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Ask HN: Which do you prefer: org-mode or Taskwarrior?
6 points by ywecur  4 hours ago   7 comments top 4
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db48x 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I use org-mode for keeping track of invoices. I make them each a task, and give the tasks states such as FUTURE/INVOICED/PAID/LATE/RECEIPT; this makes it quite hard to lose anything.

The data for each invoice is kept in an org-mode radio table, and the invoice itself is generated from a org-mode source blocks. I "call" the invoice source block to generate the invoice, which is usually text but is occasionally LaTeX when the client really insists that they need a PDF. This result goes into a collapsible drawer, and I can easily save it out to a separate file. In fact, when the result is LaTeX it's possible for org-mode to process it into a pdf directly, although there are some quirks to be aware of there.

On the other hand, I don't use org-mode for keeping track of normal tasks much.

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nas 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I currently use Workflowy. It is not FOSS but it is has some nice features. It syncs between devices, has a decent mobile client, works offline, seems to have a good developer, doesn't cost an unreasonable amount, has pretty good multi-user features.
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thecrumb 4 hours ago 1 reply      
How is Taskwarrior different than todo.txt
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SEJeff 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Taskwarrior. Reason: I use vim :)
Ask HN: What hours in the day are you most productive?
2 points by tech_crawl_  3 hours ago   6 comments top 4
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byoung2 3 hours ago 0 replies      
6am-10am...this means that when I work a 9-5 office job, my most productive hours are spent preparing for work and commuting.
2
partisan 2 hours ago 1 reply      
3 - 8 PM. I tend to stay late at work as a result.
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czbond 2 hours ago 1 reply      
5am - 3pm. After that - it's a downhill slide.
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kevinherron 1 hour ago 0 replies      
5am - 9am
Ask HN: What would you tell your 20 something years old self?
16 points by meta_pseudo  11 hours ago   32 comments top 18
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veidr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
First: Learn the essentials of personal finance: savings, taxes, credit.

You already know how to calculate how much your credit-card-augmented lifestyle is costing you, but you don't why? Why on earth are you going to take out a loan on a new car next month when you could just buy a used Audi for cash?

Go smoke a joint, introspect on why you have that flaw in your character, and fix it.

Next: You will eventually decide to have kids. When you do, this life will be over. A new, different life will begin. Aside from whatever satisfaction you do or don't get out of the new aspects, one of the main differences will be the amount of your time and energy you can devote to pursuits like making software, writing novels, building a company, etc will be reduced by about 80%. So this is your window. Don't let your youth go to your head. You are in the first year of only 10 or 15 that you have left where what you do is totally up to you.

Finally: Stop smoking cigarettes immediately, you stupid little fuck.

2
insoluble 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Never assume that those around you, even close friends or family members, care about your best interests or future. Chances are their actions are based on their own best interests, even when it involves you. There is a fair chance they are not even considering your future in any of their actions. This is not to say that you should not care about others, but that for many people, the only one looking out for you is yourself.
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mikestew 7 hours ago 0 replies      
My 20 year old self? Lessee, doing a little math here...okay, got it: in a few years a software company called Microsoft will IPO. Take every spare dime and buy shares. Continue to do so until about 1999, then sell all of it.

In all seriousness? You're not as clever as you think you are, so try being less of an asshole. Even when you are the smartest person in the room, no one cares, so quit being so insufferable. Spend more time with your musical instrument; you'll never go pro, but it will add enjoyment to your life and sometimes that of others, and when you're older you'll regret having not played more when your were younger.

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kleer001 9 hours ago 1 reply      
For me personally the key words would be "Ignore women, accrue finances."

As much as culture tells us pair bonding is the end all be all, it's not. Outside of college your chances of finding a compatible mate reduce by 10,000% or more. Instead of actively looking and compromising keep up high standards for yourself and any potential mate. Instead of taking dozens and dozens of dates spend that time socializing and spend that money investing. Spend time to learn what you should be investing and don't trust pundits except as a barometer as to what everyone else is doing.

For OP, if you really like this question it's been asked a lot. Check reddit and youtube.

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EliRivers 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Low cost index funds with dividends reinvested. All your pennies.
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austinjp 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Do one thing and do it well. StIck with it. Excel. Get lessons, teach yourself, push yourself. Do it for the love of doing it.

Don't compare yourself to anyone else.

Two marshmallows later rather than one now.

Hang onto those old friends. Even the ones who can be dicks, provided they're not always dicks.

Tell your family you love them because one day it won't be possible.

Learn to love and forgive yourself so you can love and forgive others. Practice loving kindness.

Stop smoking weed.

Introverts lose energy to others and gain energy from isolation, but isolation should be in small doses to avoid de-socialisation.

Get fit, stay fit. Lift weights. Learn martial arts.

Get outdoors. Go up mountains and jump into the ocean.

Ultimately, it's all okay :)

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alashley 10 hours ago 0 replies      
- Socialize more. - Pick a technology stack and stick with it for an extended period of time.- Ask her out.
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tmaly 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I would tell myself about the Gale-Shapley matching algorithm and how it can be used to get the best out of life.

Essentially, just keep trying for #1 biggest goal, if that fails, go for #2 biggest goal and so on. Essentially you always shoot for the stars, and you will maximize what you get out of life.

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J_Darnley 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not over 30 yet just 28 and I would have told myself to stay in school or just end it. If I could speak to my 18 year old self I would tell him to choose a different subject.
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loumf 7 hours ago 1 reply      
When I was 22, I wrote some advice for me for when I was 40, which I followed (at 43), and it wasn't bad, although he was kind of a jerk about it.
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hackuser 10 hours ago 0 replies      
One more thing: For your career, look up the concept of "career capital" - that is what you want to focus on developing at the beginning, much more than your income.
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AnimalMuppet 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Be more into your kids and less into your own side projects.
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7Figures2Commas 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I would tell my 20 year-old self to ignore any advice from my 30+ year-old self.
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aliston 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I just turned 30 about 6 months ago and spent a lot of time reflecting on the ups and downs of the past 10 years. To directly answer your questions based on my own experiences:

1.) Take the challenging job - YES. Of course, this is somewhat vague advice. If I had it to do over again, I would have taken the job at Google (now Facebook, AirBnb, Uber, Dropbox...) rather than joining the small startup right off the bat. The startup world is full of charlatans, and working at a more established company initially will give you credibility, engineering skills, a network and savings that can help you navigate sharky waters. I would have done the startup 2-3 years later. Instead, I did the opposite, which worked out fine, but meant that I had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way.

2.) Get a higher degree - MAYBE. I got the higher degree (MS) at a top school. But, I already had the undergrad degree which would have gotten me in the door at any of the aforementioned companies. I enjoyed grad school, and it gave me an opportunity to explore lots of fun subjects that I missed in undergrad due to requirements. However, it delayed me from learning hard lessons in the real world that probably would have benefited me more. From a financial standpoint, I don't think an MSCS is worth it, even if its free, because you'll come out ahead with more years of real-world experience and an additional year(s) of salary as a software engineer.

3.) Start something of your own - YES. Do it. But do it when you have a solid group of friends that are willing to take the plunge with you and an idea that you are confident in (have vetted through customer development or some other means). I did it when I was 24 or so, first as a contractor and then launching several products. Working as a contractor allowed me the freedom to travel through South America, which was literally the best experience of my life. My attempts to start a company were not as successful... I got scared by my dwindling bank account, was unsure of whether the idea would work and hastily got a job. BUT, my cofounder stuck with it, found another cofounder and is now running a multi-million dollar company. Thus, my advice to do it, but when you're good and ready, committed, and have friends that are 100% bought in.

As for other advice, I think the biggest thing I learned in my 20's is that sometimes you've gotta stick it out through the tough times. Without going into too much detail, I passed on several opportunities that would have dramatically changed my life, largely because of my own stubbornness, arrogance, and view that I was too good to be stuck doing work that I felt was beneath me. I'd echo the comment about "pick one thing and get really good at it," but I would disagree that you need to "do it for the love of doing it." Sometimes you're not going to love it. My friends/acquaintances that took calculated risks, and kept going where others wouldn't were the ones who ended up on the cover of Forbes (literally).

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hackuser 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a few ideas, probably many of them wrong for you (see #3). Certainly your mileage will vary:

* Self-knowledge is the most powerful tool there is: What suits you, what doesn't; your strengths and weaknesses; your talents and blindspots; your limits; what you need, can tolerate and can't; what you love and hate; what makes you feel safe and strong and helps you thrive, and what leaves you traumatized. If you think you already know yourself, you almost certainly don't. You never fully know but you want to learn as much as you can (and in the process you'll learn to understand other people). It's the basis of every important decision you must make: Do I choose this career? Do I trust myself to take on the responsibility of this business, with all these people's fortunes and careers depending on me? Can I commit to love and care for this person for life? Is she/he right for me? Am I ready to put an infant human's life and development in my hands (and can I handle the work/life balance and pressure)? Many people make poor decisions about these issues - How can they make good ones if they don't know the key factor, themselves?

* The only way to develop that knowledge is to try and fail, and then to get up and try again (an essential skill in itself). You can't learn these things by just thinking about them; they aren't in a book. And now is your chance. Later when you have a career, a mortgage, business partners, employees and children depending on you, you can't take a big risk to just suit yourself. Also, I'm not just talking your career, but all aspects of your life: Relationships (especially relationships!), where you live, your lifestyle, etc. People playing it safe will question and criticize you (see below), but just smile and know you are moving ahead while in ten years they'll unfortunately realize they have learned little of life and themselves.

* Learn to ignore everyone's advice and criticism and to trust your own instinct and thoughts. Nobody else really understands you or your situation nearly well enough. They might have good ideas to consider, but you know best (which requires that self-knowledge). No matter what you do, people will criticize you. Even Steve Jobs was fired, Bill Gates reviled, and Martin Luther King was hated by many and polls show he was unpopular during the civil rights struggle; you could be President of the United States and people daily will call you an abject failure. And you will fail constantly, sometimes horribly, just like the rest of us, and while you are failing there will be no promise of success. Given that you will face criticism, questions, and failure no matter what, and that there is no promise of a good outcome anyway, at least do what you love and think is best, and enjoy the ride.

* Gather some data: Look at people at the other end of life, or ask them: What turned out to be important? My guess is most will answer, their family and personal relationships. Few people wish they had spent more time at work; many wish they had spent more with family. Finally, a good marriage is perhaps the most valuable thing in life but it takes far more than love and good will; it takes dedication, hard work, skill, and, as much as anything, self-knowledge.

I hope some of that is helpful!

EDIT: A minor edit or two

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smt88 11 hours ago 3 replies      
1. None of your decisions are important. I'm not saying that to belittle you. I'm saying it because you can worry yourself sick if you're afraid of doing the wrong thing. Life is a balance between "analysis paralysis" and jumping into things too quickly.

You should lean toward jumping too quickly. Even if you make some small mistakes, be open-minded and willing to learn from them, and you'll be able to recover.

It takes many years of compounding a mistake before you're unable to recover. Career-wise, it probably can't happen until you're 45+ (due to age discrimination).

2. Whenever possible, take your career in a direction that allows you to be paid more for working fewer hours. This will pay off later in life when you have the money to travel or just want to see loved ones.

There are many ways to accomplish this. One of them is to ask for better-sounding titles, even if they don't come with more responsibility or pay. Another is to develop skills that are widely applicable, rather than highly specific. The worst thing you can do is to develop skills that are only applicable to your specific employer.

For example, I have a lawyer friend who worked on a lawsuit related to microprocessors. He did this for five years. When he wanted to move to a different firm, no one wanted to hire him because he only had experience with microprocessor litigation.

If you're starting out as a developer, try to work somewhere that uses modern, popular technology. Both of those are important: modern and popular. For example, a company that exclusively uses Haskell or Scala is probably not a great idea. You'd want to get experience at something like Python, C++, C#, Java, or JavaScript instead. (Note that the culture of companies that use Java extensively are often very poor, so make sure to read Glassdoor reviews or ask HN about the company).

3. Sleep. If you focus on doing one thing at a time, you'll be way more efficient than your peers, and you'll have time to sleep 8+ hours a night. Don't work at a company that expects you to sleep less than 6 hours a night and spend all your time at the office. They're living in the past and don't understand that overall output suffers when people don't get to rest.

4. Build and use your social network. Don't be afraid to ask friends, parents' friends, relatives, and strangers to help you. If you don't have many friends, go out of your way to make more.

My life is exponentially better because of only 2 friendships that I randomly made a few years ago. It's been literally like winning the lottery. But you have to meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends before you find those relationships.

5. Your career isn't and shouldn't be your life. If you can't have an interesting conversation with someone that doesn't mention your job, you're doing something wrong. Have hobbies and other interests.

In that same vein, ask yourself (or old people) what someone might regret toward the end of their lives. Absolutely no one will say "I wish I'd spent more time working". Virtually all of them will say "I wish I'd spent more time with my family/friends/pets/hobbies". If you don't believe me, go out and ask.

6. Leave your comfort zone whenever possible. The more you practice it, the better you'll get at it. Every amazing thing in life requires being vulnerable and leaving your comfort zone.

