It reads a lot to me like they are willing to negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement. Go meet them face to face (if practical, I think you're both in London?) and bring a list of the key features of your owl, logo and name and how it differs from theirs and see if you can give them some guarantees to keep yours different from theirs going forward.
If you decide you'd like to keep the name, then don't worry. These guys will have to get serious and actually follow legal protocol before even filing for any case. Such a case would be held in the high court, and this will cost them tens of thousands.
What they have sent you does not appear to be a protocol letter and if they do send you one, they must explore resolving the dispute amicably before they can file for a case. You will get at least 30 days after receiving a protocol letter to respond.
I'd check out what exact trademarks they hold and research a bit into case law surrounding this. Find out if they have a strong case, if they don't, I highly doubt they will spend tens of thousands on taking this to the high court.
Just my 2 cents, i'm not a lawyer.
There is not enough info here to look at the specifics of the issue, although I do note that you are seeking general advice as to the line you should take - in short what degree of pragmatism you should exercise.
That is a difficult one to answer. You mention lack of time. It is always difficult to ascertain at the start of a problem how much time an issue will take, simply because it is impossible to determine how far the other party are willing to push things. If they dig their heels in, the time expenditure could be considerable. If they are flying a flag, they may simply go away after an email or two - the problem is, you just never know.
In terms of costs, again, it could be a simple matter and cost a few hundred pounds and be resolved by a few letters. They may dig their heels in and you then face either spending more, or finding a work around. Again it comes down to whether they are simply flying a flag, or whether they are prepared to push matters.
Realistically, I would suggest you need to ascertain your legal position in terms of:a) Whether they do have a trademark;b) If so, whether your name/logo is close enough to breach that;
Taylor Wessing run free events, both on their own account http://www.taylorwessing.com/twtechfocus/events.phpand through the new Tech hub initiative of the Start-up resource centre http://www.techhub.com/magazine/read/techhubs-startup-resour...
I would try to speak with them - they may offer an initial free appointment for a start up, and take specific advice on your problem, then decide the way you want to go.
With that said, I have personal experience with trademark law in the US (not the UK), and I don't think they have a leg to stand on if US and UK law is the same with respect to trademarks. For example, in the US, one must have a product and product literature publicly available and in use for at least one year, and one must register for the mark(s) with industry/ product -specifically noted. From the redacted letter, it appears this company is claiming to already have been granted a mark, so this should be a matter of simply looking it up.
Realistically, they might have to spend vast sums to win a trademark law case, but they only need to write a letter to Apple to jeopardise your business...
Additionally, not every employee has the same point of view, and not every employee has the same degree of understanding. A small blip that is, in truth, minor and irrelevant may be regarded with concern and possibly horror by employees who are otherwise intelligent, enthusiastic, and committed. This can cause concern for them where none is necessary.
So perhaps some should be told and others not? There is the consideration of "fairness" - some employees get very upset and concerned if they feel that others have information that they don't.
In short, there are serious problems with trying to share detailed information about prospects, negotiations, revenue, contracts, expenses, profits, cash-flow, etc, with the general work force.
This is not to say that there should be a culture of secrecy, but complete openness is potentially dangerous. Certainly in my experience, more than once, significant openness has led to significant problems.
I really appreciate your help!
I promise to write up a blog post talking about my unique setup and how I fucked it up to lead to this problem.
However, one thing i noticed is that the user posting this "teej" is a popular user on HN with a high karma and post count. Do you guys believe that's one of the reason this post got lots of up votes to make it to the front to get the help needed? I'm just thinking, what if someone new had posted this link? would it have gotten buried within the first hour? I sure hope not.
I imagine something like this might be VERY attractive to certain employers.
Try it out, review, enjoy :)
Posting on there has led to many good candidates for us. Also check out angelist jobs if you haven't. Both of these methods are free and have led to good candidates for us.
I interview interesting startups that have open positions. Essentially, I'm trying to give applicants a more personal sense of the company behind the job listing.
In the end what is happening is disruption. I think these senators need to be educated more about disruption and how it ended up "killing" many old jobs in the past, too, but also created other jobs in other places.
"""Thank you for writing to me regarding S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011. I understand your concerns.I am a cosponsor of this legislation because I believe that we must protect American intellectual property against foreign websites that infringe upon our rights. By empowering the Attorney General of the United States to go after foreign infringing websites, this legislation becomes a necessary tool to ensure that U.S. companies remain competitive in the world marketplace. I recognize that there are technical concerns with the enforcement of this bill that need to be addressed. I am committed to working with my colleagues in the United States Senate to ensure that this legislation protects the Constitutional rights of Americans and does not stifle lawful free speech or innovation on the internet.
Thank you again for writing to express your concerns, and I hope that you keep in touch with my office regarding future legislation. For more information on this and other important issues, please visit my website at http://gillibrand.senate.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter.
Sincerely, Kirsten E. Gillibrand United States Senator"""
Total cookie cutter stuff. I don't think it's an issue of educating senators on the "issues." The ones who are pushing this bill forward simply want to turn the internet into cable tv.
- Bootstrap and launch http://bugmuncher.com, which was profitable almost instantly.
- Quit my job, and now I live off freelancing/contracting and BugMuncher.
