hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    29 Jan 2014 Ask
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Do you want to learn some abstract math? Will you give me your opinion?
16 points by ColinWright  8 hours ago   1 comment top
ColinWright 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I should learn that before posting something like this I need to set up an auto-responder. It's late here and I have an early start, but if you email me, I will reply.

Thanks for all the emails so far - I hope you get something interesting out of it, and I look forward to your comments.

Ask PG: If you were at Hacker School this year what would you work on?
11 points by ezisezis  8 hours ago   3 comments top
pg 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Maybe software for analyzing and manipulating images. Not because it's a hot topic now. It's just something I've always thought would be interesting.
Ask HN: Will we be using Unix derived OS's for the next 50 years?
8 points by vsbuffalo  9 hours ago   9 comments top 5
zackmorris 5 hours ago 3 replies      
You know, I sure hope not.

Good points:

* applications run in a sandbox (preemptive multitasking/protected memory)

* interprocess communication is well implemented (copy on write, pipes, stdin/stdout/stderr)

* everything is a file (so many data structures and APIs become superfluous once you realize this)

* atomicity is for the most part robust which allows scaling (mutexes, semaphores, file locking)

* open nature of code lends itself to better security, size and performance

Bad points:

* Hierarchical filesystems are a dead end (the future is all about metadata, hashes, diffs and relationships)

* Too much emphasis on brevity, while size becomes less important over time (acronyms, abbreviations, regular expressions, bash, perl, etc)

* Human-oriented concepts, ironically, don't work well for the use cases humans want (permissions, process priority, executable bit)

* Basing everything on source code instead of binaries needlessly increases everyone's workload

* Dependency hell

Honestly I could come up with 10 times as many examples as these. Especially for the bad points, seriously, it's worth keeping an open mind about what could be possible if we thought about how the world is moving towards treating data as essentially infinite. I think computers of the future will work more like how Google does things with map reduce and Go. It just kills me every time I can't find something on my hard drive when I KNOW so much about it, what I was thinking at the time I made it, and not so much its name or contents. Or when I lose hours, or even days, trying to make the simplest command work in the shell, or set up a config file (for BIND etc). I think UNIX reached a pinnacle with Mac OS X but now it will enter a long period of slow decline as multiprocessing and higher level languages begin to replace all of the things that we used to do by hand. Especially with regard to how we develop software today, so much of it (makefiles, even compiled code), while not necessarily UNIX-centric, is going to go the way of the dodo. I find anymore that the vast majority of my time, perhaps as high as 90%, goes to learning curves, getting anything to work at all, and fumbling in the dark without being able to see where a problem comes from. The operating systems of the future, whatever form they take, are going to solve these problems in ways that I think would be difficult with a command prompt mindset.

memracom 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Yes, except that I think production services are more likely to migrate to a thin containerized layer directly over a hypervisor something like what Docker/LXC provide in UNIX. We already have JVM and Erlang VM and even LISP implementations that bypass the OS and I think there will be even more of that type of thing.

UNIX is still a very useful OS for general use and for developers so I don't see it going away for a century or two.

staunch 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this old HN post:

  Ask HN: Will we be using Lisp derived languages for the next 50 years?  64 points by jm 50 years ago | flag | 46 comments

yuhong 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, I ranted before about how Copland was killed in favor of Unix-based NeXT technologies. For example Classic Mac OS used Pascal strings which was more secure than C strings. What is funny is that Copland tried to move the Mac Toolbox into kernel mode even though Copland never intended to preemptively multitask GUI apps. I read they once was able to run the "Blue Box" on Copland's NuKernel which would have been a good starting point.
LeoSolaris 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Likely some evolution of them, unless something profoundly better changes the game.
Ask HN: You're building a new house. What tech features would you want in it?
3 points by mannylee1  5 hours ago   6 comments top 6
sdegutis 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
A standing desk. That is all.
davismwfl 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Depends on the square footage of the house but in general.

I'd want a single closet/small room where I could put all the equipment for the media/entertainment, cable boxes etc. Then use IR extenders or better yet, one of those wireless remote control systems.

I'd do speakers in the ceilings/walls of most every room/area with zones and volume controls in them. Depending on the square footage, you may need multiple receivers to make it work nicely where everyone can listen to different tunes. Also, outdoor tunes have to be available too.

Wire the house for both wired network and of course wifi. Depending on budget and size of the house, fiber would be nice for at least interconnecting sections of the house.

Along the idea of the wireless remote system, turn an iPad into the house controller. Make life as easy as possible, something you could hand to your grand/parents and they would be able to push buttons and make it work. I have seen systems like this and drool at how nice it is, and it isn't like it is crazy expensive. No more 4 remotes or a "single" remote that works 95% of the way but takes a small training session to even turn on the TV.

lsiunsuex 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've thought about this often. I have the added experience that I've slowly gutted and remodeled every room of my house for the last 4 years so I've gotten an idea of what I want and don't want.

Network drops everywhere. Even in the ceilings of major rooms. 802.11N is great, but nothing trumps Cat5E over fiber.

In wall (or ceiling) speakers. atleast 1 in every room, 1 in the 2nd floor hallways. All with volume controls. All wired to a central network closet with multiple Airport Express inputs so the wife scan stream 1 music to the bedroom when shes dressing, and I can stream another station to the family room while I'm waiting.

Network closet should span 2 floors with future pipes into the attic and into the basement for new drops. Network closet is preferably close to the main family room TV for major components. Switches, routers, firewalls (i was a sys admin in a past life) can all go in here. Money willing, put network equipment in 2nd floor closet, tv equipment in first floor closet.

dalke 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not look to the Passivhaus standards to improve energy efficiency and reduce the house's environmental impact? Then the house would be a tech feature.
sfrechtling 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Do not underestimate the power of just simply wiring every room in the house with cat6. Instead of planning for every eventuality, you can just extend your house when you need to. Need a server rack - put it anywhere! Bought a new smart tv - just connect it to the open port!
vientspam 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Not really techy but, inspired by http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-iFJ3ncIDo, I've always thought it would be interesting to suspend beds, tables and storage to the ceiling and then have a (rope+pullyy) system to only put the furniture in a room that you are actually using; freeing up the other space to walk/work/lie down. Plus it's probably real easy to keep clean.
Tell HN: Use hand grippers to alleviate hand pain when using your keyboard
3 points by tzz  6 hours ago   5 comments top 4
malandrew 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Climbing donuts are an interesting alternative that offer a greater range of motion in the exercises you can do:


Those powerball/gyroscopic spinners are also interesting for RSI:


subsection1h 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In addition to strength training exercises, also consider joint mobility exercises. There are numerous joint mobility movements for fingers and wrists, and all good joint mobility workouts include at least a few of them.

Leading joint mobility experts include Scott Sonnon, Steve Maxwell, and Eric Cobb. Maxwell and Cobb studied under Sonnon.

Last time I checked, Sonnon's most popular joint mobility resource was Intu-Flow. In this DVD, Sonnon comes across as a bit of a New Agey weirdo, but he really knows his stuff.

Maxwell produced the Encyclopedia of Joint Mobility DVD and he has downloadable follow-along joint mobility videos at his site. His instruction isn't as deep as Sonnon's, but some people find Maxwell more likeable.

Cobb's company is named Z-Health, and his resources are overpriced.

Unrelated to joint mobility, Kinesis has announced plans to release a new version of their Contoured ergonomic keyboard. I can't wait.

davidgerard 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Using my mouse left-handed helped with mouse-induced RSI. If you swap the buttons, it will also keep anyone else from using your PC ;-)
Mz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Good tip. Thanks.

FYI (alternatives):

My (career military) ex husband only had pain at the keyboard when his weightlifting regimen was interrupted.

I have an old tennis injury that can be troublesome. When it was at its worst, I took gelatin as a supplement daily for two years to feed the tendons (so they could self repair) and generally have fewer problems since then.

Ask HN: I'm a senior in high school looking for a CS internship
4 points by TheBananaWhale  7 hours ago   2 comments top 2
asselinpaul 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I interned at a 'Techstars' startup last summer. It was a great experience (I'm also heading to college next year).

My advice would be to contact 5-10 startups which you'd love to work for (a nice email with the stuff you've made and why you want to work there).

Lastly, try to schedule a lunch with the founders before you commit to an internship, it really helps both parties.

emgeee 7 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who had an internship coding an working on circuits in high school, I can say that it was one of the best experiences of my high school career. I was fortunate enough to have channels in my community to facilitate landing the gig but I worked there for 9 months and learned a tremendous amount.

I would start by figuring out what companies are local to you and seeing if you can make a connection through friends or family. You can always try cold calling a recruiter but typically positions for kids in high school are exceptions and so won't be advertised.

Ask HN: Should I continue with my bootstrapped startup?
12 points by MattBearman  14 hours ago   14 comments top 7
codegeek 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I looked at your site and then went to usersnap. Overall, both ideas are good but usersnap is beating you in terms of landing page/design and most likely sales/marketing efforts. For example, on your landing page, there is no clear way of knowing what bugmuncher is for. Sure, I want to "Fix bugs like a boss!" but how ? Then I realize you have a small text description "BugMuncher is the best way to receive feedback on your website. With BugMuncher annotated screenshots can easily be sent along with feedback reports, making it ideal for internal use, as well as getting feedback and bug reports from your users." Why not make this prominent ? Usersnap smartly says "Screenshot is worth a thousand words" and we know immediately what it is about.

I would not throw in the towel yet. Functionality wise, your demo video is pretty cool. Other than work on your landing page, you definitely need to go out and do sales/marketing. Stop working on the product and turn your sales/marketing hat on. Get help from someone who knows this better than you do if possible.

phantom_oracle 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you even identified your target market yet?

It's not a bad idea, I just don't think you've gotten the other part of the startup right yet (sales and marketing).

I don't mind helping you with your idea (to guide you in a sense). I've given advice to a couple others before.

I think if you clearly identified your target market and then attacked them directly, you would find some success. Also, your landing page needs to become more "pretty".

Even though it doesn't look that bad, it kind of has the early 2000s Java web-tool look.

ra00l 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't give up! You have a lot to improve on your website, marketing & UX.

Here's what I think:1. I only saw the "Feedback" widget AFTER seing the movie. Either make it bigger or point a big arrow on it.2. I'd love if I could adnotate highlights with some text.3. Your prices are too close together, so the cheapest one still seems expensive. Try testing with 2x price for Start up and 10x for enterprise.

BTW, I am using http://www.criticue.com to get feedback on my websites, you can use that too.

Good luck with the project!

bentona 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This might seem insignificant, but it's a good example of how you could improve your marketing with little tweaks.

