hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    16 Feb 2011 Ask
home   ask   best   8 years ago   
1
How we fed ourselves for a year & sold a startup...with only 300 lines of code
396 points by felixchan 15 hours ago   96 comments top 42
1
116 points by SwellJoe 14 hours ago 4 replies      
I reached the end of this story and thought, "These guys have not fully learned the lesson of product failure. Nor have they learned to recognize product success."

You made a product no one wanted, and in order to market it, you stumbled onto a product that lots of people wanted in a market where billions of dollars are spent each year (we spend about 10 grand a year on conferences, and we're a tiny company with a tiny marketing budget). You've now ditched the product people wanted, presumably selling it for a pittance, and went right back to a similar mobile app to the one you couldn't convince anyone to use, despite excellent marketing savvy.

It sounds like you guys are a great team, and I bet you'll make many great products in the years to come. I hope you'll also figure out that when the market speaks that loudly, it's a good idea to listen. I had the same problem for many years; it took me three years, from the time we first wrote the code, to realize that Virtualmin could be a great business.

2
52 points by wccrawford 15 hours ago 3 replies      
The exaggerations in titles are really starting to bother me.

Yes, you started with 300 lines of code... But then you modified it several times for different conferences, and enhanced it a lot when you really become popular. Only after that did you sell it.

3
24 points by dmor 15 hours ago 3 replies      
As one of the early event organizers to use imhello just want to say we love you guys, and still want to have you back -- until I read this I thought you'd fallen off the face of the Earth. You guys helped us with badges at out City Hall event (where Tim O'Reilly spoke) and also with an event at Twilio HQ. I'm really happy to hear you're back, and my one piece of advice is that once you have that initial traction and buzz don't let it die.

As an event organizer, I felt like you guys were doing for free what I normally had to pay someone to do - manning the front door. It was very valuable, having you there and putting your logo on our badges felt like 100% win-win. Good luck with view.io

4
14 points by ck2 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Wait, those were simple black-and-white "HELLO MY NAME IS" badges printed on a mailing label?

Event organizers paid how much for this?

At first I though maybe this was the 1990's but then I read netbooks.

Very confused. How dumb/lazy/cheap are conference organizers?

5
8 points by bjonathan 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"Make sure you click the link above instead of typing it through the browser, so we can know you were referred from Hacker News and can give priority access." (even if I think this point is bullshit):
There is a clickable link to View : http://view.io
6
6 points by YooLi 14 hours ago 0 replies      
For the people wanting to know what the badge-printing setup looked like, I think these pictures show it:

http://imhello.posterous.com/

7
6 points by borski 15 hours ago 3 replies      
After signup, there is a syntax issue:

  To try our initial beta on Feb 31, invite 2 friends that live nearby:

Feb. 31 doesn't exist. :)

Also, the watermarks don't show up in Firefox; I almost assumed I needed to know the "secret codes" to get an invite.

8
5 points by cpr 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You probably ought to plan on Apple stealing your thunder with iOS 5.0, which purportedly includes http://siri.com/, a voice-activated app that appears to cover what you're doing exactly.
9
3 points by gcheong 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I thought most badges are simply printed from the event registration data and I would have certainly expected the events you listed to have had badges already upon arrival, so I'm curious as to why they didn't have the badges printed already. But it's certainly a great story of how something they developed in order to promote what they thought was their main product ended up becoming the main product.
10
4 points by 6ren 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the best longform copywriting I have ever seen! I'm happy to be advertised to in this way. I especially like the "priority access" part.

The View app does look amazing - seems to basically be local advertising/information signage on your phone, as Philip K Dick predicted/feared, but (hopefully) more useful than typical ads (can you find ways to keep it that way?)

Suggestions: the example messages are great, but show them a little longer, maybe proportional to their length (I couldn't quite read some of them); and maybe somehow make your tag more concrete and specific (maybe 'what you need to know about where you are' - danger signs, like your "tow zone" one sum it up). Maybe something about "signs"?

11
2 points by baddox 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Rural Missouri, eh? That's where I've been my whole life, and I too have always wanted to move to San Francisco or a similar population center. Cool that you're pulling it off.
12
10 points by jbscpa 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Great work.

I keep remembering that in my little community a business that just sold for >$100 million started out making steak fingers and selling them to restaurants.

Steak fingers.

$100 million.

nothing is impossible.

13
7 points by tlack 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Did you not see enough money in the event market to continue trying to build products in that space? View.io seems to be a bit of a departure from that.
14
3 points by Vivtek 15 hours ago 0 replies      
What a great story! "This is what it's like to build a product someone wants."
15
2 points by corin_ 15 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI, the signup form on view.io doesn't show the placeholder text in Firefox, I had to view source to see what it was meant to display. Fine on Chrome.
16
1 point by fleitz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Working link: http://view.io
17
1 point by chipocabra 3 hours ago 0 replies      
What boggles my mind is that tech events in San Francisco don't print name badge automatically on admission. 0_0

I live in South Africa and pretty much any trade show or event I have gone to in the last 4 years have had name badges printed at the door on admission. Or am I missing something here?

18
1 point by mhartl 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Make sure you click the link above instead of typing it through the browser, so we can know you were referred from Hacker News and can give priority access.

URLs in submissions aren't linked.

19
2 points by pitdesi 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Question: how do we "click the above link?"
It shows up as text for me, which I cut and pasted into the address bar (you won't know I came from HN)
Am I missing something?
20
1 point by alain94040 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Agreed. Printing name badges for a meetup (like the co-founders meetup for instance - 150 people) is actually 50% of the whole effort of putting such an event together. What a pain! I can see why event organizers would call you so you solved their headache!
21
3 points by ujeezy 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Is yours the product used at SHDHs? I (and others) were very impressed with it :)
22
1 point by endlessvoid94 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Great story. re: view.io, I closed my registration window, so I lost the link to send to my friends. Is there no way to get it back?
23
1 point by julianz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. I typed in my local equivalent of a zip code (four digits beginning with a zero) and it accepted it. So either you guys are planning on going global right away, or your validation's not all that flash?
24
1 point by rexf 13 hours ago 1 reply      
From the landing page, view.io sounds like an useful product. As someone new to NYC, I'm always looking for relevant upcoming events. In a city like NYC, there has to be events of interest, but they are hard to find. This sounds like what view.io addresses.

That said, this trend with spamming friends to receive an invite (thanks to UseHipster, LaunchRock, etc) is frustrating. Yes, it may increase your launch e-mail list, but it's an extra step that deters certain users (I gave up after being told to tell x friends to sign up).

25
1 point by emit_time_n3rgy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks4sharing. In NYC's Google office(s), when you walk-up to the front desk there's a system to enter your name (or anything for that matter) and it prints out a sticker-badge. And I've used a scale programmed to spit out sticker labels with prices depending on the weight of the product code entered. Perhaps an add-on to the event badges would be color coding them based on some other attribute voluntarily entered into the system (not weight :)
26
1 point by mapster 10 hours ago 1 reply      
You are on the right track. Badges was not your thing. Coding great apps is. So glad you are back on track, not giving up. Maybe this time around build a badge app - in other words, find a need and build great software to address it. And ask to be paid :)
27
1 point by guinaps 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This makes me feel even more confident about my recent decision of ditching bloated and too ambitious "next big thing" ideas in favor of small, practical ideas that help people's lives somehow. And the latter ones are much easier to iterate through than the former, especially when you convince yourself that many of your "silly" small ideas may actually be pretty interesting if well executed.

Thanks for sharing your story!

