Do you intend to broaden the payment's to include bitcoin or similar?
Predictably Irrational (Dan Ariely, he has some TED talks as well)http://www.amazon.com/Predictably-Irrational-Revised-Expande...
Influence, the Science of Persuasion (Robert Cialdini)http://www.amazon.com/Influence-ebook/dp/B002BD2UUC
Inevitable they forget the middle part and we end up with webpages filled with timestamps.
Stupid party trick.
It'll run it's course for a couple of years and will change to something else. High contrast will suddenly be cool again. The self-aware among the designers and creators will shrug and follow the next trend with a resigned attitude. The less self-aware ones will teach themselves to see the beauty in the new system. There will be long, impassioned blog posts about why low-contrast was wrong - all wrong. It was all done before the person writing the blog post had been out of college so of course s/he was not responsible for any of it... and so goes the circle of life.
However, I don't think the example you cited is a particularly egregious example of lack of contrast. It's not ideal, but it's much better than the gray on light gray body text I've seen before.
There's actually a formula you can measure this.
The color code of #626566 on a background of #FFF yields a ratio of about 5.9 to 1.
My theory is that they're all blindly copying Apple. The thing is, Apple does that for occasional highlighting (ad copy, e.g.), not for gigantic blocks of text. Any long-form text on Apple's site is in black (or near-black) text on white (or near-white) background.
I sure wish they'd stop doing this. Do they not actually want people to read their blogs (or whatever)?
Actually, I think one trend that we'll see soon is standard color palettes that will serve as signals or templates for user flows.
Fight the power: http://contrastrebellion.com/
if your task is important you pay close attention and so rather deep contrast and separation. also the more on the screen the better.
if you are just dicking around you want low contrast and lots and lots of white space.
so, ignore all the trend talk. real reason is that the internet is finally embracing the so talked short attention span and frivolity.
btw, you study all that in the few psychology, marketing and semiotics classes in ... oh, designers classes today have none because they are not the old and outdated industrial design of yesterday. now they have photoshop and flash. and the final thesis can be a website.
After that, I don't send CVs anymore. I write a text (like a blog post) about what I know, what I did, how I did, what I enjoy, etc. Like a letter talking about myself. It worked perfectly everytime. I know recruiters may find boring to read a lot of them, but that's what I do now.
Then Google disabled my Adsense account because of "invalid click activity", which also meant my Admob account was gone, since they're now linked. I moved to a combination of other ad networks, but ad revenue was slashed to a quarter of its former glory. Appeals to Google were fruitless, and to this day I have no idea why exactly I was banned.
For my next app, I'll probably avoid the "free with ads" model.
We haven't "failed" yet. But we're dying slowly. No one cares for Instimage, and there's no money backing it up.
No Investors, no angels, just a bootstrap and no boot.
Reminds me of companies that call themselves "startups" for 10 years...
Shouldn't one start-up then get moving?
1. Yes, it is extremely tough to make money selling iOS apps. App Store creates power law dynamics where Top 10 apps make as much money as the rest of the apps combined. If you're in Top 10 then congrats, but most likely you won't be. Median App Store revenue is few hundred dollars per month. iOS programmers are in demand today. It's much easier (and in most cases more profitable) to sell your iOS expertise for $100/hr than make apps yourself.
2. People make money both in games and apps. So can you.
3. There is not such thing as too much marketing. Try every marketing technique that you can think of and can afford.
At the same time, no amount of marketing can rescue a bad app so you need to track conversion rates of your marketing efforts.
4. Free with ads vs. paid depends on your app. If you believe people will pay than go paid. If you don't, then free with ads but you have to be realistic: ad based business requires lots of volume so if your app is not in the "useful for lots of people" category, ads will not make you rich.
On the marketing side, the key for the stuff I work on is that the app is about 10% of the project, the rest is distribution. So I'd think about apps that can spread via twitter, facebook, email, etc, and then build a simple app around that. Make the app simple, and really focus on the "marketing" side of things. "Marketing" in quotes because it is really still development though.
For me, I make submissions when I find something interesting rather than trending. Whatever moderate traction those stories receive tends to come from submitting at off peak times - weekends and late night US time.
But the first criteria are always the relevance of the article and quality.
I wrote a more detailed blog post that explains how this works, but the core concept is as follows.
Assuming you want your HN submission to reach the front page, then its important to post at times when scores on the new page are relatively high compared to the front page.
