hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    21 Dec 2011 Ask
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Ask HN: Help Is it worth rebranding (trademark infringement)?
19 points by ayusaf  2 hours ago   11 comments top 5
mseebach 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think it's worth calling out and appreciating the fact that they are approaching you in a calm and reasonable manner instead of through a huffing and puffing lawyer nastygram.

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.

n9com 1 hour ago 1 reply      
How important is the name to you? That's what you got to decide.

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.

_millymoo 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Hi Aisha,
Craig asked me to drop you a line.

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.php
and 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.


18pfsmt 30 minutes ago 1 reply      
My first question would be why either of these companies would choose an owl as a mascot when owls are known for good eyesight or wisdom, but not auditory abilities (I suppose this is my viewpoint).

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.

notahacker 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If the UK company are who I think they are (begins with a B) then I can understand where they're coming from - you're both offering audio content on demand and their monthly subscription model overlaps with your monthly new product model.

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...

Ask HN: Will you share company revenue/expenses/profit numbers with employees?
5 points by tablet  4 hours ago   1 comment top
ColinWright 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In the UK the directors of a closed company are required by law to maintain a degree of confidentiality. While this does not necessarily imply that the employees cannot be told things, the employees are not themselves bound by the same requirement for confidentiality. Therefore telling the employees things effectively releases them from the control of the directors, and that can be construed as a breach.

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.

Ask HN: I really need your help (resolved)
191 points by teej  1 day ago   34 comments top 11
teej 1 day ago 5 replies      
Hey guys, thanks a TON for reaching out and helping me get this fixed. Through the efforts of Aman Gupta and my friend Ryan Stout, we were able to track down the source of the problem.

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.

gojomo 1 day ago 1 reply      
If by 'silent crashes' you mean the process dies leaving no trace in Rubyland you might want deep OS/C++ expertise moreso than Ruby...
xentronium 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, what was it? I am very-very curious.
shahed 1 day ago 1 reply      
Emailed you, hoping to help out in any way possible!
WALoeIII 1 day ago 0 replies      
Aman Gupta.
soho33 1 day ago 0 replies      
it's great to see people come together and help each other out in such short timeframe.

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.

itmag 1 day ago 1 reply      
To the person who fixed the problem: are you putting this on your resumé and if so how are you describing it?

I imagine something like this might be VERY attractive to certain employers.

chris_dcosta 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know how often HN get trawled, but you might want to think about removing or obfiscating your details, now that your issue is solved.
veverkap 1 day ago 0 replies      
Francis Cianfrocca
swah 1 day ago 1 reply      
Bad title: I thought you were dying of starvation and needed urgent donations.
beagle3 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not a ruby person, and this post by Joe Damato made me want to stay as far away as possible from Ruby -- but perhaps it would be helpful in your case


Ask HN: Naming service
3 points by Santas  4 hours ago   discuss
Show HN: Peregrine - the REAL instant photo sharing app
2 points by rossbeale  4 hours ago   2 comments top 2
rossbeale 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Did someone say promo codes?


Try it out, review, enjoy :)

rossbeale 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask PG: When is it too late to start a startup
3 points by throwaway3344  5 hours ago   1 comment top
Donito 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Adding a link to the video for others interested: http://www.bloomberg.com/video/83135286/
Ask HN: where do you advertise your developer positions?
6 points by flippyhead  11 hours ago   2 comments top 2
pitdesi 10 hours ago 0 replies      
After experiments on many other places, I'd suggest that best place to find developers (the kind our startup wants, anyway) is this site. On the 1st of the month, a bot named whoishiring (http://news.ycombinator.com/submitted?id=whoishiring) posts "who is hiring?" and "looking for freelancers" posts in which I put my companies (http://feefighters.com) needs.

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.

polyfractal 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug for my new email newsletter (http://www.startupfrontier.com)

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.

Response from my Senator regarding SOPA
10 points by pawn  13 hours ago   5 comments top 3
nextparadigms 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Well for one, that $135 billion number is totally bogus. Every pirated unit is not a lost sale. Not even close. I know a while ago someone did the math on one of their reported numbers and it ended up like 200 DVD's per customer per year - on average - which obviously is completely ridiculous.

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.

robdoherty2 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the response I got from one of the reps I contacted. I also posted it to HN a while back: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3253611

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.

soho33 13 hours ago 2 replies      
most likely an intern there answering all his emails!
Ask HN: What you achieved this year?
8 points by kodeshpa  14 hours ago   9 comments top 7
MattBearman 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
2011 has seen me:

- 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

jacques_chester 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Finished my honours degree, earning first class and a high distinction on my project ("An improved 3-party protocol for tracking user visits to participating websites").