28
3 points by solarix 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Very interesting story! Thanks for sharing.
29
2 points by imperialdrive 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised some people are giving you a hard time in the comments section. I found great value in reading your story. Thank you for sharing. Peace.
30
2 points by mdink 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Why did you sell? Besides the offer, were you sick of the business?
31
1 point by jdabney 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I just signed up for the beta and it told me that I can use it on February 31st if I sign up two friends. I think someone should take a look at how the dates are being calculated.
32
1 point by tzm 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Wait... rural Missouri? I'm originally from Joplin (SW Mo). Glad to see you made the jump.
33
1 point by mapster 10 hours ago 0 replies      
oh, I thought by the title maybe Tim Ferris was suckering me in for more baloney.
34
1 point by zeynel1 12 hours ago 0 replies      
So what is the name of the company who bought the label business?
35
1 point by moioci 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd really like to see a link to a privacy policy before entering my email and ZIP code.
36
1 point by bayshorecove 15 hours ago 0 replies      
wow. very inspiring. This proves how life really make its turns huh? :) Great job guys, and the app looks cool.
37
1 point by rblion 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Inspiring resolve. great story
38
1 point by aforty 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I love stories like these! Thanks for sharing!
39
1 point by suyash 14 hours ago 0 replies      
How much was the deal for? Great job
40
1 point by Noojie 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, awesome story! Good luck with view!
41
1 point by roodboi 15 hours ago 0 replies      
nice work, gents.
42
-2 points by pandorastoreuk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com</strong>;
<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com</strong>;
<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com</strong>;
<br>

<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com/bracelets</strong>;
<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com/bracelets</strong>;
<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com/bracelets</strong>;
<br>

<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com/charms</strong>;
<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com/charms</strong>;
<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com/charms</strong>;
<br>

<strong>http://www.pandorasaleuk.com/beads</strong>;

2
Ask HN: I need advice. Major problems with my business & co-founder
64 points by helpmehnkenobi 9 hours ago   33 comments top 16
1
14 points by tptacek 8 hours ago 1 reply      
With 2MM/yr, why not consider taking outside investors? The market seems pretty bubbly right now, and you have a proven track record and don't "need" the money. Ironically, the thing I find most loathesome about venture capital might actually be a win here: you get a board of directors which can fire the CEO.

If that's too drastic, why not add another stakeholder? Two more options:

First: you can make a strategic hire, like VP/Sales, or a "rock star" VP/Eng. This doesn't change the ownership structure but, with buyin from your partner, does put pressure on the company to manage itself properly. If your partner likes the new VP/Sales, he'll listen when the VP/Sales says marketing sucks and the networking conferences aren't bringing in leads.

Or, you could go whole hog and bring a third partner in. The dynamics of 3-person teams are very different from two-person teams, because you can vote bad ideas off the island. With a business putting 1.2MM or so away every year, you probably have a pretty compelling pitch; all you need to do is find a gap between you and your partner that deserves a board-level answer. It doesn't need to be 33/33/33 for you to win; 45/45/10 still breaks the tie you're in right now.

2
1 point by dmarinoc 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
It happened to me once. And worst part is that it happened to me when I was negotiating a seed round :/

So, I ended up stoping negotiations with the BAs and focusing on raising a personal loan to buy him his shares.

Finally I was able to buy him out and signed with the BAs (who were extremely supportive in the process because they saw me manage all of this professionally... and I didn't use their money for my battle).

So, if you really don't hit it off with him, my advice is only one: "the sooner the better".

3
9 points by aspir 9 hours ago 2 replies      
There's always the option of "retiring" and requesting to be bought out. If you're desperate to leave ASAP, that's a viable option.

If you are having so many issues with your co-founder, the feeling is likely mutual. It seems as though he may be a control freak, so give him what he wants- total and absolute control.

Be honest. If you want to leave, bring it up with him privately; if he wants you to stay, he'll try to convince you to do so, but if he wants you out, he'll likely try to help you exit, either through LBO or through an outside investor. But, try to take the high road if possible. A current employee, client, or general peer may be your next business partner, so don't sneak off.

Don't go the legal loophole route if at all possible -- no one wins in the long term through method of exit, except the lawyer.

4
8 points by wisty 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't think you're irreplaceable. You can be replaced, and if he needs help you can do some consulting. Everyone justifies staying in a job by claiming that they are being a martyr - just watch Clerks.

I can't count the number of times I've heard an employee (sometimes myself) looking for a change of scene say "I'm doing this place a real favour, staying on".

5
2 points by webwright 5 hours ago 1 reply      
You aren't long on options. I don't think anyone wants to buy half of a company against the will of the other founder. Nor can you force a dissolution of the company. Assuming you don't have an agreement that spells out what happens when one partner wants a split to happen, I think you're in a tough spot.

In your shoes, I would tell your partner that you don't feel like you're being treated like an equal partner... If you don't have veto power on any hire in the company, that isn't right.

If you can't find consensus on strategic or tactical decisions, then I'd ask for a negotiated split. You could sell the whole entity, buy his half, sell him your half, or something more creative. If you can't come to an agreement, you could suggest a mediator. But I don't think you can do anything without his goodwill, so I'd work on getting that. The good news is that he's in the same spot. Hopefully he'll be reasonable... And hopefully next time you make sure to have rules in place for stuff like this. I've always liked http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_clause

6
6 points by tptacek 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Your company is 5 years old. Presumably, for something like 3 of those years, you liked and respected your cofounder. What was good about him? When he's firing on all cylinders, what's good about working with him?
7
7 points by staunch 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Find a truly neutral third party you both respect. Have them sit down with both of you and talk out all the issues. Their job is to provide you both with some outside perspective.
8
3 points by techiferous 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Make sure you communicate your concerns to him clearly. Communicate specific things that you have a problem with (specific so that he has an opportunity to rectify the situation). Also communicate the importance of the problems. He may know that you are not satisfied with the designer and the company's progress, but does he know that it's so important to you that you're willing to throw in the towel?

If, on the other hand, you've already communicated specific problems and the importance of the problems and he hasn't shown a good faith effort in helping you resolve these concerns, then you may need to part ways or otherwise restructure the company.

9
3 points by gatsby 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is tough. From an outsider's perspective, it feels as though you've already moved on mentally: "we might be past the point where the damage can be repaired," "no trust on my part," and "there are a lot of things I still want to do startup and entrepreneur-wise."

Arbitration, litigation, and ultimatums all have their place in business, but sometimes the best case scenario is to just get out (dissolve, sell, etc.) Often times, the partner is just as upset as you are, so start by seeing if s/he'll privately buy your half, and if not, see if s/he's interested in shopping the whole company to new owners.

I understand that walking away from or selling a company with 5 employees and $2m in revenue isn't a decision that's a.) easy or b.) happens overnight, but it seems as though you've thought it through and are ready to move on.

One way or another, thanks for sharing, and let us know how it turns out.

10
3 points by huhtenberg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Offer your partner to buy your half of the company and move on. The alternative is just to move on and keep the half of the company to yourself, which is something that he is not very likely to be comfortable with, so that's your bargaining chip.

If you want to try and fix the situation, you will need a major shake, a shock therapy, something to make him stop and realize that things must really change. Simply making small changes (like getting rid of that designer friend) is pointless. If he does it, it will be to silence you and to go back to his comfort zone. You need a larger agenda, things will need to be different after dust settles or you and him will be back to bickering in no time.

11
1 point by phlux 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I cant tell if the designer is a male or female, but one question; is it a female and is there potential that your partner is sexually involved with the designer? You never said "him"... only "person".

How much is the designer making?

