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Ask HN: OK, I've started-up, now how do I continue-up?
8 points by luvcraft  6 hours ago   3 comments top 3
olegious 3 hours ago 0 replies      
1. make a list of all popular video game blogs and sites that cover the world of gaming.

2. contact the bloggers, site owners, writers, etc. on that list telling them about the site and what a great tool it could be for their users (hype it up)- your goal is to get mentioned on as many of them as possible. You can even ask to guest post on some gaming blogs- something like "how i turned my gaming passion into a startup."

3. since you didn't include a link to your site, i don't know if you've already done this- but make sure your site is easily sharable across all the social networks (FB like button, Google +1 button, etc).

4. run a contest for your existing users- offer them a giftcard to gamestop or amazon or something, the user that brings in the most sign ups (you can give them unique referral codes) in X time wins. For $100-200 you can have cheap user driven marketing.

good luck

pkamb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a 'social' thing that will require many users to be successful. Thus POST A LINK.
abbasmehdi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Think I can help, get in touch.
Tell HN: Original Palo Alto Hacker House has an opening
10 points by michaelnovati  15 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Review my startup idea.
3 points by levicampbell  8 hours ago   2 comments top
pewpewlasergun 6 hours ago 1 reply      
An online college has a lot of startup costs, unless you're just making a diploma mill. You need to get enough profs to teach a degree's worth of classes, especially if you're getting accreditation. (also, as an aside, the accreditations that matter require you to have a few years of successful classes). You also need a system for handling communication with teachers and students, grading, actually giving the lectures, and education software is not cheap. So as you hopefully can see, its not really bootstrap-able or easily scalable. You need money, and you need to get it right the first time, because you'll lose that money if you don't get enough students. Also, you need to be able to operate at a loss for several years, because it will take a long time to get accreditation. College is a lot about signaling - thats why it matters where you actually go. A few credits from a brand new online college is not great on a resume, so there will not be as much demand.

So, how about instead you try to take the tutorial concept and and apply it to practical skills? 2 classes of biology from an online college isn't really useful to someone. 2 classes of SEO or knitting or 'How to contract with the federal government' is really useful to people. This would also make it easy to recuit instructors. You could find retired people who just got out of an industry and want to make a little more money, or working professionals who want the feeling of giving back.

Here's kind of a short vision for a site i think has a shot at being successful. Have bios of the instructors, spelling out how they can actually give you good instruction in the course they're offering. Let people apply - advertise a class size capped at a certain number of people, and be upfront about costs. You split the cost with the instructor, so they only get paid if they bring in business. Don't use an essay, its a big barrier to conversion. Have people write 100-200 words on why they want to take the class, what experience they have in the area, and their future goals. Let the instructor choose who to take if more people apply than the class size. Bootstrap your way to more and more courses - and make the courses practical skills. There are a million websites that will teach me biology or history or math - most of them free and a lot better than what you'll be able to do. There aren't a lot of places where i can get someone to teach me how to transition from being an employee to consulting or get started in commercial real estate or start bidding on government contracts.

Ask HN: Mathematics in computer science
2 points by vaidhy  6 hours ago   4 comments top 4
nandemo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd call these "interplay" rather than applications:

* combinatorics in computational complexity, analysis of algorithms, optimization, etc.
* logic in formal methods.
* lambda calculus and category theory in programming languages (more so in functional languages than OO).
* linear algebra in graphics, graph theory, etc.

egiva 5 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the most beautiful applications of math+cs (for me) involves genetic algorithms. Being able to have two models duke it out (via survivorship), or mutate - to see your code select the best models to fit a set of data is beautiful.

Basic Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_algorithm

You can also increase the complexity of this field by using GAs to train neural networks for fitting data or processing it in innovative ways: http://www.generation5.org/content/2000/nn_ga.asp

NN + GA simulation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXDUqAmdEq4

Neural Network at work:

MaysonL 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Try graph theory: possibly exploring some of Erdös's work on random graphs.
stonemetal 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Semantics, especially Denotational and Axiomatic.
Ask HN: Need advice about my startup
3 points by ashraful  15 hours ago   4 comments top 3
martinshen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Of the two... #2 is best but I would avoid trying to balance your own product time and freelance. I did that for years and it got me absolutely no where other than experience. If I were you, I'd join a YC startup as the UX guy... Lots of people are looking for them and your portfolio is impressive enough.

Depending on the stage of the company (letsay recent YC grad). You should be able to score 3-6% plus living wage ($30K to $45K) as well as gain a ton of connections in the valley. That is, if you can pull off the visa stuff.


Failing the visa shenanigans, I would try to form up a company with low tech focus/need. Letsay a mobile ad network, niche ad network, e-commerce, monthly packages (a la manpacks etc.)... I wouldn't go the Kevin Rose way as its hard for you to raise money not living in the US (and Milk doesn't make apps that make direct money) as well as web design not being sustainable as a business.

robfitz 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I like #2. Infinite runway from freelancing gives you a lot of options.

As someone leaning toward design rather than programming, you might consider plugging into a platform ecosystem rather than building standalone. In particular I'm thinking Salesforce or 37signals, but I'm sure there are others. Both have big groups of happily paying customers doing real business, and a good framework for API or widget plugins.

Reduces the marketing risk and lets you focus on improving usability instead of starting from scratch.

ziyadb 15 hours ago 1 reply      
#2 appears to be the most enticing option. Although if you do decide to go with it you can also consider doing #1 with the "decent developers". I am not sure how you intended to create Browsr, but creating a javascript engine and other core browser features is no easy feat, I suggest you use the chromium project (Google Chrome) for the backend (core) and perhaps develop the UI from scratch.
Ask HN: Review my project (1000memories for pets)
2 points by msencenb  15 hours ago   5 comments top 2
ColinWright 14 hours ago 1 reply      
bjplink 14 hours ago 1 reply      
You could do with a demo/example I think. It's tough to even bother to signup without knowing what I'm going to be getting.
Ask HN: What is your preferred Python stack for high traffic webservices?
176 points by bigethan  3 days ago   65 comments top 18
espeed 3 days ago 3 replies      

  * haproxy - frontline proxy
* varnish - app server cache
* nginx - static files
* uwsgi - app server
* flask - primary framework
* tornado - async/comet connections
* bulbflow - graph database toolkit
* rabbitmq - queue/messaging
* redis - caching & sessions
* neo4j - high performance graph database
* hadoop - data processing

b14ck 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a fan of Django, so my ideal stack looks something like this:

  * puppet - managing server packages / infrastructure
* monit - monitoring server processes / fixing things
* django - primary web framework and ORM
* amazon mysql - it's hosted, and works via plug-ins with Django
* amazon s3 - storing static assets (images, css, javascript, etc.)
* amazon elastic load balancer - for scaling incoming HTTP requests across multiple web app servers
* amazon autoscale - for spinning up new web app servers to handle spikes in traffic
* rabbitmq - message queueing
* celery - processing async tasks in a robust fashion. must have
* memcahed - no explanation necessary
* git
* fabric for deploying software
* jenkins for testing / building software
* nginx for buffering elastic load balancing requests to web app servers

antimora 3 days ago 4 replies      
I am considering this stack off the shelf in my next big project:

- uWSGI - performs better than gunicorn and has support for async apps using gevent

- nginix - front end server

- pyramid - web framework

- mongodb - database

- mongoengine - mongodb and python mapper

- zeromq - messaging and communication

- jinja2 - for template engine

- gevent - for async processing

- gevent-zeromq - to make zeromq non-blocking and gevent compatible

- socket-io - JS lib for realtime communication

I still need to develop robust session management. I considered various options and came to conclusion if I want something fast, truly distributed and not using sticky session I should come up with my own session manager demon hosted on each node. I would use ZeroMQ to communicate to it.

kingkilr 3 days ago 0 replies      
* nginx
* gunicorn
* Django
* PostgreSQL
* memcached
* Whatever else I need to implement the logic of the site (redis, celery, etc.)
andybak 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should find Simon Willison's talk about Building Lanyrd very relevant.

Slides and video here: http://lanyrd.com/2011/brightonpy-building-lanyrd/

timc3 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is what I am using currently:

  * haproxy - frontline proxy
* nginx - static files and back proxy
* supervisord - service uptime
* gevent/meinheld - wsgi
* django
* gevent/eventlet - websockets/comet
* postgresql - Database obviously
* memcached - caching for django
* rabbitmq - message queuing
* celery - message processing
* fabric - deploying
* hudson - building

jsherer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Surprised at the low number of CherryPy posts in this thread. Not only is it a great framework, it supports Python3 out of the box. My stack:

- ubuntu/debian - apt ftw

- python 3

- haproxy - proxy

- nginx - w/ uwsgi

- cherrypy - framework that supports PY3

- sqlalchemy - orm and sql

- postgres - relational storage

- mongodb - "mandatory" NoSQL

- 0MQ - messaging

BarkMore 3 days ago 0 replies      
nginx - frontline proxy, static files

tornado - web

memcache - cache

mysql - database

lightcatcher 3 days ago 2 replies      
Its not a high traffic site, but I'm running a app that served average of 5 req/s with Mongrel2 + wsgid + MySQL + django and thats working pretty well.

Also, the benchmark of Python web servers that gets linked everywhere (http://nichol.as/benchmark-of-python-web-servers) is getting old. I'm planning on doing a new benchmark, probably this coming weekend. As of now, I'm planning to test gunicorn, uWSGI, tornado, bjoern, eventlet, and gevent over HTTP, flup over FCGI, and uWSGI and wsgid over zeroMQ (behind Mongrel2). Thinking of it, I probably need to put all of the HTTP servers behind nginx for a more fair comparison. Am I forgetting any servers that people would like to see benchmarked?

MostAwesomeDude 3 days ago 1 reply      
Twisted/Twisted/Twisted/Twisted. >:3

More seriously, Twisted/Flask/SQLAlchemy has been the formula for the past two deployments I've done, and I'm happy with it.

ConceitedCode 3 days ago 2 replies      
uWSGI, nginx, pyramid, sqlalchemy, postgresql, mako, beaker and fabric to deploy

My preferred setup that works for most cases. All reliable and fast.

amitutk 3 days ago 4 replies      
I am newbie to using python for web services. Will django be better to start with or should I consider pyramid/flask/uWSGI as suggested here?
z0r 2 days ago 0 replies      
At my job, we are running tornado w/ gunicorn and membase w/ haproxy to load balance (and not much else) and handling quite a bit of traffic. If I were to write my own from scratch I'd want to learn some erlang first ;)
gtaylor 2 days ago 0 replies      
nginx + gunicorn + pgbouncer + postgres, S3/CloudFront for -all- media. The gunicorn app server sit behind one of Amazon's Elastic Load Balancers, but could just as easily be HAProxy.
lacion 3 days ago 0 replies      
Varnish / Frontline server sends static media to nginx, and other request to uwsgi cluster.
Nginx / static media servign
UWSGI / app servers
Django / Web Framework
PGSQL / Relational Database
Redis / NoSQL / cache / sessions
*RabbitMQ / messaging queue

we use varnosh as a frontend server it handles the load balancing betwen our UWSGI servers, and if the request is a static file its send to our nginx server. we them use redis to store all of our cache and sessions, we cache everything so everytime there is a read from our database via the django ORM our api grabs the whole object returned and stores it in redis so next time we need to retrieve it we just hit redis.

steve8918 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have any opinions on web.py? I played around with this and it seemed pretty easy to use.
samuel1604 3 days ago 1 reply      
antihero 3 days ago 0 replies      
PHP 4 running on IIS.
Ask HN: Please rate my web application
7 points by leeHS  18 hours ago   8 comments top 6
keiferski 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I see that the name has a story behind it, but most people will be seriously turned off by a website named "Dead Grandma Cookies." Definitely look into changing that.
teyc 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Even though the name is creepy, I'd suggest you test it against other names. It is a memorable name.
revorad 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks quite nice. I am always looking for new recipes. One thing I haven't seen is recipes with good photos of each step of the process. If you add that, I'll use it.

