1) Do you find it silly or irritating being called a 'great'?
2) Do you find yourself in disagreement with the usage of such a word describing yourself? Are you unable to relate?
Also - I don't understand what you mean by the cost of living increase over 3 years is more than 60%... did you have to move somewhere?
Startups usually don't have a ton of cash, so if you feel like you're still being shortchanged and the company simply can't afford to pay you more (from the company's perspective, increasing your salary may mean increasing everybody else's as well), you can ask for other things: more options, more days off, better benefits, and as you mentioned working remotely.
You're in a good position, and have built up good will over the years, so I'm sure they wouldn't want to lose you. It might be just a simple matter of bringing it up, so do that first.
Locations aren't there for all the companies. However, if you click on the Crunchbase link for each company, it will usually have their wear-abouts.
but if you have to choose, sample a little john legend
Going to an elite school basically makes things easier. It tilts every initial interaction in your favor, so that you only have to maintain an impression instead of creating one. But it won't let you do things that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do, nor does it give you a free pass for the rest of your life.
If you get stuck with a bad degree, the way to work around it is to kick ass in your field. Be the best employee you can be, and then look at how you can improve things outside your company and be the best innovator that you can be. Eventually, everybody knows who the real folks are that get shit done. If you can chalk up a couple big successes, nobody cares where you went to school.
- I got ahead - I found some small projects related to the next semester's material, and had an easy time in a class that others struggled in.
- I talked to the professors - the students there weren't motivated, but the professors were nonetheless interested in their own field, and they were especially happy to find a student who was interested. This is especially key if you need recommendation letters for transferring, study abroad, or grad school.
- I found a better curriculum online. At some point it's going to come down to what you know, not where you learned it, so just do your best to reduce the gap between you and people who went someplace with a better curriculum.
- I transferred out. You don't necessarily have to go that far, though. Whether you're in a bad job, school, or situation, one of the best things you can do is to come up with a solid plan to get out of it, or to at least compensate for it. The light at the end of the tunnel gives you the motivation to do everything else.
- I took my general education classes there. When I transferred, I fought to get credit for them, and so I was able to spend more time on classes in my major and minor. Also, don't overlook your side interests - things like study abroad also look good on resumes and the like, and are useful for networking outside of your field.
Things I didn't do that I wish I had:
- Went to user groups and conferences and networked. Networking is one big thing you'll miss out on at a school that's weak in your field.
- Worked on open source projects, or smaller personal projects. My biggest mistake in college was lack of balance - I spent a lot of time reading the best material I could find (and still do), but I've got very little that's concrete to show for it. In interviews, a nice github account and some practice coding at a whiteboard goes a lot further than your college's name.
If you're worried about grad school, one thing you could try is picking a subfield that you like, and getting in contact with professors from schools that you'd like to go to who are in that field.
That being said, I did meet some amazing people there and it helped me get through all of the politics. There's definitely something to be said about surrounding yourself with talented people. But there are other opportunities to do so outside of the school setting. Look for a local hacker group. Go to some meetups.
While these schools might provide a springboard to getting to where you want to go, they are just that - a springboard; they are probably not the end goal. There was a link posted a few months ago about the idea of everyone wanting a million dollars. The author's main point was that you don't really want the million dollars - you want what the million dollars can buy (freedom, adventure, etc). The second point was that you don't need the million dollars to achieve these things.
Hang in there!
As far as where you went to school not mattering it is all but a lie. Your first job out of college pretty much depends on where you went to school and how you did. That second job may not depend on where you went to school but it certainly depends on that first job which depends on where you went to school. On the other hand is it really that big a deal if you never work at Facebook?
In the end is more about what you do and what you are capable of than where you went to school or where you worked for that matter, a fulfilling life doesn't come from external sources but internal ones.
As students of a relatively small school that doesn't do a lot of advanced scientific research, my friends and I were able to get jobs/internships at some of the companies you've listed, so all is not lost :)
1.Find the most accomplished professors in your department and take courses offered by them. Even though your school may not have a big reputation, some professors may have enough clout to recommend you when applying to Google/FB etc.
2.Keep doing Deliberate Practice. Take the hardest courses. Work on your own projects. Contribute to open source projects.
SICP is used as the introductory CS text at many universities (Berkeley included) and has no official math prerequisites. I think you should try reading it first, and if you get stuck on a concept like Newton's Method, you can just read about it on Wikipedia.
But otherwise, there was basically no math involved, except as simple illustrations. Good luck! It was a great text.
But in case you are additionally interested in further self-education in mathematics related to computer science, or other onlookers in this thread are, I'll recommend some resources in discrete mathematics,
especially those directed toward the interests of computer scientists.
One book with good online support is the Art of Problem Solving book on Counting and Probability.
MIT OpenCourseware has a mathematics for computer science course.
Princeton has posted lecture notes for a similar course:
ArsDigita University also posts math-learning resources online:
An Amazon guide to books for self-study and an Amazon list of favorite books may also be helpful:
Your best bet is just to grab a Scheme interpreter and dive in.
And yet the founder of HN said 25 days ago that there is a problem with HN, "the decreasing quality of comment threads on HN."
He summed up the problem by saying "The problem has several components: comments that are (a) mean and/or (b) dumb that (c) get massively upvoted." If pg observed a situation like that, isn't it a bad idea to "sort through the legitimacy of opinions based on their upvotes"?
A link and comment in another recent metadiscussion thread largely sums up the back-and-forth about visible comment scores as a signal on comments in active threads:
>> Please bring back the comment scores. It helps a lot in parsing the comments and assigning a proportional weight to each when reading them.