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.

dangrossman 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally launched http://www.dialshield.com , a side project I had 90% done 2 years ago then simply didn't follow through on... but now it's out there and people are using it.

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.

pawn 13 hours ago 1 reply      
With the help of a few buddies, I released my first Xbox 360 game, piniq (http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/piniq/66acd000-77f...). That's the most ambitious thing I've done.

Less ambitiously, I made a Text Call of Duty. (http://viewthesource.org/g/cod.html)

samlev 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I released an Open source project (http://www.samuellevy.com/mico) which has had a few hundred installations; travelled through Europe; quit a job; got a job; became self-employed; started several projects (but got bored with/dropped most of them); explored some concepts that interest me through the medium of JavaScript and Conway's Game Of Life (http://gameoflife.samuellevy.com/ and http://gameoflife.samuellevy.com/shared/); and most recently have started work on a new charity-based system/startup.

I've had a pretty eventful year, I think.

SHOwnsYou 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Started my consulting company and booked ~400k of business from formation through May 2012

Around June I will start looking for my first revenue generating employee.

hajrice 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Decided not to go to college; Went through a seed incubator; Built a profitable product (helpjuice.com) which I live off of. Then, I turned 19.
Show HN: Disrupting the hypnosis industry
8 points by xekul  22 hours ago   11 comments top 4
brudgers 21 hours ago 1 reply      
My impression is that several U.S. states have registration or licensing requirements - how does your business plan to ensure compliance with them?
AznHisoka 20 hours ago 1 reply      
It looks like a good start. I think you'll need to do a lot of marketing, but you got domain expertise, and a hunger to create a product of it, so that's gotta count for something.
sajid 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a great idea and could be really successful if executed well.
Ask HN: We were told our idea is amazing, but our startup is failing - what now?
19 points by Mamady  14 hours ago   37 comments top 18
revorad 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a similar idea sometime ago. I think you can try a ton of things before deciding that it's failing.

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.

davidst 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Take heart: Without AdWords, Google itself was an idea that was amazing but a failing startup. You need a better revenue model than competing with cheap guidebooks.

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.

SHOwnsYou 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Keep contracting to pay the bills. As you guys save up some cash, hire a designer to make the pages prettier.

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.

weaksauce 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The problem is that you need to connect with the person who is traveling at exactly the right time. too soon and you lose mind-share, too late and it's no longer necessary. you need to figure out the delivery mechanism that works well. Maybe see if you can partner up with groupon travel destinations as an adder and offer them a split of it. so if groupon sells a hotel package in Chicago you should be offering your Chicago package. I think living social offers vacation packages too.

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....

anthony_franco 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The problem is that even though you have a great idea, that's only one part of the equation. To have a successful product you have to have four aspects: the market, marketing, design, features - in that order (got that from "Start Small, Stay Small".

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.

Iaks 14 hours ago 1 reply      
My immediate feedback is that you are charging too much. I can buy a travel book which details hundreds of things about SF for ~$20, used $10. I can get a Google itinerary for many places for free.

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.

jph 12 hours ago 0 replies      
> how is it possible that everyone thinks our idea is good,
> but we haven't managed to gain momentum?

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.

AznHisoka 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There's little chance you'll make enough to survive selling $ itineraries... I suggest just pivoting and becoming a consumer travel website ala TripAdvisor, or GogoBot.. if you're not going into the ticket space, you need content, and lots of free content.

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.

littledude 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I looked at the 2 itineraries available for my city and it was the typical tourist attractions. Like others have commented they're already widely recommended online and in print guidebooks. If I made an itinerary for a friend i'd recommend specific niche places the locals go relevant to their interests.

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.

silverlake 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I travel a lot and wouldn't use this. Shanghai costs $5 and I don't have any idea what might be in there. My travel book was $15 and already has itineraries for most popular cities in China.
cnorgate 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I think your business model might be wrong. As Iaks points out below, the $5 price point is not far from that of a used travel book.

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.

soho33 13 hours ago 0 replies      
i'll have to agree with SHOwnsYou.

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.

teyc 14 hours ago 0 replies      
$5 isn't much if you are able to demonstrate more value - example: personal safety - what are the areas to avoid? where can you find free water fountains? where are the best spots for a cheap meal along the route? You might be able to raise your revenue mix if you had sponsored content.
roti 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think offering more information, or charging less, would solve your problem. If I had wanted more information, I'd buy a guidebook. As SHOwnsYou mentioned, it's about having (good) itinerary decisions made for me. The value isn't in the amount of information, but the judgment that went into filtering and digesting the over-info out there in other travel sites/books.