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iphoneseventeen 9 hours ago 1 reply      
stop renting and BUY property. Something BELOW your budget.
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paraplegic 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't panic.
Ask HN: What project are you most proud of?
8 points by tech_crawl_  10 hours ago   12 comments top 7
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graeme 24 minutes ago 1 reply      
A book series and website where I explain LSAT practice tests. The LSAT is a standardized test used for law school admissions. It's an analytical test with very precise English, and my explanations help people make sense of it.

A significant portion of the material was done in the early years, when I worked like mad. Now I'm running the business at a more comfortable pace, though ramping things up to work on a new product for the site.

http://lsathacks.com/explanations/

2
patio11 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Lifetime: Khan Academy ported some code I wrote; it now runs all of their internal user engagement metrics.

Recently: Erin and Thomas are still busy putting the finishing touches on their half of Starfighter, and I'm basically just on client communications duty, so I gave myself a two-day engineering project as time off for good behavior.

Certain events which happen when players play Starfighter games are significant. We want to congratulate players when they happen, ideally in as close to real-time as possible. Also, since "strike when the iron is hot", if that player happens to be a job seeker that would be a really good time to do an introductory phone call if they're willing to do one.

We have heuristics which identify these important events and pipe them into Slack. The plan was originally "If we see one of the notifications, send them a person-to-person email."

But if you're playing Starfighter in your browser, you aren't in your email client, so you might not see the email until e.g. the next day. What we really want is like Facebook messenger, except inside our own application, hooked up to Slack, with the ability to be selective about who it is open to.

Enter Apollo, messenger of the gods:

Front-end: React and SockJSBack-end: SockJS-go, some Go glue code, and NSQBack-end for Slack: three very trivial endpoints in our main Ruby on Rails applicationInterface on Slack: two slash commands and one asynchronous incoming webhook

How it looks in practice:

In-app message window: https://www.evernote.com/l/Aaf2wn2dyxhPDoHAzSYymDcNIasqcmj91...

Slack: https://www.evernote.com/l/Aadc-vDMIpxNc7z6XZ1_xH1jMSNOVJ-58...

Not bad for two days of work. (Starfighter will likely OSS the only hard part of this, which is the NSQ-to-websocket piece.)

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kleer001 3 hours ago 1 reply      
My work on Disney's movie "Enchanted". Went to so many damn meetings and hardly got to do what I love, but I learned so much about the process and loads of respect for the leads and higher ups. Also lots of people have seen it, as opposed to the huge pile of schlock I've worked on that nobody has seen.
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jxm262 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I know it's small and probably not worth mentioning, but I created a bitcoin exchange's api aggregator (my first Node.js app). Basically it attempts to wrap multiple exchange's api's into 1 common library, so you don't need to constantly look up the docs across different companies.

https://github.com/jxm262/xchange.js

I built another project to analyze prices across the exchanges using the xchange.js library. Surprisingly both have 13 stars on github :) I'm planning to add _alot_ more functionality over the next month or so to both projects.

https://github.com/jxm262/btc-stats

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sideproject 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Not for anything else, but I'm proud that I have been able to stick through my current project (http://www.hellobox.co) for more than 2 years. I used to be very distracted with all sorts of ideas and abandoned projects.
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japhyr 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I just finished writing Python Crash Course, which is coming out this month from No Starch Press. I'm looking forward to hearing what people think once it's out.

http://nostarchpress.com/pythoncrashcourse

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tmaly 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I only get about an hour a day to work on it during my commute, but I am having fun with my side project bestfoodnearme.com I am hoping to have a new look for it in about a week, more visual, more pictures.
Ask HN: Why isn't all stock trading done by algorithm?
54 points by Peradine  12 hours ago   59 comments top 30
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greenpizza13 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Computers trade most effectively with technical indicators. These are things like price history, volume, etc. These trades are very effective in the short term, where trades can happen in terms of seconds or milliseconds. This is where computers excel and humans fall short. This sort of trading is based mostly on breadth. If you look up the fundamental law of active portfolio management, you'll see that breadth is less effective (exponentially less so) than skill is.

In the case of the long term, however, trading is done with fundamental indicators. These things can be more or less intangible and have to do with market events, people, and other indicators of company value that are hard to translate into math. Using fundamental indicators for portfolio management is what humans are better at, and these pay off in the long term (see Warren Buffet). These trades are done with skill, which, as I stated earlier, is exponentially more effective at creating gains than breadth.

In short, it takes a huge amount of breath to get the gains required by a relatively small amount of skill. Computers are better by far at breadth, while humans are better (for now) at skill. This, I think, is why humans still trade.

2
spott 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Information not in the market.

Stock traders trade on rumor, fact and everything in between. They (can) look at who the company is run by, and how much they trust him, and look at the people in upper management. They can look at and understand news.

Part of the difficulty of the stock market is that it isn't a closed system: people make decisions to sell stocks based on the fact that they are poor this month. Until computers can understand and process all the external data, people will need to be in the trading loop.

The big exception to this is the trading the noise: high frequency traders trade against each other, closing the spread in bid/ask prices. However, they are essentially trading against other computers at that timescale, which makes them pretty amenable to algorithms.

3
hsk 12 hours ago 1 reply      
You're overestimating the effectiveness of computers in taking in data and finding patterns. If you throw data naively at an algorithm, you'll get garbage. It's especially difficult to make sense out of trading data because of the sheer size and percentage of noise.

For any given trading strategy, a ton of thought, testing, and domain knowledge goes into creating the algorithm. It is not a black box that writes itself.

That said, computers are far more effective at certain tasks, especially latency sensitive simple calculations, just as calculators are far better at doing arithmetic.

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chollida1 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Well the truth is that for some firms it is for about 99.9% of all trades.

Renaissance Technologies founder Jim Simmons is famous for saying they didn't override the algorithm.

In practice most HFT firms do a mix of both. The algos will do the vast bulk of the trading but you have human traders monitoring algos to do clean ups for cases where the algo gets "stuck". What defines "stuck" really depends on the sophistication of the algo and the firm itself.

Some algo's, such as internalizers's for crossing bought flow are so simple that there probably doesn't need to be much over site at all.

Market making is very similar, with the exception of a flash crash where they might pull out, market making algos should just run themselves.

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SEJeff 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Well for starters, someone has to write the algorithms. Not everyone has vast amounts of computing power to find the right inputs for the right algorithms or genius level quants to write the math which coders turn into strategies. There are so many small niches in the market that a human can still make a reasonable living if they find an area not traded by others aka "making a market". Now when it comes to competing with the machines, you pretty much nailed it.

Source: I work in electronic trading and have the past ~7+ years.

6
mjwhansen 10 hours ago 1 reply      
There are a lot of different schools of thought about approaching the stock market. One of them is the "chart" approach, where you (or an algorithm) try to discern the future movements of a company's stock price based on the past performance. Sometimes this works. Mostly, though, it doesn't.

There's also a big difference between "trading" and "investing." Trading is what you've described -- buying shares in the morning and hoping they'll go up in the afternoon so you can sell them later. Investing is buying shares of the company to become a part owner and hold them for years or decades, not days.

If you looked at NFLX's chart in 2012, you could "discern" that the share price would continue to hover around that price, maybe go up a little, maybe go down a little. And you could have bought it in September 2012 for $8 a share and sold for a nice $1 profit in October 2012 for $9 a share (split adjusted). But what the chart wouldn't have told you -- and would never have been able to tell you -- is that it would skyrocket in 2013 and up to its current split-adjusted price of $110 a share. The thing is, the chart never would have told you about this. And even a "pure" numerical analysis like could be done by a computer -- P/E ratios, cash flows, etc -- would not have predicted that growth. You could do DCFs all day every day in 2012 and never predict Netflix's rise. There are a lot of things that go into a company's rise that aren't numerical, like the quality of management, market moat, market growth, etc. And, of course, you had to buy it, and hold it for years, in order to see that return.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I should probably note that I'm a bit biased in this. I work for The Motley Fool, which advocates for long-term buy and hold investing, and produce a podcast for growth investors called Rule Breaker Investing.)

7
Mikeb85 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There are limits to algorithms. Stock prices are affected by human behaviour, which can't always be predicted.

Not to mention the various macro variables, like wars, weather, crime, etc... Plus, what time frame should the algorithms trade on? They're very good for predicting the very short term, I haven't seen much evidence that they're good for predicting longer time spans.

While algos eat up arbitrage and electronic brokers replace human ones, humans are still very good at other forms of trading... Not to mention, a large part of market activity isn't even trading - it's long term investing and collecting dividends.

8
leroy_masochist 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Former investment banker here. This is a question I had when I hit the desk, and it's an important question.

The short answer to your question is: because most of the volume traded on exchanges is large blocks of stock being bought and sold by institutional investors, and you need humans to make these deals happen.

Longer explanation as follows:

On the trading floor [0], you have two groups of people: the sales team and the traders.

The sales team gets paid when they make markets, i.e., connect buyers and sellers. Specifically, the financial institution takes a fee that's a very small % of the overall transaction volume, and some of that goes into the sales team's bonus pool. The more stock trades flow through the firm (specifically, their business unit), the more they get paid.

The traders, on the other hand, gets paid to do two things, which are really the same thing: a) not put too much of the firm's capital at risk and b) set the firm up to make money by buying securities low and selling them high. Every trader has a "P&L" (profit & loss) number, which is the total amount of money they've made or lost for the firm since the start of the fiscal year. They get paid a bonus based on this number. They tend to know exactly what their number is at any given time.

So, there is actually a lot of tension on the trading floor between the sales team and the traders, because the sales team wants a lot of volume to go through their business unit, and any given trader wants to maximize her P&L.

Real world example might be: the sales dude gets a call from a hedge fund saying, "we want to sell $100mm of our shares in Alphabet at $720". He then shouts over to the trader (who sits close to him) to tell her about the call and she thinks for a couple seconds [1] and then says, "you need to make a market for 80mm of those shares at that price, I'm only taking 20mm."

In other words, the trader is saying that she'll only tie up $20mm of the firm's capital on this particular trade [2]. The sales person might come back and say, "c'mon, they took that $50mm of Microsoft stock you were trying to get rid of last quarter, we as a firm owe them a favor" to which the trader might respond, "OK, we'll take $30mm tops". So then the sales person will get on the phone and start calling everyone (other mutual / hedge funds, pension funds, etc) who might be interested in buying Alphabet at $720. Maybe the sales person makes it happen; maybe they don't. In any case, they need to figure out whether they can get 70 million dollars worth Alphabet stock pre-sold to other people in the market at $720 before they get back to the hedge fund trying to sell it with a response as to whether they can make the trade.

All of this involves MASSIVE HUMAN FACTORS. I'm sure we will one day be able to train AI to work through various constructs of "we owe them a favor" but right now you still need humans to get big trades like this done. And again, big trades like this constitute the majority of the overall volume in the market. So, that's why trades don't run entirely on algorithms...yet.

[0] I was in banking, not S&T, but have a decent understanding of how this works.

[1] Being able to make decisions of this magnitude in a couple of seconds (and have them be good ones) is one of the two skills you need to have as a trader; the other one is not letting the outcome of the last trade (good or bad) affect your thinking on the next trade.

[2] There is potential for both upside and downside in a decision like this; if the stock appreciates, the firm can profit by selling the stock at a higher price than it paid, but the reverse is also true. This is also an example of why "proprietary trading" is such a blurry line. In order to make markets for big trades, firms usually have to put their own capital at risk, even for a few minutes. At what point are they trading for their own profit vs. temporarily assuming risk in order to broker a deal between two counterparties? Go read Matt Levine's archived columns at Bloomberg if you find stuff like this interesting.

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brohee 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Because ultimately, stock prices move not based on "the market" but on things happening in the real world?

How does an algorithm interpret e.g. an Apple Keynote? By the time Twitter sentiment analysis (if such thing is really useful) gives results, an human trader already took a position...

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zrail 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do I need an algorithm to find a good business, buy shares, and sit on them forever?
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chad_strategic 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty good question... Not sure if it will be solved here.

I used to be a value investor around 2000-2008. A value investor would be something like Buffet or Peter Lynch. However I did make a lot money in Sept. 08 because I determined the market was over valued.

What I didn't forsee, was how much the dollars the Federal reserve would print and inflate the economy.

Regardless, after that I built my own algorithm, because I no longer believe in the structure of the market. I would rater trust numbers. Meaning there are to many analyst pumping stocks, federal reserve, insider trading, spoofing trades, ETFs, deratives, and financial warfare it's hard to make a true value investment. Yes, I have read the buffet / Grahm books, but those are over ~60 old.

I think it is Virtu (electronic trading / hedge fund) that hasn't had a day where they lost money since early 2009? I know Goldman and JP Morgan 90% of the time trade every day for a profit. So a lot of the market is already trading electronically. I think zerohedge.com has estimated the 70% of the market trades on electronically and that article was few years ago.

It's funny, because I have devised methods using social media / programming to manipulate the price of stocks. If I can think of ways to do that I'm sure sure Wall St. already is doing it.

