hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    13 Apr 2016 Ask
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Can Google app engine support big web apps like social websites?
4 points by kimmy13  2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
smadge 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The massive image sharing and social media network Snapchat uses Google App Engine.*

* https://www.theinformation.com/Why-Google-s-Cloud-Needs-Snap...

nostrademons 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Like SnapChat?
Ask HN: How would I sell my company to RackSpace, EMC, RedHat, VMWare?
5 points by throwaway_fish  4 hours ago   11 comments top 6
kogir 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Get a substantial number of their current (or now former) customers using it.

Until you can demonstrate your offering is real and the market thinks you matter, they won't think you do. There's really no way to skip this step unless you already have a personal relationship with someone who can drive the acquisition at the acquiring company.

nopzor 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You want them to be aware of you already. Ideally, a few desks should have already been pounded by frustrated people at $buyer, while screaming "damn those guys at $seller!".

If you haven't demonstrated traction (eg. have users, customers, revenue, etc) it's going to be hard to get them interested. "market need" is just the tip of the iceberg.

(Unless your software is something truly insanely special and ground breaking, in which case kudos to you I guess)

Hiring an investment banker to run the process and shop you can be helpful. But if there's no "business" around the software you've created, then they probably wouldn't know where to start ;)

My $0.02..

eschutte2 4 hours ago 1 reply      
With the disclaimer that I haven't done that, you would do it by getting press that their executives notice that leads to meetings, or (more often, and in tandem) your networks overlap and people are talking about you, which is why it's so valuable to have VCs with a vested interest in your success (their networks overlap heavily with CxOs).

Alternatively, they could discover and try out your offering and decide they like it enough to buy you.

Pitching the company on why they should acquire you doesn't seem like a position you want to be in, but I'm sure it can work. Maybe someone here has some stories.

People I've known that have done it usually make the personal connection first through mutual interests (e.g., clubs) and then "oh hey, I have this company you should buy" flows from there.

throwawaypdx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Two quicks things. What is the time pressure to sell? Do you share customers with them or do they consume your product directly?

If there is lower time pressure and their customers are your customers, maybe the partnership route is a better first step (look for BizDev folks). In those talks it should become clear how important you are to their business, or not.

vgeek 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook ads? Make a LP specifically for said purpose, stack geos and jobs. You can waste a lot of money, but it may create awareness/interest for your product with a relevant audience.
GFK_of_xmaspast 3 hours ago 2 replies      
If they want it they'll call you.
Ask HN: Is My Career Over?
11 points by hnthrowaway9001  10 hours ago   25 comments top 12
meric 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
None of this has gotten me anywhere because I am not a 10x top 1% engineer who loves whiteboard coding sessions and brainteasers and wants to change the world by working 80 hours a week, rather a (slightly above) average one who can get things done in an editor and just wants to earn a living doing what Im good at.

If that's the frame you're taking into the interview, I can see why they don't think you're a culture fit.

Try this frame:

"I'm a proficient programmer, have leadership qualities, who delivers."

Maybe show them a link to your github with some good code as an example, it will help especially since you say you're weak on whiteboards.

"I can be a bit nervous and don't perform well with whiteboards so I would like to send you a link to some of my existing code demonstrating my skills and ability to perform as a programmer."

And the other comments are right - a month is not long ago, and one interview a week is quite solid. Keep steaming ahead.

OWaz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you a US citizen? Do you think you can pass a background check? If military and government projects don't bother you than try looking on clearancejobs.com. From what I've seen a lot of big defense contractors looking for engineers just need you to be a citizen, get a clearance and have a pulse. Smaller firms will expect you to actually be capable and you will probably do a couple things across the stack and some dev-ops too.

Have you looked at any part-time/contract work? Maybe that could keep you afloat and activey coding long enough to get a fulltime job.

Edit: this quora answer is helpful for those of us without elite algorithms skills https://www.quora.com/I-am-quite-bad-at-algorithms-but-good-...

percept 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's a numbers game--keep meeting with people and telling your story, particularly if you're in a large tech center.

You're not old, either!

You mentioned applying to larger companies, and it's probably more common there to skip the whiteboard and brainteasers (and 80-hour weeks).

Good luck--you don't have to be 10XT1P to find another job.

c0110 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey there. I didn't take Algorithms in college and am also not so good at it. Don't fret -- you'll get it. Grab a couple interview study books, the Algorithms Design Manual, etc. and study. It'll be hard and you might not feel like you're making progress -- it's ok. Keep practicing and don't lose hope. I interviewed at over 15 companies over the span of 3-4 months (I also did mock interviews, but my algs skills were so not good that the practice didn't really help) and was rejected by most of them (like, 12 of them), but finally I received an offer for a position I didn't think I'd get.

Keep your hopes up, look forward to beefing up your theory, and most of all, landing a position. :) Good luck!

rahelzer 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Well, you have to fix the problems you have.

1. You must become a jedi-knight of white-board programming. For this, go to HackerRank and work absolutely as many problems as you can. But don't program them in an editor, get a whiteboard and use that. Then type in the program when you are ready to get it graded.

2. You need to fill in some knowledge you would have gotten in college. For this, read the first few chapters of "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein.

There's no royal road. Treat this as your full-time job until you get a job, i.e. work on it 8-10 hours a day 5 hours on the weekend.

This is what I did last time I was laid off.....I got nothing for 6 months, then after 6 weeks of the above regime I was able to slam dunk every interview I went to and got an awesome offer. Best of luck.

kleer001 4 hours ago 1 reply      
> a month ago

Keep waiting. Hiring cycles can run to 6 months or a year on the bad side. Just keep plugging away.

siquick 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Work on some side projects and use these as your 'proof of knowledge'?

TBH, are you sure you want to work somewhere that uses those awful white-board sessions to pick out future employees?

Plus you listed a variety of reasons why you think you failed - you should immediately work on these.

asimuvPR 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's ok. Sometimes things take time. If you feel like practicing interviewing email me. I will gladly help you anonymously.

Keep your head up. :)

palidanx 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you done any mock interviews with friends to get some feedback on your interviewing skills and techniques?
brogrammer90 2 hours ago 1 reply      
How old are you? You still got a chance if you're under 35.
bshef 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Follow up with your interviewers and ask for some detailed feedback. Keep the conversation cordial and professional. If they're willing, and provide some feedback, you might see some areas where you can tweak your process or shore up some skillsets.

Good luck, and don't give up!

dudul 9 hours ago 1 reply      
First, five is not that many.

Second, if the only interviews you get are "whiteboard coding", and the only rejection is "not a cultural fit" you may not be interviewing in the right place. Not all places want you to be a 10x engineer who's gonna work 80 hours a week.

I'm surprised you encountered this behavior in larger companies. You said you got introductions from your friends, I assumed you interviewed there. I would try to get more constructive feedback through your friends to really know what's going on.

Ask HN: SEO impact of HN's URL itemid vs. an actual title?
49 points by a_small_island  1 day ago   50 comments top 18
jedberg 1 day ago 2 replies      
As the person who wrote the code for the SEO part of the reddit URL, I can tell you that there is definitely an impact. It made a huge difference at the time, because reddit wasn't really on Google's radar. Today I suspect it would have less impact for reddit.

For HN, I get the impression that they don't really want to be all that optimized for Google, so it probably hits their goals just fine, but it probably does hurt them a little bit. But since the words are in an H1 right at the top, probably not all that much.

Edit: The code in case anyone is interested:


dsp1234 1 day ago 1 reply      
What is the reasoning behind only an itemid in the URL for HN?

It's easy to code

Is there an SEO impact?

Probably, but as SEO is search engine optimization, if a site doesn't care about search engines, then it also probably doesn't care about optimization of those searches.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Technically "no" the SEO goals for HN would appear to be unaffected by the choice :-).

And in this case its actually a good thing. If you scroll through the /new pages as I do you will see that a lot of people try to use HN like Reddit as an SEO tool to get more views to their web site. That can be facilitated by a link baity headline cum URI which gets indexed with the keywords of interest of the day.

By simply putting 'itemid' in the link text HN gives very little "link love" to keywords and so is not as easily exploited by "digital presence" folks (aka people who try to SEO their client's sites or products).

cromulent 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I Google for "SEO actual title" this page is the first result.


romanovcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is an SEO impact, however HN is not that oriented on general public and it has no ads so it doesn't really matter.
chejazi 1 day ago 0 replies      
What you are referring to is a "slug" [1] which adds another searchable dimension to the content. This appeals to marketers trying to add searchable keywords to boost discovery. Not having one won't affect HN since "everything's present" in the forum. For instance, if you google the title of your post it is ranked #1 in the search results [2]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_URL#Slug

[2] https://www.google.com/search?q=Ask+HN%3A+SEO+impact+of+HN%2...

pgfrd 1 day ago 2 replies      
A site doesn't need to be selling something (ads) to implement good SEO

What is the reasoning behind only an itemid in the URL for HN?

Like someone previously mentioned, easier to code, less thought required around site architecture and optimization

Is there an SEO impact?Yes, from a basic standpoint, descriptive URLs are easier to crawl, index, and rank accordingly. They help readers find info better when searching for questions + answers

From a more highlevel standpoint, descriptive URLs and an optimized site structure helps in many ways including SEO, analytics, accessibility, and more. Reddit does it well

bhartzer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Frankly, the usage of having keywords in the URL is a very minimal factor. If everything were equal for a URL with the keywords in the URL and one without, there wouldn't be much more of a benefit to the one with the keywords in the URL.

However, if your overall site structure is one that has topics and subtopics or categories and subcategories, it would help the user see that site structure. For example, in the reddit example above, users can get directly to the askscience subreddit by removing part of the URL and going directly to https://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/. Setting up URLs like this is a good practice, the URL would then follow the site's breadcrumb trail.

For H/N, I don't really see any benefit, at this point, for using keywords in the URLs. There's just no SEO benefit.

primaryobjects 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can think of a couple of impacts:

- Shorter urls are easier to copy and share.

+ Keywords in the url may increase search engine rank.

+ Full title in the url helps readers know what they're clicking.

There are advantages to having the full title in the url for both SEM and readers. However, as others mention, HN wasn't designed for SEM and contains no ads to profit from it.

brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
My understanding is that originally [and perhaps currently] Hacker News uses the file system for storage and that the id number is the name of a file on disk. A few years ago, I recall a discussion about a reorganization of the files from a single [or few?] directories into a more broadly branched tree. The basis for doing IIRC so was to improve performance.

My impression is that this would be a simple way to produce a RESTful interface. When the resource is a file on disk, how complex does application layer routing have to be?

Anyway, my guess is that general SEO is not particularly high on the list of features to implement. On the other hand, if adding Algolia and the API then it's another story. That was also a substantial improvement to the feature set. It might even turn up the aforementioned discussion about the file system hierarchy [I think PG wrote the post].

Good luck.

BorisMelnik 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a user, I would find it helpful to have a more human readable permalink / slug for the "at a quick glance" purposes. As someone w/ some knowledge of SEO, it would most likely add value as well.
ajonit 1 day ago 0 replies      
HN doesnt really care. Even if slugs didn't provide any SEO benefit, I would implement them purely for usability reasons. xyz.com/learn-seo looks much better to a user compared to xyz.com/46765475
giarcyevod 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doing 'SEO' is like punching smoke. Build for those visiting and using your website.
accounthere 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think search engines are the main source of readers for HN.
krapp 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure HN doesn't want urls to provide an SEO boost either for themselves or the people submitting - and if so, I would tend to agree with them.

It's well know that pg doesn't want this site to have mainstream appeal, so having HN articles list high in search engines would probably be a problem they would want to avoid, but also, submitters shouldn't have an incentive to use this site to boost their own SEO by submitting low-quality linkspam.

If it were me, I would go even further and route every link through a dereferring proxy just to mess with their analytics as well, and block everyone except maybe IA through robots.txt. For a site which is meant to be about discussion and thought-provoking stories and not content aggregation for the sake of ad revenue, I think SEO is a cancer.

return0 1 day ago 1 reply      
I never understood why a slug should be considered a signal.
PhasmaFelis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why does the URL text matter for SEO? Wouldn't a crawler be looking at the page content?
dragonbonheur 1 day ago 1 reply      
HN wasn't intended to be used as a tool to improve your SEO. It may increase your visibility to actual people or you may sometimes, through HN, get noticed by other websites but don't expect it to directly lead to an improvement in the SERPS.
I'm looking for a roommate/hacker (bay area)
10 points by _ahacker_  9 hours ago   3 comments top 3
evm9 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Darn, sounds like a cool opportunity but I'm down in LA right now. Best of luck.
snehesht 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome, I'm doing the same thing this summer, Good luck.
GroSacASacs 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What is the product about ?
Ask HN: What ever happened with the Rap Genius/Heroku routing controversy?
34 points by Karunamon  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
evolve2k 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Does anyone know what eventually happened?

Here's the rap genius blog post packed with links to replies and further comments.


TLDR; They were upset that they had to discover the issue, eventually they changed web servers to use Unicorn and this fixed everything. Their final post on the matter was "It was all a dream".

evolve2k 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Did Heroku ever fix their routing to be less pathological?

I may be remembering my history incorrectly but it had to do with rails handling of concurrency and that the default gem used in rails did not take advantage of heroku's handling of concurrency and that heroku did not tell everyone about this.

As far as I remember they fixed things on their end, the suggestion for rails apps was to switch which web server you were using over to Unicorn or Puma.


kevinsimper 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought about the same thing yesterday and went to rap genius blog to see if there were anything, but their blog was broken!
Ask HN: What are some good React tutorials?
136 points by Kaladin  2 days ago   45 comments top 28
seanemmer 2 days ago 1 reply      
I highly recommend the Full Stack Redux Tutorial:


Learning Redux from the get go means you can skip a lot of React's internal state management / lifecycle methods.

The tutorial also covers a bunch of relevant topics like TDD with React, immutable.js, and socket.io.

avalexandrov 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am using this one and like it very much so far: http://courses.reactjsprogram.com/courses/reactjsfundamental...It's by Tyler McGinnis.
peterhunt 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's wrong with the official tutorial? https://facebook.github.io/react/docs/tutorial.html
mrborgen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry for the self promotion, but I wrote a few React tutorials with someone like you in mind. They're only covering the basics of React, coding directly in an html file, so they don't involve getting up and running with Node+React. But I think that should be tackled after you know the basics of React.

Building Your First React App:https://medium.com/learning-new-stuff/building-your-first-re...

Building Your Second React App:https://medium.com/learning-new-stuff/building-your-second-r...

React.JS in 8 minutes:https://medium.com/learning-new-stuff/learn-react-js-in-7-mi...

Other than that, I always recommend the official tutorial:https://facebook.github.io/react/docs/tutorial.html

... and Egghead.io's videos:https://egghead.io/series/react-fundamentals

wesbos 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm the author of http://ReactForBeginners.com

I've had 4500 people take it so far and have had tons of positive feedback - take a look!

daram 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's my comparison of React.js Fundamentals by Tyler McGinnis, and Learn React.js: The Basics, on Lynda.com.


BenderV 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thinking in React was the first tutorial that really triggered me an woaw. It's also quite fast to do.


dreen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Heres a nice intro to React that deals with JUST React, no JSX, no Webpack etc. I found it on HN the other day


darklajid 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not affiliated, but I subscribed to Stephen Grider's courses on Udemy and I'm quite happy with those.
yamalight 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd recommend starting with "React How To" by Pete Hunt [1] - it's one of the best collections of starter guides you'll need to get started with React.

And then you can always look at awesome-react. [2]

[1] https://github.com/petehunt/react-howto[2] https://github.com/enaqx/awesome-react

cornedor 2 days ago 0 replies      
This one explains the ideas behind React very good imo. It does this by creating "Bloop" a library that kinda works likes React without stuff like the Virtual DOM. http://jlongster.com/Removing-User-Interface-Complexity,-or-...
tyingq 2 days ago 2 replies      
I suspect part of the rub is that with react being only the 'V' in MVC, stand-alone tutorials leave you with only part of the picture.

And, of course, people are choosing different paths to fill in the rest of the stack. All of which pull your specific 'style' of using react in slightly different directions.

saadehmad 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this blog post: http://andrewhfarmer.com/getting-started-tutorials/

will help you to get started with react. I'm following this blog post to learn react myself.

paulshen 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://andrewhfarmer.com/getting-started-tutorials/ has a list of tutorial reviews.

I'm the author of http://buildwithreact.com/tutorial, which Andrew says "is by far the shortest tutorial and the easiest read" :) Happy to answer any questions on twitter.

owenwil 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can only recommend two:- The official Facebook React tutorial. It might be unsexy, but hell it's good. In fact, it's the best official documentation I've ever seen: https://facebook.github.io/react/docs/tutorial.html- React for Beginners. The only screencast that didn't make me want to fall asleep worth every dollar: http://reactforbeginners.com
markm248 2 days ago 0 replies      
ReactJS for Stupid People is an excellent place to start:


prezjordan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Surprised this one hasn't been mentioned yet! http://reactfordesigners.com/labs/reactjs-introduction-for-p...

Full of graphics and nice examples - it covers a lot of the reasons folks find react so fun to work with.

As a pro-tip: there is a lot of tooling, and things move quickly so a lot of examples on the web get outdated FAST. Don't be discouraged - it can be rough.

acemarke 2 days ago 0 replies      
I maintain a list of high-quality React and Redux-related tutorials over at https://github.com/markerikson/react-redux-links. It's specifically intended to be a great starting point for anyone trying to get started learning the React ecosystem.
ludwigvan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is my take on the subject:


There is a video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSeurgO39Hk if you are interested.

brucehauman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote an intro to React that emphasizes it's functional/reloadable nature.http://rigsomelight.com/2015/06/09/straightforward-live-func...
brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Code Cartoon guide to Redux isn't a tutorial, but it may be useful for understanding the Redux architecture that underpins React.


gauravgupta 1 day ago 0 replies      
My usual go-to website for tutorials: http://hackr.io/tutorials/react
lambdacomplete 2 days ago 2 replies      
Has anybody tried this? https://www.udemy.com/react-redux/ Is it worth the money?
Brajeshwar 2 days ago 0 replies      
I second the egghead.io video tutorials (paid). My team spent about a week and we're using ReactJS as our view for a Progressive WebApp for an eCommerce site in India.
eecks 2 days ago 0 replies      
You could go through these demos


hardwaresofton 2 days ago 0 replies      
tldr; Don't treat backend and frontend the same, they have very different concerns, also learn the things that came before frameworks, and why they were useful/included in frameworks to begin with.

While your intended backend and frontend are both javascript, they have very different concerns. I suggest you learn them in as much isolation as you can, before attempting to mix the two.

I would highly recommend that you do NOT start from learning react. React is a line in a very long story that the JS community has been living. Please strive to understand how that story started, and where react fits in, and what methodologies are being used in the libraries/frameworks that are popular today.

Rather than starting with and binding yourself to react, I'd suggest you start with the minimum you need, and progress to different libraries as you need them, and realizing the actual need/niche for frameworks.

A progression might look like this:

1) HTML+CSS+JS - Basic static, well designed pages

2) HTML+CSS+JS+jQuery - 1) + simple interactions on the page, note that too much jquery will quickly become hard to reason about

2) HTML+CSS+JS+Databinding - 1) + declarative databinding (with a framework like Knockout) will introduce some structure into DOM updates over the jquery approach

3) HTML+CSS+JS+Databinding+Routing - 2) + a realization that knockout generally aims to work on one page at a time, but obviously sites have many pages, and SPAs can be beneficial in delivering instant-feeling user experience.

4) HTML+CSS+JS+Databinding+Routing+Components - 3) + realizing the need for separation and isolation between components to keep your sanity (both knockout.js and react offer components)

5) HTML+CSS+JS+Databinding+Routing+Components+Data - 3) Handling data from the server is obviously important, backbone has an oft-praised model system, and you could also flux pattern since you're interested in react.

5) Framework ? At this point, including x libraries to do all the things that you have found make your life easier may be less preferable to using a framework. Of course, this means you'll have to deal with the cognitive overhead of a framework but at this point, you should know exactly WHY you are using a framework, and start to distinguish the difference between how different frameworks bundle the parts.

Ex. the distinction between how knockout.js does databinding, how react does it, and how angular1 does it.

Ex. The difference between react's rendering methodology and backbone's (they both use a render function to determine what will be shown -- how is react different?)

I might suggest redoing a small app like TodoMVC with all these options (you can change it up by styling the frontend differently every time or something), I think a process like that leads to a more well-balanced understanding of frontend JS.

mortona 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found it quick to understand the ideas behind React, but it was a lot more difficult to understand how to apply that to practical problems and to 'think' in React.

React.js By Example [http://reactkungfu.com/react-by-example/] was enormously helpful in showing how to structure various different real-world apps. So if you find yourself beyond the basic CommentBox examples, but not sure how to build your own components then this might help.

Ask HN: Pick startups for YC to fund
864 points by dang  6 days ago   282 comments top 97
kevin 6 days ago 7 replies      
Hey everyone! I manage and run the Fellowship program at YC. I just want to build on top of what Dan wrote about being nice. Were not asking you to do this because we think its good manners. We actually believe its the right way to think and act like the best investors.

Its easy to form some really bad habits when you sit in a position of power to judge the potential of a person, a team, an idea and their executionbelieving that you know better and focusing your time on finding weakness.

The best investors dont spend a lot of time on what can go wrong. They already know the odds are against every startup that ever comes into existence. They already know every startup is a shit show. Those will be the reasons why all the other investors will miss out on an unpredictable opportunity. The best investors try to figure out what can go right. They dream a little with the startup and they then sell that vision back to the founders.

Remember that the big wins in startups come from the margins. For you to find what no one else could have predicted, know that it will take the shape of something that isnt obvious.

Being nice gives you a good foundation for being open and optimistic, which is what we strive for when we read applications here at YC.

Thanks again for trying this out with us. I'm really excited about what we discover together.

cperciva 6 days ago 2 replies      
we're already seeing quite a few Apply HNs, so we'll add a link for those a la /ask and /show

Quick poll for the community here: I run Hacker News Daily (http://www.daemonology.net/hn-daily/) which many people know about; but also Ask HN Weekly (http://www.daemonology.net/hn-weekly-ask/) and Show HN Weekly (http://www.daemonology.net/hn-weekly-show/). In each case the methodology is the same: The 10 highest-scoring items which (a) appeared on relevant "front page" in the day/week in question, (b) and haven't appeared on a previous Daily/Weekly.

Would people be interested in having an "Apply HN Weekly" set up along similar lines? It's straightforward for me to copy the scripts and edit a few paths (once the HN link appears) but there's no point if nobody would want to read it.

EDIT: I'm seeing lots of upvotes to this comment, which I'm going to assume is an indication that people would like to see me implement this. If you were upvoting simply because you wanted to make more people aware that I had a really lousy idea, please add a comment to disambiguate.

arihant 6 days ago 2 replies      
I am not very sure about this for a few reasons:

1. There is possibly several ways to game the upvote system. HN community is not anonymous, and there are people who have more friends here than others. A lot of very good founders would probably not have enough friends here. That might create bias once an Apply HN post reaches first page vs. another.

2. Participating startups risk facing public bashing while hoping to get priceless feedback. This happens often here, even unintentionally sometimes. This also poses a risk that a lot of startups would not be 100% honest in one way or another to minimize bashing. This is commonplace on Reddit. But this is not Reddit and any founder cannot forever escape people here. This is an ecosystem forum which is extremely civil in Show HN (with a few exceptions) but might not be so when competing for a resource -- the 2 YCF spots. Maybe Reddit is the way it is because everyone is competing for points.

