hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    14 Oct 2015 Ask
home   ask   best   4 years ago   
Ask HN: How do you answer the question what salary do you expect?
12 points by xivzgrev  9 hours ago   14 comments top 7
nazca 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm on the flip side of this normally. I work at a large silicon valley tech company and do a fair amount of hiring.

If you feel you're making well below market value for the industry & geo that you're interviewing in, I wouldn't set an 'anchor'. You have nothing to gain. Just wait for them to make you an offer. This is especially true if you're interviewing at a smaller company where they have less rigorous compensation guidelines for a given position, and they might be more tempted to low-ball you. A good manager at a large company shouldn't change their comp decision if you're making surprising little now... but you never know.

If you're currently in-line with the market, you can tell them or not. Either way you're in a good position to negotiate if the offer comes in a bit soft. Most candidates I see in this situation are upfront about their current comp and it makes the whole process more efficient.

If you're making more than market or more than they're expecting, be up front. Especially at a large company. Once they get approval to issue an offer it might be impossible or extremely difficult to increase the comp outside the band for that level. If they know in advance that you're making more than expected they can consider an offer at the next higher level. Also, don't just make up a number that puts you above market. First, if it is clearly too high it will make them question your honesty. Second, it might preclude you from an offer altogether if they don't feel you're ready for the next grade level.

As a side note, when candidates defer on the comp question, I assume they're making less than market. Almost as a rule 9 out of 10 candidates who defer are coming from other geo's or other industries that don't pay as well. As a policy, I try to keep my team's comp equitable & calibrated (much more tightly than just blindly following our company bands & guidelines) so I don't give them a lower offer. But other managers might not do the same.

pavornyoh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It is a tricky question. Never quote a figure. Instead say " I am very confident that if I am the right person selected for this role, you'd make me a fair offer based on the market, my skillset etc." The reason being, if you quote a number, you are locked in and the employer has the upper hand. There is always room for negotiations although they will say they are only willing to pay X at this time. If they really want you, they will cough up the money and bring you on board.
Peroni 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Tell the truth. Decide on a salary that would legitimately make you happy and tell them that figure. If they had planned on offering you more, the worst case scenario is that you will get offered your ideal figure. If they had planned on offering you less, the worst case scenario is that they will try and negotiate you down. Either way, whatever their next move is gives you clear insight into their perception of you.

Decent employers don't try to negotiate everyone down by default. The better employers recognise the value a decent employee brings to the table and goes out of their way to ensure that money isn't a concern.

CyberFonic 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't let the question rattle me. I do some research to work out what the market rate is for the skills and in the geographic area. Based on that I work out what I would be happy with and then add 15-20%. That gives me a buffer for negotiating. If the potential employer baulks and wants to pay much less, I think it is best if we don't get more involved.

I actually prefer it when the employee goes first. It shows your confidence and anchors the perception of your value.

Taking a job for less than what you would be happy with is an immediate recipe for dissatisfaction. That is a very bad way to start a job.

revorad 3 hours ago 0 replies      
patio11 offers some good advice here - http://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/
mc_hammer 8 hours ago 0 replies      
if they already said they want to hire u.. it doesnt matter, just pick a high number. going back through the job applicant process means 10s of hours of more boring ass work/loss of productivity.

answering your q: i usually just say my last salary +$X/hr. maybe adding "but I'm flexible".

cup 8 hours ago 1 reply      
One that reflects what I bring to this company, what value the market places on my skills and what level the company is willing to reach to secure my services.
Hacker News ranking formula license
4 points by geckoquaint  15 hours ago   1 comment top
dangrossman 15 hours ago 0 replies      
A published mathematical formula is not protected by any form of IP. You can't copyright the math, it's not a patented invention, and it's not a secret. So long as you implement it in code yourself, you do not need permission or a license to use the same score calculation.
Ask HN: How did you find your last job?
8 points by yarper  1 day ago   14 comments top 8
twunde 1 day ago 1 reply      
Make sure to keep in contact with old coworkers, especially if they've moved on to other companies. I've gotten contract work from former coworkers and actually got my first job because my boss' boss found out that I did some development and he was working with another startup that was looking for a junior programmer.

Otherwise I've had some success with recruiters, but the quality of the recruiter does matter.

probinso 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Find videos from conferences with technologies you are interested in. Watch any / all talks from that conference. Take note of company behind each interesting talk.

You know that the company is trying to make a difference with their community. You are gifted a topic to discuss during an interview.

You can also use the companies that host local meet ups.

yarper 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've found these;

https://triplebyte.com/(and HN who's hiring also)https://nomadlist.com/ for remotehttps://remoteok.io/remote-jobs also for remote

Not a lot is for London specifically. Triplebyte only lists a few startups in London, some of which I'm already in the process of applying for.

MalcolmDiggs 17 hours ago 0 replies      
My most recent job was from StackOverflow Careers (careers.stackoverflow.com). Before that, I got a job via Angellist Jobs (angel.co/jobs). In both cases creating a profile was all I had to do, then the companies reach out and say hi.
cm2012 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Recruited on LinkedIn - best job ever. It was a really recruitment message though from someone who referenced very specific things on my profile, not a random generic one.
onedev 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I was approached by a VC firm to consider a job at one of their portfolio companies and it has worked out fantastic so far :)
pmiller2 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I met several of my now coworkers at a meetup group.
dyeje 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I contacted someone in my professional network.
Ask HN: Are the new Dell XPS worth it? (thinking about buying the 15)
2 points by simonebrunozzi  8 hours ago   2 comments top 2
codeonfire 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think so. I got an inspiron touch 4k and a SSD. I never booted Windows, just swapped the drive and installed Ubuntu. It is probably $500 cheaper than a comparable XPS. I decided I didn't care if the lid more was flexible and it didn't have carbon fiber. 4k is also not worth it for laptops. You can't read text at 4k resolution and everything has to be scaled up 2x or 3x to be usable.
cft 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a 2013 13" XPS, and it's the best laptop that I have in terms of reliability (owned a bunch of IBMs/lenovos/Sony Vaios in the past)
Ask HN: I can't make the Lean Startup Conference want to buy my ticket?
5 points by rmkahler  17 hours ago   2 comments top
rgovind 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone here comment on how we can take advantage of such conferences. I am a techie...so I am not great at making new friends or approaching people and talking 'business' with them.

How should we get $250 worth value out of it?

Did your college educate students on popular languages or current events?
4 points by drowninginnet  15 hours ago   5 comments top 2
gt565k 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of my intro classes were in Java. Some classes were in Python, and others were free to choose depending on the project.

I think it helps a lot to be well versed in a c-family / type language (C, Java, C#...) and a a dynamic language like Ruby or Python.

While I was pursuing my undergrad, I had internships where I used Java, Python, VB, C#, Ruby, and JavaScript.

I don't think that a college should be responsible for teaching students the popular/hip languages. There are clubs and special topic courses for those that are interested.

My college had a mobile development club, a web dev club, artificial intelligence club, etc. Bleeding edge frameworks, languages, and other technologies were usually the point of discussion.

I do wish however that the CS curriculum included at least one course on functional and declarative programming.

ju-st 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If I search for "Rails" jobs in my vicinity I get 6 results. If I search for ".NET" indeed finds 316 jobs. 376 jobs for javascript and 1044 for "Java". But I'm not sure about that flexible work you're searching. Even the largest companies here allow you the work from home (partially) or reduce your hours per week.
Taking job you do not love is like saving sex for old age
4 points by christopherDam  14 hours ago   9 comments top 4
greenyoda 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Lots of things that people love doing don't pay enough for them to survive on. For example, if you'd really love to be a musician or an actor, you probably need a day job in an unrelated field to put food on the table until you become successful in your chosen field.
dragonwriter 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love.

Sure, that works, for some people, with certain preferences.

Sometimes, though, you do what you want -- the things you love -- and take a job that you merely tolerate so that you can afford to do the things you love. Its silly to think that the things everyone loves must also be, exclusively, jobs.

pavornyoh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
>There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want.

That is true but it has to be strategically orchestrated though otherwise the consequences can be disastrous.

GFK_of_xmaspast 14 hours ago 2 replies      
You take jobs you don't like because you have to do things like 'eat' and 'sleep under a roof'.
Ask HN: Experience with Windows 10 upgrade
4 points by codegeek  18 hours ago   14 comments top 5
starshadowx2 17 hours ago 1 reply      
It took me ~20 minutes overall for the download and install. All I had to do was press "start" really, and let it do it's thing.

I only had to re-install BitDefender, everything else worked right away.

I'm only just annoyed that the Charms menu is gone. I had used Windows 8 since the developer preview so I was used to that in my workflow. Not a huge issue though.

emocin 18 hours ago 2 replies      
The upgrade itself was pretty painless. Other than some weird "windows 10 does things differently" I have had no OS issues.

The only thing that didn't seem to be compatible was Steam, which required me to re-download and re-install; that fixed it up.

Also I believe virtualbox is currently not compatible with windows 10, but I don't use it anymore so it wasn't a deal breaker for me.

auxym 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Tried it on my GF's laptop (mine runs linux), which has a first gen core i5 from 2008ish. Everything was fine, except the HDMI port wouldn't work anymore. Apparently a bug in Intel's driver and they have aanounced that they will not be supporting it.

The rollback to win7 was rather quick and painless.

wirddin 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you still able to see the Upgrade notification? Didn't they have a timeline during which you could upgrade?

I just checked my Windows Laptop with Win8.1, I can't see any upgrade notification :(

runjake 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The RSAT tool situation is still a mess. No DHCP snap-in was included and I get some funny behavior with the other tools.
Ask HN: FBI showed up at my house this morning. What to do?
28 points by abba_fishhead  3 days ago   24 comments top 9
pavornyoh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stop posting online and go underground and vanish for a while. Although you have a large following online, your safety is more important. If something happens to you, you won't be able to post anyway and those large following won't matter. Just disappear.

And when the FBI is investigating you, they don't need a smokescreen. I'd take them seriously if I were in your shoes.

pseingatl 2 days ago 1 reply      
1. If you've been posting content similar to the Danish cartoons or Charlie Hebdo's, your main worry is not the FBI.

2. "Uncorroborated sources" means little. If there was an imminent threat they would tell you.

3. If you were in trouble, you would already be under arrest.

4. This was a preliminary meeting to see if you have any interest in becoming an informant for them. Expect that request to come soon.

5.If you've purchased grow house bulbs in the past six months or dozens of packages of ephedrine, then rest assured that your online postings have nothing to do with their visit.

If you are really concerned, here's a tip: lawyers are plentiful in the United States. You are not eligible for a free lawyer, but call your local federal court and ask for the names of attorneys who handle CJA appointments. Or call the local chapter of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, or contact their Washington office for a referral. Your new lawyer will quickly discover the level of the Bureau's interest.

wooster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Based on what you've said above, I would believe them. I have heard, second-hand, of another person getting a very similar warning. That person is taking it extremely seriously, and the FBI wouldn't have any credible ulterior motives in investigating them. (Sorry I have to be so vague.)
sarciszewski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just FYI, as someone who was arrested by the FBI for computer hacking and at the time had ~20 GB of illegally downloaded MP3s and SNES ROMs: They didn't even bother investigating it. They even returned my laptop to me mostly unmolested. (I assume they left an implant and quickly ditched it after recovering the stuff I wanted and backing it up online.)

It's probably in the government's best interest to keep you alive, even if you've torrented.

(Of course, I don't pirate stuff anymore. I doubt I'll ever feel like I'm off their radar ever again. Not worth the risk.)

rajacombinator 3 days ago 1 reply      
Uhhhh ... My gut reaction is usually anti feds but since in the case you actually have a track record of receiving these death threats before ... to the extent that it made you flee your home country ... it seems pretty legit. What other activities are you involved with that you think are a more likely reason for the FBI to show up at your door?
tlack 3 days ago 2 replies      
First thought: run like hell! Even if this is some kind of lie or trick, what risk do you take by going on a vacation for a few weeks?
mhoad 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not totally convinced that this post was your best move in any way whatsoever. I would be calling that number if I were you, I don't think this is a decoy unless you have more evidence that suggests it might be outside of general paranoia.
ljk 1 day ago 0 replies      
If they are interested in you, how do you know they're not in this forum already?
dang 15 hours ago 0 replies      
HN is no place for religious flamewars.

Fortunately your comment history looks otherwise fine, but please don't post anything like this to HN again.

Ask HN: Showcasing side projects on resume
5 points by _spoonman  19 hours ago   5 comments top 3
lollipop25 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> How can I showcase that on a resume?

In the resume, order them by most awesome first. Don't bother putting the broken ones in. If possible, and if they are open source, put the source code on github. Put up an online demo, or link them to the real thing. Then put both repo and demo links in the resume, along with a 2-3 sentence summary of what the app does. Don't run around the bush, get straight to the point of the app.

codegeek 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Create a "RELEVANT PROJECTS" section and add them in there. If someone asks, you can say "These are the projects that I develop on my own time for learning purposes". It can never hurt.
apryldelancey 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Agree with codegeek and would add to assure you don't sound like you can do everything. When I see a resume that has a variety of skills I don't think versatility, I think, "what do I call this person for". Don't be a jack-of-all-trades because then you're a master of none.
Ask HN: Can you shed some light on calculating growth?
9 points by hn-growth  1 day ago   5 comments top 5
jordanthoms 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sorry, but cumulative metrics (which is what total user sessions are) aren't very useful. To quote from http://a16z.com/2015/08/21/16-metrics/ :"Cumulative charts by definition always go up and to the right for any business that is showing any kind of activity. But they are not a valid measure of growth they can go up-and-to-the-right even when a business is shrinking. Thus, the metric is not a useful indicator of a companys health."

The more useful metrics are over a time period - like the sessions per month one. Looking at percentage growth over time for a cumulative metric seems pretty meaningless actually - among other reasons, it can never be negative even if your business just tanked.

Monthly Growth usually refers to the growth in a monthly metric per month, and would be 0% in your case.

ucaetano 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Over the last year we went from 300,000 to 1,200,000 total user sessions."

Over what period of time?(1) 300k sessions in the previous year to 1.2M sessions this year(2) 300k TOTAL SESSIONS SINCE THE BEGINNINGS OF TIME (TSSBOF) in Jan 1st last year to 1.2M TSSBOF in Dec 31st last year

If the answer is (2), you should have seen and average of (1.2M - 0.3M)/12 = 75k sessions per month. If you saw that number every month, then essentially growth in sessions per month is zero.

The means that looking forward, unless something changes, your app will continue to have 900k sessions per year.

You just need to be clear on what you're measuring and what matters the most? The TSSBOF? Or the total sessions per month? I'd go with sessions/month.

confiscate 1 day ago 0 replies      
Based on my (limited) understanding, when one says "monthly growth rate", it means the delta between months. Hence, it is NOT the cumulative version.

It should be easy to see why--if you take the cumulative version, then by definition growth delta will always be 0 or positive. Even if you shut down your app next month, growth would be "0", which doesn't make sense, since your app is closed and you turned away 100% of your users so the delta in that (extreme) case would be -100% and not "0". "0" growth means there was no change in users between month.

xivzgrev 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Agree you got to look @ monthly.

Now if you show some growth and want to calculate the growth rate, CMGR (compound monthly growth rate) is your best friend!


Do this:1) X = # of sessions in october 20142) Y = # of sessions in october 20153) CMGR (compound MONTHLY growth rate) = (Y / X) ^ (1/12)-1

Here's an example:X = 100Y = 200CMGR = (200/100) ^ (1/12) - 1 = 5.9% monthly growthDouble check...100 * (1.059)^12 = 199...damn rounding :)

Hope that helps!

Mz 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If I am reading you correctly, you are not growing. Usage is flat. So: 0%
Ask HN: Can Airbnb hosts reject you based on your marital status?
5 points by scottmcdot  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
trcollinson 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this allowed or is this allowed by Airbnb and will this host be subsequently removed?

I would imagine the answer to the first question is, well yes of course it is allowed. They own (or have some right) to the property they are lending so they can decide on any number of arbitrary factors whether or not to lend to a particular borrower.

Is it against Airbnb's rules and policies? Actually, from everything I can find, no. This is absolutely fine. You can, as a lender, make any number of "house rules" in a "house manual" as long as you state your rules upfront. Maybe this lender feels that married couples take better care of the house in question. Or maybe they have religious beliefs about unmarried couples. Or maybe they just hate people who are dating. As long as the rules are stipulated up front and not in a rude way, it seems just fine according to the rules.

Now, will this help them lend their place? Hard to say. The market will drive that entirely. But as for "allowed" the answer seems to be a clear, yes.

debacle 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe the host is given a lot of discretion when it comes to bookings. Our recent host was very nice but required a lot of hoops before she would confirm the reservation. This was not in Norway but she was Norwegian.
auganov 19 hours ago 0 replies      

Seems like they will only intervene if the host doesn't comply with local discrimination laws.So I guess she should find if Norway has any anti-discrimination laws with regards to housing and martial status.

And if it's specified in the listing itself they might intervene regardless of local law if I understand it correctly.

Ask HN: Is it okay to change jobs within a year of starting?
16 points by confImmigr  1 day ago   13 comments top 9
sokoloff 1 day ago 1 reply      
So, one job at over two years, then a 7 month stint, then another role?

No problem at all.

I look askew at resumes where the longest stint is 18 months and the average is 12-15. That reads of someone who either can't stick something out, or someone that gets discovered as less-than-good over and over. Either way, I don't have a place for that.

