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Ask HN: How to do proper valuation of a web appliation?
8 points by anujkk 46 minutes ago   1 comment top
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3 points by patio11 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
A web application's worth is the price at which a buyer and seller mutually agree to sell it. That isn't the answer you want, but it is correct. There are a variety of factors which can increase or decrease that number:

1) Is the person selling it unsavvy about business? Just like engineers suck at salary negotiations and end up working for $45k, if you suck at negotiating sales price, that has an outsized impact on value relative to any objective factor.

2) Does it solve a strategic need for the acquiring company? For example, if you're Google, it isn't maximally relevant to you that an acquisition target "only" has 10k users, because you're going to put Google Muscle behind it and distribution is trivial to you. If it solves a problem for, e.g., AdWords adoption in a particular vertical, like say local, valuation is utterly unconnected to current revenue/users/etc. (A foreign telecommunications firm put in a fairly generous offer for Appointment Reminder when it had no customers and no revenue, with the intention of slotting it straight into their product lineups.)

3) Failing the strategic acquisition factor, some web apps (typically ones you won't read about in the newspaper) are sold as turnkey businesses. Valuations are generally based on a multiple of the last year's profits, with the multiple sensitive to the amount of risk, etc. If I sold BCC on Flippa, for example, I could reasonably expect to get ~$25k for it: a wee bit less than 1X last year's profits. $50k would be pushing it. Nobody in their right mind would pay $100k for it if they were just intended on keeping it running as it is.

4) Are there multiple prospects to play against each other? Bidding wars raise prices, sometimes very significantly.

5) Is the app in a "rich" vertical? There are occasionally examples of heavily undermonetized web sites bought for anomalously high sums of money. Some SEO friends of mine love taking people's hobby projects and bolting on effective monetization. If there is an obvious route to this, then the fact that current revenues are terribly might not necessarily predict a 1 * $TERRIBLE sales price.

6) How risky is the web app's current position? Is it highly dependent on a single source of traffic (cough Google)? Is it highly dependent on a single source of traffic and has it gotten that traffic through grey hat tactics which could be discovered at any time via manual or automated review? Is it in a declining field? Is it in a rapidly evolving field where competition could reasonably be expected to eat its lunch?

7) What are the upkeep expenses, including fair market salaries for employees for any skills needed? Just because my time is free to me doesn't mean the Rails programmers and SEOs that the company grabbing any of my sites will need are also free.

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Ask HN: What will Y Combinator look like in 3 years?
25 points by twidlit 3 hours ago   17 comments top 11
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7 points by patio11 57 minutes ago 2 replies      
I'm thinking the single biggest change is that YC is going to land a Zynga or Groupon: a company whose meteoric rise to hundreds of millions in revenue and profit makes headlines, shakes industries, and will include "funded by YC" in every one of the numerous news pieces about it.

Who knows, it might have already happened, and we just don't know about it because they're still on the flat part of the hockey stick.

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6 points by grinich 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Probably much the same. (Why change a recipe that works?) I imagine the largest changes would be:

1. More startups funded. Funding likely from a VC like Sequoia, but the bottleneck here is mentorship time. Which leads to...

2. More staff. Likely successful founders from previous YC rounds. (It's already begun with Harj, Alexis, and Gary.) This would mostly be moving part-time mentors to full-time partners. Something like around 20 "YC fellows.".

3. An office in SF, probably around SoMa. I wouldn't be surprised if YC started holding some office hours there, with the additional staff from (2). (Maybe it's already happening informally.)

And a bunch of other things: Startup School 2x a year, Startup job fairs. PG could have time to write a book about YC.

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1 point by peteforde 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't think that it's silly to ask whether the law of diminishing returns has to kick in at some point. Not for the investors, but the founders. PG and co cannot be cloned or replicated. PG can pick winners but he cannot create more time. If you consider the primary value of YC to be PG, and accept that a YC startup founder will get a progressively smaller slice of the pie that is PG's time... then you have a function for decreasing founder value for the equity they give up for YC.

Now, given that the recent $150k situation is in effect, it means that in three years the typical YC startup will have more money and less individual attention from PG. He can continue to hire amazing folks like Harj and Paul to spread the love, but at some point there has to be a point on the graph where time and value peak.

I speculate that the peak will occur in 2011. I am hugely grateful to Paul for his contributions to my world, so I will only say that I sincerely hope he and Jessica take a really awesome vacation at some point in the near future. I'd chip in $100 for that, because I've received more value from his essays and HN than any other single source of information and networking.

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1 point by c2 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
Considering Y Combinator is already 5 years old and hasn't changed drastically, I think we can expect the same in another 3-5 years. Iteratively improving their process, using their data and experience to make better decisions, and ultimately improving their success rate.

I expect to see some Heroku sized exits for YC companies as well. Maybe in 5 years there will finally be a YC company which goes public. In either case, I don't see YC drastically changing.

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1 point by bfe 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think the new funding deal by Milner and SV Angel may snowball into more angels and VCs offering blanket investments to all YC acceptees on easy terms as soon as they're accepted, which will compound the rising applicant pool and place more burden on the initial review and acceptance process.

At a deeper level, I think YC is at the forefront of motivating lots of people to consider founding or working at a startup as an alternative to a traditional job at an established company, and to develop the skills to be able to do so.

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4 points by travisglines 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what the Y Combinator competition will look like in 3 years ...
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2 points by stevenj 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think a 10 to 20 year timeframe is even more interesting to think about.
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1 point by twidlit 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Would YC ever go the Techstars route and make it a city by city 'franchise'?
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1 point by mkramlich 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The most efficient answer to this will be given in 3 years from now.
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1 point by depoisfalamos 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Same principles, evolved way of thinking due to experience. But I think it wont change to much, because they got it right, now it's just a matter os polishing
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-4 points by komsi3 1 hour ago 0 replies      
3 to 5 years old Y Combinator !!!
3
Remind HN: Don't Forget to Submit Your YC Application
7 points by il 1 hour ago   4 comments top 4
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1 point by blo 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
Clicking the resubmit button does not mark your application as late (otherwise, #6 on the instructions would be misleading). You just have to make sure you submit at least once before the deadline. The URL to the app will probably be replaced with the late app tomorrow, and then you won't be able to get back in. Best of luck to all applicants.
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3 points by nodesocket 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
We are totally willing to setup the applicants chatroom again (http://www.nodejscloud.com:8001) if there is enough demand.
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1 point by raniskeet 1 hour ago 0 replies      
We want to build a peer-to-peer social network that connect people together by using bleeding edge picture analysis on their mobile internet devices (MIDs). Combined with state of the art audio analysis or the user's voice we can create the world's first social analysis network that blends the virtual world and the physical world together through 3D graphics!
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1 point by martinshen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm down.
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Ask HN: Anyone on HN running a web startup with 50K+ a year net profit?
91 points by riskish 19 hours ago   41 comments top 20
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9 points by dangrossman 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I was 19 and in my first year of college when I finished my last contract programming job and started working for myself. I launched my first product with a $10 domain name and $17 web template for the site design. It made well over 50K in net profit its first year. I paid my way through college without debt, and run several profitable web apps now.

There are others on HN with similar stories. I recommend checking out the profiles of commentors. A lot of people have their sites in their bios so you can see what they've built.

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8 points by wyday 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes, quite a bit more than 50K/year, but we're only a web startup in the sense that we sell all our products via the web. Our 2 main products are an updater suite for Windows apps (http://wyday.com/wybuild/ ) and licensing & online activation for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X apps (http://wyday.com/limelm/ ).

In short, we make development tools.

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17 points by dtby 16 hours ago 2 replies      
The answer is obviously and indisputely, "Yes."

So it would be better to frame your question in a way which got the results in which you are actually interested.

Do you want to know which niches are being served by HN users? Ask. Do you want to know how to use SEO to turn your 10k net profit business into a 50k net profit business? Ask. Do you want to know if the majority of HN is starving wanna-bes? Ask.

This question in an exceptionally poor proxy for your real question.

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16 points by tjic 16 hours ago 1 reply      
My two startups, SmartFlix.com and HeavyInk.com, both clear this hurdle.
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17 points by jarin 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Please post this thread again in a few months. Fingers crossed!
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12 points by rubeng 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Definitely more than 50k/year net and growing at a nice pace. I'm a single founder, worked on my SaaS product nights and weekends, and been live almost a year and a half. Also, just quit my day job a couple of weeks ago so I can do what I love full time. My product: http://www.bidsketch.com
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1 point by Retailslave 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
No, I wish someone would help me learn how to do all this stuff. I'm not sure where I could begin with even doing a "web startup"

I'd need a lot of programming knowledge and I was not blessed with a computer when I grew up like a lot of you.

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3 points by cullenking 12 hours ago 1 reply      
By sometime next month we will break $50k for this year alone. We have some more work to do on two B2B license contracts to get our next couple of installment payments. We should be launching our B2C pay product by next month as well. So far, customers have donated $15k in the last year, so we expect to clear minimum 4x that much this year in recurring subscriptions.

The site in question (http://ridewithgps.com) is a niche site for cyclists, or anyone who wants a way to track their workouts using GPS. Garmin has a large line of fitness related GPS computers with wireless heartrate, pedal speed and instantaneous power output sensors, so the log files are fun to play with :)

It took three years of work, but I now have a real (small!) regular salary...

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4 points by cheald 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Yup. Single man hobby project turned profitable product. Niche SaaS, took about 10 months to clear the 50k hurdle, but I've done almost no marketing for it either.
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36 points by rt10k 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Nope. I'm broke. Thanks for the reminder.
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7 points by madaxe 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, although we're now almost five, so not so much of a startup any more - although we are entirely self-funded (not through a lack of investment offers, just that we don't want/need it). Profits each year were $60k, 100, 30 (heavy re-investment), 180, and this year's on track to be our first million dollar year.
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2 points by justinchen 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, including after pay + benefits for 2 FT founders (+ ~4 contractors). Started FT without profit or product 5 years ago. Bootstrapped. 1st hit profitability ~2 years after starting. Advertising biz model. Biggest hurdle was cold-starting growth with limited marketing budget.

I think that hits most of the questions I've seen in the thread.

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5 points by cheae 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Started two years ago 19K first year.

Still have few more months in the second year,already passed the 50K+ mark.

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2 points by podman 12 hours ago 1 reply      
For those of you who have reached this milestone:

1) What type of business model did you use? (SaaS, ecommerce, etc.)

2) How long did it take to get there after launching?

3) What was the biggest hurdle you faced in getting there?

4) How many people were working with you?

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5 points by code 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Was previously but sold the last startup. Currently working on another startup but haven't launched yet.
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1 point by bigohms 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Niche SaaS & service hybrid product for a finance niche cleared that in 45 days. Have done slight pivots to retain a sustainable and healthy growth clip.
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1 point by callmeed 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It depends on when a startup stops being a startup.
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1 point by mdink 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I would also like to add - how many of you started with 0 profit when you went full time doing it?
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2 points by iconfinder 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I am.
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1 point by kariatx 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, since 2002 :-)
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Remind HN: Deadline to apply for YC Summer 2011 is tonight at 8PM PST
10 points by kalvin 6 hours ago   3 comments top 2
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3 points by il 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Also, I believe that, if you have submitted an application before the deadline, but then edit and resubmit after the deadline, your application will be marked as late and reviewed accordingly. So be sure to get all of your edits in before tonight.
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1 point by watchpickwin 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It is now 7:44pm in Mpls and the page is gone. ??????

I was almost done and ready to submit the app..

what is up...?

The PST time is ONLY 5:44pm..?

The deadline was 8pm 2 more hours..

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Ask HN: you want HOW much for the design?
46 points by flipacoin 13 hours ago   51 comments top 31
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27 points by patio11 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I've used a few approaches:

1) BCC (old design): Grabbed an appropriate template from oswd.org. Chopped the heck out of it. Cost: free, but spent quite a bit of time. Quality: it didn't scare people?

2) BCC (new design): Found a very talented young lady in India on elance. Cost: a few hundred bucks. Quality: I won't win most-beautiful-site-ever awards, but the cost performance was outstanding.

3) Appointment Reminder: WooThemes template, lightly customized with a logo from 99Designs and a central image that a designer friend made for me. Cost: $169 + what the designer charged. He asked me not to say, but suffice it to say that it is much less than you are contemplating. Quality: The app itself doesn't knock socks off, but the front page does.

I don't begrudge the high-end designers their fees -- some of them produce very nice work indeed. However, I don't know if that's necessarily the best place to put $10k to work for a B2B startup.

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4 points by gotrythis 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I see a few posts here saying how outrageous a minimum budget of $10,000 is, so I'd like to add some other perspective. To me it sounds about right, depending on what you are asking for.

