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Ask HN: How do you stay motivated to work on side projects?
188 points by sciguy77  14 hours ago   111 comments top 79
Htsthbjig 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
"How do you keep yourself pushing code when life gets busy or you just get bored?"

I don't. When life gets busy with other I am busy and the other people are my priority. If you are with your family and you are not really there, you will feel guilty later on work and not be there either.

Steve Pavlina explains it better than I do:http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2014/12/130-days-off-per-ye...

What Steve could do after years of training(and reading thousands of books and learning from others) is probably not what a normal person could do. But they can apply some of the ideas.

In my experience, people from the US tend to work to much, but not really work. e.g When a German person works, he works, do not distract him because he will get upset.

I had never ever got bored in my entire life. I have always done whatever I wanted to do. Life has been tough to me at some times, but always in the sense of the Lion on the wild, that if he does not hunt, he just dies.

It is just so easy today to choose safety, but also living on a cage.

Go to the zoo and look at the animals there. Have you ever seen an animal(lions, leopards, elephants) in the wild?It is completely different. It is the same with people.

gavanwoolery 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I turned my side project into a unicorn job. It only took about 10 years of hard work...but I did it the hard way.

Find the easiest thing that you are legitimately passionate about. Do not work on a project because it is in a popular space, because you are looking to make a quick buck, or any other reason than you are undeniably interested in the space.

If you are not interested in the project, it will become boring and you will lose steam. Even if you are interested in it, there will be boring tasks to tackle. It might be that the only project you are truly interested in tackling is not an easy one (as is my case). I have a massive graveyard of failed ideas that halted at some point because I lost interest and/or realized they were dumb ideas. The only one that has lived is the one I keep coming back to (and am now working on full time).

These are not factual statements, just a reflection of my experience. Yours may differ.

rachelandrew 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If you find that you lose motivation or get bored with a side project then I think you really need to ask yourself why you are doing it.

We find the time and energy for those things that we place importance on. If the project isn't important to you then maybe it is time to move on. If it is important and this is just a temporary state - perhaps due to hitting a difficult part or a bit you don't enjoy dealing with - you need a strategy.

Break it down into manageable chunks. Put a date on them. Make sure however that the dates are achievable, there is no better way to become demotivated than to constantly feel you are falling behind.

If your thing hasn't shipped yet, can you get it to a release version sooner? Can you cut stuff out? Getting your project in front of other people can be a real help.

Treat the project as a first class citizen alongside your other work. Meaning that even if you can only devote 4 hours a week to it, those 4 hours are scheduled and used. Don't push them out for other work. Plan what you will do in that time, ahead of time, so you don't start to procrastinate when you sit down.

We turned our side project into our main source of revenue, you can read some of that in the first chapter of the book I wrote based on that story here http://rachelandrew.co.uk/archives/2014/03/21/chapter-1-the-...

joshu 8 hours ago 1 reply      
You will lose steam at some point. Go with the flow; take a break, try something else, come back to what matters. I put del.icio.us down for 6 months very early on.
zxcdw 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I think it might be interesting to note that different people have different motivations for "side projects" (as well as different definitions for side projects!).

For someone, a side project might be about solving arbitrary problems such as trying to write a Tetris clone under, say 1024 bytes on x86-64 Linux machine -- something which has absolutely no real world relevance whatsoever, while for someone else that'd make no sense and be waste of time. Probably they'd much rather build something much more concrete, say a real product (say a web app) actual people can, and hopefully will use.

Perhaps it is a meaningless and arbitrary attempt at making distinctions, but I find it relevant for myself as I certainly fall under the first example, while many here in HN fall under the second. I feel this definitely plays a role in what we consider "side projects" and how we deal with them.

otaviogood 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't be afraid to drop a project. I tend to have a handful of projects going at any one time. A good project will stand out and it will pull you through to completion. Pretty much all of my significant jobs were spun out of my side projects. My current job started as a side project that I prototyped in a few weeks. A company was built around it and now our company is part of Google. This. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2OfQdYrHRs

Take note of things that inspire you. For me, books or other people's projects. Show your work to your friends and try to convince your friends to work on projects with you.

Find programming languages / environments that make it easy to spin up a simple project without too much overhead. Start small. Last I counted, I have about 140 folders in my dev directory. Each one has a small project I started up. One turned into a successful company. Another won a DARPA challenge. A few others were released in various forms. But most got dropped because they just weren't as cool as something else. And I think dropping projects isn't just ok, it's great fun and will help you find that project that's worth completing.

karlmdavis 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For me, a combination of these three things has proved to be successful:

1) Every day. I've seen this with working out, side projects, or whatever... I can't stick with commitments if I try for an "every other day" or "only weekdays" strategy. Has to be every day. [1]

2) Track it in a visible fashion. GitHub's contribution calendar is fantastic for this. I've got a text file named 'work-log.md' in my side project's folder, and I update and commit that file whenever I spend time on my side project-- even if all that I did that day was research, rather than coding. My current high score/longest streak is 59 days in a row, and wanting to push that higher is incredibly motivating. With workouts, some sort of fitness tracker serves the same purpose.

3) I don't beat myself up too long or hard about screwing up. There are some folks whose "longest streak" on GitHub is 365 days or more. Good for them! I'm always sad when I realize I've missed a day, and I often take a break for a week or two once that happens, but I've never even thought about just quitting. Just motivates me to try and do better next time.

[1] One exception to this was biking to work: I never really biked on the weekends, but it didn't prove to be a problem. Probably because commuting by bike was so hard to forget about.

motters 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I view my side projects as the main work, and anything else as merely a way of supporting them. Also, I have enough side projects that if I lose interest in one I can switch to another.
deet 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Set small goals for yourself that have a visible or measurable impact. Each time you complete one, you'll feel a sense of reward. The important thing is to work with your psychology not fight it.

What I've found to be effective is to have a list of goals roughly by week, for the next few months, and then each week to assign myself a small list of tasks for each day. I also try to mix up the type of tasks over each day -- some are fun and I'm excited to do them, some are more tedious but have to be done. So when I do some tedious work I reward myself with the fun tasks.

When I fail to meet my goals I allow myself to get angry with myself -- almost a disappointed self-hatred. But only for a few minutes, and then I move on. Perhaps some people will disagree with this technique, and might suggest only positive self-reenforcement, but if you're not totally honest with yourself it's going to be tough to keep yourself on track.

Whatever you do, you should definitely start by examining your goals and motivations for working on your project, since everything entirely depends on these.

Osiris 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I get energized about my side project when I get suggestions, comments, or other feedback from users. I can go months without doing anything and then I'll get one person asking for a feature or change and I'll work for a few hours or days to get it done.

My advice is to make is easy for customers / users to give you feedback. Use a support ticket system and provide email links on your homepage.

krapp 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I enjoy programming, and making things, but my side projects are the only code I write which really lets me be creative. So I keep going because I want to like what I do.

Also,sometimes the only thing keeping me going is the sunk cost fallacy. I don't want to just give up on something I spent months or years on.

But one think that did help me out was learning to recognize the difference between moving forward and moving in circles. Not wasting a lot of time refactoring stuff - especially if a lot of time has passed - because your tastes or mood has changed. I have one project (a web project, nothing anyone would care about) that I literally rebuilt from the ground up at least three times already, just because I got sick of the current framework I was using. I wasted a lot of time moving in circles because I didn't actually want to finish the project, but I did want to keep working on it.

mrmondo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I break up my side projects into manageable chunks, completing one of the chunks is very satisfying.

It's hard to see value in something until you add it, this is why your greatest achievements will be hard to see moving forward.

danbmil99 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps a better (or at least related) question is: how does one find the time to put into side projects on top of staying competitive as a programmer in an environment where 45-55 hour weeks are customary and expected, and also achieve some kind of work/life balance involving significant others and children?

I challenge anyone to show that the math for this works out. Everyone I know who has put effective effort into so-called 'side projects' is either living off saved wealth, working 20-30 hours/week on lucrative consulting contracts, and/or has an SO that works their ass off in some all-consuming, soul-crushing, high-paying career.

lukasm 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Be consistent. Do some work every day, even if it's just 5mins of work. You will keep the idea in mind.
alexggordon 10 hours ago 0 replies      
How? By wanting to work on things that you want to work on, more than you want to watch TV, or play a video game, or do anything else.

The thing it came down to for me is understanding how incredibly rewarding it is to create cool things that I use. For example, the digital situation of Chess really sucks in the work right now, so for the last few months I've devoted about 10 to 15 hours a week to created a catch all solution to playing chess online and on your phone. It's gotten to the point where I can now use it to play with my brother, dad, sister and friends. As a person that lives a fair ways away from my family, it's really rewarding to be able to do something like that. I love getting input from them, and just being able to bond with them over something simple.

As far as the motivation, and not just the desire, it also came down to understanding how I work. I burn out quickly if I work on something a ton, and so I have an incredibly strict schedule during the week, and then completely leave the weekends open. Essentially, I kind of made a compromise with my personality so that I ended up happier, and my professional life came out ahead.

In addition to that, I educated myself. I realized what I wanted to be in 40 years, and I found out how other really smart people did it. The books below really had a major influence on me in motivating myself to work harder at everything, and to motivate me to work on side projects.

Lastly, and for myself this is huge, I surrounded myself by people I wanted to become. It's really really really hard to do stuff on your own, so I worked hard to become friends with smarter people than me, that challenged me at life, for lack of a better way to put it. I know stuff that like may sound a little clich, but it really is one of the most rewarding things I've been able to do in my life.

Book List: 1. Without their permission. Alexis Ohanian2. Outliers. Malcolm Gladwell3. How to Win Friends and Influence People. Dale Carnegie4. Hackers and Painters. Paul Graham

jmadsen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
- Trello, and break it down to the most granular set of tasks that you can. - Put some real easy ones in a list called "low-hanging fruit"- When motivation is low, pick one or two off to get going...if motivation doesn't come back that day, just rst. But often the mere act of getting going will move you along
cgallello 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I just finished with a side project. I knew going in that I would lose motivation for reasons left and right, even though it's the right project for me to work on. In order to keep up my motivation, I started "Side Projects Dinner" - I would make dinner for my friends every other week, and they would give me feedback on my project. It worked great, and we've had quite a lot of fun. And of course, my friends are also getting feedback on their own projects and thinking of new project ideas. Highly recommended!
lholden 13 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing that works for me is to get lots of external feedback on my project. If at least one other person beside myself has some interest/investment into my project I am a lot more inclined to continue working on it. When I am the only one with interest... Well, I tend to lose motivation pretty quickly.
sideproject 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the counter example of what happens if you DO get tired of your side projects one way or another, not that there is anything wrong with that.


(disclaimer - I maintain the site)

Based on my experience of running the site over a year now, there is nothing wrong with side projects that do not become "success" (whatever the definition of your success may be). The most important part is the building it and shipping that v1.0 (or v0.1.. whatever).

kchoi 6 hours ago 0 replies      
When I have a hard time getting myself to do anything, I try to think about why I should do something from different points of view at different levels.

What I mean by this is that you need to rationalize why doing something is important to you in terms of its meaningfulness and impactfulness.

For example, let's say I'm a web developer with zero knowledge of building a mobile app. And I want to build a mobile game in ios that doesn't exist in the world yet. When it comes to pushing myself to work on such an app, I remind myself that I want to become a programmer with versatile skill sets desired by many employers. That will be your high level goal.

However, this goal might be too general and isn't convincing enough for you to keep working on the project. So, let's make your goal more specific. So, in this case, it can be that you are super interested in learning about technical details behind implementing the game whether it is about designing the db relations, software architecture and etc. That will be your middle level goal.

Finally, if none of them made you want to work on the project, let's dig deeper and make a goal really personal to you. It can be something like you want to build it because you want to play this game but you cannot find anything like it from anywhere else. That will be your low level goal.

jlarocco 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The first question you should ask is, if you can't keep motivated, why are you doing it?

For me, side projects are things I do because I'm interested in them and have free time to invest. If I don't, I don't work on the project, and it's no big deal. Yeah, sometimes I'd love to have more time, but oh well.

It'd be different if I made money off of them, but I don't. To me, that would make it a job, and not a side project.

Daishiman 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Have spare time!

If you're spending all day in the office or with your clients you're going to be burned out and you won't have the energy to get down and dirty into the denser parts of your own project.

Be religious about setting aside your own time

richardw 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I tweak my motivation setup, but for me, currently:

1) http://thinklegend.com/commit/ - I have "do 30 min X project per day", which isn't much but usually the hard part is starting. It's easy to kick out 30 minutes work, feel good and add a link to the chain.

2) Yesterday I itemised a bunch of push and pull factors about my current job and my side project. We regularly build amazing things for customers but forget to do what's important to us. We get caught up in "urgent" and forget about "important".

3) Startup podcasts. In the absence of a mastermind (Anyone else in Johannesburg?) they keep me in the mindset of building. They're like a small daily escape into a world of possibility. I listen while driving, so after the work-day drudgery I'm reminded of what I'm working towards.

tfb 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The best kinds of side projects are the fun ones. When you really enjoy working on something, you really don't need to "stay motivated".

I love to code and I love to build things, and I would lose my sanity if there was only one thing I ever worked on. Plus, one of the best things about side projects is that there's usually no pressure to really get it done, so when I load my workspace for a side project, I'm always excited to get started, because I know nothing really important depends on it. And unsurprisingly, I've learned so much from random fun stuff on the side that I would never have learned otherwise.

fsloth 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've come to strive for what I call the minimum overhead principle. If I have a project going on I make it as easy as possible to continue (editor open, pad and paper at hand etc) and try to do at least a few minutes per day. Sometimes it's only those few minutes and sometimes I can get a few hours in. And those add up.

For personal software projects I've discarded all engineering principles and do what I would call structured hacking. Everything is neat and tidy but only up to a point that it lets me progress swiftly.

philip1209 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Lots of great answers here. One I don't see is to work with somebody else on the project. Holding yourself accountable to somebody else can be a lot more motivating. In addition, it's hard to get a pat on the back from an end user for doing some things, like unit testing or setting up an LLC, but with a parter these baby steps seem more significant.

If you choose to work solo, bring in a friend - preferably who is working on their own side project - to mentor you. Try scheduling work time together or swapping expertise (e.g. design feedback or code review). I worked on a project in parallel with a friend's project, and we did IDoneThis updates to each other every day. That accountability helped to motivate both of us, and rather than give up when we got stuck, we had somebody to talk through issues with.

An organizatoinal tip is to set up a personal kanban and break everything that you are doing into tasks. Jumping into a large project that takes months can seem like a neverending tunnel, but being able to see incremental progress in terms of completed cards every day can be motivating. When you start to lose focus, look back at the cards and see what you are supposed to be working on or pick another card.

Finally, don't lose sight of the end user - build something that people love, and keep dialogue with your customers before you launch the product. Get feedback, shadow them, identify pain points, grab coffee - a project become a lot more real when you humanize the end user.

Good luck!

jokoon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I guess that when I want something better that doesn't exist, the only possibility is to just make it instead.
ryanmk 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I use Beeminder.com to stay motivated. They have githun integration, which helps.
jseliger 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Enjoy them. A lot.

Figure out how / when / where you're going to release them, and work towards that moment.

vayarajesh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have too faced demotivation when it comes to side-projects. Until recently (64 days to be exact) I have started spending my morning's first 3 hours on my side projects.. and these side projects are not to make any extra pocket money.. but just that it is interesting and I get excited to learn something new while doing something which is interesting.

I get motivated even more seeing the github streak (github.com/rajeshvaya) and it a very small measure which helps me going as well.. everyday for past 64 days I have made sure I spend my first 3 hours of my morning time (even on weekends.. I make sure I get up early)

after you get this initial start it is kind of self-motivating which will keep you moving forward.

What i think is just 2 important things to get this:

1. Work on the projects which interest you and not because other people think its cool or just to make little amount of money

2. Try to spend first few hours of morning on your side project rather than ad-hoc amount of time and different time-span of day. Keep it regular, same time just like gym

balloob 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Work on something you like. Don't care about money or fame.

Use your side project as your playground to learn new things by doing mini projects within your side project:

- Want to learn about testing? Add test coverage. - Want to learn about webcomponents? Find a way to integrate it.

You don't have to finish all the mini projects. Dropping something is fine, you still have the experience and knowledge!

What really helped for me in keeping steam is publishing the source of my side projects on GitHub. The idea that someone else uses your code is very satisfying. Once some traction comes, the pull requests and issues start coming in and it gets even more fun.

And when you get bored? No problem, just switch to a different side project or think of a new mini project.

swayvil 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What keeps me going is the awareness that my project is worthwhile. It's got science fiction level worthwhileness. Ya, that sums up the motivation source right there.

I do it right. I take my time. Spend much time thinking about the next step. Draw and stuff. Spent like 12 years experimenting with different geometry games. Looking for the one that feels right.

I have this stack of project sketchbooks. Sometimes I look at the stack and think "I'm nuts".

The final climax seems close.

Sometimes I wish a bunch of enthusiastic highschool kids would take my project over, but not quite yet.

Also there's bucks in it. It's got material worth.

noobermin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I've found that it helps me when I get feedback, like I finish some major functionality or feature, I feel fantastic when I see it work and during my working time, I think about that feature and can't wait to get back to it. When I stop in the middle where there is no discernible change or a feature is not fully implemented, when it passes my mind during work or free time, I think about how broken it is, and I feel like I'm heading back to a broken bike, which is not too exciting.

It's hard, especially when a particular feature needs days/weeks of effort. For that sort of thing, you just need to persistent, I guess.

aaronbrethorst 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Make something that can be built and deployed before you get bored[1]. Once you start attracting users, it's easy to keep going on it.

[1] Which may mean that the MVP takes a day to build, or the project is something that will be sufficiently useful for you that you can work on it for six months without getting bored.

Spearchucker 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been working on mine (bit.ly/1rqJ0NG) for over 7 years. There are a few things that keep me going -

- The first is that while I've been using it (or a version of it) for about 5 years, there are a lot of features I want that are still missing.

- Second is wanting to see it through. There are loads (over 20) of unfinished apps in my \Dev folder. I think some of them are epic ideas, but decided to focus on one and see it through.

- Third is to make some cash. That's a nice to have, and I'm ok with it not making anything, because of reason 4 -

- I love working on it. It's rewarding like nothing else is. I once told a friend (quite seriously) that solving some hard problem in it was better than sex. He told me I was doing sex wrong. Maybe... but I can stare at a piece of code for ages after writing it, if I think it's good. Narcissistic, I suppose, and probably deluded, too. But there it is.

- Fifth, and last, I've learnt more from it than any other (single) project I've ever done - privately or professionally. Not just code, the cloud, document v. relational v. graph dbs, but also the not-so-great value of TDD, the value of DevOps, and arguably the most important, the value of just not accruing technical debt, ever, at all. If you gave me another minute I'll think of a million other things it taught me.

Jonovono 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Because I make things I WANT TO USE!! I'm not making them to put on my resume, or to show people, I'm making things that I actually want to use and they don't exist yet and they would make my life better/easier/whatever. Sometimes I show others and they like them because if I want something made generally there are others that want something like that as well. But sometimes I don't release them as well. But I find that to keep me motivated.
gabemart 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It obviously depends on the type of side project, but if you can find users, that can be a big motivator to keep on working. Getting emails from people who enjoy your work is very effective at motivating you to continue.
ChuckMcM 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Like others here, if I lose steam on one, I switch to another. The novelty effect is real. To support switching though I have to use a notebook. As I get to the point where a project is feeling more drag than energizing, I write down everything about it that I have in my head at that point into my notebook. Then I find another project I had left in that state, read the page(s) on it, and spin it up.

Still, my biggest problem isn't losing steam its simply too many choices. I need to get better at deciding I'm not going to do a project and putting it down for good.

xanderstrike 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Ship quick and get users. My passion project [1] started as a weekend endeavor, I started hosting it on campus at school immediately and the users began rolling in. Now it's got an install base of about 5 that I know of and a userbase in the hundreds (it's popular with the VPN and darknet crowds). Having other people besides me who care about the project is the sole thing that has kept me interested and pushing. Just make sure to sell your project hard to your friends and family, and make sure that you never stop being a user.

For things that are fun to make but nobody would want to use, beats me. Those things I usually play with until I run out of steam, at which point I figure I've learned what I'm going to learn from them and move on.

1. https://github.com/XanderStrike/caketop-theater

rwallace 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The solution I eventually arrived at after many years: Don't start any more side projects. Save my energy for my primary project.
robot 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The greatest motivator is to think about the end result. This applies to other will-power consuming objectives like losing weight.

You should think about what you will achieve in the end. Especially if the side project is one that you can make use of yourself, the effect is even bigger since you will have immediate benefits from the outcome.

chipsy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Combine more projects into the same codebase. With games this is easy - make a "multicart" game that has more than one game in the same program.

Once that is done, you always have the whole portfolio of unfinished-yet-related things sitting there. If you can't work on any of them, you start a new one, but eventually you hit the point where you can see that you're just redoing an old one. You don't get stuck on overengineering it because the context of it is already as a small part of a whole. If one of them proves to be a really good idea and more deserving of attention, you chop it out of the original context.

gcz92 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Talk to people about it. Get continuous feedback. I find that by discussing it with friends or family I get re-energized
reboog711 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I imagine the money this new crazy idea is gonna bring in; and how I'm going to use that 'windfall' to fund the new crazy idea I can't stop thinking about..

I have yet to have one of 'side' projects make me rich enough to fund my next side project, though... Really the side projects just keep me fresh and expose me to new technologies concepts in a way that I would not get from client work.

zeeshanm 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Do as little work as possible. And deploy as much as possible.
sgold515 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a Big Board in my room with my goals listed. It helps when you visually reinforce yourself.

Also I have a physical calendar in my room. I want to go to the gym 70% of days in the year so cross a day off each time I do cardio/lift. I stole this technique from Jerry Seinfeld who used it for writing jokes :)

aberrant 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It's good to always have a problem in mind from that side project. It might get a little tricky trying to balance that problem in your head with your day job problems, but doing so may help keep up the steam.
chvid 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I try to remind myself that it is in the last part of a project (the 80% effort that appears only giving 20% of the result) that I truly learn something.

Not finishing projects is a really bad habit, even for side-projects. Try to set a goal of at least publishing your project in some meaningful form - maybe it is just a blog or a forum posting.