A few 2+ year stints, a few promotions within a company, and still moving around a bit? That's normal. One bad fit job? No problem.

If you get another offer you want and you don't like the current role, switch. Life is too short. You might make it a point to stay at the next place longer than 7 months (ideally 24+).

mrits 1 day ago 0 replies      
Moving on to a better opportunity should never be looked down upon. If you develop a pattern of short durations and lateral movements then some people will consider that a flag.
janbernhart 23 hours ago 0 replies      
There are huge regional differences in what is okay and what isn't in changing jobs. I some European countries you're considered a job hopper if you change jobs every 2 years. (Industry matters too, for instance the gaming industry is very dynamic anf it's not odd to jump around their, while at financial services it is).

Bottom line; everyone can get away with a unfortunate career move. As long as you can explain why you took the job (whay you expected) and why that didn't work out. But if this happens more often, future empoyers will suspect there's something 'wrong' with you if you can't seem too be happy and productive in a place for a longer time.

a3n 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Given that I started at my current job less than an year go, does changing jobs within a year reflect badly upon me?

Apparently not, if you're close to getting offers.

Everyone gets a rare do-over. Just don't make it a pattern.

EDIT: added parent quote.

pedalpete 1 day ago 0 replies      
As long as you have a good reason for moving on, I wouldn't worry about it.

Some times things just don't work out. Sometimes it's the employer, sometimes the employee. Employers understand that, but they will want to know that it was your choice to leave, and what made you want to leave.

Though the pay is one thing, if somebody asks you about this in the future, it is better to focus on the work not being what was promised, and not being fulfilling, or whatever the issue was.

On a side-note, if this shortish stint (I've had shorter), comes up in an interview, try to tell the interviewer what you liked about the company as well as what you don't. I remember interviewing a guy that did nothing but complain about a former employer. He didn't get the job specifically because I didn't want to bring in somebody who had so much negativity. Byt he sounds of things, you've got a good head on your shoulders, and a couple of offers already, I'm sure you'll be fine.

bopf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would say it kind of depends on where you live. While this would be totally o.k. in the U.S. and pretty much no problem at all in the Silicon Valley, it would look fairly bad to a European employer.
rnovak 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I just want to add my experience, since I was in almost the exact same situation.

With the company I'm working for now, I was considering leaving the first year as well, for both pay and for the work.

Six months later though, I was offered a very substantial raise, more responsibility, and much better work. I wouldn't trade my current position for anything, and I've recently turned down several offers for substantially more money elsewhere.

IDK, maybe sometimes expecting things to materialize within a year is unrealistic. But that's just my experience, YMMV obviously.

partisan 18 hours ago 0 replies      
>> Unfortunately, so far I've found it nowhere close to my expectations (in terms of pay or work).

Why was pay a disappointment to you? Did you not negotiate your pay upfront?

I stayed at a job for 6 weeks and another for 9 months. As a hiring manager now, I am likely to look past someone leaving a job if the reasons are ones I can understand.

davissp14 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's certainly a red flag for many companies, but due to the current demand for engineers you can probably get by just fine.
Ask HN: How to decide on Enterprise pricing
12 points by throwaway321564  1 day ago   5 comments top 4
taprun 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a complete over-simplification, but...

I'd start by thinking about how much your product is worth to the company. How much money will it save/make them? Don't just look at the functionality that you provide, but also at risk reduction. Charging based on value is called value pricing ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value-based_pricing ). You'll want to charge less than what your customer has to gain (otherwise they won't buy). This is the number you should be working from (using out-of-pocket costs to determine pricing is called time and materials pricing and is a great way to go broke https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_and_materials).

Your original app pricing has little to do with what you can charge enterprise customers, because the product that you're offering is different. Yes, your old pricing will act as a bit of a psychological anchor, but if they've contacted you for a custom plan, they are probably willing to spend quite a bit.

Source: I write a blog on the subject of product pricing (and wrote a book specifically about software pricing - http://taprun.com/pricing/ ).

saluki 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I would setup enterprise private server pricing tiers on your website so you can scale the price based on their use/data. And you can just send them a link to sign up and recommend a plan that would fit their needs initially. They might be less likely to try to negotiate if it looks like standard pricing.

This way you can show private server instance pricing on your site and allow the price to scale up based on use/data so you don't make less if they are using it more and you can scale up the price as they use it more.

Maybe show three tiers and have the last tier be variable based on their users/data or other relevant item.

If you're just looking for a price my initial thought is go for $999/mo.

mindcrime 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pricing is a complicated topic (or can be), and I don't claim to have mastered it myself. In fact, I'll freely admit that I'm still struggling to figure out all of the details of our pricing model for Fogbeam. There are literally dozens (or more) books written specifically on pricing, so don't feel bad if it all seems challenging.

That said, here are some thoughts based on my own experience and research.

Keep the model as simple as possible (but no simpler?). Nobody wants a complicated pricing model with per-core charges mixed with CAL (client access license) charges, mixed with varying discounts and floating license servers and blah, blah, blah.

The challenge, of course, is how to balance having a simple pricing model, with your desire to charge companies based on the value you provide them. That is, a larger company with more users is (presumably) getting more value from your software and should pay more. So charging per user is a valid option, but it's not the only one. You could charge based on the customer's revenue, or scale the pricing based on the hardware (physical or virtual) required to run the software for their needs.

There's some really interesting stuff in Douglas Hubbard's work on "Applied Information Economics", although I don't really have time to try and explain it all here. But the key of his approach is to try and actually quantify the value of an information system by figuring out a way to measure the factors the system will impact, and then figure out the economic value of improving those factors. That's a little bit of an over simplification, but it's an interesting approach built on calibrated estimation, monte carlo simulations, and elements of modern portfolio theory.

I'd recommend reading the book How to Measure Anything by Hubbard, and/or read the Wikipedia article on AIE[1] and see if you can think of a way to apply this with your customer(s). Ideally, if you get them to buy into the model you create, you have very solid footing for establishing the price of your software, since you can actually put a number to the value it adds.

There's probably a heck of a lot more to be said about all this, but it's bedtime here. :-)

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_information_economics

outericky 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't forget, no matter what you quote them, procurement will want to bring the price down 40-50%, just because that's what they do...
Thank HN: for helping me get traction with DuckDuckGo and Traction book AMA
182 points by epi0Bauqu  6 days ago   80 comments top 31
Torgo 6 days ago 1 reply      
How much traffic does the Tor hidden service for your search engine get? Would you characterize the usage as significant, or is it mainly kept up as a public service for a small number of people who use it?
rahiel 6 days ago 1 reply      
I love DDG's bangs and instant answers. Do you have any statistics on their usage? Like counts of how many times a bang or an instant answer was used?

And will Dax play a bigger role in the future, in branding to give more personality? It wasn't easy finding the name of the duck I see daily. (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=name+of+the+duckduckgo+duck)

atmosx 6 days ago 2 replies      

Congrats for your search engine. I admire the work you did. The only reason I don't use DDG is that I'm Greek and the results for Greek keywords are many orders of magnitude off-mark compared to Google. Why is that? Any hope to improve results in the future?


kawera 6 days ago 1 reply      
Gabriel, do you plan to implement time-bound search filters on DDG? I'm probably not alone in finding it very usefull and would gladly avoid jumping back and forth between DDG and Google. Anyway, kudos for all you've done.
sspiff 5 days ago 0 replies      
Are there any plans for a Google trends like analysis tool or any plans on opening up anonymous search statistics?

On a personal note, DDG has been my daily driver for about 2 years now. I love the bang shortcuts (!man and !cpp mostly).

The first few months or so, I ended up following almost every search query with a "!g query", but search results have really, really improved. Now I only have to use Google for local topics and/or very recent events.

yyz_rush 6 days ago 1 reply      
What are your future plans for DuckDuckGo? Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently with DuckDuckGo over the last seven years?
mackwic 6 days ago 1 reply      
As a user, I am always a bit afraid that DuckDuckGo might be gone one day.

How do you keep the DuckDuckGo afloat ?

fecak 6 days ago 1 reply      
We don't see too many Philly area firms getting attention on HN. I try to promote the area when I can (here or on Reddit). What would be your top reasons software engineers should consider the Philly tech scene as a place to work and live?
lmedinas 6 days ago 1 reply      
Gabriel, thank you for DDG I have been using and promoting for years.

In terms of mobile any plans for the future you can reveal? How do you feel about Siri, Google Now and Cortana is it something you think DDG can do or can be used as a backend/source ?

tixocloud 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations, Gabriel on all the success you've had so far with DDG and Traction. I was an early user of DDG and although I didn't stick around, I truly do admire you for what you stand for and your courage and perseverance to push through it.

I do believe that it is critical that we do have choices. Choices that can free us from a single establishment. So, thank you!

Nononce 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'd just like to say thank you for making the search box the first thing that gets focus when pressing Tab.

Google got this one wrong (though I suspect that google does it on purpose).

calpaterson 6 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for publishing your book it has been really useful for me.

When you were first working on DDG who did you show it to before you "launched" on here? What kind of early feedback did you get?

huangc10 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great job w/ DDG and thanks for sharing this encouraging thread.
alexis 6 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats and all the best with the book! Happy to participate and hope it can help get my experiences with Reddit, Hipmunk and beyond into as many people's heads as possible.
acconrad 6 days ago 1 reply      
Was this book updated for the Oct 2015 release? Or is this more or less the same as the book you asked when you originally solicited feedback?
djd3141 6 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Gabriel,

Just wanted to say thanks for DDG, it's been my default search engine for going on a year now and absolutely love it. I'm also a developer(DDG is also the reason I started to dabble with Perl) from PA (about 10 minutes from DDG) and have to say it's very exciting to see something like DuckDuckGo created in my hometown area. Thanks again for the great work!

dontscale 6 days ago 0 replies      
You're an inspiration. Keep up the great work!
avinassh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oops I missed it. In case if you check this sometime, I wanted to know how much of Python is being used at DDG
jihip 6 days ago 1 reply      
Are you working on any new business dev for DuckDuckGo?I feel that no-tracking is a soft value add and I imagine keyword-based targeted ads is limiting when competing with large search engines that tracks more information about the users. Which direction are you taking DuckDuckGo that further differentiates your product?
zbruhnke 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think there is real value in consumers being able to glean value they want from their own data, would you or have you ever considered a program that allowed users to share data with you in exchange for services, ads or other products they continually found relevant?
ersii 6 days ago 1 reply      
How would you self describe the general search quality of DuckDuckGo, excluding the (brilliant) Instant Answers?

How do you evaluate the general search quality?

Do you have any focus on expanding crawling in general? And localized content in particular?

malnourish 6 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps it's completely out of reach (fiscally or ethically) but have you considered partnering with Mozilla to become Firefox's default search engine?
AdmiralAsshat 6 days ago 1 reply      
Are there any features that you wanted or thought about implementing into DuckDuckGo but could not for technical reasons or otherwise?
donrhummy 5 days ago 0 replies      
when will you add instant search results in the browser's search box? For example, if i use Firefox and have Google ad the default, and i type "32 * (13 - 9)" it will instantly show a dropdown with the answer 128. I would really like DDG to do this too.
siquick 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just switched to DDG 3 weeks ago and can't see me going back. :-)

Where did the name for DuckDuckGo come from?

S4M 6 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Gabriel,

Do you have some plans to open source the search engine of DuckDuckGo one day and let people contribute?

aunty_helen 6 days ago 1 reply      
Do you think DDG would have still been a success without the Snowden revelations?
ryanjmo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Where is the current best place to buy the book in an electronic format?
discreditable 5 days ago 0 replies      
How does DuckDuckGo index content? Does it use its own spider?
bradnickel 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great book Gabriel! Excited to help you promote it.
JupiterMoon 6 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any chance that you guys could implement a feature like your major competitor's "scholar" search for searching academic articles?
I am Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator AMA
339 points by sama  4 days ago   545 comments top 206
tmalsburg2 4 days ago 6 replies      
I think you mentioned somewhere that you are aiming for early-career researchers, not so much for established group leaders. Being an early-career researcher myself (postdoc), my first thought was that your program could easily turn out to be a trap. At first, it looks like a fantastic opportunity because freedom and independence, etc. However, I'm sure that you are looking for high risk / high reward projects. So there is, by definition, a very real possibility that some of your funded projects will fail. What happens with the PIs of those projects? It will be very hard for them to return to a more traditional career stream in academia because they will lack a strong publication record and teaching experience. Researchers are in this respect different from start-up founders, because a failed start-up is not the end of the world and you can start over again. In contrast to that, there are usually no second chances in academia, at least not at that career stage. So it seems that you are asking people to stake everything on one card. My question is: How are you going to manage the individual career risks associated with this approach to science funding?
mindcrime 4 days ago 6 replies      
1. Would / will you ever consider opening an East Coast branch? I understand all the "stuff" about why SV is great for startups, but there will always be people who can't /won't get up and travel completely to the other side of the country for an extended period of time. And while the EC might not be the startup hotbed that SV area is, it's quite clear that there is a LOT of startup activity and some great startups being formed out here. Wouldn't you want to tap into some of that?

2. In regards to YC Research, can you tell us anything more about the (general) topic area(s) you will be interested in? And maybe expand a little bit more on what kind of mechanisms might be put in place to facilitate working with outside researchers (hopefully including independent researchers and / or other startups).

cperciva 4 days ago 9 replies      
Is there a place for Tarsnap at YC?

Applying for YC funding doesn't make sense for several reasons:

1. I want to be king, not rich; everything I hear tells me that YC pushes companies to grow fast and increase their valuations, and that's something I fundamentally don't care about. I know that I'm stubborn enough that this would just result in a lot of frustration on both sides.

2. Tarsnap doesn't need the money. It's solidly profitable, and I honestly have no idea what I would do with investment money.

3. I don't want to live in the bay area -- not even for 3 months. Granted, this seems like it may be less of an issue now that it's possible for people with pre-existing conditions to get medical insurance; but the bay area is fundamentally not somewhere I can ever imagine myself wanting to live.

4. Converting Tarsnap into a US corporation would eat a lot of time and money. I completely understand why it's necessary for companies YC is going to invest in; but it's another reason why having YC invest in Tarsnap doesn't make sense.

I think YC and its portfolio companies are doing great and interesting things, and I'd like to be part of the community... but as explained above, taking funding doesn't make sense; when I applied for the YC fellowship (I know it was a stretch) you told me to apply for funding instead; and you haven't asked me to be part of YCR.

Is there some other option here?

FlyingLawnmower 4 days ago 4 replies      
Hi Sam,

I'm a graduating college senior, and I've accepted a job at a very big company in the tech industry. Right now, it makes the most financial sense for me to join a big company and pay off my debt quickly, but at some point in the future I'd love to scratch that entrepreneurial itch and apply to YC.

How do I maximize my time at a big company to gain relevant skills to keep the possibility of a startup open in the future?

superfx 4 days ago 1 reply      
Couple questions regarding YCR:

1. Will the model be group-based where there's a head PI setting the research agenda for a group and researchers working under the PI? If so, what level of independence do you expect individual researchers within a group to have? I.e. is it more like the academic model with postdocs enjoying a fair degree of independence, or more akin to national labs where the research agenda is reasonably fixed and everyone is expected to contribute to the same research program? Or, are you coming up with an entirely different model?

2. In general how hands-on will YCR be in terms of intra-group management?

3. Do you expect to subscribe to all the major publishing houses so that YCR researchers have access to journals like they would at a top-tier university?

berpasan 4 days ago 2 replies      
Hi @sama, I'm From Brazil and CEO of an EdTech startup. We're profitable, with 60 employees and a lot consumer traction/revenue, but didn't raise a Series A yet. Questions:

1) What advice would you give to applicants from Brazil and other large countries (India, China, Russia), whose products initially target their local markets?

2) What advice would you give to post-Seed and pre-Series A applicants? When (if at all) would you consider them "too big for YC"?

3) If you select a post Seed startup, would YC invest at their latest valuation, or would it only offer the standard deal, even if it would be a "down round" for current investors?

Heard you are visiting India and know you've been to Mexico not long ago. Ever thought about coming to Brazil? Best regards, Bernardo

jrpt 4 days ago 1 reply      
The cost of rent in the Bay Area is getting really high, both SF and down south. The archetypal startup in a garage in Palo Alto is not as affordable as it once was. For various policy reasons it's really hard for new people to move to the area without paying an arm and a leg in rent.

Do you or YC have any thoughts on things you could do to help this, if any?

rdl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there anything YC could do to help YC companies with housing? It's not trivial for teams during YC to get housing in SFBA, but they have enough upside to put up with a lot, and usually figure out something.

It's really hard for employees 1-N, especially at sub-market salaries, but without 10% equity stakes, to move to SFBA. It pretty much restricts you to people already-here, people who will live college dorm style, or people who are already well off. Too much of the money raised goes out the door in salary (taxed) to pay for housing.

antognini 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very broadly speaking, fundamental research can be divided into two categories: (1) developing techniques to accomplish some very difficult, but useful task; and (2) answering questions which are intrinsically interesting.* Research in fusion and developing self-driving cars are examples of the first category. Finding exoplanets and the Higgs boson are examples of the second. Will YC Research be funding research in both categories, or just the first?

* (I know some people like to call the second category "pure" research, but I think that betrays a bias against working on more practical problems.)

grownseed 4 days ago 2 replies      
Hi Sam,

the YC Research announcement got me very excited, particularly as someone who experiences the pain points you described first hand on a daily basis.

First question, would YC Research be limited to the US or would you consider other countries (e.g. Canada in my case)?