- Turn to the dark side and switch to a Mac Book from a PC (it's a big deal for me :)
Plans for 2012:
- Take advantage of my new found freedom and travel lots
- Have enough BugMuncher users to mean I no longer need to freelance
- Become a rock star
I know academic attainment is kinda uncool on HN, but I am very proud of it. I hope to turn it into money in 2012.
Redesigned http://www.w3counter.com and launched a new realtime dashboard.
Moved all my sites off Amazon EC2/ELB/EBS/S2/etc. back to physical servers.
Less ambitiously, I made a Text Call of Duty. (http://viewthesource.org/g/cod.html)
I've had a pretty eventful year, I think.
Around June I will start looking for my first revenue generating employee.
Let users create their own guides, which they can share with others for free. User generated content can be a huge driver of traffic. Then your business model becomes freemium. Normal users' guides are free, but you pay a little for "expert" guides.
Get professional tour guides on board. For example, in the UK we have blue badge guides who are certified. Getting them on your site will add some credibility.
Make some deals with existing tour companies, either to offer discounts through your site or just a cut of ticket sales.
Have you considered selling your existing guides as ebooks on Amazon or other platforms? Even if you have some awesome guides, I don't know about them because I've never heard of your site. I do go to Amazon to buy travel guides when I'm travelling. If I see your guides show up in the search, I will at least look at a sample on my Kindle. You could do both - have some free guides for promotion and have some cheap ones to make some revenue.
Have you considered selling hard copies of your guides? Most people don't have a way to read a PDF when they are travelling.
Use the Foursquare API to show a "hot destinations" chart on the homepage. Show where people are checking in and link to your guides for those places.
Use buysellads or call businesses directly to place very targeted ads on the site. Affiliate links for tickets and hotel bookings may also work. AirBNB has an affiliate program - ride their success wave.
There are lots more things you could try. The important things I feel are generating lots more content and being creative about distribution channels.
Here's one idea: Give it away but include coupons for each stop on the itinerary. It's Groupon for travelers. Consider offering an app so people can easily carry it with them and it will always be up-to-date with the latest destinations and deals.
So many people will disregard the praise for your site if it's ugly or they can't figure it out.
Edit: A little more food for thought - I opened the page you linked, then went to the homepage, then closed the page. It just didn't appeal to me visually. It wasn't until I saw the comment about charging too much that I even realized you sold something.
So on the cost thing - split test! Run a test between $5 and $10. Seriously. Combine a pretty product with a price that seems just barely over the limit and you will likely find that people are finding your product "re-assuringly expensive". It costs $10 and it's pretty. It must be a high quality itinerary.
You can offer a few different levels of service too: default is web/you print at home. You can offer a full color printed version with the order if you want as well. logistically this is harder but it seems like more of a deal.
There is also the fandango way of doing it too. offer the ability to prepay for the tickets and take a small commission off the top for that. that's tougher to sell to the consumer because you don't have the trust relationship and might leave them stranded at the venue with no valid tickets. It would be slick to have this so that they didn't have to wait in line at all. make it opt in though and let them select what they want to actually go to see/do.
An iPhone app that has everything integrated would be great but it could also be as easy as just an interface for the pdf. If you got it into the appstore you would increase your visibility a bit especially if you target the "what should I do in x" queries with adwords that linked to a specific version of your app. you could also have inapp purchases that would download a new guide. cross selling in your apps is a good thing in this case.
pretty interesting idea. I'd probably buy the sf one if I go there ever but you have to reach me at the right time....
Everyone could say that the features in your product are amazing. But if you're in a market where customers don't pay, or if you're unable to reach them with the right marketing, then a perfect product is useless.
You have to determine the most profitable segment of your market. And find the cheapest way to market to them. What's the expected lifetime value of a user? Is it less than the cost to acquire that user through Adwords/Facebook? Then run through some ads. And invest some time in learning to optmize the ads.
What are some keywords that people are searching for that would lead users to your product? Are there many people competing for those terms? It might be worthwhile to invest time/money doing SEO. It seems you have a lot of content that might be worthwhile.
You've solved the hard part of having a good product. Now you have to figure out how to market it well.
Second, this seems like an impulse buy sort of item. ( i.e. I'm stuck visiting somewhere new but haven't had time to research it.) A mobile app that allowed quick access to new itineraries via gps look-up might make for a better sales rate. But I don't see anything changing until your price-point accounts for the competition's prices.
Because you haven't achieved product/market fit.
For example, you're trying to charge individuals who are traveling - have you explored charging travel-related companies? I could see your app being very compelling for travel agencies, travel book publishers, neighborhood merchant associations, Chambers of Commerce, and businesses that want to advertise to travelers.
You also need to learn more about the amount of traction it will realistically take to make a good amount of profit. Even 1000 daily visitors won't do you any good with your current business model. How are you gonna get visitors? You can't just sit tight and wait.
What if you bump the price up to $20+ per itinerary then offered more value by having each itinerary custom made to match each customer's personal interests. Maybe also have the 'local experts' who made the guide ranked like a restaurant on yelp to build up trust.
Perhaps offer the content free, then work with top restaurants and retailers on the 'tours' you recommend and get them to offer coupons / deals or advertising, of which you can get a cut. People touring a city will get hungry, and if you can point them to a great place, they'll thank you.