Also be careful of vetting your ideas before you start. Make notes, paper prototypes, drawings or something that allows you to better reflect on and filter your ideas.

lholden 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh... I also find that consistency to be very important. Rather than randomly using free time... Pick a day or two of the week and block out a bit of time for the project. This gives you a reason to not just procrastinate.
jbrooksuk 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I build things that I need, so the act of me fulfilling that need is enough for me to carry on.

Unfortunately I don't always have enough time to push code every day, but that doesn't mean I can't answer emails, add items to Trello and be active in the Gitter chatroom etc.

For those interested, I'm currently working on Cachet, an open source replacement for StatusPage.io (https://github.com/cachethq/cachet)

Today I created a CrowdIn project for translating the language files into other languages :)

justinzollars 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Pure determination. I work more hours than any person should, or that is even healthy but I do not want to go to my grave having not fulfilled my dream and personal goal of having a company of my own.
yamalight 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Do interesting projects? If it's boring, I usually don't do it (unless it's some sort of educational project I picked to learn new tech, but those tend to be pretty short)
jmtame 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I've recently started sending my todo lists to my friends and asked them to do the same. The progress I've made is substantial. Tasks I haven't finished in years were done in a week, and I finished significantly more work than I set out to do. One of my side projects which has been sitting idle for over a year will be finished this weekend.
yarrel 9 hours ago 0 replies      
1. I stop working on them when they aren't fun, interesting or rewarding.

2. I structure them in sprints.

3. I have a clear life cycle for them (plan, implement, promote, evaluate) that feeds into 1 and 2 .

This means that it always feels possible and rewarding to work on projects. Hack your limbic system! ;-)

ThomPete 10 hours ago 0 replies      
You prioritize it. If you don't want to prioritize it you are working on the wrong project.

It doesn't matter if it's two our daily or two days a month. If you are working on something you like you will prioritize it.

So don't be afraid to kill a project that you don't want to prioritize.

DennisP 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I was having trouble staying motivated. Now I've quit my job and motivation magically appeared :)
cheng1 9 hours ago 0 replies      
For me, it's desperation.

I have nothing else to do nor I'm likely to achieve anything else.

dsl 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I owe my career, and as a result my means and lifestyle to the Internet. In turn I like to do things to fix the Internet and make it better for everyone else.

It also helps me to work on things that I think really matter. For some people that is building an easier to use templating engine. For me, it's building security and reliability.

Bahamut 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In my free time, I mostly do whatever I feel like, so I experiment on random projects - I don't necessarily care whether I finish them, but I have fun and learn new things.
joelrunyon 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Find something interesting. If you find something interesting, you'll find a way to keep picking at them.
imkevinxu 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I have 2 criteria for picking an idea I actually want to work on:- One is how many days consecutively am I still thinking about the idea without forcing myself- Second is even if no one uses it and everything about it's progress is shitty, will I still want to keep working on it?
itake 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Keep your side projects simple so you can get that dopamine reward with every launch/update.
weka 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I do things that truly I am passionate about. I don't work on side projects because it's "popular" or it's an easy dollar but because the topic they are concerning are ones I actually care about.
andersonmvd 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Progress is the best motivator dude. Check out the power of small wins: https://hbr.org/2011/05/the-power-of-small-wins
neaanopri 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If I've invested a lot of time into something, then I feel invested in the project to go through some minor pain.

If i'm willing to endure major pain, it's no longer a side project.

jonmrodriguez 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Turned the side projects into a company.
sagivo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a side project. You have to want it or choose another one.
aakilfernandes 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Use a technology that you would like to learn instead of a technology you already know. If you lose motivation in the project, you at least have the motivation of learning a new skill.
briandear 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Simple: I do my 'real' job and then I am reminded why I don't want to work for other people. That's insanely motivating. For example, if your boss has some project and design which which you disagree and you're powerless to improve it -- that's great motivation to do it the 'right' way on your own project. My side project work is often passive aggressive responses to my employers.
bra-ket 1 hour ago 0 replies      
find a buddy
j_lev 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Remind yourself of the alternative ie working in a company pumping out lines of code for the rest of your life for a salary.
fak3r 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"How do you stay motivated to work on side projects?" By going to work everyday.
bbody 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I always choose something that I am really passionate about and try to limit how many side projects I have.
kelukelugames 12 hours ago 1 reply      
By not having kids.

Not over working at day job.

Kenji 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Coffee. Loads of coffee.
dkopi 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Get paid for them. Have a client that actually needs them.
lotusko 6 hours ago 0 replies      
by learning foreign language
Mz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe part of the problem is your framing: "pushing code."

My projects don't involve writing much code, but there are always different things I can be working on. I can be working on the visual look of the website. I can be working on firming up my definition of what the project is about. I can be working on talking to people and recruiting prospective audience members. Etc.

If pushing code is turning stale, what other thing can you do to further the project? Those other parts matter and you may be more able to address some other piece of it at some point where "pushing code" is the last thing you feel like doing.

Ask HN: What are some startups working on big problems in the developing world?
106 points by refrigerator  1 day ago   63 comments top 41
cinjon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Endaga: http://www.endaga.com/

"We built the first community cellular network in a rural village in Papua, Indonesia, in early 2013, with support from USAID and the Blum Center for Developing Economies. That first network is still running today, and today we continue to add new networks, constantly bringing connectivity to new users and communities worldwide."

Haven't met the rest of the team, but the CTO, Shaddi, is an awesome guy.

diafygi 1 day ago 3 replies      
Electricity is generally seen as going the way of telecommunications where it will skip a wired grid and go straight to wireless (in this case, distributed solar). Here's three startups I know are trying to make distributed energy happen in developing world:

1. http://angazadesign.com

2. http://powerhive.com

3. http://sunfunder.com

vikp 1 day ago 0 replies      
TulaLens -- http://www.tulalens.org

Yelp for low-income people in the developing world. They just did a pilot in Hyderabad (India), and helped pregnant women living in slum areas discover hospitals around them offering better, cheaper care then they were receiving elsewhere (some were having to pay bribes to get care at government hospitals).

markessien 1 day ago 3 replies      
http://Hotels.ng. 10,000 hotels in Nigeria and none of them online till we added them. Done 6000, another 20k or so left to go across the continent.
gilesrhysjones 1 day ago 1 reply      

We have addressed every 3x3m on the planet with 3 common words. More memorable, faster and less errors than alphanumeric systems. Currently in 8 languages with more including Swahili & Arabic coming. This could mean an address for the 4 billion unaddressed, as well as water points, schools, managing disease outbreaks.

More here: Vimeo.com/what3words/about.

I work for what3words.

AdamN 1 day ago 2 replies      
OkHI is funded, has a great team and is rolling in Kenya:


Their mission is to give everybody in the world an address. Something that people in the West take for granted, but isn't available for most of the globe's citizens. This is also a major opportunity business-wise of course and if I could invest, I would.

covercash 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd say YC darling http://watsi.org is a prime example of this! They're certainly one of my favorites in this space.
pandler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out Eyenetra. http://eyenetra.com

I'm not directly associated, but one of my friends was an early employee who worked on some of the early prototypes and helped set up a location in India. They make a cheap (a few thousand dollars vs tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars) and compact (Read: portable) eye-exam device that interfaces with a smartphone for its camera and processor. Think of a traveling doctor bringing eye exams to patients in remote villages. Pair that with some of those cheap adjustable glasses (http://www.ted.com/talks/josh_silver_demos_adjustable_liquid...) and you've got a means for providing first-world eye care to the rest of the world.

I think the company is still based in Cambridge, MA.

mhoad 1 day ago 0 replies      
I actually moved to Kenya to help a friend setup a business there this year and had the good fortune of becoming involved with a number of NGOs of various sizes. One of the smaller startup style ones I was working with was http://www.earthenable.org where they are directly trying to bring down the child mortality rate dramatically by finding a really cheap and affordable way to ensure that families in Rwanda no longer have to live on a dirt floor (super prone to a lot of horrible diseases). They have some of the most impressive people I've ever met working on that project I seriously couldn't recommend them enough.
toufka 1 day ago 0 replies      
An open-source data collection system (census, health, economic, anything...) using apps on the ubiquitous non-smart phones: https://opendatakit.org/
syedkarim 1 day ago 0 replies      
Outernet https://www.outernet.isWe're building a global broadcast data service to provide a basic level of news, information, and education for all of humanity.
poppingtonic 1 day ago 2 replies      
Bitpesa: http://bitpesa.co

Based in London and Nairobi, they've built a Bitcoin-based service that enables migrants & expats to send money quickly and safely back to their relatives (called remittances in FinTech parlance). I'm not directly associated with them, but we've met many times at Nairobi's monthly Bitcoin meetup.

ratpik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out Jana Care. http://janacare.com

The company is building a mobile based care platform for patients with diabetes or at risk of diabetes along with a Square equivalent device for diagnostics. While cost is one of the issue for patients, it is not the only one. Quality of care varies significantly across a city and the moment you step outside a major city, there is little to no specialized care for chronic conditions that need some form of training for managing the condition. A mobile phone with some form of internet connectivity is ubiquitous these days. So leveraging that to reach as many people as possible makes sense. There are over 80 million people with diabetes in India and another 80 million are expected to develop it over the next decade or so. Add to this the costs and quality of life of patients who have to suffer the complications (kidney failure, amputation, etc), and any improvements that can be made to these numbers with technology is worth the effort and makes business sense too.

The problem isn't India specific. China, US, Europe and the Middle East have similar or higher prevalence rates. It is just that India makes sense as a place to start doing things.

It's been a few years that we have been working on this. We mostly operate out of Bangalore but we have an office in Boston too. Feel free to drop by!



rtcoms 1 day ago 0 replies      
Milaap Social Venture https://milaap.org

It is like Kiva , but we crowdfund loans mainly for basic needs of people eg. sanitation(build toilets), water connection, education, enterprise development, energy (solar connection in remote areas) in India

Recently we launched a platform for crowdfunding donations for causes and social initiatives. https://milaap.org/open

Disclosure : I work at Milaap as a senior developer

tomgruner 1 day ago 0 replies      
We are working on T160K https://t160k.org/ which is crowdfunding sustainable and meaningful development in Africa by focussing on arts and culture. Another goal of the project is to promote a positive and vibrant image of African culture through our campaigns and messaging. One of our projects that initially got me excited about the idea is the Timbuktu Libraries in Exile https://t160k.org/campaign/libraries-in-exile/
afarrell 1 day ago 0 replies      
A friend of mine just joined Wave, building A tool for migrants to more reliably sending money back to their families : http://www.sendwave.com/
caser 1 day ago 2 replies      
Engage Spark - http://www.engagespark.com/

Started by a serial entrepreneur from Boston, right now they're building tools to help NGOs reach people in abject poverty, and they have some really big ideas for the future.

They're based in the Philippines and actually are currently looking for developers to come over on 6-12 month fellowships to experience life there and contribute to the core product. If anyone is interested, I can link you to the relevant posting.

(not affiliated, just think what they're doing is awesome)

kevinburke 1 day ago 0 replies      
Segovia is trying to make it easier for governments and NGO's to administer cash transfer programs. It's spun out of GiveDirectly (which is on Givewell's top rated charities list).

I met the team, pretty strong, might have worked for them but they didn't want engineers working remotely (they're based in NYC).


andygcook 1 day ago 1 reply      
Matternet - drone delivery network for small packages like medicine in the developing world where travel infrastructure may not exist.


a_lubling 1 day ago 0 replies      
Vayu - http://vayu2.brace.io/

My friend is the founder, working in Ann Arbor with an amazing group of aeronautical and electrical engineers, medical researchers, and others. They're building hardened VTOL drones to take medical supplies, samples, tests, back and forth from hospitals to rural India. They have a great team and deep relationships with the NGO and health sectors in India.

rickyci 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://getmobilewise.com/ Mobile Wise is establishing a corps of Tech college graduates and young professionals who commit 6-12 months to empower citizens in developing countries on Digital Capability and we then provide employment opportunities to our fellows. We're currently running a pilot in Ivory Coast with the backing of Microsoft, promising so far!
okhudeira 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pangea (http://gopangea.com) is looking to help the underserved communities send money. Generally, remittances are from high GDP to low GDP countries.

Pangea was part of the first class of Impact Engine (http://theimpactengine.com/), a for-profit social venture accelerator originally run by Chuck Templeton (found of Open Table).

kiril-me 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lookify.co http://www.lookify.co

Is search platform (as a service) for e-commerce websites to boost on-line sales through a complete and manageable integration. We are providing Amazon search experience for small/medium e-commerce web site. With advanced UI components and analytics.

The company is base in Riga, Latvia

darrenkopp 1 day ago 0 replies      

We're working to help aid and development organizations gain better insight into how effective and where donor money is going, monitoring and evaluating organizational goals, and aggregating raw data into useful reports for both the organization and donors.

wudf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jola Venture with ties between Boston and Cameroon is working on bringing modern innovations to rural and impoverished communities. They haven't scaled like a "Startup," but they operate like one. http://jolaventure.com
austinwm 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://welldone.org - building a remote monitoring platform to improve the reliability and accountability of rural water infrastructure (for starters). Disclaimer: I'm the Executive Director of WellDone.
asmosoinio 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gecko Landmarks - makes location based services work where addresses are not available and people cannot read maps. Basically a reverse geo-coding service that work everywhere and for everyone.


pcthrowaway 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think it would be considered a startup, but Ushahidi is a global nonprofit worth looking into: http://www.ushahidi.com/mission/
valyats 1 day ago 0 replies      
My friends' startup, Globein.com, connects artisans from the developing countries into a global economy. Kind of like Etsy, but for craftsmen from poor countries.
kal00ma 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ona http://company.ona.io solves data collection problems for development organizations. Current clients are the WHO, UNDP, HNEC - Libya, World Bank, and UNICEF.
csharpminor 1 day ago 1 reply      
TechChange (http://techchange.org) is building an online learning platform for training aid and non-profit workers in the developing world.
sahpa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finfo Technologies - is a web-based platform which provides company intelligence and fundamental data on publicly listed entities in Africa.


sehr 1 day ago 0 replies      
unclesaamm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some interesting work coming out of the contractor space with IST research (http://istresearch.com/our-work/)
MistahKoala 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm wondering if there's anything along the lines of 'Startups* Without Borders'?

*Or 'Innovators' or 'Technologists', if you prefer.

balachandran_c 1 day ago 0 replies      

GramVaani provides crowdsourced news and other ICT4D services to the underserved.

kardan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Akvo - http://akvo.org

Akvo helps people bring international development to life, online.

lmg643 1 day ago 0 replies      
Driptech - http://www.driptech.com/

ultra low-cost irrigation systems

fireismyflag 1 day ago 0 replies      
Saving this awesome thread for future reference.
redmattred 1 day ago 1 reply      
shermablanca 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas to HN
491 points by lateguy  2 days ago   107 comments top 65
tfb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas, everyone. I tend to lurk a lot, but this is one of the few programming communities where I don't expect to be met with negativity and condescension every time I post something. And beyond that, just reading everyone's discussions has easily helped shape me into the person I am today. Thanks for the past few years and many more to come!
jobposter1234 2 days ago 1 reply      
And a jolly Festivus to the Restuvus!
patio11 2 days ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas guys. May you and yours be blessed with peace, prosperity, and happiness, today and always.
aragot 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read HN since 3 years. I've created my startup 1.5 year ago. I think that says it all. Oh and I had revenue from day 70, currently cash-flow-positive, and I've taught a lot of people what bootstrapping means. Thank you, community.
yzzxy 2 days ago 2 replies      
This seems as good a place as any to point this out: take a look at the numbers on the frontpage.
zura 2 hours ago 0 replies      
! from Georgia
ddoolin 2 days ago 0 replies      
HN. Thanks for all the insights, day in and day out. Love ya.
xantronix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gleileg jl!

To get a jumpstart on my New Year's resolution, time to air some grievances (with myself)!

1. Dammit Xan, when are you going to finish up those unit tests for tnzer? You're holdin up the actual 0.1 release!

2. I can't believe you haven't started implementing your bytecode VM yet! Are you waiting on a freaking miracle, or just piddling until you figure out whether you want to make classes and functions defined at object code load time, or have opcodes for registering classes and functions at runtime?

I can't go home until I wrestle myself in this year's Feats of Strength and get code for my VM, birchvm, up and running.

vanwilder77 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you! Merry Christmas to all of you :-)

And thank you for being a big part of my small world :-)

rameshkamaraju 1 day ago 0 replies      
HN is very informative and boosts the confidence of readers in their respective areas of working. I wish all HN contributors to include articles which will be of interest to professionals in all walks of life.
hilti 2 days ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas and thanks for being with me every single day in 2014.
racktash 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas! I've thoroughly enjoyed lurking at HN for the last year. Looking forward to another year of interesting articles!
dataminer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas to you as well.
jen729w 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the few places left where comments are worth reading. Thank you, all, and Happy "whatever makes you happy". :-)
JayEs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas everyone!


boo1ean 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas!I share with you my santa hat! http://santahat.me
shrig94 1 day ago 0 replies      
HN is the reason I'm a reasonably good programmer. Happy Holidays everyone!
s0l1dsnak3123 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Nollaig chridheil agus bliadhna mhath r" from Scotland.
midhir 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nollaig shona daoibh go lir!
jarcane 2 days ago 5 replies      

  map (\x -> chr (x + 32)) [45,69,82,82,89,0,35,72,82,73,83,84,77,65,83,1]

kruk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wesoych wit Boego Narodzenia!

All the best to the community. It's the only place on the Internet where comments are often more insightful than articles :)

syb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Xmas to all of you! It's been a pleasure to read and be influenced by great people and minds. Love to Computer Science!
bvrry 2 days ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas all!
Rygu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Vrolijk Kerstfeest!
alva 2 days ago 0 replies      
4d 65 72 72 79 20 43 68 72 69 73 74 6d 61 73 21
nilkn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas to all from Houston!
binoyxj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas to each one of you here on HN.
noobermin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ungil Kurismas (Palauan)! Probably my favorite post on HN right now. Happy Holidays to all.
Nib 2 days ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas!

How about having a little new year party this 31st ?

nickthemagicman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Xmas ya glorious basterds!
joeyspn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Feliz Navidad!
jdhendrickson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas!
Rasmase 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gldelig jul!
vayarajesh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas to you as well
Fizzadar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas HNer's :)
ajankovic 2 days ago 0 replies      
kozlovsky 1 day ago 0 replies      
! :)
asimpletune 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas to you too!
arcticf0x 1 day ago 0 replies      
Happy Holidays! Here to the many more successful years to come!
kshitizrimal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas to you as well
shared4you 1 day ago 0 replies      
! With regards from India :)
lui8906 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas HN!
DiabloD3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas, everyone!
mweibel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Schne Weihnachten :)
yla92 2 days ago 0 replies      
HN ..
cpach 2 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Grav-Mass, folks!
bornabox 1 day ago 1 reply      
Frhliche Weihnachten & feliz natal
masolino 1 day ago 0 replies      
Buon Natale!
ljegou 2 days ago 0 replies      
Joyeux nol :)
adventured 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas all, I hope your holidays are wonderful
lllllll 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bon Nadal!
jodooshi 1 day ago 0 replies      
jonsterling 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lmao at learning computer science, psychology and economics from Hacker News...
tylerpachal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Vrolijk kerstfeest!!
phireph0x 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas!
bliker 1 day ago 0 replies      
Vesel Vianoce!
asmosoinio 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hyv joulua!
thameera 1 day ago 0 replies      
oron 1 day ago 0 replies      
happy xmas and new year !
spikett 2 days ago 0 replies      
many thanks to hn
spikett 2 days ago 0 replies      
many thanks
spydum 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas everyone! Ooh look alternating article numbers in holiday colors! Isn't it amazing what technology can do?? If only it could <blink/> like the olden days
freshyill 2 days ago 5 replies      
All I want for Christmas is the three lines of CSS it would take to make HN responsive.

If that's not possible, I'll take world peace instead.

trendril 2 days ago 3 replies      
The thing I dislike most about the holidays is the erosion of intellectual discussion and infectious somatization even on its few remaining bastions like HN.

Oh, Huxley.

Ask HN: AWS S3 billed us over $1k. What cheaper alternatives do you recommend?
12 points by zeeshanm  16 hours ago   17 comments top 14
davismwfl 14 hours ago 0 replies      
While you might be able to reduce costs through dedicated services, it also means you are going to have to write more code, maintain it and also maintain the machines etc. Don't underestimate that there are significant costs to do this reliably and maintain it over time as things grow. If you do need to do it though, I might suggest trying at least at first to use a csync2 with lsync on linux to manage the distribution of the files across the machines. We use this even in AWS for a site and it works really reliably, quick and was easier then managing a distributed FS.

But before I would go that route I'd probably first try setting up a proper CDN for the images and take advantage of the caching settings so you can reduce your S3 bandwidth charges.

Also, if you don't already have it, I'd also setup some monitoring on your AWS account to give you a weekly update on account charges & usage so you can see what is going on.

willejs 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Set up a cheap CDN (MaxCDN is a good bet as someone else has mentioned) this website will help - http://www.cdncalc.com/this will half your monthly costs.

I would stick with S3 for the origin to start with, setting up a bunch of servers to reliably store and serve data is a pain, and one you should avoid it if you can. On the CDN enable origin shielding, and set TTL of the images to never expire if you can. This will lead to images only to be served once from s3.When they upload, link to the CDN'd asset, it will pre-warm the CDN for subsequent requests.

Without knowing the trends in your traffic, how much data you are storing etc, its hard to give you really good advice.

vitovito 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Host it yourself with dedicated servers in a colocation center.

S3 is expensive for use cases like an image sharing service. Running your own servers with dedicated, unmetered bandwidth (or at least metered bandwidth in the 20TB+ range) is cheaper.

If 11TB of network transfer is spread out evenly over the month, a 100mbit uplink would handle it with plenty of room to spare. (Your traffic is probably not evenly distributed, it's probably very bursty.)

ddorian43 1 hour ago 0 replies      
runabove(cheap s3 alternative) or soyoustart(cheap 200mbit servers)
andsmi2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a lot of data to transfer. As suggested caching and cloud front. And start figuring out how to pay for it (advertising or charging customers-- I would think with that much data being transferred there should be a revenue stream already to cover $1k a month or perhaps it isn't scalable)
nodesocket 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Setup an origin box (or a few and use a load balancer) running nginx. Then use a CDN (we love MaxCDN) to pull from the origin. Make sure you setup the cache headers right in nginx. Something like:

  location ~* \.(?:ico|js|css|gif|jpe?g|png|xml)$ {    expires 30d;    add_header Pragma public;    add_header Cache-Control "public, must-revalidate, proxy-revalidate";  }

olalonde 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Another option that was not mentioned is to make sure your HTTP server has caching setup properly.
zeeshanm 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for all the ideas. For now we are going to route traffic via cloud front and set cache to almost never expire. We've also compressed images and it looks good so far.
JonM 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps consider an enterprise agreement with AWS? We've saved $large without needing to switch providers just by committing to a minimum monthly volume of data transfer.

