TL;DR Posterous and ArchiveTeam are working on a way to backup Posterous before the deadline without accidentally DDoS'ing it.
2. MVP and focus - really choose one small thing and ship itScript your deployment process so you can in one day write a function run the tests then push it live. That will seriously motivate you
3. Outside help - know anyone else who might work with you? There is a very good reason pg says solo founders don't work well. The motivation levels needed are huge.
4. Put time aside in the week to see your girlfriend (over a table, with a candle, just on the sofa does not count). Similar with family friends. Don't go mad on this try a date night each week and a friends night. Your social life may improve (depends where you are now I guess)
How many hours a day/week do you spend on HN? Why not route news.ycombinator.com to 127.0.0.1 for a week and spend that time working on your personal projects? If you find that isn't enough time, you should figure out why you dont have at least a free hour a day. Usually it'll be something trivial like miscounting other entertainment times, which you can redirect.
Shipping makes everything better.
I stayed focused by setting small goals, achieve this function by the end of today, then call it quits. Before I knew it the code was finished to my satisfaction. I finished the code at the end of January and have some ideas for the next project.
I try to get one side project (One SaaS app I can sell to subscribers online typically) a year completed. This one took about 200-300 hours I think, thought that's just a rough guess.
Without such an upstream service and short of building an extensive infrastructure yourself, you basically have to batten down the hatches and have a server (plus preceding switches etc.) that can handle a large amount of traffic.
I think there are other services, but Cloudflare is the most prominent and is used by sites like 4Chan to avert DDOS.
(I'm not affiliated in any way with these guys, and I'm aware they just had an outage while updating the server code to defend against a DDOS attack, but they seem good! )
I often worry that being 25 myself is a cause for concern because non of my startup ideas have taken off, but I figure I've got my whole life to try and make a startup work.
Not sure where this ageism comes from (someone please explain). To me it seems like either you get it or you don't. As long as you get it, have a mind for problem solving, and have the willingness/ability to adapt to new tech and best practices, the age you start doesn't make a difference.
Also, from what I understand, it isn't rare for CS students to be somewhat overwhelmed when starting programming in the real world. In the real world, the technology stack moves very quickly, while most universities are still focused on things like Java. Possibly because these languages are better at teaching you skills that get you into good habits, but I'm not sure.
- From what I gather you are 3 guys (who cook ethnic food) who get hired through a catering agency.
- For Zeus knows why, your biggest client (the catering agency) dropped you.
- You mention not marketing properly and now seem to not have a good customer list to cater to (pun intended).
In your situation the best option would be:
Print out some flyers and cook some samples. Go door to door to every fucking office park in a 5 mile radius and take some sales. Do this before lunch! Now, about those samples. You have to prepare plenty of samples. Put out your best stuff. The way you display them is very, very important. Make sure that everything looks and is clean and tidy. Wear some nice clothes that don't smell like you came out of a kitchen. Smile.
Do this for 3 times a week for 3 months, then once a week forever. You will not have to worry about this happening again.
Remember: Every person that tries and likes your food is a customer. Take an order right there. Close the sale while they are enjoying the sample. Don't hesitate.
Also, raise your prices by one dollar in the entire menu, and give a $1 discount to those who order right there. People can't turn down tasty discounted food.
Disclaimer: My sister in law has a business like yours and I grew it to a very nice size with that same tactic.
But no kidding around, they're doing good work and definitely merit a place in a startup's food rotation. I give them a full endorsement, and I'm a picky child with regard to catered food.
Food is a very difficult business. I'm heartbroken for your setback. I hope you find a way back out of the hole. Good luck.
How would you sell your competitor's product?
Think about that. If I wanted to hire you to sell my food product for me, how would you kick ass and take names?
List your top ten competitors (not just ethnic food). What are their advantages over your business?
Why do you have to sell ethnic food? Does anyone deliver burgers where you operate. I mean, GOOD burgers? How hard would it be to launch an experiment to sell an absolutely fucking-great would-kill-for-it "asian burger" for $10?
Can you sell other provider's food for them? Why don't YOU become the catering service? You might do far better this way than making your own food. Are there other good ethnic food providers that you could market? A supermarket does well because they have something to please everyone. If I don't want your kind of food there's nothing you can do to make me buy it. If, however, you offer me five different kinds of food choices you might actually have a sale every day of the week.
Can you package some food and sell it to roving food trucks (frozen, refrigerated, whatever)?
