hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    7 Jun 2011 Ask
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Ask HN: I need data, lots of data
7 points by latitude  34 minutes ago   1 comment top
latitude 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
Show HN: We're taking on AnyBots
2 points by davidcann  15 minutes ago   1 comment top
brk 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think you stand a chance to the extent there is enough of a market there to warrant a business in the first place.

To me, it seems that video conferencing has to become literally 100 times more common than it is today before people start using telepresence robots.

Ask HN: What do I need to learn for mobile app game development?
4 points by misham  2 hours ago   1 comment top
cpeterso 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you would like to develop cross-platform games, I would recommend checking out Ansca Mobile's "Corona", a Lua SDK for iOS and Android. Corona is mostly focused on game development, with libraries for things like animation, physics, and in-app purchases. The Lua is a popular scripting language in the commercial game industry (e.g. WoW extensions are written in Lua).
Ask HN: Running list of startups/companies that iOS5 went after
11 points by jmjerlecki  5 hours ago   7 comments top 6
sandipc 5 hours ago 1 reply      
not a startup obviously, but all of the Google apps with iCloud
tobylane 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Not that I want them to go, but Square and Oyster should be next. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_(payment_service) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyster_card
jason_slack 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah Dropbox will need to step up a bit more. maybe this will mean we get more than 100gb of storage as an option without have to pay $750 a year for their Teams product!
JonLim 4 hours ago 0 replies      
maguay 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Things from CulturedCode
jmjerlecki 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: OK to use the word "bullshit" in our company tagline?
4 points by pitdesi  3 hours ago   11 comments top 8
thaumaturgy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You could maybe have a lot of fun with this, without actually triggering fallout from the easily-offended crowd.

e.g., "No bulls hit!", with a drawing of a surprised or relieved bull. Or, "No bulls sit!", with a drawing of a crowd of standing bovine...

shii 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Risky, but I think in the end it'd be a positive that'd attract me to your product if I ran a small business (which I do). But your tag of 'no bullshit' might not be feasible for an entirely other reason: Gandhi.net seems to have trademarked the phrase and uses it as part of their tagline as well: http://en.gandi.net/no-bullshit

I can't find any outside references for the trademark registration however.

maxdemarzi 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Try a few alternatives:

no joke

no kidding

no bullcrap

no hogwash

no nonsense

hassle free



epoxyhockey 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You know the old saying.. If you have to ask, you probably shouldn't.


msredmond 3 hours ago 0 replies      
One problem is that some filters automatically block people from going to pages based on the words on that page. Using bullsh*t may help mitigate that.
jranck 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It depends, does the risk of offending potential users outweigh the gain? Or do you think you'll get more users with a more radical marketing approach? If you guys like it that much I would A/B test it and see what works.
michaeldhopkins 2 hours ago 1 reply      
How about BS?
Ask HN: Why can't any companies turn a damn profit?
4 points by justinbaker  4 hours ago   7 comments top 4
staunch 2 hours ago 0 replies      
LinkedIn blows it on a bloated staff and expenses. No excuse, they just suck.

Pandora has been bent over by content owners. They're not powerful enough to dictate reasonable terms.

Groupon is waging all out war to dominate. They're hoping when the dust settles they'll own one of the richest markets in the world.

curt 3 hours ago 1 reply      
From what I've read Groupon makes a fortune. The others like LinkedIn are trying to convert their user base into a revenue stream without driving the users away.

The problem with many web 2.0 companies is that they don't have a clear revenue stream.

rick888 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I've noticed this too.

Many startups focus on getting acquired and moving on the next "big thing" rather than finding a steady revenue stream.

Tell HN: Just signed up for OSCON 2011 (save big today)
2 points by captaincrunch  2 hours ago   1 comment top
follower 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you register for the tutorials and are interested in learning how to begin with the Arduino electronic prototyping platform you might like to consider:

"Get Started with the Arduino - A Hands-On Introductory Workshop"

When I gave the tutorial last year it was one of the highest rated at the conference.

Apparently as a speaker I can also mention that if you use the code 'os11fos' you can get 20% off the price of registration.


Ask HN: My Startup is Going to Die Because I Messed Up
145 points by calebhicks  1 day ago   87 comments top 32
lsc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm also bootstrapped. I am not sure if I'm really a 'success' yet, but I'm beyond where you are. I've been running businesses all my life and it's kinda hard to pinpoint where this one started, but I started selling my current product in 2005. At this point, my company has around $200K/year in revenue, which is about double what we had the previous year. I have one full time employee, and I can pay myself $30-$40K/year while buying the equipment required for growth without debt; so we're ramen profitable, but not yet opportunity cost profitable.

I am not sure why you are giving up at this point, but I can point out some mistakes you made that I don't think you see:

It's fine to bootstrap on five grand; but if you only have five grand? you will almost certainly need to keep your dayjob. I have been running side businesses for most of my life, but for nearly all of that time (until 2009 when prgmr.com really took off) I also had a dayjob.

Dayjobs are great. Someone else gives you enough money to pay your rent and keep yourself in personal computers, chairs, food, etc... and more importantly, someone else pays for your training. I've always worked as a SysAdmin, and I've learned a whole lot operating other people's fleets that I could turn around and apply to my own operations.

Most companies are okay with your side projects. be up front, most places have a form where you write down your own 'inventions' or whatever before they hire you... but again, if we are bootstrapping and not swinging for the fences, there's little chance of your employer becoming interested. To most companies, another couple hundred thousand a year is not enough to bother the lawyers about.

Note, the company will be bothered if it looks like you are spending effort on your project at the expense of spending effort on the stuff they hired you to do. Once I was asked to choose between my own business and my dayjob. (I chose the business... worked on my business for a few months then got a full-time contracting gig)

I've always cycled between a full time dayjob with benefits (get one every time COBRA expires.) corp to corp contracting gigs (for venture capital; I am in a capital intensive industry; corp to corp gigs allow you to spend pre-tax dollars on business equipment... but be /very careful/ with this- tax debt is not discharged through bankruptcy. Once you have enough revenue that paying taxes on all of it would be a big deal, get an accountant. Note I said revenue; this counts the money you are getting from the corp-to-corp contracting gig.) with the occasional month or two full time on the business mixed in.

Next, avoid loans as much as possible. you /will/ fuck it up. Over and over. It happens. Without a loan, you really only return to zero, and eh, you still have that dayjob, right? it's not that big of a deal to be at zero when you get massive checks every month. I mean, you can also return to zero with bankruptcy, but to make that worth the lawyer time, you need to get fairly large loans, which isn't as easy as it sounds. Getting $10-$20K in debit is irritating, can kill your business, and usually isn't worth the lawyer time and hassle of bankruptcy. And a loan doesn't always look like a loan; at one point I signed a contract for a year of bandwidth at $1500/month; this was back when I needed between 1/10th and 1/100th the amount of bandwidth that the $1500/month got me. I mean, I was launching a product that could have used it, if it really took off, but the product didn't take off, and I was full time on the business barely clearing rent, so I ended up with rather a large amount of debt. (I ended up paying it all off as a contractor... honestly, it may have been best to just fold the company at that point and declare corporate bankruptcy; maybe they wouldn't have come after me personally? I don't know. but my point is that leases should be looked at as debt.)