Take some fraction of that salary and go out, without the knowledge of your partner and get better work done. Then come back and say "look at this collateral and web marketing design I had done - it cost 10% of [designers] annual salary and the quality is [n] X better"

12
1 point by dkokelley 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Being a 50% partner means you can fire the designer. If the partner with the personal relationship isn't willing to, tell him you will do the honors.

I think a restructuring is in order. You can either leave (dealing with your half of the company in whatever way is necessary), or restructure the company so that you (as the person who seems to understand and run the business) have all of the decision power. Of course your partner will need something in return for this, be it cash, or the threat of leaving. Another option is to mutually agree on a 3rd board member for dispute resolution. Make sure this person can remain objective and make decisions that are best for the company.

Unfortunately I can't give you any advice on how to deal with your personal friendship with this person. You probably know best the way to amicably approach the situation with him.

13
1 point by pkaler 7 hours ago 0 replies      
There are multiple issues here: ownership issues, management issues, employee issues, personal issues.

Here's how you tackle the employee issue. Implement quarterly and yearly reviews and goals. If an employee is not performing they get a 1) verbal warning 2) written warning 3) termination. Make sure the employee understand where they stand at all times.

Good luck with the other issues.

14
1 point by Stormbringer 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Plenty of successful startups had money coming in from another source (see also: Microsoft) or piggy-backed off another company for a while (again: see Microsoft). It sounds like you could easily transition down to a 6-7 hour day and then later to a 4 hour day there, and be working hard for 7-8 hours a day on your other startup ideas.

Who knows? They say a change is as good as a holiday, and doing something different may also re-invigorate you to provide more energy back into the original business. I know I get better results when I have multiple jobs to think about than just one.

Working two jobs sounds too hard? Some people work three.

But I agree with the other commenter who said it sounds like mentally you've already 'checked out'. Go the whole hog for a while, and start treating it exactly like just a paycheck. You want to do other stuff? No one is stopping you, but you.

15
2 points by dmfdmf 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The question I have is did the business wreck his marriage or did his divorce wreck his business? Typically a divorce is a big deal, emotionally and financially. I'm not making excuses for the guy but there could be all kinds of bizarre psycho-dynamics going on here based on the dependencies and connections (even if only in his mind) between his business and personal life. Finally, being business partners is a lot like being married so the guy probably feels like he's faced with two divorces, not one.
16
1 point by epynonymous 7 hours ago 0 replies      
under normal circumstances, the obvious thing to do (at least in my mind) would be to consider all the wonderful alternatives. but since this is also your baby, and you have probably poured in lots and lots of your soul into it, i sense this is really your quandary, because it sounds to me that you don't want to go.

so once you have that straight in your mind, just divide and conquer all the available options, i can't give you specifics because i don't understand the stakes, but obviously this marketing person/friend of co-founder must go or be relegated to a lower authority or else the culture and quite probably the business will flounder. perhaps finding a different role for this person would be beneficial. things cannot stay as they are, that's for sure.

good luck on this and don't let this suck your morale down, it really seems quite the downer, but you need to keep a positive view on things. ultimately, if you don't get the terms that you want then there are always other options, including starting another company.

3
Show HN: soft-launching one of my pet projects
20 points by joshu 6 hours ago   23 comments top 14
1
5 points by chrismiller 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks good.

My one UI nitpick would be that clicking the "Read another random clue" button takes you to a random clue but that button is not present on the new page. I spent ~5 confused seconds looking for the button again before I noticed the link in the header. In my opinion the button should also be present on the clue page.

If you are looking for some content to get the site started Reddit recently had a huge thread full of hints and tips like this.

2
3 points by il 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I really like the site, but I'm turned off by the insistence on Twitter as the only way to interact with it.

Can I at least log in with Facebook? Gmail? OpenID?

It should also be possible to submit a new clue from any page, not just the homepage, I spent a little bit of time hunting for a submit button near the top of the page.

3
1 point by ajju 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I really like the site. I clicked "get random clue" enough times to get multiple repeats. Perhaps a "get next clue" is in order which a user can use to avoid repeats?

Also the "Read another random clue" button disappears after a couple of clues. I then have to click the random clue link at the top right which doesn't make a lot of sense.

4
1 point by apu 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Bug: I was clicking random clue, and it worked fine for a few, but then I got: The webpage at http://cluedb.com/clue/7298Bb// has resulted in too many redirects.
5
1 point by jefe78 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Two minor issues:

Clicked on "another random clue" after reading the first one. That disappeared on the following clues.

Having to use Twitter/any other common ID is going to cause people to shy away. Let me register for my own ID on your site.

Otherwise, I love the idea!

6
1 point by nandemo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a nice idea. I wish you had chosen another name, though. When I see ClueDB I think of a database product; I don't know what non-developers think of or if they'll remember the name.
7
1 point by apu 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Has the @ symbol now become the standard symbol for denoting a user's "homepage" on a site? I thought it was generally used to link directly to their twitter page?
8
2 points by JMiao 5 hours ago 0 replies      
clicking on "random clue" is unexpectedly satisfying.
9
1 point by ronnier 4 hours ago 0 replies      
10
2 points by azrealus 4 hours ago 1 reply      
very cool. it would be nice to add categories or tags to clues. API would be nice too so maybe somebody else could create a mobile version :)
11
1 point by jonpaul 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool idea. Back button is broken.
12
1 point by HackrNwsDesignr 4 hours ago 0 replies      
joshu: do you need any design help? would be happy to hack on a simple/elegant logo and/or design.
13
1 point by sibsibsib 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice work. How are you liking the flask/mongo combination?
14
1 point by fourstar 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually have been working on this same idea of my own. Good to see there will be some competition. :)
4
Ask HN: IBM will kill Google with Watson?
6 points by dustyreagan 4 hours ago   6 comments top 3
1
4 points by mechanical_fish 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I swear, all this box worship makes me think of The Prisoner, Episode Six, "The General". Patrick McGoohan had the right take on this forty years ago.

At the risk of repeating myself, trivia questions are a game, not a source of wisdom. They are a highly constrained genre: a good trivia question requires no special expertise, can be answered in seconds by a human, and - most important of all - has a single, unambiguous, indisputably correct, short answer. In other words, it is the least important form of knowledge. They call it trivia for a reason.

It is doubtful that Watson will be particularly better at answering such questions than Google plus a half-educsted human would be. It might be faster than that combo, but how often are fractions of a second of the essence when Googling? It might not require the human to do as much, but humans are a dime a dozen on Mechanical Turk.

Moreover, taking humans out of the search loop is self-defeating: Google makes money because a human must filter the results. Humans are susceptible to advertising. Watson won't click on ads that he glimpses out of the corner of his eye, and even if he did advertisers wouldn't pay for those clicks. So what is WatsonGoogle's business model?

2
1 point by abhikshah 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember people asking the same kinds of questions when Wolfram Alpha was released. Alpha and Watson work in very constrained spaces and transferring their success to general search is very much non-trivial. So, no Watson will not make a dent in Google.. It'll be a very helpful tool in specialized areas but scaling it out is not a matter of a year or two..
3
1 point by epc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
No.

IBM has little to no interest in or tolerance for consumer facing web sites. It tried developing a consumer web search in 1996 called "InfoMarket" and killed it weeks before launch (and killed off IBM's own web site search in the process as collateral damage).

While IBM does support a few sporting event web sites (which IBM has down to a routine), I don't see IBM doing anything with Watson facing the general public. Perhaps as a gimmick for a short period of time, but not a general service.