Also, would you ever consider partnering with existing Public/Government institutions? There are lots of very good people already working on some really interesting projects (yes, even in the public sector :) ), and I believe they need support and direction (and some actual business sense). So to re-phrase my question, would YC Research ever consider some sort of support/consulting platform for existing (possibly public) organizations?

Thank you very much for taking the time!

raziel2702 4 days ago 0 replies      
If YC research is a success, would you consider establishing a website onto which researchers can publish the data and the analysis they did to reach their conclusions?

Often I see people say what they used to take the data and then the end result of the analysis, but never do I see any details whatsoever about the specific techniques or steps they took to transform the raw data into what ends up being published.

It's a very frustrating thing for me and I don't see a mainstream or more easily accessible way for me to post my raw data + analysis other than making a blog for myself, which I have no easy way of promoting in a paper.

I think it would be great to be the ones that set the tone for transparency and it would be a fantastic way of teaching others how to analyze data, or how to catch errors in someone's analysis.

Right now there's a huge wall of obscurity in that we have to take the author's word for it. I know many things cannot be reproduced in experimental science, but the analysis of the data should be. I can't see a reason why people would not want to share their data in academia since most people are funded by DOE, NSF, NIH and DOD and hence by the taxpayer. I think it would be great for pedagogical purposes, it would encourage best practices and it would help us be honest.

pavornyoh 4 days ago 2 replies      

So my question is about YC Research. You said in that earlier thread you will be hand picking the people. How exactly do you intend to do that if you don't me asking? Are you partnering with schools? Are they going to be recommended? Do you already have a database?

invisible_dust 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam I've used this site forever it's cool. But I'm not like these other guys who want a job or to make a startup I just like tech news so my question is what is the best kind of coffee, as in what's your favorite kind.

My top pick is called "Black Cadillac" it's from a local shop and also reminds me of the modest mouse song of the same name.

lhfaria 4 days ago 3 replies      
Hi Sam, I read a post of you guys saying that a lot of founders think they're too early to apply to YC. That's my case. We're just in our first thousands of dollars in revenue, and honestly when I think of YC - no matter how much confident we are with our business - I believe we don't really stand a change against other applicants. Any specific advice/thoughts on this?
aakashnigam 4 days ago 2 replies      
What would be the right time for an idea that involves some technical depth to apply to YC?

In other words, hypothetically, if YC had existed during the 90s, at what stage should Google Guys have applied to YC (Between 1995-1998, A) when the idea struck (mid 1995) B) When it started crawling the web (around 1996), or C) when they bought the domain (1998). Thanks!

DanBlake 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is there any intention of adding a new type of incubator that isnt so location specific?

For instance, I would love to be in YC- But just like many older (30+) folks, I have a family and simply cannot move to SF. The 'move to SF' restriction is the one thing I hate about YC- Its also why I think some competing incubators are picking up steam, who focus on global teams.

This may be disagreed upon- But I truly feel the 'move to SF' restriction is almost prejudicial against older folks. I get there is immense value in being in the valley (I just moved from SF), but I just dont think thats a reason not to find a way the system couldn't work either remotely or satellite based.

jayzalowitz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Looking at who you accept now and some of YCs biggest hits, its seeming like your earlier investments (Dropbox, airbnb) probably wouldn't make it through today's YC filter. Do you guys think this is an issue, if so how are you working to correct it?
davidcaseria 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi @sama, you've been outspoken about the potential long term side effects of prolonged 0% interest rates. What do you think will be the worst side effect? Do you have any general advice for individuals to avoid the bad effects?
adenadel 4 days ago 0 replies      
A few weeks ago I submitted this article https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10213547 about one of Peter Thiel's biotech investments and the top comment asked "How does someone very intelligent like Peter Thiel make investment decisions in an area where he lacks a huge amount of background knowledge?". I'm curious how you personally and Y Combinator as a whole goes about making investments in areas where you don't have great expertise. For example, how do you evaluate biotech markets and the YC biotech companies? How did you evaluate your energy investments?
wlamont 4 days ago 1 reply      
Recently a plethora of startups working on new nuclear energy technology have been created: Transatomic power, Flibe, Helion and UPower (to name a few). These startups, respectively, have technology based on molten salt reactors (MSR), new fuels (Thorium), or new modalities (small distributed scale and fusion). Most of these startups face a huge challenge (and capital requirement) to go from idea/concept to pilot/demonstration plant. As Chairman of Helion and UPower how do you see these new startups commercializing their technology? Will they require partnerships with existing utilities and what is the expected timeline?
fgimenez 4 days ago 1 reply      
Regarding the research program, what sort of research projects are you looking at? While you are putting a considerable amount of money into the project, it obviously won't be able to fund experimentally expensive projects.

Also, many research projects (like bioinformatics) require enormous amounts of difficult to obtain data (e.g. Hospital records, blood samples, etc...). Do you have a plan to help those kinds of labs build collaborations, or do you expect to bring in researchers who will be able to "figure it out"?

Finally, are you looking specifially for trained PhD researchers, or is this open to anybody?

Fede_V 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi sama,

First of all, thanks for the 10 million dollar donation for YC research. That's an amazing gesture, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the scientific research model get completely disrupted - it's in a terrible state and it needs a big shove.

- Given your donation, what are your thoughts on philanthropy?

- Most of your advice is for founders, however, what should an employee look in an early stage start up when deciding whether to join? Obviously, the decision is much easier if the company has started growing exponentially, but before that?

Danilka 4 days ago 1 reply      
Your talks and latest actions suggest that YC is now more dedicated to making a better future, rather than helping individuals succeed. (thank you for that)

Our startup is a for-profit company. However, as a part of our strategy we are making a lot of medical data open sourced. Even if we completely fail, we will move the leave an extremely positive footprint on traditional Chinese medicine industry.Q:1. How would you suggest balancing good intensions for the industry with making money?2. Should we reflect this in the application and how?

Thank you!

anonymous1212 4 days ago 3 replies      
I am a solo founder with strong technical and design chops. I am a high-level thinker, and I spend much of my time with big picture problems, establishing the vision, and figuring out a practical plan to get there from where we are now. But I can also execute on that vision, and build the entire system end-to-end. And I have an abnormally high level of standard. I strongly believe in quality software that just works.

I am torn about submitting an application. I have a list of 20+ customers waiting for the first beta release and who are actively asking about progress (and willing to post payment!) The idea and particular niche market has been churning in my mind for several years, and over the past 18 months, the vision has materialized into a real product. Market trends are pointing upwards, it is ripe for disruption and could be a winner takes all game.

I am weeks away from private-beta depending on my productivity (this has been a side project). I have a wife, 7 month old daughter, and a cushy full-time salary with little work demands. I have been in two long-term employer relationships (4 and 5 years) and at each made huge impacts on molding the product, despite not being hired for that. But I am bored and want the freedom and flexibility to work on my own ideas. But one thing I have always lacked is a talent network. Is this something being accepted into HN would help with? I honestly get the feeling that most applicants are searching for direction and help with flushing things out, things that I am already confident in. What do you make of a solo guy like me, with a solid product that is almost ready for market? I'm a proud guy, and there is that part of me that wants to just continue being a Lone Wolf.

Rainymood 4 days ago 1 reply      
Name the most influential person in your life! I'm really curious!
dchichkov 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like YC had done a great job on standartizing YC startup documents that protect both founders and investors from each other and promote cooperation. Are there any plans to do the same thing to standardize contracts for early employees?

(i.e. shouldn't early employess, investing their under-market salary/time receive the same conditions/protection of their investments as VCs?)

rrhoover 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, Sam! You recently announced HN is being split off from YC. What changes will we see to the site/community in the next 6 months?
misterbwong 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam! Random question but I've read in a couple articles that your mom said by about 10, she would have been comfortable dropping you off alone in NYC.

As a new parent, I'm intrigued by this. What kinds of things did your parents do with/for you to foster this level of independence? What had the biggest effect on you, personally?

dshchung 4 days ago 2 replies      
Hi Sam, you have previously mentioned in an interview that University of Waterloo comes to mind when you think of a school that produces great YC alums. As most of these founders were unproven and untested individuals at the time of applying to YC, what qualities do you feel has made the difference for them throughout the program?
bcjordan 4 days ago 1 reply      
What are some of the biggest pain points you see early YC companies struggling with (esp. during batches)?

Are there any unsolved problems for growing companies you wish someone would apply to solve?

pnathan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam,

I'm not on the shortlist of anyone for "smartest people in the field", but I have a keen interest & passion for research. I suspect there are many people like me. Do you anticipate that YCR will have a track for people like me to participate, or will it be aiming for the creme de la creme as a rule?

srunni 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm interested in your opinion on the potential for the disruption of the academic publishing system, and what role YCR can play in that. For example, making it easy for 3rd parties to reanalyze data generated/published by another group, then make that available so that others can easily compare different analyses of the same data. This is already happening to some degree, but getting raw data can still be quite difficult.

Will YCR researchers' publications be required to be open access?

Should it be possible for the peer-review process to happen in a more open forum than the judgment of a couple of handpicked reviewers? Some fields (such as mathematics) have seen this happen already, but it's not very common in other fields, such as the life sciences.

zeeshanm 4 days ago 1 reply      
Any advice for single founder applying? Most of the people I talked to advice me to find a co-founder to increase my odds of getting in.

I don't necessarily agree with them. I have been doing this startup for over an year now. It has growth with a strong potential for more.

cvursache 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Sam! A question about your career path. Can you think of a specific point in time when you made the decision to focus more on the business side of things and less on writing code? If so, can you describe why you made that decision?
rslater 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was wondering about the new open ip effort for the r&d lab. I work in the air force research lab and am working to do the same for us and other gov agencies. How do you plan to release/license ip... Marketing strategies, etc
bnchrch 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Sam, given your position I imagine you see numerous unique, novel ideas and the trends that drive them. Having said that is there any particular trend that you're seeing today that has you particularly intrigued or excited?
harryh 4 days ago 1 reply      
How far do you think new Silicon Valley companies (and YC companies in particular) have progressed in providing fairer equity grants to employees? In particular I'm interested in what the norms are for "if you leave the company you must exercise in 90 days" type terms.

I know that you've been working on this problem personally and a few high profile companies have publicly announced changes. But what's going on with new small companies? What are the current norms?

I know that YC takes care of a lot of the legal work when setting up new YC companies. What do you currently recommend for employee option grants?

tkiley 4 days ago 1 reply      
You've mentioned that co-founder fallouts are one of the most biggest problems facing companies at YC stage.

Do you see any useful correlates to this problem? What types of teams tend to have infighting vs. those that don't?

jbverschoor 4 days ago 2 replies      
I currently have no 'unicorn'-ideas. Applying doesn't seem useful at this moment. Is there a list of startups that need help? If so, why did they get funded when the team isn't right yet?
giis 4 days ago 1 reply      
Considering the fact that we are more than 1-billion people with booming economy (some redtapes are there but..), do you have plans for purely India (/subcontinent) specific programmes in near future?
markvitals 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam. If you have a startup that is relatively easy to launch with traction and the one which is hard to launch and without traction, which one will you choose? And how important is to have users?
ivankirigin 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was excited about the research announcement!

I've been thinking about this for a while:

 - small companies rarely fund university research - the grant application process is complex - grad students get paid so little compared to tech workers - hiring a PhD student before they finish means abandoning their research
Do you think universities and research can be changed to get more companies funding research? I can imagine startups can get some great work done efficiently while increasing private funding of research.

karlosferra 4 days ago 2 replies      
Hi Sam, Have YC considered doing a lower tier of funding?

Funding 120k is good for early startups, but I think YC could have far more reach and impact if it had an option to provide less capital to a greater number of startups. The purpose being to allow founders to support themselves and fully focus on their startup without having to worry about daily jobs.

I see two major benefits: 1) YC would have greater and broader impact since for the same amount of seed would be possible to found 12-15 more companies that are ready to move from the idea to execution stage.

2) (this touches me personally) For non US founders, we have to worry about rent, food etc. I believe that if founders had the oportunity to fully focus on their startups for 3 months without a daily job, it would have tremendous impact for the early startups, and as a nice side effect YC could have another pool of really good candidates/ideas. At the end of the 3 months the founders would have had a chance to demonstrate themselves, their execution level, etc., at a very low cost.

I truly believe the ROI on something like this would be considerable.

I know that capital is not the only (and arguably not even the most important) advantage of been admitted to YC, but personally speaking, if I had this option 3 years ago I'd have pursued it no questions asked. I feel that there might be other founders that would be in the same boat.

Do you have any thoughts on this?Thanks!Carlos.

smurfysmurf 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam, I am a recent transplant from FL to seattle to work for a tech company - it was a big move but I feel like it was worth it. Currently I work in more of a technical position but eventually I want to move to more of a leadership position as I see myself interested in driving business and solving logistical and business type issues. My questions in, what can you recommend for someone who wants to transition from a technical background to that sort of area? Thanks!
JJC1138 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm considering applying for YC but I think my idea (a fairly simple time management app for smartwatches) might be a bit too modest. How small of an idea is too small?
susiwbkpagwjs 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sam, should everyone's genomes be sequenced? Will most Americans have their DNA sequenced by 2025,2030?

When will we see the peak of the commercial and medical results of having a sequenced population?

What could prevent us from getting all our genes sequenced? Shouldn't we try to facilitate mass sequencing, for all the medical benefits it could provide? What can YCombinator do to influence corporate and political entities to collaborate and reach a solution to expedite this process?

wirddin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey,I know it is recommended that you move to the bay area during the 3 months, but what happens to the companies which target local markets? Is it possible to gather knowledge about the local market and also the product while staying away from your core user base, and also, how do the partners take care of different kinds of market the startups target?

Example, Indian market/users/plans are considered to be a lot different than other countries.

Thanks :)

jordanbartow 4 days ago 1 reply      
What's the most important question on the application?
tkkk 4 days ago 1 reply      
In 3 years I will move to US and apply to YC, but that's forever away. I want to start doing now.

Is there a checklist, or a blueprint, or a list of topics, or a list of books that you can recommend that will cover the most important/basic/low-level aspects of building a company? What should I be thinking about?

I'm looking for the backbone; I can work on figuring out the proper shape of what I'm building along the way.

msvan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam. There's a million questions and I have not read them all; so if you have answered this question already, please feel free to ignore it.

It seems that much of what YC funds these days lies in combinations of software with other disciplines such as biology, law, hardware, energy, and so forth. Is there any room for the pure-software/sales startup anymore, or does the future lie in interdisciplinary startups?

hollaur 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi @sama !

I submitted our application, and I wrote YC this letter on Medium (https://medium.com/@laurenholliday_/dear-y-combinator-we-wro...).

What else can one do to stand out? I'm so worried our application will get lost in a pile of all the others.

Also, is it possible that we'll hear from you before the 28th?


Lauren =)

tmaly 4 days ago 1 reply      
@sama I am about to launch a beta version of a service I find very useful in the food industry. I have spoken to a decent number of people during my customer development phase and everyone is excited about the service. However, I have not thought a lot about monetizing it. Right now I am just bootstrapping it and will release it as a free service. What is your take on free services and monetizing them?
creolabs 4 days ago 0 replies      
@sama We were interviewed last year but we were not selected. We then followed all your advices and we invested all our time developing and finalizing the product.

We'll launch our first beta version within a month and we are receiving a tremendous amount of interest. However we can't really yet prove a traction. What should we prove (or what should we have done) in order to try to apply again?

Thriptic 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam,

I have a number of ideas for companies which I would like to explore, but I am constantly hamstrung by the fact that I don't have the technical skills required. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am non-technical (I'm a bioengineer transitioning into data science) but I certainly am not a developer per say. Do you have any advice on how to find potential technical co-founders?

pforpineapple 4 days ago 3 replies      
My startup is based in Paris, and it would be logistically tedious to move to SF (remote management, current customers ...)

YC and the Bay area would be an immense deal to us :

=> Regardless of the product I'm building : Are the advantages of moving to SF enough to balance the immediate difficulties of leaving ?

PS: We are building an AI (currently for students) that plugs into messaging apps. 150k messages exchanged already.

pratim 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sam, we launched Asqway app on 29 September this year (https://itunes.apple.com/app/asqway/id1039694793?ls=1&mt=8) and we have been extensively talking to our initial users, we have gathered users feedback and updating Asqway app accordingly. Next version of the app will be released in 1 week of time. Up till now we have almost 50 users. So my question is, shall we wait to get more users (I mean at least 1000 users) and then apply for YC Summer 2016 batch or apply now for YC Winter 2016 batch?? Whats your recommendation? Do number of users for the start-up product counts while applying for the YC?? Also, we dont have monetary model at the moment. So what will you recommend in terms of having monetary model for the start up? We are measuring our growth on the basis of daily active users. Thanks Pratim
DanGPhoton 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi @sama. Are there any technologies that you would not consider funding?
mesimoniv 4 days ago 1 reply      
How long does it typically take the YC team to review an application?
Uhhrrr 4 days ago 0 replies      
You said before co-hosting an Obama fundraiser that you would ask him about surveillance issues[0]. Did you get a chance to do this? Were you able to give input on any other issues?