3. Publicly applying for funding might step on private financing laws of several states and nations? It might also be against some by-laws. Would this constitute a public offer?

Maybe this could be helped better by doing one or more of these:

1. Apply HN posts should not make it to homepage and should be a separate section.

2. The heuristic should not be known publicly of what YC partners are looking for.

3. Companies should still be required to fill a YC app before posting. Then it's a public contest rather than a public offer to sell shares.

This would be interesting for sure!

minimaxir 6 days ago 5 replies      
Ranking by upvotes/comments seems highly problematic, even with HN's antibrigade features.

A) There are many external factors that can implicitly cap the number of upvotes/comments. (time submitted, amount of competition, etc.) HN has repost rules to alleviate this problem: would Apply HN posts be able to repost too?

B) Not to mention that it encourages sockpuppet voting/commenting, especially since there is a high reward for doing so.

Product Hunt, for example, thrives on "how can I get exposure for my startup submission outside of the intrinsic quality of the startup itself?" and it would be an improper fit for HN.

zaguios 6 days ago 4 replies      
I actually already wrote this as a reply to another comment, but I think it merits a comment of its own.

The best way to do the scoring for the applications is to actually make it into somewhat of a game. Each application should be given a starting elo of 1200. Every time a user wants to go and review applications they will be presented with two separate applications with a similar elo and then will be asked to vote on which one they think is better. Elo will then be added/subtracted with normal conditions based on the vote. This system would very quickly and accurately identify the best applications. I've seen this done before for other things and it's been proven to be very effective and prevent almost any sort of bias.

tclmeelmo 6 days ago 1 reply      
To be frank, my first reaction on reading this idea was negative.

I think part of my reaction is because I'm not seeing a useful goal: "interesting things" is certainly a goal, but strikes me as being too vague from which to extract useful information. What are interesting things? If you don't know what they are, how will you know if they happened? Are you set up to measure interesting things? If so, can you quantify them, and what sort of sensitivity/specificity, dynamic range, etc. do you expect your instrumentation to provide? What is the duration/endpoints of the experiment? Does the experimental design support the objective, and with what power does the experiment have to inform?

I think that the other part of my reaction is that, as an experimental scientist, I am specifically trained against doing something so unstructured. Practical considerations like safety and budgetary waste aside, I am the person I trust least: it's very easy to fool oneself about the significance of a result with an ongoing experiment that one is conducting. Experimental discipline, like planning ahead (and preregistration) and blinding and good controls, serve to promote objectivity and help reduce bias.

I have no doubt that this experiment would produce "interesting things". I am very skeptical that, as presented, you would know why it produced interesting things.

Of course, I'm just a dog on the internet. Best of luck!

pbnjay 6 days ago 2 replies      
Will there be a new toplink for "Apply HN" submissions? I think random sorting on that page would be a good idea to encourage all submissions get an opportunity for discussion.
6thSigma 6 days ago 5 replies      
I think a mini application with a few questions from the normal YC app as a comment would be helpful. I see a ton of Show HNs in which I have no idea what the product does (either because the website copy is vague/confusing or because I don't know the market). Having a comment template or something reviewers can look at without have to ask the same questions in every thread would be great.
hoodoof 6 days ago 2 replies      
Truth is, I'd start writing code to copy any idea that I was totally blown away by, and I don't need any funding to start doing that.

Putting your idea right there in front of some pretty fast moving programmers has to be something people would think twice about.

Having said that, it's hard to imagine an idea being sufficiently compelling to start writing code to implement it immediately. The only ideas that really blow me away are my own and they usually turn out to be silly anyway, after I've spent six months building them to crickets.

I don't think ideas are worth nothing by the way. Just ask the Facebook twins.

lettergram 6 days ago 1 reply      
About a year ago I ran a series of tests where I continuously posted the same 15-20 articles tracking the number of up votes within the first 10-15 minutes.

It turns out it was essentially random, and although every one of the posts were decent enough to make it to the front page 2 or 3 times sometimes it received zero votes, sometimes 10.

It seems somewhat unfair to use the standard ranking system with this being the case, since it's essentially random. I think there would need to be a way to randomly show them to users and have users vote. Similar to /r/starups[1]

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/startups/

BTW I eventually received an email from the YC staff, thank you for not banning me :) No one should do this.

dsugarman 6 days ago 1 reply      
I see a lot of 'entrepreneurs' who spend their time getting their fb friends to vote for them in local startup pitch competitions, they don't actually spend any time making a company, but are very effective at getting votes.

The HN community might just be a better barometer, hope to see this experiment work out and bring attention to worthy and unnoticed startups.

davidw 6 days ago 1 reply      
Thought: in the original Wisdom of Crowds book, an important point was that people's selections need to be independent of one another, otherwise you get bandwagon/cascade effects. I don't know how that could be made to factor in to things.
dmritard96 6 days ago 1 reply      
One concern I could see is around disclosing the idea. I know, I know, idea.pre_exectution_worth = 0, idea.post_execution_worth = $, but I have to think that some of the most interesting applications to YC or any other accelerator are at least partially executed hence giving out their intent, or some of the sexy secret sauce which might help them gain a favorable ranking is pitted against a desire to remain secretive. Obviously you have other submission processes but seems like perhaps something to consider, my 2 cents.
Tom-Sullivan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a wonderful idea. PicVidShare has been used in 83 countries in first month. This is important traction because being international is essential to really big success. Press Release The Future of Mobile Commerce fhttp://buff.ly/1TPfqEk Will Apply Y Combinator using Hacker News.
jdp23 6 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting idea, and kudos to you for kicking off the discussions to refine the approach - and for the "be nice" rule, which I think is very important here.

A question: What are the situations where you think it will benefit people more to go the open route than applying directly?

One way of thinking about it is

advantages of "Apply HN": getting significant calibration and feedback on an idea that improves it whether or not it is selected, a chance for a partial team to begin discussions with other potential co-founders, and the (small) chance of having an idea selected because of overwhelming support when it wouldn't have been chosen through the normal process

disadvantage: exposing the idea in a very early state to thousands of smart motivated people who are then have the time to come up with better variations on it

Obviously the tradeoffs are different for different teams and ideas ... and there certainly might be some advantages and disadvantages I missed. In any case, I'm curious about who you think might benefit most from this.

aarkay 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just read through a bunch of Apply HN's (~90) and realized how important it is for startups to clearly tell what their company does in the first sentence.

Even though many of the YC partners have mentioned the importance of this, I could feel the pain of reading through the first paragraph and not being able to picture anything about the company in my head. Might be a good strategy to stick in a summary of your startup in the apply hn corpus and ask close friends to see if they understand and get excited by the idea before applying to YC.

Another thing I noticed was how biased I was towards ideas which addressed problems I have had. So hopefully Apply HN will help YC look into companies which are catering to completely different industries and sets of problems which they haven't experienced.

This is a great experiment !

pcmaffey 6 days ago 0 replies      
The best part of this is YC's commitment to subverting their bias.

Whether successful or not, you guys (and your machines?) will learn something valuable about your process vs. the wisdom of crowds. Really commend your approach to experimentation.

benjamincburns 6 days ago 0 replies      
@dang: Apologies if this has been said elsewhere, and hopefully it doesn't get lost in the noise.

If upvotes are the most important metric, then vote counts should be hidden to viewers at least prior to their voting. This prevents the situation we have here with news articles where an initial small/fast scurry of upvotes is the only way to capture the attention of the larger audience. In this situation the first few votes likely have far more influence than they should.

rmason 6 days ago 2 replies      
If I was to guess I'd say HN readers would be more impressed with innovative technology than how the company actually would make money.

I would be wary however of learning very much with a one time experiment with only two funded companies. That would be similar to giving a prospective angel investor the advice to invest in two companies in the next thirty days and then no more.

vonklaus 6 days ago 0 replies      
Dang, this is awesome!

I think it would be really cool if you did the experiment blind. E.g the startup applys to YC, if they want to participate they also do HN. you have your interview make what would be your decision, then do the HN piece. that way you can gauge the delta between how the community thinks & how you would've decided without our input.

Either way, this is pretty great idea. As you flesh it out a more, an in depth write up would be great!

nlh 6 days ago 1 reply      
Well I for one think this is also a super cool idea. Agree with what many have said re: gaming -- just be particularly aware that people will try to figure out how to game this.

But I'd emphasize the qualitative side of the evaluation process -- it should be based on a somewhat opaque mix of upvotes, thoroughness of discussion, and thoughtfulness of answers.

I'd almost treat the various 'Apply HN' threads as open source interviews. Upvoted and the like should be a ROUGH filter, but I'd hope that the YC partners will look at the answers in the threads as a crowdsourced interview and select on the merits more than anything else.

Anyway, excited to see how this experiment plays out.

harperlee 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think here is where the "you cannot unvote" design decision for HN breaks. It's one thing to vote several comments that deserved an upvote and whose subthreads I want people to see and comment with priority; and another thing altogether to manage votes that I know, in the end, will end on one company being selected at the detriment of the rest. Here I want to have the ability to vote only to the one that mattered the most, and I want to be able to unvote if further responses of the startup make me uneasy of my already casted vote. It's not sufficient to take my attention elsewhere.
newguyonhere 5 days ago 0 replies      
Forgive me if this comment doesn't belong here: I wanted to say that I enjoy reading YC. While I'm not exactly sure what all HN or YC are about, and some of the topics are over my, I have learned some interesting things. It's awesome intelectual the exchanges can be. And at this moment I find the concept of being nice refreshing in an online forum. Anyhow good look with this startup idea. I'm sure some good stuff will surface and everyone will benefit.
skoocda 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think there's a definite disparity between the key formative aspects of a soon-to-be successful startup, and the popular image that people will vote for. Nobody on HN as enough time or motivation to perform the gritty research on the market or the founders, which means the votes will tend towards flashy sounding concepts. As long as you guys only take this as a cheap and plentiful way of judging the 'wow' factor of these ideas, I think the Apply HN idea is great.
vit05 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious to know how many companies from first Fellowship managed to end the program with a product. Will have more interview after you choose some from the HN ?I read all applications, and it seems to me that some of the startups are more suitable for Indiego or looking for a direct fund from VC than to apply for YC Fellowship. Fellowship is buying 1.5% of the company to 20k + counseling + other YC services. And you'll need to be fully dedicated to the company for at least 8 weeks in office hours. Some of the projects seem to need more money or perhaps the founder will not be able to be dedicated exclusively to the startup. As you said: "startups are far more likely to die by suicide than by homicide"
danieltillett 6 days ago 0 replies      
Dan I think this is great idea (I am all for trying new things). One suggestion I do have is to score a startup not by up votes, but by the quality of the discussion that results.

The commentship of HN is not exactly a representative cross-section of the unwashed masses, but it is filled with amazingly knowledgeable and intelligent people. A startup that generates thoughtful and helpful discussion may well be a stronger signal of success than crude up votes.

Edit. arg! I see Dan already had this idea.

andreis_ 6 days ago 2 replies      
Some sort of support for people working on building "lifestyle businesses" as side projects would be fantastic. Not all of us have megalomaniac dreams of running the next AirBnb. Question: would YC Fellowship be a good fit for that?
fweespee_ch 6 days ago 2 replies      
> Questions or suggestions? Let's discuss and refine this together.

The upvote/commentary is likely going to be highly problematic:

A) I'm pretty sure Dang can't list all 9 accounts I've used on HN over the past few years. I'm also pretty sure 9 accounts in good standing [1500+ karma] would be enough to seed an initial vote if handled carefully. The ones he'd be able to name are the 3 most recent. This being the case...yeah. The danger of sock puppetry is way too high, particularly when combined with strategic downvotes and VPNs.

B) Anyone with control of an existing community/following can use it as a targeted campaign.

C) The reward from bypassing these functions is substantially higher ($20,000 + professional advice from YC) than previously existed for YC.

D) If you want to stick with a vote-based system, I'd offer a larger bounty [say, $50k for manipulating a post to the top of the pile for Apply HN] for finding a way to bypass the vote brigading and other countermeasures. This it is really the only countermeasure I can think of to counter manipulation problems.

E) All the other external factors (time of submission, competition around that time period, repost rules, etc.) are likely to bias the process in unexpected ways but that is probably less problematic than direct manipulation.

> I think we're on the same page to some extent. What I meant by 'ranking by comments' is that we want the ranking to depend on the quality of the discussion. That's the one thing that can't be gamed.

Put a bounty on that to test that theory.

I'm pretty sure someone could create a network of socket puppets that had "quality" discussions between them if the reward was $20k.

timwaagh 5 days ago 0 replies      
wow. this is really unprecendented. i know some guy who works at a different startup accelerator. one which is funded with EU money. he made some comment about his acc being a lot better on a value-for-equity basis (like obviously). i tried to explain yc would continue to be the #1 not just because of its size or the amount of funding per share to its startups but because of the way it is run. this is an excellent example.
biot 6 days ago 1 reply      
Fede_V 6 days ago 0 replies      
I am really curious to see how this plays out.

Kudos for the 'be nice' rule - rejections really really hurt, and if they are in public, even more so. Anyone who is willing to put themselves out there like that deserves to be treated with kindness - even if the actual feedback is critical. Snark is very easy.

phillc73 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have a question about the YC Fellowship model.

If I had an idea, which I knew would never likely grow beyond $1M in revenue, just because the market is so niche. B2C, but the entire consumer group is probably only in the region of 10,000.

I'd imagine the company would probably max out at 4 or 5 employees.

I have little to no interest in building a product out to $100M or aiming at an IPO.

The YC Fellowship rules indicate that the $20k funding, for convertible security, at least assumes the goal is $100M or IPO.[0]

I'd very happily offer 1.5% right up front for $20k, no need to worry about convertible security, as long as it was clear my aim was never to hit $100M or IPO.

Would such a view exclude me from a YC Fellowship grant and thus Apply HN?

[0] https://blog.ycombinator.com/fellowship-v2

adrusi 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a little concerned that this experiment could attract the wrong kind of behavior on HN, and bring in new users for the wrong reasons. I'm excited to see how this goes, but it will be quite a shame if the quality of regular content on HN suffers as a result.
vonklaus 6 days ago 1 reply      
Also, while I don't loce what I'm about to suggest it makes sense:

1 upvote = 1 + (Account Age In Years / 2)

Or some metric discounting (but not eliminating) new accounts while proportionately weighing soneones contribution/participation in the community.

while to some extent everyone should be represented, but some members of the community have been here much longer, are much more knowledgeable, and participate a lot more. they helped shape the community, etc and may have gone to YC in early days.

ive been here for ~2 years, i know a little bit about tech and startups, however(and this doesnt map 1:1) some people helped build this community and are core contributors, there votes (as their advice) is worth some percentage more.

diegorbaquero 6 days ago 2 replies      
Can one apply to Apply HN if one applied to S16?
viviennelee 5 days ago 1 reply      
Curious -- Are Apply HN threads only meant for existing HN users to comment/upvote? I'd be more interested in this if it were condoned and encouraged to have my startup's existing userbase upvote and post comments about why they love the product. My typical user is not a HN user. I know it can be done anyway, but if it's viewed as "gaming" the system I wouldn't want to do that.
elliotec 6 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like a silly idea to me, frankly. What makes you think any of us are qualified to decide what the best company to fund would be? See this for precedence: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/world/europe/boaty-mcboatf...
hooande 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure about considering upvotes. People might send out message to all their friends saying "There's this thing called hackernews, can you sign up and vote for me?". Similar to how someone would launch a kickstarter. I don't think that this will be very common, especially not in the first few batches, but it will become common sense after a few years.

Remember, you're dealing with hackers here. I worked my YC application from every angle and tried to get every possible edge and advantage. Not necessarily because I wanted to game the system, but because I'm a hacker, and it's my nature [1].

On the whole, this is a really good idea. It's kind of mind blowing that YC would seriously try this. The concept itself is a brilliant hack on the idea of startup funding. Maybe they'll find the next AirBnb/Cruise/Dropbox, but probably not. Either way it's a great example of pushing the envelope to find new ideas, which sama has been all about lately.

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

botterworkshop 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant and immediately reminded me of "wisdom of the crowd" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOucwX7Z1HU start at 2:00 if TLDW).

Basically average crowd > individuals. 160 people guess # of jelly beans in a jar. Few are close, but averaging all the guesses leads to 4 away from actual.

Would be fascinating if applied to this as well...

dzink 6 days ago 0 replies      
If we read the answers to this thread as a meta lesson of what a founder would expect, I think the answers would benefit from a scorecard. A poll at the top could summarise scores. Here is my iteration for the idea of "Apply YC":

1. Would I use this product? - Only for projects I have a lot of traction with and wouldn't mind competition for, or a project I am not sure/serious about (toss and see if it sticks). Anything in between would be risky if we're serious about the "What do you know that competition doesn't" question.

2. Would I join this team? - hard to learn about team without much research on HN

3. Would I fund/work on this problem? - Yes - a low friction way to vet and support startups is needed. I've worked on other iterations to find a way. I've thought about it a lot, reply/ping me if you want to discuss.

4. What would I improve: For start, add a scorecard, so the founders can use brainpower to iterate instead of trying to interpret why they were not up-voted by strangers with different motives.

5. Any concerns: A ton can go wrong here, but what matters is what can go right - what parts of the HN experience are conducive to solving this problem, and what tweaks will finish the job of solving it. If this works, you will see a rich data set of problems that people are attempting to solve, votes that show the demand for each problem, solutions who get to see traction by potential users, and VC analysts who are trying to crunch the data to direct their own funding/sourcing, competitors taking notes, etc.

Then there are also the projects that are just poor fit with the HN subset, would you reject those in YC if you see them down-voted here?

exabrial 6 days ago 1 reply      
You guys need to diversify and try to solve hard problems that have slow paybacks. Sure making the next twitter is cool, but how about funding a startup that makes does cheap inpatient monitoring,ordering,labs,diagnosis, drug interaction, of patients at hospitals? There are huge players in that space:Epic,Cerner, etc but if you look the sheer amount of $ a hospital is willing to spend on EMR systems...
swalsh 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is the wikipedia model. The idea is so obviously bad, it just might be good.
kristoforlawson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really love that you're bringing some of the process to the HN community. I remember the first YCF batch had huge numbers of applications and I think it's likely that many great ideas were lost in that volume. Will be interesting to see what surfaces :)

P.S have submitted my idea here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11461008

ibnaks 6 days ago 1 reply      
Simple question: If we've already done a Show HN can we do a Apply HN?
augb 5 days ago 0 replies      
What are the dates for the fellowship? (As in, if accepted, when does the 8 weeks begin and end?)

Edit: Added comma.

manav 6 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea, but I think the guidelines should be clarified.

Since it's under the umbrella of the Fellowship, is YC looking for anything well beyond the idea stage?

Also, it would be useful to have some kind of simple submission process after making a post on HN so its easier to track and view all of the applications.

jbarks 5 days ago 1 reply      
This link indicates a March 24 deadline in the FAQ. It should be updated? https://fellowship.ycombinator.com/faq/
api 6 days ago 0 replies      
My couple cents: that which can be gamed will be gamed, especially in a community full of "hackers."
NicoJuicy 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think HackerNews itselve should mostly fund startups like Sendy. Eg. Have a Reseller-option ( or brands option) so you can manage stuff for clients, others and you can self host it. This adds a huge market of technical people that can create wealth for their own

That is a totally different approach then the "cloud apps" that get funded through YC or other investors, yet it supports the same "sort/type of apps".

It should require some technical experience ( i believe HN in it's core is still for technical people)

It would be interesting to see what reselling does for bootstrapping a startup ( faster sales because more brands/people can resell it ?)

Benefits, we can hack our way through the code :)

gpsgay 6 days ago 1 reply      
Very nice! Should we publicly apply uf we have already filled a yc application for this batch?
jrsnyder 6 days ago 0 replies      
Establishing a public forum for earnest discussion of startup ideas seems likely even more valuable than the actual funding of community-picked proposals. But also, the chance of receiving funding adds incentive for discussion and earnesty!

I'm excited!

rebootthesystem 5 days ago 1 reply      
OK, I'll be the one asking this question:

Are you planning on compensating the people who participate in this experiment in any way.

Here's the point: YC will be receiving a massive amount of help in filtering and vetting dozens or hundreds of potential companies to fund. Once funded, they might fail but they can also be huge successes. YC stands to make millions, tens or hundreds of millions (or better if the starts align).

So, you got a bunch of smart people to use their time and intellect to act as filters for your investment. What do they get in return?

The fair approach would be to give them some ownership. Even a single share would have meaning.

hashvin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Let's just joined with our idea to help people - Meet amazing people, & do fun stuff. Check us on: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11462402
dude_abides 6 days ago 0 replies      
My 2c: "Upvotes" is too noisy a metric, and will give too much importance to HN ranking. I strongly suggest tweaking the HN ranking model for "Apply HN" posts to be as random as possible.
sajeevaravind 3 days ago 0 replies      
Vaultedge - private Google for private data. Please post your questions, comments in the thread.https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11460485
faizshah 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea, I have a couple of questions.

Since YC Fellowship is intended for startups at the idea stage/prototype stage, is ApplyHN a catch all for businesses at the idea stage looking for feedback from the HN community?

Can you do an ApplyHN twice? Presumably once you get feedback from your initial ApplyHN idea post, you might flesh it out more and have a stronger application the second time.

If you're at the prototype stage normally you might do a ShowHN, should you create a separate post for an ApplyHN if you want to apply?

OoTheNigerian 6 days ago 1 reply      
If it will not bring about complications, can that category of submission be open for say one week.

Then the feedback and comments would be open for say another week.

Putting time restraints would help give applicants approximately the same amount of attention. And also allow members take out time and ask all questions they want.

In addition, can the submission be restricted too so we do not see 400 words submissions? I'll go for a maximum 2 mins video pitch alongside a link to a website.

Finally, great idea!

pforpineapple 6 days ago 0 replies      
Promising ! This could be an interesting way to stimulate startups from around the globe. Last time I felt this way was when I discovered Stripe Atlas.
GBond 6 days ago 2 replies      
Great idea. Can you also consider an equity arrangement for HNers who would like to invest in the selected startups?
ebbv 6 days ago 0 replies      
That's really awesome idea and I can't wait to see what kinds of cool applications come through.
jorgecastillo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Y Combinator can't get more awesome than this! I hope something great comes out of this experiment.
yikyak1 5 days ago 0 replies      
great way to discuss ideas! we are in...https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11452153
pratim 5 days ago 0 replies      
We need your thoughts on Gift Card idea. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11447924
pavornyoh 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is an excellent idea. Do you need a prototype and a team in place before participating?
_pius 6 days ago 0 replies      
OK, this is very cool. Great idea!
nojvek 6 days ago 0 replies      
I went through the startups, but its really hard to make a decision from the description. I would suggest that the startups fill answers to the YC application form so there is more data and background to ask further questions.
pratim 5 days ago 0 replies      
Please provide feedback on our Gift Card Idea. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11447924
andychase 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is such an interesting concept that I'm excited to see it happen. This also perfectly answers the call for yc to release applications of rejected applications.