This assumes your goal is to reach the front page. I dont actually know how many people skim over the new links, but its fairly obvious that a far greater number of people only look at the first 30 links on the home page.
For the purposes of discussion, Im going to assume a very simplistic model of the HN front page: new stories with more points will outrank older stories with less points. That is, Im ignoring any effects existing karma has on a users submission and any factors related to when a story gets upvotes. If we assume that a new story needs to get more points than an existing story in order to replace it on the front page, then the following is straightforward: - Its a good time to submit when scores on the front page are low. If the lowest-ranked story has 10 points, it will be much easier to replace than if the lowest-ranked story has 100 points. - Its a good time to post when scores on the new page are high. If the highest-ranked story on the new page only has 2 points, it doesnt seem likely that your submission will fare much better.
I'm guessing that most people check HN first thing in the morning.
If you are interested in health startups, Health 2.0 is in Santa Clara this year, and some events are free:http://www.health2con.com/events/conferences/seventh-annual-...
Getting a full time rails developer will be hard initially if not impossible.
I have been trying to get a junior position but no luck yet.
news:yc shows me 5 submissions per screen, and the description of each submission includes age, number of comments, points, and submitter username. (I could probably do without the points -- the rest I need.)
I don't care for comment threads to be collapsed by default. Especially when I open one comment thread, I have to then keep touching again to see further subcomments -- that doesn't work for me.
Thanks for the free trial. I wouldn't have tried it otherwise.
And thanks for building another HN client. I don't really care much for any of the ones I've tried. What I'd really like is the Alien Blue reddit client for HN.
If it turns out you don't have permission to do that, because the person presenting that card number is not the owner of the card, you'll lose that money, pay a fee, and your ability to accept other cards will be at risk.
AVS and CVC checks are tools to help you decide what payments you want to accept or reject. They're inputs for your fraud scoring algorithm. With some processors, you also get a discount for making use of them, as the processor and card network would both prefer not to have to drop you for getting too many chargebacks.
Since your transaction fees are based partially on your dispute rates not collecting this data could move you from 3% to 5 or even 7%.
Imagine giving an extra 2% of your Gross to fees. So people collect more to limit fraud.
There are companies and individuals that make a living from commissions paid by employees for getting the job, and there are probably individuals that would benefit from getting paid career consultancy, but when the competition is free at the point of sale it's not an easy market to get into.
In order to be successful you will probably require me not to leave the new job for at least 6-12 months. That can be an expensive term to have because of the risk being stuck in some crappy workplace, the risk of missing better opportunities and some other more subtle limitations that costs me money. That can drive your cut down significantly. On the other hand if you have premium companies like Google, you can claim a bigger cut and it's still a good deal.
If you look at it from the perspective of the employee, it's quite possibly their biggest single expense all year. 20-30% of salary is common. It's easy to see why recruiters are paranoid about getting stiffed by the hiring company.
Unfortunately, it also puts you at a disadvantage when negotiating with the hiring company. The next guy who applied for the same job but didn't have to go through the recruiter would cost the company the same even if they earned 20% larger checks.
Still, as bad as recruiters are, the companies themselves are worse, by and large.
So I do headhunting for both sides. I get paid a commission from the company for finding them great talent(I use already established connections of mine so I already know if they are a good fit for the job or not), and the person that gets hired pays me a commission for finding them a job.
It's typically 20% of their monthly salary for 6 months from both sides.
Good deal for a person to make some extra cash on the side of whatever they do already, and they have time to do so.
Since simonswords82 was so generous with details about his business, I'll do the same. About 2% of the visitors to the site sign up for the free trial. That seems poor, although I don't have a lot of insight as to what the number "should" be. I do require a credit card in order to sign up for the trial. The trial automatically converts to a subscription after seven days.
About 70% of trial subscribers convert to a paid subscription. This seems pretty good to me, although I'd of course be happier if it was higher. Once they've subscribed, I lose about 25% of subscribers in the first month, and then the number drops asymptotically down to about 5% (of the initial total) per month. I'm reasonably happy with this as well. It's poor by the standards of a SaaS, where a churn rate of 1-2% is doable, but I think it's pretty good for a content site.
For now I'm focusing on A/B testing various ideas for improving conversion. It takes less effort and potentially has longer-term impact. So far, I've improved the subscribe page  by adding testimonials and a better design. Next, I'll probably provide more opportunities for people to preview the series without signing up, as well as more obvious calls to action on the video pages. I also have some other plans in the works that I can't talk about yet. :-)
 My book is The Art of Agile Development. It's been out for over five years now, so it's nice to still be getting royalties from it.