Call your local TV station. Find out who you have to lather-up to get on TV with your exciting super-hip ethnic food offerings. Be ridiculously upbeat. Create hype. Give them a reason to put you on TV.
Call every wedding and party planner you can find. Maybe you can land a job that way. I still think that if you are in the food business it might be wiser to not be in a super-narrow ethnic corner but rather be able to offer a wide range of choices.
Here in Santa Monica there's a regular event where a number of streets are closed from car traffic and food vendors put-up canopies and sell their stuff. Anything like that going on where you are?
Any race tracks of any kind near you? You could do lots of business if you could get a space at a good event. Swap meets are the same.
Do you have the means to get a mobile food truck? I don't know that business at all but I used to know someone who made good money with one.
Start an ethnic food meetup of some sort. Charge $15 all you can eat (or whatever makes sense). Get some music. Make it fun. Make it an event somewhere.
Any local camping areas? Crazy idea, but maybe you can print some flyers "we'll deliver your lunch to your campsite on Saturday".
Talk to tour bus operators. Maybe they have some ideas on how you could market your food to their customers. Offer them a cut.
See if you can find any movie productions that need catering.
Contact Home Depot or Lowes. I see guys with hot-dog stands right outside their doors there all the time. Not a clue what it might take to be able to do something like that.
Offer a program through which you'll cook and deliver someone's lunch for the entire week. Some might love the convenience of having five pre-packed meals in their refrigerator that they can just microwave at work and have something special that tastes good.
From watching the Gordon Ramsey shows I remember that, more often than not, he'd come in and grossly simplify the menus. I don't have the experience to evaluate your menu. Maybe you can get some help from a local culinary school?
He also did a lot of testing on the streets in some cases. Cook-up a variety of samples for food you offer now and a few new ideas and go pass them out for free on the street. Ask for feedback. You might discover that people aren't really in love with your food. For control I would have some tasty off-the-shelf microwave something to hand out as well.
I realize you probably need immediate income right now and might not have a lot of time or room for experiments. This is a tough spot to be. Do your best to be creative and try a few out of the ordinary things. You might just discover a gem.
Above all, don't be afraid of failure. I know that while you are going through it the whole experience can be overwhelming both emotionally and physically. Commit to the idea that if you fail to recover you will take a few steps back, critically analyze why you failed and come back stronger. Maybe you need to take job for a while. Do it. If entrepreneurship were easy everyone would be doing it. It isn't. You are unique. Don't give up.
Can you share with us what mistake led you to being dropped by your biggest source of revenue? In these sorts of things often an 'after action' report works out pretty well, it goes "Oh we blew it, we did X, this caused Y, we've changed P, Q, and R so that X can't happen again." Startups do that all the time, one of the more common ones is "we didn't secure our servers and gave out everyones login information" or something along those lines.
Restaurants are particularly hard places to succeed because not only are they regulation rich (so there is a lot of energy expended in dealing with the health department) they are abused by fickle tastes. (Ask anyone who has tried to run a Greek restaurant in the south bay for a while now, not sure why but they are darn hard to find)
Your web site talks about attending food festivals, do you have a truck? The Curryupnow folks gave a pretty textbook example of how to build a following by driving to specific spots, tweeting about it, and introducing their cuisine to folks outside their building. That skipped the whole 'get us a catering gig' problem which is, as you've experienced, a challenge.
First see if you can apologize to the catering agencies and get back in good graces with them. You did not give us any details why they dropped you. Speak to a manager there and see if it is possible for them to take your account back.
Failing that try to find other catering agencies in your area.
If you cannot find work by catering agencies try changing your business to one that drives trucks around. This is a company in my area that does well with Korean Tacos http://www.seoultacostl.com/
You might try to find areas you can get permission to park your truck at and cater to the crowds there. I would suggest startups and startup events, and try things like Korean Tacos where you mix one food item with another. A lot of people who work at startups like Asian food.
Consider doing a Kickstarter so you can raise money to do your own food catering agency to serve your business and other catering companies. Maybe build on your web site so it can be marketed better. Put in a program where a startup can request that you cater their events.
Make sure you create accounts for your catering service on as many social networking sites as possible to help promote it. Find web sites on food reviews on businesses in your area and email them to do a review on your business. Advertise in the local yellow pages as well.
I hope this advice helps,
Just one suggestion on the website that would take maybe an hour to fix. Your menu is a giant, low-quality PNG. I can barely read it, and zooming in just makes it worse. You either need to make it real HTML so I can zoom in and read it, or make it a PDF. Make sure your menu and website are VERY accessible via mobile -- if its hard to read on a nice desktop display, it's going to be next to impossible to read on Firefox mobile.
