A co-founder relationship is very important, and my willingness to join you on this venture has less to do with your idea and more to do with you. Specifically:
- Who are you, and what have you done?
- What is your professional and personal experience, and what does it bring to the table in a general sense of running a startup, and in a specific sense, this idea of yours.
- Why you? I need to be able to trust my co-founder pretty much absolutely and unquestionably. What is your character and who can vouch for it?
Funnily enough, your idea and the fact that you have a prototype is a fairly minor signal compared to the above.
1) When people are making money off of something, they protect that method of making money, and evolve if necessary.
2) There are intricacies to our currency that might not seem immediately obvious. People depend on the discreet nature of physical currency - it controls the entire world of corruption (a lot of movies like to use diamonds as black market currency, but in reality its too difficult to rule out man-made diamonds these days, or to quickly evaluate the worth of a lot of diamonds). Corruption does not occur solely among gangsters, but all manner of people - from the most prolific bankers to the most "reputable" politicians. Digital currency can too easily be traced.
3) The government has made little effort to create its own digital currency, despite the fact that it would save tax payers billions, negating the need for the IRS, Mint, and reduce the need for the FBI and Secret Service (which monitors counterfeiting among other things)...and the corruption associated with physical currency. You might encounter more red tape and inertia than you anticipate -- if not now then when Visa lobbies its favorite candidate to create laws that work against you.
4) Third world countries are not a great target for digital currency IMHO, unless they have prevalent technology and understanding of it.
I think companies like Venmo, Dwolla and Square (or even PayPal) are well-positioned to becoming credit card alternatives.
So: why Bitcoin/a separate currency?
- The killer app in this space is whether you have an answer to "Why can a startup displace the incumbents?" and "How are you going to get people using this?" The answer to the second must be understandable by my dry cleaner, who would not trust bitcoin even if it were issued by the US Treasury. The prototype at this stage is probably about as useful as PayPal's first prototype (which was for a different idea, IIRC). Edit: not hating on Bitcoin, just pointing out that success here will derive in part from expanding its use beyond the core early adopters.
- Work on your writing & proofing. It may seem petty, but you're aiming big so this stuff matters. People (cofounders included) will pay attention to sloppy writing at this stage, using it as a proxy for information they don't yet have about you. Plus, when my cofounder emails senior people at major banks, will I feel compelled to rewrite the emails? Temp accounts plus poor writing => no response.
Hope this helps, and good luck.
How do you handle chargebacks? What about fraud? If you don't properly protect your users, you're not really providing a good service, and you need to make the rules incredibly clear for your merchants, they aren't going to work with you.
How are merchants supposed to respond to the volatility of bitcoin? For a currency that sees semi-wild (compared to standard FOREX) swings in value, they could be waffling between the red and the black on a daily basis. There's no value in holding bitcoins when there are better currencies out there.
Where do you make money? Transactionally? On a flat-fee basis? In loaning out the cash? The problem with banking is that the fractional reserve system has created a risk environment such that you can't make money unless you're leveraging your reserves for lending, and that's an incredibly complex system on its own. The big banks make money because they are vastly huge. How would you move into that scene? Is the intent to be acquired? How do you leverage startup inertia to compete against a company doing hundreds or thousands of times the volume in a day than you'd hope to see in a month?
Just a few questions. Many people have given this particular problem a lot of thought, and none of them have been able to make it work as of yet.
Yes, you read that correctly.
There are laws that state that anything that can be used to facilitate money laundering OR threaten the US economy is illegal.
Don't get me wrong though, I'm one of the most active Bitcoin fans I know, I think the concept is unbelievable. I just wanted you to know that there might be some additional legal barriers as you can gain traction.
Stay hungry, stay foolish.
YC does occasionally accept sole-founders who plan to find someone else, as far as I know (I may be wrong) they've never accepted a team which was put together by strangers for the purpose of YC.