Worth seeing the numbers before you invest in dev & operations.

Terretta 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Other suggestions here are good. In the meantime, start saving money instantly by fronting S3 with AWS CloudFront instead of serving images directly from S3.
bhaumik 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Not exactly an alternative but you can get $1000 off by finishing two entrepeneurship courses on EdX.


iSloth 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Go buy some cheap dedicated servers from places like OVH and create your own fairly simple CDN/Hosting. You could easily chop that cost by 70%+

Or is there anything specific in S3 feature that you need replicated?

x3sphere 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd recommend 100TB.com, can even get a box in Softlayer's datacenter from there for $50/extra a month.
hubot 13 hours ago 0 replies      
CDN would help a lot in this case and is a lot cheaper.
Spreading a little Christmas job-hunting hope
132 points by throwawaybcporn  2 days ago   75 comments top 29
jarsin 2 days ago 5 replies      
I wouldnt worry about getting passed up by the bigger companies. Everyone knows their interview processes are highly dysfunctional jokes. Then most startup companies copy them because they all think they are going to be the next google etc.

My last interview at amazon went like this:

Stupid trick coding question over the phone that I did not understand at all. Followed by 3 memorization questions. followed by one question I felt was valid and i know i got it right.

I was being interviewed for a specific product that was right up my ally. I could literally build what they had built easily, but they never once asked questions related to the product or my experience.

I looked at the product a year later and basically nothing has been done to it.

cj 2 days ago 3 replies      
Congrats on the new job!

> I suffer from crippling anxiety [...] foggy Xanax brain.

Consider asking your doctor about propranolol.

It's a safe, non-addictive beta-blocker often used to treat high blood pressure, but it also eliminates the peripheral nervous system response to anxiety, the "fight-or-flight" adrenaline rush feeling: racing heart, shortness of breath, inability to concentrate, shaking, sweaty hands, blushing, etc.

It doesn't effect your mental anxiety, but it'll cut out all of the physical symptoms, which makes the mental anxiety much easier to control, without creating any sort of brain fog.

mgkimsal 1 day ago 2 replies      
A lot of software companies seem to have a set of conflicting beliefs.

1 Iterative/agile software development. YAGNI. Build the bare minimum, then iterate when you learn more.

2. Hire slow, fire fast.

A really agile org would be hiring fast too. Now... I know a lot of this has to do with labor laws - hiring an actual employee brings extra baggage. And in the US at least, more people may want to be employees for reasons like health insurance.

Even with those considerations, companies should be bringing on more short term contractors, and the ones that work out stay longer. The ones that don't, for whatever reason, move on.

The same teams that will say "YAGNI, just build XYZ, ship it, etc" - iow, just get stuff out the door - will hem and haw and take forever looking for a perfect candidate that, in reality, doesn't even exist.

It's early in the morning, this sort of makes sense in my head, but I may not quite be making sense. But it's still a seeming conflict that bugs me.

mgkimsal 1 day ago 3 replies      
Maybe the lesson here is "quit trying to get jobs at tier 1 name brand companies". There are, by definition, only 500 companies in the Fortune 500. There are hundreds of thousands of smaller companies around the country that could use your skills.
wallflower 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats! Good luck!

Re crippling anxiety - I highly recommend improv classes.

raverbashing 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the job market is eating itself up.

This year I sent tons of CVs, very few responses, a lot of technical tests, some interviews where "you don't fit the profile"

Companies usually like me when I start working for them, but to "cross the chasm" is hard.

fichtl80 2 days ago 0 replies      
So many sad recruiting stories ...

Some thoughts/tipps: Start your interview with: "I happy to be here ... am really nervous, i couldn't sleep last night." ... that removes questions marks in recruiters had about your eyes.

Don't tell em about xanax, better, don't use it.

@pookieinc 3+ years are not impressive ... i code for 15 years and possibly the guy who are you talking about your job too ... so don't behave like the god of coding.

@pXMzR2A 270+ job applications ... hmm your resume must be shit or you apply for jobs you are not qualified for ... i would love to see it, there must be a major bug in it :)

... and btw. congrats and merry christmas

kolbe 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations. Regarding the crippling anxiety: I was the same way from college until a couple years ago. I couldn't, for the life of me, get a good night of rest on the nights before an important event. But simply changing up my diet[1] fixed that problem very quickly. It's worth a shot for you to look into doing that. I know how destructive and terrible it feels to be unable to rest properly.

[1] Specifically, I cut out wheat and corn altogether, reduced my carbohydrate intake to less than 50g a day, and never ate anything with added sugars.

pXMzR2A 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't suffer from anxiety.

In the last 8 months, I have submitted 270+ job applications, received 3 interviews, got rejected by all three, none of which were high reputation companies.

Great to hear you had a success! :)

pookieinc 2 days ago 4 replies      
JS + Ruby/Rails dev here w/ 3+ years experience under belt. Currently looking for job myself and have been for about 3 months. Funny how, like OP, my resume and exp. is "very impressive", yet it doesn't lead anywhere, not even to a phone interview sometimes.

I'm attempting the numbers game approach (apply for 100 companies, 5 will get back to you, select from those 5), but I've hit the edge of: what if there are none that are willing?

Thanks for the luck, will keep banging head against wall until a job is found. Happy holidays!

esonderegger 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations! It sounds like you've landed somewhere really good.

Thank you for reminding us not to give up. A lot of your story sounded familiar, although you were way more persistent than I was. I'm 33, and recently got rejected from two different bay area "dream job" companies after making it through several phone rounds in order to fly out for in-person interviews. The more recent of which, I got nervous the night before and only got three hours of sleep. The hardest part of that rejection was wondering "what if" I had been just a little bit sharper.

After the second rejection, I accepted a position with a small defense contractor near my home in Washington DC. The bureaucracy and mindless restriction are sources of endless frustration. The combination of billing by the hour and a long commute leave very little time and energy for keeping up the job search.

Reading your story reminds me I have very little to complain about. Thank you for posting. I'll use some of this time off to send out some more applications. Hope you have a great Christmas and good luck once the new job starts!

harpb 1 day ago 2 replies      
tl;dr: There are lot of opportunities for software engineers!

6 weeks ago, I left my job and here's my share of the search experience. 1 week after leaving the job, I got a cold email by a company who is 25-min drive away in Foster City. I did initial call with the HR on Dec. 1. On Dec. 2, I did my first phone interview. I was asked to rate my competency in Python and JavaScript on the scale 1-10. Then the interviewer asked me questions that were targeted at that level. I did badly, but not horribly, with the Q/A on technical parts and ok on some of the basic ones. On Dec. 3, I did second phone interview, which went great in the first half and badly in the second half. In the later part, I just started to get nervous and lost my cool. They still felt I was competent, so on Dec. 4 I did a full day of interview. I did 5 different interviews from engineers to CTO and CEO. By the end of the day, I was offered the position @ 135K. This is where you expect the typical ending of me accepting the salary and living happily ever after. Not so fast there, reader. I pressed for higher salary - 25K more than they were offering. They didn't budge and neither did I, so no cigar.

In parallel to interviewing at that company, I also created my profile on Underdog.io. I spent Dec. 5 to Dec. 16 talking with 7 different companies in New York. I saw that their Salary range is lower than in Bay Area so it did not go far.

On Dec. 13, I created my profile on Hired.Me. Since then I have had 5 offers. I have made strong connection with one of the company and will be having in-person interview in a month (I have 3 week family wedding planned in Jan :)).

From my experience, there are so many companies looking for quality engineers. If you are having hired time getting hired, I am open to talk with you. I personally don't pursue working at big companies for the sake of them being big. I am looking for a company where I fit in based on my programming design sense and culturally.

I'm 27/M/Single/SF - so I don't have much constraints as someone who may be older with family or in non-tech savvy part of the county.

br0ke 1 day ago 0 replies      
Grats on the job!

I hear you about the anxiety. I managed to land an interview with nvidia in 2001 and was so nervous that I couldn't eat or sleep for the 24 hours before the start of the interview (then ate lunch with them at their cafeteria and was wolfing food down like an animal). Didn't fare well, but a year later of hunting and working as a substitute teacher, I ended up working with a great team at FedEx for a while and went to being a "computer scientist" at the army research lab after that.

Anxiety is a challenge, but it can be overcome! I'm even in the process of starting with "toastmasters" to get me out of my comfort zone and learn how to be "on" around strangers.

Again, congratulations and thanks for sharing!

zerr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats! And as a side-note, I think it is suitable for persons in your [before-job] situation - to ask for internship or contract-to-hire work instead of direct hiring. We all know interviews suck. And working temporally for 2-3 months would be much more effective (for you and the company) to see if you're a good fit or not.
websurfshop 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a viscous circle with all the rejection. Don't take it personal. We live in a cruel world, but that does not make you less valuable as a person. Jesus loves you. Merry Christmas.
orliesaurus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear a good story on Xmas day :) Well done you!
throwawayTwit 1 day ago 1 reply      
About 7 months ago I interviewed at Twitter, making it through two phone interviews before failing to solve some tricky algorithms questions in the on-site interview. Recently a Twitter recruiter contacted me on Linkedin looking for referrals and I sent him my resume, only to be told that they were looking for people with more experience, despite significantly more relevant experience on my resume.

Is the BigCo interview process just that arbitrary?

imagex 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats, and a very Merry Christmas to you.
ryanicle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations! All the best! More good things to come for you.
Kurtz79 1 day ago 2 replies      
Congrats and best luck for the future.

In a way it's kind of belwildering how radically different seem to be the job hunting experience for many HW users.

You see so many posts like "I had multiple six-figure offers", or "it's impossible to find enough candidates for the position" and then you see posts like this.

jamesturn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just curious, so this is a university staff position or are you enrolling in a business school as a student? Either way, congrats!
hemantv 1 day ago 0 replies      
You should get some help anxiety thing. I have seen people let ego / pride decide. There is no shame asking for help when you need it.
gmoneynj2000 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just what I needed to hear! Thanks!!
Arsenije 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hey man congrats on you new job!I have one keyword for you: "mindfulness". Start practicing it.


ozy123 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Good work! And congrats!
wittedhaddock 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have goosebumps reading this. Thank you so much for sharing. This is meaning.
akclr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck and all the best in the new year!
akeem 1 day ago 0 replies      
ing33k 2 days ago 0 replies      
keep rocking !
Ask HN: Have you already made money off Firefox OS apps?
43 points by proveanegative  22 hours ago   1 comment top
anonbanker 17 hours ago 0 replies      
How many fxOS users are there, approximately? Does anyone have this data?
Ask HN: Your Amazon Glacier strategy with versioning and de-duplication on *nix?
2 points by balladeer  6 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: How do I find web development clients as a back-end developer
4 points by dev-ious  12 hours ago   5 comments top 2
lukastsai 6 hours ago 1 reply      
mackraken 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Get a partner who's a front end dev like me ;)
Ask HN: Introductory programming books for a young kid?
2 points by akbiggs  7 hours ago   2 comments top 2
harveytoro 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Take a look at http://www.codecademy.com and http://code.org/learn

There not books but they are a good place to start.

smt88 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd recommend something interactive instead of a book (if you can find it), since you said he learns quickly through application.

Introductory programming books don't have much to do with reading level. They (should) be based on functional programming principles and require solid understanding of mathematical principles.

That's why, for now, I'd recommend something that helps him build many small projects through examples.

Ask HN: Are Hackers the New Bogeyman?
2 points by rubyfan  8 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: What new or hot technology do you recommend learning?
104 points by toddkazakov  23 hours ago   129 comments top 46
corysama 20 hours ago 1 reply      
http://elm-lang.org is a functional and reactive client-side (js target) language that is still young and getting great very fast. http://pragmaticstudio.com/blog/2014/12/19/getting-started-w... The idea of combining Elm with Elixir or Yesod (Haskell) on the server side seems exciting.

Another interesting project is Snabb Switch. If you want to learn networking at the lowest level and highest speed possible in software, Snabb a great platform for experimentation.

Finally, I'll throw in http://terralang.org. It's not networking related. But, I think it's terribly interesting and not getting any attention.

skrebbel 22 hours ago 3 replies      
Elixir. While Rust and Go get way more exposure lately, they're mostly designed for systems programming. Many more of us do web development, and it's really amazing how fast Elixir has become a very cool and mature environment for developing great web apps.

Elixir is a really cool language, and also a great way to learn functional programming. But more than that, it gets all the non-languagy stuff right. The build system is amazing, your code hot-reloads out of the box, dependency management is very well done (source-only, git-friendly, project-local, etc), the community is very friendly and going fast.

And code scales by default. I might exaggerate here, but sometimes it feels like need to really try to write code that's hard to spread across servers. If you consider it's non-trivial to even use all your CPU cores on Node.js, the Erlang VM will blow your mind.

sparkie 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Kernel is hands down the most interesting language I've used.

The Kernel language is small and simple, yet offers a huge contrast to how you would think about programming in most other languages - namely because other languages have reduced their model of computation to reduction.

Kernel is influenced by the Lisp family, but offers somewhat of a duality to it. In lisp, everything is passed implicitly reduced unless explicitly quoted, then they are passed verbatim. In Kernel, everything is passed verbatim unless explicitly evaluated - the callee then, has complete control over how something is evaulated, rather than the caller. (And consequently, it's trivial to simulate lisp's computational model in it)

Reduction then, is just a special case of a much more general computational model - passing arguments around. Other languages have coupled the idea of argument passing with reduction, such that they need to invent compiler hacks like macros or code generation when it turns out that reduction is not what they want. Or in some cases, we've created languages specifically for template-based programming, where we want to splice bits of code into an otherwise static block of text. Such templates are trivial to do in Kernel.

Another nice feature of Kernel is that of encapsulation types. One can define a new type which consists of a constructor function, eliminator function and a predicate to test for the type - and combined with the powerful information hiding that can be achieved through Kernel's environment model, one can implement sophisticated type systems using very few primitives, and without special compiler support.

threeseed 23 hours ago 2 replies      
The hype for Go/Rust is really just on HN.

If you are involved in data analytics then you could always immerse yourself in the Hadoop stack e.g. Cascading, Spark, Mahout etc. It's a platform that is increasingly become a fixture in enterprise companies and plenty of new technologies. For me the future will be "container driven development" where everything will be deployed as a container and dynamically wired together. Loads of new technologies e.g. Docker, Consul and plenty of challenges still around.

None of what I wrote is around languages/frameworks though mainly because I think that the majority of them won't be really used in 5-10 years.

sz4kerto 23 hours ago 1 reply      
If learning is going to be a hobby, then learn something different (because that gives you perspective), but also something that has some connections to what you already know (because if you learn something part-time, then it's good if you don't need to re-learn all tools, environment, etc.).

I would not care of the 'hot' stuff too much - frameworks come and go.

I'd try some Clojure (you're familiar with the JVM and IDEs, but one should learn a bit of Lisp once in life). Or Scala.

sshillo 22 hours ago 2 replies      
If you don't know python and you're interested in analytics you should solve that.

IMHO you'll become a far better developer if you devote the majority of your time to learning advanced algorithms, ml, and ai as opposed to the new hot framework.

christensen_emc 21 hours ago 0 replies      

On one hand it has a simple ruby-ish syntax and a solid MVC framework (Phoenix).

On the other hand it has immutability, concurrency through processes and message passing (which is awesome!) and a bunch of other functional goodies.

I'm not sure how widely applicable it is now, as it's still in its infancy, but it's the first "hipster" language I've used in a while that felt like it had legs.

jordigh 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Git is not the final word in DVCSes... Take a look at Mercurial, in particular, the Mercurial Evolve feature. It's an innovative way to collaboratively polish commits. Imagine pull requests that could be rewritten with the history of the rewrites being easily accessible as you see them, well, evolve. Evolve is basically a way to record and use distributed meta-history of the editions of your commits. It's like a beefed-up git reflog.
_wmd 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Just as a side comment, the reason languages/tools are fun to learn is because it's usually quite easy to do so. You say you know R, but the depth of packages available for R is insane, and most of it requires a level of math that few possess.

I'd punt on learning a new language and instead master a new skill - up your stats knowledge, force yourself to learn how some algorithm works, whatever,.. these things are all infinitely reapplicable skills, whereas a pretty compiles-to-JS language or prettier-C-derivative generally aren't so much.

childintime 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Whoa! Noone mentions elm (elm-lang.org)?!

There is much brewing in language land. Rust brings a set of ideas that other languages will borrow (pun intended). But..

Elm restarts programming, treating events as lists, and this is how programming will change over the next 5-10 years in a most fundamental way.

Taken together programming is climbing out of the miserable non-composable mess that having been stupid bread-and-butter bit-fuckers have put us in. Elm just leads the pack.

You may not understand its ways, that is exactly because you think being a bread-and-butter bit-fucker is a feature, while it most definitely is not. It is a bug and it infests the code you write, up to the point where unlearning is an unsurmountable effort.

When elm's wave is through, the computer will replace you, and with it children will design much better programs than you do. Please stop making sense now.

eps 23 hours ago 4 replies      
C is a pretty nice language, have a look ;)
Xcelerate 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Nobody's mentioned Julia?! I love this language. I do scientific research and high performance computing and have been exploring this language extensively over the past year. Combined with something like iJulia (iPython), it's a very versatile tool for analyzing and processing data.

It's got a few quirks, but the language designers are improving it rapidly and the number of libraries available for it is increasing drastically.

To name a few features I really like about the language: multiple dispatch, flexible type system (use it if you need performance; ignore it if you want pretty code), powerful macro system, extensive debugging system (instantly view AST, LLVM, and native assembly output to optimize), easy parallelizability/vectorization, and just an overall beautiful language design (unlike C++ or Matlab for instance).

Things I dislike about Julia, but that should be changed soon: unintuitive automatic memory allocations (everything seems to allocate new memory by default which is a pain for tight loops because you have to write layers of functions that all take tons of "output variable" parameters), incredibly slow start-up times, and documentation that leaves a lot to be desired in terms of details (I normally have to call methods() in a REPL to figure out exactly what I need to pass into functions). Also, the module system seems a little more confusing than it needs to be.

manca 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It's good to hear that a lot of people are experimenting with functional languages like Haskell and Erlang, but I think we should step back a little and take a look at C++ and its development over the years.

As you probably know C++11 is already around and majority of compilers already support it. What most people don't know is that C++14 is ready to kick some ass too! It introduces for the first time in C++'s history functions as first class objects and allows you to pass them around as function parameters!I think this is really exciting and I also encourage as many people to take a look at this new and very promising developments of C++ language.

On the other hand, Apple's Swift looks promising too - functional elements, type inference, speed, good compiler and so on. Not to mention it's being used with tons of great frameworks Apple provides for iOS and OS X development. It sure doesn't hurt to take a look into it too.

All in all, it really is an exciting time for us developers. There are really tons of cool tools and languages that allow us to get things done at the speed never imagined before.

Now, we should also look back at the fundamentals and ask ourselves could we design, not only program? That's not the skill you can pickup in couple of days reading bunch of tutorials and forums about your next cool language. I think, learning how to think about particular problem and how to approach it is more important than barely know how to code the first solution that comes to your mind in the new ultra fancy language.Think about it...

colinbartlett 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd recommend learning how to learn. Making learning and curiosity a part of your every day existence will have more of an impact that the latest hot language or framework.
bratsche 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know that it's particularly new or hot, but I've been learning F# and I really like it. With Microsoft open-sourcing .NET Core and Mono getting a lot of improvements from it, I'd love to see this become a viable platform for doing web development on Linux with F# in the future.
ChikkaChiChi 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Get yourself a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and/or a Beaglebone.

You wouldn't believe how much playing around with these units will help to influence your design and development decisions in other areas.

hootwoot 22 hours ago 0 replies      
If your self-admitted problem is that you "have a hard time learning new frameworks that are beyond my work scope", it probably means your experience is deep but narrow.

If that's the case, you don't need to learn a hot/new technology, you need to cast a wide net and get a better grasp on today's software ecosystem in general, until picking up new things is no longer hard.

You could nonetheless kill two birds with one stone if you hacked on something current but wide. Docker and its ecosystems come to mind.

cel1ne 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't know how well you know Java, but look into Reflection and Annotations, it could simplify your development a great deal.

Also: http://blog.paralleluniverse.co/2014/05/01/modern-java/

jpgvm 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Rust is awesome if you want to follow along and see how the bread is made. One of the best things about being involved in Rust since it was announced is being able to recount all the different paths it's taken and the reasoning behind them. It has taught me a lot about good language design, validated and sometimes destroyed some of my ideas about programming concepts and overall provided a great environment for questioning how things work.

I come from a C background however which is a little closer to Rust than Java/Javascript/R but I don't think you would hvae that much trouble if you put your mind to it. Java is a similarly large language if a bit removed from the metal.

marxama 15 hours ago 0 replies      
ClojureScript, along with Reagent (or some other React.js wrapper like Om or Quiescent - I currently prefer Reagent, which has been gaining lots of traction recently), Figwheel and a browser REPL, has really had a lot of impact on how I view GUI development.

I do Winforms development in my day job and I hate it. The feedback loop I have from changing something in the code to viewing it in the application can be a matter of 1-2 minutes (need to compile, start up, login, setup everything to the correct state, etc). Going from that to being able to grow the application in real-time, without ever having to restart/refresh, is amazing, and makes me feel infinitely more productive. Combining it with Cordova to make mobile web apps, where I can deploy once to my phone and then have changes be applied over wifi as I type them into my text editor, is super sweet.

Getting everything set up can be a bit tricky, but https://github.com/plexus/chestnut makes it a whole lot easier.

pmoriarty 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Reading these replies just makes me sad. There's plenty of value in and plenty to learn from older technologies like Lisp, Scheme, Smalltalk, and Forth.

Sure, there's a lot of hype around newer technologies. There's never a shortage of hype. But the glow around virtually all of them will fade, probably sooner rather than later.

Ruby and Python are no longer considered hot and new, but not so long ago they were. Java and Perl had their share of hype back in the day, but the luster has certainly wore off by now.

