hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    19 May 2012 Ask
home   ask   best   7 years ago   
Ask HN: Favorite HN threads of all time
3 points by cellis  23 minutes ago   discuss
I don't want your iPad-optimized web site
11 points by makecheck  13 hours ago   1 comment top
tferris 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Agree to all your points.

Especially the pinch to zoom lock is ridiculous: The pure web is still the best UI for tablets and even for smartphones WHEN READING content. In particular the word wrap feature coming with Android's stock browser reformatting text to the the exact screen width is the best feature ever: you can pinch to zoom to you preferred font size and read much longer and better than in front of a any notebook, even with smallest Android smartphones.

Or the optimizing-for-touch-mania leads to these new hybrid websites for desktop and touch where every button or form field is so bloated that the entire UI feels like a children's toy.

Ask HN: best HN app for iPhone?
2 points by waldr  5 hours ago   2 comments top
J3L2404 5 hours ago 1 reply      
There are none that really work, but I use this to read


Banishing "wrong" individuals/customers with NLP-techniques
2 points by persilj  6 hours ago   discuss
Tell HN - Browsing HN new stories page is impossible
3 points by jagira  12 hours ago   1 comment top
ColinWright 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's been like that for ages - flag them and move on.
Facebook a HFT's dream in the final 15 minutes of trading
11 points by blantonl  19 hours ago   1 comment top
dscrd 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Things like this make me confused about the total usefulness this whole system. Is it rewarding people who should be rewarded?
Ask HN: How to "switch off" after work?
3 points by Sander_Marechal  1 day ago   12 comments top 5
DanBC 1 day ago 1 reply      
Exercise and meditation.

CBT if it's affecting your life and you can find a practitioner or good book ("mind over mood" is often recommended but I'm not sure if it's a good fit).

EDIT: You may want to set up a "relax routine" - routines tell your body that now is a time to relax. You need to work at it, but it does help. You might want to try an hour of gentle reading with a warm milky drink (NO CAFFEINE) followed by a quick shower.

You may want to try cutting out almost all caffeine, just have a bit in the morning.

You say this:

> On the doctor's advise I'm currently working half days instead of full days and that sucks. I feel like I'm letting my team mates down.

Don't feel guilty! Getting help now means you'll be able to work harder longer when you're well. Not getting stuff sorted out now risks a bigger more severe burn out, with longer time off. You'd do the same for them. No-one wants you to be stressed.

stephengillie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Find a completely different set of problems that you also enjoy working on. Find a hobby that occupies your mind as much as your work, but is quite different from your work. Maybe start learning about quantum entanglement or the WH40k Space Marines backstory.

Or you could turn to drinking :)

kellros 1 day ago 1 reply      
There isn't a quick cure for stress. It is cited that stress in the short run is positive (can give you motivation), but in the long run is damaging to your health.

There are multiple ways of managing stress:
Healthy diet (4+ servings of fruit/veg a day)
Supplements (Vitamin B2 works well)
Exercise (1-3 times a week works)
Mind-numbing hobbies (sometimes games can be stressful too)
Do something you are passionate about
Take a vacation (preferably a week or longer)
Mindful meditation

In the long run, the most effective way of beating stress is to lead a balanced life. Sometimes it's neccessary to say 'no' to maintain this balance.

Best of luck!

kaolinite 1 day ago 1 reply      
First thing I do when I get back from work is play video games for an hour or so. That lets me relax and forget completely about work, plus recuperate some energy. After that, the coding begins. I strongly believe that an hour or so of video games can really help, if you have the time. It completely occupies your mind, you can't really think of anything else whilst playing.
Piskvorrr 1 day ago 2 replies      
sudo poweroff;

But seriously: for me, cycling from/to work is a good way to clear my head - it's a 40-minute-to-1-hour commute; I find that sufficient to stop thinking about work.

Ask HN: I was fired from a startup I helped found, I'm fucked
102 points by grumpymarketer  7 days ago   discuss
paulsutter 7 days ago 1 reply      
Tell them you'll sign the release if they give you the first 12 months of vesting. Firing someone at 11 months is a dick move. Remember: if you're not willing to walk away, you're going to pay retail (ie, end up with 3.5 months). I'll put odds at 70% that they give you 12 months and get the release they want, and odds at 30% that they give you no months and get no release. That puts the expected return of this approach at 8 months of vesting. In either outcome you keep your self respect (priceless), and the expected return is twice as good as caving.

The key to staying on good terms with them is being respectful and polite while you make your case. If you remain respectful to them, they will remain respectful to you. If you let them walk all over you, you're likely to lose their respect and may actually end up on worse terms with them.

EDIT: Even if you end up with no agreement, your situation still has an option value, a valuation exercise I'll leave to the reader. There's a reason they want that release, and that reason only matters if they become a successful company.

dctoedt 7 days ago 0 replies      
Here are some other things to consider:

1. EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT LAW: You didn't say where you're located, but check out California Labor Code section 2802, especially subdivision (c), at http://law.onecle.com/california/labor/2802.html:


(a) An employer shall indemnify [that is, reimburse] his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer, even though unlawful, unless the employee, at the time of obeying the directions, believed them to be unlawful.

(b) All awards made by a court or by the Division of Labor
Standards Enforcement for reimbursement of necessary expenditures under this section shall carry interest at the same rate as judgments in civil actions. Interest shall accrue from the date on which the employee incurred the necessary expenditure or loss.

(c) For purposes of this section, the term "necessary expenditures or losses" shall include all reasonable costs, including, but not limited to, attorney's fees incurred by the employee enforcing the rights granted by this section.


2. WRITTEN AGREEMENT? You didn't say whether you had a written employment agreement, stock-option agreement, etc. Any of those might contain a mandatory-arbitration clause; a jury-trial waiver (probably unenforceable in California); and/or other relevant provisions.

3. TIME SUCK: Lawsuits and arbitrations against former employers are a huge time suck for all concerned, but especially for the (former) employee. Ask yourself whether, at this stage of your career, the upside of equity in this particular startup justifies your making such an investment of your time. Because no matter what happens, you'll never get that time back.

4. SIGNAL TO FUTURE EMPLOYERS: If you file a lawsuit, future prospective employers won't know who's right or who's wrong. All they'll know is that you've sued a former employer. (They may well find that out when they run a background check.) That will trigger the fear that someday you might sue them. And that in turn could color their decision whether to hire you, or instead to hire the next person, who isn't suing their employer.

5. THE REST OF THE STORY: Your former employer's founders will have a different perspective. If you sue them, there's absolutely no doubt they'll tell their side of the story. Consider whether you want that made a matter of public record.

6. BRIAN REID EXAMPLE: Check out Brian Reid's story: He was fired from Google at age 52, nine days before the IPO. His options apparently would have been worth $10 million at the IPO; presumably they'd be worth a lot more now. His lawsuit against Google for age discrimination has been pending for years. Dr. Reid has a clear upside, plus what the court of appeal felt was a triable case, i.e., a case that at least had sufficient merit that it deserved to be decided by a jury instead of being summarily tossed out. From the facts you've given, it's not clear that either of those things is the case for you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Reid_(computer_scientist)...

7. KEEPING GOOD RELATIONS: Other commenters have made good points about the upside of keeping a civil relationship with your former employer, in the (perhaps-vain) hope that in the future they'll give you a decent reference or perhaps someday even want to hire you again.

8. USUAL DISCLAIMER: I'm not your lawyer, the above isn't legal advice because we don't have all the facts here, etc., etc.

guelo 7 days ago 1 reply      
Equity isn't really worth anything for an early stage startup, it's a lottery ticket that probably won't pay, take what they give you and move on. You're actually lucky that they're giving you straight equity and not options that you have to come out of pocket to convert.

So you have two months to find a job, no biggie if you're any good and have startup experience in the SF market. Actually even if you aren't that good you should be OK. One advantage to keeping things friendly with your ex-bosses is that you can use them as references for your interviews. I would talk to them and ask them if they could give you really great glowing reviews, most people will do that for you if you keep things friendly.

Your new full time job is to find a job, it's a crappy job but at least you can do it from home in your undies. I've been there and it's really not that bad. One thing to remember is that you do have that two months runway, feeling panicked you might be tempted to take the first crappy offer that comes your way, but a job is a big portion of your life for years at a time so you should be as choosey as you can be and try to get something that you can live with and be happy.

nowarninglabel 7 days ago 3 replies      
Many lawyers will give a free consultation, have you considered consulting one to explore your options?
balloot 7 days ago 2 replies      
The question here is why are you so concerned with keeping on good terms with the founders? This is a humongous dick move, and either they're very shady or they are extremely angry at you. Either way I am not clear why you would work with them again.