Regarding the name, the story resonates with me, but dead grandma still makes for a very bad name. I bet the grandma had a name....

sunspeck 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Could you bear to increase the contrast of the light grey on white font color? And remove the long sequence of queries from the recipe URLs. Otherwise I really dig this design. The guiding arrows on the homepage are a nice, casual and inviting touch.
riffmaster 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It's really nice and simple .. Again the name is a little creepy! Old or Sweet sound much more appealing.
instakill 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I like it. Does quite a bit and has a minimal gem stack.
Ask HN: How does your startup manage user logins?
4 points by pieter  13 hours ago   1 comment top
jvdmeij 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Mostly single usernames. Everyone keeps the passwords in 1password, which is synced in their own Dropbox. The best thing about 1password is that you can look a password up easily for a team member. I suggest to everyone to use the random pwd generator in 1password as well.
Download.com wrapping downloads
153 points by forgotAgain  3 days ago   31 comments top 13
acangiano 3 days ago 1 reply      
My guess: Microsoft was probably ecstatic about this. Until it becomes a PR headache (it's just about to start). At that point, Microsoft will probably condemn this as misleading and something they don't endorse. They'll probably cut them off from whatever referral program they are currently on.
latch 3 days ago 1 reply      
There'll be a backlash. Microsoft will kill the program and claim that "Microsoft relies on a number of 3rd parties for its marketing. In this case, the 3rd party acted without consulting Microsoft and as soon as Microsoft was made aware of the issue, they cancelled the program"
georgieporgie 3 days ago 0 replies      
Assuming you have a piece of software which is supported by bundled toolbar installation, does this mean that Download.com effectively steals your slice of the pie?

(not that I advocate toolbar bundling, but it is one way that some apps make money)

tajddin 3 days ago 1 reply      
This really does seem like a violation. We develop enterprise help desk software and also offer it via Download.com and didn't receive a notification of this change.

It doesn't exactly look great on our software that a toolbar is installed alongside it -- especially for a professional business product.

fomojola 3 days ago 1 reply      
The upsell is here! They'll expose your direct download link to people who are registered. Who registers for download.com?!?!

And, if you pay them for the privilege of hosting your content with them, they'll let you opt out of it. This is how they try and make money.

Take your software down: its 2011, you can distribute yourself, cut out the middle man, and (unless you're getting 20000 downloads a day) still not pay very much for it.

ars 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if you could bundle an uninstaller into your package - just for them. They install some adware, you uninstall it right after.
bradleyland 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised this doesn't violate the license of many of the applications available on Download.com. Time to abandon ship?
ggchappell 3 days ago 2 replies      
(1) I really appreciate this post & discussion. It has been clear for a long time that lots of website owners pay little or no attention to the experiences customers have with fulfillment providers (and Download.com is fulfillment, in the larger sense). It's time to hold people accountable for this kind of thing.

(2) Microsoft has been associated with sleazy stuff for years. I'm thinking of the installation of all kinds of nonsense software when you buy "Microsoft Windows" pre-installed. I doubt this issue is the kind of thing they consider a problem. Sad, but true.

tlrobinson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this even legal? Did you give them permission to distribute your software?
jgmmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I cant find this issue with any of the software the company I work for sells via download.com, it looks like people who pay CNET millions of dollars per year are not affected.
scamsover 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's called "OpenInstall", see openinstall.com - after looking up the domain owner, old owners, servers and registration of the company as well as multiple addresses, I found it is the same company responsible for this:

"Viveli" or "GameTheory" are the company names, see comments on Cutts page. According to the posting, they even lost ties to their former toolbar partners Zugo.com because Bing.com shut them down for forced installs (like on Bright.com or on CNET).

http://www.openinstall.com/aboutus.html - seems like most of them are former founders of "FreeCause", a toolbar company that hides installs under the false impression of charitable donations.

The person behind it is Eduardo Vivas, who just opened up his new startup Bright.com, which is Co-Reg scam, if you look at the getsatisfaction.com support requests this becomes very clear. Sign up people, send them to education affiliate offers, cold call them from a call-center and have them download a toolbar to get access to job postings.


Discuss: What do you think of push notifications?
3 points by sidwyn  16 hours ago   2 comments top 2
jeffool 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I enjoy the option. Part of the reason I deleted Words With Friends (Android) is because I would never remember to take a turn, and it rarely notified me properly.

They don't always have to vibrate/chime, mind you. An icon appearing and the light blinking is, to me, not intrusive at all. I check it, see what the note is, and dismiss it if I need to.

At home I leave my phone connected to wifi and commit the sin of leaving it to charge overnight. Your downsides don't affect me at all.

silent1mezzo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
They have their uses. Some are important to see, others are not. It really depends on what the notification is for.
Ask HN: Should I drop my CS major to pursue being a self-taught web dev?
6 points by tobobo  16 hours ago   16 comments top 8
robfitz 15 hours ago 1 reply      
On the one hand, I haven't used a resume since my college internships (5 years founding startups, then freelancing through the network built up during the startups).

On the other, I still think it's worth the time. Being forced to write big, gnarly programs (like a compiler or collaborative text editor or puzzle AI) will give you experience that you'll never get from tutorials online about dealing with big, scary codebases. Or working in teams. Or whatever else.

If you learn as you go, each of those problems will get you fired when you hit it, because they're not exactly intuitive to deal with and you won't notice it until shit has already hit the fan.

There's not a 1:1 mapping between academic and real world problems, but I guess I'm saying it's still going to help. It also puts some extra items in your toolbox in case you want to do something other than vanilla web dev.

That being said, I have no way of evaluating the financial or chronological opportunity costs, as those are unique to you. It also depends how keen you are to get involved w/ your professors and students.

Plus, universities are where co-founders live!

rdouble 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I went to one of those schools. Course quality in the CS department can be very hit or miss. You are right in that the instructors often have no actual programming experience. In this situation, the opposite of what you are thinking is true: automata theory is probably a better class than databases, because you don't need to be a good programmer to teach automata theory. A database class taught by a guy who doesn't program databases all the time is going to be lightweight at best and wrong at worst.

Advice is hard because it's very situation dependent. Do the courses use good books? Are the assignments worthwhile? For example of what I mean: At my school there was a prof who invented a cheap weather radar expansion board for PCs back when weather radar systems were standalone and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The hardware course and networking course taught by him were great. There was another guy who came back to teach after working in industry for 15 years. His courses were programming intensive and were also pretty good. In contrast the intro courses taught by the guys who went straight from grad school to teaching were weak sauce and a waste of time. HOWEVER, the automata theory class taught by one of those guys was good and was actually one of my favorite classes. Ultimately, I had a couple too many dud CS classes so switched over to a math major.

Thus, you'll have to examine the course offerings closely to see if you can piece together a reasonable major. If not it may be a better use of your time to just get a minor and take good classes from other departments. I have never regretted strengthening my math skills in lieu of taking half-assed CS courses. It was pretty easy to develop half-assed CS skills on my own.

ColinWright 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's the thing. Everywhere you go you should be learning. If you drop out of college and start to do stuff on your own you will lose access to the resources currently at hand, and you will no longer be forced/encouraged to do things outside your immediate interest.

If you start working on your own ventures you will make money - probably/maybe - and that will be cool. More, you can just work on the stuff you want to - maybe - but to earn money you may end up having to do a lot of grunt work that's not really enjoyable, not creative, and certainly neither stretches nor teaches you.

Do you really think you can make it on your own? Then do it now while still working on your degree. Having a startup is incredibly hard work. If you work that hard then you can do your degree and learn all this weird, wild-ass stuff that you otherwise wouldn't, and at the same time build something cool.

No, I wouldn't drop out. If you really have the drive you can make the most of this chance. It won't come again.

Just my $0.02, YMWV.

   #include <std_disclaimer.h>

kevinh 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd suggest moving forward with your degree. A degree looks good on any resume, and pushing forward with your degree will give you more flexibility in choosing jobs in the future. And, who knows? You may actually find you really like some of those niche topics.
a3camero 14 hours ago 0 replies      
My anecdote:

I have a H.BSc. in Biomedical Sciences and my only university course was Intro to Programming.

I've worked as a programmer at start-up in Waterloo, won a series of international programming competitions that had a decent number of CS competitors and done a fair bit of contract programming for some decent sized organizations.

ziyadb 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I have been there. The last semester I enrolled at was fall 2010, about 6 months ago. I did not find any value in pursuing a degree that contained subjects I had no interest in whatsoever (my major was Information and communication technology), I chose not to enroll during the spring semester in favor of attaining professional certifications (Cisco CCIE) as I had taken an interest in them and attained "lower level certs" before that. (The CCIE is considered the holy grail of networking.

Lately however, I have fallen in love with programming and software development, and I have been studying with a passion. This has led me to conclude that throughout the length of my career, I will be involved with different technologies and perhaps even disciplines. Technology is full of uncertainty, you do not know where you will be in 2 years (let alone 5), what if you get a referral for that dream job but it requires a degree? Or if you decide to build a startup and it tanks--you would have to consider employment to regain at least some of the money you have lost.

There are countless other scenarios in which you may regret not having completed your degree. However, the most important thing to consider is that once you quit, you would lose out on opportunities--what they exactly are, you will never find out.

EDIT: This is in response to your edit indicating that you are not dropping out of school. That is good. But if anything, you should drop the music major.

CyberFonic 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Your CS major is like learning the scales, progression of chords, elements of harmony, etc. Some of the subjects may not appear relevant, but they form the foundations for the future. The best employers will not hire candidates without suitable qualifications AND suitable experience.

On a slightly different note (ha ha) have you looked at LiveCoding and other real-time fusion of programming and musical performance?

abbasmehdi 13 hours ago 2 replies      
My philosophy is pretty simple: Don't major in things that teach you "How" something is done, go to school for majors in "Why” things are done the way they are (exception: degrees that give certification to practice or a license - like CPA or MD etc.).

I started with a business degree, and noticed we were being taught processes like how to create a balance sheet etc, things I could learn myself by looking it up online or reading the textbook, no added value from schooling, so 2 semesters later I switched to Economics, which talks about why people do this over that, why governments do that over this etc. Then I decided to major in CS, and started a new bachelor's degree, noticed again I could learn everything they were teaching me myself and it was far too much theory that would be useful “later”, so I switched to Electrical and Computer Engineering which was focused more on building stuff in teams " which was why I got into a tech major in the first place.

Ask yourself what you want out of it " seems like you want to build stuff " universities don't focus on that, vocational and technical institutes do.

Ask HN: Can we improve our SEO at all?
4 points by TomGullen  16 hours ago   6 comments top 4
ahsanhilal 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is totally not related to your question, and I am sorry for that, but I really think your tool is something very interesting. The concept is really cool, however, I think the writing and the imagery need to be worked on a bit; not from the perspective of SEO but from the perspective of getting the message across. Right now, in my opinion, the message is a bit wayward and not getting across to the reader clearly. Case in point:

"Create: A powerful new game maker. Build your games in the world's best editor. No prior experience in programming is necessary to use our event system. Be up and running in minutes."

It seems like you are trying to use words which signify something, but when they are put together they do not form a coherent sentence.

I actually stumbled on your last HN posting a couple of days ago, while searching for sources on html5 on hnsearch, and was really surprised that your last post did not get any comments.

Additionally, if you want any help, I would be more than happy to help you out with these issues (free of charge of course; I do not think I am good enough to charge :) )

jgmmo 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Do better keyword research. What are the most common 2-word, 3-word, and 4-word phrases that folks searching for your product would use? Who are your competitors and what terms are they optimized for?

I see that you 'have' SEO, but it's not good SEO. You really need to do keyword research, get in the mind of the person 'googling' this stuff, and figure out what the hell a potential customer is calling your software before they see your website and learn that YOU call it 'construct 2' and 'creation tools' (which are terrible google search terms).

If you provide some of this info I may be able to provide more feedback, but seriously, you can do it yourself it's not rocket-surgery. https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

chintan 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Content is king in SEO. you seem to have lot of activity in /forums. But it doesnt seem to be great quality content.

Your blog (http://www.scirra.com/blog/archive) has very small number of posts. I would recommend writing keyword targetted content in your blogs (use the free Google Keyword tool to get an idea abt high demand keywords in your domain).

sunspeck 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Games are eminently sharable, and I suspect there is a large overlap between people who would like to play games made with your platform and people who would like to make games with your platform.

Have you considered publishing an arcade of really playable games? Or how about a hosting platform for your user's creations? Then users would do the work of propagating your URL. A cross-Scirra high score system could also add a lot of appeal and virality.

In other words, I think there are some really promising ways for you to show off your product entirely apart from SEO.

