

Keep in mind that dynamic languages such as Objective-C and JavaScript will probably make it easier to debug, at least in my experience. If this is something brand new to you, a forgiving platform may be the best way to start.

4 points by guptaneil 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The way I see it, manufacturers are going to flood the market with Android phones that just compete on price, while iOS will dominate the high end smartphone market. This means that while Android will win in the long run in terms of market share, the majority of people buying those phones are not likely to spend money on premium apps. iOS, on the other hand, will continue to generate the most profit for its developers, even with a smaller market share.

Which segment you want to target depends on what types of apps you want to make.

If you're goal is to make money from the app itself (like a game or utility app), you should invest in iOS where the ROI is far greater. If you are developing an app for a web service, then you are probably looking for the greatest reach instead of trying to generate profit from the app itself. In this case, you can just partner up with an Android developer to cover both market segments.

On the other hand, if you're fine with making a mass market app that is monetized through ads instead of direct sales, then Android is good choice since it is in need of more consumer-friendly apps. Finally, if you want to make something cool just for the sake of hacking, then Android obviously gives you the greatest access to the underlying system to do whatever you want.

All of the other mobile OS's are too young to really predict where they'll go.

3 points by kolinko 9 hours ago 2 replies      
If you're a linux geek then Android, if you want to earn money now - iOS, if you don't want much competition - go for WP7 (it's very small now, but it's guaranteed to have a nice chunk of market share in two years).

WebOS? Did you hear about any good software thing HP ever released? That company doesn't know the stuff and purchasing Palm doesn't change much.

1 point by herval 7 hours ago 0 replies      
iOS if you intend to make money any time soon. If not, Android is pretty much the only game in town (I don't see WebOS going anywhere any time soon, and unless Microkia launches some seriously badass WM7 phones, I don't see much traction for it either)
1 point by X4 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Always remember that when you need a broad comparison of a field, Wikipedia might have it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_application_development

I've played with many of these Frameworks, just to have a comprehensive unbiased opinion. I also used the pure Android/iOS SDKs too. My suggestion would be to use the pure Android & iOS SDKs to learn. Then use the Airplay SDK ($$), which covers all Smartphones. (<they offer free education licenses)

By the way: You can circumvent the slow Android emulator by using an Android Virtual Machine http://www.android-x86.org/ or the latest AVD Platform target, which supports "snapshots".

Best wishes

1 point by hodzanassredin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
you can simply use c# with mono for android, ios and webos(in near future) development also you ca use c# for building wp7 apps. but you need to know differences in api of that platforms.
2 points by r3demon 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Android and iOS, and Qt mobility is still fine since millions of Nokia devices are sold around the world.
1 point by jwwest 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Learn them all, don't pigeon hole yourself. Or at least lean the basics of all of them, then focus on the one with the best developer tools or the one that you enjoy working in.
1 point by hmart 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What about platforms or frameworks like Titanium or PhoneGap?
Ask HN: Are you applying Startup Metrics for Pirates (AARRR) today?
4 points by krsgoss 10 hours ago   2 comments top 2
2 points by michael_dorfman 9 hours ago 0 replies      
First of all, you're missing an R in the title. And if it is the last one you are missing, well, that's not good.

AARRR is a nice conceptual schema for organizing activities-- I don't really see it is as something that is "applied", as much as a reminder that: a) each of the five areas is important in its own right, b) each of the five areas has separate goals, and c) each of the five areas has separate metrics.

At least, that's the way I'm using it.

1 point by krsgoss 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry about that... fixed the title (oops.) Agree that that last R is pretty important! Thanks for the feedback!
Ask HN: What type of splash page works better?
10 points by ch00ey 1 day ago   4 comments top 3
2 points by bobfunk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Co-founder of Webpop here. Honored to see our landing as one of your examples :)

We actually had exactly this discussion internally when we created our landing. We even had at least one prototype of the more mysterious kind with little more than a signup form.

I think both can work well, but for our beta we felt it was quite important that our users had an idea about what they signed up for. We're not doing a consumer product, and it wouldn't help us much getting lots of emails from people who would be completely lost when given access to a tool for professional web designers.

I suspect that being more mysterious would work well for sites with more of a social networking or entertainment focus.