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7612471

kohanz 4 days ago 2 replies      
What is your take on the value proposition for an older, experienced engineer (e.g. 10+ years) joining a startup as an early employee (e.g. non-founder)? I get the sense from what I read and hear that there is romance and then there is reality. Would love to get an honest take from someone with your perspective.
blt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Besides self driving cars, what robotics applications do you see as fundable now or in the next few years? Thanks!
rybosome 4 days ago 0 replies      
How will success be measured in YCR? Given that you mentioned decades-long efforts being acceptable, how will you differentiate between fruitful and fruitless research? Finally, are there any technologies you're particularly interested in and into which you're hoping to fund research?
waterlesscloud 4 days ago 1 reply      
What do you think about the economic disruption that is being caused be increased automation? As we develop broader and broader forms of automation, it seems like that disruption can only increase in both speed and quantity.

What can YC and Silicon Valley as a whole to mitigate the problems this will cause?

mesimoniv 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam,

Thanks for supporting us all with your time & insights.

Given the rise & success of things like Hack Reactor and Nano Degrees plus the YC RSF for Education.

1) Do you have any specific thoughts on innovations you would like to see in Secondary Education, specifically Jr. High and High School?

2) What about Elementary Education in the US?

bcjordan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do you think a startup could realistically end up being the entity to develop some of the earliest significant AGI?

What would look like promising, realistic starting points for -- or even attributes of -- such a nascent startup? e.g., chat bots, development platforms, intelligent agents for games?

devy 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sam, in regards to the YC research, do you actively go out to recruit scientists or do they have to come to YC to apply? Can you give a little bit more details on the recruitment process?

I have a friend who's a physicist working on graphene and he would really like to apply.

brenschluss 4 days ago 0 replies      
Are there technologies or startups that you haven't funded, despite the team/tech/product/strategy being great, simply because it was a decade or so too soon? (For example: funding VR in the early 00s vs. funding VR in 2013, etc.)
roc123 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would you consider opening a branch of YC in Manchester, UK? Huge amount of talent there being wasted in banks and consulting companies. Low living costs, excellent universities, large pool of engineering talent, growing startup community.
bcjordan 4 days ago 1 reply      
What was your first personal investment like?
raymondgh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Sam! Much respect. Sometimes when I watch an interview with you (such as a recent Stanford class), it seems like the discussion is very one-sided. I don't perceive you normally as stating your opinions authoritatively, but I fear that many are afraid to contest your claims or disagree with you, even in violation of their own beliefs. My questions are first whether you have noticed any kind of mass-submissiveness to or blind acceptance of to the YC Philosophy, and second, who do you think are the proponents of the most compelling contrasting views?
pixelpanic 4 days ago 1 reply      
How did you learn to code? What would you recommend to aspiring developers?
ideathing27 4 days ago 1 reply      
Y Combinator has a record of supporting innovative ideas which come from the relative margins of the tech community, beginning with its invention of the startup accelerator as a concept.

- Do you feel that Y Combinator's increasing visibility has helped your mission to attract a wide range of applicants beyond established tech industry insiders?

- How do you manage the risk that your corresponding increase in competitiveness could lower the chances of acceptance for less polished but still innovative applications from people with fewer industry connections?

pcmaffey 4 days ago 1 reply      
With YC's network growing bigger and bigger, how do you keep alumni involved and engaged so you don't lose/dilute the benefits of that network? (arguably the best thing about YC...)
mtoecker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sam, are you seeing any VC interest in industrial devices, such as those that enable better predictive maintenance, monitoring, and collaboration in industrial facilities like power plants, chemicals, etc?


haaen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Will YCR accept donations from outsiders?
cbhl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there anything you think we (hackers/techies living in SF) can (or should) be doing to make housing in San Francisco more affordable, apart from voting no on Prop F and Prop I?
just_to_ask_sam 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam!

I'm the CEO & Founder of a 4-person SaaS company profitable as most of our employees are outside the US. We're 4 years old, and are now doing ~$30k/mo in revenue. I started the company young and have learned a lot.

I question whether this is just a waste of my time, and whether I should just sell and start something new, but my worry is that by the time the new thing kicks off, THIS company will be making far more.

What are your thoughts on WHEN to sell a startup, and whether to even sell?

jordanbartow 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm having trouble with the what are you making portion of the application. I know the product speaks for itself but no matter how I try to explain it to people they get confused without seeing it which means I'm not doing a great job of explaining it. Trying to compare it to existing technology doesn't work well with the product, or I can't find the right comparison. What's your advice on how to best answer this question, aside from being concrete and matter of fact?
akshxy 4 days ago 2 replies      
Hi Sama, I'm the founder of nanowe. We're launching an IoT product this year and have a great team working all days and nights on it.

I get the feeling our startup can't be that bad not to be a part of YC as we have everything in place but need a great platform & community to showcase what we're building. Hardware is tough and takes more money and we're about to raise a convertible note using YC SAFE docs. Does this make our case weaker to be accepted into YC?

Jemaclus 4 days ago 1 reply      
Two questions:

* Would you consider investing in a company that invents a toilet paper holder where the TP can only be inserted in the OVER position? This is a huge problem world-wide that should be solved immediately. The market is huge! B2B, B2C, you name it, there's toilet paper!

* All seriousness aside, do you have any advice for building an app that has no clear money-making potential? I've had this idea brewing for years, but no matter how much I think about, I have no idea how to monetize it.

davidhhenu 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hello Sam, I am Honduran and applying for the winter 2016 batch with other two co founders. One of my co founders (Venezuelan) and I have student F-1 Visas. Since we cannot work yet until we are at OPT we won't be able to make any profits until January or February 2016. Beta for our platform is due tomorrow so we can have a demo but users won't be able to use it for now. Is this going to affect our application? If so, what would you recommend?
baristaGeek 4 days ago 1 reply      
Based on the current performance of the first YC Fellowship, will you have future editions of this programme? You guys mention that it's for founders who haven't raised any money at all (although something such as a free-equity grant from a university is ok).

If you do plan to invest in YC Fellows via an equity deal in the near future, how acceptable would a -very small- investment from FFF for exchange in equity would be before getting the Fellowship?

robotnoises 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam,

In your opinion, what is the greatest impediment to getting better software into government. Second, is there a market opportunity in alleviating this/these impediments?

Noureddine 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam, I am applying to the winter 2016 batch and I would like to ask you this:

- what is the exact purpose of the company description in the application, is it a mission statement?

- do you have examples of "something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered"

- is it important for the evaluation process if another company has already succeeded in another market but with a similar approach as the one we propose? Should we talk about it in the application?

Thank you for your help

throwaway41597 4 days ago 0 replies      
How much love from the programmer for their language and stack do you recommend for a software-heavy product ? I mean should one launch a v1 ASAP in language X even though this clearly isn't a language they love or should they spend more time looking for something they want to work with in the long run because the product will require a lot of work.

Thank you for spending time on HN on a regular basis! Would love other partners to do the same.

spanacus 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Sam, I am very interested in hearing more about the office hours initiative ran by Michael. Do you guys plan on scaling that up? I strongly believe in democratizing access to people and believe YC is doing this with all the effort it has put into Starup School , Fellowship and all these programs. We are actually building products towards the goal of democratizing access to people so very expected to hopefully work together
Danilka 4 days ago 1 reply      
Many people suggest showing drafts of YC applications to founders of YC companies. The whole point of the exercise is to help founders pass the YC filtering mechanism. I feel like it's a waste of everybody's time.

Instead, I am asking YC founders to do quick office hours with us and refer to YC if they liked what they saw. (which I have no control of).

Am I doing the wrong thing and going to get rejected for not polishing the application enough?

dave1619 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can you expand on your tweet that said you don't think selling software is a good business? Why isn't it a good business? What makes it so tough?
qunicorn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam (&all),

We curated all interesting YCombinator Q&As and created a wiki. www.askmeanything.me/brands/ycombinator

Some of these are from HN and some from the 'How to start a startup' course.

1] Help us curate more. Just submit link to pavan@askmeanything.me and we will have it posted with due credits to you and the source.

2] We will soon categorize them as 'application Q&A', 'co-founder Q&A' etc to make it more easy to read.

Def look for feedback.

firloop 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does YC ever raise capital from outside investors like a traditional company, or is the equity you take from companies you fund liquid enough to sustain YC?
thewhitetulip 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam, I am from India, do you accept Indian startups? If so do you have the rule of minimum two founders? Do you need the startup to have a product first? Also what do you recommend for a person wanting to start a company, I have an idea which seems good, but right now I do a job and can't sort of jump to YC, I'd like to do it sometime later though. Any thoughts?
gregdsouzaa 4 days ago 0 replies      
I read in an article that you are planning a trip to India towards the end of this year. It would be great if I could take your through an unique tour through the city which you plan to be in. I would love to shed light on 'Design for Culture' and explain how there are few startups actually designing businesses around unique cultural behaviors.

If possible, how can we make that work?

susiwbkpagwjs 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sam, what do you think about microexposure to artificial toxins such as pesticides and antibiotics in the modern American diet, which recent research has demonstrated to have significant effects on our health as compared to the diets of our grandparents?

We've mainly left this problem in the hands of the FDA. Is it time for a deeper quantitative investigation?

Is this an area YCResearxh might look into?

DrNuke 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hello @sama, do you see -as mr president- YC (with YCR, YCF, alumni and partners) acting more and more as a self-sustaining network in the coming years? How do you think big corps and govs will react? It's extremely interesting to see this emerge but also scary, if you think of unpredictable consequences. How do you feel? Thanks and good luck.
dzlobin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Sam, hopefully this still finds you. Are you guys considering creating more RFS? Did they work out for you initially?
viahartdotcom 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it reasonable to view YC as a startup whose goal is to become a monopoly? If so, what competition is most worrying to you?
gailees 4 days ago 0 replies      
In your interview with Kara Swisher on Decode, you talked about how investing in the stage of companies that YC invests in requires a very different skillset and a lot more hands-on work than traditional later-stage VC funds are willing to do.

How did YC gain such a huge advantage in doing this over the other incubator/accelerators?

bt3 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam, thanks for doing this.

Is there any advice you can give to young founders trying to get into YC or raise a seed round? Its worth noting were students with graduation quickly approaching. I fear my previous applications werent seriously considered since my team and I lack true industry experience, which leaves us seemingly unqualified.

waterlesscloud 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam. What's an example of the most heretical research YCR might pursue? Just trying to get a feel for the scope.
qrasi 4 days ago 1 reply      
@sama - Based on my friends who have previously applied to YC .. it seems as if applications submitted in the last 3-4 days before the deadline, don't really get reviewed.

When submitted early, they would notice YC related views to their website and Youtube video. Unfortunately, when submitted close to the deadline, there were no views.

cvinette 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam, thanks for doing this!

Say you are working on a project that is really similar to another product that has been validated and successful in another part of the world. Would you see it as a good indicator, or does it mean nothing given the culture differences? What would be the best way to take advantage of that intel?

Thanks and have a good day!

tedmiston 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, Sam. Big fan of YC itself, the blog, and your tweets.

How long, or to what sort of benchmarks, do you think a startup engineer should marinate in the startup scene before being taken seriously as a technical founder?

And follow up: Do you give extra consideration to an application for founders that have been employees at another YC company prior?

crazypyro 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam,

I have a question relating to AI and YCR.

I remember your blog about AI mentioning how many of the best private companies are very secretive about their advances and research.

Was YCombinator Research heavily influenced by this secrecy in specifically the AI fields?

Is YCR going to have a focus on AI, at least initially?

Can you give any insight into the fields of research you are focusing on?

choppaface 4 days ago 1 reply      
sama: Jacqueline Novogratz (CEO of Acumen) once said that a major challenge of building modern finance in developing nations is that developing communities often have lots of trust (within themselves) but not much accountability.

In your position at YC, founders and investors alike trust you with lots of information. You have a unique view of where money is flowing and how equipped companies are to compete with each other. I'm sure you'd have amazing answers for Peter Thiel's "tell me something you believe is true but nobody else agrees with" and you'd probably be right on a lot of the points due to information available uniquely to you.

As YC grows, what actions do you plan on taking to ensure its accountability? In particular, how do you plan to help founders who for whatever reason don't directly participate in YC?

philippnagel 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam,

Any tips on balancing uni, research there (pre-doc) and a startup (co-founder, CTO)?

Do you think it is necessary to give up one for another?

rhabarba 4 days ago 0 replies      
Given that there are regions in my country which have no good local events calendar yet but it would be easy to implement such an aggregator: would you recommend me to found a company for such a product? (Let's call it "WhatHappensInHannover.net" so we both know what is intended.)
6thSigma 4 days ago 0 replies      
Will there be a Startup School this year?
zachwooddoughty 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam -- do you think YC has a role or responsibility in addressing social issues in the bay area or the US?
jules 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious why YC chose to include a video in the application. Have you done any tests regarding bias towards people that present themselves well or are simply attractive? Or would such a bias be intentional since other people (i.e. investors) are going to be biased the same way?
tedmiston 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've been watching the SF startup scene from afar. In the midwest (Cincinnati, OH) we have growing scenes, but my biggest problem is finding true senior engineers and real technical mentorship. Do you think this is something one needs to be in SF to attain or are there other ways?
arkhanguelski 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam. One of the questions in the application says: "If you have an online demo, what's the url?"

Do you expect a video walkthrough like what Drew Houston from Dropbox did in his 2007 application or do you expect a link to a live demo that you can click through?

gotothrowaway 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is YC positioning itself to become a competitive alternative to traditional universities with YCR?
jacomienvdm 4 days ago 0 replies      
How does YC determine the need and market fit of startups focused on underserved communities and emerging markets within developing countries (such as Africa) and what expertise do the YC partners have to offer with regards to startups focused on these markets?
tdbryant2 4 days ago 0 replies      
1/With the rise of nuclear energy and space startups, What will become the dominate source of energy: nuclear, rare elements in space (Helium 3)or a combination of both depending on the use cases? 2/How will this affect the global energy industry?
ThatMightBePaul 4 days ago 0 replies      
For YCR, have you considered grants from other foundations?

For instance, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is basically just looking for opportunities to have the biggest possible impact.

I think a lot of your future goals may line up: clean energy, global healthcare, etc.

v-java88 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam,

Thanks for engaging with the HN crowd :)I have spoken to Jessica (Livingston) about this, but wanted to get your thoughts as well.

My question is simple, yet complex at its nature:

How important is the relationship of the founders?(For simplicity let's assume there are two of them).

s0l0fndr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I saw the other reply but - specifically in regards to the Application :

What tips do you have for a solo founder to make his application most useful to you?

What information would you like to see to give you some confidence in the solo founder to move past this disadvantage?

bicknergseng 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Sam, what's the status of the YC Fellowship? Are you going to do another round?
oemerax 4 days ago 1 reply      

we've applied to YC Winter 2016 within the first five days, but thinking about making minor changes to the application. Does "editing" have a negative-effect? Do you read the whole application again or just the edits? Thanks in advance!

networked 4 days ago 1 reply      
How relevant is the old RFS 5 (Development on Handhelds, http://old.ycombinator.com/rfs5.html) today compared to 2009 when it was published?
susiwbkpagwjs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey @sama. Are there any emerging technologies or research areas you think are in peril at this time, due to lack of funding, political climate, or diverted focus? How will YCResearch identify the fields to support basic research in?
annie_ab1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam! Nice to connect with you here. I am an Indian woman. I am a Biotechnology and Management graduate with around 5 years of managerial experience. How can I break into tech industry with no background in computer science?
bennalle 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a student I feel my interests are outside the traditional lines of what is taught in the classroom so was wondering what you thought the best way to bring entrepreneurship to schools was, particularly middle and high schools?
bputano 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam,

We're a startup in a non-technical industry. We are high-growth minded, with a growing platform of users and plans to create connected hardware devices. What metrics would you need to see from a company like ours to make it into YC?

geezsundries 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm mid-application for the YC Winter 2016 cycle, but I'm concerned because neither my cofounder nor I come from a technical background, yet our idea is technical. Do you see this as a deterrent to being accepted?
crabasa 4 days ago 0 replies      
Apologies for the meta comment, but this post has been banished from the HN front page [1]. Any ideas why?


Update: It has been restored as of 9:33am PST. No sure why the downvotes, I found this is be somewhat amazing given whose post this was.

[1] as of 9:28am PST at least

vexir6369 4 days ago 0 replies      
What is YCs (and your) opinion on the casual gaming startups? Has YC received many applicants in the past of that nature and if any at all, what were the things that concerned you and what did you wish you saw more of?
andreasklinger 4 days ago 0 replies      
In your opinion: If global human society would be a startup.

What could/would be our 10x growth lever in innovation/living quality.

(reason i ask - in the end YC is one of those companies shaping global innovation that could help move towards above)

akhilgupta82 4 days ago 0 replies      
Most startups have a good mix of technical co-founders and sometimes a non-technical, business athlete. What are some of roles and responsibilities YC has advised the non-technical founder hone on during their time at YC?
dnautics 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do you think ycr will host public lecture series for interesting research topics?
csentropy 4 days ago 1 reply      
What is the best way to get connected to the YC network if you are not a YC alum?
pyankoff 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam, what skills would you learn today to maximize your "founder potential"?

Web/mobile development is kind of commodity already. One can learn nuclear physics, but it doesn't feel like you can hack on it a lot.

baristaGeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
As of 2015, how common is it that Y Combinator is the first money for a startup?
raymondgh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Would you like to speak at HackingEDU (San Mateo, October 23-25), the world's largest education hackathon? http://www.hackingedu.co
mbhambry 4 days ago 0 replies      
1) Indian Startups are also welcomed?2)The application process is a bit change. Founders are asked to provide a video of their own? What do you think is the reason for that?
joeyspn 4 days ago 0 replies      
What are your views on the singularity and transhumanism? Do you think a day will come when we'll have to somewhat trascend our human existence in order to keep up with the pace of tech advancements?
jdcarluccio 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

Wanted to ask you what do you think about Chamath comments about the lack of diversity in VC partners affecting the companies they invest? How do you see this affecting YC?

bakztfuture 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Sam!

