hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    23 Jun 2014 Ask
home   ask   best   5 years ago   
Ask HN: A way to turn any table into graphic tablet?
2 points by Come-rad  41 minutes ago   discuss
Ask HN: what's the best WebGl 3D engine for creating games?
2 points by roschdal  1 hour ago   1 comment top
robin_reala 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Looked at Turbulenz[0]? Theyre high-level enough that not only do you get graphics, sound and input APIs but also the ability to publish to their portal (not required, but maybe useful?), trophies, analytics etc. The use Collada for importing models, but it looks like Blender can export that[1].

[0] http://biz.turbulenz.com/developers

[1] http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Manual/Data_System...

Tell HN: I want out
169 points by canileaveplease  17 hours ago   86 comments top 65
patio11 17 hours ago 5 replies      
You're probably overestimating peoples' reactions to you leaving. Business owners manage to simultaneously believe the business is beyond their control and yet hanging on their every word. They can't both be true, right? If you left tomorrow, odds are a successful business continues, and it will be one which wouldn't have existed but for you.

That said: what stops you from having an all-hands meeting and saying "Is this REALLY what we want?" If it isn't, it is your business. Change it. Client needs to be able to text you at 8 PM? Client will be assisted in finding a more appropriate service provider. Employee feels that nobody can go home at 6? Employee gets told by his boss "Go home. It will be here tomorrow. There are companies that pull all-nighters every day. This is not one of them."

Also: raise your rates.

icambron 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My guess from here is that it's not some sort of deep crisis, just a buildup of pain points that's gotten up to your neck. If you can get a few things sorted out, the picture might turn nice and sunny, and your "but I just want to RELAX!" ennui will vaporize. But if you don't sort them out, you'll burn out, let everyone down, and be miserable. Remember: having a lot of clients is supposed to be a problem you want, but you need to make sure you're equipped to handle it.

Here's my advice from having burned out terribly and repaired it:

Take tomorrow off. Send the email out right now: "Guys, I need a personal day. I'm sure you can handle it." Sleep in. Watch some TV for like half the day. Whatever.

The problem is likely that you've been hill-climbing. What's the next problem and how do I solve it? The hill gets steeper as you go up, but you haven't had the time to find a better path up, or maybe even a different hill. What you'll need to do is take a step back and ask, what's the problem with how we're solving problems, and to do that, you need to hit the pause button on everything. That's the real reason you just took tomorrow off. So after you're done with TV...

Part of your job is to create sustainability. Working like crazy just isn't sustainable and if you burn out, you're not likely to be the only one. Fuck toughness; it's not even a thing. And fuck the superheroics, because people just don't scale. You're not trying to lift a huge mountain yourself or even with a couple of your buddies; you're trying to build an organization that will systematically take apart the mountain and ship it off in modular containers. How do you turn "I need to make 1000 decisions today!" into that?

1. Delegation. Make a list: why does your phone blow up all day? "People need me to make decisions." What kind of decisions? "Feature decisions, customer-support decisions, technical decisions..." How can you delegate each of those? "Well, I can make Jill my lead engineer and direct technical..." You get it. Actually, just read this: http://sivers.org/delegate. You probably think only you can make the decisions. You're probably wrong and people will surprise you with their ability to take this stuff on, especially with your guidance. And if they can't, fire them (seriously, this isn't optional).

2. Operationalization. With delegation comes operationalization. You always have to be careful with process, but you also need to create it. When a new problem comes up, don't just solve it. Create a process for solving it and then apply it. This doesn't have to be the all-singing, all-dancing Ultimate Process (TM); it just has to be a way to solve this particular problem for the next, say, couple of months. "How do we structure customer meetings?" "When do we give them updates?" "How do we structure projects?" What's nice about process is that it applies DRY to your thinking; the process guides your (and everyone else's) decisions so your brain doesn't have to.

3. Brutality. This is the hard one. A small company needs focus. Focus is at, like, the top of the list for attributes you're after. So you need to look carefully at the portfolio of stuff you're doing and ask, "Do we really need to be doing this? Is it essential to our existence?" You (and whoever else really has to be in this conversation) need to answer it without blinking. It's hard to turn down clients, or cool ideas, or whatever, but you have to, because there will always, always be more stuff to do than you can plausibly handle. So you have to cut out all of that stuff, and you need to do it brutally and unflinchingly. "We're not doing that." Once you kill all the extraneous projects, even the ones that are making you money or publicity or whatever, you'll feel so much better.

4. Expectation-setting. Your developers want to work really hard, but that's actually not as great as you think it is. There's a tendency for employees in a small company to match the culture around them, especially when those employees are young. (I'm pretty sure that's where my twenties went.) But it doesn't make them magical animals; they'll burn out too. It's your job to create the environment of sustainability. That starts with your client relationships and moves down into your development schedule, your individual expectations for work hours, etc. You need to make the expectations explicit. Never ever (ever!) say "whatever it takes" and don't allow your employees to say; say, "here's what we can do", where "what we can do" fits into a reasonable schedule with reasonable hours. Will you lose some deals? Of course.

5. Planning. "um we have 8 pages left to design for tomorrow, nobody is going anywhere" is the opposite of planning. How did you get here? Well, you took on work without planning for it. That's going to cause you all kinds of stress, because it's crazy and humans can't work that way. Planning would have allowed you to say, like two weeks ago, "well, we're not going to make that deadline, so let's talk to the client and push that out." But instead, it's the day before it's due and you're fucked. So the first thing you do, on Tuesday when you're back is get a nice solid list of your existing commitments and see if they fit in a schedule. They won't, so then you'll have to reorganize some stuff and have some tough conversations about what to cut or push back or outsource or whatever. But holy shit will you feel better when you have. Then create a planning process going forward.

6. Supply and demand. Do you have too many clients for you to handle? Charge more. Seriously. The work will select itself for more value for you. If people keep wanting to pay, keep raising your price until they don't. You'll have less work and at least as much money.

Whatever you do, don't say, "let's just get through this last couple of things and then we'll be in the clear". You should know by now that's wishful thinking, and wishful thinking is, frankly, what got you into this mess in the first place. You need to take responsibility now and reorganize your team and process for sustainability.

hluska 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I was going to write a quasi-motivational post telling you to take some time off, raise your rates, and talk with your team. But, then I read your question over and focused on one paragraph.

I honestly thought I was super tough and I can take this on. I actually really just want to kill myself.

First, you are super tough and this 'Tell HN' is proof of that. When you hit your absolute limit, you reached out for help. That is amazing and everyone here should be proud of you.

Second, if the anxiety is so severe that you want to kill yourself, you have a choice. You can keep doing the same thing you are doing now. Or, you can make big changes. If you keep doing the same thing you are doing, unfortunately, this is only going to get worse. If you want to fix this, you need to make some big changes.

Other commenters have suggested some good changes already. I encourage you to follow their advice. However, my email address is in my profile. If you need someone to talk to, please use it. I can even send you my phone number, or my Skype ID so that if you ever need a friendly voice that likely doesn't know you and who will never judge you, you can reach out. Alternately, go check out http://www.7cupsoftea.com/.

I've felt this exact same way, where I was so anxious that my own death felt like the only way out. You're going through something horrible and posting here represents a herculean effort.

Now, this is an ugly topic to bring up and I don't expect you to answer this on a public forum, but do you have a plan for how and when you will harm yourself? If you do, this is a medical emergency. Please take steps to protect yourself. Unfortunately, in most places, if you tell a medical professional that you have a plan, you are immediately committed for observation. So, be careful, but also take extraordinary steps to care for yourself.

I'm sorry that I don't have a solution. The best I can offer is my support. Use my email address if you need it.

skadamat 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The main mistake you made was thinking that the startup life was a Bohemian life style. Doing a startup is incredibly stressful, you have to be pretty compelled to do it (really enjoy working on the problem, working with your team, etc).

First off, you CAN leave the business you started if you're getting burned out. Second off, I would try to pinpoint why you dislike working on your company. Does the problem not interest you? You keep referring to everything you are doing as 'work' and paint your coworkers / cofounders as your jailors. If you're not interested in solving that problem, you need to get out or you will bring the company down with you.

Now, you have to ask yourself if you dislike working in GENERAL. That may be a possibility and if you still want to have the dream lifestyle you've always wanted, I would look into freelancing part-time or starting a small lifestyle business that pays your bills and then some but doesn't require much effort.

If you want to fix your current situation/ burnout, try googling around for advice - http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-12/how-to-avoid... - and set expectations with your team on the hours you are available as well. If you just want out, then what's stopping you from getting out and starting over. You can't be passive aggressive about this; it's going to be awful if you stick around, don't deliver, don't show enthusiasm, and aren't willing to fix it and it's going to be awful when you have to tell everyone you're leaving. Starting a company takes more stomach than picking between these 2 decisions and you've already done that so either of these should be a cake walk in comparison!

noir_lord 17 hours ago 1 reply      
> Not "um we have 8 pages left to design for tomorrow, nobody is going anywhere" says one of the developers.

It's your company, if you want to leave on time that is your prerogative, me I'd go pull the master breaker and shout "home time, fuck off" ;).

You sound like someone rapidly approaching burn out, you need to give yourself some time away from a screen to try and get some perspective on what you are doing.

virtualmic 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you wish, I can help. I am changing my work of line to get more into web development/ data analytics. I am a good manager and a fast developing developer. :)

My email address is in my profile.

jaegerpicker 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It sucks and it's a tough spot. I've been very close to the same situation. I'll tell how it turned out for me, that doesn't mean it would be the same for you but take it as a data point. In the fall of last year, my wife and I decided to move out family to Maine. We had been vacationing there for years and I have something of a love affair with the Ocean. It inspires me, I feel alive, free and in touch with the Earth and my place in it when I'm close to it. I really want to pass this gift of closeness to my children. At the same time as we were packing to move two of my most respected friends asked me to join their startup as a partner. I had serious reservations about moving 1000 miles away with a young family and being a partner in a startup but my drive and ambition got the best of me. They needed someone who understood mobile applications and could build both Android and iOS while shaping the data/app to really focus on a mobile platform's strong points. I was deeply honored that they asked me to be that guy. So I accepted, and worked like crazy to make a Christmas launch. It was September when I moved to Maine. I worked 45-50 hours a day at my day job and 40-50 at the startup. All of this closeness and betterment of our live that my wife and I dreamed of moving to Maine? It didn't happen for me, I had responsibilities to take care of. All the things that need to be done as part of a move, my wife handled. Spending time with my kids, I'd make time for that after the launch. I hit my date (barely and not nearly as well as I would have liked) for iOS, but I couldn't take it any more. I'm tough and I HATE to back down so I pushed on, for three more months. I pushed so hard that I passed out twice from exhaustion. Android was up next and I sat everyone involved down and said exactly that. That I cared about them and felt like I was letting them down but I have to change my live because it wasn't worth it any more. We talked and talked it around. I took my equity earned and made myself available for questions and help on the existing apps. Today I just got back from the beach and my wife, kids and I have never been happier. I'm still great friends with my ex-partners and I wish them well. I had a lot of the same fears as you but the best decision I have ever made was to talk it over with my partners and to walk away. Good luck to you, my email is in my profile if you want someone to talk to.
epayne 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Excuse me while I wax melodramatically rhetorical.

Dear CanILeavePlease,

Congratulations are in order. You have crossed a threshold that you will most likely not understand the full importance of until much later in your life. That threshold is named "Your limits". Crossing this threshold is a privilege reserved for only those worthy of learning and growing.

The long and short of it is this: The world seems to love throwing more work at competent and resourceful people. The problem is that the world is full of work and so the competent and resourceful typically fill up very quickly to the point of overflow and explosion.

You write about freedom. The lesson that you will learn is that freedom starts with saying "no". Once you start saying no you will immediately start to feel the freedom enter your body. It's very surprising how great it feels.

Lets imagine that tomorrow a client calls for a status update on their project and they ask you if it will be done on time? Tell them "No. The project will not be done on time." and see what happens. I can almost guarantee you that you will feel great for the following hours. You won't feel good because someone else didn't get what they wanted. You'll feel good because you were able to tell someone else the truth. Bonus points: if the client is reasonable they will respect you more than before because they now know they can trust you. Afraid your friends and employees won't like to hear it? Bullshit. Start saying "no" and you'll become leader that your friends and employees really need and can respect.

It's true that some people expect the entire universe to never say no to them. The good news is that those people aren't worth having in your life. When one exposes themselves by trying to make you feel guilty you can be please that now you know it and can disassociate yourself. This works in reverse as well: You can choose to associate with people that have the proper respect for your boundaries.

I've been there. I quit my job and started freelancing. Not even 3 months later I'm triple booked and sleeping 3 hours a night. One morning I cracked and my wife found me in the living room beside myself rocking back and forth, visibly shaking. Later on that day I had to make some of the most difficult decisions of my life. Guess what? Once I made the tough calls the liberation began.

As you have probably figured out already, working 14 hours a day is not the answer. Making better decisions is.

Best regards,Eric

rcfox 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like your company has bitten off more than it can chew. You didn't mention how you're doing money-wise. If you can afford it, perhaps you should stop taking new clients until you've finished your current projects, and then negotiate more reasonable deadlines in the future.
zupa-hu 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds like you have several bugs in your processes. That's likely normal as you grow, and luckily you have a built-in alarm to beep that now it is time to fix them, it is no more premature optimization. Congratulations for hitting that point, don't kill yourself or quit yet, fix the problem.

You get a text every 5 seconds? Where is it coming from? Clients? Introduce an issue tracking system, or some kind of a queue, so that you can handle those problems asynchronously.

Are those messages immediate bug fix requests? Fixing bugs should eliminate them over time. If they are not, you are not doing it right. Introduce test driven development, rewrite code. Often, most of the bugs are contained in few modules of a program. Localize and rewrite (not fix) them. (Idea source: Code Complete)

Are your colleagues pinging you for approval all the time? Introduce decision making guidelines. Possibly with some examples how they were applied in the past.

Clients asking the same questions repeatedly? Create a FAQ or some Help. I made a policy for myself once to always just answer client requests with links to the Help. If I could find answers in the Help, I linked them, otherwise I added them to the Help first. This teaches clients to first check the Help.One client was asking the same questions all them time. I made that client a custom private help page with a link collection - it helped. Another I printed a paper he could glue over his monitor on the wall because he couldn't find anything on his computer.

For all your other issues: identify what bothers you; keep asking why it is happening and how you could fix it. Fix one problem at a time so it won't recur. You will have loads of free time really soon.

That said, you might as well consider raising your prices as others noted if your current margins can't justify the effort needed to deliver. Otherwise, you just created some new jobs that pay worse than the alternatives. In that case, everyone is loosing and closing your company would make everyone better off. But most likely you could add processes to handle things better. Or cut back on 20% of the features that require most of your time, but deliver least of the value.

Also, you should talk about the problems with your colleagues. You are better off solving them together because it starts to build a culture of solving these problems.

Good luck.

jdotjdot 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The issue isn't leaving, but abdicating your responsibilities. This is clearly what you care about as well, when you say "I can't ditch them." While there certainly would be something to be said for the "meaning" of what you'd pitched if you leave, the key here is making sure that the actions you take do not negatively influence everyone else there and the people you brought into this venture.

I think the question to be asking is "What steps can I take to transition my responsibilities to other people without negatively affecting the company and my colleagues?" If you can find an answer to that question--hiring someone who you groom to replace you, making the business more institutionalized and self-sustaining so that you don't need 14-hour days, etc.--you'll be closer to getting there.

It's pretty incredible how many people I see who start their own companies hoping for freedom, and find the opposite. Responsibility often means less freedom, and having clients and employees beholden to you means more responsibility. In some ways, being employed can mean being more free. There was a great article on HN recently pointing out that the true level of freedom for entrepreneurs is likely to be found not at founding your own company, but specifically at founding your own moderately successful company--once great success comes, you have much more responsibility.

dsuth 9 hours ago 0 replies      

"Right now I'm working 14 hour days and everyone gets mad when someone tries to leave while the others are working. There is no FREEDOM. The whole point of this venture WAS FREEDOM. Beers at 2pm? Sure! Not "um we have 8 pages left to design for tomorrow, nobody is going anywhere" says one of the developers."

is caused by this:

"I don't have the spine to delay my clients or deliver anything less than perfect and it's breaking me."

YOU set the tone for the company, and the pace of work, by managing the deadlines. If your style of management is just to roll over for every client, make ridiculous promises, then foist that onto your programmers, of course they will respond in the manner above. Because you have set the expectation that it is feasible to deliver, and that this is how things are done.

If you want a more relaxed environment, blow the deadlines out by double, THEN start setting expectations for work lower. Organise a company day off where you all go off go-karting or something - no exceptions. But don't do this in the face of deadlines, or you'll just look completely out of touch, and put everyone else under more stress.

jarrett 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you had a discussion with your cofounders and employees about establishing goals for work/life balance in the company? If so, what did they say?

Realistically, I don't think owning a company will give you massively more freedom than being an employee of one. But it does put you in a position to enshrine freedom as a goal for everyone in the company, employees and owners alike. Economic necessity will mean absolute freedom is never possible. But in my experience, it's very possible to have good work/life balance, flexible hours, and a fun workplace so long as the leadership is on board.

You might also consider asking whether you're setting the right expectations with your clients. If you're constantly making promises that force you to work 14-hour days and always be in crisis mode, perhaps that could be adjusted.

lukifer 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not uncommon. Client work trades a single boss for multiple ones, even if it means you get to have pizza and beers at work.

The way out is through. A smattering of ideas:

- Take some time away, even if just a day. Yes, I know you can't afford to: do it anyway, to get some perspective and distance. If you want to hurry up, you must first slow down. [1] Don't forget to get a good night's sleep, too.

- Fire the clients that create the most stress or who are questionably profitable. Take a loss (in profit and/or reputation) if you have to. The first thing to do when you're in a hole is stop digging. (As suggested by others: drastically raising your prices is also a good way to separate wheat from chaff.)