 I talked about my experiences launching and marketing the screencast here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6038226
Sep 3, 2012: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4467603
Sep 4, 2012: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4470293
Sep 24, 2011: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3029771
May 21, 2011: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2567487
Mar 9, 2011: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2300599
I run a HR app for SMEs called http://www.staffsquared.com. We're making a comfortable 5 figures each month.
We're reinvesting this income back in the product either in the form of new functionality (paying programmers) or advertising (paying Google Adwords). We've increased our Adwords spend, invested in SEO (on page and off page) and a recent redesign saw a decrease in bounce rate and increase in trial sign up rates.
Our site visit to trial sign up rate for the last five months looks like this:
Our bounce rate for the last five months looks like this:
So both of those top end of the funnel stats are moving in the right direction.
Our free trial to paying customers is the area we're really focussing on at the moment as it's really not high enough. So we're re-targeting accounts that have expired to find out how we can serve them better and tell them about new features. We're also working hard on our onboarding stuff (the type of stuff you'll read patio11 talking about) including more intelligent automated e-mails based on the status of their account at a point in time.
Happy to answer any questions you good people might have where I can...
My fourth app was a larger time investment and gets quite a lot more downloads. It makes no income now, but I'll add In-App Purchases soon.
I'm freelancing for ~45 hours a month to fund this while backpacking all over the world. I should blog about it.
Edit: I put up a LaunchRock page, if you would be interested in a blog about this stuff, leave me your details: http://theoreticalblog.launchrock.com
Unfortunately I'm the sort who is very uncomfortable asking for money, or even advertising on my content (only about 50% of the videos I put out have ads at all, and many of the most popular do not), but at the same time I'd love to have the time & resources to produce more & better content in the future.
Not looking for advice, as my disposition away from revenue is much stronger than my wish to get money, and I've learned that lesson many times, just adding another voice to the thread.
Around $700/mo from a themeforest account.
And the more interesting story, about 4.5k/mo from a cleaning business that i bought.
I will at some point write the story up, but the TL:DR is:Spotted vastly under valued cleaning business with complete staff.Turnover of previous owner 190k a year.Profit of previous owner 18k. Yup, 18k....Bought it for 13.5k.
Still in the early stages and still changing things but the previous owner was/is in massive debt, little free time to put into the business, did EVERYTHING on paper/fax/phone and had enormous monthly costs.
Theres a much longer story to this but i'll write it up in a few months when its a bit more proven.
Open-source wise, there's Tsung:http://tsung.erlang-projects.org/
1. If you are passionate, show it. If you want to work in the security industry you have to really nerd out on this stuff and not treat it like a day job that "pays the bills".
2. Don't BS about technical answers. If you don't know the answer to something, that is OK. A good interviewer would rather you walk them through the steps you would take to find the answer than completely make one up. Big no-no.
3. I don't know what position you are applying for but you should be expected to know some basics about attack vectors, defenses, security strategies, and general computing. Brush up on your scripting skills while you are at it. Python is my language of choice. Bash scripting is also highly desired.
4. Don't regurgitate a list of tools you know. Pick a few that you have used and explain how you used them..anyone can run an Nmap scan but what do the results mean?
5. Be friendly and approachable. This goes with any job interview but just a reminder.
6. Don't stress it too much. It's impossible to anticipate every little detail of every question that will be asked. Be yourself and most of all, be curious.
Hope this helps! Feel free to PM me with specifics and GOOD LUCK! Hope too see ya at the next con.
Don't tell them anything they don't need to know. Don't join their WiFi. Don't share information about the organizations you have worked with in the past.
That's and make sure you are familiar with the concepts of OpSec.
Typically in a 30 minute interview the extent of the technical questions are going to be limited to concepts not practice. I can't imagine a 30 minute interview will require you to setup a firewall, or configure a router.
"How much recurring income do you generate, and from what?"
I make nothing.How I do it? It's fairly complex.
Step 1: Build a kickass website, take 6 months
Step 2: Deal with Paypal
Step 3: Rework
Step 4: Deal with Paypal
Step 5: Launch
Step 6: Recurring Step. Post Blog post, spam your FB friends until you lose them.
Step 7: It's built and they don't come.
Step 8: Move onto next idea? Or repeat Step 6/7 until you're ready to move on...
Yes. One of wordpress' strengths is its theme system. You can find a number of existing themes which are ready to make 'child themes' out of (I suggest looking at Responsive or even 2012.)
