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Ask HN: How to fire your co-founder?
94 points by mesogamer  9 hours ago   77 comments top 39
badclient 9 hours ago 3 replies      
If I talk with my boards on his misbehaviour it will get them stressed and stop believing on the company

Sorry dude, looks like that is precisely what you are going to have to do. Don't worry about the board stressing; they can handle it. That's their job.

Focus on YOUR job: the success of the company. The board will stop believing you when you prolong this longer than you should have, actually making the situation much worse.

When you go to the board, GO PREPARED. Assume the board does not know anything. And treat it almost like a trial where you will get to present your side, and at some point, your co-founder will get to present his. In these cases, I like to open up a document and put down the facts in bullet points. When presenting, remain calm and stick to the facts, which when evaluated by a sensible party(your board), should have them arrive at the same conclusion as you.

bushido 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I apologize in advance, but since nobody else seems to have taken the initiative I will opt for being the ass_ole in this situation.

Before you go to the board (you ethically should) let ascertain a few things.

Are you sure he's an overrate person or is it just that you don't see the value in his input?

Some where in the thread you mentioned:

> It's going to get real messy, especially since he holds all money, bank, passwords info

Some credit needs to go to an individual who has taken ownership for responsibility of finances, considering the amount of onus that falls on the need to maintain finances optimally for a start-up, this can also be really stressful. If he has mismanaged finances, that's another story.

If he has not mismanaged the finances and has taken ownership/charge of these affairs you need to reflect on why you did not opt to share the burden.

Some people don't like managing finances, nothing wrong with that, but they do need people who'd do it for them, even better if there is a mutual need to succeed. Anyone can be the best money manager in hindsight.

> the 3 employees we have today respect him a lot especially since he's an expert

Respect is very important. Sure, the article says that the Overrated person can establish themselves as an expert, but believing this without a doubt also means that you don't trust the judgement of your first three employees.

Not saying you're wrong, but there is a possibility that you need to delve a little deeper on why they think your co-founder is an "expert".

> following those rules in the article

Not all rules apply all the time. Also these are not really rules but situational observations.

> The only problem I see here is that he has more rapport with them (the board).

Was he instrumental in helping you raise funds? Could you have raised the funds with a 100% surety without him if you were a single founder? Would this rapport help keep the faith of the stakeholders in the prospect of your success?

Maintaining and managing peoples belief in an idea or the people executing an idea is no easy task. Are you sure he has a zero percent contribution in any of these? And again are you sure you could have achieved a 100% of past results without him?

> He actually threatens the company's success if I ever try to "sneak a move" on him

Why would you try to sneak a move past anyone who has as much to loose as you, or even if it was a fraction thereof?

How does he threaten the company?

Does he threaten to leave? If you want him to leave, this solves your problem. But, if his leaving threatens the company, you should probably reconsider firing him.

georgespencer 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm in the uncommon position of having actually had to do this. It wasn't a "firing" per se as much as a parting of ways which I initiated, but here's what I learned:

Discuss it very frankly with at least one board member you trust. Depending on their involvement with the business they may already suspect that something is wrong. Outline to this board member your concerns that Co-Founder is going to take this the wrong way and derail the business.

Discuss with Co-Founder the specific areas you feel Co-Founder isn't pulling his weight (it isn't okay, even if it's the truth, to say "he isn't doing anything"). Make an irreducible list: start with what are obviously his strengths, and then list the ways in which he is not playing to them. Make it inarguable and prevent it from turning into a personal matter.

Keep the focus on company not him. For the company to succeed, you need to accomplish XYZ.

Explain very clearly what his options are. You are not trying to screw him, but you are displeased with his input. You would like to amicably resolve this so that the board doesn't have to be involved, but failing that you will take it to the board and ask them to do their job by sorting it out. He can accept reduced equity and no day-to-day involvement, or he can kick up a fuss and you will move him on. Either way he should accept the reality that his involvement is coming to an end and that his decision now is how it ends.

Your board, if they have any kind of experience in running a business whatsoever, will know that this is one of a billion things which will go "wrong" over the four or five years it will take to make or break your biz. You can influence a lot in the way you communicate this event to them. It sounds to me like it's not truly a crisis but a significant opportunity for you to offload someone who is not contributing and reallocate capital to someone who will put in the hours.

My overriding advice is that you should not worry about this. Next time you start a company be sure to finalise your divorce before you finalise your marriage (i.e. very clearly delineate duties for founders and establish what success for your roles looks like), but other than running out of capital or not growing, very few things are disastrous for a startup.

swombat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I would certainly not take such drastic action based on pattern recognition built out of some HN article.

Would you file for divorce based on an HN article about overrated spouses?

As others have pointed out, it sounds like he does do a fair bit for this company but you're blind to it. The one trick he's clearly missed is getting to this level of distrust with his cofounder. For that, though, it is not clear that you should fire him. Maybe he should fire you...

DanielRibeiro 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry to hear about this.

Elad Gil[1] has written about this in depth about 12 months ago: http://blog.eladgil.com/2013/01/how-to-fire-co-founder.html

[1] https://angel.co/eladgil

al2o3cr 9 hours ago 1 reply      
"when in reality his contributions are near 0 for product development as well as S&M."

What, he won't even hold the whip? ;)

I'm pretty sure that "S&M" above actually refers to "Sales & Marketing", for anybody else who was... confused on a first read.

birken 8 hours ago 0 replies      
At the early stage of a company, equity is very important to keep people's incentives aligned to work really hard in the best interest of the growing the company. This generally initially expresses itself in the founders, who have a lot of equity and little or no salary, and then continues on with early employees. So just from this perspective, spending a ton of equity on somebody who isn't contributing is a massive opportunity cost.

Additionally, there is a reason successful solo founders are rare. It is hard to found a company, especially without somebody who is 100% aligned with you (at least economically) the whole journey. I'd imagine that a situation where you start with 2 founders and go down to 1* makes it even harder, because you are like a single founder but with all of this stress you are accumulating right now on things that aren't related to making a great product.

Now this isn't to say that founder strife is something that doesn't happen in successful companies. It does. It is just the magnitude and early-ness of your strife seems pretty large. Making a successful company is really really hard, and you really want to put yourself in the best position to succeed. If you aren't in a good situation, and getting to a good situation doesn't seem likely, then just leaving and starting something else might be your best available option.

Note: I have no idea how large your company is, so this post is assuming your company is 2 or 3 people and is very early stage. If your company is doing really well or is much larger, this advice basically doesn't apply at all, because then "sticking with it" starts to look like a good option.

*: I'm extrapolating that you had 2 founders based on your post. If for instance you had 4 founders and were going down to 3 I don't think it would be as big a deal.

gojomo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Keep in mind that sometimes people misperceive each others' real contributions, because of differing competencies and priorities. But, assuming your estimation is correct:

Is an employee agreement and vesting schedule in place?

Who reports to whom? You haven't mentioned formal titles/roles, but unless you're already final-say CEO, you'll probably need the board's support to oust him. You'll definitely want their support and advice, especially if adversarial steps to adjust equity or reorganize are necessary.

Talk to older mentors/lawyers who've seen similar situations.

Look up 'shotgun clause'; even if one doesn't already exist, a 'him-or-me' game of chicken might be resolvable with minimal damage/legal-risk using some sort of similar bidding/step-up-or-leave arrangement.

greghinch 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why you have a board. And hopefully some decent legal documentation in place. Talk to them, lay out facts and the action you want to take, and just follow the documented process for things like board votes and such (again I hope you have legal docs in place, otherwise be prepared to get a lawyer and slog it out). Sounds like you think the success of your company might depend on you getting rid of him, so just treat it like what it is: business, not personal.
late2part 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Let's see. He's the expert. He controls the money. He has the rapport with the board. Maybe he helped get a lot of the funding? Sounds like he's pulled a lot of weight so far.

Maybe he's not pulling the weight, but like a movie the other day, a Washing Machine works hard, so what.

Think through if he's benefitting the company in his total contribution. If you want more from him, ask. If he won't do it, explain it's unacceptable and go to the board.

Like badclient states, it's going to come down to perception based on asserted facts. Those facts will be interpreted through the lens of relationships.

I have been through this before, I can help if you want someone to bounce things off of real time.

MediaSquirrel 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I was in a similar position with my first company, but waited too long because we were such close friends. I view failing to fire him as my biggest mistake/failing as CEO of my first co.

If you want to talk, drop me a line here and we can hop on the phone. I have a strong opinion on this topic: http://mattmireles.com/contact/

ChuckMcM 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll reiterate what others have said here, keep notes and keep it all about the company. It isn't about how effective or overrated your co-founder is, it isn't about your relative "worth" to the company, it is all about making the company successful. Stay laser focused on that issue.

Don't talk to board about firing the co-founder, talk to the board about making the company successful. If that requires replacing the co-founder they are perfectly capable of figuring that out.

maaku 9 hours ago 1 reply      
1. Watch Startup.com.