Too many people involved in the tech field are endlessly chasing the next shiny thing.

freyrs3 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not a hot technology ( read as overhyped ), but if you're in the analytics space and not using Python/PyData tooling then definitely check that out. It's certainly as mature, if not more so than R.
divs1210 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're into analytics and data processing and want to learn something new, I would recommend Clojure[0]+Incanter[1].

Also, check out Cascalog[2]. Data processing on hadoop clusters has never been this simple and fun. Much better than Pig/Cascading/etc.

[0] http://clojure.org/[1] http://incanter.org/[2] http://cascalog.org/

perlgeek 22 hours ago 0 replies      
OpenStack seems to be trending, if you are into the whole cloud thingy.

I've only been in contact with TaskFlow, the state and workflow management library that OpenStack uses, and I'm very impressed how well-engineered it is.

On a related note, OpenStack uses RabbitMQ, and that seems to be trending too. Not a huge hype, but a steady adoption by both open source community and enterprises. And if not RabbitMQ, then being familiar with some kind of asynchronous messaging framework certainly wouldn't hurt.

mamcx 20 hours ago 0 replies      
"There is no wind that blows right for the sailor who doesn't know where the harbor is."

Decide and have clear what is the question, then look for the answer.


For the fun of learn, pick anything you can do and put some time of it. If you are like me, you will read some info about X and and if it pick you interest go ahead.

But without a direction, you will waste time. You will dismiss things that are good and double-focus in things that not..


"I am facing a lot of challenging (which ones?) data analytics and software development problems during the day (which ones?)"

"Data analytics (and his not-famous cousin reports)" is far more about re-shape and clean data than do cool algorithms. The last mille is the easy and the 909% (yep, 909%, not a typo!) is the hard, in opposite to normal development.

Having a clean, well defined schema/database/warehouse/etc is the thing here. Run your super-fancy mathy-thingy on it? Others have solved that!

Most likely, non-normal-dev will have a bigger impact on this kind of jobs, so not just focus in tech.. (and I don't drink the fallacy that your selection of tools not matter. But is also a mistake think that are the only thing that matter).

idlewan 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I recommend Nim http://nim-lang.org/ (the website docs don't look too good at the moment, but this has been fixed for the next version that will be out in a few days).

Nim is an incredibly good language that compiles to C, is fast, and has very easy bindings creation to any C library you want. For me, it's the best of both worlds between a Python look (indented, clean) and a fast typed compiled language that helps you instead of hindering you.

You might be interested in checking it out.

sfrank2147 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm learning Haskell right now and it's great. I don't know how widely used it is in production, but it's introducing me to tons of ideas that are applicable in lots of other languages (e.g., how to do functional programming effectively, how to effectively use a strong type system, how to separate out functions with side effects).
melling 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd pick a type of project then pick a language/framework to learn. I'm not a big believer in learning something something just to learn it. You only get so far. I've got my own library of Haskell, Scala, and Lisp books but until I have something interesting to build, it's hard to maintain momentum. My two current projects are a Go web app hosted on Digital Ocean: http://thespanishsite.com

And I'm learning Swift to incorporate into my iOS apps. I've accumulated over 300 urls for anyone who wants to learn Swift: http://www.h4labs.com/dev/ios/swift.html

amirouche 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I think that functionnal programming is a good candidate. You can learn about it in different situations/languages. It opens the mind about the code and its design by exploring other patterns.

- http://scott.sauyet.com/Javascript/Talk/FunctionalProgrammin... explain how procedure ahem function composition leads to better/more readable code

- datalog is a DSL for querying (recursive/linked data) http://www.learndatalogtoday.org/

- The introduction to Reactive Programming you've been missing https://gist.github.com/staltz/868e7e9bc2a7b8c1f754

finid 19 hours ago 1 reply      
For someone that just started learning how to program about 6 months ago, I decided on Python and R and can write all the basic stuff, but can't write a complete application yet. I've also decided on learning Angular too, but I've not made any serious attempt. And that was after evaluating all the other JS frameworks out there - Ember, Meteor, etc.

Now from reading these comments, it looks like Elm and Elixir are good to learn too.

So the problem facing someone that's just starting out, is what to learn? Where do you start? The options are many and can be confusing.

juliangregorian 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I haven't been as excited about anything in awhile as I am about Mesos. Program against the data center. Distributed by default. Fault tolerant everything. Lower your AWS bill.
popara 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing that I am studying in my spare time are Agda and Haskell.

Haskell gave rise to bunch of strongly typed DSLs both for front-end and backend development.

Agda is sort of derivative of Haskell, and gives you powers to reason MUCH MUCH clearer about your code and what you want it to do.

I have wet dreams of using those languages on my everyday development. Esp Haskell.


When I catch some time I will fiddle with Elixir also mentioned here in comments.

eccp 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Not a specific language, but you should try learning about functional programming (eg. Java 8, Clojure, Scala, Haskell).

Also, if you want a brief overview of different paradigms you should check "Seven Languages in Seven Weeks" (https://pragprog.com/book/btlang/seven-languages-in-seven-we...)

ronreiter 22 hours ago 0 replies      
On the engineering side, I think you should learn concepts such as asynchronous programming, actor based programming and functional programming, and pick a new language (Swift, Scala, Go, Rust, etc.) and learn it.

On the more practical side, I think data science is a very useful tool, so learn everything there is to do with data today, from machine learning and data mining in small scale to big data processing.

z3phyr 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Hack something other than related to computer science and data. John Carmack once taught himself aerospace engineering...
infinotize 22 hours ago 1 reply      
What's recommended for an experienced "back-end" developer who wants to dabble in front end and web development, but never spent much time in it? It seems like there are a million options for web stack components, and a lot of tutorial resources are geared towards total non-developers.
WhyYes 23 hours ago 0 replies      
well since you're using Java/JavaScript/R on a daily basisI would recommend Dartlang. It has futures, awaits/async, enum, SIMD. Works in client and server side. Its also really fast. www.dartlang.org
fit2rule 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Give Lua some love. Learn the language, learn the VM. Learn to integrate it with a set of libraries and so on. Lots of bleeding edge stuff runs on Lua and its a fantastic stack of technology to learn ..
rjberry 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Consider Scala or Clojure. You'll be able to leverage the same libraries you've been using in Java (pretty trivially), while having access to a completely new way of thinking (functional).

I personally prefer Scala as I like strongly, statically typed languages, but I've played about with Clojure and it's very nice, too. A vast number of benefits come from having a rich immutable collections library.

lamby 21 hours ago 4 replies      
As a sub-question, I would be interested if the answer was restricted to frontend frameworks (eg. Backbone/Ember/etc.) for 2015. Thanks in advance.
WorldWideWayne 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You said Javascript but didn't mention Node.js. I would recommend learning Node.js if you haven't done that already, just because it's so darn useful.
Kequc 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Learn Nodejs/Meteor then join the product and help contribute relational database support. Please. Nodejs and persistent connection is a hugely important technology by my estimation which will become popular. Meteor is interesting because it is a full stack of interlocking parts that work together quite well, to lend an interesting new perspective on web development as a whole. However currently it doesn't support relational databases.
moron4hire 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I've always taken the approach to decide on a new concentration to study, and then learn the languages appropriate for that. First time I did this, the concentration was databases, so I set about learning SQL and data design and relational algebra. I wanted to learn more about front end development, so I focused on JavaScript, DOM, and single page applications. Other examples abound. But having a distinct idea of an application I want to build before learning a particular language has always worked out better for me than trying to find an application after reading a language's documentation.
jacques_chester 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Cloud Foundry.

(I'm biased, I'm currently seconded from Pivotal Labs to Cloud Foundry development in the buildpacks team).

It's an opensource PaaS. A full, all-the-stuff-you-need-is-in-there PaaS. You can take it and run it in a private datacentre.

For large companies, this is A Big Deal. Right now, in most F500s, deploying an application takes anything from days to months.

Except if they've installed Cloud Foundry, where deployment time drops to seconds to minutes.

For startups, it will soon be a big deal, because Cloud Foundry gives you a smooth path from just-playing-around (deploy on public cloud with Pivotal Web Services or IBM Bluemix) through to running on AWS (with the opensource distribution or a commercial derivative like Pivotal CF) through to running on your own hardware in your own datacentre.

CF is still evolving fast. The execution core is being rewritten currently and will probably hit feature parity early in 2015, carrying along with it the ability to natively allocate, mount, manage and monitor Docker and ACI container images.

It gets very little buzz on HN, because what interests us is building our own stuff out of cool, smaller components. Plus the main organisations driving development (Pivotal and IBM) have focused their marketing and sales at big companies, not startups.

Systems of this reach and influence basically appear once in a generation. I'd hop on while it's fresh, if I was you.

What new or hot DevOps/SysAdmin technology do you recommend learning?
7 points by ujjain  20 hours ago   5 comments top 5
tete 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe not exactly new, but hot and for sure something you don't want to miss and probably don't know yet:

Learn how your operating system's network stack works, how you can manipulate behavior with sysctls or kernel arguments, maybe dive into stuff like the BSDs.

Also you may want to extend your horizon and get into nginx, smtp, shell scripting, etc., if you don't know them well. All of those offer way more than the basics and things can come in handy.

You might want to go into the field of virtualization, but please don't start out with Docker. Docker is nice, but you really want to understand the basics first (LXC, virtualization in general). There are awfully lot of bad Docker setups, just because it is hot.

Another thing that one can spend quite a while getting into is uwsgi. One can use it for way more than managing Django or Flask applications.

Securing services with SSL is also something a lot of people seem to do wrong, so actually understanding the details of what you do might be something you might want to dig into.

When it comes to DevOp tools you might want to take a look at agent-less alternatives to Puppet (Ansible, Rex, cdist).

Another interesting thing is logging. The Elastic Search/Kibana stack is hot and relatively new (at least the latest/upcoming release of Kibana).

chuhnk 18 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Learn how AWS or GCE works, not just with the command line tool but the APIs too. Fundamentally understand how all the offered technologies can be used together to host a platform for a business. While we still have bare metal and managed hosting, the world is moving to the cloud and your first priority should be to move with it.

2. Extend your skills into managing distributed software such as zookeeper, cassandra, etcd. In a cloud based world, machines can disappear at any time, hell entire Availability Zones can vanish because of an issue with the hosting provider. Fault tolerance is of the utmost importance. Distributed software such as zookeeper and cassandra are normally run in multiple AZs to tolerate such failure.

3. Learn about Docker and container orchestration. Like it or not, containers are the new level of abstraction and you should understand how they work. Knowing how to run a container isn't enough though, you need to understand how to run hundreds of them in an environment, which means some sort of system that handles orchestration. Look into Kubernetes, Mesos and Docker Swarm. All of these are in fairly early stages of public use - Mesos has been battle tested at Twitter for 4-5 years though).

I think these 3 things are really key for any person managing systems now and in the foreseeable future.

include 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Terraform, Ansible, Consul
c4urself 18 hours ago 0 replies      
SaltStack or Ansible
davismwfl 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Which intranet platform is best for startups with 1000+ employees?
5 points by gummify  14 hours ago   7 comments top 4
michaelhoney 8 hours ago 0 replies      
With 1K employees, no one thing is going to provide best fit for everyone. Work out what the internet is for, and realise that you might end up using multiple systems for different uses, and find ways to use them together. That's a good thing, because it means you don't have a single monolithic companywide dependency.
byoung2 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you still a startup when you have 1000 employees?
kstenson 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've not used it personally but the have heard good things about http://www.huddle.com/
nwrk 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure about your requirements, but have heard that MS Sharepoint is suitable for almost everything.
Ask HN: How will immigration laws affect the freelance marketplace?
3 points by chatmasta  18 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: How do you thank the people that changed your life?
6 points by _sunshine_  1 day ago   4 comments top 3
mooneater 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can never thank them "enough". But taking a good moment for a heartfelt thanks, is more than most would do, and all you can do.

I feel the only way to "repay", is to pay it forward (since in general it is unlikely your helper will have the same need as you).

JacobAldridge 1 day ago 0 replies      
Paying it forward is the key to gratitude in this case, so keep it up. It's still nice to acknowledge those who have helped you.

Two weeks ago I did up my list of influential people - it came to 49 names, including some familiar HNers I've never met and some business people I've worked closely with for years. I sent them all an identical 2-3 line thank you email. I didn't see value in personalising it - it's hard to quantify or put into words. And judging by the responses I received, not enough people take the time to do that.

ddingus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just tell them.

Do it in an honest, real way. It can be as simple as, "Hey, thanks! You had a good influence on me." Or, "Man, I would not have made it without you. Thanks."

And mean it. That takes looking them in the eye and speaking from your heart, and they can tell. Special dinner, or treat is optional and fun, but just meaning it, getting their real attention for a moment to say it is what counts the most.

Most people, who are helping others in this way, don't expect much. They do it because it's the right thing to do, and that has it's own rewards.

In my experience as both mentor and having mentors and supporters of various kinds is seeing the other person realize some goal, or see success or just be happy is pretty gratifying.

Know that.

Now, your last paragraph gets right to the meat of the matter, IMHO. Yes, you can't really do enough. This kind of thing isn't about dollars or points, or any other such thing.

It is all about being a good human. When we are good humans, we tend to be surrounded by others who appreciate good humans, and it's catchy too.

So pay it forward. Be a good human when your time comes and feel all that those people you are thankful for do, and then tell them that, and close the loop.

They will very seriously appreciate it, and you will feel damn good about it all.

My .02

Ask HN: What do recruiters do that annoys you?
4 points by rjspotter  15 hours ago   7 comments top 7
edent 14 hours ago 0 replies      
- Spends ages talking about what a great opportunity it is, then switches to "So what are your resourcing needs?"

- Not telling me the name of the employer. I kinda need to know that if I'm to write an effective CV. Or if I want to move to where they're based.

- Emailing my work address. Last think I want is my Outlook to pop-up a notification saying "Thanks for the job application" while I'm presenting to my boss.

- Lying. So many do this - they lie about salary, experience needed, benefits, location, timescales.

There are some good recruiters out there - but a lot of charlatans as well.

pkroll 8 hours ago 0 replies      
When a recruiter told me about an awesome opportunity in Michigan (I live in Chicago), I pointed out that my then-girlfriend probably wouldn't want to move there. His response? "Sometimes when an opportunity presents itself you have to evaluate whether a relationship is helping or hurting you."
andsmi2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Cold call or email me. I'll call you, don't call me.

Linked in to me for no specific reason other than to build network.

Tell me about an amazing opportunity that they then forget about when I reach back out to them.

joezydeco 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Cold-calling my office receptionist (who has caller ID and also works as an EA for my boss) and asking for my extension.
Solsmed 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Sending their first email as a connection request on LinkedIn
kedargj 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Every opportunity they present is awesome
Robinhood stock broker money in account is missing
5 points by mramiller  17 hours ago   2 comments top 2
jacquesm 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I highly doubt HN is the right venue for this. Maybe you should contact the local equivalent of the SEC?

Are you taking into account that markets are closed right now?

ecspike 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Could it be that they do some sort of pre-auth when you try to make a trade? If so, those take a couple days or so to get credited back to your account.
Please recommend a book to read. List for 2015
22 points by m1117  2 days ago   20 comments top 15
pairing 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm really enjoying 7 concurrency models in 7 weeks. I'm about 2/3 through it. It has covered examples in Java, Clojure, and Elixir so far. As someone trying to learn a functional language (Clojure), I've found it to be a great introduction to the concurrency benefits of functional programming.
kr4 2 days ago 0 replies      
I plan to read this:"If Truth Be Told: A Monk's Memoir" http://www.amazon.in/If-Truth-Be-Told-Memoir/dp/9351368068/

"In the 1990s, an eighteen-year-old headed to Australia to realize his worldly dreams. With little money or support, he struggled to survive there. Twoyears later, he was earning an annual income of $250,000; by the age of twenty-six, he was a multimillionaire. Yet, worldly success was merely a way stationon a journey that began years ago. As an eight-year-old, he saw a vision of God in a dream, an experience that left him with a sense of deep joy and peace.The dream triggered off his desire to meet God, to see a manifestation of the Divine. He practised astrology, intense meditation and tantra, yet God wasnowhere in sight. Deeply frustrated, he dived into materialistic pursuits to distract himself from the restlessness within. After years of living the goodlife, he found he could no longer ignore the old restlessness; worldly pleasures just couldnt fill the void within. He moved back to India and finallydid what he had always yearned to do: renounce the world and become a monk. In the Himalayas, in terrifying silence and solitude, Om Swami practised intensemeditation. Death was always close as he confronted starvation, the fierce elements and wild animals. Finally, his sadhana brought him to the ultimate"

wallflower 2 days ago 0 replies      
From Ruby Rogues 184 RR

"JESSICA: Alright. So, I am going to echo one of Gregs picks because it was on my list but for a different reason. Seeing like a State is an amazing book. And I think its drastically changed the way I look at software, not for the same reason as Greg talked about but because it shows why what we do is hard. Seeing like a State talks about all the subtleties of human systems and human interactions at the local context level. It talks about all the improvisation that everyone does on a day-to-day basis and how in real human communities, were constantly changing the system to adjust to a slightly different reality, to corner cases we hadnt seen before but now we have. Its shifting and its not well-defined. And suddenly it makes complete sense that the hardest part of software is figuring out what we want to do. Thats it. Its a great book."


brudgers 20 hours ago 0 replies      
American Soccer Fans: Love Thy Soccer.


147 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just bought 4 books off of Amazon and got them today:

Mathematics: Its Content, Methods and Meaning. Highly recommended overview of math by some HNers so I figured I would check it out.

Venture capitalists at work. I didn't realize there were more "at work" series books other than coders and founders, so this one sounds right up my alley.

Information Rules, a book that's supposedly dated on economics and how it applies to the internet world. Recommended on Chris Dixon's blog and looked interesting. Thought I might get some new insights to bitcoin or something with it.

And Walter Isaacson's new book, the innovators.

icpmacdo 2 days ago 2 replies      
I just started Gdel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter, it's interesting.
Tomte 2 days ago 1 reply      
Rapid Interpretation of EKG's.

Really. It's fascinating. You not only learn how to read EKG's (obviously, after reading the book, you're still not qualified to argue with a seasoned practitioner), but you also learn a lot about how the human heart works.

Much more accessible than I thought.

pizza 2 days ago 0 replies      
Books I imagine will have 'tremendous' (what a prior, lol) effect


Slavoj Zizek's Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism

Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism


William Gibson's Neuromancer

Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought)

asad_ch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any one book?Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan

Any one series?The Foundation series, Isaac Asimov

Other personal favourites include:The Alchemist, Paulo CoelhoThe Book of Disquet, Fernando PessoaThe Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safron Foer Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard BachThe Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

addydev 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can try "Steal like an Artist" if you are looking for a quick and easy read.
ivan_ah 2 days ago 0 replies      
NO BULLSHIT guide to MATH and PHYSICS --- a calculus and mechanics textbook for adults; also covers high school math.

disclaimer: I'm the author

akulbe 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Personal MBA - Josh KaufmanThe First 20 Hours - Josh KaufmanSo Good They Can't Ignore You - Cal NewportThe 4-Hour Workweek - Tim FerrissThe 4-Hour Body - Tim FerrissStop Acting Rich - Thomas J. StanleyJames Altucher - Choose Yourself
autokad 2 days ago 2 replies      
let me know if you guys find better replacements, but this is what I got on my list:

O'Reilly - Scott Murray - Interactive Data Visualization for the Web

Data Visualization with D3.js Cookbook

A First Course in Probability

Rails AntiPatterns - Best Practice Ruby on Rails Refactoring

Bayesian Data Analysis Andrew Gelma

The Pragmatic Programmer

Code Complete

Bishop - Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning

O'Reilly Mining The Social Web

emcarey 2 days ago 0 replies      
patti smith just kids
mindcrime 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Four Steps To The Epiphany - Steve Blank

Neuromancer - William Gibson

Predictable Revenue - Aaron Ross, Marylou Tyler

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

The Ultimate Question 2.0 - Fred Reichheld

The Singularity is Near - Ray Kurzweil

Moonshot! - John Sculley

Zero To One - Peter Thiel

Republic - Plato

Meditations - Marcus Aurelius

Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

The Mysterious Island - Jules Verne

Discipline of Market Leaders - Michael Treacy, Fred Wiersema

False Memory - Dean Koontz

NOS4A2- Joe Hill

Revival - Stephen King

Barbarians At The Gate - John Helyar and Bryan Burrough

Into Thin Air - John Krakauer

How To Measure Anything - Douglas Hubbard

and any collection of the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Ask HN: How to start a consulting business in Bay Area, CA?
3 points by boomzilla  19 hours ago   1 comment top
Ask HN: Is unlimited pricing a bad idea?
10 points by curiously  2 days ago   4 comments top 4
gus_massa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some misquotes from the articles of patio11 (I hope there were a button to surmount him and get the real advice. You can try reading: http://www.kalzumeus.com/greatest-hits/ and subscribe to his "mailing list" aka "training course by email".)

* Double your price. (You are probably charging too little. Grandfather existing clients.) If the plan is too cheap, you get too cheap clients. (In one of the last article he explains that he had to discontinue the cheapest plan because it attracted bad clients.)

* Change the names of the plans from Small, Medium, Large to Hobbyist, Professional and Enterprise (or something like that), so the clients autosegmentate. (They know that they are an enterprise, but they are not sure if they are medium or large.)

* Put usage quotas but don't enforce them. Use that information to upsell the customers.

* Try to find the enterprisely features and add them to the Enterprise plan (I'm guessing here: allow multiple accounts to see a half processed, read only accounts, save usual processing filters.)

davismwfl 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMO if you do an unlimited plan it is generally wise to caveat it with a fair use agreement. You can word those in different ways, but if you really look at almost every successful SaaS out there you will noticed they all do this in some way. This stops a few clients from abusing you and allowing you to increase their pricing based on some factor.

2 other points:

An unlimited plan that is losing money is never good. Just because startups backed by VC money can loose money for a few years while building scale does not mean it is ok for the bootstrapped business to do the same. Depending on your situation and opinions it will vary.

The other point is that while A/B testing can be overused and useless if done wrong, this is one of those places where it really does make a positive difference. It will complicate (increase) your number of subscription plans, but it will let you test and hone in on the right mix of pricing without alienating existing users.

auganov 1 day ago 0 replies      
So unlimited processing is your core strategic advantage? Is it just the psychological effect of "unlimited" that's important? If so you could have a soft-limit (think bandwidth-throttling). Or describe the actual limit in language that makes it seem bigger.

The business model of "promising" more capacity than you actually have is pretty common, especially with cloud storage provides. To some extent every SaaS does it. As long as you do the math and structure pricing accordingly you're fine.