Also, your "Catering Menu" link goes nowhere. There is at least one image in your gallery that says "this is a test".
The pictures look fantastic!
Sales-wise, have you tried cold-calling start ups that are near you? Or have you attended any of the start up groups / meetings / events? Or outright asked to cater them? Spend a few hours on Monday cold-calling some local government offices, they don't cater often but something like satays might be unique enough to prompt them to try it out. For tech companies, reach out to their main account on Twitter. When they book you, tweet about it to help them get cross-promotion.
At this point, it sounds like you need clients more than branding -- reach out and grab some clients!
Do not annoy them. Make sure you keep track of who you call & when, who you reached (if anyone). Even if you only reach a support member or an engineer, if it sounds good they might mention it to feed their next hackathon. Don't expect that every call nets you an order or large catering deal.
Basically the value you want to provide to startups is that they can use your excellent food as marketing for new employees.
Research customer support ticket software and maybe offer on demand food. Turn those late night hacking sessions on pizza into late night hacking sessions with fresh food (or maybe even a chef right there to cook)
And yes door to door sales ASAP
Several people have pointed out that you may be overreacting, and I agree. If that turns out not to be the case, definitely keep in mind that the west coast is absolutely not the be-all, end-all of startup culture, and startup culture absolutely is not the be-all, end-all of your potential clientele.
You clearly do your work well. Instead of freaking out over a knee-jerk reaction from one of your middlemen, look for more stable resources. Collect references from your happy clients and publish them. Unless you're seriously misrepresenting yourself, there's no reason you can't succeed in spite of this mishap.
Satay, a dish of marinated skewered and grilled meats served with sauce, originated in Indonesia in the 19th century, invented by street vendors after an influx of immigrants to the country made it popular among locals.
-- Who originated it? Immigrants to Indonesia? Emigrants from Indonesia? I'm really confused.
Staying true to our Indonesian roots, my grandmother created a unique family receipe we could call our own and have passed that receipe down through the family for generations.
-- "Generations" usually means more than 2.
-- These are small things, but if you redo your website at some point, you might want to be somewhat more clear and credible.
Your business name and goodwill will always be there. With the burn-rate under control you can gradually and organically grow your business.
The worst thing to do is to fly into a panic and rush into all these lead generation techniques. People can sense your fear and panic in your food. Think of your business as a dish. Let it simmer slowly and let the flavors gradually express themselves.
Also don't increase your burn-rate by giving deep discounts in a desperate bid for customers. Keep your prices reasonable. The profit-margin is the oxygen for your business to stay alive.
Make it HTML so I can read and zoom if necessary.
Best of luck!
Good luck! You could try the free samples approach at the Hacker Dojo one lunchtime, perhaps? see if you can get a regular set of customers there.
Over the last one year, I've seen many people being helped by HNers. One particular example being that of a founder in India being helped with a lawyer to take care of some legal nuisance.
Wish you good luck. And hope you grow big.
Not sure if that's a good idea, though, because karma is supposed to have no tangible value. It's just an idea.
(I'll mention you to the people I know at UC Berkeley and tech company as well. Can't promise anything though, :-/ )
Keeping a business afloat nowadays is so difficult. I just scrape by month to month myself. I hope you turn things around.
but if anyone is listening, west LA needs more startup-oriented catering. it's a pain in the ass to go to lunch as everyone drives and delivery is shitty because everyone drives (hence food is always cold, late, etc.)
I kinda wish you could navigate from it though. Eg: When I click on the TED laptop, load the talk in below.
There are plenty of CRUD generators, but they are basic and just create bare bone CRUD. A lot of programmers don't even use the existing CRUD generators because they do things that aren't wanted.
Seriously though, my knee jerk reaction was to write all the reasons this couldn't work. But instead, I think you should go ahead and start trying to build it. In the end even if you fail you'll have learned a great deal, and at least have created some code worth turning into libraries.
Now you have this elaborate tool that's going to get insanely complex if you want to really cover everything. You will be spending your time tweaking the generator's config files and adhering to its restrictions. I only made mine generate code for 1 language too, I couldn't even imagine trying to support multiple languages.
Eventually you're going to monkey patch in so many stupid rules because you run into sites that need something you didn't think of, and then it's going to get into this jumbled mess of insanity that makes you want to kill people whenever you use it.
The solution is to leverage your code editor and create snippets that get you 90% of the way. Now you have the annoying boiler plate out of the way but you have end points and their respective http handlers separate for each resource.