On your pricing page, the 'Personal' plan has one check mark and three red "X"s. Why have the Xs at all? It's not that your personal plan is bad, it's just that the other plans are better. It makes me feel like I shouldn't be clicking "Start Free Trial", because it's right below three symbols of negativity.

vsergiu 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The app is not that bad,but don't get your hopes up just yet. You really need to work on your sales and marketing and measure everything from engagement to what each user does within your app. Also my feedback is that the prices are high compared to other competitors that offer more features.
penguinlinux 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't throw the towel yet, You can sell the technology behind your site. You can package the whole thing and sell it so that people with big software QA shops can use this on their own sites.
sogen 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd focus Bugmunches on a very important piece of that is buried:Send feedback reports directly to GitHub, Trello and others
Ask HW: Did you developed apps for the Internet of Things?
3 points by davidnagy  10 hours ago   discuss
HN blocked in China
9 points by olalonde  19 hours ago   4 comments top 4
glimcat 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not surprised - HN often ends up with posts or comments which are outspoken against Chinese government policy.

Also, it will probably boost their engineering productivity by 10%.

nmc 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Not in China now, but this nice website seems to prove you right:


barry-cotter 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This varies regionally. I'm commenting from Shanghai. Last time I was in Shenzhen it was blocked.
xbu 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am located in hangzhou, the connection is good.
Ask HN: Charge at launch, or wait a few months to learn about our users?
6 points by jjallen  9 hours ago   18 comments top 10
AhtiK 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Even after launch the struggle remains to balance between exposure and financial gain -- should you offer a free trial or a free tier?

From the question I'd presume the product will be paid in the end and not supported by ads and external revenue stream. Given this I don't think one can test the market-product fit without actually charging money.

There are exceptions, think big social launches that turn into businesses (like Ghost blogging). For me this always seems rather hard to pull off. Like expecting that at launch day there will be 10k signups.

See this for one take: http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/split-testing-blog/ab-test...

To answer your question, it highly depends on the nature of your product, business model, competition and financial backing. So I do not have an answer, more like a ramble to help clean up your head.

One thing to warn, at least in my experience it is very hard to turn free users into paying one (conversion-wise) (free tier case). Free tier user and paying user have very different characteristics. Yet a lot of successful SaaS companies do have free tier. At the same time there are successful known companies who have removed a free tier (and/or doubled-tripled pricing without any public post to notify new users). I'd guess existing users at least kept the pricing.

chc 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It depends on what your goals are, but if the most important thing for you to know is whether your product is valuable to people, asking for money is the only real way to determine that.
chiph 7 hours ago 1 reply      
How much do you already know about your users? Because this is a pretty fundamental thing to know, before you start writing code. Check out "The Four Steps to the Epiphany" by Steve Blank (who sometimes visits here)


27182818284 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Charge before launch. Our first check was before the product was built. I don't think there is better validation that that. :)
anthony_franco 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Charge. Otherwise you're optimizing your product to satisfy free users, which isn't always what free users would want.
AznHisoka 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Make it free, but don't have release 1 powerful feature. Have users email you for more info for access to that feature, and start having conversations on how much they'd pay for it.
alexgaribay 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You could launch it as "beta" to see what the initial users like/dislike. Ask what features they like or want or are willing to pay for. Improve your project based off user feedback. Charge when beta closes but provide some sort of timeboxed trial.
calbear98 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Use trycelery.com and you can start taking pre-orders immediately, and see how much they are willing to pay.http://customerdevlabs.com/makemoney
gregcohn 9 hours ago 1 reply      
it depends precisely what your goals are, but assuming you want to get some traction and data, i strongly encourage you to launch free. we would have if we could have afforded to (as we have hard costs associated with our product). once we were able to convert to a free model, our usage went up on the order of 20X.
sogen 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The Minecraft way: charge right from the start, even from early beta.That sounds more profitable (and safer).
Do you use any service to invoice customers after getting paid with Stripe?
4 points by polimorfico  9 hours ago   4 comments top 4
logn 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Xero is great. It integrates well with stripe. They're also a full-featured accounting app (more so than Freshbooks which is only invoicing and expense tracking, and they charge as much as Xero).


codegeek 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I use freshbooks [0] and it is awesome. They also have integration options with stripe [1] even though I personally have not used it yet.

[0] http://www.freshbooks.com

[1] http://community.freshbooks.com/addons/view/stripe/

23andwalnut 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I use the app that I built for this purpose (http://duetapp.com). It has stripe and paypal built in. Customers can download a pdf copy of the paid invoice for their records.
jaredtking 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a service called Invoiced (http://invoiced.com) that has Stripe baked in from the beginning. Your customers pay through a secure form we generate and the receipt is generated/e-mailed to them afterwards.

If you want any more info, you can reach me at jared [at] invoiced.com.

EDIT: Should also mention you can make invoices without making an account at http://invoice-generator.com if you just invoice occasionally.

A week after sort-of launching my first startup
4 points by loopr  12 hours ago   6 comments top 3
johnsonmkj 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks interesting. Found a small content issue from the about page: "With Poucher, for each restaurant or bar you visit, you get print a digital voucher."

Good luck.

infosecbuzz 12 hours ago 1 reply      
We can potentially help with any social activity. visit www.informationsecuritybuzz.com and get in touch.
phantom_oracle 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice idea.

Could be a better alternative to store-tracking.

Ask HN: How do you "hack" your domains?
4 points by niico  14 hours ago   3 comments top 3
ljoshua 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the tools that do a lot of the work for me:http://www.leandomainsearch.comhttp://www.panabee.comhttp://domai.nrhttp://www.namemesh.com

I love using those to get my brain going, and then using that to launch into more creative and unique domains.

gesman 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I usually combine two words together (with one word need to be short) to come up with catchy, brandish, easy to remember, unique available domain name.

Examples of my recent picks:

hostrum.com (for hosting services)

autositer.com (for script to auto-generate websites)

bitcoinway.com (for open source bitcoin payment solution)

listgun.com (for autoresponder services)

presentlove.com (personal development blog)

beauzero 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Rule of thumb. If it fits on a license plate it's good. People have a difficult time remember something higher than a group of seven. I always start there.
Saying goodbye to Octopart-powered HNSearch
19 points by andres  1 day ago   17 comments top 7
macrotim 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to sort by points? I see only a radio button to "Sort by date."
GrahamsNumber 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm sorry to say, but at least right now the new search is absolutely dreadful. Try searching for "Go".
uladzislau 1 day ago 4 replies      
Does anyone else agree that the site thumbnails in the new search just distract from the search results without adding any value?
staunch 1 day ago 0 replies      
The mass of knowledge stored in the HN archives is considerable and HNSearch has been a great way to mine it. Thank you!
frik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you for providing the search.

Sorry, but the search results and the stylesheet are way better for me with the old hnsearch.com

I will use a Google search like this: "site:news.ycombinator.com FooBar"

flocial 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there any reason why you can't hand over hnsearch.com?
ereckers 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was wondering about the technology you used to fetch the site thumbnails?
What are some tools you can't live without?
8 points by veritas9  23 hours ago   6 comments top 4
jbl 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have found http://websequencediagrams.com/ and http://draw.io/ to be really useful for preparing diagrams for inclusion in specs.
AznHisoka 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Buzzsumo for content marketing research.
thenerdfiles 23 hours ago 1 reply      
harshitkr 18 hours ago 0 replies      
sublime text
Ask HN: Mastermind group for 9-5'ers looking to escape
17 points by makerops  1 day ago   9 comments top 6
phantom_oracle 1 day ago 0 replies      
You should look at a case study like WooThemes.

They worked remotely (and still do) and have found success.

The only problem with your idea and the rest of the bootstrapped remote successful companies is that they were addressing a real customer need/problem and you are simply trying to address your situation of hating your 9-5.

Come up with a great idea, open your world to devs from everywhere, work your ass off initially and then build the company in a way in which that 9-5 doesn't feel like work anymore and can be done at 10-6 or 8-12 + 2-6.

minimaxir 1 day ago 2 replies      
"9-5'ers looking to escape" is an odd demographic to target, since if your group launched a product, you'd be working much longer than 9-5.
cybernomad99 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I am working on something similar. The project management tool is based on Bugzilla, and I have built real time chat software for Android, iOS, and Web app. I organize everything around a "project" and each group has strong focus to get the product to market. If you are looking for general socializing place, HN works well in that regard.

I am involved with a couple of active projects. They are games targeting Asia Pacific market. You can take a look,

It is not much a way to escape 9-5, more of a place where like-minded people get together and build something interesting. If it pays off financially, it is even better.

charlieirish 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great idea. You might want people to include their timezone so that you can segment groups in to when people are available
AznHisoka 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a 9-5 and am bootstrapping a startup. Unfortunately my startup may compete with yours :)
westonplatter31 1 day ago 1 reply      
http://jfdi.bz/ - $20/month. I'm giving it a try.
Ask HN: Is jQuery really awful for Single Page Apps?
4 points by notastartup  19 hours ago   7 comments top 4
glimcat 19 hours ago 1 reply      
It depends on the project's complexity, and also on how many generations of developers have dogpiled horrible kludges onto the original code base.

For simple apps, it doesn't matter much. Do what gets you in front of users soonest.

For more complex apps with a lot of client-side state, you may quickly find yourself outside of jQuery's intended use case. Note that simple apps often become much more complex under ongoing development.

What creates problems is trying to pile on a lot of questionable commits without enough structure or organization, and trying to shoehorn it into use cases which it's really not appropriate for. In practice, these situations occur much more often than people anticipate.

onion2k 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a huge fan of both Backbone (I'd recommend using Marionette though) and jQuery, and I've spent the last 3 years building single page apps with both. The number one thing that Backbone makes easier is testing - by abstracting your code away from the UI and in to encapsulated blocks of models and views you can write unit tests much, much more easily. When you start doing things with promises (and you will) you'll find it's so, so much better. Debugging a race condition between two jQuery events because something bubbled up further than it was supposed to is a full-on nightmare.
dave_sid 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I expect backbone forces you to follow good principles such as separation of concerns (data-model from UI code etc.)

However, it's still possible to follow good principles using your own design and JQuery, which means you're tied into one less framework and have more flexibility.

If you're developing with a small team, or on your own, then maybe you're disciplined enough to go down the more flexible JQuery route.

If you've got a larger team, then maybe you need the more rigorous constraints of a framework like backbone to make sure everyone is coding to a sensible structure, and you don't end up with 5 design ideas merged together in one big mess.

That's my thoughts anyway. Frameworks can offer essential constraints to help avoid a mess but they might be an unnecessary burden of constraints aren't required.

If I was doing a project on my own. I'd use JQuery and unshackle myself from a higher level framework. If I was working in a team, I'd favour the safety of a framework to prevent too many people doing things their own way.

gioi 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the best approach to single-page apps is simplicity and elegance (and often they coincide). You will need some abstraction to achieve simplicity and elegance, and in the end you will be more productive. That's it.

<rant>I have a personal aversion for jQuery... It's awful because you probably don't need 99% of it.</rant>

Ask PG: Do you review rejected YC apps to find startups who then made it big?
84 points by vishnupr  3 days ago   27 comments top 12
pg 3 days ago 1 reply      
Whenever a startup we rejected seems to be succeeding, we go back and try to figure out why we rejected them. Occasionally we change the application process as a result.

We don't start from the applications though. We hear from news stories when startups are doing well, and then we go back and look at their application.

itsprofitbaron 3 days ago 1 reply      
Based on a question answered by PG on Askolo, YCombinator track them[1]:

Q: Have there been any startups you've later regretted rejecting from YCombinator?A: Sure, several. But I can't name names because it's not for me to disclose that they applied.

