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Ask HN: I have an idea for a product, what do I do?
6 points by ryanlm  3 hours ago   7 comments top 6
saluki 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
Like the suggestions below read everything by patio11 here on HN and on his site kalzumeus.com, he also has done talks at microconf see link below.

StartupsForTheRestOfUs.com podcasts have lots of great info.

Also check out the microconf videos.http://www.microconf.com/past-videos/

This is a good one too.http://businessofsoftware.org/2013/02/gail-goodman-constant-...

There is lots of information out there on SaaS but it comes down to execution and hustle.

Basically you need to start marketing, building an email list, put together information on property management on a blog to build up content/traffic and your email list.

Do this before hand leading up to launching your App.

Do you have any potential clients that would sign up right away? Get them in to a beta program early sign up to work out issues, give you ideas to improve it, what works, what doesn't.

Sounds like you have a good proven idea, from there it's just execution and hustle.

Here's some inspiration:


DHH Startup School Talkhttps://baremetrics.com/open

Not sure what stack you work on I would recommend building it with Rails or Laravel(Checkout Laravel Valet/Homestead, Forge and Spark) using Stripe, SparkPost, host on Digital Ocean or AWS. Lots of great tools out there.

I've built and managed SaaS apps for clients and am starting to work on my own this weekend looking forward to building my own.

Good luck with your SaaS!

sunwooz 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Contrary to what people are saying here. You should try to validate the idea with your target market and maybe even go so far as getting payment before building the product.

You can test if you really have an understanding of the problem you're solving and if it's even worth building in the first place. I've personally gone down so many dead ends following my business ideas without validating first and I won't be caught dead making the same mistake.

Another benefit of talking with your customers is that you can collect information about how to market towards them. You listen to their problems and the solutions they're using and you instantly have ideas about blog posts you can write and other ways you can provide value for your target customer.

zer00eyz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Build it!

If you have no technical skills, then there is still a lot you can contribute. Every non technical person who comes to me with a "great idea" gets told the same thing by me:

"That sounds great, the best starting point for you is to go build some wireframes for us to look at. There are tons of wire frame tools out there, that you can check out, or even a note book and pen will do because we can scan them in."

Some people ask me what a wire frame is, I have a few places I can point them.

No one has ever sent me a wire frame.

If you are technical, then start with wire frames. It shows people that you are serious, that you have thought this out. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then a page of wireframes is worth 1000 lines of code.

MichaelBurge 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You could buy a 3-4 unit multifamily property to get some experience renting it out. Do all of the property management yourself. This is best if you're targeting small-time landlords.

Or if you're looking to target bigger apartment complexes, you could get a job at a property management company for a year. That will give you a good view of the administrative side.

Your local community college might have a course on taking care of your home(to help with tenant turnover or knowing what your contractors need to do), or might be able to hook you up with a business mentor.

Once you've spent a year or two doing something related to property management, then you can write the code and probably will already know someone who can use it.

ryanlm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
To address some points, I have already built a version of this product for a client. So, I feel like there has already been some validation. I wouldn't use any of the same code. Our no compete agreement expired this year, so there wouldn't be any issues.
celticninja 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Build it, market it.
Is there an existing Stack for getting into robotics?
17 points by randomnumber314  13 hours ago   11 comments top 4
jonkiddy 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a web developer who got the bug to get into robotics about four years ago as a hobby. I ended up joining a FIRST [1] robotics team as a programming mentor and I've learned a lot [2].

[1] FIRST http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8319J1BEHwM

esac 2 hours ago 0 replies      
ROS, ROS, ROSall our robots are on ROS and you get visualization and simulation tools, 90% of the things you'll ever need come from apt-get (ubuntu make everything easier) but the real deal is Gazebo and stage for simulation and the wiki is full of tutorials
NinoScript 11 hours ago 1 reply      
What about something like a TurtleBot[1] and ROS[2]?

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

[2] http://www.ros.org

reitanqild 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Piggybacking on this: anyone has good ideas/sources for mechanical parts like gears and stuff?

My hobbyist alternatives right now are lego or pulling stuff apart.

Ask HN: How did Sublime Text get traction?
14 points by hbbio  9 hours ago   9 comments top 6
iSloth 4 hours ago 1 reply      
While it's not open source it is functional without a license, so the payment isn't really a barrier to usage, much like most people are using WinRar without ever paying for it.