But as for the deal, I think it's pretty reasonable given that they are exercising their ability to screw you over. Assuming you signed the boilerplate options paperwork everyone uses, you signed a contract that explicitly stated that you get nothing if you are let go before 12 months. They gave you 3.5/11 of what you were supposed to get. That seems pretty reasonable compared to 0, which is what you are entitled to.

Best of luck. Try not to dwell too much on this and I'm sure you'll land on your feet. As for your employer, karma will surely bite them in the ass if they pull stunts like this and screw over employees. Shame on them.

tonystubblebine 7 days ago 3 replies      
I complete disagree with the people saying you should talk to a lawyer. If you want to stay on good terms with them, anyone connected to the company, and anyone they know, then you need to work this out at a personal level. If you sue or even admit that you've talked to a lawyer then a lot of people are going to be afraid to work with you.

Thankfully, it's a pretty easy conversation to have with them. Tell them that working for them has left you in a financial straight. Then ask them if they could include any sort of cash in their severance package.

psychotik 7 days ago 0 replies      
Man, that's a tough spot to be in. Your young age helps - you can still start from scratch and not be too much behind. I do not fully understand why you respect your other founders if they didn't treat you right. Even if what they did is within legal bounds, it certainly sounds like it could have been handled better (of course, I only know your side of the story).

Outside of what others have suggested, I recommend spending a year or two working at a larger company to build your reserves, and to build confidence that you can go and do something like this again. You can keep exploring opportunities on the side while building your bank account, resume and experience.

nilsbunger 7 days ago 1 reply      
Unless you did something really wrong, custom would be getting your 1-year cliff and maybe a bit more (3-6 months vesting?), plus a month of salary or so as severance, in exchange for signing.

They're trying to get a "sweetheart deal" for themselves -they know you're not represented, and they figure it's worth a shot. The signature is irrevocable, so be very careful with it.

You should get an employment attorney to give you advice before you respond, and if he recommends it, have him fire off a nastygram to the company.

Showing the company you have representation is likely to make the company sit down seriously and give you something reasonable. No startup can afford to spend its $$$ and attention on legal back-and-forth.

I know you said money is tight, but an employment attorney doesn't have to be expensive. You'll get free advice in a consultation, and if you choose to engage them, usually ~$500-1000 will buy you nastygrams to the company from the attorney, a couple phone calls with their attorneys, and advice on a settlement. Doty Barlow is a firm I've used for employment advice - small group with lower rates but solid guys. (I have no personal connection or financial incentive for an endorsement).

Good luck, it's hard to lose your "baby", and worse to be hurt like that. Just keep the dispute private, and be a gentleman, and you'll walk away smelling like a rose :)

ciscoriordan 7 days ago 1 reply      
Contact me (email in profile). We're hiring Marketers at my company, Meraki, in SF.
SeoxyS 7 days ago 1 reply      
Walk away. Take the stock, you actually got a pretty damn good deal (assuming you weren't ripped off on your stock package in the first place). Even 1/10 of the stock package of a typical #1 employee is usually better than a #5 employee. Don't expect to get anything out of it.

Move on. Don't mull over it. It's actually a great time to be into startups… there has never been such a drought of developers. Hell, maybe learn how to code, while you're at it.

mahyarm 7 days ago 0 replies      
You shouldn't of felt bad about expensing business expenses. If the company pays for it, it's with before-tax money. If you pay for it and doesn't get reimbursed, it's with after-tax money since your an employee. If you felt bad about charging the company, then offer some of your own money in exchange for equity to cover the expenses, especially when a startup is just 3 other people. I think that way it will be still be a pre-tax expense. I'm not a accountant so ask one. If they are not willing to do that when the company is at that stage, then that is a big warning signal.

Since people out of the company can have their stock diluted to nothing, and you are on bad terms with the founders, I would suggest the business expenses you still have records for instead 3.5 months of equity.

snowpolar 7 days ago 2 replies      
I am in a similar situation before (Being employee #1) and the way I'm thrown out is just by a simple SMS telling me that I'm not needed anymore, taunting me and locking me out of everything. I got so mad that I don't even want to accept their money as I agreed to help them (used to be friends) for free back then till they are profitable.

Having said that, looking back at it now, it is perhaps a good thing. I went on to have much better success elsewhere, while they had success in their business as well. Do I feel bitter? maybe in the past, but now I can't be brothered. He still send emails 2-3 times a year taunting me about his success with different email addresses which I simply send it to my spam folder.

Most importantly, what I learn is that, sometimes things just don't work out. The reasons for falling out could be many and weird. For my case, my 2 other founder friends are people who prefer 'Yes' men who agree with their groupthink all the time. I'm not one of them and hence it is not surprising we have to part (Although it turn out for the case which I'm arguing against and got them angry, I turned out to be correct as time passed)

It is up to you if you want to chase for more compensation. You may wish to consult a lawyer if you deem it's worth it. For me I don't want to waste further time hence I did not.

tylermenezes 7 days ago 0 replies      
There's a reason they want you to sign a release. You need to convince them it's a better deal to have you sign the release and give you your 12 months of equity, than to have you walk away without signing that release. Given that they're early stage, and it would be pretty easy to fuck them over, it shouldn't be hard. Posting this under a throwaway was a good move.
waivej 7 days ago 0 replies      
I would switch to survival mode and land on your feet. It's hard to deal with being rejected.

Take time to honestly assess if you could have done things better. Try to resolve your emotions with the situation as quickly and cleanly as you can to get your thinking straight and take care of your financial situation.

Dealing with lawyers seems like a distraction unless there are contracts with your name on them or loans/financing.

HardyLeung 7 days ago 0 replies      
Your bottomline is probably somewhere X months of equity, where 3.5 < X < 11. Why don't you (politely) email them that you are a reasonable person and believe it fairness. You don't expect full cliff vesting per agreement, but a 3.5 month compensation is simply not fair. Counter them something like 8 months worth of equity + expense report. Project a tone that you are reasonable and professional about it, but out of personal principle, you will fight against unfair offers.

Give them a hint (but don't say you are talking to a lawyer) that if the arrangement is unreasonable, you'll not just walk away. You'll spend the time and energy to right the wrongs. Give them hints that investors, public laundry, and/or legal means are within consideration (but don't do any of these yet) -- even at the expense of potentially not getting anything at all.

I think if the founders are serious about continuing with the startup, they'll think twice about this. What you are asking them is to just be reasonable, so they shouldn't have a problem with it. They would be far more worried about all these things you hint at (investors, public laundry, legal means).

If they counter with something -- say 6 months. Take it. Heck, if you do this correctly, you lose no karma, not even the relationship with them.

BTW the equity... probably worthless anyway. So, the other approach is to simply move on. I agree with others that this may actually be the better route, but it depends on your situation.

Mz 7 days ago 0 replies      
A rule of thumb I use: Do you think you can get more out of them than you could earn if you invested your time elsewhere? Do not put more time into it than makes sense under that rubric.

I am disinclined to sue people, fight with them, etc. Go ahead and ask for more and see what you can get. Then move on. Work on building a life for yourself. Try to learn from your mistakes so you don't repeat them. (If you do it right, you get to make entirely new mistakes on a regular basis.)

Best of luck.

xrd 7 days ago 1 reply      
What do you want to gain from this situation?

What position are you in professionally after this experience?

Meditate a lot on those two questions. Remember that there are countless stories like yours, and this does not prove that the people in charge are assholes, just that they are in the throes of the startup rollercoaster. They are probably failing all over themselves, and you were an easy fall guy. It does not excuse their behavior, but this is a very common circumstance.

If the answer to the first question is that you want to get another job quickly, take the high ground and ask them how you can make things easier AND how they can help you. If you did nothing unscrupulous they should be willing to help you find another position and move on, and you should be expected to put them in a position where they can honestly look future investors in the eye and say we negotiated a settlement with past employees that will not screw us and your money in the future. If you did not help them succeed at the level they needed to (and this does not say you are a bad person, it just says you did not succeed at the level they needed you to) then it is good that your future has been freed up. It is honest for both parties to look at it this way.

If the answer to the second question is that you are in a bad position after this, then you really need to make sure you act responsibly and rationally or you could have a very hard time the next time you interview. Saying to an interviewer "I can't have you talk to the people I worked with the last two years..." is a huge red flag. The best advice I ever got was when I was on the playground and another kid punched me in the chest and the teacher had us understand we were equally responsible. I was livid, and she was right.