Additionally they also mention about contacting them on rejected applications[2]:

"If you do, we'd appreciate it if you'd send us an email telling us about it; we want to learn from our mistakes"

Here are some that are known to have been rejected by YC and have gone onto raise funding (which is not a perfect metric by any means since funding success) or have been acquired:

- SendGrid - http://sendgrid.com/ - Raised $27.4M[3]

- CouchOne - http://www.couchbase.com/ - Raised $56M[4]

- AfterTheDeadline - http://afterthedeadline.com/ - Acquired By Automattic

- LightSail Energy - http://lightsailenergy.com/ - Raised $42.8M[5]

- SignPost - http://www.signpost.com/ - Raised $15M[6]

- Storenvy - http://www.storenvy.com - although they were kicked out of YC[7] Raised $6.5M [8]

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20120814111130/http://askolo.com...

[2] http://ycuniverse.com/yc-applying-interviewees

[3] http://www.crunchbase.com/company/sendgrid

[4] http://www.crunchbase.com/company/couchbase

[5] http://www.crunchbase.com/company/lightsail-energy

[6] http://www.crunchbase.com/company/signpost

[7] http://joncrawford.com/post/20378314843/how-i-got-kicked-out...

[8] http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/12/storenvy-goes-from-getting-...

tobylane 3 days ago 1 reply      
Answering as if your question said "And does that make you want to change your application process", because the first time I read it I thought it did.

My understanding of the essays I've read is that there wouldn't be much point in it. Ideas evolve or change entirely, and more importantly people improve. If the gut feeling was no then, all you know is that something changed.

bound008 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. This has been mentioned by PG numerous times in numerous places.
adamgravitis 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be a difficult study... How many YC companies would have failed if they had not been accepted to YC? Certainly, a number of rejected companies who later failed may have thrived under YC.
pervycreeper 3 days ago 1 reply      
Presumably, if they were to 'make it big' he would probably hear about this through other channels without having to constantly monitor a large pool of rejected applicants.
HowardJ 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm starting to think "Ask PG" are linkbait titles disguised as "Ask HN".
hack_edu 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why so much 'Ask PG' lately when he never replies, let alone read them?
Hoozt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hashtag PGQuestionOfTheWeek
hnriot 2 days ago 1 reply      
what a stupid ask. why wouldn't a vc do this? Isn't this something that would be a big part of the iterative application process. I doubt the process has remained unchanged over the years. As new feature vectors of success are identified it would be a very inept investor who didn't consider how to integrate that back into their process. And PG is not an inept investor.
aashaykumar92 3 days ago 2 replies      
Reviewing rejected apps would be a waste of time given how many apps YC has received. Also, what does 'big' mean? I doubt a startup exists that was rejected by YC then grew to a $1B valuation--someone would probably have heard of that by now, made a big deal of it, and those of us on HN would know. But I don't doubt that YC-rejected startups have gone on to raise a few rounds of funding and/or may have even made <$100M exits.
Ask HN: How to learn OpenCL
20 points by lettergram  2 days ago   16 comments top 10
profquail 2 days ago 1 reply      
Intel and AMD both have some good documentation on their site for getting going with OpenCL, so that's a good place to start. For example:


The Khronos website has a huge page with a list of OpenCL tutorials and books:


Amazon has a number of OpenCL books available:

* http://www.amazon.com/OpenCL-Action-Accelerate-Graphics-Comp...

* http://www.amazon.com/Heterogeneous-Computing-OpenCL-Second-...

* http://www.amazon.com/OpenCL-Programming-Guide-Aaftab-Munshi...

This book is available on Amazon but the previous edition is available for free:


Intel's website also has some "Getting Started" articles and optimization guides for OpenCL (for CPU, GPU, and Xeon Phi):


exDM69 2 days ago 0 replies      
A word of warning: OpenCL, and heterogeneous computing in general, is very very difficult. It will take a lot of effort to get even the simplest hello world application working.

And when writing OpenCL, even you are using a single API to write code, if you want to get high performance you will need to rewrite parts of your application for each hardware you intend to run on if you want good performance. This is obvious since the code may end up running on Intel x86's or Intel, AMD or Nvidia GPU architectures which are all very different. If you're lucky, it's enough to rewrite your kernel code (the code running on the device). But you might also need changes to the host side code (running on the cpu) and make changes to the way you manage the memory and DMA transfers, etc.

Finally, when it comes to the basics, OpenCL is not too different from CUDA and there's a lot more material available on CUDA (because it's been around longer and is perhaps used a bit more). You should be able to pick up a book or a tutorial on CUDA and translate it to OpenCL without too much effort.

Finally, even though it may take quite a lot of learning to get started, parallel programming on GPUs is quite fun and it is very rewarding to see your code run with very high performance.

jaffee 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you're a complete beginner in data parallel programming, and you're having trouble finding good intro material for OpenCL, it might almost be worthwhile to check out CUDA instead. In terms of the programming model, OpenCL and CUDA are identical - significant differences don't come about until you start optimizing for specific devices.

I learned CUDA first on my own, and then took an OpenCL class and found that the whole first section was completely redundant. There's also a pretty great wealth of CUDA material online and a few published books if that's your sort of thing.

kylelutz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're using C++, check out Boost.Compute [1]. It provides a high-level STL-like API for OpenCL (without preventing you from directly using the low-level OpenCL APIs). It simplifies common tasks such as copying data to/from the device and also provides a number of built-in algorithms (e.g. sorting/reducing/transforming, etc).

[1] https://github.com/kylelutz/compute

wsc981 2 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps Apple's documentation and WWDC video might be of help: https://developer.apple.com/opencl/

To watch the video you need to be a registered Apple developer.

pflanze 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've started with this[1] blog post, then worked quite a bit on adding proper error checking to the example code to figure out why it failed :), now the author has merged my changes. So perhaps it's a worthwhile example to start from now. I haven't done much with OpenCL yet, though, in the end I figured out that my ~7-8 year old laptop ran SIMD optimized C code faster on the host CPU than on the GPU (I wrote this[2] with heavy SIMD optimization work, not sure anymore whether this was what I tested against OpenCL though), which is a reason why.

[1] http://www.thebigblob.com/getting-started-with-opencl-and-gp...[2] https://github.com/pflanze/mandelbrot/tree/master/c

tjaerv 2 days ago 0 replies      
You might wish to check out the University of Illinois's "Heterogeneous Parallel Programming" course, offered through Coursera:


The course is already currently ongoing, but it's not too late to enroll. The course is mainly focused on CUDA (since it's easier to learn, the professor believes), but covers OpenCL as well.

letzjuc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: this is a rant, it is obvious that I don't like OpenCL and that I think that it was designed by monkeys so take it with a grain of salt.

In short: don't learn OpenCL. Both CUDA and C++AMP are good languages for programming heterogeneous machines and nVidia's Thrust and Microsoft's PPL are both excellent libraries to write efficient and reusable code. These language extensions are also strongly typed and come with really good tools. My advice is: learn any of them instead.

Why not OpenCL? AMD's Bolt library is the live proof that OpenCL is fxxxxx up beyond all repair. It is not meant for humans to write, nor for machines to understand.

Kernels are just character strings!!! This is just so wrong! Forget about using functors and lambdas as kernels, and forget about mixing kernels with templates. You will be better off using Python and PyOpenCL (which is great) that using C and C++. In C++ generating kernels is really hard, and generating kernels from expression templates is insanely hard.

Furthermore, this also means that the language is not typed at all!! Forgetting a semicolon in C results in a runtime error! Do you want syntax highlighting? Write your kernels in separate files! This is even worse than the way people used to write functors far away from the call site in C++03, at least they were in the same file!

As stated above my advice is don't learn it. Let it die. Your time is better spent learning CUDA/C++AMP and their libraries. The design rules for OpenCL have been "let's not learn anything from OpenGL" + "we need something, this is something, let's standarize this". This of course has resulted in an hilarious language that came after CUDA and was worse in every possible way.

melonakos 2 days ago 0 replies      
One great way to start is to use OpenCL libraries. We work on clMath (https://github.com/clMathLibraries) and ArrayFire (http://arrayfire.com) which are both easy to pick up. Once you get comfortable with libraries, you can start trying to write your own kernels, and you'll know which things you'll need to write that aren't already in a freely available library. Good luck!
mschlafli1 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mess around with open-source applications (such as Rodinia benchmark suite and NAS parallel benchmarks) after going through the basic tutorials on AMD, Intel and Nvidia webpages.
Ask HN: are w3s certificates useful?
2 points by bigd  15 hours ago   3 comments top
gorideyourbike 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Public opinion is that w3schools is a joke (see www.w3fools.com) and I can't imagine anyone taking a certification from them seriously. Keep in my they are in no way affiliated with the w3c. A better use of your time would be creating sites on your own and developing a portfolio of work you've done.
points by    ago   discuss
juanre 15 days ago 12 replies      
Bash, running in your terminal, understands both the Emacs and the Vi commands. By default is Emacs, so you can C-a (control-a) for beginning of line, C-p to go back in command line history, or C-r to search it.

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.

guelo 15 days ago  replies      
After making the switch to OS X in the last couple years after living in Linux and Windows before that, I think it's objective to say that keyboard shortcuts in OS X are much worse in both ease of use and consistency across applications.
Using your computer as little as possible?
51 points by rbsn  2 days ago   51 comments top 30
mbrock 2 days ago 6 replies      
Currently I don't have an internet connection at home, not even a cellular plan with data. Which is pretty much an intentional cold turkey strategy.

One summer my computer died and I thought I would be bored and miserable but it was excellent from the first day. Since then, I've understood that constant internet access just doesn't really function for me at this point in my life. It could, perhaps, but I'm very prone to using the internet as a kind of soothing, stupefying, time-wasting refuge. The internet is my comfort zone, I guess.

At home I read a lot, Kindle books and stuff I've loaded on Instapaper while at work. And I listen to podcasts and watch movies. This stuff all comes from the internet, but I have to gather stuff consciously for future offline use, which I find peaceful and constructive.

"Okay, I guess these are the things I have available right now, so I'll engage with them, instead of looking for something else."

What a lot of us are having trouble with isn't computers or the internet, per se, but the constant presence of "infinite jest."

I also do meditation, play guitar, go for walks and runs, cook, and so on. On weekends sometimes I'll go out to a coffee shop and do some internetting. And I'm posting this on Sunday, because I'm actually at the office, playing around with a hobby programming project and surfing the web, so...

TacticalCoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
My "way" of doing it is simple but probably won't get much love on HN: a good office, a fast (and quiet) desktop computer with lots of ram, a good monitor, a good chair, a good keyboard. Compared to that setup, the experience of using anything else (laptop, tablet, smartphone) is so poor that I just can't stand it.

I "do computer stuff" at my workstation and that's it. I can't stand laptop keyboards compared to real "mechanical" keyboards. I can't sit on a chair for long period of time besides my office's chair. I can't work productively on a tiny 17" screen (On my workstation I'm using a 24" screen with a tiling window manager and about 15 "virtual desktops").