2 points by GBond 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't guess or make assumptions. A/B test both and make a decision based on hard numbers.
Ask HN: What are the best books on startups?
12 points by hammock 22 hours ago   10 comments top 9
5 points by pg 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The book I've learned most from is Founders at Work: http://www.amazon.com/Founders-Work-Stories-Startups-Problem....
3 points by mindcrime 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm... a few that jump to mind for me would be:

The Art of the Start - Guy Kawasaki http://www.amazon.com/Art-Start-Time-Tested-Battle-Hardened-...

Outside Innovation - Patricia Seybold http://www.amazon.com/Outside-Innovation-Customers-Co-Design...

Unleashing the Killer App - Larry Downes & Chunka Mui http://www.amazon.com/Unleashing-Killer-App-Strategies-Domin...

Wellsprings of Knowledge - Dorothy Leonard Barton http://www.amazon.com/Wellsprings-Knowledge-Building-Sustain...

The Innovators Dilemma - Clayton Christensen http://www.amazon.com/Innovators-Dilemma-Revolutionary-Busin...

Crossing the Chasm - Geoffrey A. Moore http://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Chasm-Geoffrey-Moore/dp/00605...

The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs - William H. Draper http://www.amazon.com/Startup-Game-Partnership-Capitalists-E...

Some of these aren't necessarily about startups, but I think they all have something valuable to offer. YMMV.

3 points by oomkiller 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see this here yet, but I really enjoyed all of the stories in Founders at Work (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1590597141).

Not sure how helpful it will be, but it is definitely a source of inspiration, and also possibly examples of how things can work. Either way, once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.

1 point by psg 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Definitely agree with "Do More Faster." Great book with excellent advice. I also recommend "Startup Lessons Learned"
3 points by idiotb 22 hours ago 1 reply      
2 points by naithemilkman 15 hours ago 0 replies      
A similar question was posted on Quora. See this link: http://www.quora.com/What-books-should-entrepreneurs-read
1 point by cheae 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Good to great.

Blue ocean strategy

2 points by jayzee 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses - Amar Bhide
How do startups find good and cheap programmers in the Valley?
5 points by puente 14 hours ago   13 comments top 9
5 points by us 12 hours ago 1 reply      
You and several thousand of other people here (and everywhere else for that matter) are exactly the same. The talent you seek are often not cheap. If you're expecting to get people to build your company for you without much value proposition, you might as well forget it. If you're hoping to sell them on equity (founder or employee), they must believe in your company and vision.

I assume from your post that you and your brother are cofounders and neither can code? If this is the case, your setup already hardly make any sense. Smart coders will know better. Chances are you hardly know much about the business side of things much less convince coders to build your dream, one that I'm sure hasn't been "truly" validated.

Of course I am assuming and I could be wrong and you did validate your idea correctly and have much more going, but I seriously doubt it (and I'm trying to say that nicely here).

You should in all sense, validate the idea with REAL potential users, not your friends. If that pans out and you have limited funds, outsource a prototype first. THEN and only then, should you consider moving to the valley after you've got some minor traction and a working demo. The valley is not cheap and unless you live somewhere like Manhattan, you're not helping your financial situation much more. You're making it worse.

Networking is important but working smart is also important. You can make online connections before coming here. You have your odds stacked against you if you don't have local coders for raising (whether you hire before or after). Majority of all investors won't invest unless you have in-house coders so the long term strategy of hiring overseas hopefully isn't something you were planning and is only in consideration for your prototype/demo.

Salaries here are crazy but that's how it goes. At this point in your startup, I would seriously consider finding a cofounder and define very specific roles between you and your brother. And hopefully you're bringing enough knowledge on the business side as you're expecting your coder to bring to the table on the technical side. After all, you don't want to bring on someone who can't code at all and expect them to learn, no one wants to team up with an inexperience business cofounder only to have them learn and certainly not TWO of them. Something to consider.

Ideas are great but alone they're not worth much. You need to make it worthwhile for whoever you're working with as well. If you can get a prototype and demo up, pitching to coders AFTERWARDS make things a bit easier. Something to consider.

Best of luck

6 points by omitevski 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone who's basing their business model on cheap programmers is doomed to fail. The reason is that he/she does not understand the inherent nature of programmers. The quality therefore productiveness of programmers follows the power law distribution, meaning that a single good programmer can not be matched by 100 average coders. So if not possible to pay him a stellar salary, try with equity options. However your idea must be worth something, and the cofounders need to be worth something, which I seriously doubt.
1 point by lsc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If you move here, your options are

1. start lean:

Only hire founders who will work for nothing. You can also hire new people and train, but that's /very slow/ and not really recommended if you are a "startup" rather than a lifestyle business.