Can a group or an individual submit more then one application?

speeder 6 days ago 1 reply      
If this existed a year or two ago I would apply, but now I can't :(
ball_of_lint 6 days ago 0 replies      
For the purpose of selecting startups, HN should have an option to vote for each apply outside of up votes, and then the votes ought to be weighted by reputation and account age.
n72 6 days ago 1 reply      
Given any consideration to giving some percentage of the profit YC makes to charity or something? After all, YC is benefiting from the wisdom of the crowd and the crowd gets nothing.
ausjke 5 days ago 1 reply      
How much will the YC fund be normally? Will someone be concerned to disclose the product he/she is building here when stealth mode is preferred?
rubynav 5 days ago 0 replies      
Such an awesome opportunity for a broader community! YC is making the an even playing field for everyone! Congrats YC and hope to see you soon!
kgc 6 days ago 0 replies      
Suggestion: Vote with money and use that to fund the company. The people who put their money in to fund the company become collective shareholders alongside YC.
GFischer 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think that for this experiment to be valid, only accounts created before today should be allowed to vote (or make a karma threshold for new accounts).
sgarg26 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great idea! Can we get a 'Apply HN' link added to the top menu bar as well? Would make participating in the community way easier
tommynicholas 6 days ago 1 reply      
If it's both a "Show HN" and an "Apply HN" what do you recommend as a headline? Apply and Show are related but not the same.
soneca 6 days ago 1 reply      
Suggestion: make links on Apply HN posts clickable. No reason to rely on that usual first comment "clickable here:"
tedmiston 6 days ago 0 replies      
> we'll add a top link for these

Could you add an Apply HN endpoint to the Firebase API in the same style of ask and show too?

browseatwork 6 days ago 1 reply      
Could you please unbreak /ask by moving apply posts elsewhere? /ask is much less useful now.
vishalzone2002 6 days ago 0 replies      
sounds like kickstarter on HN
wslh 6 days ago 1 reply      
Do you expect "Apply HN" to continue in Winter's batch?
alouanchi 6 days ago 1 reply      
Hi there, is it possible to post/apply for more than one idea?
jacques_chester 6 days ago 1 reply      
I feel it would be less drama-inducing, and probably as effective, to run a lottery.
jlas 6 days ago 2 replies      
What's the incentive for helping you pick the next big startup? What if you gave users a trivial amount of equity for their input?
known 5 days ago 0 replies      
Do I get paid?
sharemywin 6 days ago 1 reply      
sounds like my suggestion was a bad idea. (won't let me delete).
George_MacApp 6 days ago 0 replies      
We are two childhood friends who started company with focus and we built it without any fancy and bootstrapped it from zero to a million dollar company.

We never had time to even spend with family we just slept four to six hours and focused on what we wanted to built.

We never had any social accounts and never socialised in Internet not went to do networking.

We thought let's built a great product and enjoy doing it.

A Story of How Two Childhood Friends from Village has built their startup up from Zero to a million dollars


Only time we spent time is registering and applying for YC.

Coming from a small town with no business background, learning all things ourselves and with self motivation and dream if we were able to do this much.

Joining hands with YC we can do a lot more faster and quicker to change the world.

This is the reason we applied for YC. Even our employees are from rural they can't even communicate good in English but they code like hell.

If you ask a guy how to built an ap. A may tell a good story but not actually do it. B may do an excellent app but not tell it in an effective way. A May have more friends but B may not.

So founders we play as a team. George does the coding and he has no social accounts. I do the design idea and also communicate and be active to know what's happening in the world.

This is a good initiative let's see how it goes.

imd23 6 days ago 1 reply      
Small note: I recommend the search query to include quotes "Apply HN"
tke248 6 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if there was a link up top to filter the submissions similar to show/ask links.

Here is my submission:PaySQR - the new secure way to pay!https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11444053

TheLogothete 6 days ago 0 replies      
Bee Smart Technologies tries to tackle the Colony Collapse disorder. Cool use of technology, huge social impact, enormous monetary potential.


I'm not affiliated though.

lettergram 6 days ago 0 replies      
We are working to fix mental healthcare by adding analytics and bringing the healthcare to the patient.


filipmandaric 6 days ago 0 replies      
We have upvotes and utterly no discussion happening. Thank you HN for your unquestioning support!


tomjacobs 5 days ago 0 replies      
Zippy self driving meal delivery robots, in: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11444797
vs2370 6 days ago 0 replies      
Redoubtable 6 days ago 0 replies      
Right because the first thing I think as a founder is oh definitely I'd love to have my work judged by the insane neckbeard posse that is Hacker News Commentariat. That's totallllllly something I'd love and will likely to end up producing better and more diverse result. Sorry guys I should really not even get involved but this is baffling. HN is second only to Reddit in terms of its nasty, divisive, anti-anything that doesn't pattern match to the literalism horror show that is white men in technology.
Ask HN: What programming languages produce code most/least prone to bugs?
16 points by baccheion  1 day ago   17 comments top 7
codygman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Languages such as Haskell which move more logic into the type system are safer.

A big reason for this is that the errors are more often than not at compile time.

I'm the real world this means you deal with a bug after trying to compile, rather than an intern 8 months later trying to fix a runtime error, who is struggling to understand the codebase, much less make a good bugfix that also takes backwards compatibility into account.

mtmail 1 day ago 3 replies      
The relatively new http://elm-lang.org/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elm_%28programming_language%29) claims "no runtime errors" and the number of compile time checks of variable types and values is really strict/amazing/well-documented.

That said I tried diving a value by 0 and that threw a runtime error.

squiguy7 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an extremely loaded question. With that being said I think it's obvious that any languages with weak typing and a dynamic runtime will be more prone to hidden errors. Compilers are getting much more impressive in how they can catch common errors for static languages.

So those languages that try and protect the programmer the most will generally produce better code.

bbcbasic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Coq. Mathematical proof it works then generates the Haskell.Not exactly a rapid application development tool though.
drallison 1 day ago 0 replies      
WizardlySquid's comment below was greyed out, probably in error. I have fetched it out of limbo because the point being made is cogent and important.

WizardlySquid 1 hour ago [dead]

Languages don't create bug, people create bugs and there will always be bugs. Instead of looking for the new hotness just study your chosen language more, carefully research your problem, spend more time designing your system to be fault more tolerant and test the system to find the bugs you do have. If we're talking only about languages introducing bugs it's best to have a mature language that works best for your problem and that you are proficient at.

I agree. Programming languages are tools. They help structure problem solving. They provide convenient notations. They have hidden gotchas (sometimes). Some languages may be a better match to a particular problem than another. Programming languages are not a substitute for thought, careful design, and analysis. Language flame wars, endless comparisons, strong assertions of language goodness, and anecdotal tales of greatness are fun to read, sometimes provocative, but in the end remain (for me) unconvincing.

setra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Haskell, and Rust tend to be pretty safe.
WizardlySquid 1 day ago 1 reply      
Languages don't create bug, people create bugs and there will always be bugs. Instead of looking for the new hotness just study your chosen language more, carefully research your problem, spend more time designing your system to be fault more tolerant and test the system to find the bugs you do have. If we're talking only about languages introducing bugs it's best to have a mature language that works best for your problem and that you are proficient at.
Ask HN: How do apps get posted on Product Hunt?
5 points by karimdag  12 hours ago   4 comments top 3
vr3690 5 hours ago 0 replies      
From what I have seen on PH, you are guaranteed best results if the person "hunting" the app is a PH poweruser or an influencer in general.
mtmail 6 hours ago 1 reply      
https://medium.com/@benjiwheeler/how-product-hunt-really-wor...discussed here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10739875argues that knowing people on the inside is the best approach (sadly
mirap 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is quite difficult. Basically the only working trick is to be friend with Ryan Hoover.
Spots a view controller framework for iOS development
2 points by zenangst  12 hours ago   1 comment top
10dpd 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem with these types of frameworks is that as soon as you try to do something just outside of the provided templates and examples they either 1. break badly or 2. require a lot more time and effort than just developing the thing natively.
Ask HN: How do I share equity with a sales partner?
27 points by nns  2 days ago   16 comments top 12
trjordan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are you looking for a sales rep or a cofounder?

If the former, high commissions are motivating. Anything the rep sells at this point is a sale you wouldn't otherwise have. If you're worried about the "wrong" kind of sale, you can put bounds on what you'll pay commission on, like "nothing below $X dollars" or "nothing if the company doesn't fit the definition of 'good fit'".

If you're looking for a cofounder, then give them a meaningful equity chunk of the company, vested over 4 years.

Sales is hard enough -- don't try to come up with a comp plan that adds a bunch of complexity to a rep's decisionmaking. When a customer is ready to buy, you want in clear in the reps head whether they should push for a longer contract, or a higher per-month rate, or a strategic fit for product development.

What does your company need right now?

katpas 2 days ago 0 replies      
The best thing I've ever read on coming up with a sales commission structure is this article by Lars Dalgaard > http://a16z.com/2015/07/23/sales-compensation-beware-you-get...
cynusx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would advise against incorporating a company until the first sale is made. You want to delay this as much as possible. When you do incorporate, setup reverse vesting for him so you can easily get his equity back in the case you have to fire him.

Vest his equity over 4 years with a one-year cliff.This way you have a full year to evaluate if you want him as co-founder/salesperson.If he is not happy to be under this performance-based scheme then that's a huge red flag.After all, you have already proved you can hold your side of the bargain but he has not.

If you are already incorporated then you will have to setup a stock option pool with similar terms.

In terms of fairness of compensation, this depends on the competitive landscape. You should probably try to source a few more potential salespeople to get a feeling of what that landscape looks like.

tobinharris 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whatever you decide will probably be wrong.

So I'd try and set your sales guy up for success, get him off to a positive start, and be generous with commission. Agree targets that should be achievable.

If he's amazing, you'll want to agree something attractive to both of you. Possibly involving equity. If he can't sell your stuff, then you'll probably want to try someone else. So you'll need the ability to "undo.

brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is the legal structure of the company?

Is the focus of business operations to produce recurring cash flow for the owners or is it to produce capital gains via growth of the underlying equity?

What is the vesting period for your equity?

Sales person psychology:

1. Sales people are always enthusiastic.

2. Commission based sales incentivize closing deals that don't advance a company's general interests.

3. A milestone based contract can help align interests.

Good luck.

rrival 2 days ago 0 replies      
Make sure they're commission incentivized. I learned this the hard, expensive way. If there's a way to structure equity grants around sales performance, do it. At the very least, make sure you have minimum requirements beyond 1 year of time for your cliff on any equity agreements - ideally, attach a reasonable sales target as a schedule.

Don't let them sell you on vesting based on time - they're not adding value if they're not selling.

katpas 1 day ago 0 replies      
A16z have just released a podcast on this exactly >https://overcast.fm/+BlzEI52II
jheriko 2 days ago 1 reply      
you should be vary careful.

never forget that sales people are good at selling things, which includes their own value, whereas traditionally software developers are not.

you may be particularly talented in this area for all i know, but be aware of this.

making reward results based to avoid becoming a victim of their superior ability to convince you they are worth more than they are. commission is a classic approach... its hard to argue with getting paid better if you do good work... but it does incentivise bad work if not done carefully.

... on the other hand, if you get legal advice to draw up paperwork for sharing equity the default position is to make it very difficult to cash in on, so offering equity might be safer... but i'm not sure the recipient will enjoy having to learn the lesson of how difficulty equity can be to turn into cash.

what kind of product is it? do you really need sales? usually its a way to sell more, not sell at all...

all of that said, why not discuss it with them and see what they expect too? that might be an easy way to rule them out or bring them onboard because what they might want might be either completely unrealistic, or undervaluing themselves.

adamqureshi 2 days ago 0 replies      
10% commission for the first sale he gets you. SEE what happens after that.
TheRealmccoy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hello !

If you shall require help with sales at your startup, please do let me know. I don't require anything in return but may not be able to devote a lot of time, but would try to do my best.

I have more than 15 years of hardcore sales experience across 7 different industries, this includes working on my own startups for 52 months.


Spooky23 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just give him money. An entitled salesdude is a problem.
sharemywin 1 day ago 0 replies      
don't do anything until 3-6 months of constant sales.
For those who were rejected this time from YC, keep grinding
16 points by imjonathanlee  1 day ago   7 comments top 3
PhilWright 20 hours ago 0 replies      
'Getting rejected from YC is in no way a reflection of the quality of your startup'

Yes it is a reflection on quality. They no doubt get it wrong but they have a pretty good track record so it does have some reflection on quality. They are not just randomly picking people. If you have applied 10 times in a row then stop, just stop and get on with building your business.

Getting into YC is a bonus but stop obsessing on it. Facebook and Google didn't go through YC and they seem to have done well. Concentrate on building your business.

h1r0 23 hours ago 1 reply      
It would have been nice for them to spend more than 10 seconds (literally) evaluating our demo. Also, YC specifically requires you to have a password-less login so most types of authentication system will have to be retooled or deliberately broken for them. Just my 2c
bbcbasic 1 day ago 1 reply      
And keep bulk-buying those noodles.
Ask HN: Is it worth paying for a Coursera course?
135 points by eecks  3 days ago   110 comments top 42
paukiatwee 3 days ago 2 replies      
I personally paid one course and one specialization courses.

There are the reasons why I paid:

1. The course is awesome and I want to support the authors.

2. The course I paid is new learning area I never use professionally during job but I wish to use at my job (or new job). Instead of say "I interested in XYZ", I said "I interested in XYZ so I took online course to learn" at my interview. This is to partially solve chicken and egg problem.

3. For serious courses, I pay so I can have pressure and motivation to complete it.

henrik_w 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've taken several Coursera courses all the way since the beginning. My general impression is that the quality has gone down.Personally, I don't care about the certificates. I think a much better way to demonstrate that you have taken a course is to apply what you have learned, or blog about it, or review it on one of the review sites (I think the biggest ones are Class Central and Course Talk).

Courses I have taken (and reviewed):







Review sites:



munin 3 days ago 3 replies      
Coursera's assessment methodology started off bad, and when they moved to the new platform it became even worse. It's now basically impossible to write meaningful or good examinations using their platform.

Previously, you could do novel things like limit the number of times students could re-take exams and assign different point values to different questions. No longer!

All a Coursera completion tells me is that you were persistent enough to go back and re-take the (multiple choice) exams enough times to get a passing grade.

wallflower 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is it worth paying for a course?


Is it worth paying for a course so that you complete it?

Yes. Paying for something hits us hard in the accountability checkbook. The more you pay (and the harder it is to get out of), the more you are committed.

Is it worth paying for a course and telling your friends, significant other, random strangers that you are going to learn X, even if that course is only part of learning X, so that you cannot quit because of pride and accountability?

Big YES.

hyperpape 3 days ago 0 replies      
I took four or five Coursera courses in 2012-2013 while trying to get into the industry. I listed the completed courses on my resume. Employers seemed mildly intrigued but never made a big deal about them, and no one ever asked to see certificates (back then they offered free certificates of completion if you completed the course with a sufficient grade--there was no webcam of typing verification back then, and I think the certificate was just a pdf you downloaded or something).

My experience may not generalize, but I'm not sure I'd worry about it.

Note: I also had an undergrad degree (math and philosophy, and graduate degree in philosophy, but no school CS experience. No idea how this changes if you don't have any degree).

Fundlab 3 days ago 0 replies      
My take as I have tried used all the major platforms. Edx has quality and more challenging tutorials Udacity is project focused, and coursera has lost its grip by chopping up courses and charging fees for each module.

If you feel the need to pay for anything I suggest you go for Edx Micromasters program or Udacity's Nanodegree. I think you'll derive a lot more from that.

bobadams5 3 days ago 0 replies      
I paid* for and passed the cyber-security specialization from the University of Maryland. Overall I think it was worth it since I learned a lot and met some interesting people. Half of the courses were substantially less useful than the other half (Hardware Security / Usable Security were not as informative as Software Security / Cryptography). I added the specialization to my LinkedIn profile & Resume but I've never had anyone ask about it.

Coincidentally at my old job I was the cyber-security expert for my domain (HW), which only meant that I would be assigned to security relevant programs if we got any (we didn't), and they paid to send me to Defcon. They didn't even know I was taking the specialization, just that I like to talk about security.

*I say paid because I just got a refund since apparently there are some issues with migrating courses to a new format and not offering enough of them this year.

ghaff 3 days ago 1 reply      
I suppose it wouldn't work for the VC-funded ventures like Coursera whose investors were presumably looking for big exits, but I've actually wondered if an organization like edX wouldn't have been better just having a "suggested donation" of the same magnitude as what a book costs--say $25 or so.

As soon as you have a formal price for a certificate, it shifts the conversation to how much personal value I'm getting from the certificate specifically as opposed to doing my small part to keep this sort of educational material available.

davismwfl 3 days ago 0 replies      
My 2 cents. Are you going to learn something at the end of the course? If yes, then it is worth paying something for, how much is depending on the value you feel it will net you.

Is a certification worth it. Personally, not likely, but I know people that live and die by the certs they hold. So to each their own. Is it going to get you in the door of an employer? Maybe if you have little or no experience and the guy/gal applying with you is similar it might give you a leg up. Otherwise, what you do and how you present yourself is more important than any certification you pass.

When I was actively hiring, I cared far more about what you have done, what you can explain to/show me, then any piece of paper you could present.

mindo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just couple days ago I decided to give 5 weeks android course on edx a shot. I'm in week 5, spend like 3-4hrs to complete 1-4 weeks work (including time spent watching videos), wrote probably no more than 30-50 lines of code mostly something simple as "smth++". I feel like the quality went down dramatically compared to first courses they had, now its all about the money...
booop 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're talking only about the certificate: No.

Put the skills you learned in your resume or start working on projects which demonstrates those skills. List out the courses you completed under the 'Trainings' section of the resume and Mention MOOCs under your hobbies (If you have such a section a resume).

I was very interested in MOOCs (ai-class was awesome!) but unfortunately most of them seem to have gone the 'pay XX to get this certificate you can to print out!' route to make money.

The fact that you're interested in MOOCs says many positive things about you and shows that you're interested in learning and improving your skill-set, and at this point in time, I would be very surprised if anyone gave two shits about the certificate, because who the hell lies about taking a MOOC?

And in the case of coursera - many of the courses are actually poor quality. Udacity and Edx (especially EdX) seem to take quality much more seriously.

soofaloofa 3 days ago 1 reply      
For anyone interested I posted a review of the Data Science Specialization that I paid for and completed:


afs35mm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I took and completed Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 1 (https://www.coursera.org/course/algo) for free, and it was 100% worth it. It was just the right amount of challenging, intellectually stimulating, and language agnostic so I think it actually made me a better JavaScript programmer in addition.

I made it a point to meet all the deadlines and assignments, which kept me honest and forced me to be timely. It was free when I did it, but I'm not sure if that's changed since looking at other courses I don't seem able to receive a certificate or weekly grades if not paying... Point being it may be worth it to pay just so you feel incentivized to finish the course with a passing grade :)

ken47 3 days ago 2 replies      
If you believe an education system is directly tied to the advancement of humankind, globalizing access to advanced subject matter from some of the world's top professors could actually alter the course of human history for better. If that's something you care about, then it's probably something supporting with money.

It removes a suffocating constraint on the structure of the education system: finding instructors X capable of teaching some advanced/esoteric subject to students Y, in a sufficiently small geographic space. Under this constraint, sometimes the only solution has been a dumbed-down, cookie-cutter curriculum. Once online learning has matured, this will no longer be the case.

spriggan3 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do the certs hold any value ? compared to a diploma or real work experience, the answer is no.

Can it be a plus on a CV the anwser is yes as it show you're willing to learn new techs/ skills continuously.

Coursera has great courses, no question, but clearly their certs offer very little value compared to official diplomas.

gauravgupta 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There is enough free educational material on the web (google for Hackr.io etc.) What is the point of paying for a course if good (sometimes even better!) stuff is available for free?
junko 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm on my 3rd module of a game design specialisation course.

So far I thought it was good, the content is not super deep but I kinda like it that way because it could fit in my busy schedule easier while also allowing me to practice writing. That's really my motivation to take the course, if I can start thinking like a game designer for 250, that's awesome enough. Personally I've 'outgrown'video games but taking the course has reignited that interest and I'm seriously considering a game idea :D

My assessments aren't multiple choice tests though, I had to submit written work every week which is then reviewed by at least two other classmates. I thought that system's pretty good. The forums are useless I find, as it's easy to have so many 'heyy nice to meet you' threads that I don't bother checking anymore. I do wish that we can have access to the tutors themselves though, it's not practical i guess but that would definitely enhance the course experience.

waitingkuo 3 days ago 2 replies      
Disclaimer: I've paid for many courses but never paid for a specialiazation.

I personally don't care about the effect of the certificate. I paid simply because what instructor taught me worth more than it cost.

mindcrime 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hate to sound glib, the answer really is "it depends". I'd question any blanket statements being made by anyone here, especially any saying "Coursera certifications hold no value" (or the opposite).

Ultimately it's just like any other certification, certificate, diploma, etc... the value is in the eye of the beholder. If you're applying for some jobs, I'm about 100% certain there are some people who would snicker and laugh at a Coursera cert and refuse to give it any weight whatsoever. OTOH, I am absolutely 100% certain that some people will give it at least a moderate amount of weight (I can say that, as I know I would do so).

Like other certifications like, say, being a Sun Certified Java Programmer or something, you usually don't want to be in a position where you're trying to stand on that as your only credential, unless you are very young and early in your career. But if you had, for example, just graduated high-school and already gained a SCJP and a Data Science certification from Coursera, I'd be darn impressed and would probably want to hire you.

Similarly, if you've been programming for 10 years, in, say, Python and Java, and you're trying to transition away from "plain" programming and move more into data science, then complementing your existing skills and knowledge by gaining some data science / machine learning certifications from Coursera (or Edx, or whatever) could, in some situations, give you the leverage to start bridging from one career track to another.

Ultimately, it's a judgment call. Myself, given how inexpensive the paid Coursera classes are (most of them seem to be around $50), I've chosen to go the paid route for a number of the ones I've taken. I've also done a bunch where I was literally in it for the knowledge alone and didn't bother with the certification. I wish I could tell you some strictly deterministic algorithm for figuring out when/if it makes sense to pay for a given class, but I honestly don't know. All I can tell you is that I think it does make sense in at least some situations.

genedickson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Recent memory research supports the way they structure the testing. The repetition and redoing things until you get the score of 100% not only shows sticktoitiveness, but the process improves retention.Also, the way they have the video lectures stop and ask questions which require the correct answer before continuing improves retention.So far, all the courses I've looked at have a free option, but some are more free than others. One course I enrolled for would let me take the tests, but wouldn't grade them. Guess what I didn't finish? What do the certificates look like? Do they name the school providing the class? Lots of colleges and universities are offering courses on coursera. Some charge more than others for the certificate. In theory, the value of the certificates should be affected by the outfit presenting the course. What does it matter who gives the course if the certificate is going to only say coursera? A certificate from a famous school is a certificate from a famous school. Coursera is just a classroom.
sidchilling 3 days ago 5 replies      
Has anyone completed any business courses / specialisations on Coursera? Are they worth it for a developer trying to make the move into a business-oriented role? And, do you think, that certificates matter for securing such roles in companies?
MangezBien 3 days ago 0 replies      
I pay for mine but not because I care about the certs. I have a better completion rate when I pay for the course (80% v 10%). I know it is purely a mental thing but it works for me and is worth the money I pay.
blabla_blublu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've taken a couple of courses and paid for one. The reason I paid it was simple - I loved the course, wanted to make a clear commitment that I was going to finish this one (I am poor with finishing projects :/).

The $49 for most courses was something which I could afford and it helped in serving as additional motivation. The reward at the end of it all felt good as well!

brudgers 3 days ago 0 replies      
For some people, but not others, paying for the course helps motivate the person toward completion.

For some people, but not others, the certificate holds value independent of the learning experience. That also can motivate the learner to completion or increase esteem for an applicant to an academic or commercial solicitation.