My first impression is not "Wow!". Your website design doesn't have that wow factor with it's design. i would highly recommend either getting a design to do some work for you or download a nice design from themeforest.
also there is no way i would pay any money to find an "itenary" because as mentioned below i can just go on google and search for "what to do in xyz?" and pick and choose the ones i like. so personally i would make it free, redo the design and try and make money from the advertisement. maybe down the road you can make deals with certain locations to add them in your itenary for a fee? sell tickets on your site for those locations and keep a commission? either way, charging for an itenary when anyone can just do a google search for it doesn't make sense to me.
To complement that value, your design needs to give a sense of 'here's the distilled gem about this city' - it should just 'hit me'. Instead, I am presented instead with a rather drab plain page, which feels like it'd take forever to get through to gratification.
I'd echo suggestions to look into redesigning the page to make the visual impact, fast.
A couple of quick observations:
1) It seems unlikely that the CEO you decribe (5 decent exits, and another $2M series A) got that far by screwing people by any objective measure.
2) I've never met a rockstar who (as far as I know) worried a lot about getting screwed... they knew they could walk into a better gig any day if they weren't getting a fair shake.
3) They probably won't have too much wiggle room on their first offer, anyway. Sounds like they have enough experience to know what it takes to attract and retain a good team. So if you feel you can do "a lot" better elsewhere (or where you are) then that would be the right choice for you.
4) It's worth considering that it's one possible stepping stone on your path. When I joined Xilinx very early, I was pretty darned sure I was worth a lot more than the stock I got. That said, it was an awesome education on thriving in a frenetic startup environment with exquisitely talented peers, and fwiw that seemingly-meager stock offering bankrolled my next deal, which bankrolled the next one, etc.
In other words, the biggest way to avoid feeling screwed is to have realistic expectations and to place a realistic value on any stock options. Remember that the bigger the target number for exiting is, the more likely that all the options and stocks will be worth exactly zero.
Here a couple of red flags to look out for.They are looking to be a billion dollar company. This is another way of saying that they have giant egos and unrealistic exit plans. Find the people that know the topography of the exit landscape and how they fit into it.
Business Development personel without a product: For most startups, its just too early to have a BizDev person around, unless partnerships are critical to the success of product
The CEO can't code
They have 1 Jr level designer to feed 6 engineers
Everyone uses Windows, including dev-ops. (run away)
Candidate A had a long track record of success, at least on paper. He was obviously motivated, responsible, and likable. He had done a lot of hardware work, and claimed to be a decent (but not top-notch) C programmer.
Candidate B was straight out of college, and he had a weak résumé. We suspected that he had some coding talent, but he didn't have much experience, and we had no idea whether or not he was reliable.
We were leaning heavily towards candidate A. He interviewed brilliantly and seemed like a good fit. Then I asked him to reverse a linked list, and he responded, "Do you have a copy of K&R? I don't remember what kind of braces C uses for functions." After about 30 minutes, he was still trying and failing to find a solution.
When I asked the same question to candidate B, he shrugged, and wrote out a correct solution without stopping to think. So we hired candidate B, and he did excellent work for us for years.
And this is not a one-time incident. It's amazing how many people can bluff their way through an interview without knowing how to sum the numbers in an array. Résumés are full of lies, phone screens are hard to do well, and references are hand-picked by the candidate. So I'm a big believer in coding questions.
-Do you know basic computer science concepts -How are your problem-solving skills -Can you move beyond "obvious, yet flawed" answers -Do you exhibit passion (passion to get to the right answer, enjoyment of problem solving, etc) -Can you present and justify solutions -Integrity (If you've seen the problem before, tell the interviewer, don't 'fake solve' it!) -Are you thorough (probing to understand problem, handling error cases, boundary cases, etc) -Can you communicate/collaborate with the interviewer
My biggest piece of advice is to remember the technical interview isn't just (or even mostly) about the technical aspect. Communicate constantly, verbalize your thoughts, ask questions, show passion. I've hired plenty of people who have done not-so-well at the technical portion, and I've given a 'no hire' to plenty who have aced the technical portion.
The purpose of questions such as reversing a linked list is to test your understanding of fairly fundamental computer science, to see if you're someone who understands the technology you're using or if you treat it as a black box. For more technical companies they need people who fall into the first category hence ask that type of question.
I think a part of it is ego, especially nowadays - some really good engineers are doing their own startups now, and when these companies start hiring they're looking for people just as good as they are, which means taking a page out of the Google/Facebook style interview process. I've met and worked with people who, while with great intentions, think great software engineering comes from graduate-level CS studies.
That said, resumes and achievements aren't great indicators of success because so many people have good-looking job histories and many can also sound good just talking about their experience. For me, front-end web eng. has become a pain to hire for; too many candidates put down things they don't know enough about, and unless they have fully-viewable source online it's hard to tell whether they accomplished much of anything in their past projects.
I do think our current standard of heavy whiteboard interviews is misleading, though, which is why I prefer pairing interviews when given a choice. Working with an engineer is a great way to measure cultural fit.
And finally, companies are super careful with filling a position because while firing someone is at-will, the cost in bringing that person up-to-speed, dealing with the bad player's code and work, the messiness in letting that person go (in planning, morale, etc.), not to mention salary and severance make everybody err on the side of caution.
> It seems they expect interviewees to scream out loud that they are the greatest programmer the world has ever seen!
It is the American way to tell everyone how great you are and then once you have kids, you have to tell everyone how great they are. I suppose it is to be expected in what was/is a competitive capitalist market. If I interviewed in the UK and told everyone how great I am, it would be a sure fire way to not get the job.