5
Ask HN: Should i room with a potential co-founder?
6 points by frsandstone 4 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
3 points by mashmac2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, a couple notes:

1. Living together doesn't necessarily increase productivity. If you actually started a company together, one of your homes/rooms would probably become the startup's 'home' anyways.

2. Living with him will quickly tell you how well you'll get along in the long run, something crucial to business. If you find out you don't work/live well together, you can move elsewhere next year.

TL;DR- Go for it, live with him. Worst case you learn that you don't really want to start a company with him.

2
3 points by maxdemarzi 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If you room with your potential co-founder, you risk the danger of creating an echo chamber ( http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=echo%20chambe... )

Plus starting a company is enough stress, don't add to it by having the stress of rooming together.

3
1 point by newyorker 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Go for it!
6
HN: How do int'l Rails webapps handle recurring subscriptions?
3 points by marcamillion 2 hours ago   4 comments top 2
1
1 point by bdclimber14 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I think this is more of a strategy question. I'd approach this problem by defining each user to belong to a plan. Then with authorization gems such as CanCan, define the actions that can be accomplished with each role.

For example, one ability definition would be for adding new files. It would check that the user's used space has not exceeding the user's plan allotment.

I hope this helps some, but I doubt you'll find a silver bullet gem or service because this requires some deep application logic.

2
1 point by ecommando 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Moneybookers.com
7
Ask HN: Who is the equivalent of 37signals in Korea?
5 points by stcredzero 6 hours ago   1 comment top
1
2 points by pestaa 3 hours ago 0 replies      
In what aspect do you seek similarity? Project management tools, company philosophy, company with a book or two, company with a design blog?

37signals rightly makes designers addicted to their culture, but if you ask me, I don't like their products.

I bet there are tons of companies in Korea whose products I would not like.

8
Ask HN: What are some great startups that started out "in stealth"?
4 points by bradleyjoyce 7 hours ago   4 comments top 4
1
5 points by pg 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Depending on what you mean by it, every one.
2
1 point by keiferski 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook might count, depending on what you mean by stealth.
4
1 point by mkinnan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you mean a company like OnLive that was in stealth mode for many years?
9
Meetup having financial trouble?
6 points by aneth 9 hours ago   discuss
10
Ask HN: What do you *not* like about Basecamp (or your pm software)?
14 points by imakeapps 14 hours ago   8 comments top 7
1
1 point by thesash 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, was just thinking about this after watching Asana's demo recently

General PM software gripes (jira, project, pivotal tracker):

1. lack of keyboard shortcuts: have to use mouse way too much. org-mode is so much more intuitive and efficient for task management once learned but lacks collaborations and no one wants to put in the time to learn it.

2. Difficult to get a clear picture of the overall status of projects. Project managers have to spend a lot of time gathering status updates and creating reports because we use so many different tools, and the built-in reporting generally sucks.

3. Lack of intuitive structure within data. An ideal PM platform would structure information in an intuitive way that to make it discoverable by people working on peripherally related projects.

Specific gripes w/Basecamp:

1. Don't get notifications when clients upload files, only when they post messages (they often don't understand the difference)

2. Checkboxes to send out email notifications are not checked by default for new messages. Clients always forget to do this, even when we remind them, and then wonder why we don't respond right away.

3. Refusal to use gantt charts. I get that 37signals has a philosophical objection to dependancies and detailed timelines in PM, but sometimes a gantt chart is the best way to visually display a project timeline, especially if certain milestones are missed and impact the rest of the project.

2
1 point by slater 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Thirding the "too much noise" comment. It seems BC is a system that lends itself too well to almost-IRC-style posting of comments. Couple that with managers that might not be used to being concise and to the point in what they write, and you have hundreds of messages to sift through, which seems counter to what BC is supposed to help you with - making managing projects easier.
3
1 point by niketdesai 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Agree w/ Abinoda - I think the one feature I would like is extreme search-ability (check out Remember the Milk). Since I have quite a few tasks, of varying importance, due dates, milestones, and across features it's hard to literally figure out what I should be working on.

I think Remember the Milk has a decent solution for search, but obviously it's not nearly as complete as Basecamp.

4
1 point by jmartin 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I think adding a 'Prioritize' feature would be very useful and beneficial. That way you can 'rank' your tasks and sort through them on a number based system.
5
1 point by abinoda 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Generally speaking (Basecamp user here), I feel like there's too much noise and it's difficult for me to focus and navigate through what I need to get done daily.
6
1 point by rvorm 13 hours ago 0 replies      
it can get a little hectic when a lot of feedback is coming in and attempting to find a certain message/file can be cumbersome, if(most often you do) you have a lot of projects you are working on at once. Also I am not sure how it would work, but some sort of way to divide up long term projects and short term projects if that was known.
7
1 point by ryanjm 13 hours ago 0 replies      
When jumping on a new project I want to read through all the messages, but there isn't a next/prev button. You have to go back to the messages index page in order to get to the next one (including finding you place). And some of their pages take awhile to load.
11
Ask HN: I just thought of a startup, got funding and now I am stuck...
28 points by bks 11 hours ago   52 comments top 17
1
5 points by strlen 10 hours ago 1 reply      
You're very different from most "idea guys" as you've done something others haven't: you've proven you can raise funding. Take the funding.

Now, be ready to do something difficult: if you want somebody to stick around, you'll need to make them an owner. You've done one part, raise the money, but now you need somebody who can implement this. As such, be willing to offer them over 50% of your equity (what they're doing is more valuable than what you've done, honestly) and make them an actual co-founder. Let them make complete technology choices, even if he says the application will be written in Erlang and Haskell. Give them input equal to yours when it comes to product direction, not "I come up with all the ideas, you implement them". Anything less, and they're an employee and not a founder.

That's very important: you will not get a top notch employees unless a) you have technical founders b) you can pay them above market rate and give a significant equity chunk c) challenge them in a way that grows their technical skill.

Take a look at a successful engineer at a top-notch Silicon Valley company: they have a job with brand name recognition, they do something they love (a _very_ important motivating factor for an engineer: they will not stop working on say garbage collection algorithms and start working on "GroupON for X" for a paycheck), they have a technical manager, they're earning above market rate (with performance based bonuses), they have stock which may not be a significant percentage but is 100% certain to be worth something.

The money you have isn't sufficient to pay an engineer a market rate salary. The problem you're solving is likely not very technical. The upside potential is likely unknown and it's almost certain than an employee will see very little in the case of a typical exit. The only kind of employee you can hire in this case is somebody who can't get a stable job elsewhere: you'll be giving him legitimate experience to put on his resume in return for his work. That isn't a bad deal if you can accurately identify potential (and if you are unable to give them more responsibility and a higher salary in a year, ready for them to leave as soon as get find something else) or have enough money to hire and fire many times (with "trial periods" and the like), but this isn't your case. You can't identify potential, you can't afford to try and fail until you luck upon somebody with potential.

What you need is another founder, who can insert the critical technology DNA, re-state your problem as one technology can be (intelligently) applied to and who has the same stake as you in the company. This person can also identify further talent (including the kind of talent you will need: engineers who have great potential, but are green and need _any_ kind of experience; they need experienced hackers to mentor them).

Where do you find this person? Problem is that you can't, unless you already know them. That's why companies like YC are very fuzzy about founders who have known each other and have a strong bond. Is there an engineer you've worked with (in a business role) who the company has pulled all stops (before) to keep, but who secretly yearns to have more of say in the product (and not just do what a product manager tells him)? Is there a classmate from college who absolutely wowed you? Is there an engineer you hear great things from your unknown-quality engineer friends? That's the person you want.