Spend dayjob money on rent at the place where you sleep. Spend the five grand on flyers and other business expenses. (though, five grand is a whole goddamn lot of flyers and business cards. $50 worth of businesscards gets me and my employee through a year, usually.)

If you only have five grand with zero income, the office fridge wasn't your big mistake, the office was. You can get an office once you have business income. Until then, use your garage or front room or what have you.

Anyhow, if the other business owner called you rather than sending a lawyer letter, he's willing to talk. Call him back and explain the situation. Be open about your numbers (this isn't always a good idea, but in your case, you have nothing to lose by letting him know you are not worth suing.) Ask him if you can work something out. This is the advantage of not having any money; Sure, just about anyone could sue you and put you out of business, but there'd be no profit in it; lawyers only work for a percentage of the winnings if they think the winnings will be large enough to give them a better total expected return on their time than working hourly. The guy isn't going to sue you unless he's mad enough to pay a few hundred dollars an hour just to put you out of business.

Of course, if he's a competitor, it probably won't work out. but otherwise, maybe it will. worth a shot.

patio11 1 day ago 1 reply      
For future reference: very little of what you spent money on is in the critical path for B2B sales, which I assume is what you are doing. One might decide to sell the software to at least one person, then write copy and design flyers. After you have one sale, $1k is presumably not a lot of money. (I am hearing high touch sales so presumably you priced at least in mid four figures, right?)
martincmartin 1 day ago 0 replies      
You've learned a lot about business, and it cost you a lot less than an MBA. Given the time and money you've spent, you're in a better position than most 24 year olds.
bugsy 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are state trademarks and national ones from the USPTO. If his is a state trademark and he is in another state, it shouldn't affect you at all and him harassing you would be malicious interference with a business.

If it is national, you should just change your business name.

As far as the other guy needing to work, that should have been figured out before. I take it you must be independently wealthy to be able to self fund for a long time? You are fortunate, but it's not realistic to assume this is true of everyone. Obviously his debt is related to not getting much if any income after 7 months of working on this venture.

I think your advice is very premature to say the least. You have not successfully executed yet. So you don't have working advice to give. It's strange when this happens, but seems kind of common. So many business books written by guys who don't have experience creating or running successful businesses. A lot of wild eyed speculation presented as fact.

Here is some advice. I see in your explanation you have a list of blaming other people. It's the cofounder's fault for not working more and wanting to earn an income after 7 months. It's the other guys fault for having a trademark. But if the cofounder worked with no salary longer you'd still have run into this trademark issue. The thing is, if you suspected your product had any chance of working at this point you'd not be giving up on the trademark. You know that the business is failing for other reasons, yet you come up with this other stuff. It's a denial of reality. Figure out why the company really failed. It wasn't the cofounder or the trademark that did it.

Now I know you are reading this and getting ready to press reply and type, "Bugsy you big dummy, didn't you see that I accepted blame? The title of this article is 'How I messed up'." Right, about that. Let's look at your numbered list of the four ways ways you are taking responsibility. #1 says your cofounder is to blame. #2 says the trademark is to blame. #2 says your cofounder situation is to blame. #4 says your cofounder situation is to blame. So you don't actually admit to doing anything wrong. Saying "I made a mistake depending on all these other morons!" is not taking responsibility. It's blaming others, while not even taking responsibility for blaming others.

Was there a product? Were there customers? Was there growth? None of these questions are addressed at all in this essay, and these are the real questions to have been asking. If the company has a viable product, a customer base, and is making sales after 7 months, the co founder wouldn't be walking away due to becoming destitute after 7 months of no income, and the other cofounder wouldn't be abandoning the business over a extremely minor branding issue.

mdolon 1 day ago 2 replies      
Look on the positive side - $5,000 isn't a ton of money and people are failing at business every single day, usually losing a lot more too. If I were you I'd get a job to pay back the money borrowed from family and then bootstrap another startup again, building on the lessons you learned from this experience.
TheSkeptic 1 day ago 2 replies      
Undercapitalization is one of the most common reasons a company fails. Have successful businesses been started with $5,000 or less? Sure. But don't drink the Kool Aid. Lesson #1: it usually takes a lot more than $5,000 to get a business going and to sustain it long enough to reach break-even. In your case, just think of it this way: any salesman worth his salt is unlikely to work for less than $5,000/month...

Lesson #2: at the age of 24, if you don't have even $5,000 worth of savings that you can afford to blow and need to borrow that amount from family, you should probably take a step back and think long and hard about your financial priorities. Depending on your location and your education and/or skills, you can probably earn $5,000/month, if not substantially more, working for someone else. Yeah, that's not as cool as starting a business, but opportunity costs are greatest at your age. What's really not cool: wasting away your twenties and having nothing to show for your efforts once you hit 30. Sure, everybody in StartupVille is always one venture away from a big exit or a $100,000/month business, but when you go to conferences and meetups and see thirty-somethings who have no net worth because they've been swinging for the fences since they were 20, it isn't pretty. Bottom line: at your age, in the absence of substantial existing savings or alternate sources of income (a trust fund, etc.), working on anything that requires you to "work for free" for any length of time is likely to be really, really harmful to your finances in the long run.

gnok 1 day ago 0 replies      
You sound like you have a good idea of what went wrong. But surely you got a lot of things right too. What were they?

It would sound like your mistakes point to a lack of research. It sounds like your co-founder isn't a friend, so you didn't know enough about him to get started with.

Finally, this isn't legal advice, but don't give up on the trademark situation yet. Especially if you haven't launched. I'm not so sure the other party would be willing to pay lawyers for a lawsuit, especially onsidering there isn't much to get out of small bootstrapped startup. Also, if you haven't launched, then you dont have very much to lose. You haven't established a brand yet, so perhaps this might be the best time to tweak with this. And of course, you'd want to improve on your branding research this time.

zeemonkee 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's two options at this point. Keep the business going or give up.

There's no way anyone can make that choice but yourself. Many people will say "don't give up" but there is little to be gained if the business is going under and you start throwing more money - or other people's money - down the drain.

On the other hand the business shows promise but needs more time and funds, none of which you have right now.

There is another option - suspend business operations, if possible, and rebuild your funds through a "normal" job or consulting. If the business is viable you should be able to relaunch at a later date in a stronger position, perhaps with better partners. If it isn't, you can try again with a new idea.

Knowing when you stand and fight and when to retreat to fight again another day is essential.

dpcan 1 day ago 1 reply      
How have you failed if you haven't even launched?

If nobody knows your brand, why can't you re-brand? Did you buy a bunch of useless merchandise, or can you personally tweak some logos in Photoshop to a new name.

What is your partner's role? Sounds like he must be the coder / designer.

More than a plan, it sounds like you need a great mentor.

(I assumed this was a web startup, but you made flyers, so now I'm not so sure.)

antirez 1 day ago 1 reply      
6) It is hard to bootstrap a company with so little money. I'm all against big funding, VCs and so forth, but $5000 to start? At least you should have enough money for all the founders to live in a decent way for the time needed to get other funds or to get customers.