Now if you need something specific it's as simple as editing the resource that needs something specific and you don't have to worry about anything.
You trade in some code duplication for modularity and simplicity. I'm going to make this trade all day, especially when you can eliminate most of the grunt work with snippets in your editor.
You want to maximize productivity?
1. Make some snippets for whatever tech you use.
2. Create an extremely basic project skeleton and put this on github. Then clone it for new projects.
Eventually you'll see for yourself that you can't make the scaffold generators do X, Y, or Z custom requirements yourself and you'll probably drop this notion.
Libraries and frameworks can make repetitive tasks easier, but there's nothing out there yet that's going to write the majority of a non-trivial App for you.
2. I don't understand your second question.
A properly built web application should throttle dictionary attacks out-of-the-box and safeguard against these kinds of common username and common password list attacks which are very inefficient. Plus, if the attack is originating via a login form you're not really protecting anyone because the username and password are being sent as plaintext to the server and would be encrypted anyway. Throttling and banning rapid login attempts is the only way to efficiently go in this instance.
The only benefit I could see is if someone were to gain access to your database and dump out all of the rows of your users table, then encrypted usernames might make sense (but still not in a way) because you'd most likely have identifiable unencrypted information still in the database like names, locations and email addresses. If you were to encrypt everything, you're crazy.
You would then run into problems if you were running a forum for example and wanted to show the usernames of users online or the username of someone who authored a thread. Think about it, you'd be decrypting that username and then caching it somewhere in plaintext anyway (unless you fancy straight-up repeated database calls for the same information over and over again).
Think about usernames: most of them are short, concise, common and even public. It will take no time to decypher with a tailored dictionary attack.
So, at the end, if you cypher the usernames you are adding complexity to a system adding none or very little extra security.
I neither know or care where browserstack.com (the last service I paid for) is based.
As for the legal and financial aspect of setting up in the US, I recommend looking through early posts on the freshdesk.com blog... there is great info there on setting up a US business (from India in their case).
That said, there may be other issues I'm not qualified to comment on. For example, if your business complies with U.S. law but not Dutch law, then I have no idea whether incorporating & operating it from the Netherlands will cause you trouble. Not being based in the U.S. may also make it more difficult to use U.S.-based payment processors.
When choosing a payment processor, making sure that it handles the whole process should save you the hassle of setting up a merchant account (an account that allows you to accept credit card payments) with a US bank.
I am Dutch too and I know a B.V. (Dutch limited stock company) is allowed to be a "holding" company that owns all the shares in a foreign company - but I went to business school and not law school, so there might be some fine print you'd want to consult a lawyer about.
It'll be an expensive hassle though, so if you're not dealing with B2B I'd recommend getting the "trust indicators" consumers are looking for by getting a U.S. street address with Earth Class Mail and possibly a U.S. phone number (through Skype) that forwards to a Skype account in your company. You can always go the U.S. incorporation route when you have the revenue to finance/justify it.
I am American (lived in three countries) and can assure you that is not accurate. America has more foreign owned businesses than any nation on earth. When you think about it, America is almost entirely made up of immigrants. I have done quite a bit of business in Europe and would say that it would compare with London or Zurich.
Obviously, opening a company will not grant you a SSN. It will be hell to simply open a bank account.
It is easy to open a company, close to impossible to actually have a business.
I own an useless LLC in Delaware, btw.
Keep your software up-to-date (older versions of OS X get less love from Apple as fixing vulnerabilities goes).
Turn on OS X's FileVault and firewall, install LittleSnitch . Turn on 'Ask for password on wake'. Create a user account to work in, don't use your Admin account for everything. Don't install Java Runtime, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Office, MSN/AIM Messenger, or Microsoft Windows (Bootcamp, VM, or otherwise). Disable Flash plugin in Chrome. Only install signed apps.
Run good AV on your incoming mail server. For testing on Windows, use a separate box or host it remotely.
- The information in books is complete. Tutorials on the web usually cover only a tiny fraction of everything there is to know about a specific technology. Tutorials often go deep into a specific part of the technology, or try to cover everything in a very shallow way. Books provide a thorough explanation of everything, nut just a tiny fraction.
- Books (if you make the right selection, I usually type "best [some technology] book" in google and read the suggestions on stackoverflow or other programming sites) are usually written by authoritative people in the industry. Very often by the author of the programming language that you're trying to learn. Not by some amateur who has some spare time and wants to write a blog post.