- Don't shoulder it all yourself. Get whatever outside help you can from friends and family, and most importantly, be open with your employees about your circumstance. If you're upfront about where you're at, I think you'll be surprised at their willingness to problem-solve. If not, at least you were straight with them, and you can part ways amicably; if you put on a brave face while bullshitting them, they're much less likely to give you some slack.

Above all, don't forget that perfection is impossible, in your craft or in business, and you will never be able to please everyone, either clients or employees. You've got more spine than you think, or you wouldn't have started this enterprise. Use it, and make the hard decisions you don't want to make. You will hate doing it, but that dread in the pit of your stomach will finally go away.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festina_lente

graeme 10 hours ago 0 replies      
OP, kudos for making this post. It takes courage to admit this, and self-awareness to realize you needed to do it.

There is some excellent advice in this thread. I am just chiming in to tell you to have hope.

Right now, this feels like the darkest point of your life. But there is a bright side. Because your problem boils down to this: too many people want to pay you money.

And it's really a problem. It's made your life miserable. For a couple of months I briefly had this same problem. It doesn't sound like one, but it is.

I did what this thread is telling you to do:

1. I raised rates.2. I eliminated work and clients that weren't serving my goals3. I delegated work I could outsource4. I made processes so much work could be handled automatically.

Before: Lots of money, horrendous stress, no time

After: Quite a bit of money, almost no stress, complete freedom of time

(I chose to eliminate most consulting, which is why my income went down. It sounds like your income will actually go up)

I couldn't be happier with choosing to turn things around. It's totally achievable. You can have your cake and eat it too. Your business will switch from a burden to something that actually does liberate you.

There are several substantial responses. Read through them, act on them. Good luck!

(And one comment highlighted something I want to add on: if you've actually thought about killing yourself, and have made a plan seek help. Trust me, it all gets better.)

thothamon 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You founded the company. So take control.

Set 6 pm as the going-home time for EVERYBODY. If something is late because of this, that means the company should not have made commitments it can't keep (and you should take a strong interest in not making the same mistake again).

As someone said, don't answer the phone past a certain time. Most phones have some kind of do-not-interrupt mode. Use that. If people have an emergency, at the very least they can call and leave voicemail.

How about bringing a refrigerator and some beers into the office? Lead by example. If you're drinking beer at 2 pm, that tells everyone else this is the kind of startup where drinking beers at 2 pm is OK. People who are too uptight to deal with that will leave: let them.

It's _your_ startup. Run it the way _you_ think is best. What's stopping you?

jroes 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if you have the patience or time for it, but The E-Myth Revisited, an old book with a cheesy name, was made for you and this situation.
Thiz 16 hours ago 1 reply      
You're doing it wrong.

Go to work at 10, say a stupid but inspiring quote of the day.

Go to lunch at 12. Then hit the course at 3.

That's how you do it. In other words: Delegate.

tehwebguy 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the machine is running mostly on it's own now, have you taken a single day or week off yet? It might give you serious relief to step back for a few days and see if it's still there when you come back.

The job at hand isn't killing you, the anxiety is (probably)

MortenK 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You have a choice between re-organizing and leaving. If you decide to re-organize, icambron's advice on this thread is really good.

But if you are beyond that point, and it sounds like you are, just get out. Take your co-founders out for a beer and give them straight and honest talk. Some might get disappointed, but more likely they will be sympathetic. Even if they are not, it's their problem. While I understand the pressure, you mustn't sacrifice your health for other peoples opinions.

You emphasize freedom a lot. As you know, this can't be found in an agency setting, as ultimately you are at your clients' beck and call.

If freedom is your top goal, you should aim for independent, freelancing / consultancy or potentially becoming a micro ISV.

A possible solution could be to withdraw from day-to-day management, and act as a part-time, possibly remote freelancer for your own company. Doing what it is you like to do for perhaps 10-20 hrs pr. week.

Your co-founders may or may not accept that, but it's an out that could work decently for both parties.

dennybritz 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't read all the comments, so I'm sorry if this has been suggested before.

1. Check out this book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004IYISQW/ref=oh_d__o00_de... In a nutshell it talks about how you should not sell custom services, but instead build and document a repeatable process that can be executed without you.

2.Be picky with your clients. It's very tempting to take on as many clients as possible. However, some clients are inherently worth more: They are easier to deal with (no support needed), they pay more, or they are repeat business. Focus on these clients and get rid of the others.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

Jean-Philipe 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been in a similar situation: working 12h and weekends in a company I co-founded, hired people and got others to work even more. I've been one that my co-founders always doubted my "commitment" (using the very term in German) because I didn't sleep in the office like they did. Until I we got another kid and my wife forced me to work 6h days. I told them I needed to work less and it worked. Wasn't easy though, but it worked. During the following months, the company became a nicer place to work at. Don't be afraid.
oomkiller 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Please Relax.

Don't leave. Write down your problems, and logically develop solutions to work on solving each of them. It sounds like you're in charge of your company. If so, change things up so where y'all can work together to deliver a successful product without killing each-other. If there is too much work, take on less, and plan better.

If anxiety is an issue, there are many anti-anxiety drugs that you can use to help control it (see /r/nootropics and/or a psychiatrist). Anxiety issues can affect your perception in many ways, and they're often invisible, which is what makes things seem so difficult.

Also, you may need to sit down and figure out exactly what you want out of life, then align the rest of your goals and plans with that. Getting a good life balance can be tremendously helpful in these situations.

huherto 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, that is actually a nice problem to have.

- Loose the clients that are problematic. Keep the good clients. Those that pay well, help you learn, and recommend you.

- Also, force people to follow a schedule. Don't allow people to work more than 40 hours a week. Your business should be sustainable. 14 hours a day is unsustainable and hurts the business. It is already burning you out.

sixQuarks 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you started the wrong type of business. When I started my online business, I had 1 main rule: I didn't want to deal with clients or co-workers. Now, I've got multiple projects that are bringing in six-figure incomes and I have to put in about 1-2 hours of work per week as a solo entrepreneur. I walk my dogs at least an hour every day, I work out, waste time browsing sites like HN and reddit, and am about to embark on a year-long digital nomad lifestyle with my wife. So, it can be done.
mikekij 15 hours ago 0 replies      
- You don't owe anything to anybody. Leave if you're not happy.

- If you're forced to be working 14 hour days, you're doing it wrong. You need to hire people. Raise money. If you're so busy that you're working 14 hour days, I'm pretty sure some investor would be willing to put some money in. Sounds promising to me.

- You may be working on the wrong stuff. The things a founder should be doing on a day-to-day basis at a 2-person company is different than the things they should be doing at a 10 person, 20 person, etc. company. Maybe you can hire someone to handle some of the things you're currently hating about your job, and you can focus more on hiring, or product design, or whatever.

Bottom line, if you're hating what you're doing, either you're doing it wrong, or you shouldn't be doing it. Trust your gut. Life is too short.

kmfrk 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, one thing to make sure you do is delineate your work from the rest of the life. So, Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM (or whatever the hours), you're in work mode, but as soon as the clock strikes 5, you turn off everything work-related, and you should not be considered reachable, barring any emergencies.

If that doesn't work for your co-workers, you fundamentally have an unsustainable company, which is no more your fault than theirs.

When clients and your work make a claim for your personal time, you need to put a stake in the ground - directly or indirectly by not responding outside working hours.

It also sounds like you may have a problem with your planning and workflow, if you've got e-mails and texts coming your way like a hailstorm. Since you're a founder, you're fortunately in a position to dictate how communication and project management works. Because no one deserves a flurry of e-mails and texts.

jmacd 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You say "clients", which makes me think you started a services firm. That is about the worst business you could possibly start if you truly wanted freedom. You are always beholden to the customer.
grizzles 9 hours ago 0 replies      
There's some good advice in this thread, I'd definitely read it all and try implementing whatever's appropriate.

But, let's say you decide to leave anyway. So what. It sounds like you are reselling labor services? (eg. coding?) If so, that's a terrible business and I wouldn't hesitate to encourage you to move on.

Your friends will understand or they aren't really your friends. For you business partners, well that's business. You adapt and move on. A few ways of managing the exit:

Give them plenty of lead time to find someone to replace your role.

Say you want to stop fighting fires and focus on the long term strategy of the company as eg chairman. Cut back your hours, go live your bohemian lifestyle and email in your wise prognostications.

If you want a better way of selling labor services, one of the best ways I've seen is to manage your workforce like a recruiting company. Embed your coders in your customer's companies, on fixed term contracts. I've seen this model work really well. It's the easiest way of scaling a coder services based company.

sumeetchawla 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey buddy,

What you need is a long vacation. I would recommend you to find the right sub-ordinates/partners to take your place for the time being and plan a 2-3 week trip to a place where you can relax. :)

The whole point of building a company is that different people can do what they are best at and solve a problem. All members of an organization are a cogs in the wheel. They all need to move together to get things done smoothly. Being an entrepreneur has a lot of pressure but when you already have a company set up, with employees, with business people etc, you should focus on building strategies. Delegate more, hire the right people, apply the right management techniques which suit your work culture. It's all about having the right people under you so that you can just lead the company in the right direction.

Trust me, a vacation will have a big influence on you right now and give you a different perspective too :)

Take care and don't take any rash decisions.

- Sumeet

relampago 10 hours ago 1 reply      
You're at your wits end, you need a break. Try not to make a serious life decision when you're overworked and stressed to the max. Clarity first - go for a long drive, swim, run or workout. Do something to clear your mind and push out some stress. Physical activity highly advised.

I've worked in a similar environment and even though there has been a lot of research of the dires and productivity loss of exceeding the 40hr work week, we still push ourselves. If you feel this way so does some members of your team probably. The team loses if you all don't take a breather or lighten your load. I don't know the best route - hiring more employees, take less customers, under promise and over deliver on timetables, charge more, etc but a conversation with you partner may help.

Google some of the research done on exceeding 40hr wrk weeks and maybe you can find some better direction.

You can get through this. Best of luck.

notahacker 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The one advantage of having employees and partners involved with this is you have the opportunity to delegate more
n72 16 hours ago 0 replies      
"I just want to earn decent money and be able to do what I want to do whenever during the day."

"Beers at 2pm? Sure!"

You may want to recalibrate your expectations. I mean, this sounds a lot like you want your cake and to eat it too. What do you consider decent money? If you want to do whatever you want whenever and have beers at 2, you may have to settle for a considerably smaller income than you consider "decent".

logn 15 hours ago 0 replies      
In addition to patio11's advice, I want to add: give yourself 6 weeks of vacation. Call it an unpaid sabbatical if you need to. That will adjust your attitude, especially if you return and the business is still functioning. Be very blunt and tell people that you're running on empty and when you return you intend to readjust the company's attitude or if they won't change, then your role will at least.
mladenkovacevic 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like you need a culture readjustment. Who is driving the culture right now? As a cofounder surely you should at least have a say in it.
processing 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Tomorrow morning or even better tonight on group call - hey, I don't want to be working 14 hours a day or receiving texts every 5 seconds. I'm going to be taking action to reduce this burden (you'll be teaching someone to do your job) over the next 3 months - I got into this for a more balanced life and this isn't feeling balanced right now.....
webmaven 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The simplest solution I know of is to start raising your prices. You will gradually start to get fewer new clients, and gradually start to lose a few of the old ones, but individually the remaining projects will be more profitable and enjoyable, and the work volume will become more manageable, all without having to ditch any of your clients (rather, they will be ditching you, leaving you off the hook).

A book you might find useful is 'The Business Side of Creativity': http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=4294978649

JacobH 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If you do all of your work "perfectly" and can't do it any other way at any expense you may just have anxiety issues. Quitting doesn't do away with it.

This entire story says to me that you are a selfless person that wishes to be more selfish. Be selfish. It's cathartic. You don't have to go overboard, but buy yourself pizza and don't share. Go to a movie and not invite anyone. Baby steps.

matheusbn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Sometimes we think that being our own employer it's the easy way, but dealing directly with client it isn't easy too.

I think you should reunite with your partners and express your feelings. Some can afford to work +14h a day while others can't, and they need to understand.

Again, driving a company may can't be easy but it can't be a torture too.

Good luck!

abootstrapper 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You need to leave. I had a similar predicament before, and selling out was the best thing I could have done.

Confide in your business partner, and discuss with them the most graceful way for you to exit.

You're not doing anyone a service by staying. It's bad for you, and for the business.

For your next venture, consider your goal of maximizing your free-time, and focus on endeavors that will give you that. Personally I know I'll never be a Steve Jobs, but I can have a beer at 2pm! :)

ibrad 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You will be surprised how no one will care when you quit. Not that they don't care about you, but in a week it will be like you were never there.

Just imagine someone else in the team leaving and see what are the steps you will take to replace them. It will be easy to move on

singingfish 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm in an exit at the moment (key subcontractor). It's going smoother than I anticipated so far.
Mandatum 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The answer to this I would think would be to get to a point where growth is icing on the cake, and then streamline your current business to the point you only have to be involved for major things.
thekevan 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Then don't leave. If something is broken, fix it. Don't throw it away.
bung 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you need to talk to your project managers and review how you're setting timelines with your employees and clients. If you don't have any project managers, then you and anyone else in management need to do it. If it's just you, you need to get someone help with management! You should be able to take your team to beers (maybe 4pm instead?) scheduled every couple weeks, barring a big launch.
nstart 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of the answers that people are giving have been described in one of the best books on running a service industry business. "The Pumpkin Plan". Give it a read. But be warned, there's tough decisions to be made. Dropping rotten clients, firing people who will suddenly become obsolete with the lack of work for them. You will need to be ready to make those calls.

Good luck!

unknown_other 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I was in the same situation, but for about five years. I founded an agency with a friend in pursuit of greater creative freedom, but as it happens ten bosses (ie. clients) are somewhat more stressful than just the one. During those five years I barely saw my kids, worked most weekends and didn't take holidays for the last three years at all.

We were mostly working with SME's and trying to grow the company to a point where could score some bigger clients, on several occasions we very nearly did. We got behind in our taxes when some large projects got cancelled and ended up taking out a bank loan secured against ourselves personally. The quality of our work deteriorated as we took on anything and everything to make ends meet, to pay our expanding team, hoping our big break was just around the corner.

When I finally called it quits we were about 60k in debt, shared between three partners. Telling our employees we had to let them go was hard, but I was surprised at how well most of them took it (they actually felt bad for me), to my relief all of them found employment again within a few weeks. I kept on working with my clients myself by working in evenings and weekends finishing everything off, it took about a year to shut down entirely, but every month it got a little easier. Our clients expressed some annoyance but they were mostly understanding. A couple even said that they didn't know where they could find another agency as good to work with as us, which was heartening.

The successful agencies I have witnessed experiencing fast growth never had any small/medium clients; their founders worked for a larger company and took some big clients with them, or they worked client side and their previous employer became their first big client. Either way their initial clients were huge and there was very little of the painful bootstrapping I experienced, so if you don't have big clients now expect a tough slog (or a lucky break of course, but counting on that pretty much gambling with your own time)

The whole experience cost me about 20k in debt and maybe 200k in lost earnings over what I would have been making had I been freelancing instead. It's been a year and a half and I've managed to pay back my debts and finally get a mortgage on a house, that, had I not started a company I could very nearly have bought outright by now. The time I should have spent with my kids is lost (I fooled myself that I was doing it for them, but in retrospect really it was more of a 'we've come this far...' mentality) but I'm trying to make it up to them now as best I can.

My advice to you would be to freelance, as a programmer you can work all around the world, remotely if you please and get paid decent money (We all know guys who only work part the year, and spend the rest travelling, others who work remotely from Bali or something). I'm freelancing now and I feel more free than I ever did running a company.

pjd7 10 hours ago 0 replies      
To the OP, You need to check out this http://www.workthesystem.com/
thiagoc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What about tell your friends/coworkers about your feelings? Maybe, together, you can make changes on your current work-style to make you happy.
binocarlos 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like you are doing well! Perhaps look for some grey in between the 2 extremes.

Ditching everything vs Burning out - classic balancing act of a startup innit

Running full pelt at a marathon only to hit 2 miles exhausted - time for tortoise to take over - he actually makes it!

sharemywin 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Based on your comments your pulling in close to 4-7 Million a year in revenue. There's no reason your not pulling in 500k to 1 million a year personally. In 5 years your done. Not sure how long you stuck out your job but 5 years goes pretty fast at that pass.
ntiku 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The company you started with the friend was part of the bohemian lifestyle? Or you want to quit the company you started to pursue a bohemian life style?
andersthue 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I went down the wrong path for a long time, and like the frog I did not notice I got burned.

My advice is to be honest, with your self, your co founders, employees and customers. Tell them you cannot meet the deadlines and stop working so much.

No one is angry when you move the deadline up front, only when you do not tell anyone you cannot meet it.

And remember that if they matter they wont mind and if they mind they dont matter.

hiphopyo 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is exactly why I quit freelance design as well. It's a never-ending cycle of you having to pour all your heart and soul into making your clients richer. And what do you get? Just a lousy paycheck.

There are way cool business models out there requiring far less work with far higher pay.

Liesmith 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You should probably see a psychiatrist and/or psychologist instead of asking hackernews how to solve this problem.
anonzz9pza 16 hours ago 0 replies      
>I can't ditch my clients, my business partners, my friends, my employees. I don't know how to get out. I so furiously pitched my friends to start this company, I brought them ALL into this. I hired everyone, I convinced them to jump ship from their jobs and work with me. If I bail now, every word I said, anything I did, will mean nothing.

I'm in a similar position myself. I don't think this should be a factor in your decision making. They're adults and they made a choice.

You may feel like you let them down, but as I said they're adults, they made a choice. It even sounds like they wont lose their jobs if you quit, and if they're no longer interested in working there without you, they should have time to find other positions. Even if that wasn't the case, it shouldn't be a factor for you.