2. Talk to him. Offer him something in return for his shares (such as a large amount of debt which is only triggered if/when the company sees a liquidation event of suitable magnitude).

There hopefully will not be a step 3.

alan_cx 8 hours ago 2 replies      
To look at it the opposite way...

Could you quit and re-start? If you have employees, maybe they quit and follow you? Perhaps your investors would go with you too.

almosnow 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Just tell him, plain and square:

"When we started on this endeavour I was expecting you to behave/provide/take care of X and you are not doing those things that we agreed on (or the results you are delivering are WAY OFF the expectations that the company had on you). You cannot be part of this if you are not helping it getting better. I'm sorry but I don't want to continue with our business relationship."

Be honest (with him and with yourself), you DON'T WANT HIM and there's nothing wrong with it. The more transparent you are here, the better you'll come out of 'the negotiation'.

The negotiation: Wether you want it or not, he owns some part of the company, even if he had just been doing jack shit the fact that you invited him to your endeavour and you are still referring him as a co-founder means that he's ethically entitled to 'something'. Now, it's up to you to decide what is that 'something' that he deserves'; again, just be honest and talk about what would be fair for him to take.

Be honest! That's the only rule here and if he co-founded this thing with you (even though you knew he wasn't worth it, or didn't knew at all) chances are that you may be real-life pals; if that's the case, just solve it like pals, after all it's always better to have a friend than a dollar.

thiloberlin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"He actually threatens the company's success if I ever try to "sneak a move" on him when in reality his contributions are near 0 for product development as well as S&M."

1) S&M? Sales and Marketing?At some point in the comments you mentioned that he's the financial guy in your team. I assume because you're writing this on hacker news you're the product guy. So I assume you're comparing his tasks with what you do day in day out.

I started a company with three other founders 6 years ago in Berlin. We had depressing times, but also great times. I left the company a year ago to join one of our VC and after 5 years I was the first to leave.

During those 5 years, I had moments were my co-founders didn't live up to my expectations. And the other way around with me. In retrospect I even think that two of us had a burn-out during the time (which results in exactly the behavior, described in the article you've mentioned) and because we had constantly re-invent our jobs.

And during the time were we re-invent our jobs, we're not that productive - or appear not productive - for some time. Give him that time, you'll need it at some point too.

2) You've started that company with him and you've raised funds. Congratulations, because at least your investors are thinking that you are a strong team - otherwise they wouldn't have invested in the first place.

From your ask and comments it sounds like your relation with your co-founder seams to be already hostile. For the sake of your company, you have to put aside feelings and put the interest of the company in front of everything. Which means your _ego_.

get some consultancy and figure out how to communicate on a professional level.

Someone mentioned to put up goals. I assume you have some, so try to reach them. If you don't need them then there is always the option to get another co-founder - maybe a more senior person - into your company.

Good luck.

jason_wang 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Note to future startup founders: Make sure a vesting schedule is setup. (Pretty) please!

With a vesting schedule in place, parting with a co-founder (voluntarily and involuntarily) is much cleaner.

iquitmyphd 2 hours ago 0 replies      
(Sort of disclaimer, this may or may not be terrible advice from a legal perspective, IANAL)

So first off all, get someone to talk this through. Ideally someone who can give you an honest opinion, but any second opinion is better than none.

And second, after you decided to use the nuclear option, shelf it as a plan B. The nice thing is, almost everything is better than that. So you can plan with a lot more freedom, and you can play with a lot of risk. If it does not work out, then you just push the button and go nuclear. In your case, when you decided that there is only one of you left when the dust has settled, then you don't need to worry how you can work together in the future. One way to exploit this, you can be brutally honest. Perhaps you find a common basis again, or you go to your board.

conformal 9 hours ago 0 replies      
funny. i was in this position many moons ago with 50/50 ownership between me and my partner.

it blows and there is never an easy way to dissolve such relationships. i had to threaten 'going nuclear', i.e. closing the business, to get him to leave.

Nord20 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't forget that just because he is a shareholder doesn't mean he has an automatic right to be a Director (or employee). Hold a vote of no confidence in his abilities to add value to the company and fire him as a Director - you can't take away his shares though, unless you can convince him to sell.

Your first and only duty is to the welfare of your company.

throwwit 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hustlers gonna hustle... welcome to business 101. Keep documentation. Set boundaries. Plan! If it's his prerogative to threaten the company's success, he is effectively diminishing his own returns. If mechanisms exist to oust him -effectively- in relation to what the company needs, those need to be implemented. This is why hiring decisions are important. Speak plainly. "Sneak a move" is unacceptable business language. Also, the marketing guy can't work with an unfinished product (just to make a point for his behalf).
edmack 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey - I've been in exactly this position last October, with a fairly messy end. We had to give up on the company.

More than happy to talk it through with you and let you know what worked well/didn't for us. Twitter: @MackMackTweet

bsirkia 9 hours ago 0 replies      
That sounds brutal. Do you have anyone that you both trust, like an older advisor, college professor, etc. that could maybe sit down with both of you and mediate?
jbensamo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
sorry to be late to the party but this is typically the kind of situation that requires you to "manage up" your board. DO NOT wait for the board meeting to address all this. Talk individually to your board members before the board meeting; present the solutions that you are envisioning and next steps. Ask for their input - that's how you're gonna make them feel better and confident that you're on top of the situation. If you go to the board meeting and present the situation then, there is absolutely no way this results in a healthy conversation. Everybody will look at you in a wtf-way and it's going to be very awkward. Prepare your board - so when you get there it's more of a follow up conversation.
logicallee 5 hours ago 1 reply      
My take here differs a bit from that of the rest of the thread.

How about this OP - who are you to fire your coworker after he got a cosy relationship with a board?

This is literally no better than firing an 'idea man' after they did nothing, except just bring an idea, set up a company around it, and code the first version.

Who are you to do that? If you were good enough to found and run a company by yourself, including raising money, you would be doing that. Where are all the companies you founded and ran by yourself in the years and decades you didn't have your current cofounder? Even if he showed up to work three days: one day when he talked with you and then brought a huge investment from a board that you couldn't bring, then 18 months later to sign some Series A papers with you after discussing them by email, and the third day he to sign the IPO documents before quitting, you should still STFU and thank your lucky stars you're allowed to get 40% of an actual company that he actually orchestrated for/with you, in exchange for nothing more than working there, much as you might for whatever salary "S&M" or "product design" is worth.

It's not your co-founder's job to work for you. Who do you think you are anyway? Go design a product or do sales at a big conglomerate if you want pay grades, or go found a company by yourself if you don't need the things you've already listed your cofounder as bringing, including a cozy relationship with a board.

If you can found a company and raise money for it by yourself, go ahead and give yourself a 2.5x equity raise up to 100% by getting the fuck out and doing so. enjoy 100% of what you feel is 100%, since you feel your cofounder didn't add shit to the mix, in your extremely personally centered opinion.

Everyone else here has it 100% wrong, IMO.

penguinlinux 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You are trying to throw your cofounder under the bus without going directly to him first? Tell him whats on your mind. At least you owe him that. At one point you picked him to be your cofounder and now maybe things are not working out, it might be his fault, maybe he is having issues or doesn't know he is not collaborating as much, but you owe him at least a direct conversation man to man. He will appreciate this more than being thrown under the bus.

again, I don't know the full details of your situation but there is two sides to a story. Whatever you end up doing won't be pretty but talking is and discussing things hombre a hombre is the best approach.

alinawab 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Talk to someone with experience who is both objective and tough, who can first tell you if you are in the wrong.

If you convince them of your case, seek their guidance in approaching your board and other influencers. You should also seek advice from the company's legal counsel, he is obligated to protect your confidentiality. Also quitting or firing are not the only two options here, but I'm sure your legal counsel should know about this type of stuff.

coherentpony 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Wait until he leaves the office and then do a poo on his desk.
pla3rhat3r 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow! What a shitty situation. If you can't buy him out you're going to have to get the Board involved so they can act collectively. Get you're shit together and "build your case" against them so it doesn't blow up in your face. Good luck!
27182818284 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Out of curiosity, are you both technical cofounders doing programming or are you both overlapping and trying to do sales and marketing? What is that situation like?
skoutlabs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Having gone through this, I would immediately read through your operating agreement, and any other operating documents. I went through same process, having numerous well documented discussions with cofounder.

If you wait to long, and your cofounder feels a threat, they may beat you to the punch.

After doing more than a million in revenue in our first 3 quarters and hiring a team of 15+, I was fired. A clause in our operating agreement allowed for this to happen, even with equal equity.

I encourage you to act quickly and very accurately in order to alleviate any risk of your partner taking action against you.

Good luck. I sincerely wish you the best. As messy as it gets, stay honest, stick to the points, and don't overreact in your defense. It will all work out as long as you diligently work to resolve the issue.

secondincmd 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I was in a similar situation exactly two months ago. As others have stated here, COMMUNICATE with your cofounder. Express what you are thinking and how you view the situation. My cofounder didn't. He immediately tried to push me away from the company and eventually removed me 'without cause'. We are in a legal battle right now. Even to this day I still don't know what or why he did what he did.