Some US companies have a tendency to ask questions that are tricky or are obscure. Even worse is the interview that is completely overloaded with buzzwords and jargon.
Having been in a big company, the primary reason we did lots of coding is to ensure that we have enough signal that you can code. One bombed interview may not mean much, but any more may be an indication that you cannot get the job done without some amount of babysitting.
In your experience then, is it something that can be done (I guess so given that you had 3 interviews already).? Or do companies gives you a hard time if you don´t have a work permit to start with ?
I got sent a moleskine which had the words "Amicus Menthae" embossed in it.
If you google the phrase, you get this website: http://amicusmenthae.com/
An image of the moleskine is also there if you're interested.
(Yes, this is a pretty gratuitous plug, I know, but it's fun. See the FAQs link for how we built it).
They explain why they've determined that "your" is best.
I guess it is understandable that you might not have yet gained the user's trust but I feel like then they wouldn't be your user.
How about just "Items" and "Photos"? Unless there is something marked "Someone else's items" and "Someone else's photos", is it necessary to specify that they belong to the user?
"My photos" v. "Your photos": both seem to work
"We weren't able to complete your request" v. "Someone else wasn't able to complete my request."
"Please enter your valid email address" v. "Please enter my valid email address"
"To (...), you need to upgrade to a Pro Plan" v. "To (...), I need to upgrade to a Pro Plan."
The user is the second person, because sometimes your app or company needs to speak to them using the first person.
If the app or site does not belong to the user, but is clearly a third party the user gives things to in order to process them or perform some action on or with them, label it as a service person would speak to the user. How would the service person at Costco refer to those same prints? Probably “Your Photos” in contrast with "Everyone's Photos". In this case, the label "Photos" would be most likely to apply to all photos, not just the user's own.
Going with conversational style, keeping in mind who is the speaker for a given action, goes a long way to clarifying which stories need which terms.
This gets more complicated in "the cloud" but the same distinction (ownership vs operation, and who is the speaker for an action) can apply.
I tend to prefer using the 2nd person, if I have to choose one over the other.
 - Sorry, should also add the link to the Yahoo patterns article, which also recommends the 2nd person http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/social/core/yourvmy.htm....
The second most popular answer is the one I'd strive for.
Researching further:French: +Vous (polite 2nd person)Italian: +Tu (casual 2nd person)
German seems to be the exception, Googl prefers 2nd person.
Your = "I'm presenting you your photos which i just store for your convenience".
My = "You've uploaded your private photos, now they are mine, dumbass!"
Definitely "Your", in my oppinion.
And "your" is very accusation and confrontational. "My" rubs the ego the right way. So, my vote goes for "my".
Have you considered just "Items" and "Photos"? If you end up splitting public/private, "My Public...", "My Private..." is a mouthful.
This ultimately is an exercise in KISS imo.
for actual app interface, my is better
"Your Whatever" isn't even an option though... don't like it at all.
just curious, how do you deal with spam so users don't send unwanted voicecalls to random numbers?
- Your physical health
- Your environment
When I'm feeling off, I have great difficulty tracking items and getting a "holistic" picture. And things like allergy or another chronic illness can leave a person feeling "perpetually" off, to the point where you think it's "you" rather than the result of these symptoms.
If you are in an environment that is constantly calling your attention, it's difficult or impossible to build such a mental model. Even when you are not being specifically called upon, loud noises, people in your peripheral vision, etc. can tax you to the point of disfunction. We've evolved to pay attention to such things; some people more than others seem to find this very difficult to "overcome".
An anecdote: I had a friend who was getting crappy scores in chemistry. A large problem for him, as he wanted to go pre-med. He always studied with music on. I suggested he turn the music off. After the next test, he thanked me profusely -- his score had jumped a grade level or more.
He hadn't consciously experienced any problem with the music and his studying. But, anecdotally -- and with a strong supporting opinion on his part -- there was one.
P.S. I'll add that fMRI and the like are beginning to show that stressors literally descrease or "shut down" areas of brain function. When you feel threatened, you brain restricts "higher" function and strengthens more "basic" function. Researchers interpret this as a survival mechanism; in dangerous situations, immediate action is paramount and intensive analysis (and delay) can be deadly.
Get stressed, and you will never remember "those function parameters". Your brain simply isn't in a place to do so.
And by now you should wonder what is Anki. Well, it's basically a software flashcard. The neat thing about it is if you find something easy to remember you just click that you find it easy, so it wouldn't ask you as often, but if it's hard, it will be repeated often until it's drilled in your memory.
Here's the link: http://ankisrs.net/
P.S.For learning languages the same way I would recommend http://www.memrise.com which also incorporates in a lot of their lists visual/auditory cues, which I cannot stress how helpful they are in remembering words. Try the SAT vocabulary list, it's fascinating how easy is to remember words when you associate them with a visual cue.
In your case it might mean that your memory isn't "flaky," but rather that the way you perceive the content of a program is high-bandwidth, which would imply deeper understanding of the content even though such perception has the side effect of making your memory seem worse.
Still, you should check with a doctor on whether you might have some weird anemia or something.
Check your diet, sleep, exercise.
There's lots of stuff about n-back in the comments, which is definitely worth investigating.
If your memory has markedly deteriorated, go see a doctor and get a full check-up.
It's not YOUR brain that is deficient; it's the human brain in general. Code should be written around that fundamental constraint.
I found this early on after suffering similar problems to yourself with lack of recall.