Anyways here my algorithm it tracks over 500 stocks: http://www.strategic-options.com/trade/

12
jackgavigan 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's impossible to create an algorithm that encompasses all the factors that contribute to a company's stock price (or, perhaps more accurately, all the factors that a given investor believes will affect the stock price). There's also an implementation gap between the model a stock analyst can create in Excel and its implementation as an algorithm. The former is within the reach of far more people than the latter.

Finally, don't forget that somebody has to design and write the algorithms.

13
simo7 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The amount of trading done by machines decreases as your investing timeframe increases.

So at the extreme (high frequency trading), all trading is indeed done by machines.

14
oaktowner 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Most stock brokerages spend lots of times gathering data from the companies themselves -- the management group, the customers, industry analysts, etc. They are not making investment (BUY/HOLD/SELL) recommendations based on the past fluctuations of the market, rather on their "expert" appraisal of the company's worth versus its current stock price.
15
lujim 11 hours ago 0 replies      
In addition to an algorithm not having all available information on the market there is also the fact that any niche or inefficiency in the market can be duplicated by others until it is negated.

If you discovered that the market always goes up on Tuesday and drops on Wednesday that only works until everyone else discovers the same thing and starts selling on Tuesday and buying on Wednesday.

16
blazespin 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You mean the computers that can't even understand the sentence "We saw grand canyon flying to chicago."
17
holri 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I recommend to read Warren Buffet or his teacher Benjamin Graham.Buffet uses a computer, but only for Bridge playing.
18
tmaly 12 hours ago 1 reply      
market conditions are always changing as are regulations. In 2008, they implemented an emergency short sale rule that banned short selling for a select set of stocks. An algorithm would not know what that means, humans have to step in to ensure stocks are not shorted during these times.
19
danmaz74 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Fortunately, not all investments are based purely on technical analysis for short run gains.
20
oscarfr 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The simple reason is that people make money by trading stocks. And they make enough to keep doing it instead of doing something else.

It's simple economics. If they wouldn't be able to make money they probably wouldn't trade.

21
anpk 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been trying to find patterns (http://newsp.in). I dont believe its an exact science yet, but its always fun to try.
22
artmageddon 12 hours ago 1 reply      
How would an algorithm react to / speculate on the most recent news of, say, the VW pollution-cheating fiasco? What about embargoes or war breaking out between certain countries?
23
smrtinsert 10 hours ago 0 replies      
They're not. Retail trading is a fools game.
24
gorbachev 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Because algorithms can't wine and dine potential investors to convince them they're the best in the business for picking stocks.
25
whatok 11 hours ago 0 replies      
26
kaa2102 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Limited computing power, uncertainty and the false perception of perfect information (or perfect intuition).
27
slantaclaus 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Computers aren't normally so good at predicting the future?
28
blahblah3 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Even if at some point humans no longer had any edge, by pure randomness some of them would still have really good performance. So even in a perfectly efficient market you wouldn't expect humans to be taken over.
29
lordnacho 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been in the market for over a decade, and here's my take:

- Lack of sophistication. "Classically" trained finance people don't know much about computers. I took a finance class at a top business school, and it's nothing compared to Engineering. A bit of time-value-of-money and maybe some option math, but really it doesn't come close to the sophistication of a CS or Engineering course. I went to a meeting last week with a guy who wanted an automated trading system. He hadn't heard of Python. He didn't have any idea how to execute other than on 3rd party programs (which of course use algos, but he was just providing the decisions).

- Lack of scale. There's a lot of family offices who have a few tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. If they wanted an algo trading guy, they'd have to pay him a lot of money, you'd want more than one, and you'd need infrastructure. Plus there's the risk you get all this, hire the guys, and their results are no better than random. A lot of small fortunes like this tend to spend more time in tech-soft areas, like private equity or private debt. The stock trades are an afterthought that they can't spend much resource on.

- Two kinds of decision making: arbitrage and investment. The put it bluntly, arbitrage is easy to mechanize. If some guy quotes some options at the wrong value, it's obvious you want to trade with him. There's looser arbs (things that sort of always come back to normal), but the principle is the same. In some sense, it's not a financial challenge, it's a technological one. For investment (I think XYZ corp will go up), you need to have a sense of what risk you want to take. Utility functions are not easy to put into code. You can try, but you end up with situations where you decide not to have the algo on. There's also the principal-agent problem; most traders are agents, they need to look good to their boss. They need to be able to explain why they are betting on some company. Often, more effort goes into how to justify your trades than what trades to do.

- Things that can't go into a machine: I worked with a guy who used to go meet the CEOs, look them in the eye, and ask them if they'd make money. Now I'm not saying this approach works, but if this is your investment edge, how are you ever going to put that in a machine?

- Insider information: taking this in the loose sense, not the criminal one. If you're highly dependent on understanding some part of the market better than others, you may be better off talking and networking rather than coding. Goldmans are great at this. Every time you meet them, they offer a bit of info in exchange for yours. It lets them see things like the mortgage bubble before it happens, whereas a model would probably have issues due to the small amount of computerized data.

30
dragontamer 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Skill? I'm putting up trades as an investment. My money can't just sit around in a bank account forever, it needs to be invested to make actual gains.

All the hedge-fund managers that claim to have algorithmic trading have extremely high expense ratios. So its cheaper if I made trades myself.

I mean, its only $7 to execute a trade off of Scottrade or E-Trade. While buying a mutual fund with algorithmic trading will cost you like 50 to 200 basis points per year.

Yeah, its cheaper to trade in the raw or to just buy SPY or Vanguard funds (which are passively invested without algorithms)

Ask HN: Are no negotiation offers hurting candidates?
7 points by seattle_spring  13 hours ago   6 comments top 4
1
chrisbennet 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't answer that question but when I'm faced with a horrible/unfair offer, I take it as a crystal clear signal that they just don't value what I can bring to the table or, to be charitable, the position just can't generate enough value for the company to justify paying market rates.
2
MalcolmDiggs 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think it hurts or helps really.

Simply because salary is only one small part of a constellation of things that are up for negotiation when you're considering an offer.

If a company has a hard line drawn in the sand in regards to salary, you can still negotiate working hours, working from home, job-title/responsibilities, benefit plans, commuting stipends, free lunches, 401k matching, extra paid time off, faster vesting of your options, etc etc.

So even if you end up with a low salary, that doesn't mean that you're under-compensated overall. It might just be that you're over-compensated in other areas.

3
JSeymourATL 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> Are no negotiation offers hurting candidates?

No, strong candidates ALWAYS know their relative worth in the marketplace. They naturally gravitate to the most competitive offers. But some employers still take a backward view of talent as a 'resource', rather than intellectual capital. These guys put-out unsophisticated, low-ball offers to marginal, even desperate job-seekers just fill seats.

Relative to the company's "no negotiation" stance, there are almost always exceptions. On this subject, Stuart Diamond is masterful > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOZo6Lx70ok

4
brudgers 10 hours ago 0 replies      
A bad no-negotiation offer seems beneficial to candidates since it makes the decision easy and doesn't create the illusion that there's a good deal there to be had. It's hard to see how a good no-negotiation offer is bad for candidates either, since it's easy to decide and doesn't waste their time with something they're not going to get.

Middling no-negotiation offers would make the decision straight forward if not easier or harder...and again, not waste the candidate's time. So at worst it seems to me a wash.

Good luck.

Ask HN: Is there a masterbation-free site where I can have random conversations?
14 points by notetoself  14 hours ago   26 comments top 13
1
smt88 13 hours ago 2 replies      
> I might build it myself

Build it if you think it'd be fun or something worthwhile for your CV. Don't build it because you want it to be a useful, nudity-free chat service. People have tried that (including Chat Roulette itself).

It's hard to get people to use things with their real identities. Unfortunately, anonymity also enables trolling. I think it's impossible to have a random chat site without masturbation. It is, bizarrely, part of human nature to troll.

Honing your social skills can be hard, but you might want to try clubs or meetups in your city. Video chat isn't much like real-life socializing anyway.

2
xyclos 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For years people have been using speaking to themselves in a mirror as a method for improving social skills. The digital version of this is probably streaming. Maybe you could try something like stre.am or periscope for practicing speaking to others and of course you would greatly reduce the number of "jerks" you encounter as long as you're the only one in the conversation streaming video. (disclosure: I work for the company that makes stre.am)
3
relaxman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I tought and searched for this 3 Days ago. Found nothing. I'm interested!
4
mrits 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe just create a new bracelet that means "open to random conversations" and hang out at coffee shops. Yeah, that seems like the easiest solution.
5
S4M 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How about building it, then inviting only people who you trust not to put nudity or bad things in general, and thenm if it takes off, making the website accepting only users who have been invited by current members?
6
NumberCruncher 12 hours ago 1 reply      
You could try buliding an email list with people interested in this kind of chatting and could use skype or whatever software you prefer.
7
orbifold 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Hm, maybe if you build one yourself, require something like a github account for chatting but don't reveal the identity to the parties. That way you can ban people that get reported for inappropriate behavior and random weirdos are unlikely to have a github account.

Setting something up that uses webrtc is not all that hard... :)

8
panglott 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like there should be something like this for language exchange. Or tabletop gaming.
9
unohoo 10 hours ago 1 reply      
There's value in this -- ping me if you want to discuss more.
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xena 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Why not talk to people on IRC? irc.ponychat.net #geek is my usual haunt.
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Mz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Make online friends. See if they will talk with you via an existing service, such as Skype.

I have had lots of online friends over the years and talked by phone, met in person, done video chats and other kinds of chat. "No masturbation" is more about the social connections you make, not the platform you use per se.

12
SteveWatson 11 hours ago 0 replies      
www.dictionary.com for spelling English words
13
jkrejci 10 hours ago 0 replies      
LOL NO WELCOME TO THE INTERNET.
Ask HN: How to make yourself more attractive to companies as a developer?
13 points by soldveggie  11 hours ago   5 comments top 2
1
ThrustVectoring 5 hours ago 0 replies      
At which stage of the process?

If it's about getting initial interest at all, you want to do things that builds your brand or you can put on your resume. Write a blog, maintain a personal website, do side projects, etc.

If it's about getting past one of the screening stages, you'll want to focus more on soft skills. Voice coaches and voice therapists are a thing, and speaking in a likable way is extraordinarily under-emphasized. Similar things with body posture, confidence, and communication style in on-site interviews.

If you're getting a lot of "we like you, but not sure you're a good enough coder" then it's time to binge-solve problems in "Cracking the Coding Interview". The problems will help some with the last paragraph of issues to some extent as well.

2
colept 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Have a portfolio, post free things on Github, write about what you do as a developer. Sometimes you have to pay your dues and do at-cost or volunteer work.
Ask HN: Do you stalk Facebook profiles?
2 points by haidrali  8 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
buzzdenver 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Isn't that called the Feed in the world of Facebook ?
2
kelvincobanaj 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You can favourite your friends on Facebook, and get notifications whenever they post or change their profile picture.
React-native-sqlite-storage supports Promise
2 points by lambaone  16 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: How do I stop comparing myself to others?
104 points by mwhuang2  2 days ago   70 comments top 44
1
cperciva 2 days ago 8 replies      
The multiplicity of casual friendships online has led to an interesting new phenomenon: Because people preferentially broadcast their successes, we tend to get the feeling that everybody else is more successful than ourselves. I don't think you can avoid comparing yourself to others; what you can do is try to keep in mind that life is a mix of good and bad, and even if all you manage to do is avoid the worst of the bad, you're doing pretty well.

Take me for example. I started university when I was 13, won the Putnam competition when I was 18, went on to a doctorate in computing from Oxford University, and single-handedly bootstrapped a successful startup. I think most people here could tell you that much about me; but I doubt many could tell you that I'm 34, that I'm socially awkward and stutter when I'm nervous, that I'm diabetic and wrestle with this life-threatening condition every day, that I'm 20 lbs overweight and due to my sedentary lifestyle have the cardiopulmonary fitness of a typical 50 year old, or that I've been dumped by every woman I've ever dated.

When you inevitably compare yourself to others, remember that there's probably a lot you're not hearing about them.

2
gyardley 2 days ago 3 replies      
Well, you should start by stopping reading Hacker News, because it's clearly not good for you in your current mental state. I promise, you won't miss anything important.

Next, take some of your time and go volunteer somewhere - go tutor a child or teach someone to read or feed the homeless or whatever else you like, just go help someone out. You're now accomplishing something way more important than interning with some 'top company' somewhere. Congratulations, your existence is now justified.

Finally, now that you're doing something worthwhile for humanity and you're not tormenting yourself by wallowing in everyone's self-promotional bloviating, you can happily focus on learning new things, gradually improving your own skills, and figuring out how to make a big dent in the universe on your own personal schedule, which is different from everybody else's.

Hey, I spent my entire twenties fucking up left and right - whatever you end up doing, I guarantee you're way ahead of me.

3
pieterbreed 2 days ago 1 reply      
Welcome to life.

Don't worry though. Everything will be OK.