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.

magsafe 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I think people love "the idea" of your idea. People love to imagine they're off on a vacation to Paris, and they'll have so much to think of, they'll probably want a locally-authored tour guide. So they're excited about traveling, going to Paris and finding lots of cool things to do there. But not necessarily from your guide books. When the time comes to actually go to Paris, the problem for you guys is that there's a TON of free information. You're competing with the simplest of all Google searches: "What should I do in Paris?", not to mention dozens of in-flight magazines, tourist info packets, maps, concierges, coupon books etc etc. When you're competing with so much free information, a $4.99 price point is too high, imho.
creativeone 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you tried promoting on Adwords, go for long tail keywords, optimize, optimize, optimize? Have you done A/B testing on your landing pages? Have you thought about installing an affiliate program?
andrewhillman 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe you're using the wrong channels. How about reaching out to biz devs at all the various Expedia-type sites to see if they are interested in doing a little up-selling during check out as an affiliate or something? This would give you targeted users who already have their wallets opened which is perfect for an impulse purchase. I think partnerships will go along way if executed properly.
mapster 9 hours ago 1 reply      
persistence. a better UI. and community feeling - invite users to signup for itinerary authors - and have a subsection of such 'community written' itineraries at a reduced rate. authors get a %. that would ^ word of mouth among travel and expat forums, blogs, social.
Show HN - our iOS Web Simulator for Windows
5 points by puresimmer  16 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Success from A/B testing?
5 points by leslyn  19 hours ago   2 comments top
Show HN: Splunk Developer Platform (what I've been working on)
6 points by itay  20 hours ago   7 comments top 3
soho33 18 hours ago 1 reply      
we use splunk in our office and i must admit, it's one of the greatest tools! to move from syslog to splunk has made life so much easier :) kudos on a great product and company.
rhizome 20 hours ago 1 reply      
So...you work for Splunk?
Ask HN: First startup. What do I ask so I don't get screwed?
7 points by throwaway21618  18 hours ago   5 comments top 4
pardner 17 hours ago 1 reply      
As an "old guy" founder with multiple exits, may I suggest you consider reframing the question in your own mind, perhaps to something like "If I join an 8-person startup, what are the daily qualities I need to exhibit to become indispensible to the team, and maximize the chances of not only riding this pony across the finish line but becoming well-positioned to leverage that success into even bigger and better things going forward?"

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.

brudgers 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The 9th employee of a company sold @ $50 million is very unlikely to cash out with fuck you money, regardless of anyone else's level of integrity - it would probably take close to a double digit undiluted stake to put you there...at least.

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.

Good luck.

accomplice 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Here some advice from Ryan Freitas


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)

descentintomael 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm on my first start up right now so I don't have a whole lot of advice, but all I can say is personalities count. In a small environment like that you need to make sure that you can get along well with everyone there. Get to know the team a little bit and try to spot any red flags. If the team includes a few friends or relatives of the founders, that could be a red flag for nepotism over execution.
Tell HN: I will work for your start-up as a designer for two weeks (SF Bay Area)
20 points by shahed  1 day ago   1 comment top
shahed 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dribbble Portfolio: http://dribbble.com/shahed
Ask HN: What are some cool gifts for entrepreneurs?
3 points by the_cat_kittles  16 hours ago   4 comments top 3
mrkmcknz 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a cool gift site from someone on HN for hackerneurs!


leslyn 16 hours ago 0 replies      
What about a really nice day planner and we all need massages to relieve the stress we feel!!
What the Internet has done for me...
19 points by sw1205  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
sw1205 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah no, so I run overground and work out the routes before each run - so I actually run a lot further than the tracks but I hit every tube station and get a picture outside each one!
Raphael 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a path to the side of the tracks?
Technical interviews in the US compared to the UK
30 points by peacemaker  2 days ago   36 comments top 12
ekidd 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've interviewed people in the US, and the first time I asked candidates to reverse a linked list, I was shocked by the results.

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.

coffeenut 1 day ago 1 reply      
The theory behind the technical questions is not whether you can reverse a linked list, but rather:

  -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

Anyway, that's the theory. In reality, many interviewers use whiteboard questions as a crutch to an easy interview loop and don't really understand why they're asking what they're asking.

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.

ig1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't know where you've interviewed in the UK, but the type the of interviews you've described in the US are pretty much the standard in the UK at major tech companies and in the financial sector.

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.

araneae 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone moving from the U.S. (possibly) to London in a few years, that's actually pretty comforting. I'm mostly self taught so any hardcore CS problems will throw me. I CAN reverse a linked list, but only if it's a doubly linked list :). (Ok, kidding, I can reverse a singly linked list, but ask me what heapsort is and I would definitely have to look it up.)
allenc 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who does a lot of interviews and has switched jobs six months ago, I understand how it feels, on both sides. I've written my fair amount on the topics too (http://allenc.com/2011/04/how-to-score-a-google-onsite-inter... and http://corner.squareup.com/2011/10/why-we-pair-interview.htm...).