For example, Early this year I used 3 days trying to find a good multiplayer server side system for my hobby flash games, Didn't understand the ports/sockets jargon and eventually said fuck it and built the thing from scratch in PHP with GETs in under 2 hours. It just works and I know how to fix it if it breaks.
So my verdict - build it yourself, your way. It's faster and you'll learn more. Don't be afraid to try.
I find going back and re-reading (often manny times) helps tremendously. The first time through you may only commit 30% of the concepts to long-term memory. The second time through you will pick up a bit more, and the next time even more. As the % of concepts in your long term memory grows, the easier it will be to pick up the ones that are giving you trouble, since your brain has a larger number of memories from the prior readings to make concrete relationships.
Strolling through Dribble might also give you some inspiration:
The UX world gathers on blogs like:
Some of them might offer job postings as well.
Basically, companies want the impossible, and they are driven by a culture that is very out of touch with the market.
For instance, this is also why they're not so keen on telecommuting.
There are exceptions, of course. But when they can't hire according to their plan, they're going to tell reporters "there's a shortage of good engineers!" where "Good" means "recent college graduates with 7 years industry experience 4 years ruby experience who will work for $60k and nerf bullets."
I see posts like yours and think its a damn shame. You're missing out, and at least some of those 50 companies are missing out... its a lose-lose situation.
You need to consider the possibility that you're not as competent as you believe yourself to be. Dunning-Kruger is real, and your post doesn't demonstrate the self-awareness the best developers seem to possess.
Your writing is sprinkled with emoticons and rife with reduplicated punctuation, both of which (especially the exclamation points) are common signs of immaturity. Reading this diatribe--and assuming your 50 emails were written similarly--I am forced to accept one of two conclusions: either you're not aware that your writing is unprofessional, or you're aware that it's unprofessional and unconcerned. Either option does not reflect well on you. To put it bluntly, if I received an email from you in this style, I would archive it without response, assuming it was from someone who lacked the requisite introspective capability I expect from the people I want to work with.
I found it particularly telling that you claim that all five of your phone screens went "very well" but marveled that only three companies tried to set up an onsite interview with you. Unless both the two companies that stopped at the phone screen simultaneously filled the position immediately after your phone screen, you really need to recognize that at least those two phone screens did not go well. I do interviews at a large Internet company, and one of my goals--one of the goals that I've been trained to seek--is to ensure that the candidate, no matter how bad, walks away from the interview feeling good about himself/herself and the company. If you're doing really poorly in an interview, I'll toss you some easier questions than I normally give, because I have all the information I need, and I don't want you to have a negative experience with my company. You may have felt good about the phone screens, but the most likely explanation for the two companies that didn't bring you onsite is that you didn't actually do well enough to justify additional interviews. These people want to hire someone, and if you were someone they wanted to hire, they certainly would have continued to interview you.
I think your experiment was less valid than you think it was because you're less competent than you think you are.
EDIT: I should add that whatever the case, whether I'm right or wrong about you, the best response to the situation you're in is to seek to improve yourself, not to embark on a quixotic venture to change others. Read CS theory books, create and modify open source projects, solve fun programming puzzles: sharpen your skills and--no matter what your level of competency--your prospects will improve.
The number of responses I received even acknowledging that they got my personalized cover letter and resume? Zero. Nada. Zilch.
I ended up getting a job by being referred through a friend to a company completely outside of the whole startup/valley/YC culture. The absolute worst thing you can do is have your job search and advertisements become a black hole.
So every company reading this comment: get your shit together.
Job sites are job hunting for people who enjoy unemployment.
I find work (contracts) by looking for interesting companies whose money I would like to take, then I look them up on LinkedIN to see how connected I am to them. Sometimes I ask my friends to connect me to them, sometimes I just google stalk them to find the appropriate hiring manager's twitter address or email address, then I email them, whether or not they're hiring, and whether or not they're open to contractors. I pitch my value proposition and tell (not ask, tell) them to meet me for coffee or lunch, my treat, and offer three dates that work for me. In 15 years, be it a VC, a VP of a bank, an unfunded founder, or an incredibly busy CTO at a high growth start-up, nobody has ever turned me down for a free lunch.
Then I close them.
80% did not respond at all . They did not acknowledge his contact attempt in any way whatsoever. Not a canned response confirming contact, nothing. Nothing.
I'm willing to bet very heavily on this representing complete incompetence at the organizations contacted.
I recently interviewed at a major online retailer and cloud computing provider (heh). The person interviewing me said, "wow, you're the best person of the last 50 we've interviewed". They followed up by making me a shit offer. If you want me to move to a different state to work for you, I want a 25% raise and an extra week of vacation. Not a salary match and two fewer weeks of vacation. Their justification was "it wouldn't be fair if you negotiated a better offer than other people on your team".
That's why you can't hire people.
The fact that you applied at 50 places is a bit of a deceptive statistic, because first of all, there's no way you carefully crafted your initial contact to each one.
At each of the places I contacted during my job search, my initial email was very carefully worded. I spent about 3 hours writing and revising one fairly short email, to make sure it conveyed exactly what I wanted.
If you just send a generic form letter to a company, they're going to give you the same consideration you have given them: very little.
Even if you did tailor the email to each company, there's no way you as a candidate are going to appeal to more than a handful of the companies, because they all have their own quirks and cultures. NOBODY is a viable candidate for 50 different Ruby-oriented companies.