As was suggested some day ago here, and as I did when I created my social web company (that had a successful exit), a good thing to do is to create an adsense based site, SEO optimized, in order to live out of adsense.

citricsquid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do you have your product built? You're already giving up, the worst that can happen is failure which is the same as giving up. Scrap marketing, find a new name and launch. If it fails because of no marketing, oh well that's a shame, if it succeeds then woo! If you give up you're just skipping the launch part and going straight to guaranteed failure.
spencerfry 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the best thing you can take away from this is that you got a good little business education for merely $5,000. I think you mishandeld some of the ways you allocated your money, however, and think you probably could have gotten away with spending far less for the same education.

The legal nonsense aside, I'd have started your company while you both still had jobs and worked on it during your off hours. If things began to pick up and you got some user traction, I would have then spent the $5,000 where it was needed. For one thing, if you had done it this way you'd have come across your co-founder's money problems earlier.

trevelyan 23 hours ago 0 replies      

You only planned to do this for another 60 days. So the only question that matters is whether you can get customers in that timeframe.

I'd continue to work on your business with whatever materials you have on hand. Maybe you can sell your domain and LLC to this guy to cut some of the losses, but even if not just tell him it will take two months to take care of the paperwork.

If he is a total dick and still sues, just shut down your company like you were planning on anyway. In exchange for being unreasonable, this guy will have paid a bunch of money to sue a company that no longer exists, and alienated the holder of the exact-match domain for his business in the process.

patrickyeon 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Terry Matthews is a successful businessman who also does a lot of investing in Ottawa, Canada's startup scene. He's a well-known name in early-stage businesses and the telecom industry up here. I can't source this off-hand, but one time someone asked him what to do about needing to lay off a number of his staff. Terry told him "if you've got a good team, don't lay them off and lose them. Keep them together and start another company with that team."

Admittedly, that's easy to say for someone who's got the money to start companies left and right. What I'm trying to say though, is that while your company didn't work out, and it's quite possible that it looks like there's nothing to salvage, you have a team (or maybe only the two of you, but you keep on referring to 'we') and you'll have another opportunity soon if you keep your eyes open.

diego 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was expecting your question to be: what can I do to make my company survive? From what you describe it sounds like you're giving up, the situation itself doesn't necessarily sound terminal. Other startups have survived worse situations and succeeded in the long run.

Not saying that you should or should not give up, that's your call. Only that it sounds like a challenge that's no different from the one many other startups faced.

ookblah 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think you should be quite ready to throw in the towel.

Have u launched yet? You said you were headed to profitability. What about the original idea as others have mentioned here?

Here's another one:

Plan to dedicate more than 7 months to said startup.

wombat 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think you only go under when you stop refusing to die.

Our company went completely under (Chapter 11 stuff), we lost all staff and had legal threats from all sides.

After a few weeks of misery we decided that we don't feel like dying. We went all-in and turned it around on a shoe-string budget in a matter of months.

Keep refusing to die, and you'll be fine - it just won't be easy!

turbojerry 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You haven't messed up yet. You now have an excellent opportunity, research everything you can about companyname and the owner you talked to. Then get yourself on a plane to their offices with everything you have about your company, turn up and ask if you can take the owner to lunch / dinner and pitch him your company. Explain in simple terms that you don't have the cash to change at this late stage, that either you can find an accommodation between both your companies or your company fails. Make an offer of say 5% equity and a link to companyname on your homepage for an agreement not to sue for trademark infringement, I would expect him to make counteroffer, you counter that with something a bit less plus a capital investment of X, negotiate until you have a deal that works for both of you and if you can't, be prepared to walk away, if companyname and your mycompanyname are in the same line of business then you could always pitch yourself as an employee of companyname to the owner.
cincinnatus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dude, you are just getting started. Someone threatening to sue you is the first sign of success. If you have cash flow fight on. Figure out your partnership issues and go for it.
barisme 1 day ago 1 reply      
Product and sales first. It sounds like you spent your marketing money way too soon. Later you might have found out that your offering was not even what customers really wanted. Then you're back in the same position where you've spent everything on marketing, and have no money to make more appropriate materials.

Here's your next written business plan:

1. Build something you can show off - a product, a demonstration of your service, whatever.
2. Show it to anyone who will sit still.
3. If 2 out of 10 people are not trying to buy your stuff or hire you by the end of the demo, pick one from a,b,c below:

a) show it to different kinds of people
b) revise it and show it to more people
c) take whatever you've learned and can recycle (code, art) and go back to #1 above.

astrec 1 day ago 1 reply      
Have you talked to someone about the trademark? Do you know if you are actually likely to be infringing?

There are tests that are applied. Also, simply having a similar domain name may not be a problem unless you're directly competing with the guy or you're passing off. There are many limitations to trademark.

rmason 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd visit a lawyer who specializes in trademark law. Most lawyers will give you an initial hour at no charge. At bare minimum you will learn your options.

I faced the same problem as you ten years ago. I received a cease and desist letter from a large multinational. I handed over the domain name, rebranded the business and I'm still here. So it doesn't have to mean the end of your business.

rjett 1 day ago 1 reply      
FWIW: This appears to be his startup: http://www.myliferesponse.com/ and from his resume, it appears he's the business/marketing partner in this relationship.
joelhaasnoot 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hear you talk a lot about the branding, marketing and your cofounder, but what about the idea? Is it original or still worth marketing? A name change and a cofounder might not be the best reasons to call it quits.
chmike 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is most important is if your business works (gets traction/clients). The name and branding is only secondary.

Explain to the other company that you agree and will change your name shortly. Start thinking of a new name and get some more clients to get some cash. If you have a good business, than it can also work without a name.

It is sad to have wasted so much money just because of the name. But look for marketing solutions where you don't need to pay anything. If you already had some clients, propose some advantages if they get you more clients. etc.

rorrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's not the money you want to start with. It gives you zero cushioning if something goes wrong, or if you need to buy something expensive urgently (e.g. lawyer's time).

I have no idea how people begin startups with $10K. I seriously don't understand it. It's nothing. A good developer's time will cost you more than that for just one month.

PaulHoule 23 hours ago 0 replies      
business cards are cheap, and for many businesses they are a key tool for client acquisition.
jjm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've experience with being hit by a trademark dispute and your best bet is to cut off the existing name now. It costs more than you have atm to defend it.
jccodez 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sorry to hear of your trouble. Bootstrapping is very difficult and you should not expect 1 or 2 months is enough time to gain traction and be profitable. I would not say you have "failed". Your product may be the best thing no one has heard of. Keep your day job and keep working on your bootstrap. I started out writing code on a thinkpad I bought used on ebay for 200 usd. Talent without endurance is likely to lead to little. Good luck.
crag 1 day ago 0 replies      
"...that is similar to your mark and used on related products or for related services."

That is directly from the USPTO. In other words, if you have a company named "A" that writes software and I have a company name "A" that makes shoes.. I can't sue you for trademark infringement.