Of course, we all have very little information about your request for quotes, so we're all just guessing. All we know is that you "need help with the front-end" on a "pretty standard web app", which really could mean anything.

You might need some or all of:
- coming soon page, home page, signup page, faq, about-us, policy pages, testimonials, etc
- plan descriptions, comparison page
- system settings, notification settings, etc
- password reset form, new email form
- billing updates, payment profiles, billing history
- a whole set of email designs
- some kind of viral marketing component, like referral rewards
- methods to control growth to a level you can handle
- a custom front-end for whatever value you provide (the actual app)
- a dozen other things specific to the cargo industry
- inline notifications
- all the up-to-date and greatest design guidelines etc.

You may have provided a well thought-out, detailed RFQ with specs, but if you did not and need your designer to do needs assessments, create a series of unique pages for different functions, cut it up, and code it, then you might be getting a fantastic deal at $10K. If you didn't provide detailed specs, the designers might also think you don't know what you need and may be checking if you are serious before spending a lot of time trying to win a project that will likely need a lot of extra communication and planning work.

I do that when regular people (people who don't follow HN) come to me with great ideas for web apps, like a friend who wanted to create a simpler version of quicken online. My stock quote is $5 million dollars, but of course, that includes the front-end, back-end, client support systems, and marketing components as well.

Seriously though, creating a great custom UI for an admin is hard work, and even the prettiest looking designs might have loads of subtle road blocks to a good user experience, which can be a component towards the success and failure of your startup. Working on a tight budget and/or time-line increases the chances of user roadblocks, while an experienced designer with a history of creating custom solutions for different clients is more likely to create something users will enjoy and want to use. Give them a good working budget so they can fully devote their creative juice to you for a few months, learn your goals, and create the best solution.

Also, a couple of simple pages can make a huge difference in how valuable your application is to your clients or end users. One project I am working on requires a 'simple' admin for adding, editing, and deleting produce for a grocery store. The client asked me to reproduce the design modal he knew and understood from his 10 year old admin (which I created), which is the same thing he asked for and got from the other new designer, who I replaced.

In discussing his business, I found out he spends 3 hours a week maintaining 1,000 items of produce. The thing is, he's also adding 10x the inventory, which turns 3 hours of work a week into 30 hours. The requested design unknowingly required a full-time staff person, which he couldn't afford, which means he wouldn't have met his goal of adding the new inventory. Instead, I spent much more time designing a single page admin that will let him maintain his inventory in a small fraction of the time and all his goals get met - because of the design.

Sites like Themeforest can't make decisions like that, but are a great starting point for UI prettiness. How many design issues are there like that in this project? Nobody really knows know until they interview you, so we don't have a clue if $10,000 is a good deal or not, or if it is not nearly enough.

While they might be priced out of range of some boot-strapping startups, a really good designer brings a great deal of value to your project. If you can afford it, it's worth it.

Good luck on your startup!

John.

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10 points by limedaring 12 hours ago 2 replies      
20 to 40 hours per page? That absolutely baffles me. I used to freelance design, was charging $100+ per hour, but that's based on the fact that a 1 page website would be around $1000 (10 or so hours to nail down a wireframe/design/build the CSS framework) then 4 or so hours per page after, depending on how intense they are.

I'm not a super duper awesome designer though, but 20-40 hours per page seems absolutely ridiculous.

As for finding a designer, I know of people who ping startups and ask them who did their websites, then if they used a freelancer, they'd set up an intro. Perhaps try that, and you'll reach designers more used to working with cash-strapped startups.

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3 points by gr366 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's important to define exactly what you want from the designer. If you're looking for a graphic artist to come in and provide a slick look and overall template for the site, my guess is you could get by with just a few templates to build out from. 20 to 40 hours per page for that kind of work strikes me as excessive.

However, if you're looking for a user interface designer who will put some real consideration into what goes inside the template shell ("epicenter design" as coined by 37signals), then assume more hours. Ideally this person would want to be there to adjust or tweak elements or flows as you analyze your traffic and success rates.

I have a client who usually knows exactly what he wants from a content/layout/interface standpoint, so my work becomes more graphic production. This generally takes under 3 hours per page. But, we've built up a visual vocabulary for the site over a number of months.

Other projects that are starting from scratch may take your aforementioned 20-40 hours up front to arrive at an agreeable overall design direction. But it usually shouldn't take that much time per page.

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10 points by shalmanese 12 hours ago 0 replies      
You're asking for bespoke work. This is essentially the same as wondering why a tailored suit costs so much more than the 3-for-$10 t-shirts at Walmart.

First, figure out if you want or need bespoke before you commit to a price.

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5 points by ThomPete 12 hours ago 0 replies      
What do you think the google front page is worth? Do you think it took a long time to design it?

What I am saying is that you shouldn't look at what a page cost you but how much it's worth to you.

If you want cheap, don't go to dribble go to 99designs.

There you can find plenty of mediocre and sometimes good designers who will do it for much less.

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2 points by webwright 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Supply and demand. Senior designers only have so many hours to give, and the smart ones raise their rates as quickly as possible when they realize the high-budget clients are the best path to wealth and a sane schedule.

For a brand-new startup, your design is going to evolve quickly. I'd go cheap-and-quick (99Designs, TemplateMonster.com, etc). Hopefully someone on your core team is solid enough at design that you can wrangle the theme that you buy... Your design should be evolving every day.

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3 points by damoncali 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Those designers are for the artist socialite crowd who are willing to pay their fees. You can get it done much, much cheaper and get 80-90% of the quality of a top shelf designer.

True story: At a startup a couple years back, we asked for two quotes for 4 pages. One was $15,000, one was $1,500. Sure, the expensive guy was better, but not that much better.

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3 points by lachyg 12 hours ago 0 replies      
My partners a pretty top notch designer, do you have an email that I could put you in touch with? He's currently building a portfolio . I imagine his quote would be more in lieu with what limedaring said.
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4 points by ZhannaSchonfeld 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Speaking as a designer, it's simply a case of you get what you pay for. The designers on dribbble are very very high quality, best of the best, well-known names in the industry, so there is a reason why they charge that much. If you can't pay their rate, you aren't their type of client. Besides, I wouldn't start there if you are just looking to get something up. Themeforest or WooThemes is a good option, you can get someone (or yourself) to do minor modifications the psd files to suit you.

My own rate is $80/hr and depending on the job one page usually takes me around 8-10 hours. Don't underestimate the power of UI design...you are looking for conversions, after all. It helps, too, if you do a little research on why and how good design works in your favor. Having that knowledge will give you leverage and prevent you from being overcharged for sub-par work. Best of luck.

http://forrst.me/zhanna/posts

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2 points by notahacker 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I suspect that the cargo industry less sensitive to the quality of design of the app than many others. Chances are you need a good enough designer rather than a good one.

20 - 40 hours worth of billable work per page does make more sense if the contractors are planning on working with you testing different variants of the pages to see which ones convert the best over the course of a year. That's something that can provide a demonstrable financial return (increase in conversion and retention of customers)

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1 point by fleitz 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I use this guy, simple flat $500 per page, if you have 10 pages he'll probably cut you a deal, especially if you pay upfront, or if the other pages are simple variations of the original.

http://highendcustomlayouts.com/images/thumbnails.php?album=...

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2 points by rch 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I've worked with a lot of designers and have found a dramatic disconnect between the value they provide and the cost of their services. It is staggering.

Be sure to check around for services like 99designs.com (I'm sure there are others - try a search on HN too).

Also remember that there are tons of graphic designers, at least here in Houston. The same guy being billed out at $140 an hour might also work at the Kinkos around the corner. You might even try to hire an independent at $30/hr at your local co-working spaces, AIGA meetings, Open Coffee, etc...

You get cleaned out paying for the whole project by the hour, and a per-project quote is likely to be made-up nonsense. Just pay hourly, but pick a day of the week to review progress and cut a check. Be ruthless and switch designers if you don't like how it is going.

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1 point by JangoSteve 10 hours ago 0 replies      
My designer is inexpensive enough that I now budget professional design in as one of the first steps in all my projects, whether hobby or otherwise. Then again, I'm pretty handy with front-end and CSS, so that allows me to save a lot of money; their final output is simply a PSD file and I take it from there. The design part is usually in the $500-$1000 range. Then it takes me maybe 10-20 hours to slice and implement for an entire site (not counting full IE6/IE7 tweaking, though it will be at least usable and decent).

Now, I'm sure $10k will net you a $10k design, but it should be an investment, not an expense. In other words, if a $10k design will not generate more than $10k in additional revenue, don't do it.

I met my designer by networking and asking others who they use and recommend. If you'd like to ping me, I can connect you with my designer.

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1 point by oneplusone 10 hours ago 1 reply      
20-40 hours per page is ridiculously high. They must be incredibly slow and it makes my doubt their design skill.

To design a web app is incredibly easy because there is no marketing element to it--it is all about functionality. If you are bring on a designer to do work on a webapp his job should be to make it pretty, but also to make it usable. If all you are getting is better color selection then you are wasting your money.

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2 points by jackkinsella 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Paying $10,000 for design work at early stage is lunacy. I solved the problem by:

1) Reading the first 100 pages of the Non-Designers Design Book (http://www.amazon.com/Non-Designers-Design-Book-Typographic-...).

2) Using CSS grid systems (e.g. Blueprint) and CSS abstractions (such as Compass) to ease the design process and minimize cross browser tomfoolery.

3) Visiting http://www.smashingmagazine.com/ and browsing lists such as "best minimal designs" and then slicing and dicing parts from my favorite pages together.

End results: www.bolivianexpress.org, www.oxbridgenotes.co.uk

Your end result might not win any awards, but hey you'll have $10,000 more in the bank.

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1 point by MDX 7 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who is a designer/developer who also runs several successful e-commerce websites here are my 2 cents:

Stay away from sites like 99designs and other low budget crowdsourcing sites as they only attract low quality designers who tend not to know much about UX, conversions, usability, perception, etc.

If this project is serious enough for you to quit your job then you really need to make sure your design is going to be flexible enough to accommodate all of the changes you may need to make in order to increase conversions as you begin to acquire customers and analyze data.

Here is my suggestion: the designer should create a design that fits within a CSS grid framework like 960.gs, Blueprint or the Less Framework. The designer can also create their own grid and you can generate the CSS using several online CSS grid builders like the 1kb grid.

Then figure out how many UNIQUE page templates you will actually need (things like a home page, a pricing page, a general inner page that can also double as a blog page - if designed correctly, and a signup page - it's very important to have a flexible signup page that you can easily make changes to).

Most likely you will be re-using elements like headings, paragraphs, sidebars, menus, buttons and lists throughout your site. You can use the CSS grid to build multiple layouts for different page templates or sub-page templates and then reuse the elements and their styles for the content of those pages.

If you need help get in touch. We do a lot of design and dev work for startups and this sort of thing (flexible interface design at a reasonable price) is something we do all the time. Heck, we may even build the templates using HTML and CSS right in the browser and skip the PSD files altogether!

My website is on my profile page. Our pricing is very reasonable and we're located in the U.S. - Detroit, Michigan to be exact.

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2 points by gschill21 11 hours ago 1 reply      
What might also work is this, from NYU when I was looking for a designer:

Thank you for contacting the Computer Science Department of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.
In order to have the position posted, please follow the instructions below…

1. Visit the Wasserman Center website at:
www.nyu.edu/careerdevelopment/employers/emp_list_your.php <http://www.nyu.edu/careerdevelopment/employers/emp_list_your...; and post the job at the Wasserman Center for Career Development.
Be sure to include the following:
Job Description, Skills Sought, Minimum GPA (if required), Major (if required), Hours, Pay/Compensation & Duration of Position

This free, quick, and easy process will generate a reference number.

2. Once you have your reference number, e-mail me at kumar@cs.nyu.edu and be sure to include the following:
a. The Wasserman Center reference number for the position
b. The Job Description or information about the job
c. Contact information for the position

3. After you e-mail me the above information , the Computer Science Department will send an e-mail to all CS Majors & Minors.

---
That is the standard process for NYU. I would suggest checking out the colleges first - most often there are great designers who are still in school and need references.

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1 point by Ataraxy 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've actually been running into a similar issue. I've been trying to find a solid user interface designer to help us design our analytics app for the past couple of months.

While our budget is probably more flexible then yours is, my favorite choices whom I have approached all express interest in our project but are usually unavailable for several months due to existing obligations.

Additionally, each one has told me that 3 or 4 screens is going to produce a month or so turn around time to go from wire frames to PSD, let alone coding of the interface.

The other issue is the level of interaction that we are looking to put into maybe 3 or 4 screens total. It makes things difficult to simply describe to a straight up graphic designer.