Also, no offense but I have to concur with other comments here that your writing may have had something to do with it. If what you sent them was worded at all like what you've posted here, then you probably lost a lot of potential responses because of that.
If you want to get your foot in the door at a company, the first impression you make is everything. Sending a poorly worded email is a surefire way to shoot yourself in the foot.
My friend who worked there (and, in fact, recommended me) told me the developer doing the interviews has never actually recommended a single candidate and is no longer allowed to do interviews.
This could still mean that I'm stupid and incompetent but it seems like they missed out on a lot of talent because of the egotism of a single dev they had hiring.
Also I did a fair amount of the interview on a rooftop, trying to quietly and safely get down without a ladder. Fun times.
That's why few were interested.
To sum up your email: Hi, You've never met me before, but I like your company. I expect to get paid $115K to lead a team as a senior developer, but don't want to relocate in order to be with the team.
I feel this type of email should get a response; however, I'm not surprised no one hired you. I'm sorry none of these companies replied. If hiring is as tough as everyone says it is, they should at least be willing to followup - they might find a diamond in the rough that way.
80% of jobs are filled informally, especially senior positions. If you know someone on the team, or if the team knows of your work and respects it, you should be able to find a position faster.
But if you want unusual arrangements like remote working, you are going to have a hard time going through the blind CV channel. What works in these cases is either personal contacts, even over several hops, and/or establishing an online reputation that creates a virtual contact network. Your github projects, blog, JS experiments, history of patches to TeX  will make you stand out. Even a little contribution to an Open Source project will get you a CV line and maybe a reference from someone with name recognition.
You are a grown up with kids, so you don't have time to waste. You can't hack demos all day like an undergrad. But a little time spent this way might pay dividends in career development.
The point is not to be a CV in the pile. Get noticed some other way, and don't expect your CV to glow like Charlie's Golden Ticket. The more senior you get, the more important this stuff is. A few years out of school and you should forget about CVs until someone asks you for one, so they can tell their colleagues about you.
If you want to steal some of the best talent in the industry, open yourself up to the idea of letting them telecommute or work remotely. Offer up a 3 month introductory period to ensure there's a mutual fit and they actually do the work as promised. Don't make them shitty offers because they aren't on site; there is fudge room depending on their cost of living. If you're in the valley, get your head out of your ass. Talent is everywhere. We don't all need to move to the valley to prove anything. We likely DO love your team and product; that's why we applied in the first place. Devs are a funny beast, most of us apply to things that interest us. Loving your team is not necessarily justification to up and leave everything we've grown to know and love. We're not all recent college graduates with no ties to a community. Open yourselves up to change and boundary pushing. Consider opening satellite offices in different large cities for your remote devs to work at, together.
Re: weird extra steps: the idea isn't that they're cool. The idea is that if you are willing to attempt it and solve it successfully, it says something about your problem-solving skills. It's not the be-all end-all, but it seems like a decent first-pass filter.
Re: cultural mismatch: if it's a cultural mismatch, you probably shouldn't apply anyway. The thing about a startup is, there are five or ten of you. This isn't just another job. You generally don't just come in at 9, work work work, maybe take lunch with your teammates, and trip it out at 5. You don't just attend the company Christmas party. A startup is typically very much like a family, because everything is riding on everyone. When someone quits IBM, the teammates write it off as a “whatever”. When someone quits at a startup, you spend some serious time looking around to make sure there's nothing scaring them off, because every individual counts a great deal.
In short, culture is critical, and even as a married father of two, signing up for a startup is signing up for a culture and a tight-knit group of friends as much as it is signing up for a job.
Are companies that post developer positions to job boards really looking for someone to delegate a lot of control to, or do they already have that person? How much room is there at the top? If you got that architect job, would you turn around and hire another architect-y person?
Many of these positions are heads-down, in the office and managed. And of course you've got to be a super coding wizard who is more concerned with nerf battles and ping-pong than dirty lucre, jeez!
Companies that hire many intelligent, mature, well-paid peers, are rare, I think. So you either have to go network and find someone who will give you that position of power, and then, how will you hire? Or, start a company. Or, become a consultant, which requires more networking than option one. Or hold out for a job with someone like Mozilla -- they seem to treat developers like adults.
semi-active search time span: ~4-5 weeks
where: just craigslist & python.org
what: sr. level web frontend or backend
companies: all small/startups, but none are well known in HN
emails sent: I'm quite choosy actually, only applied to ~4 positions a week, which equates to ~20 sent.
results: ~75-80% replied,
out of those replied:~50-60% replied within a day or two, 2 took more than a week to get back to me, which strangely enough, followed thru with deeper phone interviews.
no on-site interviews (although ~25% I applied are remotes) until one of those turned out to be a recruiter.
Note: I wanted to avoid recruiters since didn't have good experience with them before. But this time it turned out pretty good, got to interview a few companies and landed a decent gig. But since this thread is about no response from direct emails, I did not include these data points from recruiter in my results.
If those phone screens do not turn into full interviews or offers, that is a statement on how they went, not on company responsiveness.
Frankly, I don't think your stats show a lack of response at all. I think they are very reasonable, as some level of non-responsiveness is natural, when you account for the fact that you gave them enough information to summarily dismiss you from consideration if you don't match their needs or culture.