A website doesn't matter.. it's the type of business that matters.

mise 1 day ago 0 replies      
Weren't your flyers used for client acquisition?
known 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have a Plan B
Idea for a product - SyncWrite
2 points by malnourish  2 hours ago   2 comments top
Color had 5 photos posted at WWDC this morning
34 points by discordance  8 hours ago   12 comments top 5
vladiim 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's not a nail int the coffin by any means but you would think it would make strategic sense for them to be making a concerted effort to get people using their service at a conference like WWDC ala Twitter/Foursquare... big missed opportunity to get influential people using their service.
ry0ohki 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Are they officially marketing it yet? The only reason I've even heard about it was the funding.
krisrak 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Compare that to instagram, 1000s of pics posted already: http://www.gramfeed.com/instagram/tags/wwdc?view=grid
pohl 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm sitting inside in line right now. What is Color? I'll check it out.
mikl 8 hours ago 2 replies      
A tragic waste. I could do a lot of cool stuff with $41M.
Ask HN: What kind of regular irritations do you put up with?
3 points by caesarion  4 hours ago   2 comments top 2
jeffool 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Location, location, location.

I have the workplace for work. While I share an apartment with my brother, I have my kitchen to cook, my bedroom to sleep in, my living room for entertainment. I'd like a quiet place to go to write, or maybe get back into programing, or whatever.

My only real option is to get a place with an extra room, and that's not in the cards for me right now. So, my problem? A place to get away and do "my thing." Sure, most would just as soon do it in their homes, but, it would be a luxury I'd consider.

... Hey, you asked.

bartonfink 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a weak knee that I sprained while training for a marathon about five years ago. While it doesn't cause me any functional impairment, I have a near-constant dull ache in my leg from the sprain and from the other muscles remaining under tension in what I assume is an effort to hold my leg together.
Give Back to HN: Advice for New Entrepreneurs
6 points by petewailes  11 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Is NYC a good place to get a job as a Web dev?
47 points by venturebros  2 days ago   47 comments top 14
carterac 2 days ago 3 replies      
NYC is an insanely hot market for web engineering talent. Every founder I know complains about finding great engineers. As CEO of a tech startup here, I personally spend ~80% of my energy dedicated to finding the absolute best engineers in the city, and often I have to recruit people from other parts of the world and convince them to move here (which isn't that hard given how beautiful this city is).

Another data point: a friend who wanted to move from Microsoft to NYC had multiple job offers within a week of posting his resume to an NYC tech mailing list.

If you're interested in speaking more, please email me at carter@art.sy. Even if you're not interested in Art.sy, I'm happy to intro you to other NYC startups you might be interested in.

[edit] Here is a link to the Quora thread of all NYC startups that are hiring: http://www.quora.com/Startups-in-New-York-City/Which-startup...

sbisker 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh, it's venturebros, the guy with the cool name! :)

Once you're in NY, drop Hackruiter[0] a line. They're YC alums [EDIT: and apparently YC funded again as recruiters] and based out of NYC, doing recruitment for startups (mostly YC alumni themselves). They got me my current contract and they're all-around great guys that, as both recruiters and engineers, understand the scene as well as anyone. They also run a weekly meetup called BrainDump[1], which is about as techy as a meetup can get (in a good way), and a mailing list "LinkedList".

They seem to be all about meeting smart, motivated people and making meaningful connections, as opposed to just playing matchmaker - so even though you're not looking yet, I bet they'd be up for a chat. Heck, if you're interested, I'll point them to this thread.


sbisker 1 day ago 1 reply      
To answer your question more directly: There are a ton of people applying for these jobs. Like, crazy amounts.
And why wouldn't there be? It's a great field to be in right now.

But thanks to things like the Mythical Man-Month[0], engineering is a field where people would rather have 1 incredible engineer than 10 mediocre engineers for the same price. So for someone with talent and the right reputation, there's arguably no better field to be in than engineering.

So basically, if you're good at what you do, engineering is one of the hottest job markets in the country. (In NY, the hotness is particularly exaggerated, because the startups there are the companies most likely to want to keep their teams small, and hire the best - and they have to compete with the financial sector, which provides large numbers of engineers a steady job with high pay.)

If you're not good at what you do (or even if you just want to get better at what you do), don't assume the hotness of the market will get you a job. The market is hot for engineers, but I'd say it's only hot for good engineers, again, due to the Mythical Man-Month effect.

But don't be discouraged. Just by being proactive getting internships and participating on Hacker News, you're probably better than 80% of the applicants your age out there. That's why so many of our answers are assuming that you're a good candidate - because odds are, you probably are. :)

[0] If you haven't read this, take a few moments out this summer to do so. It's a quick, breezy and incredibly informative read. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month

awarzzkktsyfj 1 day ago 0 replies      
New York is still full of schemers, compared to SF Bay area. I lived in Mountain View for two years, San Francisco for three, and NYC for two -- I am in the process of moving back to Mountain View. I love NYC as a place to live, but found it frustrating for tech work. The job offers I've had in the SF bay area always seemed reasonable to me. In New York, I've received ridiculous low-ball offers, and have had a few friends have the same experience, but only in New York. They all have moved to San Francisco now.
adrianparsons 2 days ago 2 replies      
I just completed a job search and can say the market really is in your favor.

Stop using Craiglist. If you're going to use a service, use Indeed, Authentic Jobs, the 37 Signals job board or something else. "Inside Startups" is a great newsletter that lists jobs weekly.

Ideally, though, you want to meet people in person. There are multiple parties, events, and meetups every week.

To start, go to any of the tech meetups listed on Meetup.com. Garysguide.org has a lot of events listed as well. (Those Meetup groups have email lists, watch them for job postings.) Get business cards and follow up with people.

You're going to get offers faster than you expect. Decide what you want (big company, small company, front-end, back-end, python, ruby, etc), and learn to say "no". Before saying "yes", ask other nerds about them (at the Meetups, for example).

markbao 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll freaking hire you right now.

Just kidding, but yeah, if you're good and you're in NYC, you'll be slurped up by the startups here. Everyone has problems hiring in NYC.

pavel_lishin 2 days ago 1 reply      
We're hiring for a web developer right now. When I was moving here - six months ago - I easily managed to snag four interviews over a two-day trip specifically to try to find a job.

So yeah.

peacemaker 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems for web devs a great place to be, but how about for embedded/real-time programmers? I've over 10 years experience in defence and gaming industries mainly doing C++ and I'd love to work in NYC but just assumed it'd be far too difficult to land a position. Anyone have any idea?
brandonkm 1 day ago 0 replies      
NYC is an excellent place to find work as a developer. You have a ridiculous selection of awesome startups and larger companies to choose from. The last Brooklyn.js meetup I went to had more people looking to hire front-end developers than people looking at a ratio ~5:1.
onassar 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's def. a good market. Top #5 in the US no doubt. I'd say make the decision on where you want to live over whether or not you could get the best job there. Tough finding that balance, so if you like the city, run with it..
ayb 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are plenty of opportunities in NYC - from startups, to big brands, to finance. All of them are competing for the same talent.