Ask HN: What art would you recommend?
9 points by chunky1994  1 day ago   5 comments top 5
sgentle 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been doing some sketching lately and I highly recommend it. It's the root of a lot of visual art, so you get to learn a lot of the important art things (perspective, lighting/shading, how utterly and completely your eyes lie to you about the size and orientation of things). But what's really unbeatable is the convenience. Materials required: 2B pencil, eraser, paper. Put them in your bag. Draw when you've got time. Done.
ForrestN 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I edit one of the largest sites about current art, Contemporary Art Daily: http://contemporaryartdaily.com

The best and first place to start experimenting with art is drawing. Don't worry about focusing on realism, unless you want to. Sitting down with a pencil and a blank sheet of paper is exactly like making any art, only with less decision making up front. The magical thing about art is the total absence of any criteria. Here's this sheet of paper, and this pencil, and literally anything you choose to draw is totally acceptable and equivalent to anything else you might draw. So you have to start asking some pretty interesting questions to figure out what to do. Photography is also interesting and accessible for similar reasons.

Apart from that, I think just like with programming the best thing to do first is to start consuming the sort of thing you eventually want to make. If you aren't familiar with much art, it will be harder to understand the possibilities and decide what interests you. Get to a contemporary art museum, if there's one nearby, or go to the library and grab a book on contemporary art. If you arrive at any specific questions or want to find more art akin to something you find that you like, feel free to e-mail forrest@ the above URL.

robfitz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Procedural art is fun. If you combine it w/ real world tools like projectors/cameras or even something like a laser cutter, really neat stuff can happen

The processing page has a nice gallery and also happens to be a very pleasant way to program this sort of thing: http://processing.org/exhibition/

thristian 1 day ago 0 replies      
One vote for photography here: you can get as technical as you want (or as your wallet allows) but you can produce great work with just your phone's camera. You can show it off to other people, or just keep your laptop supplied with desktop images.

I have found, however, that while I really like photography and I really like coding, it can be very, very difficult to switch between the two - on the order of weeks to go from "thinking like a photographer" to "thinking like a programmer". Perhaps that will improve with time.

EgeBamyasi 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I enjoy Dada, Fluxus, Procedural and Avant Garde.

Cant speak for painting but after a couple of failed attempts to pick up the guitar in my teens I one day started playing what I felt like instead of trying to play some fast hard rock riff, instant success and now I play guitar every day and starting to be genuinely good at it. So, paint what you feel like. Explore other painters and artists and try to copy their work while still maintaining your personal touch to it. Get a mentor or show what you do on some site for showing art, feedback is really important!

Which books/site you suggest to learn about online marketing?
4 points by anujkk  1 day ago   1 comment top
Ask HN: Are there any services for collecting emails pre-launch?
6 points by Banekin  1 day ago   10 comments top 6
ahsanhilal 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just add a wufoo form:


I think you can redesign parts of the form with some basic html/css, to theme it according to your designs.

mindcrime 1 day ago 1 reply      
Service to collect emails via a form you can embed in a page, and manage said mailing list? Yes. You can find a few mentioned on this page:


FWIW, I chose MailChimp for that, but there are plenty of other choices.

If you want something that goes even further, that is, doing the page, video, and everything, plus email, then the answer is "I'm not sure." Probably there are, but I haven't really looked.

You might find value in something like LaunchRock.com, but I'm not sure they're exactly what you're looking for.

jaymstr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Jameson from LaunchRock here. We're literally days away from doing a full roll out, but hit me up at jameson@launchrock.com, and I'll get you an immediate invite. In order to do video, you'll need to use the widget on a page.
brianbreslin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are you talking about something like http://launchrock.com ?
jvdmeij 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://launcheffectapp.com - A Wordpress theme for viral launches. Haven't tried it, looks nice though!
Dear procrastinator
544 points by edo  9 days ago   discuss
silverbax88 9 days ago  replies      
I'm sorry to disagree, but I do. My own battle with procrastination is completely due to laziness. No one likes to do difficult things, and sometimes even things we kind of enjoy. The reality is that we, as humans, never procrastinate when we really, really want something. Not once in my life did I have to "trick" myself into playing a video game a few extra minutes or watch a big basketball game.

In short, we accomplish what we want to accomplish (meaning, the 'fun' stuff), unless we push ourselves.

joshklein 9 days ago 2 replies      
There is not a singular cause for procrastination. I've mentioned it many times on HN, but I think it's again relevant to recommend "Procrastination" by Burka & Yuen.[1]

Half the book is spent helping you investigate the root cause or causes of your procrastination, which can include fear about control (losing OR gaining it), as well as fear of success, fear of failure, fear of separation, fear of attachment. They discuss the influence of family and culture, gender, and the role of ADD & executive dysfunction.

The second half of the book is a practical guide to coping with your procrastination and habitualizing better behaviors.

If you're serious about procrastination, my only advice is to listen to the experimentally & research-backed psychiatrists.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Procrastination-Why-You-What-About/dp/...

toddmorey 9 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not lazy, I'm not too proud to do mundane things, and I don't feel others control my life. (How would that last perspective explain procrastinating on a personal project like a painting?) I didn't understand procrastination until I understood it from this perspective (and I imagine a lot of the folks on HN are similar): I procrastinate because I'm a perfectionist. If it's not finished, it can't be judged. There's more I can tweak! Once something is turned in, published, or launched, it stands as an example of my best effort. It wears my name. And that scares the hell out of me.
janjan 9 days ago 6 replies      
This is not true for myself at all!

Actually I think in my case all the stuff you read about procrastination does not really aplly to my procrastination:

I think I am one of the worlds worst procastinators and it took me about 10 years to figure out what might be the main reason for my behaviour. It has nothing to with all the stuff you read in all these procrastination books. It's not about the fear of failing, it's not about the fear of winning, it's not some kind of rebellion against some outside force as you pointed out. It's something completly different:

I never learned to do (unpleasant) stuff!

When I look back on my childhood now, it's very obvious what went wrong: I grew up as a very very spoiled kid which never had to do anything "unpleasant". Did not want to clean up my room? No problem. Did not want to help my parents with preparing lunch? no problem. Did not want to do homework? no problem.

From all those years growing up I can remember only one occasion at which my mother tried to force me to do something. But since I was already 12 or so that this time, she gave up after 10 minutes.

I never learned to endure the "stress" or "pain" of all those unpleasant things I have to do (washing clothing, cooking, ...) so it's very hard for me to do them intstead of just browsing the internet and get instant satisfaction.

In combination with some above average intelligence and a very big portion of luck I was still able to study with good grades and I'm currently in my second year of a PhD thesis. For me it's hell on earth! Giving lectures, preparing papers, filling out forms, applying for grants, ... I postpone all of this stuff all the time not because I am afraid i could not do them or because they are pushed on me from the outside. I postpone them because I never learned to actually _do_ unpleasant stuff.

Does this makes sense? English is not my first language and the topic is quite hard to describe.

TeMPOraL 9 days ago 1 reply      

That actually resonates with me much better than anything I've read on procrastination so far. I am burning lot of my mental cycles on thinking about my own procrastination, and it crossed my mind that when I start to do things that I'm (in broad sense) forced to - by my boss, lecturer or even myself, I feel like loosing some kind of self-awareness, control of my life... I never pin-pointed the feeling exactly, but it resonates closely with what you wrote.

Also, I'm so used to my personal GTD-like productivity management methods that I sometimes feel I'm not able to think or work without using pen & paper or Emacs for organizing my thoughts. Now, the thing I'm worried about is that it doesn't really feel like I have 'boosted my cognitive skills' or whatever - it feels like I'm so handicaped that I can't think without help of external tools. I look around and see people (that look) smarter and more successful than me, and they don't seem to be using any productivity tricks at all. Maybe it's [something]-bias [1], but it gets me really worried. Anyone on HN felt something similar?

[1] - need to catch up with LessWrong on that ;).

petenixey 9 days ago 0 replies      
HN will never see a more eminently clickable post than one titled, "Dear Procrastinator"
munchhausen 9 days ago 1 reply      
"The reason why human-beings procrastinate is to feel in control of their life."

Agree completely. Having said this, your suggested solution is incredibly hard to put into practice for many procrastinators out there.

I have bills to pay and a family to support, and working for the Man seems like the only option, at the moment, to meet my financial obligations. I don't particularly enjoy my day job, and I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to. To maintain an illusion that I am not just a slave tied to a very short leash, I procrastinate. Ignoring my email inbox full of pending tasks and spending the day outside in the sunshine instead can feel very liberating, but obviously it doesn't solve anything, and doesn't get me a step closer to greater freedom.

"life as a sequence of awesomely fun and exciting things" sounds great, but the reality is that only a very small percentage of people are lucky enough to lead this kind of life.

lionhearted 9 days ago 1 reply      
Great post.

Relevant tactical point:

Replace "I have to" with "I choose to" and "I should" with "Would I like to?"

It really, really, really works.

Instead of, "I have to take out the garbage" - "I choose to take out the garbage." (Or alternatively, "I choose not to" - that's okay too, if you choose to do it that way.)

wisty 9 days ago 0 replies      
Procrastination has many causes. I expect this is because humans haven't often needed to motivate themselves, as they have often been motivated by fear and hunger. Above $5 or $10 a day, basic nutrition and shelter is not an issue.

Here's a few reasons why I think some people procrastinate. Mix and match:

- The need to feel control.
- Some urge to punish or test someone (a parent?)

- Perfectionism (high standards, the need to over-achieve, or egotism), or a fear of being judged. If it's not done, nobody has to see your crappy work.

- Laziness. Sometimes an issue for people who can pass without working.

- Habit. See all the above.

- Dopamine addiction. The internet has given rise to the junk food equivalent of achievement.

- Unrealistic expectations, leading to a lack of motivation. Sorry, but they lied when they said the course / job you are getting into is the most important one in the world. They say that about every course / job.

peteretep 9 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.amazon.com/Self-Discipline-10-Days-Thinking-Doing... <-- this book pretty much sorted out my procrastination problem
makeramen 9 days ago 1 reply      
Very well written Edo, thanks! While I disagree that this applies to all cases of procrastination, it definitely applies to many, and was very eye (and mind) opening to read.

Curious if you have other writings posted anywhere? I'd love to read more about your thoughts on other topics.

gwern 9 days ago 0 replies      
> The reason why human-beings procrastinate is to feel in control of their life. The act of rebelling against an oppressor, an authorative figure telling you what to do, is your way of regaining mastery over your own fate.

The academic literature disagrees that procrastination is about rebelling, and 'efficacy' is only one factor; see http://lesswrong.com/lw/3w3/how_to_beat_procrastination/ and especially its reference section (Luke is great about jailbreaking PDFs and hosting them; I'm slowly reading through those specific PDFs).

ThomPete 9 days ago 1 reply      
I think you are replacing one extreme claim with another.

Becoming better at something means that either your body or your brain have to do do something that it's not used to and doesn't feel comfortable with. It doesn't matter how much you love what you do it's still going to feel harder and thus there are a million other things you would rather do.

When I were young I practiced the guitar 10 hours a day for a long period of time. I loved (and still love) music but it was hard even with this love for my field.

If I wanted to I could simply have been playing things that I already knew. Playing around and not getting any better.

But to become better at something you need to get the discipline to get on with it and that will "hurt".

There are no easy ways to become better.

jodrellblank 9 days ago 1 reply      
That doesn't seem to answer anything. If human beings procrastinate to feel in control, what of soldiers? They can be happy and fulfilled, work damn hard, and be only doing exactly what they are told.

The next question, for you perhaps, is "what do you fear so much about the idea of not being in control of your life?"

juliano_q 9 days ago 0 replies      
I think the OP argument makes a lot of sense. When I was young, my mother often asked (not exactly gently) to do some tasks and many times I refused just because I was obligated.

In the school and in the college it was exactly the same behavior, I refused to study but when I found an interesting topic outside the college (like programming) I had a lot of will to study it by myself. I never really learned anything in the school class, I am 100% autodidact. The single fact that I was obligated to learn something made me completly ignore that stuff.

user24 9 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is such good advice. You're right, I'm constantly having stern talks with myself about being a mature, clever guy and so why the heck am I wasting time, etc etc. Thankyou.
ctdonath 9 days ago 0 replies      
"The act of rebelling against an oppressor, an authorative figure telling you what to do, is your way of regaining mastery over your own fate."