When i set out to get my first job as a software engineer i was currently working as a system administrator for a conference center in Redwood City. It was the first job i landed when i got back from my first tour of duty in Iraq as a light infantryman. I was still young at the time, 20 years old, still not legally able to consume alcohol yet old enough where most of my friends were already halfway through college. Discontent with going back to college to study computer science with a bunch of people younger then me and knowing that my work as a systems administrator is not what i'd need to be doing on my path to achieve happiness in life i set out to apply to companies seeking software engineers on craigslist.
I spent maybe an entire day sending my resume out over email directly to companies seeking software engineers. I remember being somewhat selective, i'd say i had to have sent my resume out to less then 10 companies that entire day. Although i don't precisely recall the amount of responses i got, i did get a decent amount of responses and almost all of them came in the next day (yes this was 2 years ago). This shocked the crap out of me, i had no previous software experience on my resume, my only previous work experiences were as follows: a warehouse clerk, light infantry and systems administrator. Never the less, i was doing phone screens (and killing them btw) and setting up in person interviews. The very first interview i went to lasted 2 hours and was the first time in my life where i was ever asked to write code on a white board (idk, maybe this is an academia thing). It was a group of engineers interviewing me so that also spiked up the intensity a bit. However, when the interview ended and the HR person came in, she extended me an offer right then and there and said that this is something she's never had to do before. So i went back to my systems administrator gig the next day, turned in my two weeks notice and two weeks later i was officially a software engineer.
My second job seeking experience was very different and also very recent. Having put up enough with the offshore teams crappy code and a horde of rushed employment contractors that couldn't code their way through fizz buzz, it was time for me to look for a new job.So instead of doing any direct applies immediately i just put my resume up on dice.com. That same day my phone was getting barraged with voicemails from technical recruiters. This was going on during work too so i had to turn my phone off for the day. When i got home that night i did do one direct apply and that was to Yelp. I responded to one of the technical recruiters and she set me up with some options and some phone interviews. The next day i got a call from the technical recruiter at yelp to do a quick prescreen and to set me up with a more in depth phone screen with an engineer so i did that. At the same time the contacts from the recruiter were all doing the same thing, calling me and setting up phone screenings that is. The current company i work for right now was moving slightly faster then everyone else though. I did both phone screenings with Yelp and where i work and they both sent me programming challenges to complete and send in. I did them but where i work got back to me faster and set up an in person interview first. So i went and it was a 3 hour interview this time. This time i left without a job offer after the interview but the technical recruiter ensured me that things were looking good. He called me back later that day and gave me an offer over the phone. That was that.
I tend to agree with the OPs thoughts - companies often don't respond, even when, in general, the industry (and perhaps some of those same companies) publicly moan about not being able to find people.
When did having 7 years of experience make someone a sr level developer? I don't think I started using that level for myself until I had 10 years experience. I guess to each his own. Just like everyone's a "founder" these days, everyone else is a "sr level developer"???
What's a "CTO of a side project" look like? I understand it shows a lot of initiative, but depending on the types of companies applied at, it wouldn't come close to what they expect of a "sr level developer".
I guess I'm just old (sorry, senior) and grumpy this morning. :)
I understand this sentiment, but pre-interview homework (provided that it's reasonable) is one of the best indicators of enthusiasm, attention to detail, creativity, and ballpark of coding skill. Most importantly it reveals how you will react to solving one of our problems which, if hired, is what you'll be doing most of the time.
I narrowed down to two competitors and amazingly these two companies did end up leading the entire market.
In order words, the first contact with the company tells you much more about company than any other things. So if somebody does not answer on your email with resume you probably should assume they will not be around for long.
HR people like to keep lots of resumes on file, the fresher the better, so that when they're tasked with filling a seat immediately, they're not starting from zero.
The fact that this practice sucks for the job-seeker is of little concern; they've optimized their process according to their own needs.
I think the problem is every startup is making up their own hiring formula/process, and until it is internally figured out, anyone who tries to interview will get delayed. Product is being developed PLUS they have to figure out their perfect hiring process... That being said, luck with timing is also important in interviewing for a startup IMO.
But people are reading incoming emails and are interested in hiring. Maybe they just didn't like your email/tone?
I do agree with some of your points though. Anytime I hear the "we have xboxes" I immediately translate that to we pay crap and hope the kids we hire don't notice in between games of CoD. The other day a guy was giving me a pitch to come work at his startup and kept talking about the xbox and the office location. Note to companies pitching to potential employees. Idea, equity cut, and salary in that order are way more important than having Aeron chairs.
www.lorenburton.com - Airbnb flew me from CHI to SF less than 24 hours after I put the site up, with absolutely no existing connections or contacts.
As someone on the receiving end, I'm way more likely to send you a personal response if you've sent me a personal email, regardless of whether you seem like a good fit for the job. Even if you don't know the recipients, include a sentence about why you're interested in working on their product or space.
If it's clear you're just blasting out your resume, and you don't seem a 100% perfect fit, I'm probably not going to take the time to send you a personal response. I'd like to reply to every applicant, I just don't have time.
Am I missing out on qualified candidates? Maybe. But interviewing and hiring takes a lot of time and resources away from building product. And I've found that applicants who have done their due diligence on our company and product are way more likely to be solid candidates and get all the way through the interview process, making the time spent 100% worth it.
I can't wait until this business fad is over.
One particular company I was interested in had few puzzles on their website. I once worked the whole weekend to solve them as good as I can. Spent lot of time writing a custom cover letter, resume and attached the C++ solutions to the puzzles.