YC places a huge emphasis on team (over everything else in the application) and team dynamics play an important part in that. They need to know the team won't fall apart when under pressure as that's one of the main reasons startups fail. If you pair up with someone you've never worked with, then neither you or YC have any indication how the team dynamics will work.
The real solutions, in my opinion, have to use real currencies or they will face a severe risk of death by regulation.
* Use for illegal activities.
* Problems with controlling capital flow across national borders.
* Problems with estimating money supply in an economic system etc.
I think Bitcoin is awesome, but it offers users no protection - it's more of a cash replacement than a credit card replacement. This is something that might end up being difficult to handle (something to make sure users will understand).
I have NEVER signed up for a new service that required a credit card up front. I HAVE signed up for free accounts, saw the value and then converted.
This is a little different for certain brands, i.e., AWS and such. However, for an unknown brand to want my CC info? Not a chance.
- asking for a CC up front might make sense if the trial customers are burdensome and you want to focus your efforts on customers more likely to pay.
- if you are an unknown entity, or the pain level of your customers is low, the CC prompt may dramatically reduce signups.
But forget my guesses. When in doubt, just try it out.
Things that I sometimes give payment info for (but they do not charge right away) is when something is a free trial that converts into a paid subscription after X time.
Otherwise for freemium I'll give my payment info at the time of purchase but for the free part, heck no.
You also have to take into consideration that giving away your credit card info feels like you are making a purchase so even though that may mean the people are more willing to purchase when they do give info it doesn't necessarily mean it is a good idea to require it.
Seems like low-power Bluetooth will replace QR codes in the not-so-distant future.
Other than the fact most (if not up to 80%) of people either don't know what a QR code is or how to 'read' it.
It's a pretty clever design, at its core is encoding binary data to an image (largest is about 512KB if I remember correctly).
Liability comes into play when you consider that it's possible to encode a virus or other malicious code into QR readable format which people can willy-nilly scan into their phones.
It's a feature of 'Bing Vision' which allows scanning of QR Codes, Microsoft Tags, Standard Barcodes, and Text. This is built-in to the general Bing (Search) feature of the OS and is avaliable on all Windows Phone devices.
There is a LOT more to programming than code, just as there is a lot more to painting than paint, a lot more to music than notes, and a lot more to writing than words. The better you get, the better you will learn to play computer. Someday, if you keep at it, you will be good enough to try teaching the computer how to play human :D.
HTML is a great way to interface with humans. Once you feel comfortable with it you should move into server-side programming next and see where it takes you :D.
The projects you should be most proud of are the ones where you do something nobody has ever done before; but to get to those you have to learn what others have done, and learn it with respect.
At the end of the day, it's you and your computer having fun together :). Your computer can do a lot of valuable work, but only with your help!
Look back on your old code, and marvel at how _wrong_ it was. Rewrite it better.
Read through open source code. I learned things from reading the Linux kernel source that made me absolutely destroy my C classes. I've learned dirty hacks from Rails' source that I use all the time.
But seriously. Hack lots of code and write lots of experiments.
One really important thing I've learned since then is don't read HN too much.
You'll get too caught up in "best practices" or the hottest new libraries that you won't ever finish a product. It's a habit I'm working on, but it can be summarized as doing "Enough for Now"
1. Assume there will always be tools that are better than the ones you have now. 2. Assume that events in the world will continue to happen or not happen regardless of whether you learn about them immediately. 3. Assume that you understand and control an embarrassingly minute percentage of the universe. 4. Assume that none of this matters if you're determined to make something you care about today. - Merlin Mann, sayer of smart things
My editor of choice to get some work done. Stop procrastinating!
THAT - is very very hard to reproduce.
http://grantland.com/ for sports
I feel these subreddits are worth a try:compsci (http://www.reddit.com/r/compsci)explainlikeiamfive (http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/)programming (http://www.reddit.com/r/programming)(There are a links to other subreddits of similar type in the sidebars of these reddits, which can be further explored).
One caveat is that lots of articles/links/posts from those places turn up here at HN as well. So there is factor of duplicates involved.