Surely you jest.

Oh, sure, some people will procrastinate as rebellion.

Just as sure, some people procrastinate a simple matter of choosing from a menu: choosing steak over fish is for some a simple preference, not weighed down with rebellion against diet or splurging against budget. At a given moment I have the choice to do interesting thing X or less interesting thing Y; I choose X not out of the oppression of why Y is an option at all, but just because it is what I would rather do.

You may struggle against authority an procrastinate as an act of rebellion. Others because it's just what they would rather do.

hasenj 9 days ago 0 replies      
The other day I tried to use "LazyMeter". I got a few things done using it, but I felt extremely uncomfortable. The feeling was familiar: the same feeling I had in my previous job. I felt suffocated and deprived.
camperman 9 days ago 0 replies      
Of all the anti-procrastinating advice I've ever read, this is the most succinct and the most helpful. Thank you.
WilhelmJ 9 days ago 0 replies      
There are tons of interesting books I bought, but I have kept on procrastinating reading, since I know that I can always read them later. That feeling IMHO - that I own something and can process it later - is major cause of procrastination for me.

same way my browser windows are a mess with 70+ tabs open. Most of them are only open because the content is too interesting to close and I am too lazy to read!

olalonde 9 days ago 0 replies      
Reading all these comments, I'm starting to believe that something like Alcohol Anonymous would not be a bad idea for chronic procrastinators... Procrastinators Anonymous?
lists 9 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested in exploring the ascetic dimension of procrastination.

That may ring the wrong religious bells but the problem of procrastination in the West was first of all, and there's a lot of documentation surrounding this, a religious problem. Saint Jerome is the first to directly speak of idleness but it's even there in Paul's letters: How do you secure a base of pagans for your Judaic sect in a world swimming with very similar cults and mythologies? Keep em busy with your sect.

This is related to the consistent demand for communal surveillance stretching throgh all the church fathers; everyone should make sure everyone else is busy being faithful. So I wonder how and at what point that discussion of procrastination transforms into the modern formulation?

stray 9 days ago 0 replies      
Note to self: read this article in your copious free time...
sireat 9 days ago 0 replies      
The OP's point is a good one but it is not the whole story. People procrastinate for various reasons, as others have already attested.

Personally, I found a simple habit cured me of 50% of HN and Reddit addiction and let me work on things I had procrastinated for a long time:

First thing when I do every morning when I sit down at a computer is e-mail a simple TODO list to myself and also send a report of what I did on yesterdays TODO list.

This e-mail is very simple, a few items and simple descriptions. Only caveat is making the items "actionable" that is something you can do, not something you can just try or consider.

Also, if I do not complete every item on the list, I do not beat myself over it.

This takes a few minutes of time and was very easy to make a habit of using a Don't Break a Chain technique. After a week or so, it doesn't feel forced at all anymore.

Jach 9 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, sometimes you can't just think your way out of it.

Hopefully one day we'll have a repeatable, very high success method of letting people get work done when they consciously desire it.

RobertHubert 9 days ago 0 replies      
First off, Nice post. But I disagree slightly out of experience from my own toils with procrastination. I find that I, among many other humans simply want to remain in a state of comfort, whatever that means to each person. Every little thing that deviates one from constant comfort becomes a bump in the state of mind, this bump can be smoothed out in 1 of 2 ways, You can do what you should do, the task at hand, or you can put it off in exchange for a moment of instant gratification, or some distraction action. Now in behavioral theory, there is much less mental strife or tension involve in procrastination (initially), and if the competitor action to inaction a mentally or physically longer journey requiring more energy to complete, the natural response would be the shortest of the two. Instant gratification is powerful! Its a tug-of-war calculation between actions, we will do whatever we can do that's easier or more enjoyable unless we fear the outcome of inaction so much so that it out-ways the positives of the other. We are fundamentally powerless against this. For all you fellow entrepreneurs out there, we simply love building things more than anything else. My procrastination for example consists of working on projects or prototyping a new app. I will default to that when countered with options of going to the movies, eating out, or playing video games. One could argue however that fear of failure motivates one above all others to strive for success.
Just my 2 cents.
culturengine 9 days ago 0 replies      
Great post. Many great things can be achieved with a short burst of energy/focus, but these things are often temporary and unsustainable, which is why the Man Up approach gets trumped by the I Will Continue To Do Better approach once real life kicks in.
Killah911 9 days ago 0 replies      
Just got done reading "The Now Habit", and the book concurs with this prognosis. The book also suggest several ways to tackle these issues that cause procrastination. Anybody have any recommendations/pitfalls from "The Now Habit"?
adimitrov 9 days ago 0 replies      
Dear Procrastinator,

Go read up on the topic of procrastination, because it's actually an interesting field of research within psychology. I know you want to, because that way, you can procrastinate even more!

I'm appalled that nobody has yet mentioned http://procrastination.ca " home of the Uni Ottawa procrastination research group. Also home of the excellent iProcrastinate podcast: http://iprocrastinate.libsyn.com/

It turns out that procrastination is an immensely complex and multi-faceted issue, and no one single solution is going to help everybody. I like the OPs advice, but don't think it applies to every procrastinator! Also, it might be the right advice for you if you want to combat your procrastination, but it won't help you combat other "bad" aspects of your psyche, and eventually, you're going to fall into your old habits.

I'm talking out of experience here: I originally went to a psychiatrist because my life wasn't working out anymore (it was really that general.) Several (mostly inconclusive) diagnoses and 2 years of psychotherapy later, I feel like I'm finally starting to grasp why and how my life went wrong.

Not everybody who procrastinates has serious mental issues. But just as a hint: if, for a prolonged period of time, say, a year, you aren't able to get back on track, or you aren't able to fulfill your dreams or expectations, try a therapist, if you can afford it. (I happen to live in a country with free health care, so I didn't have to deal with that, gladly.)

horofox 8 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, I know the problem:

It's with our right hemisphere, it's the one of you that is creative, that had hopes as a child to really do something useful for the world, the one that is out of control, seeks freedom.

The thing is that you aren't doing art/music(that's what people frequently do with it) and art/music is well known as freedom, what you are probably doing is:

A stupid startup to proove yourself, make some money and shit. Even if you own twitter or facebook, it's still shit compared to art, believe me. It's shit.

If you were doing something that would eradicate some sickness in africa and would save millions of people or had anything altruist in it, i doubt your heart wouldn't be pumping from the second you started.

Believe me, it's because what you do is shit, your brain knows and it wants to free you from this bullshit.

I don't procrastinate to wash dishes for my girlfriend, no matter how much it's boring, i fucking love her. But you know, if i had to wash it for ME, i would procrastinate all day. You need love.

umjames 9 days ago 0 replies      
What about scheduling some time (daily or weekly) for doing the things that you would normally consider your procrastination activity? Has anyone here tried that? How did it work out? The more details you can provide, the better.
aterimperator 9 days ago 0 replies      
I like how this meshes with Cal Newport's ideas on procrastination. As I understand it, he views procrastination as the mind's natural tendency to avoid things it doesn't trust: that crappy plan you came up with for getting that project done? Yeah, you don't trust it, so why would you actually try to implement it?
amorphid 9 days ago 0 replies      
I have two forms of procrastination:

1. Virtual procrastination. This happens when I want to achieve more than I can physically do. The end of the work week is here, yet I don't have the sense to just let go and pick it up again next week. I feel burdened by my inability to complete the surplus tasks.

2. Vanilla procrastination. I hired an assistant. She helps me stay on track. I am a fan of this.

qaexl 9 days ago 0 replies      
I've had similar, fleeting thoughts brewing for a while. Seeing this stated together like this crystallized it. Thanks for sharing.
samspot 7 days ago 0 replies      
When I procrastinate, it is quite often a task I do want to accomplish for whatever reason. But I put it off because I'm tired, just don't feel like it, etc. The authority figure you refer to is the voice of wisdom telling me that if I don't go ahead and do it, I will regret it later (this figure is right 99% of the time).

My personality is a high 'C' (for compliance), meaning that I have an appreciation for authority. I think your original essay misses the fact that we all have different personalities and motivations.

mcritz 9 days ago 1 reply      
I'll finish reading this article later.
vetleen 9 days ago 1 reply      
VERY rarely do I stop and think "Wow. I was worng!" This is one of those times. GJ!
Sthorpe 9 days ago 0 replies      
The simple truth about procrastination is that it happens because you delay your happiness. The act that you are procrastinating or putting off is motivated by a risk of your final reward.
prawn 9 days ago 0 replies      
I procrastinate because I can get away with it. Any solution for me is derived entirely from that.
Arias 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is the first time I've heard someone speak of procrastination in this light, have to say its impressive. "Regaining mastery of your own fate" makes almost too much sense haha. It's eerily true, kid throwing the tantrum is a good example. We don't feel like doing it, but ;now we have to, so we build up stress and despise the fact that we have to. Very good advice!
olh 9 days ago 0 replies      
tldr: "The reason why human-beings procrastinate is to feel in control of their life."

The other parts are contradictions.

al-king 9 days ago 0 replies      
Dead on! Thinking in terms of "choosing" to do things rather than "needing" to do things has really helped me recently.
ailon 9 days ago 0 replies      
Next task - start listening to the way I talk to myself. I'm going to get to it right after I check the twitter. Honest!
sdoctor 9 days ago 0 replies      
amazing. eloquently describes some Truth I've been banging my head against the wall trying to explain to people but not able to find the words. It's the same dichotomy of inner-authority and genuine-self that drives people to force themselves to diet and then cheat on their diets etc
jamesrom 9 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Mind: Blown. What a great insight.

Words can't describe how well this resonates with me.

bobx11 9 days ago 0 replies      
The Now Habit is a book that explains that exact idea... I do procrastinate a bit less after reading that book.
toblender 9 days ago 0 replies      
Or you are simply experience "Resistance" as mentioned in the "War of Art".


trucious 9 days ago 0 replies      
So true. This was exactly my way of dealing with the deadlines in college.
doctororange 9 days ago 0 replies      
I put this together a few years ago with some similar insights... http://antiprocrastinator.com/
bo_Olean 9 days ago 0 replies      
Dear Edo,

Since you directly addressed me,

thanks for the insight. Do share more.




MushiD 9 days ago 0 replies      
Ashamed when I read something and learn that I'm causing these perceived issues all myself.
Thanx good post
tryitnow 9 days ago 0 replies      
I find that preventing myself from reading HN works wonders for reducing procrastination.
jrisg 9 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a procrastinator, I'm an anticipation junkie.
dreamisnot 9 days ago 0 replies      
I think that procrastinating is beliving there is an easier way to reach your real goals. If your real goal is to enjoy and do nothing procrastinating is the right way to go.
pknerd 9 days ago 0 replies      
Usually I procrastinate when I don't have a clear goal or not sure about it.
asdf3334 9 days ago 0 replies      
There is a colon where a semicolon belongs, and a semicolon where a colon belongs.
Jebdm 9 days ago 2 replies      
[citation needed]
ASK HN: 60 days in SF/ Bay Area: Would appreciate tips (startup on the road)
3 points by rsheth  1 day ago   1 comment top
martinshen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey Raj. I live in SF currently and would love to meet up and show you around... reach out at martin at UpOut.com
Earthquake Just Hit Colorado
6 points by georgecalm  1 day ago   4 comments top 3
nbpoole 1 day ago 0 replies      
There were two earthquakes in the past day: one in Colorado, one in Virginia.
dgunn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just hit in DC about 5 minutes ago. Gossip around the office indicates it was a 5.8. This was my first earthquake. So shakey!
aolnerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
yeah, felt that at the shore
Blog for your startup?
6 points by gdhillon  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
benblair 1 day ago 1 reply      
Write your own blog. I know it's an unnatural experience for those of us who would rather have our heads down coding, but it's worth it for several reasons:

1. You blog should speak with your own voice. Nobody can replicate your passion for what you're doing.

2. Nothing will help you refine your message more than trying (and initially failing) to communicate it.

3. Like it or not, your startup's success probably depends more on your ability to communicate than on your ability to code (you can already code, or you wouldn't be here). Doesn't mean you have to be awesome at it, but you do have to be good enough to get people to listen to what you're trying to say.