Taking the high road at this point in your career is a great opportunity for you because this situation is common and there is nothing worse than working with someone who has a chip on their shoulder because of something like this. If you become the type of person who can get through this and take the lessons well, you will prove yourself as a valuable employee anywhere.

T_S_ 7 days ago 0 replies      
Termination sucks but a they would never have called it a cliff unless you can get pushed over it. Your termination agreement sounds like the typical thin futon parked at the bottom of the cliff. If you can dig up receipts you could ask to get your expenses paid. Suggest you sign and move on unless you have a discrimination lawsuit in mind.
djt 7 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone learns the hard way. I had a similar thing happen to me at one of my first jobs.

Things to take away:
- first employee =/= founder.
- negotiate stock or wage before you start. Always.
- research the founders and ask their past staff.
- trust your gut if you think there is something fishy.
- learn from this experience and move on.

huhtenberg 7 days ago 1 reply      
Try and talk to them about (back-dated) expense reports, but that's probably it if you in fact want to keep relationships with the founders.

PS. If I read between the lines correctly, the "tiny equity package" basically reflects their opinion of your contributions to the business, i.e. it wasn't much. This in turn implies you were let go because of that rather because "things changed" and you weren't a "good fit anymore". If this is close to reality, then I can certainly appreciate the general mood you are in, but take it as a valuable experience and learn from it. If money is an issue, just tell them exactly that - "I'm in a crunch, please help." The chances are that they will. I saw an absolutely abysmal programmer get hired back on a short contract as a favor, because he would've lost his home otherwise. Just don't lawyer up for crissake (or do it very discreetly), that's an ass move that will not make things any better.

Simon_Templar 7 days ago  replies      
You have to ask yourself what is it that you brought to the table and why do they not need it now? They are dealing from a position of strength, because of this knowledge. you are the one that has to deal from a position of strength. What has changed. You hae some homework to do. They want you to sign away any future rights away. that means something is about to happen. I would not settle for less than 7 months full salary and expenses. You have your homework to do. Approach this as if it is a prospective client and you really want the contract. What has changed .

Good Luck but ablove all remain calm and methodical, don't panic. Like they said in Wall Street " never let them see you sweat "

Ask HN: How easily can I obtain a US Visa? Anyone got experience?
7 points by kaolinite  1 day ago   5 comments top 3
yashchandra 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Any ideas what effect the particular state I'm planning on moving to will have on the chances of obtaining a visa?"

Not really. State of residence has nothing to do the ability of obtaining a visa. But you got far bigger things to worry about.
You have to consider many factors before you can get an answer. For example, do you have at least a Bachelors degree ? Guessing by your age, I would assume not yet ? Without the degree, you probably cannot get the H1B visa (work visa)
You can try to work for a company in the UK first who have offices in the US. They might be able to send you on L1 visa but then again, not having a degree might restrict you.
There are other visas tied to extraordinary ability but I have always wondered who qualifies for those other than inventors, researchers etc. If you create a startup in the UK and that a very successful one, may be you will qualify for those.
Another option is to get married to a US Citizen (fastest way btw) and apply for permanent residency. I am not suggesting doing it in any way but just letting you know the option. If you happen to find true love who happens to be a US citizen, good for you. Dont fall for any immigration scams though.
last option which may not be applicable in your case again is through investments in the US. If you have like a million dollars and you can create 10 jobs for US citizens, you might be eligible for a conditional permanent residency.

Mz 23 hours ago 0 replies      
My general/anecdotal understanding is that those long lost relatives (if they do exist) are probably a better bet than an employer for getting sponsored. Other common avenues for getting to the U.S. include marriage and going to college here. All of those seem to generally be easier to pull off than sponsorship by an employer.

At least that's my impression.

lachyg 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you have a degree? If not, good luck.
Ask HN: Making the most of a cofounder-seeking trip to the BA
4 points by mchannon  22 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: What PR book should I read?
7 points by zupa  1 day ago   9 comments top 4
mbenjaminsmith 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll save you the time:

With media:

1. Learn what journalists would be interested in your company (and why).

2. Send them regular updates about what your company is doing (in press release form or, better, as a personal email).

3. Be honest with them. Talk from the heart. Avoid exaggeration and "marketing language".

With customers:

1. Always say you're sorry when you screw up or when they're unhappy (for any reason).

2. Communicate as often as you can via all relevant channels...

3. ... while avoiding spam and "marketing language".

If you ever get big enough that journalists are coming to you, hire a specialist.

dirkdeman 12 hours ago 0 replies      
As a PR and communications major I can help you with that. I can recommend these two books:

Do keep in mind that PR is something different than marketing or advertisement. Those people running around, dropping names and 'generating spin'? That's just a very tiny part of PR. PR is about shaping the public opinion, not just one person's mind.

On a side note, I wrote my thesis on wartime propaganda. I found out that the strongest motivator for people to take action is fear. The fear of losing something, missing out, or a common enemy (think Apple-Android!) is very powerful.

On a second side note, I read another comment about lying. Lying isn't right of course, but there are several degrees of lying. And imagine if know how to sell a lie, how easy it would be to sell righteous truth...

Drop me a line if you need some help or advice. I'm by no means an expert on PR in Silicon Valley, but I know a thing or two about PR.

rmATinnovafy 1 day ago 2 replies      
Forget PR, and focus on marketing.

Learn to market well, and the PR will write itself.

Any book by Dan Kennedy is good.

shappy 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This one is required reading for almost every 101-level PR course.


Ask HN: Server Infrastructure recommendations for a PHP app
6 points by mwumva  1 day ago   13 comments top 7
debacle 1 day ago 2 replies      
For an application with the traffic and size of twitter, you're going to need at least three dedicated DBAs managing your MySQL installation (never have an even number of DBAs - it leads to tyranny), which is probably going to be spread out across a cluster of replicated servers.

You're going to have a very beefy load balancer, behind which sits a bunch of nginx installs and you'll have likely thrown CI out the window because, even though it's fast for a PHP framework, it's not fast enough for what you need. You'll be using PHP, likely with a few homebrew extensions written in C.

Or you could just use Node. It has non-blocking IO. :D

Realistically, write it on a crappy linode with the default MySQL install and your PHP framework of choice. If you ever get as big as twitter, you can worry about scaling up to that size then.

hifi 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Use Percona Server instead of MySQL: http://www.percona.com/software/percona-server/
Works the same as MySQL..just faster!
(and nginx + php-fpm as j_col already suggested)
kaolinite 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just get a cheap VPS. If you were hosting an application the size of twitter, you wouldn't be asking on HN for advice :-)

Seriously, as your application grows, you'll improve your infrastructure. Nothing kills a project as easily as building an infrastructure for millions, for an app with only a few users.

mwumva 3 hours ago 0 replies      
@debacle...thanks...very helpful
j_col 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't forget the following:

1. Sit PHP-FPM behind nginx for a bank of persistent PHP interpreters. Access this via a Unix socket.

2. Use Memcache to cache your records.

3. Use APC to cache your PHP byte code.

Akram 1 day ago 1 reply      
I believe Twitter was initially built on ruby on rails ... They had a lot of issue (the unpopular fail whale) . Did they switch to some other platform?
SABmore 1 day ago 1 reply      
You might want to reach out to PHPFog (https://phpfog.com/), as they (can) offer what you need.
Somebody please, for the love of god, fix shipping/couriers
154 points by georgespencer  5 days ago   discuss
kalleboo 5 days ago 3 replies      
As someone who only receives packages, I also hate courier services with a burning rage.

My FedEx guy used to have a cell phone he'd use to call me (on fedex packages from Amazon, they print the delivery phone number) as he was coming around to my place to make sure I was ready and not on the john or something. It was great. Then FedEx thought good service was too expensive and removed their phones, causing me to miss half my packages because I had headphones on or something.

I then moved to an apartment building with an intercom system. Every time I got a delivery it'd first fail with "we don't have the PIN code for your building". Every time I'd have to call them and tell them to use the intercom to call my apartment.

I've seen some good solutions though:

- In Sweden, the regular postal system shut down all their post offices and started offering their services instead through local supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations etc. So what happens when you get a package mailed to you is that you get a SMS message or a paper slip in your mailbox with a code, and then you go to the store it was sent to to pick it up (for me it's always been the supermarket I go to daily to shop anyway, at most a 5 minute walk). The bonus of not being in a dedicated post office is the hours of supermarkets are far far better than the post offices ever were.

- In Japan, the domestic courier services let you pick a date and 2/3-hour window for delivery in advance. I've never had them miss the window. If you miss a delivery, you can reschedule it online, often to the very next delivery window on the same day. You can sign up online to get "missed delivery"/etc notifications by email.