Functionality and ascetics are just better than any of the other text editors that I've used in the past, plus I'm happy with it so don't really go looking at alternatives these days.

When I first went to OSX a few years back TextMate seemed to be the dominant editor, Sublime for me just naturally replaced that with improved visuals and features. When your watching tutorial videos and the person is doing magic in a text editor, you start to question why am I still using my current one that doesn't have them features.

Marketing was just word of mouth, and how much support do you really need for a text editor? If it breaks it's not like you can't find another one to use...

rolfvandekrol 4 hours ago 2 replies      
When sublime text gained it's traction, the scene was a little less crowded. Atom was not available at that time.

I think it gained traction on OS X. The dominant text editors for OS X at the time were Textmate and Coda. The development of Textmate stalled and people were looking for an alternative. Coda had a very different approach from Textmate (you were either a Textmate or a Coda gay/gal, never both), and Sublime really comes close to Textmate.

Chyzwar 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It is better than alternatives (faster, easier to use)

It is cheaper than alternatives (time, licence)

It was introduced in right time (surge in web boom)

It have easy to use API (Python vs Elisp)

It is cross-platform (*nix comeback)

guitarbill 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My experience is that Sublime looks/works great out of the box, colleagues actually asked "what's that editor?" before monokai/solarized were widely known.

Recommending it is pretty easy: Less crashes than Eclipse/Atom; less setup, tinkering and learning curve than vim/emacs. Just works, cross-platform.

Finally, in a professional setting, the cost of Sublime is completely negligible vs e.g. losing work from crashes or even messing around with vim for two hours.

kylecordes 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How sure are we that it really has traction, and the business sense? I paid for my license, and I meet lots and lots of people using lots of editors including Sublime, and from this (smallish, and perhaps bad) sample only a tiny fraction of users have paid for it.
danielvf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Sublime Text got it's initial traction because it was essentially TextMate's cross platform little brother. When your friend couldn't use TextMate on his Windows machine, you told him to go get Sublime. It might have even been linked to from the mate TextMate site under the question, "what about Windows Support"
Ask HN: Is Bloch's Effective Java Still Current?
6 points by somethingsimple  9 hours ago   1 comment top
leksak 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, most of the material is still very much applicable. Essentially it boils down to a collection of really good collections that makes your Java code more maintainable.
Ask HN: Transpiling a dynamically typed language to a statically typed language
2 points by leksak  10 hours ago   7 comments top 5
nakkaya 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It is possible. Some scheme compilers use C as their intermediate language. Scheme to C to binary. (Gambit/Chicken/Stalin etc.). I have a project [1][2] that compiles a subset of Clojure to C++11 that is written using literate programming [3]. It thoroughly documented and should give you an idea on how to build your own.

[1] http://dropbox.nakkaya.com/builds/ferret-manual.html[2] http://nakkaya.com/2011/06/29/ferret-an-experimental-clojure... (Old version for more documentation on the idea.)[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literate_programming

duncanawoods 4 hours ago 0 replies      
That doesn't sound hard to me - you just use a high level type that implements the coercion/conversion rules of the dynamic lang types.

GC lang to non-GC lang is a more interesting challenge. If anyone has transpiled a gc lang to C++ I'd love to know how they did it.

malisper 9 hours ago 0 replies      
In one of the later chapters, the book Lisp in Small Pieces (great book), shows you how to write a a Scheme compiler to C. The general idea is you create a structure that contains a union type of all types in the dynamic language, and also a tag that tells you which type it is.
ryanlm 8 hours ago 2 replies      
My honest opinion is that unless you've written C, or assembly, I don't consider you a real programmer.
Ask HN: What interesting tech videos have you watched recently (3 6 months)?
5 points by vram22  7 hours ago   1 comment top
8note 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Did anyone use ruinmysearchhistory and get Google account suspended today?
163 points by WhatIsThisIm12  1 day ago   103 comments top 22
tuna-piano 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find the serious conversations that came from this funny, seemingly silly project very interesting.

1- The chilling effect of people being scared to click on a link that may do searches their government cares about

2- The idea that if many people used a browser add in like this, it would make surveillance of search history much more difficult

3- Google accounts getting banned

All from one silly site.

aerovistae 1 day ago 11 replies      
I'm curious: does anyone know whether Google searches are truly monitored, and how, if it's HTTPS?