4. When, after lots of practice you do get good at it you'll actually start to enjoy sharing your thoughts with the world.

Good Luck-

- Ben

mattgratt 1 day ago 0 replies      
It depends what your goals are.

If you're blogging for traffic/links ala Mint.com, you can outsource it. Mint outsourced their early blogging to a finance blogger they found.

If you're blogging for B2B customers, or to become a thought leader, outsourcing can be tougher. It still can be done, but it's tough. Many ecommerce/web marketing companies with successful blogs have outsourced most of the content creation, or use multi-author blogs.

Ask HN: Updated recurring payment recommendations?
11 points by neovive  2 days ago   4 comments top 3
damoncali 2 days ago 0 replies      
Braintree is about $130 per month at near-zero transaction volume. Is that really too expensive? Payments are pretty fundamental and not an easy thing to swap out later. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Go with something good from the start.
templaedhel 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://stripe.com/ makes accepting CC and recurring payments extremely easy, and works as a merchant account as well. However it's in private beta. Some founders hang around HN, perhaps you can get an invite.
fastspring 1 day ago 1 reply      
You might take a look at SaaSy, which has zero monthly, setup, or chargeback costs irrespective of how small you may be, and your store can be designed and setup for no added cost.
Ask HN: How do you prepare your self for a tech interview?
7 points by aherlambang  2 days ago   8 comments top 5
Peroni 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best preparation doesn't involve studying detailed test examples or cramming about the fundamentals you have become a bit rusty on since your University CS days.

The ultimate prep for a tech interview or any interview for that matter is plenty of rest, reasonable research on the company you are interviewing with and getting a clear understanding of their expectations for the role you are applying for.

Tech interviews aren't designed to test how much study and preparatory work you can do, the most effective Tech interviews are designed to find out what your general competency is with specific technologies and what sort of coder personality you align to. The tests aren't designed to find out how good you are in one specific circumstance, they want to gauge what calibre of code you will produce should you work for them on a daily basis.

My advice: Get plenty of rest, stay calm, do your best on the day and if you failed miserably then chances are you avoided joining a company where the level of expectation would have led to unnecessary stress and pressure down the line.

wtracy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very curious to see the other answers to this, myself. Some things I've learned so far:

1. Different companies often have very different interview strategies. If you're interviewing with Google or Microsoft, you need to be mentally on your toes and able to solve programming problems and maybe some puzzles. If you're interviewing for a developer position at a large bank, the experience is completely different.

2. Don't focus on getting "the right answer" to the exclusion of everything else. You're not taking a standardized test--you're talking to a human being. Sometimes demonstrating interest will take you farther than being able to answer correctly all the obscure questions that get thrown at you.

If there's anything to take away from this in terms of how to prepare, I'd say its that being alert and engaged is just as important as knowing your stuff. Staying up the night before trying to memorize design patterns is likely to be counterproductive.

amorphid 2 days ago 2 replies      
Step 1. Be a good techie. Step 2. Interview at companies worth working at.
raviksharma 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think you are supposed to "prepare".

Make sure interviewer understands what you already know or can learn quickly if its something specific that job requires.

If you have to prepare for that role.. you are probably not a good fit. move on...

*Of course its a different matter altogether if you are fresh out of school.

scas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I'll skim the documentation on a certain technology if I expect I'll be asked on it, but most of the time I don't really do any sort of preparations. My experiences cover a lot of the technical questions I'm asked, so I usually have a quick answer.
Ask HN: How can I do something meaningful?
263 points by DotOrg  11 days ago   151 comments top 69
edw519 11 days ago 2 replies      
Please don't fall into the trap of believing that your daily work and working for the greater good are mutually exclusive.

You may not realize it, but you are often contributing to the greater good on a daily basis simply by doing your job. It's sometimes hard to visualize this because we are often many degrees of separation away from the "end user".

You don't actually have to be physically building that home for the homeless or providing food for the hungry; the work you're already doing may be helping someone to help someone else to do that.

I've even thought that the best way to put your technical skills to the greater good is through your day job, not instead of it.

Some of my days jobs have been to write software to ensure that:

  - people get the right prescription medication on time
- firetrucks and ambulances get to where they're supposed to be
- parts that go into cars and planes are properly certified
- prisoners are kept in jail
- those same prisoners get proper medical care
- electronic equipment gets assembled properly and on time
- medical supplies get dispatched to where they're supposed to
- insurance claims are processed properly
- quality data is properly maintained for food items

You don't need to do charity work on the side in order to contribute to the greater good.

On the other hand, if you don't think that the work you do during the day contributes to the greater good, then maybe you should consider doing something else with your valuable time.

Do good and get paid. You can do both at the same time.

jodrellblank 11 days ago 6 replies      

"Just as there is only one best charity, there is only one best way to donate to that charity. Whether you volunteer versus donate money versus raise awareness is your own choice, but that choice has consequences. If a high-powered lawyer who makes $1,000 an hour chooses to take an hour off to help clean up litter on the beach, he's wasted the opportunity to work overtime that day, make $1,000, donate to a charity that will hire a hundred poor people for $10/hour to clean up litter, and end up with a hundred times more litter removed. If he went to the beach because he wanted the sunlight and the fresh air and the warm feeling of personally contributing to something, that's fine. If he actually wanted to help people by beautifying the beach, he's chosen an objectively wrong way to go about it. And if he wanted to help people, period, he's chosen a very wrong way to go about it, since that $1,000 could save two people from malaria. Unless the litter he removed is really worth more than two people's lives to him, he's erring even according to his own value system.

...and the same is true if his philanthropy leads him to work full-time at a nonprofit instead of going to law school to become a lawyer who makes $1,000 / hour in the first place. Unless it's one HELL of a nonprofit."

(and the comments)

kalvin 11 days ago 2 replies      
When you say "these sorts of issues", it sounds like you're talking about injustice everywhere. You want to fix injustices-- food for the hungry-- instead of "adding happiness"-- better food photos for people with smartphones.

In which case, I FEEL YOU. I'm infinitely more interested in SwipeGood than I am in Zynga. But everyone makes their own choices. Some people just aren't that concerned with injustice. Some people may have the same goals you do, and try a different path; nonprofits/NGOs always have good intentions, but not always good results (have you ever tried fundraising? it's not any easier than just making money.) And finally, it's a heck of a lot harder to fix injustices than add happiness. It's harder to scale, too. Much easier to build that photo sharing startup and be happy. :)

You should figure out what exactly you want to do. Injustice is too broad. Pick something and start there. You can try to pick something where you think you'll have "the greatest impact", but it's a) impossible to predict, and b) it's better long-term if it's something you're passionate about and won't burn out on.

Khan Academy, Kiva, DonorsChoose, and Samasource are nonprofits that are popular/well-known in the tech/startup world. Do any of those interest you? What about them interests you?

Where are you located? If you're in the Bay Area, there's a lot of people working in/on nonprofits/foundations, social enterprises, and other innovative social change efforts. But there are so many problems to solve; figure out what motivates you first. (There's also a lot of crap, just like in tech, and it's probably harder to tell the difference because everyone is just "trying to do good" and there are no easy success metrics like revenue or profitability.)

Good luck! I hope you find something that's meaningful for you and makes an impact on those less fortunate than you.

chailatte 11 days ago 3 replies      
Careful, you might make new YC companies' head explode.

(YC S11) Interviewstreet is disrupting the recruitment space and create a place where the best hackers get the best jobs

(YC S11) Splitterbug private beta: track expenses with friends from your phone

Munch On Me (YC S11) Helps You Discover Tasty Dishes

Stypi (YC S11) Is Etherpad Reborn

Parse (YC S11): A Heroku For Mobile Apps

Envolve (YC S11) Launches An API For Real-Time Chat

Kicksend (YC S11) Launches To Make Sharing Big Files A Breeze

Snapjoy (YC S11) Will Organize Your Photos For You

Leaky (YC S11) is Hipmunk for Car Insurance

Picplum (YC S11) is automatic photo printing service created to help you easily share your best memories with friends and family

Plus about 10-15 (YC S11) Advertising companies (a guess)


ZeroCater (YC W11) Raises $1.5 Million For No-Hassle Office Lunches

Mz 11 days ago 2 replies      
I did lots of volunteer work for years. I was a homemaker raising special needs kids and wrestling with health issues. A real career was out of my reach. I was also a major bleeding heart, something I have worked to get over. I've thought a lot about such things. Some things I piddle around with part time (while continuing to resolve my own issues, that are supposed to be unresolvable):

I keep a small, out of date parenting and homeschooling site. It rarely gets updated. I still hope this will change someday. I also keep my toe in on a list or two. I believe firmly that if you want to see less crime, fewer people in prison and so on, you should put more societal resources into supporting families and helping people be good parents and helping kids get raised right. I think every little bit helps in this regard. So I continue to be a resource, on a small scale, for folks who have very challenging children.

I also run a health site. I have a form of cystic fibrosis, as does my oldest son. I have figured out how to get us well. I share that info to the best of my ability, in spite of huge negative reactions from the CF community. My thought is that I would like to write a game (aka simulation) to better share my understanding of what works. My approach is a diet and lifestyle approach which flies in the face of what most people know to be true about this deadly condition. I do not want to do this as a charity. Yet I can't do it as a traditional business model. Maybe something like a freemium model will work. I'm not sure.

I'm pretty disillusioned and disenchanted with the charity model. It tends to fundamentally assume that people cannot help themselves. I think this tends to cause big problems and you need to be very, very careful about such underlying assumptions. I have overcome some very serious personal problems. In the course of doing so, I have routinely run into "helpers" who had to be ditched at some point -- even if they were professionals. It is standard modus operandi of most such people to want to help you walk better but not want you to stand entirely on your own two feet because then they have no role in life as someone's crutch. My experience has been that such people have an enormous need to be needed and can't imagine anyone would genuinely "love" them or befriend them as an equal. It speaks simultaneously of both phenomenal arrogance (often rooted in being much more competent than average) and phenomenal insecurity (often rooted in having been given hell socially for most of their lives, in part for the crime of being too competent).

I would like to see the world be a better place. I consider that to be a form of selfishness: If the world is a better place, I get to live in a better place. I see no reason why a charity model is fundamentally superior to a business model for achieving such a goal. I see lots of cases where a charity model is part of the problem. One notable "exception" is Habitat for Humanity. Please note they are not really a charity per se: They do not give away houses for nothing. They sell the houses and recipients have to also provide labor beforehand. They just a) don't sell at a profit b) due to volunteer labor and donated supplies, not selling at a profit means selling a house for substantially less than it is typically worth on the open market and c) they don't charge interest on the loan. This combo makes the loan payments dramatically less than house payments typically are.

Anyway, those are my rambling thoughts while exhausted and foolishly posting anyway.


dpatru 11 days ago 2 replies      
Stephen Covey gives a useful framework: Do the intersection of your ability, the existing need, your interest, and the important. Ask yourself, "What can I do (ability) that other people value (need), that I like (interest) and that I feel is ultimately important?

Also, before you embark on saving the world, you might want to study a little Austrian economics. A lot of charity work and government programs are inefficient or actually contributing to poverty because they are contrary to economic law. You don't want spend few years of your life trying to solve poverty only to realize that you've been part of the problem.

In general, societies become wealthy when they are virtuous and economically free. Virtue causes them to generate and keep wealth. Economic freedom helps them build wealth efficiently. If you want to make any society richer from a macro level, you might focus on improving one or both of these: help that society become more virtuous and more free.

Regarding virtue, you might work to decrease drunkenness (Alcoholics Annonymous), drug use, and other vices. These activities harm individuals and their families and contribute to poverty.

Regarding freedom, you might work in politics to protect property rights, to have sound money and market prices, to allow people to work without licensing and other artificial restrictions, to reduce taxes. You can also work to spread price information and make markets more efficient (Craigslist, EBay and AirBnB do this.)

On a lower abstract level, you can work to produce some good or service which people value but is in short supply. That is, find a popular, over-priced good or service, and offer it at a lower price and better quality. Khan Academy is doing this for K-12 education.

temphn 11 days ago 6 replies      
This might be an unpopular opinion, but a nonprofit/charity will never make as big a difference as a true for-profit vehicle that is pointed at the same problem.

Nonprofits are ultimately financially unustainable; they survive on donations and government grants (tax) rather than direct contributions from customers. As such they usually can't scale to employ many people or make a worldwide impact.