So, to me, the experience of "using a device" is simply not an enjoyable one unless I'm sitting at my desk, in front of my workstation's monitor.

I used to have an iPhone which I let drop (it broke) and now since two years or so I'm back using my very old Nokia 3210 which... Allows to give and receive phonecalls. I know this is not going to be a popular view here but that's basically all I need from my cellphone. That said I may be buying an Android phone one of these days but... It's only to use it as a 2FA.

Doing this already prevents me from "wasting" time using a computer (or a tablet or a smartphone) when I'm not in my office, which is already great.

Now of course there's the issue of wasting time during work time on some of the sites you mentioned... The only really "problematic" one is HN: which I check even on sundays ; )

Got to go now: I'm going to play tennis with my brother ^ ^

codelap 2 days ago 1 reply      
A computer is a tool, like any other. If your career uses that tool, it doesn't mean that you need avoid the tool in your off hours. Especially if it gives you joy. My buddy drives truck, and loves to drive on the weekends. My uncle is a carpenter, and on his free time, makes furniture in his garage for fun. I'm sure some TV exec at HBO still sits down on a Sunday to watch Breaking Bad (or whatever the hot water cooler show is).

You'll probably see a lot of studies quoted on here about moderation being the key to success. But keep in mind, that a study only looks at the averages, and we know that outliers exist. So as long as you're not hurting yourself or others, do what you feel is right and works for you.

pstack 2 days ago 1 reply      
I spent almost all of my waking time, every day, on the computer. The way I avoid wasting hours on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, HN, etc is that I don't use the first two, I don't randomly wander on the third one, and I use RSS and only stop in for the interesting things on the final one.

I don't consider time I spend at my computer "wasted". What would be a better use of it? Gardening? Edging my lawn? Detailing my car? Golfing?

fotbr 2 days ago 0 replies      
It depends. I go through phases. Some weeks, I want nothing to do with a computer when I'm not at work - I read, I work in the yard, I mess around in the shop with whatever idea has popped into my head. Other weeks, you can't pry me away from it - RPGs (of the non-mmo variety) are a big reason, but it can also be something as simple as learning about [insert subject here].

What I won't do, is work. Bringing work home is something I avoid whenever I can. I learned that lesson a while ago - burnout is a bitch. Let your brain do other things. Write code if you want, but don't code on anything work related.

NigelTufnel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I put my laptop inside of the couch, my laptop battery in the wardrobe, my laptop mouse in a drawer in the kitchen so it takes a good couple of minutes to assemble all of this stuff.

From the facts that today's Sunday and I'm commenting on HN one can deduce it didn't work too well for me.

Tehnix 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't feel like I'm wasting time when I'm on Facebook or HackerNews (I don't really use Twitter at all, and not super much on youtube except when linked something).

I get a great deal of information through HN, be it articles, discussions or whatever HN might throw at me. Sure, if you do it while you work, I'd probably agree it can be considered a waste, but everywhere else, the wealth of information on HN, I wouldn't call that a waste.

As for Facebook, that's a little harder to not call a waste, but I don't particularly feel it is though. It keeps me updated on my friends and events in a quick manner, but can be sort of a waste if the information I gather from "the wall" isn't of use to me.

Summed up: I don't feel what I do on my computer is a waste of my time. I'm not hooked to my computer, programming is my hobby, and it's not like I have trouble being social without my computer.

danieldk 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have two safety rules for myself:

- No HackerNews/Reddit/... after 21:00.

- No computers/tablets/... after 22:00.

Other than that, other hobbies decrease computer time: watching series/news with my wife, running, cycling, Geocaching (a great outdoor hobby for the inner geek :)), and reading (generally newspapers).

Besides that, we are expecting our first baby next month. So, there will be no time for computers outside work ;).

mbesto 2 days ago 0 replies      

It keeps you disciplined. It forces you to spend 10-15 hrs / week off a computer. It keeps you healthy. Can't say enough about it.

debt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have the no computer at home rule. It's been working pretty well. I can only use one at work or coffee shops etc. Problem is I'm in bed writing this from an iphone. :( It's a huge loophole to the rule.
RexRollman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am on the computer a lot at work, but at home it is different because I am using the computer to pursue my own interests. I don't consider pursuing my interests a waste of time.
nettletea 2 days ago 0 replies      
There have been a fair few posts about this on HN. I think some people are actually quite glad of a HN blackout.

I did decide one year that I would not check those sites at work. And it helped. I didn't have the time or space at home to bother also, through exhaustion. I now only briefly fire up HN at work at lunchtime, and just scan the post titles. I'm not as disciplined at home.

At home I was lucky to have my battery die on my laptop, which has stopped me moving the laptop around the house. I'm actually quite glad of the little headspace that it gives me.

My partner cheats on me, by sneaking a tablet into the lounge, and that can feel a little weird. I think this has been discussed before. Couples spending more time with their phones/tablets at the expense of their relationship.

I still idle too much time on the PC. I remember a good activity. Time at the computer isn't that memorable. What happened to the last decade?

See also 'News is bad for you':https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6894244

Oh the paradox.

Uncompetative 2 days ago 0 replies      
Although it could be classed as procrastination. What I ought to be doing is so incredibly dry that I need to give myself a break most of the time and only work on it when I feel inspired. Case in point, I am supposed to be specifying notation and semantics for tensor operators in the multiparadigm programming language that I have been working on for many years, but yesterday I really didn't feel like it so chose instead to write about the problems Nintendo were having and how they should have built on the success of the Wii with a familiar interface based upon a pair of wireless Nunchuks, rather than alienate the casual market with a cumbersome touchscreen that they couldn't expressively gesticulate with. This led me to hunt for images and YouTube videos to support my argument. Doing this from time to time has improved my writing ability:


I don't feel there is any merit in Facebook / Twitter, but then I haven't got any friends / social life. I suppose I should have a blog for what I write in various fora, but I'd have even more trouble believing that anyone was reading it and I may start making less of an effort with my writing as a result.

Really anything I do that distracts me from boredom stops me slipping into depression. Luckily, I have no work deadlines...

seanhandley 2 days ago 0 replies      
Be proactive.

I make plans to do other things I enjoy. Computer time is a filler if I'm not busy doing something else, like spending time with family/friends, being outdoors, running etc.

I agree with mbrock also that avoiding a smartphone (or having a data-less plan) is a good way to stop time being swallowed up. When you're on a net-connected machine eight hours a day at work, you don't need more screen time!

yason 2 days ago 0 replies      
My smartphone just died and I had to revert back to my trusty old dumb phone that I loved and apparently still do. The first feeling I had was relief: mobile internet is "nice" but the joy of not being able to access anything is great. I'm only available via simple phone calls and text messages, and if I get any of those it's usually important.

Consequently, I need to find my laptop to access internet and I sometimes do that but I don't feel like sitting in front of it like I used to. The magic has moved to mobile internet and because I don't have that anymore I have no desire to glue myself to the laptop for the sake of keeping myself entertained by the endless articles on internet. I mostly just open the laptop when I need to do real work or real chores.

rsmith05 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think that we waste a lot of time in news feeds (HN/Youtube/Facebook/Twitter/etc). We are afraid of missing something important, and seeing that "something new" feels good. But once you've seen it, you move onto something else immediately. There is some neat research in this (see http://healthland.time.com/2013/08/31/this-is-your-brain-on-..., and I'm sure there are other meaningful sources as well).

I personally have noticed that I have this cycle:

1) I want something to do, perhaps for just a little while.

2) I think about doing something meaningful, but get a feeling of the task being overwealming, so I'm not going to do that right now.

3) I think of something that would be easy to do right now, and HN/FB/etc. comes up. You know, just for a little while.

4) I proceed to the FB/Reddit/HN/etc. cycle and before I know it, I've wasted way more time than I have intended.

This is my cycle, but I'm sure there are others that have something similar.


I have a case of repetitive strain injury (RSI), so I have to minimize my computer use outside of working hours for sure.


I have other things I like to do. I study Buddhism and Meditation at a local center on Wednesday nights. I go out with friends. I read. I listen to audio books. I have a hobby of studying philosophy and religion that takes up a ton of time (personal interest).

I watch Netflix using my gaming systems/tablet (although I try to minimize my gaming time to only on weekends occasionally).

This year I intend to try yoga and tai chi - both are supposed to be good for RSI sufferers.

I have noticed that I tend to read facebook more often if I leave it open on my tablet/phone (as you get notifications constantly). So I stopped that.

I generally try to limit Hacker News / Reddit / etc. to about 1 read a day. I open up all the articles in many tabs, and when I'm through that, I'm through. If I missed something important, it will come up again or someone I know will link me. I still sometimes fall into my cycle above, but at least I am more likely to notice that and avoid it now.

mjhoy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a power strip to which the wireless router and modem are connected that can be turned off and off by remote control. Click!
falcolas 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing that helps me with hacker news is using an external aggregator (like hckrnews.com) that only shows the top 20 or so news stories. Keeps me focused on the most relevant news without the front page rabbit hole problem.
Quiark 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, I try to socialize more, to do more sporty activities. I consider my week ideal if I leave my laptop in the office 6 out of 7 days and only spend the nights in my apartment. That could also answer the How? portion of your question.

I'm single which is the main reason for this ;)

robotic 2 days ago 1 reply      
If I had a free second at any point in the day I would end up checking Facebook or reddit. I just couldn't stop myself so I deleted them. I deleted the Facebook and reddit app from my phone and iPad. This helped a lot. I still checked both in the browser so I ended up deactivating my fb account. I also use Stay Focused which is a chrome extension that blocks sites after a set time. I put reddit and a few other sites on the list. I still check HN. I see this site as educational and I don't regret reading the articles.
tjpick 2 days ago 1 reply      
> how do you prevent yourself from wasting hours on Facebook/Twitter/HackerNews/YouTube

Have kids.

geedy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think you're going to get variations on this a lot, but I have lots of hobbies. I am not the most sociable person, but between music, gardening, rebuilding an engine, board game nights and hanging out with friends, at some point, sports, your time behind a computer starts to go down. I am not perfect, but it definitely helps to engage your interests outside of your work.
bnt 2 days ago 0 replies      
After 9-10hrs behind a computer at work, I don't have much need for computers at home. Wver since I started working, I've noticed my social network usage has gone down mostly because I don't want to stare at a screen some more. Same goes for my iPhone. I wanted to upgrade, but seeing I use it for nothing more that calls and messaging, I've opted out.
sneak 2 days ago 0 replies      
WasteNoTime safari extension.
auvrw 2 days ago 0 replies      
i have a dumbphone (motorola razr) that i use when i go out.


i don't feel this way at all. i probably spent about 1/4 of last year without an internet connection at home.

thehooplehead 2 days ago 0 replies      
These days, I see computer time as a limited resource. My eyes started acting up last summer and so I've cut down on my computer time. I save articles into something like Pocket and use the read-aloud feature while I go take a break from staring at the monitor.
dominotw 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recently started using rescuetime. Now atleast have an accurate idea of how much time I am wasting each day.
moron4hire 2 days ago 0 replies      
I spent the last two weeks completely disconnected from technology, with the exception of my Canon 5D camera. It was incredibly liberating. I actually found I was remembering people's names better.