Communication is key in any relationship. If you can't manup and talk to them, you are part of the problem.

If after you two talk and there is no movement, then seek out other alternatives. But always try to keep an open line of communication. Sometimes the alternative is way too costly.

raheemm 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Here is one way you could structure this. Create goals for him to reach. If he repeatedly fails to reach them, then you can ask him for compromises such as giving up equity, etc. If you do it in the right way (that is a win-win, helping him to make more contribution), then it can be worked out. If he repeatedly fails, then you can involve your board and work out a solution that is best for the startup.
tedmcory 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The best way to do it, is to not have to. The second best way, is to fail fast. I waited too long in my last startup and wasted too much time waiting for someone to carry their weight. It never gets better.

I recommend reading "The Founder's Dilemma's" to cover the other things you'll need to consider later as well prevent other, BIGGER, issues.

3pt14159 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Email me there are some things that people can't tell you publicly on how to deal with this type of situation.
BrandonBradley 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I had to let go of my full-time assistant today. The holidays are over; do what you have to do.
7Figures2Commas 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps what you have is worth fighting for, and you will therefore be willing to incur significant costs (in time, energy, opportunity and likely money) battling your co-founder. But I think you should consider the facts you have presented in your question and responses to other comments:

1. Your co-founder has the same level of ownership as you.

2. He controls the company bank account, passwords, etc.

3. His relationship with the board is stronger than yours.

4. Your employees like him.

5. He is aware of your desires and has made it clear he is willing to fight your efforts, apparently even if it means sabotaging the company.

Given these facts, I think it would be wise for you to consider what you can realistically achieve even if you are successful in removing your co-founder. You may find that the question, "How do I fire my co-founder?" is not the first one you should be asking yourself.

beachstartup 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> I already talked to him about lowering his share options (which he currently holds about 40%, (same as me, after seed round dilution))

if you're a co-founder and all you have is options and not a significant chunk of real equity, i'd say the problem is not that he isn't pulling his weight, but you (that's you, not him) got short-changed for the amount of work you are doing. and you are probably upset about that.

if he's a CFO/money type that's been charged with fund raising, money management, records, dealing with vendors and HR, etc, his compensation (no actual equity?) is probably correct, or even under-valued.

in which case, if you go to the board, you are going to be forced into a position of justifying why you want an increase in compensation for your work, instead of lowering his compensation for the work he's doing.

these are the kinds of things you learn so that your 2nd and 3rd time around are easier.

korg250 6 hours ago 0 replies      
How long till the guy (your co-founder) found out about this post?
Do people really read long discussion threads?
2 points by geeku  19 minutes ago   discuss
Ask HN: What do you do on New Year's Eve?
2 points by X4  1 hour ago   1 comment top
yen223 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Do a simple barbecue at a friend's house. Nothing too fancy :)
Ask HN: How long before you leave?
8 points by nzk1  7 hours ago   12 comments top 9
singular 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd give it at least 3 months and really try to assess whether the discomfort was due to the job being a sucky situation or me being challenging/experiencing natural discomfort after a big change, i.e. getting the job, or even potentially due to some outside factor. I'd also definitely talk things over with friends to get some outside perspective.

After that, if I felt the same way, if I had enough money to survive a year without working I'd leave immediately, take time off, then prep for interviews and go for a better job. However this is very situation dependent, I am a single man with no (serious) responsibilities, ymmv.

ndhoa 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Frankly, having a job one does not enjoy is the _vast majority_ case. So you should think of being able to change that as a gamble where the odds are generally against you.

My opinion is: you should not think of your current job as something terrible you must leave asap. Make some token efforts to change the working environment if you have the say in the management or try to fit yourself for a few months.

Trying to change job is good, but you should have a solid backup plan first because the odds are against you, you are more likely to fail than to succeed going by general statistics. So you need to plan for failure, you should not "all in" even if you have a year of saving to spare.

It's really possible to have a shitty job but a good and meaningful life. Job don't control you, I am the captain of my soul. However especially while we're young there is no reason to muster a good effort to get a good job. Basically if you have a shitty job, you can still do quality things with your life, there is much to one's life outside a job, unless you are at a slavery shitty job.

Our normal day jobs leave us plenty of room to define our lives in other ways - how we treat people, who we get to know, what we do in our spare time, what we see in life and our surroundings. Quality of life is more dependent on self than on external parameters. Irregardless of your peers and your product at work, you can believe in causes like FOSS and fight for it in your spare time, you can get involved in charity and community work, you can read and think and define your way of life, you can get to know people and treat them in different ways. The source of happiness to, variedly, helping other people, being part of something greater than yourself, feeling collective purpose, and other things in that ballpark and if we believe them, then all of those are possible in almost any kind of environment

Background: recently finished paying my university debt after 3.5 years. Started a new job 3 months ago, tried all what I said above but didn't work out but I made my efforts to change the working environment itself. Text above are distilled from all the conversations I had with my friends

jason_wang 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Another data point to consider: recruiter fee

If you were hired through a recruiter, the company that hired you will pay 15% to 25% of your annual salary in fee. In most cases, if you leave within 30 to 60 days, the recruiter will find your replacement for free. If you 1 day after the guarantee period, then the company that hired you have to pay the full fee.

Moral of the story, once you know you want to leave, talk to your manager. Be a nice guy.

sfronczak 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I once began looking for a job about a week after I started a new one. I wasn't completely sold on the company when I accepted the offer - I had some misgivings about the culture - and later wished I had just declined. After a week I knew my gut was right and I needed to get out.

Of course it was more difficult to find a new job since I had just started one but I was honest in my interviews and after 90 days I left for something else.

Trust your instincts.

jmspring 3 hours ago 0 replies      
In the last case where I wasn't happy, it took me about 3mo to convince myself, it wasn't worth it and about a month to find something I liked. My tolerance for putting up with a crappy job at the time was pretty high. Even with the scenario you put forth, it would have probably taken 1/2 to 3/4 of the time.

These days, I'd probable be gone within a month of such a realization. Time to transition and move on.

mzarate06 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've found about 6 months to be the cut off point. I never set that time frame intentionally, and most of my jobs/contracts last much longer, if not for their full term and beyond. However, in bad situations, 6 months happened to be the longest I was able to stand all the negativity.

In one case I left after about 3 months, only b/c I knew right away that my place wasn't in that particular environment, or with that particular team.

If you're asking due to relevant circumstances, what don't you like about the job, and how long have you been there?

mnbvcxza 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd keep looking in my spare time. Why quit before you have something else lined up? I'd have to evaluate why it was bad, how bad it was, and how well I could mitigate the problem(s) when determining if I wanted to look for another job. It would have to be fairly bad for me not to give it at least a month - more than just me thinking it wasn't quite as cool as I thought it would be. I don't see how it would hurt your record if you found another job and left within a month - you could just leave that one job off your resume.
OafTobark 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, ASAP or at the latest, when I find a replacement job if I was in your position if thats what you're looking for.
penguinlinux 6 hours ago 1 reply      
you don't specify the real reason why you dislike this job.
Has RapGenius been getting away with cloaking?
17 points by Ihaveaproblem  13 hours ago   8 comments top 4
nightpool 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't believe so, I think instead that the text-only cache you're seeing is what is showed to all clients with javascript disabled. They use javascript to show the annotations on the page and as a fall back they have a stand-alone page that shows the annotation. The same thing happens on a mobile browser, because they don't have the screen real estate to show the annotation in context. So, no, not cloaking, just actual no-javascript accessibility. Something a lot more sites should be doing, in my opinion.

Even if this was a Googlebot-only page, it still wouldn't be cloaking, as they're just showing a more search-engine friendly version of the same content that's in the annotation on the actual page.

bushido 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Would have to investigate this further. But you may be correct.

I haven't seen this one done in years.

It would have been legitimate if the user saw the same content as the crawlers, but displaying different content to SE crawlers would definitely be bad.

If confirmed, this could turn a bad situation in to a ghastly one.

Splendor 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Cloaking, for those who are unfamiliar with the term like me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloaking
mikkelewis 11 hours ago 2 replies      
This was cloaking. Prior to link scheme fiasco they used a javascript redirect on the lyric page, effectively making the the lyric page different from what the user sees and what the bot sees.

I think the 301s are actually their response to Google's ban hammer.

Ask HN: Should I use Wordpress to power the front end of my Rails web app?
10 points by raheemm  10 hours ago   22 comments top 9
whalesalad 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The marketing tools you gain in WP are not worth building your product-core in WP. Anything that you get as a WP plugin is something you could build really easily as your own component in Rails.