There are exceptions in the information age; Wikipedia, Khan Academy, and perhaps over time Document Cloud. But these too are only useful for people who have computers, not people who lack food.

In general countries only drag themselves out of poverty through capitalism and industry. India and China had decades of foreign aid before they turned to capitalism; now there are many industries in which they are net exporters.

damienkatz 10 days ago 0 replies      
I'm late to this thread, but I'd like to add that just doing your job very well is a great way to give back to the world.

I design database software. I do it because I think it's cool, and I think it's important to have easy to use software that solves IT problems. My software is now being used in rural hospitals in Africa to update patient records, and in disaster areas to help reunite lost children and parents. I had nothing to do with those things, I just design and write database software, but they built on my work, because I did my job well.

Doing your job well can inspire, make people happy, provide a base, provide stability, etc. It can help others do those things that put a happy tear in your eye, that you know made a profound difference in someones life, you don't need to be the actual hero to do good in the world, to make a real difference.

kamens 11 days ago 3 replies      
We'd love to have anyone passionate about changing the world of education apply to Khan Academy.


waterside81 11 days ago 4 replies      
I've been toying with the idea of an organization along the lines of Engineers without Borders ("Hackers without Borders"?) or something to that effect where developers lend their talents to causes all over the world. Not saying that an iPhone app can solve everything, but I'm sure there's quite a few ways where simple apps here or there could make a big difference.

Does anyone know of something like this out in the wild already? Seems like an obvious idea.

blackboxxx 11 days ago 2 replies      
Mother Theresa once said: "When I look upon the masses I can do nothing. When I look upon the one, I can do something."

Find someone to help. Help them. You have then changed the world for the better. Now do it again.

fauigerzigerk 10 days ago 0 replies      
First of all, I think, you are greatly underestimating the role of productivity growth in fighting poverty.

Apart from the forces that directly increase productivity (science, markets, entrepreneurship, etc), I think, the most important factor for creating broad based wealth is transparent, evidence based, predictable governance and a functioning legal system. It's not about low taxes or high taxes or small or big government. There are very low tax countries that work and very high tax countries that work and everything in between.

So if I was going to do non profit work, I would look into ways of creating transparency, shedding light on areas that affect many people but suffer from lack of good data. Try to connect new sources of data related to poverty and make it available to the public, to economists, social scientists and governments. Or try to make money flows visible to fight corruption or misinformation. Things like that.

qw 10 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's too easy to focus on specific problems (food/water/medicine), rather than focusing on the cause of these issues. There are many countries that have the resources to take care of themselves, but lack the social and political structure to do so.

Someone needs to take care of these problems in the short term of course, since there are people suffering today, but it is also important to focus on how to reduce their needs.

There's no technological magic bullet to solving political and social issues, but there are ways to reduce them. One major problem in some parts of the world is corruption. I'm not thinking of the white collar corruption that can be found in the western world, but basic corruption such as having to bribe your child's teacher so that he will let your child in. In some cases you even have to bribe health personnel for the right to "free" health care or other forms of aid. In some countries the corruption is everywhere and is hurting the society.

If someone could find a cheap and reliable way of reducing corruption you would do a lot of good.

antoncohen 11 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to do something meaningful, do not start a charity. Charities will not give all the unemployed people jobs. Start a company.

It doesn't matter if the company makes frivolous garbage, as long as it employs 30,000 people in Detroit. People in Africa are not starving because you don't have a charity that gives them free medicine. They are starving because there is no one in Africa starting a company that employs 30,000. It doesn't matter what that company does, as long as it does something other people want to pay for, and it is able to provide employment for people.

Innovation feeds the economy. Even if that innovation sounds as frivolous as web advertising. That frivolous company may be the next Google, they may employ 30,000, and they may even help people who don't have clean drinking water.

bcks 11 days ago 0 replies      
I've worked primarily with human rights focused non-profit organizations for the last 15 years or so. I'm a generalist who can do a bit of design, tech, management and strategy so I offer a good mix of skills for organizations.

idealist.org is a good place to look for tech or design work with non-profits. I also got my start just cold-calling groups I respected. Most didn't know what to do with me, but all it took was one or two projects before word-of-mouth referrals started to spread.

If you are serious about starting a non-profit, the NOLO books are a good mix of legal and practical advice and often include the forms you need. Check nolo.com. But I recommend volunteering as a board member or advisor, or working with an existing non-profit so you can get a closer look at the mechanics before you dive in. If you have a very specific idea for a charity or project, perhaps get an hour consultation with a lawyer who specializes in non-profit corporations.

Feel free to drop me an email if you have more specific questions.

vinay_gupta 11 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, I did. An open hardware building system called the hexayurt.

I started in 2002, and went through years of working with shelter charities, the US military and various other groups to get the technology into the field. There are experimental units in Haiti and Sri Lanka right now!

On the way I learned a hell of a lot about how the entire mess works, and why humanitarian innovation is so slow. There's a couple of talks on the hexayurt web site which might give you useful context: "Ending Poverty with Open Hardware" and "Enabling Humanitarian Innovation."

Please feel free to drop me a line if you have specific questions, and do check out Google Image Search on hexayurts to get an idea of where they're being used most right now!


gfodor 11 days ago 1 reply      
A good friend of mine has a startup called SmallAct whose goal is to provide software that lets non-profits better engage with their donors through social media. It is a nice cross between the types of projects traditionally attacked by your typical silicon valley startup (they're based in DC however,) but instead of using that type of technology to support rampant consumerism or sharing cat pictures it's instead focused upon indirectly helping the global problems you mention.


Also, I work for Etsy, which is providing a way for people to become more self-reliant and giving consumers a way to form a more human connection with the people they purchase goods from. We're in NYC.


sundeep_b 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everyone wants to do something to make their life meaningful. The time that takes to discover that something is the most crucial of times and the deciding factor of what we are going to do. For example, I want to invent something that makes life easier and probably do few patents around it. The question is 'where do I start?'. There are innumerable fields that I can choose among and do my research.Having realized that it is a very long term goal, I started to dig to see which field can bring the spark in me. I might probably reach to a conclusion in five years, but I will. That's only an example.

You have mentioned that you would like to start a nonprofit of your own. So do I and most of our friends here. The question again is where do I start? Then, there are innumerable ways that help can be passed. We have to start digging as to what, when existent now, can do the delta the world needs.The simple answer here is to start helping in all ways you can - volunteer and meet people. Charity Water also didn't start within a week. The man left his life and joined a charity organization(Mercy Ships), met people and got to know their problems - It all fit in a line, but took several years of hardship to him, but at the end lies all the satisfaction, right?. Then he has seen a solution and found the best ways to fill it.

One wise man said that "Every great idea is the result of a moment's inspiration". True and in addition I feel that every great organization is the result of hours of hard work on that idea. So, what you have felt is inspiration and what you need is time to find your great idea and then start working on it. Good Luck!

wccrawford 11 days ago 1 reply      
And I think you're naive if you think that giants stand alone. They don't. They stand on the shoulders of the little people. Without restaurant finders, giants waste time trying to find a restaurant, instead of doing whatever world-improving they do.

It's a cumulative thing, and without all the little niceties, the important stuff doesn't get done.

Don't knock the little people. They're helping, too.

kentf 11 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great question and something I struggle with everyday. All I know is that the typical answer of.

"Well, I am going to do this thing that makes money and then when I am rich I will give back"

Is bullshit. You either give back or you don't. It's not a question of time and money.

I try and do as much local charity work as I can, I try to be present when listening to friends and family. I try and treat my wife and my family as the most important people in the world so that they can bring that love to other places, but I hear what you saying.

I want to be working on things that change the world. I think at some level, we all want to be.

Thank you for asking / sharing.


Joakal 11 days ago 0 replies      
I'm doing a project that I think will help globally albeit it's a hobby project (as long I finish it, haha). The thing about my project is that it's not about altruistic desire to help people, it's about building towards something grander for me, a home in space.

The YC and other entrepreneurs ALWAYS help people. If they didn't, their business folds. Because simply: it's not useful to people. eg They created an app to put moustaches on every picture; you may think it's not helping people but it'll give a smile to families who see the wedding pictures with moustaches everywhere. So, help to people is quite subjective.

On the other hand, it sounds like you're doing a 'numbers of helping many people for as little work possible'. This is incredibly hard. For example, if you give water to communities but you also have to deal with culture that creates inefficiency issues. eg Corruption, malice, war and population issues. Yes, you could be exacerbating the problem by making their lives easier but in long term worst as so many people are reliant on you giving water. Don't always assume that helping many people at once will be the best solution.

I hope you seek something that's very helpful and is long term solution for them. Even if it's only helping one person. If that person lives to wealthy world life expectancy, that's better than many suffering at once because that person can pass on knowledge, etc.

If you want to get some ideas, listening to problems is usually helpful, then brainstorm with it. eg over a million children are trafficked; maybe create cheap GPS transmitters for children so parents in home countries can track their children's 'work opportunities' and report discrepancies. Bonus: There's an awful lot of lazy people or people with not enough time that talk about ideas but never execute them. Since you want to execute something, you have a lot of research and brainstorm material done for you!

Some directions to go from:





Last tip: Try to release your project! It's time wasted if you let it be in obscurity. If you don't want to do it any more, release it anyway. eg free code repositories, free blog post with project notes and research, etc. People like me who want to do something similar to you will be able to make use of it.

philwelch 11 days ago 0 replies      
Families who never thought it would happen to them across the United States are finding themselves homeless. My wife is from a small town that just 15 years ago had very high employment. Today the town is rapidly turning into a miniature Detroit after the main employer of the town closed down and moved overseas. Countless numbers of children are going hungry this summer since their primary and often times only nutritious and filling daily meal is their school lunch.

The solution is to create a successful business. It doesn't matter what the business does, as long as it makes money you're guaranteed to be making a positive difference. Not only are you creating enough value somewhere in the world to make that kind of profit on your work, but you're also providing a sustainable income for yourself and all your employees.

puredemo 10 days ago 0 replies      
Make an app that somehow pushes US politicians to see the merits of a reality based worldview?

That's about what it would take for small towns to start doing well in the US again. It's a matter of political will, not technological progress.

Ross Perot predicted what you're seeing in small towns today about 20 years ago. He called it, the "giant sucking sound" of jobs leaving America if NAFTA was passed. That's exactly what you're experiencing today.

TL;DR: Trade deficits matter.

mad44 11 days ago 0 replies      
Eric Brewer (uc Berkeley) has been working on technologies for developing regions. Directional antenna for 802.11 so that villages can connect to Internet, software so that doctors can remotely diagnose patients. His presentation on his homepage is very inspiring. (sorry I am away from my laptop and can't provide a link.)

I really like the question in this thread and look forward to see insightful suggestions in the comments.

trotsky 11 days ago 0 replies      
You should take a look at "Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism" by Muhammad Yunus. He won the nobel peace prize in 2006 for his groundbreaking work on Grameen Bank. I really like the idea of social entrepreneurs, applying a non-loss structure and energy to solving social problems. In my experience a lot of non-profits struggle by underfunded and not living up to their potential.
msutherl 11 days ago 0 replies      
I'm of the opinion that it's hard to say that a good deed done in a dire situation is ethically superior to a good deed done in a less dire situation. Rather than address the problems of less fortunate people elsewhere in the world, I work to make my own world better.

My favorite way to justify my work is that I'm interested in making things and events that make life worth living.

While I do this, I try to minimize the extent tow which my actions are connected to the exploitation of others. When it comes to computers and other complex technologies, I try to "concentrate firepower", which means to use high-tech tools only in situations when it will have a significant effect. Otherwise I use simple tools.

tomkinstinch 10 days ago 0 replies      
If you're in the US, take a look at jobs in the DOE National Lab system. There are many of good hackers working on real problems. Bioenergy, materials science, systems biology, cyber security, supercomputing, and computer science are all happening at the Labs. It's a little like academia, but much more applied and practical.
ddw 11 days ago 0 replies      
I think providing non-trivial information that can help people make decisions is important and something that CS people can do. I'm thinking of maybe open data from/about governments that would allow for greater civic engagement. I live in the U.S. so it's still not as dire as other places, but still it's something.