I have a bunch of the free unverified certificates from a few years ago. I found the certification process motivating and a useful time management tool.

Good luck.

ben_jones 3 days ago 1 reply      
About 5 years ago when I was still in high school I found $500 in a derelict paypal account that had been locked. Having finally gotten a debit card I was able to unlock the paypal account by linking my bank account. I decided to immediately chuck $350 of it at coursera (although it could've been a similar product I can't remember). I wanted to become a successful mobile app developer and self-learning seemed the best way to go.

Long story short the courses I happened to pick were of low quality and never completed. Four years later I still cringe when I hear the word eclipse (even though I'm getting into mobile development now after a few years in webdev land). While I'm sure there are a number of very good courses, and quite a few people capable of completing them and benefiting from them in their lives, I believe I was at the time not only the prime demographic for the product but also in the majority of their users.

TLDR; you can make any learning opportunity beneficial. Is courser and similar products worth the effort to make productive? Maybe, maybe not. There are other alternatives that should always be researched.

ghaff 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with most of the other answers here. If paying provides personal incentive or you want to "give back" (although I suspect that most of the money goes to Coursera and its VCs rather than the creator of the content), sure, go ahead. However, outside of edge cases such as needing a verified certificate for a continuing education requirement or something along those lines, it's hard to imagine the certificate itself having a lot of value.

(Which is one of the challenges for MOOCs. On the one hand, most adults aren't going to pay a lot of money just for a learning experience. On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be a lot of value in the MOOC certification process. I suppose that a specialization from a good school might be worth something in the absence of other relevant background that you could point to, but I have to believe it's marginal.)

VLM 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is it worth paying for the streaming rights to a TV program you can watch for free OTA? Is it worth paying fraternity dues when you could just have a party with friends?

As a hobby I'd say its pretty cheap per hour. I've paid for some of the data science classes.

m0atz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with some of the comments about effectively being able to play the exam game. That said, some courses I've seen have offered extra credit, and distinction grades, if certain extra work is undertaken which is not simply guessing exam questions multiple times. Such an example is Cryptography by Prof Katz which is part of the Cybersecurity specialisation. You can pass the course by playing the system, but to do well you need to write code to crack crypto systems. Not something everyone is capable of and offers a different perspective on the overall result. I've done several coursera courses and they've landed me some pretty decent jobs. Just depends on how You sell them :-
BostonEnginerd 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've paid for a few courses to simply pay for the content that I'm watching. The Coursera crypto course was excellent. Lately, the better courses that I've seen have been on the edX platform.
joelberman 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't care if you paid for it or not. I care if you learned anything.
unhppy_student 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think is worth to pay for a course or specialization beyond the motivation of not losing the money invested because there is no difference at all between the free and paid version, which is more frustrating are the support forums, they are run very cheaply, getting an answer could take weeks and it's just the blind leading the blind, also there is no guarantee that a course offered today will be offered in the future, have that in mind if you start an specialization, if you miss a course it's impossible to get something that you paid for.
zura 3 days ago 0 replies      
For the 3rd party (ones that you want to show off the achievement), I don't think there is any difference between "Passed course on Coursera" vs "Passed course on Coursera and paid for certificate".
kercker 3 days ago 2 replies      
From answers given by some CS professors on Quora, just a cert from a MOOC means nothing to them if you are applying for PhD.What they really care is if you have mastered the techniques you got from learning the MOOC.
guptarohit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Currently I am taking specialization in Python, it is Awesome. I can't pay for certificate so applied for financial aid. I've also received certificates for three courses in this specialization, all with 100%.For me it is fun learning experience.
smappy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have several from when they were free, and none from when they started to charge for them. I don't think it means anything, really. You can print your own score screen and show interviewers and it would mean as much as a coursera-generated pdf..
tolgahanuzun 3 days ago 0 replies      
Internet a great source. Internet resembles the sea.I think you should pay.
ipozgaj 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wait what? You actually have to pay for Coursera courses nowadays? I remember they used to be completely free (as in "free beer")
booleanbetrayal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have you tried Smartly yet (https://smart.ly). Totally free!
thefastlane 3 days ago 0 replies      
i'd say a course's institution of origin would play the biggest role in determining the certificate's 'value'. never hurts to say you got a certificate from yale. nobody's going to think you did your phd there, but it's still a fun resume stuffer.
rsmsky1 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think they have some financial aid for some people. That might be worth looking into.
readme 3 days ago 0 replies      
It 100% depends what your goal in taking the course is.
irixusr 3 days ago 2 replies      
A follow up question to the OP's:

Which courses are worth taking?

Ask HN: Those who got YC S16 interviews, what's your startup?
6 points by myroon5  1 day ago   3 comments top
minimaxir 1 day ago 1 reply      
No YC S16 company will announce that they are in the batch, as it has press value (IMO, nowadays I disagree with that, but that's a topic for another day)
Ask HN: Getting harassed at work for my sexuality, what should i do?
47 points by yahyaheee  2 days ago   38 comments top 17
ScottBurson 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, you're not getting the right advice here at all.

I haven't been in this situation, but I believe very strongly that you should consult an attorney before going to HR. There are attorneys who specialize in employment law. They will tell you what to do as far as recordkeeping, the legality of recording these incidents in your jurisdiction, etc.

The thing to keep in mind is that HR's job is to protect the company, not you. They're not "teacher", exactly, and you can't necessarily trust them.

Personally, I think the behavior you're describing is abominable -- besides being highly illegal -- and I hope you sue their asses for a big pile of money. But, whether to litigate or not will be up to you.

dalke 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oracle HR should be trained in EEOC regulations and guidelines. https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/enforcement_protecti... describes some of them. https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/brochure-gender_stere... gives a phone number to call where the EEOC might "explain whether the situation you face is lawful or unlawful." 1-800-669-4000 . I have never tried that number and I don't know the quality of the response.

If you talk with HR, phrases that will catch their attention are "hostile environment" and "discrimination based on sexual orientation."

If you go the HR/EEOC route, know your rights concerning anti-retaliation. (HR may not tell you about them. Their job is to protect the company, and not necessarily give you information beyond the minimum to do that.) Start at https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/facts-retal.cfm . In short, complaining about harassment in good faith, even if it eventually is not judged to be harassment, is a protected activity. The company is not allowed to conduct adverse actions against you, nor allow employees to do so.

That doesn't mean things will get better if you go that route. I have no experience with it. I mention it only so you know some about what the law says.

SEJeff 2 days ago 1 reply      
Being a hetero male engineer, I find your story quite appalling. My advice to you would be to go to HR immediately. It isn't being a tattletale when you're being discriminated against or being made fun of in mean spirits. In fact, the HR term for this is sexual harassment, which I suspect a serious business firm like Oracle has a 0 tolerance rule for to CYA against lawsuits.
gpsgay 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would say that if you are open and have no problem with who you are (as you seem to be based on your comment), maybe a good idea would be to talk to them directly and address the comments... If that doesn't work, then go to HR... But that's just me, at this point I have no problem in telling people about my sexuality, and I have always been a very direct person that can't keep her mouth shout (which isn't always the best of things). I have not been in a position like that at work, so I guess it depends on several things, starting on how "friendly" your workplace is...

If you don't have people to talk about this, I invite you to join GPSGAY and further discuss.

Good luck!

hlieberman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oracle is a large enough company that I'm sure they have an employee resource group for LGBT people that you could reach out to.

If you do go to HR, document /everything/ -- names and dates when the harassment started, exactly who has been involved, who you talk to and when in HR, and what they said. HR isn't there to protect you; they're there to protect the company from liability. Generally, in these sort of situations, the liability is best resolved by disciplining those bothering you, but it can swing the other way often enough that it's best to have your ducks in a row.

partisan 2 days ago 1 reply      
That is really horrible and I am sorry you are going through something like that. You shouldn't have to. The fact that they feel comfortable speaking about your sexuality in ANY way means that the culture has allowed this to happen.

I would consult an employment lawyer. Here is the sad truth of the matter: you are probably going to be on the losing end of this. You will likely be passed over for promotions and will likely face increased harassment. HR tends to be a leaky sieve so do not trust that they will do their job.

So, stand for your principles and take no prisoners or nurture your career and grow a much thicker skin than anyone would have to. Or leave.

a3n 2 days ago 1 reply      
Unless you really like it there, just leave. You have skills. And it sounds like you're not surrounded by other people with skills; that must be a little disheartening.

If you want to stay, maybe talk to the people involved, or not, and possibly your manager or his manager. But definitely go to HR, and take notes or make them later, in a notebook not owned by the company. And be prepared to be officially harrassed or fired. The notes may help the employment suit, or the application for unemployment.

Either way, start testing the waters, even to the point of an interview.

Caveat: I have no direct experience with this problem.

drewmassey 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just print out this thread and hang it up somewhere conspicuous. I'd expect that would get the appropriate amount of attention.
dancecrazy 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's better to talk to people than about them: you know how that feels, right? These are people you work with, and will continue to work with, if you resolve the situation, so I think you should just call one of them on what they are saying. Talk one-on-one with frankness and humor and a willingness to forgive. If you approach it as adult-to-adult, they may not react like a stupid kid.
shados 2 days ago 0 replies      
For the people saying "go to HR", if I remember well from my friends who work there, Oracle's HR is something like 4 people for the entire company (everything is automated).

So it's more like "send an email to HR people you've never seen or heard of", and with how impersonal that is, it's easier said than done.

Still, in this current political context, big tech companies don't want to be seen as unsupportive of these issues, so it's still probably the best bet. Contact HR :)

hluska 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a hetero guy so I've never been in your situation. Consequently, take this advice (and the question that precedes it) with several grains of salt.

Who do you have to talk to? Do you have a solid support network of people who know you're bi and support you unconditionally??

I ask because the next steps are potentially hard, especially if you're surrounded by the type of prep school types who tend to stick together in groups.

I need to edit this in response to an excellent comment by mtviewdave, who suggested that depending on where you live, surreptitiously recording a conversation may be illegal. Look into the law first!!(Source - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11468484)

That said, the next time that you hear them talking about you, try to record the conversation. This prevents a you versus them situation where their own best witnesses are the co-accused. Their defense could (and likely will) be that you misheard them...

Once you have it recorded, I wouldn't bother trying to tell them to grow up and knock it off. Simply walk into HR and make a formal complaint.

I understand that you've never been the type to go to the teacher, but seriously dude, someone sitting two seats down from you may be in a deep closet and their closet could be deepening (and get more lonely) with each of their barbs.

I'm sorry that you're going through this and I wish I could do more. Best of luck and good on you for coming here to talk about this.

coldtea 2 days ago 1 reply      
Send an email to the whole gang with this, and tell them how it's not their fucking problem, and that you'll going to the HR next.

They'll shut up in no time.

burfog 2 days ago 0 replies      
You hear people talking about you, and you think you are being pushed out. I expect you will dismiss this possibility, but...

It just occurred to me that my brother had this too. He was certain that people would talk about him being gay. It wasn't actually happening. He was starting to get schizophrenia.

If this is happening to you, you won't want to believe it. Prove it: get checked.

drewmassey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also you could show print out this thread from HN which would surely have some cultural capital.
borplk 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't give you specific advice. However DO NOT FORGET that HR has the company's best interest in mind, not yours.
Mz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The sooner you act, the better. I am a woman and I worked for a Fortune 500 company and the very first time a specific man said something to me that I felt was beyond the pale, I emailed him and copied our two bosses that he was never to speak to me that way again. I got interviewed by HR and explained the back story and my reasoning. My impression is he got sent to sensitivity training.

Please do not wait any longer. Address this ASAP. Doing nothing just grows the problem and the longer it goes on, the harder it will be to resolve. Any time you run into something like this, you should address it sooner rather than later. Prejudice based problems do not begin with violence. They begin with disrespect. The longer the disrespect goes unchecked, the more likely something really ugly will come of it. The sooner you act, the more likely it is you can stop it.

nickysielicki 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have you tried talking to them directly?
Ask HN: Is there evidence regarding PG's theory about powerful languages?
80 points by kartickv  2 days ago   67 comments top 26
hiphipjorge 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is totally subjective, but I think we're at a point where the language ecosystem is much more important than the actual language. This was probably not the case when pg was writing software for Viaweb and there wasn't nearly as much FOSS that you could just use. At that point in time the LANGUAGE was probably much more important because there was not a lot of differentiation beyond that. Now, we're at a point where the language isn't as important and the ECOSYSTEM around it is much more powerful that then language itself.
paulsutter 1 day ago 4 replies      
Paul Graham says that Viaweb was able to run circles around their competitors because Lisp gave them a big advantage[1]. Of course, Facebook ran circles around their competitors. Myspace, friendster, left in the dust.

So is PHP more powerful than Lisp? (/s) His logic suggests so (given the relative performance of Viaweb vs Facebook).

Having great programmers matters more than using any specific tool.

[1] from http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html

"It must have seemed to our competitors that we had some kind of secret weapon-- that we were decoding their Enigma traffic or something. In fact we did have a secret weapon, but it was simpler than they realized. No one was leaking news of their features to us. We were just able to develop software faster than anyone thought possible."

EDIT: Added (/s) since sarcasm was apparently nonobvious

bcjordan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Aaron Swartz wrote in 2005 about Reddit's switch from Lisp to Python, noting some upset reactions in the Lisp community.


> Another figured something else must be going on: Could this bea lie? To throw off competition? Its not as though Paul Graham hasnt hinted at this tactic in his essays

kristianp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting that no-one has pointed out here the dynamic vs static or scripted vs compiled dimensions.

Facebook's use of php arguably allows them to build new features quickly, just as Viaweb's use of Lisp. But is it the dynamic nature of those languages that allows the faster development, not the 'power'?

It seems accepted that dynamic languages allow faster development, but static languages are more able to prevent bugs. It varies from language to language of course.

Apparently the research studies on static vs dynamic have many problems though, so you can argue that there is no evidence that one is "better" than the other: http://danluu.com/empirical-pl/

Maybe we should have a coding competition that has an equal number of (lisp, perl, php, ruby, python) experts vs (haskell, ocaml) experts and see how fast they can add features, vs how buggy those features are. Haskell and Ocaml are powerful, but 'very static', so it would be an interesting comparison.

striking 2 days ago 4 replies      
I can't give you statistical evidence, but it's well known (or often said, at least) that using the right tool for the job makes the odds of success a lot higher.

That being said, "right" is very different from pg's "powerful", especially as he says:

> Lisp is so great not because of some magic quality visible only to devotees, but because it is simply the most powerful language available.

In my opinion (and this person's[1]), Lisp is "powerful" in that it lets you express anything quickly and easily in a way that makes sense to you.

That doesn't mean it makes sense to anyone, nor does that mean it's compatible with anything else.

And where he says:

> What's less often understood is that there is a more general principle here: that if you have a choice of several languages, it is, all other things being equal, a mistake to program in anything but the most powerful one.

I feel he is sorely mistaken. The best programming language for the job is the one that most easily and quickly fits the requirements, given your experience level and the intrinsic attributes of the languages in question. That may be less true when you're working on a personal project rather than one for work... but from an engineering standpoint, development speed is very important.

PHP may be near-universally reviled as a language, but I won't contest the fact that it runs anywhere, quickly. If you needed to quickly put up a blog at least some time ago, the answer was almost always "use Wordpress and PHP".

Python is slow. Painfully slow. Slow as in "it stores the entire AST at runtime and lets you modify it while the program runs" slow. But it's also great at numerical computation with numpy. And it's enormously flexible (which is what makes it slow). And it's clean. It writes really well. For a quick mathematical processing program or website whose code needs to be legible, it's great.

This goes on for just about any language. There are reasons to, and not to, use a programming language. It's not just "power" that's important, it's a number of factors. I hate many languages with a passion, but I'll agree that those languages still have their uses. So I disagree with pg here.

1: http://www.lambdassociates.org/blog/bipolar.htm

tyre 1 day ago 4 replies      
No, but you can frame it in a way where he was correct.

Look at some of the largest tech companies and what languages they used to get big:

 - Facebook: PHP - Twitter: Ruby - Dropbox: Python - Box: PHP - Github: Ruby - AirBnB: Ruby
Probably not what PG would have had in mind.

If you move away from his objective claim about Lisp's "power" to a subjective metric based on "the right tool for the job", then sure. (Though reading e.g. Hackers and Painters, his argument around Lisp was specific to the power of that language.)

PHP perfectly fits the "move fast and break things" mantra of early Facebook. Ruby allowed for quick iteration at early Twitter.

Note that Facebook built a PHP-to-C++ compiler called HipHop, while Twitter switched largely to Scala. Box (to the best of my knowledge) has supplemented PHP with Java and Scala. Github maintained a custom fork of Rails for a long time to achieve the performance it needed.

So no, it doesn't appear that Lisp-flavoured companies have an advantage.

nl 2 days ago 2 replies      
Read the date on those essays. You'll note that they were all written prior to YC building momentum.

I think it's fair to say they are based on PG's early experiences, but it didn't appear to generalize.

You'll note he stopped writing about it, and YC funded plenty of companies that used many, many different languages.

stray 1 day ago 1 reply      
You will find no meaningful statistical evidence because it can't be done -- programming languages don't write software. Programmers do -- and programmers are made of meat.

A bad programmer using Lisp will be less successful than a good programmer using PHP.

And startups almost universally (regardless of the back-justifications they come up with) choose programming languages based on fashion: Rsum driven development.

The successful programming language for a startup is one that the product can be built in -- and that investors will not be alarmed by. PHP would not be alarming at all to many investors -- so PHP is a decent choice if you intend to sell your company off anyway.

wasdfan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can only speak from anecdotal memory, but I'm pretty sure Wit.AI primarily used clojure (arguably one of the most expressive lisps of all time) to go from 0 to acquisition in 18(!) months for what was essentially a pure software product.
alayne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Alan Kay has a more generalized idea about building up abstractions that I like better. I think he mentioned it in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdSD07U5uBs

I, like many in this thread, think that good people are more important than a particular programming language.

agumonkey 1 day ago 1 reply      
There may be a little more structure behind this. Lisp, at his time, was incredibly different and prone to creativity and abstractions[1]. Amazing vehicle to explore. Most of the socially successful languages aren't about exploration but about economy of scale, lever. Most people are more happy building application by standing on shoulders of libs rather than finding new solutions to odd problems. I feel it's a bit similar to Haskell these days. They reinvent a world with their own abstractions, extremely powerful ones (concise yet general yet fast) but lots of people don't want to abstract this way.

[1] at a cost, you'd need high end machines to enjoy the benefits without the memory/gc issues.

jandrewrogers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Note that he says the most powerful language for the job. Which language is the "most powerful" varies greatly by application, and would include mainstream languages in a variety of contexts. For example, C++11 is the power language of choice for databases engines, and a reasonable argument could be made that languages like Python and PHP are as well in certain contexts. On the other hand, some application domains are arguably better served with esoteric languages.

In other words, use the best tool for the job. LLVM IR also deserves mention for its role as a kind of ur-language that can express all others in many modern applications. The ability to easily design and dynamically compile purpose-built languages is proving to be useful in many contexts.

a-saleh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found a blog-post that tries to do this sort of comparison: http://codingvc.com/which-technologies-do-startups-use-an-ex...

I think there are two valid reasons for choosing non-mainstream language.

First, you know the language and want to work in it. A.f.a.i.k that was the main reason why PG chose it to build his company.

Second, if you know the technology is a good fit for your product, for example WhatsApp and Erlang seem to be good example for this.

d0m 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think you should use whatever you're best with. There are so many risks in a startup that you might as well not add another technical risk. PG was a lisp expert so it made sense for him to use it.
ankurdhama 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are enormous number of factors that play a role in the success of startups and most of them are more important than the programming language they use. By the way I have never understood how "powerful" can be the property of a programming language? If you have people with good experience in X language then no matter how "powerful" language Y is, it cannot compete with that experience.
lpolovets 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is somewhere between anecdotal and statistical evidence, but I wrote a post about technology vs. startup quality a few years ago: http://codingvc.com/which-technologies-do-startups-use-an-ex...

The gist of the post was to correlate technologies listed on companies' AngelList profiles with those companies' Signal scores. Signal scores are a bit of a black box, but I was told by an AngelList employee that they're roughly like PageRank over the graph of startups, founders, and investors. That is, a startup's Signal score will be higher if the people affiliated with that startup have high Signal scores.

There were some correlations between higher Signal scores and lower usage of PHP, higher usage of languages like Go and Scala, etc. That supports PG's point, but probably lacks the statistical rigor that you'd want.

tim333 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's hard to figure statistics for the stuff as it's all a bit vaguely defined which is kind of inherent to the nature of the problem. In the essay http://www.paulgraham.com/power.html PG suggests power can be equated with susinctness.

I'd kind of guess the most succinct language for startups to write in would tend to be Ruby as there is so much existing code to do things - Rails, gems and all that. It also seems associated with successful startups like Twitter, Github etc so maybe there's a correlation there?

(Disclaimer - I'm not a Rails programmer - kinda guessing there).

mbrodersen 1 day ago 0 replies      
The ecosystem (libraries, documentation, tutorials etc.) are much more important than the language. AND the biz ideas/execution are MUCH more important than the programming language ecosystem. Programming languages doesn't build successful businesses (unless you are a programming language business).
BBL 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've used ruby to make a responsive web app and feedback on the product signifies that users like and trust the seemingly clunky design elements.

I believe the founder of Facebook previously said that the company's early over-reliance on HTML5 was his biggest regret. The tradeoff paid off in terms of speed and agility. The use of the color blue was also quite smart.

Note: My hidden agenda with this post is to increase my karma points.

Kinnard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Arc seems to be languishing: http://arclanguage.org/forum
pmarreck 1 day ago 0 replies      
You're better off looking for evidence that functional languages allow more productivity, of which there is some evidence
CullingTheHerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
have fun regressing out everything else...
AnimalMuppet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll give you an argument that PG's theory (at least as stated) cannot be correct.

PG says that Lisp is at the top of the power curve, looking down at all other languages. And Lisp practitioners are sure they're looking down, and they'll tell you why. "How can you get anything done in Haskell? It doesn't even have macros."

But Haskell programmers are sure that they're at the top of the power curve, and that when they look at other languages (including Lisp!) that they're looking down. And they know why they're looking down. "How can you get anything done in Lisp? It doesn't even have a decent type system!"

I have in fact heard almost the exact argument of PG's essay before, from proponents of a heavyweight CASE tool.

This fact - that proponents of two languages are both sure that they're looking down when they look at the other language - tells us that something is very wrong with PG's idea. The problem is the idea that all languages can be ranked on a one-dimensional axis labeled "power".

To see what's wrong with this idea, look at hardware. We know what "power" means there - it's MIPS. Until you think a bit more. Then you realize "Well, we've got that floating-point code, so we have think about FLOPS, too. And there's that one data set that won't fit into cache, so we need to worry about memory bandwidth... unless we can trade off some clock speed for cache size..." Suddenly "power" has at least four dimensions: MIPS, FLOPS, cache size, and memory bandwidth.

Then some joker comes along and says, "What I mean by "power" is the ability to run for eight hours without having to charge the battery"; that is, "power" is something like the reciprocal of watts consumed.

Back to software. It isn't just power of the language, it's power to do something - to write the program you're trying to write. What language is going to make that easiest, all things considered - the language itself, libraries, ecosystem, familiarity of team-members, ease of learning? Pick that language, because that language is "the most powerful" - for your situation.

known 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why wasn't the Linux kernel written in C++? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2405387
throwaway_exer 1 day ago 1 reply      
pg wrote that he could out-compete Java shops at the time by using lisp or perl. (If you look at Web 1.0, most of the marketing/event space winners were perl shops.)