Bear in mind there's nothing you can do to keep someone from viewing the source and seeing it's a wordpress site.
>What's the flexibility of adding new features if I the frontend is redesigned?
You have a functions.php to build whatever hooks you need into the API for that particular theme, and plugins are basically global applications which can do anything. The API can be a bit arcane but there's a very good chance whatever problem you have has already been covered in an existing theme or plugin. I would be willing to bet that for what you describe, 100% could be handled with existing plugins, and 90% of the rest by creating a child theme and tweaking. This is honestly what Wordpress was meant for.
>Is it a better idea to hire out and let someone else pick all the plugins and put it together?
I would say it depends on the amount of work you want done, in regards to customization of the theme and custom plugins.
>Can you give me a recommendation on would could build such a thing for me, or would it be cheaper to do myself?
You could do it yourself for free, but looking up documentation and solutions is on you. How comfortable are you with horrible looking mixin PHP? Do yourself a favor though, whatever you do: look up "hardening wordpress", apply what you learn and turn off theme editing through the UI.
You can make WordPress look like anything. It is PHP, so if you want you can have a page that is mostly a web App and just use WordPress for the content blocks on the page, but that wouldn't be the most efficient way to do things.
If you have to ask if it would be easier, then it would probably be easier.
Paying for custom design varies wildly. You could spend $50 on a kid in college who may or may not make something awesome. You could spend $50k on a major design studio.
As an SEO I saw both happen.
1) How much money do you need to get round per month.
2) Add a chunk ontop of that for unforseen expenses, broken fridge for example...
3) How long do you estimate you'll be working on your project?
4) Add a large percentage to that estimate for unexpected issues
5) Will you need to make investments? Hardware? Designers? Calculate these figures.
6) Add a month (or 2) to the above, if your project fails to start making revenue, you'll need to find yourself a job - well, depending on how easy it is for you to find a good job...
It's an amount you need to calculate. Don't underestimate.
Then you're ready to roll.
At least 5-8x that in an HSA, 401k, SEP, IRAs, Roth IRAs and tax-advantaged government bonds paying 7.5% that I bought a few months after I cashed out of the Janus fund in Dec 1999. (My broker fired me for that)
I'm going to hold on to those bonds as long as I can, and I'd much rather borrow against the equity of the "home" I own at a lower rate. (I bought the home in cash, so this is my "first" mortgage -- I opened the account when I wanted some capital to take a chance at buying an adjoining property at a tax auction.)
One of the first things I did when I quit was write a check from the heloc to the HSA so I wouldn't have to think about making contributions for it.
It's a little more complex than that because I have two houses on one large lot and my wife's riding academy and the rental income creates a financial situation that's so sweet it's almost a scam. I think last year I got $16k of rent, experienced a positive cashflow of around $14k from it, but the IRS says we made $4.5k of income because of depreciation on our property.
(I have no idea why anybody buys a single family house; as much as muggles make a big deal of the mortgage interest deduction, owning a duplex means you can write off half the principal plus you get a cash flow to help w/ the mortgage and property taxes. Maybe you even get a cool neighbor.)
One key to making this work is that I can get a high deductible health insurance plan through COBRA for $500 a month and that will tide me through until Obamacare comes unless the Republicans defund it. That's important because there really isn't any such thing as individual health insurance in NY. (I'd better write that letter to my Republican congressman before I forget.)
Anyhow, it isn't all roses. I pay $4k a year in taxes for a "persistently dangerous" school that my son goes to where probably 1/2 of the parents w/ college educations don't send their kids to because they homeschool. They haven't had a principal last more than two years so long as I know.
The internet sucks out here too. Github works OK, but it took 30 seconds to create a trouble ticket with the off-brand project management software at my last job, which was one of the reasons I quit. Netflix and Amazon instant video work, but I can't really watch Youtube. I used to use Flickr a lot, but with the latest update it is so slow I can't even use my own photographs when I make a presentation because it takes 1 minute+ to load.
I don't know if it matters but this was in 2000 (and not in SV/SF). I was doing IT/help desk for a UPS call center with a few servers and 75 workstations (on a token ring network!).
We had been doing educational software in our spare time. We landed a couple decent contracts and I decided to quit and go for it (I was also a senior at Cal Poly and quit). At the time, my rent was $400/month and I wasn't married. We found an office for $250/month.
Of course 18 months later things got real tight. After the .com crash, a lot of california colleges got their budgets cut. But we survived long enough to sell the company at the same time a new one started and took off.