If anyone has a referral for an available UI person that has a fetish for analytics dashboards feel free to point me in their direction.

20
1 point by swalberg 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I got a local company to do PSD mockups instead going all the way to HTML. They redid my logo and gave a facelift to two of my pages for not a whole lot more than what you're quoting for one page.

With the PSD I sent it off to a chop shop ($150) and did my own coding to turn it into a Wordpress theme for the main page, and then applied the application template to the rest of my pages.

Most of the work was in the layout, so once one page was done, all the rest were pretty easy.

If you're willing to do a lot of the grunt work yourself, pick a couple of pages from your app and find someone to give them an update. If they're not doing HTML and the copy and menus are already set, it shouldn't take them a whole lot of time.

21
1 point by matt1 9 hours ago 0 replies      
So, I'm working on a web design tool called jMockups and one of the routes I'm considering taking is focusing on the ability to export your designs to HTML/CSS. You could then visually design your site from scratch or start with a template that we provide. Either way, when you're done you click Export and it produces all your HTML and CSS.

Since this is very much on-topic, how do you all feel about the idea? Would you use a WYSIWYG web design tool? And if not, why not?

22
2 points by iworkforthem 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I am not much of a designer myself too.

What I did was to get a WordPress theme from ThemeForest (http://themeforest.net) for my project's main web page, I just added pages for login, register and pricing.

After login, my users will be redirected to my app's UI. Downside is that I have to update WordPress ever once awhile.

23
1 point by imechura 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I have worked in a few environments that offered products like yours. Visual design has never, ever been a concern of the customers.

Get something like this http://www.webgurus.biz/adminskin2/dashboard.html and focus on your UX and value proposition.

If you find it necessary to redesign do it v2.0 when you have paying customers and let them have a say in what the design should be.

I know there are a lot of template haters on this board and it baffles me because hiring a professional design team to get your initial product out goes against some of the core values this community is built on.

24
2 points by seddona 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I found a great designer on Dribbble and hired him to produce the front page for my app, just the mockup in AI for about $500. I then sliced/coded this up and used all the custom design elements to make more pages. There's a post on my blog if your interested.
25
1 point by ainsleyb 11 hours ago 1 reply      
In that amount of time you can learn HTML/CSS on your own and get a design you really want out of it, while saving $1k+. I know doing a startup full-time means you're probably also bootstrapping. If you think you can put backend dev on hold for a week to build up the front end yourself, here's a great link that helped me: http://htmldog.com/

And as a side note, you may want to be finding a cofounder anyway (single-manned companies are hard pressed to succeed), and a frontend dev would be a great balance to your backend work.

26
2 points by NextGenAviator 12 hours ago 0 replies      
These days, few things beat WordPress as a platform to build a Webiste - quickly. ElegantThemes.com has a suite of templates for $39. StudioPress and WooThemes are a bit more expensive, but well worth it. You get a wide range of designs, and a day of hacking the CSS will get you a custom design. 99Designs is great for finding logo designers - had great success with that. oDesk and vWorker (formerly RentACoder) are also good sources - though quality may be a bit hit or miss. I'd use WordPress, buy a stock template, and customize it to my needs.
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1 point by JoshKalkbrenner 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I know a designer with stellar jQUERY, CSS, and HTML skills; $20 per hour; at most 10 hours per page; design and development. Let me know if you want to reach-out and talk to him. Josh
28
1 point by chrisgo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I just read about these guys http://www.getmefast.com from the blog of http://www.freshdesk.com/) -- they're in India but seems to have done a ton of work
29
1 point by webbruce 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're still looking for a reasonably priced designer lets chat :) http://kreativehq.com is my portfolio. Use the contact form and I'll send some more current work as well.
30
1 point by nola 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm an interface designer and can tell you right now that I'd do it for much less than $10,000.

Email me if you want to discuss: nola1919@gmail.com

31
1 point by riskish 7 hours ago 0 replies      
flipacoin: what is your email so we can contact you to help?
7
Tell HN FYI: Play.com registration emails leaked
18 points by vukk 12 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
2 points by kmfrk 11 hours ago 0 replies      
So that was why I received that weird e-mail today. I opened it, but promptly sent it away, so I hope nothing's happened.

Thanks for the heads-up.

2
1 point by bjonathan 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the info, I just checked my gmail account, and good news Gmail seems to have put it in the spam folder automatically !
3
1 point by 1880 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are in the UK you should complain to the ICO:
http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/data_protection.aspx
8
Ask HN: Regarding Bringing on Our 1st Technical Co-founder
5 points by lifestyleigni 6 hours ago   1 comment top
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4 points by codeslush 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Vesting Schedule: Three to Four years - and you should give something within 90 days (or sooner) in good faith. The vesting will be given on the anniversary of years one and two - and then likely monthly thereafter. The earlier vesting could be a point of contention - as you may give away something for nothing. But if you look at it from their perspective, they're also giving up something for potentially nothing. Very delicate.

Percentage is a tough one. Depending on who you talk to, they'll tell you very little for a pure developer - more for higher level positions. As a developer, I find this offensive! :-) Anyway, check out the blog for Mark Suster (http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/) as he has some excellent advice for the question you're currently asking. Browse through many of his articles! You'll find vesting and percentage info within the posts, and many more nuggets of gold.

Best for you and your startup!

9
Ask HN: I've been offered 5% stake in a startup. What should I think about?
19 points by hellocoins 12 hours ago   21 comments top 14
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27 points by patio11 12 hours ago 2 replies      
1000 hours is half a year of work. Do you have an indication that this guy is not a bozo? Because I have one piece of evidence which strongly suggests bozo: he's trying to get a technical cofounder for 5%.
2
19 points by jaltucher 12 hours ago 1 reply      
- Do you vest?

- If you vest, what metrics determine if your vesting stops? Can they do it arbitrarily, etc

- what if you finish your work in less than 1000 hours?

- you should have some benefit if you finish the work and then continue with the company.

- Does the 5% already have a value? In which case, if you get your stock up front you might have a tax implication.

- whats your anti-dilution rights? You should have the opportunity to participate pro-rata in any dilutive event (eg. a fundraising)

- the other founders should have a non-compete (so they cant sell the assets to a brand new company)

- if vesting, they should vest immediately on any change of control

- what if your responsibilities change so you are not doing development but some other work (biz dev, sales, etc.

- i would do basic due diligence on founder and current investors. background checks, etc.

- what does "5%" mean? Do they have an option pool set aside already? Can they issue arbitrarily more options?

If you have any questions on these I'll check back and answer.

3
3 points by joshu 11 hours ago 0 replies      
He's offering you an opportunity to be his cofounder. Given the high-risk nature of the opportunity (no funding, no salary, no customers, etc.)

Does 5% feel right now? My gut says no. Ask for 30%?

(On the other hand, 5% + a salary for first engineer is pretty generous)

4
8 points by binarysoul 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I always recommend getting some kind of hourly rate, as well as a percentage. That way if the stock ends up worthless, you still got paid something.
5
4 points by thewordpainter 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it's strange that the percentage is tied to a set time period for your contribution. Who knows exactly how long it will take at this stage?

If I were you, the biggest question I would have would be posed in the mirror: do I believe in this company? 5% -- or better yet, 100% of nothing is......nothing.

6
1 point by dlevine 11 hours ago 0 replies      
1000 hours sounds like a lot of hours for a contract to work with a startup. Does this mean that he's considering bringing you on as a cofounder, or would this be more of an advisory role?

Even if I plan to potentially come on full time and take a significant equity stake, I've learned (the hard) way to always charge for my work. Equity is essentially meaningless before a certain point in the startup's lifecycle. While this potentially allows you to get in early on in the startup, a number like 5% means that the guy doesn't really value the equity all that highly yet. Considering that a lot of founders don't give their first employee 5% (and that vests over 4 years), he either thinks that you are awesome, or doesn't really know what he's doing. I have seen new startups bring an advisor on at 5%, but that implied A LOT of work, vested over several years, and it always seemed like they were being too generous.

If the company is structured as an LLC, it probably isn't going to be a standard startup. If you want real investors, you have to form a C Corp (since there are too many restrictions on transfer of shares in an LLC).

In summary, I would take cash, and setup a contract for 100 hours at most. Feel free to take a significant hit on your normal consulting rate, but charge him something. Also structure the contract so that there are well-defined milestones, and you get compensated as you hit the milestones.

7
1 point by drallison 11 hours ago 0 replies      
BOE scenarios. For simplicity, I assume you earn $100/hour. So the deal offered is #100000 for 5% of the company. That suggests a $2,000,000 valuation of the venture at the present time. Is that reasonable? Would you invest $100000 of your own money in the venture? If you were to put your own money into the venture, what kind of return would you expect in a year? five years? ten years?

What is the vesting schedule? What is the actual cost to you of the stock, that is, what is the current value? What is the cash-out strategy? Are you OK with all your compensation being in stock for which there is no market? Has the company been funded? What about dilution of your share by future investors? What happens to you after the six months is up? Are you critical to the success of the venture? Who owns whatever intellectual property you generate in the course of your work with the venture? How do you participate in the upside if the company is a huge success? What happens it the venture fails? what if it just ends up as the living dead, surviving but not prospering?

8
1 point by malandrew 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Before you even consider the %, there is a much more important question:

Do you believe in the startup? And if you do, do you believe that there will be a market for the 5% stake you get.

A "no" to either question suggests that you should work for the money and not the equity.

Assuming the answer is "yes" to both, what are the terms under which you can unload that equity later on?

9
3 points by wtvanhest 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll give you 6% for my "startup" for 950 hours of work.

<B>Jokes aside, the MBA way of thinking is as follows:</B>
1) What has he already provided for the other 95% (customers, revenue etc)?
2) What is the chance that this startup will be successful and yield a big enough return on your investment?

Here is the math:

Amount of cash the 5% will yield on exit needs to exceed the Salary for $1000 hours of work multiplied by (1/(probability of success).

If the two above make sense, then you need to consider the opportunity cost of spending the 1000 hours on his project over another one.

<b> Other way of looking at it:</B>
Do you really like working with the guy? Is he brilliant, a good team and your not sure where it will end up? If so, maybe it is worth negotiating either some up front cash or a bigger percentage if the math doesn't work and just go for it. Worst case scenario you loose some opportunity to work at another startup and you get some business experience and programming experience you wouldn't have otherwise.

10
1 point by orijing 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Who are the other members in his organization? Is he the only founder? (Does he own the other 95%?) How much funding does it already have/does it need in the future? (Dilutive potential)

What are your alternatives? If you have a 250k salary job elsewhere and you have a family, the safety might be worth it. What are your circumstances? The value of a stake in a startup is highly context-sensitive.

jaltucher brought up some great questions you should answer first, so you should take a look at his questions first.

Good luck.

11
1 point by csomar 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you forgot the most important thing: How much this startup makes? Did it raise any money?

And since he is looking for free work, so the startup did raise no money and did make no money, too.

P.S. HN users, I have got a startup and I just need 500 hours of work for 20% stake.

12
1 point by vanessa 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it possible the company may not have more than 6 months of runway? 1000 hours couldn't possibly be a well-scoped amount of work. You're not being given the security or compensation a full-time hire deserves OR the finite scope a contractor deserves. Even if you believe in the company and think the 5% is/will be worth something, consider what specifically you're being asked to do and be very clear with expectations. I'd also break up the agreement into smaller projects, with both cash and equity if you want equity, so that you have the opportunity to part ways on good terms instead of an all-or-nothing equity lump.
13
1 point by chrisgo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't worry about the hours, it's the 5% you should be thinking about, specifically dilution. Watch the movie "The Social Network" and what (allegedly) happens to Eduardo. He had 30% and then ultimately had 0.03% ... unfortunately you have to watch the whole movie to see how that works.

Here's Fred Wilson: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2010/10/employee-equity-dilution.htm...

14
1 point by mdink 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is strictly business. I would get / create a full contract that immediately clarifies how and when you get your percentage. Also what type of stock is this? I second jaltucher's response.
10
Ask HN: Would any VC fund a new telco/cell provider?
6 points by count 9 hours ago   6 comments top 6
1
2 points by runT1ME 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is like asking why there isn't a new Gas company that is perfectly happy with smaller margins.

Significant capital doesn't begin to describe the problem. It's easier to start a car company than telco/utilities, and you don't see too many venture backed car companies.

Are you asking just because, or is this something you're going to try?

2
2 points by keiferski 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like the future competitor of telcos won't be a telco. It will be something like an interconnected wifi network spread across a vast area. Imagine a city like New York or SF, with wifi access points everywhere. You use a "phone" to access this network. In other words, an iPod touch that's designed specifically for communication over wifi networks.

