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Ask HN: What info do you web scrape for?
96 points by cblock811  12 hours ago   94 comments top 38
lumpypua 11 hours ago 5 replies      
I've had three primary uses of web scraping. The hard part for me has never been speed. Getting the results structured is somewhere between easy and hideously complicated.

1. Reformatting and content archival (lag times of hours to days are no prob).

As an example, I put together http://yareallyarchive.com to archive comments of a ridiculously prolific commenter on a site I follow. I needed the content of his comments, as well as the tree structure to shake out all the irrelevant comments leaving only the necessary context. Real time isn't an issue. Up until recently it ran on a weekly cron job. Now it's daily.

2. Aggregating and structuring data from disparate sources (real time can make you money).

I work in commercial real estate. Leasing websites are shitty and the information companies are expensive and also kinda shitty. Where possible we scrape the websites for building availability but a lot of time that data is buried in PDFs. For a lot of business domains, being able to scrape data in a structured way from PDFs would be killer if you could do it! I guarantee the industries chollida1 mentioned want the hell out of this too. We enter the PDFs manually. :(

Updates go in monthly cycles, timeliness isn't a huge issue. Lag times of ~3-5 business days are just fine especially for the things that need to be manually entered.

This is exactly the sort of scraping that Pricenomics is doing [1]. They charge $2k/site/month. Hopefully y'all are making that much.

3. Bespoke, one shot versions of #2.

One shot data imports, typically to initially populate a database. I've done a ton of these and I hate them. An example is a farmer's market project I worked on. We got our hands on a shitty national database of farmers markets, I ended up writing a custom parser that worked in ~85% of cases and we manually cleaned up the rest. The thing that sucks about one shot scrape jobs from bad sources is that it almost always means manual cleanup. It's just not worth it to write code that works 100% when it will only be used once.

Make any part of structuring scraped data easier and you guys are awesome!

[1] http://priceonomics.com/data-services/

chollida1 11 hours ago 5 replies      
There is a closet industry for scraping any sort of data that can move markets. Fed, crop, weather, employment,etc.

Anything that is released at a certain time on a fixed calendar, you can bet that multiple parties are trying to scrape it as fast as possible.

If you can scrape this data( the easy part), put it in a structured format( somewhat hard) and deliver it in under a few seconds(this is where you get paid) then you can almost name your price.

It's an interesting niche that hasn't been computerized yet.

If you can't get the speed then the first 2 steps can still be useful to the large number of funds that are springing up using "deep learning" techniques to build a portfolio over timelines of weeks to months.

To answer the question of: > Wouldn't this require a huge network of various proxy IPs to constantly fetch new data from the site without being flagged and blacklisted?

This is why I gave the caveat of only looking at data that comes out at certain times. That way you only have to hit the server once, when the data comes out, or atleast a few hundred times in the seconds leading up to the data's release:)

dennybritz 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm working on a startup that has web scraping at its core. The vision is a bit larger and includes fusing data from various sources in a probabilistic way (e.g. the same people, products, or companies found on different sides with ambiguous names and information. This is based on the research I've doen at uni). However, I found that there are no web crawling frameworks out there that allow for large-scale and continuous crawling of changing data. So the first step has become to actually write such a system myself, and perhaps even open source it.

In terms of use cases, here are some I've come across:

- Product pricing data: Many companies collect pricing data from e-commerce sites. Latency and temporal trends are important here. Believe it or not, there are still profitable companies out there that hire people to manually scrape websites and input data into a database.

- Various analyses based on job listing data: Similar to what you do by looking at which websites contain certain widgets, you can start understanding job listing (using NLP) to find out which technologies are used by which companies. Several startups doing this. Great data for bizdev and sales. You can also use job data to understand technology hiring trends, understand the long-term strategies of competitor's, or us them as a signal for the health of a company.

- News data + NLP: Crawling news data and understanding facts mentioned in news (using Natural Language Processing) in real-time is used in many industries. Finance, M&A, etc.

- People data: Crawl public LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to understand when people are switching jobs/careers, etc.

- Real-estate data: Understand pricing trends and merge information from similar listings found on various real estate listing websites.

- Merging signals and information from different sources: For example, crawl company websites, Crunchbase, news articles related to the company, LinkedIn profile's of employees and combine all the information found in various source to arrive at meaningful structured representation. Not limited to companies, you can probably think of other use cases.

In general, I think there is a lot of untapped potential and useful data in combining the capabilities of large-scale web scraping, Natural Language Processing, and information fusion / entity resolution.

Getting changing data with low latency (and exposing it as a stream) is still very difficult, and there are lots of interesting use cases as well.

Hope this helps. Also, feel free to send me an email (in my profile) if you want to have a chat or exchange more ideas. Seems like we're working on similar things.

fnbr 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I work as a research analyst for a Canadian provincial opposition party. Most government data is in terrible HTML tables, often dynamically generated, and almost none of it is in an easily machine readable format. I spend a lot of time downloading PDF files of data and converting them to JSON formats.

I have two main recurring scrapes:

- political donations. Every donation to a political party in my province above ~$300 is posted publicly on a gov't website (in a PDF). I use the data to run machine learning algorithms to predict who is most likely to want to donate to my party.

- public service expenses. My province has a "sunshine list" which publishes the salaries and contracts for all senior government officials. We grab it weekly (as once someone quits the gov't, their data disappears).

One tool that you could consider building is an easily accessible expense website, where people can enter the name of a public official and see all their expenses, including a summary of the total amount spent. There have been a number of massive expenses here in Canada related to this [1, 2].

[1] http://news.nationalpost.com/tag/alison-redford/[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Senate_expenses_scanda...

rtcoms 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am looking for data having list of all universities and associated colleges . I didn't found anything related to it anywhere
michaelt 11 hours ago 1 reply      
A lot of services with online billing refuse to send bills by e-mail, instead requiring users to log into their websites.

No doubt the companies would justify this by saying e-mail isn't secure enough. The side-effect that it'll stop many users bothering to look at their bill isn't why they do it at all, no sir.

I've been considering making a web scraper that goes to the phone company, electricity company, gas company, broadband company, electronic payslips, bank, stockbroker, AWS and so on; logs in with my credentials; downloads the PDF (or html) statements; and sends them by e-mail.

Of course, such a web scraper would need my online banking credentials, so I'm not in the market for a software-as-a-service offering.

jpetersonmn 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I do a lot of scraping for my day job. We have a business intelligence team that will build us reports that we need from the data that we have. However I find that this process is so incredibly slow and sometimes we only need to compile the data for a one-off project. I used to use vb.net for this as that's what I started learning programming with. Now I use python/requests/bs4 for all my scraping scripts.

I've started working on a new website that will use data scraped from several vbulletin forums. I've found that even 2 vbulletin forums running the same version may have completely different html to work with. I'm assuming that it's the templates they are using that changes it so much.

I'm setting up the process so that the webscraping happens from different locations than the server were the site is hosted. The scraping scripts upload to the webserver via an api I've built for this. Mostly did this because for now I'm just using a free pythonanywhere account and their firewall would block all of this without a paid account. And then also none of these sites would see the scraping traffic coming from my website, etc...

Cyranix 11 hours ago 1 reply      
When I worked at MyEdu, I didn't actually sign on with the dev team originally I worked on "the scraper team". We scraped college and university websites to get class schedule information: which classes were being taught, broken down by department and course number; by which professors; at which times on which days. If you're ever looking for an interesting challenge, I would encourage you to try getting this data.

Well-formed HTML is the exception rather than the rule and page navigation is often "interesting". Sometimes the school's system will use software from companies like Sungard or PeopleSoft, but there's customization within that... and of course, there's no incentive for the schools to aggregate this information in a common format (hence MyEdu's initiative), so there are plenty of homegrown systems. In short, there's no one-size-fits-all solution.

* NOTE: If you do attempt this, I insist that you teach throttling techniques from the very start. Some schools will IP block you if you hit them too hard; other schools have crummy infrastructure and will be crushed by your traffic. Scrape responsibly!

allegory 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I scrape Gumtree and eBay hourly using a python script for certain things I want under a certain price. The script sends me an email with the link in it and I get on top of it sharpish.

Managed to bag a lot of stuff over the last couple of years for not much money.

If someone bags this up as a service I'd pay for it.

jawns 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I scrape about 60 blogs and news sites that deal with a niche topic and examine all the hyperlinks. If more than one of them links to the same page, I assume that it's a page that's generating some buzz, so I send it out in an email. It's proved to be a generally reliable assumption.
jasallen 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I am currently scraping for brand product and nutrition data. Having to build custom scrapers per brand is hell.

I have a dream to use something closer to OCR against a rendered page, rather than parsing DOM. That way it would be less custom, and I could say, for instance, "find 'protein', the thing to the right of that is the protein grams".

I, personally, don't know how to do this, but I'd be willing to pay for a more generic way to scrape nutrition data (email in profile :) )

Smerity 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Partial plug, but very related to the topic: if you're doing large scale analysis on the web and you don't want to have to actually run a large scale crawl, use the CommonCrawl dataset[1]! Common Crawl is a non profit organization that wants to allow anyone to use big web data.

I'm one of the team behind the crawl itself. Last month (July) we downloaded 4 billion web pages. Thanks to Amazon Public Datasets, all of that data is freely distributed via Amazon S3, under a very permissive license (i.e. good for academics, start-ups, businesses, and hobbyists). If your hardware lives on EC2, you can process the entire thing quickly for free. If you have your own cluster and many many terabytes of storage, you can download it too!

People have used the dataset to generate hyperlink graphs[2], web table content[2], microdata[2], n-gram and language model data (ala Google N-grams)[3], NLP research on word vectors[4], and so on, so there's a lot that can be done!

[1]: http://commoncrawl.org/[2]: http://webdatacommons.org/[3]: http://statmt.org/ngrams[4]: http://nlp.stanford.edu/projects/glove/

kohanz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a side-project which scrapes play-by-play data from NBA games to gain more insights into these games.

Here is an example of the (un-finished) side-project: http://recappd.com/games/2014/02/07

I'm far from the only person scraping this data. Look at sites liked http://vorped.com and http://nbawowy.com for even better examples.

finkin1 11 hours ago 0 replies      
We do a lot of live web scraping of product information from retail sites for http://agora.sh. We basically scrape all of the essential product info and offer it to the user in an optimized view (we call it the 'product portal') that can be accessed without having to load a new page. This reduces tab sprawl and provides a general improvement to a lot of shopping workflows, such as just wanting to see larger/more images of the product (likely clothing) and being able to do so with an overlay on the existing page.
sayangel 11 hours ago 0 replies      
What about https://www.kimonolabs.com/ ? Makes it pretty easy to collect data and presents in a structured format (JSON).
aruggirello 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Scraping really is a quite complex process, and not everybody does it right.Do you employ a (distributed?) crawler pool? What if a scraped page goes offline (404/410)? And, how do you handle network errors, and 403's / getting caught (and possibly blocked) - if at all? Do you conceal the scraping by employing a fake user agent? Do you (sometimes?) request permission for scraping to relevant webmasters?These are the things that can make it or break it IMHO.
jerhinesmith 11 hours ago 3 replies      
A while ago, I had the idea of creating a travel site that catered to the group of people that enjoy traveling but aren't bound by time (i.e. I want to go to X, but I don't care when -- just show me the cheapest weekend for the next 3 months).

Anyway... it turns out that flight APIs are ridiculously non-existent. I ended up scraping two different airline sites, but since it was against their terms, I never took the site any further.

oz 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I once wrote a scraper for a Yellow Pages site in Python. It pulled down the business category, name, telephone and email for every entry, and returned a nicely formatted spreadsheet. The hours I spent learning the ElementTree API and XPath expressions have paid for themselves several times over, now that I have a nicely segmented spreadsheet of business categories and email addresses, which I target via email marketing.
andy_ppp 11 hours ago 0 replies      
YQL is surprisingly quite brilliant:


jaequery 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently scraping data such as "tweets, comments, likes" a website gets each day so I can graph them over time.

One thing I am having a hard time scraping backlinks to websites. Currently using bing but they are paid after like 5000 queries. I really wonder how other companies like seomoz do this daily against millions of websites.

murukesh_s 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to scrape web for a daily deals search engine i wrote for a client in 2010. But we scraped in realtime as the number of sites were really low (in 10s).

pre-crawled copies with distributed processing platform could be cool. you could come up with a better search engine with programmable rules that are edited collaboratively (like wikipedia)

hpagey 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I currently scrap my lending club account to automatically trade loan notes on the secondary market. This way I can buy/sell notes that satisfy my criteria. If anyone is interested in this, I can send you the scripts.
pknerd 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I love scrapping and even made a subreddit for the purpose where I showcased few of my public work. Any scraping lover can join in.


amitagarwal 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I scrape Google to save search results.


jhonovich 10 hours ago 0 replies      
We do so to determine new pages on websites within our industry. Often the new information here is not formally announced or done so only weakly. We regularly uncover valuable new info about company developments and changes.
keviv 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I scrape for Google Playstore for app data, top ranked apps, etc. Unlike iTunes, they don't have a public API/feed. So, in order to get the data I require, I scrape playstore on a pretty regular basis.
skanga 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I scrape craigslist for side by side comparisons of stuff I want to buy from there. Eg: Cars, motorcycles, etc. Maybe even real estate would be a good target.
bussiere 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Reddit and twitter account for tendancy.

but twitter is so vast you may want to categorize account.

But reddit is a good source for a lot of info.

cperciva 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I scrape the Hacker News website to get links and numbers of points. These allow me to produce my "top 10" lists.
kurrent 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Sports scores, statistics, etc are always high in demand for scraping and great to get people interested when learning scraping techniques.
catshirt 10 hours ago 0 replies      
i'm building a database of games and scores. web scraping has been very helpful.

maybe instead of trying to change up the content, try to change up the method. ie. do a talk on running crawlers/scrapers to seed your database at an interval. (instead of just "scraping").

Mikeb85 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I regularly scrape financial data - historical prices, live quotes, company information, quarterly reports, etc...
dochtman 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I used to scrape a bunch of webcomics to turn them into RSS feeds. I still have one or two running, actually.
contingencies 2 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Monitoring competitors. By monitoring product/service offerings close to my own operations, I can get bizdev people on the phone and speak to partners when I see indications in the public marketplace that someone has a better sourcing deal than I do. Haven't done this in five years or so.