> I had to think about this a bit, and I disagree so far. I'm finding that I'm not pre-judging comments as much. It's nice to be able to read someone's comment without knowing first that 70 or 80 or 3 other people thought it was worthwhile.
Once I had thought about that a bit, I reached the second conclusion. Readers on HN are gaining more quality comments as readers look at comments according to their inherent value and not upvoting or downvoting based on the crowd appeal of what someone else has already voted. Cognitive scientists have done a lot of research on what is called anchoring bias,
and I get the impression, after 892 days as a registered user of HN, that comment upvotes and downvotes for the last year or so have not been based on the same careful consideration of comment quality as they were in the early days of HN, but rather have been based too much on what net karma score is already displayed as people vote. I like the new comment score system of not displaying net comment scores on OTHER people's posts (of course I can still see my own comment scores) better than the previous system. In the spirit of pg's statement, I try to help the quality of HN by actively upvoting thoughtful, helpful comments, and being on the lookout for mean comments (which pg hopes will not be upvoted by anyone) and dumb comments (which surely don't help any users relying on comment scores to learn new facts) for downvoting those. A comment that is both mean and dumb ought to be downvoted, not upvoted. We can all do our part to help the quality of the community.
In his thread, pg mentioned comments that are mean or dumb "that (c) get massively upvoted." With that condition of HN less than a month ago in mind, how do the highest-voted comments visible in the bestcomments list
look to all of you recently? Are there fewer mean comments than before? Are there fewer dumb comments than before? Are the comments that are "massively upvoted" since the experiment began mostly comments that are reasonably kind and well-informed, helpful comments on the whole? In most of the treads you visit, do helpful, thoughtful comments seem to rise to a position of prominence, while mean or dumb comments gray out?
Remember, pg's claim is that recently HN has not been a place where there is an "easy way for readers to differentiate the noise," but rather a place where the noise has had an attached badge of being signal rather than noise. That isn't good for anyone reading HN. As you correctly point out, we STILL have "the location on the page," which is useful at least for comparing multiple comments at the same reply level as a comment thread develops, and the actual sources and reasoning used by one or another user in supporting points made in comments. People who LOOK UP what the facts are can find out a lot about who is taking care to do good research and who is just making stuff up. And that's always the safest path to learning, to check the sources to verify other people's factual claims.
I understand that we're supposed to form our own opinions as to who we agree with, but sometimes its just not reasonable to take the time to do enough research. Sometimes, you want to learn from someone that actually knows what they're talking about.
Without some sort of vote indicator, it's hard to tell who has the most accurate opinion, except often in subjects like law, security, and seo where there are known experts that often chime in (e.g. grellas, tptacek, patio11).
I'd suggest that a form of "fuzzy vote counts" be implemented. Something to indicate either a relative score ("this comment is substantially higher voted than its parent") or just an approximate value ("unvoted", "few votes", "many votes") without a specific score.
I get the sense that my comments have received more rather than less votes since the change. Previously, when a decent comment of mine had say 10 upvotes, I felt like people concluded "good enough" and didn't bother upvoting. Now without the score feedback, I actually feel like some of my mediocre comments have gotten more upvotes than they deserved.
Some behavior data would go a long way toward confirming or denying hypotheses like these.
The huge (and incorrect) assumption that people are making about upvotes is that everybody reading the comments is stupid. We're not using the upvote count as a 100% perfect indicator of if somebody is correct or not, we're using it as an indicator of how many upvotes the comment has gotten. It's just one of several things that we can use to judge a comment's merit.
This information is useful, and I cannot fathom a benefit to withholding it.
I've also stopped looking at comments entirely. Before, I would sometimes click through to just read the comments. There was value there. It's not necessarily gone now, but it is much harder to find.
The "old" HN was a lot drier (for lack of a better word), but the discussions were generally much more informative and/or insightful. I remember people complaining about getting downvoted for a comment that would have probably gotten many upvotes on other sites, and I was always pleased to that these in turn were downvoted as well. This doesn't seem to happen any more though, which is a shame IMO.
Also, the poll at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2445039 showed that most people agree.
And yeah, maybe for display the numbers aren't the best option.. just some sort of watered down "+" "++" "+++" type scheme...
It's easy to learn in person, just parrot what everyone else is saying. You don't need HN to learn it.
You realize that people game the upvote system right? Writing karma whore comments is so easy when you know the votes. If you really want to know the votes, just reverse engineer the algorithm, it will show you the relative votes.
This is a mistake. People frequently vote down things that are right because they don't understand the material as well as they think they do.
I understand that pg hasn't got the time to do all kinds of experiments, but this is HN, where more than half of us are great programmers.
Give us a simple API and let us do our own experiments. That's all I want.
The one upside to this change I guess is I'm spending much less time on H-N now.
I think respected, established members of the community would know themselves well enough to decide for themselves whether it's good or bad to personally have vote counts.
FWIW: Below the threshold I think it's better to not have counts.
This keeps the content from being so quickly judged, but eventually shows strong content that has been upvoted by hundreds without bias.
And has been stated multiple times, the highly upvoted comments filter to the top already.
How do you go about choosing which books to read? Do you read all of them, are you exclusive to specific authors, or do you depend on your peers to make suggestions?
Please bring something back, I find myself never reading the comments now.
Votes are not a reliable indication of whether or not a post is correct.
They are a reliable indication of whether or not a post is popular.