(The things I'm about to say is/are true for me. So is most of what everyone else here is saying. While it's good that you are asking your peers for help, the answers you will get won't make "sense" until you discover them for yourself. (Like the A-HA moment when you finally grok a mathematics proof or a famous algorithm). This will require effort from you.)

The facts of the matter are simply this:

- Your life is unique the same way that everyone else's is. - Your journey is not the same as anybody else's. - You are a whole person. - You have all the tools you need. - :)

The answers you seek are of a spiritual nature and you need some kind of spiritual process to discover them. I can recommend Buddhism, Toaism or even the Yogic disciplines/technologies. What they all have in common is an insistence that one needs to meditate, daily...

(Meditation, loosely, is learning how to accept and acknowledge thoughts that are uncomfortable.)

Good luck!

4
troydavis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Find a goal or even a yardstick that's more meaningful to you than to anyone else. Ideally, also find a path to it that's uniquely appealing to you.

It's way harder to think about what you want than to hop on to society's defaults (schools, work prestige, wealth, looks, ..). http://www.paulgraham.com/love.html touches on this ("if you admire two kinds of work equally, [choose the less prestigious]").

When no one else is trying to accomplish the same thing in the same way, only absolute measurements matter: how close did you get? How much did you enjoy the ride?

5
gonyea 2 days ago 1 reply      
So, you're basically normal. Comparing yourself is typical, especially in your early 20's.

Impatience is a great quality, you just need to combine it with Not Giving A Fuck. Comparing yourself slows you down if you go beyond "I should know that too!"

Someone else will always be better than you; embrace it. If you're the smartest person in the room, find a new room. You'll learn more there.

(Not that your friends are "better than you." They fall in a different category called "great family support.")

6
bobbyhooper 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, wow, wow! You hit a gold mine of advice with that question... I agree with all these comments. I hope you can see the trend in most of these comments. It's just too easy to say, "Don't compare yourself to others, it's a waste of time!"- though true... It's easier said than done.I found for me, the moments when I was happiest, balanced & free from all those negative thoughts about myself and where I stood compared to others- is when I focused on me. The best version of yourself has nothing to do with anyone else.I saw a therapist for 2 and a half years. The first year was twice a week. After putting in that much time with figuring out why I felt the way I did about myself, it changed everything. Your emotional intelligence, your soul is not always an easy thing to navigate, but that work is incredibly rewarding. As others have said, you're the only one that can do it. What I'm trying to say most is, begin. May you find a balance in your humanity - be it physical, mentally, & spiritually. And may you find that the compelling question is not how you compare to others or what they may think of you, but rather how you think of yourself. Are you who YOU want to be? If not, begin. You got this ;-)Big things will happen- it's safe to say that they take time.

Oh! and enjoy the ride!! Fuck- Nobody really knows for sure if we get another go at it.

7
lpolovets 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are many good answers in this Quora thread: https://www.quora.com/How-can-you-overcome-your-envy-of-peop...

As many comments on this page suggest, try to stop worrying about what's outside of your control. You can't control if someone else is a better programmer or started coding at a younger age. But you can control what you study, how hard you study, how hard you practice outside of school, etc. If you work hard, 5 years from now there will be a bunch of 27-year-olds that you work with who feel inadequate working next to you.

If something's outside of your control, you _literally_ can't do anything about it. So why make life harder for yourself by worrying? That's like worrying about an asteroid hitting Earth -- you'll upset yourself, but it won't do you any good.

8
SCAQTony 2 days ago 1 reply      
The race is long and it is only with yourself.

Realistically, what is the percentage of people in the whole world that can do what you can do? Here is the answer: Under 25-million or you can do what you do better than 0.0000000025% of the planet.

https://www.quora.com/Approximately-how-many-programmers-are...

I bet that didn't help but look at it this may, you may or may not become a "New York Times, number-one, best selling author" or a "Diva at an Italian opera house" but you can master your craft and use it to better people's lives or even your own life for that matter. Perhaps that should be the goal and revel in those accomplishments?

9
johw 2 days ago 1 reply      
Comparing to others is not the problem.

Focusing on differences is.

The solution is to focus on similarities instead of differences.

By focusing on differences, you will always find something to let you feel inferior, let you stop tackling new things, maybe even saying things to others you do not really mean because you feel down at that moment. By focusing on similarities, you will boost yourself. You will see that others are not that different from you.

When you changed your regular comparison strategy for some time, you might even notice that focusing on differences, in the context of a retrospective is not that bad. It gives you the chance to grow.

10
ankurdhama 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the simple idea that I always use - "Don't take life too seriously - we are not special". When we start to take our life too seriously we start to think about some sort of objective or some kind of success we want to get to. We start comparing ourselves to others to figure out the so called objective and then we find that we are far behind from everyone else.

Now the way I avoid being too serious about life is by thinking about the Universe and how amazing and large it is. At the scale of the Universe we simply don't matter.

11
mrpsbrk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dance.

I'm serious. In dancing your bodily similarities and dissimilarities to your partner are in your face all the time, the fitting of them is (in a way) all there is to dancing. You both have to be aware of it and not fight it, you have to work with it. You have to learn to let the differences flow (so it is not enough to learn the choreography, you need to be able to enjoy the dance).

Words do not make justice to the experience.

2

12
galfarragem 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Unhappiness and feeling inadequate is correlated with not doing what your gut tells you to do and living somebody's else life.
13
wishiknew 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's that quote again, 'while in his 30s Julius Caesar once cried because he felt he hadn't done a tenth of what Alexander the Great had done at the same age'? Don't worry about people being faster than you. Build simple sites/apps (read Pat Flynn's blog rather than HN), see which one sticks, and improve it over time. Don't hope for a massive success, build something simple but useful to a limited audience. That's what I did when I was 22 and that site is about to turn into a business + the skills I learnt got me a freelancing gig which eventually got me hired. It's not an easy path, but it's meaningful. Easy paths such as marrying your high school sweetheart and getting hired at a top company in your 20s do look great, but they aren't making these people any more acquainted with the lengthy process of building great things.
14
colorblocks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Comparing yourself to your peers is the key for personal growth. It's often not easy, in particular in days of Facebook and other social networks but here why I think it's crucial for us:

At the end of the day we are imitating our peers--everyday. When we start as babies we imitate our mother, our siblings and everybody we see. Later in school and university we see what friends and other peers do. Sometimes we think good idea I might try it.

And sometimes we are surprised that in our eyes to us inferior peers try and accomplish stuff which is more challenging, advanced and just more exciting than our life. THIS is the key for personal growth: this feeling that somebody who was inferior all the past overtook us, frustrates us and will lead us into bigger journeys. Especially men who tend to be more competitive cannot stand this feeling and gear up.

I started to raise money because of some 10 year younger guys I met who raised 500k seed with ease. And I found those guys are inferior to me, so I was forced to get on par.

But when I was an office drone deep in corporations I imitated my peers there: worked as little as possible but still climbing the career ladder via office politics, complaining all day how bad the company is, worked just for the weekends (full of partying and girls) and the only goal was planning the next vacation. This was a hollow life where I lacked strong peers and I was slowly degenerating like them for years. I lost time.

This is the good thing about Facebook. Because we have 1,000 of FB friends the probability that we see everyday some big achievement of someone is quite high (and so frustrating) and leads to a very restrictive posting behavior on our side because it tells us: only post if you achieved something special and this initially negative energy might be good: it pushes into new and more challenging activities.

I know not everybody will like my answer but again peers who push us out of our comfort zone help our personal development. So we should see it as something positive.

15
11thEarlOfMar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Realize that what you can achieve in your life depends on the DNA you started with, the life circumstances that got you to where you are today, your world view, perspective and perception, and a healthy dose of luck.

Then realize that there are zero other people in the world who have that same set of attributes. Therefore, no matter who you interact with, see on YouTube, or read about, the difference between the two of you is not going to be explained by something you can control.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/2...

16
nyc 2 days ago 0 replies      
A recent article in the Economist explains why comparing to others makes us unhappy. In short, we keep comparing ourselves to people who are better off:http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21677223...

That said, I think there are concrete things you could do to improve your current situation. First, it sounds like you now know what to do. That's excellent! At 22, you are not far behind at all.

Early in grad school, things weren't going well and I felt like I was falling behind my peers. I ended up finding a lot of comfort knowing there was a CS professor in my department who had trained as a doctor but then decided his passion was in CS. He basically had to start over in school. To know that one could get a later start and still achieve success was incredibly reassuring.

That said, I think you might also benefit from having a mentor. I have found it useful to have someone experienced and successful from which to learn and model myself after. They have given me the confidence to go and tackle larger problems and helped me move forward when things are looking pretty bleak.

17
Walkman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started learning programming at 27, I'm 30 now, have a full time job and never been happier, so you are definitely not late.

The turning point for me was when I read this article: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-harsh-truths-that-will-make-yo...

It basically says you have to make things and you won't feel yourself worthless.

Start learning and doing hard, that's all!

18
mverwijs 2 days ago 0 replies      
19
Yokohiii 2 days ago 0 replies      
HN used to be much more technical and practical. Now you have much more posts about history, biology, astronomy, many thing that are very very far from being (practical) CS. I can only assume that HN readers want to feel even more sophisticated with far fetched intellectual topics. I think HN will make most persons feel miserable just like social networks do, on facebook others have more friends on HN others are smarter than you.

You should stop reading HN. I've been contemplating this for myself for some time. I have to look around more, but so far I see reddits programming subreddit is more condensed and superior if you just want to keep track on programming news.

For your current situation I can tell you that everything is fine. I've got into programming as an autodidact later than you with zero experience and my school career was average at best. Just take your time and go really deep into a single programming language, exercise with meaningless projects, use stack overflow or friendly forums to discuss problems. Just don't compare to others, there are always smarter people than you. But if you train the practical parts really hard it becomes meaningless because the results are the same.

Also if you want to learn something about humbleness, read Herman Hesse's Siddartha, just don't dive into esoterics afterwards.

Good Luck.

[edit] Nice article about depression and social media:http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/04/08/new-stud...

20
Joeri 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. The people you look up to also look up to someone. There's always someone better, you will never be satisfied if you use other people as a benchmark. Set your own goals, live up to your own standards.

2. What one person can do, another can do too. It might take years of practice or study, but all you need to accomplish things is a little luck and a lot of perseverance. Being really good at something is a lifelong pursuit. Better find something to do where you'll enjoy the journey, because there is no meaningful destination.

3. Action causes reaction. As long as you're doing something to move ahead opportunities will happen, even if you can't yet see how, in turn accelerating you and causing more opportunities. Achievement snowballs. The hardest million is the first.

4. It's easier to adjust your perception of things than the way things really are. If you are not happy, becoming so is less a factor of changing your life than changing your attitude. Meditation helps.

5. It's OK to say none of that is relevant. Everyone has their own path. Mine is not yours. My advice only truly pertains to my own younger self.

21
halayli 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am not being cynical, but I wouldn't recommend using HN to replace a therapist.
22
epalmer 2 days ago 0 replies      
OP here are some references that may help you. The first is to assess your stengths and find a career that supports your stengths. Then work on making your stengths stonger. Think about a good baseball batter. Improving their batting average 20% makes them a great batter.

I have used SF in my own life,, with the teams I have managed and with some life coaching customers. If you want to know better how to use it send me an email eric [at] ericfplamer [dot] com

These two ted videos are also useful for 1) thinking differntly about happiness and 2) thinking differently about genius.

http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psy...

http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius

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peterjmag 2 days ago 0 replies      
(For context: I started writing this as a reply to gyardley's comment[1], but I thought it might be more appropriate as a direct response to the OP instead.)

I just wanted to add that you don't necessarily have to make a big dent in the universe to feel fulfilled. I think that making a meaningful positive impact on a small number of people you care about (or even one person) can be just as rewardingif not more sothan making a difference in the lives of thousands. I certainly admire and encourage your ambition to achieve big things, but "smallish dents" are great too.

To address another point, I think it's great that you know what you want to do with your life. I definitely don't believe that 22 is "too late", however. I'm 28, and it feels like I've made that decision dozens of times in the last 15 years or so. Whether you're still in college or decades past it, "what you want to do with your life" is not a static thing that you just discover one day. It's something that you can spend your life constantly rediscovering, and I hope that you do so. Right now, for you it's computer science, but who knows where your passions and proclivities might lead you in a few years. It might be somewhere else in tech, or it might not, and in both cases, that's okay. In fact, it might be somewhere you never imagined yourself going, andat the risk of overusing this wordthat's great too.

Finally, if you do decide to "quit" HN or just take a break from it (both good options), read some of these[2] before you go (especially the ones down below the rather tangential discussion about travel costs).

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10523845

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9393213

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thingsgoby 2 days ago 1 reply      
I strongly recommend that you read some Epicurus, Epictetus and Seneca ;) Start with Senecas "On the Happy Life"
25
chipsy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Life can't be defined by arriving at a place and feeling that you've "made it" or "gotten ahead." If you actually do "make it" by accident, the next thing that happens is that you die - in spirit, if not in body. A lot of people who suddenly get rich or famous meltdown, because they still don't know what to do. And a lot of people who go all-in on their careers burn out. There are opportunities that you can miss and regret, but you aren't an abstract person or a movie action hero - you won't be "on" all the time.

