However, most startups are not really bettering the world and provide rather pretty bad working conditions while the actual job is not all that much more interesting. Half of "need" for dynamism is caused by mismanagement and unmanageable technical debt three months after project started (caused by sleep deprived programmers).
End of rant. Established companies can have pretty bad management too.
HN is a great news source. I'm definitely anti-communist, but I'm neither skilled nor rich not creative enough to actually found a startup and never intend to. I would theoretically work for one, but first I'd need a large degree of financial stability that is currently missing in my life. I read HN both because I'm interested in how startups function, get funded, get sold and fail,. but also purely as a news source.
If you don't give a f about the money and you sincerely want to change the world and make it a better place, then your startup will succeed, be awesome and in the end make your investors more money back.
However, most entrepreneurs don't get that, which is a shame. The ones that get it are the ones that you want to look out for.
My tips for you:
- Your video is way too long! 7 minutes! If your video is over 2-2.30mins it's too long!
- When you use a simple, coherent story, you make it more likely that people will make a decision or take an action.
- On that note, there was no really strong call to action at the end of the video.
- If you're selling to men (and sadly lets face it you mostly are), your call to action should be done by a woman.
- There is way too much text.
- Rewards tiers are too complex. There needs to be a clear "you should buy this one". Each reward tier description is itself a little essay!
- "VMX Project" isn't a good name. What does VMX mean? It's not memorable. I don't think that 'project' is a positive word. It's the kind of word you'd associate with a charity or shaky cause.
- You need to partner up more. There are other past kickstarter projects that could work really well with your offering.
- There aren't really any social proof points that I can pick up by skimming the page.
- There's no scarcity. Why should I convert?
- You need to show the novelty. How does it differ from other similar but different products like Simple/Open CV etc.
- Going back to social proof, you don't have any media or quotes!
Just my 2c :-)
Please repost your project. It's really quite awesome, it just needs to be marketed better!
People who wanted to play around with vision ideas probably funded the Pixy (CMUcam5) by Charmed Labs and Carnegie Mellon.
You need some serious funding so that you can develop demos that can be trialed against a whole range of use cases. As another poster here has said - we need to understand the problems your product solves before we can get excited about it.
The world is seriously scary when controlling your own data is an 'option'.
can it be used to find bad products on an assembly line? can it be used to improve a golf swing? can it be used to help the vision impaired? can it be used to count cards at the casino?
What I needed to be able to back it, was a concise description of what it was and how I could use it.
I didn't see any of that in a form that I understood. I'm not an uneducated person and I consider myself highly technical (though what that means/is worth to most is debatable).
It didn't pull me in, unfortunately, because ultimately I didn't know what it was.
1. They waste my time (which is also a waste of their time).
That is, they are selling something that I don't need, generally because they don't know anything about me. If you're cold calling me, you should have read through our company's web site already. It's only fifteen pages or so; you can skip the press releases. You don't know what business I'm in? Why should I bother with you?
2. They are wasting my time.
Frequently I get called by salespeople who don't know what they're selling, except the name of it, a two sentence description that they memorized but don't understand, and they want to set up a meeting. You have a software product? What OS does it run on? Does it have a web interface? You're selling consulting services but you can't describe them because your answer for everything is "we can find people to do that, they are experts!"?
3. They are wasting my time.
I already talked to you yesterday, last week, last month or last quarter. We discussed your product or service and it was clear from that phone call that we would never be a good fit for each other. (Your product only runs on Windows. Your service is Exchange consulting. You want to help process our customers' confidential data...)
I will repeat this in the end. But learn who you need to talk to. (Don't accept a no from someone who cant say yes) a lot of your time will be spend with finding the right person.
Here is my advice.
1. Write down a sales pitch with some alternatives depending on what the answer is. It should be structured something like this.
Step 1Who you are, who you want to talk to.
Once you reach the person you need to talk to:
Step 2Who you are, why you are calling, what your product do, what your offer to them is (always have some kind of offer like 20% off or something like that)
Step 3Answer questions, write down customer skepticism and learn from it. (you will become better and better at answering these questions and even able to forsee patterns)
Step 4Close the deal, tell exactly what is going to happen next. Follow up with what you promised.
2. Practice this again and again.
3. Make sure your goal is to close something. (either a meeting, sales or sending more info)
4. Create a sales funnel where you places your customers depending on how close they are to a sale.
5. Make sure you understand who you need to talk to (never accept a no from a person who cant say yes)
Rinse and repeat.
Keep in mind cold calling is a numbers game.
It's just reeks of unprofessionalism, in my opinion. If you don't care about me enough to respect my time, then why on earth would you care about me enough to provide me with a good customer service experience after you've already hooked me?
I've had companies call me before claiming to work at google, claiming that my company isn't doing enough /google something/ and that they can help! If I pay them $foo, then I will be number in the google!
It's really annoying. This is why things like this: http://www.itslenny.com/ which is hilarious, btw) exist.
Instead call to get information. Most people want to help. Ask them questions about things relevant to your service to qualify them. Ask them if they want information about your service and collect an email address. Add them to a nurture campaign so if they ever are looking to buy you're at the top of their list.
I got a marketing assistant to make these type of calls for a couple of weeks with a 60% success rate of getting an email address. In Australia email permission is opt in. I don't know what the conversion rate of the nurture campaign ended up being because I left the company.
I'm an LSAT instructor, and author of LSAT explanations. Here's the result of my cold calling
1. I contacted a small company in Toronto that did LSAT and SAT instruction. I'm in Montreal. I called and asked the secretary if they would like to be in Montreal.
She handed me to the founder, who said yes, interviewed me, and I'm still doing work for them. I've traveled the country teaching courses, added new tests to my skillset, and been able to build a private tutoring practice based on things I learned from them.
2. I emailed the guy who runs LSAT Blog, the major blog in my niche. As a result of a few back and forth emails, he asked me if I'd like to write LSAT explanations he could sell.
This led to royalties from him, and manuscripts I later turned into print books, which pay me even more royalties. I now sell the explanations through other online affiliates as well, and turned them into my own site
3. I emailed the founder of another LSAT prep company, just to say hi, after his company experienced a setback.
This led to them bringing me on board for a six month term. I learned a lot, and now they refer me tutoring students.
I think there may be others. But given that these three are 90% of my business success, I probably wouldn't even BE in business if it weren't for cold calls.
The key to all of them was that I was somehow relevant to the people I contacted. They could help me, and I could help them.
The more targeted, the better.
"Great thanks. My names is X, and my company does Y. Does it sound like there might be someone who it would be good for me to talk to? If it's a no then that is absolutely fine." Then go quiet.
This is the best opener I have used and it gets me a name and my call forwarded 80% of the time - which is the main aim of a cold call, if you're going in with getting a sale in mind it will always feel like a massive mountain.
Also, if in the 30 second explanation you can get something about them in first it works even better. Also, don't go over your 30 seconds.
Long story short: when they call me, I'm generally in REM sleep, and have been for a mere 2 hours. After their interruption, I will not be able to sleep back, but will spend the next 10 hours in zombie mode.
I have found a fantastic new way to use this zombie time: looking up legal, and law services, small courts, corporate databases about their company, facebook of their personal, and any and all leveraged counter-offense methods, that will make these companies, and individuals within not exist ever, ever again.
Please for the love of all that is holy, respect TPS's do-not-call lists.
 See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6163051 for more
Edited now that I am on computer to add more detail:
Some of the key points in the book are: -Split sales team into two parts, one group that only sends out opening emails, one set that closes the leads/sets up meetings. Once a meeting is set, the opener passes the prospect onto the closer.-the first email should be three sentences introducing who you are, what you do (can put clients you work with) and what you are looking for (appointment or referral)
I get pitched by a lot of companies, and one company had used this exact pitch on me and out of hundreds they were one of the few to get me to take an appointment call. Months later when I read this book, I recognized their tactic and went back and read the email and it was 100% based on what came out of this book.
 edit: misspelled title
IMO, a good cold caller will work very hard to get to the right person, if that person exist. They will be committed and relentless to generating the lead for their sales team. They will work on their script to a point where they have answers for most types of questions. They will use the tools that they are provided (e.g. salesforce) to ensure to keep a log of what they've done and their todo list. And they will be in constant contact with the sales team to ensure that all information is provided back to them in a structured manner.
If you think that cold callers are waisting your time, simply try and tell them that you are not interested or point them to a different person who may be interested (if that person exists). There's no point for a caller to place a call to someone who has no interest in buying their offering, that's just a waste of time. Cold callers are "not" telemarketers.
Outbound sales, be it cold calls, cold email or warm intros, are very powerful. Keep in mind "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility". Don't waste people's time. Ask for permission to speak. Listen.
Recommended reading: Jason Lemkin http://www.quora.com/Jason-M.-Lemkin
How GuideSpark Tripled Revenues Two Years in a Row, Growing to Almost Eight Figures in ARR All Using Outbound Saleshttp://saastr.quora.com/How-GuideSpark-Tripled-Revenues-Two-...
Without a referral or lead, if you're cold calling, you're calling someone who not only hasn't inquired about your service, but whom you have no reason to believe wants to hear from you. In my opinion, you have no place calling that person. If you choose to do so anyway, it's your responsibility to waste as little of their time as possible in as cordial a manner as you can. Hard sells are absolutely awful.
I only get upset with cold callers that don't quit the first time I say no. No matter how qualified you believe a lead is or how it's been validated/verified, if the person on the other end says no, don't push it. Maybe they'll just keep saying no, but maybe they'll remember you as the pushy jerk whose product/service they'll now never consider.
1) Target Potential Customers
Rather than blanket e-mail every person in my industry, I look for people and organizations that are significantly more likely to be receptive to my product. I've segmented my market based on highly-relevant characteristics to increase chances that my e-mail will be well received. The contact may even already be looking for a product like mine. I also keep an eye out for news articles and mentions for people in my space that show they are a relevant lead.
2) Do My Research
Nothing gets deleted faster than a stock e-mail. I research my prospective targets and try to understand what their situation is. What is their reputation in the market, what are they struggling with, and can my product help alleviate any of that? This shows that my e-mail is more than just SPAM and that I'm trying to develop a relationship.
3) Play It Slow and Develop a Relationship
As mentioned in other posts, cold calls can be as much for info as a sales lead. In some markets, its also about developing a relationship that may take a long time to convert. Even if someone's not interested in my product, if I can help them in another way (maybe an intro) I'll do it to keep the conversation going. Maybe down the road they'll return the favor by providing me a rec.
4) Let It Go
Followup is key, but beating someone up is a waste of time. If someone's not interested and doesn't want to be bothered I'll let it go. The last thing I want is to develop a bad reputation or be reported as SPAM.
Interestingly, organic traffic performs better than cold calling. By a decent margin. But, on the road sales blows both out of the water. Obviously.
So if your looking at marketing strategy, someone on the road might be a good investment (depending on the product and customer base).
Result: 6 figure income on a 70k base, for 4 years.
I also do Customer Development-type emails for my own side business, and for others (as-a-service).
Summary: it works. If you learn how to do it right.
Top tools: Stephan Schiffman's Telesales and Basho Email System.
Also: for cold calling to work you must have something of value, that solves a real pain/problem. Not something ephemeral like an app that, say, splits the dinner bill amongst friends.