2. Gathering basic data that should be freely available anyway (like currency exchange rates, global weather, etc.). Always this is done carefully and with a light touch, with maximum respect for load inferred on targeted systems. Again, haven't bothered in about five years.

3. Automating content acquisition. For search engines, media libraries, etc. This is more like ten years ago. These days there's so little call for it... maybe if I ran a boutique hotel chain in a copyright-isn't-respected jurisdiction and wanted to provide a fat library of in-room entertainment...

yutah 11 hours ago 2 replies      
if you could publish a price list for items sold at major grocery chains, I am sure that many people could use it (bonus if it includes aisle numbers)
Daviey 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Online personal banking
viggity 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I just started getting into scaping (mostly been using import.io) mostly because it is a complement to what I really care about - data visualization. I've gotten a ton of interest for my side project and despite that I haven't opened the beta I'm still worried that it won't be as lucrative as creating some niche reporting services for various verticals (real estate, auto, etc). Essentially data that is very tabular and not hierarchical or qualitative. You can think of my work as pivot charts on crack. If someone already pre-compiled this data, I'd much rather pay for it that do it myself. My value add is the analysis/viz done on top of the data. If you want to chat, feel free to email me, contact info is in profile.
thinkcomp 10 hours ago 0 replies      
PlainSite (http://www.plainsite.org) uses about 20 different scrapers/parsers to download and standardize legal materials.
Ask HN: Where do you get your science news?
3 points by mr_tophat  1 hour ago   discuss
Ask HN: Where is the big Google spreadsheet of developers?
5 points by apollo5  5 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Tiling Window Manager for Windows
2 points by Tiksi  4 hours ago   1 comment top
a3n 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Anything that makes Windows act differently than it wants to is shaky, in my experience. Mostly I try not to want that.

My compromise:

- cygwin, plus the cygwin X server, plus urxvt (for the 256 color support, makes a big difference for old eyes with syntax coloring), plus tmux. I generally do as much as possible with a urxvt full screen running tmux (which is now a first class citizen of cygwin, yay).

- For things that must be windowed, like Excel etc, try Winsplit revolution. It's not FOSS, but you're already on Windows.

Unfortunately Winsplit can be had from all sorts of downloader sites, and it's hard to know which ones are safe. This article has a link to the author's site, but it goes to the wayback machine (which still seems to have a download). I don't remember where I got it. http://alternativeto.net/software/winsplit-revolution/

That link also has some alternatives to winsplit, maybe something there will like you.

Ask HN: Finding data science and analysis contract work
6 points by TBDMark  8 hours ago   5 comments top 3
akg_67 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What type of consulting do you do? Are you familiar with any specific industry vertical? How do you get clients for your consulting business? Acquiring contract work in data science is no different that selling in your business. It is same as selling any other consulting services.

In my experience, it is very difficult to get data science and analysis work (except in tech/web analytics) unless you understand a specific industry segment. I have been able to get data analysis contract work by focusing on a specific industry niche.

Identify a niche, do data analysis in that niche on your own, share your findings with the people working in your niche, participate on forums in your niche. Stay patient, keep diving in data analysis for your niche, and leads will come to you. Clients need to know you exist, you know their business, and you have unique/interesting insights that can help them in their business.

Become a data-backed industry specialist instead of just a generic data scientist/analyst. Kaggle, Elance and oDesk are not worth spending time on for data analysis work unless you see a project in your targeted niche.

aggieben 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a medium-term investment of time, but my advice is to network. In my experience, personal connections are the best way to find the kind of work you want consistently. Show up to user groups, recruiting events, conferences, seminars. Work with recruiters to get started if you need to, but be sure to make connections with every client with whom you come into contact (posting on HN counts as networking too, I think).
mjhea0 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Email me. I could def. hire you for a few small jobs - michael at realpython dot com.
Ask HN: Where is the PHP community?
9 points by shire  21 hours ago   7 comments top 6
saluki 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Check out the Laravel Framework . . . Laravel.com

(laracasts.com is a great place to get your feet wet)

ejr 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, there's PHP Conference http://phpconference.com And also Northeastern http://www.northeastphp.org/

I don't know of it's too late to get tickets yet since these are late October and September. It's good to check up on these early in the year, just in case.

Edit: On Northeastern, you can check out last years highlights to see if this is what you're looking for http://2013.northeastphp.org/

rachelandrew 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The ConFoo Conference in Montreal is always an excellent one for PHP (and other technologies).


csixty4 14 hours ago 0 replies      
There's the php[tek] conference every year in the Chicago area.
mhoad 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I keep hearing ridiculously good things about laracasts.com which might be worth checking out as well.
motyar 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Ask HN: If Google were to disappear How prevalent is Google in your life?
6 points by goldenv  3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
Mugalon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Every of Googles products can be replaced by a 90-95% as good product (Bing etc.). Android would be the biggest "loss" but as it is based on open source code a replacement would be there quickly.
yen223 1 hour ago 0 replies      
No other product comes close to Google Maps imo.
Ask HN: What's your preferred open-source backup solution?
9 points by rubenv  19 hours ago   21 comments top 10
ThatGeoGuy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually wrote an article 8 months ago on how I do it (https://thatgeoguy.ca/blog/2013/12/26/encrypted-backups-in-d...). Granted, this is for personal use, and really relies on cron / rsync to work well.

Let me know if you have any questions about how I got it to work (for the most part, the biggest issue I see you encountering is encrypting drives on OSX).

derekp7 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If you don't mind, I'd like to plug my own open source tool, Snebu (http://www.snebu.com). It is a snapshot-style backup system which uses a sqlite database for its data catalog (stores the list of files/metadata associated with each backup set). Individual files are stored using SHA1 checksums for the file names, so you get file-level dedup, even across multiple systems.

I've just got it to a point where I've been dogfooding it for a year or so, and feel comfortable promoting it more, but I'm not sure how to go about doing that (other than packaging it for various distros, and submitting it to them).

fundamental 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Currently rsnapshot, however I'm considering a move to duplicity (perhaps via http://chrispoole.com/project/horcrux/ ) in order to get the additional feature of offsite encrypted backups
LarryMade2 13 hours ago 0 replies      
For the servers I use a bash script utilizing TAR activated by a chron job. If I were going to go deeper I'd be looking at bacuppc

Beside the maintenance regularity on it, what's wrong with it?

JustinGarrison 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using duplicati[1] for a while now. I usually just backup via ssh to a server(s) for multiple copies but it can also use cloud storage providors (S3, Google Drive, Box, etc). It's locally encrypted so it really doesn't matter where the data ends up.

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

mobiplayer 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Dj-vu because it uploads the backups to my Cloud Files account at Rackspace (I have a private container for this)
Nowaker 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Bacula. http://bacula.org/ At my company we are using it for server backups. Linux desktop would do too. Google says it's possible to use Bacula Client on Mac, but you'd need to figure out yourself.

Bacula is actively developed. http://www.bacula.org/git/cgit.cgi/bacula/log/?h=Branch-7.0 No risk of being unmaintained at some point, since they build commercial stuff on top of community Bacula.

nodata 18 hours ago 2 replies      
obnam is pretty good.
drakmail 18 hours ago 2 replies      
pwg 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Ask HN: Has front-page algorithm changed?
5 points by datashovel  7 hours ago   4 comments top 2
datashovel 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Several months ago: visit https://news.ycombinator.com/news , read list of titles, and don't click on any since none seem interesting. Defer to https://news.ycombinator.com/newest because I regularly would find at least a few titles that interested me.

Now: visit https://news.ycombinator.com/news , and find several titles interesting, so I click on them and read them. Rarely do I find it necessary to visit https://news.ycombinator.com/newest to get to titles I find interesting.

There is nothing specific about the experience that I can pinpoint other than that my interest in front-page articles is significantly higher now. My default go-to hacker news page is now /news and not /newest

dang 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I understand. Can you describe what you've noticed in a bit more detail?
Ask HN: How do you come up with ideas for small side projects?
12 points by csdrane  10 hours ago   7 comments top 5
hkarthik 9 hours ago 0 replies      
A couple of years ago, I interviewed for a Bay Area company that provided me with a great programming problem that I've been using for years to prototype with new languages.

Write a Rate Counting Proxy Service for a REST API that does the following:

* Stores state of requesting IP and a count of API calls made.* Makes appropriate tradeoffs to limit I/O per request.* Highly concurrent* Maintains counts offline when shutting down/starting up.

I was asked to do the assignment in Java, despite not really knowing a lot of Java. It was a fun weekend project and I've continued to use it as a good "learning project" in other languages.

phantom_oracle 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Finding a problem is easy. Finding an easy problem that you can solve is hard.

For example, many folks might (or used to) think that building out a simple GUI with 3 buttons in C++ was easy (until they saw the code and didn't understand most of it compared to building an integer loop that adds 2 numbers).

IMO, go for something simple like advanced math functions. The basics almost always exist in most languages, so try out something like a rate calculator, etc.

NAFV_P 10 hours ago 1 reply      
My experience: C has a spartan standard library compared to other languages like Python. Even something like getting a scheme going for decent memory management can take a lot of work. I found it to be a good way to get my head round using pointers, now I don't find them so scary.

Just curious, is there a particular language you were thinking of learning?

elyrly 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If time allows i would recommend attending a hackathon and diving into the groups primary skill set be it rails, php, swift, etc.
play_tagapp 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Get involved in other people's ideas, start off as support and help collaborate. Creativity breeds creativity!
Ask HN: I found a way to find thousands of emails/pwds. Now what?
16 points by bubblicious  20 hours ago   14 comments top 3
zeeed 18 hours ago 1 reply      
First of all: congrats for finding it and kudos for asking for advice on how to deal with the issue.

If your doubtful about what way of disclosure would be the most prudent (and you sure don't want the disclosure to backfire on yourself) get in touch with someone who's bigger and has lawyers backing you up (like the EFF but that's just the first idea that popped into my mind, any tech news site might even pay you for exclusive coverage)

jumasheff 19 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a great start-up idea, no? Your service shoots some kind of notifications (read, emails) to the owners of the accounts with poor passwords.When you are sure your emails are read, you start appending ads to your notifications :)
tonteldoos 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Where are you mining these passwords from? Private intranets? Cloud services?
Ask HN: Anyone to coach me as a startup creator?
2 points by trez  8 hours ago   discuss
Should I study towards a MD/PhD in light of advances in AI/robotics/automation?
8 points by piggyback  13 hours ago   14 comments top 5
djokkataja 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Do the BSc + premed and evaluate the medical thing more deeply in your third year--or graduate, work for a couple years, and then decide. Work can provide a lot of perspective that's difficult to get otherwise (assuming you're still in high school). It's tough to plan your life that far in advance; you might develop more specific interests as time goes on (plus expectations of what the industry will look like may change over the next few years too). Even if your plans change considerably, EE + premed is a solid background, so transitioning to a different field wouldn't be a huge pain.

1. Automation will have a big impact on medicine, but it will be an ongoing process, not something that happens overnight. If you're doing a joint MD/PhD(EE) program, then you'll presumably at least have some technical qualifications that would make you more appealing to a company that is working towards the automation of healthcare.

2. You might be able to start a business on the side, but not as a resident unless residencies become immensely less stressful and time-consuming. Part-time work as an oncologist may be hard to negotiate early in your medical career, but I am not a doctor (though I did investigate similar questions a few years back, and this was the impression I got from speaking with doctors and MD/PhDs). Financial feasibility... as an MD/PhD, you shouldn't have much in the way of personal debt (since the PhD covers the MD tuition as well), and I wouldn't expect you to be dipping too close to the poverty line.

Realistically, it depends a lot on whether you have a specific business idea in mind and what your drive looks like. Those aren't things that you can plan very well 20 years in advance.

xaa 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a PhD in biomedical sciences (biochem/bioinformatics), so I don't know directly about the MD side, although I work with MDs frequently.

From what I have seen, physicians are generally not tech-savvy and are fairly behind-the-curve when it comes to automation. Even many of the things that are currently possible to automate, like EMRs and some aspects of diagnosis, aren't. Since any technology that replaces what a physician does has to be approved by the FDA, it moves very slowly. I think it is a long time before large numbers of physicians are put out of work by technology. Especially since the quantity of MDs is artificially limited.

That said, radiology is probably one of the first specialties that will be automated. Already, some image recognition algorithms have been shown to outperform trained radiologists at recognizing, e.g., cancer. So, if you're purely after job security, it might not be the best specialty to choose.

But with a tech-heavy background like an EE, you have plenty of options. MD/PhD + tech background is a perfect preparation for research, if you're into that. Or you can help develop systems to automate various aspects of medicine. Although it will put people out of work, in my opinion automation in medicine is a very good thing for society because algorithms don't make mistakes (other than the inherent limitations of the algorithm), don't get tired, and you don't have to pay them, so automation should lower soaring health care costs. You can always go into a biotech firm as well.

To answer 2), yes, physicians (at many places) have good flexibility with their hours. The only thing you might have to worry about is who owns IP, especially if you work for a university health care system.

amrosado 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm an MD-PhD student with the type of background you are interested in developing. Radiation oncology is going to be a dying field in the future, but that is the subject of a different conversation.

I think you want to go into MD-PhD, but I would suggest against it if you are more interested in the technology than what is best for patients. A lot of technologists are having problems conceptualizing this because they don't understand the limitations of current technology and what dealing with patients entails. Instead of trying to be a leader in this type of field you should focus more on potential problems technology can solve much better for patients by improving outcomes and decreasing costs. The biggest problem in medicine right now are the insurance companies and healthcare administration practices which are quite costly and provide little patient benefit.

1.) Technology is only going to have as big of a impact on medicine as doctors and patients allow. If you want to make an impact on healthcare focus on developing technology where you can convince doctors that outcomes and costs are better. If you look at past clinical research done, a lot of technology did not produce the beneficial outcomes perceived by the inventors. Clinicians are skeptical of technology without proper evidence suggesting its usefulness. Your technology will have to navigate this system.

2) MD-PhD gives you a lot of flexibility with doing this type of thing, but I would suggest that you focus more on helping patients than building a business. Likewise, I would suggest trying to become more involved at an academic hospital that could support your intellectual property pursuits, give you access to the patients your technology can help, and help find the resources you need for new developments. Neurosurgeons with engineering backgrounds are probably the most successful in this respect.