Instead, focus on the everyday cycle. How do you want to construct your life so that you are living well each day, each week? Take whatever things you're already good at - and can do without much effort if you just start, and concentrate - and put more of your chips behind those. It's in the regular practice that you become really "great", and there is no book or curriculum that can tell you how to practice at that level of motivation. It might lead you away from core CS, but that's okay. There are a lot of kinds of gigs out there, and you might overlook a possibility and come back to it later, so you aren't necessarily harming your future at this stage. Stay in good health and keep your stress down and you will get there eventually.

There are all sorts of little things that I'm sure other people figured out long before I did, and then things that I learned that they will never learn in their lives. If you value learning a lot, you end up not valuing wealth and status as much, because it doesn't have much to teach you. And then it doesn't matter that you didn't intern at a top company, because suddenly your friends are all a bunch of weirdos too.

I only recently realized that technical writing was a thing I might want to do, and I'm 30. I also only recently realized how to stop overtraining with weights and make more substantial progress, and this was after some 15 years of off-and-on practice with lifting. (It's simple: two-day split once a week instead of once every 2-4 days.)

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bencbernstein 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think you can stop comparing yourself to others, and you shouldn't try to. It's a good thing to do.

What you should try to do is realize you are you, and you have the opportunity every second to be creative and additive rather than competitive or detrimental to the world. That is amazingly valuable :)

27
andersthue 2 days ago 0 replies      
The short answer is to let go.

It can take years of training and searching to let go, the best guide I have found is this book : http://zenhabits.net/lg/

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sly_g 2 days ago 0 replies      
Compare yourself with your own self, but several years younger. Have you achieved something notable? Did you just now noticed that you did something wrong before? Then you're all right - you're growing.
29
studentrob 2 days ago 0 replies      
Find a way to get some confidence. Learn something new. I'm reading / listening to "Quantum memory power" by Dominic O'Brien right now. There are some fun tricks in there that make memorizing things trivial. He points out this builds confidence, though I just think it's fun. After that... Take it day by day, and take it easy on yourself
30
kclay 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stop minimizing things you have accomplished. You think everyone started off at the top. Look at each project or task you completed as a stepping stone to the next and to become better..

Simply put.. Don't try to copy the Jones's.

31
Gnarl 2 days ago 0 replies      
No one has it all together. Ever. Full stop. So quit worrying. Do -> measure -> adjust -> repeat. Most people don't peak professionally until they're in their 40's.
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lifeformed 2 days ago 0 replies      
> I didn't figure out what I wanted to do with my life until recently

Great, just do whatever that is. You're not behind, 22 is basically 0 years old in your career. Just start doing the thing you want to do until you become really good at it.

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sidcool 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am 32 and facing the same issue at work and life in general. Comparing to others comes to me naturally, and it has been a reason of lot of anxiety to me. I am yet to figure out a permanent solution.
34
peteretep 2 days ago 0 replies      
For most people, the answer is simple: stop being in your 20s.
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bartvk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Meditate and tell yourself that you're pretty okay.
36
CyberFonic 2 days ago 0 replies      
By my estimation about 6,000,000,000 people would be very happy to trade places with you. Compared to them you are doing just fine.
37
SixSigma 2 days ago 0 replies      
My life began at 40, amusingly.

6 billion people in the world.

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fsloth 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I'm really impatient to achieve big things. It's like I need to in order to justify my existence. "

First, you are a human being, whose worth is not tied to how much money you have, how fancy CV you have or how high grades you have. You are valuable and precious just as you are. You might be a bit lost, and that's ok, most of us are at one time or another.

I'm writing this as a person who felt maybe just as bad as you did at your age.

I don't want to hurt your feelings but "Achieving big things" is not a life goal. It's a posthumous statement in an obituary. And a lot of people who are described as achieving big things actually felt they failed miserably.

Take, for instance Ghandi - he had pretty radical goals in terms of India and he felt he failed most of them. His tactic of non-violence and a fantastically successful publicity campaign of personality cult got him in to the history books for good but as for the goals he drove - a perpetually rural, united india - did not really happen (and I think it was a good thing too). And most of the hype around him was due to other people choosing to idolize him - not him, himself, doing a shitload of extravagant extraordinary work.

Your friends, by the way? Their fancy internships? You are just trapped in an association loop when idolizing them. You attach a positive value to the brands of the corporations, and by your friends interning there this association leaks to them. Then you recognize you do not have this direct associative link, and feel bad about it. Although - it's all just happening in your mind. You are jealous of their life story. But please recognize - the giants of world history have had mostly pretty shitty and ordinary lives, and are remembered mostly due to a stroke of luck, or, due to a fact that they tenaciously drove towards their own personal goal that for some historical fluke happened to be in synchronicity with the current world events.

Now, how fantastic are your friends actually? Maybe some of them got better grades - so what.

It does not mean they are better than you. It's just that they score higher on a specific arbitrary metric due to their life circumstances and history at this point in time. Arbitrary - because let's face it, large systems are not fair, nor are they designed to be. The system of education, the system of economy, the system of government - they are all fabrications with emergent properties no one can really control exactly.

We are all corks ebbing in the ocean of life. Sometimes the current takes us forward, sometimes not. The thing is, you cannot choose who you are, but, you can daily choose what you do.

"How do I transition to a healthier state of mind and stop feeling worthless?"

I think you might need therapist or meditation for that.

As a self help book I can heartily recommend "The science of happiness" by Rick Hanson. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DVW8VN2?keywords=science...)

Personally, for me, professionally - I needed to find something that I found was intrinsically motivating. Luckily I did, in computational physics and computer graphics and this gave me intrinsic motivation to play around with things and find stuff out. I'm not hugely successful but I have a good career and feed my family. I would not have had half a good career unless I had found something compelling. I do hope you find something that interests you!

The difference with external and internal motivators is that while both compel you to action, fulfilling external motivators usually suck you energy while internal ones give it to you.

I found Richard Feynmans* self autobiographical writings assuring. While they are an attempt at self-aggrandization at painting an image of "the cleverest person in the room" they also discuss deeply personal matters of death, loss, de-motivation and ways to cope with it. When Feynman felt down, he tried to find something he could find interest in playing with - no matter how silly or trivial. I've followed this same protocol throughout my life and found it a good course when things look bleak. Play!

*"What Do You Care What Other People Think?" and "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" by Richard Feynman.

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ddingus 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to offer up what might be a bit different advice. Comparing yourself to others isn't necessarily a bad thing. Doing this can tell you who can help you improve, or maybe you identify role models, appreciate a good mentor, etc... Or it can show you who you might be able to help. Sometimes we all need some help.

The real battle is in how you define your sense of worth. Take smarts, for example. In your life, you are going to encounter people smarter than you are, as well as not as smart, or maybe you can't really tell. What does that really mean?

Think about being smart enough. One artifact of that thought could be what you accomplish boils down to how willing you are to do the work to actually accomplish it. Being willing is very high value! Suddenly, how smart you are isn't a defining attribute. Your intent and resolve are.

Another artifact of that might be the realization that smart people "rub off" If you want to improve, being around people better than you is an excellent way to do that, and feeling inadequate gets in the way of all that too. Think back on that intent and resolve and maybe you realize everyone who wants to do stuff with their life has those things and is sharing them with others who appreciate it. Going further, many people respond favorably to someone they see doing the work to get after those big things, whatever they are. And there should be no shame in any of that at all.

Extend that a bit more, and suddenly those comparisons have value! Hard working people rub off. Social people rub off. Etc...

What you need to do is absorb unabashedly. As you encounter others who are compelling in some way, watch and learn! Make a few friends. Those people know it's OK to be who they are, as should you. Those people are doing the work, making the friends, showing good intent. As should you.

Do the work and trust in yourself. Get help when you need it. Give help when others need it. Treat yourself with the same respect you would others you admire or believe you can learn from.

In fact, cultivate a sense of respect. Mutual respect. When you demonstrate this, people most often return it. And if it's your intent to do that, work hard, get something you believe in done, people will most often return that too, and in that process you become one of those people you are comparing yourself to.

Give with honest, good intent, and 'ye shall receive.

You aren't stuck behind anybody. You are where you are, and it's up to you to move forward and do what you want with your life. What you are doing here is looking at younger peers who made different choices and you are wishing you had made those same choices. Or you are buying the bullshit they are selling.

A great many people never, ever really figure out what they want to do with their life. Often, they are too busy living it, having fun, building, doing, playing to think about it. Others are driven, focused, intent.

So you've arrived at some life goal! Good for you. Now quit your regrets and start getting after it, whatever it is. There will always be others who seem better positioned, or whatever. It's not about any of that. There are people who are worse off, or more poorly positioned too.

Do you want to be here? Do you care about other people, the world, and the things you find in it? Great! That's all anyone requires as justification to be here. No joke. Be sure and share that often. People like other people who care. People value others who care too.

Share that thing you want to do with others, and ask them what it is they are wanting to do as well. Maybe you can help, or maybe it's good to just listen and appreciate they are doing something they care about. Maybe you have a common goal.

Maybe you can realize that's all any of us are doing, you included.

Like I said, give and 'ye shall receive.

One great way to feel better about yourself is to help others, and the doing of that does wonders for your own sense of worth. Do it. Clear that mess out of your head and free yourself to get after it, whatever it is. And all those people you helped are very highly likely to appreciate it and return the favor too.

40
takinola 2 days ago 0 replies      
The real question, I would guess, is where you get your sense of self-worth? It is worthwhile to do a bit of introspection to understand what really matters to you as opposed to what all the people around you tell you should matter to you. A while back, I found that a lot of my motivations to achieve certain things where driven by pride and a need to show off to my peer group and not due to any real intrinsic desire for those things so I started asking myself why I was working so hard for things that I do not really care so much about. The question I kept asking my self was "What is your life worth?" If at any moment I was told my life was going to be over, what are the things I would wish I had accomplished. The list I came up with (and it is a pretty short list) are the things I use to prioritize my actions. I am always checking back to that list to be sure I am actually trying to accomplish those things.

One caveat about setting any goals that involve the approval of or comparison to other people (e.g. I want to be as wealthy/successful/beautiful/smart/talented as person X or I want to be famous and celebrated) is that there is always someone better, more successful, prettier, smarter or whatever-er you desire and so chasing these dreams are a mirage. I remember reading an article in Forbes (or Fortune, I forget which) which described what life is like for various stages of wealth. The descriptions of life for people who are worth seven figures then eight were pretty much what you would think but I will always remember the first words used to describe people who have a net worth in the low hundred millions: "Prepare to have your ego crushed". I remember thinking that's ridiculous, if I ever have a hundred million dollars, there is no way that I would feel insecure about my status and then I realized that I know a lot of fairly wealthy people (in the seven to eight figure range) who are very, very insecure about their wealth and in fact feel like failures simply because they are comparing themselves to others. The only way to win this game is not to play.

Also, do realize that we are all very influenced by peer pressure. Why do you think there are red states and blue states? You think somehow every one in a particular geography just decided to have a certain set of opinions? Nope, my guess is 80% of our opinions are driven by the opinions of the other people around us. So the practical way to make this work for you is to find people who have the values you want and hang out with them. Also, limit your interactions with people who move you in the other direction. If's tough but for a decision as important as this, you should try to actively shape your life rather than have it just happen to you.

Lastly, you should always separate your happiness from your achievement of your goals. You should be happy and fulfilled regardless of the outcome of your strivings. Your goals, however wonderful, are just one aspect of your life and not the whole point.

41
Mz 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's like I need to in order to justify my existence.

According to the Christian bible, god invented humans because he was lonely. Based on that, I figure I am entertainment for a cosmic intelligence beyond my comprehension. I am probably more entertaining when I am fucking up, so I figure I cannot get this wrong.

You don't need to justify your existence.

Next, I suggest you read some bios of people who had success later in life. Twenty-two is really not that old.

Also, try either unplugging from listening to the bragfests of all your so-called friends or scratch the surface and look deeper. A lot of people who rub their success in the faces of people around them are incredibly unhappy you couldn't pay me enough to trade lives with them (assuming a genie could grant such a wish).

42
facepalm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not comparing yourself is one thing, but you should also question your values and goals. If you think interning at top companies is a good thing, you could try to also intern at a top company. Just one example.
43
steven2012 2 days ago 0 replies      
How can you possibly be impatient to achieve big things when you don't understand what you want to do and what HN posts are about?

You need to understand that you won't achieve big things. You're not Zuckerberg and you're not Steve Jobs. You're not going to be a billionaire, or even a millionaire. It's pretty evident from the things that you wrote above.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, you can accomplish great things once you gained the maturity to realize that you need to work hard and study hard and learn. Figure out what you enjoy, and work hard at it. You might not be the next Steve Jobs (no one is), but you can make a very good living in tech if you work hard and keep learning throughout your career.