They may hate you, but they'll get over it.

So, if you need to quit for your mental well being, do it. If you feel it's worth trying other things first, go for it, but there's nothing to be ashamed for here.

m1sta_ 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't take another piece of work that can't be delivered lazily.
sbussard 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Read the Bible and E-Myth Revisited
j45 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Getting out is as extreme as qutting your job. You can cut back gradually, or better yet, get things running better..

I know how exactly you felt and felt the same way for several years, working 7 days a week, 12-14 hour days between getting/running/doing the work of the business.

The only thing that changed is how I got better at managing work, and then having the work managed.

All I can say is in my case, I did not realize I had a lot of learning to do, and that's where a lot of time goes. I started when I was 18, now I'm in my early 30's. There is a way out. Seek advice from others who have done and come through what you're doing. If you take half baked advice from half experienced outcomes, you will definitely be risking more not just with everything in front of you but your confidence in the future. If you feel overwhelmed, it's probably because you have sufficient growth opportunities around you and a feeling of paralysis of doing any of them justice. You'll have to pick.

My experience was to focus on learning how to make money and build long term client relationships that would allow me to grow. I now consult startups, projects and high growth group.

Freedom is something you build. Freedom always has a cost. There is always a price to be paid for getting it. You don't own a business until it runs without you. Until then, you own a job that is hard to quit because you are increasingly invested in it in every way.

Freedom for me, is also time, and a capacity to create and pursue interests as much as the work I do. In your 20's, something happens called becoming well rounded. learning to keep your increasingly efficiently ability to create into your 30's while making sure you aren't being left behind is a delicate balance, but it can be done. To me, wealth is time and capacity to create as I would like.

I'm now consulting part time, and making as much, or likely more than I've ever made. The lame adage working smarter vs working harder is not completely true, its all about knowing strategically where to double down your efforts, and learning the difference between a good dollar earned and a bad dollar earned.

All isn't as bad or as good as it seems. The best advice I received from a mentor was to never get too high or too low, savour each lesson and accomplishment, shut up, and move on, because the great times don't last, just like the horrible ones as long as I keep moving.

If you'd like to talk more, I'm happy to share my story of having run a similar course to you for almost 10 years and maybe you can find something there. Email is in my profile.

My story and experience is rather extreme and it can feel horrible to not have a soul to talk to, or to understand you.. when being understood can feel like a luxury. I can't say I know everything you're going through, but there is always a way to help use tech, systems and processes to make a business work for you, especially if you have cash flow.

Everything will be ok, you can do it, you will get better, things get better. Things don't get better, we just get better at handling them -- it's the best growth imaginable. You can get things running without you and remain a value contributor.

qwertzuiopasd 16 hours ago 0 replies      
you had a goal in mind, but you followed a different recipe (sales guy, employees, real clients), now you wonder why you have the shit everbody else has (too much work, short on time, not enough life).

to reach your goal (if its still your goal) you need definitely need a new recipe, probably the complete opposite.

my recommendation: (it's not much, but it's what i do)

read http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ballad_of_Halo_Jones it's a comic by allan moore about "getting out" - its a good book and a good book is never wasted

second: quit and travel alone (or if you have wive and kids, take them wih you, it's less expensive then it sounds) for a few months, without your phone. reinvent yourself when you come back. i run an agency, i do this every year (including reading the comic).

martinSlovakiva 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It's your dream to be free than be. Hire new replacement for yourself. Create whatever position (CEO, Country manager etc) is needed.

Earn with no-calls enjoy your freedom. You deserve it man, it's your right and your universe.

nawitus 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Couldn't help but be reminded of Sonata Arctica's song I Want Out.
battani 17 hours ago 1 reply      
If you want freedom, learn how to algorithmically trade Forex.

Edit: Downvote? I'm serious about this. Trading is the only activity I know that gives you

1) income

2) no boss to report to

3) no employees to take care of

4) location freedom (e.g. can be done from anywhere)

5) relatively low starting costs

6) low starting risk (you don't need to work 2+ years to figure out if your company will actually make money)

7) a market you know will always be there

8) an ability to be totally hands off with algorithmic trading

Most people think this is a pipe dream perhaps that explains the downvotes. It's not. I live off semi-algorithmic Forex trading and know many others who do too.

Sindrome 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You unplugged from the Matrix. But the reality is the matrix isn't that bad. Good luck.
Ask HN: How to describe myself as an entrepreneur without sounding cocky?
5 points by grimmfang  6 hours ago   7 comments top 4
davidkatz 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Try describing what you do instead of labelling it. "I'm building an app that helps blind folks read".

Personally, I'm allergic to the word 'Entrepreneur', whenever I hear it I wince. Just say what you're building, plain and simple. I also wouldn't call myself a Web Architect, I don't really understand what that means, it just sounds fancy.

Also consider not giving yourself a title at all. If you really want a title, I'd go with something humble like "a guy who builds stuff on the internet".

For reference, this is my personal site: http://www.davidkatz.me/

btian 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Just describe what you do. Web designer / front-end programmer etc.

Please don't call yourself web architect unless you're involved in W3C standards...

mtrimpe 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If it's for a portfolio then you're probably going to work for people.

What are you going to be doing for them? How are you going to add value to their business?

If they wanted that value and were actively looking; what job titles would they put into Google?

That's what you want to describe yourself as on a portfolio site.

utunga 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A writer is someone who writes, if not for a living, at least every day. It doesn't matter if they are published yet. Similarly an entrepreneur is someone who is actively building a business.. it doesn't matter if they are successful yet.

You can, of course, put whatever the heck you like on your own home page. But if it makes you twitch then maybe stick with web architect for now, and get out there and start building your business. Once you feel you are building a real business you'll be happy to use the word entrepreneur. I suggest you use this as a motivation to get out there and do what you want to do. Let the phrasing on the portfolio/profile site look after itself.

In my mind building a business means more than just having a tax vehicle around your own personal consultation services. A consultation services business probably has other employees. Once you are building a business that is designed to actually create and sell something (whether it be service or product) then be proud to use the word entrepreneur. Till then, stick it up on the fridge as a goal !

--- signed, someone who alternates between writing 'Entrepreneur' and 'Programmer' on the immigration forms each time I travel, depending on whether I'm currently actively building a startup or just living off my consultation services.

Ask HN: How to engage users?
2 points by vhf  2 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: what can I learn in a week that can greatly improve my work or life?
8 points by eli5  11 hours ago   10 comments top 6
logn 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Regular expressions. If you want an in-depth book try Mastering Regular Expressions by Friedl. Or for a quick guide, http://regular-expressions.info along with http://rubular.com/

Regex will not only give you new skills for programming (no more splitting strings in weird ways and doing complex indexOf/substr operations), it will help you day-to-day in rummaging through file systems and your code.

And if you already know regex, then I'd recommend Map Reduce Streaming. The Streaming variety is all based on standard in/out and very straight forward. Amazaon Elastic Map-Reduce could be a nice way to test things.

ScottWhigham 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Without more info about what your work or life are about, it's hard to suggest something too specific. Since we're being generic, I'd say that it's hard to beat the value of learning how relational databases work. Focus on learning the basics of SELECT - that takes months but you can get the rudimentary parts down in a week. If you already know the basics, then look into index design. Why/when/how and all that.
axit 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Faster touch typing? If you're not already great at this you can improve productivity by improving your typing speed.

You can learn and practice on sites like http://ratatype.com/ and http://typeracer.com/

dclara 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Currently, I'm running a free summer camp online to help college students to learn the professional skills as a software engineer according to the industrial standard.

There are various options you can pick and choose to be hands-on. The "main dishes" is to help you run through a process from installation, configuration and deploy a real world web application with the full server stack.

Check it out if you have time. It is described in a Kickstarter project: "How to build a website like an engineer" http://kck.st/SY4CXv.

lettergram 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Personally I found Emacs greatly improved my productivity. First week was hell, but now I'm more productive than most people I know in my office.

You don't realize how much time you save by never having to life your hand from the keyboard.

adam-_- 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Ask HN: What is a project I can complete in a night?
11 points by newaccountfool  14 hours ago   10 comments top 6
DanBC 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A simple game for smart phones.

Draw a pipe on the screen. First pipe is short and straight. They get longer and have more curves. "Drop" a ball into the pipe. The user tilts their phone clockwise or anti-clockwise to guide the ball through the pipe. That tilting is the only control the user has. Each pipe should be short enough to create the "I nearly did that; just one more go" effect.

sejje 13 hours ago 1 reply      
URL shortener

Flickr creative commons image search engine

Twitter bot

Quote scraper

Deal alerter for craigslist

IFTTT on a scale relevant to you

HarshaThota 12 hours ago 1 reply      
You could try contributing to some open source projects instead.

http://up-for-grabs.net/ has a list of projects with issues/tasks that are easy for new contributors to pick up.

skazka16 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"Yo" app :) It took 8 hours to build it. Then someone invested $1M. I don't get the world.
iroot 13 hours ago 1 reply      
If you are interested in mathematics and algorithms, you can solve Project Euler problems projecteuler.net/problems
clark-kent 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Try learning and hacking on some new technology you are not familiar with.
Ask HN: Can you provide a Roadmap+Tools for a Beginner?
8 points by joshfenmore  16 hours ago   4 comments top 4
mgingras 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey Josh,

Here is a good link to a project that popped up on HN a while back http://www.bentobox.io , basically pick one of the topics and click toggle what to learn next, and it will show you a sort of progression.

As far as tutorials, just google the technologies name + for beginners or something similar. (there are also links to instructions in the site I posted)

As far as where to go for what it really depends on your end goal and who you're working with.

I.E. for web development, some people swear by Django or Rails or some PHP framework, all depending on their use case and the expertise of the people they're working with.

Figure out what you want to make, research what tool would be best to make it, then learn that tool and the languages/frameworks that compose it.

If you're just looking to make a basic web app, I would recommend using Sinatra (Ruby), Flask (Python), or Express(NodeJS). All provide a very simple configuration to get to the "Hello, world" point, however are extensible enough that you can use them to learn more advanced tools, technologies, etc.

If you want to chat more feel free to shoot me an email at martin@mgingras.ca



samirmenon 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For me, when I was starting out with this stuff (and by the way, I'm not an expert now), I learned one lesson the hard way:

Just pick something.

It honestly doesn't matter what, you just have to choose something. There is so much time to be wasted agonizing over whether you have chosen the right framework, tool, platform etc. The best strategy is to just choose something and run with it. Once you learn and feel comfortable in one language/area (for me it was python), you'll be able to transition easier.

Perhaps this strategy will take more time than if you pick the "correct" path now... I really didn't see time as a consideration when I learned. Nevertheless, it's probably better than spending time dillydallying. Good luck!

ziyadb 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi Josh. I'm actually working on a book that is intended to provide you with the basic principles and how to actually build applications, which is something I've personally struggled with, considering the language-centricity of the majority of tutorials out there.

It's far from done, however, email me (email in profile) and I'd be happy to send you a draft.

Good luck with your journey!

clubhi 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a co-worker that came out of school with an economics degree. In a couple of years he went from having no programming experience to cranking out pretty impressive apps with elasticsearch/django. (*I should clarify.. He started making apps right away. It took him a few years to make them what I'd consider professional quality).

I've been programming for about 20 year so really don't think I realize how difficult it is to pick things up.

Ask HN: I suck at technical interviews. How can I get better?
6 points by alokedesai  14 hours ago   13 comments top 10
incision 13 hours ago 0 replies      
1.) Read up on the routine where you're going to be interviewing. If it's a better-known company there will be plenty available.

2.) Work through one of the popular coding interview books [1][2].

3.) Practice off-keyboard things like white-boarding and public speaking. Get up in front of your white board and work through a problem like you're teaching a class on the subject.

I recognize that 1 and 2 might feel like gaming the system a bit - they are, but as long as companies continue to practice contrived interviews targeted preparation will naturally follow.

As stated, you don't lack the ability to perform in general, just within the artificial confines of an interview.

1: http://www.amazon.com/dp/098478280X

2: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1479274836

vitovito 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The short answer is, practice. Literally, interview more. Apply to jobs you'd never accept an offer from to get the practice.

The long answer needs more information. Why do you think you suck at technical interviews? How do you know that? If the answer is "because I haven't gotten an offer," what makes you think it was the technical portion of the interview you failed? What parts are you not good at? When do you freeze up? Why do you freeze up?

gramerc 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I have worked at Microsoft, Google and Facebook as a software engineer, going through the full interview process every time.

The thing to realize is that being good at technical interviews (as done by the above companies) is a skill unto itself but it is a skill an intelligent person with a comp sci background has the ability to get significantly good at after a 1 to 2 months of disciplined preparation. - I went to a top ranked school myself and had a comp sci degree but was very intimidated by technical interviews until I realized that this was no different than all the other other intellectual hurdles/gauntlets I had successfully navigated up to that point by giving myself time to thoroughly prepare.

Get "Elements of Programming Interviews" and give yourself 2 months to prepare. Start to with "1-month" plan in the book spending at least an hour a day at the very minimum. (I have worked through both Elements of Programming Interviews and Cracking the Coding Interview in their entirety and while both are good, in my experience Elements of Programming Interviews was clearly the better preparation in terms of technical depth, breadth of exposure to the kinds of questions I faced in the full-day interviews, and succinctness of coding solutions)

Get dry-erase paper/notebook or a white-board and work through the problems by hand including the coding (important!). For the first week or two give yourself an honest focused couple of hours to wrestle with a problem before looking at the solution. it is not enough to settle for "I think I know how to solve this" - Actually code up the solution by hand and step through it with some simple cases. This is important and it allows you to develop confidence in your ability to think methodically through a problem as well as giving you an opportunity to develop mental heuristics for how to tackle and test unfamiliar problems. Developing confidence in your ability to think through interview-style problems is every bit as important as exposing yourself to interview-style problems. As you progress, you will be working towards being able to deconstruct a problem and be ready to start coding up a high confidence solution in 15 - 20 minutes.

"Talk to yourself" as you try to solve a problem to simulate explaining your thought process to someone as you go along.

When going through the solutions in the book, do not gloss over a detail you do not understand. Go online and find alternative explanations/references if you don't understand some detail of the solution provided.

After a few weeks of this kind of daily disciplined prep, you should start feeling pretty good and your confidence should start building nicely. Lots of interview questions are variants of each other and once you have enough breadth, you start quickly being able to key into the "type" of question and possible solution approaches almost as soon as you hear it.

Last thing is when you feel ready to start doing interviews, do not interview with your "top choice" first. If you can find someone that has done interviews to give you a mock interview, great! If not, schedule interviews whose outcome you are not as attached to (relatively speaking) first.

Hope that helped.

eshvk 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Programming interviews are a game. It is not a reflection on your GPA or your school or how intelligent you are. It is simply a collection of parlor tricks because we as an industry have no fucking idea how to evaluate someone who is relatively new or has no social reputation.

So dissociate yourself and detach yourself from the process. Others have given you tons of advice on this process. The secret really is to practice. It is hard. But it is doable. Good luck, mate.

gdewilde 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I went to the worse schools, I have no skills, really the interview is all I know, I've done it a million times. (hahaha)

One good trick is to take charge of the interview.

There are standard questions the interviewer must ask (every time he does an interview) Try to answer all of those before he gets to ask them. This renders him without things to say. Then you get to ask your own questions.

Change the discussion from "why do we want to hire you?" into "why do I want to be hired by you?" When will I get a raise? when will I get promotion? when will you get to sit where he is sitting? And where will he be at that point? How are ideas treated here? Is one supposes to show initiative or not?

Will you get locked away in an office or will there be other people on the floor? Who do you get to work with? Have him tell me something about your future coworkers.

My favorite one is to just bluntly ask why their product is better than the competitor. I ask that because when it is asked from me I want to be able to answer it precisely the way I'm suppose to.

Show an interest in the interviews, the guy is doing that all day long, is he having fun? Did he see many good candidates? How many interviews will they do for a single job opening? Does he enjoy his work? Don't allow him to just sit there pretending to be interested in your life. Show an interest in who he is, what he does and where he comes from (or she)

You can be empathic about it but working down your list like a robot is equally impressive.

Talk fast but not to fast, keep eye contact but don't gaze.

If their argument 'why you want to work there' is good enough and their product is good enough end the interview before he does, ask if he made up his mind already, when do I start? You don't want to pressure him but you have a lot of other interviews you would rather not have to go to.

You want him to have the impression that you are putting serious work into finding a job - but not to much.

Good luck!


HarlowDuDy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Practice and convince yourself before the interview -- whether it is true or not -- that you do not need the job. Take the pressure off the outcome and you will go into it with a different mindset. I've even gone so far as to repeat over and over to myself on my way to an interview that "I don't need this job" and my mindset really changed! Doesn't hurt to try :) And good luck!
peachepe 11 hours ago 0 replies      
https://www.interviewcake.com/ should help you with the typical fizz buzz tests.
iroot 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You can never be completely prepared for programming interviews. How well you do in a particular programming interview depends on whether you have had any experience working on similar questions/problems in the past.So, bottom line - program as often as you can.
n0body 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Same as you improve anything, practice. In this case that means do more technical interviews, apply for the jobs, even the ones you can't do/don't want to do. It's all experience and interview technique depends on that.
michi 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Keep in mind, many interviewers are purposefully giving you ridiculous questions to try and trip you up. Calming your nerves is a very common problem, and can be challenging to overcome. It sounds like your problem is not a matter of knowledge, but a matter of delivery. Here are a few immediate things to try:

- Practice makes perfect: find someone to give you a mock interview. Do this as often as necessary until you conquer your problem.- Caffeine, adderall, etc, can make you much more anxious. You need to be calm.- Don't feel pressure/rushed, and don't panic. Slow down. If your mind races under pressure, that's completely normal, but it can be controlled.- Its ok to not entirely know the answer. Start by responding with what you do know. Once you begin speaking, the ideas will start flowing. Many technical questions are "loaded". To actually solve the problem in the best way possible, you need way more information than they give you. This will cause your mind to race. Try to qualify your response with your thought process, "if this or this, I'd do this. If something or another, I'd probably do this."- Practice speaking with confidence. Take a deep breath, all the way down into your belly, and then use that air pressure to make your vocal chords "sing". Having a strong vocal tonality will resonate confidence inside your head, and inside theirs. Also, don't be monotone/boring. Find/express energy and enthusiasm without sounding fake or cheesy.