Just wanted to ask:

1) how does being a single founder eventually impact the dynamics of a company?

2) any heuristics for finding the one metric that matters to optimize on?

3) any tips for projects less iterative and more focused on a "complex coordination" modality


mukulsud 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Sam, would it be okay to use third party links to prove our market exists? - would the software that you use to scan through apps create a hyperlink and allow the partner reading the app to click thru?
DBCerigo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Could you tell us more about YC Research? Such as (but definitely not restricted to);

- Initial starting size

- How you will be picking researchers

- Any particularly novel initiatives/methodologies that will be encouraged

- How you will measure the group's success

rrrichter 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a CS student from Brazil, what opportunities do you think Brazil has in terms of startups that is different from silicon valley and which methods that work there would work here as well??
erosa01 4 days ago 0 replies      
@sama What are some things that you have approached differently from PG?
brayton 4 days ago 0 replies      
What are you looking for in block chain / bitcoin applications?
Danilka 4 days ago 0 replies      
What are your thoughts are on the whole concept of living on Mars? How feasible is it; how important is the fact of sustainable life on another planet; how would you approach such a problem?

Thank you!

susiwbkpagwjs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi @sama. We've recently seen Google and NASA among others open their patent pools to startups. What are your thoughts on this, and YC's stance on intellectual property?
erosa01 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi @sama. Since anyone could have applied to YC Fellowship, do you think that it finally became just a small "seed round" for the startups that would win YC Winter 2016.
waliurjs 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can a 'yc interview invitation' be used in the embassy the same way a regular 'visa invitation from a relative living in US' to get a B1 visa?
tyrick 4 days ago 1 reply      
How will the size of the W16 batch compare with previous batches?
jhamar 4 days ago 0 replies      
pbreit 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do you think venture investors ought to have higher "hit rates"? (Note: I do not believe things like Dropbox and Airbnb sounded crazy in the beginning).
ph0rque 4 days ago 1 reply      
What do you recommend founders with families do when moving to the SV area for the duration of a YC batch? Take their families with them, or just move by themselves?
simonebrunozzi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam,thanks for your time with us today!

How do you see an application from someone with clear track records in a field, but applying with an idea in a quite different field?

pedrotp 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Sam! What are you (and YC) doing to enable more founder diversity? Any initiatives to reach out to black/latino founders to invite them to apply?
kayuque 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wasnt invited to the Fellowship, I'm still working on the idea but my cofounders lost interest. Should I apply or wait till I find new cofounders.
azinman2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam,

Non-YC question here. I remember years ago at some of apples events loopt was featured on stage by Jobs (I think?) How did you manage to get that kind of promotion?


glxc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi @sama


What area of research will you be conducting?

ramkumarceg 4 days ago 1 reply      
znt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Could you give advice on how to find like-minded co-founders? And what do you think makes someone "good co-founder material"?
CrackpotGonzo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi from Chicago @sama!

You guys have been talking about your investments in HW startups.

What are the top 3 things that you look for in a hardware startup application at YC?

baristaGeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
Any book recommendations for really early stage entrepreneurs? (The best thing to do is execute, but a book or 2 will never hurt).
Laaw 4 days ago 0 replies      
When looking at founder groups, do you shy away from or gravitate towards founders who were friends before the company/idea?
suyash 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam,

Please list your 3 most favorite book for Entrepreneurship, business. I'm an software engineer but have very little entrepreneurship experience.


joez 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do startups, and if so how, need to execute differently in today's frothy funding environment?

What are some technologies that excite you?

coltonrobtoy 4 days ago 1 reply      
How involved is YC going to be in 3D Printing?
jenskanis 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam. Do you have any regrets when it comes to certain companies you turned down? If so, can you give any examples?
rdl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Where outside-USA would make the most sense for YC NONUS 1.0? Or at least, what factors would go into the decision?
jwgaryhen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can I hack please it's like the coumputer won't give me no money so can you let me hack to get money
coltr 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do you personally work 'startup-like' hours everyday, or is it a little more relaxed? 8 hours/day?
susiwbkpagwjs 4 days ago 0 replies      
@sama Sam, what are the barriers to a successful IoT in coming years? Will there be a war of standards?
ddamico 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam! Best actionable advice you can give to a room full of entrepreneurs in 30 seconds? Thanks.
mrdrozdov 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam,

Do you have any suggestions that would help non-technical startup employees get visa entry to the US?

ddamico 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Sam! Best actionable advice you can give to a room full of entrepreneurs in 60 seconds?
sahawneh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hello Sam,

Which application questions do you think best measure determination and flexibility of founders?

wlamont 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you were just starting out again what industry would you focus your efforts on now?
mmccord 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey @sama! How many applicants on average get the opportunity to be interviewed?
billconan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Will we have another startup school this year? I haven't seen any information.
yongshin 4 days ago 1 reply      
What are some qualities of a CEO that you wish to look for in a startup founder?
billconan 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm currently on H1B, if we get accepted, will my working visa be a problem?
sarciszewski 4 days ago 0 replies      
What is the weirdest or most outlandish application you've seen to date?

Did you accept it?

Was it successful?

steven2012 4 days ago 1 reply      
What makes you qualified to run Ycombinator above any of the other partners?
pcmaffey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Are you ready to talk about which domain you intend to start with for YCR?
edanm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Sam,

Thanks for doing this.

1. What do you consider your best professional accomplishment?

2. Have you ever visited Israel?

johnewu 4 days ago 2 replies      
Isn't raising money a form of validation of your product/idea
pcmaffey 4 days ago 1 reply      
Any advice for single founders applying? (other than get a cofounder...)
akhilgupta82 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Sam, I was wondering how one can get involved in helping out at YC during the batches. Sort of a role where you can work and help out the companies with any questions / requests they have. Basically additional hands on deck for the YC partners.
pcmaffey 4 days ago 1 reply      
How is the remote aspect of YCF going? Something to explore more?
jmtame 4 days ago 0 replies      
What's the best book you've read on poker strategy? :)
mooremo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Star Wars or Star Trek?
jwgaryhen 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm the president
erosa01 4 days ago 0 replies      
@sama Would you call yourself a statistician or a visionary?
ausjke 4 days ago 0 replies      
What is the "success ratio" about YC graduates?
neurotech1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would you consider funding a Public Benefit Corporation?
tomrod 4 days ago 0 replies      

I don't have any particular questions for you. I just want to let you know that I appreciate for the work you put in, both to HN and to Y Combinator.

Perhaps I speak for the whole community on that point. Best of luck.


baristaGeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
Any plans for an international college tour?
kskc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do you have African startups joining YC?
krstck 4 days ago 1 reply      
What (or who) are you currently reading?
thecosas 4 days ago 1 reply      
Which came first: Hacker News or Reddit?
philip1209 4 days ago 0 replies      
What's the future of YCF?
meeper16 4 days ago 0 replies      
What do you think about a startup that builds its own hedge fund to finance itself through its own machine learning and AI algos?
paulomartins 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great AMA, thanks Sam.
rokhayakebe 4 days ago 0 replies      
Will YC invest in companies that never plan to go public or get acquired, but could pay dividends?
rokhayakebe 4 days ago 0 replies      
How did you come about being President of YC (post your own startup)?
larrys 4 days ago 0 replies      
1)I made a comment elsewhere that I felt that YC (and you in particular) had it's hands in to many pots and appeared to be doing to many things. With all of the things that you are doing (yc research just added for example) how do you feel that you will be able to keep up the high quality base purpose of YC?

2) You just gave 10m to fund YC Research. Was that because no other partners wanted to get involved in the project and in order to get their agreement (and show how important you felt it was) you decided to put your own money where your mouth was? It just seemed odd to me that it is a YC project yet you put your personal money in it (is the reason for the question).

viahartdotcom 4 days ago 0 replies      
Did you read our winter 2016 application?

Thanks :)

erosa01 4 days ago 0 replies      
@sama If you had yourself and your startup Loopt apply now for YC, would it win?
alexperezpaya 4 days ago 3 replies      
Do you have anything against Spaniards?

I have seen lot of Spaniards applying to YC and they got rejected/ignored with awesome projects.

Do you even read all applications? Posted applications with all urls tracked and we saw 0 clicks... How can you judge our product without testing it? Did you even watched our pitch?

But in the other hand, I saw a lot of stupid companies backed by YC (Uber for X, Airbnb for X, Tinder for X, Y for X startups) I don't mind about it, it's your money, just asking for solid reasons.

This is going to blacklist me for YC but I don't care.

Kind regards, Alex.

Ask HN: How many of you find managing social media accounts annoying?
4 points by kilimchoi  1 day ago   7 comments top 4
wingerlang 1 day ago 0 replies      
How do you define manage? I have FB which I use daily, but I can not remember the last post I made (years ago). I have Twitter but I open it some times per week at most, and I tweet only when I "need" to announce something. Random social media X, Y an Z I have long stopped using. Reddit and HN, are those social media? I don't think so.
J_Darnley 22 hours ago 0 replies      
No because I don't have any. What an amazing easy solution to the problem.
ghrifter 1 day ago 1 reply      
I do. Beside my reddit account and my online gaming community I contribute to, I have no time for Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

But I guess reddit is the superior alternative (at least for me). I find that the Facebook posts and Instragram stuff is always full of people trying to show off their lives all the time.

phantom_oracle 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's a solve problem.

You can manage social media, automate it, etc through multiple SaaS providers right now.

People love twitters API to build bots and shit, so you can even build your own dashboard using other folks examples.

Ask HN: How can we fight the pesticide issue in my state
6 points by imakesnowflakes  2 days ago   1 comment top
penguinlinux 1 day ago 0 replies      
there are a lot of sites online that can show you how to remove pesticides from vegetables. http://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/simple-tricks-to-remove-pes... but I am sure it won't remove all of them but you can try some of these tips.
Ask HN: Drinks in downtown SF?
5 points by dopeboy  1 day ago   1 comment top
confiscate 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice gmail name man!
Ask HN: More sites like HN? 1300 days later
8 points by polym  1 day ago   6 comments top 4
detaro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting to see how many of those links now are dead, point to spam sites or something completely different.
kilimchoi 1 day ago 1 reply      
http://www.slicedham.co which is curated dev blog posts.
pauldbain 1 day ago 1 reply      
HN would be much better if it allowed the creation of "subReddits" as Reddit does. Currently, you cannot browse HN by topic (or subReddit) as you can Reddit or Slashdot or Voat.
Ask HN: Do the monthly 'Ask HN: Who wants to be hired?' posts get anyone hired?
21 points by webmaven  4 days ago   14 comments top 14
domrdy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes. This was the post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4994554. Wrote them an email, was hired a week later and still work there.
tptacek 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. For a long time, they were the most effective recruiting vector at Matasano.
drugsAreBad0001 3 days ago 0 replies      
It might have to do with where you're located, but no. The several that I applied for wouldn't even interview me because I apparently wasn't well versed in their stack (despite being well educated, solid experience, proven track-record, and a strong will).

I would totally attribute it to being just me, but in the last month I've received offers from Amazon, the DoD, Intel, and a few smaller shops in my area.

It's funny too, because I see the same companies continually posting the same ads month after month in the "Who's Hiring" posts, so they must have a fairly strong bias against false positives.

conorgil145 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. We had several strong candidates reply to our postings on the "Who's Hiring" and made a great hire about 10 months ago. That team member is still with the company and is providing great value!
nmjohn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes - at Webflow I believe 4 of us were hired from the who wants to be hired / who's hiring posts.
stevenwliao 3 days ago 0 replies      
It helped me find two places that I'm interviewing with. Will update once the results are in.
kwc98 4 days ago 0 replies      
hopefully, at least I am being seriously considered. We shall see.
atmosx 4 days ago 0 replies      
gillytech 4 days ago 0 replies      
trumbitta2 2 days ago 0 replies      
saiko-chriskun 4 days ago 0 replies      
J_Darnley 3 days ago 0 replies      
misframer 3 days ago 0 replies      
nnd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Do you vote?
20 points by chishaku  4 days ago   50 comments top 35
cauterized 4 days ago 1 reply      
Yes. If I didn't vote, what incentive whatsoever would my representatives have to act in my interest? I may not have a statistically significant impact on the outcome, but neither do any of the other tens of millions of people who vote. Even if an individual vote isn't statistically significant, the aggregate of them is, and because non-voters are self-selecting we can't count on those who vote enthusiastically to be a representative sample of the opinions of the populace. Each person who makes the decision that their vote doesn't matter helps our country slide away from government by the people and towards government by corporations.

Living in a part of the US that skews VERY heavily towards one party, I especially vote in primary elections, which are where it's actually determined which congresscritter or senator we'll be sending to Washington or the state capital. And yes, I will absolutely vote my heart rather than strategically in a primary. "Electable" too often isn't.

And I make sure to vote in off-year state and local elections too because those actually have more impact on my daily quality of life in the short-term than national ones do. (Whereas national elections have more impact on the long-term direction of the country, especially when there are Supreme Court vacancies likely).

My state allows a candidate to run for office on multiple parties' slates, and will aggregate those votes for the candidate. I dislike one party much more than the other, but there are third-parties far closer to my actual positions. I'll often vote for a major-party candidate on a third-party slate, which both helps ensure that the third party remains on the ballot for the next election cycle and hopefully helps send a message to the major party in question.

(Edited for typos.)

mindcrime 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, I usually vote and I've even run for public office before ( Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, 2008, as the Libertarian candidate. I wasn't elected).

That said, I am somewhat ambivalent about voting and democracy. I think democracy is basically just a euphemism for "mob rule" and find that whatever systems you put in to try and prevent the "tyranny of the majority" never really work. And if you're on the losing end in a "democratic" system, are you really "represented"? I argue that the answer is "no". I don't hold Richard Burr, David Price, or Thom Tillis as representing me in any way. I certainly didn't vote for any of them, and would't if you paid me to.

Basically I'm a voluntaryist / anarcho-capitalist / market anarchist / whatever-term-you-prefer, who wants to eliminate most of "government" as we know it today. Note that does not mean I'm in favor of chaos or opposed to communal action (this is something critics of libertarian thought often get wrong.. seemingly intentionally at times). I just want voluntary exchange and self-government to be the fundamental basis for society, with use of force/violence reserved for self-defense.

auganov 4 days ago 0 replies      
No. Looks like only people who do feel like commenting here. I guess people who don't, like me, might just not care about it. Kinda like asking people who don't believe in God why they don't.

Yes, I might not think I'd make a difference, I don't have anybody to vote for, I don't think parliament members make much of a difference, I'm not crazy about democracy etc etc. But in the end I guess I just don't care.

If there was a special party or person that I'd really believe to be a game changer, I might. If I was American I would perhaps vote next year depending on who gets the Republican nomination.

PaulHoule 4 days ago 1 reply      

I used to be an organizer for the Green Party so I am capable of very cynical views of the electoral system but also going door to door to get signatures, running candidates, etc.

In local races, even up to the state legislature level, I often know the people involved personally. I've had friends and acquaintances run for local offices as Greens, Democrats and Republicans. I even meet a congressional candidate from time to time.

For the presidential election next year the immediate thing on my mind is that I don't want to see a Hillary Clinton - Jeb Bush matchup because as much as the "Anderson-Horowitz politics" people on HN would find that easy to swallow, it would set a very bad precedent for our country.

chrisBob 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I have voted in most elections I have been eligible for. Many people say they don't think their vote matters, but we were just a few votes away from avoiding the whole Iraq war mess[0].

The times I feel I have had much more impact though is when I wrote letters to my elected officials. If you have an issue you really care about then write to your representatives in the weeks leading up to a vote. I have always gotten a reasonable response when I sent a personalized (not form letter) note, and in at least one case I think I really helped make a difference in how they voted.


0x01 1 day ago 1 reply      
No. I've never voted, not once.

I do not believe I live in a democracy, even though that's what we'recalling it. I believe that by voting I'm validating a broken system.

Who are all these people making calls about everything and setting rules,while knowing relatively little on the subject matter? I personally thinka democracy would be every eligable person being able to contribute tothe decision of (ie. voting on) these calls, rather than simply picking the 'guy' who makes them. Let the experts in their fields have a say. Idon't know what such a system would look like - but only if somethinglike that were in place would I call it a democracy. What we have rightnow is the illusion of a democracy. I'm not interested in voting, butI am interested in fixing this mess.

Back down to earth.. I think the barrier to entry for understandingcurrent politics is unrealistically high: in order for me to make a callon a party I need to know quite a lot of things about each. There is no'official source', which forces me to google, which forces me to read some third party source, whether it's a news site or some blog. Eitherway it's more often than not a very biased opinion that does not weigh allsides equally, and I can never form a complete picture. Too much time is required to contribute for what I would gain from it, and I have betterthings to do. Is anybody aware of an aggregator or a summary site of allpolitical parties views? Can I look up a party's stance on something andcross reference what the other parties stances are on the same subject?

cweagans 4 days ago 3 replies      
Yes. If I don't vote, I have no right to bitch about whatever scumbag takes over a given office for the next term.