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.

roniburd 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If you can't spend 1-2 days revisiting old basic algorithms like this, you are not even self-motivated or capable of learning on the job to probably join the "bigger names" like you mention. Interviews like these test how well you are at basic comp. sci problems. I used to be like you and from a much more distant country but eventually I realized these questions have a lot of merit: if you don't know these basics all you are capable of is gluing some APIs and solving some of integration/compatibility problems in different platforms. Not a good fit for companies who are creating those APIs, platforms and breaking new ground. Also, think about it from a statistics point of view: you are more likely to get false positive with people who can't pass that simple question those who can.
sgrove 1 day ago 1 reply      
I started replying, and it turned into a long story: http://trapm.com/how-to-get-hired-or-the-silly-but-adorable-...
tnuc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find in the interviews that the Americans like to ask questions based on what you learnt in college. It's almost like a test on your university abilities. The tests on your ability to do the actual job seem to be rather scarce. Your ability to remember different sorting algorithms is much more important.

> 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.

froseph 1 day ago 1 reply      
For what it's worth I don't really care much about your resume other than the fact that it is a signal for if you _may_ be a good hire. My job as an interviewer is to test if you are a good hire and you need to be able to pass that test. I ask easy programmings questions as a smoke test of technical competence. I banter about your interests and past achievements to see if we are able to communicate and get along (as well as probe for bullshit). I ask hard problems to see how you think and your motivation to get the job done.

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.

SnoopDougieDoug 1 day ago 0 replies      
Has anyone ever had to reverse a linked list in "the real world" (tm)? Is that a singly-linked or double-linked? Can I use Google, which is what any sane developer would do in "the real world". I don't remember squat about data structs 301. So what. What does the typical developer do daily? I would be much more interested in how they approach bugs. What approaches do they use? Any tools they carry on a flash drive? What drives them crazy? What do they love? What are they learning?
Kurtz79 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hello, I´m European as well, and I often thought about doing something similar (i.e. moving to US for a period of time looking for work). I have already been in Silicon Valley for an internship (with a researcher visa) years ago and loved the place, but I always thought that getting a working Visa would be hard, since the company basically has to petition for your visa and pay all the associated legal expenses.

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 ?


phpguy2 1 day ago 2 replies      
Ive laughed at these type of questions and told them "How 90's of you". Of course I work in a more entrepreneurial field where getting the job done is more important than fretting over a linked list. Just my two cents.
Ask HN: what's your favourite startup/agency Christmas greeting?
5 points by stevejalim  23 hours ago   7 comments top 5
eustatius 22 hours ago 0 replies      
An agency my partner worked for did "Jumpers for Shelter" last year: employees hand-knitted or hand-accessorized a jumper, which was then auctioned along with some bling donated by clients (kitchen knives, computer games, jewellery). All money from the eBay auction went to Shelter.


benrmatthews 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Mint Digital (based in London) did a great one a few years ago.

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.

stevejalim 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's the 2011 one from all of us at Torchbox: http://sing.torchbox.com

(Yes, this is a pretty gratuitous plug, I know, but it's fun. See the FAQs link for how we built it).

thesash 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This one's awesome: teehan+lax recreated their logo by painting the partners blue


RoryMacDonald 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's one we did this year: http://monsters.partizan.com/
Ask HN: Better 1st person (My Photos) or 2nd (Your Photos)?
59 points by barredo  4 days ago   38 comments top 20
sgk284 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yahoo's YUI has a whole write up on this in their design patterns: http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/social/core/yourvmy.htm...

They explain why they've determined that "your" is best.

po 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm really shocked about the differing opinions on this. I have always thought that the "my X" label triggers selfishness and suspicion in users, putting their guard up. I prefer "Your X" so that people feel like a team has been formed. They trust you with their data because they are entering information into your site. We're a team.

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.

cing 3 days ago 4 replies      
How about option 3: "Items" and "Photos"? Unless of course you have to differentiate between "Mine" and "Everyone Elses"
MoreMoschops 3 days ago 1 reply      
"My Computer" et al. sounded patronising and childlike when it started and continues to do so now.

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?

asolove 3 days ago 0 replies      
All you have to do is list out all the things you want to say, and the answer becomes clear:

"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.

Terretta 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're talking about labeling things that belong to the user, and your site or app is supposed to feel like the site or app itself belongs to the user (their space), go with what the user would label them. For photos, what would the user write on a shoebox of their own prints? Most likely “My Photos”, but they also could just “Photos” if nobody else's things are stored anywhere nearby.

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.

allbutlost 3 days ago 0 replies      
A good discussion arose on this question a while back - it might be worth checking out http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1714184 and the original article that spawned the discussion -> http://weblog.muledesign.com/2010/06/unsuck_it_special_byeby...