However, focusing on lisp is pointless because of its low adoption commercially.

(If you want me to provide stats for your class homework, sorry.)

fleitz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Note the number of projects being witten in assembler, then try to calculate a rocket trajectory without calculus.

More powerful language is the driver behind many advances and is generally considered to be the primary difference between humans and animals.

Ask HN: What would you ask target audience to build a recruiting website?
3 points by henryzhang0304  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
anon_234589 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Why in the name of all that is holy do you want to use my recruiting website, as opposed to the bajillions of other established and startup recruiting companies out there?
JSeymourATL 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> Target audience could be recruiters/hiring managers/candidates. What would you ask them in the user survey?

What sucks the most about Linkedin? Why do you still go there? What's your biggest challenge in the recruiting process?

Ask HN: What to do when a Chinese startup clones your website?
130 points by bflesch  4 days ago   128 comments top 43
trevelyan 4 days ago 4 replies      
Where to start? You won't win putting legal pressure on any Chinese startup since that is an empty threat, but you also won't win talking to any big Chinese IT company. The startup won't care about the threat of legal action and the big company will simply clone your product once you convince them the market has potential.

If your goal is making money and/or securing a partnership you have to put yourself into a position of strength. The best way to do this is to launch an actual Chinese competitor yourself. This should cost no more than 10k USD per month assuming you can leverage your existing code, which makes it much cheaper than going the legal route. Feel free to contact me (contact info in profile) if you need help or introductions to people who can actually make this a reality for you in a week or two. I'm in Beijing and have done three startups in China and can put you in touch with people here who can actually help you.

A live product from you poses an existential threat to your competitors and keeps the big IT company from delaying in perpetuity (the typical modus operandi for big players here is to have middle management rush to agreement on the general principles of possible cooperation and then stalling and never doing anything more substantial -- the delay means they aren't sure if it is worth their while to clone you yet). But the threat of your getting actual traction matters because growth puts a deadline on your willingness to accept other people stalling, and your presence starts imposing actual costs on the startup. Those guys will need to change their branding at a minimum since they can't build an independent brand with you in the market, and once they know you will play hardball you will find them a lot more amenable to compromise if you want to go that route. With that said, if your market reception is good you may not even want to continue talking with them, since most Chinese startups are really inefficient and you can probably blow them out of the market anyway.

kev6168 4 days ago 1 reply      
There are a few places where you can lodge strong protest and send legal notice:

State Intellectual Property Office of China http://english.sipo.gov.cn/lxfs/

China Internet Network Information Center http://www1.cnnic.cn/PublicS/hyzl/

You can send them emails or even better call them. They all should have people who can communicate in English effectively. Getting in contact with them will help you put pressure on the offender, and also gather info for next move.

The best move is to hire someone from China to do some leg work for you, if that's necessary. No need for lawyers at first. There are many Chinese freelancers active in various international elance type sites. Also, http://www.witmart.com/ is reputable, operating from China.

China, at least the central government, is trying hard to implement tougher policies on protecting intellectual properties. The problems are mostly at the local level. If you know how to get the offenders' attention with effective threats on legal action, they are actually _very_ afraid of being caught. The cut-throat business competitions in China force them to avoid legal trouble and damage to their company's reputations, if they are legit startup trying to make it big, not some college students just playing around (in this case then you don't need to worry too much anyway).

Also wholesale copying western ideas is a widespread popular practice, I feel you are fighting the wrong battle. There is no way you can prevent somebody else (meaning hundreds if the idea is really good) in China doing the same cloning shit. Also conquering the China market needs many many other types of fighting, and preventing cloning is the least you need to worry about.

6stringmerc 4 days ago 1 reply      
>Another huge problem for us is that we are in talks with a very large Chinese IT company (triple-digit $Bn market cap), and if there is a clone growing in their backyard they might pass on us.

If what I've read about doing business in China holds a sliver of truth - both from stories linked here and elsewhere - it's not a chance they will pass on you but almost a given they will pass on you. I'm almost so suspicious of business practices in that market that I'd be willing to wager a small sum that maybe somebody in the very large Chinese IT company actually prompted another entity to get the clone up and running, or at least is aware of the situation.

If there's a way to take your idea and leave you nothing, I get the feeling that is exactly the path that will be taken. Unfortunately I can't help with direct advice to address, but I do wish you the best in your efforts to stamp out that terribly dishonest approach.

jason_slack 4 days ago 4 replies      
I had this happen to a client. The Chinese company was literally hot-linking to everything. I used a site sucker to grab the site they had put up to tell this.

So we changed the domain name, moved the site.

We then replaced the assets under the domain name they were using with assets that might offend folks when looked at.

Not everyone can change the domain though.

hardcandy 4 days ago 0 replies      
The only thing the Chinese respect is constant execution. You have to out execute them every day and constantly beat them in the market, in order to achieve a position of strength from which you can structure the deals you want. Despite what some other users have posted here, there's almost 0 respect for trademark or copyright law especially if you're a foreign company.
dikaiosune 4 days ago 2 replies      
Out of curiosity, what makes "What to do when a Chinese startup clones your website?" different from "What to do when another startup clones your website?" Is it just a matter of legal jurisdiction? Or is there some other element here that makes it more nefarious?
contingencies 4 days ago 0 replies      
I live in China, I've been here 15 years. My wife is an IP lawyer. I'm also German by third citizenship. My advice is: forget China, work on other markets, totally ignore the situation.

Honestly, the chances you are going to get decent cash from e-sports here are 1 in a million. Every wangba (internet cafe) has pirated titles. Few pay for games. Lots of servers are openly running hacked. New TVs here come with built in pirated content Netflix clones. Nobody cares.

Take it from me, there just isn't have a legal or commercial environment here that is likely to favor your business model.

greenspot 4 days ago 2 replies      
Happened to me. Frustrating experience but afterwards you learned very well that you need to create a product and/or business model with a strong lock-in, not just a nice site or app.
zxcvvcxz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's another perspective on this issue, that might be a bit unpopular, but I feel needs to be said:

Why do you feel entitled to do something relatively copy-able and not be copied? Because you're European?

Patents and that sort of legal protection apply to discoveries and inventions (and even then, the rules change with the Chinese). To be blunt, you're making a website for people to organize around video games. I'm not trying to belittle what you're doing (admittedly a huge former fan of competitive Starcraft on ICCup, CS and Halo PC on Xfire, etc) but come on you're not splitting the atom in any sense.

Compete and beat the clones. They're not going to go away, that's reality. Did you know that Facebook has the exact same problem you do with Renren?

So how can you compete? Understand your users better to offer superior customer service; stay on top of new features; build a network effect into your product. Though I'm thinking it already has one, since tournaments need people, and people will congregate on the best platform. I know e-sports is huge (and growing) in Europe, and I'd find it quite surprising if eventually the winning platform for these people to organize tournaments is on a Chinese site!

Best of luck Benjamin, I do wish you the best. I don't think there's an easy answer for you, just stay pragmatic given the realities of what you're up against.

Mimu 4 days ago 3 replies      
Try to figure out how they do it, and feed them with porn and anti chinese propaganda. If they do it manually then pray for them because they have a shitty life.
mahyarm 4 days ago 1 reply      
TBH it's very lazy of them to just copy your fairly standard bootstrap design and generic lighting bolt logo. If they just used some other similar template and chose some other logo but otherwise had the same business, they would be your chinese competitor vs. your chinese clone.

Maybe the most efficient measure you can do with your scarce startup resources is to treat them as a competitor and enter the chinese market earlier if it's practical. If someone makes their own VRBO or AirBNB website for china and choose to make their own logo and standard web design, are they an AirBNB clone or competitor?

zhte415 4 days ago 0 replies      
The ICP license they're using in non-commercial. ICP16007973-3

Note the which means non-commercial.

Pretty equivalent to a blog, or basic homepage.

Were they to try to commercialise what they/you plan to do, they'd need to apply for an ICP license via a different route, for online gaming (and as you alluded to, potentially betting). That would be a route paved in hell for any small startup.

Dismiss this as a non-threat, both as a commercially viable startup and/or as a ruse of the large company you're currently talking to. Don't waste your time with it.

chvid 4 days ago 0 replies      
What design did they copy? As far as I can see you are both just using Twitter Bootstrap? The logo - is that the lightning icon?

What is the background functionality? Are you competing in the same market?

If you are worried about looking similar to other sites then spend some time on a more distinctive design than Bootstrap.

leblancfg 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think you taking the high road and aim for the "gain this startup as a Chinese subsidiary" route is the win-win situation here. Of course, I can only read so much from your description, and maybe some things don't apply in your case. Temper everything I say with your knowledge of your Chinese userbase (if any).

I mean sure, it might look like an affront on the work you've put in your site, but in the end, you've also found another group doing what you're also doing, probably just as dedicated as you are. Depending on the mutual language skills (maybe even consider using a telephone interpreter service https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_interpreting), you might be able to find common ground and work together towards a collaboration agreement or outright acquisition -- whatever it is, just make sure to have it in writing that your company came up with the concept and design. Win-win for both sides, and that contract is then legally binding.

Even more, if you're in talks with a very large Chinese company, having Chinese collaborators might actually work in your favor.

TL;DR: You might have more to gain by working on a collaboration deal first. Just never lose sight of the fact that, in the end, they were stealing.

auwal 3 days ago 0 replies      
You should probably ignore this and just get back to work.

You've got plenty of competition on your side of the world. Stop looking for competition else where.

tylercubell 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is what ends up happening when you don't have an economic moat [1]. If you want to stay on top, you'll need to out-innovate your competitor and give your market a strong reason to stick with you over them. Do or die.

[1]: http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/05/economicmoat.asp

tmaly 4 days ago 2 replies      
Well if by clone you also mean copies your content? You could probably file some complaints with major search engines. Also may be able to file complaints via DMCA. If they are using any US based payment processors, you could send complaints in to them.
pedrohenrique 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey, Benjamin.It's a hard subject you've pointed out.It never happened to me still, I remember when I was on a conference from @archdaily creator David Basulto, he was telling his experience when a Chinese blog starts to replicate his content to the Chinese market, exactly what happened to you.Was quite interesting because he tried everything to pull his Chinese cloned website down with no luck at all, he even went to China to see if he could do anything. At the end he hired his Chinese copycat, proposing to he become part of the Arch Daily's team as a Chinese correspondent, which the Chinese guy accepted.I really don't now how much they've copied you and how they are operating, but have a similar strategy could help you :Dall the best,

Pedro H.

zoom6628 4 days ago 0 replies      
Trevelyan advise spot on about startup local company. Fight on their own turf and it also opens new market for you. With locals on side you can also do better quality research on competitors.

Take kev6168 advice and do your paperwork: trademark and copyright registrations, company registration. With that in hand, or at least started, you can then contact their service providers, like aliyun, and advise of your intended legal action against that clone and their providers.

Above all dont lose focus on your own product. Defending can be a vacuum of time and energy and your own product gets lost in the process. Yes you have to defend, but best defense is a better product and brand awareness.

Cloning/knockoffs is an issue globally and happens in lots of industries. Get over it. Ignore commenters/ppl with vitriolic rhetoric and emotional responses (i.e. the trolls) - you need a clear head to get thru this unscathed.

gyardley 3 days ago 0 replies      
When UMeng cloned Flurry, I could be wrong but I don't believe we did anything, and I'm pretty sure that was the right call. Any lengthy legal dispute will distract you from other important things; legal disputes that are likely to go nowhere are likely to distract you for no benefit whatsoever.

I empathize - I was a bit annoyed by the first version of UMeng, which was a pretty close copy of Flurry's web design and feature set. But if your situation is anything like ours was, you'll see the companies evolve away from each other over time as you each adapt to your respective markets - and you probably didn't have the staff and cultural knowledge to support the Chinese market anyway.

tryitnow 4 days ago 1 reply      
If I were this "very large" Chinese IT company and I really wanted to buy your business, I'd create a clone to give me better negotiating leverage.

Edit: just to clarify - I personally wouldn't do this, because it is possibly illegal and absolutely unethical. But very large companies (in China and elsewhere) are not known for being ethical.

codezero 4 days ago 1 reply      
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11455670 is a repost with more context
popnfreshspk 3 days ago 0 replies      
How do you deal with your competitors in the US? i.e. https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/esports-hero raised $1m)

I feel like you're better off building out your core product and finding user traction in your markets instead of worrying about the plethora of competitors that exist out there. I imagine that if I found one, there are probably many more.

50CNT 3 days ago 1 reply      
German working at a startup in Beijing here. That's a daft case of C2C (copy to china) you've got on your hands there.

You probably won't be able to gain them as a Chinese subsidiary, they'll think you're delusional, hell, that sounds delusional to me.

Them having investors (if they do), doesn't mean much if anything. C2Cs of startups with traction are generally seen as a safe bet by investors, hell, there's teams specializing on it. Money is sloshing around, the silliest things are getting funded.

Litigating is probably pointless. Best case they get scared, drop the thing and another C2C gets sent the code they have.

Clones are to be expected, and as other comments have said, it might even be the Chinese IT company you're dealing with that started the thing, or maybe they've started building something internally. They're probably looking to screw you over as well.

Really, if you're looking to compete in China, you break out your copy of Sun Tsu and leaf through your Machiavelli. Out-engineer them, get some boots on the ground, find some Chinese to work with, lob some nuisances their way, grow in China and squash them. That'll put you in a stronger negotiation position with Tencent/Baidu/Ali/Whoever as well. Your advantage is that whilst chinese coders are cheap, and they can throw 20 engineers at the problem, most of them aren't very good. If you don't allow them to grow more than you do, and you're pushing features whilst they're accruing tech debt, they will loose that war of attrition eventually. Especially if you go for things that are hard.

Good luck man.

PS: If your business plan looks like the work of a paranoid madman, you're on the right track to compete in the land far east.

meric 3 days ago 1 reply      
>> But he also mentioned that they already have investors.

He's bluffing. The activity could be paid for.

He wants to look strong, either to dissuade you from competing in the same market, or for you start negotiating with him, giving him the advantage.

But it's not like you can sit on your hands either.

Go right ahead and add Chinese translation to your website, I say. You can then use the same i18n infrastructure and hire Vietnamese, Indonesian, Tagalog translators and expand to the rest of South East Asia. Do Traditional Chinese as well, and get into Taiwan and Hong Kong. Translators from upwork.com should be quite cheap. Be careful to only send the translatable message files, though, don't send the code - I've heard of people getting their code ripped this way.

Try do that in a month.

Then you have them surrounded, and you can negotiate with them from a position of strength.

You can send them a grateful email thanking them for introducing you to the Asian market.

Send a bottle of European wine as your regards.

tlogan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Lets put evil Chinese people aside (joke/sarcasm).

I can replicate your business 100% and I'm not in China. What are you going to do?

ninjavis 4 days ago 1 reply      
Kudos though for actually building something worth being copied :)

At first it would seem like a very bad thing, but if you think about it, they are merely reinforcing your idea. I say give them the finger and just focus on making the best of your idea no matter what those guys are doing.

I wish you all the best for that!

"Lions aren't concerned about the opinions of sheep"

petervandijck 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's something you could try.

1. Find some reputable investors active in China. Start talks with them.

2. Contact the CEO and say "Thanks for pointing out to us the value of the Chinese market. We will now 1. move into the Chinese market (mention your talks to investors) and 2. proceed to sue you and your investors (who our legal team is contacting now). The alternative is that we set up a licensing deal (or that you pay us a 1-time fee to make this go away).

Long term though my guess is that you should focus on your market and forget about China.

(It is possible I've watched too much House of Cards lately ;)

pink_dinner 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would just find security flaws in their software and use them to appropriate their client base. Most Chinesw clones are thrown together.

It's not like they will be able to do much about it. If they do, you can use it as a bargining chip and go after them for infringing on your copyright.

Parasite companies in China think that they have an advantage by not having to follow US laws, but what they don't realize is that it can also work against them.

spacefight 4 days ago 1 reply      
eSports, really? Is that even legal in Germany?


xiaopingguo 4 days ago 0 replies      
While "c'est du chinois" is really not a valid excuse these days, with so many chinese people/students available all across Europe, ready (and hungry) to help Western companies deal with China's local systems/language, it should be noted that having Chinese competitors has not prevented Google/Facebook/Amazon from making their billions.

Focus should primarily remain on product and users.

bflesch 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry for the double submission, I now added the text to this post as well.

The thing is that they created the site from scratch but it is exactly like our site only directly aimed at Chinese users.

Our website is www.strivewire.com, and they use www.haogegebisai.com

They are not hotlinking anything, and we're shying away from an open confrontation. Just wanted to know if you know of some good strategies to approach this issue.

pankajdoharey 3 days ago 0 replies      
The best solution would be to acquire it, but that would lead to companies in china copying other companies websites and products in turn starting an entire chain of copycat blackmails. The situation is definitely hard. But a temporary solution is definitely acquiring the firm.
alien3d 4 days ago 0 replies      
Think good way, they create a market for it. If those customer don't satisfy they will moved to your site. Still need to remember 30 days development e.g will not same with your previous development days and also no matter money and developer they hired, time is essence.
cbeach 4 days ago 1 reply      
Step 1 (going well so far): put their URL on the front page of HN, launching an effective DDOS on their unsuspecting infrastructure. Their site is already creaking under the load. And I'm sure we can all contribute a few more random clicks to eat up their bandwidth ;-
lnanek2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fortunately, I was running an image site and they hot linked my images. So I only served users with their referrer thumbnails instead of full size images. I also used image magick through PHP to append a footer with my site URL and logo stuck on the bottom. Free advertising win!
jiten_bansal 4 days ago 1 reply      
When you can't go legal, Go illegal. Hire a hacker and get the site down.
douglance 4 days ago 1 reply      
There's a dude in India that ripped off my entire business model including branding. I have no idea what to do about that.
rmanolis 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do you know what would be nice ? A way to encrypt the data before viewing to the user and the js will decrypt the data by calling a websocket api to give the password. This way for each specific websocket session you encrypt and decrypt the data differently. Also you can hide recognizable information in the data so when copied you will search the history to find who did it.
cgtyoder 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do you have any (high) political connections in Germany? You could try to ask for a (huge) favor - have someone in the German consulate ask their Chinese counterparts for a(another huge) favor, and get the Chinese govt to shut them down. A long shot, but if you have the right friends, it might work.
chris_wot 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought with .com domains you could have them deregistered for fraud?
littlehero 4 days ago 0 replies      
one question comes to my mind "if your product copied by Tencent,what should you do?" this question often asked in China.
ArtDev 4 days ago 1 reply      
digital millennium copyright act notice:http://www.whoishostingthis.com/resources/dmca/
Ask HN: How much does company name matter on a resume?
5 points by sweetsweetpie  1 day ago   6 comments top 4
ncallaway 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally, I care more about what an prospective employee was doing rather than the where. If you are a Software Engineer at Unknown Widgets Corp (UWC) that has been heading up a small team of engineers to build a complete product, then I'm more interested than if you're a Software Engineer that has been silo'd in a very specific area at Dell.

All that being said the company you're at does matter for a couple of reasons. One is there is a small level of bias towards known companies. If two engineers have been doing the same kind of work at Facebook or UWC, I'll probably have a slight unconscious bias towards the engineer from Facebook.

Ultimately, I think the best bet is to go where you think you'll be happiest and have the most opportunities to learn. It's good to think about the impact that decisions will have on your long-term career, but the best way to get ahead is to be a stellar engineer. The happier you are in your day-to-day work, the more effort you'll put in to growing as an engineer to meet the challenges. And the more challenges that you're faced with, and the more smart people that surround you, the better opportunity you'll have to grow.

emilyfm 1 day ago 2 replies      
Go with what sounds more like the interesting work (plus, it shows you keep your word).

Yes, the company name can have an effect. I worked early on for a major bank (global name), which made other banks more likely to look at and hire me, which made it even more likely major banks would want me, so I worked for lots of them. Got a bit typecast (but, that's where the money was ...).

So after Dell, you'd perhaps give off more of an "enterprise" vibe (and likely have very dull work!).

With the other company, it sounds like you'd be able to show more practical experience, and a less staid choice of company, which could make you more interesting to younger companies.

kafkaesq 1 day ago 0 replies      
All thing being equal, yes, the company name does matter (at least as much as what you do there), to most people spending the requisite 200 milliseconds scanning your resume and/or profile 5 years from now. That is, again, assuming all other things about the role description being roughly equal.

But in a grossly imbalanced situation such as yours:

With Dell I'd be a "software intern" and they can't tell me anything more about it. With the second company I would be working on doing Full-Stack development to build (another) IoT product, which seems very interesting to me.

Where company A seems eager to heap responsibility and challenge after challenge on you, while company B refuses to even tell you anything about the role other than that you'll be an "intern"... and given that company B, while you could say they're a household name, isn't exactly a Google, Facebook or Tesla... or anything close to it, really...

... then I hope you won't have any hesitancy in choosing the role offered by company A.

zhte415 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not just the name, it's the name in the niche.

If A (Dell/IBM) is a generic job, a small piece in a long, long, generic chain, and B (lesser known but global) is much better known in your area of interest, then B's name counts a lot more.

If A (Dell/IBM) is a global name, but you'll be in a small team, for example, designing chip architecture, and B is a bunch of rambling idiots that got lucky and now believe they will take over the world, then choose A.

Make the choice based on your department, role, and manager (the more senior the better is often, though not always, true), not overall company name.

Ask HN: How do detect a crappy boss / toxic environment when interviewing?
352 points by isuckatcoding  5 days ago   323 comments top 96
bpchaps 5 days ago 21 replies      
-If respect isn't reciprocal, run.

-If you only get canned questions, run.

-If questions are machine gunned without any followups, run.

-If the hiring/interview process is needlessly complicated, run.

-If they give you an IQ test or similar, run.

-If they're not paying attention [0], run.

-If a pattern exists of mistakes (forgot to call, etc), run.

-If, when discussing pay, HR says "Yeah, sometimes we hire people knowing they won't last and only fit a political agenda."..... run. True story.

-If the recruiter tells you, "The path you're going down will lead to failure unless you do a startup. Frankly, I don't see you doing a startup"... run. Also true story.

..Ultimately, it comes down to gauging how "human" they are towards you. If the interviewer[s] lacks empathy, it's a sign somewhere up the chain that something's not right. Mind you, that's not to say that the interviewer doesn't necessarily have empathy.

[0] Seriously, this happens at about 20% of my interviews. Put away your fucking laptop and just listen, interviewers!

salsakran 5 days ago 4 replies      
On some level, you never really know. People often behave differently when interviewing (or trying to close you) than normally, let alone during stressful periods.

The low hanging fruit here is:

* ALWAYS spend time with your future boss prior to accepting. Ideally try to spend as much time as you reasonably can. If this isn't possible push back pretty hard about why. Your direct manager is usually the biggest reason for your unhappiness at a job. "People don't leave jobs, they leave bosses" is a cliche for a reason.

* If people seem unhappy when you interview, don't assume it's just how they feel that day.

* Make sure you get a sense for the culture and whether you want to be part of it. If you're not into constant group activity, make sure you're not joining a hyper-intense "everyone hangs out with each other all the time" sort of place. Conversely if you're new in town, don't join a company where everyone is focused on working hyper efficiently and bouncing to go home to their families. Neither is right or wrong, but they can definitely be right or wrong for you.