You have a long ways to go and the journey is not easy by any means. Good luck. Questions are welcomed.

kerberus 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Hi! I'm an MD/PhD student, in my final PhD year (6+2, Netherlands). I'm working on computer navigation in orthopedic oncology, basically objective navigation in the OR. This, together with some small sidesteps into 3d printing and computer supported diagnostic imaging. The combination of medicine and technology is an awesome field to be in. There are so many projects that you can work on.

As Xaa has written, most doctors are not focused on technology. They will use it, understand it but especially the older ones do not embrace the possibilities automation or innovation can offer. That coupled with slow development and access to the market makes us lag behind other high-tech/high-impact industries (for example aviation).

Do not underestimate how hard it is for automation to completely take over a doctors job. In 50 years we will still need radiologist. The tools you will develop will support your and others workflows, making healthcare better. And if it replaces a certain task, others will arise, as for example radio frequency ablation has a growing role in oncology. (and is often done by a radiologist!)

Furthermore there are legal implications. Surgery will not be completely automated (fire and forget)in the next decades, simply because of this. A surgeon always has to be present. For example: the most chosen approach for robotics in orthopedics is assisted surgery, where you move the tool and the robot blocks you from making bad moves.

So, as an MD/PhD you will be a bridge between two completely different cultures. I sometimes joke that the engineers we talk to have a solution for a non-existing problem and doctors no technical solution for an existing problem. It's actually really hard to understand each others fields. So in this you are valuable!

You seem very motivated! I can only draw conclusions on my choice, but I can recommend it! If you have any questions ask away.

mulcher 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes get the MD/Ph.D With an EE degree you can build the next generation devices.
Ask HN: Swift or Obj-C for new iOS App?
5 points by peapod91  10 hours ago   1 comment top
melling 9 hours ago 0 replies      
As a general rule, if you're a newcomer why would you bother with the old thing when you can skip it and go straight to the present and future?

I'm waiting until Sept before I jump in with Swift but that's only because I've got one more release before iOS 8. After that, I'll move to Swift for all my new code.

Ask HN: What happens to Failed Startup furniture?
7 points by jyu  20 hours ago   5 comments top 3
CatsoCatsoCatso 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The office next to my place of work (we share a floor) recently went under. They had really nice furniture, most of it was just left when they closed.

In this case I think it changed hands to the building owner. They failed to pay the rent so I think pretty much everything inside changed hands as there was a bailiffs notice on the door.

It looks like the new company which is in there is actually re-using their old tables and chairs.

jpetersonmn 14 hours ago 1 reply      
When I was younger, I used to work for a commercial furniture company. Most of our work was to go into closed down companies and dismantle their furniture. Take it back to the warehouse, refurb it and then resell it. Typically used cubes would cost $1-$5 cube (plus labor costs to retrieve and refurb) but then re-sold for several hundred and sometimes thousands per cube.
play_tagapp 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds like its own startup idea waiting to happen.
How do you promote a new idea?
11 points by thanesh  21 hours ago   9 comments top
ejr 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I suppose the first step would be to discuss the idea. What do you have in mind? Who do you want to target?
Ask HN: How did you build an audience for your blog?
18 points by vsergiu  1 day ago   6 comments top 5
trienthusiast 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi, www.runningshoesguru.com here, 500k visits/month.

My suggestion is to go for the blue ocean. Either blog in a sphere that is not crowded, or be significantly different than any existing player.

Easier said than done maybe, but have a goal in mind and strive to be the absolute best. I dont agree with the "just write".

chriskottom 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't claim to be any kind of expert, but the advice you need to hear right now is: start. Write about what matters to you. Don't wait to come up with a coherent thesis or mission statement about what your blog is before you've written the first post. If you start writing regularly, you'll find what you care abut and what resonates with others, and that's the sweet spot where an audience can potentially be found.
kdlmm 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I started mine few months ago. It's not big but by adding only 1 article each month, I come close to 10k users per months and 17k page views. My advice would be to start your own blog now, write what matters to you and do quality, not quantity.Also, post articles on Twitter, Google+ Community pages and LinkedIn (if it's relevant to your job)
cblock811 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here are some best practices I follow: - Post regularly, so every Tuesday, or every Tues/Fri - Make a content calendar for planning - If you link to people or companies let them know, as long as it is valuable they will share the content - Tweet our your articles. Maybe invest in a small campaign

Here are some blogs to read to get you started:



jordsmi 1 day ago 0 replies      
On top of what chris said, write unique articles. If you are just going to rehash what everyone else is already saying, people have no reason to come to you.
PSA: Bountysource charges a 10% fee whether or not your bounty is earned
22 points by quisquous  2 days ago   1 comment top
smeyer 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Unless they've changed their web page, I wouldn't really call this fine print. It's in the FAQ and it looks to be in massive print at the top of the Fees page.
Ask HN: Would a .Net back-end put off potential acquisitors?
79 points by topbanana  1 day ago   92 comments top 39
allegory 1 day ago 6 replies      
I've been in this situation a couple of times before.

It won't make a blind bit of difference initially but if you expand, so will tooling and deployment costs and investors don't like that. Anything that takes off the bottom line is a problem. Microsoft licensing, particularly dev tools and SQL is incredibly expensive and an order of magnitude more expensive on deployment and diagnostic time than anything else.

We're like that now. Our SQL licensing is shaping our architecture not on technical merit but avoiding core license costs. That is beyond bad but we can't justify a 200k spend on licenses and kit to get rid of 2008R2.

Inevitably bits of Python are now appearing around the edges of the product and trying to stab the core. There are a couple of postgresql machines doing ancillary work. All the staff are slowly moving their operational task over because there isn't a purchase process.

This is the price of success though :)

Edit: just to add that the last two companies I worked for are Python/java/postgres houses now after being end to end MS outfits. The staff change over the lifecycle of a product. You can afford better people after time and better people seem to prefer to use other platforms even if they market themselves as .Net people.

Edit 2: also once you're locked in, volume licensing looks cost efficient. Then after a couple of yeara you get a call from the sales guys at MS who want to do a 'soft audit' (which it says they can so in the VL agreement). Then battle commences between MS, yourselves and the disty who handles your VL over how much you owe. This usually starts at 150k-ish for an SME and your ops team will be down for days whilst they work that down. Our liability was less than 10k which is within the VL safe zone but other companies are less lucky. Also the VL settlement says you can't discuss it but fuck them - the company this was against is dissolved.

Actually I look at my post and I couldn't possibly recommend it. If we'd started differently we could afford to be employ and sponsor postgres core team staff for example and gave second to none support and a positive impact on the community. Instead, pockets are lined elsewhere.

onion2k 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thinking about potential problems with an exit before you've even started building something is frankly ridiculous. Just start. What anyone might buy in a few years time if you're successful will be very different to what you build now because you will learn things about what the customer wants along the way. Whether that's shifting to a more appropriate language is something that only time will tell.
srb24 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you have a great product that you can get live quickly and works then it won't matter if you even write it in COBOL (don't write it in COBOL though) - ASP.Net & SQl Server (even the free version) also work very well together and have great performance.

There are of course licensing costs if you run on Windows and don't use MONO but these shouldn't really be an issue in comparison to all your other costs

Also there are a lot of ASP.Net/C# developers around (just look at odesk) which will help you build your team faster (unlike Ruby or Scala developers, which are great languages, just harder to recruit and also attract higher wages).

My advice... build a proof on concept as quickly as possible - if .net is your thing then use that vs. wasting time learning something else. The chances are that your concept may need to be reworked so why waste time...

Good luck!

throwawayforob 1 day ago 1 reply      
We're a company with a .net stack that is being acquired right now.

It didn't come up until their senior engineer said we should rewrite everything in Angular.js and Java. The tech management guys quickly said, "Sure, maybe, but for the foreseeable future, we will SSO between the two systems and plan for deeper integration later."

Hands on engineers care a lot about tech choices and sometimes have actual good reasons. At the business level, nobody cares as long as you can meet the business need.

pm 1 day ago 0 replies      
As much as I don't like the .NET stack myself, you should go with what you know, unless you're specifically looking to learn something new. There's enough risk in starting up as it is without burdening yourself with learning an entirely new stack.
personZ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Quite a few of the replies are practical, but unfortunately reality isn't always practical. Instead we often use technology for signaling, and the truth remains that the Microsoft stack (even if you talk up open source equivalents like mono) is an anti-quality signal. This is not judgmental (I have used and abused the MS stack for years), but is observational. And that tendency is often based upon experience -- the bulk of .NET programmers are enterprise inhouse developers usually building dated, poor quality solutions.

This hits hiring as well. Someone mentioned the quantity of .NET programmers, and while this is true the quality is extremely, extremely poor on average. Having had to hire .NET programmers, the best success we have had, result wise, is to hire !.NET programmers (e.g. the hiring process started being about abstract problems that could be solved with anything, etc) and let them loose with C#/etc. If we limited ourselves to the .NET skillset we got tonnes of applications, almost all of which were terrible.

joshuaellinger 1 day ago 2 replies      
Don't worry about suitors - worry about hiring people. Team matters much more than Tech.

But, as perspective, MS Dev tools cost about $10K per dev + $3K per year per dev after the first. Engineers costs $100K+ per year. +10% productivity covers the tools. If it costs you a month to retool or saves you a little on salary or lets you hire a little easier, you have paid for the tools. So what matters are things where you get x3 productivity or x3 better ability to hire.

Also, I think you are asking the wrong question. The problem you are trying to solve drives the platform decision and language (even DB) are only a small part of the equation. Amazon works just fine with C#/.Net and it is cheap to free at first. To get a fair comparison at scale, you need to include the price of EC2 instances against a dedicated self-hosted database server. Depending on your application, you'll get very different answers.

In your shoes (based on limited info), I would try to get into the BizSpark Cloud program. It is free MS software plus a big credit on Azure for three years. Then count on the price war between Amazon/Google/Azure to keep prices in line.

nkohari 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have experience with this. We started a company based on a product written in C#, and were acquired by a company by a company whose product was predominantly written in Java. It was never really a concern during the acquisition.

The software world is so diverse now that you could never predict who would be interested. If you ended up writing your product in a JVM language, you may end up with a Ruby suitor, etc. It's always best to just use the tool that you'll be most productive with, and will result in the best product.

chx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just as a data point: http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10369/which-tools-an... Web Framework ASP.NET MVC 5 with MiniProfiler
rbanffy 1 day ago 0 replies      
You should never forget your licensing costs if you ever need to scale to "internet scale". However, it's more important to get a product out the door than to have a hugely scalable thing. If .Net is the best tool for your team to do it, then use it and work out the scalability issues later (you may consider keeping an eye on migration costs - it's easier to add app servers than to scale a RDBMS) and always having a plan on how do you turn what you have into what you'll need. You may even be very successful and not need to change too much: the Stack Exchange folks run a lot of their infrastructure on Windows.

I make my PoCs with Python on Google's App Engine. It's zero management and any individual idea is far more likely to fail than to be an overwhelming success, so it's reasonable to think about costs if and when the idea gains traction.

Another thing you should consider is how the stack you pick will affect your ability to hire great talent in your region.

Note: I really hate .Net (and Windows) but these are not decision one makes based on passion.

opless 1 day ago 0 replies      
No investor cares about what language your product is written in. No client does either.

Use what gets the job done, think a little about scalability and modularity from the start. Don't optimise until you have plenty of data. Over thinking things like this will prevent you from the initial release.

If it works, great. But like all projects, you might have to throw away significant portions of your system away to grow. Being too tied to one specific technology will defeat you.

speg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't think so. Your tech stack is going to be one of the last things they care about. Besides, .Net is very well established so if anything they'll take comfort in that.

It's all about the product and users.

plasma 1 day ago 0 replies      
Write your product in the language that you know best and is suitable (which is .Net).

You don't want to be struggling to show hello world on a page with an unknown framework compared to building your actual product with a language you know.

I've written many projects in PHP and .Net.

My latest startup is all .Net and the right choice.

dennybritz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd like to raise a related point. While I think it's too early to worry about acquisitions, a .NET stack may put off early employees. Many engineers want to work with "hot" technologies for professional development reasons.

For example, I would not work for a company whose stack is built on top of PHP or .NET, regardless of pay. Not because these are "bad" technologies (in fact, they are a lot more stable than the hot technologies, often resulting in shorter time to market and cheaper labor), but simply because working with these technologies doesn't benefit me as much personally/professionally as working with some of the upcoming frameworks. I probably wouldn't enjoy my work too much either. To quote rubiquity from another HN thread, "people that work for other people aren't trying to build that business, they're trying to build themselves within that business."

doobiaus 1 day ago 0 replies      
My short answer is, go with what you know, it's better to have a solid working product than a flakey pile of learner spaghetti.

I'm a .net dude at a startup though and to be fair long term costs should be factored in, but can be mitigated. For one BizSpark is an absolute must to get started, and once you graduate there are the Action Packed for a few hundred dollars a year.

I would however suggest you look rather at using oss where possible even from . Net. We have used MySQL, Mongodb and redis on Linux because it keeps scaling costs down, and to be frank they' re better supported on the platform.

We also leverage BitBucket and TeamCity rather than TFS for cost reasons.

Having said that both Azure and AWS have fairly scalable windows and SQL hosting services.

us0r 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think it matters. Just look at some of Microsoft's buys: Yammer (Java), Skype (not sure but not .NET), Hotmail (FreeBSD), etc. Traction is the key.

Sign up for Bizspark and you don't have to worry about licensing for 3? years.

goofygrin 1 day ago 0 replies      
We're .net devs, not looking to get acquired right now, but most of our stuff is migrating to angular on top of web API (with breezejs) so our hiring has been for the JavaScript side since we already have enough .net to deal with the very thin c# layer that exists with that stack.

Personally get to market fast, fast, fast. Between dreaming and loss of velocity meaning stalling... You just need to keep constantly moving forward.

bdcravens 1 day ago 0 replies      
Invision is written in ColdFusion, a language far less accepted than the .NET stack, yet they just closed a $20M+ series B.

Rob Walling's HitTail product was for the longest time an classic ASP app, he purchased, revised, and iterated on the product without switching the stack. Only recently did he rewrite the app in Rails, when it made sense to do so.

sheetjs 1 day ago 1 reply      
> If it makes any difference, I am funding this myself initially.

The primary concern, if you are funding this and building this yourself, is getting to market. Each day is coming out of your pocket. Choose the technology stack that gets you off the ground fastest. A suitor is not going to reject your company because you aren't using the "hot" technologies.

lukasm 1 day ago 0 replies      
The is a possibility that some MS hater would refuse to buy on that basis or made it an excuse to buy someone else. It's close to zero though.
hpagey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try to find product/ market fit as quickly as possible. My personal rule of thumb is to find 10 paying customers before you can declare product/market fit.