Being nervous for an interview is normal. I've interviewed a lot, and I always get nervous. Its just something you have to deal with. Public speakers and pick up artists (approaching women to ask them out) are two areas that you can find a ton of advice for calming your nerves.

Introverts can have a hard time finding their inner personality. Practice makes perfect. Try to start as many conversations as you can each day. Don't force it, become natural at engaging conversations with other people. This will help all areas of your life, including interviews.

Really need advice: Is is reasonable to quit?
6 points by wouldbesmooth  11 hours ago   14 comments top 10
wikwocket 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It is 100% reasonable to quit for a new job.

Normally I would tell anyone to look for a new job, even if the only problem was that their work was unfulfilling. Life is too short to spend half your waking hours doing something that drives you nuts.

But in your case, it sounds like you are young, bright, technically skilled, living in a big city with tons of leads, with a solid work history, and a security clearance. You should be making big bucks at a software job that you love doing. I don't know about DC, but in Chicago companies (like mine) go to great lengths to get people like that to even interview, let alone have a shot at hiring them before they get another offer.

If your life has "blown up," then you should probably proceed with caution, and stick with the mind-numbing job until you have another offer. But absolutely look around and start networking. Read the hiring and job-related threads here, or post an Ask HN if you need help with that.

But absolutely start looking. This is the best hiring market for software people in the history of ever.

wallflower 10 hours ago 1 reply      
A long time ago I was a workaholic and liked to be the guy who worked harder than everyone else. I made the mistake of getting emotionally involved with what I did for a living. Projects would stress me out. What saved me was finding another outlet for my workaholism. For me, it was Toastmasters. For you, it may be something different. Finding something outside of my day job that I could pour my energy and optimism into and at the same time, push myself out of my comfort zone, was key.

If you quit, it is not going to magically fix all your problems. The time to start addressing the issues in your life (everyone has issues) is today - not tomorrow or yesterday.

Please try to start balancing out your life (the cliche 'balance your life' is true - think of it more like a tightrope where you can fall off, rather than a seesaw). If you're going to quit, ask for a 1-month sabbatical (they might give you one).

Good luck!

pmorici 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Unless you have enough savings in the bank to cover your living expenses for several months or more I wouldn't recommend quitting until you line up another job.

If you quit w/o a plan to support yourself then you have two problems instead of one. Put in the bare minimum effort to do a reasonable job at your current employer while looking aggressively for a new position and looking for some social activities outside of work to fill the void left by an unsatisfying work environment.

kriro 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you should quit if you think there's a reasonable chance to get a more satisfying job. Only you can guestimate that but I'd start with trying to get in contact with the old company you worked for. It sounds like that was enjoyable and you could move there now. It may feel odd to return to a place you left but assuming you left nicely companies you worked for are usually pretty happy to get ex-employees back (because there's no "risk" and they know who they get)
Im_Talking 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't function at work, can't sleep, can't eat, drink too much, and you ask if it is reasonable to quit?

You know the answer.

kneisley 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It is certainly reasonable! The two hour commute and the craptastic deployment process are all you need to explain why you bailed after just a little while.

If there are financial reasons against quitting, or you don't have enough cushion to quit right now, then reset expectations. Focus on sleep. Eat healthy and hearty, exercise, and if you aren't well-rested, call in sick. Put your physical and mental health first, always.

It sounds like isolation, drudgery, and disappointment are ruling your life. A reset could help that. That said, the depression and the impostor syndrome are things you should be talking to a therapist about.

daemonl 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like the job is bad for your health. Like really bad. Do you live somewhere with a lot of opportunity for programmers?

Also, imposter syndrome never makes sense, It's just what we have :-)

JohnHaugeland 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, it is reasonable for you to quit.

It is smart to wait until you have something else, then to give at least two weeks' notice, then to take two weeks inbetween to normalize. If your new employer reacts positively to someone taking care of themselves, then you'll have set the right new precedent moving forwards; if they react negatively, they might not be the more stable work/life you're looking for.

This is a very common thing with young professionals. Don't take it hard. Read around; you'll find nine million other people who faced the same thing.

macguyver 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The perfect job doesn't exist, so I'd recommend finding an outlet for creative self-expression first in your after hours, and quit your job only if you are having health issues related to work.

Life is short. Be happy.

dclara 10 hours ago 1 reply      
If you have programming skills, you can look for another job since you are pretty new on the job market.

Otherwise, you may learn a lot from the code you are copying and pasting from other people. You need to have more experience before you can land a more decent job.

Check out our free summer camp: "How to build a website like an engineer", hosted online in the Kickstarter project: http://kck.st/SY4CXv. Let me know if I can help.

Ask HN: What to do as a programmer about to go homeless
33 points by brandonhsiao  17 hours ago   48 comments top 20
patio11 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Your immediate resolution is to either borrow money, to solicit donations, or to delay payment on your expenses.

Your longer-term resolution, which I hope to share both with you and people whose present position resembles your position back in February (so that their position in October does not resemble your position as of this moment), is to improve the management of your business or, if you are unable or unwilling to do so, to secure gainful employment as a computer programmer, and trade the upside for predictable paychecks every 2 weeks until such time as you have financial/social/etc resources to survive natural variation in cash flow.

You're a freelancer. Variability in payment schedules is something which your business needs to be able to deal with.

You manage a business, and you should comport yourself as such, rather than as e.g. a college student who occasionally works for spending money. This implies, among other things, radically raising your rates, securing appropriate credit to smooth out your cash flow cycles, securing appropriate savings to smooth out your cash flow cycles, securing social and professional relationships such that you have them available in leaner times, and locating the business somewhere conducive to success at it. I express no opinion on whether Vancouver is that place, but if you've got no support network there and are at the margins of Canadian society, I would suggest rectifying that.

You should work on your pipeline such that you've always got some engagements which are in the pitch stage, some which are in the execution stage, and some which are in the "get the final invoice paid up" stage.

You need to increase your billable efficiency to more than the number you think is required for meeting your monthly expenses, because if you shoot for poverty level incomes, you will be poor when the business performs at plan and destitute when it does not. Your minimum viable number is not $600 a month. It is closer to $3,000 billed a month. This is the absolute "pack it in if you cannot hit it" minimum number -- a successful freelancing business should be billing much more in the current environment.

I assert, without fear of contradiction, that you do not charge nearly enough for your services. You need to charge more, substantially more. You probably get bad clients and bad projects from something like oDesk. Do not get bad clients and bad projects which pay you no money. Instead, network actively and get better projects from better clients at the prevailing wages for professional work.

P.S. The best clients will not respond well to hearing about you being a hair's breadth from financial disaster, because this does not happen to professionals. It suggests a lack of professional competence and will, therefore, impair your ability to land engagements doing professional work. In keeping with the "comport one's business like a professional" strategy, you will want to avoid sounding like you need to get paid ASAP.

Mandatum 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Start by removing any negative connotations from your CV/bio: http://brandonhsiao.com/

Things like "I will not work with Windows hosting" and "Honestly, strictly speaking, any semi-competent hacker is capable of using any documented framework" make us associate you with someone who is stubborn and over-confident. The latter may be just, but I doubt it given your situation.

I apologize if my words are harsh, but as it goes; beggars can't be choosers.

eric_bullington 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Quick money? Well, Vancouver is Bitcoin capital of Canada. And Bitcoin payments are immediate.

Also, there should be plenty of places to buy food there using Bitcoin. Here's a list of just some of them:


So to earn money, go check out: https://coinality.com/ and http://www.reddit.com/r/Jobs4bitcoins

They both post programming jobs. And Bitcoin payments are immediate. Just watch out for scammers -- Bitcoin unfortunately attracts more than its fair share.

If you post a Bitcoin address, I'll get you started with enough Bitcoins to buy some cheese fries here:


Edit: By the way, the quickest secure way to get a Bitcoin address is probably to sign up via blockchain.info and use 2-factor authentication and a long (20 char+) password. Just don't end up storing $10,000 on a blockchain wallet.

In the long run, you're best off learning to securely manage your Bitcoins yourself using bitcoin-qt or another desktop client:


mamcx 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know how are things in Canada. But when the bad times come, here in Colombia we sell Empanadas! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empanada) (A proverb say: What is the thing that sell most? A empanada!)

I need to self-fund my own startup, and I have not access to angel investors. So I start selling BBQ related things in the streets. I do this only in the weekends, in the night, right now. In a strike of luck, I get some very good freelance work just after the 1 week, but I still doing because a)I like it b)It could pay the rent! c)Reduce the stress!

This is a tactic that (here) work well. Sell food is fairly easy if you are smart about it. Requiere very low capital, not much talent, and some kind of foods bring more than 50-70% in earnings, after all the costs. Things like sell fruits (salad fruits) juices, tacos, empanadas, pizza, maicitos, mangos with salt, etc. This suckers are EASY and profit well!

The only catch? Location. This is the hard thing.

Other things to try:

- Fix computers- Teach about computers- Provide IT services to local stores- Exploit any talent you have and look if is possible to monetize in the very short term.- Become a "Cafe internet"- Become a "Play videogames here"

Both also are similar to "Sell empanadas" emergency business popular here. I don't know if is possible in Canada. Start a home business have zero real problems with the law if is low-level in my country so is easy to have a escape plan.

webnrrd2k 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This might not be appropriate advice for your current situation, but if you think you might face homelessness again, you might think about getting a van at some point. It will give you the minimum necessary to get through tough times. You'll still need to make enough for gas and some food, but you can live in a van for much less than rent. That, and a gym membership and you can get showers and work out. If you have a decent laptop then you can work in almost any coffee shop for maybe five dollars a day.

I'm not saying it a great option, but that it might be the best of a set of bad options.

Also, you might think about posting to Craigslist or similar, explain your situation and ask for some work. It certainly won't hurt.

junto 16 hours ago 1 reply      
First thing I would suggest is to edit your podt and let people know which city you are in. HNers that are local to you might be able to give you a sofa for a few nights or ask you to pop by their office for a chat or informal interview. You could be in my city, but since it isn't immediately obvious I'm not going to then bother to contact you via your HN profile to ask.
steven2012 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand by what you mean by "overseas". Are you not legally allowed to work in Canada? Why are you listing your money in USD? Sounds like you made a couple of bad decisions and you need to find yourself a full time job.

If you really have no money you should probably use your credit cards until you find a permanent job. Or ask your friends or family to loan you money while you are getting yourself back on your feet.

rwallace 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Exchanging programming services for money is a great idea in the long term, but it typically takes on the order of months until the first chunk of money arrives, which means it's far too late for that alone to help you right now. What you need right now is an emergency bail out.

You say you're in a foreign country, and you don't have any family back home who could help with the price of an airline ticket? In that case I would suggest going to your country's embassy and explaining your situation.

confiscate 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you considered applying for employment insurance?

"Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary financial assistance to unemployed Canadians who have lost their job through no fault of their own, while they look for work or upgrade their skills."

Government assistance should be a safety net that is intended exactly for temporary situations like this, right? It's definitely not optimal, but perhaps it would be one avenue to follow up given the situation?

danielschonfeld 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Couchsurfing.com for the immediate housing problem, maybe even make a friend you can lean on for the first week and try to get them back with a nice dinner once you got some cash flowing again.

If cost of living/food is a sustained problem, try to save up and fly to a place where that won't be your noose around your neck. Perhaps southeast asia once you've saved a bit. Again couchsurfing for a softer landing there as well.

If you freelance, I see no reason why you need to stay in a place that costs a lot to live in. Move elsewhere.

logn 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you have any credit left? Can you take a cash advance from your credit card? Use that for rent. Then use the rest of your credit to buy peanut butter.

You said you have several projects all heavily delayed. Can you approach those clients and offer them a discount if they provide a down payment?

Also reply to Craigslist ads looking for temporary labor (e.g., moving boxes or doing outdoor work).

jcmurrayii 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Rough situation.

I am not sure you will be able to find anything in the programming area on such short notice that will pay out that quickly.

However, this might be a case where you look outside of that, and take more pedestrian approaches to get you the cash needed to ride out the rough patch.

Day labor, its not programming, and it doesn't pay much, but it could be enough to put food in the belly, and a roof over the head. I know in the US there are all kinds of day labor companies, and construction will occasionally hire for unskilled on a job site, and pay cash.

Recruiters/Staffing/Temp: Find someone that has a client base of people that need software staff augmentation immediately. I am not sure it would solve the problem in 2-3 days, but you might get very lucky.

Original response was dead on though. Hard to say what can be done without knowing where in the world you are.

musuko 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been in that situation and I don't know the reason you ended up there, you can get many options of housing with friends and work online but I would like to send you some money for food so while you figure it out you always have a hot meal.
Mz 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If you are about to be homeless and have $60 to your name, you need to focus for now on short term survival. You need to find a way to raise the cash (preferably without borrowing) and make sure you can eat, as a minimum.

Look into couch surfing or staying with friends/family for the short term if that is possible.

Look for a way to get quick cash legally. In the U.S., collecting recyclables is a common way for people on the street to do that. A quick google does not indicate you can do that in Canada. You might consider pawning something, accepting donations, finding some kind of short term work that pays cash.

While drawing on those resources, then try to get more long term solutions in place. You cannot crisis manage your way to a more middle class life. You have to make real plans and do a lot of problem solving.

I hope that some of the advice here on how to market yourself as a serious professional is useful to you in the long run but I will say that it makes some really big assumptions which may be completely off the mark. First, in order to charge $100/hour for anything at all, the quality of your work needs to be worth that much. Your work may not be that good. So you may need to find out how to improve the quality of your work. Second, simply relabeling yourself as a "consultant" instead of a "freelancer" may not be some kind of magic bullet to get you better clients.

Some of the advice here is a good long term thing to shoot for but, really, if you are on the verge of homelessness, the odds are high that you have bigger problems than what label you are using for your business model. So you may have some serious work ahead of you in terms of figuring out exactly what went wrong and how to fix it.

Also, asking for help here on HN in this manner may be doing you more harm than good. The people you want to hire you for your programming skills may well be reading this forum and may well basically blacklist you because of this post.

I am sorry you are in this situation. (I have been homeless for 2.5 years, so I am not looking down on you.)

Best of luck.

kgc 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Get a food services job temporarily. Also, buy groceries and cook your own food. Even microwave meals only cost about $1 each.
henrylau 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you considered applying for employment insurance?

"Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary financial assistance to unemployed Canadians who have lost their job through no fault of their own, while they look for work or upgrade their skills."

Government assistance should be a safety net that is intended exactly for temporary situations like this, right? It's definitely not optimal, but perhaps it would be one avenue to follow up given the situation?

yazaddaruvala 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I would also maybe try https://www.bountysource.com
criveros 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Get a credit card. They accept credit cards at hostels.
moggh 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is full of ups and downs. If I were you, I'd make three radical shifts:i) Find a shit job for now.ii) Get the heck out of dodge - Vancouver is an insanely expensive city and if you've reached the end of your money-line, impose on a friend or some family else where. Hitch thee.iii) Find a perm development role until you can get back on your feet; this will be hard unless you can pull off (i).
Theodores 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you sure you cannot speak to mummy and daddy plus any other relatives, e.g. siblings? They may be the only people that can immediately arrange for you to have money for outgoings, as hard as it may be to pick up the phone to ask for help, they might just be worried about you and more than willing to help in any way possible. Of course you could be an orphan, disowned or with parents living on less than a dollar a day in the Global South, but I find it hard to believe you have no friends or family to help you.

If you are going to speak to them, one thing you can do to make things easier is to get the ball rolling with work. If you get your CV out today then you should be hearing from recruitment agencies tomorrow. If someone is going to put you forward for a telephone interview then that might be enough to persuade family that you are worth investing in.

Assuming that someone in the family can help you out you can pay them back with direct debit over six months or so, plus you will owe favours in return. This does mean doing a day job, i.e. getting out the door very early and getting back late with no life to yourself except the weekend.

You can also look for local work with rubbish pay doing things most people don't want to do. Pretend you are a student and that the job is perfect for you, in that way they will overlook any intellectual aspect of your character. The benefits of a local unskilled job are many: you can take on a challenge and 'win' (factory production lines are ridiculously fast to the uninitiated), physical hard labour does get you fit up to a point where you are just permanently run down, the travel can be easy and inexpensive saving you 1-2 hours per day, the camaraderie can be better than any office, you can get paid weekly, you can get paid for overtime, uniform/overalls are provided and although the experience may be utterly intolerable there will be retrospective enjoyment. Just pretend that you are going 'undercover' much like George Orwell in 'Down and Out in London and Paris' and all will be survivable.

If in an inane factory job read the trade press and look for vacancies that can combine the low--skilled in-depth knowledge of the job with programming. For instance, if you end up working in a bar then keep your eyes peeled for vacancies with the company that supply the POS software. If they want people to be support staff then they are willing to hire users (that know the software already and understand the pressures of their customers). A support role - picking up the phone and logging calls will lead to a second line role by which time you will have gained people skills and become a customer service focused person. That is worth more on your CV than any programming TLA's or half-baked open-source project contributions. It may not be rocket surgery and it might be hard work, but all I am saying is that a dead-end job really need not be dead end at all if you are prepared to be slightly enterprising about it.