However, I went into EVERY call, knowing the person I was calling. I'd research via LinkedIn, and find out everything I could about that person, and the business.
I was amazed at how many times I'd contact somebody and they'd already heard of my business, and were keen to do business with me. At the same time, more often than not, things didn't work out. But as some have said the key is to know what you're selling, and you're not selling your product, you're selling what your product can do for them. Make sure you're able to speak to that. "I thought it would be great if you guys had x,y,z and could do a,b,c for your customers. It would ease problem a for you, and I'd estimate, based on what I know of your company, increased revenues of y".
Make it easy for them, hand them your business on a silver platter. Like I said, most times you won't get the sale, but you'll make more contacts in the industry, they may recommend you to other potential partners, or who knows.
Don't think "I'm going to sell them", think "I'm going to help them".
I sent them a mockup of what I thought their web-page should be (4 hours of work?), one meeting later I'd locked down a nice 5 figure contract to develop an internal app (they decided they didn't want a web page) and it looks to become an ongoing relationship.
The web page, I later found out, is what really hooked them, despite them not wanting it ultimately.
DO:Keep it brief, don't give the full pitch.Ask for 15 minutes on the calendar to explain in more detail.Ask if you caught them at a good time. If not, ask when would be better to call back.Leave a voicemail.Be casual and genuinely excited to talk to them, like hearing from an old friend.Send 3-4 sentence email, both for intro and to follow up ("My voicemail" subject lines get good open rates).Call multiple people at different levels in the organization (and ask if they're the right person to speak to).
Indeed, cold calling will not be a big part of our strategy going forward - but it's a great way to feel out the market.
I think in terms of the cold email pitches I get, and think of which ones I'm willing to consider and which ones I don't. Given that, my thinking is something like this:
Regarding 1 - If you send me a rambling 6,000 word manuscript, I'm not reading it, and I probably will hit "delete" in after about 4 seconds of skimming unless something in there really catches my eye.
Regarding 2 - this may be the most important one. If you spam me with some random crap that has no connection to what I'm doing, and/or anything I need, I'm hitting "delete" pretty much from the get-go. And if you want to sell me something, you need to talk about my needs, not your product or service. And you should have done your research ahead of time. If it's apparent to me that I'm getting something that's the result of a mail-merge run with nothing to hint that you know anything what my company does, where we are, how we operate, etc., guess what? "Delete".
Regarding 3 - If you get the name of the company wrong, have shitty grammar and / or spelling, or otherwise send me something that is barely comprehensible, it's going in the bin in the blink of an eye. And being a non-native English speaker isn't going to buy you much of an exception. I'm in America, if you want to do business with me, learn to speak English. Likewise if you're emailing somebody in Spain... learn Spanish. And get somebody to proof read your message that's fluent. I'll tolerate a small amount of sloppiness in terms of grammar and what-have you, but you have to at least make an effort.
So, my theory is... do some research up front, find out as much about the customer as you can up-front. Write something in clear English (or the appropriate language) using proper spelling and grammar. Keep it fairly short, and focus on the customer's needs, situations and problems. But I don't mean to assume they have a certain problem. I mean, phrase things in terms of "We've noticed that companies like yours often have problems like X... We are specialists in X, and I'd like a few moments to find out more about your company and whether or not you are really dealing with X". Something based on the "Core Story" approach put out by Chet Holmes would also be received well (by me anyway) as long as it isn't too long, and is backed up with credible data, etc.
Do that, and I think you have at least a shot. In my case, if you email me like that, I may simply not need whatever it is you're selling... but at least I'll read your email, consider it, and probably even reply. If you send crap, it's going straight to the trash can, often mostly (or completely) unread.
Do this... go through a bunch of the spam you get, and figure out which emails you receive well, and which ones evoke the "delete after four seconds" response. Model your own communications more after the first batch, and don't do whatever the people in the second batch are doing.
If your product/service can't be explained by e-mail, I'm not interested in acquiring it. Please remove my number.
To those that hate receiving cold calls, remember: most of these sales development folks that call leads are fresh out of school and simply trying to gain a foothold in a hyper-competitive space. Don't let them waste your time if that's what they're doing, but have a heart!
1) Those that signed up, set up their accounts and are already getting value out of the service. They don't need the reminder, sending it is just good-will with this group.
2) Those that signed up, decided it wasn't right for them for whatever reason within the first 10 minutes, but didn't take the time to cancel. When they get the reminder and remember they're going to be charged, they cancel at this point. You've avoided the "I forgot to cancel and can't believe you charged me" problems here.
3) Those that signed up, then decided to put off actually using the account they created until later, but do intend to use it. You've reminded them to get to it sooner than later, and they still have a week to try out the service before paying for it.
And always refund customers who cancel right after the first bill. Whether you have the legal right to bill them or not is irrelevant, it's not worth the ill will. Happy ex-customers can become happy customers again in the future.
1. Be really happy that you informed me. 2. Cancel my subscription if i really don't need your service. Renew it *happily* if I want your service.
Now, let's look at the other side of it. If you do not email me, you will make some money from me in the short term. But I will ensure that I remember you for the wrong reasons. I will also ensure that if someone asks me about you, I will tell them to stay away. Heck, if I really took it personally, I will even write a hate blog and submit it on HN. Imagine the PR issues you could potentially have.
So be nice and it always comes back to help you. Even if you are not making money from a user in the short term, who knows that user might be able to help you indirectly in securing a lot more users who will pay. May be.
When Gmail rolled out tabs, I started getting a lot of people who were unexpectedly billed. My "trial expired emails" were usually lumped into the Promotions tab, which doesn't have as much urgency attached, and thus there was definitely a spike in cancelations after that first invoice (people always see those invoice emails; they sometimes miss the "trial expiring and your card will be billed" emails :-)
When you take cards upfront:
* You'll get much higher trial to paid conversion rates. Mine was about 45%
* You'll get a lot of cancellations after that first bill goes through. If you calculate churn based off of "paid accounts who cancel", it will be artificially inflated. Try tracking it against customers who have paid you at least 2x.
* If you want to make your life a bit easier, automatically refund people who cancel within a given window after their first bill.
* Please don't bill people without sending them an email invoice. It's just wrong.
* Don't stake your business on one-off customers. If someone wants their money back, give it back (within reason, obviously. I'll by default refund the last month.) I've had people come back when they really needed Planscope, refer others, etc. And plus, chargebacks are messy.
I'm no longer collecting cards upfront, and I've finally got MRR growth back on track. I made the mistake of simply changing the signup form / billing code without making heavy modifications to the marketing site and onboarding flow, which caused a huge drop in growth after that change.
Match.com typically take your subscription fee every 6 months, they won't remind you before they take the money. They also won't let you unsubscribe immediately after they take the money, they claim that payment is still in progress, even though the money has already been taken. It's not until a few days later that you can unsubscribe. Essentially it seems that they've realised that the most likely time for someone to unsubscribe is immediately after they pay, because with 6 months of membership it's easy to forget that you've even got a subscription unless you're a very active user.
I consider this to be a dark pattern because it plays on people's forgetfulness.
- Give people enough warning before taking payment that they can reasonably be able to decline the transaction. The only real reason someone should miss this warning is if they're taking a long vacation.
- Don't do evil stuff after taking payment to prevent them from unsubscribing from the next payment
- Have a nice buyers remorse window, allowing a user to reverse the transaction that's already occurred.
Also, I think that the observation that you get much higher conversion rates from people who provide credit card info up front is debatable. It suffers from survivor bias: you might get a lot more paying customers from the group of potential customers who refused to sign up for your trial because you asked for payment info up front. That could be pushing away 95% of all your potential customers, but you'd never know it.
If I like your service and it's useful to me after the free trial ends I'll sign up and add my payment details.
I'm probably just cynical before my time but I see it as preying on people who are forgetful, to take their money.
In answer to your question though. I'd send a reminder it's polite.
Braintree has a good article on it . In that article are some recommendations for when you must do negative option billing - one of which is to send them a warning 5 days before billing.
Pretty much by definition, if they weren't aware they were going to be charged and would have canceled had they known, they're not 'customers.'
If being sneaky with reminder emails is _what_ makes your business successful, then you are standing in quicksand.
Yes, you'll make less this way in the short term. Automatically charging but offering a refund if someone is upset will convert more, and automatically charging with no refunds will convert more than that.
But I suspect that if you look five years down the line, setting a good tone between yourself and your users will pay the most. Those who decide not to subscribe immediately are still potential future customers, and know other potential future customers.
If it motivates you at all, anyone who cancels after receiving this notification was not likely to be a long-term customer anyway. So all you will be losing is a month's paid service from the people who don't really want to pay for your service. That's not good money to try and hold onto.
I prefer the suggestion by another person that recommends simply disabling the free trial until the person chooses to have their card charged the first time. That seems the most honest way.
As your business grows and you take on more payments, you will find there are a small group of your customers who will look at their credit card bill at the end of the month (or months) and just call up the credit card company to charge back items that they don't recognise (due to them not recognising the charge (innocent mistake) or they genuinely didn't use your service and feel "cheated")
On a side note, why do you take CC info at signup ? I've done about 4 SaaS currently live, and not a single one takes CC information upfront, but rather send them a reminder to pay an invoice as their trial reaches it's end.
I presume this is because by making the barrier to unsubscribe higher you get fewer people unsubscribe, and probably some people who don't use a service but remain subscribed because they don't notice.
It's also common to require x (where x is 28?) advance notification for unsubscribing, so even when you do so you usually end up paying for another month anyway.
Some services (e.g. The Times Online) give you a free (or reduced price) trial, after which you agree to a 12 / 18 month subscription. This seems even more evil, but I guess they do it because it 'works' and they're about making money rather than being nice.
1) Optimizely's bad process is an opportunity for you to have something better. "All our competitors trick you so that's usual and don't be mad at us" kind of attitude is quite mediocre.2) Showing that you care about customers would improve brand loyalty thus keep users and would benefit you in the long run, than a couple of tricky financial profits3) It's the nicer thing to do and you'd keep your integrity.
A nearly-zero-effort way to do this is to listen for the customer.subscription.trial_will_end webhook from Stripe - they'll send it to your app 3 days before the trial ends.
It serves as a subtle reminder that the trial is about to end, while offering to help at the same time.
Linode sends out an invoice email every month, usually a day or so before I see the charge show up. I have no reason to cancel, but I appreciate that they do that.
I know that you are not forced to be PCI compliant by law, but if you are not and your database is leaked, you will be liable for any damages that result from that leak.
Anyways, I wouldn't ask for CC at signup because your business may come across as untrustworthy or a scam when asking for such data when the user is not buying anything at the moment.
Edit: Sorry my fault, somehow ignored the part of his message stating that he is using Stripe.
Even with recurring annual charges (e.g., DropBox), I like getting notification that I'm about to be charged. With new charges after a trial, it's even nicer because it's a reminder that this thing is about to start costing me money. Sometimes I sign up, try it, and then forgot about it (usually something I need occasionally like proXPN).
I'm in France and we're not well renowned for our startup scene, but you can still find something interesting if you look hard enough and build your skillset, either through more boring jobs or the open source "scene".