Its been several months and I am still waiting for the damn reply!
Hiring is not easy, and doing it well requires a lot of practice. Most people in the position of hiring for many startups are doing it for the very first time. And they usually suck at it.
Mostly, those companies get out of it what they put into it.
Every job I've applied to directly has had at the very least one email and one call, potentially a follow up if they drag their heels. I've rarely failed to get an interview (though to be fair, I've only applied to 10-20 companies at a time, not the 50 the OP has).
I agree though that with all this 'lack of talent' the companies should be chasing us at the merest whiff of interest. Unfortunately people don't always act rationally in there own self interest, so we sometimes have to take the initiative.
Even if you were, I would personally never want to work at a place which has this kind of a culture. I am out looking for a job where good business problems get solved in the most practical way. Which helps both the business and me make money.
Second kind of questions are asking the candidate arcane and rare facts that can be known only through rote memorization. Like asking him to work on some concept/data structure/algorithm from a CS text book taught in semester 3 on page 345 of a text book 2000 pages big.
There is nothing great about knowing an algorithm, inventing a new algorithm is special but not knowing one. Worse case anybody can know what you know by searching.
Asking irrelevant questions to the job, gives you a very high rate of false negatives. You are missing out on some very good and productive people.
This is exactly what happens, you ask some irrelevant questions and consider the guy useless. The same guy goes works at some php shop which is solving some business problems which get him and the company good money. And here you are searching and filtering candidate as per your requirements. Meanwhile you see, your start up failing and the average guy there winning. Suddenly you shout out 'Worse is better'.
You've got be brutally honest and practical in software engineering. If you are academics its a different game.
Remember your fantasy elitism in building a dream product and plans to hire rock stars to do it is nothing if it fails. The average guy still ends up winning even if he has 1/10 decent the product of your dreams, if he has a product to sell now.
Puzzles as a selection criteria - there will be false positives but too few false negatives.
Recently I was hiring for an online marketing position where being sharp with math actually matters, a lot. The candidate of 2 yr experience refused to take a screening test on aptitude. Very well, rejected as we have no data points of how sharp he was.
On the other hand, the fact you didn't receive a response at all from so many (we typically send a note to every applicant who makes the effort to contact us) is surprising. Many companies use a tracking system of some sort to classify and manage recruiting workflow - most of these are utter tripe.
Rack this up to such a large influx of resumes for each announced position that responses just aren't feasible, to HR folks who can't be bothered to lift a finger after seizing hiring control away from the managers.
To me, this is just indicative of how a company treats its employees.
The companies I ended up strongly considering are those which replied the day after, they are the ones actually interested.
This could be an interesting startup opportunity :)
I agree that we don't check emails. Im guilty of that myself. Very guilty. No contest guilty. But then again I think a lot of companies are looking to hire but end up getting recommendations from people they trust. I know I'll hire a person that was recommended by a friend over someone who sends me a resume using the contact form or other official means of applying. It isn't always right but when you run a company there are so many things to juggle that we often do without a lot of times and neglect the "jobs@" inbox even though we could use a hand.
On the other hand I'd say that maybe you overestimate your qualifications. It's usually the people who think they're the greatest that are the worst. I don't know you personally but it could be the case.
So all in all, I think you're right that we may not be checking the applicant inbox as often as we should. But I also think that just because you think you should have been considered as competent as you claim to be it just doesn't make it so.
People who don't have the ability to understand and communicate with the people they will be working for (clients, users) and with (us), or who simply can't be arsed to make the effort are not what we need.
Serious applicants are usually invited within 24 hours, but we will never, ever respond to boilerplate CV-spam.
These auto-resume sites apply pretty dumb filters right off the bat, and you probably got kicked out of the responder queue the second you ask for a six-figure pay rate and/or the option to telecommute.
Generally at most companies you have to be significantly better than the other candidates to be worth considering as a remote candidate.
I don't think they chose not to respond after deciding that you were a suitable candidate.
In my experience startups are terrible at operationally executing hiring processes, and developers are terrible at selling themselves.
Here's my 2 cents:
I'm part of a start-up (StartWire) created by former HR professionals, aimed at dealing with the pain point of not hearing back from employers. We work with the resume submission platforms used by most major companies to provide feedback to applicants - from confirmation that your resume was received, to notice that you've been disqualified or that the job is no longer posted. This isn't going to make you like a potential employer who couldn't find the time to get in touch with you personally any better, but it could give you some valuable feedback as what is going on when you don't hear anything. Maybe something about your resume has gotten you frequently disqualified before a person ever sees it. Hopefully it can be a helpful idea to those who are frustrated by the current process.
Maybe the 40/50 are reading your email. How do you know they are not deciding up front that you're not the right fit?
When hiring devs, I definitely look for language skill and attention to detail in syntax. A buggy cover letter or resume suggests buggy code.
1. Remote < In house. Remote developers should not ask for market rate.
2. Putting a CTO role on your resume (even for side project) disqualifies you from consideration for Sr. Developer positions.
3. Positions advertised as "remote friendly" probably aren't.
Many candidates don't get past the subject line of the email. It's nice to think that someone sits there and reads every resume then makes an informed decision, just isn't the reality though.
Remember that person has a million other things to do and probably an already overflowing inbox.
You could use something like Tout app to work out if your email is even getting opened and if people are clicking on your resume link.