* If you're connected, track down people who left the company and ask about your future boss. Were they hard to work with? Do people like them? If you have friends at the company (ideally, not reporting to your potential boss) ask about how your boss (and the department) is perceived by the rest of the company.

* Hit up linkedin and track down ex employees, ideally in the same job role. See where they ended up, and hit them up and ask why.

Good luck!

Homunculiheaded 5 days ago 4 replies      
Here's an interview question I always ask that has worked pretty well:

"If you could wave a wand and instantly change one thing about this company/job/team, what would it be?"

This is similar to "what is wrong" but frames it in a positive light, so people are more open and creative.

If the answer is anything about people "I wish communication was better", "It would help if more people were on board for this project", "A change in management wouldn't hurt, haha j/k" etc. That's a red flag.

If it's about non-people "I wish we didn't have so much legacy code", "I would love it if we could get our testing setup better", "There are no good places to get coffee around" that's a good sign that aren't major people problems.

If they can't think of one, that's a real cause for concern!

This is one of my favorite questions in general because what people wish for tells a lot in many ways about the major problems, but without people begin guarded. They're fantasizing not venting.

geoelectric 5 days ago 1 reply      
One basic way is to ask your interviewers what they like about their job. You're going to get a positive response, but is it hand-wavy or specific? Is it too specific, like they're just cherry-picking the one thing that keeps them employed there? Is there light in their eyes or are they reading a script?

Another way is to ask how decisions get made. Again, the specific answer is going to probably be something pretty non-controversial, so look for the subtleties.

Sometimes it's just obvious that it's too risky. I had one interview where the hiring manager's boss managed to freeze him out of his own loop. I ran from that one.

Also, you should be very skeptical if you felt like your interviews with individual contributors were lukewarm or poor but you still get the offer. That's very possibly a boss overriding flags from his team, or a team that's deadened enough to not throw flags in the first place. If you don't feel the interview went well, trust your gut--might not be just your fault.

throwawaytrain 5 days ago 5 replies      
I too have recently started a new job. I had a phone screen with the hiring manager, then met with him for a two-hour 1-on-1 interview. Some time later I was given the offer and accepted it.

I never met any of my future team members. I asked the hiring manager during the interview to introduce me to the team, but he said this wasn't going to be necessary.

Now, a few months into the job, I must say that I've never worked on any team composed of such antisocial people. Pretty much no one here communicates effectively. Cliques are demarcated along racial lines; there Chinese and Indian groups don't really talk to each other, and don't "accept new members" that don't speak their language.

This is the loneliest place I'd ever worked. What's surprising is that I never thought I could be so lonely at work of all places.

So, lesson learned: if you aren't allowed to do a meet-and-greet with the team before accepting an offer, don't even think about taking it!

grandalf 5 days ago 2 replies      
Bosses can fall short in a lot of ways. While your intuitions might clue you in to some failings, others are very difficult to spot. My advice would be:

- Do the others on the team seem happy? Did you get to meet any during the interview process? Do they seem to be happy to work there and comfortable in the environment?

- Does everyone seem to get quiet or smile officiously around the boss? That's a big warning sign. It probably means the boss is a bit of a tyrant or maintains an unhealthy power differential with the team. There is absolutely no room for this kind of posturing in a startup.

- Do you witness anyone coming to the boss for help with something? If so, and if the boss responds in a positive way, it's a great sign. A good boss is someone who is there to help everyone succeed and lend expertise when asked.

- Does the boss say anything disparaging about the other team members during the interview? Look out for indignant, judgy sorts of comments that indicate that the boss feels shortchanged by the team he/she has (unless you are explicitly being hired to single-handedly turn the team around).

- Is the hiring manager, founder, etc., transparent about runway, the cap table, and turnover rates? Playing it close to the vest about any of the three is a very bad sign.

- Do you see any VCs or investors stopping by uninvited and just hanging out? If so that's a good sign and means there is transparency with investors (which doesn't happen in all startups).

- Are there "big company sounding" organizational titles like "Senior Director", "Senior VP of x", "Senior Engineer", etc? If the company has fewer than 200 employees, titles like these indicate a wide array of culture problems, usually starting at the top.

djloche 5 days ago 1 reply      
The best way is to interview your future boss in the interview process. Ask about their management style. Ask about how many meetings they are in each day, and the average meeting length. Ask about how they stay organized, ask about what tools or systems they use. Ask about what recent technologies they're excited about. Ask about the team and the individual team members.

When you are interviewing somewhere, treat it as if they are trying to convince you and you need to ask a ton of questions to figure out if they are a good fit or not.

Frame these questions in positive, generous light so you seem like you genuinely want to work for them and are just trying to get all the details.

"What is the thing that most pleasantly surprised you when you started working here?"

tomtomAmazon 5 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of good advice here. I'd like to add a key phrase thrown around a lot, 'A-players'. As in, "we only hire A-Players for our team." Or "Our team is made of only A-Players. If we hire anything less then the world ends." Beware when managers/cofounders/leads/directors say this. Your bullshit detector should be going off at this point in the process because what they're really saying is that they only hire people like them, egotistical, shallow, puts others down, don't ask for help since you're suppose to know everything, expect them to talk about themselves ALL the time, expect a lot of bullshit (i noticed that a lot of 'A-players' resemble the 'bro' attitude). It is difficult on the first 'pass' to avoid such a situation especially without experience. A company I worked for explicitly targeted young developers because of the long hours, cheap labor (coder monkey?), the koolaid is easier to drink without experience. good luck out there.
noah__ 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have about 12 years of exp. Have worked with all kinds of companies startups\bluechips\valley\wall st etc.

Over time I have reduced paying attention to what they are dangling in front of me, be it compensation or interesting stuff I want to work on.

I now mostly pay attention to the people. Specifically the quality AND loyalty of people to the firm\manager\founder etc. The AND is critical. If its just one or the other I walk. So for example, if its a 3 year old team and there is no one "smart" who has lasted atleast 2 years its a good sign to walk. If its a 6 year old firm and there is no one who has lasted atleast 2 years it's a great sign to walk. If there are people who have lasted and aren't "quality" its also not worth it. My definition of quality is they are smarter than me, or have done something I have respect for.

If its a new company I don't work with them unless I personally know the people involved.

Why these rules?

Cause if the people are "right" the interesting work and adequate compensation follows. Doesn't matter if the project fails your time with such folk is never wasted.

crispyambulance 5 days ago 1 reply      
No, No, No, NO, No (to all the tips and shortcuts)

Your first job out of college has a high probability of being a bad fit and this is especially true if you're desperate to just get hired. So, it didn't work out... happens a lot. The important thing to do is to figure out what YOU want out of a job/workplace and to assess what that potential job can do for your career.

I think its a waste of time to try to figure out some minimal set of "red flags" to use for future interviews. Just look at the big picture, there's no single red-flag that will tell you definitively that a place is miserable (nor is there a single observation that signals an awesome place-- foozball and snacks won't make up for asshole-driven management).

Perhaps even more important than what you observe during an interview is to really examine your own needs and expectations. SOoooo many people are unhappy WHEREVER they go and always blame it on management, co-workers, the industry or whatever. This kind of serial discontent is a sign that the there's something wrong with the individual rather than their workplace(s).

CyanLite2 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. When they're more interested in why you're leaving a company, run.

2. When they negatively recruit ("Oh that other company sucks, you don't want to work for them!"), run.

3. When you look around the work environment and see everybody on 15 inch monitors, run.

4. When they have an applicant tracking system and they don't respond to you after an interview, run.

5. If they ask "What are you weaknesses?", run.

6. When they ask "How much are you making now?", run.

7. When their Glassdoor reviews are below a 3.0, run.

fapjacks 5 days ago 2 replies      
I always ask my go-to "red flag" question to all my interviewers. Remember that you are the one that determines what red flags even mean. This works on everyone but the CEO:

"If you could change one thing without veto, what would it be?"

If the person describes a technical problem, that's usually a good sign. Long silence is usually good (but can also be a very bad sign if they just can't pick one thing). Trivial nitpicks are a good sign. Any complaints about communication are a very big red flag. Also any complaints about leadership. Obviously, if the problem your interviewer describes is repeated by any other interviewers, that is a big, red flag.

Piece of advice when firing this atomic weapon at your interviewer: Do not fill the silence while they think with any talk. Let them think. Let the silence hang. That makes people more likely to dig deep for something they really don't like.

fma 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've read through most of the answers...and this is one of the few times I'll say it but most of the responses are flat out wrong. Employees at a toxic company will bullsh-t the answer. I know because I've been the one to bullsh-t. The company sucked so bad, the turnover rate was high and the ones left said anything to hire good employees to try to turn projects around. It wasn't that the coworkers were bad, or the managers were bad. But it was executives with unreasonable timelines.

So how do you prevent this from happening? I personally avoid a company where I don't know someone in it, or know someone that knows someone.

Additionally, there's a nice hidden feature of LinkedIn. You can search for people who used to work there. At one company I interviewed at, I searched and found that those who used to work there...the majority left within a year. It tells you something. I had a sense during the interview that the turnover was high, and again they would BS me about their wonderful culture. Then I spoke to someone who used to work there and he confirmed my thoughts. Oh yeah, the fact they were going to throw a lot of money at me raised a red flag too (the toxic company I was at threw a lot of money at people too).

Good luck.

atom-morgan 5 days ago 1 reply      

- What do you hate about your job?

- How unlimited is unlimited vacation?

- What's the mean/median number of vacation days taken last year?

- How have you shown that you value your employees?

- How do you handle disagreements with potential hires?

- If the team is split on a technical issue, how would this be resolved?

Company bullshit (bad signs):

- "We want people who want to work here. If salary is important we aren't for you."

Uncomfortable answers to any of the questions, run!

edwcar13 4 days ago 0 replies      
I previously left a company that I thought was great until I realized they just wanted cheap work and a moldable individual for both emotion and creativity.

I too just got out of college and tried to find my first job out of school and took the first offer. These are the signs that I picked up on.

- Arrived to interview to find that what I applied for was not what I was interviewing for ... RUN!- When trying to get a straight answer about benefits or how long individual training may be and getting a lot of "I'll get back to you" and no one does... RUN

- When waiting for your interviewers and recruitment has to come in and ask you if you have already spoken to your interviewers (i.e. their late or no show) ... RUN either they are way to up their own ass or just terrible at time management which if it's your future boss means they will have no time for you

- Last one promise, when interviewing and you get asked questions that you know the answer you gave to be 100% and they say it's wrong and tell you an answer that isn't correct. Run!

That interviewer or interviewers indirectly just told you that they dont follow or are going against what the documentation stateted.(in my case how elasticsearch is configured)

I.e. you will work in an environment that will leave you with knowledge that is incorrect and useless to use in another interview.

BurningFrog 5 days ago 1 reply      
When I'm interviewing people, I won't come out and say what's bad about the place, but when asked I will be honest with a future peer.

I think a lot of programmers are the same, so I'd ask the non managers interviewing me what's the place is like to work at.

But... it's easy to "fight the last war" about things like this. So if for your next job, you're 100% focused on finding a boss that's a decent human, you'll probably succeed. But something other major will be wrong.

codingdave 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ask them directly -- don't phrase it "Hey, are you an asshole?", but ask them questions that will help inform you of their approach to the organization:

1) What is your leadership style?

2) How do you resolve conflicts on the team?

3) Tell me about the communication style of the team.

If you get a chance to talk to team members without the boss being present, ask similar questions - conflict resolution, communication, collaboration styles, etc. This should give you enough information to judge for yourself if it is a healthy team environment, or not.

HelloNurse 4 days ago 0 replies      
Apart from egregious assholes and dysfunctional relationships (like the mentioned husband and wife teams), there are milder and more "diffuse" kinds of toxic environment.

For example: within the company, IT is a second class citizen compared to production, so as a new developer you would start at the bottom of the bottom with no valid career perspectives. Low budget, bad offices, low pay, appearance of overwork are clear signs.

For example: aberrant company culture. Excessive secrecy and/or security measures (who do they think they are?), extravagant recreational resources (are they actually working?), excessive luxury (not bad by itself, but you want them to spend that money on your salary), excessive conviviality, etc.

There is a meta-warning sign about company culture: refusal to show working conditions and procedures to you because of conscious "discretion" and subconscious shame.Also, you could like, accept as normal, or justify because they make sense in context some of the bad attitudes you are aware of, failing to see they are a problem.

woodcut 5 days ago 1 reply      
You're looking for personality flaws more than anything, it's hard it detect them if they're charismatic enough to paper over their lies.

First off, protect yourself, ask to see the contract, guarantee any agreements for future pay/bonuses are in there, the contract must specify working hours, time off and notice period etc. Ask to see the resume's of the team you would be working with.

Orange flags come to equipment, books, resources. A good company will give you whatever you need.

Red flags are arrogance, delusion, recklessness, bullying.

Ask tough technical questions, see if they admit they don't know it or rubbish the question.

Ask about ventures, projects things that went wrong, do they blame everyone but themselves? How many people have left in the last 12 months? Ask to speak to them.

How much runway do they have left? less than 3 months is a massive no. Has anyone ever been paid late?

Honestly, if they're smart enough you can't tell until you're knee deep.

MalcolmDiggs 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I walk into a company (for an interview), I try to get a good look at the faces of the developers there, and gauge whether or not they seem happy. I figure "In 6 months, my disposition is likely to be the average of the ones in this room right now". So if the average person is happy, I'll probably be happy too. If everyone is sleep-deprived, pissed off, and miserable, I'm probably gonna be that way too.

I always try to go out of my way to meet the team and shake their hands (even if the interviewer didn't plan for me to meet anyone). You can gauge a lot from just a brief interaction with people.

unit91 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've had pretty decent success just being straight with people about my goals and seeing what they say.

If I'm talking to other programmers and not management, I generally ask:

- Are you happy here? Why?

- Every job has little annoyances (important preface). What are some of the things you wish you could change?

- Do you believe your leadership is interested in your feedback?

I also REALLY try to observe the body language of the employees interacting with each other. Even if I can't hear what's being said outside the interview room, it can tell you a lot about the company culture.

trcollinson 5 days ago 4 replies      
So, what makes your boss such an "asshole" as you put it? I am not by any means trying to prove whether or not your boss is actually an asshole, but trying to find out why you think your boss is.

I have had bosses who I thought were horrible and many others around me liked them. I have had bosses that I would go to the ends of the earth with and my co-workers thought I was crazy. A lot of times it is personality and confidence (in yourself and in your manager) which dictate how well you will get along.

How to find the right match when you are interviewing? Well, how many dates does it take for you to decide who you'd like to marry? Do you marry everyone you date? In this business, I think it's best to not get too emotionally tied down. You're going to move, and that's ok.

AndrewUnmuted 5 days ago 0 replies      
For me, the big one is whether or not the employer offers to give you a tour of the workplace. If this is not offered up as a default, request it. If there is any refusal whatsoever, run away and don't look back.
AnimalMuppet 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I interviewed for my current job, the whole (4 person) team did the interview at once. Several times they talked smack to each other in the interview - not mean, just having fun. Well, I can enjoy that, so I talked a bit of smack to them during the interview. They hired my anyway.

When it's not done in malice, that can be an interesting indicator. It means that the people on the team trust each other - trust that they can say such things and have it received in the right spirit, and trust that the one saying it isn't saying it in malice.

I wouldn't make this the only indicator, but it's an interesting data point...

studentrob 4 days ago 1 reply      
For me, over the years I spent a lot of time looking for the right atmosphere, changing jobs once every one or two years. Then I noticed / worked towards a change within myself and I think I am now better at recognizing a good match. Unexpectedly, I am now also more open to more relationships in which I wouldn't have engaged previously.

I know the ways in which I work best and I'm not afraid to let people know. That confidence makes a big difference not only in who I choose to work with, but also in how I work with others.

When gauging a new employer or coworker I decide mostly on feel. It's easy to recognize a matching relationship once you know yourself. That doesn't mean it's easy to find one.

It might not be true for everyone. In my experience, knowing myself helped a ton, and I was the only one who could figure that out. I was always told this growing up and had no idea what it meant. People telling me to "be yourself" made little sense to me until I learned more about myself.

hendler 5 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe interviewing elsewhere is only half of the solution.

We all end up in situations we don't expect. While bad leadership is hard to overcome, it's a great learning opportunity. Now that you are there focus on improving yourself.

- improve your coding, on your own time or not

- help your boss not be an asshole. or go above them. or manage them. That's a skill too.

- enjoy your paycheck, but save money

Hope that adds a slightly different perspective.

junko 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just got hired myself. And I consider myself quite average too so here's my experience.

My first job fresh out of uni was in a corporate environment and while I appreciated the professionalism that came with it ("Keep an activity tracker" etc ... might horrify some people but I love making lists haha) but in the end I only stayed for 6 months. It got too corporate and suddenly I realised that a lot of people were actually feigning cheeriness when underneath they were under mighty pressure from politics. I decided quite firmly never to work for corps (that activity tracker should have warned me after all) and for a few months I freelanced until I got broke. I thought I'd give big organisations another chance and I'm glad I did. When I had the interview, it was typically based on a set of questions but the interviewers were relaxed and made warm-but-not-wacky jokes. I also remember the time when I had a sudden mind blank during a presentation and they were really amiable with it and said that it's probably better if I spend a day with the team and see if we're a match. That was probably the moment when I knew that this workplace could be a nice place to work in, because they seemed to recognise and appreciate humanness and that the interview is not just about testing me but also vice versa. So if it's possible, asking to meet your future team and seeing what the reaction to that is like could be a nice indicator of the type of culture there. And of course the actual team meeting.

I don't think there's a proper list of how to detect toxicity, so I guess you just need to keep an open eye and ear on everything which is why it's important to spend some time in the workplace. Keep alert but at the same time keep an open mind. Interestingly, a week after I joined my new workplace, the organisation did some ruthless restructuring, but which top management was very organised and empathical about it, for example there was an emphasis that we could talk about it, and comfort those who are leaving etc. It was unpleasant and initially I panicked thinking that I picked the wrong workplace again, but in the end it was educational - a couple of weeks later, the emotional negativity dissipated. I'm still new but 1.5 months later and I'm still chirpy ... well I'll take that as a good sign.

hacknat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask straightforward questions. The way people answer them is more important than what the content (mostly) of those answers are:


1. Do you like working here? You should get an impression that the person genuinely likes working there. If you have to drag enthusiasm out of them that's not a good sign.

2. What's your management philosophy? They should have one, or at least be able to sound like they've given it some thought.

3. Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager or somebody senior, what did you do, what did they do? What ended up happening? What your looking for is a manager who is willing to admit some degree of political prowess. You DO NOT want to report to someone who cannot stand up to their seniors, it can be just as bad or worse than the overly political managers (the overly political managers at least get somewhere sometimes, you and your team will get resources, project wins, etc).

More like this. Whatever question you'd like a direct answer on. Ask it, most likely you'll never get the whole truth, but the way these questions get answered matters.

jbob2000 5 days ago 1 reply      
Trust your gut.

No seriously, if you have a bad/weird/odd/sketchy feeling when interviewing, that's all you need. Your subconscious picks up on WAY more than your conscious does and it notifies you through that "gut feeling".

So don't listen to what others in this thread are saying. Their advice comes from their experiences, which may not match yours. Only you truly know what you want.

hibikir 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are red flags to bad environments out in an interview, if the place is really horrible. But looking very hard for problems in an employer during an interview is a bit like looking very hard for problems in a candidate during an interview: The more you have been around the block, the easier it is to let those signals that aren't necessarily very strong to just take over, and that leads to failure. The interviewer with the least red flags is probably the one that is best at lying to you, or to himself.

So what I do, outside of tiny startups (where I'd not go regardless, as you are in for years, and chances are you'll just be underpaid for the duration) is to go look for former employees, and ask them why they left the place, what sucks, what doesn't, and how generalized the problems are. People that have left might overestimate how bad the place is, but better an overestimation that you can temper than talking to someone that is still in love with the place, right?

This mechanism has been pretty good for me, and you can show you are a well prepared candidate by asking pointed questions about what the people that left considered the place's most glaring weaknesses.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to do this a few times in my career: In some cases, talking to my would be predecessor. It's helped me dodge big bullets, either by avoiding employers altogether, or by letting me ask for a different department/team in advance, avoiding terrible managers.

jankedout 5 days ago 0 replies      
During an interview it's pretty hard to gauge whether the environment is a fit for you. You're focused on performing well and you often brush aside things that would irritate you otherwise. This is why I recommend "courting" the company.

I've had ~10 jobs and 4 of them had intolerable environments. In the past few years I started vetting the companies I wanted to work at by getting in touch with current and past employees. This can give you some insight on how the place functions. I also request to visit the headquarters/office. Most companies will accommodate this. If they don't, I end the recruitment process because it's a big red flag for me.

bpchaps's bullet list is pretty good too. I've run into each of the line items in interviews. Particularly bad for me was Twilio, where the pre-screen phone interview consisted of two developers asking me trivia questions about various technologies. After the first 10 minutes I wanted to hang up. I was glad to not get an onsite. Right before Digg went under I interviewed there. There was no receptionist when I showed up, so the first interviewer (lead dev) didn't even know I was there. We started the interview 15 minutes late, and the interviewer took phone calls during the interview. I was extremely irritated, but I kept my cool.

Just remember, if you are treated in a way you don't like during the recruitment process, then you'll probably be treated in a similar manner if you become an employee.

YeGoblynQueenne 4 days ago 1 reply      
>> I am a pretty average developer

I don't have much advice to offer with your main question, after all I'm only a few years out of uni so I'm barely a step or two ahead of you on the same road. But I have this to say: you're not "pretty average"; you're just starting out. You'll get a lot better and then things will get a lot better for you.

I also valued myself pretty low when I started out so I ended up with jerks for bosses a couple of times, but eventually I built up the skills to have a bit more choice on the teams I was working for. At that point I found a team with a senior engineer who became a true mentor to me and taught me a metric ton of shit I'll be using to the end of my working days.

I think folks in this industry make the mistake of valuing innate talent above hard work. It's true there's people who have that sort of magical talent and godspeed to them. The vast majority of us though have to slog it out, and learn as much as we can on the job and as we go. What "pretty average engineer" really means is "bursting at the seams with potential to be a great engineer with strong skills" a few years down the line.

Also: good luck out there. It gets better :)

RKoutnik 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote up an article about probing for culture in the interview [0]. Here's the tl;dr:

It's really hard to pull out the truth sometimes. Those that aren't looking through rose-colored glasses are outright lying to you. No company sends disgruntled employees to interview.

It's important to figure out if the company has a plan for you. If the plan seems like "Change everything, but without any power to do it", book it outta there. It's totally OK to ask folks what they think about management. Again, rose glasses, but folks usually don't have a cached answer for this one so you could catch them by surprise.

I find one of the biggest indicators of "Do I like this place" is how disagreements are resolved. Ask about those. Press for details, don't take sweeping statements for an answer. Actual examples are best.

Finally, lots of folks make bad decisions right out of college. I certainly did. Very few folks will hold it against you if your first job is a short one (~six months).

If you've got any further questions, contact info is in my profile. I can run a mock interview if you're up for it. Hope I helped!

[0] https://rkoutnik.com/articles/Questions-to-ask-your-intervie...

timwaagh 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have never worked in an environment which might be called toxic or anything that comes close. we don't do that this side of the ocean. however there are still things to keep in mind.

-if they do scrum use jira have an open plan office or talk about estimates then those are big contra-indicators. if you get freedom about work times that's good.

-scrum is there to have better control over you aka big brother is watching you. same for an open plan office (especially if the entire team sits together). this makes for an environment where you feel watched all the time.