And if tomorrow I can't find any appealing job in France I'll just move to Germany, the UK or wherever.
The only thing that's stopping you is your fears, your skills and/or your ambitions.
I wish you the best of luck but please try to get a little perspective, there are millions of people who are trapped right now in countries at war.
And without looking for war-torn countries, us people in the IT crowd have it really easy in the job market compared to... well almost anybody else these days in Europe really, possibly with the exception of traders.
* Speak to someone. I know you feel like you're alone - but you're not. Find a local tech group and speak to the people there. If you're feeling really down, speak to a mental health professional. It's a great feeling to get something off your chest.
* Find a job in London - or any other UK city. You seem to have good written English and you're a European citizen so shouldn't have any visa issues.
* Start your own consultancy - either work for small local companies or use oDesk and bid for work.
* Take a "day job" and concentrate on your passions in your free time. Grinding away in a Java shop may be dull - but could provide you with enough cash to start an interesting side project.
* Finally, don't worry about starting small. My first job out of university was driving a truck and delivering PCs! A bit shitty, but it provided a springboard to all sorts of interesting work.
If you're interested in getting into the job market there's plenty of tech companies in London who are willing to hire people straight out of university. It might be easier to get into big companies (as they're more willing to provide training and pay for flights, hotels, etc. to bring you over for interviews) than smaller startups though.
As most of the people already said: i feel your pain. There are MANY good advices on here and others have already highlighted most of the options you have. I passed (actually, not yet completely) thru a similar situation. When i was your age, i was completely crushed and just said "fuck you" to everything and left for seeking opportunities and a break abroad. It was a mistake. What really happened was that i was out of control and while i found some opportunities, in the mid-term they were just a waste of time and added very little value to my life in terms of knowledge and new opportunities.
1) Leaving Italy and work abroad can be rewarding BUT you need to do it at the right time. First: you need to be REALLY GOOD and competitive in programming. Master your tools and (IMHO) it is very unlikely that you are at the required level right now.
2) Mastering tools does NOT mean to learn how to use Angular or learn about the latest framework. Languages, frameworks and libraries are an implementation detail. To master your tools, you need to be a lot better than that (or you'll just become a coding monkey). Therefore, stick to your university, focus on patterns and learn real coding best practices.
3) Get out of your room. Start to attend to User Groups in your city. Choose something you like (for example, if you are in Milan, i highly recommend you to join us at the PHP User Group or at the Extreme programming user group). You will meet quite-above-average passionate programmers. You will also have the chance to meet inspiring companies that won't think twice hiring you if you put the right amount of effort and are passionate about programming. University IS important, but if you feel crushed and unrewarded by it, consider taking it "easier" and start looking for the right working opportunity. This is the thing that changed completely my life.
4) Don't be afraid to say "F-ck you". Most of the people out there IS just so mediocre, it is a fact. Avoid them, both on the professional and personal levels. Avoid close-to-slavery jobs proposals. Avoid compromises, understand that every time you waste a minute with any of these mediocre situations, you have a minute less to spend on what you like and with whom you love. They don't deserve it. You are a lot better than that.
5) It is true that you are not alone. The vibrant and exciting community is just hidden. There are AMAZING programmers in Italy, i'll be happy to introduce some to you :)
6) Understand that in this moment of your life (if i correctly intended your call for help), you need to recover balance. Balance is the starting point for building great things.
Those are just few advices, but they are the core that allowed me to revolutionize for the best my life in the last 6 months. My goal is to give you some very practical and achievable advices. I hope that my feedback somehow helped. If you feel like getting in touch, just write me :) Keep up and be amazing! We live life only once, there's no time for this kind of bad feelings.
But you are not trapped... You are what? 23? With a EU Visa. At this age you can take 1 year off and go to a place, any place, that you like and start from there.
Finally, do you actually have a github? If you are studying 10 hrs a day to be "third in your final year", then that's why you are trapped. You are trapped in that terrible Italian way of thinking that grades are all that matters. Get lower grades and go build stuff, get a job, even a "normal" job like a waiter will teach you a lot.
I think what you're struggling with is more of a mentality thing. I used to think I was trapped like you (but then took a macbook to the knee ;-)), but figured out there were a few things I could do about it:
- Complain about it (i.e. stating the obvious) which would not solve my situation.
- Move to the states to found the company there, which would not solve the situation for future generations.
- Try to deal with it somehow, and try to contribute our little share in the hopes of cultivating a local tech industry.
We chose the latter, because we're the adventurous type I guess and would love to see NL get on the map when it comes to tech startups. Even though this arguably has made things a lot harder for us than they needed to be, we learned a lot by doing it this way. The absence of like-minded people was especially hard for us: startups tend to take a lot of time to set up and can be pretty lonely if you don't have people around you that are going through similar stuff as you are. We eventually found a precious few of them in Amsterdam, with whom we regularly have coffee with up till this very day. Now, Italy is a lot larger than the Netherlands so I suspect there are more startups there as well; you just need to find them, perhaps this post will contribute in finding them.
Unless you're on an applied university, from my experience, programming isn't really taught at CS at university level. Instead, the focus is put more teaching you "a way of thinking" and it assumes that you'll pick up things like programming in languages like Python/Ruby, and learn about REST on your own time.
I believe you might have enrolled into university with the wrong set of expectations: during my entire CS curriculum, I've only had 2 programming courses, but they were focussed more on the paradigms than elaborating syntax; the latter things were assumed trivial and had to be figured out on your own time.
It's easy to get caught up in things that an "environment" is doing wrong, and to lose sight in what it does right. Personally, I can't imagine living somewhere else at this moment in my life than the Netherlands for example, where we have pretty good healthcare, affordable universities, and so forth. If you're unable to come up with a list like this, then it might indeed be a good idea to consider moving to another country for a little while and see if the grass is indeed greener on the other side. Shouldn't be too hard as an EU citizen right? :)
I moved from California to Dublin and the startup scene is really good here. You have options.
I've come to a conclusion that it's because of Hacker News, the more you see HN, the more you get worried by watching a lot of start-ups growing in front of you, and you can't do nothing but press an upvote button, applauding their success.
What you need to do is close HN and minimize the time you spend on it, instead work on something, start small and don't get depressed easily.
The stories you see on HN are months hard work, they also feel same time and again, but they don't lose hope.
I know my comment is bit harsh and not sympathetic, but IMHO right now you don't need sympathy instead you need motivation.
Work Hard! Good Luck.
I don't know which university you're attending but it's highly likely they're teaching you either useless stuff or useful stuff in a very superficial manner (which will be nowhere near enough for passing a technical interview in the U.S., for example).
As somebody else has already said, one of the best things you can do is to get (very) good at programming. There's a lot of material available on the web for studying on your own and practicing your skills: TopCoder and HackerRank are the first two websites that come to mind. Study hard and practice there, some of the problems you find on those websites are very close to the ones people will ask you during technical interviews. You'll need to be quick and accurate in an interview, so be sure to understand why a certain algorithm/data structure works for a given problem. It's hard and it requires a lot of time, but since you're a student time is on your side (trust me, when you'll be working time will be your most valuable resource).
As a final note, it may be hard to believe but there are some nice programming jobs here: you just have to look very hard to find them. Don't settle for the first job offer you get: I know the market is pretty bad here at this moment but still, unless you really (and I do mean really) need the money, keep looking and most important of all, keep practicing. Experience pays off.
You can find some of my contact info on my profile, let me know if you have some questions.
So I was definitely over-worried.I learned a lot today and was something that I was not expecting at all.
First I would say to everyone that criticized my post: THANKS. Really thank you, because you made me feel better.
I read every comment here and got some useful advices. Also I talked in private with some great people and received lots of emails with great advices.
I really didn't know about the European Startup scene. Lots of people suggested that I should move to London or Berlin. Thing is the internet and web startups are mainly US based that's my kind of trap that I felt.
So, no, you are not "trapped" as far as I know (based on what you say).
To add a little perspective: there are people in countries at war. And people living in countries where the government doesn't allow them to leave. Haven't you seen the pull request comment everybody was talking about yesterday? (somebody answering a pull request telling he won't be able to work on it because of an ongoing revolution in his country).
I myself live in a country where I can't buy dollars without a special government permission (try to leave the country without any cash...). I can't even buy stuff on the internet without having to sign an affidavit each time, and I'm only allowed do that 2 times a year. That is much closer to be "trapped", and even here, I was able to find a really nice job where I can work on AI, python, and other nice things.
Go to London or Berlin or something. There are tons of Italians in both places working in tech.
Where do you live in Italy? There are good companies here and there if you look hard.
Say hi if you're ever near Padova, where I live. Offer goes for anyone on HN, for that matter.
Definitely apply for a job in the U.K. It's like the U.S., only smaller, nearer, and entirely straightforward for an Italian to get a job here (I assume you are Italian living in Italy. Otherwise, maybe its no easier).
Also, don't despair! You've got plenty of time. If you get a good job that is too easy, then focus on enjoying your passions, then finding ways to get paid for them.
English university: I wouldn't bother. If you've got a degree that's enough. Getting more coding experience and knowing what you're interested in will make a master's more interesting and useful if you do decide to get one.
I did it for me, for my job, for my family and my future. And I'm doing good (I'm a software dev in a financial company) and I really feel all these efforts were worth it.
I've learnt a lot of things and still learning, but most of all... I'm happy to have left my country to its decline and contribute with my best to UK, which is giving me the opportunity of a better living. I only live once, I can't afford to fix Italy.
I think Italy is still a little treasure chest.... but it's living in the past. My suggestion is to move away as soon as you graduate (or even now if you wish) and go to some other country like Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands or UK. I'm sure you'll be fine.
Because: if you are good, people will fight to work with you. So be good.
Then, if you dislike your job, just stash some money and quit. Your savings will easily carry you for the few months you might need to find a really interesting job.
* * *
To sum up:
- You "love programming", so you should enjoy doing it for a living, as long as the project is interesting
- There are lots of interesting projects out there
- Regardless of whether the project is interesting, you will be well-paid
So my advice is: be well-paid for a while, and if you are not interested in the project, just quit. There is plenty of other fish in the sea.
I've also got some experience under my belt that proves to me that, if you want to do something meaningful, you have to start it yourself, otherwise there's a strong poossibility that you'll get trapped in one of the "drone" jobs you mentioned.
But you have another option, that's been mentioned here. There's more world outside of the US. You can start applying to great companies doing cool stuff in the EU (Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Paypal, etc) and you can even get a job now that allows you to build the skills you need to work on one of these companies in a year, if you don't have them already.
The only thing that seems to stand in your way, apparently, is your anxiety about an eventual lack of options, which is understandable.
But you do have options. Actually, being "in computers", you have more options than 90% of the workforce, as there's demand for your skills.
So, just trust yourself, give it a (serious) try.
Start working on getting out, or starting something of your own. Otherwise, I agree that you risk wasting a lot of time and emotional health on a dead end job.
If you look through my history you'll be able to find a blog post that tells the story. I'm more than willing to tell you more if you want and maybe hook you up for an internship.
Just keep pushing for what you want, whatever it takes, keep pushing.