Well, I do have to admit, the location helped quite a bit. I was in the Galapagos Islands </brag>

Coming home, I've noticed an immediate reversion back to my old ways, with the addition of a low, simmering anger and slightly less patience towards these things. However, while I used to be angry and impatient when things would work slowly, I find now that I have this low level anger and impatience at the entire concept of the computer.


6d0debc071 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't try to avoid it, I just have other interests. Hard to be browsing the net while you're practising martial arts, or swimming, or singing, or dancing, or - . Well, you get the idea.
ghosh 1 day ago 0 replies      
deactivated FB account. Not much in youtube.
Ask HN: Is it legally enforceable for your company to own your IP?
40 points by adambutler  1 day ago   51 comments top 21
grabeh 1 day ago 1 reply      
First principles tell us that any work created in the course of employment is automatically owned by the employer (s.11(2) CDPA '88) except where there is an agreement to the contrary.

Unfortunately the phrase 'course of employment' has been held to have a broad meaning. The 1989 UK case of Missing Link Software v Magee held that where an employer could show that the work created was one that could be reasonably contemplated as part of the employee's duties, the employee would not have a claim to it. So if you're creating software programs in your spare time and your job description includes writing software programs, then the potential is that you wouldn't have a claim on them (although it depends on how closely the outside work is aligned to the work duties by the looks of things).

All the above doesn't require there to be any explicit clause in the agreement covering all IP rights. If there is such a clause, then I don't immediately see any reason why it would not be enforceable (although http://www.dyoung.com/article-ownership suggests the clause would be unenforceable).

All in all, I'd see a lawyer. If you want me to look at the agreement feel free to get in touch. I'm an in-house lawyer but will be able to give you some initial pointers and suggest a lawyer (I know a good firm in London who will provide an initial consultation for free).

mdp 1 day ago 2 replies      
I can actually answer this decisively.

Don't take legal advice from anyone but a lawyer that you are paying.

Seriously, this depends on a variety of factors and is especially dependent on your local laws, the specifics of the contract and most importantly, precedent.

Find a lawyer, give them your contract, detail your side project and get an opinion.

matthewmacleod 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've come up against this before (Scotland, but broadly the same employment law).

My understanding is that this term would not be considered reasonable, and as a result would not be enforceable. However, you'd need to either opt out or discuss this with a solicitor if you were planning to do anything which might come under that umbrella, as it would likely be expensive and messy if you had to fight, regardless of who's actually correct.

In most cases, I've found this has simply been thrown into an employment contract as part of a lawyer's off-the-shelf documentation, and will be removed upon request.

josephlord 1 day ago 0 replies      
If it is in the contract it could become complicated (expensive time in court) to confirm it unenforceable.

My previous employer changed contracts to one that stated that they would own any IP created "in the course of employment" and I got confirmation by email that it only covered work related to my job before I accepted the new terms.

Duck Duck Going for the term now produces a guide[1] on IP created at work from Unite (a major British Union) that looks quite useful.

[1] http://archive.unitetheunion.org/member_services/legal_help/...

nmc 1 day ago 1 reply      
[Disclaimer] I am not a lawyer, this is only from professional experience and personal culture, and may not apply if you are from another planet. Feel free to insert enough "maybe" for your own convenience.

[TL;DR] This is only enforceable if explicitly written black-on-white in a contract you willingly signed.

I have seen similar clauses in engineering contracts before: this is rare but it exists, and you should beware. I would advise not to sign anything like that except maybe when you really trust the company's shareholders. At least, make it clear that you do work on your spare time, and show them that it is clearly unrelated.

So check your employment contract. In case it confirms your company's claims, you can still try to go to court: in some cases, a judge may consider that an abusive clause.

Alternatively, there is no chance this is an implicit argument: any IP renunciation must be explicit, so if you never signed anything like that, I think you should be safe.

mmahemoff 1 day ago 0 replies      
The main reason for these clauses is not to steal employee's personal IP, which in reality wouldn't be worth much according to expected value. The main purpose is to prevent employees suing their (past) employers for copyright and for companies to assert full ownership of their IP in situations such as acquisitions and IPOs. It removes doubt that any critical IP might belong to employees.

A contract is just an initial template to speed up the negotiation. You can often request exemptions as long as you're specific about it. I've seen this clause plenty in the UK and I've also seen it amended.

eterm 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm in England and also see this contract clause a lot. Personally I've always assumed that it would be unenforceable if it was work unrelated to the business, but I've not yet had reason to hire a solicitor to find out.

I'd suggest you ask a solicitor rather than an internet though.

p.s. To everyone saying "It depends if it's in the contract" that's not very helpful, as it likely is in the contract but that doesn't make it necessarily enforceable. Plenty of contract terms aren't enforceable when you actually get a lawyer to look at them. In UK contract law, contracts cannot have unfair clauses.

samworm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was responsible for hiring a development team for a company in England some years ago.

The boilerplate contract we got from our solicitors[1] had this clause in. I fed back that this would be a barrier to hiring quality staff and was told that it would likely be unenforceable anyway and was only in there to intimidate people if the company needed to force something through later.

The clause was removed for the hiring I did but I understand that at the next annual legal review it was reinserted as a "standard contact term" by the solicitors for all new hires :(

[1] Halliwells - who I apparently no longer exist - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halliwells

mattwritescode 1 day ago 0 replies      
Difficult one.

Basically these are put in place to stop you stealing source code improving it and releasing it as yours.

The best thing to do is ask for an exception for particular pieces of work if you are worried about it. Any half decent company will be more than willing to let you work on code outside of work so long as:

1. It does not affect your companies work.

2. The code you write at work will not be included in the projects you are working on.

youngtaff 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although not directly applicable this judgement is worth a read - http://www.nakedlaw.com/2010/01/software-developers-who-owns...

"Under statute, copyright is only automatically owned by an employer if it is created by the employee in the course of his employment. On that basis, code written in an employee's spare time and outside of the scope of what he is doing for his job would belong to the developer. However, many employment contracts (particularly for jobs that are centred around the development of IP for the company to exploit - such as software development) include the transfer of ownership to the company in much broader cases. This might capture any code developed that relates to the business of the company (eg. any computer games), whether written entirely at home and not using company resources."

I get written waivers for all work that I don't want my employer to own.

noir_lord 1 day ago 1 reply      
Years and years ago I worked for office supplies retailer and they had a clause in their contract that said the usual "we own anything you do outside of work blah blah".

I struck a line through it and got my line manager to initial it before I signed the contract.

I wasn't hired as a programmer but no way was I signing over the rights to any of my personal projects because "that's what we always do".

bdfh42 1 day ago 0 replies      
+1 to "it depends upon your contract"

It also depends upon your role. If you are hired to invent new things then it is no good claiming that an invention you seek to sell on your own account does not belong to your employer of the time - even if you only worked on it at home.

nodata 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask a lawyer. The condition is very common, but I don't know if it is enforceable.
rikacomet 1 day ago 0 replies      
In India, it is not. The law is silent. When filling a copyright, if the employee owns the IP, the company has to get a NOC from him for using it.

And Even if the company owns the IP, it has to get a NOC, when filling.

Which in short means, that while filling for copyright, one of the parties is the developer, a company can't obviously be a developer.

NOC= No Objection Certificate

kaa2102 1 day ago 0 replies      
IANAL. First, get legal advice from a lawyer. Some law schools offer free or inexpensive clinics with law professors and law students.

It does depend on your contract, common law, and legal precendent. Contracts can be modified. Some companies and organization require that you get outside activities or employment approved by management and human resources or ethics.

jaachan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it depends on the contract you signed, you should go over that and check if it says something about it.

IANAL, etc. Ask a lawyer if you want any reliable answer.

desarun 1 day ago 1 reply      
Christ, who on earth do you work for?

That sounds horrific...

I work for a ftse 35 company as a dev and there's nothing close to that, just the usual "Work done on our time or our equipment is ours"

VLM 1 day ago 3 replies      
Regardless of legality the question you really should have asked is "how much will it cost me to purchase my freedom via the legal system, and am I willing and able to pay it".

If you're only willing to pay $100 for your freedom, and they're willing to put up $500 worth of nuisance legal roadblocks in your way, they won. On the other hand, if they're only willing to spend $5000 max to own you as their property, and you're willing you spend $10000 to gain your freedom, you've won. Doesn't matter if its objectively legal or not, its shouldn't even be part of your decision. Now its very important to your lawyer and his strategy and the related costs, but figuring that stuff out is his specialty. Every slave has a sale price, the legal system will figure it out. Might be a lot more or a lot less than you think. Your legal rep will let you know.

It strikes me as a dumb idea from a liability standpoint to want to own a developer as a slave, thinking of malware and the like, or even just innocent bugs.

Good luck.

Bahamut 1 day ago 0 replies      
From my experience, it also helps to have a dialogue with your employer. Many are willing to alter the clause if given enough reason
ViduShan 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is quite unusual - it's usual for the employment contract for a developer to include a clause dictating whatever you create in the course of your employment is owned by your company but as far as what you do outside the course of your employment - this is pretty odd.

You should check what your contract says, but regardless of what it says, if you aren't using your company's source code, equipment and designs etc I think this would be hard to enforce (without knowing the facts here). Even if you did sign an employment contract including this, if you are not developing anything that builds on top of your company's work, this could be seen as restriction of your trade (or a similar concept) and be unenforceable but whether this is the case or not is really depends on the specific facts here.

I think your best bet is to take a look at your contract and if it does include wording to the effect that whatever you develop (whether this be in work or not) then you should talk to an IP lawyer who has some experience with employment issues like this.

By way of my background - I'm an ex corporate M&A lawyer based in London so IP/employment isn't my specialist area and it can be quite tricky so I would recommend you try and find one to make sure you get this right.

I should also add that I'm currently building a UK based platform to help people with legal issues find good lawyers at fair prices which will be launched in the next month, but if you need assistance before this get in touch and maybe I can help find the right lawyer for you (this will be free to you - charges are deducted from the lawyer).

ChristianGeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whether it's enforceable or not is irrelevant; what matters is whether or not you can prove that the IP was completely developed on your own time if the company does decide to sue (and whether or not you can afford to prove it). Make sure you keep a time log of when you worked on personal projects, do frequent checkins to GitHub or a similar service (even if you're not working on code), and make sure you don't use company resources in any way to work on it (especially a company computer, even if you're just doing a Google search).
Ask HN: So does Facebook delete anything?
2 points by mattkrea  17 hours ago   2 comments top 2
atmosx 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Short answer: No. It actually shares your data with the US Government which makes sure that nothing goes to waste!
Peroni 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe that they store some info for up to 6 months. After that, your original profile is gone.
Ask HN: Do you cold call?
84 points by nahcub  5 days ago   55 comments top 29
dsr_ 5 days ago 2 replies      
I get cold-called all the time. Here are the mistakes people make:

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!"?

Go away.

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...)

ThomPete 5 days ago 1 reply      
In my young years I did telemarketing. It's tough but, one of the best learning experience of my life.