When you are ready to start looking, change your LinkedIn profile to say you're a <whatever> consultant located in NYC. You will start getting contacted by headhunters within a few days.

gsiener 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you're already in NYC for the summer you'll have no trouble finding a job. Plan on spending your non-internship time building relationships with startups that are getting things done. This is tough because they don't necessarily hang out at the more prominent meetups but you will find them.
mbubb 1 day ago 0 replies      
My company is looking for Ruby developers as well as backend engineers:


bherms 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out CrowdTap... Hot startup hiring in NYC.
Ask HN: How do you learn your way around a new codebase?
11 points by nmb  1 day ago   9 comments top 7
huntero 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I've recently started working with a decent size codebase in C. At first I spent quite a while looking through the code, but didn't really learn that much about it.

Eventually I bit the bullet and just dove right in, not afraid to break things. I had figured out more in 10 minutes than I did in a whole hour of passively looking through the code.

stevenjowens 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Find the edges and work your way in.

Find the core and work your way out.

The edges depend on what kind of application you're talking about. A web app will have different edges than a GUI app, and so forth.

Find the main method or equivalent, and follow the trail of instantiation. Usually you'll find that configuration takes place somewhere in this code path, which is another place to come back to later and start connecting the dots.

When all else fails, identify and follow a single trail of execution all the way through the code. Find another and follow it. Pretty soon you'll start to get a sense of where to find the core of the code.

Identify the presentation classes and work back from them to identify the business logic.

Identify the data access layer (either file or database) and
look at the app in terms of what it's pushing into and pulling out of the data.

There are some code analysis tools out there, though I've never managed to quite fully grasp them, using them to look at the code can sometimes help you get a sense of the structure. One that is tantalizing, for java, is SA4J aka Small Worlds:


There are others out there. There used to be a copy&paste detection tool in sourceforge... I might be thinking of this one:


Add comprehensive logging:

Add a log statement for all method/subroutine/function/procedures, and then run the app while watching the logs, to get a sense of what gets called, when.

You can try to go a step further, and log all returns (and the values returned) but that can be a more challenging task. On the other hand, figuring out where to insert those log statements will also force you to engage with the code, so it's worth it if you've already picked the other low-hanging fruit.

Speaking of engaging with the code; don't underestimate the value of refactoring the code as a way of learning your way around it. It's much more engaging and less likely to induce highway hypnosis if you're actively working the code instead of just skimming it.

Obviously you use good revision control, and ideally keep a pristine install of the code alongside your experimental working working set, to compare behaviors.

Don't be afraid to throw away the refactored code if you find you've bogged down (and keeping that clearly in mind can help you avoid analysis paralysis).

Good luck, Jim!

wpeterson 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Some quick advice:

1) Pair Program w/ someone Senior - best way to learn is to ride shotgun, literally.

2) Fix bugs first - trace a single feature, take things apart

3) Use the Source - Make sure you've got the source to both the primary product any any 3rd party/open source libraries. You should be able to chase any line of code down to it's source.

4) Draw Diagrams or Make Tables

5) Don't Hesitate to Break Out the Debugger

6) Use source control "blame" - find out who wrote the code and talk to them about it

NonEUCitizen 1 day ago 2 replies      
I compile the source with a good IDE, e.g. Visual Studio, so I can:

1. set breakpoints

2. right-click on an identifier and "Go to Definition"

3. search in entire "Project" or "Solution"

I've found helpful on Unix systems:

U1. grep -R ...

U2a. ls -lR > lslr.txt
[if tree is big, this is slow]

U2b. view lslr.txt in an editor
[no longer slow, even if tree is big]

tarmstrong 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Using a debugger has been useful to me lately. They can take a while to learn (depending on the language and environment), but they're well worth it. You get to step through everything that the interpreter sees. The only drawback is you can get lazy, as it lets you read only what you need to read. You won't be disappointed unless you know the codebase well enough for the debugger to be tiresome.
ryanfitz 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Try to make a modification that should be simple. For example, in a web app update the text shown when there is a validation error on the server side. Make the modification, get it deployed and working on your local dev machine.

This should take you around most high level areas of the system and in my experience show you just how nice or complicated of a system you just inherited.

pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Having someone who knows the code base spend even just one hour with you can be extremely valuable.
HNSearch Feature Requests
10 points by andres  1 day ago   9 comments top 6
thaumaturgy 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like items marked [dead] in HN will show up as zombie search results -- i.e., they get returned in the search results for the items collection but the discussion field is null.

For example: filter[fields][type]=comment&filter[fields][username]=pg

...the second result there has a null discussion field. Getting the submission title &etc. would be nice.

mtw 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like a RSS for search result (want to subscribe to a topic and get a notification whenever it's mentionned here)
AnupSavvy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If its Solr or Lucene running underneath then you could use phonetic analyzer to get expected results if the spelling is not correct. I got results with'Steve Jobs'but when I tried 'Steve Jbs' I got no results. I would say getting close results is better than no results.
joshka 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Please don't break the spacebar key acting as page down.
The search text box takes all the key presses regardless of focus. I find this annoying in a 'breaks expectations' kind of way.
jflatow 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be really great to have the ability to sort by hotness (i.e. get the top K hottest results (for a given search or not)).
jflatow 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure why, but I've noticed that sometimes the points field is null, even though it shouldn't be. See for example the second result here:


Ask HN: What happened to searchyc.com?
32 points by mhashim  2 days ago   12 comments top 6
ccarpenterg 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's dead. You can use http://www.hnsearch.com instead. HNSearch was created by the guys of ThriftDB, the same guys of Octopart. I think.
tokenadult 2 days ago 0 replies      
See pg's new post about an implementation of HN search:


pasbesoin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hope this won't turn into another... oh, my aching brain cells -- what what the econ/market site based on HN code?

If searchyc is toast, can we migrate it as opposed to simply the deadpool? There've already been some offers to host.

I'm hopeful that they're simply exploring options, and that it won't come to actual death.

(Hmm... It seems I'm very "optimistic", this morning. More coffee!)

wslh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where is the json/api option?
Help Me HN: Can't think of new ideas I am interested on working on
32 points by open  1 day ago   56 comments top 22
david927 1 day ago 3 replies      
Funding seed-stage startups is broken. The ratio of accredited investors to startup is so skewed that most startups don't stand a chance of getting funding. As the LinkedIn IPO shows, average people are extremely excited about getting involved, but they are locked out in the US due to strong regulatory laws.

Disruptive startups can't get funding and there are many people who would like to fund them with small investments of, say, $50.

Here's a solution. Part One: Companies register as public companies on Malta, which is EU, on the cheap (relatively). They aren't listed on any exchange but can privately accept bids for shares from anyone. E.g. 10 shares for $50.

Part Two: A site which offers any company/group/idea the possibility to list (ala Crunchbase) but then for those companies that incorporate publicly in Malta, there's a pre-built mechanism for them to field and accepts bids for equity. There's a very small transaction fee for this.

I've registered the domain OpenStarts.com but it's yours along with the business plan if you want it. Just email me. A quick deck is here: http://c25571.r71.cf1.rackcdn.com/OpenStarts.ppsx

Vivtek 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you ask me (and I think you did!) this is kind of a mini-burnout. Take a vacation - a real one. Don't think about anything, just take a month in Sicily or something. Meet some new friends who aren't in the startup scene. Go hang out with your dad, or some cousins.