Obviously that's a wild prediction, and I really don't know much about cellular network, but hey, it seems possible.

3
1 point by simonk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Canada did this with Wind Mobile that is shaking up our industry a bit but it had to get funding from an Egyptian telecom giant.
4
1 point by emintzer 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the bigger problem is because, like your aware, that you would need a lot of capital to compete with the major telco/cell companies like the ones listed, it would be more reasonable to create a company that requires less funding by starting with a smaller market to fine tune the company and then seek out larger investors. The problem with this is that even though you won't be initially concerned about the competition from Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and Tmobile as you would be applying yourself to a less mainstream (aka: different) market, there are still many competitors that have 'fixed' the complaints about the big companies who have a head start over you (ie: Boost Movile, Cricket, even Virgin Mobile). So unless you have an idea superior to these smaller upcoming companies, it will be a very difficult industry to enter in to and raise capital for.
5
1 point by Swannie 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Because building the right executive team is hard... who do you go to for great guys?

Based on this the current generation of telco execs is a no go. So do you look outside the USA? Now we're talking hard work for a pretty risky venture.

That said, there is certainly a market for this, especially for M2M.

6
1 point by linuxdo0d 8 hours ago 0 replies      
because we're not raving lunatics?
11
Ask YC Alumni: Are any of you available to read over our applications?
15 points by lachyg 16 hours ago   5 comments top 2
1
6 points by revorad 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Write to individual people directly (it worked for me in the past). They are incredibly helpful. Posting here will probably only get you the bystander effect.
2
3 points by atgm 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Some enterprising YC Alum could probably make bank starting a YC consulting agency...
12
Ask YC: What's the Y Combinator review and decision process like?
6 points by malandrew 22 hours ago   5 comments top 2
1
6 points by pg 21 hours ago 1 reply      
No. Separately. None except about the borderline cases. Mostly the people, but about the idea if it's either very bad or very good. We know one another so well that most of the time we just have to look at one another; if there's debate it's about whether the founders seem relentlessly resourceful.
2
3 points by citizenkeys 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a good place for you to find answers:
http://paulgraham.com/articles.html

You can also find information here:
http://ycuniverse.com/

13
Ask HN: I'm considering leaving a startup to look for big-company jobs (really).
94 points by throwaway4921 1 day ago   64 comments top 37
1
21 points by dexen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've went from a startup to a large (15k+) company and back to a small company.

The overall experience is that it's hard to foresee what workplace factors are important to you. Perhaps the ones you take for granted, but won't be at the other place.

After leaving the startup, I had high hopes for better organized workplace at larger company. Boy, I was wrong.

Untill I took a goot root at the large company, I never imagined programmers and managers could create so many, countless even, artificial problems. Every tool in our toolbox was inadequate, but changing that was next to impossible (decisions taken at the uppermost level). Most people exhibited the ``don't touch it if it works'' attitude that drove me almost crazy. The software would pass the tests but a lot of weirdness was swept under the proverbial rug with copious amounts of special-cased code. Software delivery took months. We were implementing features in an ungainly way, and had no way of reporting a much better implementation of very similar feature was possible on this hardware. The list goes on...

Now I'm happy at a 60 strong company. We aren't a software shop, but a small dev team builds software for internal use, marketing purposes and for our co-operants. We iterate quickly and deliver features in between 3 hours and 3 weeks. Every person in team has vertical responsibility -- oversees all steps of development of his feature. We are in touch with users (both internal and external ones) and work with them closely (that turned out to be an important factor to me I never appreciated before -- I thought I'm a lone wolf, turns out it's not the case).

But the best thing for me: people genuinely like using my software. Feels great! :-)

2
14 points by originalgeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I sense a slight tinge of guilt in your post where you mention being selfish. Choosing what is right for you is always acceptable. If any of your co-founders cannot release you with love, then it is they who are being selfish. I'm going through the opposite right now, losing one of my best employees to a better opportunity. She has to choose what's right for her.

I would not rule out other, perhaps funded startups, during your job search. You won't get as big a piece of the action as a founder, but that may be irrelevant, depending on where you land.

On the other hand, being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. You seem to deeply desire autonomy. The are two truths about autonomy. First, one is never fully autonomous, there are always customers that will hold you accountable. Second, autonomy has it's price. The most successful entrepreneurs usually have a long stream of failures in their wake. It's about taking and applying the lessons from the failures, redoubling efforts, sometimes living an austere lifestyle while figuring out how to keep the bills paid, and trying again. Like I said, it's not for everyone. I have many times considered leaving my venture for the stability of a steady paycheck at a "regular" job. I would be much less concerned about the future for my family and children. But I know that choice would be a choice to accept a mediocre vision for my children, cutting off access to the best toys/learning tools, schools, etc. and I want better than that for them. I believe the same mediocrity would ripple through my career path as well. That pressure has caused me to apply the past lessons, and take risks, some of which are paying off.

The bottom line, reward comes with risk. At a corporate job, the big wigs and shareholders are taking most of the risk, so they get most of the reward.

Your CEO, from the limited information you have presented, sounds perhaps like he is more charismatic than he is in possession of the skills necessary to steer your venture toward profitability. If he has time to check in on all the guys 2-4 times a day, it sounds to me like he has run out of ideas or has no real sense of direction for doing what is needed, securing customers or funding, or just choosing a vision for a product and keeping the lid on the feature set until v1.0 is achieved. I am also wondering what kind of legal agreements you have in writing for your startup. He sounds like he is setting himself up to be the lone founder, claim the lion's share of the spoils, and screw you and the other co-founders.

3
23 points by ct 1 day ago 0 replies      
3 years is an eternity in Internet years. If there's a failure to generate a MVP like you mentioned in 3 yrs (one should've been able to get something out in 6 months to a year at most to test the markets), then it's time to cut your losses. Tenacity and willingness to not give up is one thing, but it's also another to know when to call it quits.

Each day spent without releasing an MVP is a day of lost opportunity that could've been spent elsewhere.

A large company isn't necessarily a bad thing either as it'll help you accumulate savings in your early years (which are the most important years to accumulate savings so you can put it to work generating interest, capital gains, etc. so that the power of compounding works passively for you). There's some chart out there somewhere comparing savings compounded early on vs. someone that started later and the difference when you retire is huge.

Plus sometimes you learn alot about how big companies processes work, how they make purchases, contacts, etc. that will help you later on in life if you do intend to go back to a startup world or start your own.

Good luck!

4
23 points by kstenerud 1 day ago 1 reply      
1. The programmer market is HOT HOT HOT now. We're having no end of trouble finding developers.

2. You need to take stock of what you've done these past 3 years. How are you different today from when you started? THAT is your "career credit", and you need to figure out how to communicate that to a big company. You probably have a ton of management skills (project management, people management, time management, etc). Big companies like that.

3. There's NOTHING wrong with going to work for a big company. Big company = stability, and after a long roller coaster ride with daily uncertainty, that can be appealing. You can always start over if it turns out you're stuck with the entrepreneurial bug ;-)

The key to being an entrepreneur is failing fast, right? You're 3 years in and haven't launched. Why? Do you know what your customers want? Because once you build what they actually want, no matter how crappy your first launch (within reason), you'll have the opposite problem of not being able to retain enough talent to keep up with their demands. You'll be constantly inundated with emails to the effect of "Yeah I really like your product, but it'd be so much better if it did X..."
Failing is not just the CEO's decision; it's EVERYBODY'S decision. YOU are an entrepreneur, too. Use your spidey sense!

And make sure you're honest about it when you talk to your CEO. If you can't come to common ground, that's too bad, but if you CAN, you might turn this around yet.

Also: Read up on Founder's Syndrome if you haven't yet: http://managementhelp.org/misc/founders.htm

Edit: And if you're an Android or iPhone developer who's interested in education and games and lives in the bay area, forget everything I just said. Your company is beyond help and you should come work with us ;-)

5
6 points by trevelyan 1 day ago 1 reply      
"I don't think, for the record, that our lack of success (to this point) is the CEO's fault, and it's definitely not mine: I'm just a developer"

If you really have the attitude "it's not my fault... I'm just a developer" then you should look for a job at a larger company where work processes are institutionalized. And if you get the temptation to do startup life again start your own thing on the side WITHOUT a co-founder so you don't have any temptation to fall into this mindset again.

Without assigning fault, it isn't good that you're abdicating the responsibility to define the business and get customers, and then balking when your partner makes demands. You've settled into a subordinate position and your post basically reads as if you want to switch to another alpha male since this one doesn't seem capable of driving growth.

I don't mean this to sound critical, but life doesn't work this way, or at least it never has for me and most of the people I know. When you start a business you have to do almost everything (if only because most other people can't). So - sure - work somewhere insulated from the market to support yourself and and force yourself to be more entrepreneurial by starting a side business.

6
5 points by mirkules 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been working at a large company for the last 7 years, recently quit to join another large company. I have always had projects "on the side," but those have (so far) never led anywhere, and I can only dream of joining a startup -- Why? Because the money in corporate work is good enough, the job is stable, and you are right that if someone takes you under their wing, you can go far.

On the flipside, upper management is usually not a good place for (ex-)developers (which means less money). Maybe it's just my perception of things, but it seems like you already have to be a part of the upper management club to join the upper management club, if that makes sense.

Another bad point is you have to deal with people that you will never be sure how they even got a job. This can be very frustrating at times because sometimes these people can hold a position of power, and you just have to learn to say "yes sir" in the face of an obviously-bad decision -- in fact, you may be experiencing this right now.

Finally, you there can be a huge amount of bureaucracy that you have to deal with and this can be frustrating if you're the type that just wants to get stuff done.

After joining corporate, you might not want to join a startup because your job is "cushy" and you don't want to take on that much risk. You will be "comfortable." And if you're ok with that, I say go for it, it's not so bad as everyone here thinks it is :)

7
8 points by jackfoxy 1 day ago 1 reply      
2-4 status checks a day, and you have not launched? That is dysfunctional. The only time that kind of status checking is warranted is during some sort of production crisis, which by definition you cannot be having.

The right big company job can be fulfilling and good for your career. Like any other career choice, it has to be evaluated on its own merits.

8
7 points by kevin_morrill 1 day ago 1 reply      
One tip if you join a bigger company: make sure you join a team that knows how to ship and is critical to the company. I don't think you want to spend another three years on something that doesn't get traction. Working at Microsoft for several years, I saw too many team that didn't know how to really arrive at a meaningful feature set and ship. Well established companies often have so much money these teams don't get weeded out as quickly.

Fortunately, I didn't have to ever live through this first-hand. And that was by far my favorite aspect of working at a big company, I knew that I was working on something that tens of millions of people would use, and it would be a significant part of their lives.

Go for it! There's plenty you'll learn and you can get financially rewarded a lot more than many startups.

9
5 points by drndown2007 1 day ago 0 replies      
Leave. Your hard work is being wasted there. I was in almost an identical situation. When I left the company folded, but funding was getting short anyway (the first time a check bounced I used that as my excuse). The boss won't be happy, but you can only go up from where you're at.

Happy side note: 10 years later I'm running my own startup (only founder) and it's great. However, working in big companies between the two was definitely helpful.

10
3 points by russell 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've found that small companies,100 or so people, with shipping profitable product are a good fit. They are small enough that an individual developer has an impact, but they dont have the stifling bureaucracy of larger, especially public, companies.

Surprisingly, I've found that the frequency of releases is a good indicator of how happy I'll be. A release every week or two is very comfortable without huge pressure. Releases every few months are hell. Death marches, endless requirements documents, way too much process, lack of tools, cant get something because it wasnt budgeted last year. You get the picture.

11
6 points by yurylifshits 1 day ago 2 replies      
There is also an option to go for mediums-sized companies that have validated business model and revenue stream: Eventbrite, Chegg, Twilio, Palantir, etc...
12
3 points by bx_lr 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems you are in a situation where I was a long time ago. I also was frustrated, because the CEO had the same attitude, the start-up never started making money, low pay, no savings.

I was thinking about quitting for a long time, but didn't do so. I felt loyalty, I was green, I was the developer guy, I didn't really know how businesses are created, yadda, yadda. At the same time I felt that things were not right, we were not going to the right direction.

After some years I decided to quit. Being broke was the last straw. I was also becoming toxic, a hostage, I had to quit to save myself and the start-up.

It was a bit hard to find a corporate job, because I didn't develop any good connections to the industry during my start-up time. Eventually I landed a job in a big company. It wasn't the best of jobs, but got me started in my current career. After two years I got a call from a manager that quit from that company. That's how I got my next corporate job. Then after three years, the same manager called me again and I got my current corporate job. And now I called that manager and some other ex-colleagues to offer job opportunities. You get the picture.