It may take six months to a year of having to work at rubbish jobs before you can climb out of the hole into something nearer your true calling but that is not so long in the bigger scheme of things. As mentioned you will learn things along the way that they just don't teach in university.

Expecting to exchange programming services for money shows a slight lack of grasp of reality, in truth it is exchanging your labour or your time for $$$.

Ask HN: Google AdSense Still Bans Ajax. What are the Alternatives?
45 points by wikiburner  1 day ago   32 comments top 10
onestone 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is actually pretty good support, but you have to use AdSense through Google DFP - https://www.google.com/dfp/. Things like creating ad slots dynamically / loading them later / refreshing them dynamically work fine when you use GPT tags in DFP.
PaulHoule 1 day ago 4 replies      
The world could really use a good competitor to Adsense, couldn't it? How about some ad network that is based on contextual technology such as Facebook, retargeting, etc.
radq 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can use BuySellAds units with Google Adsense as backfill.

For an example of this you can check out our Discourse instance: http://forums.hummingbird.me/ (ads may not load on the initial pageview because of a timing bug I have not fixed yet, but try clicking somewhere and back to the homepage).

This is the source code: https://github.com/vikhyat/discourse-bsa/blob/master/assets/... (Ember.js)

paulgb 1 day ago 0 replies      
The question isn't about using code in ads, but about including ads on content that is loaded with ajax.

There are probably technical (though not insurmountable) reasons for this, i.e. if the ads are content based Google has to be able to scrape the content to know which keywords to match.

hiphopyo 1 day ago 2 replies      
I prefer affiliate networks because they, unlike AdSense, give me the freedom to design my own ads. Also there's this:


Who wants this eyesore on their websites anyway?


I'm surprised the AdSense team is still toying around with amateur designs at the expense of the whole AdSense programme. I've seen the past works of the designers on the AdSense team and I'm not impressed. Plus it's quite naive to think that one design will fit all websites. Why can't AdSense, like other ad and affiliate networks, just open up an API so publishers themselves can be in charge of how their ads look and behave?

chaddeshon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I run BromBone.com. We have several customers using it to make static versions of their AJAX sites for Google Adsense purposes.

Email me at chad@brombone.com if you want to talk details.

yanghan 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems like you can give native advertising a try.I'm the cofounder of http://www.stackadapt.com and you can load our ad tag through ajax. You can also define ad formats using your site's HTML, so the ads are completely native and responsive to your site.
ojr 1 day ago 0 replies      
An alternative way to make money online, is by removing ads and create a subscription-based feature, Stripe has a nice developer platform
im3w1l 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe dynamically add iframes with ajax-content? Every iframe would be static, and so could have adsense.
vkjv 1 day ago 0 replies      
AFAIK, your only option with Adsense is to implement a #! alternative crawlable site.
Ask HN: Are the insides of Airbnb listings being commercialized?
20 points by jasonbarone  1 day ago   18 comments top 6
nate 1 day ago 3 replies      
Related: I had a Lyft ride recently where the driver the entire ride was trying to sell me health and life insurance. And he had clearly done this before and it was all part of his ride. He had a stack of cards right there on his dash ready with his pitch.
nichodges 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was messaged by a local business owner, asking if I'd be interested in putting his product in my listing photos, mentioning the business in the listing, and also in my "welcome to the apartment" notes for visitors.

Next time I was in his shop I told him I really don't rent the place out enough for it to be worthwhile, but asked him how the response from other people he messaged was. He said one woman was really angry in her message back, and a few others took him up on the offer. To be honest the ROI for him wouldn't be great, especially given many of the customers from AirBnB won't be returning.

If it is against AirBnB's terms and they take issue with it I can only imagine the irony-laden field day the media would have.

mcintyre1994 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is actually an interesting idea and not necessarily bad for the experience. If a place had certain demographics Sony or Microsoft could offer a free new console around/before release. Special feature for host to offer, bonus for guest, seems like a solid path to a sale for the company. It seems that could possibly work for other things too, and it'd surely be more interesting to advertisers than a typical hotel.

I guess the big thing is visitors probably aren't returning so local businesses aren't going to get much success- but I can see interesting opportunities for less location constrained companies. What if Netflix gave a free account to a chunk of places with certain demographics?

charlesdm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not direct promotion for products or services, but I rented an apt once from a luxury real estate developer. He told about some of the projects he was working on. Pretty impressive. We've actually become good friends.
dominotw 1 day ago 0 replies      
>has anyone seen listings being used to promote products or services?

Yes . For prostitution. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/14/prostitutes-renting...

bin1 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here is a good example: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/72229
Ask HN: Join our Skype Strong AI Group
23 points by chegra  1 day ago   21 comments top 6
mhitza 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hate skype; it's enough punishment I have to use it for work. I would maybe join it from time to time if it where an IRC channel instead.
spolu 1 day ago 2 replies      
Very intersting... but Skype???
brador 1 day ago 1 reply      
You should record the conversations, with permission, then put them up on youtube. It's a shame to lose them.
canvia 1 day ago 1 reply      
Skype is not secure. Why not XMPP?
dn2k 1 day ago 0 replies      
id join an IRC channel on freenode..
TheMamboKing 1 day ago 1 reply      
What topics are you guys currently looking at?
Ask HN: Is it ok to pursue master in cs at Maharishi University of Management?
4 points by hemtros  22 hours ago   5 comments top 5
gus_massa 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry, I dont know the details, but Ill make a few comments about a random link in a Google search: http://mum-master.blogspot.com.ar/2009/01/be-carefull-of-mah... (dont believe everything that is in the Internet, but be careful)

>> [from a promotional email] You will earn an MSCS degree from a highly respected, accredited university that integrates the study of computer science with a scientifically proven technology for awakening your total brain potential.

I never heard before about this university. Apparently, this is an accredited university, but I dont understand the details of the accreditation system. From the Wikipedia page, it looks like CS is not the main area.

I really dont like with a scientifically proven technology for awakening your total brain potential (But this is a alleged quote from a link. Did you get a similar promotional material?)

> They attract people from outside the US by saying that they are going to be hired which is 100% false, you will never get job due to many factors such as student visa limitations by employers who seek H1B or residency.

USAs visas are a very difficult topic. To work you need the right visa. I think that its not so easy to get an internship with a student visa.

hkarthik 20 hours ago 0 replies      
My personal opinion: if you can get admission into a state university with better accreditation that attracts recruiters from Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc, it is far better to go that route. These are the only companies hiring lots of H1-b visa holders.

That said, I have a family friend who is teaching at that Maharishi university and he previously studied at IIM in India and worked in Austin, TX for IBM in a management role for many years. He can give you some good perspective.

My email address is in my profile. Contact me and I can put you in touch with him. Good luck!

brudgers 19 hours ago 0 replies      
From what I see, it provides a unique approach to higher education. My advice is it deserves consideration to the degree that approach is more in line with your personal values than more common or traditional pedagogical practices.

I would not recommend attending on the basis of cost or primarily on that basis. The compromise for someone not attracted to the pedagogy seems too great.

As for mixed reviews, its approach is not for everyone so that would be expected.

rahimnathwani 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Search on LinkedIn to see what recent graduates of this university are currently doing. That will give you an objective sense of the available paths after graduation.
hemtros 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Please upvote so that many HNers would answer.
Ask HN: What are the most difficult aspects of running an online/app business?
7 points by aliston  1 day ago   1 comment top
digikk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm interested in this, too.
Idea for an app but no programming skill. how to bring it alive?
5 points by amrrs  1 day ago   5 comments top 2
vitovito 1 day ago 1 reply      
The simple answer is, it's in the contract. Your contract with your developer, which you both negotiate and sign, says that you pay for them to develop your app, and perhaps would have a non-compete clause to prevent them from self-publishing a similar app within, say, a year.

If they violate the terms of the contract, your lawyer sues them.

Now, this is tricky in general, because app store submission processes are developer-oriented, and there will inevitably be bugs, which your developer will have to fix. There are a lot of details to hammer out on how to arrange all of that. But it's not a trust issue, it's just a paperwork one, as long as you can afford to enforce it.

Now, if you can't afford to enforce it, then you do need trust. And one way to have that trust is to have respect. A developer will respect you more if you bring something tangible to the table. That is, more than just an idea. This is the long answer.

If all you have is an idea, then a developer (or designer, for that matter) is going to have to figure out a lot on their own. They're going to have to figure out what you mean, who the users are going to be, what the users want, how the marketing will promote the app, what it should cost, how many users at one time the app will have to handle, on and on, every detail. There will be so many details that you haven't thought of yet, that the developer will have to figure out, that it will basically be the developer's app.

Any developer (or designer) worth their salt is going to ask for at least 51% equity in your company to build your idea, because they will basically be doing all the work.

The only way to retain control, and to earn enough respect to deserve it, is to do all of that work up front, yourself.

That's the role of the businessperson in a startup. You do all the market research to figure out that people will definitely buy this kind app. You do all customer development to figure out what problem this app will solve for them. You do all the user research to figure out exactly how the app will solve that problem. You do the competitive analysis to figure out the price and positioning of your app relative to other solutions in the market. You do all the sales channel development to figure out how to tell people about the app. You do all the projections to figure out how much money you might make. And then you put that all in a Powerpoint to convince a developer that "all" they need to do is build it, they can focus on code and not have to worry about all that business stuff, you've got it covered.

That's your job. An idea isn't good enough. There's a lot more than just programming that goes into an app, and you have to have covered everything else if all you want is a programmer to build you something.

Good luck!

kgc 15 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Learn to make your idea.2. Pay someone who knows how to make your idea.
Ask HN: Built a prototype for getting leads from social networks
3 points by sumeetchawla  1 day ago   11 comments top 3
amrrs 1 day ago 1 reply      
When you talk about Lead generation,

* What kind of details are you giving the user - Full Name, Title, Email, Company and Phone or it's just a Facebook id saying that this user is in need of something that you offer.

* Also have you made it location specific and any demographics to target or filters of that kind?

* If possible include competitor mapping too, for eg: If I'm Costa coffee, very often someone commenting in Starbucks page must be my lead too.

* Fees - A Telesales executive or an Internet guy can sure get more leads and they are not algorithmic, so if your service is to assist them or replace them, the charges have to reflect that.

ColinWright 1 day ago 1 reply      
yopeoplefinder 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting concept although I would make it clearer on the homepage who the target audience is - 'for your business' is a little generic.
Ask HN: How do you find good developers on oDesk?
51 points by basdevries  1 day ago   63 comments top 28
MortenK 1 day ago 1 reply      
The broader topic for this is "outsourcing". When work is done 90/100% remote, to countries far away, it's commonly referred to as "offshore outsourcing". It's a whole separate production discipline, with unique challenges all the way from staffing to day-to-day management.

Many business people and entrepreneurs try offshore outsourcing a couple of times, lured in by the seemingly low prices. They then fail and declare outsourcing as a non-viable solution for product development.

It can and does work, but it requires experience.

So while you are looking for specific tips for searching for developers, you need to be aware that the work doesn't end there - there's a lot more to it.

To get specific though:

1) Always create a private job and invite developers yourself. If not, you'll be spammed with offers from the bottom of the barrel.

2) Filter for location first. If it's your first time with outsourcing, you are best off with developers from countries that are as close as possible to your own culture. For Western Europe, a good bet is Eastern Europe and Western Russia. In the US, you're probably better of with certain south American countries like Argentina and Chile due to the lower time difference.

3) Look for developers that has had long contracts (500+ hours) with 5 star feedback. You can't base much off small contracts with 5 star feedback.

4) Apply same screening techniques as you would, were you hiring locally: Does the guy have an impressive portfolio, CS education, does he have some side projects / Github profile etc, how many years of experience and so on. Don't put too much stock in any single point: There is for example plenty of extremely competent people, who do not have a degree, who do not give a shit about maintaining a Stackoverflow or Github profile and so on.

5) Once you've screened them, invite them to the job listing. Get them on skype, either talk or chat. They need at least a very good written English, if it's your first try with outsourcing. Ask for code samples and review them.

6) If not "just" front-end coding: Have a good, thorough specification ready, for the developers to read. Sometimes they will want payment just to read the spec, sometimes they'll do it for free. Either way, it doesn't show much about their competence.

7) Ask them to deliver a written deliverable of something reasonably advanced. Stuff like a suggested database model, or a very high-level overview of a proposed architecture for whatever it is you are building. This will usually be paid work, between 4 and 8 hours. The purpose is not to get the absolute right db model or architecture - it's to see a written deliverable from the developer. This is invaluable, since it requires real skill, thinking and communication abilities, while still being relatively cheap. If they cannot deliver this, they are not good enough. An exception is if you are looking for some front-end guy, then just get a sample of their markup.

8) Monitor their work closely in the first period of time (first 2-3 weeks is usually enough).

9) Be ready for disappointments. Even with all the above work, you will still not hit a good guy every time.

10) If all else fails, drop me a line, I'll be happy to assist :-)

kator 1 day ago 2 replies      
Good question. I have an associate of mine who is building a fairly large web based system with oDesk developers. He told me the other day he spent $100k "figuring it out" and has burned through some 100+ people. He now has a core of about 12 that contribute and a small core of about 4 people who are daily parts of his team.

His insight is that you want a process to bring people in and shoot them quickly if they don't work out. It's sort of sink-or-swim but with a rubber ducky that has a leak in it. If they figure out the system from documentation and start contributing good stuff the core team will start working more with them. If they're slow to respond, don't submit stuff that looks useful they just whack them and move on.

He has some pretty amazing people on his team, that said he's dealing with the typical timezone and remote worker synchronization problem that all these teams have. Recent conversations have turned towards building a core team that is "in an office together" somewhere to get core work moving quickly and smoothly with stuff at the edges being worked on oDesk team members.

I personally haven't done any oDesk projects yet but I imagine "Hire carefully fire quickly" is going to be the best advice I can give.

noodle 1 day ago 3 replies      
You don't. Or if you do, you're lucky and/or you wait in line for them.

Good developers don't use oDesk to find freelance work. They have a good enough reputation to find work through their professional network. oDesk is a race to the bottom where you compete on price instead of skills. Its a market for lemons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Market_for_Lemons)

I'm a contractor and I wouldn't touch oDesk with a 10 ft pole.

sparkzilla 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am using oDesk for a couple of small PHP projects now (<$500). I switched from Elance because it seemed that the developers were better. I had to cancel the first project on Elance because the developer wanted to go through the proposal line by line on Skype every day. It was too time-consuming. There's no point in trying to get $10/hr programming if it takes five times as long.

You must find someone who speaks excellent English -- it's too frustrating otherwise. The number of hours a person has worked on other projects the most important. I'm sure anyone can fake reviews. Devs will also say they can do everything, so you have to track down their specialty. I was looking for experience with date functions so I made sure to ask for that and confirm with the devs I shortlisted.

I am currently working on oDesk with a guy from India. His English is excellent and the project is going well. I pay $20/hr. I am very careful with the assignment of hours. Any extra hours are negotiated up front. If he doesn't negotiate an extension on his side then he won't get paid for it.

Another thing to consider is that you may have to work late in the night or very early in the morning, especially during debugging sessions, which can be disruptive to your life. Due to the time difference I would actually prefer to hire an American dev but I didn't see that many on the site, and I guess they would charge much more.

arnvald 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm both freelancer and I had a chance to interview a few candidates found on oDesk. Here are my thoughts:

1. Reviews by clients are not worth much. I've had a situation where my client asked me to fix the project after previous developer, who's code was horrible, but at that time my client didn't realize it, so they gave him 5 stars.

2. Pay attention to the language candidates use - very often their summary/portfolio is written in correct English, but during conversation they make lots of very basic mistakes. I'm not a native English speaker, I also make mistakes, but quite often these people just can't communicate in English, and this , sooner or later, will become a problem for you.

3. It's better to invite developers than to just post an offer - I've seen offers starting with "ONLY DEVELOPERS BASED IN US" to which hundreds of people from Asia applied. People don't even read descriptions, they just apply everywhere.

4. Developers' summaries are overrated - I've interviewed people with "more than 5 years of experience in web development" etc. whose code was more like junior developer's.

5. Having said that - ask people for samples of their work. The best is some OS project, because then you know it's their code, but actually few people write OS. Anyway, reading the code, even just 2-3 simple files, helped me to reject a few developers who made good impression during the talk.

TL;DR: chat to see if they can use English, read their code, be sceptical about what they and their clients wrote about them.

sergiotapia 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi there,

I've been freelancing for about 2 years now on oDesk and owe so much to that platform. It's allowed me to find great paying jobs with smart people.

Here's what I look for when applying for jobs. My oDesk rate is usually from $30 to $45 /hr - so this may not apply to the lower end of 'cheap cheap cheap fast fast' developers.

* Well written job titles. Descriptive and concise.

* Clear information on where the project stands at the moment. Is this a greenfield project? Is this in the design phase? Do you have mockups? Specs?

* Client history. If I see a client has an average hourly rate of hiring at $10/hr I don't bother applying as I don't think we'll be a good fit. Likewise if the client is new with no feedback or previous contracts completed, I may be hesitant to apply.


These are the key things I look for to find good jobs on oDesk. If you want to attract great developers, keep them in mind, they're a must!

alexhoang 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of "luck" in the comments. I have 6 years of outsourcing experience and I agree it's part luck, but there are great ways to spot out great talent on outsourcing platforms such as oDesk. I usually set aside a few thousand (not $100k like kator mentioned, but around $2-10k), and post a project on all three of the major platforms; oDesk, Freelancer, and Elance. This project will only be a small portion of the whole project to gauge how the developer works and if that is in line of how I work, can be different for you. I found more success on oDesk than the other two, but I wouldn't limit to just one source for talent.

Things I avoid:

- Groups where I have to talk to a Project Manager. Especially where the Project Manager is the translator to the team because this can cause a lot of misinterpretation and mis-communication.