001sky 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just general advice:

You want the cost to explore and adopt to be low.

You want the revenue of a retained customer to be high.

Unlimited pricing is a good sales tool when it helps minimize brain damage for your customer. They will over-value it if trying to figure out every possible use is scary, or difficult. In other words, it gives them room to experiment and uncapture hidden value (for them).

What you need to keep in mind is whether or not paying for this trial and error usage makes any sense. In other words, are they exploring your service? If so, they are likely finding value that once discovered they will be willing to pay a reasonable rate for. On the other hand, if they are exploiting you, they are just farming out their costs to you and this will never end (it always makes sense).

So, try to figure out why they want to stop. If they threaten to stop becuase of the brain-damage/experimentation issue,,,try to find a way to work around that. If they simply feel your service is simply un-economical priced any other way, you may want to expore that more carefully. In this case, you may have a bigger issue on your hands.

This gives you some frame work to think about features. Features which are necessary to explore vs features which allow simply "power usage". May want to treat those features and those stages of using your product distinct.

The Beginning of Amazon Echo Reverse Engineering
2 points by thebiglebrewski  1 day ago   discuss
Why you should think twice about Freelancer.com
107 points by Bigdognec  4 days ago   67 comments top 20
gregthompsonjr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I try to stay away from sites like that in the first place, because I see wasting a lot of time building a reputation before getting actual work. It just never made sense to me.

The sites like Freelancer and oDesk are saturated with highly competitive, cheap developers from Asia anyway. It's annoying. Nothing against Asians, but I wouldn't try to dive into a pool of them to get work. It's unrealistic in most cases, because they eat up opportunity like machines -- in large numbers.

Better off just cold calling.

zwetan 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wasted some time testing those sites: freelancer, odesk and elance

here is my conclusion: whatever you do, you will always end up having problems with those kind of site.

Either the escrow can be reverted, or the site side with the "employer", how about installing that odesk thing that take a screenshot of your desktop every few minutes ? and on, and on, etc.

I worked as a freelancer without such web sites for 10+ years (both in France and UK),either solo by networking etc. or via an agent that was finding clients for me in exchange of a 20% commission (yes that's not a typo) and this was 10 times better that any freelancer web site.

So what is the real problem ?

you (the freelancer) are actually the product

so called "employers" can play the game "let's find the cheapest product"(eg. let's hire a freelancer that can work for $8/hour in some other country)

you can not do any margin with a competition toward "cheap"either you invoice per hour, so even if you do the job faster than someone elseyou just invoice the actual hours, or you bid on a fixed price which is also a race to lowest amount of money.

It is absolutely a no-win situation

as an individual or a companywether you're building web sites, applications, mobile apps, etc.all those things have high valuesit is absolutely OK to invoice more that the time it took you to do iteg. make a margin to make a living

also those sites tend to concentrate "bad clients"eg. the one who don't understand technology, why it cost so much to do this,why you can not build something complicated in 10 minutes, etc.exactly the kind of clients you try to avoid at all cost

k-mcgrady 4 days ago 2 replies      
Freelancer is awful. In fact all of those sites are. I made my living off Freelancer for a few years and I can't count the number of times they severely screwed me. I move to Elance which, although much better, has it's own issues. I try to find long-term clients on those sites and move the business away from them as quick as possible and that seems to work well.
gedrap 4 days ago 0 replies      
When I was freelancing, I tried similar sites and stayed away.It is largely a race to the bottom in terms of prices, and writing unique cover letters consumes a lot of time.

I had much much better results with a monthly 'looking for a freelancer' thread on HN, and instead of writing the cover letters there, I spent time on studying and improving my skills.

gasull 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why we need a distributed system like OpenBazaar.
deathtrader666 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is Rishi, and I am the Co-Founder at http://dreamlance.io/

We are starting Dreamlance, a curated marketplace for projects and professionals.

Here are 3 ways how Dreamlance is different from all other curated marketplaces:

1. The Dreamlance Team actually vets each project that gets posted on our boards

- We make sure the project description is complete - We make sure the project deliverables are crystal clear - We make sure the project cost matches the effort required

We put in all this effort so that you dont have to spend a third of your time qualifying leads. We qualify, prepare and polish them for you.

2. We provide a hassle-free & secure payments platform via escrow

- You begin work only when the project owner funds the agreed upon milestone - Once the conditions for the milestone completion are met, we release the funds to you

This way you dont have to worry about chasing down unpaid invoices

3. We provide highly qualified assistance in resolving conflicts - In the event of a conflict of opinion between you and the project owner, we step in and provide unbiased arbitration - We ourselves have seen sticky situations in the middle of a project, and we believe our arbitration expertise will be of immense value to you

For these premium services, we would be charging you only 7.5% of the project cost, an industry low.

I strongly believe Dreamlance will soon become your preferred platform for professional freelancing.

To sign up with us, please visit http://dreamlance.io/apply

And we are happy to have your referrals :)

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at rishi@dreamlance.io

michaelkoz 4 days ago 2 replies      
I own a company and have been using ODESK for the last six years. I have spent nearly 35,000 on above average programmers, their normal rate of pay is anywhere between 15 and 65.00 an hour. At first, i selected this site because it was a good source of low paid talent, but then I realized there were some really solid developers/programmers using the service.

I only really had problem with 2-3 guys who said they were good, but you know during the job they were Googling answers to the problems I had and had no real experience, but for the most part, some great programmers there.

I recommend ODESK, as a buyer, I am super protected from people not following through, so i have some confidence, aside from hiring locally for temp/programming work, I always use Odesk.

itl12 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a western developer, is it possible to earn six figures (US) from any of the bidding sites? Which would be the best to focus on?
alex_hitchins 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have a good alternative? Like many people commenting, so many people are willing to do insane amounts of work for next to nothing - where do those who provide value-added services look to outsource or tender?
j4pe 4 days ago 2 replies      
I've been thinking about forming a co-op for a trusted network of freelancers, to handle the crummy parts of the job (sourcing, selling, collecting) while encouraging the good parts (building, branding, partnering with quality colleagues). I had similar experiences being left with fake jobs/bad credit through freelance markets.

Thanks for sharing! I generally take longer-term gigs, so consistent dealflow isn't as big an of an issue for me. OP, what are you planning to do to fix your offline-network problem?

settsu 4 days ago 1 reply      
Use your Freelancer portfolio to get contract work with agencies. They tend to fancy themselves one stop shops for clients and you can capitalize on that.
mudil 4 days ago 0 replies      
I had pretty difficult experiences with Freelancer.com. I even documented it in this thread:


To summarize: I had a big project, that was not delivered after a several milestones, so the developer canceled the project, took the escrow, and I couldn't even leave a feedback!

msamoylov 4 days ago 1 reply      
A freelance marketplace is always full of cheap and mindless people who are not able to deliver anything. They place random bids and produce crap.

Unfortunately most of clients don't realize that it's not possible to get a quality work for $20 per hour or even less. They get frustrated and disappointed in a whole idea of hiring a freelancer.

P.S. If you need a reliable person for your Python or Javascript work just drop me a line ;-) http://careers.stackoverflow.com/msamoylov

posnet 4 days ago 1 reply      
I always wonder when I hear these sort of stories out coming out of odesk, freelancer or elance, if the sort of highly qualified developer is actally their target market. Now I am not saying that people on freelancer are incompetent but like the original post said they now don't have a network outside of freelancer which is far more imporant for an actual freelancer web developer as opposed to someone in india or the phillipines were freelancer.com or similar is their only opertunity for work.
debacle 4 days ago 0 replies      
> But by growing within freelancer, I had neglected forming my offline network.

You can't advertise the work you've done through freelancer.com as your own?

SixSigma 4 days ago 0 replies      
I did quite a bit of work on vWorker. I enjoyed doing it and got a very good reputation but I ended up making about $1 an hour
mk3 4 days ago 3 replies      
Had similar issues with oDesk, which is now as I know is owned by the same company as freelancer.com. Though it has time tracking and I always tried to bid only on projects with hourly rates, I got stuck with non paying client which dissapeared from the face of the earth, and even when submitting that project is canceled from my side because of no show they are not closing the project. Not to mention I was not paid at all.After this incident I decided to move away from oDesk and similar platforms. As the hourly rates are low, and getting repeating clients with whom you already have relationship to work outside oDesk is easy.

Also there is an issue with 3rd world developers who are making impression that freelancers should be paid dime on a buck.

From client side there are different horror stories when clients are scammed into accepting low-rate bidder, and get burned heavily, and then either turn back from these platforms, or turn to accepting only bids from local country.

DavidWanjiru 4 days ago 2 replies      
Well, a platform like freelancer is designed intentionally such that you can't, or at least shouldn't, build contact with clients off the platform. Otherwise you and your clients have no use for freelancer.
sosuke 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've had luck working with Creative Circle, even found full remote stuff. The rates aren't high since they take a cut, but you can sit back and let the jobs roll in. Very passive freelancing.
curiously 4 days ago 0 replies      
Stay away from any website that acts as a marketplace. Their incentives are not aligned with you the Freelancer. Their aim is to get as much money as possible through the market in order to boost revenues from the commission.
Ask HN: Pre-mature baldness, self confidence and networking
19 points by whatevertech  1 day ago   27 comments top 25
corysama 1 day ago 0 replies      
By 28 I was balding enough that I just went with it and shaved the rest clean off. Been ten years now and I haven't looked back. Since then, I've only ever received compliments and the occasional friendly question about what motivated the shave. Highly recommended if you think you can pull off the look.

For networking (and general interesting fun) meetup.com is my favorite thing ever. People go to businessy/techy meetups for the express purpose of meeting interesting people. Many of them end up literally standing around waiting for someone to walk up and say Hi. My go-to greeting is "Who are you and what do you do?" It's blunt. But, it gives people permission to just go ahead and introduce themselves to me without the silly social dance around finding an appropriate opening. We're all here to meet. Meet me dammit!

If you do this enough, you'll have awkward moments and you'll meet a few jerks, but mainly you'll get to practice meeting interesting people in a fairly safe way. If you screw up, you'll likely never see that person again. If you are awesome, you still probably will never see that person again, but you just might actually make a long term contact.

clivestaples 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been there. Embrace it. Stay fit. Two of the most accomplished people I know were completely bald by 28. They had more success in business (and dating btw) than anyone else I know. Over time, I've learned to appreciate my bald look and you can too.

My wife thinks full a head of hair on men looks feminine. My reason for sharing this is to illustrate that many of us bald guys presume to know what people think of it. We don't. Life long and prosper, my bald brother.

jen729w 1 day ago 0 replies      
As well as embracing the bald, embrace what bald gives you. Do you know how long it takes me to get ready in the morning? Minutes. Do you know how many times I look in a mirror? The answer is often "none", because nothing much can really change! This is so liberating in so many ways. I'm up, I'm out. I'm free.

Wearing a motorbike helmet without worrying about messing up hair? Check! Travelling extremely light on holiday because I don't need any product, shampoo, etc.? Check! Coming out of the ocean and in to the bar without worrying about what my head looks like? Check!

I'm another "shaved at 27 and wouldn't want it back". I love being bald. Just make sure you keep it a good bald - don't let it grow in to half an inch long fuzz if you know that doesn't look good. Don't be lazy. Me, I shave with a battery powered electric about once a week. Takes me ten minutes.

Another tip: I find collared shirts suit bald men better. Depends on the shape of your head, but for me a t-shirt makes me feel a bit like one round glob of human torso, whereas a nice collared shirt gives the whole upper part of my body a bit of character. Or a t-shirt with a blazer. Or find a hat that works - I love the flat-cap style. YMMV. But be conscious of it, it'll help.

It is what it is. Make it yours.

And yes, Meetup is gold. Remember: everyone else there is in the same boat. Nobody else knows anybody either. Everyone is aching for someone to dive in and start the conversation. If that person is you, you're already miles ahead. Have fun with it!

cmsj 1 day ago 0 replies      
This will be the same as most of the other comments here, but whatever.

I had long hair in my early 20s, but by the end of that decade I was thinning considerably - family trait that I had worse than my father's generation.

I tried to keep some kind of hairstyle far longer than I should, and stressed about it. Then one day I decided to just shave it off. I bought a set of clippers, and cut down to 1-2mm all over my head. Best. Decision. Ever.

Now I don't care about bed hair, hat hair, shampoo, windy days, etc.

My wife likes to stroke my head and even though she said she never pictured herself with a bald man, she thinks it looks really good on me.

Would I prefer to have a full head of hair? Sure, but I really appreciate the extra freedom of not having to care about what is going on in my head, and I've only had to replace those clippers once or twice, saving me a fortune in haircuts!

onetimeusename 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the hair is gone, it is gone. The best thing to do is to focus on a topic you really like, that you can throw yourself in to, and this will help you forget about the hair. Think about what you feel you have a need to do, be it political, artistic, scientific, educational, charitable, or technological. Once you have found something that is very important to you, set about doing it. Along the way, you will meet people and you won't be worrying about yourself but wanting to share whatever it is you are doing. Don't forget to dress formally and remember that there are plenty of examples of well known, successful, bald men, Prince William comes to mind.
Udo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I pretty much went through the same thing, it sucks.

There is definitely a social impact, especially when dating, but also in other areas. When you turn on the TV, how do you figure out whether a non-hero character is a bad guy? If he's bald, he always is. There is definitely a heavy cultural bias against bald people.

Aesthetics is a big part of it though. People with hair can pull off a lot of looks that simply are grotesque on bald people, but the good news is: it's something you do have control over. The worst thing you can do when bald is being fat. So work out, and wear nice clothes. These things matter a lot more when you're bald, you'll notice the impact immediately. In fact, these things matter a lot more as you get older in general.

Confidence is another thing you can actively work on. People tune you out if you think you're not interesting. While the deck is stacked against you a little bit due to things outside your control, the biggest impact on your confidence is, well, your confidence. If all else fails, learn to imitate confident people and don't be discouraged by failure. One of the things you can learn from observing confident people is that their failure rate is not actually that low, for the most part they are just really good at concealing or downplaying failure. If you suck at networking, that's not due to baldness, it's because you don't enjoy networking to begin with, because you don't have a lot of practice, or because you get discouraged easily. I can identify with that, but believe me it's something that gets better if you're determined to become better at it.

A certain percentage of people will never date you, never trust you, never want to listen to you. This applies to everybody on the planet. Sure, that percentage will be much lower for a non-bald good-looking person, but the essence of the fact remains: you can't make everybody like you. Try to train your internal classifier and filter for those whom you can build a relationship with. Attempting to win over people who reflexively dislike you is a fool's errant; there are lot of "low hanging fruit" you can pick up instead using a fraction of the energy.

The nice thing about people who make a lot of snap categorizations on a whim, like never date|befriend|trust|invest in|talk to a guy who has attribute X, is they come around just as fast if they see you're successful. A lot of people only like you when you win, so go out and pick battles you can win. The goal is, much like doing a startup, to make it unreasonably expensive for people to dislike you.

lancewiggs 1 day ago 0 replies      
28 is fine - not really premature. Use it to your advantage - you look older than others and can be perceived as more responsible/wise etc. As far as finding a life partner goes just remember that you are not trying to get everyone to fall in love with you, just one person. Be upfront and confident about who you are and how you look and you'll end up with the right person. Hide it and you are starting a relationship with deceit.
spamizbad 1 day ago 0 replies      
You're just going to have to embrace it. Shave your head and, if you can, grow a beard. I always felt people getting comb-overs or hair plugs are kidding themselves. Just let it go.

I've got a slowly growing bald spot myself. I'm either going to have to convert to Judaism or just shave it all off.

JamesLeonis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm in the same boat. Late 20s with a very thin layer on top combined with male pattern baldness. It runs in the family.

I've embraced becoming bald. I keep it very short and rocked the look. A simple electric razor is enough to keep the longer portions around my head in check. Every now and again I use a blade razor to give myself a clean bald look.

Now onto networking. It's a skill, and like any skill it can be learned. There is a lot of material about how to converse and become interesting, but all of them require practice in front of people. It sucks for the first few times, just like starting a new workout routine. It will feel discouraging when you don't see results the first few times. Keep at it. It helps to keep track of the number of people you talked to and roughly how long you talked. You can then try and increase those numbers just like adding weight to a workout. After a while you will start to notice it's coming out naturally.

The best way to keep people interested in you is to become interesting. Yeah, that's a "DUH!" kind of statement, but buried in there is a grain of truth. Sit down with a pen and paper and start listing all the cool things you have seen and done in your life. What makes you excited? What makes you wistful? What do you long for? Use that list as a foundation, even if you only have a couple of items. If it's blank, then you have the opportunity to explore many different experiences and see which you like and don't like.

The hardest part of all of this is getting started. Intertia is a hell of a resistance. Start small and get into a habit. Habits can be hard to start, but they are also hard to break. Starting small helps get over the initial inertia with small steps while you build the habit. Once you start getting into the rhythm, you add harder and more difficult steps to build up your habit. This is how you build any successful system or learn a new skill. Be open to mistakes and failure as an opportunity to examine and learn. Turn hostile criticism into positive critique.

None of this is easy, but with repeated attempts it does get easier. You still have your 30s and 40s to be a god damn rock star.

henryw 1 day ago 0 replies      
My old room takes Propecia to prevent hair loss. We were living in LA, and his doctor mentioned that many celebrites are on it. He was around 26 at the time. It has been working wonderfully for him.
addydev 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi buddy, I definitely understand your problem and I am in the same situation you were 10 years ago. Early baldness definitely takes a toll on your self confidence. There are many bald smart and good looking people. Jason Statham was recently called the hottest man alive by some media outlet. But you and I are definitely not Jason, we have two options - either get a hair transplant, really heavy on the pocket so keep in that in mind or try to carry this baldness with style. And don't worry, nobody will leave you if you are going bald, especially if they love you and care for you.
tdicola 1 day ago 0 replies      
Go to a good hair stylist and get their opinion on what looks best like shaving it off entirely, going for a buzz cut, etc. They work with hair all day and know what looks best with your head shape, baldness, etc.
pgbovine 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some friends have suggested embracing it and just either shaving your head or going for a really short buzzcut. Creative hats and headgear also make for cool accessories. Good luck!
GFischer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, you can use your baldness as an excuse to meet people :) , there's a community at :


I lost most of my hair by 28 as well, and while I fretted about it, I've gotten over it. I didn't have problems getting a girlfriend, and she doesn't mind :)

baldie88 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just own your baldness. Don't keep your hair and just have a bald spot. Take it all off and own it. Hair doesn't matter. I personally grew a beard because I enjoy some hair on my face.

Source: I started going bald when I was 17. Shaved my head clean by the time I was 19. I'm now 27 and if I had the choice to have my hair back I would turn it down.

peteretep 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a great book, Psycho Cybernetics, written by a plastic surgeon, on how to actually "embrace it".

All that said, the two people I know with hair implants have never looked back. It's not cheap, but your appearance is with you all day.

whalesalad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cut your hair to suit the baldness. Shave your head. Don't let your hair define you. It really doesn't matter. Women don't care. If you're confident in yourself and project that you'll be fine.
auganov 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Finasteride? Probably too late anyhow.High quality wigs tend to look better than real hair. So that's an option too.
jerskine 1 day ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend the 4 minute video below to help cope with the issue.


jshobrook 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Real Illuminati, http://therealilluminati.co/, is actually starting to blow up. From what I know, it's a tool that automatically intros you two people that should know each other. Seems like an excellent tool for networking, their tagline is "Get intro'd to someone awesome to help reach your goals"
CodeWriter23 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Shave it and love it.
devb0x 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah... shave it. Keep it short.
wurzelgogerer 1 day ago 0 replies      
if you want to chat, feel free to send me an email and we can chat "offline"
balladeer 1 day ago 0 replies      
You have to realise this is one of things in life that eventually goes at some point (for most people anyway). The hair, the teeth, eye-sight, the natural tight skin and the natural glow on it, the knee, the strength, losing people around you on the way - the list is really long. It's normal. It's just us - the human machine - getting older and showing the sings of wear and tear after years or use. Things go like this till eventually we meet the death. That's how it has been, that is how it's gonna be.

I wish I could put it in a better way, but this is just what it is - accepting it and moving on. Focus on things that you get with age - wisdom, charm, knowledge - a of it, experience in relationships, and ability to avoid mistakes and help others avoid them too. Knowing what matters and what not and then prioritising life accordingly is what we can do best that people younger than us usually can't. So that's there.

bobsgame 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lift weights.
Ask HN: How to refresh on modern features of C++?
100 points by ctb_mg  3 days ago   62 comments top 23
jerv 3 days ago 2 replies      
Herb Sutter, one of the most prolific C++ experts out there, recently gave a talk on Modern C++ [1]. In the beginning of his talk, he states that every C++ developer should read a "Tour of C++" [2] by Bjarne Stroustrup, the original designer of C++.

I recently read it and it's great. The book has less than 200p, but still covers the most important parts of C++11, albeit not in great detail (the reader is pointed to "The C++ Programming Language" by the same author for that). Read it! And watch the youtube video in [1].

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnqTKD8uD64[2] http://www.amazon.com/Tour-In-Depth-Series-Bjarne-Stroustrup...

tjr 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've not read it, but the author's other books have been well-regarded for years:


vowelless 3 days ago 0 replies      
Watch the videos from GoingNative and CppCon. Speakers like Bjarne and Herb constantly talk about "whats new in Modern C++". Watch Andrei's talks for sure!




optymizer 3 days ago 1 reply      
The first few chapters of The C++ Programming Language by Bjarne Stroustrup 4th edition go through a tour of C++11 that will quickly show you how to use modern C++ techniques. The rest of the book can be used as a reference to learn more about specific features.
throwawayaway 3 days ago 3 replies      
Well at the risk of stating the obvious, there's a lot of armchair programmer style "read this", "watch this" instruction here. It's much better to do something concrete.

Go and do a trivial project in it, cppreference.com and cplusplus.com have c++11 tags on the new features. I'm sure you've had ideas recently and I'm sure the project is less trivial than you thought!

I think looking at language features first is "a solution looking for a problem" attitude.

danieljh 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to learn by examples, check out the following repositories:


(Disclaimer: the C++14 version is still missing proper references to the official C++14 standard)

pmelendez 3 days ago 0 replies      
As other said, Meyer's book is highly recommended.