It does sometimes happen that a post is both correct and popular, but that is not something it is ever safe to rely on.
'Social Proof' is a fantasy that does not exist.
1. Correct Answer (real, like a founder answering about his app).2. Popular Answer (comedy, something people "lol" to).
Identifying the difference between those two is done with only common sense; but supposing you still lack of that, you can still feel what the community liked by looking at the numbers.
"50 upvoted this" that must mean something vs "3 upvoted this"...
In the previous polls, people seemed to be split 50/50-ish. Unless pg, as HN Overlord, feels that either removing counts has a performance or pedagogical purpose, this option seems like a perfect candidate for an account setting.
All this hand-wringing about 'the community' and signal/noise indicates the membership has outmanoeuvred any means of wrangling it into some pre-conceived notion of 'quality'. For better or for worse, the thundering hoards of the internet have arrived and are drowning out the elitist clique. If that is bad for everybody, then it's time to shut up shop.
There's this often unstated assumption that "good" comments will rise to the top.
What about this:
1) Display all comment scores, all the time2) A new comment is posted3) Segment the readership somehow, so that the comment has a (possibly different) score for each segment. E.g. Allow a comment to have 4 different scores.4) Start the comment off with a random score in the range [-2, +2], but one that's different for each viewer segment5) track (but hide) the number of upvotes and downvotes for each score6) display just init + upvotes - downvotes to each segment
Maybe the Hacker News team is trying to place more emphasis on submissions instead of comments?
- The poster's weighting would show up as a color (good,better,best)
- The product of the poster's weight and the popularity of the comment determines the order on the page
Now I can look at the top of the page where very popular comments show up and then scroll toward the bottom and quickly identify any posters I really like
I realize this wouldn't be too hard to do by scraping the comment page and maintaining my own database of favorite commenters.
One for those just wanting to read and learn where they can see the votes but where the user is not allowed to vote.
And one for those wishing to vote where they can't see and be influenced by the votes of others.
> Especially as an engineer who knows little about business, it was extremely helpful to get a community perspective on the startup stuff.
It's not a community perspective. It's a positive feedback loop.
> The value of HN, from the perspective of simply learning, has been destroyed for me since upvotes were hidden.
Now, you're learning.
HN only feels like Reddit comment threads to me on these introspective topics. I avoid them for the most part but your comment in particular stood out to me.
After all, what is important to ME or not important to ME has nothing to do with what's important to YOU. The fact that you have stopped learning anything on HN, as you put it, has to do with YOU and not ME. So, don't blame the lack of votes. I wonder how you can get along in this world where you have to evaluate things at face value. In the "real world", there aren't point values and upvote/downvote nonsense on things.
I hope HN gets rid of the point system altogether. I'm sure I'm in the minority.
Vote counts are won't ever reliably reveal truth.
So, when scanning downwards, score is inversely proportional to age.
Joel Spolsky: Lunch (joelonsoftware.com)275 points by alexlmiller 12 hours ago | flag | 175 comments
That is, if you up vote / down vote a comment and make a comment on that comment you can view that comments vote count. Does that make sense or did it come out sounding bad?
Just a thought. I think I like it without knowing the vote count.
"Show score on posts: (yes/no)"
What do you want to learn here? What most HNers believe to be true, or do you want to learn to be independent?
In order to really exploit this vulnerability, you would need to find a way to send requests to and read responses from posterous.com, the root domain, since that's where all the functionality is defined.
I also think that you are suffering from the classic symptom of trying to get everything just right before starting. When building a web app you want to get that thing up as fast as possible, even if it's ugly. Build a minimum viable product and connect with customers each step of the way. Test for interest, etc. You don't want to spend too much time getting everything correct just to find that you wasted your time because nobody cares for your idea.
Take a similar approach with web development. You could start out banging out sites in Drupal or Wordpress and each of these content management systems require more configuration than actual programming. You can learn these quickly and with minimal to no PHP. Your interest may be more in building web applications from scratch and there is a market for that, but you don't have to start out there. I know of plenty of people making a living strictly from building sites using already available content management systems.
Look through sites like Odesk and Elance for the types of jobs available. You might find the occasional gem in these places and even land a regular client. Don't feel bad for your lack of experience, you just need to be able to sell yourself and communicate well. Trust me, there are far worse people actually landing the jobs there.
Make sure to network through forums, Twitter and other locations where fellow developers and designers hang out. Twitter is especially good for getting a regular voice in the community and getting your name in front of people. Help out people in Twitter and forums and you will occasionally get someone hitting you up for doing some work.
As you are connecting with the community, look for ideas for building add-ons which might be in demand. This is a great way to give back and get your name out there. Offer some simple add-ons for free, but you might be able to make money by selling other add-ons.
As you beef up your freelance business and development chops, you can start moving more in the direction of building applications from scratch and perhaps working with other tools. There is a lot of exciting new things going on in the world of web development. I have been playing with Node.js a lot lately and it's a new community where you can more easily gain a good foothold as a pioneer as opposed to PHP. However, the market for this may not be as easy to get into at first.
There are also lots of methods I haven't mentioned or even thought about. Another big part of business is strategy and tactics. Figure out where you want to be and be creative in formulating a plan to get there. Do this and you might be able to leapfrog (greater income) people who have been doing this for a lot longer than you have.
* Work for cheap/free if you have to. You want to do this quickly, if you do a site for free the client will be more willing to go ahead straight away as it requires little decision making. We did a website for a primary school and a couple of photographers we knew to start off with. Charities might be good to approach for this.