Also, I might be naive enough to think that if I vote despite my cynicism and outspokenness against the shit politicians pull, maybe - just maybe - I might inspire just one other person to vote. And if I manage to do that, maybe they'll inspire someone else and eventually people will start engaging with politics again, instead of just handing the reins over to the people that stand to gain the most from voter disenfranchisement.

yompers888 2 days ago 0 replies      
Last presidential election, I voted Ron Paul in the Republican primary, then didn't vote in the general. If there's someone I like, I'll make the effort to get registered and mail in my vote. Otherwise, it's not worth the effort of figuring out what paperwork I have to send, and to whom. Having said that, after my state elected the governor I didn't like by a narrow margin, I felt a little guilty not voting. But, the truth is the democrats' strategy of funding a libertarian candidate to hurt the Republican would've worked on me too, so it wouldn't have made a difference.

I also don't think I should have the right to vote, as a pretty young person with minimal skin in the game. The risk is too great that I'd seek just to support the candidate who offers me the policies most beneficial to me, rather than acting as a steward, so it seems like I should be left out.

My non-vote is noticed just as little as my vote for any candidate in a presidential election, so I don't care too much, nor do I feel a need to make a principled stand that will go unnoticed. I'd vote in lesser elections like US Rep, but my congressman is pretty well set for every election. He's been the Rep for my district longer than I've been alive, and I think he mostly does a good job. He's the house sponsor for the bill that required carriers to unlock phones, which I think has been fantastic for me, but in a freedom-increasing, rather than pandering, sort of way.

toomuchtodo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, because I believe the economy can be a more "fair" place, and that everyone should have a minimum quality of life (voting for Bernie Sanders in 2016).
miguelrochefort 3 days ago 0 replies      

I refuse to support a system that legitimates the voice of the majority. There is little to no correlation between what the majority has been led to believe is right, and what is actually right.

That said, I could see myself voting for a party that (intentionally or not) would reveal the ridicule of democracy, a party that undisputedly wouldn't be fit to rule the country.

jseeff 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. I believe it to be a civic privilege and duty. My mother comes from a country where (for her gender and religion) her civil freedoms were severely restricted and I think it is important to engage in the process even if you don't like the options. I believe a void vote is better than no vote at all and I think real engagement to change the system is the best (although a difficult) solution to the "no one represents me" argument.
ukoms 1 day ago 0 replies      
Long time ago, when I was young and stupid I've mastered in politcal sciense. So, now (when I'm only stupid), let me tell you this - question do you vote or not is pointless. Only when you ask for motives right after makes any sense. Because those two questions can show who you are and what your politicals class is.

There is quite pleasant theory about what political systems are. It state that you can represent all political systems as segment, on which both ends are dictatorship and democracy. But, this theory also states that those two systems are unachievable in our world, they are like asymptotes - all political systems tends towards them, but never actually get there. If you take a look at democracy - even Greek democracy weren't this perfect one - yeah, everybody could vote. Except for a women, those who hasn't finished their army service, those who haven't got status of a citizen and those who were slaves.

Having this in mind, I personaly always go to elections and always vote. Sometimes - in local elections - I know who had done something for my district or city, and this gives me clear options. This man did this and that, he seems fair and honest, he claims he can do few things better - yup, I'll give him my vote so he can try his best. Other times - especially when it comes to parliment or presiden elections I go to election but I don't have clear options. I don't know those people and to be truly honest - most of them has been on political scene for far to long - so I don't vote for them who have the biggest election budgets. And it happened twice to this day - I made invalid votes on purpose. Here, in Poland, we can't add our option to the vote card. There were two cases where none of candidates on my voting card weren't good enough to have my voice, so I write my types down which made my voice invalid.

What does the first paragraph have to do with the second? I choose people who will drag our political system towards this version of political system which is nearest my opinions and preference.

And to all people who say that qoing to election won't change antyhing - yes, it will. But it require some maturity and effort. It require to make a choice and quite possibly to regret given voice. And then it require consideration - "who I'll vote for if my previous choice was bad?". In some sense it's quite biblical - be hot or be cold, not lukewarm. But... this would mean handling the consequences of our choice, and we humans don't like to do that...

gyardley 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nope. Not legally allowed to vote in my birth country, since I've been away too long, and not legally allowed to vote in the country I currently live in, since I'm not a citizen.

I have to admit I don't see much point voting on a state, congressional, or federal level when living in areas that are completely skewed in favor of a single political party. Were I able to vote, perhaps I'd vote in the primaries.

It doesn't bother me too much - when I really care about an issue, which isn't that often, I call a politician's office or two and donate something to an appropriate PAC. That's probably more effective than voting directly.

theoldguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, Ivote. Usually for the candidate of the party which, in general, believes as I do. If I don't vote, I am conceeding control to persons that believe the opposite of what I believe. All candidates have weak points, but some are deffently opposed to my main positions and toughts. If the current polls prove to be correct, the up coming election for President will have two poor major candidates, but the party platforms will be very different. I can support the one.
a3n 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. Because I think it's my responsibility. But I am against legally mandated voting.
MalcolmDiggs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, but I rarely get any pleasure from it. If I want to feel like an active participant in a democracy it typically takes a bit more than that.

Going to city council meetings, canvassing for candidates, collecting signatures for propositions, etc...those all feel a bit more impactful than voting...but I feel like a hypocrite doing any of those things if I myself don't actually vote...so I vote too.

proveanegative 3 days ago 0 replies      
I believe that democracy does not scale beyond roughly several hundred voters of roughly equal expertise and ability. I decide whether or not to vote accordingly, which means saying no to local and national elections.

That said, I vote on Hacker News stories. Could HN be an example of a moderated democracy (constitutional monarchy?) working well on a larger scale?

yetanotheracc 4 days ago 1 reply      
No. My political views are extreme enough to not be represented by any candidate. My non-participation decreases the legitimacy of the current system, which I want to fail.
rajacombinator 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used to but after waking up I made a principled decision to abstain from what is just another tax on my time. (Best case: trading time for the illusion of voice.) I would consider voting for a moral statement candidate like Ron Paul but sadly guys like that seem to be a once-in-200-years phenomenon.
soared 2 days ago 0 replies      
No. There is no difference between voting/not, bush/obama, this/that in my day to day life. If I thought a politician would make meaningful changes, I'd vote for him or her.
thrownear 3 days ago 0 replies      
No, because I see no parties any more. Because there are no philosophies, no ideologies any more. There are only group of people who put up an appearance of separate parties to engage in the farce called election. After it is over, they go back to the ruling/opposing party drama, while collaborating and robbing people at the back.
dllthomas 3 days ago 0 replies      
Subquestion, for those in the US who show up at the polling place on election day: Do you educate yourself about local positions and vote there as well (or only?)? Or do you limit yourself to voting for those on the national stage (who, of course, get more press)?
arisAlexis 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think voting should be obvious and a much better question would be: do you vote the candidate you really want or the least bad of the candidates that could actually be elected? (In parliamentary democracies with many parties).
echolima 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. Local, state, federal...may not always like my choices, but they are all I have until I actually run.
zhte415 3 days ago 0 replies      
Voted: 'None of the above'

This was an option that was successfully won for many years over (sometimes concurrently, sometimes not) for the Student Union at my first university, Imperial College London.

J_Darnley 3 days ago 0 replies      
No. Not registered here. That's probably partly why I am now represented by a separatist party both locally, "stately", and federally.
sidcool 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh. You meant in real elections. I thought on here.
MrZongle2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, though in the past 10-15 years I've become increasingly jaded to the point where I really wonder if it's worth it, at least at the state and national level.
Mr24601 2 days ago 0 replies      
No - too lazy.
joeclark77 4 days ago 0 replies      
I always pray for a blizzard on election day. When there's bad weather, a lot of the low-information types who are only voting because they want the "I voted!" sticker, will stay home. At least that's my theory.
6d0debc071 3 days ago 0 replies      
I do, it's a very small expenditure of time and effort even if the probability of my vote making a difference is very small considering we live in a two party system with... conveniently... set electoral boundaries.
ddingus 4 days ago 0 replies      

I devote about 5 or so percent of my free time to civics. This means learning about my local options, who actually can impact my life in notable and significant ways, as well as just being active. Being active means doing advocacy actions, the occasional trip to the State capitol, phone banking, GOTV efforts of various kinds, etc...

I sure wish I knew how to convince more 20 somethings to vote.

Mz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have only voted twice.

Why: I have a serious medical condition which limits how much I can take on. I spent a lot of years as a military wife and devoted mother, raising two special needs sons. This was just a helluva lot of work, more than most people seem to appreciate. Trying to stay up on The Issues was just not something I could manage. My plate was overly full as is. I saw no reason to vote if my choices were not based on some kind of meaningful information or opinion.

From what I gather, you see higher rates of voting and political activity in older people, precisely because their plate is less full (with launching a career, finding romance, raising kids, etc). It is possible that as I get older and my life works better, I may someday feel able to effectively participate in the process. I haven't made any decisions one way or the other. It wasn't a Stance. It was happenstance.

AnimalMuppet 4 days ago 1 reply      
Yes. But if the choice is Trump vs. Hillary, I'm going to sit that particular race out, because I could not in good conscience vote for either candidate.
sml786 3 days ago 0 replies      
yes i do vote
Ask HN: How do you find new products?
1 point by mikey077  22 hours ago   4 comments top 4
J_Darnley 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Typically network effects (people discussing them on the internet) lead me to an interest in something which I then go and download. Did you want something more specific?
joefarish 2 hours ago 0 replies      
eli 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand the question. I buy new products in stores or online... Are you looking for a specific purchase I made and how I came to select the product?
mikey077 21 hours ago 0 replies      

Apologies for causing confusion. We are interested in how you search for new products. Let's use in store and online as examples, what is the process that you go through? Less so on product selection and more on discovery. If that makes sense.


Ask HN: Anyone had experience with "feature creep" prior to launch?
4 points by l33tbro  11 hours ago   4 comments top 2
nostrademons 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Yes. Nearly every time. Don't do it.

A product that has users is better than one that doesn't. It is harder to explain to users what a fat product does than a lean product. It is harder for users to understand a fat product. It takes more effort to maintain and improve a fat product than a lean one. These are all costs, not benefits.

"Launched" is a feature, probably the most important feature you can have. If it turns out that you launch it and nobody cares, you can always add more features and launch it again.

dmux 11 hours ago 0 replies      
First off, there's the "you ain't gonna need it" philosophy [0]. And secondly, how do you know they're "super cool" additions? Talk to your users and let them decide how valuable these features are.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_aren%27t_gonna_need_it

Ask HN: Career in J2EE or Android?
6 points by rohan1024  1 day ago   5 comments top 4
trustfundbaby 1 day ago 0 replies      

A seismic shift is happening, web app work now primarily consists of api or infrastructure work, and not as much user experience as ... say just 3-5 years ago

Web apps will still be around but everything will be mobile-first or mobile-only in just a few years ... get ahead of the tidal wave.

newdaynewuser 1 day ago 1 reply      
J2EE if you want to work in big corp and get paid a lot for mind numbing boring tasks.
27182818284 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd vote for Android as well. It is backed by Google, there is a demand (I'm even seeing universities looking for Android developers these days) and it could put you close to the next big thing (e.g., wearables or whatever)
elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tell HN: Unicorns aren't ad-supported
130 points by Animats  2 days ago   58 comments top 14
NumberCruncher 1 day ago 1 reply      
Startups are the penny stocks of the 21ht century. Buy 4% of a company for 40 M$, talk a lot about how this company is valued at 1 B$, wait until enought people belive it, make an IPO, take the money and run (a.k.a. pump and dumping). Would Jordan Belfort still be in business he would high probably be a VC.
throwaway13337 2 days ago 3 replies      
Anyone else surprised by Blue Apron and Hellofresh making the list?

I can't imagine there are two multibillion dollar food recipe delivery subscription companies.

Is this as crazy as I think it is?

artnep 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm surprised by the dearth of companies with manufactured products, especially since this is an international list. All I see are the 6 listed as "hardware" + SpaceX.

Edit: plus Trendy and Theranos and probably a few more from the other categories.

nl 2 days ago 2 replies      
Clearly VCs are underfunding advertising backed companies.

Based on the past 150 years of so of history, ad-supported companies have consistently delivered excellent returns. First the newspaper empires, then TV, then Internet.

swalsh 1 day ago 1 reply      
The big problems the world/USA are currently working through are

1. Preventing Global Warming / Dealing with what's already occurred etc

2. Unaffordable / low quality healthcare etc

3. Income Inequality / Affordable higher education etc

There's a bunch of big problems, but I bet you could make the case that they go in those 3 categories above. The point is none of these are solved by having a fancy animated website that makes money via ads. Facebook/Google/Reddit etc created a bunch of value by connecting everyone. They were a necessary unicorn for the time, and they can still be replaced.

But if you're looking to create a unicorn, you need to set your sights on solving the big problems.

personjerry 2 days ago 2 replies      
How come Valve isn't on the list?
ForkFed 2 days ago 1 reply      
VICE is awesome ... I don't care how they make money, as long as they bring news to the people.

It's my personal unicorn!

lcswi 2 days ago 2 replies      
VC money powers them.
ducuboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Heh, "Updated in Real Time", like a unicorn flight tracker board.
tobltobs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, Palantir is selling a product. The product consists of information about you. But they have no ads on their page, then this must be ok.
lun4r 2 days ago 1 reply      
brudgers 1 day ago 1 reply      
Google is ad supported. And the ultimate unicorn.
draw_down 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google is.
ablation 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting point. Apropos of not much, a lot of them use paid advertising in some form to drive awareness of their products or services, though.
Ask HN: How can you tell if you are insane?
87 points by qwertyFish  2 days ago   87 comments top 40
rojost 2 days ago 4 replies      
Your story reminds me of a similar one that appeared on reddit a little while ago. https://www.reddit.com/r/bestof/comments/34novp/user_thinks_...


Do you have a carbon monoxide detector?

Dizziness can be one of the symptoms. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Carbon-monoxide-poisoning/Pages...

ziles88 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hi qwertyFish thank you so much for reaching out.

I have a close family member, and close friend who both suffer from Schizophrenia. Although I'd hate to make any type of diagnosis over a medium like this, I feel you've been descriptive enough for me to make an educated guess.

Schizophrenia is a fairly complex disorder with varying levels of severity. What you described sounds very close to what a lot of people describe as their first 'episode', which commonly comes between the ages of 18-30. It includes what you've described, a long period of being awake, with intense thoughts, paranoia, and a inescapable need to 'do something' (such as wipe your devices).

One of the greatest challenges of dealing with this is finding treatment fast enough before the disease progresses. Often once it progresses, the person no longer is able to realize something is wrong. As you've described it, you still have that sinking feeling that something isn't right. Often at this stage general practitioners will not understand the disease enough to make a diagnosis, so it's important you see a trained psychiatrist as soon as possible.

For your question about evaluating your condition objectively, this is part of the core treatment of Schizophrenia and it's related disorders, so it would be best a doctor helps you with this. Adderral is a known to aggravate Schizophrenia as it interferes with Dopamine, I'd advise to cut down or stop taking it until you can speak to a doctor. There is also a very small chance you are experiencing a reaction to long term Adderall use it's self, experiencing a Amphetamine psychosis which has very symptoms to Schizophrenia but is temporary. Do not risk it though, for a lot of people if Schizophrenia advances, they are unable, or refuse to seek treatment.

caffeinewriter 2 days ago 1 reply      
Actually, Adderall could very, very easily be causing this. In the same vein of the guy who had CO poisoning, there was a man who was paranoid about drones doing surveillance on him.


It seems like it could be in parallel to your situation. I highly recommend having someone evaluating your dosage, as well as whether it's an adverse effect of the Adderall itself.

sachingulaya 2 days ago 1 reply      
40mg of adderall daily is the maximum allowed daily amount. That makes me wonder in and of itself..I am going to go out on a limb here and say you are abusing it. Probably a lack of sleep leading to paranoia. Someone hacking your phone? It could happen. More likely is you are either having your first break from reality with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. or you are having paranoia and a mental breakdown secondary to drug abuse and lack of sleep.

Why are you taking 40mg adderall daily?

DanBC 2 days ago 1 reply      
You might want to arrange a "Rainy Day Action Plan" with a family member or close friend that you trust.

This would involve you writing a list of stuff that you do and don't want to happen if people ever feel the need to provide treatment. It can include signs to look out for - that mean things aren't going well and that people should take action.

I'm not going to do any kind of diagnostic stuff but early intervention is important.

EDIT: obviously, you should see a doctor rather than relying on Internet advice.

EDIT: here's a sample plan


tdicola 2 days ago 1 reply      
The correct answer is go to a health professional and have them evaluate your mental and physical health objectively.
anon98273918 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hey qwertyFish, thanks for reaching out. It's brave and commendable to ask this question from your position.

I don't know if this is your case, you should to talk a psychotherapist and/or a psychiatrist, but some of the details of your story (like picking up on details like the pace of talking from a wireless company representative) remind me of my mother. She thought there was a worldwide conspiracy against her, with the CIA involved, and so on. One example: she was active in a Blogger community, and someone connected to her network wrote this mundane blog post about visiting the zoo with his family, written in a witty style and with pictures of animals. My mother thought this was a concealed attack to her well being. ("I am obviously the giraffe in this story", etc). There was no way to make her see how absurd that was, that was her perception of reality, and she wouldn't budge from it.

Unfortunately, even after having seen doctors and having spent time in a mental hospital, she continues to deny that she is unwell. She is too proud and too stubborn to be open to the idea that her perception is mistaken, or that she has an illness, or that she is not at the center of the world. Her illness along with her pride and stubbornness has caused our family a lot of pain. Imagine your mother or your sister or your wife, not just becoming mentally unwell (that is tough but fixable), but denying at all costs that she is unwell, and so letting that illness define her character going forward.