Then come back. I'll bet you'll find you're more excited.

Tycho 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do you find the idea of dashboards for businesses interesting? That's what I'd work on if i had lots of time to research, lots of know-how, and lots of business experience. It's exciting because

a) building these things makes the world more productive, businesses more agile,

b) you can take inspiration from a wide range of sources (science fiction, journals, movies, video games, old inventions),

c) there's very exciting stuff coming to market right now. Microsoft's Kinect, Nintendo Wii (and whatever their new console will be), lots of interest in 3D displays, while stuff like voice-recognition and natural language interfaces and data visualization is finally getting really good

So many combinations of the above to be discovered, and so many industries to benefit.

petervandijck 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here's an idea. You'll quickly find many challenges/problems with it, but if you can fix those (that's called innovation) you'll have something.

Many immigrants to the US go back to their home country for surgery and similar health services. It's cheaper and often better. Why can't non-first-generation-immigrants take advantage of the same services easily? Ie. why can't you easily go to countryX and cheaply get your teeth fixed?

ThomPete 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why don't you join http://www.weekendhacker.net There might be some projects you would like to join.
jtheory 23 hours ago 1 reply      
It could help to switch gears entirely for a while; study a trade that involves physical craftsmanship (vs. mental) and/or gets you outside or using your body. Do it with focus, for long enough to gain real skill. You may come back to coding, or you may not.

Another thought -- there's a special kind of burnout when you realize that the "problems" most new products/services solve not really problems -- they are just about moving money around more easily or in different ways, or convincing people more effectively to buy more things they don't need.

How do you define a good idea? "One that makes money" is pretty weak. Some people can motivate themselves purely on the money something will make; the rest of us need to dig a bit deeper when looking for worthwhile projects. One that solves a particular problem you have, for other people, is also pretty weak if your personal problems are all trivialities. "I travel a lot, and it's hard to find shoes that are still comfortable at the end of a long flight."

jk4930 1 day ago 0 replies      
Enroll at one of these: http://singularityu.org/programs/executive-programs/
Or get ideas from those: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
Or come to Berlin for a coffee and some inspirations.
cmer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Woah! Did you just copy/paste my mind or what? I am exactly in the same situation and feel exactly the same way as you! Every word and sentence you wrote describe me perfectly. I also sold a few startups, I'm both business and technical, can't get excited again, love Square, etc. We should hang out ;-)

I showed your post to my wife and she really thought I wrote it.

Please reach out to me and we'll talk. You can find my email on my about page. Cheers!

rjrodger 1 day ago 1 reply      
Second album syndrome eh? :)

Read everything James Altucher has written: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/

He's been around the block a few times, but wears his heart on his sleeve.

maxdemarzi 1 day ago 1 reply      
"I don't have any obvious or immediate itch to personally scratch"

Put yourself into the shoes of someone else and fix their biggest problem. Can't think of one?

Go to a non-nerd party and ask around, "What's your biggest problem?".

petervandijck 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try developing an idea. When you find something wrong with it, then dive into how you could fix that. And then find something else wrong, and see if you can fix that.

Undeveloped ideas are not interesting, developed ideas are.

mike_esspe 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you like Square, then try to build a bitcoin billing? :)
The bitcoin market is relatively small now, but it's growing very fast.
pitchups 1 day ago 1 reply      
Take a look at many of the startup ideas on our website, pitchups.com, where anyone can submit their startup idea or pitch and get feedback and comments from others. Some of these ideas may be of interest to you. And I am sure many of these startups would welcome an experienced entrepreneur to collaborate with and help them take their ideas to the next level. Our vision is to make pitchups into a community and ecosystem to foster startups - and allow anyone with a great idea to find others willing to collaborate. In fact, we ourselves are looking for experienced partners to collaborate with us on pitchups.com - and would love your inputs, if this is of interest to you.
klbarry 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you're in NYC send me an email at kevinlordbarry@gmail.com. I have an idea kicking around I'll be happy to share with you.
mattblalock 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like ideas and have several brewing. However I don't really think this is the way it works... my ideas come from an evolution of other ideas that come together to form something bigger than I could have imagined.

I encourage you to take your time, to think about problems that you see discussed here or on Reddit, and find the problems those problems create, then you're headed in the right direction.

If you want to chat about ideas or creativity, my eMail is in my profile. Don't be shy!

rvkennedy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sure you know this already, but I think the best ideas and the ones that you will be strongly motivated to work on are those that solve a problem for a lot of people, but principally for you. Something in your business life or elsewhere that you have found frustrating or lacking, but that has no good tech solution. But I'm sure I read it elsewhere and it made sense that it's easier to find solutions than problems. Don't look for a solution, look for a problem, a tough one, then cast about for ways to solve it.
endian 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in open source Bitcoin projects, shoot me an email. There's plenty of world-changing high-quality FOSS components to create!
cheez 1 day ago 1 reply      
What motivated you the last go around? Was it $$$ or the idea?
len 1 day ago 0 replies      

the process of finding things you like takes time. be aware of your state through the process and learn from it.

solve the problem correctly once, and you wont ever have the problem again.

measure2xcut1x 1 day ago 1 reply      
Read this transcript. Maybe it will inspire you. It inspired me. http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/speechesandarticles/a_speech...
petervandijck 1 day ago 0 replies      
"I've always found something wrong with the ideas I've thought of" -> figure out how to fix those problems, that's called innovation :)
jizo 1 day ago 0 replies      
maybe you need to take a fishing trip or a place you odd to be but never been. Prefobly with human
Ask HN: Remote Development?
5 points by thomascornelius  1 day ago   1 comment top
inkey 21 hours ago 0 replies      
You can use a combination like local Project Manager that will control outsource team.
Ask HN: Manipulating a client into making the right design decision
5 points by lyudmil  1 day ago   4 comments top 3
dreamdu5t 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Welcome to the rest of your career.

I use the "divide and conquer" strategy. I look for others who have similar management authority and get them to see a mock of what I'm suggesting. If they won't listen to you, they will often listen to someone else.

solost 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think you are taking the wrong approach. You don't want to manipulate the people you are working for you. Instead you want to educate them. I think the easiest and most direct route you could take is to prepare mockups using the font they want at the size it would be on a mobile device and the font you suggest.

Then encourage them to get feedback from family and friends. Chances are if your assessment is correct then your client will get the feedback not only from you but from others whom opinions they respect. In the end this is about all you can do.

Having clients means often having to do your best within the parameters that they set for you. They are the ones paying and you are the one working after all.

The other thing that is very concerning in your post is that you think this one issue is so bad that you don't want to be associated with it. The truth is that this is going to happen over and over again in your career and you are going to need to learn to make the best of it.

Nothing says you can't be associated with a project and also discuss, on your resume or web site, how if you were allowed to make the decisions you would have done things differently. I think if you take this approach you can gain credibility with future customers so that it might make it easier for your opinion to count more.

Distancing yourself from too many projects in the long run will make you appear inexperienced and eventually may damage your reputation much more than being associated with a project you are not completely happy with.