- It's much more pleasant to read long texts on paper than on a bright computer screen where you have to scroll all the time and cant place physical bookmarks.
As for your last question (what I read and can recommend):
- Design patterns : elements of reusable object-oriented software
- Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
- Code Complete 2
- Clean Code
- Pro ASP.NET MVC (if you're into MS stuff like me)
- Scrum and XP from the trenches
- Business model generation
- Purple Cow
- Permission marketing
(how to do these line breaks correct?)
I didn't like SICP. I can handle boring books, but this one is pretty extreme.
I believe California requires notice within 30 days if it affects any California users.
My successful side projects have always been things that solve my problems first and foremost. They've also just happened to solve problems that a reasonable number of other people have too.
"well-rounded", "informed citizen", "having a life", "attitude adjustment", "stopping to smell the roses"
Inspiration comes from life. I read blogs, news, and have real life experiences. Maybe your life involves working out, listening to music, fine dining, politics, environmentalism, drinking, traveling, farming... Then combine that with a desire to improve the condition of humanity. We are motivated by deeper, more timeless issues than say setting up a server to do X task.
Staying on track with side project work means making space for it also, and being comfortable with the technology you're using (use what you enjoy).
I but my discipline by forcing myself to sit down for an hour a day to code. No ifs bits or anything. Sit down and code. Did it work? It worked like magic.
You have three options: do nothing, settle, fight.
It sounds like you only got an infringement letter. These are normally sent out in bulk by patent trolls to any and all people they think they can extort money from. There is no legal burden to this letter. You don't have to talk to them (and you shouldn't). Don't respond to the letter. Don't take their phone calls. Refuse to talk to them. Regardless of whether you hire a lawyer or not, at this point, there is nothing to be gained by approaching them.
Eventually, they will call you. They have armies of hourly workers who go through the database of people they sent out the letters to and try to get an easy settlement from you. Don't sweat these calls. They'll ratchet up the threats via voicemail (since you are not talking to them). And eventually they'll have to make a decision. Patent trolls are in the business of making money. Lawsuits are expensive. If the cost of a lawsuit is greater than the amount of money they think they can get out of you, they won't sue you. It would be bad business. From your description, I'm guessing it would be a bad idea for them to sue you because you don't really have a lot to offer them. Even if your app makes a couple hundred thousand dollars, they won't bring a suit against you. It's a waste of their time. (They'd happily take a settlement check from you though).
If you thought there was a good chance they were going to sue you (which I don't), and you were located in the US (which you are not), and it looked like they were going to bring suit in that horrible district in Eastern Texas, you could decide to file suit against them first in another venue to avoid having your suit take place there. It doesn't look like Canada has this same issue (patent troll friendly district where most cases go for the patent trolls).
In essence, at this point, if you go to a lawyer and have them draw up a defense that says your tech doesn't infringe, you'll end up spending between $5,000 and $10,000. I don't think it's really worth it right now. My advice would be to wait until you get some sort of actual legal notification of a suit. Before that point, it's all just posturing and bluffing. Plus, you can still settle at that point (you might have to pay a bit more though to cover the added costs they've spent).
However, in the case where you think the other party is bluffing, I would not hire a lawyer right away. The other party's only enforcement option is suing you. If they sue you, then hire a lawyer.
The big issue is whether to respond. If you don't respond, they will stop contacting you after a certain number of attempts. If you do respond, you will get their attention. That can be good if you think you have a strong defense like mistaken identity or something. If I were you, I would ignore them and see if they sue.
Edit: I looked up Lemer & Company and they are personal injury lawyers, not patent attorneys. They were probably hired only to write scary letters, which is more reason to ignore them until if or when they refer the case to patent counsel for litigation.
If it was me, I'd reply with a certified letter explaining your situation as a developer, how much revenue the app has made to date in downloads and ads. Then nicely explain that you would never knowling violate anyone IP rights, and having reviewed their patent do not believe you are practicing any of the steps laid out in their patents. You are, simply using information published via publicly available Nextbus API.
Lawsuits cost money - no contingency in Canada, so by demonstrating poverty, it's really not worth suing you... period. If they come back with a real legal filing, you can always just shut down the app, or find a lawyer to help you fight.
However, I'm not a lawyer, just saying what I'd do... you situation may be different - and getting a lawyer never hurts (except the pocketbook).
My situation; inventor, lived in Canada for years... now in the US. Your app doesn't appear to be infringing (it's not doing all the stuff laid out in the claims, but the API provider most likely would be, which is why they settled)... however...