I showed ruinmysearchhistory.com to a Pakistani Muslim friend, not having clicked it myself, and he thought it was funny until the ISIS application parts started coming up, when he consequently freaked out, as you might imagine.

But this got me wondering -- it seems to be widely accepted that googling things like "how to make a bomb," "bomb materials," "where to buy guns," etc will get you put on a government watchlist.

It's never been clear to me whether this is superstition or if there's truth to it. Google is fully HTTPS-- how could your searches be monitored unless google was handing them over to the government?

AYBABTME 1 day ago 2 replies      
The kind of stuff you can afford to do only when you're a US citizen and thus not a potential victim of some arbitrary US custom officer deciding you can't come in anymore and have no appeal.

What I'm saying is, if you're not a US citizen, don't participate in those kinds of actions. The problems these campaigns highlight are real, but being foreigners, we have no legal recourses in the US in many areas, and can end up seriously fucking up our lives.

Also it'd be nice if US folks sharing those links and encouraging actions of the kind could be considerate of non-US people who don't necessarily have the leisure of getting on all kinds of list.

curiousgal 1 day ago 3 replies      
As I am currently in a North African country I freaked out when the ISIS shit started popping so I immediately deleted my google history and nothing happened now.

I still don't get why something so malicious was upvoted so much.

rampole 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't clicked it as my usual Chrome user because I find my search history useful for recalling results.

I did open it in an incognito window and saw what it does. It doesn't look like a big deal. It's probably the web-era version of sticking red-alert keywords in your Usenet signatures back in the 80's and 90's.

alexanderson 1 day ago 2 replies      
I ran it using private Safari mode (akin to Incognito in Chrome). There were naturally no consequences to my Google Account, nor my IP Address.
kinkdr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow! It really saddens me that our world has gotten to a point where people are scarred, justifiably, for the consequences of clicking on a website link.
xupybd 1 day ago 2 replies      
I ran it, no google ban
mirimir 1 day ago 0 replies      
So has it been restored yet?

You'd think that someone reading this topic could get that cleared up pretty quickly.

rythmshifter 1 day ago 0 replies      
ran twice, at work, signed into my google account. no ban.
nathangrant 1 day ago 0 replies      
Poked through the JS to find the list of search terms since I didn't want to ruin my search history, silly list. The last one was a funny easter egg "OH COME ON DONT JUST COPY AND PASTE THE LIST FROM THE ARRAY YOU CHEEKY SCAMP"
MTemer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm curious, what if something like this was distributed as malware or viral links (the new rick and roll), would it get a lot of people banned? Would it work as a global privacy tool?
s_m 1 day ago 0 replies      
I went to that site and my Google account was not suspended.
greggman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh, oh,. So some troll will now add an invisible iframe to ruinmysearchhistory.com on some other popular site just for the lulz
0x54MUR41 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I ran it yesterday and I open my Google account today. It's not suspended.

It probably I ran it without signing in Google.

voiceclonr 1 day ago 1 reply      
That was a terrible one. I wish I hadn't clicked it.
carc1n0gen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just ruined my search history so let's see if I get my account suspended.
egberts5 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fascinating... Well, apparently, excessive use of the Google with nonsensical queries should be a violation of any sane ToS agreement.

Ran it, wasn't too impress with the 'choices of words' being used for the Google searches, so I stopped it.

orik 1 day ago 0 replies      
here's to hoping mine doesnt get banned.

i've been planning on switching off of google products soon, towards fastmail, but haven't gotten the right domain name yet.

nefitty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, really sorry to hear that happened! I would be in a panic if that happened to me. I feel like that site could have been used for good, to maybe scramble user profiles. As another user commented here, the terrorist search terms seem like a really unnecessarily extreme joke. Do you think you were suspended because of the high volume of automated searches or would it have something to do with the actual content?
WhatIsThisIm12 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sidenote since this is getting so much attention: How does the website control the URL of an external tab? Is this effectively tabnabbing?
nickysielicki 1 day ago 0 replies      
Recently (maybe the past ~6mo or so) I've noticed that when I start pasting logs/errors/tcpdump into Google, it is now especially suspicious that I'm making automated queries and makes my IP solve a captcha.

I doubt my lack of a Google login and random UA spoofing does anything to help this, though.