1. built-in blogging ... everyone and their brother has built a blogging platform for Rails. WP's blogging platform is a one-size-fits-all approach which usually means you only use about 10% of what it's capable of, so having all the extra cruft is just unnecessary. You want a simple blog in Rails?

    rails g model Post author_id:integer title:string body:text 
2. integration with email marketing the plugin is only going to get you half-way there. On either platform, rails or wordpress or anything else, you still need to build the component that will take your specific business data and turn that into actionable emails. Example, email users who joined in the last 30 days who have not used our service. That is something you need to build yourself for your specific product no matter what back-end you are using.

3. Sales-funnel and AB testing Mixpanel or Google Analytics will give you the funneling. AB testing can be done with your own solution to solve your exact problems, or check out the variety of gems that help make it easy: https://www.ruby-toolbox.com/categories/A_B_Testing

4. Social media marketing ... again throwing the idea around that you can click "install plugin" and have all your bases covered here is not very realistic. What do you mean by this? Automatically tweet or post to fb based on certain events on the app? Auto tweet/post your blog posts?

Either way, I'd argue against doing anything with Wordpress other than a static blog.yourdomain.com. You can rebuild ANY feature or plugin in the WP domain very easily in Rails.

deathspin 10 hours ago 4 replies      
I'd put the marketing site at whatever.com and the app and app.whatever.com.

You then decide what types of information needs to pass between the two systems. Instead of porting your entire frontend you simple build a few API calls and pull those in with WordPress.

Vitaly 9 hours ago 0 replies      
We actually recommend exactly this to many of our customers. Unless the marketing homepage needs a lot of dynamic app-database driven content we usually recommend installing wordpress on www.domain.com and rails app on domain.com.

when user is not logged-in, domain.com redirects to www.domain.com.

this setup saves a lot of time on static pages management and adds quite a bit of marketing power.

davidjairala 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Generally speaking, installing and having an installation of Wordpress is pretty simple. However, my advice would be to keep things as simple as possible, especially since it seems you guys are starting out.

For the frontend, I'd recommend either just having very thin pages in your Rails stack that are fully or at least heavily cached that then ping your API, or relying on something like Jekyll to generate static pages that then do the same.

Eventually, when the project becomes larger and/if you start feeling pain points, you can abstract this frontend layer away from the stack into its own little app. You could also make it its own little Rails or Sinatra app that just serves basically HTML (again, heavily cached, since the dynamic content will come from the backend). I keep recommending keeping it in Rails or Sinatra just so you can use some goodies like layouts, easy caching infrastructure, you're already hosting rails, the asset pipeline.

As for your marketing site, I'd go for something that's hosted elsewhere, like Tumblr if you need a blog, etc. Just try to minimize the things you need to host and support yourselves.

bushido 9 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a good amount of complexity that gets added when you try integrating rails and wordpress, as you already mentioned.

I understand the appeal of the plugins, but its usually quite easy to work around, what plugins in specific are you interested in?

i.e. Which email marketing and sales plugins are you referring to?

Social media and AB testing are easy to implement in rails or most frameworks for that matter.

tedchs 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's important to realize that "marketing site" and "frontend" are totally different things. If it's truly just a informational site, WP is probably fine. But, I would not build your app's UI, or even purchase workflow, in Wordpress and then your real "app" in Rails.
gremlinsinc 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd say go w/ wordpress as a subdomain of the main app, and use the Json plugin to pull in data to your existing design, you can still linkout to the blog, but the main site will be easier to design using the data from the blog. ie. blog.yourappp.com and anywhere you want on the front page you could pull in recent posts or comments using the json api.

That's what I use for my laravel apps.

artellectual 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I've found the best approach is to use something like middleman to build the front end / marketing site. Good ol static pages and the rails app is isolated from the static page. Middleman also has a blogging plugin which makes I easy to keep it updated. Doing SEO is also straight forward since they are just static pages
jcutrell 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm currently working on a project that employs this concept; we use Rails for the heavy lifting, registration, payments, etc (lots of complex stuff), and we use Wordpress to allow our client to easily create beautiful things.

The truth of the matter is that making a rails app that covers the flexibility that Wordpress allows (including things like Yoast's seo plugin, for instance) is just infeasible in Rails. The newest update to Wordpress is also quite beautiful.

I've been building on Rails and Wordpress for a while now, and have yet to see a full featured solution to flexible content management that equals or surpasses WP. I have yet to see something that makes data transformation and api creation as easy as rails does. (These are gross overstatements, but the point is that the two tools are very different in key ways, and can be used to complement each other if those differences are respected.)

Ask HN: Developers to Designers
6 points by uptownhr  8 hours ago   4 comments top 4
dylanrw 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The first step (which many don't realize oddly enough) is that design is merely thoughtful solution to a problem. You're already a designer if you're a competent engineer.

The next step is identifying the tools you wish to solve problems with (of which there are several when people think Designer):

- Graphic/Visual Design: Key concepts to learn are the Layout Principles, Art Principles (Shape/Color/Contrast/Proportion), The Gestalt Principles (Continuation, Proximity, Similarity), Color theory. All of these aid a viewer/customer/user in navigation or action. DO NOT CONFUSE WITH GRAPHIC ART.

- Interaction Design: Key concepts are Goal-oriented design, personas, basic cognition etc. All of this can help you design a better transaction between a user and your project, or make a more learnable system through action. This is a pretty broad field with deep reaching repercussions if used effectively.

- User Experience Design: Very much related to the prior subjects and relies on them heavily, focuses more on the final results of the transaction and less on its construction/execution. Ultimately should satisfy the question, Was the experience positive, and will they return?

Another very important thing to realize is that each of these areas have principles, systems, tools, and patterns much like the things an engineer may already know. This is not a discipline of fluff and touchy-feely creativity where answers are plucked from the ether or some magic hat. I feel that making that clear when Im teaching someone new to the discipline makes the entire thing less daunting since its a rational process and not a talent based pursuit

I hope this helps!

lsiunsuex 7 hours ago 0 replies      
http://themeforest.net/ is my favorite. As a developer, I'll find a template I like for < $25 and use it as a base. I'm a big fan of twitter bootstrap templates but there are a lot others.

To me, it's the same as anything else. Practice, Practice, Practice. I've been doing this for 2 years now and I've started to develop my own designs without needing a template.

Even just looking through what designers are doing is a great source of inspiration.

jawerty 6 hours ago 0 replies      
HackDesign (https://hackdesign.org/) is an awesome resource for the developer to designer transition. They have hacker-friendly tutorials by professional designers.
Ask HN: Where/how can I release writing anonymously?
2 points by dasmithii  3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
mschuster91 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd use fictionpress or a Wordpress blog for this purpose. I use both, and the Wordpress blog because the story is... well, not exactly your daily run-of-the-mill story.
sehr 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're looking for distribution, I would suggest just creating pen name accounts and writing under that.
Ask HN: How do I develop fanatical resolve?
8 points by aadilrazvi  10 hours ago   7 comments top 5
saturdayplace 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Your muses drop inspiration just as your head hits the pillow, but they don't manufacture an irresistible drive to create. In an emotional inspired burst, you leap into your project, only to peter out as the novelty wears off. "Fanatic" implies emotional involvement, but you've noticed that when the ardor cools you've got no impetus. And the thing you so lovingly begun turns into drudgery. Into work.

You're not, ex nihilo, going to create within yourself some sort of relentless will to create. Worthwhile endeavors are hard. Becoming more fit. Building a product or company. These goals aren't fully achieved in one inspired surge of energy. And our brains seem to be wired towards amusement after our basic needs are met. Intentionally doing hard things is the evolutionary equivalent of repeatedly touching a hot stove; your brain's going to keep telling you to knock it off.

So, you've got to take advantage of what we know about our brains to "trick" them into doing work. Here are a couple things to read that might help you figure out what "hack" will work for you:

1) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.h... is an article about shopping habits, that contains a couple of interesting gems about how companies actually do the same thing ("hack" your habits) in order to bring about desired consumer behaviour. It's adapted from the book: http://charlesduhigg.com/the-power-of-habit/ which I haven't read but suspect just has many more examples.

2) http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/06/ff_feedbackloop/all/. Figure out a positive feedback loop that you can take advantage of. For me, when I was working on a book, one thing I did was build a script that would count the words, make a note of the count in a journal, and post an update of my progress to my Facebook wall. I'd get encouraging comments from my FB friends, presto: positive feedback loop. Related: What gets measured improves. What gets measured and reported improves again. I'm not sure where I'd heard that quote, but its proven true for me.

3) Along those lines: "Don't break the chain". http://lifehacker.com/5886128/how-seinfelds-productivity-sec....