So for me, whether or not you have a health issue, you taking into consideration what your family is worried about, is commendable. Please stay open to what the people who are close to you and who care about you have to say.

I wish you the best of luck friend.

JamesBaxter 2 days ago 1 reply      
Based on your username it seems possible to me you're a fan of the TV show MR Robot as the main character has a fish called QWERTY. The main character Elliot suffers from anxiety, depression, insomnia and mania.

I would consider that unless like Elliot you're trying to reset society's debt to zero it's unlikely you're being targeted. What makes you worth targeting over anyone else?

I think you should speak to a medical professional (get multiple opinions if you don't trust them) and move on from there.

There's a lot we can learn from Mr Robot, for me the biggest lesson is you can't always trust what you see and feel. Find somebody who can help you with that.

For instance, I'm partially convinced this is just someone trolling hacker news whilst bored on a Sunday...

throwaway349287 2 days ago 0 replies      
EDIT: I've reviewed the Reddit thread linked in another comment! (The Co2 guy)[1] Given that the original Reddit report was written as cogently as you've been writing I would suggest taking similar and related steps. I don't have anything more specific to add. Get things back to normal. Also you report physical illness, so this would go hand-in-hand with some similar reason. (For example, Co2 guy had severe headaches, that he didn't mention but which were a symptom.)

I've deleted the earlier version of this comment (in which I asked you to speculate on a motive for the email) as I think that it is more important to address the things that could cause these thoughts. It would be different if you didn't feel sick or weren't taking a high drug level.

I see a lot of similarities, especially because you mention physical illness (although the OP there didn't mention his headaches until prompted.) Try to solve them, as they're quite serious. Bear in mind that your judgment may be impaired at the moment, and that your family are concerned. Try to solve the external source of the issues if at all possible.

[1] Here is the thread I mean: https://np.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/34l7vo/ma_posti...

meesterdude 2 days ago 0 replies      
> How can I evaluate my mental condition objectively?

You can't. You need a third party (such as a psychologist) to definitively tell you what's what. It's super easy to fool and mislead ones self.

I once thought my girlfriend hacked into my computer and corrupted it somehow; I lost everything. In hindsight, that was a crazy thing to think, but at the time it made sense given who she was and what was technically capable and all that.

What one must do, is separate what is possible (being hacked) from what is likely (computer crash) from what is absurd (girlfriend did it). This is not always easy, and not always straightforward, and not always something you can and should do by yourself.

Also... stress is a biggie. aderall likely won't help things either. People have lapses, behave irrationally or quite insanely as result of temporary outside factors. So, Its not something to worry about in that sense, but its certainly something to identify the cause of and take action against and monitor.

best of luck!

slr555 2 days ago 0 replies      
Insane is probably not a useful word in this context. Is it possible that you are suffering from an illness? Of course it is. The internet is not the place to seek a diagnosis. Make an appointment with your primary care provider or a qualified mental health professional. There are a number of illnesses that can manifest themselves in ways archaically referred to as mental. Just keep in mind that everything that happens in your brain is chemical and electrical. If you are having a psychotic break, and believe me I do not mean that as a pejorative but simply as a medical term then you need qualified medical care. When asked, a schizophrenic patient will say when they began to hear voices they were as real to them as their friend talking from the next room. I wish you the best of luck. Get help. If you need treatment, get healthy. These are tough issues. Hang in there.
allworknoplay 2 days ago 1 reply      
Go talk to a doctor. Strangers on the internet with anecdotes are not qualified for this.

Never be embarrassed if you think you might be having a temporary psychotic break or experiencing heretofore unknown symptoms of schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder. It will do no good sitting around and wondering.

Getting help is the only thing that will help you regain confidence in yourself. And maybe it's nothing and you were right all along.

koopuluri 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please direct these questions to a psychiatrist. I doubt many of us here replying are qualified to provide guidance on what you are experiencing and why. And ignore the name dropping of various mental illnesses and speculations by others; getting in contact with qualified people and calmly explaining your situation and providing evidence of what you saw / feel is the best option.
echlebek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi, I used to take adderal for ADD when I was in my early 20s.

40 mg/day is a LOT... who put you on that dose? I was taking 10-20 mg/day and it usually left me feeling totally zonked. (I'm about 200 lbs) Taking 40 mg was a sure-fire way to spend the day grinding my teeth and babbling frantically.

I definitely experienced paranoia, and tended to fixate on things outside my sphere of influence, which lead to feelings of helplessness and despair. At the time I thought I was seeing things more clearly.

After a while I realized that while adderal was effective at improving performance in rote tasks, it messed pretty severely with abstract reasoning. I ditched it cold turkey one day and never went back. Surprisingly there were no withdrawal effects. After stopping its use, my grades in university level math and computer science improved dramatically.

I now believe that psychiatrists are wrong about prescribing adderal for ADD, and that adderal is not a safe or effective long-term treatment. Frankly, I think the whole field is either in denial, or corrupted by financial incentives.

Some people will tell you that you need someone to objectively evaluate your mental state, but I don't believe such an analysis is truly possible. Best-case, you'll get an educated guess and some good advice. Worst-case, someone will try to prescribe you even more drugs. So before you do that, quit taking speed, and exercise regularly. You might be surprised by how much better you feel.

tayloryeow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Almost this exact thing happened to me during this summer (2015). It ended up that I was experiencing a stress related break.

I was so incredibly convinced at the time that someone was intercepting my calls and playing back snippets to me. It was terrible. My mom drove from another country to take care of me. My brother came in. I made an embarrassment of myself on my social media. I freaked the fuck out of my roommates and all the friends I had at university.

I was on vyvanse and aderoll like drug at the time for adhd. It seems these things may have been related.

All I can say now is. Put the phone away. Post everywhere that you're sick and going to be out for a few. Take a nap. If you can't nap try and burn the energy off somehow. Then sleep.

And remember that while it really hurts the ego, everyone around you just wants to see you feeling like yourself. Hack or not.

If its a hack you can trace it after you're feeling more like yourself. If not then ohwell. You got weird for a bit. It happens. Life's weird.

I wish you the best! Good luck.

If its a hack

ap22213 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's probably very difficult to evaluate oneself 'objectively' but that said, if it's affecting your life negatively, you may want to get a medical diagnosis. Your sudden paranoid-like behavior could be caused by any one of many different physiological, neurological, or psychological things.

Also 40mg of adderall seems like a lot, if you're on adderall xr.

sharon2012 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the best thing is to see a doctor. However, your behavior is too paranoid and may indicate a certain mental condition. To be sure though, just see a physician.
skwaugh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yo man. Sorry to hear about your situation. I have been previously prescribed a high dose of Adderall. For the first 3 -4 months it was incredible.

Slowly, but surely, however, it started having negative side effects, namely anxiety and paranoia. My symptoms and resulting behaviors weren't as extreme as yours, but I could definitely feel the crazies coming on sometimes. That being said, don't listen to the people on here telling you that you are schizophrenic.

After getting a 2nd and 3rd opinion from other doctors, and reading some stuff on Pubmed, I realized that my dose was very high. I resolved to just ditch the Adderall and never return to my psychiatrist.

I'd be happy to talk more about this with you if you want. I am a 23-year-old male software engineer and have spent a lot of time trying to find healthy/ier alternatives to adderall. Drop me a line at skwaugh@gmail.com

Iamnotcrazyokay 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is no one going to address the objective evidence? If there are emails flaunting exploits... You're not crazy. If the emails don't exist, there's probably a bigger issue.If the emails did exist and then got deleted... That's tough.
forgotmypassw 2 days ago 0 replies      
You could always visit a doctor who specializes in these things to get evaluated objectively. Also cut the aderall.
alexdowad 2 days ago 0 replies      
See a professional, and if they recommend medication, try it for at least a few days and see if your view of the situation changes.

Story: I knew a lady in her 40s who started experiencing some psychosis. She started thinking that people were spying on her and reporting her activities on radio and TV, that huge gatherings were being held in football stadiums to watch videos of her which had been secretly filmed, that songs on the radio (in languages she didn't know) were talking about her, etc.

She thought that all her friends knew about this but didn't mention anything so as not to alarm her. After a couple months went by, and still none of her friends mentioned anything, she thought it was strange and decided to have herself checked instead.

After taking the recommended medication, within a day or so, the strange music she used to hear in the distance disappeared, all the people on the radio and TV stopped talking about her, etc.

Moral: Don't get stuck on the stigma of the "crazy" label. Just like anyone can get sick physically, people who are otherwise normal can start having mental problems. That doesn't mean you're "crazy". It does mean that you should have yourself checked by someone who is knowledgeable about such ailments.

mhb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't the first step to see how you feel if you get plenty of sleep and stop taking Adderall for a week? Horses, not zebras?
qwertyFish 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure if anyone is still in here but this is OP. Here is a pastebin link from a few of the emails that weren't from auto-generated indian programmers. I downloaded one of the attached files and followed one of the links to a personal site with my phone.


I am sure I overreacted but they did make me concerned when my machine was running slow. I had upgraded to El Capitan on like the 2nd. SOme behavior preceded that but not having fans run and machine getting hot is fairly normal on mac.

IDK maybe I am just paranoid. Trying to find the TCP DUmps. From before I formatted the system. I am posting them because a few people said that there was no real evidence. I am sure I overreacted and maybe should look into it more, but the emails happened.

ziles88 2 days ago 1 reply      
I also want to point out that the feeling of being sick/tired after your 'episode' is also very common. As I've been told by a doctor, this is due to your brain going in overdrive for a few days, and then crashing. Typically it results in a a deep depression.

It always starts out small like this though, and it's extremely common for a person after their first few episodes to still not believe they have Schizophrenia, so please don't trust yourself.

I should also be clear, we could be talking about Schizoaffective Disorder. Schizophrenia is sort of umbrella term. I find it's often used incorrectly. Lots of people who suffer still have prolonged periods of being completely normal and lucid, some even go into year long remissions. It's a complicated disease, and you've displayed the tell-tale first sign almost to a T.

works_remote_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've never dealt with something like this before, but I have personally had to tackle recurrent depression. It wasn't until my late-20s did I finally notice what was going on and got the help that I needed. In the meantime, I nearly lost it all -- my family, job and life.

If you have the slightest inclination that something isn't right, I suggest seeing a doctor who cares. I waited way too long even after realizing that perhaps there is a problem (trying to avoid the stigma) and learned that mental health is no joke.

bhouston 2 days ago 0 replies      
The stimulant usage, of which aderall qualifies as it is an amphetamine, can lead to Stimulant Psychosis:


duaneb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely cut down on the stimulants. This is the first step to evaluating your paranoia.

You're healthy enough to get help, friend, you can't be any crazier than the rest of us.

sixQuarks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't remember where I read it, but I remember learning that it is very rare for schizophrenic people to question their sanity. So the fact that you are considering it should give you relief that you probably are not.
narrator 2 days ago 1 reply      
Go watch the movie "A Scanner Darkly". It contains a couple of characters suffering from amphetamine psychosis. Phillip K. Dick knew these kinds of people well. If you find your behavior to be similar to the characters in the movie, you should really lay off the Adderall.
kaffeemitsahne 2 days ago 0 replies      
"It is much more comfortable to be mad and know it, than to be sane and have ones doubts."
seansmccullough 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stimulants make you paranoid, dude. Cut down on the Adderall, and you'll be fine.
swayvil 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's functional and nonfunctional. The rest is philosophy, consensus, convention.
vbezhenar 2 days ago 0 replies      
May be you are really was hacked? :) If it's possible, I would suggest to find someone who got skills to explore your devices, analyze your emails and find out, whether that was harassment from some strange person or real hack.

I would be definitely very nervous if someone hacked my devices.

takfpbi 2 days ago 0 replies      
1) Based on the info you have provided, it sure sounds like someone is messing with you to an unusual extent over the internet. Hard to tell exactly why, or what exactly they are doing, but there are plenty of plausible reasons why it is not crazy to think that it is happening and to act accordingly.

2) Taking drugs is a very dubious practice at best. Prescription drugs are drugs. They mess with your normal functioning in ways that sometimes mask certain problems, almost always at the cost of causing worse ones. The list of known side-effects at normal dosages is usually bad enough, and those are just the ones that are known. The people who make them are only motivated to find a product that produces a certain effect. They are not motivated to learn what the drugs actually do. The people who push them do so for reasons that rarely have to do with promoting your real health, mental or otherwise. The people that think they are helping are the worst. For every problem that drugs might help you with (temporarily and at too high a cost), there is almost certainly a better way.

2a) What goes for drugs goes for any person in the mental health field, whether they push drugs or not. It also goes for anyone recommending professional help from someone in the mental health field, especially when they are very nice and emotionally supportive and want to help and are sure they have (or will find) the answer for you. Many people enter the mental health field because they have questions about their own mental health that they want to answer. They do not find answers. They find a system where they can gain status and make a living by making sure that other people do not find answers either. This is a harsh and sweeping statement that cannot be properly justified without going into issues that are beyond the scope of this post, but suffice it to say that the entire mental health field is based on assumptions which are completely wrong and do not allow it to even get a whiff of what the real problems and the real solutions are. If you value your sanity, stay as far away as possible. Take it as one person's opinion if you like, but that's what I have to say about the mental health field.

2b) I have an aunt who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, went on drugs, and has spent most of her life in institutions. She had serious problems (possibly before and certainly after entering care), but I agree with the poster who said that mental health issues are often family politics issues in disguise. I told my parents things that they did not want to hear, and they did not think there was anything wrong with going to a mental health professional and asking if they could do something (read: possibly get me committed) without even trying to talk to me first. These are parents that I thought I had a good relationship with, but I discovered (the hard way) that there were just certain that they do NOT want to hear. Obviously I do not recommend doing or saying anything even remotely threatening to anyone, and particularly not to parents or family members. I do not even recommend saying things that family members do not want to hear (even if they are true), if you can possibly avoid it. I recommend staying as close to your family as you reasonably can. However, you have to realize that they do not necessarily have your best interest in mind when they give you advice, and that your natural inclination (if you are like most people) is going to be to trust them even if you shouldn't. If they attempt to manipulate you or try to get you to think that you are crazy just because you think something unusual is happening, when it is pretty clear that something unusual is indeed happening, then be very careful and do not let them become the ones who determine what is real and what is not real for you, or pressure you into mental health channels, or anything that would commit you to something that is not actually going to help you.

3) The better way (than drugs) might involve investing less of yourself in technology and the internet. That's a decision that you have to make for yourself, but the tech industry, and the internet part of it especially, is already borderline insane. Some of the people who participate in it the most intensively (though probably not the most visibly) are criminally insane. Even "normal" behaviors within internet culture ingrain ADD type thinking and behavior. Rather than take drugs to mask a behavior, ask yourself what is causing it. It is certainly possible to have some involvement with the internet and not suffer any apparent ill effects. I still have some involvement with it. But I used to live on it. That is becoming normal behavior for more and more people, but in fact it is insane-making.

4) Exercising is a waste of time. It might provide an alternative to drugs that is somewhat healthier, and it might help you get off the internet, but it does not address any of the real issues. For many people it is just another obsession. Most people would do much more for their health just by paying more attention (and putting more effort in)to not eating more than they actually need to eat.

5) Having gone though a similar experience to the one that you relate (perhaps a bit more extreme, hece the length of this post), the best step I can recommend, based on my own experience, is to get a job as an employee (preferably low level, preferably with minimal prospects for advancement) at some job that pays the bills, and spend the greater part of your day doing what someone else tells you to do. A job that does not require you to interact with very many other people is fine, and less stressful, but a customer/service job is OK too if you can do it. Some of these kinds of jobs are hectic, but ideally you want the most boring such job that you can get. Don't be a trucker, or another job where you're not dealing with a boss for long periods of time. The idea is that you are doing what your boss tells you to do and/or what the customers are asking you to do as much as possible, that you are not what you want to do, and that you continue doing this as long as possible. It might sound counter-intuitive to tell you to listen to your boss and to random customers and do what they want after I've just finished telling you not to listen to your parents or mental health professionals or do what they want, but the difference is that with a job (especially a boring job) it's just a job. There are no family politics. You are not attempting to create something out of nothing. You are not trying to become rich or famous. You are there because you choose to be there and because there is a job to do. The customer wants a simple thing from you, and your boss wants a simple thing from you, and none of them gain much from trying to mess with your head. It's just a job. You are also not falling into the habit of becoming a leecher in a system that is designed to support a leecher lifestyle, which is what happens to people who fall into institutions hoping that someone else will solve their problems.

Getting a job like that and sticking with it long enough might be too big of a step for many (most?) people, but it's what I did and it has worked very well for me. There are also very good reasons why it can be expected to work in general, but these are beyond the scope of this post. If you do it, and reflect on it, you will start to understand it yourself anyway. And that is the real reason to do it, because the question of what is sane and what is not, what is normal and what is not, is a non-trivial question--very non-trivial. Unfortunately you cannot trust the answers that you get from most people, including the ones who ought to know. But you cannot simply trust yourself and leave it at that either. It is worth spending a great deal of time and effort to get it right.

andreyf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would recommend adding a non-public way of talking about this. People might be more willing to give genuine advice about this in a non-public forum.

There is a certain amount of legitimate paranoia which comes on anyone who is technically competent and starts thinking about security and the systems most people trust without question. This sounds like the place you are now. Once you start thinking about it, it won't go away, and you will learn to manage it.