* Fake sites sound like a good idea but why bother when you could actually help other businesses/charities and get 'real-world' experience of dealing with clients.
* You need to have low prices to start with. Small businesses are willing to give other small businesses a shot, but won't have as much budget as bigger companies. Over time you can decide where you want to take the business and start charging more as you build a reputation. Your aim at this point is to build a portfolio, so you can charge more later on. Our day rate has more than doubled since we started out.
* Classified ads on Gumtree or equivalent in your area. We met two of our biggest clients through classified ads (just be honest, link to your site and try and get across your ethos).
* Examine personal network, previous employers etc... they already trust you and may have work that can keep you going.
* Get involved with a co-working space, this is a great way to meet prospective clients and other small businesses.
* No one else ever seems to recommend this, but cold calling worked for us, though I admit it was painful. We got one of our biggest hedge fund clients via a cold call. We don't really use this any more as our business comes from word of mouth, but it's something you can do if there's a specific type of client you want and you know how to pitch them.
Remember this is one of the hardest bits, once you gain some momentum and build a portfolio it will get easier.
Technology doesn't pay the bills. Clean code, good architecture, solid frameworks - they count far, far less than you wish they did. As developers, we're systems oriented, looking for the ideal approach, the 'right' way. 90% of clients are more worried about the right shade of cornflower blue. Don't lose your idealism about making use of the right tech stack, and where pragmatic, don't miss an opportunity to explain why it's important.
But don't make the mistake of thinking that's what counts for clients. There will be exceptions, but generally the guy with the purse strings isn't technical, and is in no position to appraise your use of tech.
You need to practice business as much as you plan to demonstrate technical competence. Negotiation, selling, conflict resolution (it'll happen), knowing when to walk away (that too) and probably the hardest thing - embracing risk. Many chant the 'fail fast' mantra, but I'd rather point out that our caveman brains are badly suited to accepting that risk is vital. Cold calling is terrifying, as is naming a price, telling a client they're wrong, and so many parts of simply staying alive.
Otherwise, go make some luck.
I honestly believe that most people don't at all care what you've done before if you just talk to them like you know what you are doing. When you see a job post asking for some feature, just tell them how you are planning on executing it.
Also always ask at least one question if you can. It means you've taken an interest and that you seem like you want to cover every base. (or so I choose to believe) That especially works on dating sites.
When I started out in August I had virtually nothing to show because while I had done plenty of programming before, I had never executed and polished a whole project. All my experience was stretched out across years of tinkering, school and reading.
Alternatively, if you want to build on real things you could send me an email as I get overloaded with work sometimes.
I am getting jobs through freelancer.. you can sign up here: http://www.freelancer.com/affiliates/ahmed613/
Facebook apps are a valuable source of income for me.. as most of my work is related to Facebook apps.. you should be good in the Facebook graph API.
Also there are Twitter and AWS APIs jobs there..
You will make on average around $20 to $30 on that website... but I recommend you to make your bids the lowest, so you can build a good reviews for your profile.
Just to give you some tips on how to get a job..Once you bid on a project, you should send a PM message to the employer, explaining to him how you can achieve the job, and make that in a very simple and clear way.
Give a clear deadline to the client/employer and be responsive.
Believe me.. you won't need a portfolio.. I am getting jobs on daily basis from this website.. and it really works perfect for me!
As you go working, you will get more reviews on projects you build.. and that will be better than any portfolio.
If you think these things aren't important; think again. Most clients will be more happy with tight html/css that sticks to the design they agreed to than they will ever be with your server side code.
On that note: if you have professional designs and you get clients to sign off on them 100% at the start, you will have far fewer problems at the end. People tend to change their minds 500 times about what they want things to look like, and it will cost you money if you just let it drag on arbitrarily. First it's "can you please move that text over a bit", then it's "oh i really want to add a social sharing widget, if you don't mind", then "oooh yeah we really wanted a gallery of pictures here.. and please could they connect to my flikr account, and umm.." etc. If you have a contract (an image) of every page then they sign off it, or pay more at the end for adjustments (at double the rate, of course ;))
Like teej said, often the comments are more valuable than the link.
I have done it before, rarely, but only on new submissions if the article sounds interesting enough to deserve some traction.
However, that does lead me to point out that I think the upvote/downvote arrows and the user's name should be at the bottom of a comment instead of the top.
(I confess I upvote only a very few articles)
"that is not how mysql works" with 2 Points And"that is not how mysql works" with 102 pointsAre not the same piece of info.
I don't see any benefit to hiding this from people. It also helps newbies understand the customs here (they can get feedback on other people's comments)
edit now that I'm not on my phone:
When you google things, you probably skip over results like daniweb, about.com, or expertsexchange.com, and hope for a stackexchange page.
The little URL at the bottom of the description tells you "hey, this is from $foo source" and you're a smart human being that can put this information to good use.
Of course, you could make a case that this is bad, because you should read each one of the results and judge it based on its merits. Maybe we should even strip all of the identifying information away from the page, and just let it stand on its own (this would be a neat experiment, actually [and that's the experiment that I think we're performing here]).
The point counts on the comments act just like the URL does on google results. It's not saying "this is definitely 100% accurate", but it is useful piece of information that we can put to good use. Depriving us of this information doesn't break the comments, but I have certainly found myself reading comments a bit less lately as a result of it (instead of actually reading comments, I'm usually just skimming them now). With comment scores, things seem to have a bit of order to them, without, it just feels like a lot of people shouting at one another.