In hindsight quitting was the best decision I ever made. Two years after I left the start-up lost funding and went bust. Steady income improved my life significantly, I paid off debts, started saving, travelled, had real vacations. Almost all the stress and pain in my life was gone.

The only thing I regret is that I didn't quit earlier. I didn't believe in the start-up, but I kept hanging around, I was wasting my time. Since this experience I have made the decision to trust my gut feelings. If I feel something is wrong, I'll trust myself. So far this has served me well. I keep large savings. The idea is that if I ever need to make a jump to the void, then I'm able to do it.

My advice based on my own experiences:

- If you are finished, get out, because you are wasting your time and potentially other people's time.

- To maximize your chances to get a job in a big company look for a good match. When I quit I applied to all sorts of interesting jobs, but never got a reply. I did graphics programming, and unsurprisingly I was eventually hired by a company that desperately needed a graphics programmer.

13
3 points by elliottcarlson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I work for an established company - we are only 60ish people, but the company has been around for a very long time now. The resumes I see often contain companies I have never heard of and that is perfectly fine - as long as you can tell me what cool things you worked on, you would be a candidate I would listen to. Just because you haven't worked at some larger agency, it really wouldn't matter. It's how good of a coder that you are that really matters.
14
1 point by ahoyhere 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's no absolute truth about whether the "work gap" or whatever will affect you. It's all about who you approach and how you spin it.

Theoretically, when I got my first job at 21, the fact that I'd never worked for anyone else, never had a set office schedule, never worked in an office at all in fact... would have been a detractor. But I wrote a beautiful cover letter explaining just how well freelancing prepared me to be a take-charge, self-motivated, self-managing and flexible worker.

See what I did there? You do the same. Plus you obviously demonstrate staying power.

There are never enough good people to fill tech jobs.

Finally, why would you feel disloyal to someone who was disloyal to you? You clearly tried to put more into the relationship than he did. You can only do so much. He decided the tone of your relationship, he decided how (little?) much you were worth to him, and that's that. He made his decision - exit with a clear conscience.

15
6 points by Contractor69 1 day ago 0 replies      
What's wrong with a job at a small or medium sized company? I'm guessing you're very, very young (18-22) to have such a myopic view of things. "The career game is just about spinning the wheel, repeatedly, until you actually win." Wow. Really? How about making things happen for yourself instead of spinning a wheel? There's more opportunities in this world beyond startups and "big" companies. Plenty of mid-sized companies would love to get their hands on a talented individual like you. And not all jobs will suck your soul and drive you to the edge of sanity.

BTW, at 3 years in, you guys aren't "startup"-ing anything. You're playing around at best. Time to get out and get some experience.

16
3 points by code 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. From the way it sounds, you were never treated as a cofounder and three years and still no launch is an insane amount of time for a startup. Regardless of what the reason may have been, it should definitely not have taken that long.

Given your low reserves and being unable to join another startup because of that, I don't see an issue with joining a company that can payroll you till you're able to pursue another startup idea down the road. You should be able to work on something on the side. I actually don't share the sentiment that working at a big company is bad (or as you say, not held in high regard). Definitions of startups are skewed. Technically Facebook is a startup, yet I look at them like they're a big company. It really depends. I think there's value in being at a big company as well. Some of my best business lessons were from regular jobs working at some bigCo prior to building a startup.

In regards to your career credit... you should have been vested for stocks on a typical four year vesting schedule where if you've been there for three years, you should have vested 3/4th of your stocks already. If you were an employee, and had stock options, that's different. You would need to check.

As a developer, assuming you're good, the market is wide open.

PS As a side note, if you're ever interested in joining another startup, I am looking for a cofounder (made a post on here earlier).

17
5 points by jsavimbi 1 day ago 0 replies      
"It's been almost 3 years, and we haven't failed, but we haven't launched or secured funding yet"

Dude, drop what you're doing and get out.

18
1 point by kazuya 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is my story about leaving my own and joining a big.

We started it aiming to be a big fish in a tiny pond (software for embedded wireless devices, niche market, yes). But, as an expected result for a project without well-defined goals, we weren't able to build any working software. While we were at it we made money with contract jobs and that reduced time to work on the project furthermore as we were self-funded and it wasn't enough to feed us for more than six months.

To make it worse, one of the founding member, who is a specialist about digital signal processing and we couldn't go without, was considering pursuing academic research.

After plodding through that muddy state for almost five years, I had accumulated enough fatigue and eventually we decided to dissolve it.

Other members had found their own way and I found a job at a big company. Maybe I was fortunate, because it's quite difficult for a thirty-some with somewhat messy job records to find a job at an established company, esp. in Japan. Or maybe not, because my experience and skill set were considered versatile particularly in embedded systems industry.

As others says, I thought of it as bartering freedom with stability. That is partly true, but it wasn't that bad. Among others, it's a definitely invaluable experience to make software of a hardware product that are to be sold in thousand millions. That is what I never do in a small startup.

So mine is one example favoring your move, whatever your motivation is. I believe many big companies think your 3 years at a startup a big plus. Why? Because big companies are full of people without that experience, often only top execs have it, but they sometimes have to start new to survive.

As for maximizing your chances of getting a job at a big co, it is critical to understand and clearly state why you failed. I'm sure they will ask about it if they are decent.

19
1 point by zbruhnke 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree with some of the other posters here, there is no shame in working for a big company, there is also no shame in working for a startup and not having an exit (lots of people do it)

I would say you are a great fit for some well funded companies that are still considered "startups" i.e. Twilio, Airbnb , HipMunk, etc. judging from your comments and without seeing your resume.

I am rare in the sense that I have never actually looked for a job since I have always had my own ideas for projects or startups that I have always decided to pursue. But I can tell you the one thing I see most often when I am looking around is that almost everyone hiring is looking for a 4 year degree (since I am a dropout maybe thats why I usually dont look/apply for jobs) but if you have finished your degree I am sure you'll do fine.

Personally I was not even going to school for programming I started doing it in middle school for a hobby and it progressed from there, I sold a software company in my junior year of college and never looked back, even still I am not sure many companies would hire me because of my lack of a degree, so that is something else to consider as well.

I dont think you should at all feel selfish for considering your future or desiring to be able to save money again, at the end of the day if you are not happy you are not putting your all into the product and the MVP probably will never be as good today as it would have been if you had put it out 3 years ago with a fresher vision and lots of drive.

I'd say to follow your gut, seems to me most peoples first instinct is almost always their best.

Good luck with everything!

20
2 points by daimyoyo 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I can fully appreciate your sense of loss about leaving your company, you have to do what's good for you. If you've been in development limbo this long, odds are the CEO doesn't have the vision and or the leadership required to get over the finish line. Just remember that if need be, the company would get rid of you without a second thought.
21
1 point by sethco 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not going to comment on whether you should try to fix things at your current company but I have some good perspective on the job market and some of the options that you are looking at so I will comment on those things (both from your original question and in some of the comments)

I just finished a job search focusing on medium size companies (specifically I was looking for funded, growing startups with say 20 < total staff < 200). I have a good network and got some great leads and had three great offers in hand after a one month search process. I don't say that to boast, just to point out that there are lots of opportunities out there. Everything that I saw and heard in the process confirmed that this is a great market for a developer looking for a job. Several other people whom I know were looking at the same time and all have accepted or are close to accepting new positions. For more confirmation look at Fred Wilson's post today, it even links to the USV jobs board: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/03/the-war-for-talent.html

Unless there is something specific that you are looking for in a large company (and it sounds like there isn't particularly) then maybe you should be looking at funded startups as well? This can be a great option: the company is funded so you probably don't have to worry about getting paid this month or next month (although that concern may come sooner or later, keep alert!); they are small and hopefully growing so you still get to wear lots of hats and can have a large say in defining your role and can still see your personal impact on the company's future; they won't have the bureaucracy or organizational overhead of a large co; lots more too. True you won't have as large a stake as you have now but 0.001% of something valuable is better than 25% of nothing!

As to finding a job, in my experience getting in through a recruiter is the hardest way and least likely to succeed. Having your resume submitted by someone in the company or finding a founder here on HN or whatever other inside track you can find is much more useful. Now that I think about it, I realize that in 16 years in the industry I have never once gotten a job through a recruiter (that isn't entirely true, my first contract position went through a recruiter but they were given my resume by someone at the company that was hiring contractors). Every time except that first one I started the conversation with the person or people who would be making the hire/no-hire decision and going back to recruiting to setup the interview loop, etc. was just a formality.

So fire up your network (and if you don't have a good one then start building one! Go to startup events, Python tech talks, whatever excites you). Start looking for opportunities, talk to people, maybe go on some interviews to see what is out there and to see how you do.

In one of the comments you express concern about your age, "near 30 and haven't broken out yet". Well, I say don't worry so much about that. I was 27 when I got my first computer industry job as a contract Software Test Engineer at Microsoft; I am 42 now and doing very well in Senior Engineer/Architect level positions. Don't be fooled by the myth that you have to make it by 25 or whatever.

Your resume may be a bit thin, that is a concern but remember that everyone started with a blank resume. You need to figure out how to explain your accomplishments over the past three years that doesn't focus on not shipping and does focus on what _you_ did do.

Don't worry too much about being a job hopper at this point; three years is a long time at one job and squarely within the normal range. If I saw someone with a string of <2 year jobs or a couple of 6 month jobs I would ask about it, and there could be a reasonable explanation, but 3 year jobs? No worries there.

One very good piece of advice that I got as I started my search: you only get to pick a new job half a dozen or at the most a dozen times in your career so pick good jobs!

22
2 points by PonyGumbo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Go for it. Take a quick detour job to build up savings, and then find (or create) another startup in a year or two.

>Strategically, what should I be doing to maximize my chances of getting a decent big-company job?

I had a hell of a time getting interviews as a 'co-founder', and ultimately ended up changing my title to 'lead developer'. YMMV.

23
1 point by codelust 1 day ago 0 replies      
Moving from a start-up to bigco: Most important change - you can go from VP/head Engineering (in a 2-man team) to something significantly smaller, especially if you don't have many years of experience.

Career credit: Depends entirely on what you have done at the start up and how it fits with the target company/role.

The answers aside, life decisions are not popularity contests. You need to do what makes most sense for you and most importantly, what sits right with you. Outstanding HN karma does not pay anyone's bills :)

Early stage companies are much like relationships, they don't always work out. You need to know where the invisible line that demarcates your being good for the company and being bad for it lies. Sometimes, the propensity of things/people you love and care for the most to cause you more harm than even your worst enemy is incredible. Stay on the right side of the line.

Not everyone will like you all the time, you can't do everything right all the time, nor will good fortune follow you all the time. When it is bad, lie low, survive, find your way out. When it is good, pay it forward and make up for the bad you have done.

Good luck :)

24
1 point by maxklein 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I were not working on my own startup, or an important stakeholder in the startup I'm working for, I'd much rather work for a big company. The stable hours and free time would give me more time to work on my own startup on the side.
25
1 point by briandoll 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you've been working at something for three years and have not shipped anything yet, you're not at a startup.

This is a perfect example of the anti-lean "startup", though, so I'm sure you've learned a lot about what not to do.

I would leave for sure. Wether you choose a safe desk job at a megacorp or at an actual startup this time around is your choice. Just keep in mind that real startups ship, iterate and learn. Constantly.

26
1 point by SkyMarshal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Three years in without success is not terrible, but three years in without even launching is a big red flag. Sounds like even if they do eventually succeed, your boss, er co-founder, will try to marginalize your share/compensation/etc anyway. I'd go.
27
1 point by YuriNiyazov 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Not all startups are created equal, and I seriously think you can probably find a place that is not a "big company" but nevertheless has things you are looking for. Why not get a job at something like Dropbox?
28
1 point by skrebbel 1 day ago 0 replies      
don't worry so much about the career thing. if you're at a good and challenging spot that meets your personal needs, you'll start to shine automatically.

think about what really makes you tick, and try to find a place that matches this. why are you in a startup? for the autonomy? or for the superhero feeling? for the potential big money? other way around, what of that won't you mind missing if you switch to a big company? answering these questions may help you find the kind of spots you like best. describe the workplace you'd like before giving it a name.

i mean, there are middle grounds, it's not a black and white thing. i work for a 250-ish people software consultancy firm, who 'rent' me to a well-funded and well-managed 10 people startup. i have all the joys (and occasional overtime/stress) of working at a startup. this includes high degrees of autonomy ("we need something fixed here and there, kind of, to solve this and that problem. we think. you work it out.") and a cozy "us against the world" atmosphere.

meanwhile, at my actual employer, i get coaching from experienced engineers and managers, a training budget, and the comfort knowing that if ever my work at the startup stops being challenging enough, i can switch projects without even quitting my job.

this matches my needs, as a result of which i'm learning and growing fast. what are yours?