- if they want you to come in at a specific time that's also because they want to watch your entire work-day.

- if they talk about estimates this often means a focus on efficiency and a lot of pressure.

- if they use jira then you won't have a say about what you will do and are probably just a code monkey.

- on the other hand, if they give everyone their own office, let people work from home or give you more freedom about which time you come in then this means they trust their employees and are a good choice.

- if they ask you your opinion about things that matter then this is good too (it means they are not just hiring you as a code monkey).

mattzito 5 days ago 0 replies      
Here's my checklist:

- If I'm asked a question, or asked to offer an opinion, do they seem really interested in my response? Do they challenge politely/with an intent to gain more info, or do they dismiss it?

- Whats' the average tenure on the team? How long have people been there?

- When asked the negatives or the challenges with the job, do they offer substantive responses, or platitudes?

- Are they interested in me as a person? Or is it just my skills and background?

- For the rest of the team, are they engaged? Do they seem to care about what they're doing? Do their concerns/negatives about the job match what their boss said?

- What's the ratio of leadership to worker bees? Are there lots of VPs for no apparent reason? Red flag.

It's largely qualitative, but I like to see consistency in temperament, enthusiasm, understanding of the challenges.

Example: I interviewed at a company a number of years ago for an executive leadership position. I met with four different execs, each of whom had a different cagey answer as to why business wasn't doing as well as it could. I opted not to join, as it "felt weird". Later I ran into someone I knew who happened to have taken a job there who confirmed my suspicion that it was a disorganized organization with a toxic atmosphere.

Trust your gut. If something feels wrong, it probably is, and don't let desire to get the job override your instincts if you can avoid it.

ben_pr 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have hired two to three dozen developers over the last 15 years for a fairly boring developer job (finance) in a very big city (Atlanta). Here are a few tips I had for making candidates feel comfortable.

1. Find out as much about them as possible before they show up. Look them up on Github, LinkedIn, etc.

2. Target questions that are appropriate and related to the job. If the candidate offers any sort personal info about interests follow-up with questions and find out what they are really interested in, you should already have a clue from point 1. If their primary love is talking about airplanes or something else then writing code is not their first love.

3. Make the candidate feel at ease as much as possible. Offer Water, coffee, comfortable chair, etc.

4. Have someone on their level take them to lunch. They can find out what their potential future co-workers think of you and you can get some valuable feed back from your devs.

If the person interviewing you doesn't do most of these things then you probably want to run the other way. Remember your managers job is partially to help you be successful and if he can't help you have a successful interview then he most likely can't help you have a successful career. When you leave the interview you should feel that this person has your back and will help you out if you ever need it.

PaulKeeble 5 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone has different hangups in regards to how a company will treat them. My personal tracer shots are always in regards to whether I can use the equipment and tools and processes I want. Obviously the interviewer can give away that the place might be bad to work with their questioning but I ask the questions that matter to me to make sure they care about my productivity and autonomy and if they don't I reject the job there and then.
mathattack 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's very hard to use black and white heuristics, because life is frequently shades of gray. And there's a big difference between work as presented in recruiting presentations, and what's it's really like. That's called Life, and it's why we get paid.

2 things I've found that work:

1 - If it's a backfill for an existing role, find out if the person is still is with the company.

1a - If the person who had it is still in the company, it's generally a good sign, but ask to talk to them anyway. You may not get full information, but you'll get some. (If they're just doing something else for the same boss, also a good sign.)

1b - If the person who previously had the job left the company, reach out to them and ask about the role. They'll usually be more honest.

2 - Find a friend, or a friend-of-a-friend who works there, and ask them. This will get easier the more you work, as your network will expand. It's also a good reason to keep in contact with everyone you meet. (LinkedIn helps a lot on this, despite all the bad press that it receives)

BobTheCoder 5 days ago 0 replies      
I would add to other comments to watch out for people that believe their own bullshit.

My current company I could tell that when the team lead talked about it being Agile and using latest tech that he really believed it.

Because he believed it I joined, but now I realise he was willfully deluded. So don't forget to watch out for this and verify what their practices are with questions.

ares2012 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is common in your first job, so don't feel bad for missing the signs! Until you have been in the professional world it's hard to know what environments are right for you.

The good news is that now you'll know what to look for when you interview at new companies. Some things I look for:1. A well organized and well run recruiting process. If they can't communicate, schedule and work with you during recruiting it's unlikely they can do so when you work there. 2. Great employee retention. People don't stick around for a long while at companies they hate. Look for places where people stay for the long haul (at least 3 years). 3. Personal connections. Talk to the people you know in the industry and learn about where they work. At this point I would have a hard time joining a company where I didn't know anyone since there is so much risk involved.

Good luck with your next adventure! It only gets better.

isuckatcoding 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hello all. I want to thank you all for you amazing responses. Based on your feedback, I have an excellent set of possible actions/questions I can take to avoid my current situation. I know there is no fail-safe method but at least I have some guidance now.

Also just realized my question has a typo. :facepalm: Looks like isuckatgrammar too.

evanwolf 5 days ago 0 replies      
On the employers' side, a few studies showed very low correlation between interviewer scores of candidates and employee performance ratings after 60-90-360 days. I suspect it's nearly as true in the other direction: that interviews are little better than a coin toss in helping you know if this is a great fit.

So this suggests a strategy to screen out obvious mismatches, sign on, then abandon or confirm when you have enough information after a month or so. This is one of the advantages of freelancing or starting under contract: both parties have a chance to see how the other performs in the real world instead of the artificial job interview setting.

So extract what clues you can from the hiring process but don't attach too much confidence in their relevance to your ability to enjoy your work, to perform well, or to advance your career.

LargeWu 5 days ago 0 replies      
One thing you can do is ask to see the space where developers are working. Do developers there look generally happy? This is highly subjective and prone to false-positives, but in general if everybody kind of looks like they'd rather be somewhere else, take note of that.

Is there another developer in the interview besides the hiring manager? Do they seem engaged and are trying to sell the job to you (a good sign), or are they kind of disinterested (a bad sign)?

Are the interview questions adversarial? ("Solve this problem. Ha ha, that's not right" - bad) Or are they asking about you and your experiences and trying to relate them to what you'll be working on. (good)

What specific aspects of your current workplace do you view as toxic?

kelukelugames 5 days ago 0 replies      
One question I've always asked after an offer is "Is there any reason why I shouldn't take this job?"

One manager felt insulted and got angry. I took the job for other reasons but he turned out to be petty.

kkapelon 4 days ago 0 replies      
The best way to detect this is to see the working conditions for current developers. Then notice the vibe around the room.

Smiling people are a good sign. People that come to greet you and talk to you (even if you are not yet hired) are also a good sign.

Refusal of that tour is a bad sign. People that seem grumpy, tired, or angry is a bad sign as well.

You could also find a developer in the company cafeteria (or something similar) after the interview finishes and ask him/her about the company

p4wnc6 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some of the main things I've noticed:

- Lazily using "full-stack development" for every position as a means of avoiding the hard work of actually managing people, providing meaningful job descriptions, and respecting specialties. A company with a huge army of undifferentiated full-stack positions is a major red flag.

- Unwillingness to negotiate regarding private offices or remote / work from home options for people who are not compatible with the noise & productivity loss caused by open-plan offices.

- Hyper focus on your salary expectations early in the process without reciprocal willingness to share the budgeted salary range. This extends to hyper focus on relocation costs or other compensation items too.

- Jobs that don't provide relocation. Sometimes there are good reasons, but many times it's because of cliquish culture and/or extreme cheapness.

- Paternalism: does the management act like your vacation time, your pay, other forms of compensation, or other perks are "generous gifts" doled out by the company? Do they act like the company "is a family" and have weird workplace cultural norms about key management "principles"?

- Are all of the recent Glassdoor reviews 5-stars with unrealistically glowing reviews that sound like they were written by a PR firm, and all of the bad reviews are buried at the end and sound like what an actual human would write?

- Any unreasonable demands for access to private data about you, such as statements about past income or addresses, test results for things like IQ or personality tests. I agree with other comments that even asking for test results is a bad sign, but even if the test results were legitimately useful for hiring (they aren't), there's still the issue of distrusting some random company with private data about you, or being skeptical of their network security.

- If anyone tries to talk you out of your financial requirements with lame excuses, it's a red flag. For example, when I've countered lowball offers before, I've had HR reps debate with me exactly which apartment buildings and locations nearby I could live in at the wage they countered with. Anybody prying into your private life like that ("hey I know where you should choose to afford to live") is nuts, and you should run away.

munchkinlk 5 days ago 0 replies      
As a recruiter, I can tell you about the work environment but often times it's only an overall view. If you have the opportunity to speak to employees that is usually the best way to get information about the environment.

If speaking to other employees is not an option you will really have to lean on the questions you ask during the interview. I would encourage you to have standard questions for the people interviewing you, that way you have a consistent way to rank a company or team.

Hope that helps!Lisa

peterwwillis 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ask about the other employees. Executives, middle-managers, future co-workers. What is their background? How long have they been working in their group? Do they have significant prior experience working in a position such as this? What is their day to day like?

Ask to talk to people in the group you're going to be working in. What do they think of the company, their boss, team lead, other team members? Are they often asked to do more than should be expected of them? Do they love their position?

If they don't offer or won't let you meet with the future team, this indicates they really don't care whether the team likes each other personally, OR that they're so busy they have no time to meet you - which is not good either. It should also be face to face; nobody gets to know someone over the phone.

Finally, you can use probing questions to see how your future boss reacts. Make a joke and watch their body language. Ask them both professional and personal questions. Ask them how they would handle different work scenarios - would they throw a direct report under the bus, or try to cover for them? Do they micro-manage or are they hands-off? How responsive are they to communication, and in what forms? Do they work with many teams or just the one? Are they customer-focused or task-focused? Is their primary motivation to get ahead in the company, or merely to be helpful?

Sometimes there's no way to know if a boss is going to be a jerk. But 9 times out of 10, either someone else working there has noticed it, or they'll act like a jerk to you with the right prompting.

nickconfer 5 days ago 0 replies      
The simple answer is realize your more nervous than the person or group interviewing you. You may not be completely yourself as your nervous, but they are being themselves.

If they act aggitated, aggressive, nervous, rushed, etc... Thats most likely either their true personality or a real problem of their workplace.

When you ask to meet your coworkers are they nervous or friendly. Does their boss say anything nice about them... Etc...

CM30 5 days ago 0 replies      
Look around on the internet beforehand, since it's filled with sites where employees can post experiences they've had at other companies. You mention Glassdoor, but perhaps some of its alternatives might be useful as well:

Like Rate my Employer (http://www.ratemyemployer.ca/Home), Job Advisor (https://www.jobadvisor.com.au/), Kununu (https://www.kununu.com/) and The Job Crowd (http://www.thejobcrowd.com/). Yes, all these sites can be gamed if the company is persistant enough and floods them with fake or coerced reviews, but they can also give some impressions on what working there might be like.

You should also check social media sites (LinkedIn and Twitter might be good places to find people's opinions on this stuff), as well as general mentions of the company's name in general. After all, if a bunch of articles start talking about how terrible the environment is on Medium, then that's probably a giant red flag right there.

If you can find out, knowing the general level of staff turnover might be a useful metric too. Does the company often get people who work there for a couple of months and then quickly move on? That's a pretty good sign it's not a great place to work. If you see a bit of talk online about how a large amount of the team quit at once, or that staff turnover is high in general, it often means something has gone pretty wrong in recent weeks.

As for what to see in the interview... well, I guess pay attention to the working environment, the behaviour of the staff, etc. If it looks chaotic or the employees look utterly miserable, then those could be warning signs in of themselves. Of course, you might not be able to tell this (if a company is very careful about their interview process), but that's pretty rare for startups and small businesses.

Hearing a lot about 'culture'or 'company fit' might be a warning too, given how often it means 'acts like the boss/other staff and shares views/background'. As might the usual complicated interview procedures, suspiciously low pay, the office being in the middle of nowhere, etc.And

analog31 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just an additional note: If they start disparaging past employees, competitors, etc., run. They will have the same attitudes about you.
Abdirahman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well I'm looking for a cofounder now so perhaps you'd be a nice boss to some people if you start a promising startup with me. Drop me a line at rahman (dot) aspro (at) outlook (dot) com if interested.
MagicAndi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Basically, you have to treat the interview as a two way process - they are interviewing you, but you are also interviewing them. You need to look at how the company has treated you from the moment you applied, and pick up on any indicators that the organisation you're applying to is toxic.

I would look at the following:

(1) How has the company communicated with you since you applied to the position? Has it been a single person communicating to you, or several, or an automated process?

(2) How did you find it personal or completely anonymous?

(3) Was there a telephone screening interview with HR?

(4) How were you tested technically? Were you sufficiently tested?

(5) Did you have to write code as part of your interview process? If not, this is a major failing. If the company doesnt know if you can code or not, what is the point hiring you?

(6) How large was the interview panel? This is most visible way of assessing how important a company views recruiting developers.

The interview itself:

(7) Were the questions asked relevant to the work you believe you will be doing?

(8) Did the questions asked match the advertised job? If it doesnt, it is likely that the job advertised wont be the job you will actually be doing.

(9) The interviewers personality and behaviour. Were you treated with respect?

(10) Would you like to work with these people? Remember, in an interview, people are on their best behaviour on both sides of the table. If you come out of an interview thinking that one of the interviewers was a pain, then they will be most likely be a complete bastard to work with. You need to trust your gut instinct about people.

(11) How was the outcome communicated to you?

I've blogged about this previously at http://www.andyparkhill.co.uk/2015/04/the-software-developer...

Spearchucker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some great answers and advice here. I'd add questions about behaviour when things go wrong. For example, what happens when a deadline is missed? Who is accountable (correct answer being "team", or "everyone")? How do lessons learnt affect subsequent projects?

Took me a while to find a good formulation for these questions - during an interview I now say something like "Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and the like still miss deadlines, so it's a given that smaller outfits will, too. How do you deal with missed deadlines, and how are teams affected by that?"

I look for more occurrences of "we" and "us", and fewer of "I", "he", "she" and "you".

agjacobson 5 days ago 0 replies      
By the way Glassdoor is subject to subversion by a company's HR. Go to Theranos' Glassdoor postings and ask yourself whether the glowing reports sound like they were written by employees, and further, whether it is reasonable that they coexist with some of the rotten ones.
alkonaut 4 days ago 0 replies      
Simplest way I know is asking about the employee churn. "How many have quit in last N years"? If it's uncomfortable to ask a manager or recruiter then find a team member and ask.

This is culturally and geographically dependent though. In a tech hub kind if area, holding a job less than a couple of years isn't strange, in my home town where an average tech employee is 45 and not 25, I'd run if the average employment was lower than 5 or 10 years. So it depends.

If a third of the team quits quit last year that's a pretty good sign that the environment is toxic. And it becomes only more toxic since usually the talent leaves first.

Oh: also if you have kids - the killer question is "does everyone in management have kids"?

dba7dba 5 days ago 0 replies      
From my experience, I was lucky to have good managers that seemed ok during interview and even after I started working. What changed my situation for worse was new manager, either replacing my direct manager or being put above my direct manager due to merger,change-in-structure,etc.

Then my situation took a dive. New managers usually don't like non-super-star employees already there when they are brought in from outside. They didn't hire you themselves. And they are under pressure to do better. So if you are an average worker, you have a big fat target on your back.

All points on this thread were great. But you never know about life, what will happen tomorrow.

So don't feel too secure or cocky when things are going well. And don't feel too down when everything seems to be going against you.

laxatives 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ask for something a little outlandish and maybe unrealistic, like taking a sabbatical/working remotely for a few months while you travel (this probably only works at a startup without a formal hiring process). If they are willing to at least entertain the idea, its a good sign.
fazza99 4 days ago 0 replies      
I interviewed at one place where the manager who was supposed to see me turned up an hour late, sweaty from a cycle ride and said I was too early. He consistently got my name wrong during the remaining half hour, and poured scorn on his current reports.

- If during the interview, they ask you if you have 'firing skills' and how you motivate unmotivated staff, that's a strong indicator also. The company was based 20 seconds from the edge of a airport runway. Repeatedly during the interview, we had to stop talking as the noise from jet engines wouldn't allow normal conversation.

sadadar 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd probably recommend you use the same tricks a good interviewer does to determine if you are a good culture fit.

1) know your requirements2) use behavioral questions instead of hypothetical3) trust your intuition4) hold a high bar

shin_lao 4 days ago 0 replies      
I use this rule for business, it never failed me:

If you have a doubt, there is no doubt.

matttheatheist 5 days ago 1 reply      
What do you mean by "asshole"?

During my first engineering job out of college, I had a crazy angry boss whom you could hear yelling at people all the way across the building. I used to dread having to meet with her (at least) once a week. I literally had to remind myself that "no matter what, she cannot take my life". Yes, this was ACTUALLY a recurring thought.

It didn't take long after I had already left that job, that I realized how good she made me. Among my peers, I'm the top engineer, and she's the reason for that.

Check out my company: www.evolutionarynetworks.com

Good luck!

lhnz 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's no foolproof way of detecting bad bosses and environments.

What you need to learn is:

(1) How to deal with difficult people. It's very likely that you'll have to deal with personalities and egos like this at some point no matter how carefully you attempt to situate yourself.

(2) How to make yourself marketable enough that you can easily walk from uncomfortable workplace cultures. At some point you're going to work with a colleague or in a company that you cannot stand, so be ready for this.

pinewurst 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to know the inverse. I accepted my current job because I really liked and respected my boss (and still do) - enough that it obscured how dysfunctional and mediocre the company was in general. I even turned down another offer with more responsibility at another (name brand) place because their hiring manager was such a dud by comparison.

I'm looking again to escape my current abyss but am just so paranoid that I'll end up in another mess due to simply liking my boss & coworkers during interviewing.

matchagaucho 5 days ago 0 replies      
Determine if they are a Manager or a Leader. Only work for Leaders.

"Boss" is just another word for Manager, so look in the mirror and make sure you're using the right vocabulary to find what you seek.

soham 5 days ago 0 replies      
Always treat interviewing like dating, of-course sans the romance; especially the one with your future manager/tech-lead.

How do you tell if the person you're "dating" is crappy/toxic? That judgment is very subjective, by definition. e.g. I've had my fair share of people I've found "crappy/toxic", that others have not. And vice-versa. You want to find the person/manager that you get along with.

The only way for you to truly tell, is to

1. Spend more time with them at the right time:

- The best time to do so, is when the offer is made, but before you've accepted it. That is your best time; most companies will do pretty much everything they reasonably can, to keep you interested in that phase. Make use of that time, to ask for more conversations with the potential manager/team.

I used to work in engineering at Box for several years. Box is very thoughtful about their interview process. We used to invite candidates we liked, for dinner with the team and multiple conversations with the manager. They were also very selective about promoting people to management positions.

2. Do backchannel references:

- Hit up past employees on linked-in. Especially the ones who stayed at the company for a long time. They'd likely know your potential manager and will be able to correlate them with the culture.

Don't feel shy in doing so; it's routine. Of course, BNBR with their time.

Generally speaking, in interviews, you have to optimize for "fit" with "you". Do the best you can in the time that you have, and then leave the rest to chance. There are many good people and strong teams out there.

[I make these observations based on my past life as an early engineer at a couple of companies, as engineer and Director of Engineering at Box and as someone keenly interested in interviewing as a topic. These days, I pour myself into running a bootcamp for technical interview preparation: http://Interviewkickstart.com. We believe that all good engineers deserve a chance to work for best companies of their time, and interview preparation should not stand in their way]

munchkinlk 5 days ago 0 replies      
As a recruiter, I would say the best way to judge a company is by what the current employees say. It's not always possible to speak to employees and then you have to lean on the responses to questions you ask during the interview. Have a set of standard questions you ask so you have a consistent way of ranking the responses.

Before you walk into an interview or even have a telephone interview decide for yourself what kind of company, culture and environment you want to work in for a lengthy period of time.

xivzgrev 5 days ago 0 replies      
What did your gut tell you? You said it was a great startup but what was vibe from hiring manager? I'm willing to bet you didn't feel excellent about him or her.

Its the best tool. I had a certain feeling about my curemt boss (like this, don't like this) and its right on the money 4 months later. Just get a sense from what they focus on (and what they gloss over), how they talk, their body language, and more.

Next time ask how excited you are to join that person's team

purpleD 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is the biggest factor when I take a job. Do I like the boss? I say the beer test - would I enjoy hanging out with this boss socially. I'm not saying I would, in fact I rarely have with my bosses, but someone who seems like I could be friends with is someone I want to work for.

This has lead to me mostly working for bosses with good people skills which is rare to find in tech. I hate working for socially obvlivious robot programmers who can't solve people problems.

cubano 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well then, do better and don't look back.

There is no shame in taking a first job out of college and realizing it wasn't meant to be.

Working at your age should be akin to dating...you should have no guilt or issue with realizing you acted without having complete information and perhaps jumped into something that wasn't, in the end, right for you.

Why not start actively shopping a resume and talking to colleagues your age to see where you could possibly land next?

Good luck, and keep moving towards a better tomorrow.

nasirdani 5 days ago 0 replies      
Adding to what most of people said: 1) look how hard the technical part of the interview is, if you dont get any challenging questions (technical and to some extend behavioral); you are most likely not going to learn and grow that much if you get the job.

2) how the interviewers treat you when you are trying hard to answer tough questions? If you see sympathy, it is a good sign; if they play bad cop and good cop, run.

3) if they dont ask you any personal questions it means they will not care about you.

tsax 5 days ago 0 replies      
Since this is your first job out of school, this tip won't help you unfortunately. In any case, it's good to keep a buffer of 6-months spending handy in savings (outside of retirement accounts, those should preferably NEVER be touched outside of TRUE emergencies). Having a buffer-fund, you will find, will keep your mind at ease and give you options to walk away from very toxic environments.Good luck buddy!
tdicola 5 days ago 0 replies      
Assuming you're doing a typical full day interview loop pay attention to the first few interviewers, they're likely more of the junior employees. Ask them lots of questions about the work environment, boss, etc. Obviously don't come out and ask 'is your boss an asshole?', have more subtle questions like 'what's the work/life balance like?'.
asimuvPR 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to practice interviewing, feel free to drop me an email. I like to help others prepare for interviews and get new jobs. :)
peteretep 5 days ago 0 replies      
"So what do you do if you're coming to the end of a sprint and it looks like you might miss a deadline?"
pcunite 5 days ago 0 replies      
We can tell you experiences we've had, but going through this yourself is how you will know. You need this moment.
breathesalt 5 days ago 0 replies      
Don't ask the interviewers what they hate about their jobs. That's easy, everyone hates their job. The best advice here is you should find someplace willing to give you a small token project to work on. Find out for yourself if you hate the place in that period of time.
xupybd 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are some simple interview tips in the video below, I'd say if you get these down you'll have nothing to worry about.


edwingustafson 5 days ago 0 replies      
You can ask how long team members have been with the organization, to tactfully get a sense of turnover. At a young company you might ask how team came together: was it through past working relationships and friendships? or the internet equivalent of putting an ad in the paper?
lnanek2 5 days ago 1 reply      
That happened to me recently. Everyone seemed great during the interview process, but the company was a disaster.