I tend to prefer using the 2nd person, if I have to choose one over the other.

[edit] - 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....

jschuur 3 days ago 1 reply      
If it's inherently private data, use first person. For shared/public stuff, use second person. 'Your passwords' sounds too much like someone else is talking about my confidential data.
spking 3 days ago 0 replies      
Once you've chosen "My" or "Your" it becomes a boobytrap you have to avoid in all your labels, navigation and copy.

See: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1924102/my-account-or-you...

The second most popular answer is the one I'd strive for.

brudgers 3 days ago 0 replies      
The technically more descriptive "Private" and "Public," perhaps?
lucianof 3 days ago 3 replies      
I noticed that Google uses +You in English (as a plug for Google+ if you're not logged in) and +Ich (= +I) in German. Maybe they really just want a three letter word.

Researching further:
French: +Vous (polite 2nd person)
Italian: +Tu (casual 2nd person)

German seems to be the exception, Googl prefers 2nd person.

weel 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a classic example of a question that can only really be answered with data. Generic studies are good, but nothing beats data you gather about your particular UI.
buster 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd probably see the website as a third entity presenting stuff to me, so it's coming down to:

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.

Alex3917 3 days ago 1 reply      
Never use second person for UI, it's alienating because it subconsciously tells people that they aren't a part of the group and they don't belong. Studies show that conversion rates are much lower when you talk to people in second person for this reason.
est 3 days ago 0 replies      
It really depends, but whatever you choose, make it consistant.
DiabloD3 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shouldn't this be a poll?

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.

vaksel 3 days ago 0 replies      
for a landing page where you tell them about the product, your.

for actual app interface, my is better

gerad 3 days ago 1 reply      
All else being equal, use the shorter word.
cpi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've actually been having a similar internal debate with an app I'm working on now, although for me it's between "My Whatever" and just "Whatever." Currently leaning towards "My."

"Your Whatever" isn't even an option though... don't like it at all.

swah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Also, if you want to buy an AK47 do you google for "buy ak47" or "sell ak47" ? Its the prisioners dillema!
Show HN: A Pinboard for Entrepreneurs, Skillow
9 points by patrickryan  1 day ago   1 comment top
fabiandesimone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank HN: My part-time project is finally ready for the business
3 points by adityakothadiya  23 hours ago   7 comments top 3
adityakothadiya 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Clickable link - http://JustRemindIt.com
soho33 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats! looks like a very useful and nice app.

just curious, how do you deal with spam so users don't send unwanted voicecalls to random numbers?

gdhillon 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Contract Aditya. Just curious if you did all the Web and iOS app development yourself?
Ask HN: Working Memory And Understanding
24 points by mpg33  3 days ago   17 comments top 10
pasbesoin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Don't neglect / fail to pay attention to:

- 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.

hvass 3 days ago 1 reply      
I recommend using Anki. Active recall (meaning you are asked something) is much better than passively reading and spaced repetition have been shown to help learning. If you dig into memory you will surely read about the 'forgetting curve' so usually a program such as Anki has an algorithm to ask you at the point you are about to forget something.

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/

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.

tokipin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a similar problem but it doesn't stop me from being a good programmer. What it means for me is that when I sit down to work on a large project, it can take me a while to get up to speed with it as I reload/reaquire the knowledge. And I think that's totally normal.

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.

Gormo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've read a lot of articles that suggest that multiple n-back exercises[1] work well to extend the working set of short-term memory. I've been using Brain Workshop [2] for a few weeks to test it out, and I've certainly noticed an improvement in my performance scores from doing the exercises - I suppose I'll see in the near future whether there's a noticeable impact in my ability to "cache" information in practical contexts.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-back

[2] http://brainworkshop.sourceforge.net/

SkyMarshal 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's no easy answer to this. You have to rewire your neural pathways till they're more effecient at working memory, and the only way to do this is with lots of hard work doing things like math and programming that require high working memory. It will be painful for a few years, but keep at it and it you will get better at it. But there's definitely no silver bullet here, at least not at this point in history.
danielharan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure what the ask is.

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.

lukifer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Make copious notes, add lots of comments, and don't be afraid to refactor for readability/understandability. Write both comments and code like you're explaining it to a third-grader. When each chunk is easy to understand, it'll be easier (or possible) to see how it all fits together.

It's not YOUR brain that is deficient; it's the human brain in general. Code should be written around that fundamental constraint.

brador 2 days ago 1 reply      
The time spent comprehending could be better spent building your own.

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.

xxjaba 2 days ago 0 replies      
I struggle with this problem as well. I often feel like the people around e learn more with less effort - perhaps because their brain's RAM has more space. Oh well, I supplement my lack of a large memory with stubbornness.