27182818284 5 days ago 1 reply      
Looking over your points I notice that almost none of them have applied to me as a home user that ships probably slightly above average amounts of packages. For example,

• I've never had to call someone.

• I've used flat-rate boxes where I don't need to measure out my stuff.

• When pricing things out, the only thing I have to choose is generally whether I want insurance and roughly how soon I'd like it to arrive.

• I've never had to print something out. Generally I write in sharpie or print the address info and the clerk adds their own good looking sticker right before I pay.

• I have picked up stuff from my local depot. A few times...? Confused on this point too.

I'll agree with you on

• The time slots for packages to arrive are annoying if you don't accept packages being left at your door. This is also true about plumbers, cable techs, phone people, etc.

Is it a difference between business and residential customers?

tibbon 5 days ago 1 reply      
I agree. Its a broken experience. One thing to note however is that you've got two different people to appease- the sender and the receiver.

The receiver wants all the best tracking/delivery/notification options possible. The receiver might not always explicitly state that they want the cheapest, but they will often factor it in. Often the shipper wants the place that's closest to them who is cheapest.

Its not dissimilar to the airline system. Everyone ranks things that they want better of on flights (service, seats, legroom, meals, nice planes, etc) but (nearly) everyone searches by first price and then by rough schedule, often rewarding the cheapest. I hate US Air, but if it comes to a flight that's on US Air which is $100 cheaper than one on something else... I unfortunately often choose US Air.

dangerboysteve 5 days ago 3 replies      
First of all shipping companies are geared to service larger business no the piss-ant customer that does 1-2 shipments per day. There are automated solutions for all this stuff that makes it very easy. No shipping company in their right mind would change their workflow to make it easier to a "home" user. Why they heck would they.

Parcel dimensions are weights are important because the actual shipment cost calculation is based on cubed dimensional weights. So the package dimensions are important. It's a bit of an international thing between all the major couriers and post services. Normally the calculation is:

DHL: (L cm x W cm x H cm)/5000[2] or 4000[3] depending on certain import/country criteria

FedEx: (L cm x W cm x H cm)/6000 (new) or /5000 (old, still used in Asia) for international shipments, (L cm x W cm x H cm)/7000 for domestic shipments

UPS: (L cm x W cm x H cm)/6000 or /5000 depending on certain import/country criteria

The final change is based on the higher number of the actual weight or the dimensional weight.

Don't get me started on fuel surcharges.

Tracking numbers are can be large for a variety of reasons. Unique values being one of them but some companies keep them know for multiple years. And the numbers are assigned per piece you are shipping.

You make a lot of good points but the reality it all these companies make their money from corporations. And corporations for the most part automate the hell out their shipping solutions. As for the courier companies, every time they have to deal with a bad label or anything that requires a human to step in to help process the shipment you are slowing down the production line. Watch a couple videos of a Fedex or UPS sort facility to get an appreciation of what they deal with daily.

JoeAltmaier 5 days ago 2 replies      
I live far from a hub. Used a certain nameless shipper for dealing with DELL because that's all they use(d at the time).

Each time hardware would arrive, it would be physically tortured - once a huge dent in the bottom of the frame (did they drop it repeatedly on a guardrail out on the freeway?), once broken IN HALF!

Sending was equally fun. A large multiprocessor cabinet was to go overnight. Pickup time: the guy brought a van too short. He simply dumped it over on its side and slid it in (despite THIS END UP stickers all over). Off to the terminal!

Didn't see it for a week. They had no idea whatsoever where it went. Turns out the guy was late to the airport, so just dumped it into a truck going somewhere. A truck on an odyssey of discovery apparently, finally turned up a week later in Tennessee.

chc 4 days ago 3 replies      
The hard truth: If it isn't worth your time to buy a scale or measuring tape, you aren't giving them enough business to be worth making all these expensive changes.

This is like me walking into my local supermarket and asking them to replace the meat section with a giant vegetarian foods section " yes, it would make me personally overjoyed, but it probably wouldn't be a good business move.

jonstjohn 4 days ago  replies      
My big gripe right now with UPS is that the person who delivers our package has put us on her black list, and I've tried several times to get things sorted out to no avail.

Here's what happened: I ordered a fairly pricey vacuum for my wife that was on sale and had it shipped to our house. I received a notification that it was on our porch at about 2:30 PM and arrive home about 4:00 PM. There was no package there. We reported it as missing. The company we bought it from shipped us a replacement immediately.

A week or so later, the UPS driver comes by and tell us that b/c the vacuum went missing, we'll have to sign for every package. Since then, every single package, big or small, requires a signature IN PERSON (not just sign the piece of paper). We've asked her to leave it on our back porch, allow us to sign, etc, but apparently this is some kind of punishment.

The thing that annoys me is that they left a $400 package with the contents clearly displayed on the outside on our front porch before, and now need a signature for a $10 book.

Anyways, I'm pretty much fed up. On top of it, we gets lots shipped to us since we're Amazon Prime customers. Arrgh! No accountability with these services, and when you buy something, most of the time you can't specify the delivery service :(

Ask HN: Can I ask for a coding interview do-over?
4 points by bocthrowaway  1 day ago   7 comments top 6
zbuc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just let them know what you said here, and send your revised code to them. Nothing to lose. I was in a similar scenario before(C programming exam and no C experience for the previous ~5 years) with a large networking company and they were gracious and accepted my re-do as showing my enthusiasm.
ColinWright 1 day ago 0 replies      
Look at it from their point of view. If you're a brilliant programmer who will fit well with their team, they will (most likely) want you. So what characteristics should you exhibit, and how will you communicate them effectively?

If you can contact them and show them what they want, probably they will listen. Don't think about this from your point of view, think about it from theirs.

So what is your analysis? What conclusions can you draw from your analysis? What actions should you take based on those conclusions?

What do they want, and how can you make them see that you have it?

HardyLeung 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't hurt to do that. Be frank about it. If done right they might even see this as a positive.
jorgenhorstink 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're dating a girl, and for some reason you choke during the conversation in a nice little bar. If you really like the girl, you'd ask her for another chance... :)

You have little to loose. You have a no now, and might be able to upgrade it to a yes :)

borism 1 day ago 1 reply      
why was the coding test timed?

this smells like a disaster from the outset.

canatan01 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It also show dedication and not giving up quickly on your part. I think important traits to have as an employee.
Ask HN: Best Way to implement Responsive Design
3 points by jfaucett  1 day ago   4 comments top 2
splatcollision 1 day ago 1 reply      
First, how are you getting the device? Second, don't assume screen size = low bandwidth, and DON'T assume that just because someone is using a small screen, that means they are only interested in 'mobile' content. You should be using one set of HTML markup for one URL. The Media Queries should determine the styling and layout differences.

Also, don't feel like you have to have media queries for every major screen width(320,480,768, etc...). Start out with a linear, 'mobile/small screen' first layout, and then increase width and see where the design or layout could use refinement, or breaks totally, and then add a media query and adjust for that resolution.

Good luck!

For articles/links, follow @RWD and read the book he wrote, if you haven't already.

For images, look at <picture> polyfills and keep an eye on what's going on with the Responsive Images community group. - http://www.w3.org/community/respimg/

(by the way, my web design app, Edit Room will handle all of this gracefully for you very soon, and gives you visual layout, design and content organization tools to build finished designs without initial coding. http://www.edit-room.com )

bmelton 1 day ago 0 replies      
splatcollision's answer is double-triple good, so I won't try to revisit any of what he said, except to say that having done it once (fairly painfully, though that was before Sass and Less were as pervasive), I've found 'Skeleton'[1] to be a great head start (if you're willing to use its grid system, which I like a ton more than any other grid system I've seen.)

[1] - http://getskeleton.com/

Ask HN: losing faith in the startup where I'm employee #1
131 points by tantrumpython  6 days ago   discuss
adriand 6 days ago 5 replies      
Everybody keeps telling you that you ought to leave, but that advice isn't terribly helpful, since it is obvious that you already know you need to do that.

Often, many of the most difficult decisions in life are not what you should do - because deep down, you already know - but how do it. This is true for your decision right now.

A few thoughts for you on that:

1. Irrevocably commit to doing it. Book a meeting with the founders to discuss "something important". Or tell your significant other that you've decided to exit by a certain date. Just do something that commits you to this course of action.

2. Get creative about why you're leaving. Instead of leaving because the company is a sinking ship, think of a diplomatic, but still truthful, reason for exiting. For example, focus on what you are going to do next, and supply that as the reason: "I'm much more interested in working on this kind of technology/product/etc. and I want to go pursue my dream."