The stack really doesn't matter and should be least of your concerns at this stage. I used to work for company whose stack was .NET. They got acquired a year back for 1.6 B dollars.

fauigerzigerk 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's all about growth.

I don't think a potential suitor would be put off by your choice of technology, but if your choice of technology slows your growth, then that will definitely put off a potential acquirer.

You don't want to put yourself in a position where you have to buy another SQL Server license instead of hiring a developer, or use the developers you have to invent contrived architectures in order to reduce licensing costs.

If there is any chance you might run into that kind of problem before getting acquired, I would rather bite the bullet now and get started on a platform that doesn't artificially limit my architectural choices.

sourc3 1 day ago 0 replies      
Build with what you know while understanding the operating costs.

I am currently working on a start-up where we started with .NET running on Azure and SQL server with Android and iOS clients.

After going through some realistic usage patterns and the cost of licensing, we ended up deciding to switch over to MongoDB/Python and Linux VMs.

It was painful to do the switch and the time we lost was not insignificant. However, in our case the time lost was a fraction of the future operating costs so we bit the bullet.

The stack you know is the best stack to use. After that, the stack that costs you the least is the best one to use :)

Good luck.

ridruejo 1 day ago 0 replies      
A startup is mostly about managing risk. Assuming that your product is SaaS (i.e. your customers don't know or care what is written on), then in general the risk that your product will not be successful is probably bigger than that it is successful and you have problems with an acquisition. I would worry more initially about what you can be the most productive on and also whether you have access to talent for that particular stack (to grow the team if it starts to take off)

If you are truly successful at some point you will need to rewrite and you can change to a different stack then if it makes sense (it will be painful, but hopefully by then it means you will have the resources to do so)

bhouston 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ship the product and get traction. The back end doesn't matter unless it hurts you achieving these two goals. Maybe other backends will help you achieve your intended results? That is the only real question that matters. Traction is hard to achieve and is paramount.
danabramov 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is Mono viable for server these days?
dannyr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Facebook was initially built on PHP.

If you have users, lots of it, it trumps everything.

I have friends who hated PHP ended up joining Facebook.

Get to market ASAP.

Getting acquired is the least of your worries.

chaostheory 1 day ago 0 replies      
They won't care about your tech stack if you have the users. If a large company like Google acquires you they'll just eventually recreate the entire site in their preferred language and preferred frameworks anyways.
jenandre 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would be more worried about the costs of licensing as a startup. What kind of sprawl will your architecture have? Do you have to pay for SQL server? Acquisition is sooo far ahead of where you are.
ruebenramirez 1 day ago 0 replies      
Minimum viable prototypes should be built as quickly as possible to test your idea. If the market doesn't like the idea it doesn't matter what you built it in.
tlogan 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you are technical founder then go with what you know. No questions here. Regarding licensing, you will anyway then run on Azure so licensing costs might not be so terrible.

If you not a technical founder and your goal is being acquired than technology does matter. For example, if you are in the market where, Oracle or Salesforce are potential acquirers then do not use .Net. Be more SQL / Java oriented.

And if your end-goal is getting revenue and profit, then it does not matter.

frou_dh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most likely this is major overthinking and your energy is better spent back here in the present day on first-order concerns like making people receptive to the actual product!
fidotron 1 day ago 0 replies      
It depends on your product/service. If your business model is dependent on rapidly scaling using a cloud based backend then .net isn't the way to go. If your revenue per customer is much higher, and there are fewer actual customers then it can work.

For that reason .net doesn't seem to fly much in the B2C area, but is quite common for B2B stuff.

nbevans 1 day ago 0 replies      
.NET is an advantage not a disadvantage. HN can be utterly bizarre sometimes.
silverbax88 1 day ago 1 reply      
It doesn't matter at all. In general investors have no clue about coding.
programminggeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it wouldn't hurt and if anything would allow you to find developers easier than if you did it in Rails, Node.js, Scala, or Go.

There are a ton of developers doing .NET or Java EE for large companies everywhere. Having that talent pool available is more convenient than having to recruit in more obscure platforms.

kross 1 day ago 0 replies      
Start with the end in mind.
_random_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
> So in your opinion should I bite the bullet or go with what I know?


DanielBMarkham 1 day ago 0 replies      
No, but a discussion around the tech you're using might.

It's about making something people want -- even if you have to do it using clipboards, rubber bands, and duct tape. If they want it, you can figure out the tech later. That's the easy part. The hard part is connecting with people you can help.

Ruby IDE
5 points by jthorne1591  22 hours ago   4 comments top 4
mailslot 20 hours ago 0 replies      
RubyMine is good, albeit glitchy on large projects.
devgurl36 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Sublime Text 2 or 3
hsendev 22 hours ago 0 replies      
but my choice is IntelliJ IDEA with Ruby plug-in


hsendev 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: How to monitor a rack of mac minis
7 points by j3ali  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
andyn 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm using Xymon ( example: https://www.xymon.com/servers/servers.html ). I found it didn't take much work to add a client to the monitor and the default set of reports was enough.

There's supposed to be an OSX client, but I haven't used it.

jameshk 1 day ago 0 replies      
You could look into what Imgix does, they have a datacenter full of Mac mini's.
Ask HN: What do you use for Flask social/oauth login?
8 points by rahimnathwani  1 day ago   7 comments top 3
bjourne 1 day ago 1 reply      
I used flask_oauth: https://pythonhosted.org/Flask-OAuth/ You can take a look at how it's used in this file: https://github.com/bjourne/vvm/blob/master/app/users/views.p... Personally, I wouldn't want to use Flask-Social or anything like that because it feels like putting on a straitjacket. You have to follow someone else's conventions and idiosyncrasies and setting up oauth the way you want it is easy (~100 lines max) so it doesn't buy you anything anyway.
joeclef 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use Automatic, it comes with Facebook, google oauth support and it is very easy to use. http://peterhudec.github.io/authomatic/reference/providers.h...
nyddle 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use flask_oauth, but it seems rauth/flask-rauth is more up to date.
Ask HN: I was hired and unhired in 2 weeks, for no reason
362 points by guybrushT  3 days ago   281 comments top 68
jowiar 3 days ago 7 replies      
> I like the founders - they are good guys.

No. They're not. You don't get to screw around with other people's lives and continue to possess the title of "good guy". If they were good guys, you would be receiving tens of thousands of dollars for your difficulties, and such would have enough of a runway on that such that you wouldn't need to ask us for advice. Please do us all a favor and let us know who they are beyond "a YC startup" so that none of us find ourselves in your shoes.

As it stands, if you had one of the other offers you were interested in, let them know that the company that you had taken reneged, and that you would love to work with them. Hiring good engineers is hard (and expensive) enough that any decent company won't mind being your second choice.

jvagner 3 days ago 4 replies      
I've been a CTO/CEO and have hired many people over time. Some of this has already been said, but:

1. Those jobs may still be open, reasonable people wouldn't hold taking another job against you. Work is work, and those who step back into discussion with you will show you a reasonableness that you will value more than before.

2. Situations like this is why sign-ing bonuses were invented. If you're COO of anything, you should also be able to negotiate a proper separation agreement, something like 6 months severance after 6 months of service. The signing bonus covers the initial bump, and then everyone has a window to see if things are copacetic. After that, it's a real relationship with consequences for dissolution.

3. You should be interviewing and considering companies as much as they're evaluating you. There's gotta be more to this story, some of which may be evident as you ponder what really happened. You've gotta develop that antennae. Asking to speak to a company's founders or advisors is a reasonable thing to do, certainly for a COO role that involves international relocation.

4. The "best guys" I've ever worked for f*cked me or our companies over. It's an important qualification to an extent, but character and vision and stability are secondary factors that will wag the dog, so to speak. Especially in startups. Startups are risky, and not always due to market forces or the brilliance of the business idea. Give yourself a good long notch in your work belt.

fpgeek 3 days ago 7 replies      
I'm a bit surprised no one has suggested what I consider the most likely possibility: They had no idea what getting you a visa actually entailed and bailed once you started and they discovered how hard it would be. I'm leaning that way because most people don't understand how hard visas actually are, the way they were vague about their reasons and the timing. Of course, if that's what actually happened, not telling you the truth would immediately take them out of "good guy" bucket.

Other than that, I agree with everyone who is saying to get back in touch with the offers you turned down. Even if they've all hired someone else already, talking to people who wanted to hire you in the recent past is a great way to kick off a job search.

itodd 3 days ago 3 replies      
You are not fucked. Just breathe. Think about it this way, It's likely that this start up will not be around for long if they make such poor decisions with their most important asset. No matter how you think about it, a very poor decision was made.

You have a masters in CS and 6 years of management experience. You are so far from fucked.

zetazzed 3 days ago 2 replies      
(1) Be very happy that this happened before you actually uprooted your life and moved to a new country, only to find yourself jobless there!

(2) Reach out again to the managers behind some of your past job offers. We have hired people who previously passed on us then had the other gig fall through or run out of funding. Many of those old offers will reappear and you'll be fine.

jbarmash 3 days ago 2 replies      
I am surprised nobody mentioned the YC Founder Code of Ethics from earlier this year.

I'd argue these four bullet points are relevant:

-- Treating co-founders and employees with fairness and respect.

-- Not behaving in a way that damages the reputation of his/her company or of YC.

-- Keeping your word, including honoring handshake deals.

-- Generally behaving in an upstanding way.

The OP made a serious accusation against a YC company. I assume YC can pretty easily figure out which company this is. I would expect that YC would investigate and take action if warranted.

festivusr 3 days ago 0 replies      
They are not good guys. They might be good guys in their personal life, but hiring someone from outside the country, letting them cut ties, and then laying them off immediately is not something a "good guy" does.
untog 3 days ago 1 reply      
If this is how the company goes about employing their first employee, I don't think they will be around for long. You might have dodged a bullet.

If you got this job, it's extremely likely that you will get another. Don't get me wrong, it's going to suck to explain to people you promoted the startup to that you actually don't work there after all, but it's not the end of the world.

icantthinkofone 3 days ago 0 replies      
This almost happened to me twice in a four month period.

I was given a job offer at Pixar (back when Pixar made their own hardware). I really wanted to go there but my first son was born and I just didn't feel Pixar was quite stable enough so I turned the job down. Turned out I was right because, if I had taken the job, I would have learned Pixar was getting out of the hardware business and I would have been let go two weeks after starting.

The job I took instead was with Silicon Graphics. I was hired for my video expertise. Was sent to training, set up in a local office, and then the company did a re-organization and my new boss was in Dallas instead of Detroit. My new boss decided he wanted a Fortran programmer and not a video expert so, three months after hire, I'm gone.

mcguire 3 days ago 0 replies      
You absolutely need to go back through your contacts and explain exactly what happened. Especially to those who you advised to use this startup's service and those you asked about potential investments. After hearing this story, they may reconsider such involvement---I certainly would.

These are not "good guys". They are at best short-sighted, unprepared, and unprofessional. Hiring decisions are important and difficult; the best spin I can see is that they do not know who they need and are very unprepared for this step. (Want a worse spin? Someone they know has suddenly become available and they wish to give them the employee #1/Coo badge.) This behavior is a big red flag.

(I've been in similar situations before---I'm thinking of a research group at ORNL right now---but rescinding an offer is significantly worse.)

As other people have said, don't worry about your personal situation. Most of your contacts will likely have understood your original decision and find the thing offensive as well.

On the other hand, I don't think you'll be able to convince your wife to move to the US again. Tell her we're not all assholes, though.

angilly 3 days ago 0 replies      
This happens a lot.

Mentor whiplash gets the founders all frothy that they need to do X, Y, and Z _immediately_ or their company will fall apart. Unfortunately, it changes to A, B, and C a week later after meetings with another 30 people. These founders aren't bad people. They just have no idea what they're doing. They got shoved into this crazy new accelerator experience, and they're being told by their heroes that they need to XYZ and ABC immediately, and they freak out and they make decisions too quickly.

Founders joining accelerators, do yourself a favor: the minute you think you NEED to hire one of those first employees, wait a week. Wait 2. Chat with some people informally. Don't setup a coffee meeting and ambush them with your whole team. Just breathe and take your time. Building your team is the most important thing you are ever going to do. This is not cliche. The process of building one, especially that initial core team, should be respected. Talk to some people. Do some contracts with them. Take it slow.

guybrushT, this sucks for you more than most given that you (and your wife!) were moving from another country. The founders should have been more careful. If you still wanna move to the states, I'd more than happy to introduce you to a bunch of startups in Boulder. We're always looking for developers here. Shoot me an email: ryan at ramen dot is.

balls187 3 days ago 4 replies      
Hypothetical to the larger HN community:

If you got accepted a job offer, and within 2 weeks got a job offer for more money, and at your dream company, would you feel obligated to stay with your initial decision?

If you made the rational (but arguably unethical choice), do you think your reputation should be tarnished, and future employers think hard before extending an offer?

I know it's not the exact situation as the OP, but situations are rarely so straight forward, and often have nuances that we aren't aware of.

To the OP, at the very least, you probably dodged a bullet. So blessing in disguise.

petercooper 3 days ago 1 reply      
I officially joined as the COO.

So did you have an official contract, equity deal, etc? I doubt there's much you can do about these decision not to take you on after all, you probably need to grieve for the job and move on, but you should certainly hold them to their legal obligations, especially if they had to give you notice (which they should be paying you for).

vuldin 3 days ago 1 reply      
While everyone understands there is an added level of uncertainty when taking a start up position, your situation sounds more unusual than most considering that it does little more than screws up your career and short term family plans. You can't really say you worked at this company, you've already gone through what sounds like a lengthy job search and turned down all positions that came up besides this one, made plans with your family to move to the States, and then a week after getting 'hired' you had to make other plans.

I'm not sure why you say you like the founders when they treat people like this. This is a serious blow to your life that they are responsible for.

balls187 3 days ago 0 replies      
> I let all job offers go (I had a few good ones)

Hopefully, when you turned down the job offer, you did so in a classy way. As a hiring manager, if a candidate I extended an offer to, reach back out to me after declining, and said their situation changed, I would consider making a new offer. True you lose negotiating leverage, but I would expect a percentage greater than 0 of companies that would re-engage with you.