1. Canada doesn't do contingency for legal stuff, you will need to find a lawyer and need to pay up front. Get a lawyer (if you want a suggestion ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
2. I'd talk to NextBus about their API and license. I'd also look carefully at whatever agreement you have with NextBus about the use of their API (free/paid). If anything, Nextbus may be infringing on their license by publishing the data. Alternatively, there may be language in the contract indemnifying you. Look at all the contracts, period.
3. Look carefully at the document you were sent. It will have valuable clues; have they actually filed anything, etc.
If you're using their public XML feed/API, here's the agreement: http://www.nextbus.com/xmlFeedDocs/NextBusXMLFeed.pdf.
Firstly, don't let them strong arm you - most patent trolls blast complaints like this to many parties at once and hope a percent of them cave without the need for court.
If this did go to court, I strongly doubt you would be found guilty of infringing on these patents. Based on your statement, it sounds like you simply made an app that converts third party API data to a UI, which wouldn't come close to either patents as they are related to the actual process of tracking vehicles, which the API provider partakes in, not you.
I would simply contact them and let them know that you don't track them yourself, you use another company. Most lawyers don't understand software, so they might be assuming you are tracking vehicles on your own. If they continue to press you past that, you might be forced to take it to court.
Best of luck and please keep us informed.
I'd venture to guess that they also received a notice ...
Call the city, talk to a city lawyer, find out what is going on here.
Seriously though - you should consult with a lawyer but ultimately the decision will be yours.
Since you are using their api, surely your app is covered by NextBus' licenses? I would get legal opinion on this though because even though this would be logical and expected, the fact that such trivial forms of telemetry can be patented shows that the system is certainly not logical or expected.
This type of thing is seriously depressing. Good luck.
Personally, I'd probably ignore them too - but I'd double-check with a lawyer first!
... but IANAL so I'm not even sure if I'm reading that right.
Real lawyers feel free to tell me I am giving horrible advice.
Tell him Joey deVilla sent you.
Contact a lawyer.
I've purchased <$120 chairs for a long time from the usual suspects, Office Depot, Staples, etc. and the padding in the seat just goes to shit after a year. As if I'm sitting on wood, resulting in lower-back-pains galore.
Today, I'm using a Humanscale Freedom with headrest that I got off craigslist used, but reupholstered, for $400. It's one of the best investments I've ever made. I sit in this chair up to 10 hours a day, and not the slightest bit of back pain.
Can't recommend it enough, so my advice would be to seriously consider stretching your budget ever so slightly. Your future 70-year-old self will thank you (and me if you remember this recommendation!).
Get something <$100 that doesn't have armrests and doesn't lean back (or else it locks such a function solidly). It will force you to sit correctly.
I hold the opposite view. Now that compilers are getting smart enough to do very good type inference, and the fact that tools are evolving, I believe strict, static typing will be the future.
The better the type system, the more runtime bugs you prevent from happening. While fighting against the compiler as a veteran programmer is a bit foreign (and makes you feel dumb), it's infinitely preferable than having to debug obscure production bugs.
Good compilers are like a massive suite of unit tests you get for free.
I also see the future of programming languages being functional in nature. Not because of the oft-repeated 'good for concurrency' misnomer (it's an orthogonal issue), but simply because it forces you to think a different way that ends up being more correct than imperative styles.
It takes me much longer (somewhat ashamed to admit) to write a functional library than an imperative one, however, I've been amazed at how well they've turned out and the reuse is much greater.
Also, by functional, I DONT mean just map/reduce/filter. The advantage of FP is really in being able to define types and mini DSLs very easily, the kinds of patterns higher order functions allow you to capture, the simplifications afforded by immutable types add up to make functional code the cleanest representation of the problem itself, without any of the cruft.
Try learning Scala, Clojure, or another functional language, and write some serious code in it. Go through a book or a course though, because if you try to pick it up by google and blog posts, you might end up writing basically imperative code in the language, which defeats the purpose.
Personally, writing functional code for the first time opened my eyes to how many problems that I thought were more or less fundamental were just artifacts of the level of abstraction being too low.
I doubt it. You'll just be compiling JS (or a JS descendant) down to a quantum machine or DNA or who knows what. Change is incremental. People talk about the rapid pace of change in technology, but if you learned C in 1985 and no other language for 25 years, you'd not be very far behind right now.
I think there's tremendous value in having server and client code being in the same language though. I think the future will have things like GWT for other languages as long as JS is what's being ran in the browser.