Also, this talk would give you a very general overview of the new features of the language:


Another book that can be a refresh introduction would be:


w8rbt 3 days ago 1 reply      
You may like to read and search the questions on stackoverflow. They have a lot of C++11 and C++14 questions and code examples and many of the contributors are very experienced with C++.

   http://stackoverflow.com/tags/c%2b%2b11/info   http://stackoverflow.com/tags/c%2b%2b14/info
I use C++ almost daily. I love it. I've used it for many years now. Having said that, I try to avoid the newer standards unless I absolutely must use them.

Don't get me wrong. The new features are great. I love nullptr, fixed width integers, to_string, stol, etc. but I sometimes work in environments with very old compilers that don't offer these features. And when the only code you have is written for C++11 or newer, it can take a great deal of time and effort to make your code work on the older systems.

Also, if what you need is in the standard, then don't use any external libraries. There are a lot of great libraries out there (Boost, Crypto++, etc.), but they add complexity and build dependencies and can cause all sorts of support issues. If you add Boost only because you need to parse arguments, then you're really causing yourself and developers who come after you more trouble than it's worth. So every time you think you need an external library, think twice and talk it over with other, more experienced developers.

When I need more features than the older standard provides, I'll use a newer standard, but I strive to only use the exact features I need (don't go wild and convert your entire code to C++11). And as a very last resort, I'll use an external library (but only a mature, widely used one) when I cannot easily write what I need with std C++.

Hope this helps. And whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll enjoy working with C++.

thepumpkin1979 3 days ago 0 replies      
Similar story here, I played with C++ back in 1998 and then again in 2007.

After reading these two books it definitely changed the way I see and work with C++, I fell in love with it.

So reading old code-bases is very common, you still need to understand the old C++ anyway:

Professional C++, Wrox, Jan 2005

Then to get yourself up to speed with C++11 and C++14:

Professional C++ 3rd Edition - Wrox, Sept 2014

acqq 3 days ago 0 replies      
Go to the Stroustrup's site, the page with the contents of his "C++ 4th ed" book contains even the full drafts of the "Tour of C++" part of the book.


shmerl 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just read the new edition of C++ Programming language by Bjarne Stroustrup ;)

Some things are hard to come by in any shorter sources. And at times you have to dig into the standard.

An example of rather obscure thing in C++ which changed in C++11 (sequencing): http://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/language/eval_order

And another thing which can be pretty confusing without carefully reading the standard. Copy elision vs move constructors...

See http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg21/docs/papers/2011/n324... 12.8 (Copying and moving class objects), #32 - 33

pagade 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have read and I would highly recommend C++ Primer 5th edition. Although my purpose was also to brush up old(?) features of C++. It covers everything except multi-threading.

If you just want to skim - A Tour of C++ should suffice.

Stubb 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in the same boat and working through "A Tour of C++" by Stroustrup. It highlights the new features you're talking about with concise examples but doesn't flesh out the details. So you'll know that there's an often-better way to do certain things using the new language features. You'll need another reference for assistance with the details, often Stack Overflow examples suffice.

"Effective Modern C++" goes more into the details and is next on my queue.

I've done a bunch of Ruby, Java, and some Lisp programming since my last stint with C++. It feels like a whole new language.

discardorama 3 days ago 1 reply      
A (maybe unrelated) question about companies like Google and Faceook, which are C++ powerhouses: how many (if any) of the C++11 or C++14 features have they approved for use in production code?
thdn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Take a look at Stephan T. Lavavej aka STL series at C9, http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/C9-Lectures-Stephan-T-Lavave...

Totally worthy.

wglb 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Scott Meyers books on Effective C++ are excellent.
ramgorur 3 days ago 1 reply      
same with me, I am a very old c++ coder, learned during 2001-2002. Now I am doing TA at a graduate school, instructing a course on c++. It helped me to learn a lot of new stuffs on c++11.

"C++ Primer", by Lippman is the book that we try to follow.

gdy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Don't like Scott Meyer's books, but this pdf has chance to be good: http://www.artima.com/shop/overview_of_the_new_cpp
pmorici 3 days ago 0 replies      
Almost all of those new features are part of the C++11 standard so just get a reference that specifically says it has been updated for C++11. There is a list of C++ books on stack overflow.
sedeki 3 days ago 0 replies      
How about C++ Primer 5th edition?
diarg 3 days ago 0 replies      
You want even MORE features in C++?. You have made Stroustrup happy.
lyhkop 1 day ago 0 replies      
qwerta 3 days ago 0 replies      
Start with QT libs.

I hate C++ with passion for almost two decades. But I recently started working on KDE sub-project and found it very nice.

Dear future pressfriendly engineer
16 points by joelandren  2 days ago   5 comments top 3
pskittle 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's funny how alike you'll think https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8794956
yen223 1 day ago 1 reply      
You may or may not have misspelled your email address in the second-last paragraph.
toomuchtodo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Brilliant response Joel. Merry Christmas!
Ask HN: How to actually network?
4 points by bluerail  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
toddkazakov 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I usually start with asking about the current position of the person and about the background. If it's not irrelevant to my personal or work interests I usually go saying few words about me. If we you have common topics to talk about then it's easy. In general straight to the point has been working for me. It goes without saying that you must practice. I had the chance to spend few months in the valley, which in my opinion is the best place to overcome your networking fears. It's just that everybody is welcoming and comes from diverse backgrounds, so it's almost impossible to go wrong or not to find common touch points. After short time you'll see the words flowing just naturally out of your mouth.
jmnicolas 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Plug the Ethernet cable in the RJ45 connector and voil you're actually networking \o/
Ask HN: Are there colorblind people here? what are your challenges?
7 points by indralukmana  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: How to annotate epubs like pdfs?
3 points by drieddust  1 day ago   5 comments top 4
Turing_Machine 1 day ago 0 replies      
I haven't seen anything good, either. There's some code hanging around in the Readium repo, but it doesn't seem to be getting much love (understandably... they've got bigger fish to fry, what with trying to implement the impossibly overengineered and baroque EPUB3 standard).

Conceptually it shouldn't be hard to do such a thing, as long as the EPUB isn't DRM. An EPUB is just a ZIP under another name, and is basically a collection of web pages along with some XML metadata. You should be able to unpack the EPUB and read it/annotate it with a web browser and any existing web annotation tool. If you saved the annotations to the same file tree, you could pack it all back up and ship the annotations with the file (you'd need to add any new files to the manifest to ensure that the file still validated).

That would be clumsy, but portable.

mjklin 1 day ago 0 replies      
One solution I've found is this: the iOS app Voice Dream allows you to take highlights and notes while listening to an epub file being spoken by your choice of voice. Then you can export the annotations as a text file in this format:


(percentage of the way through the text)%


I find it suits my use case.

olegious 1 day ago 0 replies      
I upload my non-Kindle ebooks to Google Books and use the app to do all my note taking and highlighting.
arorplk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Kindle for Mac/ PC has a pretty good highlight feature and note feature for Epubs. Haven't run into anything else decent.
Ask HN: What was the job market like during the dot-com crash?
188 points by MalcolmDiggs  5 days ago   discuss
bdcravens 5 days ago 7 replies      
A lot of shaking off of weak developers. I don't say that to insult the very talented developers during that time who couldn't stay employed. Rather, they suffered along with the rest, due to way too much supply. Developers who knew one language who could get hired merely by having a word or two on their resume and having a pulse; when things dried up, everyone who should have been an entry level sales person were all clammering to get the jobs and money they were used to, but it was a buyer's market at that point.

You made it through by being versatile. Not by starting to learn while you were job hunting, but being prepared when jobs were aplenty.

You had to be ready to be employed in a non-VC funded world, doing boring things.

I liken it to today, where you have an abundance of 6-week boot camps and developers writing code against the sexy Javascript framework du jour. Those developers will starve if we hit another period where VC dries up.

Learn some boring stuff, even stuff that gets laughed at on HN. .NET. Java. In places like Houston, there's TONS of jobs, but they're not in Rails or Clojure or Angular. They're in .NET, writing apps for big oil or healthcare.

Though it wasn't as big then, I think learning dev-ops will really take someone far when no one's writing Twitter aggregators or social networks for quadcopters.

tl;dr When times are lean, boring languages in boring companies that make real, not VC, money is how you stay afloat

kevinastone 5 days ago 4 replies      
I graduated in the summer of 2001 (BS ECE). Many of my classmates had their already accepted job offers rescinded before graduation. I ended up working a non-degree job for a year before finding an internship that I worked into a full-time position. Finally found a more permanent career in 2004 when I was hired into an aerospace company (where most of the jobs were).

Keep in mind, besides the dot-com crash and then the sept 11th attacks, the real macro environment of the early 2000s was outsourcing. Everybody believed you could just hire a team in India or Russia for pennies on the dollar. It would take another 5+ years for that trend to reverse as companies recognized the challenges in moving their development resources off-shore.

As I stated, I responded to the off-shore movement by switching to a less-affected industry (aerospace/defense). Most "market corrections" really affect the most vulnerable segments of the job market: entry-level and near-retirement.

canterburry 5 days ago 2 replies      
The only people in demand was anyone with 10+ years experience. Job requirements got ridiculous and if you needed any kind of visa sponsorship you could just forget about it regardless of experience.

If you didn't have every single acronym in the job req and 5+ years of experience with each, the employers simply were not interested. Things like, you'd used Eclipse but not IntelliJ disqualified you because IntelliJ was requested. Some job reqs even requested more years of experience in some technology which had only been around for half the time mentioned.

Sending 100+ resumes a week without any callbacks became the norm. Recruiters could simply sit back and wait for the resumes to come to them. If you weren't actively looking, no one would call you.

Enterprise market was essentially the only game in town. Any kind of web dev just died overnight. I managed to start and finish a masters degree before things got better again.

tunesmith 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was in Portland at the time and it was bad. I got laid off, was lucky enough to find another job at 80k, and then was laid off again ten days before 9/11. The recruiters I was working with all slowly became unemployed. Once I had an opportunity to interview from a recruiter on behalf of one of either Intel or Nike, and the rate they quoted me (for perl/php programming) was $12/hour. (I declined the interview.)

After a couple of months, I started cold-calling businesses as a consultant/freelancer - got my first gig at $20/hour, and then a more reasonable one at $55/hour, since then I've been passed around via word of mouth. I found that clients were more amenable to contracts than FTE because they all needed work "for now" but were petrified of commitment since they had no idea what the future would be like. Anyway, I stuck with freelancing and have never since taken a salaried job.

Basic advice - don't sacrifice your salary for stock options (unless you're a founder and already have enough emergency fund saved up to last you through another crash). Don't trust your "like a family" employer to take care of you, don't believe that HR has your best interests at heart. You're in business for you, not your employer - treat them well in exchange for them treating you fairly, but not out of some misplaced sense of "loyalty". The rest of it is just, save up and live simply - programmers aren't investment bankers.

snorkel 5 days ago 1 reply      
We had to get adjusted to not being treated like a rock stars just for knowing unix. We stopped chanting IPO, IPO. We learned the stock market is disconnected from reality. Took a hit in salary, but nobody starved that I recall. Looking back on it, it was if we hit the lottery but we were too young to realize that this isn't a normal economy we were living in. But c'est la vie, change is opportunity and all that. Just keep your skill set relevant and keep switching jobs until you land a gig working on something that is interesting with people you enjoy being with, and don't expect to get rich, but if you work hard you just might anyway.
poulsbohemian 5 days ago 1 reply      
I graduated in 2000 with several years experience. First gig out of school resulted in huge layoffs but I was paying attention and had already been looking, plus was still young (read: cheap) so didn't have any problems finding something. People who graduated the next two years after me though who hadn't really hustled to build up their resumes ended up leaving tech altogether because they couldn't get hired - and this was in a tech hub (Seattle). It was 2005 before it because "easy" to get hired again and I started to see new grads reenter the market. Even in the 2004-2006 timeframe salaries were pretty stagnate with the exception of places like amazon.com which seemed to be shoveling money at as many people as they could hire.

One of the big challenges was that large companies were the only place to get hired - the few startups that were around were often zombies leftover from the dot-com times; it was clear they weren't going anyplace, and (perhaps exaggerating slightly here...) nobody was starting anything new. Keep in mind though a lot has changed in 15 years - it took a lot more capital for infrastructure in those days so there were fewer companies starting up anyway.

For people my age and older... we saw the pre-dot-com slowness of the early 90s, we got caught in the dot-com downturn, we got caught again in the post 9/11 downturn, then we saw our house values melt down in 2008... so as far as I'm concerned, in good times be painfully frugal and stash cash because the bad times are just around the corner...

Animats 5 days ago 1 reply      
SFgirl.com had the best coverage of this, with their "pink slip parties". The remnants of the site are at "http://www.sfgirl.com/about_us.html", but almost all the links are dead. A few that are still live:



About 40% of the twenty-somethings in SF moved out. SF itself was so dead that one day, at rush hour, I saw a completely empty street in downtown. I asked a cop if something was stopping traffic, and he said no, it had been like that for a few days. Many empty buildings in SOMA.

I had an automatic system predicting the death dates of publicly held dot-coms, based on their assets and cash flow. I keep it up for reference:


(Where it says "Chart is not available for this symbol", that means the company is so dead.)

fecak 5 days ago 0 replies      
I started recruiting for startups around Philadelphia in 1998. For the first couple years anyone who could spell Java would get significant raises to leave big companies in the area for funded startup scene. Signing bonuses were given to most hires, and stock options were valued highly by most hires.

When the crash happened, I started to get calls from developers who wouldn't take my calls a year earlier. Many had a few jobs within a short period of time. I remember placing one guy three times in two years due to closings.

Many recruiters couldn't generate enough revenue and subsequently left the market, which was actually a good thing because the market had become flooded and needed a purging. Salaries came down a bit, but candidates at this point would put very little value on stock options. Options went from being looked at as a large piece of the package to being considered the equivalent of lottery tickets.

To be insulated, I'd encourage you to try to become 'known' in your space. Those with solid reputations and networks were always employed, even if they bounced around a bit.

digisth 5 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to many of the previous posters' comments, I'd add that the number of job offers per week went from a flood (10+ a week, sometimes double that) to zero during the bust. Acquaintances, former co-workers, and myself all took huge pay cuts and the jobs that were available weren't terribly exciting for a spell. Outsourcing and offshoring were the watchwords; in-house custom development was laughed at in many places.

This boom is honestly (IMO) 1) more stable, as many companies actually do have business models and revenue and 2) more exciting (technology stacks are more interesting, tools have improved by leaps and bounds, very interesting companies are popping up.)

My advice is to be constantly learning (both theory and practice); watch trends and become familiar with where they are going (if an exciting new technology comes along, learn some of the basics, even if that's just a "hello world" equivalent - I don't recommend doing a deep dive of anything truly new unless it really blows your mind or you think it's going to become lucrative); try to generalize your skillset a bit - there's a tradeoff here of course, as specialists will often get paid more while the getting is good - but it means you'll never lack for work (and may get stuck with some more drudgery since you're the jack-of-all-trades, master of none.) I'd also recommend trying to get multiple income streams going, whether that's from your own services business, freelancing, or just software-related consulting, so that if/when the crash comes, you've already got your own personal safety net.

poulsbohemian 5 days ago 1 reply      
There were three interesting groups that came out of that time. One was the CEO/CIO/CTO's of startups who found themselves barely qualified for entry-level roles when the bubble burst. It was a sad awakening for them. Another group were mid-career types who found their careers and salaries put on hold for 5+ years while the market improved. That was sad because many were very talented but with no place to apply it; some never really getting their shot again. The third were those who would have otherwise been starting businesses, but the times just weren't right so they put their heads down working in boring jobs waiting for their moment.
pm24601 5 days ago 0 replies      

I basically learned something I thought I knew - debt is bad. Really bad. We survived but it was only because we clamped down super hard and interest rates dropped.

When times are good, cut your debt so you owe nothing. Get some savings but once you have some savings pay off the debt.

I knew lots of people who were still employeed but were freaking out because the stock market was collapsing and they were overleveraged - they had borrowed against their home to buy stock.

When April 2000, hit everyone stopped watching their stocks shoot up to watching their stocks crash - same lack of work getting done but gloomier and more suicidal.

My advice to you is:

network, network, network - now before you need it.

Something that I find hard to do myself sometimes.

Then again I have been through a bunch of crashes/mini-crashes already.

But in 2000, you could not rent a Uhaul - they were all reserved for people leaving ahead of you.

Every boom time gets more and more selective here.

Tech is not a long term career move - the ageism will get you if the boom/bust doesn't. Plan for a life outside of tech if you can.

The froth is happening. I am betting on a crash somewhere around mid 2016. Stock market is looking frothy with the real economy doing nothing. .... just like in 1991, 2000, 2008

mkozlows 5 days ago 3 replies      
Depends on where you were. If you were in San Francisco, I can't speak to it; but if you were in your standard middle American city, it was fine. I graduated with a CS degree in 1999. In 2000, I got a job doing Java dev with no Java experience on my resume, and a 20% raise from my previous job. Later in 2000, I got a job doing Java/Perl (with both on my resume) and another 15% raise. In 2001, I got a Java job and 10% raise. And then in 2002, I got a .NET job (with two weeks of .NET experience) and a 25% raise.

The main downside was that smaller companies kept going out of business (which is why I had so many jobs in that time period -- two of those companies disappeared entirely, one of them taking a month's worth of salary with it, which super-sucked).

A key thing, though, is that lots of really, really, really marginal developers got hired in the late '90s -- I worked with some of those at the first company that went out of business -- and they very possibly never got a job in the industry again. Crashes make companies a lot more selective, just as bubbles make them hire any warm body who can possibly even theoretically write code.

pmarca 5 days ago 0 replies      
Stock incentives became considered worthless, and most people were happy to have a job.
michaelochurch 5 days ago 2 replies      
The Bay Area was hit hard, and startups stopped being sexy. Oddly enough, I'd say that it was a great time to make money if (a) you'd made the connections before the bust, (b) you were building something of substance like Google, and (c) you were willing to play a longer game. The upshot of a time when no one's getting rich quick is that there's more audience for get-rich-slowly strategies. Technical excellence tends to produce get-rich-slowly paths; it's viral marketing bullshit (and overhiring) that's behind many of these rapid-growth get-rich-quick startups. When people lose faith in charismatic nonsense, that's the time to drive hard with true excellence and lower-risk get-rich-slowly strategies. If your goal is excellence, you don't want your industry to be "sexy", because that brings in poseurs with zero competence but superior social skill, and they end up (a) getting all the resources, and (b) humiliating the whole industry when they fail.

Think also about Paul Graham. Y Combinator is a case of him monetizing a reputation that he earned (and, yes, he actually earned it) by standing up for startups in the depths of winter. I, for one, plan on making a strong and vocal case for Real Technology (it shall rise again) after the Snapchat/Clinkle frivolity blows up and humiliates the current cool kids. Being able to explain why shit went to hell ca. 2017, as it will, is going to help us make a case for building something better in the next iteration.

That said, it was a bad time for entry-level salaries, and graduate school admissions were ridiculously competitive in 2003-05. If you had a $60k offer (that'd be $72k today) you were in the top third of CS graduates, and non-STEM graduates were lucky to see $40k. I'd guess that the more experienced engineers didn't see a massive salary drop (maybe 10-20% at worst) but it wasn't a good time for job hopping. Certainly that feeling that one could get a 20% raise, just by walking across the street, died out.

It was a good labor market for finance because there was a lot of cheap talent. First-year Goldman Sachs analysts were only in the $60-65k range. (Bonuses could be 50-100%, but they were also working 60-110 hours per week.) Undergrad quants (that's rare but the positions exist) were generally getting $80-90k offers.

People expected housing prices to come down, but they didn't decline by much because there was this other bubble that was building at the same time...

dripton 5 days ago 0 replies      
I had two different employers go bust in 2002.

First one was a startup acquired by a big corporation in 2000, but they gave up on us a couple years later. How much the larger economic climate affected that, versus the indisputable fact that we were spending a lot more than we were making, I don't know.

Got another job before the severance ran out. Second one was a small startup, which ran out of cash and failed to make payroll a few months later. The owners wanted to keep going on a shoestring and offered me equity to stay, but I didn't want to take that gamble. Again, I can't say how much of that was due to the economy (harder to find investors in 2002 than in 2000), versus the fact that the company was spending money and not making any.

Got another job right away. This one was a profitable government contractor, I stayed there for years.

My first piece of advice is to always have current, marketable skills. You don't have to chase every trend, but you should know more than one thing, just in case that one thing becomes the next buggy whip.

My second piece of advice is not to put all your eggs into one basket. Salary is more reliable than equity. Savings will get you through rough times.

kartayyar 5 days ago 0 replies      
Changes create new winners and losers.

At the time the crash was just starting to happen, I interviewed at Sun for a job in the Java compiler group.

Their office was just off the De Anza and 280 exit in Cupertino. They told me how their neighbor Apple hadn't been doing well,and how they were gradually taking over all the office space near them. The folks I interviewed with thought Apple would be history in a few years, and being a hardware company that was doing well, they would deal with the crash just fine. I believed them.

Apple made a complete comeback.Sun went through many rounds of layoffs before it was swallowed by Oracle.

Luckily for me I ended up taking another job at a company that was one of the few to do relatively well during the crash.

Till this day I am grateful I did not take the Sun offer.

brianmcconnell 5 days ago 0 replies      
The best insulation you can have is cash in the bank or be prepared to move.

The next crash probably won't be cyclical in your city. The money will come back, but it will come back somewhere else.

If your priority is to stay in the city where you're living, be prepared to make that work (which means being flexible about what you do), or be prepared to move (which means being flexible about where you live, and being in a relationship where moving for work is OK).

joeblau 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I went to college in 1999, our guidance counselor told us that for every student graduating with a Computer Science degree, there were 5 companies competing to hire them. She said "You have a 500% chance of getting a job with a Computer Science degree." When I graduated in 2003, 1/3 of my classmates got a job doing software engineering, 1/3 went back to their job they did before they got into college (usually some sort of retail), and the final 1/3 went back to live with their parents and were unemployed.

The only area that was really hiring at the time was the Government, and I lived on the east coast so I was able to work for a Government contractor a few months after graduating. It took quite a bit longer for some of my friends to finally use their degree and some still never have.

_greim_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think diversifying your skill set can help protect you against a bubble burst. I had a reputation for being both a programmer and visual designer and I think it kept me afloat through the early 2000s.

And by "diversifying your skill set" I don't mean just being proficient in more than one area, but also being perceived as being proficient in more than one area. This is probably hard to do without switching jobs. You have to sell yourself as being "good at both A and B" during the interview and only then will the perception take root.