I'm sure there's lots of sound advice here and my story shouldn't be a model.
I haven't had a real job since and I'm still a senior ;)
No regrets though. The last 4 years have been a lot of fun. :)
As others have said - you need to learn to live cheaply. Savings dwindles amazingly fast when you have no income.
Personally, I dropped my cell phone & cable TV, and got rid of my car. It took about 3 years to get back to "normal" - would never have made it without slashing expenses.
1 year later and still going strong!
When doing financial planning you should always try to save up to 6 months of all expenses. This is hard to achieve but the recommended number even if you are staying at your industry job. You never know what can happen.
My advice is to start looking for work before you leave your industry job - think if it as though you're doing lean testing on your product, except your product is yourself. If you can't find clients while at your day job, then iterate on yourself (website, services offered, your client pitch, how you're looking for clients, etc) and try again.
There should be a formula that includes terms for age, likely earning potential on re-entry to job market, savings, debt, assets (like a paid-off house), % completion of the start-up project you're leaving for, monthly influx from startup project when you quit, etc., etc. The formula would pop out a single number, the Gutsy Factor.
In addition to all of that, I had zero debt.
That said, I think there is a similar concept to the Minimum Viable Product that I'll call "Minimum Acceptable Savings". If you're going out on your own, your job is to Figure it Out. You need enough to be able to start figuring it out, but any more than that and you're stalling the move and ultimately falling behind.
Don't be scared to sell your couch, y'know?
If I had to do it again, I'd make sure I had at least one year's salary. Several people have asked, "How is that possible to do?" I wouldn't have been able to do it at the time. Well, all I can say is that it gets much easier as you get older and get better jobs with stock options that are worth something, and if you've been saving for a decade or more. If you're just starting out, it's a lot harder if you aren't incredibly lucky. (Although you also have fewer repercussions if you mess it up.)
Second time: about a year's salary in savings, and I had enough revenue to live on by the time I quit my day job. I was probably overly cautious, but my wife was pregnant and I didn't want to blow it.
Pretty ironic to be talking about this today, because this is a year to the day I left my day job. I still can say it was the best thing I ever did.
negotiating a $15k consulting project
several other potential projects in early talks
Remember that runway = cash/burn_rate. Lowering burn rate was a key enabler: I was able to find a rent-free living situation for a few months and that put me over the edge to quit. I also have a nice safety valve in that at the end of the runway, I don't crash and burn, I walk right back into an industry job.
Because my burn rate is much lower than my former 6.5k/mo industry pay rate, I expect this to go much further than the 3 months pay I have in savings. That said, I'm being conservative and would only commit myself to 3mo terms at the longest for office/rent.
I don't claim to know anything about the sufficiency here, it was just my best guess. Comments welcome :-)
* There are no guarantees, but I received 3 offers @80k+ in 1mo of searching, so I like my odds. On a related note, always prefer data like this to a gut feel of your employability.
(throwaway -- don't need prospective clients seeing my financials)
I could survive on $2,000 per month.
i should make some of those before i quit my industry job... although i was hoping i would get up and running on the side, and not needing any other peoples money...
i might quit after something takes off enough to need full time attention. :)
Full disclosure, we do a lot of software development as a product development firm, and are developing a number of our own products. We fully recognize we suck at some things and excel at many others. My comment history probably demonstrates that. Reach out if you have interest, we evaluate everyone as an individual on their merits not degrees.
Generally, you should be able to trust your decisions, but if you have an idea that you think would be a great service (a good indicator of this is real life need -- if you needed this thing, chances are someone else wants it too), you can make something like a landing page with a short walk through on how it works (or how it WILL work) and throw that out there, post it on the relevant forums and places, and see what comes of it.
OF course, if it's something that YOU personally need, you using it is the best indicator
The only way to verify whether an idea is worth pursuing, is to pursue it, and decide if it was worth it or not.
I suspect (but have zero evidence)that Kindle buyers are not likely to be app purchasers and while Android users generally can use the Amazon store I am not at all sure this is their first choice when looking for an app.
It might be that the latest Kindle models will enter the mainstream as Android tablets - have to see if that happens - the hardware specs are good. [anyone know if they now ship with an up-to-date Android version?]
You would think that the amazon store would be very good at offering apps alongside books if they might have a similar appeal (say a navigation app alongside books on similar subjects) but I have seen little evidence of such cross marketing - if that started to work then it would be a strong indicator that the Amazon app store was capable of making an impact.