Once I got in the door I found out all the code was originally produced from outsourcing in Russia. So it had no comments and it had layer after layer after layer of unneeded abstraction. So figuring out the behavior on an error in the BLE back end communicating with a fitness tracker required tracing through half a dozen unneeded classes like screen config beans, screen states, the fragment state generators, to to error codes, to error messages, to fragment subclasses, to flow subclasses, to activity subclasses. All with if/else's for special conditions jammed everywhere even in things that should be mindless DTOs and many parts never actually used and deep inheritance hierarchies. It could all have been easily done with 40 classes instead of 120, with much simpler, more reliable code.

Lesson: ask the company about outsourcing history and plans.

Software engineering has known for a long time that abstraction over composition really hurts maintainability and reliability, but clearly this company never heard of that. Normally this sort of thing is fixable, but the couple staff developers they had brought in tended to just write whatever they thought would work, shove it into the app, then call it a day, not even smoke testing, let alone writing unit tests. Developers frequently pushed code that didn't even work in real testing on a device then left for vacation for a week leaving others to deal with their mess. If you sent them an email with logs or even fix commits, they'd call a meeting with management to try to discredit you and block the fixes rather than working to fix the problems. And their stuff simply didn't work on the devices, so there was no possible end goal to their politics that would leave the app functional. It made no sense.

Even ignoring things that could be considered "style" they didn't have much technical ability either. They thought changes to variables would be visible on all threads as long as they used an Android Handler class on a background Looper, but that's only true if both threads where it is read block on the underlying event queue, which wasn't happening in their code. But they fought the synchronization blocks that would make the value changes visible to their UI logic despite logs proving their code was blowing by changed values without seeing them.

Lesson: their developers will give you a technical interview, but be sure to ask your own questions and determine their level as well.

OK, outsourcing, we can clean it up. Clueless junior developers, we can train them and pair code with them and clean up up their messes. But management was completely screwed up as well which kind of prevented any fixes. My manager left at 4PM every day to go ride his bicycle and never came back. Meanwhile, I took a 45 minute bicycle ride midday and worked until 8PM to finish a project for the company during a month we were encouraged to exercise and be healthy - he fought to get me in trouble for "long lunches".

Similarly, my wife drove two hours once to get me in without standing an hour on the BART, so my back wouldn't hurt. She did everything properly, got a guest badge, stayed out of restricted areas where we were working on unreleased products, and got kicked out by the manager for talking quietly at my desk with me and a coworker. He was panting heavily and claimed she was too distracting for him to work. She left and never came back to the company ever again, but he went right back to harassing me about her week after week, talking about her and making up new rules despite the fact that she never came back. Meanwhile he had reserved an entire conference room for his friend's family to visit the entire day.

Lesson: not sure how to avoid this one.

The manager said all the right things during the interview, that management is supposed to help employees get things done and get along with their team, but he spent what little time he was on site harassing people. I guess because the company had just IPO'ed the management was basically rich from their options and didn't give a damn about actually working. I put in a transfer request with HR who immediately fired me instead of looking into it. They claimed all their managers were the same, which was a lie, since I walked around and asked. So no clue of the right lesson for that one. Sometimes you just end up with a bad company despite doing everything right.

the_cat_kittles 5 days ago 0 replies      
i think im pretty good at detecting it now, but i dont think there is a simple way other than to work at alot of places. i will say that if things seem toxic, they aren't going to get better (in my experience), and most likely will get worse. so quit asap.
dbcurtis 5 days ago 0 replies      
Look out for a paranoid culture. It should be easy to detect. When you ask questions, are there places people just won't go with their answers? Do you get deflective answers? Are there people who don't seem to want to talk to each other?
SideburnsOfDoom 4 days ago 0 replies      
The single best way is to have a quick off the record chat with someone who works there or has worked there recently in a similar role.

This isn't always available, but it's worth a lot if you can get it.

thefastlane 5 days ago 0 replies      
i once got through the entire interview process (salary negotation etc etc) interacting with the person i thought would be my boss. i specifically wanted to the job because i liked this person. but when i received the offer letter, i discovered that someone else would be my supervisor -- it definitely caught me offguard. and turns out it ended up being the worst job i'd ever had. i wouldn't call the supervisor bait-n-switch a red flag, but now i'm now hyperattentive to even the tiniest of hiccups during hiring. surprises during the interview process can equal surprises on the job as well.
trhway 5 days ago 0 replies      
assume by default that it is "a crappy boss / toxic environment" and try to find solid evidence to the contrary.

>However, a few months into the job I realized my boss was a complete and utter asshole.

well, that is view from your side. Are you sure that you aren't the one too? It is just a frequent situation that people are defensive in response to your [as perceived by them] "offenses". It is one of the most important skills if you're going to develop your career as corporate drone is to get used to work with different people around you.

kidlogic 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ask about the company's culture and ask whether or not you can talk to other employees; their immediate response will be a tell-tale sign of whether or not they're toxic or not.
kidlogic 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ask about company culture - also ask whether or not you can talk to other employees; their immediate response will be a tell-tale sign whether or not they're toxic.
verst 5 days ago 0 replies      
Try to find out who has worked for this boss (or CEO / founder) in the past. Reach out to them to hear about their experience and find out why they really left.
mcs_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you don't want to work with them, for them to improve their system... just run. If you don't want to meet assholes.. Change industry.
outside1234 5 days ago 1 reply      
Demand to interview at least your manager and your manager's manager. I ask for the 3rd level as well.
andy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ask to speak with people who would be your peer. Ask them about the culture, day to day life, etc.
known 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't burn the bridge; Polish your CV and start applying for a job;
Jhsto 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ask for a raise from whatever they offer and see how they react to it.
dang 4 days ago 2 replies      
We asked you before to stop making trollish comments on HN. Since you're still doing it, we've banned your account. If you don't want it to be banned, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11450021 and marked it off-topic.

oldemployee66 5 days ago 0 replies      
best of luck
oldemployee66 5 days ago 1 reply      
1.)go with wisdom, NOT with truism rules-If respect isn't reciprocal, run. be thankful you have a job. Some bosses are psychotica--holes AND power alleged SADISTS.2.)read the bookhttps://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/03/22/hubspot-book...

3.)always ask about possibilities of TRANSFERS andother departments, even contractors.

4.)give email address with I LOVE TO GET ANONYMOUS MAIL.

5.)sometimes you have to visit the bars and party placeswhere the employees hang out for some 'human tips'-- know what i mean

6.)over age 54 or was it 49? first career out of a fewwas electric - gas grid.FIRST YEAR IN FIELD, about three persons GOT KILLED or?? and what waz intereesting was they were not necessarilyaccident prone.

7.)look up the govbuerment stats. electric - like afterthe hurricane out is up there next to coal mining.

8.)the CRAPPY boss is part of the overall package. defineyour framework - ecosystem, QUANTITATIVE assessment offactors, etc. You are an A student in Math, for topuniversity, right??? sure??

9.)it's gonna sound real harsh. insert quote by Nitzzzkieche. the responsibility AND THE ATTITUDE isyours alone. I've been amazed at how bad and evenhow out of date SME subject matter expertise - greatcoding skills in Microsoft VB - the crpola-boss getsand they rotate and TAG TEAM YOU.

sometimes, Its a 'sisten-in-law' who married the keycustomer VP so BOSS is 'royalty' YOU CANNOT TELL.

rule #10 - be really suspicous, if the 'secretary - admin assistant, receptionist? doesn't give you theREAL RULES and culture of the company? It's UP TO YOUto ge the truth out of them as in the book Disrupted.

oh st, no rules that are too easy to say.

buy the management books. Find out what the CRAPPPITO lordis reading. Only then, plan your strategy.

-If they give you an IQ test or similar, run.no dumpkofff, I used to practice IQ tests and I go toMensa, but no real good lookers there - if you know whatI mean.THE NEW AGE is the PSYCMETRIC babble test. if you arenot a 'quality focus PERFECTIONIST' then maybe U SHULD gibup 'developer position'?

Conclusion - Sadists?, possible racists?, sexists?been there done that - both employee, consultant, manager,no I am not 'racist'... I think ahole, since I ama minoarity and used toSTICKING OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB rolling with da punches, mon! don't let them knowyou have been hurt. Sometimes, it helps to suggest otherpossible VICTEMS for the Mr. CARPPY-hole to attack.

the best books seem to be FBI related as to open questionsand sniffing for dirty dirties. The CODE is the companyand the code smells?according to book reviews on internet, the KGB usesthe medieval tortures; the CIA uses the outsource orrendition to other a-hole tortures like fine democracyEgypt; the DEA uses the highly reliable informants paidfor in cash.

the local sheriff grew up in the same high school, sohe knows the ART-holes as kids and has not changed hismind in 20 years, while he tries to get rich on thefracking boomlet.

please refer to Fred Reed, lew rock well *comfor useful travel and adventure writings as old timejournalists? used to bounce around quite a bit.

hey, I like writing - code only in hh aa ss kk ee llor give advice to 'nephews like you' or virtual sonsmaking all the same mistakes I did when I was young

loooooong time ago. fellow Art-hole in training!

remember, it 10% personal. U have been selected by fate.it is ALWAYS, THAT IS THE RULE, 90% not personal.55% divorce rate in USA. it still is 90% NOT personal,its the system....

PS. Research is ongoing. I LOVE DATING BAR-MAIDS becausethey tell such interesting stories.

PS. If you work in Wall Street, NYC, why are thego-go dancer bar close-by?

PPS. sure, I'm just an old, kinda introverted consultant.did startups, and did part-time startups - sure I failedbut some friends did succeed. IT AINT PERSONAL, I justdid the best I could. with the crabby bosses i got.

Ask HN: Platforms for building 2D mobile games for kids?
10 points by bossx  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
mrtrombone 1 hour ago 0 replies      

My son used this for his science fair project last year and I thought it was an excellent platform.

0942v8653 1 day ago 0 replies      

> Hi there! LVE is an awesome framework you can use to make 2D games in Lua. It's free, open-source, and works on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android and iOS.

Ask HN: What's it like working at a cannabis tech startup company?
9 points by hoodoof  23 hours ago   2 comments top
KhalPanda 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Why would it be any different to working at a brewery or distillery?
What is tech stack of HackerNews?
5 points by yuechen  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
Kinnard 1 day ago 0 replies      
HN is one of the few places Arc, pg's own dialect of lisp runs in production.

Check out pg's page on arc to learn more: http://www.paulgraham.com/arc.html

This is a good place to start: http://www.paulgraham.com/hundred.html

One of the other places arc runs in production is the arc-forum: http://www.arclanguage.com/forum

Arc-language github: https://github.com/arclanguage

nostrademons 1 day ago 0 replies      
Arc (http://www.arclanguage.com/), I believe, running on top of Racket (https://racket-lang.org/). Unless they changed it since it was made public.
Ask HN: Any triplebyte alternatives for students with F1 Visa's?
2 points by snehesht  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: How do you 'keep in touch' with new contacts you make?
4 points by chirau  15 hours ago   3 comments top 3
yoloswagins 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Postcards. The best way to keep in touch with interesting people is to send them a postcard when you're traveling.

When you contact them with a request, they'll think about the nice postcard they received from you two months ago.

Because people don't send many postcards, the recipient will enjoy getting something in the mail that isn't the bill. They'll pay attention to your message, and they might hang up the card, and see it often.

The best places to buy postcards is from grocery stores, or thrift stores, where they can be purchased for 10-60 cents each. Postcard stamps are cheaper than regular stamps.

Your message should be short, and congenial. It doesn't need to have an ask, but if it does, it should be very easy. Here are a couple examples:

Just to say hi:> Hey {fname}, I'm in {place}, and {local_delicacy} is very tasty. Your recent post on {medium} about {topic} was very thoughtful because {legitimate reason, 2 sentences}. See you soon, {your_name}

Make an ask:> {fname}!, That's how to say "Howdy" in Japanese. You would love how many vending machines are everywhere! After I get back in town next month, and I'd love to talk to you about the vending machines you've built. Many of your ideas would be a hit in the Japan market. Talk to you soon! {your_name}

Quick update:> Howdy {fname}, Everyone here in Montana is so gosh dang friendly! I'm taking some R&R after shutting down my last startup, and I love Big Sky Country. When I get back to SF, I'm going to handle operations at my roommates startup, Tigger: it's like Tinder, but for house cats. Talk to you soon! {your_name}

theGREENsuit 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Aside from giving people a call every so often, I use LinkedIn - messages, comment on their posts, etc. I also have a group of former colleagues whom I've worked with at multiple companies and we'll get together every few months. Depending on the size of your network, it may be nearly impossible to keep in touch with everyone on a frequent basis. In the past, I would invite a number of them to tech events around the city and that worked with some success.
Raed667 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I have made a secondary Facebook account, where I add interesting people I have met. I use it exactly for the purposes you stated above.
Ask HN: What real-world apps are based on less popular disciplines of CS?
63 points by acconrad  5 days ago   22 comments top 13
Jtsummers 5 days ago 0 replies      
My office does radios for what amounts to a very specialized mesh network. While we aren't at the bleeding edge of anything, one of the main things that had to be understood by the designers of this was distributed systems. By us, the implementers, performance and concurrency are key to our work. Performance: We have a limited window within each time slot to process a message and respond with a message. Being late means waiting X slots to send the desired data, which may be too late by the time it arrives (as we can only transmit when we're permitted to by the network configuration, which could be every slot or every N slots, in order to avoid collision in broadcast). Concurrency because our particular software component is designed with several concurrent components, but also the whole radio has 5+ (depending on configuration) processors each with 1+ applications executing on them. Designing software that operates correctly in this environment is a challenge.
manvsmachine 5 days ago 1 reply      
Honestly, there are far to many to even list. I think part of the issue may just be that not every application is an 'app' - computing is increasingly intertwined with physical applications. Here are a few consumer-focused 'emerging tech' applications off the top of my head:

Graphics / CV: VR Gaming (Oculus, HTC Vive, etc), self-driving vehicles, computational photography (Lytro)

HCI: Leap, Kinect, VR Gaming again

Architecture / performance / networking / databases are tools, not applications in and of themselves - find a problem that demands extremely high performing systems, and there will be work done in those areas. Example: the PX 2 system for self-driving racecars that Nvidia announced a few days ago at GTC hits six of your bullets points by itself (architecture, performance, computer vision, networking, parallel systems, computational science).

charlieegan3 5 days ago 0 replies      
There was this: http://summly.com/index.html now part of Yahoo news digest. This would count as "Natural Language Processing".

There's also Diffbot, https://www.diffbot.com/, you this could count under "computer vision" (as AI/machine learning).

Think this https://streamium.io/ might tick the "Concurrent/Parallel/Distributed systems" and "Networking" boxes.

golergka 5 days ago 1 reply      
Follow up question: how does one move his career from general "business logic" programming to state where you _have_ to read latest CS papers for work and write your own (if your company allows you to share the intellectual property)?
marinabercea 5 days ago 2 replies      

 * Timetabling or scheduling apps like Doodle.com - subjects pertaining to Graph Theory * Travel comparison sites that can find you the fastest flight route from A to B (and/or cheapest or some other type of constraints) - Graph Theory * LinkedIn network analysis apps such as Socilab.com - Graph Theory
Basically Graph Theory is extremely important, with applications in domains such as: networking, linguistics, (bio)chemistry, pathfinding & GIS, social network analysis, matching (dating apps, organ donation, medical residency matching) etc.

Edit: Another application is PCB design. The circuit to be printed is the graph itself, it should not allow edge crossings that would result in a short circuit.

pbnjay 5 days ago 0 replies      
AI/ML and Crypto are sort of generally applicable to many startups, hence you see them more.

For databases, there are quite a few columnar database startups.

A bunch of these topics are basically only relevant at large scale since they're R&D intensive. I think it's easy to say that Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have big groups of people dedicated to most of these problem domains. Search their engineering blogs or look at white papers and you can find a bunch of examples.

Ologn 5 days ago 0 replies      
One thing about distributed systems is there are many, many organizations with small-to-medium sized infrastructures, so a lot of the solutions for the problems of those organization's infrastuctures are already done and widely available. If you look at the largest distributing systems setups, they are so large they run into their own unique problems. Google has rolled a lot of its own solutions, I'm sure often out of necessity. So they write Dapper to do DS monitoring. Twitter writes Zipkin to do DS monitoring.

For distributed storage, Carnegie-Mellon had solutions like AFS, which large DS organizations used. Google needed a different solution and made Google File System and MapReduce. Inspired by this, a project like Hadoop is started.

Insofar as graphics and computer vision, the first non-dev Oculus Rift just started shipping a few days ago, and Oculus is already working on an improved version of it. HTC and Valve's Vive was just released a few days ago. So a lot of innovation is happening in graphics and computer vision right now.

shakkhar 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think an enormous amount of money has been made in virtualization technologies, yet they rarely get the kind of attention that AI / ML gets. Probably because the primary customer of these products are very large enterprises who use them in their private data centers.
kctess5 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think part of the reason you see so much AI/ML and crypto is that those methods are very useful in a wide range of CS disciplines. This is true for many of the things you list:

AI/ML is important to (or visa versa):

- Performance

- Graphics/Vision (my research is largely in this field)


- Scientific/computational science

Crypto is important to:

- Architecture

- Networking

- Distributed Systems

- Databases


And I'm sure the above lists are not exhaustive. I think learning ML and optimization is important because you can apply it to literally almost any other field. One of my favorite things to see is when people apply ML/optimization in new ways to other disciplines. The field of Computational Fabrication is very interesting, IMO. All these things are not so different as they might seem.

tikhonj 5 days ago 0 replies      
A surprising number of companies rely on ideas and tools from PL (programming languages) internally. More extreme examples are things like having their own compilers and internal languages and more common ones are things like domain-specific languages, static analysis tools and advanced type systems.

The thing with PL is that it's something of a meta-field, even within CS: the programs you write help you write other programs. So while user-facing products based on PL ideas are rare (ie just development tools), many companies have surprising numbers of PL people in house who use these tools and techniques internally.

throwaway2873 5 days ago 0 replies      
Performance/Parallel systems: Some animator friends are excited about GPU rendering, which has a lot of potential to make professional animation rendering more accessible/powerful.

Computer vision: Important for most VR tracking systems, body tracking systems like Leap Motion, as well as augmented reality systems like Project Tango and Vuforia.

8note 5 days ago 0 replies      
CV: farming/drone air photography
adamnemecek 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure what you consider central areas as all of those listed seem pretty central.
YC Emails Out
14 points by lettergram  1 day ago   8 comments top 5
pedalpete 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just got mine, quite disappointed, I thought I had a decent chance. Keen to hear the stats on applicants and interviews given.
uniquark000 1 day ago 2 replies      
I got mine too. Hehe. I applied for both the core and the fellowship programs. Does it mean I was rejected by both? I just got one email.
atul7 1 day ago 1 reply      
We got our rejection now. We were certain of an invite for interview but then such is life . Keep Hustling Guys
hashvin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just got mine aswell! haha. No worries though this does not dictate our success. :) Best luck on your business.
vit05 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reject too, it is really sad :(

Be called for the interview would be fun. I wish I could speak more and better about the project directly to someone. Talking is better than presenting something.

And as I received only two votes in the apply topic, I have no chance.

Ask HN: Any Ideas for Master's Thesis in Software Engineering?
14 points by imafish  3 days ago   11 comments top 9
elviejo 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Bad smells" are the symptoms that a refactoring is required.

Code sniffers and linters and style checkers are tools that detect that a bad smell is present.

An architectural bad smell is violation of the architecture. IE the view modifies data, the controller is too fat, etc.

Hence it is required to have a Code sniffer for architectural bad smells.

However considering that there are so many architectural patterns, so many frameworks that implement them it is herculean task.

So could it be possible to use Machine Learning to detect them hence the thesis:

"Automatic detection of architectural bad smells with Neural Networks"

wallflower 3 days ago 1 reply      
Such a broad topic. You should at least hint at some of your interests.

Ideally, do something related to your true interests in software engineering. 6 months is not a long time. You definitely want a deliverable code product, even if just a minimum-viable implementation.

If you are having trouble remembering, go back through your bookmarks/upvoted HN posts (if this a throwaway)/read laters.

Suggestions:Take what ImTalking said and apply it. Find an industry that could benefit from software improvements/modeling/automation. Find the pain points. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11444451

Combine data visualization with something of interest to the HN community that could go "viral" on HN once you publish it.

Write an interesting niche chat bot (this is a really emerging field). Perhaps with machine learning.

Write something that your future employers might use as a hireability signal

Start a blog. Post it on HN. Document your process of researching and writing the thesis. Show us what it is like to be researching something in depth. I think many at HN (even those who openly eschew the idea of going back to school - or even going to college in the first place) would find it interesting.

pjungwir 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I had six months to research something, I'd work on temporal databases, starting with the book Developing Time-Oriented Database Applications in SQL. I'd look at the history of attempts to bring this into the SQL standard, including the arguments between Snodgrass and Date, and what was eventually put in SQL2011. Then I'd see how much of this Postgres supports, and possibly take a shot and filling in some gaps. Or I'd try to adapt a popular ORM to work with temporal tables.

But that is me. Pick something that interests you!

By the way, for six months, you had better pick something very focused. I would try to err on the side of modest. If all you have right now is a broad topic, see if you can pull at one loose thread---some annoyance or nagging question---and see where it takes you. Probably you will find hundreds of articles to read, and more complexity than you expected. Grad school is a rare chance to "go down the rabbit hole", but you should expect that your six months will fly by. Research is like reading Wikipedia: it constantly branches and takes you into new things you "need" to know.

distortedlojik 3 days ago 0 replies      
A problem in my field, scientific computing and HPC, suffers from a big problem involving the reproducibility of experiments. Some tools like Jupyter help, but that is only useful in a limited capacity.
eecks 3 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't continue with education after my degree mainly because I wasn't sure of what I actually wanted. I'm interested to hear what others did for their Masters/PhDs and what ideas people have.
lcall 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you have any interest in helping to improve how mankind organizes its knowledge (as a whole or at any level), I'd love participation here (or just your exploring it in an academic way): http://onemodel.org (AGPL, a new approach I call "atomic knowledge" because of the internal structure, which I discuss if you explore the web site a bit, but it could be described better than it is).

I just made a more detailed description here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11461985 .

shoo 2 days ago 0 replies      
What are your plans for the next few years after your master's thesis? How would your thesis contribute toward those plans?
Irishsteve 3 days ago 0 replies      
Look for something in the apache incubator and try to contribute something to that.
brudgers 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reactive web framework in Racket.
The company's sorta adopting Amazon's leadership principles. Should I fear that?
7 points by gregthompsonjr  2 days ago   2 comments top 2
srt146 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any time management mentions "leadership" they are trying to set up a system in which managers, by the nature of their job, are succeeding and every else is failing. No management ever adopts things like superior knowledge or ability or even competence, because obviously they would fail at it. For instance, one of Amazon's is 'hire and develop the best' which has nothing to do with any individual jobs at all. So, yes, 'leadership' buzz phrases are a warning sign. As an engineer you learn to ignore this shit. Follow the money. Can the company hire your replacement? Do they have enough money that they don't need engineers? If not, just keep doing your job and following the engineer playbook.
pinewurst 2 days ago 0 replies      
(This probably should've been tagged "Ask HN:"...)

For what my opinion is worth, I don't think there's much to be afraid of here. There's a pretty big gulf between mouthing Amazon's cant and actually becoming that sort of Darwinian hell workplace. Amazon is the way it is because Jeff Bezos wants it to be so.

I've been through several different episodes where the PHBs decide to adopt some philosophy that doesn't really affect daily work life.

My current workplace has hired some senior Amazon management and beyond adopting their sort of product definition (the infamous PR/FAQ), has had no other effects. We're still dreadful incompetents with or without them, but seemingly no more cruel.

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