29
1 point by stonemetal 1 day ago 0 replies      
"just about to heat up" If you haven't launched there is nothing to heat up, well maybe the air(as in nothing but hot air.)

one that a future employer won't have heard of-- do for (or to) one's career Do you believe your future employer has heard of every company that has ever employed a software developer? Sure they won't be like wow that guy worked at Google, but they also won't say he has been living in his mom's basement for the past three years. It will be up to you to convey what you have been doing professionally in that time.

30
1 point by fizx 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's also possible to work at a growth-stage startup (Twitter, FB, Zynga, Groupon, etc). They pay market salaries, but there's some upside too.
31
1 point by Cherian_Abraham 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just wanted to add that unless your partners in a startup (and that includes the youngest employee or the newest employee) does not have an emotional ownership in the goals and objectives of the startup, unless they are incentivized by the belief (beyond monetary incentives) that what they each create will embody their deepest passions and aspirations while enabling them to achieve their best potential.

I didnt write this though. I am borrowing from "What makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurial" a study that tries to understand the spirit of an entrepreneur. You are well advised to share the study with your CEO.

32
1 point by methodin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I started out in a medium company not really doing anything exciting, but doing it fast (and in .NET... bleh!). I decided to go the startup route and tried that and failed twice over the next two years. At some point I got fed up with job hunting and decided to move into a bigger company.

It did wonders for me. Not only did I learn all the things I couldn't with startups (managing 200+ webservers, 75 DBs, tables with over 100 million rows etc...) but I was able to fine tune exactly what I DO want in a career.

Every opportunity offers something unique so its just a matter of extracting the things that benefit you until the point at which it becomes boring or you stagnate. Then move on :)

33
2 points by impendia 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you are seriously considering leaving, it seems like you have a lot of leverage to ask your CEO to be treated differently.
34
2 points by throwawaycobol 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please for the love of ada lovelace. Do Not Do This. Pivot, start something new, what ever you do stay free. Do it for those of us who dream to have the will to someday also break free of the share cropping bit shoveling that is big-company job-land.
35
1 point by jjm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Look to joining another startup. Three years is too long. Look into evaluating your current predicament every 6 months. In a corp job, two years is the maximum I'd expect in any position, and you stayed three with a startup...

Seriously look to join another startup.

36
1 point by gsiener 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just shot you an email -- you should consider working with us (Profitably) if the fit is good.
37
1 point by JoshKalkbrenner 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it better to be known as a quitter or loser?

Is that the question???

14
Ask PG: Have your feelings changed about RFS3?
36 points by icey 2 days ago   16 comments top 5
1
27 points by pg 2 days ago 4 replies      
Yes, that was the first thing I thought of when I saw the news. I would be pretty cautious about building anything on Twitter after that.
2
6 points by icey 2 days ago 0 replies      
3
2 points by bobz 1 day ago 1 reply      
On the other hand, it might be a good time to launch/fund a product that competes. Without its developer ecosystem, Twitter is practically an unusable product. Sure, they have their network, but so did Myspace, Digg.

Twitter can't reasonably act like Apple and get away with it. It's a very low cost-to-switch environment. If this trend continues, if they make things too hard for devs, the devs will leave, and won't be in a hurry to come back. Might be a perfect time for a lean, developer friendly startup with the right innovation to come in and claim a piece of that market.

4
2 points by plamb 2 days ago 1 reply      
The fact that they're changing policies without much community discussion is certainly scary to any twitter-based company. Luckily, it appears that they're primarily opposed to clients, which is only one of the many possible applications people can build on top of Twitter.
5
1 point by kposehn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Actually, I feel more comfortable now with Twitter after this.

Why? They have come out and said it. We know their direction now and what they intend: don't make another client, but make a /unique way of using twitter itself/

If anything, this is exactly what we need as entrepreneurs. We now have a mandate from the source to take their platform and ecosystem to the next level. If everyone else wants to quake in their boots over this silliness, then I say go for it.

15
Ask HN: Can you develop "work ethic"?
8 points by coryl 1 day ago   3 comments top 3
1
2 points by Mz 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't say that I have been developing "work ethic", but I would say I have been actively developing "work capacity" in the last few years. I was diagnosed with a genetic disorder late in life, which explains a lot of my lack of energy, focus or accomplishment over the years. But I have also been on a few lists for parents of gifted kids and this kind of issue comes up fairly often as a topic: That gifted kids are frequently kind of lazy and used to being able to spend 5 minutes on something and get A's. Many of them have a crisis when they hit college and have to really study for the first time in their lives. For one thing, many of them don't know how to really study because they never really had to. For another, it's a huge shock and identity crisis.

I didn't go through that with college. I had good study habits. I did find college was actual work, much more so than high school, and I did have some bumps in the road initially, but nothing like some of the stories I have heard. However, I was quite ill when I was finally diagnosed in my 30's with "atypical cystic fibrosis" and it rapidly became clear to me that I could get healthier but not if I remained married to the man I was with. Like all my doctors, my ex was all too happy to blame it all on my genes and wash his hands of any real responsibility. It was clear to me that he would never get on board with the drastic measures needed for me to get healthier and that if I stayed, I would face the horror of dying a slow, torturous death essentially at the hands of loved ones and doctors who would all think I was insane for blaming them. It was clear to me that leaving was my only hope of getting well and getting well was my only hope of proving that I was right, this could be done. So I got divorced while very ill and started my life over.

I got a Certificate in GIS before divorcing and had a good call back rate on my resume. But I was very ill and doped to the gills, so I didn't interview well. I ultimately ended up with an entry level job unrelated to my training which paid about half of what the GIS jobs I had been applying to paid. I've been stuck in this same job for 4.5 years while getting well. Being so sick has hampered my performance and prevented me from getting promoted. So I have had ample opportunity to get over thinking I'm all Special and can just slap something together at the last minute and it will still be vastly superior to what everyone else is doing, which is my historical experience prior to trying to start my life over while very ill.

FWIW: A couple of very intelligent people at work who went from basically the job I am doing now directly to a supervisory position later got fired. I think a lot of very talented, intelligent people have serious, serious issues with what you are calling "work ethic" (or ethics of any sort). They think the rules don't quite apply to them because, in fact, the rules for someone very talented really are different. I think such people are pretty routinely in danger of getting confused about just which rules they really have to follow. I am aware that I am often able to find a loop-hole or what not -- that doing something well enough or doing things differently in the right way can put you in a different space -- but I am also acutely aware that social and ethical stuff (like respecting other people) still applies, no matter how smart I am.

I would suggest you a) look to your health for a possibly unrecognized, and thus untreated, issue (such as allergies) and b) put yourself in a situation where your natural talents aren't terribly helpful and you just have to do the grunt work, like everyone else. You might try volunteering in some capacity to accomplish this piece of it. I learned a lot of humbleness volunteering to teach math (and tutoring a mentally retarded girl who was in algebra and worked harder for her C's and D's than I ever worked for A's and B's) and doing volunteer work at a homeless shelter. Privilege tends to foster laziness. Getting out of your little insular world (if you have such, I don't know if you do) can be wonderfully growth-producing.

EDIT: As for the health stuff and my focus on the idea of "work capacity", please note that Will Smith has to have a certain amount of physical work capacity to make the statement you quoted. So if you don't have that attitude, it's possible that it's because you just don't have the physical capacity -- i.e. you aren't as healthy/fit as he is. If you want to be like him in terms of attitude, I strongly recommend you work on developing work capacity, as I have done, which is very much rooted in physical ability to do sustained work. Even minor health issues, if not properly attended to, will interfere in this regard.

2
3 points by rmah 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lots of unsuccessful people work very very hard as well. The trick is not to just work "smart" or to just work "hard" but to work both "smart" AND "hard". If you observe highly effective successful people, you'll see they work smart and work hard.

Can you develop a work ethic? Of course you can. Human behavior is very malleable. The military makes many lazy people into hard workers. For others, perhaps all you need is a really desirable goal that overshadows everything else in your life. I doubt there is a magic bullet, single solution. As with so many things, different routes or different techniques are probably more suitable for different people.

3
2 points by daimyoyo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If I have something I'm passionate about, I have no problem working VERY hard. When my friends and I started a new business, I loved it. I had no problem working 16-18 hours a day because there was no place I'd rather be. On the other side of that, my first job was in manufacturing. I started work when they asked me to and I clocked out when they asked me to but I never put any more effort in than was absolutely necessary. I have a good feeling that you simply haven't found that dream project yet. Once you have something that you think about even while you're at home, something that you can't wait to start doing every monday, you'll be surprised how easy the "hard work" becomes.
16
Ask HN: Affordable and reliable hosting for static pages
17 points by Siah 20 hours ago   28 comments top 15
1
4 points by patio11 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I ran BCC off of GoDaddy's $4 a month Linux hosting for nearly 2 years and only had a problem once.
2
4 points by jarin 20 hours ago 1 reply      
You can host a Sinatra app on Heroku for free. Here's the complete app:

  require 'rubygems'
require 'sinatra'

get '/' do
File.read(File.join('public', 'index.html'))
end

Just put all of the files in /public and you're good to go.

3
13 points by aaronblohowiak 20 hours ago 3 replies      
s3 / cloudfront
4
2 points by fleitz 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd definitely recommend dreamhost, very reasonable, great one click installers for things like wordpress. also they support rails/django. Something like $8/month.
5
4 points by mhiceoin 20 hours ago 1 reply      
https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/

Excellent Pay as you go hosting with specific plans for static only content.

6
3 points by bdr 19 hours ago 0 replies      
AppEngine would probably be free and is reliable.
7
1 point by olegp 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to have the option of doing dynamic stuff later, you should try Akshell (http://www.akshell.com). It's really good for static sites too though, since the newly added Git support allows you to deploy with a git pull from a remote repo, giving you revision control and all the goodness that comes with it.
8
1 point by hardik988 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Github Pages is a great choice for hosting static files IMO. However I'm not sure if you can host gh-pages on a private repository or not.
9
2 points by sudhirj 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Go with Google App Engine... you'll probably never break the free barrier.
10
1 point by thethimble 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using Dreamhost for my static (and an initial version of my Django site) for a few months now. I've been happy with their uptime and support.
12
1 point by mgz 19 hours ago 0 replies      
13
1 point by stylejam 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I would try S3 as for now
14
1 point by noob007 20 hours ago 1 reply      
dropbox?
15
1 point by nayanga 20 hours ago 0 replies      
weebly
17
Ask HN: Where to start?
5 points by FameofLight 20 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
3 points by revorad 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Connect with other hackers and startups in India. See http://hackerstreet.in/

Make something, however simple, even just a webpage talking about yourself and your interests and put it up online. Put your contact details and skills in your HN profile.

2
3 points by jackkinsella 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I graduated from university a year and a half ago and started my own web business. The company now makes enough money to support myself entirely.

The business was borne out of desperation. I needed to make money quickly so I spent a weekend thinking about:
1) What other people were doing online that made money;
2) Where my unique set of skills and experiences would give me a competitive advantage;
3) Whether I could build the business and start making sales without the need for cash upfront (I had none);

I settled on selling law revision notes to those studying UK law (www.oxbridgenotes.co.uk). Having studied UK law I could easily spot high quality revision notes. I knew my market. I knew what law students wanted and what their concerns were. I knew exactly what terms they type in Google when faced with a difficult essay. These were my competitive advantages.

The "make money" aspect is very important. Too many startups I see around me (I'm in Ireland) come up with a "great idea" which ultimately never makes a penny. Don't be one of those people. Ask yourself "what can I do that could __make__ __money__ within two months" and you will be off to a good start.

You said you've started a few good projects. I suggest that once you find a project that makes money (assuming you haven't already) you should drop the other projects and focus all your energies. You can always return to the other projects once you're rich.

-- Jack Kinsella

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1 point by riskish 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe start looking for specific problems that need solutions and start building them.
18
Why I'm not applying to Y Combinator
25 points by opaas 1 day ago   28 comments top 9
1
12 points by true_religion 1 day ago 1 reply      
You say....

> So really, its not sour grapes.

Then end with ....

>bark like a dog. Fuck that. Not anymore. Power to the programmers - right on.

You may or may not be rightfully disillusioned, but regardless your attitude is in the gutter.

2
6 points by chr15 1 day ago 2 replies      
YC has repeatedly said they care much more about the founding team than the idea. It's a sound principle. A strong team is probably the minimum you need.

Just apply. Don't disqualify yourself. It doesn't take long and you have nothing to lose. But your expectations shouldn't be too high, especially after posting something like this.