Best of luck to you.

matdwyer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Agree with Solost, go get some user feedback - walk up to a random person, show them the app, and ask them for feedback on the design. If it is as hard and unappealing as you say, the person will say that, and they can hear it from a direct source rather than you.

You might also get some good advice on other aspects of the design while you do it...

Ask HN: What makes you pay for a service offered for free elsewhere?
6 points by kthyqn  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
gregpilling 1 day ago 0 replies      
Free versions typically have only forum support. Paid versions usually have better support, and often can handle large surges of traffic better. It all depends on how critical the service in question is to your operation. The more critical it is for you to operate, the more you will pay just to be safe.
jaz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Often times, people/organizations will pay money when performing a particular task is outside their core business and/or they have nobody on staff with the requisite domain knowledge.

It may seem cheaper to grab a copy of wordpress and host it myself, but then who will manage backups and updates (especially if myself or my staff aren't familiar with wordpress)? It may make more sense for me to spend $49 a month on a host which takes care of the details, so I can simply push content onto the site.

cph1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm willing to pay for email instead of using Gmail. The combination of Google's massive accumulation of data about you and American authorities' relatively easy access to the data strikes me as somewhat creepy. Google claims to not be evil, but the truth is, we don't know, because Google employees are contractually bound to secrecy on a lot of issues.

People say that "If you're not paying for the product, you are the product," and there's something to that.

The amount of money needed to get a normal IMAP account with SSL is quite small, and worth it if you ask me.

http://runbox.com/ and http://gandi.net/ are good options for those who want paid secure accounts hosted in Europe.

crocelsamone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Depending on the context, but many of us might believe "if I have to pay, it MUST be good." By paying, one might think that they are investing to the solution.
Ask HN: Does the use of CoffeeScript improve your productivity?
12 points by mk4p  3 days ago   6 comments top 6
TrevorBurnham 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm biased, insofar as I'm the author of the CoffeeScript book published by PragProg (http://pragprog.com/titles/tbcoffee/coffeescript), but I'd say "yes, with slight reservations."

If your team consists of three John Resig-like JS ninjas, then the benefits of using CoffeeScript may be slight, or even cancelled out entirely by the extra step of compilation or the concern that future versions of CoffeeScript may break your code. But if your JS skills are beginner-to-intermediate, then I'm quite confident that you'll be more productive after a week or two of using CoffeeScript. That's based on my own experience, and the experience of many developers I've talked to.

CoffeeScript is an improvement in a lot of ways, and makes some of the most common JS mistakes (polluting the global scope by omitting `var`, relying on `==` to coerce types) impossible, while making many (`this` not being what you want it to be) easier to fix. Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, is on record as being a fan.

It's not a magic bullet, and there are certainly tradeoffs, but all in all, I'm of the opinion that CoffeeScript is what most devs should be using. And the benefits are especially pronounced in a team setting, where having shorter, more readable, more modularized code makes communication much, much easier. In pg's words: "Succinctness is power."

(By the way, I've also waxed about this subject at the Programmers Stack Exchange: See http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/72569/what-ar... and http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/72699/should-...)

Tycho 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm hardly an expert but it was greatly beneficial to me. Got the complexity under control, started working much faster, and being able to understand stuff better when i revisited it. It's also just generally more pleasurable to use, with the high-level loops and other control aspects. Makes your code much prettier. And this, I might add, with a far from optimal development setup - can't get Node to run on my comp, so I'm just pasting code in and out of the 'try coffeescript' widget on github.
VMG 3 days ago 0 replies      
I recently did some medium-scale work with it and was generally satisfied. The gotchas I encountered were mainly javascripts fault.
rawsyntax 3 days ago 0 replies      
IMO it improves developer happiness... whether that improves productivity dunno. For me, I doubt it would, I am using the very good js2-mode for emacs, which is able to issue warnings and error messages as I type, checking my javascript syntax as I go.
heydenberk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, undoubtedly. It has a learning curve like any programming language, but even for existing intermediate JavaScript users, the learning curve for CoffeeScript is shallower than the learning curve for expert, best-practices-driven JavaScript development.
endian 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hell yes!
Ask HN: How do I short a stock?
17 points by pilom  4 days ago   14 comments top 6
kwantam 4 days ago 2 replies      
In general, to short a stock, you need to be able to borrow shares of the stock to sell. For that, you'll need a margin account with a broker such as ETrade, TD Ameritrade, et al. (Not endorsing any of them, just listing names that come to mind.)

Let's take a step back and discuss what you're doing, though. Shorting a stock is a way of betting that it will go down, but it's not the only or necessarily the best way. Remember, taking a short position in a stock has potentially unlimited downside, depending on your margin arrangement: the stock price can always go up, and if your margin gets called, you could end up losing a lot of money.

Two other relatively easy ways to bet against a stock are to buy-to-open put options (limited downside) or sell-to-open call options (unlimited downside).

A put option is the right to sell a particular stock at a specific price before the expiration date of the contract. So, if you own a put option, you can sell stock for some amount, no matter what its present market price is. So, if the price of a share is very high right now, and you think it will go down, you can buy puts, wait for the price to go down, and either exercise or (more commonly) turn around and sell the puts. The maximum amount of money you can lose is your initial investment: the value of the puts can go to $0, but no lower. On the other hand, you're highly leveraged: if you buy barely out-of-the-money puts on a stock for $1, then the price of the stock drops by $10, your puts will potentially go up in value by $10 or more (the price of options is strongly influenced by the volatility of a stock and by its recent history), so you could make 10x your money.

If you sell call contracts, you're selling someone else the right to buy stock for a given price---and agreeing to be the counter party if the options get exercised. If you think that a stock is going to go down, but everyone else thinks it will go up, you can sell call options contracts. Then, if you prove to be right, you pocket the money you made selling the contracts and you're done. Of course, if the stock goes up a whole bunch and you don't have shares to cover it, you could be forced to buy shares at a much higher price than the contract, and you'll lose money. You can see how in this case the downside is unlimited.

So: shorting gives unlimited downside and leveraged upside (you pay someone interest to borrow shares that you sell and then later buy back and repay when the stock has gone down). Buying puts gives limited downside and leveraged upside. Selling calls gives unlimited downside and unleveraged upside (you make what you sell the contracts for, and nothing more).

(These are rough approximations to the truth, and if you're going to engage in short selling or writing naked calls, you'd better learn a hell of a lot more than reading one post on the internet from some random guy who can't even spell his username correctly.)

Buying puts is a far, far safer way of betting against a company, and you don't need a margin account to do it. If I were you, I'd strongly consider doing this.

(I regularly buy puts and calls as a way of making leveraged short-term trades. In fact, pretty much all my short term trading is options, and my long positions tend to be longer term. I do not regularly short or sell uncovered calls, however, because these are frankly dangerous pastimes.)

exratione 4 days ago 1 reply      
well, first you should read the excellent "How to Make Money Selling Stocks Short":


If you don't get what the authors are saying, that's probably a sign that what you're about to do is gambling. If you want to gamble, great, but it's important to understand when you are gambling, and to understand whether your grasp of the odds in any way correlates to reality - and that's the big challenge in learning to trade.