2. get funded. take the money (and the publicity. 1% of a funded company is going to be perceived as more valuable by most people than 50% of the same company before it's funded) and hire good people.

For both 1 and 2, the valley is great. It's a great place to meet people who have the technical skills (and the financial acumen) to become a co-founder. It's also a great place to find people who might fund you, and it's a wonderful place to find people you'd want to hire if you had a lot of money.

The thing of it is, people get paid more around here, but standards are higher, too. A mediocre SysAdmin in silicon valley, if you move him to, say, the Sacramento area, will be like a minor god.

This isn't to say that you can't find good people outside of silicon valley, but the average here is higher. I'd say high enough higher to justify our inflated wages. If you are paying market rate for market skill, even though you are paying more here, I'd say you are at least getting as much skill per dollar as you would elsewhere, and maybe more.

Hang out at the hacker dojo, go to various meetups, meet people. It's pretty great. Personally, I think it's worth the extra cost just for the social life. I feels pretty great to be surrounded by all these smart people who are interested in the same sorts of things you are interested in.

But really, if you want to hire people on the cheap, this is not the place to do it. You would be better off almost anywhere else in the world. Hiring foreigners (or Midwesterners) and having them work remote is one way to do it. Moving to Texas is another popular option.

1 point by makecheck 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Programmers aren't just cogs in a system, and this is a mistake that many managers make. (And this is insulting to potential hires, by the way.) If you only know that you need "a lot" of them, you need to clarify the nature of the work. For example...is it a web site, will there be databases involved, is this software to power some kind of machine, will it use a network, will it require a GUI, will it run on Mac or Windows or Linux, are there restrictions on what it must interact with, is it safe to open-source the project and use GPL'd libraries, etc.? These details will also help you to write job postings.

In general, you get what you pay for, only less. Code has to be maintained, and even if something is thrown together in "a couple months", you may regret that for anything except a prototype.

A single excellent programmer may very well handle your entire project, and ten horrible programmers may never get it done. If you're not experienced dealing with programmers, then set up some kind of deal where you pay only when it's finished and you see regular progress from the people you hire. Be prepared to set aside plenty of time to test what is given to you, and do both expected and unexpected things with it. You need to be in a position to reject their work if they say it's "done" and you can still see quirks and instability (because some programmers can be lazy or clueless).

The cost of living in the valley is very high, so anyone living there will need more money for that reason alone. It wouldn't surprise me if you paid nearly 50% extra. This might be worth it, especially if it means finding someone right away instead of 6 months from now, but keep it in mind.

1 point by SamReidHughes 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Find some high-school graduate, not-yet-going-to-college supergenius coder-deities. The thing is, I don't think they're actually cheap.

Another possibility is to drive a nondescript van down Castro Street on a weekday around lunch, pick out a scrappily dressed young male, and kidnap him. Make sure you're driving facing west (or is it north? I mean south) so that you don't get trapped by the railroad. You'll need guns, I hear you can get them in Reno.

2 points by puente 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Well maybe the message went out wrong.

This is not what I was asking for! Infact, we are both programmers. So I wasn't trying to offense anybody!

The thing is that if we get an early investment of 10K (we also want to ask for the less possible that we could need) we dont want to blow it off inmediately on one single guy...

What I was asking is how to invest it the better way possible to finish a prototype? (that is what I meant with cheap)

What I was looking for are things like:
1. Hire a prgrammer for a month for around 5K to help you with the core. You can find them in ...
2. At the same time hire 2 trainees for 2K each and...

Can someone give me an advice on that?

1 point by hasenj 11 hours ago 0 replies      
For starters, don't use the word "cheap".

If you can't afford to pay now, offer them shares/equity/whatever-it's-called.

2 points by nyellin 13 hours ago 0 replies      
1. As I see it, the main advantage of being in a high-tech area is networking opportunities. There are also more good programmers and cofounders available, but the former is expensive.

2. Many startups don't need that many programmers early on. I prototyped my latest project by myself in under two weeks.

1 point by hajrice 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm....try checking out universities in the area ?
       cached 14 February 2011 01:02:01 GMT