How does an Angel Investor get invited to a YC demo day?
11 points by anthony_james  2 days ago   1 comment top
dang 1 day ago 0 replies      
This type of question is probably better addressed to info@ycombinator.com.
Ask HN: How to avoid technolust?
7 points by roscoebeezie  1 day ago   8 comments top 2
ShinyCyril 12 hours ago 1 reply      
For me it was when I started buying hardware stuff second-hand. It made me realise that very few people actually need as much processing power as they say they do. I used to subscribe to PC-building communities where people would drop a couple of hundred pounds extra on an i7 for a gaming rig because they also did 'video editing'. If you actually produce videos and need to do transcoding / rendering on a deadline then fine - but I suspect the majority are simply editing their gaming captures together to upload to YouTube. Of course it's great to have hobbies and I'm not going to tell anyone how to spend their money, but personally I think that it's an unnecessary cost if you just want it to transcode game captures when you could leave a much cheaper i5 running overnight instead (or buy a Xeon).

My workstation (FPGA development, programming, and a little gaming every now and then) was an ex-business unit. My 2013 MacBook Air belonged to an ex-student wanting to upgrade (can't think why - I don't even remember the specs myself because it runs as smooth as butter and I've never had reason to check otherwise!). Same with my phone - I bought a friend's old iPhone 3GS years ago. This year I've finally had to retire it because it was no longer reliable and I need it to get into my house (another story). My audio setup consists of a pair of vintage bookshelf speakers a friend picked up from a car-boot sale for a tenner, and my amp was gifted to me years ago by an old teacher (one new transistor and it was good to go)!

The bottom line is that buying second-hand made me realise that the extra bit of performance isn't worth the significantly higher asking price. I no longer care about small aesthetic imperfections like scuffs and scratches provided it doesn't break functionality (like a scratch on a lens for example).

Figure out what you really need your equipment to do for you then do your research and pick up something used. Be satisfied when it gets you 90% of the way, and you'll start to wonder why you ever lusted after shiny new things! At least that worked for me.

J_Darnley 1 day ago 2 replies      
Easy: be poor. You will still lust after every new shiny trinket but you will be too poor to buy them.
Ask HN: Can first to market do more harm than good?
3 points by techthroway443  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
iSloth 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I could probably find a raft of examples for either side, so I really don't think it matters, in my opinion.

Someone entering a market after the first is going to look at the competition and try improve and create something more unique, if they win it'll be because they actually made something that's significantly better. And generally that improve the is going to be feature/design based rather than stability/performance etc...

I personally think first to market business can sometimes get a bit complacent, you always need to understand are people buying your product because it's the best, or simply because it's the only one. If it's the latter then you need to constantly innovate and improve, or someone else will.

The advantage of second to market is, a lot of your market research is already done...

calcsam 1 day ago 0 replies      
"probably associate"

Speculation. Have you confirmed this?

If the product has seen little usage & people show little interest, there are two possibilities (1) you aren't solving a real problem people have (2) you aren't marketing it well enough.

LarryMade2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
All subjective - I'm sure we could show examples of where first to market trumps and where first to market being just a good beta to some later follower.

Then again sometimes first to market may not necessarily be a good thing, but due to it's popularity catches on anyway (nuclear fission power plants) Or in some cases first to market was too early for market.

On your effort - One advantage of first to market is while others are playing catch up you can be working on next generation - you already have the product skill, and also the opportunity to improve.

JacobAldridge 1 day ago 0 replies      
Being the first isn't always an advantage - there's a nice Harvard Business Review research piece [1] into this. They broke innovation down into 'Market Led', where you create a solution the market wants/needs, and 'Technology Led', where your innovation is novel but the customer needs to be educated. The First Mover Advantage only applied in Market Led situations - for Technology Led solutions, the first mover had to invest heavily in educating the market which subsequent competitors benefited from (without having to make that investment themselves).

Applying this to your bugs and first impression: I would posit that if your product clearly met a market need, some customers would have been willing to work around those issues. If not, then you were educating/convincing them that this innovation was worthwhile and their lack of desire would have made your flaws harder to work around.

Reid Hoffman's great quote was that if you're not embarrassed by your first product version then you launched too late. What I would focus on is whether your potential customers are super clear about the problem they have, and whether you are super clear about how you solve that problem. If it's not a massive need for the market, that's ok, just be aware that your rollout process will take longer and cost more as you invest in educating them. Good luck!

[1] https://hbr.org/2005/04/the-half-truth-of-first-mover-advant...

Ask HN: How much would you pay for useful news?
8 points by nix11331  1 day ago   11 comments top 10
vikp 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't pay for daily news, which is usually reasonably binary.