3. If you can't bring yourself to tell them your decision face-to-face, put it in writing. Email them to tell them what you've decided, and close it with, "Can we talk?" Then hash it out with them. This is a great way to be done with something (see #1) because once the email is sent, it's sent.

4. Always remember that it is never as bad as you think it will be. It's just business, they will understand your reasons if they are reasonable businesspeople too. If they're decent individuals you'll stay on good terms with them. They'll miss you, they'll be "disappointed", but they'll get over it. And don't be surprised if they've already expected you to do this months ago. It is usually obvious to employers when their employees are unhappy or frustrated.

You already know what to do. Now go get it done! Best of luck to you.

tptacek 6 days ago 2 replies      
The easiest way to commit yourself to leaving a job and to navigate explaining yourself to the company happens to also be the way you should always be leaving jobs: by quietly interviewing for other jobs.

Find a new role somewhere else that you like and accept it. Go back to your current team and inform them that you've enjoyed your time working with them, but you can't pass up the new opportunity.

The only problem I think you have here is that you haven't started interviewing yet. So, of course you feel aimless and uncertain about your next step.

paulsutter 6 days ago 0 replies      
The dearest investments we make are the months and years of our lives. Make them worthwhile.

Find what is right for you, then leave to do that. Tell the founders how much you like and respect them as you go. You don't need to carry the weight of the company on your shoulders. Your departure may even help them move on to something better.

michaelochurch 6 days ago 2 replies      
I am not the first and probably won't be the last to say: you should probably leave. Find another job, and leave this one.

What does "well connected" mean? If they were really well-connected, you'd probably have funding... and VCs with an active interest in getting users for the product. Well-connected means that VCs who don't fund you will mentor you until you are fundable. It means that you can get TechCrunch coverage with a phone call. That's what "well connected" means.

Too many people sell themselves as being "well connected" when they aren't. 99.9 percent of us (and 99.99 percent of the smart ones) are peasant people who don't have that kind of access that would merit having a non-technical founder.

There is an alternate strategy to the "leave now" advice that you are getting. I'm going to explore it just for the sake of doing so, although the default advice of "quit now" stands. If these founders are well-connected, they can prove it. Ask to go to investor meetings and the various other high-society shindigs they attend to keep up their connections. They might as well, because it sounds like they're not paying you. If they do so, then you can evaluate for yourself whether they're well-connected enough to merit staying in this long-shot startup (and you can make connections yourself). Sitting in on the investor meetings will also give you a voice in technical decisions because you'll have your own perspective on the business needs.

Chances are, they'll say no. It's very unlikely that these "well connected" "idea guys" will let a lowly JAP (JAP = Just A Programmer) in his early 20s sit in on investor meetings. This refusal will make it clear to you how little this personal affinity/loyalty you feel toward them actually means... not much, on their end. If this happens, then you should leave without reservation or any feeling of guilt.

vecter 6 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of commenters here have made great points and I share their sentiments. Instead of repeating their good advice ad nauseam, I'd just like to add what I think is an important point: this is business, not personal.

It's pretty clear that you're carrying the whole team on your back. That's just a terrible situation to be in, and one I would never accept for myself. A team of cofounders that doesn't face reality is pretty much as bad as it gets in terms of startups. Not only are you the sole voice of reason, you're also the only person doing real work and adding actual value to the company. That may not be 100% true, but I bet it's true to a first or second order approximation.

The truth of the matter (and the truth of life) is, you need to look out for your best interests. There is no shame in doing this. It's the right thing to do. No one else, except maybe your parents, will ever care about your welfare and success. And frankly, that responsibility shouldn't fall on anybody else but you. Everyone else on this team is looking out for their own interests, why aren't you looking out for yours? Let me say out loud what you've been thinking: this is a train to nowhere. You owe it to yourself to find better opportunities. Your time on this planet is incredibly precious, don't waste it serving others for a reality you don't believe in.

It seems that you know deep in your heart what's best for you, but you're afraid to do it because you're worried about damaging these relationships. As other commenters have pointed out, there are ways to bow out gracefully. Are these cofounders really the type of people who would do malice to you for leaving for legitimate reasons? If so, that reflects much more poorly on them than it does on you.

You sound like a nice guy, which is awesome. I've been a nice guy my entire life, but I've learned the valuable lesson of how to say no (tactfully, of course, but always with confidence and strength). I hope you can come around to doing the same, because it will only benefit your life in all ways.

tferris 6 days ago 1 reply      
Move on. Quick.

Three non-tech founders, after 1yr no funding, patenting in early stage ... you are wasting time.

Don't worry about the personal relationship. Just stay polite, try to reason your leave, why you have to move on and that you stay available for smaller Q&A. They will try to convince you to stay and to sell the big dream (that's their job) and maybe subtly pressure you by not liking you anymore. But that would be another reason to move on.

Or: talk to those of the three you really like and (if your want to keep on working with them) define new rules: find a new idea to pursue, demand equal equity and setup a new company/legal entity with the desired ones.

hkmurakami 6 days ago 0 replies      
Since we're all echoing the same sentiments, I'll offer some concrete, smaller points:

>I wouldn't want them to tarnish my reputation as a young engineer completely new to the valley/startup world

You can join a more established "startup", with say, 100 or so employees, and build a track record there.

As for a "reason for leaving", you can simply tell them that you just can't make ends meet anymore. Money is almost always a credible motive, and is actually more amicable than say, "your product sucks and this ship is sinking, so I'm heading to a sexier pasture".

By the way, is it just me, or is the description of the CTO seem more appropriate for a BizDev Officer rather than a Technology Officer? I'd be deeply skeptical of a founding CTO who isn't involved in the product at all at such an early stage.

cwilbur 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have two experiences here that may be relevant.

Some years ago I was in a comparable position, only I was working full-time at a salaried job when I was approached to be a partner in a new startup. The elevator pitch and cocktail-napkin numbers were engaging, and it looked like we could bootstrap it with resources we already had on hand and be profitable within a year.

Except that six months in, we had no business plan. Now, I am not an MBA type, and I think that the value of the business plan is more that it's a self-check: if you say "Based on our projections, we should have 100,000 users and be realizing $10,000 a month in subscription fees and ad revenues by December 2012," and in December you have 35 users you know something is wrong; and if in December you see $1.2 million in revenues then you know you're doing something right and you'd better start doing more of it quickly.

Without a business plan on paper, we had no way of gauging even that the founders were on the same page as to what "success" meant, let alone whether we were succeeding or not. After six months of asking for this, I said, "I can't work a second full-time job on spec, and my business questions are not being taken seriously because I'm just the guy who knows web servers and streaming video." And I walked.

You might try an approach like that: pick up a basic business textbook and ask questions. When do they expect to see revenues? Do they have an exit strategy where they make themselves attractive to a large company and get bought for kerjillions of dollars? Do they have a non-exit strategy where they bootstrap themselves to profitability? If they can't answer that question, get out before the paychecks start bouncing.

My other experience was with a startup. It was five non-technical people - three who had lots of experience in the problem domain, one who had experience in business development, and one who had experience in data processing software development for insurance companies and bill collectors. And the goal of the startup was to put a certain experience online. The three experts in the problem domain were full of (and I say this without irony) excellent ideas as to what the software should do.

The principal structural problem that we ran into over and over again is that the only partner (and thus the only voice that was taken seriously) who had any experience in software development came from a domain where the business analysts would issue a mostly-clear set of rules and it was the job of the programmers to turn that into COBOL. So their first approach was to hire a consulting company to build the product for them. That was an almost completely unmitigated disaster: the only real benefit was that it let them get a product off the ground and start realizing some revenue. This was offset by the fast realization that the consulting company was milking them for all they were worth because the consulting company didn't expect them to last, which then led to a very acrimonious parting of the ways followed by lawsuits. And then they hired their own developers.

So the pattern we fell into, which you will probably find strangely familiar, was that the five partners would gather in the conference room once a month and come out with with two or three good solid ideas. They would then instruct the developers (two coders, a web designer, and a database analyst) to make it happen. We would start on it, hampered by the horrendous infrastructure that the consultants had left (but there was no time to address technical debt). We would get maybe halfway through implementing one of the ideas, while putting out fires and serving as tier 3 tech support, and then the next monthly meeting would happen.

That was the job where I learned to give development estimates in person-days on task, rather than in calendar days, and where I picked up the habit of automatically appending "assuming you don't change the requirements in the interim, because that will make it take longer" to estimates.