All any of your interests might have its own subreddit. If it exists and there isn't too much trash, those can be looked at.
When you find a post you like on HN, add it to your RSS reader. I find my reader feed to be generally more interesting and relevant than the HN frontpage, but I keep coming back to HN for new sources.
Hoping this little tool and help relieve some of that frustration for us and other developers.
They shipped me a free copy and a Python T-shirt (to India). I was in my teens: life-long fan since.
See this thread: "Microsoft suggests customer donate extra X-Box they sent him."http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3434404
I've seen this with authors who work very hard to make their primary mission communication and education, without "sweating the small stuff". And I've seen it at the top, with the way Tim has run and cared about the business.
It's worked, with me. Currently, I might be better off purchasing single titles than maintaining a Safari subscription. But it's nice to have instant access when I need it. And, damn it, someone has to promote a rational, useful model for ebooks. (Purchased copies feel more like my books, rather than a DRM-choked "license" (aka timebomb). With Safari token-based downloads, that even includes titles from other publishers', e.g. Addison Wesley.)
I now find some other publishers who likewise earn my respect and support (e.g. Pragmatic). But O'Reilly was one of the first to be there, especially in commercial digital publishing on a large scale.
sadly i can never order another book from them, ever after i made the mistake of ordering and actual reading "Couch DB" http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596155902.do and "The Art of SEO" http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596518875.do front to cover (as i do with 80% of all books i purchase)
It seems like o'reilly is no longer in the book publishing business, but in the business of collecting blogsposts, printing them on paper selling them via their outstanding brand - without any quality assurance of any kind (other than choosing still outstanding cover pics.
additionally i made the mistake of ordering "Data Source Handbook" http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920018254.do via Amazon, paid my $29.99 and only realized in the moment i opened the box, that it actually has 42 pages and no real content. thanks to jeff b. i could return it to amazon.
its very sad what happened to o'reilly - there was a time you could pick-up/buy any oreilly book, read it from front to cover and then know more about the topic than 99.999% of all other humans on this planet - and you had a very good base of actually becoming a real expert on that topic, these days seem now very long ago.
I took some notes on it if anyone wanted to check them out.http://storify.com/ashbhoopathy/create-more-value-than-you-c...
I guess the real amazing thing here is that Tim's generosity and ethos trickles down to his entire company and everything they do, including customer service.
I hope more technologists and organizations work the same way. It really just is better business.
I was in their "O'Reilly Irregulars" group a few years ago, where folks volunteered to go inventory/catalog the ORA books at their local favorite bookstore, in exchange for a free book or two a month. I also ran banner ads for ORA on a couple of my websites. Marsee and the rest of the crew there are wonderful people to deal with.
I go out of my way to buy ebook versions of their titles directly now even though I could pirate them easily for free.
It's been great for when I need to review some new technology (e.g., HTML5) but don't want or need to read an entire book about the topic in question. And it works great on my Kindle. Also -- and I'm sure O'Reilly is aware of this -- when I find something particularly good on Safaribooksoline, I sometimes end up purchasing the "deadtree" version of such books so I can have a physical book to read when I'm away from the computer/Kindle.
They trust their reader and will not suppose them speed readers, while Kindle library will not do the same thing.
In fact its probably the cheapest way you can get customer loyalty. If you really take care of a customer, they'll often times stick with you even if you're slightly more expensive than their alternatives.
And of course , big thanks for docbook!
I donated the spare book to my local library.
Credit card shows 3 charges.... friend gets 3 copies of the magazine. They took care of it promptly. Sent me a couple make t-shirts.
Loyal O'Reilly cusomer/ oReilly radar reader.
(Re. #2) Because of Clojure's immutability, you program differently than you would in a state-based language (most mainstream languages). So learning Clojure is not that helpful in preparing you for Common Lisp or Scheme. Just learn Common Lisp or Scheme, if that's your final goal.