(Maybe this was the point?)
Naturally, I'm never going to stop reading HN; it is by far my favorite website on the internet. Complaining about the lack of comment points here is like complaining that my favorite bar switched to a new, very slightly different glass. I can see the difference, but it's not really going to change my habits.
He wrote, "The problem has several components: comments that are (a) mean and/or (b) dumb that (c) get massively upvoted."
So the founder of HN thinks that before the recent experiment there was a comment voting problem: (a) mean comments were getting too many upvotes, and (b) dumb comments were getting too many upvotes, and (c) too many of the comments that got the most upvotes were either mean or dumb or both. Let's stop and think about what that means. That means that, according to pg posting as of that moment, comment karma scores were often NOT reliable signals of good comments, comments worth finding rapidly when skimming a thread.
With that condition of HN less than a month ago in mind, how do the highest-voted comments visible in the bestcomments list
My impression too is that even with comment scores not visible, it is still convenient to browse threads to find thoughtful, informative comments, but now there is less anchoring bias
of most votes on a comment converging to one score level that shows up early in a thread's development, and more engagement by readers of HN in actively reading comments and upvoting (or downvoting) based on each comment's characteristics in light of the context of the thread. So far I can still find good comments quite readily here on HN. Indeed, I think that since the experiment began I am seeing more good comments more readily than before.
The main motivation stated by pg for the current experiment with making comment karma scores less visible is to "stave off decline of HN," and that is what will decide if the experiment was successful. If the previous visibility of comment karma scores led too many casual readers of HN to upvote mean or dumb comments, and too few readers to upvote thoughtful, informative comments and to downvote mean or dumb comments, the arguments on the side of reader convenience aren't going to be convincing. It isn't convenient for ANY reader of HN if the comment scores are a poor signal, and if bad comments become more prominent and good comments get skimmed right over by readers in a hurry. If a change of rules here makes every reader read comments more carefully and more thoughtfully, and vote based on comment inherent quality rather than on crowd appeal, that is a feature rather than a bug. For comment scores to be a good guide to every reader here, every reader can help by actively upvoting informative, helpful comments, and also by downvoting comments that are either mean or dumb--and especially comments that are both. As I recall, the experiment has also involved some changes in the effects of flagging, so flagging inappropriate comments is also helpful.
After edit: many comments in this thread ask about the karma rules and voting rules imposed by the software. We can all read the news.arc software ourselves
if we would like to see what the rules do (except I think that maybe a few aspects of the current experiment are hidden from the current distribution of the source code), as previous HN threads have pointed out.
Now, there is little to no incentive to one-up someone, and I don't consider people refuted based on their score, but rather based on what I think of their comment. That last part has nurtured my curiosity, I find myself exploring thoughts I didn't on the 'old' HN
However, this is more of a problem when I'm trying to assess information in areas that I'm not already familiar with. If I'm searching for information on which DNS providers are best and I find an Ask HN from 4 months ago, I can no longer tell what the true community consensus on it is. I expect the current masking of comments will provide less biased voting, so I think displaying comment scores on stories that are more than two months old would eventually provide the best of both worlds.
Also, the ordering of the comments does the same thing as having the comment scores!
I do wish there was a way to still search for the highest rated comments on searchyc.com, but I still think it's a small sacrifice for an overall better community/environment. I have definitely seen less iOS/Android/Windows flaming, so I think the site is already benefitting from the changes.
But today I did think of a different improvement I'd like to see, which for lack of better place to put it, will say here:
When I click on "reply" to a comment, it takes you to a page with just that comment and a text box. I'd like to see that comment's parents all the way to the OP, to give me some more context as I frame my reply.
I think it would improve discussion as you'll see the context in which the person you're replying to replied, and might interpret their words a little differently.
The opposite is true for others, I'm sure.
If some people want to treat it as a "who can get more points" game, then so be it. I find that I can learn a lot from looking at which way public opinion is leaning.
Let's take the oft-repeated example in other comments: two comments on MySQL, one with a handful of points and the other with a lot of points. There are a number of indicators of comment quality:
>> comment sorting works very well
>> if a low-vote comment is controversial, you will surely find spirited discussion below it--the volume of discussion would be an indicator of community disagreement
>> hit up Stack Overflow and find out if MySQL works as stated in the low-vote comment or if it works like the high-vote comment describes.
The arguments for visible points boil down to "I don't know how to think about this statement, so I need external confirmation." Indicators of comment quality still exist, and karma gamesmanship looks like it has decreased a lot. Finally, you really want to avoid groupthink--hiding scores accomplishes that pretty well.
With scores visible, most "discussions" end up as little more than opinion polls.
Unfortunately I don't think everyone has time to judge each comment on its own merits -- there are simply too many comments -- so we need a little crowd-sourced ranking. It does lead to some group think at times but that's a (relatively) small price to pay.
Conversely, I tend to upvote mostly what appear to be underrated comments that are low on karma. Not saying there's anything admirable about this approach -- what am I, some kind of Karma Robin Hood? -- but the new system definitely discourages it.
Top comments on HN were becoming more "top 40" and something had to be done before people started posting links to Trollface, etc.
One approach would be to use category-based voting, which adds a lot of complexity.
One approach would be to implement some sort of vote weighting sytem (time based, reputation based, context based), but that's ad-hoc and may not fix the problem.
And one approach is to simply hide numerical comment scores from all but each user's own comments. This turns the quest for high karma into a personal battle against one's self, not a sport.