> Told my friends/family about the job, and that I will be moving to America

This is a minor issue. Plans change. They'll get over it. Hopefully they didn't throw you a going-away party yet :)

> Reached out to all my contacts (including everyone who was trying to hire me) and attempted to sign them up for this YC service

No good deed goes unpunished. But seriously, you did the right thing by trying to help out this company. I don't see this as a problem.

> I reached out to several people (e.g. at Google, FB, Partners at a management consultancy (i.e. my former employers)) asking them for a potential investment into this company ("Use our personal networks" was a key strategy), some of these helped me find a job that I turned down

I'm sure those same potential investors will circle back around to you, and decline investing, given that you are no longer with the company.

stevebot 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not to sound trite, but I wish I was in your shoes. You have a masters, 6 years of mgmt exp., and most importantly a wife that is _willing to pack up everything and move_. That's awesome man, best of luck to you, you will be on your feet soon.
TheMagicHorsey 3 days ago 2 replies      
Job offers don't disappear. Just go back to the other ones and see what is still open.
simonebrunozzi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Besides all the nice advice that others have added, I'll give you mine: talk to a lawyer, and have him send physical letters to the company, and to YC.

The lawyer gives you two things:

1) He knows if you can be compensated for the damage;

2) It would give YC an opportunity to take care of this matter.

Oh, and by the way: I don't know their side of the story, therefore I don't want to judge; however, it is very likely that they lied to you - letting someone go after two weeks is weird, and I don't believe that "it's not about you".

davemel37 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of back and forth about appearing like a bridge burner.

In truth though, regardless of the appearance, bridge burning is never a good idea. NEVER.

I personally know a nursing home company that fired an employee in an unprofessional way. 20 years later she became the person in charge of nursing home licensing in that state. Guess whose licenses got revoked?! 20 years later, millions of dollars in losses.

That story may be an outlier, I don't know... but a simple evaluation of the risks and benefits of burning this bridge indicate very strongly that you should not burn it.

The argument people make about "having the right to know." to be able to avoid that company is really just self-serving curiosity. I am curious too. But...it's really only appropriate to share that info. to an individual, in private, if you feel they are truly at risk of the same unfair treatment.

Just my two cents.

smileysteve 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Man, that short term action on a perceived long term decision is rough.


Know exactly what skill-set the founders were looking for; what lifestyle choices they were looking for is probably also related. You can turn this into a conversation that helps both parties ask better interview questions.

Ask that you stay on, making your salary for several weeks as a contractor. If this isn't possible ask that you get paid reasonable living expenses for a few weeks. This provides a little runway for your job search. (Be wary though that this might raise your hopes.)

Always ensure that you get paid. For that one week before they hired you, for the two weeks you were on.

For your network that you asked for investment from, you need to secure that a) you are no longer part of that company b) if an investment is made, you deserve an advisor's fee (5-10% pre round is typical)

JackK 2 days ago 0 replies      
The startup life means there's a lot of legal and financial roiling going on at the management level that Employee #1 and below aren't allowed to see.

Probably a visa issue. Maybe a money issue (they don't dare admit that to any outsider, and employees are outsiders, so get the polite happy faced response management gives the rest of the world). Probably the all-too-typical inexperienced management issue most startups have.

When you choose to join a startup, you have to have a strong tolerance for surprises, some good, many bad. ALL of them are nice-seeming guys (nobody'd work for them otherwise). ALL of them have cool-sounding projects (will they work? Will they step on Big Legal's toes and die in deposition-induced agony? Will another 100 companies jump on the bandwagon before you can get it out there?)

It's a VC-self-serving myth that startups are succeeding at an increasing rate. See: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/corporate-america-hasnt-... for the actual stats.

Keep in mind that chasing startup dreams may not be healthy for family life, especially given that the failure rate for startups has been increasing, not decreasing.

Of course, it's always made to sound like success is just around the corner, but your most recent experience should give you a good idea whether your family's risk tolerance makes it worth it to you and those you love. The odds of dreaming turning from a bunch of extreme hidden hard work into extreme hidden burned-out failure are high. The startup world's only prescription for that is that you rest up a bit, then do it again.

There's a reason some people take the corporate jobs, save up, and only then follow their dreams.

Too many people are wasting their precious youth following the "fail early, fail often" mantra that is counterintuitive for a reason.

VCs make their money on the ones that succeed. The ones that fail don't cost VCs all that much, once you start counting actual funded startups that have passed all due dilligence and cashed the check. It's hard to filter out all those who are really only braging about funding on the way, because they've got to be convincing about already having it to have any chance of getting it.

But a steep price is being paid in wasted best years caused by startup failures. I count as failures, even these smaller "pivots" such as one where an employee is let go because different talents are needed (their stated reason to you). You wasted your time? No skin off their noses, they get to be the nice guy to somebody else they can use.

The startup world's harm is as cruel as any harm the corporate world can do. The startup world is just far less honest about the harm that it does to individual startup employees, preferring to say whatever they need to, keeping everybody's dreams alive until they absolutely can't anymore.

tedchs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, this likely happens more often than you'd like to think.

If I were in your shoes, I would immediately re-establish contact with the recruiters who previously made you offers, and let them know you were grievously misled by this other company, and you are interested to know if their offer is still available.

You may also consider engaging a lawyer. If it were me, I would demand payment for all time worked, plus additional monies to compensate you for your opportunity cost of turning down these other offers, especially if you left a previous job to work for these guys.

hpagey 1 day ago 0 replies      
OP, I wanna give you some advice regarding this visa thing, for future reference. As a rule of thumb never resign from your previous position until your visa has been processed. You can always apply for premium processing which is guaranteed to give you results within 15 business days.

For example,if you are doing a h1b transfer, please wait for the h1b transfer to complete before you resign from your previous position.

sama 3 days ago 0 replies      
hi there. could you email me? maybe i can help. sam@ycombinator
felixbraun 3 days ago 0 replies      
"I decided to not participate in the startup I mentioned longterm and instead reconsidered your offer from (a few weeks ago?). Coffee?"
throw4323 3 days ago 2 replies      
> I joined as employee #1 of a YC startup

Which one is it?

comeonnow 3 days ago 1 reply      
What are your thoughts on not uprooting before you have a formal offer of employment, and a contract signed. Personally, I wouldn't put any wheels in motion until I had a contract in case something like this were to happen, and then if it did they'd be breaking it.

I'm not saying it's this persons fault, but I don't necessarily think saying the founders are not good guys (aka bad guys), I think it's more about being assertive and protecting yourself.

In my experience, I've never handed in notice without a formal offer and that's for local jobs. If you add moving abroad to that, then there are definitely some extra steps needed to protect yourself.

I sincerely wish you the best in finding somewhere else, and it's a horrible situation, but if you had a similar offer in a month, would you do it differently?

bengali3 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sorry to hear that!

What the consensus on the best way for someone to avoid this? Immediate vesting if let go? Some predefined severance agreement? 6 mo/12 mo contract? I understand it's a big decision for a startup to hire employee #1, but how can I protect myself in such a future case?

uptown 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd seek compensation for whatever time you were formally employed by the startup. I'd also reach out to some of the other companies I'd passed up job opportunities with to see whether they're still willing to discuss working for them. Be open, and honest as to why you're getting back in-touch with them, and perhaps explain why you chose the US startup over their opportunity to completely clear that question-mark in their minds.

Your situation is frustrating, but there's plenty of opportunity for smart, motivated, talented people. To help with your frustration, try to flip the story in your mind. This company is going to have to find a way to succeed without your knowledge, experience, and help. That's their problem now.

Good luck to you.

DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
A little humility and self-awareness should go a long way when talking to people about getting jobs. It seems form your post that you're worried that you may have "burned your bridges". But, really, so long as you weren't rude you should be okay.
zerr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Founders think they did nothing wrong or something to be hidden. So please share more details and save some of us from similar perspectives. Thanks!
jebus989 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry to hear your story. IIRC the lean startup differentiates a "start-up" from a small new business by the idea that the former operates under gross uncertainty. Generally HN smoothes over this but stories like yours help keep things in perspective.
striking 3 days ago 1 reply      
Startups are dangerous business. As much as I understand why you'd be chasing the American dream (I too am an immigrant, first generation off the farm) I'm sure you understood the risks of leaping before you looked. Good luck.
reon_wi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't exactly feel what you feel but I share my story anyway as I think it's related albeit less cruel.

I was offered a job in Singapore by a start-up. I filled all the legal documents required including the employment pass application that I sent them back. Weeks later I got a standard email from HR saying they offered the job to another candidate. I was shocked they eventually withdrew their offer.

The problem was I talked about my friends, family, that I'm moving to Singapore (from Europe). My girlfriend who is living in Singapore was happy, along with me, till the point I told her the offer has been withdrawn.

It is interesting to mention that the CTO of the company is the one who had approached me first whether I'm interested in exploring positions with them. However when it comes to withdraw the offer he never turned up.

I'm happy I didn't make business with them. I found a much better company to work with and moving to Singapore next week.

I wish the best to you, it's for sure you'll overcome this with favorable outcome.

gdilla 3 days ago 0 replies      
how fucked can you be really after only 2 weeks? You didn't move yet, you haven't burned any bridges in your network, you have skills that are in demand, you have not uprooted your life for them.
reality_czech 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'll probably be hellbanned for this, but I don't blame the founders. it's a tiny company with probably a few thousand dollars between them. They made a bad decision, obviously. Does that mean they should go under with the weight of an employee they don't need?

You even said that you "found a job that you turned down" earlier. So it sounds like things worked out fine. Of course it was hard on you. But changing a job always is.

I don't know what your home country is, but I do know that there are millions of desperately poor unemployed people in India, 25% youth unemployment in Spain, and a pretty tough labor market here in the US for some low-skilled workers. We should be thankful for what we've got. And part of the reason we've got what we have in Sillicon Valley is a culture that allows experimentation. Quickly setting up a company is only possible if you can quickly tear it down or retarget it when things aren't working out.

You mentioned that you have a postgraduate degree in management. Well, you should know that what you're getting into when you join a startup is different than if you join a big, established company. Be a man (or woman) about this. Don't ask for special treatment.

And for the record, I had an employment offer yanked during the crash of 2001. Fun times.

segmondy 3 days ago 0 replies      
You are not fucked. Do not say that again, do not repeat it, do you even think it! Pick yourself up as fast as you can and get going. Start hunting again, don't take too long and get back in the groove. The worse period of my life was the moment I made the mistake of thinking "I was fucked" took too long to come out of it, and all it took was starting to think, "I'm not fucked, I can do better, it's possible" Best of luck.
bussiere 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yeah it happens to me, and now i don't refuse other offer as long as i haven't signed anything.

In french we say "un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras"."One given is better than you'll get two."

Bref, you have opportunity and to your wife telle the things frankly and breath you'll find job soon.

I wish you well for the next things.


freejack 3 days ago 0 replies      
What kind of help or advice are you looking for specifically? Your post doesn't make it clear what you'd like help with. i.e. finding a new job, negotiating a severance package, revenge, moving on, how to best pick up the pieces with your professional network, etc. I'd like to help, but I'd be guessing if I offered any specific guidance.
Veus 3 days ago 1 reply      
That does suck!I'm not familiar with the law in the USA but in the UK you can be let go for very little within the first 2 years of employment. You don't have a right for unfair dismissal for the first two years.The notice period is 1 week for anyone that has worked less than 2 years.
dxbydt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Was in your shoes two years ago, coincidentally this exact month. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4567857Since then, I've met several people who were in the same boat. This sort of stuff seems to happen with regular frequency but is swept up under the rug as if its no big deal. Props for being bold & writing about it. Good luck to you sir! More than the subsequent job-hunt, it was the memory of all those false promises that hurt the most.
TheGunner 3 days ago 0 replies      
No extra advice here but didn't want to read and run, good luck to you on finding something new. Like others have said, I'm sure there are a few doors still open if you're willing to get back in contact
meritt 3 days ago 0 replies      

There's 500+ other jobs available, you can just as readily find another one.

trmchale 3 days ago 0 replies      
To me this is really simple. You should tell Hacker News who the company is. An employee has the right to leave whenever he wants and a company can terminate you whenever it wants.

Big companies usually do not fire for no good reason because of liability. Small companies don't have to worry as much because they don't have any money to sue for.

However these "good guys" are establishing their corporate culture now, and we hacker don't want to get dicked over too.

jusben1369 3 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you're more embarrassed than anything else. Ask yourself what your life will look like in just 6 months from today. I suspect just fine. At worst you'll still go a bright red color when you think about this after a couple of drinks. Chalk it up and be glad you didn't make the move and then find this out. I have no idea about the circumstances but it's possible these guys need to be commended for moving very quickly to stop you in your tracks once they determined that for some reason the fit wasn't right.
nilkn 3 days ago 2 replies      
[I've deleted the contents of this post. I apologize to readers for the inconvenience and confusion. I related a story similar to that of the OP but decided I shouldn't post about it here.]
JackFr 3 days ago 0 replies      
> I officially joined as the COO.

What precisely does that mean?

IANAL, but I know that if you and they signed on the dotted line, apart from the ethics, you have legal rights. Probably fewer in the US than other places, but some protection.

If nothing was signed, then I don't think you "officially joined" as COO. From their perspective, it might simply be more of an episode of serious miscommunication, than any untoward behavior on their part.

koliber 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you are on good talking terms, and it seems like you are since you mentioned the word "polite" a few times in your post, I would politely ask them for a severance package, in case one is not included in your contract. They can of course politely not give you one. Depending on how the conversation goes, you will be able to recalibrate the "nice guy" stick you are using to measure the founders.
menriquez 3 days ago 0 replies      
your not fucked...there is basically an unlimited amount of opportunity out there for what we do.

trust me...i KNOW fucked...i got caught with some recreational substances a few years back and am probation for three felony possession charges. 25y+ of software development and it's impossible..IMPOSSIBLE..for me to get past any HR for ANY decent job.

so chill out...enjoy a week off...and get hired next.

michaelochurch 3 days ago 2 replies      
I like the founders - they are good guys.

No, they're not. "Good guys" don't fire someone without a severance after 2 weeks for no reason, especially not after you've put your reputation on the line as you have.