- Non-English developers. This doesn't mean the developer has to be fully fluent in English, but if they can't convey their ideas via text/email where they have as much time as they need then it's hard vice versa.

- Yes-(wo)man. A Yes-man is a freelancer that just says yes on everything you say instead of coming up with other solutions. This is common when you deal with Project Managers.

Things I love:

- Talking to engineers and letting them know they can freely give any input.

- Engineers that provide feedback. I had two engineers say they can do the project in the way I wanted it, but also mentioned that they could do it a better way that's faster, safer, and less expensive. I hired them for a few more projects after that and they kept saying the same thing. I ended up partnering with them with equal shares on future projects.

If you need any more help, feel free to message me

mistermann 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've found that different cultures tend to have distinctly different values, such as the acceptability of lying and deceit, so maybe it is sad to say but geographical location is a key consideration for me.
JoachimSchipper 1 day ago 1 reply      
Considering that tptacek, patio11 and many other experienced (ex-)consultants on HN don't have many nice things to say about oDesk (basically, "don't commoditize yourself")... is oDesk a requirement?

If nothing else, HN job threads tend to be full of people looking for remote work.

(I have no experience with oDesk, on either side.)

aymeric 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have blogged about this topic a while ago and it made the front page of HN: http://aymeric.gaurat.net/2013/how-i-hired-a-great-web-devel...
bstar77 1 day ago 2 replies      
I generally hire devs on odesk for front end work (css/html). We'll put out a request for work, interview the most promising candidates and hire 2. Both of them work on the exact same thing, we just choose the better implementation in the end.

This works for front end development to mitigate risk. Every time we get a very clear winner and it's not always the one we predicted before hand.

I would never use odesk for architecture work, that's what my job is for. Mission critical systems should be developed internally, or at the worst completely understood by someone internally.

odesk is also fantastic for advise or simple scripts on things I don's specialize in. I can often get a script/optimization in an hour that would have taken me a day to figure out myself.

TimPC 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think in general the experience on oDesk/elance type sites is pretty bad. I don't include it in my search at all because I have close to zero tolerance for being on webcam as a form of logging hours (Pretty much every contract I do has a bunch of work away from the computer). In order for me to put up with that you'd need to pay me a large premium. You also either need to not assign me any work complicated enough to want to do pen and paper/whiteboard work on or pay an additional premium to make up for the unbilled hours (similarly if I have to start a webcam every time I reply to off hours e-mail or it's free (especially if my off-hours e-mail responses are unbilled if I answer on a phone). I imagine a lot of senior contractors feel similarly, oDesk type sites seems to have a lot of bad experiences for contract work and a lot of joke employers enough so that it doesn't become a part of your get work strategy if you have other good ways of sourcing work.

With regards to recruiting and the 20% good recruiters charge, most companies are set up to expect recruiting fees and don't convert the extra cash into rates or wages when they don't have to pay them -- in theory a company that spends $0 on recruiting fees should have 20% more to pay, in practice it almost never works that way so avoiding recruiting fees seems to be a one-sided benefit. If you're good enough to get quality contracts through a good recruiter, you're not going to make more money on oDesk and you'll lose billable hours to managing site profile, and going through entire bid/negotiation and in some cases estimation processes without getting paid. Assuming that most contract developers feel the same way, the site is likely to cater to the bottom of the market, which makes finding talent extremely hard.

Remote work has it's own challenges, the things that I've found essential is:

- Great communication- Great documentation- Smart lightweight processes- At certain stages of company avoid outright remote (even 9 days remote + 1 day in office every 2 weeks is a very different animal from outright remote -- you actually meet everyone in the company in person in one of these two cases)- Personality and culture fit as well as general empathy are important: negotiation and responsibility under pressure with people you've never met in person is difficult.- Great management- Manage time zone differential if the product is subject to lots of change: (12 hour cycles for back and forth Q&A on something that's unclear is extremely expensive).

Note that by great in the above requirements, I mean higher quality than most early stage start-ups achieve.

JacobJans 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't have any experience with oDesk, or with hiring developers, but I do have a lot of experience hiring writers on such sites. I have had good successs, but it was a learning process. Here's a little bit of what I've learned.

You have to be very careful about the type of job you hire for. It needs to be highly structured, with very limited flexibility. The instructions I post are often as long as the document that needs to be written. Because my instructions are so explicit, there is little room for error. They know exactly what they need to do, and how to do it. If they screw up, I take it as a failure in my instructions, and tweak them for the next time.

The job details also include something about how they should write their bid. I usually ask them to write a sentence that indicates their understanding. This is usually specific, and relevant to the job, such as a list of topics they're able to write, based on the job description. You'd be surprised how many people don't do this. It's a quick and easy filter.

Once the freelancer has successfully completed an assignment with me, they've earned a little bit of trust. I'll hire them again. Eventually, I'll give them more flexibility, more pay, and more challenging work. Most freelancers won't get there, but that's OK. I've structured things so that it's hard to fail. It's also not particularly easy to get ahead. They've got to pass the filters.

atlantic 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can't hire solely based on profile, as it may or may not be factually correct. Instead, the key indicator of competence is the number of projects a person has participated in, the duration of each project, and the kind of income they have made on oDesk. This should allow you to draw up a shortlist. Make your projects private, invitation only, and contact the people on your list. Start with a short Skype interview to get a feel for them. Forget tests. Start them off on one or two small tasks, which should indicate both their competence and their capacity to integrate with your team.
dyadic 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been an oDesk freelancer for the last few months so I'll explain what appeals to me about a client / job. My hourly rate makes me an outlier on the site however, so this is less applicable if you're after cheap and good.

The easiest way to find good developers is have them come to you, and the best to way do that is to have a good job ad.

* Tag the ad with the appropriate tech

* Add a high level description of what the job is. Not just technically, but what is being made too. Also, whether it's as part of a team or completely autonomous.

* Include links, to a company website if you are one, or to your own website / twitter / github / etc if you have them.

* Post hourly jobs only. Fixed price jobs may be appropriate sometimes, but only if they're fully specced out to avoid scope creep.

* oDesk allows you to specify the experience level you want (Entry Level - $, Intermediate - $$, Expert - $$$), treat this more as how much you're willing to pay rather than the real experience level. Ideally, they should correlate, but they often don't.

Tagging the ad with the tech is important, I have a filtered view on the job feed to remove all that isn't relevant to me. I see only ~10-15 new jobs per week and may apply for one or two of them. If your ad is tagged and it's something that I'm interested in then I'll see it.

Next, filtering out the less good / less interested freelancers by making the job application process a little more difficult. Many freelancers spam out applications without even reading the ad contents, you want to exclude them.

* I've seen some ads that ask freelancers to include a certain word in their application so the client can filter based on that.

* Even better (IMO), and the best way to find good hires, is to include a couple of your own questions in the application. oDesk allows you to set these in addition or instead of the standard cover letter approach. It will filter out a lot of freelancers that are solely spamming out applications and don't have time for anything that doesn't fit the standard template. Those that get through, you can filter them on their answers.

Once you have a few freelancers that you're considering hiring, send them a bit of extra information on the job, maybe discuss it a little, set up a Skype meeting. Don't go overboard here, it should be a short-ish process, not a free consultation.

Then, hire someone. If it doesn't work out, we're easy to fire.


An additional note on the job ad (from experience), be honest in it about rates etc. Don't tick the "expert" box if you're looking for someone at $cheap/hr. If you're a startup that's looking to pay in equity that state that up front instead of after going through all of the above.

sogen 1 day ago 0 replies      
chatmasta 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's very hit or miss. I've had success hiring people on elance, and actually not too many misses. If you're a good judge of talent, you should be able to screen somebody on Skype and know pretty quickly whether or not they know what they're doing. If you think they are okay, then pay them hourly on a small job. If it works out, give them a bigger job, and so on.
iroot 14 hours ago 0 replies      
In the project description, mention that "only people who will provide a sample solution/data for the project will be entertained". This is a decent filter to remove 90% of applicants. To decide between the rest 10%, check ratings, previous jobs, portfolio, cost etc and make a choice.
aytekin 1 day ago 0 replies      
This method worked really well for me:https://medium.com/jotform-form-builder/today-i-hired-6-deve...

The developer I hired worked out well and he is still employed.

dotnick 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have to ask; why oDesk? (or Elance or freelancer.com?)

I moonlight on Elance but I'm trying to build a solid portfolio to get away, and I think most decent remote workers do the same, mostly because projects posted on these websites are a race to the bottom.

I would say stay away; you're better of posting the position on the 'Who is hiring' thread here on HN, careers.stackoverflow etc.

If you insist on hiring developers from freelancing websites though, my personal opinion is:

1. Have a realistic budget. You get what you pay for. Yes, there are differences between countries, and not everyone needs to charge $100 an hour to make ends meet but when you're hiring a developer for $15 an hour (from anywhere in the world), you're taking a huge risk.

2. Don't bother with job posts, the signal to noise ratio is too low, especially when you specify a decent budget. Just search around for developers with solid portfolios. Don't pay too much attention to reviews, all it takes is one bad client who's not able to communicate to ruin your 5-star record.

Mankhool 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my experience using sites like oDesk was too detached from any community I consider myself a part of. Speaking only about my first (and only) app development, I found my dev here. And when he had to move on I toyed with Reddit, but in the end came back here for FsF and found another exceptional person very quickly. Both of my hires were remote, but because they were part of HN that gave them credibility - because they are interested in "this thing that we do" and don't want the distraction of social or loss of time being on, FB for example, or being buried in the bureaucracy of something like oDesk. Just my 2 dirhams.
GnarfGnarf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've had some very good experiences on oDesk. One guy in Ukraine did a complete project in Flash for a really good price.

Review the applicants' portfolios thoroughly. They are a good indication of experience and ability.

The trick is to have very extensive, clear specifications. Also, oDesk is good when you need a specific technical problem solved.

Set some defined milestones, make sure they are met, bail if there are unmistakable signs the contractor can't cut it.

EugeneOZ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try to find a team-lead first, who will take care about architecture, will help you with interviewing candidats. You should be sure in skills of the team lead, so it will take some time to find 100% matching person. If you have tech guy/girl already in team who really thinks he/she can be team lead (and maybe even have experience), start hiring developers with she/him.

Post a job - maybe somebody is looking for a job and you can't see him/her. And try to find them also - maybe they are working so hard that even don't have a time break for job searching.

gbachik 1 day ago 0 replies      
You don't its as simple as that!Those sites are terrible!

I've tried multiple times over a span of 4 years and never once had a good experience or even got a single project done -.-

WWKong 1 day ago 0 replies      
You don't
dominotw 1 day ago 0 replies      
you dont.
binceipt 1 day ago 2 replies      
avoid developer from india
binceipt 1 day ago 0 replies      
avoid developer in india
Ask HN: How do startups restrict employees from accessing private user data?
22 points by GuiA  3 days ago   14 comments top 5
patio11 3 days ago 2 replies      
One of the first thing your DevOps team is going to do as you grow is make sure that employees don't have unrestricted access to the production DB / console access / root on the production web tier, since down that path lies madness.

This comes down partly to policy and partly to tech. The policy, disclosed early and often, is that misuse of customer data is an instant firing offense. Google, Facebook, etc have indeed terminated people over this, often literally count-the-minutes after the fact of the misuse became known to other people at the company.

Tech-wise, it's spiritually similar to other security measures. You lock down access on a need-to-have basis, you log the heck out of extraordinary requests for access, and you audit those requests.

e.g. Many companies will eventually develop a Use The Software As User X feature. At some, this requires you to a) be logged in as a privileged employee, then b) click to activate the feature, c) write an explanation why you need access to User #12345's account, and d) checkbox that you have receive #12345's consent for this. (I know some companies that skip D, largely in B2C.) When you hit submit, that logs it to the DB and fires an email to the audits@ email address, which goes out to 5 different people, or pipes "Patrick just logged in as #12345 because [chasing down display bug -- customer reports unescaped HTML in the message window, can't reproduce on staging or with own account]" into your team's HipChat/etc channel.

jlawer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've really only seen 2 core approaches to this:

1.) Free Access to everything. You trust everyone and hope it works out right. This is the simplest solution, but offers nothing to prevent someone violating that trust.

2.) Lock production down to a trusted team. Typically this is done with a full dev / ops separation. Dev build the site and test, Ops run it live and have access to the live database. You trust 3 people in ops fully and no one else. Locking down production often entrenches rivalries between dev and ops, and makes debugging performance issues a PITA as dev typically don't have access to the dataset that is exhibiting the problem.

I've seen both work and both fail, and neither protects you from a trusted employee screwing you over.

What I have seen work rather well though is audit logging. Logging all access to the key systems and periodically (and randomly) auditing access. I've seen this done at the db level, system level and app level before. Basically the story is not that you will be prevented from doing something you shouldn't, but if you are that you will be held accountable for it (typically on the spot termination). However to be effective the company needs to be able to take the high ground and be consistent. This won't work if someone (co-founder, manager) is doing a similar thing and getting away with it.

As long as the data isn't high value (Credit Cards, etc) enough to make the opportunity cost worth it, knowing you will loose your job provides enough to make most hesitant to break the rules.

eshvk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also, what if you are a data scientist? Yes, you could encrypt User IDs. However, when even publicly anonymized datasets can be reverse engineered, surely, a person in charge of feature selection and access to company datasets could wreak havoc even under the restriction?

I am specifically curious how Facebook/Google/NFLX which are companies with massive datascience teams handle this.

donavanm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Trust but verify, ie tamper resistant auditing, works for low sensitivity data. It's also an investment you'll never outgrow. When you get larger, or more sensitive, its time to implement something like a Two Man Rule. Take your pick of implementations of Shamirs Secret Sharing. And lastly, my favorite, operators of the service can not access customer data without explicit permission from the customer. A friend implemented this, Grendel, as an internal service at Wesabi.

Personally I dislike identity impersonation schemes, even between internal services. It leads to poor visibility and accountability. A proper Auth/Authz/RHAC scheme where the customer expliceitly grants specific priveleges to your internal service, and delegates, works better long term.

edoceo 3 days ago 0 replies      
My early stage employees and partners are too busy interviewing customers, writing code a getting shit done (or commenting on HN) to waste the time looking at inane things posted by GP.
Ask HN: What do you listen to while coding (and how)?
19 points by dennybritz  2 days ago   33 comments top 28
sytelus 2 days ago 0 replies      
It takes time to "train" Pandora but I've been at it for 3-4 years now seeding with all the tracks that are great for coding and thumbing up when I hear something that promotes going in to zen mode. The results are great and now this is my favorite music source in everything else I've tried out: http://www.pandora.com/station/play/164715539305919382. The status features mostly vocal-free distraction less music with rhythmic beats that puts you in the zone and occasional uplifting tracks that keeps you going.

I've also found this music station to be very anti-procrastinating. If you feel like procrastating, just press the play button and suddenly you would want to get back to coding :).

bichiliad 2 days ago 0 replies      
If it's complex / thought intensive, brown noise on http://www.noisli.com/

If it's something I can just crank out, and I've thought about the overall design, I keep a list of soundcloud favorites (https://soundcloud.com/basik/likes and http://thudsandrumbles.com/). I always look for new things, though. Today, I listened to Christopher O'Riley cover Radiohead.

hansy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Classical on Pandora. I used to listen to EDM, but I couldn't concentrate on my work. I guess I subconsciously associate EDM with going out, having fun, etc so my mind just wanders.

The Classical station on Pandora (at least my station) isn't just the "stuffy" Beethoven pieces, but also incorporates really cool string or piano covers for famous songs. Try it out.

a3n 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of quiet. I find that music determines my mental rhythm, and what I'm thinking about or constructing doesn't have a regular rhythm. For me personally, music interferes with thinking about something specific, so I only listen to music when what I'm doing is Listening To Music, or if I'm OK with letting my thinking wander.

I realize I'm unusual in this.

existencebox 2 days ago 0 replies      
Goodness. Just about anything, but I guess of note due to unusuality would be that when I need "motivation music" I'll code to Moombahton/trap/hip hop; It's the same sort of mood I get into during a good workout.
mkal_tsr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Soma.fm for ambient, drone, chillout, lush, and a few other channels. Otherwise Spotify for streaming most of my music or what I have locally (which I usually play in an old winamp version). Lots and lots of youtube related videos for image-only song videos on youtube.

As far as music content, it's usually metal, psybient, folk metal, chillout, drone, and classic rock.

snarkyturtle 2 days ago 1 reply      
Essential Mixes via bootlegged mp3s are awesome to code with.

I've also been following THUMP on Soundcloud and they've been putting up a fair amount of awesome mixes: https://soundcloud.com/thump

shoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
i've been listening to albums on youtube lately - it recommended me this the other day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1v3NeGtm_Y

it's pretty crazy. i (re)wrote a lot of code to it yesterday.

jlteran 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like listening to Electronic Dance Music because it gets me pumped and I can code for longer hours at a time. A good source of the latest EDM is Spinnin' Sessions on Youtube. They roll out 1 hour sessions every Thursday. http://bit.ly/1gX4ge6
wglb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Generally, total silence.

If in busy environment, I put on some headphones/earbuds and maybe a little Dave Brubeck.

vijayaggarwal 2 days ago 0 replies      
I listen to Vedic chanting. Even though I understand nothing (I know very little of Sanskrit language), the music itself is very relaxing and helps concentrate.
mppatterson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Surprised no one has mentioned Focus at Will (https://www.focusatwill.com/). I've had huge productivity boosts while listening, whether it's programming or writing emails. The free version is nice, but the paid version is really worthwhile since you get a much wider variety of music (it adds an "intensity" option to each genre).
Oculus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm actually a huge fan of Tycho. I like the music I listen to to be good when I pay attention, but not overwhelming while coding.
kumarishan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I dont really listen to music. But sometimes I like to run an action packed movie in the background. The movie shouldn't be new to me, preferably in other language too. Maybe I like it because of adrenalin rush. :).