Again, I'd also like to state this isn't just about the money, other than the fact you've been able to raise funding has set you aside from most "idea" guys (to whom my general response would consist of a crude ASCII drawing). Just having money, doesn't mean you can get great talent: you must be ready to offer is challenge, responsibility and product ownership (and that means giving up a large part of your mental and monetary stake in the startup). Expect most people you reach out to to reject you (but I'd imagine you are ready for this and have experienced this plenty in the process of raising funding).

2
9 points by retube 10 hours ago 3 replies      
What the fuck? You have all these people ready to throw money at you but you have no idea how to execute? How does that happen.
3
1 point by robfitz 10 hours ago 1 reply      
No IP attorney. It's money wasted. If you're really doing something protectable, you can file a provisional patent up to a year after first public demo, and that gives you another year to file a real patent. You'll lose some international protection, but it's quite hard to stay internationally protected anyway. I am not a lawyer, please don't trust me.

If neither you nor the person who wants to join the company are developers, then I would pause until you've found one. 250k is not a lot of money to build anything non-trivial, and you'll burn through it unbelievably fast if there's not a founding member who is highly technical and can evaluate how good other technical employees are going to be. If you're paying salaries and other expenses, 250k keeps a team of 5 going for like 6 months. It usually takes 3 months to raise a follow-on round, which gives a team of 5 three months to build something exciting enough to raise follow-on investment. If it's you and one or two technical co-founders, you can run an awful lot longer. If you're just paying spartan living expenses, you can get it as low as 5k per person per month (in the valley).

If you take the money, chances are you'll fail. Are these experienced investors who can afford the loss? Are you okay with losing that money? If they can deal with it and you can deal with it, then I suggest you take it and stay very thrifty for a while while you figure out what's what. Get them to invest in you and the space, not in this particular product idea (since it will likely change and you want their support if that happens).

Personally, I'd take it. Money's great and you can get a lot done in a few months. But only if you're willing to commit. I spent 3 or 4 years working in a space I didn't care that much about because once you have a employees and investors, it's really hard to let go.

As for steps:
1) Figure out what you want
2) Find a badass developer cofounder
3) Take the money
4) Developer starts building product while you start securing first customers/users/partners, adjusting the product as you go based on your learning from talking to people

4
4 points by retube 10 hours ago 2 replies      
> ultra conservative revenue projections

HA HA HA based on what? It's an idea.

5
4 points by angdis 9 hours ago 0 replies      
IMHO, you don't say "got funding" until you can clear a check.
6
1 point by us 10 hours ago 1 reply      
1. You can outsource the prototype but if you're going to get funding, you should hire in-house moving forward aka local.

1a. Ask people you know for referrals of coders they trust. Hit up local networking events. Try to find people through yourself and others you know and trust before branching out to regular hiring ways.

2. Get a corporate attorney to help set up your company and the appropriate paperwork so whoever you hire, sign the right paperwork needed. This is important.

3. Build the prototype, and haul ass. Consider talking to an IP attorney but in all seriousness, $250k isn't much. If it's going to cost you a significant amount of money, perhaps hold off on the IP registration. Don't take my word on this though, consult a few different IP attornies for better advice on that.

7
1 point by paradox95 10 hours ago 0 replies      
You should definitely start building as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more time others are out there thinking of and/or building a competing product. Every week there is a post on HN about someone who thought of something and while they were thinking or building someone else launched. Getting to market first might be the guarantee success, it sure as hell helps.

Also, talk to a lawyer. If you are taking $250k from friends you need to have contracts/agreements in place. Don't take money on a handshake. One or both of you will get burned at some point.

I don't know if these friends are seasoned investors or just people with money but if they aren't familiar with the startup world make sure they know what they are getting into. They could lose all their money by the end of the week and they need to be prepared for that (make sure your agreements are in place before you start spending in case this happens).

With $250, I'd say you got about 4-6 months (assuming 4-6 engineers) of runway. That means you need to have a good prototype in 2-3 months and be ready to start pitching real investors. So I go back to my first point, start building.

8
2 points by petervandijck 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Find yourself someone who is really, really good at getting products built. Then work with them and trust them.
9
2 points by axod 10 hours ago 1 reply      
You're either trolling, or you're woefully out of your depth.
10
1 point by jparicka 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is what I built on <10k investment budget, the rest was self-funded. The code to get in is 1234 http://beepl.com/jan if you want to have a look. Also, I am demoing this to an investor tomorrow. Any word of advice you can give me? Hoping to launch on March the 30rd..
If that doesn't go well, the backend is all programmed by me. And I am sort of a hacker that can program stuff. Maybe I can help with your idea?
11
1 point by popsolete 3 hours ago 0 replies      
6 month ago I have quit my job a product manager to provide the exact service you are seeking - I work with startups and individuals to design and build a first version of the product they need. I have a pool of local US developers that I work with, and do rapid functional prototyping myself. If you are serious, ping me info(at)popsolete.com
12
1 point by nicholaides 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The biggest hurdle you have in front of you is finding someone to build it. Reach out to your network and see if anyone knows good people working in the technologies you need. Attend local meetups that revolve around these technologies. Visit coworking spaces an ask around. Hacker News may also be a good resource for that. Also, I'd be happy to recommend some folks to you (my email's in my profile).
13
1 point by mapster 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Hopefully someone with experience will step up and coach you a little. Either way, you will need to rise to the occasion and grow into someone more than an idea guy.
14
1 point by organicgrant 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Next 3 steps.

Network, hustle, hustle.

In that order.

15
1 point by JonathanWCurd 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Pull the trigger. Use the money to build a development team that you trust. And trust them with building your first version (MVP). Iterate from there.
16
1 point by noig3 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Where are you at? Maybe we have similar ideas? I have written a few lines of code in my day.
17
4 points by vokoda 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Scam
12
Ask HN: I'm going to interview my possible next manager, any tips?
4 points by elai 8 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
1 point by milan_cvejic 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ask him hypotetical questions, ie. what would be your reaction that some of product managers come and say that you have critical bug that needs to be fixed NOW, and all other developers are not availaible (eg. weekend)...

That should help you to undestand how that person is thinking, and how will he react in different stressfull situations.

2
1 point by calebmpeterson 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Both my current and previous managers have been excellent for one overarching reason: they each understood that developers are individual artists of a sort and are not interchangeable gears. This fact may seem obvious to HNers but if you've ever worked within a larger organization, you know how quickly this jewel of wisdom is often forgotten. Knowing where the interviewee stands on this point will be priceless for your whole team.
13
Ask HN: Hourly rates? (iOS)
5 points by rgbrgb 10 hours ago   6 comments top 4
1
3 points by rdouble 10 hours ago 0 replies      
$85-$150/hr

$50 if you're desperate but don't let anyone else know

2
1 point by Aqua_Geek 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some very experienced shops out there charging about $120/hr. Given your (in)experience, adjust accordingly.
3
1 point by robfitz 10 hours ago 0 replies      
In London, talented students from good unis are getting 300-500 pounds ($500-750) per day for iOS work.
4
3 points by JonathanWCurd 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Twice the rate you would make working at a full-time job.
14
Ask HN: which NoSQL database engine is better to use with Common Lisp?
4 points by kung-fu-master 8 hours ago   1 comment top
1
1 point by Shooter 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Then use Redis (perhaps via cl-redis), if that's what you're comfortable with and it meets your use requirements. Most of the major NoSQL databases have CL bindings. Most of them are also easy to use. It really depends on what your specific data persistence needs are...? All of the db engines have different strengths and weaknesses.