When I was 15, I was working on a supermarket in Buenos Aires, Argentina in one of the worst and most violent neighbourhoods. I worked there until I was 20. I had a very hard time going from college to work every day, and then to work even more hours and going at night to the university. Working on computers was what I loved and it was impossible there and I felt exactly like you, or worse, with a very deep depression. Fortunately, my parents are Italian and I have an Italian passport, so I moved to Spain (I don't speak much italian) with 2000 euros in my pocket and without any friend/family there. I was 21 Years old and left behind everything I had. After 6 months in Madrid I had new and good friends, a job in at an internet company that I liked a lot, rented my own flat, approved the exams for the university, and a even had girlfriend I still have today.
I used to go to the university during the day, then to sleep 6 horus then and work from 23pm to 7am every day. Now I'm 31 years old, I live in London, work for one of the most important tech companies in the world, earn a lot of money and I don't even put an alarm clock in the morning.I've been very lucky so far too.
Every year I go back to see my family and friends in Buenos Aires. I miss them a LOT. But heck, that's sacrifice you have to do and every time I go there I'm even more proud of the choices I did, the most important ones of my life and I think I did the best thing I could have done.
How much do you want it? Keep pushing until you get what you want.
I refused hundreds of Job offers from Italy (even with a decent salary), to chase something abroad. Now I am happily working at one of the top tech companies, in Dublin.
I had a hard time at university. The italian university are broken, seriously, They focus on a lot of theory and zero to no practice.
My personal advice is, to believe in yourself, develop yourself, study new technologies and skills required by the market, find your perfect 'career' path. You won't find hard finding a really good job in Europe or USA if you have the right skills.
P.S. don't accept ANY of the Italian initial offers, look outside, practice with spoken English and send Resum's abroad (Don't be scared about the big companies, they need you more than everybody else, and they are hiring like crazy.)
Don't start working in Italy in a typical "consultancy" job, or you will be stuck forever with a low-wage low-experience job.
I started talking to people. I started using twitter and IRC and telling people I have no idea about what to do but I want to do a lot. Who would care really, right?
Wrong. Open source is not just code put there on Github for everyone to see.
Open source is a philosophy & community. In particular for me, the Python community stepped up big time.
Bad college? Come to India, we have factories which churn out hundreds and thousands of 'engineers' every year.
Its been 6 months since the post. I'm no awesome programmer, but I can find my way around. I can read 2 Scoops of Django and Pro Django and I'm starting to understand what they're saying. I can code in Python fluently. Good/bad, all subjective. I can build things and I'm happy.
Its not a one time thing. I'm on IRC a few times a week on the Django, scikit-learn and now AngularJS community. I've spoken to crazy programmers and padawans just like you and me.
Get out there, not here. Spend time building.
PS - I'm self taught in machine learning which I was recently making a living off of. On sabbatical now and programming web and mobile when I'm not studying my ML stuff. Re-read, self taught. Its possible! :)
PS 2 - I don't like Java either. But the people I'm collaborating with for ML projects, despite my Python ML experience, want Java. So what do I do? I'm learning AngularJS right now, how do I pick up Java 7/8 after last touching Java 5 in '10 as a student in above mentioned factory?I pick up a book, an open source project and the docs. I learn. Build. And break. It happens.
PS 3 - I'm working on Django REST and AngularJS integration. Thought it would be straightforward, maybe it is, wasn't for me. Let's not fret. Get on IRC, a book, Github open source and play!
-- Cheers from someone who gets ya.I emphasise, I would be nowhere without the people of the community who have taken out time to show me the way.
I'm on twitter, same handle and my email is in my profile. I'm no genius, just a 25yo who knows I haven't seen anything in life yet and am no longer scared of boxes/walls (not that they're easy to overcome, I just don't fret anymore).
- send your resum to uk/ireland/switzerland to get a good paying job where you can sharpen your skills (it's easy to relocate inside Europe)
- start your own business if you're living at your parents AND if you feel like you can be an entrepreneur... focus on international users (so you can host your company somewhere else easily later). It's only risky to start a business if you have something to lose. If you're living at your parents', there's basically no risk.
- get a job, save AS MUCH money as possible, learn as much as you can. Do it for 1 or 2 years, then leave to a sunny paradise (in asia?) where you may want to become an entrepreneur.
But do yourself a favor: don't expect others to be your only chance. YOU are your only chance.
If you are interested check our or jobs page http://busuu.com/jobs or email me on email@example.com mentioning HN so I know its you
Good luck with the future you are only getting started!
It sums up in a few steps:
1. Save some money for at least two months of surviving (not living large.. surviving).2. Pick a city among London, Edinburgh, or Amsterdam.Find a cheap place to sleep & eat.3. Book a ticket.4. Pack your bag.5. Move.6. Apply to any job in your field. Do start with internships or entry level jobs.7. Get better at the craft.8. Repeat from step 6, optionally step 2, till you are content.
In short, it's all up to you, so just do it. Seriously.
You are young and in a field wide open. You live in a first world country surrounded by more first world countries. Today is so easy to emigrate that it's ridiculous.By the way, you'll find out that the grass on the other side is not that green.. but that's something that will take time.
I'd like to add two more controversial opinions:
. It's really hard to be an expat. No matter where you're from and which country you go.
. Forget the USA for now. Is not what it used to be, and this coming from someone who went to the US, and is now an American. Go to England or the Netherlands. Germany is good too!
There is a ton of work in the UK at the moment, not just in London but also up in Manchester and Leeds. Plenty of people will be happy to pay you a decent living wage if you can show you can work hard and know your stuff.
What I can tell you now that I've done what you dream to do: - You're not as stuck as you think you are (even without a visa). The startup scenes are more progressive in London, Berlin or Amsterdam, although not quite as much as in the SF Bay, of course. If I lost my right to be in the US, I would be amazingly disappointed, but I would simply go to one of these cities, and stop worrying about my country being far behind. I only realized this once my plan to get here was on track, so I stayed in Paris far too long, I'm afraid, but you don't have to make that mistake. - You have a decision to make about effort. Legally moving to SF with a job and legally moving to London with a job are both possible things, they just take a different amount of effort. For London, you'll have to make a little money first to make sure you can go from time to time to look for your next life, and to make the big move when the time comes. For the US, you'll have to make far more money first, come here 3 revenue-less months to look for a job, limit yourself to large companies (those that mind visas issues less), be overly patient with people who don't mind abusing your weakness, ... It took me 5 years to make it with this project, and I'm still one of the lucky ones; but I was willing to take a chance, and to keep fighting through the effort. - There's another road that is made possible by the European crisis; it's riskier, but faster: create your own startup. Work a Java dev job at the same time, but find an awesome startup idea, and work on it on your free time. Find time (and money) to come meet investors in SF (save money and time, and make sure you'll have interviews before coming). Investors in the US know that there are no serious investors in France or Italy these days, so they love to meet European entrepreneurs with nice startups, who are willing to move to SF. Once you're well-funded, getting a visa gets much easier.
Get in touch with me if you need help with anything else.
Sturgeon's Law: 90 Percent of Everything Is Crap. It's true in Italy, I'd imagine. It's also true in the Valley. For everyone founding an exciting startup, there are hundreds of cubicle drones at places like Oracle. Coming to the US and working in the Valley won't automatically make life amazing.
Anyway, the Valley is a really shitty place (suburban purgatory) to be unless (a) you attend Stanford or (b) you're a venture-funded founder or VC. Without (a) or (b) you're likely to find the same anonymous corporate grind you can find in small-town Pennsylvania (where I originally come from) or a conservative, risk-averse European city.
If you find a specific job in the US then, by all means, come over. But my advice in general would be to find something of quality in the EU; it's probably easier for you, right now, to do that than to find quality in the US. You're not "trapped" just because TechCrunch and Valleywag aren't interested in covering the companies in countries accessible to you (the whole EU, I believe). Anyway, most of those VC darling companies are awful places to work. You probably over-value the Valley startup scene because you read too much HN. Most of the startups in the U.S. (yes, even in the Valley) are also hellish, overly bureaucratic for their size, and dominated by conservative MBA culture.
If you end up in a job that's "bureaucratic" after college, fine. Learn what you can. Use it as an opportunity to learn about people and how they work together. Figure out why it sucks. Keep the technical skills sharp and continue getting better at solving problems. Expect it to take years before any of this pays off. That's how it is for most people in the real world.
Note: It doesn't mean you have to stay
You did say you're willing to do anything, right?
There are a lot of good suggestions on here and this is far from your best one ... but there are a lot of American women your age in Italy. You get an American girlfriend, marry her, that's an automatic path to US citizenship. Be genuine, obviously, and don't get involved with her just for this, but it would be a nice bonus for you if you did.
One of the problems is that you will find many of the 'enterprise' jobs that you feel will trap you are commonplace in a lots of countries - certainly here in the UK and I'm sure in America also. There are more jobs in startups in the USA but not so many as you might be hoping (even if you could get a VISA). My point is the grass is not always greener on the other side.
You may actually have more success and find what you are looking for in upcoming 'developing countries' such as Mexico if you are considering all locations.
Whatever happens best of luck and I hope you find a profession you are happy with.
Since you are a student, you may want to enroll in the Erasmus Programme  and use it as a stepping stone.
Also, I'm curious to know where you are in Italy. Does it make sense to move to bigger cities like Milano or Roma? You'll have a better chance to meet like-minded people in a bigger city (for instance, there is a Python meetup in Milano ). If this makes sense, you may use this a stepping stone before moving abroad. (bigger cities are also good to meet people from other countries living in Italy, as they may help you with contacts, etc)
 http://www.erasmusprogramme.com http://www.meetup.com/Python-Milano/events/160502642/
It might be worth talking to some good tech recruiters in London. Depends a bit on your background and how much of your university course you have left.
> I tried to look away, apply for a job/internship in the U.S. but the reason is always the same: visas are hell. I would do anything to get my way out.
Just a random suggestion, since you'd do anything to get out, but have you considered perhaps (I know it sounds really crazy, but hear me out) applying for jobs that aren't in US?
I ended up working in Denmark, but as far as I remember there where plenty of big corporates (like Google, IBM, Microsoft) in the network, looking for interns.
Other than that, you should definitely focus on networking, blogging, side projects/open source.
Try not to apply via the regular channels, go and find connection (i.e. actual employees) that can recommend you to recruiters
- Get into freelancing. It's gonna be hard, you won't get rich with it (at least in Italy) but it's much less stressful.
- Find some nice remote work on oDesk/Elance/whatever, possibly long term. I found a great client USA-based which I've been working with for the last 18 months, and it's still going well. Try to do some consulting work for a local company a few days per week to have a comfortable income. I was being paid 7/h as an employee, and 27/h as a consultant afterwards, in the exact same company)
- Make yourself necessary for the clients you're working with.
- Move. London's a great idea, it's more expensive than Italy but not so much as one would think (compared to Milan for example). You however _need_ to be fluent in English, if you don't want to work as a waiter as many Italians here do.
I hope this helps a bit. PM me if you wanna talk about it.
Good news: You sound like a great fit as an interview passer for any large tech company in the United States.
Apart from English University, think also about coming to study in Denmark, in particular where I'm studying now, at DTU (Technical University of Denmark).
Here the Startup scene is very vibrant and the University itself is very keen on the entreprenurial scene, with a lot of possibilities for student that want to open their own companies.