So what happened there? Well, I was the first developer to leave. Within a year, all of the developers had left, the partner in charge of software development had also left (no doubt with a massive golden handshake for her efforts) and the company had been folded into one of the CEO-partner's other companies, possibly with the recognition that it would never be fully profitable.

Based on my experience: if there is no technical person competent in the development style you're working in among the partners, if the only technical people are employees rather than partners, stay away. There may be exceptions, but generally partners have a lot more credibility with other partners than employees do, and if you as an employee are saying "this will take X person-days to implement and will not be profitable" and a partner is saying "this will be trivial to implement and I read in Infoworld about a company that did this and made ten billion dollars a day!" then the partner will be believed and you will not. No matter how many times you are right and that partner (and Infoworld) are wrong.

Summary of the summary: no technical partner means you shouldn't have signed on in the first place; no path to profitability and no exit strategy means you should get out while you can.

forgottenpaswrd 6 days ago 1 reply      
Three founders and one engineer that creates products?

Move on as fast as you can. Is not that you can't partner with some idea guy but three of them is too unbalanced. Doing anything takes an enormous amount of work, you can't change the idea every week(well, yes you can if you can reuse what you had already done, or if changing means less work or satisfying your customers much better, but usually you should not).

Being connected is nothing today, everybody is "connected" these days with facebook and twitter if you can't get users your product is not great. I believe that by connected you mean that they spend all time in parties "networking" while you code and they tell you how useful it is (it is not if you don't have users, they are not so well "connected").

I like (and love) a lot of people in the personal level, but some of them I will never do business with(being great at parties in some cases means that they are not serious enough for real work).

You don't need to burn bridges, but you need to be a grown up man, take decisions(decide means cutting options) and stand by it. You should be as clear as possible about the real reasons you leave and let them the opportunity to do something about it, if the reasons does not change then leave.

QuarkSpark 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you are in a team where you are the only person in charge of the software, right from the design->implementation->final shipping of the product, you need to have complete & utter faith on the people who came up with the idea in the first place. And also use a bit of common sense from your side and ask yourself why you think this product will work in the market?. You are going to spend countless hours away from family, slogging on developing a state-of-the-art product which's going to be discarded in a couple of months/years time. Not a good way of investing precious time, which might have well been spent in academia.

I empathize with your situation.Long ago, I too, was stuck in a similar environment. The concept maker was undoubtedly brilliant but when it came to the software specs, he was at a complete loss. I was the only one in charge of development work. But gradually the product design changed and I kept on modifying my project every other day- changed the tools, changed the OS, shifted through multiple languages and finally setup my environment which worked well. By that time, I was half nuts. I struggled to get my work completed in time due to many technical issues, frequent changes in the original concept, and primarily because of lack of practicality of the project. I lost faith , I realized it was just going to be a test project and will be discarded in a couple of months time when they start working on the next long-term project. For them this was a low-priority project, but for me, it was everything and the only thing that mattered at that time. So I thought what the heck, I stayed put and tried to get as much work done as possible, worked like a dog, but my end product was not as impressive as they had imagined it to be. I didn't want to leave them, I loved my entire team and they are nice people. So, I continued being nice & tried to help them as much as I could. You know what, at the end, the entire project was scraped and forgotten as I expected and now they are focusing on a much bigger, profitable & 'practical' project. Guess who was blamed in the end and who got away?

If you want to help someone, they will never refuse. Being nice is easy, trust me. You want to be the nicest guy in the startup world, be the superhero in charge of saving your company from an predictable doom and maintain true friendship, I understand. But choose to continue what you are doing only if, you feel you cannot be more useful anywhere else in the world. God forbid, but suppose things go seriously wrong in your company tomorrow, the business people might put the blame on you, since you are the sole implementer.You mentioned that all of you are close friends..., but if they were in your shoes instead, what would they have done by now?

The toughest part is saying 'No'. It's painful for you, especially if your friends are on the receiving end of your rejection, but you need to do the right thing and save everyone's time including yours. Move on and help your friends move on too. Find another project or start a different company with your friends. Or if you have an alternate idea in mind, discuss the concept with them, don't just be a code monkey.

jroseattle 6 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes the wisdom of the crowds is a bit circumspect. Not in this case -- listen to what most everyone here is saying.

As for advice, make it a business decision. Take the emotion out of it, look at it objectively (as much as you can), then take action.

Don't be concerned with personal relationships with the "founders". They're presently benefiting from your participation much more so than you are of theirs. If they're worthy of your friendship, they will understand when you depart. If they react badly, they were never good relationships to begin with.

As for your reputation, just be productive. Startups all over the valley need productive engineers; they do not need more people pontificating about others. If you do that, your reputation will take care of itself.

nthj 6 days ago 0 replies      
As a young, overly-optimistic, bright-eyed developer, I'll share a lesson that sounds obvious, but somehow sometimes isn't:

It is not my job to prop up someone else's failing business model.

It's one thing to take a lower salary in exchange for equity because you really believe there's a shot at making a return. And it's OK to take a lower salary to work on really interesting problems. But you aren't a co-founder, you're an employee. You have no professional obligations beyond your 2 weeks' notice. In this world, you've gotta fight for your wealth, health, and goals, because nobody else will do it for you.

Good luck!

ww520 6 days ago 1 reply      
Not to be harsh but the reality is that the three non-technical founders are not doing their jobs. Since they are not creating the product, their jobs would be to: fund raising, marketing, sales, and biz dev. But none of those happened after a year. As a non-founder your equity portion won't be great but you are the only one building the product; I'm not sure if the salary is worth it to stay on. It's best you chalk it up as a learning experience and move on.
erikb 6 days ago 0 replies      
You probably overrate their connections, I think. People who are so unprofessional often aren't connected to the important people in the business. Think from the other people's point of view. If you are very productive and have an excelent track record, why should you care about some of the millions of people out there, who aren't?

So you are probably not losing a lot with going away, even if it's quite likely that they won't be happy with you breaking up with them.

That said, don't think too bad about them, because they are probably just inexperienced and don't know it better. And also don't think too high of yourself. If you are the only coder in an IT based start-up it doesn't matter who you are on paper. You have one of the most powerful positions. If you can't get it going it's also your fault and probably even more then it's their's, because you actually have the basic skill set to create software.

Another tip I want to give you on your way: Ask for a position as valuable as your leverage in the company. If you are the only coder in a software- or web-company you should definetely become a co-founder with a decent share of stock and decision making capabilities, maybe also CTO (C<x>O often is more of a management job the moment you get more employees, so it's not required that an engineer does that. Someone with a management or business background might be better suited, even if the <x> is a T).

moocow01 6 days ago 0 replies      
Cut your losses and move on. You will only have so many opportunities to play the startup game in life... and probably many less than you anticipate.

They may be very likeable and connected but they are not performing at their job. They need to be driving growth by bringing in revenue, leads, funding, etc. as well as strengthening the business by reducing vulnerabilities (like having only 1 person that knows the technicalities of the product). If they are screwed after you leave that is more their fault than it is yours - that is a lack of management foresight.

Just be straightforward but nice with them - you won't be burning any bridges.

wilfra 6 days ago 1 reply      
If it were 2004 maybe this would require some thought. In 2012 it requires none at all. Start putting out some feelers for jobs. Take some interviews. When you've got an offer that looks more promising, give them an amount of notice that shows you care about them and cut your losses. Offer to help with the transition to contractors or whatever they want to do next.

You'll be able to save the relationships if you remain professional and polite and give them adequate notice.

It wont be 2012 forever. Demand for people with your skills is insane right now - don't waste your time. Get moving.

And next time you agree to be a technical co-founder (which is what you are here), be sure you team up with people who give you an equal say in the decision making process - not people who view you as an order taker.

to_jon 6 days ago 1 reply      
This may sound counter intuitive, but you have far more to lose by staying than by moving on. In fact you face a couple significant risks that increase the longer you're there.

First, the founders may sense your lack of "enthusiasm" and realize that your chances of leaving are high. To protect the company's reputation from the public vote of no confidence implicit in your quitting, they may decide to take the initiative and fire you. Yes, this type of behavior is underhanded but it's more common than you may think. Imagine trying to explain to a hiring manager that you were fired because you planned to quit. Unfortunately, no one will believe you.

Second, you're part of a sinking ship and as the tech lead there's no way to separate your reputation from it. The longer you stay, the longer you expose your personal brand to the failure at large.

My last advice is the most important because it should guide all of your career decisions. Do not let fear suppress your better judgement. Step back from the reasons you listed for staying at the company and you'll realize that fear is the commonality. Fear isn't your friend. It will mislead you.

loverobots 6 days ago 0 replies      
You may like them, and they may be the nicest people on earth but that will not make you happy at work, make you successful or provide for your children.