There's cl-mongo (MongoDB), cl-tc (Tokyo Cabinet), de.setf.cassandra (Cassandra), chillax and clouchdb (CouchDB), etc. etc. [Some are more complete and performant than others, but you can find a usable CL binding for almost any NoSQL db. Use a search engine and/or ask on IRC or comp.lang.lisp for pointers.]

15
Ask HN: How do you build your own ad server for web or mobile platform?
6 points by rohi81 9 hours ago   4 comments top 4
1
1 point by gyardley 8 hours ago 0 replies      
OpenX has an open source offering which has a plugin framework for adding your own functionality to it.

Building an ad server that'll meet the needs of larger online advertisers can be a real pain, especially if it's just a single component of your business.

If I were you, I'd see if I couldn't just extend the open source version of OpenX with a custom plugin. If it turns out that you can't, well -- you can still learn a lot about ad servers by playing about with OpenX's code.

2
1 point by kleinsch 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what I do at my day job. It's fun. :) Here are some of the interesting/tricky parts:

- Everything needs to be lightning fast. You don't have time for 15 calls out to MySQL to figure out what you're going to do. NoSQL is your friend here.

- Relating to the above, implement a timing/profiling system that operates in production early on. It'll save your life more than you think.

- Keep track of budgets and ads served per advertiser in a way that's quickly accessible and can handle being shared. Hint: if you're going to run more than 1-2 campaigns, you don't have time to hit your DB every impression to get this.

- Make sure you fully understand cookie mechanics, especially relating to third-party cookies.

- The amount of events in online advertising is enormous compared to other fields, so make sure your reporting can scale horizontally.

- Understand how TCP and HTTP connections work and what stages they go through. You're going to have more connections from more different hosts than most normal load profiles, so optimizing your web stack and load balancing is critical.

3
1 point by rkalla 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Rohl, you mean like a miniature adsense setup for your company? Depending on the functionality required you would have at least a horz scaled set of servers replying to ad queries from javascript widgets on peoples websites, collecting metrics as well as serving the ad data back ti the client. I would recommend a CDN for the graphical ad assets like cloudfront for fast loading.

Then you would have a web front end for admin.

Additional features, like confirming the widget in use by member sites would be another set of spidering servers.

IMO this is a very fun technical problem to solve. Lots of moving parts and opportunities to optimize .

4
1 point by rohi81 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you all for the suggestions, I think this is a good start. I am interested in Nosql suggestion, the question I would have there is how the cache would work in this cache considering object storage is going to be a little challenging.

Some pointers on programming language choices for technology would be great.

Kleinsch you have some very interesting thoughts, is there any other way I could reach you and talk in more detail?

16
Ask HN: What should I do with 4 GBs of form spam?
12 points by arnorhs 16 hours ago   11 comments top 5
1
9 points by pedrokost 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Instead of deleting it, you may want to share it in a torrent file. Maybe someone could make some better use of it.
2
2 points by arnorhs 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I had actually asked about this very same issue a year ago, but the database was much smaller and I didn't really receive any breathtaking ideas.

Also - wtf of the day:: Last submissions was exactly a year ago!
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1147085

3
2 points by windsurfer 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be neat to generate an image tracking similarities between spam messages. Sounds like a nifty project in R.
4
3 points by nyellin 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You should add the "rel=nofollow" attribute to the links that you show on your website. You can damage your search engine rankings with spammy outbound links.
5
3 points by kephra 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Install Weka (requires Java), do a string to wordvector conversion of your data, and compare SPAM and HAM of your blog. Play around with machine learning.
/join #machinelearning @ freenode <- some of us are using Weka
17
Ask HN:What Web Stack?
5 points by Dilpil 11 hours ago   9 comments top 9
1
2 points by jeromec 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The best stack to use is the one you know you can build to a point of getting traction/profitable with. The toughest barrier to startup success is getting traction/profitable, not the stack you use. Technology, esp. in the realm of computers, works such that there is almost always a workable solution given enough time or money, both of which come a lot easier once you've solved the hardest barrier which I've just outlined.
2
1 point by mindcrime 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you were going to found a web based start-up tomorrow, what stack would you develop in?

Depending on the details, probably some combination of:

Groovy on Grails, Tomcat, HornetQ, CentOS Linux, PostgreSQL, Redis, Memcache; with the possibility of falling back to plain Java (or even going native with C++) if necessary for performance critical stuff. If absolutely necessary, maybe Thrift for cross-platform RPC.

Note: I'm not making any claim that this is objectively the best stack available in any universal sense. But it's what would be best for me, based on what I know and am productive in.

3
1 point by bmelton 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly, it depends on the task, really.

I'm comfortable in a few languages / frameworks, and each has their merits. If I'm building something with a dataset that I think Django's ORM will work well for me, and having its admin will be a benefit, then Django it is.

If not, almost certainly I'd drop into Tornado + Jinja, and an appropriate backend store.

For some other tasks, PHP might be the right answer.

I'm doing a lot with Django right now, so I'm probably more fluent in it than anything else, but Tornado is really sexy. Kind of a toss up for me.

4
1 point by pestaa 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm already doing a research on 3 big names in the web framework competition (Yii, Django and Rails), and would like to share my experience in a longer animated movie.

My observation is that it generally depends on what kind of people you work with (their experience and their geekiness matters the most), you prefer stability over bleeding-edge, what support you expect from the community, and more importantly, what the technical requirements are for your application.

The language itself (PHP/Python/Ruby/other.) has almost the least impact on what you should choose, in my opinion.

(The movie won't be available till next year, sorry.)

5
2 points by maxdemarzi 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think if you're planning on building anything complex, the question is answered by whatever front-end framework you are most familiar with.

Anything complex will require back end services with may be written in whatever language/framework is best suited for the task. Tie it all together via REST and message queues and find the best solution to each problem.

6
1 point by Cafesolo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
GWT for client side code + Wicket for server generated markup / stateful pages + Google Guice + Hibernate (or MyBatis if you prefer a more low level but simpler API) + PostgreSQL. This does everything I need.

All the modern Java tooling goodness minus the J2EE nonsense.

7
1 point by us 10 hours ago 0 replies      
LAMP with PHP. Not the best and everyone will have their opinions but it's what I'm most familiar with and what will get the job done the fastest. Everything else is secondary.
8
1 point by smokestack 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If you were to itemize the merits and pitfalls of each technology and how well each plays with the others, the list would get long quickly. The question can't be answered without knowing the problem and the people.
9
1 point by tlammens 10 hours ago 0 replies      
18
Ask HN: Selling a Website & IP
4 points by organicgrant 11 hours ago   5 comments top 2
1
1 point by JonathanWCurd 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Hire a lawyer. If the dollar value is that good that it makes you want to do it right. Then its probably worth the cost to do it right and get good advice.
2
1 point by toblender 11 hours ago 1 reply      
try flippa.com
19
Share HN: StarChart.me statistics from 1 day on HN front page
9 points by jeffio 17 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
1 point by niels_olson 5 hours ago 0 replies      
We are using this; so far, it works well for small goals and simple tasks. I haven't done any big goals yet.
2
1 point by pestaa 2 hours ago 0 replies      
25% click-through without a direct link to the app?

Man, I'd like to shake your hands.

3
1 point by qbproger 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to see a sample chart without signing up?
20
Ask HN: Made a hack for musichackday, now getting meeting requests. Need advice
7 points by musicalthrow 15 hours ago   1 comment top
1
2 points by homecoded 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't really see a problem here. I think your are on a great path.