I would pay 10-20 a month for a site that had high quality in depth analysis and articles, though. Something like a paid version of longform.org. The articles wouldn't have to be tied to current events at all.

lucozade 1 day ago 0 replies      
I do pay for news. It works out to a couple of USD per day I would guess.

It's not very efficient, I'm paying for a lot of stuff that I'm not interested in to get a small amount of news that I am interested in. It's probably value for money though as I do appreciate what I read and it's less than the price of a coffee.

I would possibly be interested in a curation service as long as I was in control of the curation and it had access to both free and paid articles. The problem I would envisage is that, for it to be worth oto $10 a day to me, I'd need it to cover most of my news requirements i.e. a digest of the sort of news that newspapers have, expert opinion of current political affairs in G4 from multiple political viewpoints, and topical journal articles in the academic subjects I'm interested in. Plus the musings of selected columnists.

To make it work, for me, it'd presumably need to do deals with a lot of publishers who wouldn't necessarily be particularly happy with the idea. Maybe if the bottom falls out of advertising for free news (highly likely) then it'd be more attractive.

I doubt I'd be interested in a yet another generator of "original" general news. Sure if it had a lot of high quality journalists who were out to inform rather than push an agenda and had interests that happened to largely coincide with mine. Not going to hold my breath though.

yetanotheracc 1 day ago 0 replies      
For a typical person, there are no useful news on most days. A personalised, aperiodic list of relevant news would be interesting.
lumberjack 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess you don't remember the times when your grandparents used to buy the daily paper. The quality of the news wasn't any better than it is today.

Paying does not help fix the news because, 1. the market actually forces the news publishers to become biased, 2. a sponsor can easily match any income from paying customers and provide stability of income on top.

I think the public broadcasting model is the best one can do as far as an unbiased news source, because at the very least, the bias will not be permanently leaning towards one direction. It tends to change with administration.

But really, how much is "general news", news worth to an individual? I would say very, very little. I don't remember of any particular instance where I read something that actually prompted me to take any kind of action.

atmosx 1 day ago 0 replies      
6 USD/month for full subscription to iPad/web version of the NYTimes.

I'd rather pay 5 and get an additional 10% discount to pay once a year. But hey, we're getting there :-)

tmaly 1 day ago 0 replies      
I do not pay for useful news, but for companies, something to handle all the updates to rules and notices regarding regulations is something many pay for.

Take the financial industry, there is a different set of regulations for each exchange and jurisdiction. To keep up with all the changes is daunting. There are a few providers in this space that charge like $30k a year to handle just the RSS feeds from these regulators.

CM30 1 day ago 1 reply      
To be honest?

Not much. Maybe not anything at all really.

That's because as much as I'd like a decent news service with well written, interesting pieces about current events (and no tracking, annoying ads, overt political biases, etc), I know that the internet has enough free content that I could find some of those of things on other sites and social media services (and can mix and match them for a decent overview). And it'll stay that way unless the amount of content online drops by something like 90%.

rando444 1 day ago 0 replies      
You're defining "useful information" like everyone shares the same idea on what is "useful".
paulcole 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Never. Overall quality is way too low and even the high quality news isn't worth paying for. I'll just read the free shit instead.
shivakaush 1 day ago 0 replies      
It used to be called "newspaper". People used to pay for it if you can imagine :P
Ask HN: Why are companies paying ransom ware fees?
6 points by a_lifters_life  1 day ago   8 comments top 7
DanielStraight 1 day ago 0 replies      
Obviously it would be better in the long-term, global perspective for no one to pay. If no one paid, no one would continue making ransomware.

But that requires that the everyone hit by ransomware before people give up on making it be willing to sacrifice their own good for the good of those who would be hit after them, since equally obviously it's better for a company to lose $20k than $20MM worth of information.

It is very difficult to get people to sacrifice their own good for the good of others in the future, even when that future global good vastly outweighs the present local good.

See also: Climate change

davismwfl 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is simple, as others have said. It is a small cost to pay to get back in business quickly.

That said, what is going to happen is no different then what has happened in history for other forms of "terrorism" (which essentially ransomware is, someone is terrorizing an organization by holding them hostage).