Incidentally, this was a double-edged sword for me, since peoples' perception of me being a designer (I had merely added a couple art samples to my resume) always seemed to pull my career in a less technical direction than I wanted to go, partly because I stayed at the same company so long.

cothomps 5 days ago 1 reply      
1) I was fortunate enough to be in a good place where my wages were not hit terribly hard, but there was a big slowdown in wage growth.

2) I did take a pretty dull "and stressful for being that dull" job with an insurance co. as a senior developer after the startup (probably closer to 'small biz' at that point) I worked for had a major restructuring. The dull job did allow me to focus a bit more on some other freelance/networking opportunities.

3) As a few have noted, the biggest thing afterwards seemed to be the outsourcing wave. That plus the sudden glut in the market seemed to nearly wipe out entry level opportunities. There was a period of time where I (being only 6-7 years out of college myself) don't recall working with a single new graduate.

paulsutter 5 days ago 2 replies      
The MBAs went back to wherever they came from. Engineers were suddenly more interested in the work and the team. No more of those ridiculous parties, which were never fun anyway. Lots of people took a few months to a year to travel or relax. People no longer talked about "time famine".

Actually it felt great. Like a return to the basics.

jasonkester 5 days ago 0 replies      
The late '90s were fun.

Money was flying about in all directions and all you needed to do was stick your hand up and grab some of it. Your silly internet company would get $25 Million for the worst idea you could think of. If you'd read a "For Dummies" book, you could take your pick of $75/hr contracts or just grab as much $200/hr freelance work as you felt like. You could stick that surplus money into the market by picking any stock with an "e" in front of the name and watch it double in value every few weeks.

Then 2000 happened. And it went back to normal.


Not a disaster. Not the end of the world. Just back to regular jobs for regular companies with regular business plans for regular developer wages. If you were good at what you did, you were fine. If you were a converted business major, you went to law school. No sweat.

Everybody (at least everybody I was aware of) saw it coming. We were in a bubble. Yahoo wasn't going to double a fifth time that year, so it probably wasn't a good idea to accept that 10x leverage your brokerage offered and dump your life savings into it. We still partied like it was 1999 (since it was), but we were all ready for the day when the party ended.

Then it did. And we went on with our lives.

We might just do the same thing in a year or two. And again, it probably won't be that big a deal.

steveax 5 days ago 0 replies      
In Portland (where I was and still reside) it was pretty ugly. Pretty much everyone I knew in tech was unemployed for long-ish periods. I gave up hunting and started my own business freelancing - did that for over ten years. That gradually got better over time and by 2005 or so I was making more than my last salaried position. During that period I learned to live below my means and always have a 6+ month cushion, so all-in-all it wasn't a terrible thing.
blunte 5 days ago 2 replies      
My experience applies to Dallas/Houston/Boulder, which was probably very different from Silicon Valley.

Before:* Pay increases of 10-50% each year or two as you changed jobs.* Finding a job was a matter of sending your resume to 1 or 2 decent recruiters, then fielding the endless calls about opportunities.* High quality, challenging technical interviews from senior developers and engineers.

After:* No significant pay increases anymore.* Recruiters that never answered emails or calls (explained below).* Low quality interviews given by hiring managers, or in some cases by contractors with little experience of their own.* H1-B visas bringing in floods of people who largely could not solve problems and who needed to be given every solution just short of typing the code.

Prior to dot-com bust, recruiters were professionals who had a fair grasp of the technologies and industries they were involved in. They seemed to treat their jobs as actual professions rather than as temporary stepping stones to something else.

After the bust, companies reigned in their (perhaps overly aggressive) hiring and IT growth, leading to perhaps an over-abundance of recruiting firms. But at the same time, new recruiting firms emerged staffed by low (no) quality keyword-searching resume-pushing monkeys who would work for peanuts. Thus, the real recruiting firms cut staff so severely that the remaining few were buried under resumes of all the IT people displaced (let go).

Companies still had positions open, even advertising them, but hiring managers were very reluctant to actually fill those positions. Despite approvals to hire, nobody wanted to take the risk of actually spending the money on more staff.

This led to the growth in low skill H1-B labor, which further reduced the need for quality recruiters. It all became a game of numbers, a race to the lowest common denominator.

When that didn't produce positive results for industries, corporate management (who could count money but could not judge IT quality) made the next obvious step - offshoring. This further ruined the environment.

Basically there was an 8-10 year dark age in IT (unless perhaps you were in Silicon Valley... I can't speak for that). It still hasn't recovered fully, and it probably never will.

johngalt 5 days ago 0 replies      
In general it was good for the industry. At the peak of the bubble there was about a 50:1 ratio of pretenders to experts. Easy money tends to scoop up a lot of people who don't really belong. The same way that suddenly everyone was involved in real estate during the housing bubble.

> What were job-prospects like?

IIRC development went off a cliff. Even people who were in secure industries were at risk because of the deflation in salaries. IT/Operations was reasonably safe.

> How were your wages affected?

Roughly cut in half overall. Through the worst of it in two years then back to normal.

> Well-insulated if/when the next crash happens?

Aside from a good savings account. Don't be afraid to pick up a little ops experience. Most people I knew who sailed through the bubble spent a few years doing in-house work for some non-tech company. There is always work closer to the business side. When times are good it's all about wish fulfillment with new services/features etc... During a downturn it's ruthlessly about costs.

kraig911 5 days ago 0 replies      
I went through about 12 jobs in the span of 6 months I think? At first it was easy to pivot into another opporunity but when it sunk it was hard... I was doing a lot of 'shockwave' and perl work - and still I wasn't sure wtf I was doing half the time. I went a year pretty much unemployed and start working in tv broadcasting but the pay there was equally bad.

I can understand why it happened. No one was educated some guy would get millions of funding for nothing but hype and high tail it out of there. People had money and were just cramming into places that didn't have a plan. I could literally walk into a place and make an animated gif on a webpage and people would oooooo'.

When it crashed it was literally like a vacuum and we all lived our life like 'that' didn't happen.

kasey_junk 4 days ago 0 replies      
The answer to this is dependent on so many factors that you really need to pull them apart a little:

- where in your career you were- where in location you were- what kind of employer you had

Far and away the hardest hit during the last crash were new-grads who had accepted job offers that hadn't actually started yet. Those jobs immediately went away and there was nothing to replace them with. I know of lots of people who left tech in general after this, and others who constitute a "lost" generation that has always made less money/done less interesting things because of this. Everyone up the experience ladder did better in an almost exponential way. That is, junior devs either spent a lot of time unemployed or accepted jobs at salaries well below what they were expecting. More experienced devs ended up hunkering down in "boring" jobs and saw their wages stagnate for a few years etc.

SV and the west coast in general got hit much harder than the rest of the country. NYC, Chicago, Texas, Minneapolis, Atl, etc had down cycles but their diversified employer base meant that it was muted by comparison.

Besides the obvious dying of unsustainable startups and their employees, the people in tech. services were much more impacted than other industries. Particularly hard hit, were body shops and the big consultancies. Finance, insurance, pharma, etc all took much less of a hit.

I'd add that along with the dot com bubble, several other factors added in to make the last crash particularly brutal. Lots of enterprises used the 2000 bug scare as an excuse to retool and there was tons of work that went away after that ramped down. Then 9/11 came along and put a major hit on companies willingness to spend on infrastructure.

As far as being "well-insulated", there isn't much advice to give. These are macro factor trends that impact everyone. The advice for this is the same as for dealing with any risk. Keep your spend rate low, have a safety net, diversify your skill set and have a strong professional network that thinks highly of you.

poulsbohemian 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you are serious about a long-term career in tech and you are concerned about this, here are some considerations:

1) There are industries like health care and insurance that have traditionally been good places to hang your hat during a downturn. If you can learn about regulations, trends, and domain-specific tech in those fields, you will always have a job.

2) Both in the dot-com era and more recently, there were loads of people who entered the industry because they saw dollar signs. If a downturn hits, many will be quickly weeded out because they won't have put in the hard work to round out their skills and portfolio, or thought about their long-term career progression. You can avoid being pruned by planning ahead and taking action now to make sure you've got solid credentials.

rwhitman 4 days ago 0 replies      
I went to school for web design before the crash, and graduated in 2002, when the collapse had completely run it's course.

My first east coast gigs were freelance work that I took from video production shops who got into the business of building websites during the boom because it was such a big money maker. After the crash they had laid off all the unqualified staff (random employees who learned dreamweaver and were therefore somehow qualified to build websites) and started scooping up people with actual technical education (me) for dirt cheap ($25/hr).

I moved to the Bay Area about 2003-2004 and the situation was a little better but I still had to look for work aggressively. Fulltime positions never were presented to me, though there were a lot of on-site freelance gigs out there so I didn't notice. I think companies were still wary of staffing up. I was getting paid what I thought were amazing rates at the time ($45/hr). Back when I was starting out I was always the youngest person on any team by a stretch. A lot of staff guys were 15 to 20 years older than me with a family and kids. Some were even older. Might have something to do with who they chose to lay off a few years before my time, but never asked.

Because of the freelance vs staff situation I basically never took a fulltime job and stayed freelance ever since. Though after I moved to LA I was offered staff jobs circa 2006 onwards and it started getting aggressive after that but I stuck to 1099's. I think a lot of guys who entered the market when I did went the same path.

tomh 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised no one has mentioned F*cked Company so far: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fucked_Company

I graduated from ArsDigita University in 2001. Right time, right place to see stuff completely implode. I must have sent 100+ resumes during 2001, and temped at Harvard for a while until getting a job through a friend in Feb 2002, in Java development. It wasn't great, so I kept up the job search and finally went to grad school in 2003 while finding a part-time consulting job, also in Java. That kept me afloat until I graduated in 2006, and moved out of the USA.

Looking back, the companies acted like they could do no wrong, and it bit them hard. ArsDigita was a dot-com darling for a while, but it did crazy things like sign ten-year leases for a branch office that could seat 20-30 people and they had 2-3 actual employees in that city.

I remember in ArsDigita University, we weren't based in the actual office but a place about a metro stop away (where ITA Software based themselves a decade later, yay lisp), in the basement. We started the program in September, and one day in March we were let into a larger, nicer office on the first floor and were told that AD also rented this part as well, anticipating another 20 or so programmers would work here as well. It remained empty until we moved out of the space later that year.

enjo 5 days ago 0 replies      
I finished college in 2002, and moved to Dallas to support my wife while she pursued her PhD. Dallas was particularly hard hit with Texas Instruments and Ericsson shedding thousands of engineers. The market was flooded.

I submitted 45 applications. I ended up with two interviews. It took me 4 months to get my first job. I was being paid about half of what I was making as a high schooler in 1998.

In the end it was one of those strange blessings. That company ended up being a fledgling Quickoffice which launched me into my startup career.

Still, it was quite tense at the time.

zikzak 5 days ago 0 replies      
I went back to school at 25 to get a CS degree in 1997. My first year I would hear stories of people about to complete bachelor's degrees being flown from Halifax to Boston (Canadian, here) to be courted (hotel, dinner, etc) by IT companies.

By the time I graduated in 2001 my cohort were taking jobs at Staples selling computers so there's that. Many people were getting into graduate programs to wait out the downturn. I am not sure how this affected minimum education standards for new hires down the road.

I did OK but there were some lean times.

vpeters25 5 days ago 1 reply      
> What were job-prospects like?

The market, at least in Dallas/Austin was barren. The only new job postings on job boards were repost by recruiters looking to pad their portfolios.

> How were your wages affected?

I keep lowering my expected hourly rate/salary weekly. When I got it down to 50% a recruiter called me back and got me something.

> Did recruiters simply cease to exist?

All the opportunistic, bad recruiters crawled back to whatever hole they came from. Same with all the unqualified "bandwagon programmers" who cashed on the bubble and gave all of us a bad reputation forcing hiring managers into brutal interviewing processes.

Recruiters were let go too, agencies closed or downsized. A few good ones remained.

> More to the point, what advice do you have for developers who want to be well-insulated if/when the next crash happens?

Well first, you got to have some sort of financial cushion and a plan to cut down expenses to the bone: the day I was laid of on 2001 I canceled my phone, cable, any other superfluous monthly expense. Also moved to smaller apartment as soon as I could. I knew it was going to be rough for a while.

Next is to know which industry to aim for: after 9/11 lots of money flowed to military contractors so I started aiming for that industry. I ended up programming for a company that provided services for the military until the market recovered.

mooreds 5 days ago 0 replies      
For context, I was a junior developer during the dot com crash, in Boulder. I worked at a web consultancy.

I saw decent developers laid off, but good developers kept on. I saw companies desperately hunting for business (and signing ruinous contracts to have revenue). I saw promises to employees that had been made in exuberance broken (we'll open a London office). I saw poor business practices--lay offs the week of Thanksgiving, for example. I saw the business I was a part of get smaller and smaller as the fat was trimmed.

However, for good developers, there were still raises. I know some great people who were hired away, so I think that the job market still existed. But you certainly weren't getting the exuberant benefits in the new job.

I was too young to be on recruiters' radar, so I can't comment on that.

As far as insulating yourself, I think the best things you can do are:

   * be humble   * learn new skills   * be cognizant of the business and the value it provides to consumers, and where it is weak   * know if the business is profitable, and how (1 big customer? 1,000,000 small ones? advertising)    * save a large chunk of your salary, and not just in your 401k   * keep your network alive (maybe be an informal recruiter? http://www.mooreds.com/wordpress/archives/1728 )
The easiest way to keep a job is not to need it because you have a buffer of savings, a viable network, and have valuable skills. In my experience, those developers can land on their feet even when they are surprised by a layoff.

codingdave 4 days ago 0 replies      
Corporate jobs and consulting jobs were still around, and most people I know went that direction for a few years. Salaries dropped about 10-20k, based on the conversation I ahd with people in those days.

The good developers I knew went into a holding pattern, sitting at whatever job they landed until things improved. It only took 2-3 years before the demand started to come back. At that point, there was another split, where the really good people went off to new jobs, and the less talented stayed in the same corporate jobs. This then left a few really good years to be working as a consultant, as the corporate teams had lost all their talent and needed help. The guys I know who rode that consulting wave have all since migrated into director or VP positions at consulting firms, and are doing quite well financially, even if they have sold their soul tot he corporate world.

Of course, not everyone went the consulting route. Many of us just stuck with coding, but found better places to do it, for better salaries. But most people my age (40s) have no interest in riding the startup wave again.

mark_l_watson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I had previously moved from San Diego to the mountains of Central Arizona - no problems finding good remote work before the bubble burst.

Afterwords there was not much work for a short while until I took a 6 month development gig (writing a Sharepoint clone) for a company in India at a not very high consulting rate, but by the time I was done the job market was better for remote workers.

einhverfr 5 days ago 0 replies      
In the Seattle area it was bad enough I started my own business, moved my family of 3 into my parent's house and tried to make do on my income tax refund.
adrianhoward 5 days ago 0 replies      
Me: Started selling software in 86. In student/ working at universities 88-96. Industry 96-now.

As for what I did during the crash started my own web/usability company in 2000. Nothing to do with the crash (the company I left was successful and bought a few years later would have made a lot more money if I'd stayed and waited for my stock to vest ;-) Just wanted to get out of management at the time.

Just because the VC / startup market was crashing and burning didn't mean that a whole stack of existing companies didn't want to get on the web at that time ;-)

From my perspective a lot of it depended on where you lived.

The folk I know who were working in the US at the time didn't really notice a lot of difference if they weren't in the valley or NYC. Because outside of those areas the crash didn't cause that large a change in the job market. In the UK (where I live) not a lot changed outside of London, and maybe Brighton.

If you were in SF or London though you were facing a lot of skilled people hitting the streets at roughly the same time. Which obviously drove wages down. For a time it was a employers market.

For me the biggest visible changes I saw were:

* on the bright side: far fewer idiots were hired

* on the dark side: far fewer newbies were hired and trained on the job

* I got fewer calls trying to poach me, and lower offers for London jobs

* I faced a lot of competition from other folk starting their own agencies after leaving a failing startup

The biggest problem was faced by complete newbies or folk still finding their feet since there were far more experienced folk around in the job market. And they got hired first.

Advice for developers who want to insulate themselves:

* If you're working now save money. Money gives you options.

* Be good at your job.

* Understand how to communicate to third parties that you are good at your job.

* Stop thinking that all work outside of the non-VC funded world is dull an uninteresting. It isn't.

* Have connections outside of the startup echo chamber.

* Live, or be willing to move to, locations that aren't flooded by hundreds of people just like you.

reitoei 5 days ago 0 replies      
Jobs for developers/designers were hard to come by in Dublin immediately after the bubble, even for people like me who had experience. Ended up moving to London for two years to work in a different field of IT. A complete waste of time, hated the job, but I needed to pay the bills. Things bottomed out by 2003 and I came back to Dublin in 2004, have been working ever since.
jexe 5 days ago 1 reply      
My second dot-com (in NYC) almost bit the dust in 2001 after bunches of layoffs, but management incredibly figured out how to make it through another five-ish years.

The thing that stands out to me the most about that period in time was how flat it was. No significant pay raises, no new hires, nobody leaving (where wasn't really anywhere decent to go). The team and the work fortunately stayed interesting.

Take that for what it's worth - I'm just one data point. Also, the last couple years have been too good to us in our industry, but I don't think it's anything like the absurdity of the late 90's, so I would be surprised if there was a crash that hit as hard.

Also, to echo what others here have said, we didn't know we had it so good until we suddenly didn't. If you're in your first job in a fabulously-funded tech startup with bizarro perks, brace yourself that it may not be normal. :) But appreciate it while you've got it!

collyw 4 days ago 1 reply      
Really bad for a fresh graduate in the UK. I was unemployed for a year and a half (I did get a couple of temporary low paid jobs to get some experience). There were jobs around and I got interviews, but in the end they all ended up saying "not enough experience".
harel 4 days ago 0 replies      
My own personal 2 cents: I arrived to San Francisco in 1998, so I was there when things peaked. I got paid more money than was good for me at the time, and getting a job was easy. Getting funding was even easier. I worked for an ASP at the time and on many projects. Some ideas were so silly it beggared belief how they had seven figures in funding and unsurprisingly most failed. But if you had an idea that included that word internet somewhere in the business plan - you got funded. If you could hold a mouse and do a "Hello World" you could get hired. I was also hooked up with one of the larger party organisers in town at the time, working on their web site and music streaming app (though it was all 'website' then, not apps), I was also producing music, playing big parties. I enjoyed myself fully.

So, geeks were given millions and felt like they had to impress the investors. So if the competition moved to a new office, they moved to even bigger ones. If the CEO was driving a Porsche, they got a Ferrari. So you could tell a tech startup was in a building by the multiple Porsches parked outside. The same principle applied after the crash - you could tell a tech startup is crashing due to the multiple people coming out with cardboard boxes. Every day another startup next to us did the cardboard box dance. Our turn came as well of course. My next job lasted 2 months as that company tanked as well, and as a new recruit I was first to be let go. Next company lasted a bit longer but at that time the city was changed. Before the crash I had to park my car at the other side of town and take a taxi to it when I needed it. After the crash I could park everywhere I wanted and at any time. After the crash I had periods between jobs that I couldn't find any work. At all, but I was lucky (and good enough) to ultimately get a good gig. During those dead periods though I had to leave the City which was probably the hardest thing for me as I really like San Francisco.

I don't regret a thing though. And I think the crash ultimately did good to the industry. It was too much before it happened. A strange gold rush with a total lack of common sense. The waves to follow are somewhat more sensible.

bethling 5 days ago 1 reply      
I worked for two companies in 2000-2002 that went belly up. I was lucky to not be unemployed too long during that time, but it just reinforced that I was lucky to even have a job. I didn't even think about negotiating an offer until recently. That mind set put me back so much that when I became a manager a few years ago, I saw that the company I was working for (one of the big tech companies) was paying fresh college graduates more than I was getting.

I also remember a few times where I was interviewing tech writers, and they would beg me for the job - they had been out of work for 2-3 years.

I don't think it will get that bad if the current cycle bursts. There's a lot more tech companies out there that are making money, and even if/when the VC money dries up there will be some jobs.

knieveltech 5 days ago 0 replies      
It was ridiculous. Newspaper classifieds were still kind of a thing at the time, and I vividly recall section 110 (computer jobs) disappearing entirely for over a year. During the bleakest period the few local businesses that were hiring were asking for insane skill combinations, a decade or more of prior experience, and offering the kind of wages you'd expect working in fast food. The tech support call center I was working at at the time had dudes with advanced degrees and many years of industry experience working 2nd shift just to have some cash coming in. Local news outlets were running stories about senior network admins and programmers with advanced degrees leaving the industry entirely to start up landscaping businesses and the like. It got pretty grim.
HeyLaughingBoy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I barely noticed. Probably because although I was a software developer, I wasn't a web developer. The biggest impact on me was that my retention bonus went away. Because the company didn't want to lose devs due to the dot-com boom draining them away, my company paid a bonus in each paycheck to some developers to entice them to stay. Then sometime around 2003/2004 they realized they didn't need to pay it anymore and stopped the program.

Besides that, I never really noticed the crash. Hiring was just as difficult since the average unemployed web dev didn't do C++ and machine control, so the glut of developers didn't really help us.

thomasfl 5 days ago 0 replies      
I experienced suddenly loosing my job, wife and house all in a few weeks time during the dot-com crash in 2001. I went from managing a group of 16 web developers in a large international ISP to do web server sysop. I was lucky. There were 45 others that applied for the same job, and I was really just a university dropout. In 1997 I contacted 7 different companies just for fun to see if they would offer me a job. They all offered me jobs. One guy offered me a job in less than 5 minutes without knowing anything about me, except that I knew how to write html and cgi scripts. It was simply to easy to get a job back then.

Later I went on to finish a masters degree in computer science and have two more kids.

sendquick 5 days ago 0 replies      
The earlier bust had a lot of fluff bursting from the bubble, but there were solid, growing companies as well. GoTo (later Overture, then a Yahoo purchase) was ramping up its pay-per-click ad model and several brick and mortar companies were still trying to gain a presence on the web, and were willing to pay for it. Google launched Adwords in October of 2000 and its growth since then needs no recap. Basically nascent companies that were ideas sans business plan fell by the way side, but there was still active investments being made and a growing ecosystem online. A lot of capital shifted into that ecosystem--track newspaper closures with Adwords' growth. Valuations took the biggest hit, but the work didn't.
rongenre 4 days ago 0 replies      
Late December 2000, 2nd and Folsom in SF was completely full of BizDev types talking into their cell phones.