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.

blhack 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's very immature of me, and I'll own that, but the number one thing you can do to get me to never, ever do business with your company is to cold call me.

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.

kaliblack 5 days ago 1 reply      
Advice: don't cold call hoping to sell. Unlike inbound methods, you have no idea where they are in the buying cycle. It could be years before you close, so don't bother trying.

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.

graeme 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't do cold calling much, but the few times I've done it have produced almost everything good I've ever achieved professionally has come from a few well targeted cold calls or emails

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.

simonbarker87 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Hi, I'm really not sure who I need to speak to but if I could take 30 seconds to explain who I am and what I'm looking for do you think we could work out if it's worth me speaking to anyone? Would that be ok?"

"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.

matznerd 5 days ago 2 replies      
The modern cold call is a cold email. Although I've done straight cold calls and had a small team in the Philippines, a lot of businesses do not like calls (esp. Restaurants and service businesses). There is a great book on cold emails called Predictable Revenue[0]. link: http://www.amazon.com/Predictable-Revenue-Business-Practices...

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.

[0] edit: misspelled title

sdrinf 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have amnesia / sleeping difficulty (being awake for ~20 hours, then sleep for 10), which means my waking cycles roll around. UK-based sales people, on the other hand, tend to do their cold calls at 10am sharp.

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.

[1] See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6163051 for more

conrey 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, best thing to do is research the hell of them before you make any call or email. Some great articles that I've shared with my team:


pedalpete 5 days ago 1 reply      
I did a little bit of cold calling when I was running a start-up. It's supposed to be really intimidating, and I have to say that before each call, I'd take a few minutes to warm myself up and think 'the worst they can do is say no'.

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".

wrath 5 days ago 0 replies      
A company that I started in the early 2000s used cold calling to generate leads. It was very affective to generate solid qualified leads. We were lucky that we go an experience cold caller that trained other younger sales people. Having someone (either an agency or a person in-house) helping you is key to your success.

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.

mildtrepidation 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Potential customers" is a key part of your phrase. If you have someone's contact information and you have some reason to believe they'll be interested in your service, that's a lead.

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.

logvol 5 days ago 1 reply      
Definitely. Outbound sales was how we validated our business model before we wrote a single line of code. There is so much you can learn.

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-...

nimrod4 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is obviously highly dependent on industry, market, product, etc. I do cold e-mail (personal preference vs calling) but within some basic guidelines:

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.

ErrantX 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not directly, no. But I work for a company that has a sales department that does cold calls.

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).

kryptonika 2 days ago 0 replies      
Shocking that a bunch of engineers don't like being cold-called ;-) But it's silly to write it off as a viable sales strategy. At my startup we've had a ton of success with cold-calling, and I've talked to software CMOs and VP Sales all over Boston that use it as a core part of their strategy.

If you're doing B2B sales in a relatively new category there's basically no other way to reach your early market; they're not googling for your category, and probably not even for a technical solution to it, especially if you're selling to a non-IT function (marketing, sales, finance, etc.).

In those contexts, cold-calling, done well, can help educate the market, create demand, and set the stage for later inbound efforts. Often we'll have a cold call where the prospect's response isn't "WTF you wasted my time" but "I had no idea this kind of thing existed; where were you 5 years ago?"

It's not easy; you have to select your targets carefully, and have a good pitch, not be too push, and get a lot of other things right to make it work, but it DOES work.

esdailycom 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have been doing a little cold calling recently. One thing I have understood from the various introduction statements is

1. Ask for the person's name or company's name first thing: this tells the person you are indeed looking for them

2. Do not sell in the first 20 seconds. Tell them you are looking for someone in their line of business and ask them if you can ask them a couple of questions

3. Ask them questions relating to their business

Only then do you explain how your business solves the problems. I have found that this recipe almost always makes it impossible for the target to say 'no' and cut the call. Once they answer your questions, they are interested to know how exactly you come into the picture. This process seems more successful than anything else for me.

davecyen 5 days ago 0 replies      
DON'T:Be scripted.Ask stupid questions that are supposed to be leading, like "Do you want to increase your revenue and cut costs?".Go straight into pitch mode.Call them so often that it pisses them off.

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).

philmcc 5 days ago 0 replies      
I decided I wanted to get into independent software development. I found a company ($1mm revenue) I'd done a little bit of business with (unrelated)

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.

bellaccione 5 days ago 0 replies      
I cold call for a living. By cold calling I mean 40 outbound calls and 15 emails or LinkedIn InMails on a regular outreach day.

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.

arthurquerou 5 days ago 0 replies      
We do but it doesn't work the same depending on the country.For example, in France (where we were originally based) and Europe, it's pretty effective if we call the company we target and ask for the right person (thank you Linkedin).Though, we recently moved in the US and the first calls we made didn't really work. Some people were even pissed that we called them from nowhere and where wondering how we got their phone numbers.Possibly relevant: We work in mobile advertising
sharemywin 5 days ago 2 replies      
if your not going to make at least $100/mo ($2000 CLTV) it's probably not going to be cost effective.
dethtron5000 4 days ago 0 replies      
I get anywhere from 5-20 sales calls a day (not to mention cold emails and the blind-rage-inducing cold meeting spam, which lands the salesperson on my auto-block list). I don't have the time during the day to answer these, so I don't pick up my phone unless I recognize the number. I have my email in my voice mail message - I'm happy to review any email that comes in from a cold call. I may not respond, but often I'll file away a service and if something's a good fit, I'll follow up a bit later.
bhartzer 5 days ago 0 replies      
Cold calling can work if you are selling the right thing. But you still have to qualify people ahead of time. If you're selling a domain name, then finding companies that might be interested in buying (like the ones already bidding on the keyword) is a way of qualifying for selling domains.
jp1989 5 days ago 1 reply      
We're in the extremely early stages our our B2B SaaS business - and cold calling has been extremely effective so far. We've gotten great feedback and battle-tested our hypothesis on "real customers".

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.

hdivider 5 days ago 3 replies      
I've been wondering about this myself. In a typical, successful B2B cold call, how does the conversation actually go?
mindcrime 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's more "cold email" for us, but yes to some extent. I think some of the keys are to be:

1. brief

2. relevant

3. professional

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.

smelliot415 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. Building out a list of pre-qualified contacts, then "cold calling" by means of telephone or email is one of the best ways to get in front of people that your product/service can help. The key is to be respectful of everyone's time and come to the table with something of value. And of course, pushiness or over-persistence is never appreciated. Also, "cold call" doesn't mean "blind call". The sales person should have some notion of the prospect's business, their role in that organization, and exactly where this product or service might fit in.

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!

Aldo_MX 5 days ago 0 replies      
My answer is:

  If your product/service can't be explained by e-mail,  I'm not interested in acquiring it. Please remove my number.

Forget about promises, use harvests
3 points by abss  1 day ago   1 comment top
abss 1 day ago 0 replies      

harvest.let('father', loadPenguin, 'MrPenguin'); harvest.let('mother', loadPenguin, 'MrsPenguin'); harvest.let('family', loadPenguinFamily, wait('father'), wait('mother'));

The above call do 3 calls without then or declaring ugly callbacks!

Ask HN: Do you have an online resume?
5 points by 1986v  1 day ago   5 comments top 3
splatcollision 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have multiple online resumes, which I customize for specific job applications. Unique URLs for each with integrated cover letters gives me tracking, and I've had almost a 90% response rate (defined as getting a response and/or first phone interview) with this approach.

Plus, I can design responsive one-pagers easily with my own design tool, which is also coincidentally where I host the resumes. Customization is mostly the cover letter and tweaking specific job history accomplishments to focus on what a job posting is looking for, but often I've done custom designs as well.

One big issue I find is that many online job submission forms still only have an 'upload .doc or .pdf resume' button which accepts a file. Once you get around this and have actual people click the link, the results are usually good. I will usually post a text-only version with a header to the effect of "Hi there - please view this resume online for easier readability & sharing. [link here]"

NomadicBit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I actually just keep one up on Monster. I keep it public and it does get it's fair share of vies. If you pay a small fee they also allow you to track them. I don't really care who views it, only who contacts me from it, so I don't pay. I don't update it often, ever few months I guess. I'd say that having my resume online has saved me tremendous amounts of aggravation since many people contact me for jobs now, instead of me having to search high and low for companies to work for. On the downside, you often get contacted by recruiters for staffing companies trying to get you to apply for some bs job that you won't be interested in. It's easy enough though to just screen them through an email filter.
VLM 1 day ago 0 replies      
You may want to look into Linkedin. I find its social networking a complete waste of time, but its a heck of an online resume building / documenting tool.

One part I don't like is to defeat keyword scanning I've always customized my resume. Anyone with more than 6 months real world experience has to leave tons of stuff out of a resume to keep it a reasonable length, so customizing to match an advertisements ridiculous keyword set is perfectly honest. My current job really doesn't care what I did with VTAM on MVS although my future one might.

Tell HN: Planned Maintenance Jan 23 1-5 AM PST
84 points by kogir  6 days ago   54 comments top 14
tptacek 6 days ago 5 replies      
Whoah, new noticeboard feature. I like it! It harmonizes with my topcolor.

I object to labeling "Tweaking our storage configuration a bit" as "details", though. ;)

kogir 6 days ago 0 replies      
I promise to do a post-mortem (with details), but from my perspective the issues that began on Jan 6th are ongoing. It's all I've been working on since then.

Once I get a break I'll write a blog post about it, and try the Matasano/Square and Stripe CTFs :)

k0mplex 6 days ago 5 replies      
While you're tweaking things, mind increasing the font size? I typically zoom in, but then the up arrows get pixelated. Such problems!
hglaser 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for spending so much time on this. We appreciate it.
beefsack 6 days ago 0 replies      
For easy conversion to your own local time: http://localtime.io/#?d=Jan%2023%201-5%20AM%20PST
lucb1e 6 days ago 3 replies      
So what's PST? Why can't we all use UTC/GMT+/-x so we all understand?
cmelbye 6 days ago 0 replies      
How much karma do we need to change the color of the announcements bar?
frozenport 6 days ago 0 replies      
What kind of storage requirements does HN have? I would expect everything to fit snuggly in 32GB of ram.
alttab 6 days ago 1 reply      
What, no zero downtime DB deployments?
TrainedMonkey 6 days ago 0 replies      
Are these redesigned backup or improving recovery speed related changes by any chance?
jmathai 5 days ago 0 replies      
I can't believe they're finally fixing the pagination bugs! Super excited.
bane 6 days ago 1 reply      
Good luck!
henrygrew 5 days ago 0 replies      
good luck, it's a commendable thing that you're doing.
krishnakarki 6 days ago 0 replies      
good luck
Ask HN: How did you go about starting up, in the UK?
3 points by thisisacooluser  21 hours ago   1 comment top
techmatters 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This experience relates to a startup in 2005 that folded during the credit crunch (2008). I am now working on a new product suite whilst continuing to consult.

The Mortgage Portal was an online marketplace for mortgage brokers to find appropriate products for their customers. It started with an idea that I spent a month building in my spare time. I worked with a colleague (both of us consulting in the mortgage technology arena) to bring it to market.