I let all job offers go (I had a few good ones)

Try to get those offers back. Explain what happened. If there's another solid option you can take, then you don't need to worry. Try to get a month or two of severance from the YCs but don't worry too much if you can't, and don't jeopardize success in your next gig by putting your energies into an all-out legal fight. If you're turned down, however, document it. This is going to help you make a case against the YC founders. The words you want are detrimental reliance, and to make that case, you need to establish damages. A job offer you had, that you lost, constitute damages. You relied detrimentally on the offer (later rescinded) from the YC company. That's a stronger case to make than wrongful termination, which often involves venturing into the undefined behavior of at-will employment.

Then-- if you can't get a severance on the order of 3-4 months, plus reimbursement for any relocation (both ways) or visa costs you've-- get a lawyer involved and sue.

free2rhyme214 3 days ago 2 replies      
Hi Poster,

No you're not. There are no positive or negative events in life. All events are neutral. It is within your power to see them as positive. Reality doesn't care about your "destiny."

So besides my airy fairy comment above what I mean is when something bad happens you have to take massive action to get the result you want. So when young founders make DUMB decisions that screw you over you apply to 40-60 jobs a day and find a better job. You take MASSIVE action to make the situation a positive one.

You have NO time to waste complaining about what happened. Your time needs to be spent working your butt off finding new work. That means 40-60 jobs per day. That also means you should look at investing in assets so your income isn't reliant on an employer or anyone for that matter.

Life will always do this to you. Always. How you react to situations like this is what defines you. Nobody can escape this. Everyone will have ups and downs in life.

Now. Right now. Today is your time to take massive action. Not sit on hacker news or the internet all day. Not complaining to your wife. Now is your time to make this a positive situation.

If you don't believe me don't do what I say and see what happens.

salahxanadu 3 days ago 0 replies      
F them. Those guys are jerks. Make sure you get your pay plus your vacation pay plus a severance.
alexholehouse 3 days ago 0 replies      
Please someone correct me, but assuming you didn't sign anything, I suspect your recourse beyond "AGRGRGRHRGRHGRGHRHGRRHGR" is limited (not that this posts suggests you're looking for vengeance or anything).

That really really sucks.

bjliu 3 days ago 1 reply      
Do you have a green card? Is there legal issues with staying in America? I think this would be helpful information; otherwise, getting a new job in Silicon Valley (or America) should be fine for someone as capable as you.
bdcravens 3 days ago 0 replies      
You're embarrassed, not fucked. You work in a high income industry, and even if you went without work for 6 months, you're not fucked. Seriously, this crisis pretty much epitomizes "first world problems". It stings, but you'll build up tougher skin and better business sense as a result.

"Deal was to work remotely, till we all figured out the visa." Honestly, that was the problem. You were dispensable, in the mind of the founders. Lesson: iron out all details before starting.

"I joined as employee #1 of a YC startup." The founders know this. If they become the next Dropbox, employee #1 becomes a millionaire or better. Even if it fails, it prestigious. Do you think that caused you to take a job that may otherwise have not taken?

digitalzombie 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's like that in start up in california.

Got interviewed, he wanted contract. I told him I'm only looking for permanent. 2 months later, project got cancelled and I got the boot.

alexyes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Go ahead and explain the situation to the employers whose offers you turned down. Especially in the US, people will understand, and the offers should still be valid.
vincentleeuwen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Launch a competitor.
sergiotapia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Name and shame these guys, totally not cool.
ilaksh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ask them if they would rather pay what they owe you or have the name of the company public in this context.
julie1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Life sux. And being a nice person with good intentions does not mean you are unlikely to do no harm to anyone.

That is the major reason why I first learnt to avoid charismatic/nice employers; I was fed up of being f*cked in the ass nicely. Then I matured and learnt to trust but check.

viggity 3 days ago 2 replies      
well, at the very least, I think it isn't out of the question to be asked to be paid for those two weeks. If they made a mistake, shit happens, but they should still be on the hook for it. I'd even consider asking for severance of a couple weeks. They've hosed you, they should try to offset it a little bit. I understand that it probably isn't about the money, but I would hope they at least offered you that.
jheriko 3 days ago 0 replies      
did you sign a contract?

most standard contracts would be being broken by this behaviour. if i were you i'd squeeze them for having dicked you over...

dinkumthinkum 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to tell you this. All those trying to scare you into being a good little child and not "burn" any bridge, I think are being very simplistic. It may show up as some "drama" or it may not but let's be honest people with much more drama in their past than exposing shady business practices are able to have functioning careers. It's your choice but I think the fear is just knee jerk reaction from simple minded thinking.

Some potential companies may look favorably on it. Companies are staffed by people, people are diverse in opinions.

dinkumthinkum 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think you are being too nice. They have served you very poorly and I don't know if it is helpful to make any excuses or tell everyone how you are. This should have been figured out before they hired. Now, maybe you should not have put all the eggs in this startup basket. I hope you are able to find another position in the area, do t stop trying. Next to e, give yourself time to be "excited" and tell everyone about a new thing.
dontbeabitch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Out them. Now.
eleitl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Did you receive a copy of signed work contract? If not, you have no case.
epx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Like soccer players, good people should be paid a "fix" in order to change jobs, so they would not starve when something like this happens.
Made the front page of reddit: 60x traffic, only 8x revenue
12 points by cvshane  2 days ago   11 comments top 5
_delirium 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did you adjust for time spent on site and/or bounce rates?

I've found this kind of temporary traffic burst from high-profile sites is often very transient traffic, people clicking on a link out of curiosity because they saw it somewhere, with a very high bounce rate. It's the kind of traffic from people who open 30 tabs and then briefly visit each one. Doesn't matter (at least for my sites) whether it's Reddit, Slashdot, HN, an NYT Blog, etc.almost never has the same CPM as "regular" traffic, regardless of the burst source. Visitors who come via organic search or bookmarks are much more likely to spend more than 1 second on the page and read/interact with something.

awor 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would bet (no citation) that a lot of Reddit users use AdBlock compared to the average web user
cblock811 1 day ago 0 replies      
Getting on the front page of these communities is great but I wouldn't solely look at them as a source of customers. Sometimes you have to create awareness before you have enough credibility for people to sign up. This is especially true for developers. Devs are more difficult to sell.
minimaxir 2 days ago 1 reply      
That implies about $1-2/CPM. Which is not an unusual value.

20k visitors for the front page of Reddit sounds low, though. I've hit the front page (with http://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/2ac8ba/who_... , also a default subreddit) and I received 150k visitors.

cvshane 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here's the monthly report that has my detailed numbers, if you're curious: http://www.sideprojectprofit.com/july-2014-profit-report/
Ask HN: Space exploration book recommendations?
4 points by lukejduncan  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
mlwarren 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Two from the perspective of mission control regarding mostly the early US space program, the third about the Apollo program in general.

   Failure is not an Option - Gene Kranz   Flight: My life in Mission Control - Chris Kraft   A Man on the Moon - Andrew Chaikin

chidevguy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I found Apollo, by Catherine Bly Cox and Charles Murray, quite interesting and entertaining.


27182818284 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Entering Space

Ranges in topics from Helium 3 fusion to mining the gas giants for fuel to the implications of braking on spacecraft with solar sails.

mast 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I enjoyed these two:

  * In Search of Planet Vulcan, by Richard Baum and William Sheehan  * The Northern Lights, by Lucy Jago
Both are more about the scientists and astronomers than about NASA space missions, but I found both very interesting.

If you prefer something a bit lighter, Men from Earth by Buzz Aldrin was pretty good.

Ask HN: How do disruptions to submarine Internet cables affect the internet?
5 points by dalek2point3  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: How to market a utility app?
4 points by um304  1 day ago   2 comments top
Gustomaximus 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a marketeer, I'm sorry to say IMO this app is going to be hard to monitise in any serious way.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the main user cases I can see;

1) To transfer contacts across platforms. The main traffic I guess would be iOS <-->Android. Given there is already an easy way to do this via a gmail account you're not in a great place to take much market share.

2) To do a back-up. Again this can be done in real-time via Gmail or via their csv download.

Both of these have free alternatives with relatively easy user experience. You will find it difficult to win organic traffic as your business is within popular keywords with established brands. You could buy sales via advertising but I expect you would be paying $4-$10 per download. So without ongoing revenue in the model (I hope you're not monitising the contacts downloaded...) you can afford to advertise. And even if you could I don't see people people paying for this app in any significant volume.

I find products like this interesting and a good example of where tech / marketing and accounts people should have a chat before building a product. I had a chat with a person recently where he was building an ad revenue driven app. I pointed out if he changed his audience slightly to a in-demand audience cohort the click revenue per ad would go from about $0.75 to $10.00.

Anyway - if you building another app feel free to ping me for a marketers view. It's all opinion and I could well be wrong. For the success of your product hope I am.

Ask HN: Who isn't in the software industry/not a hacker?
146 points by graham1776  3 days ago   177 comments top 93
markmassie 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nuclear engineer here. Definitely not in the software industry, but still do a bit of coding, albeit mostly in Fortran because (most) reactor design software stays pretty far from the bleeding edge.

I come to HN for the startup culture discussions. Even though my field is pretty far from the software/tech field, it's pretty amazing how much of the startup experience remains the same.

For those interested, my startup, Transatomic, is developing a molten salt reactor that's cheaper than coal and (hopefully) as cheap as natural gas, just without the greenhouse gas emissions.

We just closed our first round of VC funding from Peter Thiel and Founders Fund a few days ago. More details here:


my_username_is_ 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm a mechanical engineer, working in product development. I have an interest in programming to the extent that I can try to automate some tedious tasks, but very little formal training. I'm definitely a long ways from being a "hacker" as its known here.

I agree with all of your reasons for visiting HN. I've mentioned this before on another thread, but the guideline that posts should be "anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity"[1] tends to produce a lot of content that I find interesting, and I'm sure there are many more people like us here.

One thing that I will add is that I wish that people posted more non-programming jobs in the monthly Who's Hiring. Even if you just posted the approximate job title it'd be better than omitting it entirely. Every month I control+F>"mechanincal engineer", and there are almost never more than one or two posts, despite the fact that I see some of the same companies posting these positions on different job boards.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

egypturnash 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm an artist. I'm engaged in writing and drawing a graphic novel about a robot lady with reality problems.

Reading HN gives me things to mull over regarding my own hesitant steps into the world of promotion, sales, and making a business happen on the web.

Also I used to dabble in programming back in the days of the C64 and Amiga. I will probably never do any major programming projects but I like to keep up with tech news, and this is a decent source for some of that.

genericone 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm an applications engineer working in the semiconductor robotics industry. I make robots run faster and more reliable so that more chips can be made. The software I maintain touches >70% of semiconductor products in the world, and that's only a guess based on our market penetration into a single (significantly) necessary step in the semiconductor manufacturing process.

I would also classify myself as a wantrepreneur. I have a few apps I am currently executing on, but I can only say that my skills in programming for web and mobile are swiftly increasing. This is only the case because HN has convinced me of the certainty of self-enrichment that comes from startups.

I visit HN for the insights into the other tech industry and for non-inflammatory(hah) discussions about current topics. I read comments before I click links, as I typically find the opinions of HN members to be as or more on-topic than the content within the link itself.

bkohlmann 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm a fighter pilot.

Best place to get news about the trends shaping our world, and muse over natl security implications.

peterpacz1 2 days ago 1 reply      
Frankly put, I'm a 14 year old kid that has barely started high school. I mostly browse around in Hacker News because I am interested in recent software trends and interesting articles about technology, but a big part in what draws me in is the discussions in HN. Unlike other social media/link aggregates, most of the discussion in HN is very insightful and interesting, and the discussion is often more focused and "on task" than other sites like reddit.
giarc 3 days ago 2 replies      
I work in infection control in a large urban hospital (microbiology and epidemiology background/education). Computer skills required for my job are basically Word and Excel.

I enjoy the tech startup world and have plans to start my own in the very near future. Currently using various sites to learn to program myself (Codeacademy, Bento, Dash). I think it is important to know what your site is doing and be able to respond to issues.

I have learned so much from this community/site that I hope it will put me on a better path to success. However, the one thing about HN (and this is true of just about any community) that there are people here who are so smart, that I get convinced that I'm not ready to start building my site. I see examples of javascript here for example, and I think "My skills are no where close to that, how can I possible start working on my sites JS."

mgmtconsultant 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a management consultant. When hackers (Michael O'Church, for instance) write about "MBA Culture" as opposed to "Hacker Culture" - well, I'm in the center of the MBAs.

Why do I read HN? Mostly, because I like and enjoy working in the technology space (defined broadly) and hope to build a career in tech. HN is great at giving me a view over the other side of the fence.

nichodges 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so glad someone asked this. I'm originally an industrial designer, and ended up in advertising. I spent ten years in advertising, and recently resigned to take a step back and work out what's next. I can code, but I'm definitely not a professional dev.

I've been reading HN for around 5 years. I'm here because I love technology, and love seeing what people are doing with it. Outside a few email lists and Twitter, there's no other site/source that I've stuck with for so long.

What do I get out of it? Aside from always learning new things (I have very little use for lambda calculus or univariate linear regression in my life, yet because of HN I know a lot about both). I spend a lot of my time now working with / mentoring / investing in Melbourne-based startups, and the comments and links I read on HN give me perspectives and thinking and experiences from a global startup community that I wouldn't always have access to.

Of course those opinions and perspectives and experiences are almost always skewed, this place is a filter bubble, but if you keep the bias in mind it's a phenomenally efficient filter of quality information and thinking.

NAFV_P 3 days ago 0 replies      
HN readers like yourself are a big plus, it lends the site diversity. There is also a fairly big age range.

I would definitely agree with point A.

The odd gem, like [0].

Advice or pointers from other HN readers.

I do not work in the software industry, but I would call myself a hacker.

The term "hacker" can be interpreted in imaginative ways, I wouldn't be surprised to find hackers in your area of work.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7388576

jakarta 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an analyst at a hedge fund, I have a job as a generalist so I look at pretty much every asset class/geography/industry.

Historically have done very little investing in tech, but I'm interested in it and HN is a good way to keep up with the industry.

I look at startups as businesses or industries where the rate of change is much faster than normal. I think as an investor you're really a student of business and that makes startups a really fascinating area to observe.

ceades 3 days ago 0 replies      
Government affairs staffer working in Sacramento politics. My field is education but I like to keep tabs on technology and start ups who almost always end up in the legislative realm eventually.