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.

rumfa 2 days ago 0 replies      
More about N-Back you can read here http://www.gwern.net/DNB%20FAQ also check out nootropics.
Ask HN: Where to find a great web designer for front end UX?
2 points by Igor_Bratnikov  20 hours ago   1 comment top
pveugen 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This Quora thread might be an interesting starting point if you're looking for freelancers:

- http://www.quora.com/Who-are-the-best-web-designers-under-25...

Strolling through Dribble might also give you some inspiration:

- http://dribbble.com/

The UX world gathers on blogs like:

- http://uxbooth.com

- http://konigi.com

- http://usabilitypost.com

- http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com

- http://johnnyholland.org

Some of them might offer job postings as well.

Show HN: Santa's Engineer
2 points by avgarrison  19 hours ago   1 comment top
avgarrison 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I didn't realize it wouldn't turn that URL into a clickable link. Here's the link to the game:


The real reason you can't hire developers....
304 points by up_and_up  7 days ago   265 comments top 61
nirvana 6 days ago  replies      
I think the fundamental problem is that companies want a "Sr. Software Engineer" with >7 years of development and >4 years of development in their particular language, who also is young enough to think that "Nerf guns" and "xbox's" [sic] are an appealing "Benefit" and that aren't going to ask anywhere near $115k a year. (a totally reasonable salary, by the way, but I think you lose edge in negotiations by putting that up front. What if they think you're worth $125k? They're now going to offer $110k and let you talk them up to $115k.)

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.

jemfinch 6 days ago  replies      
I'm going to say it because it seems no one else is. I apologize ahead of time for my brutal honesty.

You need to consider the possibility that you're not as competent as you believe yourself to be. Dunning-Kruger[0] 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.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

Pewpewarrows 6 days ago 1 reply      
This post pretty much reflects my observations back when I was job hunting a year or so ago. I had a good amount of experience, was willing to relocate, wasn't looking for a telecommuting position, and was very flexible on salary. I advertised myself to several high-profile companies, many of which have affiliations with YC. None of them were through recruiters, and a few were even direct contacts with some core developers happening to advertise the company on twitter: cough Disqus cough.

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.

patio11 7 days ago 4 replies      
People trying to hire developers through Dice/Monster are demonstrably clueless. Get introductions direct to the decisionmaker. You won't be in a pile of 200 resumes from people who list "Computers: Expert, especially with MsWord" and apply to developer positions. You'll also be dealt with in more reasonable timeframes.

Job sites are job hunting for people who enjoy unemployment.

goodweeds 6 days ago 2 replies      
<sarcasm> 1998 called and they want their resume blasts back. </sarcasm>

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.

waterlesscloud 6 days ago 3 replies      
A lot of comments here miss the point.

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.

jrockway 6 days ago 2 replies      
The reason companies can't hire good people is because good people already have good jobs, and many of these companies suffer from "sticker shock" when they see how much money good developers are already making.

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.

compay 6 days ago 1 reply      
After many years I was back in the job market earlier this year. I ended up writing to 6 carefully-chosen companies. I got responses back from 5 of them, interviewed at 4, and got job offers from all of them.

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.

gatlin 6 days ago 3 replies      
I applied to a kind-of sinking ship in Palo Alto last year. Got through a few interviews, answered all the questions right, and was gently let down. It was a stab in the dark.

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.

pg 6 days ago 4 replies      
Ability to relocate: Open to idea, can't right away

That's why few were interested.

rcavezza 7 days ago 2 replies      
I don't think this is why companies can't find good developers.

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.

byoung2 7 days ago 3 replies      
I had a similar experience. I just left ClearChannel last month to go work at a startup, and though I went through a recruiter to find my new job, I also applied to a handful of job postings at YC-funded startups (through the jobs link at the top of HN). I believe there were 5 total, and 2 of them had puzzles that I completed correctly. I have an impressive resume, and I was willing to relocate (I live in Los Angeles, so SF isn't too big a change). Not one response, even to say we got your email, thanks for doing the puzzle. Through the recruiter, I was interviewed and hired within a week, at a 37.5% salary increase. Go figure
robotresearcher 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's just ordinary courtesy for a company to acknowledge your application, and then send you a "thanks, but no" letter after a human has reviewed it.

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 [1] 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.

[1] Joke.

jqueryin 6 days ago 1 reply      

    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

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

Open yourselves up to change and boundary pushing.
Consider opening satellite offices in different large
cities for your remote devs to work at, together.

::end rant::

shadowfiend 7 days ago 5 replies      
Specifically in response to the time gaps: it's true that time gaps are bad, but keep in mind these are startups, which means they're juggling about twenty thousand different things at the same time. I think in that domain in particular, some slack may be in order as compared to a 20,000-strong corporation with a dedicated HR department.