On the other side, the lectures are very practical, so you could apply your bachelor background in more close-to-real-life projects. You'll also work quite often in groups, as in a real job, and the bureaucracy does not exists. You call the teachers by name, they answer emails (!), you know the date of the exam since the beginning of the semester, and you have a variety of courses you can choose from, creating your own personalized study plan.
Aaand, student jobs are quite easy to get here for Computer Science students, and the wages are quite good, even comparing them with the high cost of living.
Think about it ;)
You can now live and exist on the Internet entirely.
Start a company (register in HK or somewhere where tax isn't a bitch), hire grads like yourself. Create a community.
You may never become a billionaire with a fad product, but I personally think that bootstrapped tech firms that grow normally are the better firms (37signals and that ilk).
Besides, if its always 27 degrees and you've got some exotic location (near a beach), other Europeans will be drawn to your company and you'll end up hiring the best from Berlin and London (both of which have shitty winters).
I know what it means to feel isolated, but as you noticed you are only isolated "locally", online you can find plenty of like-minded people. Keep applying in the US if you wish, but you should know we have a lot of opportunities here in Europe as well.
I have no concrete lead for you, my professional network in Germany is limited and the companies I know require some knowledge of German, but feel free to contact me on twitter, would love to have a chat (username is the same as here).
There are so many countries except the obvious one with a growing startup scene.
- Scandinavia in general.- Estonia is one of the european country with the biggest number of startup.- UK is easy to access, Germany too.
Visas for the US are hard to get that's true. You are not even working yet, give you some time, learn more, build a network, contribute, and you will get noticed (and get away from your "hell").
Besides, university is not about getting ready for a job: it's about learning how to learn.
You can too!
Hope that this will help...
I object to labeling "Tweaking our storage configuration a bit" as "details", though. ;)
Once I get a break I'll write a blog post about it, and try the Matasano/Square and Stripe CTFs :)
Dr. Racket is pretty darn good, and racket is a reasonable language. Plus, I think someone over there is still chipping away at http://www.pyret.org/
I don't know how old your son is, but I think he'd be better served by learning something relevant and extensible, than some custom language intended to him from scary programming. The Python and editor idea was good, though it doesn't necessarily have to be Python.
He's got you there so if he wanders into some "dark corner" of the language it's not like he's screwed and without help. That was my major impediment to learning programming as a child, not having someone there to explain things. I was 6 years old and got stuck on the concept of an array and my progress ground a halt. Later on I found a friend who could explain harder things like structs and enums and this made programming much easier.
So, just show him tools and be there when he has questions is my best advice.
We also did something similar, except it is all visual programming (I know you said you are not interested in visual).. Its called GamePress (http://www.gamepressapp.com), free iPad app check it out :)
It's almost compatible with QB, but it lacks some of the debugging facilities.
My favorite feature was stop-edit-and-continue. I still miss it, but its very difficult to implement in a compiled language.
it has a great toolchain, built-in IDE, and supports many, many platforms (Desktop, iOS, android, HTML5, others). The syntax is more modern, and is being used in many commercial games.
Always great to hear from other Sao Paulo-based people on here. Hit me up @ Ben@4vets.com.br
Really fancy! :)
With the corporate job, you'll have the tile software engineer and you get as good as you want. Once you move on you'll have a lot more jobs to move on to.
It's a sad reality that if you stay small company for a lot of your early career you tend to stay small company for the rest. That's a generalization but it's not far from the truth.
With the corporate job, lets say you are talking about IBM Global Services or Accenture, you'll have the opportunity to apply to interesting roles across Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500 companies without them blinking since you come from a known and reputable place. If you want to go work small company after that, then no harm done, you still can.
Adam Gopnik about Albert Bregman, professor at McGill University, on http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/01/28/130128fa_fact_...
It's not like this is a life or death decision. If you don't enjoy the job down the road you can quit and go do tech support for thousands of other companies. Thousands of other companies will not hire you and teach you to become a Software Engineer. When I hire developers, unless they're interns, I hire them because they already are Software Engineers.
It's also obviously a question of culture. Which would you thrive in?
Me personally? I'm not sure what you mean by product support, but if you mean something like help desk/tech support for a product they make then I can't go that route. I've done it before and I was absolutely miserable.
Between the two choices you gave I'd have to choose the corporate firm and learn java even though I'd probably be more interested at the startup in a different position.
P.S. I worked at a consultant software firm and it was the worst. I pretty much worked by myself going to clients then coming back. No team atmosphere to spread knowledge and challenges with.
It runs on Debian with ruby/rails, java, postgresql and some system tools.
I also do some work on a SAAS to build wireless hotspot systems. I don't own anything of it, but is an interesting field once you hit scalability problems. We use all kinds of technology but the core components would be linux/freebsd, freeradius, postgresql and ruby.
http://rotaville.com/ - employee scheduling, rosters, rota management
http://Big.first.name/ - print awesome name badges for your event
These apps are built on a mixture of technologies including Rails, postgresql and backbone.js
Backend is Nginx, Java, and C++.
Backbone, Ruby, MongoDB, ElasticSearch, Redis. Everything lives in EC2
I think my front-end is pretty standard: jQuery, jQuery UI, jQuery Transit, qTip2, Backbone, Backbone Marionette, Lo-Dash, Jasmine.
Back-end is all Microsoft-land because I was more comfortable building it in C#. NHibernate (ORM), AutoFac (Dependency Injection), AutoMapper (DTO<->Domain object mapper), NUnit (Test). Database is MSSQL. It's hosted by AppHarbor: https://appharbor.com/
Our stack includes Rails+Postgresql+Delayed jobs+Pusher
Two things that fit the "passive" mentality that have been picking up steam recently:
1) I offer an affiliate program with a revenue share commission (upfront bonus plus 10% of the referred customer's payments for a year). A couple of my best customers have become my best affiliates, recommending the product on industry blogs they write for regularly. It doesn't get better than having excited customers marketing your product for you. In the early days the affiliate program wasn't doing much at all, now it's a meaningful contributor to subscriber growth.
2) I've been running Improvely long enough now (just over a year) that some of the clients are growing their businesses significantly. I've got quite a few marketing agencies on board, and they're picking up new clients and adding them to their accounts. As their business grows, and their usage grows, they upgrade to plans with higher usage limits. Same customer base, higher revenue per customer. In the beginning, a new customer was worth $30ish per month. Today that's over $70/m per customer on average.
You can also save routes and display them later. I use google adsense on my website and also on youtube. I have been averaging about $600 per month in revenue. Now that I have done this update (which took a few months), I suspect that my adsense income is going to increase dramatically. If you want to learn more about my project, here is the landing page:
I'm 53 now and I've been a software contractor for the past 17 years. Because of the economy and my age, I was having an increasingly difficult time getting contracts. It's hard to compete with young programmers who can work a lot faster than you and at a much cheaper rate. So I decided it was time to step out on my own. It has been very challenging, a little frightening (ok, a lot frightening), but I am making slow progress.
Today, I was very happy to find out that my project was nominated for "Project of the Month" on Sourceforge. It's been downloaded about 8000 times in the past 4 days and has gotten 24 5-star reviews. If you have an account with Sourceforge and have the time to look at my project, would you please vote for me if you feel it's worth it?
Thank you. I appreciate the help and let me know if you have any questions.
1) oScope an oscilloscope in your pocket. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/oscope/id344345859?mt=8
2) Octave a real-time audio analyzer. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/octave-an-rta-for-the-iphone...
3) Fourier a spectrum analyzer. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fourier/id386084557?mt=8
I built all of these for fun in college, and I've occasionally updated them afterwards. The only thing I do now is answer a few emails a week.I've since gone back to grad school, but the yearly income has not changed, and approaches my stipend (low 5-digit).
What's been really neat is how people have found unexpected ways to use the apps. Sound engineers for halls and communities use Octave to set up the sound for concerts. Teachers use oScope to help kids understand how sound is composed of moving pressure waves of air, and how pitch is the frequency of these waves. Also, oScope had a tiny cameo in the show Homeland, as a "fancy science-looking analyzer tool for spying on people" (uncredited, unfortunately).
Between 2010 and 2012 or so I picked up some condos here in San Diego at short sale for about 1/3 of what their price was a few years earlier. I get about 1.5% of their purchase price every month in rent. At the same time, the property values have appreciated so the rents are starting to increase as well.
The longest I've had any of them vacant was about two weeks and that was only during the time I was replacing carpet, appliances, furnace, painting walls, fixing stuff, etc.
To make it completely passive I have a property manager (I live in the area, but I value my time). That along with HOA fees and real estate taxes eat into my bottom line, but combined it's only about 1/5 of the monthly rent.
These properties allowed me to quit my job, self-fund my company, and I'm actually putting money away every month. Go figure.
I'm not a real estate expert, but if you have any basic questions feel free to get in touch (contact info is in my profile). As background, I bought my first house at 21 and owned 5 homes by the time I was 27 (I'm 29 now). I was in the military until a few months ago, so I didn't make a whole lot, but I'm pretty good with money and invested wisely. I didn't grow up with much, so I learned what not to do with money. I'm also pretty deliberate about how I spend my money, which is different than being frugal.
http://srctree.net - A pastebin with version controlhttp://blocksim.net - A poor man's online simulink-like thingy
I am aware that there is a _lot_ of room for improvement in both services, but the fact that nobody uses it at all is not very motivational.
Edit: ROI could be improved a bit on this too since I intentionally bought hardware that was good to experiment with rather than optimizing ROI.
It's mostly passive income as I spend no more than a few hours per week actually working on the site. Though I spend considerably more monitoring the stats and feeds etc etc
My biggest win with this site is the extremely low cost to run it - something I want to talk about more if anyone's interested. My only real regular cost is the domain name! Pretty phenomenal for a site that continues to attract thousands of visitors per day :) a model I'm proud of and hopefully can continue!
But of course, all standing on the shoulders of giants! Many thanks has to go to far more talented people than me... both for the site's foundations and it's popularity.
Flagship stores - I went around taking pictures of the best of the best stores for the top retail brands in London and made a directory. Created page on Blogger.
Ecommerce business is my best passive income. It's a physical product I really wanted so I made it. It's a map of London but made in the historic style. http://www.wellingtonstravel.com
I still need to spend time on it because I am customer service, legal, accounting, finance, marketing, IT, R&D, and operations. I have outsourced manufacturing and fulfillment to someone I found on https://sortedlocal.com/ and Amazon's FBA. It's great because it's more money and something I'm passionate about but it definitely takes 5-7 hours a week.
The teaching one is interesting in particular because it leverages your strengths, improves your communication, and is probably something you really enjoy since you took the time to get good at it (i.e. sailing, swimming, kettlebell workouts, or even English). I wrote a post about teaching English (http://www.taigeair.com/websites-to-help-you-teach-english-o...) for people who complained they couldn't find a job so did nothing all day, but they could be teaching a special skill which is what I did when I became unemployed. I learned code, created a few websites, interviewed, and taught swimming.
And rental income is good but definitely, not very passive...
Lastly, I'm developing a really cool website for helping people sleep which I can see being profitable.
I'd like to hear how much time you spent or are spending on these side projects. Also I heard babies are a time and money sink. So I'd be interested in hearing about people doing side projects/passive income with kids.