Don't use the word "they" when you think about who can intercept your calls or hack you. That ways lies unhealthy paranoia, where anyone can start to seem "off" or "acting weird". Even without that bias, bringing up anything that might imply your cell provider not securing their network will confuse a call center employee at best, or put them on "careful what I say" mode because that way lies legal liability for them. Not sure if that's what happened, but it's one explanation.

There definitely exist people and groups in this world that can hack you in a variety of ways: legally (FBI using a warrant), probably legally (NSA without judicial approval), or illegally (criminal hackers). Most likely the first two don't care to attack you, and the latter have no reason to risk performing an attack on you unless you recently made some shady enemies. If you care to do so, you can minimize the number of such groups by using end-to-end encrypted technologies like FaceTime. Google is allegedly working on end-to-end encrypted calls, as well, and has included WebRTC into Chrome. Signal by Open Whisper Systems and Firefox Hello by Mozilla also provide e2e crypto, if you prefer open source things.

Realize that the challenge you're facing is both technical and psychological. Start thinking systematically about security. If you think your phone is hacked, ask "how did it get hacked, and how do I prevent this with my next phone?". Did the OS get rooted, or is it just one of the apps that could be acting weird? Cell phone makers spend a lot of resources securing their manufacturing, hardware, software, and platforms, and it's really expensive and risky to perform an attack on someone who follows best practices.

That said, don't imagine that you can be secure all of your systems against everyone all the time. Angela Merkel can't, and she has way more resources than you do. Security is all about increasing the cost and risk of an attack and decreasing its value, something worth integrating into your lifestyle regardless of whether you're a target now.

Finally, about schizophrenia: there's definitely stigma there. Don't worry about it. Read the DSM [2] to understand what symptoms drug manufacturers target in their drug trials. The point of the categorization is for medical treatment, not judgement, and it's none of anyone's business except the people who you choose to tell. If your security concerns get so bad that they interfere with your daily life more than you want (i.e. you can't work or have close relationships), get diagnosed and meds to help you get back on track. Based on your writing, it doesn't seem like you're suffering from anything that will require you to be on meds for a long time, even if you choose to use them. A doctor or therapist can be a good advisor in this regard, as can friends or relatives if you can find someone qualified.

Stimulants like Adderall are in some ways the opposite of anti-psychotics, so that definitely won't help you.

Good luck!

1. http://www2.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Intranet/Homefro...

dreamdu5t 1 day ago 0 replies      
"I take a bunch of speed every day and I think people are spying on me, am I insane?"

YES. But its probably just the drugs. Quit taking speed.

Mz 2 days ago 0 replies      
How can I evaluate my mental condition objectively?

You can never be entirely objective about your mental condition. But you can try to find objective verification about what was going on, whether that validates or refutes your ideas about the events.

Hemingway thought the government was tapping his phones, etc. Everyone thought he was crazy. It came out after his death that he was right.

Just because it seems improbable to other people does not mean you are imagining it. But, also, the fact that you fell ill means you could have been misinterpreting things due to fever or other temporary mental impairment.

Whether you were coming up with unfounded ideas or were right, the best answer is to seek some kind of objective evidence concerning what actually happened. If you get objective evidence that refutes your interpretation, then you can feel okay about the possibility that it was machinations of a fevered mind. If you get evidence that something wonky was going on, you can deal with it.

Since you were sick, please consider the possibility that it is a little of column A and a little of column B. Perhaps someone did something, but you blew it out of proportion. The truth may lay somewhere between the extremes of "I was 100% right" and "I was 100% crazy and imagining things."

Best of luck.

Supraperplex 2 days ago 1 reply      
How is your "nature usage" going? What I mean is how often are you outside? I mean in the woods, not the city. At the beach, you know, nature.

The stimulation our brains get by beeing in nature is very important for us.

When you are outside and all the little, tiny millions of natural information tidbits that are coming from everywhere, they are important for our mental health in general. Outside, look at the waves, at the leafs of trees in the wind, bugs humming around and everything. Those pattern are important.

In the confines of our cities, which give us solace on other levels, and the simplistic abstractions of our GUIs, which we love, these natural stimulations are lacking.

May I suggest to you to go outside, hiking, kayaking, paragliding, stuff like that, regularly and often?

Take a walk to the nearest park every day, look at the trees for a while.

Do something physical - start a martial arts or so.

On a personal note: I hate it too. Working out is so dump, your brain is empty while doing so and that sucks. I know. I am not a "jock" by any means. I am bored by it, I understand.

But. From my point of view tere is a clear spiral down that beins with not having enough natural stimulation going on. For decades now, I suppose?

I also want to second the other poster: it is good that you reached out.

rorykoehler 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why are you taking Adderall? I just read the symptoms of ADHD and that is not something worth medicating for especially with amphetamines. You're a human. We're all different and some of us have more energy than others. It's ok to be hyperactive and not be able to concentrate if that's who you are. Try cutting sugar from your diet and meditating instead of cramming yourself full of Adderall. Anyone would go crazy pumping that shit in everyday. If that doesn't help after a week or two find a professional psychiatrist.
pcvarmint 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you are independent enough to live by yourself, I suggest doing so, and temporarily getting rid of your mobile devices and staying away from your family for a while so that they do not interpret your thoughts the wrong way and get you committed against your will and put on drugs which can ruin your life.

When I was 20, I abruptly left my parents and moved into an apartment. We were having personal conflicts, and had I stayed, there's a possibility, however remote, that I would have been told by family members to see shrinks and take drugs (they didn't have enough money to have me committed). It was the best decision I made. Within two years I was working in the technology sector and I've never looked back.

Mental illnesses are often just political problems in the family, and if you can break free and gain independence, you can avoid a vicious cycle which leads to family members running to psychiatric drugs to explain away and suppress political issues.

Anxiety, depression and lucid dreams or paranoid thoughts are often the result of being in the wrong environment. I've had symptoms which, if I disclosed them, might be considered paranoid or mentally ill; but when I've changed jobs or moved to better environments, all of the symptoms have disappeared. I believe it's the body's way of telling you something is wrong out there.

Reading books can be a good way to take your mind off of difficult issues.

I would also eliminate caffeine and sugary foods from your diet.

Ask HN: Which open source projects are tackling social problems out there?
2 points by gpestana  2 days ago   2 comments top 2
vortico 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tor, software for mesh networks, tunneling hacks, and encryption packages serve to fight control and privacy invasion. For example, Facebook Tunnel (https://github.com/matiasinsaurralde/facebook-tunnel) hopefully should never actually be used, but it serves as a statement for network neutrality.
Ask HN: HCI Careers at Google/Disney/Microsoft?
11 points by WilandOr1903  2 days ago   9 comments top 6
unignorant 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't speak to Google ATAP or Disney, but getting a job at MSR almost certainly requires a PhD. HCI is an incredibly broad field, though: do you have more specific interests? Did you do any research as part of your MS? Broadly speaking, a PhD is only going to help you to the extent you want or need to participate in the academic community, for example by publishing papers. That would be the case at MSR and other research labs, but not so much in the majority of industry jobs.

(I'm an HCI PhD student at Stanford.)

Ohtrahddis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really not an authority on this, but to answer the question of "do I need a PhD", my view is that it depends on which 'part' of HCI you want to do.

Do you want to work on Project Soli at ATAP? Which part, the actual hardware / Radio antenna design? Then a PhD in analog design might be required to be qualified. Do you want to do the signal interpretation / analysis to detect gestures? Maybe a strong background in signals, filtering or even machine learning may be required.

HCI work can involve a lot of specific specialization which often requires these research / industry giants to demand a strong testament of your qualifications. Although not required, a PhD is often an easy way for them to see that.

If it is the more 'high-level' stuff, I'm not sure, as sometime a 'PhD in HCI' itself may be required (although I don't know too much what a 'PhD in HCI' entails)

Source: Experiences with HCI PhD's at UC Berkeley

dahart 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you can, the best way to get into research might be to go get the MS or doctorate. Disney research is made up of multiple labs, several of which are university programs that Disney sponsors, and full of people going for PhDs. In the internal labs most of the core researchers do have PhDs. There are ways to get in, it doesn't require a PhD, but it might take a demonstrated history of commitment to research, or willingness to take a job that is supporting or doing something tangential to core research. I have a friend who worked doing core research for both MSR and Disney research who doesn't have a PhD, but he published heavily and demonstrated he didn't need the degrees by being smarter and harder working than most researchers.
eecks 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have no advice for you (sorry!). I'm just interested in hearing what you like about HCI and why you are moving from dev to HCI research?

I had one class in it. I didn't mind it but I didn't love it either.

miguelrochefort 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in the same boat as you, except that I lack a degree.

Although I would love the opportunity to work at Microsoft Research, I accepted the fact that I likely never would.

Lately, I've been considering to join and/or create a distributed research team. The most challenging part has been to find people whose vision align with mine.

Feel free to contact me if that's of interest to you.

sackofmugs 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can work at MSR as a research engineer (basically, you make software to help the researchers). You're a support role, but can still do some of the research under the direction of someone with a Ph.D.
Ask HN: Resources for learning manual software testing?
54 points by tasdev  3 days ago   42 comments top 17
dankohn1 2 days ago 1 reply      
I agree that it's largely a mindset. From https://twitter.com/sempf/status/514473420277694465 :

"QA Engineer walks into a bar. Orders a beer. Orders 0 beers. Orders 999999999 beers. Orders a lizard. Orders -1 beers. Orders a sfdeljknesv."

el_benhameen 2 days ago 0 replies      
While other commenters are correct that manual QA is a mindset, there are readings that can help develop that mindset.

I have new QA engineers read the first five or six chapters of "Testing Computer Software":


to get a feel for the mindset and methodologies and to help them understand what testing can and can't accomplish.

"Lessons Learned in Software Testing", mentioned by another commenter, is another good resource. Lots of good anecdotes:


Both are a bit dated in some ways ("Testing" has a section on filing paper bug reports), but the lessons and thinking are still highly relevant.

stingraycharles 3 days ago 4 replies      
Hmmm. I think you're looking at this the wrong way: it is not he who should be learning more about manual testing, it is you who needs to learn about how to write manual tests.

Manual testing is not at all that different from, say, integration testing: you write a specification of a task that needs to be performed, you write down the expected output, and you compare it with the actual output.

What you end up with is a document containing dozens of pages full of small tables with test specifications, somewhat like [1].

So, to sum it up, it is you who should be doing the hard work of finding out what to test. You make a document full of tests which are as specific as possible, and let your partner walk through it. He doesn't understand what to do? Then you failed at being specific. He cannot find the functionality you ask for? Either a usability issue, or once again, not specific enough.

Hope this helps you somewhat!

[1] http://www.polarion.com/products/screenshots2011/test-specif...

henrik_w 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Explore It" by Elisabeth Hendrickson [1] is a short, easy-to-read introduction to exploratory testing ("manual testing") that has many concrete ideas for what and how to test SW.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Explore-Increase-Confidence-Explorator...

SotA89 3 days ago 1 reply      
A good start would be the ISTQB foundation level syllabus. While the ISTQB seem to be a litte outdated in terms of their views on the software development process: A focus on sequential waterfall-like models - it is a good resource to learn the vocabulary of software testing. Furthermore it explains different types and stages of software testing: http://www.istqb.org/downloads/viewdownload/16/15.html
rodent54 2 days ago 0 replies      
Testing (effective testing I should perhaps say) is linked to the domain that it operates in. Understanding the nature of "what" the software does is often more important than "how" to test.

"How" you test will be impacted by other things as well. Some environments (companies) have a need to formally record testing. Others use 'non IT people' to run the testing. Some have expert users who know the app inside out as 'testers'. etc etc The need for how much detail is in the test scripts, and in fact if you document manual test scripts will depend on nature of your company.

You will find a couple of schools of thought on "how" to test. ISTQB is formal and has a good bag of technique, the other school of though has some good ideas (like session based testing) but IMHO tends to throw the baby out with the bath water. The ISTQB technique can be applied in an agile environment what you would not use the documents they describe.

What I have personally found is that a good tester picks up ideas, techniques (BVA, EP etc), and applies these where the will return the best value.

I see the arguments in the testing world a bit a kin to dev's fighting over strongly typed vs. loosely typed.

Automation is good BUT if you don't know what you need/want to test then really it is a means to get is a mess really quick.

nchelluri 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think something that drove it home for me is an actual written test script at my first part time job (before university). I was testing a tool called Internet Call Manager (if you used dialup and received a call while on the internet, this software would pop up a notification on your screen and allow you to decide whether to ignore the call or to take it).

Basically it was a table with the left hand columns being the instructions to perform, in point form, and the definitions of the expected/correct behavior, and the right hand columns being checkboxes and blank spaces to write in, indicating whether the software performed correctly.

It was super clear and to the point, and it was just a document that could be easily updated (and was, I believe I later made some modifications to the script when new versions of the software came out, but it was so long ago that maybe someone else was the one to do it).

Maybe you could write one of those up and he'd get a better idea for what his job was, and you could run through it with him a few times. After he gets the hang of it, I think it will have some value outside of just testing the code: he may come to understand how changes in one part of the code bring up issues in unexpected places (and get an intuitive grasp for, say, code reuse); he will be a true expert on the product (I've always noticed that QA people are often better versed in software than the assigned Product Manager, come demo time); and perhaps he'll start to grasp at a more physical level what your work actually entails, and it'll help give him context for software development as a process.


"The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures.... Yet the program construct, unlike the poet's words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself. [] The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor could be." - Fred Brooks

Let him learn some of the magic behind the poetry :) To your whole idea (biz/product guy getting hands dirty with product work), hear hear, bravo, etc.

ume 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Ministry of Testing is a good starting point, http://www.ministryoftesting.com

If doesn't sound like you are providing an API but if you are feel free to mail me directly (email is in my profile) for some resources; my company works in that area of testing.

cheriot 2 days ago 0 replies      
To be completely unhelpful, I've found it's largely instinct. Some people can look at a thing and find a way to break it. Only those people benefit from formal QA processes.
V-2 2 days ago 0 replies      
First and foremost one has to know the domain, what are the things that tend to go wrong. And this is platform specific knowledge.

I mean, you're testing a web app? Disable JavaScript in the browser.

Testing an Android app? Rotate the phone to change screen orientation, especially when there's a background operation going on - that's a typical spot for bugs, but no amount of general manual testing know-how will tell you that. And so on

lhoward 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am assuming that as programmer, you have completed the unit/system testing so your partner should focus on the acceptance testing such as usability. I have found creating personnas and putting yourself into the position of those personnas a good starting point.
lhoward 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am assuming that you have done the unit/system testing as the programmer, so your partner should look at the acceptance testing. I have found creating personnas (of your end customers) and testing as though you were one of them a really good starting point.
mieciu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Give uTest a try, you can participate in crowd-sourced test cycles and gain both experience and money.

And they have really cool resources over here:https://university.utest.com

Tharkun 2 days ago 0 replies      
TMAP Next is a good read. It's a little heavy, but there are some very insightful chapters on the what and the how of testing.
nodelessness 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found Art of Software testing to be a good guide on the subject. I recommend reading it.
unoti 2 days ago 0 replies      
Regardless of what else you read, try this one technique for manual testing. You're probably interested in getting more serious about testing because of a couple of major defects that you have seen in the software after your last release. Create a test plan document that walks through the procedure of verifying those defects are not present in the software. On each release, add to the test plan to make sure new features you've added work properly. As you work on the product, the test plan will grow. But it won't grow as much as you might expect, because often several new features can be tested just by making a couple of edits to the test plan.

The goal of testing is to prevent defects from surfacing in production. So track every defect that surfaces in production, so that you can watch that go to zero over time.

Whenever a defect comes up in production, edit the test plan such that you would have caught that defect. Now you won't be bitten by that class of defect in production again.

If you keep updating the test plan in this way you will see a dramatic drop in defects released to production. Once you've done this for a while, you will probably discover that your biggest source of defects released into production have to do with how different your test environment is from your production environment. So you will then start attacking that issue by setting up a proper staging environment, where the staging environment mirrors production as closely as practical.

Then you will start to discover that your biggest source of defects released into production becomes other things, such as little problems with your release methodology, which you can then address.

But the key concept here is: document what your test plan is, and continuously improve it. It's important to note that you must actually follow the documented procedure for this to work. If you write a document so big that you won't actually do it, you're doing it wrong, make a smaller document. If you feel like you only need to do 2 minutes worth of resting, document what you will do during those 2 minutes. You can start with an empty test plan and that will work, as long as you continuously improve your test plan. The same goes for the procedures that you use to deploy. Always follow the same procedure exactly as documented, because you will need to improve that procedure.

I have followed these procedures at a number of companies and in a variety of environments, and seen it turn chaotic messes around many times.

Once you have this process down solid, you can automate some or all of it. But the important thing is the overall set of processes around testing and deploying software, and the process for improving those processes. How much of it is automatic versus manual matters a lot less.

As for resources, I'd recommend books on continuous improvement. Because as you get better at testing, you'll discover that General process improvement is what you really need in order to cover the range of things that cause defects in production.

Morendil 3 days ago 1 reply      
Point him to "Lessons Learned in Software Testing" by Bach, Kaner and Pettichord: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0471081124

Also, "manual testing" is a slightly unfortunate monicker for the activity we are discussing. It is bound to generate some degree of incomprehension or even hostility on the part of some people, for no foreseeable benefit. "Testing" will do. It is something you do with your head primarily, your hands being involved to pretty much the same degree that they are in programming (and we don't usually call that "manual programming").

       cached 14 October 2015 12:05:02 GMT