BTW, I have no idea what OPAAS does. Maybe that's the problem.

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2 points by notJim 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Just some feedback on your website: I went to it, and on the home page, I have basically no idea what it is or does, and there's really nothing that hooks me into looking into it more. And actually, now that I look at it, there aren't even links to click on that would answer these questions.

I'm guessing you guys are competing with something like EC2 or heroku. Compare your site to heroku.com. The first thing I see is "Rock-solid ruby platform", underneath which it says "Deploy and scale powerful apps." There is a "how it works" link at the top that tells me more.

4
1 point by nostrademons 1 day ago 2 replies      
Meta side note: Why is this not on the front page? It has more upvotes, more comments, and was posted more recently than several things that are, I don't see a [dead] next to it, and yet it's sitting at #67.
5
1 point by plamb 8 hours ago 2 replies      
One of the nice things about YC is that they're willing to have an open, public application process. I'm sure you can imagine that supporting that means they personally waste tons of their own time reading applications that don't come close to cutting it. For new entrepreneurs that don't have great connections to investor communities, this is one of the few avenues for getting their ideas vetted by an experienced group of people.
6
2 points by corin_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can't help but feel that with that attitude YC were right not to accept you - sorry.
7
1 point by mwerty 1 day ago 0 replies      
A better strategy would be to cap your time investment to something you are comfortable with.
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1 point by opaas 1 day ago 1 reply      
>You may or may not be rightfully disillusioned, but
> regardless your attitude is in the gutter.
I respect your opinion. However, I would say I WAS disillusioned - but no longer.
9
0 points by potomak 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is democracy, cool!
19
Ask HN: Which VPS hosting do you use?
9 points by remthename 16 hours ago   22 comments top 18
1
4 points by tdfx 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I've used SliceHost, Linode, and AWS, as well as some "no-name" providers. Linode is my top pick. I've thought about moving my stuff to AWS (due to the hourly vs monthly billing) multiple times but always ended up staying with Linode.
2
1 point by arctangent 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My first personal VPS was with Bytemark and we use them at work for our Disaster Recovery box in case our datacenters get hit by meteors or whatever. They're a good team and know what they're doing.

I have also spent a couple of years with Slicehost, who have excellent docs and a reliable service. It's fair to say that I learned most of what I know about syadmin stuff while hosted with Slicehost.

When Slicehost got bought out, I switched to their new parent RackSpace to get some experience with "cloud" stuff. It's working out very well so far. They're a bit cheaper than Slicehost.

3
2 points by wladimir 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Like others in this thread, I have very good experience with Linode. I've used some local VPSs here, but Linode has the best specs for the price, and haven't had any reliability issues or mysterious out-of-memory issues with them.
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2 points by b3b0p 14 hours ago 1 reply      
For cheapest, I have yet to see something less expensive than prgmr. Luke, I'm not sure if he owns it or is just the main administrator is a member here.

http://prgmr.com/xen/

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3 points by filipcte 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm using both http://www.intovps.com/ and http://www.linode.com/ currently, and I'm super-happy with both!
IntoVPS is the cheapest VPS you can find, but their quality and uptime is outstanding. Linode... well... awesome.
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2 points by Swannie 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have much experience with VPS either, but I'm using Linode and finding their platform super easy to use.

When I asked around my friends, http://www.wizzvps.com/ was recommended if I didn't need the 'support' of Linode.

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1 point by migrantgeek 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Having used Linode, SliceHost, and AWS I would say they are all about the same.

I had a severe crash at Linode years ago causing a complete loss of data. They did work with me for days trying to recover the filesystem and I found their support staff knowledgeable and helpful.

I never had problems with SliceHost so I don't know much about their support.

I'm using AWS because a reserved micro instance is super cheap at just under $10 and because I manage a much larger AWS infrastructure at work so it's nice to work with the same APIs for my own stuff and work. I also think the skillset is more transferable if you're learning.

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1 point by elithrar 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using Slicehost for a while now " since May 2008, according to my email records. I use my slice mainly for development work, as a static media server (w/ nginx) and it has occasionally hosted the odd Django app.

It's been rock solid, they have a simple (yet great) administrative interface, and the two times I needed their support, I had a response within minutes (even at 2AM in the morning). Plus they contribute some great docs to budding sys admins and devs, and make it easy to pick up some sys admin basics. Very happy with them.

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1 point by chopsueyar 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Was on Rackspace, thought about slicehost.com, but pricing wasn't that good.

I switched to Linode and have been very happy. Pricing is good, and bandwidth overage fees won't kill you.

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1 point by regularfry 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Bytemark. I've used them for years.

Dislaimer: as of last month, I'm also employed by them.

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1 point by wewyor 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Linode and arpnetworks are what I use at the moment. Arpnetworks is more on the cheap side but I use them only for freebsd and for linux I use linode (I was a customer of prgmr for a year before and only had 1 minor downtime with them for a hardware failure.
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1 point by ZeroMinx 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm using Linode, London data centre, very happy with them.
13
1 point by neeleshs 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Linode. No downtime so far, awesome support.
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2 points by raniskeet 14 hours ago 0 replies      
i'll go with either linode or slicehost.
15
1 point by austinbirch 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I also use Linode, the London data centre. Very happy too.
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1 point by kvdr 13 hours ago 0 replies      
lowendbox.com is where I look for cheap experimental boxes.
17
1 point by rublind 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you guys have any preference for hardware or software virtualization? (i.e. xen vs. openvz)
18
1 point by devan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
vps.net
20
'Show HN' bombed, but this got me on the front page
11 points by jawns 1 day ago   6 comments top 2
1
2 points by revorad 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Timing is everything. If you don't get noticed once, post again at a different time.

Correlated is an interesting idea. Have you considered hooking into the various social networks' APIs like Hunch, Twitter, FB, 4sq etc? There is a wealth of data to be explored.

Make your signup even easier. Get rid of First name, ask me later when you get to know me better :-). For now, just let me in.

I think you don't even need to explain why I have to sign up, just ask for email and pwd and click sign up. Reduce clutter.

Also, you've got a branding and mission problem with "Help us discover surprising correlations". It's not about you, it's about me me me. Change it to "Discover surprising correlations."

See http://headrush.typepad.com/

2
2 points by atgm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had the same problem -- I posted a "Tell HN" that bombed, but that was probably because I posted it on Saturday morning on St. Patrick's Day weekend without realizing it.

There are definitely ways to game the system and post at times that will get you the biggest, most active audience... but in your case, I feel like the topic titles also made a difference: the first title asks for participation, but the second title says "Hey, look at this!"

21
Share HN: Ideas you would like to develop but you won't
10 points by niiico 1 day ago   11 comments top 7
1
2 points by kls 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have an idea for a barcode and RFID scanner as well as a weight scale pad that can be retrofired into refrigerators and pantries. The concept is that ever time you remove and add a food item to the refrigerator or pantry it would take a weight measurement and gauge your consumption therefor it would be able to predict and assemble a shopping list of items that need to be purchased in the upcoming day or week.

Further it would be tied into a recipe data store so a user could find recipes that they have the necessary items for.

There is another angle in which if it caught on the list could be provided to the local grocery store for fulfillment so the list of items would be prepared and boxed at the store and the user would then be able to pick it up, further if it became big enough it may support delivery services.

As well there are personal chef services in which a chef prepares meals for a few clientele, In this situation, the Chef could be provided a list of inventory on site that wold allow them to formulate meal plans based on inventory at the home.

Finally one way I though of monetizing it was to allow coupon marketing in which when an item was up for restocking an alternative vendor could target the customer with a discount for choosing their product over a competitors. Say a person generally purchases Kraft Mayonnaise, the coupon service would allow Hellmans to provide a coupon to the client in an effort to try to sway their buying decision over to their product or allow Kraft to provide one as a loyalty incentive.

My though was building a system that could be retrofitted into existing refrigerators and pantries would allow users to adopt the system without the need for large capital outlay, then patent the system and offer good royalty agreements to manufacturers of refrigerators, etc. to gain adoption in the next gen of kitchen appliances.

Realistically though, I will never peruse this idea, the capital outlay to just get the prototype hardware is beyond my means and all of the Angle Investors I know, do not invest in hardware based ventures they are strictly software guys so it would most likely require me to bankroll it. That coupled with my consultancy has pretty much just left it to languish in my mind as just a cool idea that I ponder now and then. I would live to build it, but I just don't have the resources needed to get it to the point where I could pursue investment. It's one of those ideas that requires significant investment just to get it to the point of getting real investment dollars.

2
1 point by atgm 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I never really message people who are offline, whether it's on MSN, AIM, Skype, or any other instant messenger. I may have something I want to tell them or show them, but if they're offline, nine times out of ten, I just don't bother.

So what I wanted to make at one point was an internet "answering machine" that will log in for you when you log off and collect/log messages that you can check remotely or have e-mailed to you.

3
1 point by kodeshpa 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Guys here is my short story ,

I posted 5-6 times on HN about my idea with lot of expectation , sometimes i got 1 or 2 feedbacks but never got it to featured category, not many people given me much comments.

I struggled but kept working on it, I built a product and launched it week back in android market I had 0 marketing budget, no press release but still guess what slowly but steadily number of downloads increasing per day from 0 to 500 , people are giving me feedbacks.

Here is about what i built.

Let's meet Dawg, your new friend. Simple application making social life easier than ever before. Now you can seamlessly connect your social life at Facebook and Twitter in one place. Get updates on the go, and glance over them - even if you get disconnected from the Internet! .Dawg helps you stay social with your tweets, updates, photos and videos in a single application. Let's gear up to explore your social network easy way with Dawg. Get it now http://bit.ly/gakCmT and give your valuable feedback.

I suggest you ,just follow your heart. At the end it will give you an immense pleasure irrespective of end result.

4
1 point by chaosprophet 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Last night, I posted this [http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2344594], but I guess it flew off the new page before too many people had a look at it. It's about a helpdesk system which works completely through email. If there is substantial interest, I might take it up though.
5
1 point by codeslush 1 day ago 0 replies      
This morning, I posted this - but no love! :-)

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2344169

6
1 point by cuchoperl 19 hours ago 1 reply      
7
1 point by JoshKalkbrenner 23 hours ago 0 replies      
An indestructible, waterproof smartphone. I'd buy that.
22
New Startup Now Pulling In Over $100k in Monthly Revenues
271 points by kumph 7 days ago   81 comments top 34
1
1 point by Retailslave 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Can I come along for the ride just to observe and learn?

I know nothing and have no skills.

2
84 points by rms 7 days ago 1 reply      
Best startup hiring post I have seen on HN in years.
3
13 points by gyardley 7 days ago 3 replies      
Are you making money from iTunes affiliate fees and simply passing a cut of it on to your users, or are you charging application developers for placement?

Right now the biggest cost-per-install networks are doing 50x to 100x your revenue and growing quickly, and they're hiring every experienced salesperson they can possibly find. That's your true competition for app developers' advertising dollars, not the little stuff like 'Daily App Dream'. You probably need sales more than developers.

4
9 points by taphangum 7 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome-ness. I love these kind of stories.

I'm actually working on an iPhone game, Link:http://beathub.net. Was rejected by YC before (not on this idea though).

Would love to talk more via email about possible partnerships, advice you may have.

Just started an Ask HN thread also for those who are interested in offering their advice on this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2318920

Edit: Just got downvoted, i know how this comment can be seen as self promotional but it isnt. My intention is to be brief and to the point.

5
42 points by JCB_K 7 days ago 1 reply      
"Let's forget about getting acquired and build something with which to acquire!"

Love that.

6
7 points by emmett 7 days ago 1 reply      
"In titles, please don't describe things by their relation to YC unless they're actually associated with YC."

http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

7
19 points by kingsidharth 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is so much better than those YC-rejects bragging about raising a fund as if that's a prerequisite for success. A positive cash flow is something to brag about for sure. Congratulations!
8
36 points by xuki 7 days ago 1 reply      
Dude, get a designer on board.
9
19 points by minalecs 7 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome work man. I'm with you. I've been seeing this in the top 10 free apps. Can you share any insight into your marketing strategy, and how you got some traction ?
10
19 points by kumph 7 days ago 0 replies      
I see that my title has been edited by one of the admins at HN.

Just so you know, the original title was:

YC W11 Reject Now Pulling In Over $100k in Monthly Revenues

I like that much better, but it conflicted with the submission guidelines, per emmett's comment.