Even those rainy moods are better than music.

Music distracts with an urge to sing with it. And with instrumentals I get bored soon.

leostatic 2 days ago 1 reply      
EDM on http://8tracks.com most of the time. If not EDM, then alternative but it's always on 8tracks. I love that site.
dankoss 1 day ago 0 replies      
I listen to a variety of stuff on Spotify now but when I listened to EDM more exclusively I would hit the di.fm online radio stations.
cl8ton 2 days ago 0 replies      
Depending on time of day

I either listen to Reggae (Banton or Tosh) or Swedish House Mafia (Techno) all via Youtube Channels

kafkaesque 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nobody has a Spotify playlist for this?
noiv 2 days ago 0 replies      
rdtsc 2 days ago 1 reply      
somafm.com -- drone zone, space station or groove salad stations
MarcScott 2 days ago 0 replies      
BBC Radio 4
nastynash 18 hours ago 0 replies      
You can try deepmix.ru.

It's an Internet radio station where every song is mixed with the following. I mean, no dj speech, non-stop chill-ambient music.

pizza 1 day ago 0 replies      
the velvet underground
ForHackernews 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bubblegum pop on Pandora.
publicprivacy 2 days ago 1 reply      
vaporwave /r/Vaporwave
How to get users? Guide/Tips
6 points by petersouth  2 days ago   4 comments top 3
jlteran 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do a search for growth hacking on google and you might get some pretty good insights. A good result I found is a growth hacking guide from QuickSprout, looks promising. http://www.quicksprout.com/the-definitive-guide-to-growth-ha...

If you are willing to invest time and money, OneMonth is rolling out a new course on Growth Hacking next month. http://get.onemonthgrowthhacking.com/?lrRef=e8Mmls

petersouth 2 days ago 1 reply      
Did this thing go to the "ask" section?
Ask HN: What music motivates you? Any genre. Go.
2 points by rblion  1 day ago   6 comments top 6
brotchie 1 day ago 0 replies      
List of my most frequently played Spotify tracks that I've fav'ed while coding. Mostly discovered through Spotify radio.

    Action Bronson - Shiraz    Feed Me - Rat Trap    Gammer + Whizzkid - We Killed the Rave    Michael Woods - Flash Hands    Robyn - Hang With Me (Acoustic)    ATB - 9pm (Till I Come)    K-391 - Electro House 2012    You Blocked Me on Facebook - Internet Friends    Groove Coverage - 21st Century Digital Girl    Vinylshakerz - One Night in Bangkok    Tantrum Desire - Reach VIP    Kdrew - Bullseye    Pegboard Nerds - Razor Sharp    Disclosure - You & Me - Flume Remix    Todd Terje - Inspector Norse    Flight Facilities - Crave You    Friendly Fires - Paris    Chromeo - Jealous (From the Google Watch ad)    Flux Pavilion - Freeway
And for fun:

    The Chainsmokers - #SELFIE    The Teenagers - Homecoming

biff 1 day ago 0 replies      
Artist: Soundgarden. Badmotorfinger, Superunknown, and Down on the Upside, specifically.

Devo is my go to for programming music (Freedom of Choice, New Traditionalists, Oh No! It's Devo). Not gonna lie, you may well hate them, but for whatever reason Devo works for me when I'm trying to focus.

Also a big fan of the album Love by The Cult and pretty much anything by David Bowie or Rush. For newer stuff, Zero 7's Simple Things is really chill. Also, if you're really looking to zone out to something esoteric, Bethany Curve and Children of the Bong are nicely mellow. The album Who's Next by The Who is also great. Guess I'm just dumping my Spotify playlist out at this point, pick and choose what you want? :)

mkal_tsr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have an entire playlist dedicated to folk-metal drinking songs, enjoy - http://open.spotify.com/user/shortkid422/playlist/2uNWN1AEQO...
HarlowDuDy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I really enjoy Vince Guaraldi. It has it all for me to stay motivated and positive throughout the day -- fun, but not too loud for work, nostalgic and, well, it just gives me a happy feeling.
hisham_hm 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Ceiling Unlimited", by Rush.
Yaa101 1 day ago 0 replies      
Boss tunes...
Tell HN: The site was offline. What changed?
209 points by kogir  12 days ago   discuss
_wmd 12 days ago 4 replies      
I know it's crazy talk, but glancing at my own profile, I count maybe 100 bytes of data? Yet to represent that data in memory, it's going to blow up to 4096 bytes plus structs to represent the inode and directory entry/entries because you put each profile in its own file.

By that count, you might get somewhere near a 40x cache utilization improvement if you just used a real database like the rest of us do - even just an embedded database.

This of course before saying anything about transactional safety of writing directly to the filesystem

tdicola 12 days ago 1 reply      
Wow that's interesting that you use files to store the data. Is there any sharding across machines or is it all just one machine? Do you use big SSDs or old spinning disks?
bndr 12 days ago 6 replies      
Can someone explain why "Items moved from /12345 to /12/34/12345. HN now starts in one fifth the time" that increases performance? why is it better?
mariusz79 12 days ago 1 reply      
I just don't get one thing.. Don't you have dev and staging server, where you could develop, test, and pre-deploy everything without shutting down the website?
diafygi 12 days ago 2 replies      
Why worry about case-insensitive file systems if you are not using one currently?
tim333 12 days ago 2 replies      
Newbie question here - I'm just curious. Is it quicker to store the data this way in loads of files or to use Postgres?
gnurag 12 days ago 1 reply      
> and is why the site went down on June 18th.

Do you mean the site will go down on June 18th?

yiedyie 12 days ago 0 replies      
And the question for this answer:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7872121
idoco 12 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks, I got so much work done today!
gdewilde 12 days ago 0 replies      
I love how hn doesn't load 150 circus elements. I can reload pages all day long.

I was just thinking.....

  function byId(id) {     return document.getElementById(id);  }    // hide arrows    byId('up_'   + item).style.visibility = 'hidden';    byId('down_' + item).style.visibility = 'hidden';
could be :

  function hide(id) {     document.getElementById(id).style.visibility = 'hidden';   }     // hide arrows     hide('up_'   + item);     hide('down_' + item);
Then it is 150 in stead of 185 chars, 19% smaller or 23% bigger.

And the function name is better of course.

sirtel 12 days ago 1 reply      
And, HN becomes responsive. ( '' ) /
bryanh 12 days ago 0 replies      
I bet some before/after load charts would be pretty impressive!
rafeed 12 days ago 0 replies      
It's definitely snappier and now looks responsive too! Thanks for the hard work kogir et al!
xenonite 12 days ago  replies      
Just curious: why are user names case sensitive?
Ask HN: What can I do to find more leads for freelancing?
18 points by notastartup  4 days ago   discuss
swanson 4 days ago 1 reply      
There are a few weekly emails that provide a steady flow of curated leads:


wikwocket 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't advertise; network! The leads you get as referrals from people you've already helped will be higher quality clients, and they will come to you already having respect for what you do, due to the referrer's recommendation.

To this end, ask past clients if they have any colleagues or friends in need of work. Also ask them if they're willing to be featured in a case study/whitepaper/writeup. My best-paying gigs came from friends' referrals.

Also consider starting your own network. Use your knowledge of industry XYZ (gleaned from serving XYZ companies) to put together a 1-2 hour talk on "Bringing XYZ to mobile" or "How to solve XYZ problems on the web." Hold a seminar/webinar/meet & greet session at your local library/hotel/chamber of commerce. Bring coffee and donuts and get it listed in the local paper and village newsletter. People will come (if only for the donuts), see you as the leading local authority on XYZ-meets-technology. At this point, stick around after the session for Q&A and the leads will start coming in. My lawyer friend has a lot of success with this technique.

Rodeoclash 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you don't mind working with design agencies then send them email to setup a meet and chat about yourself. Don't send a super long email to them, just a short, conversational tone asking to meet for a coffee and a chat about what they do and what you do.
kkoppenhaver 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just a heads up, the TD Ameritrade link on your site is broken. Have you looked into getting referrals from previous clients? Do they know you're still freelancing/looking for new leads?
Im_Talking 4 days ago 0 replies      
You should be identifying and marketing to other businesses within the same industries as your previous clients. Most businesses in a particular industry will have pain in the same areas.
kull 3 days ago 0 replies      
Area301.com - most freelance job board leads in one place with removed low quality postings.
bdcravens 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ask HN: Help me validate my idea
12 points by ijovanovic  3 days ago   30 comments top 19
PeterWhittaker 3 days ago 2 replies      
I see a lot of "don't do this unless..." or "why would you...".

Ignore those. Start by researching books (good, old, paper-based pbooks) that offer exactly this: There are plenty of them out there, usually one or two quotes per page, usually taken from public sources. Some of them are work related, some have a spiritual bent, etc.

Do this research just to satisfy yourself that yes, there are people who buy this sort of thing.

Next, validate the idea: Not with the HN crowd, I can almost guarantee they are not your audience. We tend to be self-starters, independent thinkers, etc. Some of us even mock the whole "motivational quote/poster/speaker" model.

Hell, how many of us would have told the guy who created "bingo card creator" to stick to his day job? Most of us. We are not good judges of the broader market because we all of us live on the fringes.

(Sure, there are one or two or a few people in here who can see into that broader but they are few. If you are lucky, some of the better ones will comment on this.)

Bring up those inspirational quote books with your friends, your family members, and acquaintances from non-tech fields. Do this in small groups and at times when people are more reflective, more willing to consider. Ask what they think of these books. Do they read them? Openly? As guilty pleasures? If they do, say something along the lines of "too bad there is no app for this". Judge their reactions.

As to how to do this, crowdsource the quotes. Create a system where people can submit (and correct) quotes with attributions, where they can upvote them. Whether or not a login is required is up to you, but if you go with a login, make it facebook and/or twitter, maybe pinterest, not google+ or roll your own, etc: My guess is that the people who would use this app will be very comfortable logging in with facebook and/or twitter, sharing their favourite quotes on those platforms, etc.

Make it possible for people to tag quotes, e.g., #spirituality, #productivity, #friendship, #peace, etc.

Have quotes of the day, featured quotes, etc.

There are opportunities for translation into many, many languages. See if you can crowdsource that, too.

Do NOT expect to make money doing this. Not because you won't (hell, I have no idea), but because that will allow you to gauge how much time to spend on it. Unless and until you have a successful kickstarter campaign or VC funding or hit a magical pricing structure that "just works", you will be doing this because you enjoy it, but it will not put food in your mouth or a roof over your bed.

Budget your time accordingly.

callmeed 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is interesting. By "quotes", do you mean quotes that are short (often funny)? Or do you mean longer, monologue-type quotes?

IMDB has a quotes page for many movies[0] and there is a quotes.list file in their text file dumps[1].

I love movie quotes and I've had the idea of a Twitter account that tweets quotes 2x a day and the first person to reply with the correct movie title would win a prize (monetization strategy undetermined).

[0] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109686/quotes[1] ftp://ftp.fu-berlin.de/pub/misc/movies/database/

xauronx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not very helpful, but just in case you pitch this to people in the future..

"I am avid reader" and "I haven't read too many novels so I am not much interested in quotes from there." conflict in my mind. Like, you love reading... just not novels? I equate being an avid reader to reading books/novels. Otherwise, you're just literate.

Not trying to be a douche, just giving you a take on those first two lines.

I think an app like that would be pretty cool though. A lot of times when I'm out with friends someone will say a quote and there will be a debate on what it's from. Or, someone will quote a book and they'll get called out on it for misquoting it. Regardless, arguments ensue, and I could definitely see someone pulling up your app to settle the debate.

ideationguru 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Great idea. Perhaps turn this into an xml feed. If it resonates with you, it's worth pursuing just for the learning experience, which is priceless.
lukasm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd use such thing if this won't be just simple list of quotes. Google is good enough for it.

How do I find a quote that I cannot google? (don't remember exact wording)How do I find quote related to X?

strick 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd recommend running this as a simple twitter account to test the concept. Reach out to people who follow the shows you are interested in. Tweet at a scheduled interval. If they don't follow it is unlikely the app would get traction. If the followers didn't grow organically once you had a core group of followers I would see that as a bad sign.

One more thought: if there was demonstrated growth and interest, you could use the twitter account to promote the app once it was released.

bennesvig 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd download it. It would be cool if you were able to upvote the quotes like with quotes from books on GoodReads.
3rd3 3 days ago 1 reply      
> I enjoy reading quotes.

As someone who is not into reading and quotes Id like to ask what you find fascinating about it. Can you maybe give an example what kind of quotes you find interesting? Dialogs, aphorisms? Is more about entertainment or worldly wisdom? Or is it more an intellectual fascination, for example thinking through how the author came up with it and considering different interaction possibilities of the actors?

napolux 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not really helpful on validating, but here's a source for quotes...

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Main_Page has an API as all the wikimedia projects.


cliveowen 3 days ago 2 replies      
The fact that there isn't any app that does the same thing doesn't necessarily means that there's an opportunity, on the opposite, it likely means that there is no market for it. Yours it's a niche interest and the app would thus have a niche market, which means you won't make money out of it. If you're okay with it and money isn't what you're looking for, then by any means create your own app.
tejasm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't such a question on imdb or tv.com forums give you more feedback?

Personally, I'd love such app. I love quotes from Mad Men, GoT and White Collar.

jmathai 3 days ago 1 reply      
I look up quotes from movies on occasion. I wouldn't say I'm avid about it though and tend to look it up on Google when I need. That works good enough for me.

Did you envision a community that frequents the site/app or would it be a collection of quotes that rank well on Google searches?

petersouth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I enjoy reading quotes from the quote section of IMDB. Is there a way for all of those to automatically go to an app? Maybe with something like kimonify?
cail 3 days ago 0 replies      
I doubt I would use it personally. It's not something I would use often enough to justify adding another icon on my phone. Especially when I can just look on google for movie quotes. If it added functionality to find quotes by actors or attempt to find quotes from an incomplete quote (I forgot the actual quote but know the gist) and the ability to drill down by quote subject I might use it but I'd likely still prefer it to be a website.
ThomPete 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is only one way to find out and that is to try it out.

It's not a complex app so shouldn't take you more than a few weekends.

freefolk 3 days ago 1 reply      
Your one and only problem in making this will be populating it. How will you fill it with data and/or get others to do so? It's not valuable until there's content.

You should pursue this idea if and only if you have a solid understanding of how you'll accomplish this, and why it will work. Just making this and dumping this on the app store will not work.

rweir 3 days ago 1 reply      
little reason for it to be an app, and lots of websites along these lines already exist.
subes 3 days ago 0 replies      
fortune has a large db of quotes, using it to render quotes on my wallpaper every minute


vishalzone2002 3 days ago 0 replies      
shazam for quotes..
Ask HN: Looking for feedback on my side project
66 points by seven  8 days ago   discuss
AhtiK 8 days ago 1 reply      
The website is nice and clean, well done! The idea is clear for a developer-type of mind.

Just a few specific remarks:

* smallest billing period is 1 month so I'd change jobs/day quota to jobs/month. Daily quota for a monthly plan is somewhat confusing and looks rather restrictive if it doesn't roll over to the next day.

* I'd drop yearly plan and "Servers" limit to keep things clear and simple. If needed, would add "contact if you need special arrangements (self-hosted, yearly plan etc)".

* To become easier to find by search, I'd find main use-cases why someone would use this template API for bulk-pdf conversion in the first place and use these use-cases for the selling, not focusing on the "template" and "API".

If it turns out that most of the users are using it for just one specific use-case then I'd focus on these and go extra mile to make it even more useful for that specific user-group.

The risk of focusing on actual use-case is that right now the site is very easy to understand, if rewriting it to tailor for use-cases then dev-minded surfer doesn't grasp what goes on.

I'd see companies use this service to generate invoices for small businesses or SaaS providers (running monthly the database query and feeding it to your API and storing the invoice in S3); tickets; vouchers; event nametags; customizing a presentation and document that is sent to the customers' user; where else?

EDIT: Ahh yes, and when logged in, please provide a way to see pricing and a way to convert to a paid account! :)

zhte415 8 days ago 1 reply      
Lawyers and accountants, accounts payable, general ledger. Anyone who needs to have a .PDF, print it, sign it, scan it back. In large quantities.

I visited your site. It is simple and straightforward. But something surprised me: I was expecting the likes of Accenture, E&Y, Genpact, someone like that, as a target market (internal solutions may exist in these companies, but I have never encountered them, always a cropped screenshot then copy-pasted document, and this has been thousands of times).

Smaller clients does make sense: your target market as smaller clients could knock the pants off larger clients (in a small, accounts payable way) in terms of style an appearance. Can you get your clients to integrate to SAP or other accounting systems?

In direct answer to your questions (Firefox on Mint Ubuntu/Linux/GNU):

I am not a fan of the typography. For polish, add a bit of line-spacing, in the bullets in particular.

Perhaps separate each section (topic area) of the front page with a different background (I know this is terribly Bootstrap, but hey).

Registration: Do not advertise a lack of credibility / assuredness. But do not demand intrusive personal information (turns off both corporate types trying something out and technologists for a myriad of reasons).

I did not detect an option for HTTPS. This is a must for any site proposing dealing or storing financial or client information.

Try a start up form on the front page, or a direct shot of a demo. Include use cases and customer comments (do not fake these, make them checkable - check with your commenters this is OK beforehand).

Word of mouth counts for a lot, especially in professional circles that do not use social media (other than perhaps talk to one's family and old friends). Get a foothold with some oldskool businesses, then when you have a little coming in as revenue seek ways to pump it up (when you've shown it is a credible service this is orders of magnitude easier, in the most unexpected ways).

ColinWright 8 days ago 1 reply      
Clicketty-click: http://template2pdf.com/

I visited your site expecting exactly the same kinds of problems I've given feedback about many times before[0][1].