PG wisely chose to make Karma a personal Everest for each individual to care about (or not).
I really miss the comment scores.
Sometimes I am not totally familiar with whatever the original post is talking about, often the top rated couple of comments give me some good insight or jumping off points to look into it further.
I respect the HN community and have learned a lot here. I generally trust their judgement and I have found if a comment is rated highly, it most likely adds a lot of value to the discussion.
Sometimes I disagree with the highest rated comment(s). I then see my opinion is in a minority and maybe I re-examine it or stand firm and make a comment to the contrary.
All in all, not showing comment points is a step backwards in helping people get the most out of the site in the most efficient way possible.
Some comments are so awesome, they deserve 50+ upvotes. Other comments are pretty good, and deserve maybe 8. I do not/did not personally try to upvote every single comment. I try to add upvotes to the comments that seem "best" in a particular thread discussion, and allocate votes in this way.
Perhaps my behavior is something that pg was attempting to fix with this change, but I have a feeling I'm not alone in this regard.
But also, please split upvotes from downvotes. There's a huge difference between a +25 / - 24 comment (apparently a controversial one) and +1 / -0 (probably a mediocre one).
Or perhaps, display only upvotes, and use some weighted form of (UPVOTE * U_WEIGHT - DOWNVOTE * D_WEIGHT) for positioning the comment among other ones.
At the moment, a comment that's down-voted past zero becomes lighter. Perhaps very popular comments could be made more visible, or highlighted?
I think this kind of fuzzy indication of popularity might be a good compromise.
There is a tendency for short comments to sink down, regardless of how informative they are, simply because people spend less time on them, so they're less likely to hit that upvote button.
Also, like all forums, the first upvoted comments get more replies creating a positive feedback loop, not necesarily because they are the best, but because people know their replies will be more visible.
It would be interesting to have the statistics of number of upvotes vs position of the comment in the page.
For my purposes, displaying actual scores within the range -4 -> 10 would be sufficient. the low end is already capped, and the high end could either just have a ceiling of 10 or a score of 10+.
I am occasionally a "someone is Wrong on the internet!" type and my inclination to wade in is directly proportioanl to the perceived traction of the inaccuracy. Without such a heuristic the choices are: reply to all, none, or a random sample which result in "poor information", "needless pedantry", and " undefined behavior" respectively.
The relative absence of these black holes of discussion is one of the things that brought me to HN in the first place, and I think that showing comment scores discouraged them on multiple levels. Public upvoting lets people express their view on the topic without posting points similar to those already expressed. When two comments have a lopsided point spread it lets one "side" of the debate feel more comfortable letting the other have the last word.
If there was a comment that made me laugh (while sticking to the point) I will be more likely to upvote it, but if it already had 10+ upvotes a laugh on my part probably didn't justify another upvote.
That way only posts/comments get points/scores, not people.
I second what others have mentioned that it would be good to re-display comment scores on older posts. This way we could at least see the community consensus after some time has passed.
With reflection, I think a good idea might be to show the score after you vote.
This way you get the feeling of making some difference i.e. immediate feedback, but also the knowledge that your vote wasn't subconsciously affected by a visible score beforehand.
The main downside of this would be people voting out of curiosity to see what a comments current score is. Perhaps displaying the score of a comment once it reaches a certain age (maybe three or four days old) would mitigate against this.
I don't think the solution is to bring back scores, though. A possible "simple" solution could be to color/star a comment above 50/100 points, etc. Comment scores could also be displayed as percentage or on a scale of 0 to 1, 0 to 10, etc. I'd be more likely to read a comment with a score of 95% than one with a score of 20%. This way you at least get an indication of the helpfulness of the comment other than just its position on the page.
I also feel like people are avoiding posting crappy comments with the intent of tapping into a popular vein for a high score.
This could be a placebo, or perhaps, if real, it's instead caused by an improvement in voting.
This helps because even if in hindsight, I would know if the comment was the general consensus or a popular one or not?
My gut is telling me that traffic is likely to be lower. Reality might be different of course.
You would have to go out of your way to see the score but could still be used by us hackers who like to customize our experience.
My comment here explaining it has made me comment less has 40 points. I think a lot of people agree.
I liked someone's suggestion of basing the comment score on "upvotes per view" so older comments don't dominate, and I also like the idea of using a dark-to-light gradient (dot) instead of a concrete number.
Just sorting to the top (kinda) really just makes it hard to wade in, and makes me less likely to take a look at a topic I know little about and would like to see a couple of definitive words on it. It may be groupthink to some extent but this is a damn smart group.
I'm reading a lot let now because there are no scores; I just skim the top and then move on.
Comment scoring allows the community to reveal quality.
The problem stems from the fact that most seasoned sales/business guys have experience in larger companies, running established teams, which is radically different than working in a startup and having to fill every role yourself in addition to building up the team from scratch. The other problem is, quite frankly, that most of these old sales guys are at a stage in their life where working 60-80 hours a week isn't something they want to do, and so they will be very very difficult to fit into a healthy startup culture where hard work and overtime are required.
We hired a former VP sales from a big ($100M+) company in our space. A guy who was a founder at a few successful startups and had a kick ass resume in general. He was even a great salesman. 6 months later and $100k down the drain we had to fire him.
My advice is make sure that if you give this guy equity that it vests over a few years with a 1 year cliff, and that if you give him a salary that it's very modest, mostly commission based.
Odds are you're going to have to fire him, but if you want to take a chance, go for it.