(Re. #3) I've seen web pages detailing jobs in Common Lisp. Search, and you'll find them. Short answer: I don't think there are that many. Some independent programmers who have (or take) the liberty of using whatever language they want, get to use Lisps that way.
Re. "I'm not too deep into Java" and similar statements: FYI, Clojure is built on top of Java and depends on Java being used to get things done. Clojure doesn't implement various things because of this; the language assumes that you know Java well enough to "drop into" Java when Clojure itself doesn't provide. (Clojure makes it very easy to do this, most but not all of the time--and the exceptions aren't documented.)
1. In terms of employability? Not much immediately, but perhaps more in the future as Clojure matures, more places use it, multicore languages become "hot", etc. I have no idea what the demand for Clojure is like in India, though. It will certainly make you a better programmer, however.
2. Yes. The biggest hurdle is learning a Lisp, not in switching between Lisps. The actual keywords used may vary, but the underlying concepts will be quite similar.
3. Here in New York, I rarely see Clojure jobs advertised for, but there's definitely people interested. I suspect it's mostly being used personally, and for some small in-house projects at the moment. I expect I'll hear of some startups using it as their language of choice in the next year.
4. I love it, but I'm only using it at the personal level. I think it's an extremely well thought-out language.
I will also report this observation: "You'll think this is crazy. I thought it was crazy. But the last REDACTED deals I did included a partial cash-out for the founders." (I.e. rather than selling 10% of the company for $800k deposited in the corporate account the deal was $600k for the Corp and a $100k check for each founder.)
I don't know why this "garage myth" gets so much romance. It works for rich kids who can fall back on their parents, for students, extremely well-established people who have lots of savings and connections to fall back on, and for people who can time-travel back to the time when rents were reasonable in Silicon Valley, Boston and New York. In practice, you cannot have long-standing (over 6 months) financial pressure and keep up the level of job performance that a startup demands. It does not work that way.
I recognised early on that 'end of runway' anxiety is very real for me, as it creeps up it really affects your decision making on product direction and how you spend your time.
I would prefer to work backwards and do whatever it takes to make the angel round cash last at least 24 months without sizeable revenue with the salary capped at somewhere between 60-70k if the angel round was big.
If that cuts your salary from 60k to 30k so be it, make the necessary adjustments, it might even include taking a part-time gig consulting/designing/selling or whatever it is your skillset allows you do. In the same vein that the cash you spend now is 'expensive', any cash you earn on the side is should be viewed as a necessary investment of time to help you reap the returns later if your startup salary can't stretch to cover all your costs.
The understanding is that you as the entrepreneur will put in 100% (more like 150%) of your effort & time into the company so, naturally, that eliminates other direct work for a source of income. The venture firm was providing them a salary but it was always explained as just enough to cover living expenses (rent, food, car, etc). In terms of numbers, this will obviously vary greatly depending on cost of living in your area but consider what would be just enough for a modest life.
Taking as little money as possible from the round for a salary is actually in the best interests of the entrepreneur as well. The money raised early on is very "expensive" in terms of equity given up for it. If you truly believe in your company and idea, you'll realize that the 40K or 60K salary you want now actually costs you $400K if/when you exit or IPO. Of course, this is just an sample, optimistic scenario but hopefully you see my point.
As far as what is acceptable, it depends on your market, the idea, the investors, and the founders. I've seen as low as 40k (approx 50% market value for the founders if they were employees) and higher than 100k.
Otherwise, anything between $50k-$90k (Bay Area) is reasonable depending on founders' personal situations. My current company has raised <$1m and there hasn't been any pushback from investors so far.
You can expense your rent out of your company since you will likely work out of a home office. Car and (maybe) meals as well.
It's a website that's meant to accompany a textbook I used in college, but you don't really need the textbook. This site has slides that cover the material well enough to get started. Note that it's relationally-specific almost to a fault, so you won't get a whole lot of insight into NoSQL if you decide you want to go that route later.