Around April 2001, pink slip parties were still happening, but people were getting nervous. VC funding had completely shut off, I think.

Late December 2001, 2nd and Folsom -- tumbleweeds and homeless people.

Recruiters went from being suckups to being sorta mean. They never liked us in the first place. Interviews became brutal. The best way to survive was learning a little business and knowing the difference between a cost and a revenue center.

tmaly 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was just graduating 6 months before the crash. I had a job lined up designing cable modem chips for Intel. They gave me 2.5 months salary to not show up. I sent out resumes for a while, but no bites. A friend of mine sent out 2,200 resumes and did find one bite after a while. It was pretty tough, but I picked up some books and learned some new skills. Eventually I found some freelancing projects through a friend. I was able to travel around the world for a bit. I eventually found a full time position using my new skills.
colinmegill 5 days ago 0 replies      
I also started programming after the bust. This discussion reminds me of an a16z deck I saw a while ago... (http://a16z.com/2014/10/28/mobile-is-eating-the-world/). As people are demanding their Wells Fargo account on their iPhone, what we now call 'tech' has penetrated far enough now to be partly independent of the VCs, so a funding cycle will not mean the total destruction of all careers which were narrowly iOS.
ebiester 5 days ago 0 replies      
Every time I hear about this, I think about how much of a mistake I made not getting my associate's in '97 and heading to the bay. I, too, graduated into the crash in 2001, but I was lucky because I had an independent study with a professor who referred me to his friend who was hiring.

Now, while it was terrible for B2C, government consulting was booming. It wasn't the sexiest of work, but it was a good four years of my life.

I just wonder what would have happened if I could have grabbed the money and then go to school during the crash instead... Perhaps it wouldn't have made a difference.

arfliw 5 days ago 0 replies      
As somebody who hired developers at that time, it was far different from today. You could put a job listing up on Craigslist and have an inbox full of 100+ developers, many of whom had great resumes at name brand companies, who were willing to work for a few grand a month. Today it takes $100k+/year to get good people and even that isn't enough. You have to give them a reason beyond money to pick you over all of the other offers they are getting. They didn't care back then, as long as you could pay them.
buddy_tucker 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wiped me out. And chances of a recovery are `nil` at this point :/
cleaver 5 days ago 1 reply      
My experience running my own small consulting company was actually positive. In the late 90's I thought I was a loser since nobody was handing me seven-figure cheques. In hindsite, the stuff I worked on was solid and maybe better than the flashy dot-coms. By focusing on business value rather than what was fashionable gained us increasing revenues year after year.

2008-9 was actually worse... that was the first decline in revenues and it combined with changing climate toward outsourcing with our government clients.

psygnisfive 5 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking of The Bubble, there's a documentary on YouTube filmed shortly after/during the burst. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsVpNB2Lv3U

At one point you see these things, pink slip parties.. fascinating stuff. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/pink-slip-party.asp

Anyway, we're not in a bubble, so don't worry. :)

la6470 5 days ago 0 replies      
One of the most popular site that came into existence during the crisis was called fuckedcompanies.com which published layoff memos from all the companies. It wad that bad.
georgeecollins 5 days ago 2 replies      
As I recall, talented people were still paid well in 2002, it was just not as hard to find them.

Also, the "dot com bubble" makes it sound like it happened all of the sudden. Lots of smart people thought things were fishy by 1998. By 2000 everyone was convinced. Just because some people are talking bubble now doesn't mean things are going to fall apart next month. Make hay while the sun shines. And be careful about car leases and mortgages.

mgarfias 5 days ago 0 replies      
Out of work for 9 months, hired at 1/2 the salary (admittedly it was from inflated Bay Area wage to New Mexico wage) at a crap company that was super stressful.

I was dumb, had a couple of options to jump ship from the place that laid me off, and I didn't take them as I was insistent on moving to NM where my girlfriend was in grad school.

Shoulda stayed in the Bay Area. Rule of thumb: if something smells fishy about your current job: start looking asap.

stevewilhelm 5 days ago 0 replies      
It was definitely an employer's market. You could look for people with five or more years of experience in exactly the market and technologies you required.

For example, a job posting looked something like 'Five to seven years of experience building hospitality services using Java Servlets and Oracle Databases.' They would get dozens of qualified resumes and could hire someone for significantly less their previous salary.

tuke 4 days ago 0 replies      
What was it like? It was horrible. My experience was very lucky, but it was horrendous to see all of one's friends losing their jobs and scrambling. People who did get new jobs frequently took shitty jobs that set their careers back a few years. If you did manage to get something new in 2001 you were frequently locked in for some years.

I have been continuously employed or have had substantial contracting since 1999 (almost all regular employment, except for no more than a total of 12 months of various freelance).

I can only guess why, but it is probably some combination of:

1. When the layoffs came, I was in the non-laid-off remnant, probably because I always situated myself to know how everything worked, soup-to-nuts: code, databases, servers, etc.

2. Constant re-education, and willingness to use languages and tools I considered to have technical deficits (e.g., ColdFusion).

3. Constant teaching. Was always teaching Java or, later, Ruby in the evenings. Stayed sharp.

4. Constant networking. Very important -> I networked both at the tech level and at the business level. Keeping in touch with VPs of marketing and business development meant that when their cohort was looking for devs, the business-side VPs would think of me. Techie-to-techie referrals were nil.

5. Maturity. Was recruited into an executive position in 2002 perhaps because of attitude + tech skills.

stuaxo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Having only a years experience at the time, it wasnt possible to find anything, so I spent two years doing non development jobs ( data entry, then a year on a helpdesk ).

In a way it was good, as when I went back, I no longer did java.

(Edit): 6 months unsuccessful job hunting for dev roles, then after money ran out, back to home town and living in a place my mother owned and taking any job I could.

snarfy 4 days ago 0 replies      
It definitely made my lack of a degree all the more painful. I had enough technical chops to get the job once in the interview, but getting the interview was the hard part. I have a pretty diverse skill set which helped land some jobs that I'm sure they couldn't find anybody else for, e.g. windows 9x device drivers.
santacluster 5 days ago 1 reply      
For anyone with actual skill, nothing really changed. But then again, for people with actual skill nothing has really changed throughout the last 25 years, despite the crisis.

Yes, there was a huge market through Y2K and the dot-com bubble for people who knew how to operate a keyboard, and that market collapsed. But those people where as much developers as I am a surgeon because I know how to apply a band-aid. Personally I was glad the bubble burst, because it became increasingly harder to avoid landing in a place where most of the "developers" weren't utterly incompetent.

HN isn't a representative audience though. Most of those people wouldn't be on the early 2000's equivalents of HN either. If this is a bubble and it bursts, most of HN-ers that get affected won't be out of work for more than a month.

Many may have to take a boring enterprise gig, but that's pretty much how the second wave of internet-companies started: bored and with time on their hands, many hackers started to work on what was then called "social software" projects, which eventually resulted in a wave of social media startups.

Things may be different in SV, especially when it comes to the balance of wages vs cost of living, but SV is an outlier.

saltcod 4 days ago 0 replies      
I knew a guy who did a year-long, very expensive program in "IT". He said that they did "some" programming, and by the end reported that they were "just getting into arrays".

So...yeah.... if people like that were getting top salaries, then things were a bit crazy.

la6470 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was a Unix sysadmin and in 2000 I could land a 100k job with 6 skills. 2002 I considered myself lucky if I could land a 60k job with 10 new skills. Since then every year I made it a point to tackle 4-5 new technologies. So far it has served me well.
csixty4 5 days ago 1 reply      
I was fed up with college in the summer of 1998. I was tired of a computer science degree program which required classes in COBOL and IBM 370 assembler. So, I went home to get an associate's degree and start earning some of that hot dot-com dough. By the Spring of 1999, I was looking for my first programming job with another year to go on my two-year degree.

That job search took months. Without a degree or professional experience, I didn't hear back from anyone. Which really stunk, because back then you had to fax your resume and my local Kinko's charged something like a buck a page. I was stocking the sci-fi section at Borders and reading computer books at night.

There was nothing like today's open source community, no sites like Github. It you couldn't point to a commercial product you built, you had no business claiming you could program. Recruiters wouldn't even talk to me.

I got a job at a company that hired pretty much anyone and sent them to a two-week BASIC course and made them web programmers. Literally, the guy who sat next to me drove limos and had zero exposure to programming before taking the job. But they could bill for his time by the hour, so...great! You can read a bit about my story and the technologies I worked with there in my three-part blog series "Pick is a living fossil of computer history" https://davidmichaelross.com/blog/a-living-fossil-of-compute...

Once I took that job doing Pick, I heard from recruiters at least once a week...for Pick jobs. Again, unless you had a job with a certain technology, you couldn't get a job with that technology, because there were 20 other people with more experience willing to work for the same crappy entry-level wages.

The early 2000s were much the same until I dropped $1000 of my own money on a Java certification and suddenly I was getting calls about Java positions all day long.

My advice? I hate telling people to build up a Github profile because not everyone has the luxury of coding in their spare time. But that's one of the most visible things you can do to prove your knowledge of different technologies. Be glad you have it, and use the heck out of it.

Save up money so you can go for months without a programmer's salary. You might need to.

Accept that you might have to take a job that's not very interesting of glamorous. But never take a job in a technology as old as your parents.

nickbauman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I went through a dry patch in the beginning of 2002 that lasted until March. I then got a job working for a company that was acquired by Oracle 4 years later. I've never had a problem finding work since.
snoonan 5 days ago 0 replies      
I entered the job market at 19 years old in 1998.

I did what's now called DevOps, automating server and code deployment, monitoring, etc. I could do no wrong. Got promoted, ran a team before I could buy a drink. Got treated like a rockstar with every role I chose to take. People needed to scale and I knew how to do it without hiring a room full of network admins. Serious stock options. My compensation felt like it was following Moore's Law.

The startup I worked at failed. My friends, colleagues, former managers, almost entire network all got kicked to the curb around the same time. Recruiters dropped off the face of the earth. There was no one out there to reach out to.

I collected unemployment for a few months.

I ended up taking a basic IT admin job for a drug trial company at about 60% my salary. A friend of mine landed at a small business Windows IT consulting shop with a bonus structure I could kill, so I interviewed there. I ended up as a local field engineer driving around to different small business clients fixing windows desktops and printers, but with an extra hours bonus structure that had me back up to my previous salary in a couple of years.

In short, I went from a Unix/Linux rockstar to Windows network guy. Now I own my own language learning business and I'm back doing part time DevOps consulting (what's old is new again). I bill out at $225/hr because people want to scale again. It's nuts because just a few short years ago there wasn't a company on this earth that would touch me for $30/hr.

How does it relate to now? I just spent the past two weeks consulting at a couple of startups, including directly for a startup accelerator and wow, yeah. It's the same vibe.

I got back on my feet. Most of my friends did too. I had to fix Windows XP desktops for pipe supply companies and law firms for a while. I had to launch my own non-sexy business to really get out of it. Now my tech skill set and interest happened to be popular again, so I'm taking advantage of that and doing some consulting. I don't expect the tech stuff to last, so I prefer to look at my own small language business as my long-term gig. I don't trust this.

My advice... Industries go through ups and downs, so you will experience it at some point. I survived by becoming OK with helping businesses outside of the bubble. I built my own more or less non-tech business on the side that grew to where I can live off of that if I need to. I advise maintaining a good network across several industries. If the tech startups bubble pops, you can write code for industrial robot control panels or billing systems. Network in industries outside your comfort zone. My sister-in-law wrote systems on contract for a hotel. A friend of mine works on enterprise tax software for Mexican companies. If the bubble pops, have a diverse network to reach out to. The front door's going to be jammed with resumes from people like you, all at once.

rodnor 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone elaborate on the experience that Product Managers had in these times?


antidaily 5 days ago 0 replies      
Let's just say it became way more difficult to get $5k gigs building Flash banner ads.
hijinks 5 days ago 0 replies      
there was a pretty good post about it on quora a while ago


x0x0 5 days ago 0 replies      
You all are forgetting FC. Fucked was the front page of the startup scene. What was the bubble like? Discovering you were laid off by reading it on FC. Thanks to archive for saving all the content.

Oh, and having a friend who is a very good engineer (ms cs from mit) take a job for $45k to put a dent in their mortgage.


la6470 5 days ago 0 replies      
2000 I thought IT was the king. 2002 I knew business was the king.
DanielBMarkham 5 days ago 0 replies      
The dot-com crash was quite an adventure. Being a coder/PM, I really didn't realize we were in it until it was already several months in.

I had left one gig and had started looking for the next one. One month I was getting multiple 6-figure full-time job offers. The next month the phone didn't ring.

I ended up going back to basics: marketing. I went through the online job boards and found which skills were still selling, then revised my resume to focus on those. I made my pitch better and started to talking to recruiters.

It's all still just a numbers game. There's a funnel of jobs you apply for. The next level is the recruiter interview, then the tech interview. Different rate quotes get different amounts of volume into the top of the funnel.

I ended up taking a 30% cut from my rate before. That went on for a few months, then the next job was back at my normal rate. In fact, the more I worked the market the better my rates got. I took a big hit for the several months it took to re-tool, but in general within a year or two I was doing as good or better than before. (The only exception is that the full-time job calls dried up.)

The rule of thumb here is that multi-skilled contractors can always find work as long as they have good marketing and sales skills. The guys who had been camping out at the same job for several years and not growing their skillset had the worst time of it.

Ologn 5 days ago 0 replies      
> the job-market I've always experienced has been one of ever-increasing demand

Believe me that can change. In a heartbeat. February 2000 and February 2002 were like night and day. BSCS's become much more important as opposed to just experience. You will see more "BSCS required" in ads. Networking - people who stayed in touch with former coworkers etc. came out ahead.

My career started in 1996. I had very little college, but knew Unix decently enough to be a sysadmin. I started at a small ISP, followed by a dot-com startup, followed by another dot-com startup which I was at in 2000.

I thought technology stock price/earnings ratios were at historic highs in early 2000 and was expecting a correction. I expected the crash, although it was bigger and longer than I expected. I thought getting some Fortune 500 experience on my resume would be a good idea. By the end of the year I was employed at a consulting company that placed me as a Unix sysadmin at a Fortune 100 financial company. Actually within a few months the company laid off internal staff and told the consulting company (which was pretty integrated into the staff) that they wanted some consultants cut, which I (barely) survived.

One mantra of our large consulting company is we never had to worry about the next assignment and money, but that was not true. During good times, they made the lion's share of the consulting fees, during bad times they fired anyone who could not be placed almost immediately. So the security they promised did not exist. I had time clocked in at a good placement though so I was safe.

I also had my own startup side project which I killed when the stock market crashed. It was kind of like a Geocities for video games. It had begun to get traction. It was very dependent on disk space, and I had been thinking of spending tens of thousands of dollars of my own money, not just on some servers but on disk arrays. Happily I never bought them. I went with the times - more focused on traction and "eyeballs" than revenue (although I made some revenue from beyond.com which sold software online, it was a public company whose shares went from over $600 to less than $1 and then bankruptcy).

Nowadays my efforts are more focused on bootstrapping and getting revenue early. It's worth it for an angel or VC to goad you on to spending money and chasing traction. They have dozens of bets and only need a few to pay off, you on the other hand might waste years of your life. I spent little money (colo'd at my old ISP), and a year of time, and learned programming etc. better so it wasn't bad.

I visited the Bay Area in late 2000 and had a job offer also, luckily for me I did not pack up and move there.

In terms of insulation: * A BSCS helps* Having lots of money saved helps* Money saved does not mean 95% invested in Rackspace stock, since stocks can go down as well as up* Keeping in contact with former coworkers helps* Having some clean, well architected, "Code Complete" proper code on Github helps* Having a side income from your own personal web sites, apps etc. helps

Another thing - right now the Bay Area is hot and other US cities are not as much. But from what I heard from friends, things were bad in the Bay Area in 2000-2001, whereas in LA, New York, Chicago, Boston, DC etc., they were not hit as hard by the tech crash.

Also, some people I knew were buying tech stocks on the margin in 2000 or even options (10% margin). They lost a lot. Also, unemployed people can eat through their savings very quickly. But there is no better insulation than having a lot of money saved up.

samstave 4 days ago 0 replies      
Late to the party, but here is my experience:

Absolutely dead.

I went on sabbatical in October 2000 to SE Asia to backpack for 6 months. When I left, my current company had an open return door for me in my position. I also had two other companies that I had been talking to about working for either of them when I got back.

When I got back in March, there were no jobs to be had. I had money in the bank though and didnt realize how bad it was. Six months after getting back we had a party where ~55 people showed up. All tech workers. Out of the 55, only 3 had jobs.

It wasnt for another 12 months that I found a job - falling back to my previous skill as an architectural drafter. Fortunately it was for a small design firm that was wanting to do more technical stuff - so we were designing datacenters, server rooms, corp stuff. It worked out well - but for 18 months it was really really really bad. I only survived because my family owned my condo and I had a roommate who paid me $750/month in rent which is what I lived on. I couldnt get unemployment because I voluntarily left for my trip - on which I spent almost all my savings.

bane 4 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely brutal.

I was a Windows developer at the time and I remember a co-worker of mine left to join a startup and make it big. He started work at 8am, was downsized by 2pm and the company shut-down 2 days later. I worked with another guy who was going back to school for a certification, one of those early for profit schools, they had apparently invested much of their profit and when the market crashed, simply fired everybody in the middle of a semester, locked the doors and walked away.

Many of my peers moved back in with their parents and for lack of a job, simply went back to school and got their M.S.'s hoping to ride it out. I know a number of people who left the field entirely and started all kinds of random businesses: personalized woodburnt gift "cards", home-made chocolates, etc.

The company I worked for ended up simply running out of money, nobody had liquid capital to do anything like buy things or be our customer. We simply stopped getting paid.

I left, and through some connections, found a paid internship in a different career to make ends meet, on weekends I refurbished people's decks and delivered rides to kids' birthday parties. Through a twist of fate, my wife was in a weird immigration status and couldn't work (in those days you needed a work authorization card while waiting for your green card and the government was way behind in keeping them up-to-date). We were literally eating Ramen and Taco Bell for most of our food. I grew up pretty poor so it wasn't too much of a downslope, but it was pretty distressing for my wife. One pay period, my wife accidentally threw away my pay check in the trash, we wouldn't have been able to make rent and would have ended up homeless if I hadn't gotten my company to void it and issue me a new one.

Then 9/11 hit and things got worse. Immigration processes absolutely ground to a halt. My wife lost a job she had been able to get on her work authorization papers when they expired and the Immigration service forgot to issue her a new one. I remember an exorbitant anniversary dinner we went to at Olive Garden. We saved up for 2 months for it. It cost about $35 for the two of us. We asked for another basket of all you can eat breadsticks and a pasta refill then took the entire basket and all the pasta home with us so we could split it on another meal.

The place I was working at was delighted with me, and as a reward offered me another paid internship. Nonplussed with their generous offer, I applied to something like 300 other open positions, but the requirements had become insane: 5-7 years experience in fields that hadn't even existed 2 years prior, for entry-level positions paying less than I was making at my internship! I stayed at my internship. When it expired they offered to convert me to full-time at the same rate, but with benefits now being taken out I was bringing home less money!

It was about this time that lots of the courtesy in the hiring process disappeared, things like calling back applicants to let them know their application had been reviewed but they had decided to go another direction, that sort of thing, simply stopped.

On top of all of this, outsourcing was becoming a thing, and tons of jobs were moving to India. Many major employers simply stopped hiring or fired all their technical staff and moved everything overseas. For most of them, it didn't really work out, but it had a major impact in the number of openings and the requirements for the openings. You literally didn't know if your job would exist from one-week to the next.

For me, things started to turn around some time in 2003-2004. My wife finally was able to work after getting her Green Card, my internship converted into a full-time position with better pay, cost to borrow money was stupid low (at the time) with bizarre favorable finance rules (that later got the country in trouble) and we bought a house and started building equity.

The housing market became insane and we sold our house, 2 years after buying it, for a 40% profit. In the meanwhile both of our careers had turn into actual careers and not desperate grabbing at scraps. Outsourcing started to show major weaknesses.

A lot of the excesses of the dot-com bubble and pre 9-11 were carefully scrutinized. Dumb shit like starting a company and spending half the investment money on lava lamps were understood to be a bad thing now. Actually needing a business plan became important. It stopped being possible for 19 year olds with 2 years of experience and a 9 page resume made up of fabrications to get hired into mature startups as directors of engineering and paid $200k salaries. Perl started to fall out of favor as a major force in the development of the Web and Java shops started to become a major "thing".

InclinedPlane 5 days ago 0 replies      
Super terrible. First off, there were far fewer tech companies total. Worse, the internet was still immature. Which had a couple consequences.

One, there were just fewer jobs and yet a lot of people competing for them, so it was especially hard if you didn't have a strong resume. Second, remote work was uncommon so if you didn't already live in a tech hub city you were pretty screwed. Third, performing the hiring process via the internet was iffy. Going through the process back then often involved stuffing a printed resume into an envelope and mailing it somewhere along with a printed cover letter, then waiting for a return letter or a phone call (which will probably just go to your voicemail or answering machine).

Granted, the tech field was a little better but not much, and not universally.

Ask HN: What is the difference between a programmer and a developer?
8 points by o_s_m  2 days ago   8 comments top 3
bitwalker 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion they are two words for the same thing: Someone who builds software.

The word programmer refers to the literal act of writing the code, while to me the word developer implies writing the code, but also all the other "software engineering" aspects of developing software. If you wanted to be technical, you could say a programmer just codes, while a developer codes but also determines requirements, develops a specification/scope, etc.

I refer to myself with both interchangeably, and I assume most others do as well. I really don't consider them to be different in any meaningful way.

kbuley 2 days ago 1 reply      
I (and many I know) tend to think of programmers (or coders) as those the concentrate on specific tasks, such as programming a specific type of hardware, phone system, manufacturing machine, or those that write code as a part of a larger project but typically work only on small pieces of the larger whole, with tight guidelines.

Developers are those that work at the next level. They have their fingers in the project as a whole, or at least in multiple modules. These people are are typically the leads, or senior people in the group.

For the engineer comparison... I would compare them to software architects. They probably aren't writing much code, but they are building out specs and test cases.

Where the engineer designs the bridge, the contractor handles sub projects, and the worker welds the beams... the architect designs the software, the developer manages interfaces and algorithms, and the programmer pounds out lines of code.


chuhnk 2 days ago 1 reply      
They mean the same thing. Another word would be Engineer.
       cached 27 December 2014 13:05:02 GMT