I wrote it, released it, then to my surprise, it got a pretty massive amount of downloads. Over the years, I've updated it to new versions of the OS, but very minimal work.
Not a lot of money, but it wasn't a whole lot of effort either. It covers the internet bill.
It blows my mind that people still find out about this app and happily buy it every day even though it occupies such a small geeky niche.
- I agree with cdaven. Good content is better than SEO, but you only take the fruits 1-2 years later. Use your expertise. It is much easier/faster/more rewarding if you blog about something you are an expert.
- Adsense is ugly but is the fastest way to monetise a blog. I was making 15/month before adsense and now I have slightly less traffic. Text ads or images ads? If you have an text intensive blog go for image ads and for an image intensive blog go for text ads.
I added adds from multiple sources (mopub, admob etc) and in app purchases.
For the paid app: In the top months (2 years ago) I made around 800 euro. But it dropped to 90 euro per month currently.For in app purchases: I am making 30 euro per month currently.For ads: Making about 200 euro per month currently.
The amount of work I've actually had to do was really quite little. I had to do initial development, and then fix some bugs. Then, it just sat there and brought in $5-20 a day. Eventually AT&T patched the original exploit I used for root access so I had to do research and development to find a new one and implement it, which took about 2 weeks or so. And since then, it's just been sitting there bringing in bits of money. I plan on adding some often requested features over the next month though
Also, I provided the app only for convenience. The information on how to root the modem for free is published freely on my blog, I just provide the app because I know that the steps required are too complicated for many people
Internet yellow pages, www.ablocal.com, doing quite well. Can't disclose metrics, but it makes more than you probably would guess.
Domain sales - again can't disclose specifics, but in the $xx,xxx range this year from domains. Not a huge portfolio, but some good ones.
And we just launched Gold Plugins (last Friday), a membership club for our premium WordPress plugins. Hoping it will become a good vehicle, although we do pride ourselves on awesome support, so not that passive. Previously, we were selling these plugins separately, for about $1k/month. No stats on the membership system yet.
Gold Plugins: http://goldplugins.com/
I have some others, but nothing that's making enough money to be interesting! I'll add more if I think of them; we have a bunch of random properties.
It is "passive" in the sense that I respond to the occasional e-mail (once a month), update the data once a year, and add another calculator when I feel like it.
A few years back, I was in the same position with another (online casual gaming) website, that I sold for 2.5x the yearly revenue. Looking back, I should probably have kept that site as well.
Pro tip: quality content beats SEO in the long run. Be the tortoise.
It's making a bit over $1,000 in monthly ad revenue. Traffic is at ~3k dailies.
I did this as a weekend project 2 years ago, and at some point migrated my blog to it to pick up DomainRank. Other than that I've mostly left it alone.
As always with my products - marketing and getting more people to see them is always a big problem. Once they use them, customers like them - it's getting them to the site to even see them.
I'm in the process of re-writing mySimpleAds and adding in a bunch of stuff, but I don't know if it will still be stuck in neutral and not bring in the folks. I'll also plan to write more products, figuring maybe that will bring people in.
As I am more a dog person, I decided one year (and about 1000) later to open http://doggifpage.com. It increased a bit my incomes but not so much. As you may know, the Internet loves cats, cats and cats!In 2013, I earned almost 4000 for about 10 fun hours of gif gathering!
I have some plans for 2014 but I want to keep this project fun and certainly not time-consuming.
I've been making extra cash lately by running bandit algorithms to optimize the click through rate, basically choosing the optimal call to action. I've got a wordpress plugin which does that automatically which I've just made public:
I'd say my time - which was evenings after work - investment was around 3-4 days initially and then fulfilling orders is simply writing a customers address and posting the stickers - which if the demand was bigger I'd probably outsource.
It's been great. I've learnt a shit tonne & the conversations it started has given me an idea for a similar product which I'll be focusing on very soon!
I'm currently working on an app that is aimed at kids that should encourage them to write more and be creative. Hoping to get more traction with that.
2) Helping my artistic friends selling their products. If you want to sell designer products, you can sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dmyfzRwBbpcKAyRplHs0i2RMqsC...
The books themselves: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=digita...
Its hosted on github, and costs $8/yr for the domain name.
I paid a designer to completely redo the interface, but then iOS 7 happened. Lost a lot of customers with the transition, because I had to throw away the new design and start again.
I built this out of my passion for comedy and because I wanted to have only comedy videos in one place and not the mix that Youtube offers. It's not making any money yet, but I haven't put much effort into promoting it so far.
In a few months I'll be able to buy myself a coffee! =)
I built this in 2011 to learn app development (its a webapp built using PhoneGap). Took about a month of evening/weekend work to push out, and most of that time was consumed by collecting and creating interesting puzzles. It was featured on Google Play's Top Paid Educational Games leaderboard for a while, and that contributed to a spike in income. That apart, I haven't done/don't know of any viable means to promote it.
I'm now working on several iOS (http://james.brooks.so/contare-my-first-ios-app/) applications (paid) however I do intend to offer free versions with iAds.
I've also got an Android app on the Play Store that's made me a few quid; https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jbrooksuk....
Apart from my iOS applications now, I intend to develop some SaaS apps that I can use to generate some more income.
I made it to learn Android development. It took me total of 5 days: 2 days to learn basic android stuff then next two days to develop this app and on last day creating dev account and publishing on Android store.
After publishing I forgot the password of signing key I used, so I never updated this app except for a description change. Initially there was almost no revenue but it increased over the time as the download count increased. After two year(of publishing), it is giving me around $70/per month through ads (admob).
Gotten hugely popular in Norway. Released a revamped iOS 7 version to the US last week (?). Things are going slow over there. Not even reached 1000 downloads.
Traffic always spike during 23:00 - 03:00 when kids should be sleeping... 99% of users lurk and browse reddit/9gag/imgur some contribute (no account needed for browsing).
Link for the lazy:https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lolipop-funny-images-gifs/id...
It hasn't made me rich, but it usually sells about a copy a day. I love that it's entirely passive. I wrote it, published it, and it just sits there on my website making money.
It's also been a good way to build a list of people who would be interested in other things I make.
PS. Use coupon code "hn" for $2 off if you're interested.
One is an iOS text clipboard manager (with iCloud sync) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/copycopy-clipboard-manager/i...
The other one, for the lazy students in the italian market, is a database you can use also offline of recaps from books you study in school, with in app purchases..https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iriassunti-riassunti-di-ital...
They are both in the 4/5 star ratings
The structure is a tad special in that we have no fixed costs (apart from the hosting part).
Any feedback of course is appreciated - that's really niche, and we're wondering how to move forward when our product is that special.
Probably make 2-3 sales/yr which is always a nice surprise. It comes up first when you Google "escapianet php"
I also wrote a PHP book in 2007. I still get royalty cheques, although they've almost approached 0 - the last quarter was about $30 ;)
Most of my income now is from app sales.
We have a tor hidden service for anonymous submissions. We offer free service for whistleblowers, that want to stay anonymous (and can't pay us).
I have a bunch of cool stuff out there but my biggest weakness is marketing. I can never seem to drive enough targeted traffic to my projects.
We just launched our product Blogvio (http://www.blogvio.com) which is yet break even. Right now we're only partnering with platforms to white label our Editor and widgets, but we'll soon release a pricing plan for all users of the website.
Our 2008 marketplace Flabell (http://www.flabell.com) (flash products... I know) is still going strong, although we too think Flash is dead. People still buy those components, so we still provide support for them. We stopped advertising though a few years back. :-)
Same goes for our Flash Components on ActiveDen, these still sell a couple of hundreds every month. So it's still passive income after 6yrs+. :)
It used to bring in more, but some people wrote very negative reviews which were upvoted, so its sales dropped.
I don't feel too bad because many people who read it say it is unusually helpful and accessible.
http://www.thingsunder15.com and http://www.myfancysauce.com
Have to live in the U.S. and have good credit to do it, but Ive been at it for a few years now and havent paid for airfares or barely any lodging costs on almost all my travel. Working on an online class that teaches how to do it, looking to sell that for some real passive income.
1) I make a few bucks a month off my reddit client: http://www.ruddl.com - I pay $0 for hosting on Heroku so I'm more or less net positive.
2) I also make a few bucks off my blog in tips: http://jes.al/blog/
I'm working on ideas for a SaaS product or even a book to add to that list.
Not getting much passive income yet but I hope 2014 will be our year :-)
1) Yep, it's easiest to compile on Windows, I think. Not sure about Linux, but I recall that the projects were Visual Studio based.
2) I don't think you'll find replacements for the official data files. The easiest way to get hold of the official ones is to buy Quake 2 on Steam, which is instant, then download the data there. Alternatively it's also available to buy on Amazon, still.
There is a game based on Quake Arena called Urban Terror. It has a good community of modders that help others learn how to modify the game. If you do not have too much luck with Quake2, you could look into this as as well. Good luck hacking.
There are community-made data files, and these were called "total conversions" since all assets - models, textures, sound, maps - were original. You could go find those, but they often had original game code as well so you'd be effectively playing a different game at that point.
The best way I would get started is by trying something as simple as making my player move twice as fast as all the rest.
It sounds simple in theory, but it is complex and a great way to break things while getting your feet wet.
If you can read the code and understand what each piece does, it isn't very tough to make mods. If you find it confusing, coding weird things and watching it break is a good way to experiment.
- "You and your research" by Hamming, and his video lectures which expand on topics in the original talk:
- "On teaching mathematics" by V. I. Arnold:
- "Undergraduation" by Paul Graham
- "Learn and relearn your field", and many others in the same category, by Terrence Tao
- Steve Jobs Stanford commencement address:
- All articles on programming by Peter Norvig:
It's one of the most valuable skills you'll need to excel in a technical field, and when mentoring others its one of the most critical skills to impart.
Derek Sivers: http://sivers.org/below-average
The good ol' Raymond's How to Become a Hacker (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html) will teach you the Hacker attitude, which you can apply to anything. It doesn't matter whether you're a programmer or not, either way you'll benefit from it.
"1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
2. No problem should ever have to be solved twice.
3. Boredom and drudgery are evil.
4. Freedom is good.
5. Attitude is no substitute for competence."
A Handymans Toolbox (http://ninjasandrobots.com/a-handymans-toolbox) taught me not to always chase the hot new tech and be confident in my skills. It may be common sense, but it's also well written and straight to the point.
Lastly, the following posts are all about traveling and/or alternative lifestyles. They show different POVs, but are all equally inspirational.
It's not quite a blog post, but it's as close as one might have come in 1908.
I also like a whole host of articles from Matt Might's blog. I think my favorites are
12 resolutions for grad students
and Responding to peer review
One last essay that I have enjoyed, also too old to be a blog post, is W.M. Turski's "I was a computer". It's here on Elsevier but fortunately it looks to be open access.
"Could I be as good as them, if not better? Had I fulfilled my potential, or did I have more to give? Had I pushed my mind and body to the limit? If not, what were those limits? What stars was I capable of grabbing? Without giving it a shot I would never know. I never want to look back and say what if."
A brilliant article which lets you know that coding is hard cause it's hard not cause you are stupid and that something can be hard and fun at the same time.