Well, talk to them. Just don't do something you don't feel like doing. If you want to open-source your stuff do it. Put it under a business-friendly license and there should be no worries.

I guess, they just saw a lot of potential in your abilities. They're probably interested in powering up their work force a bit.

If you get a bad feeling about what they propose: don't do it. And don't make any decisions on right the spot. Don't let the pressure get to you.

If you should bring people or not depends on what kind of meeting it really is and what they want. Can you find out more about them? Well, they are talking about collaborating, so I'm fairly sure you don't need to bring a lawyer IMHO. I'd go alone.

21
Ask HN: I am at a UK Govt. IP review panel tonight. What are your views?
16 points by rlpb 20 hours ago   1 comment top
1
1 point by ig1 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The UK needs a safe-harbor provision that protects UGC sites.

The patent office needs to stop software being patented. UK patent law specifically excludes "programs for computers" but nevertheless the patent office still grants software patents.

22
How do I get a startup noticed?
10 points by silent1mezzo 1 day ago   17 comments top 8
1
1 point by sagacity 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Okay - I found the following with a quick dig through our developed website portfolio:

* http://www.RecipeAvenue.com

* http://www.TheDrinkMaker.com

* http://www.USRestaurantGuide.info

* http://www.dGroceryStore.com

I don't know the traffic levels on these sites (we don't track such things individually for each site) but I guestimate a collective volume of ~ 20-25k PVs/mo.

If you wish, we can run a (site-wide) promo of your landing page on all of the above sites for a few weeks. (You don't need to pay anything - at any time - unless you must ;-)).

Let me know if you're interested.

2
2 points by profitbaron 1 day ago 0 replies      
Your splash page is very bland, having looked on http://dinnerplanner.net there isn't much on it other than 20 words.

I recommend that you make your splash page/landing page better by adding more information, or even a few screenshots etc to hep encourage signups to your service.

However, this seems more of a marketing issue. You should focus more on your marketing efforts as well as, how your competitors marketed your product? Also you should consider contacting publications such as a food blog etc, as this will also help you acquire more signups.

3
1 point by ig1 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Whats your visitor:signup ratio ?
4
1 point by autalpha 1 day ago 1 reply      
You're seeing this error because you have DEBUG = True in your Django settings file. Change that to False, and Django will display a standard 404 page.

In other words... DEBUG = False when you're exposing the rest to the world.

5
1 point by nudge 1 day ago 1 reply      
What have you made? You'll only get useful advice if we can see what it is.
6
1 point by deafcheese 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe try putting more information on your landing page. People would be more likely to sign up if they had more than 5 words to figure out what your startup does.
7
1 point by ecto 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just asked the same question basically: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2218427
8
1 point by pestaa 1 day ago 0 replies      
To get something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done. Or, nobody ever done, really.
23
Ask HN: Is there a YC 3-month road map for companies?
7 points by danvoell 12 hours ago   2 comments top
1
8 points by pg 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is somewhat answered here

http://ycombinator.com/atyc.html

in the section called "Office Hours."

But basically the answer is no. Each company should go as fast as it can, but how fast you can reach a milestone like e.g. getting a beta in the hands of users depends on what you're building and when you started. Some startups can have a beta in the hands of users within a week, while others might take a year.

To paraphrase Einstein, a startup should launch as soon as possible, but no sooner.

24
Ask HN: Have you tried out the Tokbox API?
3 points by vrikhter 10 hours ago   6 comments top
1
2 points by johns 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I built a live, weekly web show using it at overloadshow.com. It didn't take me very long to get up and running. The main work for me was making it so that random people couldn't fire up their video. Once permissions are added to the API (I hear it's a priority), a lot of that won't be necessary. I have plans to make it so I can let people start video long enough to ask a question, then kick them out again but I haven't yet implemented it. While there are a few places I think the API could be cleaned up and some features I'd like to see added, overall though I'm very pleased with how easy it was to get started working from the many examples provided.
25
Ask HN: What steps and preparations should I make before quitting my job?
9 points by miserabletemp 14 hours ago   7 comments top 4
1
3 points by chrisclark1729 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow. I've been there. 3 times actually. Unfortunately, your question is deceptively complex. There are several smaller questions/concerns contained within your dilemma.

Financial:

Can you afford to quit? You say you are married. If you don't have kids, you'll need 6 months living expenses. Better yet would be to have a years' worth. I have heard conflicting reports on how easy it is to get unemployment if you quit. For now, I would assume that you cannot get unemployment.

Next, Quit or Don't?:

If you decide to quit - here's what you should do:

1. Give tons of notice. Since you don't have anywhere to go, you can keep earning money and be openly looking for a new gig. The fact that it's out in the open should alleviate some of the stress for you.

2. Figure out why you're so unhappy. Write down two answers. First, an answer that is well rehearsed. This is the answer you can tell your boss and co-workers so you don't blow up and tell them they are killing you. Second, an answer that is the real reason. If you're this miserable at a job you're going to have to do some serious soul searching to figure out why and you'll need a plan of attack to deal with these issues so they don't disrupt you in the future

3. Find the person who will be most upset about your quitting and manager your relationship with them. This will be huge on down the line.

4. Ultimately, be nice. You're leaving and the way you leave will stay with you forever in the minds of your bosses and co-workers.

If you decide to stay - here's what you should do:

Don't phone it in. The anxiety of being at a job that you hate and continuing to do half-assed work will crush you. Better to take risks on projects that have the chance to excite you and do great work for the company. If you're going to leave anyway, just find a way to politely decline the work you don't want to do and pick a project that has a chance to be a game changer.

Next, look for another job. I know this is obvious, although in my opinion, you have 3 ways to go with this:

Option 1: Get another job, any job. Call recruiters. Call everyone you know. Shotgun resumes. Apply to jobs you know you can get and get a new one. Once within the new job give yourself 6 weeks to determine if you like it. If you like it, great, you have a job you like. If you don't, move on to Option 2 or 3 and figure out how the fuck you're going to explain why you have been job hopping so aggressively. Just be happy that you have a job that doesn't make you cry. If it does, go to therapy.

Option 2: Figure out what your dream job is with extreme detail. I mean everything where is it? What do you do? Who do you work for? What your boss is like? How much you will get paid? Size of company, revenue, industry, etc. EVERYTHING. Write at least 3 pages on this and find companies and positions that match your target and go after them with everything you've got.

Option 3: Start freelancing. Be slightly less selective about the projects you take, but find a market that you are comfortable serving and do whatever it takes to give them what they want. Maybe even finding a few projects that pay $15 or $20 an hour will give you and your wife more confidence that you can quit. And if you do well you might be able to parlay those into an even more successful full-time side gig.

And when it's all said and done and you have your dream job, do something nice for your wife. Dealing with this type of thing really sucks for women and I think taking a trip with her and showing her that you're happy will do wonders for both of your psyches.

2
4 points by andymoe 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Start by taking the rest of the day off. Go home sick if you have to and regroup. Don't quit while you are angry/upset. If you still feel like you want to leave write a resignation letter tonight and do it in the morning or after a few days when you have gathered your personal effects/data.

Quitting whiteout having something lined up OR not having enough cash in the bank is always a last resort but sometime if things are that unbearable it has to be done.

Also, this is not the last time you will be rejected for something you really really want start preparing yourself for that ahead of time.