Good luck. It's a lonely lot of work becoming productive.

brudgers 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Knuth has spent 50 years eating the Elephant one bite at a time. We'd be here a while if we tried all the ways Dennis Ritchie changed the world. You can run a Linux box because of Linus Torvalds. And you can download Linux because of Richard Stallman's work...and he's the only one of them for whom "fanatical" might be appropriate. Maybe finding a bigger pantheon is a place to start.
jesseendahl 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The single best motivator for me is remembering that I'm going to die one day. I think often about the commencement speech Steve Jobs made in 2005. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

I still allow myself time to relax/slack off, but if I had intended to only watch a few episodes before getting down to working on something I'm passionate about, and then have the urge to just do the easy thing and keep watching instead of doing whatever I'd planned to do, I remember that my time is slowly running out and if I don't take steps to achieve my dreams now, then I will likely never achieve them before there's no time left.

This applies to everything in life, not just work. Travel, falling in love, learning new things--you name it--everything is affected by how limited your time is. Time and your body (there's a direct relationship between them) are the most limited resources you have, and even if you strike it rich you can never rewind the clock. This is what motivates me more than anything else to get shit done. On a related note, once you realize just how limited your time is, you realize how pointless it is to live your life for other people or be constrained by dogma. Anyway, at this point I'm just rehashing the speech, and Jobs says all this much better than I do. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it. If you have seen it, go watch it again and listen very carefully to what he says.

pedalpete 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully others can add insight to my findings, but it seems to me that when I sit down in the morning and do what I'm "supposed" to do, I find an unexpected reward is presented later in the day.

Yesterday, for instance, I sat down and coded for a few hours, when I could have been out drinking with friends. The surf looked crap, but I decided I wanted to get out for a surf just to get my head away from the code for a bit. Turned out to be a great and unexpected session. My small reward for doing my work.

timmm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have found the opposite to be true. Good leaders of companies and workers are level headed, their energy is flat lined as opposed to spiky. They don't burnout.

Fanatical resolve sounds less than desirable, I'd far rather settle for 'consistent'.

If you're interested in building a company it will take several years to decades; take your time.

Ask HN: What do you plan to do new or different in 2014?
4 points by boca  7 hours ago   4 comments top 3
wallflower 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Accelerate my pace of chance and my rate of failure
jmspring 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Focus on learning, commit to building something I have not found time to finish.
lsiunsuex 7 hours ago 0 replies      
One way or another a major project I've been working on goes live on the 30th. Once that's done, I hope to get back to some iOS development.

I hope to do more networking to score more freelance work to continue to be a freelancer.

And a vacation. I need a vacation, now!

Ask HN: Why is Rap Genius Getting So Much Hacker News Attention?
2 points by ptwobrussell  4 hours ago   3 comments top
JohnTHaller 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Because they are a YC company. There's really no other reason. YC companies always get disproportionate coverage at HN. If you're confused as to why, look at the URL in your browser's address bar.

Other than that, Rag Genius has a... polarizing... management team that engaged in blackhat SEO techniques (buying links to attempt to bost pagerank with payment in the form of Tweeting about the link provider's website from a high-follower Twitter account) to boost their Google ranking and has received an appropriate punishment (in line with what Google has been doing for years now).

Ask HN: Is Google responsible for returning 'fair' results or 'good' ones?
2 points by Kapura  4 hours ago   1 comment top
mattkrea 4 hours ago 0 replies      
They clearly have a responsibility to return the most relevant links and in this case they've gone pretty far but in my opinion they also have a duty to do things like this as negative as it may seem.

What Rap Genius did is why SEO companies exist. I've never been able to tolerate them for the reason that, for a price, you can "game" the system and rank higher even if your content is no better. In the long run, this type of behaviour is dishonest and damaging. By making a great example out of Rap Genius I think they've put it out there very clearly that you will be punished if found doing this like this.

End of the year tech deals
6 points by martincho  10 hours ago   1 comment top
proexploit 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not aware of any myself but I wanted to say thanks for submitting this. I picked up a few myself on technologies I wanted to learn.
Ask HN: How Long to Wait with Responsible Disclosure?
2 points by josephwegner  7 hours ago   1 comment top
dougbarrett 6 hours ago 0 replies      
who exactly did you contact? I know that sometimes the 'Contact Us' forms can go to a CS team member, then just added to the dev queue...but if you send it directly to the CEO or to the board (if they have one) then it will be fixed very quickly.
Ask HN: How to Evaluate ISP. Diagnosing timeouts.
2 points by mydpy  7 hours ago   2 comments top 2
mydpy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Here are downstream/upstream power levels:

DCIDFreqPowerSNRModulationOctetsCorrectedsUncorrectablesDownstream 18561.00 MHz-2.91 dBmV37.36 dB256QAM272851517667781019Downstream 21519.00 MHz-3.37 dBmV37.64 dB256QAM1927476892911834486Downstream 32525.00 MHz-3.39 dBmV37.36 dB256QAM1959128515211525588Downstream 43531.00 MHz-3.60 dBmV37.09 dB256QAM2069315337116536611Downstream 54537.00 MHz-3.54 dBmV37.64 dB256QAM1963252257115896033Downstream 65543.00 MHz-3.45 dBmV37.94 dB256QAM2158261832111856468Downstream 76549.00 MHz-3.43 dBmV37.94 dB256QAM2214624252411825274Downstream 87555.00 MHz-2.93 dBmV37.94 dB256QAM2183312121010575449

UCIDFreqPowerChannel TypeSymbol RateModulationUpstream 11037.60 MHz49.00 dBmVDOCSIS1.x (TDMA)2560 kSym/s16QAMUpstream 31130.80 MHz48.50 dBmVDOCSIS2.0 (ATDMA)5120 kSym/s64QAMUpstream 41224.20 MHz47.25 dBmVDOCSIS2.0 (ATDMA)5120 kSym/s64QAM

mydpy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I performed a line quality test (it failed):


Ask HN: What is the best drone for hackers?
58 points by kposehn  2 days ago   33 comments top 15
grinich 2 days ago 3 replies      
It depends what they want to hack. Since you're saying "drone" I'm assuming you want them to be autonomous in some way, and not just traditional RC.

When I was working on Tacocopter, we used 8-CineStars from Quadrocopter[1]. They were originally designed to fly pro cameras, so they have an incredible payload, great flight characteristics, all carbon fibre, etc. Downside is they're very expensive.

Most of our development was in the software, so we wanted a hardware solution that "just worked" Dealing with DIY motor controllers that can burn out really slows down the process. Aside, if you end up using the MicroKopter platform, I reverse engineered a lot of their serial protocol for our telemetry stack-- check it out on Github[2].

The cool thing to me about MAVs is they essentially become a flying computer. For your friends, I would pick the one that has enough power for decent acrobatics+payloads, but more importantly the easiest software development stack. Stuff from 3DRobotics is a good starting place.

[1] http://www.quadrocopter.com/

[2] https://github.com/grinich/mikrokopter

[3] http://3drobotics.com/

Zuph 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have they ever flown a quadcopter before? If not, I strongly suggest they start with something cheap like the Syma X1 ($35 on Amazon). It's an amazing value, and incredibly fun to fly. Very forgiving, and mildly hackable.

The biggest benefit is that it lets you build your piloting chops without a huge financial risk. An acquaintance of mine is working to get drones into the hands of professionals who aren't interested in becoming drone experts (Realtors, etc), and he uses the Syma X1 to train folks before giving them the keys to larger, more dangerous and expensive drones.

kposehn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Ok, a little more input.

Both are android users and prefer open-source hardware and software. The Parrot AR 2.0 looked good at first, but I'm unsure as to the level of community support for the android software.

They are also very skilled at low level programming, so some of the newer Linux based drones are appealing.

cominatchu 2 days ago 1 reply      
The DJI Phantom & DJI Phantom 2 vision are both awesome. The Phantom 1 is probably better if you want to put your own board in the air, as it has more payload space. But out of the box the Phantom 2 is unbelievable with its iPhone FPV & telemetry integration

If you have lots of time on your hands, though, you could build your own with ardupilot: http://ardupilot.com

tlack 2 days ago 1 reply      
The AR Drone is the cheap, hackable way to do it. It's just a tiny PC running Linux hooked up to four weak motors. You can control it via wifi, or replace the flight software yourself if you are enterprising. Add their new GPS add-on, and you can use the excellent QGroundControl. There are excellent projects putting it to use for a variety of tasks.

Unfortunately it will be limited in its power, unless you do an extensive engine and frame mod as shown here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KESy--N6ags

The 3DRobotics Iris is an exciting new product that represents a more flexible, pro-amateur level tool. They're made to be put to work, not flown like a remote controlled helicopter, so you'll find good support for programmability here.

On the other hand, it's almost $1k fully built out, compared to half that for the Parrot.

brokenparser 2 days ago 1 reply      
clebio 2 days ago 1 reply      
It really depends on the application. If you're talking about flight, and autonomous-flight at that, keep in mind that airspace is highly regulated. (In the US) The FAA requires RC pilots to be licensed (inexpensive and no test, but still necessary) and RC flight must always be in line-of-sight -- usually in very specific, designated areas. It's quite easy enough to build an autonomous bird, with programmable way-points and such, which breaks all sorts of laws. Start with the AMA: http://www.modelaircraft.org/

There's a lot of specific distinctions between piloted-flight versus autonomous ('drone') as well as size restrictions and such. First-person view (FPV) requires a second pilot using grounded line-of-sight, as well (http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/550.pdf).