It doesn't sound like you're looking for a cookbook type book though, what I think you're looking for is books by C.J. Date and Joe Celko.
A friend wrote this post on WF, hope this would be of help.
You can scroll to the "Like Writing" section.
Some of them are YC-funded companies.
if you really wanna do something about this .. first think of it as a service ..
As you say, building something with the basic features of Parse is trivial. And, if you tailor it to your app, you can get a much cleaner API and better performance. I've wondered how parse will scale as long as it allows ad-hoc queries on unstructured data.
FWIW, I wrote the WP7 Parse library, just to get familiar with the service.
I'd be game for writing an open source implementation using ruby or node.js, I just wonder if there's really any market for that. It seems to me that if you want to go through the trouble of hosting it yourself, you'll spend the week or so to build your own. Otherwise, you'll use Parse.
With having an external keyboard it's another pain to reach up and touch your screen to switch apps. Just stick with a laptop, you will thank yourself in the end.
In your situation I would seriously consider getting a MacBook Air.
Would be interesting to know if he is still happy with the arrangement
When working with an iPad half the keys on the external keyboard are useless. And it just so happens that these 'useless' keys are the ones we hit a lot while programming.
The propping mechanism should be sturdy enough to not fall over since tasks such as alt-tabbing now require that you reach over and touch the screen, which should ideally be situated at a distance of 20inches from your eyes when typing. Shuffling between touch gesturing and typing wastes a lot of time.
For these reasons, an iPad would make a pathetic medium for coding. However, there was a link recently to an iPad IDE which focused on trying to get a lot of work done with as little typing as possible. I haven't tried it out yet, so can't comment on how useful that would be.
Just get a computer.
every attempt to code on it has ended in me saying "next time I'm buying a macbook".
so no, do not try. you want a laptop.
It's relatively easy but I don't think the tools are there yet. You'll definitely be more productive with an actual keyboard.
Display logic is, as the name implies, all of the circuitry required to drive the pixels. This is everything from the data connector on the raw LCD panel up to and including the TFT transistors on the glass itself and the transparent interconnects (also on the glass). The on-glass circuitry has complex parasitics and capacitive loading that also causes a fluctuation of drive current based on the randomness of the images.
Here's sample data from a 24 inch 1920 x 1200 LCD:
24 inch, 1920 x 1200 Idd for full black screen = 1,700mA Idd for a black/white dot pattern = 3,050mA
In very (very!) rough terms this current is also a function of display resolution: Twice as many pixels will demand double the current. Going back to the iPad 2 vs 3 example, the the new iPad has exactly four times the pixels of the iPad 2 display, therefore, it should require four times more display logic current than the older model under all uses cases.
The backlight may or may not demand more current as display resolution increases. Comparisons of displays of equal physical size but vastly different resolutions do not reveal a this effect to be an absolute rule. A lot depends on the design of the panel and the internal optics.
The most important component of LCD power is the back light that illuminates the display from behind. The overall transmission of LCD is only about 5% or so, which means that the back light behind is as much as twenty times brighter than what the user sees.
Increasing the pixel density implies that the pixels are smaller. Which means that the circuitry takes a larger fraction of the pixel . Which means that more of the light is blocked. Which means that the back light now needs to be still brighter to compensate. As a result, iPad 3 back light uses 2.5 times more power than iPad 2 back light .
I am interested in knowing more about the logic and interface power in the way you have described. Please let me know if it is possible to get in touch.
Also, Picwing didn't start as an online photo sharing service. It was, if I'm remembering right, a hardware product. The service there now was a fallback for them.
We acquired the Picwing last year when we started Picplum. The core idea behind Picplum was based on Picwing.
They even say in their FAQ that they will - http://ycombinator.com/faq.html
Not sure about the "referral" tracking bit - but I am probably not your typical user.
Lot of "prior art" using infra red signals from back in the early Windows mobile days - might be worth finding out where that went in the business environment - and thus potential paying customers.
Looking forward to checking it out.