Secondly, you should look at a good broker like Interactive Brokers: they offer a paper trade account for free, and a wide range of information on their website. Their software is excellent. If you find either their software or the information for individual investors on their website tough going or enormously intimidating (e.g. suddenly you realize that you're running an application that quite literally runs on money...), then that is also a sign that what you are about to do is gambling on unknown odds.


If looking at these things dissuades you, then you will have learned something useful along the way - and hopefully it interests you enough to go look at other resources that teach a much better way to interact with the market.

bproper 4 days ago 1 reply      
philco 4 days ago 0 replies      
Shorting stock isn't necesarily a trading software issue, it's a broker issue. Brokers don't allow just anyone to short, they evaluate your account and decide what ammount they'll let you short for. (This way you can't short more than you own, and then leave them on the hook for the difference if the stock rises past what you own).

I use Schwab, they have a great trading platform, easy to use, and easy accounts to set up.

johng 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have an eTrade account and I regularly short stocks, but I still can't short LNKD. eTrade is still "unable to borrow shares".
actionbrandon 4 days ago 0 replies      
use options. you can't lose more than your premium and can express whatever market view you have--plus don't have to worry about borrowing (and paying to borrow) shares.

you have to wait about a week after the IPO until the options start trading.

I'm flying tonight - are there any decent NodeJS PDFs/ebooks?
7 points by bdickason  3 days ago   5 comments top 4
klaut 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometime ago I came across those two (but haven't started reading them yet): http://nodebeginner.org/, http://nodetuts.com/handson-nodejs-book.html
RDDavies 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm actually looking on a good "starter" on NodeJS. Most of what I've read seems to dive right in at a level above my head. (I'm reasonably familiar with Javascript, although 90% of what I write is utilizing jQuery nowadays, so I'm hazier about the core than I used to be.
mcotton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Peepcode has a great screencast. It is a little dated but you can follow along using older versions of node. This is a good place to start. I am starting to do my own 5-minute screencasts.


auganov 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know of any, let alone decent.

I think the best you can do is find some tutorials but even in that department there's nothing to be crazy about.

So far it looks like the prime way to learn about it is to experiment (well I guess that's the best way anyways).

It would be a good idea to look into some general JavaScript specific stuff if you're not very familiar with it.

Or just download some sample projects from github and look at that during your flight, haha.

4 hours is not that much anyways, so you might just as well give up on it.

Ask HN: HN for PMs?
5 points by orky56  2 days ago   3 comments top
SoftwareMaven 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love that. I put a proposal on StackExhange, but it hasn't made it very far: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/28281/product-mana...

I also made a subreddit a long time ago, but also to no avail: http://www.reddit.com/r/ProductManagement/

There's a lot that goes through #prodmgmt on Twitter, but that is too ephemeral in nature.

At this point (combined with being vice president of the Utah Product Management Association(, I've come to these conclusions:

- Many (not a majority!) PMs are completely unaware of what they don't know, so they don't go looking for answers

- Many PMs psychologically need to be in the middle of everything (it's part of the reason they want to be PMs), which sucks down massive amounts of time, leaving little time left for book learning.

- Many PMs are thrown into the job with no real understanding of what a PM should do. As a result, they do the two things they understand, leaving the other 20 boxes in the Pragmattic Framework empty (and there isn't much need to learn about them as a result).

I know I'm bagging on PMs, but i actually think most PMs genuinely try their hardest and most of those are reasonably good.

There's one other critical piece that I think hurts more than all of the above: PM is a poorly defined role, ranging everywhere from bizdev to project management to business analyst to development manager. It is really hard to get two people to agree on what a PM is, so it is equally hard to find content that is equally interesting to all.

If you do find a good community, please let me know!

What software do you use to create ebooks?
10 points by rcavezza  4 days ago   10 comments top 7
jaz 4 days ago 0 replies      
ePubPack[1] to create the ePub, FlightCrew[2] to validate the ePub, Calibre and iBooks on the iPad to preview. For Kindle books, I use Mobipocket creator[3]. Kindlegen[4], the tool Amazon provides to convert ePub to Mobi didn't output consistent results so I stopped using it.

I'm by no means an expert, so there may be a better set of tools out there but these have worked well for me.

[1] http://sourceforge.net/projects/epubpack/

[2] http://code.google.com/p/flightcrew/

[3] http://www.mobipocket.com/en/downloadsoft/productdetailscrea...

[4] http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000...

yannis 4 days ago 1 reply      
TeX and LaTeX. Still the best software available to translate structured markup to a pdf.
davidw 4 days ago 0 replies      
LiberWriter, of course: http://www.liberwriter.com
brudgers 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have material I self publish using Drumlin Reader due to the extremely low cost and inclusion of DRM. Due to the nature of the particular market, Windows only is not a significant drawback.


Tcepsa 4 days ago 0 replies      
I unfortunately do not have much to add by way of recommendations for software to use. However, one extreme painpoint for me as a consumer of eBooks is PDF. PDF documents are bad enough when trying to read them on a full computer monitor; on a Kindle or a Nook they are nearly unreadable, and on smartphones they are a complete non-starter (for me, at least). I would strongly encourage you to focus on formats that can be dynamically be resized based on the viewing area (e.g. ePub or Mobipocket) rather than PDF.
EdgarF 2 days ago 0 replies      
The easiest way is to create a document in Google Docs and export it as a PDF
tobylane 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lazy option: Print to PDF. I've only ever done it from web pages so far, it's good if don't want html (there was a good reason at the time, forgotten).
Show HN: Newsfeedy - Real News from Trending Topics on the Web
7 points by tg3  3 days ago   4 comments top 4
creativeone 3 days ago 0 replies      
i think the "powered by" is a repetitive statement. make it: powered by google, reddit, twitter.

Looks like a cool little tool. add an api like flickr to show pictures and you'll get more users.

Fck Miami is showing as trending on Twitter, but the Google News tab is by default viewable, yet lacking any content. the tabs should automatically show the feed from the "trending" source.

live updates would be nice without having to refresh the page. or at least how facebook does it, where they show a counter of most recent updates, and you can click to update the page.

It might not be a million dollar business, but if you optimize your layout and place some ads, you could be earning $xxx per month.

achompas 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting--a cool use of Google and Twitter APIs to pull stories. How are topics sorted? Different tabs for Google, Twitter, and Reddit trends might be a good idea.

I can't speak to monetizing this, as I've never used ads before. I wonder how much a website like this could generate...anyone?

tg3 3 days ago 0 replies      
They're sorted right now based on a simple combination of the Twitter and Google trends (1st on Twitter is 1st overall, 1st on Google is 2nd overall, etc). I'll look into tabs for different sources, I've just rolled out a new version that incorporates a bunch of creativeone's suggestions.

Do you think I should sort based on recency instead of using google and twitter's rankings? As in, when something sneaks into Twitter's top 10 it sits at the top of my list?

Thanks for the feedback.

tg3 3 days ago 0 replies      
clickable link: http://www.newsfeedy.com
       cached 7 June 2011 00:05:01 GMT