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.

euroclydon 7 days ago 0 replies      
If you're being paid 115K, working from home, and defining architecture, the biggest thing that sticks out to me about that is, you have a lot of control.

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.

fuzzythinker 6 days ago 1 reply      
Counter data:

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.

jfno67 7 days ago 0 replies      
At one company I was working the career section was listing open position and we were actually doing cost cutting layoffs. Not listing position on your company website is seen as a bad signal to send to the public and your investors. Sometimes, it's more a marketing statement than anything.
synnik 7 days ago 2 replies      
If you complete phone screens on 1 out of every 10 inquiries you send, you are doing very well in my opinion.

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.

josephmoniz 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wish i could agree. However, my experiences in getting jobs as a software engineer have been vastly different. I've never spent longer then a week seeking a job in the software industry. This might be some what biased because i haven't been working in the industry all that long (just 2 years now). I'm a self educated hacker/programmer that has been writing hobbyist code for myself for 8 years and have never attended a day of college in my life. My average salary for the past 2 years i've been programming has been 90k-100k and my first job was a full time employee for a multi-million dollar corporation in Pleasanton CA and now i work for a startup in San Francisco thats in the alexa top 300 sites.

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.

jarek 6 days ago 0 replies      
Reading some of the comments here, I think the real reason companies are having problems hiring might be that they're unwilling to pay someone with 7/4 years of experience 25% more than a bigco will pay an undergrad straight out of school.
mgkimsal 7 days ago 1 reply      

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. :)

wavephorm 6 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of companies have a permenant jobs page just to have the appearance of growth, but aren't really hiring.
aiurtourist 6 days ago 1 reply      
LESSON: riddle/puzzles/challenges might seem cool to you but might just seem like another hoop to me.

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.

tlogan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Yap - 80% will not even reply. When I was doing "market discovery" for my startup I sent resumes (real one - no fake things) to all these potential competitor to see how competent they are.

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.

gallerytungsten 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think part of the problem you've identified is that many companies are constantly in "resume trawling mode" even if they have no intention of hiring immediately.

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.

mrchess 6 days ago 0 replies      
It took me 2.5 months to interview start to finish with a several mil backed startup, and I had to constantly bother them to set up my interviews despite they had a person recruiting full time. Compare this with an top company in the valley I interviewed with and the process was streamlined and only 1 month. Both included on-site interviews.

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.

polyfractal 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to call shenanagins. I've been contacting startups recently for my job listing newsletter and have been getting excellent replies. To be fair, I'm asking if they want to be interviewed and have their job position sent to the email list, not asking to be hired.

But people are reading incoming emails and are interested in hiring. Maybe they just didn't like your email/tone?

matwood 6 days ago 0 replies      
Number 1 reason is your lack of ability to relocate right now. It's hard for companies to hire someone remotely and give them a lot of control without knowing more about them.

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.

SeoxyS 6 days ago 3 replies      
For what it's worth, I'm involved in the hiring process at chartboost.com. (Company tripled in employee size the past couple months!) When we get a resume / inquiry from somebody who wants to work remotely, it's instant rejection. Telecommuting is a long debate whose scope is outside of this discussion, but for a lot of companies that's a tough sell. Especially at 115k.
guynamedloren 6 days ago 1 reply      
You're not trying hard enough.

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.

mikeocool 6 days ago 1 reply      
Did you customize your email at all for each company?

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.

T_S_ 6 days ago 0 replies      
3. Weird extra steps...riddle/puzzles/challenges might seem cool to you but might just seem like another hoop to me.

I can't wait until this business fad is over.

nodata 7 days ago 4 replies      
Wild card: the reason is that tech companies want an excuse to hire cheap immigrants.
WilhelmJ 6 days ago 0 replies      
I want to add something from my own experience.

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!

jroseattle 6 days ago 0 replies      
What this really reflects: how bad people are at hiring. Not at hiring poor performers, just the execution of a hiring process.

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.

alinajaf 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think that if you're really keen to get a position, it's worth following up. People are busy, you get the wrong email address, there are a dozen reasons why your application may not have got to the person it needs to for the hiring process to begin.

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.

kamaal 6 days ago 0 replies      
Some things from your post are spot on! Especially the riddles. Seriously, you got to tell me how many people deal with riddles in your day to day programming jobs? Do you pick up blank sheets of paper and work on puzzles a considerable part of the day.

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.

jyothi 6 days ago 0 replies      
3. Weird extra steps
It is not really that weird. Puzzles or math problems are just a faster and highly probable measure of one's aptitude not just for the silly puzzle but how sharp you are even in business decisions. The mind has to be sharp. Trust me this is as important as knowing if you did multi-threaded cluster based algorithm blah blah.