44
crazylila 2 days ago 0 replies      
A study shows people of age 18-25 are the most stressed out, as it a period of "entering adulthood". This is the time you have to make many important decisions in life and it is absolutely normal to get confused and remember you are not alone in facing such a situation . Millions of people of the age 18-25 face the same problem. But what you must do is, sit and think what you really want in life and listen to your inner voice. Always remember no two fingers are the same, so never compare yourself with anybody else. Each one is made for a purpose. Identify yours and work towards it.You may not realize your own strength untill you set a goal and work towards it. So all the best my dear friend. Be cheerful. You are not alone!
Ask HN: What is your favorite startup that you are following right now?
63 points by tech_crawl_  2 days ago   66 comments top 31
1
msutherl 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have a list of favorite startups here: https://www.are.na/morgan-sutherland/good-startups

Highlights:

http://are.na private and collaborative research platform)

http://un1verse.co mobile card-based programming)

https://www.notion.so (powerful collaborative documents)

http://mine.nyc (z-axis for content on the web)

http://ascribe.io (registering content ownership in the blockchain)

http://urbit.org (radically simple complete re-write of system and network software/infrastructure)

https://artadvisor.io/ (artworld intelligence)

https://graphcommons.com/ (collaborative graph databases)

2
mgalka 2 days ago 1 reply      
I only just discovered this one, but it's one of the most interesting startups I've seen in a while.

Premonition - http://premonition.ai/

It helps you choose a lawyer by analyzing legal data - which lawyers usually win before which judges, whether or not they run up the bill, etc.

Seems like there could be some ethical issues, but the value proposition is potentially enormous.

3
SilasX 2 days ago 2 replies      
I guess this is intended for learning of unknown startups, and it's a huge one, so I don't think this is what you're looking for, but...

Uber

I've been querying for HN/reddit submissions a lot. I'm fascinated by all its accomplishments and the issues it raises:

- Viability of work-as-you-want, surge-as-needed supply model

- Creating critical mass for carpooling and rides on demand to work (I don't think anyone believed it was possible to convince upper middle class people to carpool with strangers)

- Being one of the few major instances of coordinating a shift away from tipping

- The spotlight they've shone (yes that shine's past participle) on the taxi industry and the "unseen" improvements we were missing out on

- The issues related to the contractor/employee boundary

- The general logistics of on-demand infrastructure and things it enables at scale

Most of that applies to Lyft too of course, though they're in the news less.

(In case I sound like a propagandist, let me note that yes their ethical lapses do bother me and I know some people who would lose respect for me if I ever worked there, so yeah it's not all wine and roses.)

4
akg_67 1 day ago 0 replies      
My favorite is Digital Ocean https://www.digitalocean.com. While Google and Microsoft are trying to take AWS head-on, DO is nibbling away on AWS at the edges. AWS has become complex and as long as DO stays on simpler side, they have good chance to build a decent business.
5
kitwalker12 9 hours ago 1 reply      
https://www.tutum.coThe community around it is really helpful and amazing
6
neptunespear 2 days ago 1 reply      
Grouplend: http://grouplend.ca

I like Grouplend for three reasons:

1. It uses cutting edge technology and Big Data.

2. It's bringing B2B lending to Canada; finally, you can get a loan without going through the big banks.

3. Markus Frind invested in the company when he got his $575-million payout after Match.com bought POF.

I just wish they paid more. On angel.co, they're offering $50-75K for junior-intermediate engineers and $65K for intermediate-senior engineers at the low end. I would have liked to see them offer at least $75-80K to new grads, at least the well-prepared ones.

7
mfkp 2 days ago 1 reply      
https://prestodoctor.com/ - online CA mmj recommendations, clean design and solid customer service
8
j2bax 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think the OP was looking for people to pump their startup here, but ones that people were following and found very interesting. That said, I'm sure you follow your startup pretty closely and are very interested in it.
9
adamjin 1 day ago 0 replies      
https://getfinal.com/

One card to rule them all.

10
colloqu 20 hours ago 0 replies      
https://www.stomt.com You can give feedback by just finishing a sentence. Like a mix of Twitter and reddit. Looks promising but seems to be still in Beta.
11
tedmiston 2 days ago 4 replies      
12
deftnerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Plex at https://plex.tv is an amazing startup that has created an ecosystem of media players on multiple devices

"Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox (Xbox 360 & Xbox One), Playstation (PS3 & PS4), and other Smart TV platforms (currently Samsung, VIZIO, & Opera TV)" [0]

The clients play media you host yourself on your home computer or server.

They're self-funded and remarkably successful in the cord-cutting community.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plex_(software)

13
atroyn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think Zirx - http://zirx.com/ has a lot more to it than meets the eye.

At the moment it seems like it's just another part of the on-demand economy, a kind of reverse-uber for people who own cars in the city.

But if and when self driving cars appear, Zirx are the company that will know how to run the infrastructure and facilities for autonomous vehicles in and around cities, and other forms of transport.

14
mn3m 19 hours ago 0 replies      
https://wake.io/ - Design sharing site, process oriented
15
tvvocold 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know my favorite startup , but here are some cool startups you can check:

https://www.cloudflare.com

https://coding.net (It's for Chinese developers but you can try https://ide.coding.net also)

https://www.quora.com

16
pdq 1 day ago 1 reply      
SoundCloud - http://soundcloud.com

This is the YouTube of music, and has been exploding in popularity.

17
Danilka 2 days ago 2 replies      
https://luciding.com - very simple, but promising technology. The team seems to be smart.
18
bradavogel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mixmax is tackling the next generation of email. Many startups claim they're reinventing email, but they're just creating better tools to triage email. Mixmax is actually rethinking the form of email and how communication can be richer with interactive, information dense content.
19
vonnik 1 day ago 0 replies      
20
Chos89 1 day ago 0 replies      
https://airtame.com/Really looking forward to this. Time to get rid of the cables
21
nirmal5307 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://mobirise.com/This is a desktop application that helps anyone make a basic web page for you startup. It's Free. Made for Mac and Windows.
22
binaryjohn 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm absolutely enamored with http://imgur.com

- They continually refine the product

- They are careful of feature creep

- The community they've cultivated seems to feel incredible ownership of the product.

23
DiabloD3 2 days ago 3 replies      
My favorite: Exelion

https://exelion.net

We're doing bare metal without the high cost.

Disclaimer: I'm the founder.

Other disclaimer: Did anyone notice I'm in the top 100 for HN points now? \o/

24
deftnerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love what Taiga.io is doing. They're making an Agile/Scrum solution that's a pleasure to work with by focusing on UI first. They're even open-source.
25
tech_crawl_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
These are all really awesome!
26
orph 2 days ago 0 replies      
Magic
27
fscherer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Enlitic and magic leap
28
giis 1 day ago 0 replies      
www.sysdig.org Because its interesting linux tool.
29
akbar501 1 day ago 0 replies      
AirWare
30
danielbnelson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mattermark
31
subliminalzen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Emulate Inc, a biotech startup that designed organs-on-chips, a technology that could potentially stop animal testing.[1]

I also follow Beyond Meat. Google's Sergey Brin invested in them.[2] They are working on cruelty-free "cultured meat".

[1]http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/medical-technology...

[2]http://www.grubstreet.com/2015/06/silicon-valley-fake-meat-b...

Ask HN: Is 30 too old to be a digital native?
4 points by Flopsy  13 hours ago   6 comments top 3
1
dragonwriter 10 hours ago 0 replies      
In its original context, it probably applies to anyone that was in school (possibly including college) at a time such that their learning methods could have been substantially affected by the changes in media in the last decade of the 20th century; since then, its usually (fairly arbitrarily) been used to describe those born of 1980.

Insofar as its a substantive experience description and not just another term for Gen Y/Millenials, I'd say if you engaged in substantial online interaction and that it substantially affected the way you approach information, learning, and social interaction, during -- or, a fortiori, before -- high school, then you count.

2
tmaly 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I am 37 and I consider myself a digital native. I did start out on super slow modems, but I have been hacking away at things since I was a young kid.
3
rcavezza 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If I understand correctly, I believe a "digital native" to be the equivalent of a "millennial" or a "gen y" person. If so, no, 30 is not too late to be a "digital native".

This would typically be people born 1983 or after. If you are 30, you are more than likely a "digital native".

Hapii beyond employee satisfaction
2 points by danielovichdk  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: How do I start an analytics consulting company?
6 points by tixocloud  11 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
codezero 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There is definitely some demand for consulting, but it depends on a lot of factors.

Caveat: I work at an analytics company, and have interacted with lots of consultants and agencies.

Agencies are by far more common than individual freelance consultants.

The freelance consultants I've interacted with are hyper focused on some specific niche like Google Analytics and/or Adwords.

All the niche focused people tend to have niche certifications, like GA or Omniture. These certifications are good if you only want to target specific customers/tools, but worse than that, in my experience people with these certifications refuse to work outside of the box they are trained in.

Freelance people tend to take a different approach of being the jack-of-all-trades who makes all things better. Improve SEO, improve landing page conversion, improve retention etc... using lots of tools and being quantitative.

I do not know how they market themselves to others, but the few I've interacted with have pretty solid blogs and have built a corpus of what appears to be knowledge of the field.

To external people looking to hire a freelancer this probably looks pretty good.

So, depending on which route you want to go, focused on some specific thing (whether it's the tool, or the vertical), or broader "make everything good" approach, you'll want to do different things.

Your best bet is to find a friend/colleague who needs this service, and offer it to them at a very low rate to let you test the waters, and to validate you. Once you have this, you an start building case studies and showcasing how your work has helped others.

2
rcavezza 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Step 1 is to find a client. Talk to the large and small companies you've worked for, and see if there are any large problems that they haven't been able to solve.

You only need 1 client to get started, and you can use them to springboard you to more. The demand doesn't matter if you can't find one client.

Do this first, and then worry about client 2 after you get client 1.

Ask HN: Ask current co-workers for references?
2 points by questioner2015  11 hours ago   1 comment top
1
rcavezza 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Here'a s few tips.

1.) Reach out to the people you worked with at those old companies. You would often be surprised who remembers you.

2.) Reach out to your favorite professors. It's an assumption they don't remember you. They might remember you better than you think.

3.) Even if you don't feel comfortable asking someone for a reference right off the bat, you'll want to keep in touch with them at least sporadically, because you never know when they can help you in the future, or you can help them.

4.) Assume you won't get the job. The odds are typically stacked against you if you don't have an "in". Make sure the people you pick as references are close to you and don't use your boss or boss's boss.

5.) Your work and interests don't typically matter in a reference interview. If people like you, they'll answer all of the questions positively to help you get the job.

6.) Don't ask people for references who don't like you or when a work relationship ended in a bad way. This is really the only way to fail a reference check.

Ask HN: Best place for programmers to blog about code?
3 points by jcuga  9 hours ago   4 comments top
1
dudul 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I would advocate Github Pages powered by Jekyll. You can use another static site generator, but Jekyll is directly supported by GH pages, so it makes it slightly easier to deploy.

I like not being dependent on a specific platform. If I decide that I don't like Github pages anymore I can just take my static content and push it somewhere else. Also, it makes it very easy to work on my posts offline.

Apple Incs Chief Designer, John Ive Opens Up About Working at Apple
2 points by bromelus2013  8 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Did Firefox change font rendering on Macs recently?
1 point by l1n  8 hours ago   discuss
LoL Guru team comp analyser update (lolguru.gg)
1 point by kalapur  6 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Three jobs in eight months...am I justified?
3 points by tonym9428  5 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
Eridrus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I would avoid talking about your disorder if I were you; you may feel like it explains your actions, but no-one else gives a shit. I would just say you felt like the role was falsely advertised to you, and be prepared to explain the specifics, people will want to know how big a difference there was that made you leave, especially considering the fact that some amount of drift is expected.

Most importantly though, I would ask if you've tried to talk to your management about the discrepancy and your dissatisfaction. If you haven't, this seems like a problem to me. No-one wants to work with someone whose first instinct to be to walk away rather than try and work things out.

Beyond anything else, I feel like the lesson here is to make sure that you actually want the job you are accepting. Be very specific in what you expect; if you figure out there is a discrepancy you can walk away before you both get burned.

Personally, I've started having bringing up what I want much earlier in the interview process, rather than getting to the end of the whole process to find there is a mismatch between what I want and the company wants so that we don't waste each others' time.

2
5h 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel you are justified, but I also suspect you could do yourself a favour by remembering that the interview process is a two-way street.

Are you asking enough, or good enough questions before accepting offers? For the right company be up-front about your reason for leaving, as long as both parties know the role is sufficiently rewarding I doubt you would be classed a flight risk.

3
jerf 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I just wanted to make sure this didn't sink into oblivion with no comment. I suspect that few of us will feel qualified to comment on your situation. I know I don't. I hope you can find someone who can help you talk your way through this.
Ask HN: Best books you've read in 2015
34 points by randomname2  17 hours ago   24 comments top 20
1
Taylor_OD 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I read The Martian, Snow Crash, and Ready Player One over the course of a month or two. All three of those books have their flaws but I enjoy the style and page turning nature of them a lot.
2
schlagetown 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Watchmen (Alan Moore)

Origins of Form (Christopher Williams)

Starship & The Canoe (Kenneth Brower)

The Size of Lumber (Nicholson Baker)

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (Shunryu Suzuki)

Deschooling Society (Ivan Illich)

Moby Dick (Herman Melville)

Bolo'Bolo (P.M.)