I'm glad that someone is thinking about this instead of a new way to sell ads.

cjbprime 10 days ago 0 replies      
The best thing you can do is probably to donate a significant percentage of your income to an effective international aid organization, like VillageReach or Oxfam. The money you're earning performing your standard job is simply able to produce more good than having you fly around the world attempting to do things to help (usually in an inferior way to locals) would.

I've been doing this for a few years:

And I've come to rely on GiveWell, which is an organization performing quantitative review of which charities produce the most good per dollar donated:

Good luck!

graemem 11 days ago 0 replies      
I'm currently in India working with an NGO building software for surveying, rebuilding their website, and trying to work with a group at IIT who are building an open source GIS software.

There are plenty of NGOs who could use your skills. Governments are coming to expect computer work, GIS maps, survey data etc. This puts NGOs who are behind the times at a real disadvantage for getting funding and getting on with their projects.

There are plenty of things you could do outside your field aswell. Some research and finding some people in the know is all it would take. Have a look at Engineers without borders.

pnathan 11 days ago 0 replies      
The company that employs me creates devices that help make electric power safer, more reliable, and more economical. We're not a startup, though. :-)

In my immediate memory, we've been working with electrification projects for two different Third World countries. Our technology has helped bring electricity to places that never had it before.

I'm proud to be a part of that.

chubs 10 days ago 0 replies      
Find a mentor. If you're serious, and not just 'going through a phase', you'll need people to spur you on with this. Find some organisations you admire, eg kiva, and email the founders to see if they'd mentor you or if they could recommend anyone.

Some friends and I have been going through these issues lately, and we're desperately trying to find out how we can change the world. Here's what we've come up with:

* Do what you can now. Start small. eg Don't put it off until "one day when i'm rich".
* Work with what's in your hands, in your sphere of influence. If nothing is in your hands right now, you can change yourself.
* Find friends who are of the same mind, and spur each other on.
* Read LOTS. Grow yourself. Read about leadership. That's the starting point. Start by reading seth godin, i'd recommend.
* Change the world for the better in one small way every day.
* Learn how to take initiative, start things, and complete them.

paulschreiber 8 days ago 0 replies      
About four years ago, I started to get restless. I had been working for a large fruit company for quite some time. I had done pretty well in my job and learned a lot. I was a better engineer, better communicator and better person.

While I felt proud of the fights I had won on behalf of users (every time you type command-comma and it works…), making them more productive at their jobs, I felt I wasn't doing enough to help people directly. I didn't want to just make tools to help other people work on big important problems or give them money " I wanted to work on big, important problems.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to volunteer for the Obama campaign in 2008. What started out as a couple of phone calls turned into two months of solid work, helping register hundreds of thousands of voters and making sure folks found their polling places. I didn't lose touch with the grassroots field volunteer in me, either: I was on the phone, too, talking to regular voters.

I wanted to be this inspired by my work all of the time. After shipping another big cat, I left. I spent a month helping Engineers Without Borders Canada (important: not all EWBs are created equal), and went through a leadership development fellowship.

While my number one passion is for the environment and energy efficiency " and I'm not doing that " yet, I have been fortunate to pick and choose some really cool projects:

  - creating an online application process for college and university scholarships
- helping EWB Canada win $50,000
- doing strategy/UI/fundraising for a network of student-run food co-ops
- building a text messaging-based tool to remind people to vote

Now I'm working on TurboVote, a nonprofit service that makes voting by mail as easy as renting a DVD from Netflix. If you've ever tried to track down an absentee ballot request form, voter registration form and county clerk mailing address, you know what a hassle that is. We make it easy.

Where this becomes a big deal is not in presidential elections, where turnout is 50-60% (which is pretty shameful), but in local, primary and special elections, where it drops to 10%. But once you're signed up to vote by mail, you just get the ballots … and you vote … and maybe we get turnout to 15%. It's not a lot, but relatively speaking, it's a big deal.

If this sounds like fun, we're hiring a rails developer:

quique 10 days ago 1 reply      
Epic question for humanity but I would phrase the question as, "how do I do something with meaningful [impact]?"

Currently I think of meaningful impact as:

-The depth of behavioral change you create in an individuals' lifetime

-The breadth and scale of behavioral interactions created
eg you use Instagram for 1min/day for a month with 100 friends vs a computer for 12hrs/day for life with millions of people (note: I'm not saying one is more or less meaningful than the other; small/simple interactions can turn into something big)

Secondly, I find it difficult to do something "meaningful" without a clear purpose or intention to create impact...(while admitting that at the early stages, visions are often opaque and intentions change)

How entrepreneurs respond to "how are you creating meaningful impact?" helps me decide which startups to invest in...wish I could write more but need to go back to DOing...

Others say:
"Impact is a change in the state of the world brought about by an intervention. It's the final result of behaviors (outcomes) that are generated by activities (outputs) that are driven by resources (inputs)." -Kevin Starr, Mulago Foundation

-Know your mission (in 8 words using verb, target, & outcome) ex. save pre-mature babies in poor countries http://embraceglobal.org/

-Measure the right thing (the single best indicator)

-Measure it well (the right baseline & interval + show that it was you eg tight story, matched control, randomized controls)

A little algorithm to think about the impact you're creating: Is it needed? Does it work? Will it get to those who need it? Will they use it right?

Text: http://www.mulagofoundation.org/ideas/r/how-we-think-about-i...

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMEpvxGBkFU<br/>;

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/aynne/design-for-real-impact-0610

Other points of view:
-"A change in purpose changes a system profoundly, even if every element and interconnection remains the same." Donella Meadows http://thinkinginsystems.org/

-"Purpose first, then profit" as part of Umair Haque's New Capitalist Manifesto

-"Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations."

Detrus 11 days ago 0 replies      
Similar thread from a while back mentioning charitywater http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2822610 Spammy?

And I'll start with my old answer here.

I'm suspicious of attempts to solve problems in the developing world that aren't part of an all around solution. Making it easier to grow food, get water without a simultaneous plan to lower population size is a dangerous game. I think the old school approaches to charity are very wrong and if you want to do something useful for humanity, they are the last place to do it.

Yes the responses about making it easier to market crap being useful to humanity are funny and cruel. But they hint that we in the developed world don't care about poverty. We've seen many shocking ads with starving children asking for money and now we are disillusioned because charities haven't delivered after decades. In the US, well intentioned programs implemented in the 70's made the problem much worse.

Poverty in poor countries won't end until developed countries let them into the global economy on fair terms. That's how China got where it is and now we market their crap on iPhones. Is that a better world? Not exactly.

yason 10 days ago 0 replies      
They say you don't need to do great things, just little things with great love. That's pretty true in my experience.

Also, there's always that snarky little angle when seeking for something meaningful to do: you're in effect seeking a meaningful life, or just a meaning, for yourself. So there's that selfish aspect there as well. And that sort of implies judgment: you decide it's wrong that other people are wronged; however, the world is often a bit gray and it is gray on that, too. You don't know what these people are going through by living their poor lives and great suffering. And you don't know why. And no matter who it is you can't just go out and decide some people need help: these people need to ask for help themselves, only then they can receive.

That's what I think the starting quote means: you can ask for being a helper yourself and then wait how that unfolds in your case. Most likely it's something that comes up in your everyday life, hence the little things with great love. That's where you have the greatest possible leverage to do good because it's your everyday life and you're invested in it yourself as well.

rms 10 days ago 0 replies      
You're probably best off making as much money as you can and putting it to work via an efficient charity than trying to save the world yourself.

This post spells it out via endless links of endlessness: http://lesswrong.com/lw/373/how_to_save_the_world/

d0ne 11 days ago 0 replies      
While I'm not currently at liberty to discuss the specifics a start-up I'm involved with, Social Fortress[1], is working with several human rights organizations to implement aspects of our technology for the purpose of allowing individuals to communicate privately, using open communication channels, without having to fear that their government can see / access the content of those communications.

To answer your question directly:

Find a problem that affects people of all 'levels' of society and do your best everyday to solve for it.

[1] https://www.socialfortress.com - The site is sparse on technical information but expect that to change in the coming weeks. Any specific questions can be directed to feedback@socialfortress.com

stwe 10 days ago 0 replies      
There are some great NGOs for hackers that do awesome stuff: e.g. the Sunlight Labs in the US, MySociety and the Open Knowledge Foundation (disclaimer: associated) in the UK. They build apps for government transparency (also international aid transparency) and participation. I believe that these are the hackers who actually make the world a better place.
ga 11 days ago 4 replies      
The question is now "how", but "should you".

Doing something meaningful, in the way you described it, looks a lot to me like guilt over a perceived unfairness of life. Yes people are dying in remote places, yes people need healthcare in the US, and yes not everyone has a job. You want to try and fix the situation, but many others also have tried, and failed.

Maybe you want to do that to be relieve of your guilt, to try and find happiness instead. I mean it's very popular to say that you are trying to change the world, making it a better place, and so on, but then in the end, will it make you happy?

And even worse- what is your final objective? Being happy?

Maybe you perceive a dysfunction is the way the world works vs how you think it should work. Then your goal might be to "remove biais", or be "less wrong". Some blogger might help you in your path.

If your goal is finding consistence, there are many ways which do not always involve doing "something meaningful" in the sense of charity work. Abstaining from charity and being vocal about it, trying to make more people join such absentionist movements, might be very positive. A lot of people believe the problems for exemple in Africa are due to foreign involvement creating a long lasting dependance on aid, food, and so on. Basically, it might not be good to have more people on a continent that can be fed by the production of this given continent. Here the lack of action would have dire consequences in the short term, but would improve the situation in the long term - and it would be self consistent.

If you goal is happiness, a better shortcut might be finding happiness without having to resort to such a guilt-ridden trip of charity, ie learnt to not care anylonger!

If your your goal is being popular, ie respond to peer pressure which views charity work in a positive light, maybe you could find some other way that is also well received - say american idol, a free software project that'll make you famous, fight again racism/global warming/whatever is popular these days.

But from what I have read in your message, I would sincerily question your premises.

Instead of doing what is better "for the world" or "for the global good", have you considered the possibility of doing "what's fun", "what you like", or "what is important to you"? You do not need justifications or moral endorsement to do that. Yet it requires some serious introspection.

If you do have considered these alternatives, and if you are sure of your premises, have you identified limitating beliefs, ie the reason why you consider these alternatives not to be worth your limited time on this earth?

rokhayakebe 11 days ago 0 replies      
1- Help others do something meaningful to them.

2- Or do like Billy. Create a monopoly in an industry and rip most of the benefits. Then take the profits and eradicate Malaria.

Note: It is arguable that Bill Gates alone does more good than all the charity donated through DonorsChoose or Kiva etc..

sidman 11 days ago 0 replies      
Its not that black and white. Just cause your startup isnt directly fixing the world problems it doesnt mean that one day it might not. Either directly or indirectly.

I hate to say it but i think in more cases then not the kind of startups that most of us imagine doing (ie web startups) have a hard time doing anything to solve the worlds problems directly (the worlds problems that you mentioned more specifically). Not saying there isnt (i seen a few that raise money and help schools execute projects for instance but there are only a handful) but for the most part they do not tackle for example educational problems DIRECTLY such as say OLPC does.

I really love sal khans khanacademy stuff, its truly awesome but it isnt getting to the kids that dont have a roof over their school let alone an internet connection and many of these schools could really use his material.

This material might one day with the help of a very rich successful individual who is willing to purchase computers for the less fortunate parts of the world to then be able to view khans stuff. I think this applies to ALL web startups that isnt directly raising money for the problem parts of the world.

BUT what can be done is, the success (monetary or influential) we get from allowing people to find restaurants that are near them, or allows people to search for data easier <insert startup goal here> can be put to good use.

Maybe even purchase those computers for some unfortunate part of the world that will then allow them to view sal's, standfords or any similar educational content that will actually change the lives of those kids.

Swizec 11 days ago 0 replies      
Reading this, I had this thought:

The internet is my world. Therefore all my ideas are The Next Better Widget (tm). I think I need to go on an internet diet for a month.