You may want to try to bring some common sense in as a last try, but a year and no users or revenue is a major warning.

Out of 4 people only one can code...not a good thing, at all.

rmATinnovafy 6 days ago 0 replies      
These people seem to focus on hitting the startup lottery and not on building a business.
And that is really, really being hard on you.

Would you buy stock in a business like the one you are working in?

If the answer is no, why are you still there?

PS. If you want to talk about it, just email me. Address in on profile.

fatalerrorx3 6 days ago  replies      
Wow. This sounds exactly like me and my situation. Exactly a year ago at the beginning of May I began working on my first startup, after doing freelance web development for several years.

The startup was founded by 2 non-tech guys, I am employee #1 (tech guy, engineer), developing everything from the ground up. The product vision is not focused enough and is causing us to go into 100 different directions. 1 of the co-founders is a doctor and the other is a business guy with some very good connections (very similar to you).

The problem is that based on consumer feedback we're constantly changing, but we're trying to encompass EVERYTHING that EVERY tester has asked for. My personal feel is that although it's nice to know exactly everything that everyone wants, attempting to do everything is an EXTREMELY BAD IDEA. The saying "Jack of all trades, master of none" comes to mind. We can't be good at everything, so let's focus on 2 or 3 things that will have the MOST IMPACT and that we can be REALLY GOOD at to get CONSUMERS HAPPY about our product. Consumers WON'T BE HAPPY with 100 features that work HALF ASSED. This has been what I've been trying to explain for a long time now.

Over the course of the year, we've had a graphic designer who was with us for several months but couldn't handle it anymore so he left. Prior to me they had 2 other people; a programmer and a designer, and both of them have since left. The reason is clearly the lack of focus on what really matters.

The problem is that I am being paid a decent salary, and although I have some equity in the company, I feel like I don't really have much of a say (I have tried voicing my opinions but they've often gone ignored). I usually can't get a word in edge-wise anyhow even if I wanted to

Why do airline websites suck so much?
4 points by gregcohn  1 day ago   9 comments top 5
markerdmann 1 day ago 1 reply      
I expected Virgin, the "hip" airline, to be the exception to this rule, but their site is also terrible. Half the time it throws an error at the end of the checkout process and tells me to call a customer service representative in order to complete my order. I've also seen a lot of tweets about the issue, so apparently their site is just FUBAR.

Banks seem to be in the same boat. Has the bidding war for programmers at startups and major tech companies made it impossible for these companies to hire anyone good?

gregcohn 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a timely example, right now Air France's mileage booking tool is down. You would never know that from the fact that there are links in their Flying Blue club to "book a miles flight", and on the page it links to a prominent call to action to use the flight booking tool... what tool? and no error message.

But they're all bad -- mileage booking tools where no mileage pricing is displayed, revenue-fare booking tools where they are displayed "in order of price" without pricing until you click a tiny link to the next page, etc.


DigitalSea 1 day ago 1 reply      
Probably because they're too busy extorting exorbitant amounts of cash out of their customers in return for crap service, rude flight attendants and badly designed websites that look like they're from the 90's.
mb_72 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe the airlines don't realise how bad things are because no-one takes the time to tell them?

Write up an email with constructive criticism and send it to their customer support people, web master, etc. It could be that no-one except for the web people from the company has actually looked at it.

b09 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was just thinking this a few days ago while visiting United. It's absolutely horrific.
Ask HN: Does technology stack really matter in the beginning of a startup
6 points by yashchandra  2 days ago   7 comments top 4
pajju 1 day ago 0 replies      
Long back; I was in the same boat, deciding between Rails and Django.

From my completely unscientific research on this topic - Its not the framework that matters, its the Language.

Its the age of tools - so keep trying newer things! Play around - node and web2py.
We fall in love when we try new things.

In my case, I loved python more. I took the Django route.
It does take some time to get acquainted with a framework and the community if you are new to web frameworks.
8 to 10 months of steep learning curve inside.

Here is a Quick checklist-

1. Do you like too much Magic? Rails is more magic than django.

2. Ask yourself - Do you love python or ruby as a language more?
Its a team decision and access to developers available near your region.

I believe that, once you get solid grip over the language you will roll out your own and can bring-in changes in the core-framework.

Initially stick with one framework and dig inside!

3. I personally like the Django-python community more than Rails.

Folks with hardcore CS background + Having Linux backgrounds take the python route. YMMV.

4. You love Javascript? or Have a team with more front-end developers?

Its a good idea to first try out JS frameworks - node.js for server-side, Backbone and coffee-script.
Check meteor.js. You may like it.

Finally I would love to hear - on what you're working on.
Your profile doesn't read your email/contact.

redbeard0x0a 2 days ago 0 replies      
Your tech stack needs to be focused on development efficiency. In a startup, you need to quickly iterate over your releases to validate your idea. The faster you can get what is in your head on a computer screen, the faster you can validate it. Use whatever extensions, gems, etc that work for you to save you time.
traxtech 1 day ago 0 replies      
What matters is using a technology stack you really master, a stack you know the many trade-offs. That really depends on your experience.
cgrusden 2 days ago 1 reply      
Which one are you better at? Python or Ruby? Pick one. Then go
Ask HN: Human Kind's available digital storage?
3 points by fsniper  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
DigitalSea 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are you asking for a definitive figure or perhaps even a tentative figure? Because the answer is infinite. Once we hit the ceiling of storage, we just add more space to accommodate our needs, there's no definite figure. I'm sure perhaps a statistician could maybe work out some kind of vague figure that would be invalidated the moment it's published. It's like asking how much oxygen is available to the human race, trees are being planted and contributing oxygen all of the time, there's no figure on how many trees there are exactly, only estimates.
Piskvorrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are petabytes of storage media rolling off the assembly lines as you are reading this; are they relevant? Also, the estimate will doubled in several months.
Ask HN: (Self hosted) App Hosting platform for developers?
39 points by edude03  5 days ago   discuss
sciurus 5 days ago 0 replies      
Have you seen Red Hat's OpenShift?


It's a Heroku competitor which became open source last month.


There is a live CD which has all the components of Openshift already set up.


pgroves 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why can't you set up a virtual server with your default setting and applications and then clone it? (I'm really asking for more details, not making a suggestion in the form of a question.) You also get little benefits like having your .vimrc and ssh keys copied over.

That's pretty much what I do, and I wouldn't want to have to maintain an additional "personal heroku server" that would automate the deployments in the way you're talking about.

lucaspiller 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've also been interested in something similar, Heroku is great but just too expensive for some of the stuff I want to play around with, when I can run all of this on a single Linode box for $20/month. I've now created Puppet scripts to automate the setup of new boxes but it still isn't as easy as PaaS.

Has anyone got any good tutorials for OpenShift and Cloud Foundry on EC2 or the like? I found this, however it is 6 months old so I'm not sure how relavent it is any more (I might give it a shot later...): http://www.cloudsoftcorp.com/blog/first-steps-with-cloud-fou...

qeorge 5 days ago 0 replies      
You can make your own pretty easily with a bash script.

You basically just need to clone from git, setup a VirtualHost, and restart Apache/nginx. I don't have experience setting up Scala, Ruby, etc, but I've done this for PHP and its trivial.

Start by writing a list of commands you issue to start a new project on your dev server. Then add variables, a web form, and you're done.

jashmenn 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sort of. Ari Lerner (@auser) was working on a project like this sponsored by AT&T. It was going to be an open-source heroku for your datacenter.

The code is here: https://github.com/auser/beehive though I'm not sure how active it is.

sgrove 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's Cloud Foundry https://github.com/cloudfoundry/vcap, but it may be slightly too magical for you. We've been able to modify the it and integrate new services into it fairly painlessly once we got over the initial hurdle.
jeffh 5 days ago 1 reply      
Try out Stackato (http://www.activestate.com/stackato) [note: I work for ActiveState]. It's a commercial fork of Cloud Foundry that adds a lot more functionality. You can download an image for your hypervisor of choice (vSphere, fusion, vbox, ...), or provision one on EC2 or HP CS (no download necessary).

ActiveState is the Python community lead for Cloud Foundry (we added and maintain the support), but Stackato is much more than wrapping CF. It improves security (all user code is staged and run in linux containers), adds much more flexibility (hooks at staging or runtime, cron support, etc.), better manageability (web based console, user/group management), persistent file system, and more.

Also, if you like extensibility, a new experimental feature in 1.2 is Heroku buildpack support. Basically you get Heroku-in-a-box.

imperialWicket 5 days ago 0 replies      
AppFog is another service (still in beta) using cloudfoundry and supporting it.