One fight I've been watching with interest in the CA legislature is the anti-Uber/Lyft legislation currently pending. We're in the last three weeks of session now and I'm very interested to see where that ends up and whether Gov. Brown signs it. There's nothing more fun than watching a policy fight you don't have a dog in.

lomapur 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm 21 years old student of hungarian philology. I'm absolutely fascinated with all the new technologies and (mainly) software startups that are presented here; maybe I chose wrong path in my life but I'm obsessed with Hungary and learning so there's that.

I hope Hacker News will grow big.

gyc 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a big bad patent attorney (please be kind). I have a computing engineering degree and like to do a little iOS coding in my free time. I like keeping up on what's happening in the tech industry.
lotharbot 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a stay-at-home dad. Last year I was a math teacher. The last time I worked a "tech" job was in grad school nearly a decade ago, assisting my department's IT manager.

I'm here because I like to learn about things. Not just products/services that I found out about from here that helped me in life (airbnb, hipmunk, leaky, freelancer) but simply ideas (I've learned relevant things about religion, games, science, warfare, education, driving, the basic income, and so on.)

I'm also here because my wife is a hacker and I like to be aware of what she's reading and thinking about.

Bootvis 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm a consulting actuary.

What am I doing here? I've been programming since I was 11 and still do it often. You have to as an actuary.

Besides I have some web skills and I'm using to build a startup doing risk management for farmers. In this startup I'm responsible for the whole stack.

paulornothing 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Statistician by title, more of a project manager supervising data collection on a large scale. I aspire to code, mostly like this site because there is interesting material and reddit feels always the same.
ari_smith 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a high school student (to be entering my senior year). I would definitely not call myself a hacker by any means, and while I am very passionate about math and science, at the moment, I would first and foremost identify myself as a jazz bassist (however, his may be due to the fact that I am currently at the Berklee college of contemporary music, studying in their five-week summer program). I have in the past ventured a bit into programming, but not very seriously, and my biggest achievement was probably a roguelike written in brainf*ck that I abandoned half-way through. Although I am very passionate about jazz, I intend to pursue a career in science (though I am not sure exactly what).I use HN because I can easily find many math/science/technology related articles that I find very interesting. Also, I find that the articles and posts on here tend to give me a different perspective on a situation than one might find elsewhere.
leonth 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a pharmacist, but since my boss knows I'm good with computers, she put me to manage the IT systems used by the pharmacy department. This role is well-defined and there is at least one full-time staff in each public hospital here doing this, but no software development knowledge is required because there is a layer of IT consultants that supports us on very technical things (e.g. server provisioning, network configuration, integration). What I do is mainly defining requirements and provide content (both clinical and non-clinical).

I see HN as a way to keep up with IT in general - especially that all my other colleagues talk about totally different kinds of news. I find discussions well-balanced most of the time, and sometimes wonder "what do HN commenters say?" when I get to a news using other routes.

Yes I am a wantrepreneur, if there is such a word. It's pretty cool to (have the perception of) knowing two industries and try to piece them up together.

atmosx 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am a pharmacist living in a small town of 35-40k people in Northern Greece and my ruby code, which I try to put together in my spare time, is kinda silly :-) do I need to say more? :-p

For me HN is a view in the dream-land of the cool kids :-) I love it! Also the most high-quality discussions/views I read on tech or even politics often come from HN.

rthomas6 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm an electrical/computer engineer. Coding/CS is only an auxiliary interest for me.
anoncow 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am a doctor working in a pharmaceutical company. I used to code before starting medical school. Still do. Here mostly for the scene, the point of views and the people. I love the posters here and the feeling of community. It motivates me to keep trying new things.

(I count myself as a hacker. I code and maintain a number of (poor quality) projects.)

asoplata 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another PhD student, in computational neuroscience (modeling of thalamocortical circuits). The difference between the level of code-sharing and code community between general purpose software and scientific software is just astounding. In computational neuro-modeling at least (as opposed to very intensive bio-analysis like genomics), there's incredibly little sharing of code or interchangeability, outside of [ModelDB](http://senselab.med.yale.edu/ModelDB/), although I've heard systems biology-modeling (like with CellML) is in a better state.

I love this site for many reasons, e.g. searching "site:ycombinator.com <search term>" is one of the best sources of finding modern opinions on languages, libraries, the state of coding in certain places, and most of all some of the best opinions on what can act as good introductory materials on anything software/langs (in addition to stackoverflow).

It's nice to have a finger on different tech scenes and where people, sometimes, are willing to call each other on BS. Oppositely, it's cool to see posts about a product/service and see that the actual company actively responds to comments here in a lively fashion.

One of the biggest reasons for me has been seeing whenever's the occasional open academia article or movement starting to spawn, whether it be open access, open data (e.g. [dat](http://dat-data.com/)), or my favorite, open code. There's an unbelievable amount of reinventing the software wheel that goes on with a ton of PhDs, and the FOSS community proves that doesn't have to be the case. Trying to take the lessons it's learned to the sphere of science is something that an increasing amount of people are thankfully interested in, and this site is one of the only ways I've heard about initiatives in that regard - most notably, [Mozilla Science Lab](http://mozillascience.org/)

ChadNYC 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm a Registered Architect working on Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States. I've wanted to be an Architect for as long as I can remember.

I write software(originally PC based and now web based) to make my life easier. I started coding Basic at a very young age. It came naturally to me. I took a C++ class in high school, but aside from that I'm completely self taught.

I'm here because I'm fascinated by the industry and the people. You can't get a better cross section of what is happening in this industry then on this site.

Also, maybe one day I'll develop a product that is useful to me and useful to others. So having some background on start-ups could help, right?

tomrod 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm an economist who builds Fed stress test models for a bank.

But I hack too, it's fun.

cwal37 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a researcher I guess. I'm doing my Post-Master's in renewable energy economics and market analysis at a DOE lab. I use Python pretty much every day, so there are plenty of things here that are relevant to my working life. I've just always loved tech, and have a few app and game ideas (like most people) whose many skeletons, design docs, and outlines litter my harddrives and commonplace book. Although I also do spend a fair amount of time reading and writing policy analysis.

I wouldn't consider myself 100% not a hacker though. My weekend list is to get some webscraping done to support a future project, and check out Home Depot for materials to build a cold-brewing setup.

throwaway283719 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a quant trader working at a hedge fund. I write a lot of code, but not in the same way that I think most people here think about code. A lot of it is hacky Matlab scripts to test some new research idea. Some of it is hand-crafted C that implements some numerical routine that we need to call a few billion times. Occasionally I throw something together in Python to do some web scraping or parsing task, but that's becoming rarer nowadays.

I come to HN because I enjoy coding, and the level of discussion is still probably the best out of any online community I know of (excepting a few very specialized ones... the r/haskell community comes to mind).

fluxxx 3 days ago 1 reply      
I operate an small non-profit burlesque museum, but I used to work as a manager/lead tech of a IT consulting and training company. I left tech because the stress was making me ill, but I actually miss it.
foobarbecue 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm a geochemistry PhD student working on volcanoes, but I have several website projects, of which climbshare.com is the most recent. HN has alerted me to some useful new web technologies.
emhart 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a historian? Maybe? I've taken to calling myself a security anthropologist lately. I study the history of security, talk about it, write about it, think about it endlessly.

I love this community. I've had amazing conversations in the comments and taken a few of those to email or twitter as well. I know that I would eventually see most of what I read here elsewhere, but this is the only place on the internet where I read the comments.

ratixis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not in the software industry per se, but was. Up until last August I was running my own software development company that had just taken a big hit when our biggest client pulled out with no real warning.

Fast forward to today, I'm now a qualified secondary school teacher in the UK, teaching Business, Computing and Japanese. I get the urge to come back to full-time programming from time to time, but genuinely love being out of 'burnout' mode.

I really enjoy coming here because I still love keeping on top of tech and entrepreneur news, want to stay ahead of the curve, and hey, you never know, I might find a company that is looking to 'disrupt' secondary education in a way that I 100% believe in. Haven't seen it yet, but some companies are getting close (Khan Academy, looking at you!).

It also keeps me from spiraling into my "I'm not doing enough!" mentality that I have for myself, and inspires the wantrepreneur side of me.

Saus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in sales (network monitoring, deep packet inspection and security). I've tried code bootcamps six or seven times, but coding isn't for me, talking is my thing. As you said, the frontpage is the day after tomorrows news in my industry. Just because I read HN, it seems I'm very well informed. Besides that I'm a failed entrepeneur (closed shop after 2 years, now mostly wantrepeneur/idea-guy ;)) and I enjoy reading succes stories of others.
jib 3 days ago 0 replies      
Im a project manager in customer support. I have a science (chemistry/physics/computer science) background, but I never worked with it professionally. The only programming I do is purely casual.

I enjoy reading about new tech and business - I like the mix of that and other general interest stories. Mostly I come here for the comments - I read comments before most articles, and I tend to only read the articles if there is a good discussion around them.

hardmath123 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a high schooler/coder, but I like to think of myself as a hacker. I dropped by to make the case that being in the software industry and being a 'hacker' are not correlated very strongly. The hacker culture revolves around code because the culture likes code, but the culture itself has a deeper significance than the ability to make a photo-sharing site or something. See http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/meaning-of-hack.html

Anyhow, for the sake of adding to discussion: I browse HN for the interesting links, especially reading others' blogs, and the distinct lack of memes you find on other link-sharing sites like Reddit.

incision 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in tech, as a sort of sysadmin / strategist, not a developer which based on the HN polls I've seen puts me in a small minority. Though, I'm fast approaching the halfway point of a CS degree as an adult student.

I can't recall exactly how I stumbled on HN, but I stick around for the discussion. I regularly learn things on HN as opposed to merely learning of things as I might with other sharing sites.

I was about to say community instead of discussion above, but I actually have a pretty negative association with that word as it seems to entail a monoculture which HN isn't - at least not in the ways that matter to me.

Specifically, it seems possible to speak freely on HN (for the most part) without being buried or banned in short order.

I was enamored with the heavy startup culture on HN for a while, but what I've gleaned suggests to me that if I'm ever to partake it probably won't be as an employee. If anything, a founder hoping to leverage domain-specific knowledge and personal network in creating a long term business.

frozenport 3 days ago 1 reply      
Graduate student who does code but in a non-cs field, I use this site to stay in the know about tech, which has practical value for job interviews.
tonylemesmer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Product designer / engineer - having said that I have been writing software as a hobby since I was about 7 or 8 years old (I'm 35 now). I see knowing about software, electronics and "technology" as a general knowledge, in the same way that I can speak and read.

Hacker News is a fantastic community, filled with rational, clever and moderate contributors who write stuff which is a a pleasure to read and learn from.

The rest of the popular web seems in thrall by the new stuff and doesn't see things quite so rationally. Its not easy to pull the wool over the eyes of the HN crowd. I love that kind of interaction, where people have a level of understanding that allows genuine technical merit to be apparent.

My new full time job is designing machines to keep sick people alive whilst their bodies are repaired. Something I'd never thought of doing 10 months ago when I worked in consultancy.

asafira 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a physics PhD student, working on experimental quantum computing. My day-to-day work varies a huge amount, but can generally consist of cleanroom nanofabricaton, circuit design, data processing, machining, and experimental design.

I consider consumer technology one of my hobbies, and hackernews lets me keep up with the latest trends in software engineering. I've always been particularly fascinated with technological forces that can have big impacts on the world at large, and new uses/trends in software have played a huge role in that. I like to think that hackernews keeps me grounded to what's the latest and greatest in the world where the "big things" can impact people on a much shorter timescale than the work I currently do. I plan to go into the tech industry when I graduate, and I'm highly considering an internship next summer.

wollw 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an artist (well, a student really) with an interest in mathematics and computer science abstractions. I like to create work related to and inspired by technology. Given how important these fields of knowledge have become I believe that creating artwork from them is an important way to reflect on the state of contemporary society. I guess I do consider myself a bit of a hacker (I design my own circuit boards and write my own software for my projects), but I'm not really affiliated with the tech community outside of the internet and mostly hang out with other artists.

edit: I guess it kind of goes without saying, but what I get out of HN in particular is a combination of keeping my foot in technology and reading interesting news.

Tad_Ghostly 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on innovation in education as part of a small team working independently within a moderately large organization. I ended up here while reading about different lean startup methods. I dabble in client-side coding to make some prototypes, but certainly don't consider myself a programmer or hacker (unless you count the times I ferociously enter passwords in a sad attempt to obtain access to our own systems).

I get stories and perspective. I love reading a story, having my own take, then jumping in the comments to see how others view the same information. There are so many lessons I would rather learn from someone else rather than from my own experience...that's why I'm here.

Also, thanks for posting something I am qualified to answer, it prompted me to finally stop lurking.

Bzomak 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm here because I find the various news and discussions about assorted programming languages fascinating. I often find, either posted directly to the site or in the comments, new resources which help me learn more about the languages and technologies I either use or have a passing interest in. A happy side effect is that I gain an understanding of what my numerous friends who make their living by programming are talking about!

I don't particularly care about startups, but then, the beauty of this site is that I don't have to! There's enough here that I find myself perusing the RSS feed and culling stories that, if I had enough time available, I might be interested in. For those articles that I do select, however, I usually read through the associated comment threads, as I find the various opinions and clarifications most enlightening!

Xcelerate 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a chemical engineer, working on my PhD currently. My research is in molecular dynamics (I get to use supercomputers like Titan), so I learn a lot about high-performance computing and programming from HN. Really though, I like this site for the high-quality discourse compared to other websites.
kyllo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I guess I'm on the fringe of the tech industry. I work as a systems analyst in the IT department of a logistics company.

My primary job is not to write code or develop applications, but being able to write scripts and small utility applications really comes in handy when analyzing data. I write lots and lots of SQL and regular expressions for work, I do tons of grepping / sedding and am quite comfortable with bash, but I don't consider that coding.

Programming is also as a hobby for me, I have some side projects which are mostly Python and JS stuff, and a little Java. I also have an interest in functional languages. So there's loads of interesting content for me hear.

bussiere 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'am part a hypnotist, performer , fire breather , bouncer, and part tech guy and other jobs notably as a fixer in the underground in paris.

For me a hacker is someone who see something and want to mod it , dig in it. A hacker is someone who is curious and is active and don't take things for what they are given for. And a hacker is also someone who doubt. There are mechanical hacker, even grandma tips are hack for me. So it would be more relevant to ask who is not a tech guy. Or consider himself / herself a techguy.

Hn give me interesting inside and news. And it's always good to be on the edge than other people on different subject. I always have one day or two in advance for the news to other people thanks to HN.