The million-dollar question: "Am I selling to a market that I lack access to / lack the means to access?"
If the answer is yes, then you need this guy. And bad. You're likely a lamb heading to the slaughter without someone like him. Enterprise software is one such (arcane to an outsider) market. For instance, it's incredibly hard to sell to CIOs / IT departments without a solid channel of motivated System Integrators. It's even harder for a startup with little credibility to build such a channel of System Integrators who aggressively push your product without the leverage of strong relationships (built over a non-trivial period of time, usually years or decades).
I speak from personal experience - we added a Vice President of Sales from a Fortune 500 to our team, and it was the catalyst that our business so desperately needed. Within the space of six months, we were able to close over 10 channel partners and consequently access decision makers at hundreds of IT departments.
My advice would be this: keep compensation low, as low as you possibly can. If the guy balks at this, that's a red flag. A true VP of Sales will take it as a personal affront if he doesn't have to prove his mettle through results. I can't emphasize this enough, vest equity solely on performance (revenues realized) and set a reasonable, realistic cliff (a year can sometimes be a bit too short). Give him the authority to incentivize reps adequately. There's a great example from a company called Verdiem in this TechCrunch article (http://techcrunch.com/2010/01/06/0-to-20-million-ten-hand-to...)
Verdiem's Jim Flatley taught me this at Plumtree: he fought to get early reps 15% of every sale, but after we made our numbers for the first time ever, nobody wanted to pay them less. Even after the bubble burst and every other technology company took a blood-bath, Jim kept delivering results.
Another article that you just can't afford to overlook is by Mark Suster (http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/05/the-excuse-department-is-cl...), and he sums up succinctly in one line what I've been trying to convey through all this verbiage:
(Sales people) are more mercenaries than missionaries.
This applies to their leader, the VP of sales in equal measure and the moment you internalize this (and make peace with this fact), you'll find this decision quite easy and understand how to approach the entire exercise.
All the best!
In Four Steps to the Epiphany, Steve Blank has some great advice on hiring sales staff before product-market fit:
Basically, he says, "Don't do it," with the possible expection of a single "sales closer" who loves working in the field, and who has been avoiding promotions to VP of Sales. As I understand it, you're not looking to build a sales organization yet, but you may need some sales skills to close your first 3 deals and prove that the model works. But even then, he has a checklist of customer discovery tasks to do first.
There's also some amusing advice from Eric Sink on hiring sales staff in a micro-ISV:
Don't listen to the people who say don't bring on a sales guy. Most people haven't done it right in the past which is why they think it is a bad idea for everyone.
Find a hungry young performer who is willing to forgo a guaranteed compensation plan for a high potential compensation plan and pay them on performance. Somone with 3+ years under their belt, hopefully without kids and a high mortgage. (If they have renters subsidizing their rent: bonus points, that's a money minded sales person.) Use a ramp or draw if you have to. (Draw: is where salary now is taken out of future commissions. Ramp: it varies but maybe now they get X base salary and Z% commission and as the pipeline grows, they get a smaller base and higher commission.) I have been in sales for over 10 years and am dying to jump ship for a start up with potential but do not have the safety net at the moment.
Incentive-ize overperformance. Make their commission .75X at 0% - 75% of goal, X% at 76 - 100%, 1.25X% at 125%+. (Arbitrary numbers there, figure out what make sense for you.) You want to make them fight to make more money.
Don't think you have to bring in a seasoned VP of Sales from another company. They're like old Jaguars. Classy, expensive, impressive, high performance potentially, but you never know if they are going to start. Most of those guys are looking at you as a way to pass time between here and retirement. Maybe you can use the right one later, but not now.
First, make sure they're a startup sales guy, not just a traditional sales guy. Other comments in the thread have given enough perfectly good reasons. There's lots of individuals who want to be (and are good at) doing startup sales. I'd liken the difference between big sales guys and startup sales guys similar to coders who perform best in large companies, versus strong first technical hires. You have to be a risk taker, and willing to go with really low/no pay for a while. Traditional sales guys are often very well paid, are strict 9-5 workers, and wouldn't handle the early startup stress
Also, every job I've ever taken at a startup as a "sales guy" has been one where compensation is linked to performance. Not commission specifically, though that play a part; I mean that to get a salary, I have to deliver in regards to traffic, conversions, or any other measurable factor for the company. Basically, each week I'm called to be accountable for what I accomplished at a quantified level. I don't get paid until I hit a threshold ($15,000 in sales, x new clients based on my efforts, higher SE rank).
Do the same for your hire. Do a 4-5 month contract to see if it's going to work, make compensation based on performance, and shake hands and part ways at the end of the period if it doesn't work out -- its business.
Now if you want customers you want someone who fits your culture, is not afraid to call anyone, has contacts and is motivated by $. Most sales people don't give a flying F about stock, options, etc. They care about $. Set clear goals and have a nice commission aspect. We are about 60% salary, 40% commission and seems to be working well. Do not be afraid to fire sales people after a couple of weeks, some people just don't work even though you think they will.
Determine if you need marketing which is lead generation or sales which is closing
Also read spin selling, it is about consultative selling which is a good fit for hackers.
Finally count on it taking a year before you can confidently fire a non performing sales person
And, as everyone said, vesting. Might even be a good idea to make his pay commission based for the first six months - an opportunity to prove himself.
Who are your clients? Cusomters or businesses?
You're using a font BebasNeueRegular that doesn't look crisp either. (I see its being loaded with @font-face). Just switching that to Arial (your fallback) in webkit inspector made everything look a lot better.