Le Ton beau de Marot (Douglas Hofstadter)

Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (James Lovelock)

Mouse or Rat: Translation as Negotiation (Umberto Eco)

Neuromancer (William Gibson)

The Intelligent Investor (Benjamin Graham)

Don Quixote (Miguel Cervantes)

3
OopsCriticality 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm cheating a little on the date, but The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin stands out. It was translated into english late last year, and received the Hugo this year for best story. It's wonderful sci-fi written on a grand scale, and made all the more interesting and refreshing to me by coming from outside the Western perspective. It's one of a trilogy: The Dark Forest english translation is out, and Death's End is coming beginning of next year.

Also enjoyed Seveneves by Stephenson, and H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. The former is likely known to the HN crowd; the latter draws comparisons to T.H. White's classic The Goshawk.

Among non-fiction books, I enjoyed The Little Prover by Friedman and Eastlund. It was exactly what I expected, a gentle introduction into inductive proofs in the idiom established by The Little Schemer.

4
JSeymourATL 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead > http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13588356-daring-greatly

Tremendous insight into our own inner critic and interaction with people. Got turned onto to this book after hearing the author interviewed by Tim Ferriss, highly recommend> http://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/08/28/brene-brown-on-vulner...

5
sogen 9 hours ago 0 replies      
1.- Sandman

2.- Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry

3.- The Advertised Mind: Groundbreaking Insights into How Our Brains Respond to Advertising

4.- The Hidden Persuaders - "A brisk, authoritative and frightening report on how manufacturers, fundraisers and politicians are attempting to turn the American mind into a kind of catatonic dough that will buy, give or vote at their command--The New Yorker

6
tech_crawl_ 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Made to Stick
7
rossdavidh 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"So You've Been Publicly Shamed", by Jon Ronson, and "The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction", by Pat Shipman, are my two best reads this year (that were published in 2015). The first is a great analysis of the phenomenon (usually Twitter-based) of shame-storms, and the second is about the far, far older phenomenon of one invasive species driving a closely related one to extinction. Both very well done.
8
VeejayRampay 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Two books by a French author called Jacques Benoist-Mchin. They work as a pair and they tell the stories of Kemal Atatrk (the founder of modern Turkey) and Ibn Saud (the founder of modern Saudi Arabia). I've found the perspective it brought to the modern geopolitics of the region invaluable.

PS: Benoist-Mchin was a French far-right journalist, writer and was openly sympathetic with Nazi Germany. Not that I condone that (I don't) but the books are excellent nonetheless.

9
jo909 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The Martian by Andy Weir (Fiction
10
stevesearer 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The books I've enjoyed reading most this year are ones I ought to have read in high school some 15 years ago, but just never did because I didn't enjoy reading and never made the effort: The Great Gatsby, As I Lay Dying, and am currently reading Cry, The Beloved Country
11
espinchi 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Future-Science-Shape-Destiny-e...

12
monroepe 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Red Rising and Golden Son by Pierce Brown (fiction)

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Rising-The-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B...

13
noblethrasher 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins

The Process of Education by Jerome Bruner

14
Maultasche 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Tales of a Dying Earth by Jack Vance

That was a very good book.

I hadn't even heard of Jack Vance until recently, but it seems like he's been an influence on many modern authors.

15
pards 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Continuos Delivery by Jez Humble and Dave Farley

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0321601912

16
_xander 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Superintelligence - Nick Bostrom

Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace

100 Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

17
domaniac 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Wool by Hugh Howey (fiction
18
DanBC 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There's probably a small amount of passive income to be made from slurping all the book recommendation threads and creating a nice simple web page with a bunch of Amazon (.com and .co.uk) referral links.

You could mention how often the book has been mentioned on HN.

19
tjr 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Much enjoyed Sherry Turkle's Alone Together
20
hiperlink 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Beloved by Toni Morisson. Such beautiful prose.
Ask HN: Did YouTube ever remove the G+ requirement?
24 points by corndoge  1 day ago   15 comments top 7
1
okasaki 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Only if have a pre-G+ youtube account, and only 14 days after you've connected it to G+.

So technically yes, but I imagine very, very few people qualify.

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2657858?hl=en

2
jug 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I've deleted my G+ account and I'm still kind of confused over what works or not. It's even designed so that you can no longer save clips to a list of yours (including "Favorites" or "Watch later") from the video clip page itself -- this brings up the "Join Google+" page.

But! Since your lists and their contents are still accessible, it made me wonder...

And it was shown that if you click on the upper left "hamburger" icon, scroll to the "Playlists" section, pick a playlist... Well, then the list is shown along with a fully functioning "Add video clip" button, which adds a video clip to the selected list on your disconnected account. Uuugh. I can only imagine it is to push users (back) to Google+...

So, AFAIK, you get to keep your YouTube account which can still store which clips you like and dislike, you can save them to default or custom playlists after jumping through some hoops, but you can't comment, your channel seems to be gone, and you can't upload new clips. All those "can'ts" bring up the "Join Google+" page for me now.

So in essence, if you are a creator, you seem to need a Google+ account. If you are a consumer and OK with not commenting, you don't need Google+.

3
timothya 20 hours ago 1 reply      
From the YouTube Help Center:

"You'll soon be able to comment, upload, and create channels without Google+. The comments you make on YouTube will appear only on YouTube and not also on Google+ (and vice versa). Check out our blog post for more information and keep an eye on this article for updates."

Building a comment system at the scale of YouTube (while preserving the existing set of comments), along with creating a new identity system for it is likely not a small amount of work. I'd guess that they're still working on making it a reality.

4
nness 23 hours ago 1 reply      
In my experience its still a requirement. On the opposite side, "Hangouts On Air" requires a YouTube account to be created and associated with your G+ account if you want to broadcast.
5
madeofpalk 20 hours ago 2 replies      
What is a 'G+' account? Is there a difference between a regular Google account that I use to log into Gmail, and a Google+ account?
6
z3t4 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't make comments on Youtube. It doesn't tell me why, but I think it's because I deleted my G+ account.
7
RP_Joe 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a youtube account. There is no Google+ linked to it. I cannot make comments.The account is 3 months old. I have no channel set up. I think you need a channel to comment.
Advice on working with Bitcoin
4 points by pattle  16 hours ago   6 comments top 3
1
Avalaxy 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The book 'Mastering Bitcoin' from O'Reilly is an AWESOME read if you're going to develop stuff with Bitcoin. It's extremely insightful into how Bitcoin really works and shows you how to program stuff as well.
2
27182818284 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a Coursera course from Princeton on the subject

https://www.coursera.org/course/bitcointech

3
qatester 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Do not work with it, why?

1. average electricity spending in total much higher than value of bitcoin. Basically bitcoin causes more co2 emission.

2. In its current form, bitcoin is not feasible in the future to mine, are tou going to download 10Tb of chain into your PC? if no than after 10-20years other average person will think alike. other solution is centralizing some of the data, than its not P2P.

3. Satoshi left the community, who knows maybe he is/they are working with their real name, but anyway they probably found some issues with it and its not leaving without reason.

Why learn?Its amazing piece of technology, logic and how human brain create such solutions.

Ask HN: Why HN doesn't allow using Avatars?
2 points by artur_makly  16 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
ac2u 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Not that I have a survey, but I'd imagine most users would be against on the grounds of it distracting us from substance of someone's points and arguments.

We're all influenced in some degree by visual bias, and not always consciously, whether we like it or not.

2
kleer001 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A user name is enough for me to humanize OP and and conversation partners.

Also, to me, avatars would mar the clean look.

I could even do without the beige and orange page colors and that nice capital Y logo image. Totally B&W HN? Sure, no worries.

The fading away of downvoted comments is nice. So, maybe greyscale in the end.

3
J_Darnley 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If I use a pseudonym and any avatar that doesn't show me what's the difference?

Not to mention that it would then require this site to store thousands of images, serve thousands of image, check thousands of images for "bad content".

This is starting to smell. Are you being paid when people visit that link? [EDIT] A handy archive for others https://archive.is/DErFm

I've built a news app for iOS. Is it important to be on Android as well?
4 points by SiddharthG16  18 hours ago   8 comments top 4
1
LeoSolaris 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I would continue making waves in the high end walled garden for a few more months.

You will have a larger audience in Android, though there will be a lot more competition. Your app is already free, so there will not be a major culture shock moving to Android. Cement your name and gather a strong following. Start work on an Android port but don't rush it. A small amount of dev time to get started, like a day per week, would be enough to start understanding the challenges your team will face in the porting process. It doesn't have to be a major focus at this point, but the early time investment in exploring the next phase would give you a potential to move forward faster when the time is right. Think of it as the hobby project for the business.

2
pwg 17 hours ago 1 reply      
According to this report: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25450615

In 2014 Android had an 81.5% market share compared to 14.8% for iOS.

So by being iOS only, you've given up on any revenue from 81.5% of the market.

So, to your question "Is it still necessary to be on Android?" - the answer is yes.

3
cyberpanther 17 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're able to gain traction and further your business, iOS is a great platform to start off on. I wouldn't worry about android until you're ready to grow more. You'll definitely reach a wider audience being on both, but that isn't necessarily your goal just yet.

Also just make a web version if you really want a big audience.

4
brudgers 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The fact that you are getting flak from people who don't use your app isn't a good basis for a business case. The business decision should be based on cold hearted analysis of expected acquisition costs and lifetime values of Android users.

Good luck.

Ask HN: How do I evaluate my equity offer?
55 points by xivzgrev  1 day ago   56 comments top 25
1
kabdib 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's an easy equation.

Take your salary. If you can reasonably anticipate any bonuses, lump those in, too.

Now, add zero. That's what you should expect from equity.

My tally from a little over 20 years in Silly Valley:

- Startups: $7K ($11K invested in dud options, $18K in options that were positive a year after the company went public)

- Larger companies (Apple, Microsoft): Sign-on and incentive options that paid off well into six figures [yup, I'm being coy -- I'm making a point, not a financial disclosure].

On average you will do better at a large, established company as you gain seniority and people love your work. There are obvious down-sides to this, like having to deal with bosses you hate or sucky office politics, and maybe the company goes on the skids. But start-ups are a gamble. Maybe the risk is worth it, but for late stage, I doubt it.

Another way to ring the bell: If you are spectacularly good and play your political cards right you can do something like making Partner at Microsoft, which is worth many millions. Two of my friends went that route.

[An informal poll of my cloud of ex-cow-orkers who took pretty much the same mix-up of startups and bigCorps that I did is that they did pretty much as me, or better. A very few did much better and I see photos of their Hawaiian homes on Facebook a lot.]

Startups are fun, but they're still gambling, and you have to watch out for a crooked house (like all of your options being 'extinguished' by some fancy financial footwork. Had that happen, too, and the company's worth over a billion dollars now).

2
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
Generally, evaluate it at 0. Except ...

When the company is operationally cash flow positive, and growing.

The reasoning for that is fairly simply. Any company which is not operationally cash flow positive and growing will either die (value 0) or another funding round (what every you originally valued it at now less than that). Basically until a company is a company the equity has no value, instead you have value because in an acqui-hire situation there is more value if it brings in more engineers.

Best way to evaluate a startup offer are "Does it move me along my path of growth?"

So do you want to try being a "growth hacker" instead of an engineer? Or want more "full stack" exposure, or experience in a company running everything in house, or everything in the cloud? Basically does this experience help your move along your path.

3
birken 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just remember that companies like Box and (in the future) Square have IPO values below their final private round valuations. There is a reason your the the value of the common stock (your strike price) is half the price of the preferred stock's value, because there is a very high chance the common stock will never be worth the same value as the preferred stock (which likely has protections about IPOs or acquisitions below the valuation).

So with that out of the way, you are just an investor. Do you feel the valuation of the company is low/medium/high? If you think the value is low, then you'd want more stock. If you think it is high, take more money. The company probably wont give you enough information to actually figure this out, so you have to use your intuition.

The safe thing to do is just take more salary.

4
alain94040 1 day ago 2 replies      
I disagree with the common advice here that all stock options are worthless.

You say the company is late-stage. Assuming it's currently valued in the $100M range or more, I would estimate your upside to about 4X, maximum. Worst case of course is 0. So take the price of your options today, multiply by 4: that's the best case scenario of the one-time bonus you'll be receiving about 3 to 6 years from now.

Does the amount sound interesting to you? How does it compare to a slightly higher salary (that you get every year for many years to come)?

If the valuation of the company is much lower (<$50M), then the potential upside is larger (say 10X), but much less likely (higher risk of being worth nothing). That's when it gets really tricky to decide.

In the end, it's all a function of where you are in life: can you afford the risk, what is your current cash flow, savings, etc.

5
sawthat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Forget about statistics. This is how I evaluate a job:

A Find out how much I need to take home per month to pay my bills and live to the standard I want as well as save for retirement.