Will have to think about this, thanks for giving me personally dangerous ideas DotOrg.

kevinconroy 11 days ago 0 replies      
All three of my favorite non-profit tech charities are hiring programmers:

Kiva - http://www.kiva.org/jobs
DonorsChoose - http://www.donorschoose.org/docs/software-engineer.htm
GlobalGiving - http://www.globalgiving.org/aboutus/jobs/software-engineer-f...

noahfradin 10 days ago 0 replies      
Companies that do good are becoming more and more popular as companies like TOMS shoes and Ethos water prove the value of cause based marketing. Also, incorporating giving into an existing business is becoming easier. My company, CherryCard, connects charitable giving with everyday purchases by enabling companies to give a percentage of their sales to the charities of their customers' choice. We believe that whenever money changes hands a little bit should go to charity. You'll get 25 cents to give to the charity of your choice for free when you sign up at CherryCard.org so that you can try it out and get a feel for the service. I feel very strongly about the importance and potential of incorporating giving into business, which is why we have built CherryCard to give companies an effective turnkey cause marketing solution and built incentives for companies to give more. If you ever want to chat about the place for giving in business shoot me an email at noahfradin@cherrycard.org. Oh and you should definitely all sign up and give your free 25 cents to The World Food Program. They need the money right now and 25 cents can give a starving child a meal.
te_chris 11 days ago 0 replies      
I'm involved with a company here in New Zealand called Enspiral. I'll take no credit for much of anything as my involvement is mainly through their contracting arm, however they're a great example of using entrepreneurship to try and effect social change.

Check out their website here: http://enspiral.com

taraseshan 9 days ago 0 replies      
This really resonated with me.

While I do appreciate the sentiments expressed below (that we're doing good by doing our daily work) I do think that we can take an extra effort to make a positive contribution to the world. Yes, doing your daily work and doing good aren't mutually exclusive, but dedicating yourself to doing good explicitly is better than plugging away at something that coincidentally creates social value along with the main goal of corporate benefit. And yes, that does matter.

It's definitely difficult to fix injustices. It's definitely not as easy as creating the next iPhone game or daily deals site. Nevertheless, it needs to get done, by someone, and I think it's wonderful that you want to be that person. Step up to the challenge, you're one of the few.

I can't give that much tangible advice-I'm trying to do the same thing and am fairly clueless. Nevertheless, here's my (up)vote of confidence!

sbkirk 10 days ago 0 replies      
I'm the co-founder of TechiesGiveBack (techiesgiveback.org). We are aimed at helping the NY tech community give back to charity. We've considered different ways for how to approach this problem. I've also been approached or spoken to a variety of different companies looking to make a difference - Crowdrise, IndieGoGo (which we used for a recent fundraising campaign), Let's Give, and others.

Just spoke to Gabriel Weinberg about his open source tithing effort this morning (http://www.gabrielweinberg.com/blog/2010/11/help-me-start-a-...).

We are working on our own new initiative which will allow mature startups and tech companies to let their employees donate a little bit of their paycheck to charity. I'd be happy to talk about that over email...

(We don't take any money for ourselves - we do it pro bono and all work in tech. We raise money for other charities).

draz 11 days ago 0 replies      
it's interesting that no one mentioned the good produced when a company that does not do "good," per se, makes good money (for profit) and then donates some of it to worthy causes. I personally think this is the ultimate win-win situation: you provide a service people want (that is, increase of happiness), but at the same time also help those who cannot afford you service (increase in good).
ltamake 11 days ago 0 replies      
If that really motivates you, go for it. If you think you can make a difference in communities struck by poverty, start a company. A few ideas are a simple social donation service with a spin or a site that allows you to send items easily through the mail (eBay for charity).
keeptrying 10 days ago 0 replies      
I think your answer is within your question. Do what the charity water guy did. Go volunteer abroad. Maybe 1 month or 2 months to start with. If you dont like it then at least you've helped out for 2months and you'll know your not meant to volunteer fulltime.

As you see how these people live and their problems you'll come up with a solution because your a software engineer - thats what we do.

June 9 days ago 0 replies      
A common misperception is that you need to be a non-profit in order to pursue a social mission but this is not necessarily the case. As a charity you can raise money but are limited in your ability to generate revenue. A for-profit organization is self-sustaining and doesn't have to rely on grants or donations.

Here are a few links:
Unreasonable Institute http://unreasonableinstitute.org/
Ashoka http://www.ashoka.org/
Social Edge http://www.socialedge.org/
B Corporation http://www.bcorporation.net/

jhdavids8 11 days ago 0 replies      
I just want to say that if you can't think of something substantial or meaningful to do, don't get discouraged. Trust me, I'm in your boat and don't know where to start. While I try to find that start, I'm also trying to focus on a startup I do believe in but I know is no charitable 'game-changer'. It's easier to have that bright idea or enforce some charitable influence once you have personal influence and resources (cough, cough..money). If you're in that position, you can make substantial difference much easier (and yes, you don't necessarily need those things either, but they do help)
ww520 11 days ago 0 replies      
Nice topic.

Though not related solving these basic need problems, I'm working on providing very low cost (free) communication for people far away. Hopefully I'll get something to show soon.

edcrfv 10 days ago 0 replies      
Start by doing something small. Do it well. Do it again and again and again. Until you think you can scale it up and it doesn't interfere with any of your personal commitments or dreams.

I was really impressed with this video by Derek Sivers about how startups don't need funding to start. Though in a different context, it puts the point across. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KLnXjqKL5g) If you want to make a big difference, start by doing smaller things and scale up.

mapster 11 days ago 0 replies      
Don't make it so complicated. Look at life through a child's eyes. If you see something wrong - think about the most obvious solution, and take basic steps to solve it. (i.e. People are dying of disease from dirty water. How can I get them clean water or a water purifier? I will raise money, buy 100 water purifiers and fly to that country and deliver them.)
paulrademacher 11 days ago 0 replies      
Step one: Do something.

Step two: Just take it from there.

breathesalt 4 days ago 0 replies      
1) Find a resource of necessity to the human condition.
2) Make it abundant through technological innovation.
3) Repeat.
ginkgoo 10 days ago 0 replies      
About time this topic came up on HN. The reason this matters is that lots of really smart, driven engineers are being taught that the way to be successful is to make a buck on a quick flip of a consumer web app -- rather than making an impact on the world. Places like Ycombinator that have the most cachet should be leading the charge on reversing this trend.
nilbus 9 days ago 0 replies      
I like how everyone is addressing the core problem. However, to give a more superficial answer, have you checked out http://www.causerific.com? Some of the causes on there might be right what you're looking for, and could potentially employ you as well.
pknerd 11 days ago 0 replies      
Even if you(or your app) could bring smile on someone's face or help to gain confidence then I think still you are going to make someone's life better. This is what I had in mind when I created my 1st iPhone app,"Am I Beautiful?"


It is not necessary you get involved in something big. Start from small thing and then try something big.

My 2 Cents

Qa8BBatwHxK8Pu 10 days ago 0 replies      
You're trying to make your problem at home look bigger and more significant by using third world problems you guys used for hypocrisy. US is still the vanguard of human economy.

Your existential crisis is nothing more than a product of typical shift in international economic power balance.

mw63214 10 days ago 0 replies      
Thought it may have been from my post a few months back:


Hisoka 11 days ago 1 reply      
What was the thread you read? I don't think I recalled it.
natasham25 11 days ago 0 replies      
I recommend you read "How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas" for inspiration. It is filled with some incredible stories of people who were able to have an incredible impact with only a little help.
kidneb 8 days ago 0 replies      
I'm creating an app for folks to get together around these issues and actually start doing something or discovering where action is possible. in a life-game action-sharing way. so all you searchers out there are my ideal target. (but i'm doing it alone the last ten months and could really use some help...)
motiwalla 9 days ago 0 replies      
Check out companies certified as B Corporation. (Google it). In their own way, they are demonstrably making the world a better place. It's basically an objective standard for "social enterprises" - almost any start up can implement these benchmarks (if they're really committed to it)
xenophanes 11 days ago 2 replies      
Step 1: learn about what is and isn't meaningful, instead of uncritically assuming altruistic morality is true and devoting your life to doing what is "meaningful" according to some other people. Be your own guide instead of just assuming charity = meaningful.

Read Atlas Shrugged.

Ask HN: PR for Startups?
7 points by prhn01  2 days ago   4 comments top 3
luvcraft 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Could you model your PR business to take equity in exchange for your services? Most lean startups wouldn't be able to pay you much cash, but I think a lot of them would be willing to give you equity. In fact, I think taking equity rather than cash would offset the "the results are difficult to measure" issue you mentioned; if I give you $5,000 to do some PR for my startup, then (to my mind) you have the money regardless, and you could be spending 60 hours a week for two months traveling the world and evangelizing about my startup to all the right people, or you could just ask a friend to post it to his blog and call it good.

If you have equity, however, then your profit is tied directly to the success of my startup, so I could rest assured that you would have a (literal) vested interest in making my company successful.

katherinehague 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a question I too have been asking myself over the years. I'm a marketing consultant, and I LOVE startups. But trying to find work with early stage startups is really difficult because they generally can't pay much, or prefer to hire developers over marketing resources. So I end up working mostly with companies that are further along and have revenue, but wish I could figure out a way to work exclusively with startups and still make a living. If there were a way to scale these services beyond just a 1:1 effort to revenue ratio that would be ideal...

Thought you might like this article: http://thenextweb.com/media/2011/08/21/pitch-perfect-a-start...

MrMike 2 days ago 1 reply      
Happy to be your alpha tester =)
Ask HN: Should I join a company that raised Series C funding?
3 points by ell  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
navishjain 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate this when startup does not reveal all the information to the hiring candidates.

Other than the founders, investors, advisors, disruptive product, humongous market, revenue stream (past/present/future), business model; the obvious thing is your offer.

Different components that include an offer is salary, perks (not food but medical insurance/plans, dental/vision,), yearly bonus if any (generally speaking startups do not have yearly bonus unless they are doing great on revenues but if they would be then they do not need money to raise), signon bonus (do not give too much importance since its one time) and the MAJOR component is the equity.

10,000 shares sounds like a lot but what does it exactly mean.

The company has 1M outstanding shares. That means 10,000 shares is equal to 1% of the company at that particular time. If the company goes and raises some more money, the company gets diluted which means additional shares are issued. Lets say with a round of financing, 100K shares were added. SO now you own (1M + 100K)/10000 = 0.9% of the company. What just happened is with the same no of shares your % in the company got reduced. So now the company will have to make a bigger exit in order for you to earn that money.

So go and ask the recruiter, what are the no of outstanding shares.

kposehn 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not necessarily the funding round or age you should be considering. Look at the people, the product, the market and traction to make your decisions.

Do you like working there? Are the founders fully involved? Are the customers happy? Is it a great product in a growing market?

Series C doesn't mean a company won't succeed; they could easily be on the growth path and using additional capital to finance expansion. Don't write them off prematurely but do your due diligence as well :)

ruchitg 1 day ago 0 replies      
No one have answer to this. If they have recently raised alot of money, they may have some change in plans which might make it 'big'.

Join if you like work, salary and scope.

Ask HN: How many people needed for effective A/B testing?
3 points by gs7  1 day ago   6 comments top 3
fleitz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well if all you have is 170 people then you're not sampling but testing the population.

I'd go with the A/B testing option just to get more experience with it. Having data at a low confidence interval is better than having no data at all. Maybe it's a wash maybe it's actually very important. Worst case is there is no overwhelming winner and you're back where you started.

Use the following link to determine the sample size you need.

drnex 1 day ago 0 replies      
i would say, it depends on the results, if from the 170 you get a contundent answer then I would say its a go, if results are not contundent enough you can keep your a/b running until it does
drnex 1 day ago 0 replies      
you should ask a statistian tho
points by    ago   discuss
jcr 16 days ago 6 replies      
pg, can you ask the YC founders to stop announcing their new companies as the "The This of/for That" for example (from the front page):

"Leaky (YC S11) is Hipmunk for Car Insurance"

I honestly don't care if your new company is "* (YC S11) Is The Facebook for Unicorns," since it really tells me nothing. I have to figure out what a Hipmonk is before I can understand what they do. Hold on while I call the Dalai Lama to ask about the difference between a monk and a hipmonk.

Of the YC S11 batch with announcements up, it seems the Snapjoy folks are doing it right (from the front page):

"Snapjoy (YC S11) Will Organize Your Photos For You"

Now the Snapjoy announcement above provides concise and useful information about what they could do for me, the potential customer.

HN suggestion: Add more context to commenters' identities
4 points by petenixey  1 day ago   1 comment top
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