More generally, and potentially more cross-host compatible, this sounds like a good opportunity for Puppet or Chef and a short config selection script.

csears 5 days ago 0 replies      
You might check out VMware's Cloud Foundry https://github.com/cloudfoundry and RedHat's OpenShift https://github.com/openshift
dholowiski 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, kind of like your own private Heroku. I want this too.
posabsolute 5 days ago 0 replies      
You just described webfaction, it's not a vps but you can deploy any kind of apps very easily and you got ssh access
edude03 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for all the links guys, I'm going to give Cloudfoundary and OpenShift a shot, OS looks a bit more feature filled but some of the blogs I've read say OS is all marketing. I'll give both a shot and write a blog post which you'll see soon here on HN (hopefully).
tedchs 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is now a commercial version of Cloud Foundry, ActiveState Stackato. There are some features they added to Cloud Foundry plus they offer support. They have an EC2 AMI that you can just boot right up.
l4u 5 days ago 0 replies      
You can have boilerplate features with Ubuntu juju, puppet or chef. But it isn't as easy as hosting on a PaaS.
munimkazia 3 days ago 0 replies      
You can write a bash script to edit the server configuration files to add a new virtualhost, copy the required files depending on the platform, and restart the server. It really shouldn't be too hard.
laic 5 days ago 0 replies      
That's exactly what I was looking for and couldn't find.
necenzurat 5 days ago 1 reply      
Rackspace hardware failure, all data lost. Oops...
11 points by nixle  3 days ago   12 comments top 4
dholowiski 3 days ago 0 replies      
This all depends... were you paying for a managed server that they were supposed to be backing up? If so, massive fail by rackspace. But if you were supposed to be in charge of the backups, then don't blame rackspace.
facorreia 3 days ago 2 replies      
You can outsource your hardware, but you can't outsource your responsibility. Backups and redundancy are your responsibility, not your service provider's.
hluska 3 days ago 0 replies      
No backups, hey? That's rough my friend and I feel bad for you. Best of luck recovering and thanks for the reminder; I'm going to make sure that my backup scripts work!!!
jgeorge 2 days ago 0 replies      
Rage level depends on what you're paying for. I have a server at Rackspace, it's my job to ensure backups, not theirs. That's the service level I pay for. They offer a backup service through Cloud Files that puts your backup on a different server. About once a month (which is all I need for the little usage my server gets) I log in, click the button to do a Cloud Files backup, and I'm done. Costs me about 60 cents a month for the file storage, pretty cheap for an off-server backup. If the server holding my instance fails, it's a couple of clicks and about 10min to restore it back.

I hate it for anyone who loses data, but if you're not paying them for a backup service, it's an expensive lesson to learn.

Ask HN: Flag/Unflag Effect?
4 points by Mz  1 day ago   2 comments top
rcamera 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would argue that, if there wasn't penalty reversion to a flagged item, there wouldn't be an option to unflag submissions...
Ask HN: Companies that are hiring new H1-Bs?
8 points by shawnps  3 days ago   5 comments top 3
eshvk 3 days ago 1 reply      
If she is on a student visa, try to find out if she has the option to go on Optional Practical Training (OPT), the monetary commitment for an employee is minimal so I think many companies think this would be a good way to try out an employee before investing in their H1B process.

If the OPT option is not available to her for some reason, ask her to apply to a large company (Goog, FB, etc). Those guys have the resources to do an H1B without worrying too much aS long as the employee has crossed the interviews...

lee337 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't have any suggestions for an actual position, but H1-Bs are easier to get via government gigs and aren't subject to quotas. In the SF Bay Area, that's...

* http://llnl.gov

* http://lbl.gov

* http://sandia.gov

* http://nasa.gov

- a former J-1, H1-N + greencarder dude

donsmithh 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe it's relatively easy for a girl to for an IT job in bay area since companies are trying to balance the male/female ratio. Try big companies?
Check http://h1bme.com for all companies that sponsored H1B visa in recent years
Show HN: My weekend project, Flair -- Like a friendly reverse Pinterest thingy
5 points by akaalias  3 days ago   6 comments top 3
debacle 3 days ago 1 reply      
I do a lot of the clothes shopping for my wife, so this could be a very useful tool.

Seems potentially very interesting. I have no interest in pinterest, but the inversion concept here seems very unique and could potentially be a lot of fun.

sidcool 3 days ago 1 reply      
TLDR; Hop over to http://letsflair.com

Do as directed.

bkyan 2 days ago 1 reply      
You built this in a single weekend?
Show HN: Wayin.com - Ask questions and "weigh in" on things you find online
2 points by 75c84fb8  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: Internet-friendly Senators in California?
3 points by blickly  2 days ago   discuss
Ask HN: How to write hackers resume
4 points by kracekumar  3 days ago   5 comments top 2
Peroni 3 days ago 0 replies      
How to differentiate normal tech company and hacker friendly company?

Each of your questions requires a pretty lengthy discussion that can rarely be covered in a forum but I've addressed the above question at length in an old blog post of mine:

If you're UK based then have a look through our site: http://www.hackerjobs.co.uk

israelyc 3 days ago 2 replies      
If you have it all on your website, all you need to do is to get the right person to view it. Instead of sending traditional resume through the website / board, I would suggest to do some research about the company, find the right person and email them directly with a link.

Here's an idea for getting their attention (worked for me) - I found the right person's name, bought an AdWords campaign with his name as the keywords. And then emailed him just one sentence "when was the last time you googled your name"? with a link to google search his name.

A. No one can resist something like that.
B. The ad linked to the unique cover letter (unindexed, so they won't see the other ones:) and that linked to the resume.
C. Total cost was like 5 bucks because he showed it to ~10 people - def. worth it.

The bottom line is - anything that will get the right person's attention would do :)

Ask HN: Programming jobs for the mathematically inclined.
16 points by livemyownlife  7 days ago   6 comments top 4
codeonfire 7 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to do any sort of scientific programming you will need to obtain a PhD and then land a job at a research lab, university, or boutique software company. These jobs are all over but you will probably have to fight hard to get one and then fight even harder to keep it and get your project funded. Even scientists in top national laboratories probably constantly worry about funding.

An alternate route is to start a company around a new software product. If you manage to find a scientific programming job at an existing company and that job is not protected from the non-technical business in some way, your project will be in constant jeopardy.

As for field, you will have to determine what type of work you want to do. I would suggest reading some academic papers on the type of work you would like to do and then look at the path that the authors followed. You can also contact the authors and express an interest. They will probably point you towards an exploitative grad student job making 15-20k / year, but you will probably get to do some sort of scientific programming.

skadamat 6 days ago 1 reply      
Don't get a grad degree just yet. Try a Data Engineering job (or also a software engineering job at a data-centric startup). You'd use a lot of algorithms, machine learning, and math to do all kinds of fun stuff with data. The new position is called 'Data Scientist' these days - I would use LinkedIn / Indeed.com to look for jobs with the title 'Data Scientist'

Here are some off the top of my head that are looking for mathy programmers:

Lookout Mobile

etc, you should be able to at least land interviews at the big tech corps, but I"ll guarantee you'll have a lot more fun at startups

I think you should get some industry experience before going off into a pure math PhD / grad degree. You could also consider doing a Master's in Statistics or Economics, both are which are super appealing these days - not sure how much you like applied math over pure math though!

mchannon 7 days ago 0 replies      
There are all sorts of overlaps with math and programming that take place in industry but usually they involve other disciplines as well (physics, chemical engineering, biology, materials science, electrical engineering, the list goes on).

The old adage about advanced degrees earning more money still carries some truth; I'd imagine this is especially true for a B.S. Math. Unless you want to be a math professor, I'd consider a lateral to another field as you go for a M.S. or Ph.D., even if it requires a couple of extra years to get the formative coursework in.

I think all of us can appreciate that any useful software product will benefit not only from good programming skills but difficult math problems that crop up unexpectedly.

Path A: Graduate school, troll job sites for a steady 9-5 someplace far away from where you are now.

Path B: Troll job sites for a steady 9-5 someplace far away from where you are now.

Path C: Leverage your ability to live like a student and start your own math-intensive software startup.

There is no right answer.

impendia 6 days ago 0 replies      
Check out the Research Triangle Institute, in Durham, NC:


Is it ALT.NET or Progressive.NET and who uses it?
2 points by husky  2 days ago   1 comment top
debacle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm interested in this as well. I love C# (.NET is fine, but could be better) but don't see a lot of demand for it outside of the MS stack.
       cached 19 May 2012 19:05:02 GMT