I'm by no means trying to discourage you, just know if something might be a federal offense!

ak1394 2 days ago 0 replies      
Crazyflie from http://www.bitcraze.se/ is pretty cool. I own one myself, and I like it a lot. This is a tiny fully opensource quad which can be flown indoors. Obviously, because of it's tiny size it doesn't fly for too long and don't lift much.
fit2rule 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best drone for hackers is the one they build themselves. There is absolutely no point in buying a factory drone - you can make them yourselves easily enough, and without much fuss - in fact RC drones is one of the longest-running subjects that has attracted hackers over the years. If you want innovation, learning, experimentation - check out the "DIY Foamies" section on http://rcgroups.com/ forums .. there are literally thousands of drone designs in there that the budding hacker can enjoy, learn from, and exploit for their needs.

So please, stay away from the factory drones, folks.

trekky1700 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd say, for a hardware hacker, one they build themselves. I'm building one right now, have ordered all the parts for relatively cheap and it will be a lot more powerful than a Parrot Drone and gives me more freedom with what I want it to do.
gpcz 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is a hard question to answer without knowing what types of problems your hacker friends like to solve. For example, quadcopters tend to cater to certain types of problems (mapping, precise control, etc), while fixed-wing aircraft tend to cater to a different group (autopilots, longer-distance flights, etc).
ljlolel 2 days ago 0 replies      
What do you think of the 3DRobotics Iris?
gratefulfrog 2 days ago 0 replies      
Arducoptor & Ardupilot are the way to go!

Forget amazon, that's not a place for hackers...

But beware of the hidden costs in Radio-Controlled flight - it's never a cheap date...

abbaselmas 2 days ago 1 reply      
try to build your own and i mean your own even your own flight controller from scratch / use Arduino for flight control / use ecalc.ch site for your combination / hobbyking may have everything you want but they suck at shipment / try something different if you want it to be named hacker's drone ;)
schwa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stop calling them "Drones".
Programmers 've strong opinions, good writing skills and political. why?
2 points by sifarat  9 hours ago   2 comments top 2
dragonwriter 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Clear written communication (which is a key aspect of good writing, but not, by itself, enough for good writing) and programming are both largely about clearly analyzing ideas and then expressing them in a symbolic system with defined syntax and semantics.

Software development and public policy are both (largely) about solving problems by designing new systems or improvements to existing systems (while this is more the systems analysis part of development than coding, per se, a good programmer is, of necessity, at least a competent systems analyst, and the problem-solving-with-systems aspect, IME, is what makes programming interesting to lots of people in the field; coding is just the means to the ends.)

So, while I don't think those correlations are all that universal, I don't think its surprising that there should be some degree of correlation between programming and writing skill or between programming and interest in politics (particularly, in public policy).

sifarat 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is my general observation, but i don't know anyone, which does not have above characteristics, reason I asked it, these characteristics actually have nothing to do with coding.
Show HN: My 10-year-old son has made a card game, which he is giving away
95 points by gregpilling  3 days ago   33 comments top 15
pessimizer 3 days ago 2 replies      
It may get more love at http://boardgamegeek.com. Lots of people there distribute games to assemble and play, and are always looking for kid-friendly stuff.
hawkharris 3 days ago 1 reply      
Your son is very talented! The illustrations, writing and game mechanics are fun and engaging.

I hope he learns how to write code (if he doesn't already) because it would be great to see this type of thing implemented as a web-based game.

swamp40 3 days ago 2 replies      
Looks very cool! Good job Troy!

I'm not quite sure how the battles go down.

You pick an attack method, and the # is subtracted from your opponents HP score (possibly x2), and then they do the same?

What happens if they are still both "alive" afterwards? You just move to the next player?

And how do you win? Just be the last player with a live character?

err4nt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, very creative! I know it's not the cheapest way to do it, but MooCards.com makes it really easy to print sets of unique business cards (like each card in the stack has a different design) - that might be a fun way to 'make it real' with cards he can play with his friends if he manages to get a league going at his school or something!

Great work Gregpilling Jr, keep it up!

windsurfer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I remember making tons of board games when I was a kid. What happens when you want to play an evolved character? How does that work?
adrianmalacoda 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is exciting, especially the CC licensing, which will encourage kids to expand the game themselves. As a kid I've made similar projects, and I know I'm not the only one. Good job! :)
lsiunsuex 3 days ago 0 replies      
No cut marks? No pantone color chart for printing?

(seriously, joking! :)

Will print this and play with my godson tomorrow (13)

lsdafjklsd 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow this looks like fun! Printing out to play my nephews / nieces tomorrow, they will love it :D

Where can I submit balance issues? :P

Liongadev 3 days ago 1 reply      
Well done Troy!

Artwork looks really nice how was that done?

primitivesuave 3 days ago 1 reply      
You've got a really talented kid, and he's lucky to have a parent who encourages him to distribute his ideas. One great way to expand on this would be to get him into programming this game - Scratch (scratch.mit.edu) is pretty popular amongst kids of his age. Best of luck to him!
maerF0x0 3 days ago 0 replies      
if your son worked in tech he'd have been sued by a troll by now. I really like the drawings :D
danso 3 days ago 1 reply      
For all the purported evils of copyright infringement and intellectual property theft, I wonder if today's children will grow up with such an attitude that will make the Homebrew club seem like 90s-era Microsoft. With today's technology, they can create and share without (from what they can tell) any cost. By the time they're old enough to realize that while nothing is free, they'll have been naturally inclined to see that creation and distribution doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. That seems like an attitude that would be harder to get from the supply-and-demand lessons you learn from a lemonade stand.
dindresto 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. I usually tend to have an asshole-ish attitude in my comments, which I highly apologize for, but in this case: I just love them :)
ScottWhigham 3 days ago 0 replies      
Downloading now for my 9yo son and I to play...
Ask HN: what to do when you rediscover your stress tendencies?
6 points by chatmasta  21 hours ago   2 comments top 2
contextual 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a technique I use. I call it welcome home. Take a moment to notice your breath. Specifically, feel the air as it enters your nostrils and then exits your nostrils.

Relaxing, isn't it? That's because where your breath is, you are. You are home.

The only home you truly have is you, and it's only a breath away.

notastartup 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Eating right is key to overcoming stress. Make sure you take your supplements, it might sound little but from my experience, when I didn't eat right, it was easier to get stressed out. The more you are stressed out the less likely it is to eat properly and indulge in other lusts but hang in there, pain is temporary, progress is forever.
Ask HN: Do you like the new HackerNews Design?
5 points by flavmartins  1 day ago   6 comments top 5
pg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Remarkable how evenly distributed the up and down trending articles are...
MWil 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I see a red bar near the footer but nothing else looks different
bikamonki 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oops I thought it was a xmas theme ;)
munimkazia 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I noticed it on my tablet and thought it had something to do with Christmas. It isn't loading on my laptop, so I assumed it is a simple CSS change for Christmas.
intull 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought they were simply a choice of colors!And I like the new design!
Ask HN: Moving to SF for Facebook, advice on RSI?
5 points by lizzy_  23 hours ago   6 comments top 5
stretchwithme 22 hours ago 1 reply      
DO you do self-massage throughout your body or just in you hands and forearms?

How is your core strength and flexibility? If you press down on your abdominals, do they feel stiff an painful? Or toned and stress-free?

I ask because muscular tension can originate far away from where one may experience acute symptoms. Often learning to massage and exercise core muscles and the lats can address tension in the shoulders and arms.

tmktmk 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Had RSI horribly for years, then learned the Dvorak keyboard layout. Now type faster, with better accuracy, and never any wrist problems. YMMV.
seiji 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Two things work:

run your wrist under warm/hot water. That'll help for about five minutes. Not vey long, but it does help.

sleep with these on (one for each hand, obviously): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0057D7YWM

And lastly, take as much time off from work as possible. Don't injure yourself for the sake of advancing the needs of money grubbing, egotistical 20-somethings.

dijkstracula 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Background: tech worker in SF

While I'm not in your situation, one thing I can say is that I know lots of people in physio in SF for occuptational as well as non-injuries and your insurance ought to cover the bulk of it.

It sounds like you're worried about the company frowning on you taking advantage of your health plan so soon after joining. Please don't - even the most callous HR drone would surely recognise that RSI can be debilitating to any engineer. Also, any medical stuff goes through your HMO or PPO and your employer, AFAIK, doesn't ever see that (seems like it would be a liability for them otherwise but IMNAL).

Lastly, if Facebook is anything like my company, there will be tons of recommendations for occupational therapy peopleso you will be able to get good advice for who to see down here. Check the internal wiki / secret employees-only Facebook clone / etc. :)

Good luck!

hadagribble 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: I'm not in SF, nor am I familiar with HR policies at large companies. That being said,

> "If that happens before I've proven myself as a good engineer, I won't feel like I deserve seeing doctors or going > to appointments on facebook's dime."