Simplify your DOCTYPE to just <!DOCTYPE html>.
Your google analytics script needs to be at the footer of the page. Use the asyncronous loading script they provide.
Your background_texture.png and header_texture.png are over 500k combined. Seriously, you need to get these to be no more than 10-20k at most.
Minify your css.
The "GIFT YOUR FRIENDS" and "REWARD TOGETHER" images are cut off at the bottom in Chrome.
Your buttons on the top-right of the page should have "cursor:pointer" in them since they are clickable links. Further, they are links so you should look into your css and see why the default pointer behavior is being overridden to begin with.
Sorry that this is just a list of technical things I'm laying out. I'll leave the "does this color scheme make me feel warm and fuzzy" stuff to people who have more of an eye for that.
1. The tag 'cardless, effortless rewards' needs some work. I am not exactly sure what that means.
2. On step 1, I would add something about 'how secure your cards are on our site'. I would be very skeptical about entering all my credit card information into your site.
3. On step 3, 'Earn free rewards'. Are those rewards on top of rewards/miles/points I already get from my credit cards? Is it for cards that don't have any rewards?
Hope that helps.
I'm running Chromium 10.0.648, btw.
have fun! :)
The images don't seem to line up vertically though in the 1,2,3 section. Which was a bit distracting for me. Also, in Chrome on the Mac the background images on "Gift Your Friends" and "Reward Together" get cut off removing their shadow.
It actually is a children's story book, and I bought a hardcover version the last time it came through here.
as far as equal vs. equals: both make sense, but I would favor 'equal' exactly because of this. I don't feel there is a need to constantly add a frivolous character to all of your statements.
Indeed, in unittest2, both assertEquals() and assert_equal() both appear to be deprecated in favor of assertEqual().
Would you recommend, instead, to tweet or blog about upcoming features to keep user excitement up?
$450,000 may seem like a lot of money, but in the grand scheme, if it's your entire life savings, it's not. Investing in one company on a secondary market or investing in a handful of startup companies is pretty much as high risk as you are going to get.
If you were a normal 9-5 worker, the traditional advice would be to invest for retirement using normal means. Index funds, stock market, bonds etc. I don't think that's a bad idea here.
Instead of going for big returns, which also comes with the more likely result of big losses. I'd suggest you invest in yourself. Use the money to be able to have a bit of a runway for your own projects. There will be expenses, but fortunately you have some funding for yourself. Hopefully you won't have to use most of that money before you start turning a profit on your projects. Then continue to save money for long term retirement, or maybe you'll want to buy a house eventually.
Start off by contributing the maximum amount to a Roth IRA every year, even if it's just for the tax deduction.
Personally, after that I would put about 25% into a no-load index fund, and the rest into high-interest savings (like ING Direct). I would optionally invest no more than 10% of my savings in speculative stocks.
The nice thing about this setup is you can make a decent compounding return with your index fund and you won't lose the farm if it tanks, but the majority of your money is immediately available in case you need it for your side projects or just want to blow it on a vacation (and you won't have to pay the higher taxes for cashing out stocks early). If you don't need it, it's at least not sitting around doing nothing.
Others have provided more detailed advise that whatever I could. So, I will keep it simple. Grandma says: Never put all your eggs in the same basket.
Even if you are young and not risk averse, you may want to put not much more than 60% in high risk/high return investments. And the way to do it is to bet on a bunch of things that have potential. You should expect that 80% of those will flop, 16% will give modest returns and 4% will be big hits that turn in your original invest many times over.
If you recover 33% of the money invested on the flops, and your regular winners produce a 50% return, you need the big hit to be at least 12x you initial investment, so you just break even with the opportunity cost of putting your money on the bank. And you need many, many bets so you hit a 100x winner or better.
Take one guess what Goldman Sachs and their buddies will do when this thing goes public.
"The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage. The products or services that have wide, sustainable moats around them are the ones that deliver rewards to investors."
1. The Four Steps to the Epiphany - Steve "@sgblank" Blank
2. Built To Last - Jim Collins
3. (re-read) Crossing the Chasm - Geoffrey Moore
4. Positioning - Al Ries & Jack Trout
5. Differentiate or Die - Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin
6. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing - Al Ries & Jack Trout
1. Repositioning - Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin
2. Enterprise 2.0 - Andrew McAfee
Queued Up to Read:
1. Create Marketplace Disruption - Adam Hartung
2. Seeing What's Next - Clayton Christensen, Scott Anthony & Erik Roth
3. The Ultimate Marketing Plan - Dan S. Kennedy
4. Rethink, Reinvent, Reposition - Leo Hopf & William Welter
5. Only The Paranoid Survive - Andy Grove
6. Blue Ocean Strategy - W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne
7. The Power of Unfair Advantage - John L. Nesheim
8. Product Lifecycle Management - Michael Grieves
9. Marketing High Technology - William Davidow
10. Open Innovation - Henry Chesbrough
11. Product Strategy for High-Technology Companies - Michael McGrath
12. Living on the Fault Line - Geoffrey Moore
13. Inside the Tornado - Geoffrey Moore
14. The Chasm Companion - Paul Wiefels
15. Getting to Plan B - John Mullins & Randy Komisar
16. Business Model Generation - Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
I suggest you read "English August" by Upamanyu Chatterjee.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion
- Evil Plans
- Four Hour Work Week
- Steve's Mind
Man, I'm moving now, and my books are all packed already. These are the ones that I've read and recommend.