I share this with every new coder I help out.
- Blueberry pancakes and battleships http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/05/blueberry-pa...
- This Is All Your App Is: a Collection of Tiny Details http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/05/this-is-all-your-ap...
- The Personality Layer http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2012/07/18/the-personal...
- Asking Questions beats Giving Advice http://insideintercom.io/asking-questions-versus-giving-advi...
- Reject the tyranny of being picked http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/03/reject-the-t...
- The World's Worst Boss http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/12/the-worlds-w...
Not inspirational in the strict sense, but it's amazing to see a paper written more than 20 years ago and still with so many applicable insights in terms of psychology in gaming and virtual worlds. I keep going back and re-reading every couple of years.
How to Make Wealth - http://paulgraham.com/wealth.htmlHow to Do What You Love - http://paulgraham.com/love.htmlInequality and Risk - http://paulgraham.com/inequality.html
and Paul Buchheit's
My startup path - http://paulbuchheit.blogspot.in/2007/03/my-startup-path.html(I have actually printed a hard copy of this and have it my wallet. This is what finally convinced me to join a startup.)
Obstacle is the way:http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/stoicismtoday/2013/11/26/the-obsta...
Made my life easier
pmarca's The Only Thing That Matters post:
Pretty much everything Steve Blank has written on Customer Development:
Mark Cuban on How To Get Rich:
Mark Cuban on Success & Motivation:
Jamie Zawinski's Groupware Bad post:
I find it fun for a TON of reasons. I'm learning a lot more about programming than I ever had in the past. This is the first time I've ever been super interested in absorbing material because it has a great impact upon me.
I get messages from people all around the world every day saying thanks for the work. That feeling is super rewarding -- more so than a paycheck. I've had to bust out Google Translator to try and decipher messages and hold conversations, had people tell me their dreams of getting to America or even something as simple as just being excited to talk to the developer. It's really great.
Finally, it solves a problem I was having and for that I am stoked! I went from having tons of bookmarks organizing music on YouTube to having a much more friendly interface for storing and listening to the music.
Python is just nice to code in, and I find it a lot easier to start a project in than C#, which is my day job.
The other thing I've been doing is getting into reverse engineering of embedded devices - http://blog.voltagex.org/bdplayer.html and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6997623
I also buy far, far too many tiny devices like Raspberry Pis and Cubieboards.
I think between experimenting with and reversing tiny linux-running devices (I'm looking at you, consumer router manufacturers) I'll find a new career direction, but at the moment it's a good challenge and a glorious time and money sink.
Also i'm cloning HN in Laravel. Most of the basics work but i've got nothing online to show yet. I find it fun because I like imaging how the structure of the site might affect the way people communicate and use it.
Also playing around with Flask and other APIs as well as building a blog in Django.
The site started out as a simple blog, but, being a lazy programmer, manually looking for deals got old quick; so I decided to automate as much as I possibly could. We are at the point were the site almost runs itself.
It has been a great excuse to try out new technology, keep my skills sharp, learn marketing, teach my son programming and what goes into running a website.
It's progressing steadily, and people seem to be responding positively to the first project, a tutorial about plotting geospatial data using matplotlib and Basemap: http://introtopython.org/visualization_earthquakes.html
The whole project is on github: https://github.com/ehmatthes/intro_programming
PS I just accidentally ended a 132-day github streak, mostly focused on this project. I stared watching a movie with my wife last night, and at the end of the movie I looked at the clock and realized I forgot to make a commit before 11pm. No matter, it was never about the streak anyway. :)
It is still in very active development - but the base is solidifying and the new test framework is starting to shape up nicely.
I have already started dog-fooding it in my other personal projects - the most visual of which can be seen here: http://jamielewis.me.uk/posts/2013-11-03-Mapping-Earthquakes...
easy embedded neo4j, via jruby!
It actually doesn't matter if your language is dynamically typed. Unit testing and functional tests are pretty big in the Java world, which gave birth to the JUnit framework family and Selenium, and many others. It's a matter of not allowing things that should be working a long time ago, ever breaking with any new commit.
I have been using HN and Reddit since long. And I really felt that this feature was lacking.
Raidz2 is not fast. In fact, it is slow. Also, it is less reliable than a two way mirror in most configurations, because recovering from a disk loss requires reading the entirety of every other disk, whereas recovering from loss in a mirror requires reading the entirety of one disk. The multiplication of the probabilities don't work out particularly well as you scale up in disk count (even taking into account that raidz2 tolerates a disk failure mid-recovery). And mirroring is much faster, since it can distribute seeks across multiple disks, something raidz2 cannot do. Raidz2 essentially synchronizes the spindles on all disks.
Raidz2 is more or less suitable for archival-style storage where you can't afford the space loss from mirroring. For example, I have an 11 disk raidz2 array in my home NAS, spread across two separate PCIe x8 8-port 6Gbps SAS/SATA cards, and don't usually see read or write speeds for files exceeding 200MB/sec. The drives individually are capable of over 100MB/sec - in a non-raidz2 setup, I'd be potentially seeing over 1GB/sec on reads of large contiguous files.
Personally I'm going to move to multiple 4-disk raid10 vdevs. I can afford the space loss, and the performance characteristics are much better.
 Scrub speeds are higher, but not really relevant to FS performance.
Instead of doing that, they probably dropped a bit more than a thousand dollars on a box, and are probably saving thousands in costs per year. This is money coming out of someone's pocket.
This site is here, and it's a charity, being provided free of cost, to you. Who cares if HN is down for a few hours? Seriously? Has anyone been hurt because of this, yet?
Add a flash memory based (SSD) ZIL or L2ARC or both to the box. That'll help improve read/write performance. I believe the ZIL (ZFS intent log) is used to cache during writes, and the L2ARC is used during reads.
You might want to look into disabling atime, so that the pool isn't wasting energy keeping access times on files up to date. Not sure if this is relevant with the architecture of HN or not. This can be done with
zfs set atime=off srv/ycombinator
I actually think you'll probably have a lot of fun with ZFS tuning, if that's the problem with news.yc. FreeBSD's page is pretty detailed: https://wiki.freebsd.org/ZFSTuningGuide
[the current release is pretty old: https://github.com/wting/hackernews]
Thanks for all you do!
Out of curiosity, do you have an idea about the source of the corruption problems?
just one random bit to try... Obviously, I have no insight into your system and I'm not saying I know more than you or anything, but I've been seeing more situations lately where I had massive latency but reasonable throughput and the disks mostly looked okay wrt. smart, and I mostly just wanted to write about it:
[lsc@mcgrigor ~]$ sudo iostat -x /dev/sda /dev/sdb /dev/sdc /dev/sddLinux 2.6.18-371.3.1.el5xen (mcgrigor.prgmr.com) 01/16/2014
avg-cpu: %user %nice %system %iowait %steal %idle
0.00 0.00 0.05 0.02 0.00 99.93
sda 0.70 75.11 35.66 1.38 4568.62 611.67 139.85 0.36 9.61 0.53 1.95
sdb 0.46 75.10 35.62 1.39 4566.77 611.67 139.89 0.22 5.89 0.45 1.66
sdc 0.80 75.14 35.63 1.35 4569.63 611.63 140.10 0.64 17.18 0.57 2.10
sdd 0.46 75.09 35.62 1.40 4566.60 611.63 139.87 0.13 3.47 0.40 1.49
(this is a new server built out of older disks that appears to have the problem. It's not so bad that I get significant iowait when idle, but if you try to do anything, you are in a world of hurt.)
Check out the await value. re-do the same command with a '1' after /dev/sdd and it will repeat every second. If sdd consistently has a much worse await, it is what is killing your RAID. Drop the drive from the raid. If performance is better, replace the drive. If performance is worse (and with raid z2, it should be worse if you killed the drive) the drive was fine.
(Of course you want to do the usual check with smart and the like before this)
The interesting part of this failure mode that I have seen is that /throughput/ isn't that much worse than healthy. You get reasonable speeds on your dd tests. but latency makes the whole thing unusable.
Hoping the box has ECC ram, otherwise zfs, too, can be unreliable (http://research.cs.wisc.edu/adsl/Publications/zfs-corruption...)
I'm sure other more experienced DTrace users can offer tips but I remember reading this book and learning a lot. And I believe all the referenced scripts were open source and available.
If someone does offer a new software architecture, and hosting, would people be open to move hackernews there?
Tell us in one or two sentences something about each founder that shows he or she is an "animal," in the sense described in How to Start a Startup.
Paul and Robert built the first SaaS company, Viaweb, which allowed users to build their own stores on the web. It became Yahoo Stores after its acquisition.
Jessica is an excellent writer, marketing whiz and is already working on the idea for our second major producta one-day version of our summer program in which a number of successful founders give talks to prospective hacker-founders. We think this will inspire even more of the kind of companies we like to invest in.
Trevor built a robot that duplicated the Segways functionality in a weekend using off-the-shelf parts.
Tell us in one or two sentences something about each founder that shows a high level of ability.
Trevor is working on the first self-balancing bipedal robot. Its almost ready.
Robert discovered buffer overflow, which helped bring the internet into the mainstream press.
Jessica managed a highly successful rebranding of the investment bank Adams Harkness as VP of marketing.
Paul is the author of On Lisp (1993) and ANSI Common Lisp (1995). (Have you ever tried programming in Lisp?)
For founders who are hackers: what cool things have you built?(Extra points for urls of demos or screenshots.)
Trevorhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EunicycleRobert and Paulhttp://ycombinator.com/viaweb/Paulhttp://www.paulgraham.com/arc.html
How long have you known one another and how did you meet?
Several years, mostly at school. [Ed. note: ???]
What is your company going to make?
A summer school for young, inexperienced hackers that are interested in starting a company but lack early-stage funding.
The founders will meet with us once a week for dinner, during which a speaker from the technology industry will answer questions and speak from hard-won experience.
If your project is software, what OS(es) and language(s) will you use, and why?
If you've already started working on it, how long have you been working and how many lines of code (if applicable) have you written?
A few monthsmost of the work has been planning the program, the code for the site is fairly simple.
If you have an online demo, what's the url? (Big extra points for this.)
How long will it take before you have a prototype? A beta? A version 1 you can charge for?
Once this application process concludes, the beta should be ready for launch.
How will you partition the work this summer; who will work on what?
All partners will help select companies and advise from past experience. Paul and Robert have more experience with investors and shepherding small companies through the necessary phases towards becoming big ones. Jessica has experience with marketing, branding, and working with large companies. Trevor is a hardware/software savant and is running a growing company of his own.
If you already have a business plan, what's the url? (Don't send us your business plan. Put it on a server and tell us the url. Ascii text preferred. Don't password protect it.)
How will you make money? Who will your customers be, how many are there, and how will they hear about you?
Our basic assumption is that young founders can succeed in building startups with good advising and seed capital. Given our average investment is $18k for 6% of 8 companies, just once company has to be worth $2.4 million for us to break even.
Well advertise in the computer science departments of prominent universities (e.g. Harvard, MIT) to recruit hackers who are looking for an alternative summer job to working at a big company.
Will you do price discrimination?
Well give slightly more money to larger groups, although we suppose thats investment discrimination.
Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear most?