I certainly hope this is not the attitude that most companies take to your well-being: RSI is almost an occupational hazard for tech workers, and it is absolutely in everyone's best interests to try and ensure that you're pain free.

If it does crop up, please don't hesitate in at least talking to people around you and getting a sense as to what the best options available are. Good luck!

Has anyone used a FitDesk 2?
4 points by augustin1989  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: Best books you read in 2013
5 points by dudurocha  1 day ago   7 comments top 6
cabbeer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut1984 by George Orwell To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee The Sun Also Rises by Ernest HemingwayAn American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser Midnights Children by Salman Rushdie My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918) On the Road by Jack KerouacThe Heart is A Lonely Hunter by Carson MccullersThe Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934) Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonTo the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf Ulysses by James Joyce
akg_67 1 day ago 0 replies      
Non-tech books, I read and liked in 2013:

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini

$100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Anything Your Want by Derek Sivers

The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar

Are You a Stock or a Bond? by Moshe Milevsky

The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

argimenes 1 day ago 0 replies      
'Graph Databases' by Ian Robinson, Jim Webber, and Emil Eifrem

'Hackers and Painters' by Paul Graham

'Virtual Reality' by Howard Rheingold

'Stack Computers: The New Wave' by Philip Koopman

'Thinking Forth' by Leo Brodie

'WIMP Programming for All on Acorn RISC Computers' by Lee Calcraft and Alan Wrigley

'Frank Herbert' by Timothy O'Reilly

'Modern Painters: volume 1' by John Ruskin

'Aratra Pentelici' by John Ruskin

'The Art and Craft of Drawing' by Vernon Blake

'The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci' by Dmitri Merezhkovsky ('romance' in the old sense of 'biographical novel')

'Prehistoric Avebury' by Aubrey Burl

'A Canticle for Leibowitz' by Walter M. Miller

lmm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Loup Garous, which the internet tells me is by Natsuhiko Kyogoku. The only dystopia I've read which was both legitimately scary and utterly plausible.
sfrechtling 1 day ago 0 replies      
In no particular order:

The Tartar Steppe, Dino Buzzati

True Grit, Charles Portis

Thoughts, Marcus Aurelius

Its not all about me, Robin Dreeke

The unwinding, George Packer

Lives of the Laureates, William Breit

AntiFragile, Nassum Taleb

mindcrime 1 day ago 0 replies      

On Intelligence - Jeff Hawkins

How To Create A Mind - Ray Kurzweil

The Language Instinct - Steven Pinker

The Origin of Wealth - Eric Beinhocker

The Signal and the Noise - Nate Silver

The Money Culture - Michael Lewis

Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations - David Warsh

Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing - John E. Kelly III and Steve Hamm

The Idea Factory - Jon Gertner

Winning The Knowledge Transfer Race - Michael J. English and William H. Baker

Wellsprings of Knowledge - Dorothy Leonard-Barton

If Only We Knew What We Know - Carla O'dell and C. Jackson Grayson

Started, but haven't finished yet:

The Discipline of Market Leaders - Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema

Marketing Warfare - Jack Trout and Al Ries

Naked Statistics - Charles Wheelan

Wiki Management - Rod Collins

Antifragile - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal - Ayn Rand


NOS4A2 - Joe Hill

The first four books in the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman

Innocence - Dean Koontz

Deeply Odd - Dean Koontz

Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

The Black List - Brad Thor

Most of The New Lovecraft Circle - an anthology of Lovecraft mythos stories by contemporary writers

And started re-reading Asimov's Foundation last night. I've read the original trilogy before, but this time I intend to read all seven books. But I'm starting with Foundation and going to the end, before going back to the prequels.

Show HN: Ingredient Allergen Checker
2 points by palidanx  12 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Who can see individual upvote data?
16 points by zaroth  1 day ago   7 comments top 2
zaroth 23 hours ago 0 replies      
14 upvotes, 0 comments, and for some reason, totally missing from the 'Ask' page. My strangest 'Ask HN' ever...
seiji 14 hours ago 2 replies      
On this site, you can see every story somebody has submitted or upvoted by going to their profile. The comments someone up/downvotes isn't available publicly, but I assume it's kept on the backend.

I think the noise in a simple upvote action is too much for any legal meaning though. You can't tell if somebody upvoted for agreement or humor (poe's law) or upvoted out of friendship (voting rings) with no cares at all.

On Facebook, we know their upvotes ("likes" they say) are used for tracking and manipulating everything you do informing your news, tracking you across the webternet, logging your interests. But, there too, the upvote is ambiguous. If you upvote "X died" does it mean you like that they died or you you're showing compassion?

Now, with Slashdot moderation, user upvote could be more useful assuming the user isn't lying, but nothing supports slashdot-like moderation anywhere else. Ain't nobody got time for quantized sentiment decisions.

Sent $10,701.03 to Coinbase. Still missing bitcoins.
320 points by permanence  7 days ago   133 comments top 38
znowi 7 days ago 6 replies      
When it takes a public outcry on HN for a company to do their job, I no longer deal with such a company. Simple as that. I don't care if you raised $25 million - if you can't treat your users fairly, you deserve neither.
sheetjs 7 days ago 1 reply      
The same class of problems (questions regarding account balance, money taken out but BTC missing, support went dark) happened earlier this year and there was another front page conversation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5427985

Sadly, it seems that the key takeaway (the importance of customer support) was lost upon the Coinbase staff. Based on the last response, its clear that they have not learned their lesson.

I recommend pulling all money and BTC out of Coinbase before the next crisis. And I say "next crisis" because there is no indication that steps were taken to rectify the underlying issues here. For example, as speculated in both threads, do they need to move off of MongoDB?

swombat 7 days ago 1 reply      
"I don't have the ability to forward this to the CEO"?

Fix that even before fixing the reconciliations...

kjackson2012 7 days ago 3 replies      
Why are people even posting on HN? The easy answer is do an ACH chargeback and be done with it. Do it quickly as well since the price has plummeted. Don't even bother with contacting customer support.
streptomycin 7 days ago 3 replies      
Just a fun anecdote to throw in:

I never bought through Coinbase, but I did sell some coins there recently for like $7k. They deposited the $7k in my bank account twice, and then a few days later took the extra $7k back.

So although ultimately it all worked out fine, they do seem to be ridiculously reckless in their dealings with thousands of dollars. I can't imagine my bank doing something like that. Made me very wary of dealing with Coinbase in the future.

untitledwiz 7 days ago 2 replies      
Well then, third post in week or so, I see HN has become the official support system for Coinbase ...
brandon272 7 days ago 2 replies      
Assuming this post is legitimate, what kind of organization of that size (an article published today indicates that there are 8 employees!) has a hierarchy and culture where if an individual working in a customer support role sees something wrong they have no way of communicating with the CEO?

Scary, if true.

aidanlister 7 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone else get the creepy feeling that this is mgrunin posting to stroke his own ego?

"That guy must have been one of our extremely high volume VIP users or something in order for something like that to have happened."

That just does not sound right. And it's not the first time he's tried a sockpuppet account [1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6930297

jamestnz 7 days ago 1 reply      
"I'm not sure how that guy got the CEO of the company to intercede on his behalf"

Well, he did so by raising a public fuss about it, that much seems obvious. The OP of this thread seems (quite reasonably) to be attempting to achieve the same outcome by the same method.

Taking this OPs claims at face value, it seems like the support person quoted was trying to be helpful (or at least empathetic). Unfortunately, on a basic customer-service level, the response fails spectacularly.

I fail to believe that a company such as coinbase would neglect to have some mechanism where staffers can escalate support tickets (as is apparently being claimed). Jeez, it doesnt even have to go directly to the CEO skipping all intermediate steps: just bump it up the chain!

That CEO intervention should be necessary to achieve basic customer satisfaction is crazy to begin with. Either empower the hierarchy to solve problems, or give them access to someone who can.

OP did you try emailing brian@coinbase.com directly? (Im not revealing any information here that a quick googling doesnt).

ziko 7 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, <name> from Coinbase here. Sorry for the delay on that - definitely not the customer experience we are striving for.

<some phone shit right here>

Edit: <we actually did our job and made it work. we also gave you 0.01% on top!>

sergiotapia 7 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately this is a trend for Coinbase: http://www.reddit.com/r/CoinBase/comments/1t6326/customer_su...

Just don't use them and protect your hard earned money.

barmstrong 7 days ago 2 replies      
Coinbase founder here. We'll reach out via email to discuss the details of this case with you.
patrickg_zill 7 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, that is pretty surprising.

First thing in support is, YOU are the face of the company as far as the person you are in contact with, can see.

Second thing is, if you don't know, don't guess; tell them you will check into X and get back to them about it.