11
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5 points by bvi 7 days ago 0 replies      
Something really refreshing about this post. Congratulations on your success, and best of luck!
13
14 points by joebo 7 days ago 1 reply      
100k per month with a free app? Can you elaborate on the revenue model?
14
12 points by myearwood 7 days ago 1 reply      
HN changed the title of the post. That's not cool.
15
8 points by nischalshetty 7 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, I am going to do step 1. Apply to YC and get rejected.
16
2 points by lubos 7 days ago 0 replies      
congrats man, I'm so happy for you. your attitude is great, finally someone who dreams real big! go ahead and thumbs up
17
1 point by dazzla 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a single founder with no investment working on mobile apps for daily deals. I've been working on my mobile apps (iOS and Android) for longer and I'm not getting anywhere near that kind of revenue. I would love to talk to you about marketing. I'm very inspired by your post. Any chance you have time for a chat?
18
2 points by fsipie 6 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone explain this business model to me? I find it very confusing, both in terms of how it works and why people sign up to this. This is not a criticism, as obviously it's brilliant and profitable, but rather an indication of my own limited knowledge 8)

Does it work like this?

1. Devs pay to feature their apps in this app
2. Users install the app and can like & install apps for points
3. After a certain amount of points (which seems huge) a user gets a free itunes gift voucher

19
1 point by ScottBurson 7 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool. What's particularly interesting, I think, is that it's still possible to have a big hit like this in the iOS ecosystem, if you understand that ecosystem very well.
20
2 points by nhangen 7 days ago 0 replies      
Love the bravado. And further proof that building something on the iOS platform is a great way to make some money.
21
1 point by jswinghammer 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty good idea. It connects devs who want to sell apps with people looking to buy more apps. I am always looking for a cool game or app. Congrats!
22
3 points by weaponizedgames 7 days ago 0 replies      
Kumph, congrats, but what's your plan for when Apple clones your features and look-n-feel to be included inside their own App Store app?
23
1 point by zone411 7 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats. Are you sure that any possible additional competition because of this post won't matter to you, though? I am involved with some successful and already well-established websites and the last thing I would do is share how much they make on here.
24
1 point by richcollins 7 days ago 1 reply      
It's too bad the app sucks at its advertised purpose (finding good apps). I was excited when I read the description and saw how many people were using it.
25
1 point by jpug98 5 days ago 1 reply      
great post. i have a YC2011 application ready to go, and, as a single founder, have been wondering if I should apply. Yes, I know, it's next week. I too expect to be rejected but think it is worth the shot. And, to follow up on the end of the post, personally, YC isn't about the money or the mentorship. It's all about who you know. All I know is that I have the next big idea, execution is 100% of being a business and I think YC offers a lot of those resources that you can't find in a lot of other places.
26
1 point by chocoheadfred 7 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if you make make more adding functionality from another app that I use that looks at your installed apps and suggests new ones based on that. Seems like you take age into account. Why not other factors like gender, interests, hobbies...in addition to popularity. All of these would be able to deliver better recommended apps. I would hesitate on just featuring the apps that pay you the most. Maybe hold out on those really good ones until you are able to prove success, which you might be able to do now. Too bad I can't see the app on my droid.
27
1 point by nerd_in_rage 2 days ago 0 replies      
So how much profit are you making? 100k/month is no good if you're not making any money and paying it all out.
28
1 point by OoTheNigerian 7 days ago 0 replies      
Is this the same app someone asked for a review of a while ago?
29
1 point by us 7 days ago 0 replies      
I assume current monetization is by in-app ads? I came to this assumption base on the fact that the app is free and I have yet to download it. Either that or you charge people to be in your app.
30
2 points by hnfwerr 7 days ago 2 replies      
Are you applying to YC again? (for the 2011 summer batch)?
31
1 point by eevilspock 7 days ago 0 replies      
Great. Another idea that taps into human irrationality and weakness.

Maybe Netflix should stop trying to come up with quality recommendations, and come up with a scheme like yours. The real reason to watch movies is to get paid a few bucks someday.

32
1 point by sinaiman 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome and inspiring, congrats!
33
-4 points by vlad99 7 days ago 3 replies      
This is not a solid business that might get acquired in the end so they are not interested in 1 hit wonders.
34
-4 points by Estragon 7 days ago 1 reply      
Not exactly a YC-reject in the usual sense, if you just missed the application deadline...
23
Ask HN: Focus and concentration
12 points by gdberrio 2 days ago   10 comments top 10
1
2 points by plinkplonk 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I used to suffer from this(no longer, touch wood) I found this extract from Steven Pressfied's "The War of Art" inspiring

"In my late twenties I rented a little house in Northern California; I had gone there to finish a novel or kill myself trying. By that time I had blown up a marriage to a girl I loved with all my heart, screwed up two careers, blah blah, etc., all because (though I had no understanding of this at the time) I could not handle Resistance . I had one novel nine-tenths of the way through and another at ninety-nine hundredths before I threw them in the trash. I couldn't finish 'em. I didn't have the guts. In yielding thusly to Resistance, I fell prey to every vice , evil, distraction, you-name-it mentioned heretofore, all leading nowhere, and finally washed up in this sleepy California town, with my Chevy van, my cat Mo, and my antique Smith-Corona.

A guy named Paul Rink lived down the street. Look him up, he's in Henry Miller's Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch. Paul was a writer. He lived in his camper, "Moby Dick." I started each day over coffee with Paul. He turned me on to all kinds of authors I had never
heard of, lectured me on self-discipline, dedication, the evils of the marketplace. But best of all, he shared with me his prayer, the Invocation of the Muse from Homer's Odyssey, the T. E. Lawrence translation. Paul typed it out for me on his even-more-ancient-than-mine manual Remington. I still have it. It's yellow and parched as dust; the merest puff would blow it to powder.

In my little house I had no TV. I never read a newspaper or went to a m o v i e . I just worked . One afternoon I was banging away in the little bedroom I had converted to anoffice, when I heard my neighbor's radio playing outside. Someone in a loud voice was declaiming " . . . to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." I came out. What's going on? "Didn't you hear? Nixon's out; they got a new guy in there." I had missed Watergate completely.

I was determined to keep working. I had failed so many times, and caused myself and people I loved so much pain thereby, that I felt if I crapped out this time I would have to hang myself. I didn't know what Resistance was then. No one had schooled me in the concept. I felt it though, big-time. I experienced it as a compulsion to self-destruct. I could not finish what I started. T h e closer I got, the more different ways I'd find to screw it up. I worked for twenty-six months straight, taking only two out for a stint of migrant labor in Washington State, and finally one day I got to the last page and typed out:
THE END.

I never did find a buyer for the book. Or the next one, either. It was ten years before I got the first check for something I had written and ten more before a novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was actually published. But that moment when I first hit the keys to spell out THE END was epochal.

I remember rolling the last page out and adding it to the stack that was the finished manuscript. Nobody knew I was done. Nobody cared. But I knew. I felt like a dragon I'd been fighting all my life had just dropped dead at my feet and gasped out its last sulfuric breath. Rest in peace, motherfucker.

Next morning I went over to Paul's for coffee and told him I had finished. " Good for y o u , " he said without looking up. "Start the next one today."

"

So now I just work. Decoupling work from one's emotional state is just a habit more than anything else. A few "Rest in Peace MF er " moments of my own taught me that.

2
1 point by Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I was a teen/young adult, I felt like this. I read a lot of interesting stuff, some useful but a lot not. Then I was diagnosed late in life with a medical condition. For me, inability to focus is usually rooted in my health issues. Working on my underlying health issues has been the main thing that has improved my ability to focus.

The other thing that comes to mind is something I read in my twenties about individuals having specific types of "doing" energy which needs to be expended and you can't effectively stop it until it's used up and you can't effectively push much beyond that once it is used up. On HN, people sometimes talk about either being unable to work a full-time job doing X and also do it on the side or you hear people talk about things like "the need to code" -- that they just have to do a certain amount of X. Another example is folks who do cross-word puzzles at bedtime to help them sleep and they can't sleep until they have had a certain amount of a certain type of mental stimulation. If you can figure out what your mix of "doing" energy is and consciously direct it into productive outlets, rather than frittering it away for personal satisfaction, you will get more done.

Concrete personal example: I like writing but probably spend too much time frittering that interest away posting on forums like this one rather than developing my websites. That's in part due to my health: It is far easier to respond to something someone has said than to write up something from scratch without having something to respond to. When healthier, I am more able to do the kind of writing that I want on my websites. (In fact, my first website started while I was quite ill was basically an edited collection of emails of mine or excerpts from emails.) I have left a number of lists related to the topics of my websites, in part because I am so controversial in certain circles and in part because I felt that I need to put my energy into developing my websites rather than trying to chit chat with people on email lists. Chit-chatting with people on email lists feels very productive to me but it's not that productive. There is a "live" audience that can respond and interact with me and I just feel like I am doing so much more than I really am because of the responses. This is a personal issue that I am aware of and have been trying to work on for some time. I recently unsubbed from a health list in large part so I can move on to doing more productive kinds of writing about health issues.

As for "dysfunctional perfectionism": After nearly dying and finally getting a serious diagnosis late in life, I promptly returned to college while still very ill with the attitude "A sick person like me needs to make more B's if I am ever going to get a degree." I've also done volunteer work at a homeless shelter and went down in flames horribly in various online forums while publicly withdrawing from all kinds of prescription medication. I'm a lot thicker skinned than I used to be and much more okay with failure as a productive means to learn what not to do, what my limits are and so on.

Good luck with this.

3
1 point by wmboy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Try the Pomodoro technique... set a timer for a period of time (between 15 to 30 minutes long) and focus on working on a project constantly. Once the timer sounds, stop working (even if you feel like you could keep going) and have a 5 minute break).

There's also the (10+2)*5 technique were you work for 10 minutes, stuff around for 2 minutes then repeat 5 times. After an hour you've had 50 minutes of productive time and 10 minutes of "play time".

4
1 point by Jarred 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a good question, and one I've been thinking about myself.

I don't have a direct answer, but this is what's helped me.

(1): 4x3 Dry Erase Board nearby Computer, it might be because of having ADD but I find I do the best idea-refinement/drawing stuff out on a dry erase board, both because you can erase it easily and it involves some walking around. Thinking about it aloud and gesticulating helps me a lot as well, but I gesticulate quite a bit normally so that might be more specific to me.

(2): Quiet place to work, best situation is to reserve a room your house/apartment/etc specifically devoted to working. I would say an office but office normally includes taxes, finances, faxes, etc

(3): Have water within arms length and drink it often

(4): Have a clear mind, vent out your mind before you get started and it will make it easier to be productive.

Start with the dry erase board, it really helps to get started focusing.

5
1 point by stray 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used to. Then in '99 I bought an old Volkswagen microbus. That old rolling pile of junk was the coolest thing on the road (when she was in fact, on the road).

When I bought the VW I planned to restore her to showroom condition.

Never happened.

What did happen is that I developed an appreciation for "good enough". She'd just barely top 55 mph - good enough. She had rattles, a fuel gauge that never worked, a steering system that really kept me on my toes, and to balance it all out she had a ragtop - all in all, good enough.

You see, I had wanted a 21-window VW since I was like twelve years old. And when I finally got one I was determined to drive it. And I drove it all over the country - for years...

And maybe that's all you need to do - determine that you're going to "drive" your projects (even if they leak oil and rattle while you drive).

6
1 point by thatusertwo 2 days ago 0 replies      
You got to find something thats interesting to you, then it will be easier to stick to it. My friend and I have worked on various projects from start to end, but sometimes he comes up with good ideas that have nothing to do with his interests. You can get motivated for a day or two, but it drops off afterwards.

Find something you like, and force yourself to work on it in your free time. Don't give yourself to much time either, if you have 8 hours a day there is much more to waste. Once you got a good base you can spend more time (8 hours a day) cause you'll be invested by that point.

7
1 point by jackkinsella 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Regular exercise works wonders.
8
1 point by adziki 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can get into spells of this as well. What I try to do is to set high level goals (maybe 1-6 months out), break those goals down, and break those goals down, and really scope out the big things into a lot of small things. Only look at a day or week's worth of small things at a time (to not get overloaded in the quantity of small tasks). Set milestones at which you can assess your perfection, and if its not to your standards, revise your goals.
9
1 point by gschill21 2 days ago 0 replies      
One word: passion. If you are not emotionally attached to your idea, which passion is, then you are going to drop it when another idea pops up. Finding something you are passionate about and connecting that to a business or project will allow you to focus on whatever goals you have set. If not then the project will be just another thing in a sea of great ideas...
10
1 point by ulisesroche 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there anything bugging you that won't let you focus and concentrate?
24
Nassim Taleb on Small Probabilities and the Crisis in Japan
20 points by jeremyrwelch 4 days ago   discuss
       cached 21 March 2011 04:05:01 GMT