I started with a flexible mortgage that I drew salary against - so 0 capital. We then went around hawking the idea to the marketplace. We met a lot of resistance from established players (owned by the big banks, so no way we could disrupt the marketplace), and in the end pivoted into a platform for new lenders to get to market quickly. We helped a handful of banks launch new channels in a few months, which was a great selling point. Then came the downturn.

Our sales model was monthly fee + per transaction fee. It was never profitable.

We didn't look at grants/loans. There are some around, but my opinion is they are probably a distraction at this stage. If you're interested look at http://www.j4bgrants.co.uk/ - they have a wealth of information.

The most valuable thing we did was pivot. We didn't pivot fast enough which made things untenable.We never scaled (started with two, ended with just me), and we failed for various reasons. I could blame the market - all our remaining customers either went bankrupt or closed within the space of a few days - but the reality was that the idea was just a starting point and we didn't move from that.

In my view, if you have an idea, your first step is to go out there and find a customer. Don't build anything (that is the easy bit) before you have someone willing to give you money. We should've done that - taken the idea and then asked what our customers wanted to do with it - rather than impose our views on them.

As for resources, there are many available and it will depend on what your trying to achieve and where you're located. If in London, I'd recommend the Google Campus (http://www.campuslondon.com/) as a good starting point. Then look for Meetups in your area.

Good luck.

Your best passive income? (2014)
368 points by kirk21  7 days ago   411 comments top 98
dangrossman 7 days ago 11 replies      
Not much has changed since the last thread. Improvely (https://www.improvely.com) is still in the 5-digit monthly RR range and growing, and I do no outbound marketing other than some PPC ads that don't need much active management. Everything that can be automated has been automated (onboarding, lifecycle mails, dunning mails for billing issues, etc), leaving me free to spend all my time on support and improving the product.

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.

viach 7 days ago 8 replies      
I've got a job where i do almost nothing. It's my passive income.
nickfox 7 days ago 1 reply      
I have been working on my Google Map Gps Cell Phone Tracker for several years now. Recently, I updated the project to include tracking for Android, IOS, Windows Phone and Java Me/J2ME phones. The project allows you to track a phone periodically (every 1, 5 or however number of minutes) and display them in real time on Google maps.

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.

eo34 7 days ago 3 replies      
A few years ago, I wanted to build an oscilloscope in my pocket, so I went ahead and did it. Then I wanted a spectrum analyzer, and then an equalizer.

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).

gmays 7 days ago 5 replies      
For me it's still residential real estate.

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.

r4pha 7 days ago 6 replies      
I'm making negative 15 USD/month hosting two side projects:

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.

simonhamp 7 days ago 6 replies      
I run Built With Bootstrap (http://builtwithbootstrap.com). It's making 4 figures a month at the moment.

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.

driverdan 7 days ago 5 replies      
I'm currently earning around $45-60 a day mining cryptocurrencies with a little over $5000 in hardware. Once setup it's completely passive.

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.

taigeair 7 days ago 2 replies      
Current passive income for me - blog and niche sites with articles (ads e.g. http://www.flagshipstorelondon.com/), e-commerce business (sales), ETFs (investments), and teaching a skill.

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.

zrail 7 days ago 1 reply      
My book "Mastering Modern Payments: Using Stripe with Rails" continues to sell well, in the $2k range per month. It's not exactly passive, though, as I write blog posts and develop other related content in the same theme.


starik36 7 days ago 2 replies      
A stupid app, called That's Not Funny, that I wrote in 2008 or so to teach myself Android programming (when v1 came out) continues to make around $40 a month from ads.


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.

erikb 7 days ago 5 replies      
Why does everybody list books, webapps and mobile apps as passive income? I hope you created them yourself. Then they are not passive income but a product. Like every product they have a lifetime, then you need a new product. Therefore you actually have a first or second active business and not a passive income. "Passive income" is rent for condos you own, or having shares in your friend's profitable business that yields dividends etc. or did I completely misunderstand the meaning of that word?
drewolbrich 7 days ago 10 replies      
My iOS app that teaches you what a tesseract is and lets you manipulate it in 3D and 4D.


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.

galfarragem 7 days ago 0 replies      
50/month with adsense and amazon affiliates. It demands from me 5 minutes each day (or 4-5 hours each month, so it is not exactly passive...). It's a niche blog about architectural models: http://archimodels.info that I started as a hobby to learn about web development. I know that i'm near the bottom in the hierarchy of passive income but anyway I'm leaving my 2 cents.


- 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.

marban 7 days ago 1 reply      
If you're looking for some dropshipping insights (which the OP's link suggests), here's a nice story:http://www.ecommercefuel.com/selling-an-ecommerce-store/
guard-of-terra 7 days ago 3 replies      
Owning a flat in Moscow and renting it out? Easily 1000$/mo. You can live in Thailand on that money.
vrikis 7 days ago 1 reply      
I know this isn't entirely passive, but I occasionally rent my spare room on AirBnB. I'm quite clear that it's a basic room and if they use the kitchen etc. they need to clean up after themselves - this isn't a hotel I'm running... So there's basically no work to do other than cleaning the bedsheets, which I do as part of cleaning my bedsheets anyway... I do this for a maximum of 1week/month, which gets me roughly 4000/year and since it's tax exempt in Scotland (under lodger laws), it's the easiest money I've ever made.
TeeWEE 7 days ago 3 replies      
I created the app 3dweapons for Android about 2 1/2 years ago. (http://www.3dweapons.net) The free version was downloaded >1.7 million times. The paid version around 8k times.

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.

earlz 7 days ago 0 replies      
My first source of passive income came this year. It's an app for rooting (and then fixing some problems on) a modem used for U-Verse(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.earlz.nvg5...). I've only made a handful of $100 bills with it, but the extra income is welcome.

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

qeorge 7 days ago 0 replies      
Making $2-300/month off Android apps (AdMob). Despite best efforts, this is dominated by a soundboard app. Not what I expected, but we'll take it!

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.

cdaven 7 days ago 1 reply      
I have a quite simple web site with some calculators for taxes and stuff, that I originally built in 2007. The Google AdSense and affiliate income has grown from about $1000 per year to almost $1000 per month.

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.

joliss 7 days ago 2 replies      
My free-to-play Solitaire web app, at http://www.solitr.com/.

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.

runn1ng 7 days ago 1 reply      
It will sound banal, but Bitcoins I bought year-and-something ago.
yummyfajitas 7 days ago 0 replies      
I make some passive income off affiliate link blogs. Not a lot, varies widely per month.

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:


nkuttler 7 days ago 1 reply      
Oh well, it's hardly an income but I created a rhyming dictionary years ago where one adsense container pays for all my personal hosting bills. http://rhymebox.com/ http://rhymebox.de/
tarball 7 days ago 1 reply      
At first I started with a Blogspot with a bunch of cat gifs and a couple of Google ads. Once I earned enough money to buy a domain name for this project, I bought http://catgifpage.com and designed a cheap-but-fun interface for the visitors I targeted.

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.

quaffapint 7 days ago 0 replies      
Created a PHP ad server 'mySimpleAds' at http://www.clippersoft.net and continue to maintain support it. Brings in some money monthly to help with credit card bills. I get some referals from SO and the like, but also spend $ on Adwords. Last year created a hosted SAAS version at http://mysimpleads.com, but hasn't really taken off.

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.

dpiers 7 days ago 1 reply      
I made 10.35 BTC from mining dogecoins for the last month.
nader 7 days ago 2 replies      
Income is often called passive but essentially there is always something you need to do, monitor, improve or change in order to keep cash flow steady. If you don't, your income will decrease over time until reaching zero. It is surely easier to maintain "passive income" than to start from scratch.
frankydp 7 days ago 1 reply      
I have been running a simple career site for Marines for the last 2 years, and have now slowly grown to capture about half the Marine Corps monthly. It slowly drags in $400 a month and has been creeping up to the 5k mailing list mark. I work on it about a day a month, if that.
elliottkember 7 days ago 1 reply      
Running Hammer for Mac (hammerformac.com), our web-development OSX app. On a good day we might hit $100+ profit (after Apple's cut). Some days we don't get anything. It's rewarding to know that people are using it.
sirbrad 7 days ago 2 replies      
I created and sold Stickonspy (http://stickonspy.com) just after mid last year. The initial month I launched it did pretty well as the NSA news was still a pretty big deal. All in all it's made me < 1k but it's been great fun to build and ship a product from scratch. I've shipped to around 12 countries too which is cool. I also spent no money on marketing.

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!

knorc 7 days ago 1 reply      
A website promoting ebooks about seduction : http://www.ebookseduction.com/ in french, english version coming soon)It's not a big business but it is good pocket money considering it takes me few hours of work per month.
scotty79 7 days ago 3 replies      
Few bitcoin Antminers. They are paying as much as I'll be earning at my new job I'm starting with the beginning of the February. I basically cloned myself in terms of income by buying them. They should pay for themselves in 3-4 months. I'm not sure if that's passive income or capital gain though.
kirk21 7 days ago 1 reply      
1) Selling Elon Musk t-shirts: http://www.zazzle.com/elonmuskspacemanDid not make that much but was great fun.

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...

easy_rider 7 days ago 0 replies      
I have great expectations of my DogeCoins!
aoakenfo 7 days ago 1 reply      
I make $0.70 cents (1 sale) every month from my iOS puzzle game: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simpl/id672601351?ls=1&mt=8

In a few months I'll be able to buy myself a coffee! =)

ZanderEarth32 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've got an iOS app that I'm lucky if I get a sale or two a day. It was really more of a project to teach myself how to build iOS apps and be an accompaniment to an ebook my GF wrote that sells fairly well. I guess technically it hasn't 'made' any money since we're still in the red when factoring in the cost of the icon design, Apple dev account, etc.

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.

dejv 7 days ago 1 reply      
I had created http://notationtraining.com in 2010 when I was learning how to play piano. I did update this project few times, but otherwise it is completely on its own. It makes only about 300 USD/month but I am quite happy with it as I am not doing anything to promote it or anything else.
smartician 7 days ago 0 replies      
Earning low three figures with my Android apps[1]. Haven't touched them since August, so I guess that counts as passive income. It's even still building momemtum[2], so maybe if I had spent some money on marketing it would have grown faster?

[1] https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Smartician

[2] https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/t1/15...

Judson 7 days ago 2 replies      
I may have posted about this before, but http://askjud.com, a simple trick that you can play on your friends makes around $300/mo.

Its hosted on github, and costs $8/yr for the domain name.

cerberusss 7 days ago 1 reply      
Bought the app Sleep Cycle Calculator from its previous owner. Completely redid the interface for iOS 7, and I'm now finishing up a version with a custom UIView.

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.


weavie 7 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a trading simulator app for iOS. It's not a huge earner, but does give me some pocket money. It's not exactly passive either since I still develop on it, but I would probably be doing it anyway - the fact people buy it is just a bonus.


elbear 7 days ago 1 reply      
At the end of 2013 I launched http://www.comedylib.com/. It's a site with curated Youtube videos of comedians, comedy shows and comedy movies.

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.

rmc 6 days ago 0 replies      
Made some custom maps based on OpenStreetMap designed for reading on the Kindle. Have made about ~100 so far, but there's a lot more I could do.