B Determine if I would like this job. See if it's the kind of work I want to do and if it will take me where I want.

C if the offer in salary is A, great, equity is nice to have above it but it doesn't matter. If you have kids and mortgage like me you go for the maximum now money because you can't spend future money. If you're young and single take a chance, there's a tiny chance you'll get some money out of it (but not much of a chance)

A is most important. Don't go into debt or deprivation for someone else's dream.

6
adrianmacneil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Despite all the jokes here about your equity being worth very little, most of them are probably right.

Of course it depends on the specific company, but if we are talking about a late stage startup in SV then they are most likely overcapitalized, and might end up IPOing at a price lower than their current valuation. This would make your common stock worth proportionally much less.

The valuation = 2x strike price thing is standard. Common stock valuation is always worth much less than preferred stock, because of the liquidation preferences (usually it's closer to 1/3 of the value). Often recruiters will use this to make it sound like you are getting an awesome deal.

To answer your question (should you give up more salary in return for more options/stock), the main question you have to ask yourself is "Do I think this company will IPO or be bought for _higher_ than the current headline valuation". If the company raises more money before their exit, then do you think they will go on to exit for an even higher valuation than their next round? If the company ends up exiting for a valuation that is lower than their current valuation, then you would have been much better off taking cash in the first place. Even if they exit at a higher valuation than they are today, but in the meantime they had raised some more money (and the final exit is lower than their last valuation), then it will affect the value of your common stock for the worse. If you are being offered ISOs rather than RSUs, you also have to understand the fact that you may end up in a position where you can't leave the company without purchasing your overvalued common stock (see: golden handcuffs).

If you don't understand the differences between common stock, preferred stock, liquidation preferences etc, I would highly recommend the book Venture Deals by Brad Feld[1]. It's written for startup founders, but equally useful for understanding employee stock options.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AO2PWOI/

7
greenyoda 1 day ago 0 replies      
"But, if I give up some portion of my salary, I can get more equity."

As many others have pointed out, the equity you get from a private company is difficult to accurately value and not under your control (e.g., vesting periods, etc.). You can take your full salary as cash, and if you want to invest in stock, take the amount you would have paid your company for the extra equity and invest it monthly in a mutual fund. Public companies have much more transparency in financial reporting, and you can diversify across many companies instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. Also, if your company fails (as most startups do), you'll still be left with something of value.

8
oroup 1 day ago 1 reply      
The "already" reaction to a preferred stock price that's 2x the common stock price is misplaced. Preferred stock is always higher priced than common and that is not an unusual ratio for a late stage company.
9
dman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not take the differential in salary and invest it in growth company ETFs? You get a more diversified bet in that case. You are already incredibly long your companies prospect on account of you working there, if you want to take a high risk high reward bet I would advise taking it in something besides your employer.
10
gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
When they are going IPO?

A1: "Not sure". Action: Take salary.

A2: "Soon. Depends on Market condition". Action: Take salary.

A3: "On 15 of February, 2016". Action: Take equity.

A4: "On 15 of November, 2016". Action: Take salary.

In other words if company itself is uncertain or vague about the future, take salary.

If company is certain about near future big steps - take a little risk.

11
ryporter 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'm really surprised at how dismissive people are about the value of equity on Hacker News. Would you never start your own company, because then your compensation would certainly be tied to the value of the equity? If you really think that the shares are, on expectation, worthless, then don't work there, because your efforts will be for naught when the company folds.
12
gkop 1 day ago 0 replies      
> at a strong price (the latest valuation is already 2x the strike price I would get)

By "latest valuation" do you mean their valuation based on the most recent round? Remember that valuation is for preferred shares, and you will receive common shares. Preferred shares are usually valued significantly higher than the common share (IE 409A) valuation. (Investors are paying for the potential growth, employees pay the 409A price which is what is company worth right now)

Edit: also get a warm referral to a good attorney, they may review your paperwork and give you advice for free. In my case this free consultation led directly to an easy $10K cash swing in my favor, on top of a professionally reasoned plan for managing my equity. The attorney is an invaluable aid in negotiotation because they can play the bad cop hardass and also call the company's bluff (assuming the company isn't hoping to pull one over on you, in which case bringing in an attorney might conceivably make the company behave defensively and thereby risk your offer).

13
JonFish85 1 day ago 0 replies      
How long do you expect the lockup to be? Depending on the company, there's a pretty good chance that you won't be able to cash in the options until after at least 1 quarter worth of earnings, and those have not been friendly, in the last few years. And of course you probably have the 1 year cliff to deal with, so maybe that's longer than the IPO plus earnings, and by then, are you confident that the company will continue with growth targets?

Remember, IPO has a lot of growth built in, so the IPO price expects that the company continues to grow super quickly, and with no more capital. If the company doesn't do that, the stock options are worth nothing. And remember that you have to buy the options before you can sell them, so unless you do that as part of the sale, you risk being out the money plus the taxes. It's risky.

My opinion, take the cash. Cash is king, and you're "guaranteed" that money regardless of stock performance. Invest it hoe you want, the other stock being lottery tickets. If the company IPOs you'll get stock as bonuses most likely anyways.

This is all my opinion of course. I am negative on most companies' ability to stand up under Wall Street scrutiny.

14
soroso 1 day ago 1 reply      
Be careful. Some equities have tight rules of what you can do with them, essentially rendering them worthless. What's the difference between one stock option you can't sell, can't withdraw profit or that doesn't exist in a clear piece of paper from the one that doesn't exist?
15
dedalus 1 day ago 1 reply      
First start using some comparison data using tools like https://angel.co/salaries which gives roughly the salary and equity breakdown to see wherein the histogram of possibilities this offer lies and how much more headroom you have

Regarding the tradeoff of salary vs equity its driven by pure personal risk appetite wherein if you think the company is something to bet on I would do it but if you need the cash, dont.People can give you pointers but just do what your gut tells you to do (imagine the stock is half of what today is, can you digest that?)

Most important inputs are the number of outstanding shares, liquidation preferences of investors, check for any accelerated vesting schedules and mostly the quality if people

16
Zelphyr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was taught that if you're not early enough to get Class F stock then generally you're not going to realize any significant cash at an exit event. In the long run you'll see more money by foregoing the equity in favor of salary.
17
LucioThrowAway 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a related question for the audience:

When evaluating a private company what financial data should you ask to see?

I plan to exercise my right as a shareholder (I have previously vested some shares into common stock) to inspect the books and I am interested in knowing the right questions to ask.

Edit: The immediate reason that I'm evaluating the company is to decide whether or not to put in the tax withholding for soon to vest RSUs or to surrender a portion of the shares in lieu.

18
mikeryan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just one metric you're not outlining here. Is the current offer at market rates or is the entire offer assuming some portion of equity in-lieu of cash?

If you're already being offered a job at market rates then the rest is really just how much of a gamble you want to take and If you're at market, and you've got equity then I'd take that.

Generally a startup is not going to open up their books enough for you to make a smart enough decision on whether any additional gamble is worth it.

19
lpolovets 1 day ago 2 replies      
Background: I'm a seed-stage VC and was an early startup employee twice.

I feel like there are some misconceptions in some of the other comments on this page.

- The expected value of stock is not zero. The median value might be zero, but certainly not the expected value. Check out this study of angel investment returns: [1]. Estimating from the chart on slide 5: 35% of investments went to $0, 17% were worth less than the last investment valuation, 33% were were 1x-5x, 7% were worth 5x-10x, 8% were worth 10x+.

- The study mentioned above covers angel investments, which are generally higher variance than late stage investments. For later stage companies with real revenues, your chances of going to zero are lower, but your chances of going to 6x or 30x are also lower.

- It doesn't matter if you own 0.2% while an investor owns 20%. What matters is the exit multiple. If you have $200k worth of options over 4 years, and then the company exits at 10x its current value, your options will be worth approximately $2m. It doesn't matter if $200k represents 0.2% or 20% because 10 times $200k is still $2m.

- If the company does so-so and exits below its current value, there's a chance that your options will be worth less than you expected. This is because investors usually have a right to get paid off first during an exit. Let's say the company is currently worth $200m and investors put in $70m so far and own 50% of the company. If the company exits for $100m, you would think non-investors would split 50% of the $100m, but actually they only split the remainder after the $70m investment is paid off (which is 30% instead of 50%).

- Don't bank on follow-on option grants in the future. You might get these, but you might not.

- If you're getting options, there's a good chance you have to pay the strike price to keep the options if you leave the company. Or you have to stay at the company until it IPOs or gets acquired.

As a rough guide, the main thing you need to know is the % of the company you would own and the last valuation. The expected value might be something like 2x or 3x over time, but with a huge variance.

The salary + equity offer is basically a measure of how risk averse you are. Would you rather have $600k in salary over 4 years, or $450k in salary and a lottery ticket that is worth $0 50% of the time, worth $100k 25% of the time, worth $400k 15% of the time, and worth $2m 10% of the time? The latter offer has a higher expected value, but also comes with a higher chance of walking away with $450k instead of $600k.

[1] - http://www.angelcapitalassociation.org/data/Documents/Resour...

20
applecore 1 day ago 3 replies      
First, divide the total number of shares outstanding by the small number of shares you expect to receive through restricted stock and options over the next couple of years. Then, multiply this number by zero to calculate the value of your stake in the company. Finally, figure out the total amount of salary you're giving up for this equity stake over the same time period.
21
pikzen 1 day ago 0 replies      
You ask for a higher salary, because equities are not worth it in 99.99% of the cases.
22
free2rhyme214 1 day ago 0 replies      
The trade off is fair depending on your level of risk. Without knowing anything about the company or your situation, I would put more weight into your own salary vs. the companies equity.
23
jonnathanson 1 day ago 0 replies      
When you say "late-stage," is the company generating revenue? Is revenue growing? If so, this changes the standard-issue "it's all worth $0" logic a little bit.
24
saryant 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's worth nothing.

Problem solved.

25
7Figures2Commas 1 day ago 1 reply      
Answer: retain experienced counsel to assist you.

> I just got an offer from a late-stage startup, that is offering me a small number of shares at a strong price (the latest valuation is already 2x the strike price I would get).

If you are being offered options with an exercise price less than their fair market value (as established by the company's latest 409A valuation), you could face adverse tax consequences. It is unusual for a company to offer discounted stock options, so this suggests that you either don't understand what you have been offered (most likely scenario) or that the company is intentionally or unintentionally exposing you to a huge tax headache (least likely scenario). In either case, you'd be wise to seek professional advice.

Ask HN: What can make me more lazy?
3 points by oswalpalash  1 day ago   1 comment top
1
insoluble 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure whether you meant this question rhetorically or in sarcasm, so I'll just answer it literally in this reply.

If you wrote a program that allowed you to click and type without moving, that would probably make you lazier. Another option could be a script that goes through all your plans (such as calendar events) and deletes or corrupts those ones mentioning physical activity. On another note, perhaps a script could be made that, whenever you start up something productive like an IDE, the script closes it and opens up a time-wasting webpage or game in its place. Additionally, if you had a script that replaced Online tech ads with ones selling junk food and sofas, that could lead indirectly to more laziness, depending on the recipient.

Ask HN: How much do benefits cost for a small software team in NYC?
9 points by misiti3780  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
1
patio11 1 day ago 0 replies      
Your all-in cost [+] is generally modeled as about 140%~160% of base, assuming that level of base compensation. You don't have meaningful returns to scale between 1 and 3 -- "headcount" (gah, I hate that word) is a word largely because it has similar marginal costs on your 2nd and 2,000th employees.

[ + ] Health insurance, taxes, 401-k benefits, unemployment insurance / worker's comp, etc.

2
jeffmould 1 day ago 0 replies      
Same answer as @patio11 here. Usually you can plan on about 150-160% of base per employee to cover taxes and a standard set of benefits (i.e. health insurance, 401k). These numbers typically do not decrease at scale. Although with health benefits you may be able to negotiate a slightly better rate per employee at scale. But employment taxes, etc.. are always the same with one employee or 10,000.

If you start getting into exotic benefits (i.e. free meals, transportation, dry cleaning, etc...) the costs could be higher. However, these type of benefits will usually decrease with more employees as you may be able to get a better rate with more employees on the plan.

3
marygreencny 1 day ago 0 replies      
From my own research it depends greatly on the benefits you want to provide. Do you want them to have a deductible? How much? Should they have a copay? What about prescriptions, dental, eyes, and out of network? That said from my own research $1000 a month per person would be pretty nice coverage. Many companies cover a percentage of the payment, say 50-80 percent.
Ask HN: Anyone else seeing Google Apps. install themselves?
4 points by _mgr  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
1
_mgr 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my instance it seemed to just be a LaunchPad link added to 'Users\[my user]\Applications\'.

Easy enough to remove but still worrying that Google thinks this is okay behaviour.

2
RexRollman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I installed Chrome in ~/Applications and saw what you are talking about. I believe they are really just shortcuts for Chrome for various Google services. I deleted them and haven't seen them since.
       cached 10 November 2015 05:05:01 GMT