Third, empathize with the person - wouldn't you be worried over the disposition of $10K if you took it out of your bank account and then had problems getting what you ordered?

Saus 7 days ago 0 replies      
The problem what I have is 'fairness' (not just Coinbase, mostly all companies with customer service).

OP tried to solve it without making a fuss, without causing trouble for CoinBase but they couldn't help him and they didn't want to help him. Now he is creating negative press (exactly what you don't want) and see the response from last night. CEO probably comes in and saves the day.

The problem is that the people who 'behave' will get shafted, and those who seek 'social media' will get a prompt resolution.

That is a disappointing trend that with Twitter/Facebook only became worse (before those it was mostly threatening with consumer advocate programs on TV). Try it yourself, send an e-mail and a tweet to a company. E-mail gets a reply within 48h, twitter within 1h. Companies are creating their own monster this way....

codebolt 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is exactly why I'm not buying bitcoins in the current dip. Counterparty risk on the exchanges.


permanence 7 days ago 0 replies      
UPDATE: I've been in touch with Coinbase support and they've corrected the larger of the two transactions in question. I'm still waiting on the second transaction to be fixed. I'm still missing some bitcoins from transactions that are well beyond complete (more than a week old, ACH withdrawal completed and marked as complete in coinbase).
rdxm 7 days ago 0 replies      
Ever wonder why there are not 100 different exchanges out there providing services to the equities/options/bond markets??? Simple, it's fairly costly and complicated to 1) meet regulatory requirements, 2) achieve a level of liquidity/transaction volume to make the exchange viable, and 3) take business away from the incumbents...

moreover, as soon as you attach the word 'exchange' to your service you immediately set an expectation in the consumers mind that you will provide a similar level of service/liquidity as that which they would receive if they were working with a real exchange operator.

coinbase currently lists a team which has zero experience in the exchange operations world. the closest they come is a guy who did some foreign exchange trading at GS.

net-net they have a looooooong way to go to get to being a viable exchange in the traditional sense of the word. and that's before you get to the whole topic of whether or not bitcoin is really something that will be a viable exchange model asset. that has yet to be tested outside of a very, very small base (relatively) of ecosystem participants..

colanderman 7 days ago 4 replies      
1. Chargeback.

2. Better Business Bureau.

3. Federal Trade Commission.

4. Lawyer/lawsuit.

All of these are better options than whining on some Internet forum.

jnardiello 7 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like Coinbase wasn't able to create a viable and sustainable process. To me, they will just fail as long as their processes become scalable. Surely i won't deal with them anytime soon :)
jackgavigan 7 days ago 2 replies      
Before the $25m round that was just announced, CoinBase had raised $6.71m.

What have they spent that money on?

steeve 7 days ago 0 replies      
They are 8 people. He can surely push through.
simonebrunozzi 7 days ago 0 replies      
I have a question that is related to how Coinbase deals with situations like the one on this thread:I have a Coinbase account, and I am verified with a Credit Card. This means that I can instantly buy bitcoins. What happens if they fail to get the money from my bank account 2-3 days later? Would they charge my credit card instead?
mattmaroon 7 days ago 2 replies      
Can we make a new rule? HN is not an end run around companies' bad customer support (even YC ones). We could probably fill this site with these pretty easily.
simias 7 days ago 1 reply      
HN is not a Coinbase support group. There must be better ways to deal with this.
Tarang 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think Coinbase ought to be aware we know their customer service needs work & when stuff comes on HN and it looks bad for them its just damage control to give a false impression of competence when they respond.
kaonashi 7 days ago 0 replies      
"There's a sucker born every minute" - P.T. Barnum
juanbyrge 7 days ago 0 replies      
LOL it seems that Coinbase has a lot of junior developers that are too superior for unit tests . Try the magic the gathering site?
permanence 6 days ago 0 replies      
UPDATE 2: Still waiting to receive two missing bitcoins that were purchased on December 11 and promised delivery for December 17. I mentioned the issue to them days ago and it's still hasn't even been acknowledged. Sent them a message this morning and again right now.

Coinbase has been kind enough to resolve the issue with 10 bitcoins being delivered nearly a week late. But I'm not sure why 2 bitcoins disappeared from my account and they have yet to acknowledge the issue.

grimaceindex 7 days ago 1 reply      
To the OP: if Coinbase provides terrible customer service but you still publicly declare you're a "huge fan", what incentive is there for them to change?
pbreit 7 days ago 0 replies      
You posted here at pretty much the exact wrong time (11:30pm PT) but I would still be surprised if you don't eventually get taken care of (assuming a legit situation).
permanence 4 days ago 0 replies      
Final Update: I've finally got my missing bitcoins from Coinbase. I'm squared up. Thanks for responding Counbase.
j_s 7 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like it's time to start the process of reversing a fraudulent ACH transaction.
andersthue 7 days ago 1 reply      
Did anyone say Ponzi Scheme ?
brentm 7 days ago 0 replies      
That is one of the worst responses from a customer service agent I've ever seen.
permanence 6 days ago 0 replies      
UPDATE 3: Still missing bitcoins purchased on December 11. No acknowledgment of missing bitcoins yet from customer support or Brian.
tlongren 7 days ago 0 replies      
Glad I don't use online bitcoin wallets.
learningram 7 days ago 2 replies      
Bitcoin news...

I have no interest in Bitcoins. Is someone gaming HN ?

Ask HN: What is your preferred stack for prototyping new apps?
4 points by choxi  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
ndelage 1 day ago 0 replies      
I usually start with Sinatra (without a DB). Instead of an ORM & DB I'll create simple Ruby objects in memory. Maybe I'll have a Post class with an #all method. Similar to AR, but I'll hold off actually creating a DB.

As a prototype (I'll be throwing this code away) this approach works well enough to simulate how the real app might work. Mimicking some of the conventions I'll be using later makes the transition easier.

I avoid a CSS framework when prototyping. I might pull in jQuery if it's essential.

bushido 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rails + Zurb Foundation.
bobfirestone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rails. Plain old straight rails.
Web Domain White Elephant Exchange has concluded
20 points by jere  1 day ago   22 comments top 9
jere 1 day ago 1 reply      
And it appears I am receiving getwinky.com

I guess I have to make a gay dating site now?

[I'm giving away whereisedward.com, which is more or less working as intended at the moment]

alaskamiller 1 day ago 3 replies      
Awesome ones:

likesecret.com, mixtapes.io, mealguru.com, happyhot.com, bigbang.com, homies and roomies.io, lllllllllllll.com

Then there's cultclassic.xxx

jtheory 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Transferring domains doesn't need to cost another year's registration -- I haven't checked into this for GoDaddy/others, but for NameCheap I know you can "Push Account to User" instead of making them pay to transfer it.

If you're giving a domain, ask the recipient for their NameCheap username, and the authorization code from their push settings (My Account => Manage Profile => Push Settings).

Then go to My Account => Manage Domains => (click the domain) => Push Domain To User

If you're receiving a domain that's already on NameCheap (in the whois info, it'll show with Registrar "ENOM, INC" but -- further down... -- with Reseller "NAMECHEAP.COM"), you can speed things along by providing your own username and authorization code.

Casseres 1 day ago 0 replies      
I put up 3 domain names. So far I've only been contacted by one of the people I'm supposed to exchange with and gave my domain name to that person.

While I will give away the domain names that I committed, I don't think I'm going to accept any of the domains that I've been matched with.

If anyone wants:

- http://fusevox.com

- http://lastsongkillsaudience.com

- http://bumbafly.com

... you can contact the current owner and see if they'll give it to you.

refrigerator 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think the lucky bastard that got bigbang.com wins this
bryanthompson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm giving away http://dontgobreakingmyart.com and getting http://kickr.in. No idea what I'm gonna do with this thing. DGBMA was for a friend who made blown glass things. I was giddy when I thought up that name for him :)
jamestomasino 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm giving away http://notmedia.com and picking up http://nouncd.com/. I'm really not sure what to do with it, but hey, what a neat exchange!
samelawrence 1 day ago 1 reply      
So, now we know who to contact about buying some of these awesome domains... handy.
richo 1 day ago 1 reply      
So how are we organising the transfers? Private message?
Tell HN: Merry Christmas and get away from your computer
15 points by jarnix  2 days ago   5 comments top 3
AznHisoka 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'll be spending the entire X'Mas hacking on my startup :) Thanks for the advice though.
rhgraysonii 2 days ago 1 reply      

Okay, you really are right. Thank you. I will go drink christmas ales and listen to my family's bad jokes. Hope you all do the same :)

idoescompooters 1 day ago 0 replies      
HN header's background color was changed from #FF6600 to #cc1010, too dark?
2 points by marcel0r  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
gatsby 23 hours ago 1 reply      
It's just a temporary change for the holidays (along with the green and red colored numbers on each story).
J_Darnley 18 hours ago 0 replies      
No. It was just the right shade for "christmas red".
       cached 27 December 2013 05:05:01 GMT