Obvious investment-side competitors are early-stage VC firms, who have more money and the trappings of success. Were banking on them ignoring our target group of early founders.
The competitors were really afraid of are competitors for these hackers time and attention. Fast-growing tech companies, graduate school, and even cushy jobs at big companies might have more superficial appeal. We need to make sure the most promising companies follow through on their potential.
Who will lose most if you succeed? (This need not be a competitor; TV networks have been hurt by email.)
Likely those very same competitors for our founders attention. Google and graduate CS programs might lose some great hackers, although we think in the long run theyll do better if younger programmers see the potential to start companies. The big losers will be the R&D/quant trading/IT/etc. departments at ossified giant companiestheyll lose the kind of brilliant people they use to bury in back offices.
Which companies, in order, are most likely to buy you?
What do you know about your business that other companies in it just don't get?
Young, inexperienced founders can start massively successful companies. They dont need much money or trainingjust seed capital and a push in the right direction.
What's new about what you're doing?
Our focus on such early-stage companies and our plan to invest and work with these companies in batches are both quite novel. Most funds operate asynchronously and make much larger investments in much later-stage companies.
Why would it be hard for someone else to duplicate?
We have experience in starting companies from the ground up and insight into what matters (people, making something people want, thriftiness) and what doesnt (market size, the initial idea, professionalism, having an office, etc.)
Have you made any discoveries you consider patentable?
We think we move fast enough to not need patents.
What might go wrong? (This is a test of imagination, not confidence.)
Perhaps all of the startups will fail. Perhaps the founders will go back to school and the companies stagnate. Perhaps founders do actually need experience at a real job to succeed in business. Perhaps Bill Gates and Larry and Sergey are true needles in the haystack and we wont be able to find hackers who could be huge successes.
But we dont think so.
If you're already incorporated, when were you? Who are the shareholders and what percent of the company do each own? If youve had funding, how much, at what valuation(s)?
If you're not incorporated yet, please list the percent of the company you plan to give each founder, and anyone else you plan to give stock to. (This question is more for you than us.)
[Ed. note: ???]
If you'll have expenses beyond the living costs of your founders, Internet access, server rental, etc., what will they be?
Space to hold our dinners, the food, and the investment money, of course.
Describe, in one sentence each, any companies any of you have started before. If they failed, why? (We consider failed companies valuable experience too.)
Paul and Robert founded Artix, which let art galleries go online. This failed (reason below) but became Viaweb, which allowed people to build their own web stores.
Trevor started Anybots, which has developed several wheel-based self-balancing robots and is closing on a bipedal robot.
If you could trade a 100% chance of $1 million for a 10% chance of a larger amount, how large would it have to be? Answer for each founder. (There is no right answer.)
Lets go with the cold mathematical answer and say $10 million.
If your startup seems at the end of the summer to have a good chance of making you rich, which of the founders would be likely to commit to continue working on it full time over the next couple years?
All of us.
Which of the founders would still want to be working for this company in 10 years, if it were successful, and which would rather sell out earlier and do something else? (Again, no right answer.)
All of us [Ed. note: just one year left!].
Are any of the founders covered by noncompetes or intellectual property agreements that overlap with your project? Will any be under consulting contracts this summer?
Was any of your code written by someone who is not one of your founders? If so, how can you safely use it? (Open source is ok of course.)
Will any of the founders have other jobs, responsibilities, or consulting work this summer?
Tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered, and who discovered it. (The answer need not be remotely related to your project.)
Paul and Robert discovered that art galleries didnt want to go online in 1995. This may not seem surprising now, but it was to us then!
What else would you have asked if you were us?
Theres a joke here somewhere.
We regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a spot in this year's Y Combinator class. Do not take it personally. It does not reflect poorly on the quality of your company, "Y Combinator," or its founding idea. We received a huge number of compelling applications this year. Unfortunately, there just weren't enough spots to go around, so we had to make some difficult choices. As a result, we were unable to admit "Y Combinator" to this year's Y Combinator batch. Please do not be discouraged. Many fantastic ideas like 'Y Combinator' were also not admitted. In fact, we strongly encourage 'Y Combinator' to apply again next year!
You don't need to fill out any damn application, nor do you need a badge to go ahead and do this right now.
Paul Graham reluctantly came to the conclusion that he could afford to go ahead and finance this idea and did. He didn't know he could do this until went ahead and did it. You could look it up. Here.
Do you have what it takes? OK then, get going.
For comments, I go to https://github.com/notifications
Maybe if I had hundreds of pull requests per week I would need something more elaborate, but for my current situation it's enough.
I never check my email for these.
I just wanted to chime in and say I like your approach of just focusing on pull requests. There's another app I know of that just focuses on creating issues (http://issuepostapp.com).
I happen to be the author of another GitHub Issues client (http://neat.io/bee/github-issues-client.html) which is aimed at the other end of the spectrum: to be full-featured.
Great to see all these different approaches for different workflows.
- Make the Pref / About etc. submenu an expandable item from the main menu instead of requiring an extra click (I know you were going for minimalism but it's not that intuitive)
- In the pref window list all the sorting options instead of adding a toggle for reversing direction
- Prompt to create or enter a token immediately on first run
- Auto load project list if there is no cache of it
Only question, why just pull requests and not all GitHub issue activity?
If you want to start a business, then start one. If it's a software business, learn to code however you want or do not learn to code at all. You already know marketing, you already have experience in a startup environment, the only key things to follow now would be to find a product idea and iterate, iterate, iterate.
Note that I said "find" a product idea and not "think of a product idea". Thinking of one is a waste of time, because that requires that you spend valuable time finding a target market and then more time finding product/market fit through market evaluation & validation. Rather find an industry of easily contactable people, and ask them what pains them about their job. By doing so, you will have identified a problem as well as the market validation of the solution to that problem. From there you can come up with a product, which you can use to wireframe. Discuss the idea with your chosen businesses, get their feedback and ask if they would pay for it. Verbal financial commitment = done. Some might even invest. All that's left to do is hire the people to build it and the rest is all up to your skills and experience.
If you want to instead study, rather than create your own startup - heed this warning: You get what you pay for. That being said, you can easily learn material online, as a degree in tech is not necessarily important in tech (you're already qualified, and that is at least something that puts you ahead of many others). I wouldn't recommend sound design and music production - all of my DJ friends (amateur or professional) don't even have a day of high-school level musical education to their names. Some have a knack for it, others don't.
If you just want to pay the bills, then get a job. I've found that asking previous employers for a simple paragraph of how, in any way, I benefited the company - and use that in a resume under your the work history section, does help get you that little bit farther.
What you should NOT do under any circumstance is delay. You are not getting any younger and money don't grow on trees - get up, get out, and do something to get you back in the system.
Just a side note. I'm not sure how much work you've put into the website, but that white text against a light blue background is very hard to read. The form could stand some optimization too, unless this is just a MVP for you guys while you work on the back end/fulfillment side.
- 300 heads? the word "people" is in your startup name and you just called people "heads". Not nice.
- "Catering" probably kills this for most readers. Catering is used with "events". I'm sure you would deliver as long as a company orders what 2 or more? 3 or more? Just phrase it like that so that anyone in a startup feels empowered to submit their company.
- Your ask is weak. I'd filter for the ideal customer of yours: startups with 5+ (whatever) people and also what the limit is - will you give meals for free to every single company that emails you? or just 5-7? and that's how many free lunches? and per company? I'd be specific. First come first serve? etc.
- Send you (the founder) an email at support @ ?? not personal
Please don't misunderstand me, this sounds awesome. It's just that how it's written right now it seems a bit rushed and prone for disappointed HN readers :)
We're: Woopra, inc.650 5th St Ste 402San Francisco, CA 94107
And we've got 7 hungry people who'd love to use you guys.
Name: The Pact, INCAddress: 2111 Mission St (at 17th and mission)# People: 14 or 15Lunch days/times: Mondays and Fridays around 1230
We would love to use you guys! Please write back to firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm sure Kiva has several templates that they use to post loans - you don't think they write each one by hand, do you?
You'd be surprised how many people need to specifically purchase "cigarettes, drinks, and soap" to expand their business.
And yeah it looks like there was a shared template for both of these.
1. Helping Through Kiva - Surigao Internet Marketingwww.surigaointernetmarketing.com/.../helping-through-kiva?view...id...Posseh requires a loan in order to purchase cigarettes, drinks, and soap to expand her business. She hopes that the extra income from this loan will allow her to ...
2. Helping Through Kiva - Surigao Internet Marketingwww.surigaointernetmarketing.com/.../helping-through-kiva?view...id...Kadie requires a loan in order to purchase cigarettes, drinks, and soap to expand her business for resale. She hopes that the extra income from this loan will ...
3. Adama - EmmausChurches.orgwww.emmauschurches.org/index.php?option=com_jfmicro...Adama requires a loan in order to purchase cigarettes, drinks and soap to expand her business. She hopes that the extra income from this loan will allow her to ...
4. Wakibi - Microkrediet aan Mbalu, Sierra Leonewww.wakibi.nl/2-657214/Translate this pageJan 14, 2014 - Mbalu requires a loan in order to purchase cigarettes, drinks and soap to expand her business. She hopes that the extra income from this loan ...
5. <> Hawakivajapan.org/entrepreneurs/?k_guid=654331Translate this pageHawa requires a loan in order to purchase cigarettes, drinks and soap to expand her business. She hopes that the extra income from this loan will allow her to ...
looks like a template
It feels an awful lot like a "child-proof" or "sanitized" version of HN, almost a kind of "censorship for your own good", which seems contrarian to the independent hacker spirit.
I can understand if a badge next to the comments link showed up ("warning: controversial") or something, but this kind of sneaky-censorship just feels underhanded. An interesting conversation gets going, people are making valuable points, and then... everything's just dead.
Yes, according to the site owner. Once that is out of the way the rest of the facts slot into obvious places and the detector does what it should be doing.
>This seems to be the equivalent of slaughtering animals to prevent the spread of disease.
Foot and mouth had 2000 cases, 10m slaughtered to prevent it. I was well aware of it at the time and the prevention was agreed with even by the people losing out (farmers). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_United_Kingdom_foot-and-mo...
I prefer the Vi mode, though. Add to your .bashrc
set -o vi
Then you can press escape to go from input mode to normal mode; there k will take you to the previous line in command line history, j to the next line, ^ and $ to the beginning and end of the line, /something will search something back.
Editing is really fast; move by words with w (forward) and b (backward), do cw to replace a word, r to replace a letter, i to go back to input. It will remember the last editing command, just as Vi, and repeat it when you press . in normal mode.
Flask-Security  . Takes care of the following: Session based authentication Role management Password encryption Basic HTTP authentication Token based authentication Token based account activation (optional) Token based password recovery / resetting (optional) User registration (optional) Login tracking (optional) JSON/Ajax Support Many of these features are made possible by integrating various Flask extensions and libraries. They include: Flask-Login Flask-Mail Flask-Principal Flask-Script Flask-WTF itsdangerous passlib Additionally, it assumes youll be using a common library for your database connections and model definitions. Flask-Security supports the following Flask extensions out of the box for data persistence: Flask-SQLAlchemy Flask-MongoEngine Flask-Peewee Using stripe with Flask : Follow this guide on stripe's docs.