I was pleasantly surprised. The landing page is clean, clear, and I immediately understood what you were doing. I don't have a need for your service, but I can see that it could easily fill a need.

I don't know how easy it is to use, but if the execution is good then I think you might have something. You have identified your problem, though. Exposure. You might want to change your landing site to increase the size of the problem being solved, and reduce the links to "Template," API," etc. The visitor needs to be reminded immediately of the pain, that way you catch their attention.

Others may have more to add about the marketing problem and your pricing choices. A few questions/comments:

* How is this better than just exporting a PDF from PowerPoint?

* Some of your copy seems to be targeted at sys-admin types - they aren't the ones with money.

* I suspect you need to start getting a network of interested people.

Good luck!

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7857964

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7839799

helen842000 8 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is a great service! However the landing page is suffering from listing the features instead of the benefits.

Obviously you/developers care that it's a cool API that will replace the values. Will the mass market? Probably not. They want to know what they have to put in and what they will get out of it. Some visual reference to this would be good.

After all it's called template2pdf not template2API2pdf :)

I can see that currently you're thinking in the developer mindset but with some tweaks you could make it accessible for those that can't just send a hash. It could be awesome for LOTS of industries. Basically any industry that has sales reps & prepares quotes/invoices on the fly.

Maybe they just get a URL bookmark that displays an input form where they can enter their changing values & a PDF e-mailed to them. How great would that be to do mid-meeting on an iPad! A professional quote done before the end of the meeting. No going back to their office to prepare it! Sales reps would love that.

I almost missed that the words Template, API & PDF were links - I only found the output example by chance on second look! The output is super important, show it straight away!

Try to find a way of showing the template/input without it being a download.

Let people test it straight away - only ask for the e-mail/payment when they want to save their finished template.

As for not being a spammer, you can easily create content that isn't 100% sales pitch. So maybe you start a blog about automating & streamlining procedures, admin hacks etc - then at the end of each post you can refer back to how great template2pdf is.

Also, you could get a designer to create some pretty sweet template designs & make them part of the paid tiers.

seven 8 days ago 1 reply      
What a fantastic day!

A big thanks to all of you. I actually did not expect that much feedback. I just went to pick up some food. Now my access log is rotating, my apache needed a little tweaking and my pulse is high. :)

I appreciate every input and hope that I will be able to test out new ideas and work on the inspiration that I'm getting so far.

I am a bit overwhelmed and currently not able to say something smarter than 'thanks to all of you!'.

hluska 8 days ago 0 replies      
You have a nice looking site and an excellent idea. I'm sure there is a demand out there for this product! You should be very proud of the work you have done so far.

I think that I understand what you do, but my concern is that the people who feel this pain the most acutely might not. Have you considered shooting a video? That way, non technical people who are having this problem can go to your site, see what you mean by template, see what you mean by an API, and see the final result? Or, have you considered rewriting the front page to be completely from the perspective of a non-technical person, then include technical details on a developers page?

vineet 8 days ago 0 replies      
My 2 cents - You have software built, now comes the challenging part of actually building a business around it. There are lots of things that you can do, I would suggest making all of the below equal priorities going forward:

- Meet your customers needs: I don't really know what this means, make sure to hear from those that are using it right now, and those that will say that they will do it. You might end up getting feedback to add features like:a) Templates: You support only OpenOffice templates? I believe it should not be too hard to support more formats like RTF, Text Documents, and MS Office documents.b) API: Supporting Node.js, Java, and other languages. You might want to look at a site like Stripe.com for examples on how to structure developer documentation.c) Output: Perhaps supporting HTML outputs as well as PDFs.

- Homepage: I think your homepage looks good, but can get much better. It might be a good idea to find similar/adjacent companies and see how they do their homepage. I think you should move the 'reasons to use' further up the page.

- Pricing Page: Not sure if I really care about the number of servers running. Also, jobs per day - are you really expecting that many users? I think you might want to significantly reduce the amount of usage per day in each tier. I think you will also likely want to tier on different criteria - perhaps support, keeping a history of converted documents, and others that your users will ask for.

- Conversion: Are you tracking what percentage of visitors are converting to signup? Are you trying A/B testing different prompts to them?

- Driving Traffic: You could think about doing guest posts, blogging on your site, buying ads, and building integrations into other tools to drive traffic.

jwheeler79 8 days ago 1 reply      
here's how you promote it: focus on a very narrow market first because your current market is very broad and hard to attack. come up with one specific use case for this bad boy like invoices, and then narrow it even further, custom invoices for paypal, and then you have a tangible market you can start to attack, not an abstract one. my examples aren't probably the best, but you get the idea. excited for you!

the thing is to get some experience and momentum in getting a customer, which is very different than engineering code. lots of good will come out of it, and it will take you in directions you can't anticipate or imagine.

petercooper 8 days ago 0 replies      
How do you promote stuff without already established social media status while not behaving or feeling like a spammer?

Find people who would have a self interest in promoting your stuff. You might have to tailor your story, but I mean things like sites that link to cool new stuff, the press, newsletters, etc. Anyone whose job it is to link to stuff like yours, that's who you want to know. Unfortunately your site isn't loading for me at the moment so I don't have any ideas, but just from the sound of it, Lifehacker might be one such place or even ProductHunt.

adinb 8 days ago 1 reply      
Really, the issue is not your website, but maybe your current target audience (developers only)

You can really get some word of mouth by targeting individual communities that have a huge (but under served use case) - and writing out if ten box integrations for your service so that a power user or low level admin can install your plugin.

Two communities that might be interested:

Educational/LMS (specifically moodle, open source educational Learning Management System) - the web LMSes don't target printing of tests, just online testing. Quite a few teachers want to print out tests and have been using some serious kludges like moodle2word that involve having specific versions of word, installing templates, etc. This would be a godsend.

CMS and or Bloggers (ready to go wordpress (put shortcodes in a page), django, etc integrations) - lots of CMS data is dying for printouts...but there aren't any flexible printing services that allow for a customizable template all I've found are glorified browser print buttons.

ERP also seems like a natural fit.

Anyways, it seems like you need to reach out to individual communites and try to work with them directly via their plugin repo's to get the ball rolling.

vendakka 8 days ago 0 replies      
I don't give feedback of this sort too often, so this might not necessarily be useful. Now, for the actual feedback.

This is a very useful product to have for the intended target audience.

From looking at the landing page, your target audience is developers who need to generate PDFs directly from a template.

This is only useful if they need PDFs in bulk, if not they can export to PDF.

While developers are a good target market, there is also the market of all people who need to generate PDF reports in bulk.

You could add a simple frontend allowing anyone to upload a template, with a spreadsheet containing the values to substitute. Think of the spreadsheet as the API parameters.Non-developers can easily use this interface and are very likely to find this service very useful. In addition, you can charge more since the interface will not require any dev skills to use.

The catch with this approach though, is that it might be harder to scale. When targeting enterprises a single sale gives you more revenue.

All the best!

rahilsondhi 8 days ago 1 reply      
Here's my contribution: I looked at the landing page for 5-10 seconds and I couldn't quite figure out what the product does. What is a "template" in your product's context? I understand "HTML to PDF" or maybe even "JSON to PDF", but what is "template" to PDF?

EDIT: Okay I see on your site a template is a "LibreOffice/OpenOffice document." I have no idea what that is. Maybe I'm just not your target audience?

eccp 8 days ago 0 replies      
While I understand the problem this solves, the landing page doesn't express confidence: "Reasons to use this template to pdf solution" should be just "Why using Template 2 PDF?" or just "Why" ... the reasons should be very brief:

* Your end users will be able to modify layouts themselves

* Minimal effort required for software developers

* Business stakeholders will obtain sharp, professional-looking documents, sooner

Minimal changes:

* Change "Features:" to "Features"

* Use "PDF", all in caps, consistently.

The UI theme is screaming for something more end-user friendly such as http://bootswatch.com/lumen/ or http://bootswatch.com/flatly/

Also, I feel the landing page could benefit from a layout such as this: http://getbootstrap.com/examples/justified-nav/

sheetjs 8 days ago 1 reply      
> Use a LibreOffice/OpenOffice document as your template.

> The end-user will be happy, since he can create or modify pdf layouts himself.

On a side note, can Word/Excel/PowerPoint generate LO/OO documents? I'd like to use a service like this, but have had really poor experiences translating word and excel documents to LO.

ilaksh 8 days ago 0 replies      
I might consider using this if there was an SDK for Node.js or another platform that I was into. That call is not really complicated, but having an SDK ready to go would make it a much easier decision to try this out.

Also ODT is the most flexible but if I could log in, pick a pre-existing HTML-based template from a library of common things like invoices or whatever, and edit it in my account with Aloha Editor or CK Editor or something, that might be just fine unless I needed special headers or something.

Then the API call could just give the name of the template.

rachelandrew 8 days ago 0 replies      
I would definitely go for creating plugins for popular content management systems. You can then optimize landing pages for each CMS - people searching for "generate PDF from WordPress" etc.

People using a CMS solution are a really great market for you. They may well be on hosting that does not allow them to install serverside components to make generating PDFs easier. They may also have limited development skills - being more web designers or front end developers, so they couldn't solve this problem themselves.

You may well be able to get your plugin listed in the marketplace's or addon listings for the CMS solutions you are targeting, especially if there is some free limited mode.

As for advertising your product places. One way to not be spammy is to keep an eye on forums for people asking how to generate a PDF from their application. You then reply with how they would do that themselves via some open source script or whatever for their particular platform. It's a PITA on most platforms, so you can then drop in at the end that you have a service that does this. So you have given them some info on how to DIY as this is your specialist subject, but also dropped in a link for an easier way to do it via your service.

Kudos 8 days ago 0 replies      
Some feedback on the design, you're using #000 for those hero images, I would tone them back to something lighter.

Contrast is important, but #000 against #fff is too harsh.

JelteF 8 days ago 0 replies      
Good to see there are other solutions out there for nice PDF generation. I open-sourced my code for generating LaTeX (and compile it to pdf's) using Python. This seems like a good solution for the less tech savy people.
rdvrk 8 days ago 0 replies      

I do understand the problem. The problem is real, and this seems like a great developer friendly way to solve it. In my mind, that could probably make it commercially viable by itself, but why don't go a step further? Solve it for non-developers as well:

I might have missed it (which could make it a UX flaw then), but there doesn't seem to be a way to upload tabular data in any form and use that on a template. Why not? You could make it work with csv, javascript supported grid, or maybe some easily parsable spreadsheet format.

Pricing is not my strong suit, so no real comment on that - only that adding an "upgrade account" button to accounts section would be nice.

Good luck!

petersouth 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't figure out what your thing does. Is it like PrimoPDF?
ecesena 8 days ago 0 replies      
There are several services (free and not) whose purpose it to help you in getting initial users and feedback. For instance, betalist.com and erlibird.com. (I have no affiliation with any of those, and perhaps there are more that I simply don't know).

As for your service, it looks down to me. :(

kshitij_libra 8 days ago 0 replies      
I think you could work on the documentation a bit. Keep it succinct and informative to start with. I expect to just read the first paragraph and get to know, how to use it, or the hang of it. Better highlighting and formatting is in order, atleast in the "in words" section.

The details can go later. Impress the developer with how easy it is at first. If someones interested, they will fish out the details later. Just give an example and its output pdf on the first page maybe.

xur17 8 days ago 0 replies      
You have a nice looking site, and figuring out what you do was very easy (good landing page).

On the pricing page, I'm a little confused on what 'servers' refers to. Is that the number of servers you are using, and if so, why do I care?

Overall, great work - I'll keep it in mind for the future!

michaelmcmillan 8 days ago 0 replies      
Let me try it without signing up! It will definitely increase your conversion rate.
jwheeler79 8 days ago 1 reply      
dude this idea is freaking genius. total no brainer
ilosthnpass 7 days ago 0 replies      
Webmerge.me is similar with lots of workflow options and salesforce intergration, how does yours differ?
Ask HN: What does modern front-end web development look like?
17 points by Fr0styMatt  4 days ago   discuss
brianchu 4 days ago 0 replies      
A modern front-end stack looks like:

For structure/content: raw HTML, or less commonly a language that compiles to HTML (Haml, Jade, etc.).

If the HTML is being rendered and served from the backend, you might use a templating language like Django's templating or Jinja (Haml and Jade also have these features).

If you are creating an application that does a lot of AJAX, you will also often use a JavaScript templating system like Handlebars.

For styling: raw CSS, or fairly commonly a CSS pre-processor like SASS, Less, or Stylus. Very often you will use a CSS framework like Bootstrap or Foundation to give you pre-made forms, buttons, grids, and other essentials.

For logic/interaction: JavaScript. Many people will also use compile-to-JS languages like CoffeeScript, TypeScript, or ClojureScript (in decreasing order of frequency). There are a lot of libraries/frameworks that can be used here. Most commonly you'll use jQuery and jQuery UI widgets. For more complex applications, single page app frameworks like Backbone, Angular, or React come into play.

Build process: For more complex projects, build tools like Grunt or Gulp to watch for changes to the filesystem and re-compile files (typically when you're using CoffeeScript or a CSS preprocessor), to package everything for deployment (minifying JavaScript, etc), and to run tests.

Packaging: Often you'll use a tool to keep track of modules/packages. These tools are quite different. Bower, RequireJS, Browserify, Component, and other tools occupy this space.

Often you'll use Node's npm to keep track of build process and testing packages!

Testing: For testing you'll often see frameworks like Jasmine or Mocha/Chai for unit tests/integration tests. For end-to-end tests you might see things like Selenium (run tests in a browser window). There are also test-runner frameworks like Karma.

Debugging: Chrome's developer tools (or Firebug/Firefox/Safari).

For someone starting out this is probably overwhelming. The important things to realize are that:

1) No one uses all these tools

2) Most of these tools are only useful for large complex codebases with large teams.

2) The most common stack is raw HTML, raw CSS, raw JS, jQuery, jQuery UI, Bootstrap, no build process, no packaging, no testing.

bdicasa 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not many developers that I know of use WYSIWYG editors. Most is done by hand, at least in my world of web development. Haven't taken the courses by Treehouse but I've heard good things. I'd recommend looking into a good JavaScript framework like Facebook's React, Google's AngularJS or Backbone.

If you really like strongly typed languages, and want to try out a new platform, check out Google Dart.

timmm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Development Tools

1. An HTML/CSS editor (FireBug for FireFox)

2. Network Traffic Monitor (Foxmeter for Firefox)

3. Cookie Manager (Advanced Cookie Manager)

4. User Agent Switcher (for Firefox)

5. Modify Headers (optional)

6. Javascript Console

Those are your tools for debugging, writing some things.

Technologies you will have to learn...

1. jQuery

2. MVC framework

3. API/JSON content calls


5. Cookies (same/cross domain)

fjabre 3 days ago 0 replies      
HTML & CSS were developed to abstract documents and present them through a web browser.

You'd be better served making a native app that integrates with a RESTful web api on the backend.

You still get the reach that the web provides, while having access to all the presentation and graphics goodies you get in a native app environment.

sejje 4 days ago 3 replies      
No WYSIWYG. Virtually all raw HTML.

Treehouse was decent when it launched, and I imagine it's improved a solid amount by now.

If you're coming from a development background, you'll do fine.

If you're building true front-end apps, you're going to want to look at Angular or Node.

If the back-end does the heavy lifting, they become less important.

Ask HN: How do you handle auto renew for SaaS?
7 points by chatmasta  3 days ago   10 comments top 4
patio11 3 days ago 1 reply      
You prominently disclose that it is priced on a monthly basis and then charge your customers as agreed. Very rarely, a customer will be very surprised that SaaS which is priced on a monthly basis means that they will be billed a second time in the second month. You will apologize to them for the confusion and ask whether they'd prefer a refund or your software.

This question suggests you may not be psychologically OK with taking people's money, since approximately every SaaS handles this identically, without drama, in a fashion which doesn't even seem to be in your solution set. You run a business. I would counsel coming to the realization that, if you're providing value to people, it is in fact OK to take their money.

palidanx 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is how I handled it. As for auto renew, I have it where all saas subscriptions by default are auto-renew.

1) On credit card submit, I had a checkbox at sign-up NOT checked by default. Also right next to it was a link to the terms of service they can read.

2) On billing confirmation e-mails, I put a link where they can change their plan or cancel.

Now here are a couple particular scenarios I've handled

+ Several customers called in the second month being very surprised they got charged as they thought it was a one time fee and not a saas subscription. In both cases, they e-mailed or called me directly. I told them I could refund their last month's charge and cancel their account.

+ I had one chargeback, but it was a generally unhappy customer. I let that chargeback go through, and e-mailed the client apologizing and mentioning I would not challenge the chargeback.

---ChargebacksNow in the general case of chargebacks, you can defend against them (I use Braintree Payments who have been awesome in guiding me through the process), if you generally do the following

1) State exactly what your refund policy is in your tos. For me, I have a 'we refund your last month for any reason'.

2) Keep track of your billing e-mails. If the client files a chargeback, the bank will check to see if the payment has been monthly. If the bank sees it is a monthly bill, there is a very low chance of them winning the chargeback.

tldr;Make your tos policies as transparent as possible.

srehnborg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having sold two different SaaS products over the last few years, I would do a couple of things.

Make it clear on the website. $20.00/user per month. To most people, that is clear that they will be charged each month that price.

In addition to that, in your terms & conditions, you can explain the exact details of the terms.

Depending on the price of the product, I wouldn't waste too much space on the website explaining that they will be auto-renewed as it should be self explanatory and it could cause confusion.

Also, do you have a sales team or do you rely on people to just sign up on the website?

byoung2 3 days ago 0 replies      
You should try this as a poll: https://news.ycombinator.com/newpoll
Whatever happened to the startup guys who founded a society in South America?
7 points by VonGuard  3 days ago   1 comment top
kjs3 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like you have your answer.
       cached 23 June 2014 12:05:01 GMT