2mur 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a pathologist. I code for a hobby. Building a software product slowly in my spare time.
bagua 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a 16 year old kid in Sydney who's just finishing school. The extend of my "Hacking" is a few small Java/C programs that I write when I need to do something, and don't want to do it by hand.
raihan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I actually work in arts and entertainment! You can see the most recent project that I managed here: http://artalliance.com

So why would someone artistically-minded come to HN? Because the world is changing--in law, in technology, etc. And being on top of that is ALWAYS helpful, especially with such a knowledgeable community.

najhr999 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work in technical production and fabrication for a sports marketing agency. We build unique consumer experiences for our major sportswear client. I look to HN for ideas and inspiration that I can use to fill the gap from ideas to implementation. For example gamification of a shoe try on experience, to show the consumer the performance of the product. HN is my go to for a way to pass meetings. Always interested in collaborating if anyone has any ideas in this domain.
freehunter 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a hacker, as in I'm employed in Information Security. The other use for the word "hacker". I spend much of my days doing pentests, malware study, and forensic analysis for a multi-national. Lately, with some inspiration from HN, I've started into Python to replace or augment what little I script in Bash to help with my work.

I was drawn here because of the name, became disappointed that it was hacking in the sense of coding, stayed because I have nothing better to read. Since Paul Graham has his own forums, I wish Bruce Schneier or Brian Krebs had their own for people like me.

mdturnerphys 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an experimental physics PhD student. I'm not much of a coder, but I'd probably consider myself a hardware hacker. I'm interested in finding a job in high-tech product R&D and enjoy learning about the startup community.
robmiller 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an acoustical consultant. I mainly work with architects during the design and construction of schools, offices, and other public spaces. If you're in northwest US and work for a large tech firm, chances are someone in my group has worked on your space--designing interior acoustic environments and keeping obtrusive noises out.

I'm also a wantrepreneur with a vision to create better calculation tools for architectural acoustics and noise control. I enjoy seeing new JS libraries on here that help fill in those puzzle pieces and reading the perspectives of others on political and cultural topics.

ssivark 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a PhD student, doing research in fundamental theoretical physics. My tastes are eclectic (my undergrad degree was in electrical engineering), so among other things I'm interested in FOSS, computer science, tech and random bits of news and worthy reading material that pops up on HN. I'm also mildly interested in the culture in startups and how skilled workers motivate themselves and bootstrap -- I guess a lot of such soft knowledge would translate to a wide variety of situations (eg: academic research).

And oh, did I forget to mention the static-blog-generator-pr0n? :P

phusion 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been in IT since 1999 or so, when the high school I was attending recognized my skills and hired me on as a part of a student lead admin team. Myself and 4-5 friends ran the network with a single adult sysadmin. Since then I have branched out to linux admin in my spare time, but have only worked in MS shops. I'm currently working for a propane company as their windows admin and helpdesk monk.. guy.

I don't know a line of code, know a bit of security, but am always interested in how things work and what kind of WiFi is being run in my neighborhood, so I consider myself a hacker.

kkylin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a math prof, my research is in applied & computational math, mainly dynamical systems and numerical methods. I do a fair bit of coding in my work (and studied CS/AI as an undergrad before getting PhD in math), and am interested in many of the topics that get posted here -- programming languages, technology & society, advances in the sciences, etc. I also have many friends in the software industry, and have a passing interest in startup culture.
wgoodwin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a lawyer, with a split practice between IP lit and tech trans, and tried some modest entrepreneurial ventures pre-law school that ended up failing, and I read HN for largely the same reasons.
brandelune 3 days ago 0 replies      
HN is a fascinating place to read where I can get my daily share of IT wisdom. IT development is shaping a big part of the world we live and it is important to see how everything evolves.

I have a small translation/localization company in the middle on Japan and I use as much free software as I can and try to promote them the most I can in the translation community. I learned a bit of basic, pascal, assembly in the 80's and when programming your calculator was the coolest thing you could do in High School.

marsrovershadow 3 days ago 0 replies      
not sure if there is a community (at the moment?), but there is a wealth of under-the-radar type stuff which is interesting for those outside of the biz (i.e. military).

there seems to be about a 60/40 split between straight tech/programming stuff and more general/non-technical information in a pleasantly-mixed churn. i find HN to be a good motivator to look at other fields through a "hacker" lens and think in an architectural/programming/entrepreneurial/system-level manner.

cmsmith 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a structural engineer (PhD sounds awkward to say but seems relevant here) doing research on buildings and earthquakes/fires. I have always been competent/interested in programming style hacking, but resistant to moving away from the physical engineering world too much.

I hang around HN because I am interested in the hacking/innovation mindset that is popular here especially as it could be tied into the structural/mechanical world.

hovestol 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a recent high school graduate. I got turned on to this by my comp sci teacher, I'll be going to university in a week for computer science, so I'm bending the rules because I'm not in the software industry yet.

I totally agree with A, B, and C, but I also really enjoy just the interesting articles I wouldn't find elsewhere. Here I can actually learn as opposed to school (Can I use that as a verb? I can break the rules if I want!).

ASquare 3 days ago 0 replies      
I do continuous improvement projects (using Green Belt Six Sigma training) in my day job.

Trying to get a travel focused startup off the ground (http://www.planitwide.com).

Been fascinated with all things tech for a while and am constantly in awe of people who can build stuff. I also firmly believe that inspiration comes from the most random sources and HN fits the bill for both of these things.

cJ0th 2 days ago 0 replies      
MBA-to-be here. I am into computers since early childhood.Mainly, I enjoy topics on Programming (especially python), Linux and entrepreneurship even though chances are I'll always suck at the first two items (though I am good enough to use them as "secret weapons" occasionally) and never do the latter.
Squarel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Masters student doing botany/pedology.

Here because of reason A from OP, but also because I am always keeping an eye out for new tools I can use for data analysis in my thesis.

WCityMike 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a legal assistant for a mid-size law firm that mostly caters to other small- and medium-sized businesses. I basically just enjoy the topics discussed here.
ejr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm mostly an office worker and make crafts at home that I sell online - most boring daytime endeavour yet. I too am a "wantrepreneur" and I'm thinking of getting something started soon. Nothing "tech" though.

From the community, I get a surprising amount of non-tech/hacker news, stories and comments and new insights about life and work that I didn't imagine otherwise.

bachmeier 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm an economics professor. I have to program for my research, my hobby is studying programming languages, and entrepreneurship is pretty important for the economy.
tanderson92 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an applied mathematician, working on my PhD at the moment. I do a good deal of programming(HPC) but I wouldn't consider myself quite at the level of a hacker.
george88b 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am an analytical chemist.

Currently I have a company that provides R&D and Manufacture services for salons that want to launch their own label of hair products.

Disruptive_Dave 3 days ago 0 replies      
Biz dev / creative marketing guy here. Startup co-founder and consultant. Absolutely love this place...skip the super technical threads because marketing.
danimalia1 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am an epidemiologist -- currently working as a research director in academia and spending most of my time working in R. I originally got on here to look at a project my brother had done. I stay on because I find it very interesting to see how the tech crowd interprets health and population studies.
presidentender 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've tried to be a programmer a couple of times. Now I can blame mitigating factors, but frankly, I think it's likely I won't go back.
cm2012 3 days ago 0 replies      
Online Marketing Manager. Marketing and advertising stuff here can be pretty useful. Mostly I stay for the decently intelligent discussion.
HelloMcFly 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm an industrial-organizational psychologist. I design selection systems, HR programs designs at affecting outcomes (like attrition) and do the data analysis relevant to those ends.

An HR guy* and a social scientist! I could make an easy punching bag.

*More on the strategy and data-analysis end, less on administration. I barely know what HR Generalists do.

Kinnard 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are many definitions of hacker: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Hacker_Manifesto

Wark defines hacking 'as an abstraction, the construction of different and unrelated matters into previously unrealized relations. Hackers produce new conceptions, perceptions and sensations hacked out of raw data. Everything and anything is a code for the hacker to hack, be it programming, language, poetic language, math, or music, curves or colourings [3] and once hacked, they create the possibility for new things to enter the world. What they create is not necessarily great, or even good, but new, in the areas of culture, art, science, and philosophy or in any production of knowledge where data can be extracted from it.Wark argues that (new) information comes from the hack. It doesnt matter if you are a computer programmer, a philosopher, a teacher, a musician, a physicist, if you essentially produce new information - its a hack [1]. In this sense, hackers are creators and they bring new ideas into the world. The aim of the book is to highlight the origins, purpose and efforts by this emerging hacker class, who produce new; concepts, perceptions, and sensations out of the stuff of raw data.'

cjslep 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nuclear engineer by formal education, mostly self-taught in the realm of computing. Enough to get an internship at Cisco during college. Here for all the same reasons OP is, with the addition that the community is by far one of the most enriching and rewarding to be a part of, even if I wind up lurking most of the time.
jreed91 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a business analyst for large office furniture manufacturer. I have an interest in the startup culture and enjoy trying out new technologies. This site gives me the chance to be an early adopter for many new technologies. While also providing me insights on all things that are a part of the hacker life.
selleck 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am 32 and in Software Sales. I am busting my butt to get into the software industry through coursera, edx, udacity, books and side projects. I come here for learning resources that are often posted and to keep my ear to the ground on what is happening in the tech/start up space.
bane 3 days ago 0 replies      
I bounce around back and forth in and out of the software industry. I haven't really been a hacker for at least a decade. When I'm in the software industry it's usually more as some kind of management role.

I'm usually here for the news and generally high quality discussion.

georgespencer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Non technical startup founder. Used to write PHP for a living and now I spend all day in (interesting) meetings.
anigbrowl 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a sound engineer, working mainly in Indie film with some electronic music and instrument design on the side. Working in film requires wearing a lot of hats so I'm conversant with most aspects of film development/production. Also, frustrated law student.
thehoneybadger 3 days ago 0 replies      
Evil corporate lawyer.... love code, algorithms, new tech, and insightful commentary. HATE advertising.
justizin 3 days ago 0 replies      
software isn't an industry, it's a way of life.
FD3SA 3 days ago 0 replies      
HN is a fascinating place mainly because it is one of the most diverse communities of incredibly intelligent people on the web.

The level of discourse is usually high while covering a very broad range of subjects. Subject specific communities still exceed HN competency in their respective domains, but nowhere that I've found covers such a diverse range of topics with a relatively high competence.

Unfortunately there are still some very obvious biases regarding certain subjects, but at least the community entertains other points of view.

Although I'm an engineer by training, HN has led me to explore many domains to which I wouldn't otherwise have been exposed. Furthermore, there are some incredible individuals here who I'd never run into otherwise, and discussions with them are extremely satisfying.

Overall a great community, though sometimes limited by the bias of its origins.

jawon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Copywriter. Long time lurker. Interested in startups and online business models and strategy.
hbharadwaj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Former Product Manager. Currently a strategy consultant in IT space. On my way into bootstrapping something and HN gives me the inspiration, knowledge etc., Also, looking to get back into Product Management someday.
eitally 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an IT director with a focus on the digital workplace & advanced tech R&D (e.g. flying quadcopters around a factory to do real time process inspections). So, not the software industry, but still a lot of software stuff.
taksintik 2 days ago 1 reply      
Finance / Acquisitions guy... I'm like 3M.. I don't make things but I can make things better..Can't code a lick but understand how to develop frameworks into profit generating entities.
cessor 2 days ago 0 replies      
I study psychology. I have a masters in computer science and I am amazed every day anew how much of my old skill is very usefull within other domains. I don't label myself a hacker.
molbioguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a senior scientist at a biotech company. I do engage in some software development now, but my formal training is as a bench scientist. I read HN because I enjoy the intelligent topics and conversations.
deadlast 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm an recent high school graduate. I come here because, despite high test scores, I don't know what I want to do with my life, and I feel like being here might help me.
known 2 days ago 0 replies      
J_Corder 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a student.I come here for passing the time.
jqm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Agronomist by training. Have done a number of things including project management for a company doing public works construction projects for around 10 years. Been programming as a hobby since late teens and have no formal CS education.

Recently I took a job as a web developer (I know... career path isn't in my vocabulary, I just do what interests me at the time and let the chips fall where they may). It's my first real programming job.

I built some SAAS applications for farms which I maintain and plan to expand in the future. These apps showed what I can do and helped me land my current full time job.

nsomniact 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just wanted to give thanks to the OP for posting this :)
Ask HN: Where do you get your code signing certificates?
3 points by r1ch  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
jasonkester 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I just jumped through the thousand tiny hoops needed to get one through Comodo (resold by tucows), and more than anything it was just calendar time and busywork rather than any particular difficulty that bothered me about the process.

After a week of not hearing back from them, I got in touch by email and they said they were stalled (though they hadn't contacted me to say so) because the email and phone number on the whois for the domain weren't exact matches with the ones on the application.

Ok, fair enough. Fixed.

But then (days later) we were blocked because they couldn't look up the business license. So I sent them a direct link to the Washington State department of whatever search, with the business license number I'd given them already pre-filled.

But then (days later) we were blocked because the phone number and business address weren't to be found in any online phone book services. Can't call you on the number listed on the businesses website or whois. Need phone book.

But phone book listings are free. You can add one for any business, fictitious or otherwise, by supplying a name, address and phone number at yp.com. They just take still more calendar time.

Add in a few more meaningless steps like that and I was verified (without ever having to mail them that passport scan or anything else that would actually verify me or my business).

I guess they need to justify charging all that money. But mostly it's just a giant hassle that makes you glad you bought the longest duration cert possible to avoid having to go through that again any time soon.

iancarroll 1 day ago 1 reply      
Persona verification is typically:- one or two forms of ID

- a bill showing the address

- a phone call to the phone listed on the bill

I deal with multiple certificate authorities as a partner and typically you won't need much else. If you're applying as a company, you might need a notarization but this is uncommon.

I can sell you a code signing certificate for $75 from Comodo, but I've never actually applied as an individual. Shoot me an email, in my profile.

Edit: As per of the Comodo CPS, they require:

- A photo ID "which discernibly shows the Applicant's face" to verify your name.

- "A government ID, utility bill, or bank or credit card statement" to verify your address. "Comodo MAY rely on the same government issued ID that was used to verify the Applicant's name."

Comodo also states that they may "[require] face to face verification of the Applicant's identity before an authorized agent of Comodo, an attorney, a CPA, a Latin notary, a notary public or equivalent."

       cached 12 August 2014 04:05:01 GMT