3
1 point by splatcollision 6 hours ago 0 replies      
No specific advice but just wanted to say hang in there and try to keep positive. When you say:
"I've been told I was in line for a raise but was just waiting for approval. That was six months ago, when I asked what was happening I was told 'still waiting'." - this means they are lying to you and they don't think you will have the guts to leave. Do your best to develop something on the side that you can show to potential employers, they usually are impressed by the initiative required for something like that. Visualize the day you have a solid offer on paper in your hand and you can tell your current job "Thanks for everything but it's time for me to go" - just focus on how good that will feel!
4
1 point by swellular 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Agree with andymoe. Don't let your current emotional state dictate your decision. Take time to think about it, talk it over with your wife, etc.

My best advice is to try and get something going while you currently have a job (you said you have time to learn right? why not use this time to build something?)

I once reached out to Seth Godin for advice on whether I should try and get a job in tech or just run with the startup idea I had on my own. He told me to quit and start immediately. In retrospect I'm really glad I didn't go with his advice since I would have felt completely lost and unprepared after the initial rush of doing my own thing. Instead, I've worked on side projects in my spare time, and eventually one idea clicked and the company is taking off (feel very fortunate).

Go with your gut, but also make sure you feel in control of your life and have options. Stick it out, save money, and if you do quit, you will be more comfortable supporting your decision as well as your family.

26
Ask HN: I just got laid off. Now what?
16 points by jinfiesto 1 day ago   25 comments top 11
1
5 points by mechanical_fish 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't make outrageous demands.

It is never too late to start. ;)

Seriously: Don't work for $15 per hour. Learn what you need to learn in order to charge $75 per hour. Some of that may be technical, but I sense that a stumbling block is that you have not learned to ask for $75 per hour -- otherwise you would not be so "happy" with so little. Be less happy! Be pickier about your clients and make higher demands, of them and of yourself.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=182369

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1880501

2
4 points by brianwillis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Go to Bangkok. No really.

http://www.expatsoftware.com/articles/2008/05/laid-off-one-t...

If you can do freelance work from anywhere in the world, then this advice is doubly true.

3
1 point by iuguy 23 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're doing well freelancing then have you considered doing something to generate passive income? It might not sound great, but a popular wordpress/drupal plugin could bootstrap a business, and a range of semi-popular paid plugins could be a business.

I know your concerns are mainly technical, but you've given us no idea of the type of business you're looking at starting. If your business idea is good enough and you think you can deliver then yes, I'd say go for it. As a single founder though I'd like to warn you that no matter how successful (or not) you get, it'll suck the life out of you like a vampire, so make sure it's something you're going to enjoy beforehand.

4
3 points by ig1 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Grow a beard, don't tell people your age, charge more.
5
2 points by mkinnan 1 day ago 1 reply      
My advice ... continue to freelance. As every student knows, some weeks are just busier than others and leave you with zero free time. If you were running a business, how would you handle those busy weeks? Would you sacrifice studying or writing reports for your business?

The great thing about freelance is that you can do it whenever YOU choose! If you decide to take a few weeks off from freelancing to study for final exams, you can do it. Running a business will not necessarily give you that flexibility.

Best of luck!

6
1 point by usamaqasem 1 day ago 1 reply      
The question is do you feel you are ready to start your own business or is it just the fact you lost your job.
My advice to you, having the idea of starting your own business is great and I encourage to do this if not now maybe later, the feeling of satisfaction of doing something you are passionate about is unlimited and will always drive you to do more.

Starting business is not only about knowing what you want to do or how to do it , there is many factors you need to know before you start your own business, like business itself, law, finance and management.

Look for a good job in the same domain you want to start your business in and start planning your business accordingly, and try to get involved in everything required from you to succeed.

Having your goals set in early age is great.

Good luck.

7
1 point by rdouble 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nobody has ever done all the exercises in SICP.
Except me, after I worked through Knuth volumes 1 through 3.
8
1 point by robotys 1 day ago 0 replies      
i`d guess the main problem are experience then.
try to poke on github or code any startup idea that you fancy. try to emulate it or better. Try to push it into the cloud/crowd and get some feedback exchange with the user. Show the world how you solve the problem.
That's how i got my experience. That's also how i got my new job with much higher pay raise.
9
1 point by anonymous12345 20 hours ago 1 reply      
As others have said, you need to be pickier. You seem very confident in your ability here - why don't you carry that confidence through to negotiations?

I'm basically the same age (turning 19 in April) and doing contract work for $85 per hour right now (still in high school), but I have a job offer at a well-funded startup down here (Texas) that will pay a $105k salary as a senior software engineer once I graduate in the spring.

By allowing others to take advantage of you, you're supporting their ageism. Being great for cheap is detrimental to everyone. Either be bad and cheap or be expensive and awesome, proving in both cases that you get what you paid for regardless of age.

(Anonymous in case the company and/or my contracting clients who are paying more than $85 per hour are reading this.)

10
1 point by dools 1 day ago 1 reply      
"fair shake" - you in Australia?
11
2 points by thebooktocome 1 day ago 1 reply      
Party?
27
How is Apple's pay to provide content model legal?
4 points by johndlafayette 12 hours ago   9 comments top 3
1
3 points by ig1 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Because no-one's challenged it in court.

Historical precedents have been mixed. Games consoles have been allowed to retain exclusivity for software but not hardware (controllers, etc.). Printers haven't been allowed to reject third party refills.

The only way for there to be a clear judgement would be a trial.

2
3 points by epo 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I presume you are talking about the iPhone app store.

Apple did it because they can. For their money vendors get development tools, marketing and distribution assistance plus, of course, access to the marketplace.

Its the same with supermarkets or big stores. Want them to sell your stuff? By and large you have to do it on their terms.

3
2 points by arn 12 hours ago 1 reply      
"monopoly over apple devices" doesn't equal illegal monopoly.

So, I don't think there's a legal issue at all, especially since Android exists and is doing well.

28
Where can I meet a cool and smart co-founder in the SF Bay area?
3 points by noig3 12 hours ago   6 comments top 5
1
3 points by allwein 12 hours ago 1 reply      
When you ask questions like this, you really need to state where exactly you live. If you don't, all answers are going to be vague generalities since we can't say "Stop by your local Founder's Exchange". However, if you said, "I'm in Pittsburgh and looking to meet a cool and smart co-founder," then I know a dozen different places to meet people, and there's probably a bunch of people on HN from your town too who might grab a beer and introduce you to people.
2
1 point by anthonycerra 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Find places that coders actually hang out and participate. There are too many events where idea guys scavenge for the rockstar developer who will buy into the vision. "All I need is someone to do X,Y, and Z and this thing will be huge! I can't pay you and you'll only get 20% of the company."

Don't be that guy.

Go to actual hacking events. Show people what you have actually done and are trying to accomplish. They'll respect you much more for it and they'll let their guard down. You have to earn their trust. There are simply too many people out there looking to take advantage of coders to put together their "revolutionary" idea.

Edit: Specifically, look for HN meetups and browse Meetup.com for language specific events.

3
1 point by sunkan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.hackersandfounders.com/

http://www.meetup.com/Co-Founders-Wanted-Meetup/

http://wiki.hackerdojo.com/ -- Great volunteer run CoWorking space in Mountain View. Hope this helps.

4
2 points by silent1mezzo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Check out your local startup scene. Go to every event and talk to other like minded individuals. Going to conferences can also be a good way to meeting people.
5
0 points by noig3 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I straight edited that post!

G-YEAH!

29
Next step for Qt and Nokia - separation?
3 points by andrewstuart 12 hours ago   2 comments top
1
1 point by joezydeco 11 hours ago 1 reply      
"Nokia could continue to hang onto it because they are both Finnish."

Trolltech is (was) a Norwegian company. They still have development offices in Oslo.

       cached 16 February 2011 10:02:01 GMT