The books themselves: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=digita...

mhoad 7 days ago 2 replies      
Just in the middle of getting this up (was a way of teaching myself Rails) that works as an Affiliate style site for gadgets and cool gift ideas. http://fmhgifts.com/
iluvmylife 7 days ago 0 replies      
I made a super simple paid Android app with a list of interesting Physics Puzzles (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.boredominn...). Took a month to make and now it is completely passive. Brings in some spare change with zero maintenance (~$50/month).

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.

sgribley 7 days ago 2 replies      
I'm going to toss this out there - I've considered building an affiliate site in the porn space. I've looked at a couple API's and it looks easy. However, I have never built anything in this space - I just hear that there's money to be made so have been tempted. Let the flogging begin!
jbrooksuk 7 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing as of yet. I used to receive donations from my blog and some Windows programs I've written: http://www.softpedia.com/developer/James-Brooks-12392.html but that seems to have dried up. I probably generated 100~ from all donations.

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.

jenno 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have a few things going on.

1. Income from ~5 non-fiction Kindle books for sale on Amazon. Around $100 a month, though at one point when I was more heavily marketing them it went up to $900-$1000. Would be great to spend more time on this and automate a system where I have a couple of assistants doing this for me around the clock (marketing and book creation).

2. Income from a single Youtube video which links to a simple blog (about solar power) with Adsense ads. I get about 50 cents to a dollar a day from this.

3. I used to work for a jewelry firm doing SEO, going into their office on weekdays. Had to quit later, so I asked if I could do the work from home and send a work log each week. They pay me $300 per week for simple social media and blog posts. I pay a girl in Pakistan (who has good English skills) $70 per week to do the work for me. She's very good and I'm thankful to have her. They have no clue.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to speak about these things / wanna brainstorm.

someotheridiot 6 days ago 0 replies      
Rebrickable (http://rebrickable.com) shows you what you can build with your existing LEGO collection, including hundreds of fan contributed designs. Not truly passive as I work on it every day.
rk0567 7 days ago 0 replies      
$100+/mo (through adsense and affiliate programs) from http://assembleyourpc.net - a simple tool for assembling pc online. I spend 1-2 hours per month on some tweaks/updates.
rajeevk 7 days ago 0 replies      
My first Android app: Scratchpad https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avabodh.sc...

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).

gearoidoc 7 days ago 1 reply      
Hipster CEO - a tech startup sim. 6.5k downloads at $2.99 in the past 3 months.


heumn 7 days ago 1 reply      
My app and side project "lolipop". An "instagram for gifs and funny images"-niche app. 100k + downloads.

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...

jophde 4 days ago 0 replies      
I make about $300-$500 a month on my Android app Valet. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.valetapp
acconrad 7 days ago 1 reply      
I bring in 5-7k a year DJing and personal training. They're technically "work" but I'm literally getting paid to live out my hobbies I already do for myself, which to me is passive income. I would, however, like to turn a programming side project into something that's passive income.
vcherubini 7 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a book titled "Expert PHP Deployments" on how to deploy any PHP application using Vagrant, Capistrano, and Phing.


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.

napolux 7 days ago 0 replies      
I have 2 iOS apps that are selling something like 5 copies per day each.

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

ivanyv 4 days ago 1 reply      
12 years ago I started a vertical social network for schools. We tried to hustle and visited schools one by one to sign them up. It crashed. Hard. Over time it evolved into a simple school directory, and after 3 years or so, it started making consistently about $300/month on AdSense. Revenue continued to rise (slowly), and now somedays it breaks $200/day. In the last 10 years I've spent like a week at most on the site.

Weren't it for years of stupid decisions (and a family, the one best decision ever though), I could almost live comfortably off of that.

Motivated by breaking $100/day a few months ago and now $200, I'm using it as a sort of template to launch other sites. By this time next year I might actually break $10,000/month and then finally relax :)

sovok 7 days ago 0 replies      
A silly project for playing with Unicode (s l) and ASCII Art. About 900 visits per day, 10 per month income. Almost pays for the server.


parax 7 days ago 1 reply      
I wrote a sci-fi short novel that received a good feedback (surprisingly not at Amazon, where nobody has reviewed it). It's placed at the iBookstore and the Kindle store, and it sells some units from time to time:



NateG 7 days ago 1 reply      
I created a web game called Pit of War (http://www.pitofwar.com) about three years ago and it has been generating enough monthly income to pay all my bills and affords me the ability to travel and live anywhere I like. It isn't completely passive but that is because I choose to add new features and updates. It is a niche game but the Internet is a big place with lots of people. :) Books like The Long Tail and The Curve have taught me that you don't need to have the #1 product in an industry to make a good living.
qzervaas 7 days ago 0 replies      
I made this PHP library about 5 years ago:


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.

xsNzgw8 7 days ago 1 reply      
http://pressbulgaria.com - it is a SaaS for sending press release to the media. This tool gives the citizens a lot of power to ring the alarm on certain problems. Also my customers use it as channel for promoting books, exhibition, events, etc

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).

tempestn 7 days ago 1 reply      
SearchTempest.com got to the point where it was my main gig about 5 years ago, although it's since leveled off. Like anything, you end up being pretty active if you want to continue making that "passive" income. :
kelu124 6 days ago 1 reply      
I've had www.rickshawart.org for a now.. two years. Not making a lot of money, still a no-loss project, and a ethical, profit-sharing one =)

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.

yozhik 7 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.dicerealm.com makes me minus $5 per month, but it was mostly an experiment to validate some of the advice from Start Small Stay Small (http://www.amazon.com/Start-Small-Stay-Developers-Launching-...), which is a fantastic book.
podviaznikov 7 days ago 0 replies      
My gf did couple of CSS animations(icons, js components etc) over the years. Then we published them to Envato marketplace and got some monthly income around 100USD per month.See link (referral): http://themeforest.net/item/animated-404-or-maintainance-pag...
mmayberry 7 days ago 2 replies      
I own/operate a luxury resale business that specializes in high end womens fashion, art, cars, and collectibles. My only time expense is picking up the items... everything else I have automated. On a good month I can clear $10K+ and on a bad month $2-3K. I do all this without any advertising and the primary selling point of my business is thats its discreet and anonymous.
namigop 7 days ago 1 reply      
I started wcfstorm (http://www.wcfstorm.com) about 4 years ago. I started out with just 1 product and has now added 2 more. The income is pretty nice. It usually exceeds my monthly salary. I love it when some stackoverflow users recommend it to others when a question gets posted about WCF testing.
peacemaker 7 days ago 1 reply      
I make about $400 a month quite passively by selling software with Envato. Just the occasional comment and email which takes 5 - 10 minutes a day at most.I also sell a beginners book on creating and selling WordPress plugins which only sells one or two a week.

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.

mephju 7 days ago 0 replies      
I spent more than some time to create a Shopify admin app for Android, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shopify.ad.... It's up and running and generates already some money each month (60$ - 100$). Zero marketing, just Google Play.I wanted the app to be so much better than it is right now but unfortunately Shopify will release their own Android app soon which will render my app useless. It's quite devastating. So I consider this endeavor a failure. Now I am on the lookout for a new project idea. I think I will stay in the ecommerce realm since I like it very much and think it's easier to make money with merchants than with ordinary consumers. In case anyone would like to team up, my email is in my profile ;
harvestmoon 7 days ago 2 replies      
I wrote a book on adult ADHD. I published it 3.5 years ago, and it brought in $75 last month.

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.

vuzum 7 days ago 0 replies      
Let's see. There's a few somewhat passive channels for us.

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+. :)

than 7 days ago 0 replies      
The Random Amazon Product Generator brings in enough for a small book purchase every few weeks. It's still mostly for my own amusement. (http://thanland.com/projects/random-amazon/)
AJay17 7 days ago 1 reply      
Not much to mine, but they seem to be doing pretty well.

http://www.thingsunder15.com and http://www.myfancysauce.com

bernatfp 7 days ago 0 replies      
At the moment I only have a source of passive income, which is through mining Litecoin with a couple miners I have.
johnydepp 7 days ago 2 replies      
firstplanthendo 7 days ago 2 replies      
Somewhat different area, but earns me around $300 a month- Churning credit cards for rewards. So called award/travel hacking. 2 new credit cards per calendar quarter, conservatively estimate each signup bonus is worth $600 (if you know how to redeem them, usually that means for travel).

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.

alain34 7 days ago 0 replies      
https://www.bankaccountchecker.com enable the validation of UK bank account (web app and API). It is not making loads of money but I get enough traffic to pay for summer holiday. I often get request for the logic behind the API. the sort code file is also selling well.I have created another saas service at http://www.conceptuel.co.uk/burnDown/ but there is not enough demand to make it a profitable passive income.
davidpaulkrug 7 days ago 0 replies      
I recently started a jobs site that makes about 10 dollars a day in affiliate revenue and adsense. Rolling out a network of them.


jesalg 7 days ago 0 replies      
Not nearly as successful as some of the other guys here but I have couple of avenues for 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.

easymovet 7 days ago 1 reply      
donniefitz2 7 days ago 0 replies      
I spent 10 minutes creating this coffee mug and I've made about $80 selling them over the past year on Zazzle. I plan to add more soon. http://www.zazzle.com/go_away_im_coding_coffee_mug-168224001...
xiphias 7 days ago 1 reply      
Bitcoin :-)
nonsens3 7 days ago 1 reply      
I have just released http://selfstream.io - a platform for event organizers to host and live stream their events. Right now making a negative $25 for hosting, without counting a small ad campaign on Google Adwords.
yasith 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have an Android app that's use to find local bus times for my area. It makes around 150$ per month after optimizing AbMob ads. It generated around 50$ per month at first.
LaurentGh 7 days ago 1 reply      
I'll try to start an ecommerce for France, following the other ones who specialize themselves in just one kind of well made product, like socks (www.archiduchesse.com), or underpants (www.leslipfrancais.fr).Coming soon ;)
mokkol 7 days ago 1 reply      
Im currently building a client proposal service specially for designers: http://nusii.com

Not getting much passive income yet but I hope 2014 will be our year :-)

blakerson 7 days ago 0 replies      
The Music Virtual University (http://www.musivu.co) does four-figure sales+RR monthly, a year after starting and just working nights/weekends.
meerita 7 days ago 0 replies      
Reading all the comments made me think the only passive income I ever had was my blog. Trough my blog I've got all the consulting opportunities and made quite a lot.
ankit70 7 days ago 1 reply      
I make around $200/month from my crappy articles at http://ankitkumar.in and affiliate marketing.
foxhop 7 days ago 0 replies      
most of the comments relate more to residual income not passive income. I think passive income is mostly a fallacy and the only thing that comes to mind is saving accounts and bonds.
leoplct 7 days ago 0 replies      
I made -20$/month hosting


0800899g 3 days ago 0 replies      
Your best passive income
delpino73 7 days ago 0 replies      
I run a couple of language learning sites. Doesn't make me rich but pays the rent. :)


burning 7 days ago 0 replies      
       cached 29 January 2014 05:05:01 GMT