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.

thinkingthomas 7 days ago 2 replies      
You didn't post your full resume, but as a hiring manager I can tell you that the telecommuting preference and the previous listed experience as CTO might have disqualified you from a number of companies, even if they are presumably open to distributed development and multiple levels of talent.

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.

kfcm 6 days ago 0 replies      
Here's some news for you: the vast majority of companies don't respond, and it cuts across all economic sectors and positions (tech, non-tech). Myself, friends and colleagues have determined companies which do respond are the (rare) exceptions.

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.

cloudhead 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have always gotten replies from job applications, but where this hits home for me, is the delay. I've had recruiters take a month to reply, at which point I've probably already accepted an offer from another company.

The companies I ended up strongly considering are those which replied the day after, they are the ones actually interested.

xrd 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think the most important part of your research is that there is a myth that you have to hire young people who like playing video games. You reap what you sow when those are your hiring goals. Many talented senior developers are completely turned off by that type of ad.
daly 6 days ago 1 reply      
I agree. I have been on the interview trail for 10 months
and do not get responses to either emails or phone calls.
I have a masters degree, loads of experience, and a strong
work ethic. I have a patent, have published cited papers,
and have 4 commercial languages I co-authored. I am a lead
developer on 3 open source projects, one of which contains
about a million lines of code. All I see are "ninja/super/god-like" developer ads. Something is broken somewhere.
triviatise 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would be interested in seeing your resume and the actual emails you are sending. Perhaps you should be doing some more formal A/B testing with variations on your resume/cover letter.

This could be an interesting startup opportunity :)

billpatrianakos 6 days ago 0 replies      
I agree and disagree.

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.

rickmb 6 days ago 0 replies      
Boilerplate applications that show now interest whatsoever in who we are as a company will be go straight to /dev/null along with all the other spam. We deliberately write our job postings so that's it's easy to check if an applicant is actually interested in working for us.

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.

jgarmon 7 days ago 0 replies      
I expect that telecommuting and/or salary are the dealbreakers here.

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.

ig1 7 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of them probably chose not to reply because there were other candidates that were a better match or you didn't meet their minimum criteria.

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.

pclark 6 days ago 0 replies      
What is your nationality?

In my experience startups are terrible at operationally executing hiring processes, and developers are terrible at selling themselves.

padi_n 6 days ago 0 replies      
The statistic of 80% of companies not responding is pretty stark. I'm curious if you applied exclusively to start ups. I think the "resume black hole" complaint is a pretty common one, no matter the size of the potential employer. If you're applying online, to relatively larger companies, there might be more feedback available to you than you might think.

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.

mynameishere 6 days ago 4 replies      
Most companies are going to put it right in the bin at 115K. Not sure if you understand that.
ivankirigin 6 days ago 0 replies      
The single biggest reason it is hard to hire is that good people most often aren't looking for work. They are embedded in other companies or starting their own.
giltotherescue 7 days ago 2 replies      
Your salary expectations are awful high for a telecommute position. Next time you could consider letting them warm up to you before throwing that out. Also, how can you have expertise in "a bunch of other stuff"? The point of expertise is focus.

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?

jayzalowitz 6 days ago 0 replies      
I applied to YC a few times ago with something to the ends of "In order to apply, you have to rate 3 other resumes for this position" Does anyone else think this is a good idea? I feel like there are too many people applying that suck, and it would be better to know where you stand/get feedback from other seekers?
hnwh 6 days ago 0 replies      
You are soooo right on the money on this.. I've got 3 years of Rails experience, and had the same result when applying to several companies. I also come from a top 3 school, and have alot of degrees..
Terretta 6 days ago 1 reply      
The plural of API is APIs.


When hiring devs, I definitely look for language skill and attention to detail in syntax. A buggy cover letter or resume suggests buggy code.

up_and_up 6 days ago 0 replies      
Some take-home points/assumptions based on comments and further thoughts etc (not saying I agree with these at all):

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.

codef0rmer 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have also faced the same problem with Yahoo India. An HR used to call me about the interview schedule everyday but the interviewer would not be calling on time. This happened for 2 consecutive weeks and then the HR stopped replying my emails and calls. Totally Ridiculous!!!
bearzilla 5 days ago 0 replies      
Reading through some of the comments and have come to the conclusion that A LOT of people have no sense of humor. I read this post and chuckled a few times with the understanding that this was not how you actually composed your emails. I cannot believe that someone read this seriously thinking it was similar to what was submitted to companies. Let's hope that the "pretentious arse" learns to take a joke on the future. Thank you for sharing your experiment in a humorous way.
corkill 6 days ago 1 reply      
Make a 3 minutes video of yourself on webcam talking through your resume and past projects, or even just stuff you like to do not work related.

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.

       cached 21 December 2011 15:05:01 GMT