Once a company has been hit multiple times or has had enough the company will assemble one or more response teams, they will spend money to go after the people and start preventing it, that is when companies will stop paying. Companies already get the authorities involved, but face it that is an investigation after the fact right now. It won't change until companies essentially protect themselves better and become more offensive in nature, which in some corners they are doing. BTW -- offensive doesn't mean they are out killing people, just that they are putting on an offense to prevent this stuff instead of waiting for shit to happen and being forced into paying a ransom.

davide101 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because the cost of paying is often far lower than the cost of not paying due to lost productivity.
barefootcoder 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think that this is basically a case of the Prisoner's dilemma. In the long-term, big-picture, it would be best not to cooperate, but each business that has been targeted is in a situation where they need immediate access to their files. Their immediate survival is at stake and they can't afford to make an investment in the long-term view. While it doesn't exactly parallel the formal statement of the dilemma (all victims not participating wouldn't get their files back), in the long term it does by removing the motive for creating the ransomware in the first place.


iSloth 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because they forgot to pay for backups, so don't have copy of the data they need.
id122015 13 hours ago 0 replies      
for the same reasons we pay taxes.

Its not that we are not capable to crowdfund the construction of a bridge without gov. intervention.

draw_down 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, what's your proposed alternative?
Ask HN: What is the MOST epic resume you've ever seen?
9 points by ob1gman  2 days ago   17 comments top 9
cbanek 2 days ago 0 replies      
Back at Uni during a job fair, I needed to stand out from the thousand or so other coders. I noticed companies were all trying to give out their free shit with their name on it, so I decided I'd try that myself.

So I made T-Shirts with my resume ironed on the front. Best $100 in marketing I ever spent, and got me multiple interviews and a lot of laughs. IBM hated it.

selmat 2 days ago 1 reply      
From my experience even epic resume can't compete with right contact inside desired company.

I have posted my resumes to my current company three times, but without success. After two years I had "insider" there, who recommended me to his manager and I was hired only with formal interview process.

jf22 2 days ago 1 reply      
Project manager applied for the job with some border control experience.

Duties included:


softwareman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Best one is:


Most interesting is "I designed and implemented the C++ programming language."

yolesaber 2 days ago 0 replies      
A nice plain text black on white resume with in depth and precise explanations of the applicants relevant experience and expertise.
zhte415 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Just make it easy to parse.

Dates jumping around especially are a pain. Make it easy to read. Give to a friend to check, preferably a friend who has experience of hiring others.

tmaly 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have not really seen anything epic, but I did get one filled with curse words before. I think the guy was going for shock value, but it did not work for me.
27182818284 2 days ago 0 replies      
Eh, this is impossible for larger organizations. Mind you the hiring committees I've been on are just that, committees of 3-4 people. Maybe one person makes the phone call to the person at the end, but behind the scenes there are several people potentially looking at the resumes. Alice's version of perfect can differ from Bob and Charlies definition
qaq 2 days ago 1 reply      
A developer wrote resume in js using semantics of the code to emphasize the points he was making.
Ask HN: Patreon for open source?
57 points by hackathonguy  2 days ago   58 comments top 23
Changaco 2 days ago 2 replies      
As others have pointed out, platforms to fund work on open source projects already exist, and the best part is: they're open source themselves, so you can contribute! In fact I was the top developer of Gratipay for a year myself, and now I've created a fork called Liberapay (the reasons were the legal difficulties Gratipay faced in the US, and the decision its founder made to turn it into a non-neutral platform).


https://liberapay.com/https://github.com/liberapay/liberapay.com (Python)

https://gratipay.com/https://github.com/gratipay/gratipay.com (Python)

https://salt.bountysource.com/https://github.com/bountysource/core (Ruby)

https://snowdrift.coop/ (not operational)https://git.snowdrift.coop/sd/snowdrift (Haskell)

icebraining 2 days ago 4 replies      
Paying per commit seems as sensible as paying per LOC (related story: [1]). Simple recurrent monthly donations as one can easily set up (eg. on Flattr) make more sense, in my opinion.

[1] http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=Negative_2000_Lin...

justsaysmthng 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Give some love to open source devs."

It turns out that many users of open source projects (especially libraries and packages) are other developers !

It is hard to find a piece of modern software which doesn't depend on some open source libraries. Those libraries might depend on other libraries and so on. Just do an `npm ls --depth=4` in a node-based project to see what a nice tree that is.Same thing with cocoapods, carthage, rubygems, pip, cargo, leiningen, etc.

In my view, money should follow the project structure - developers should donate part of the money they receive to the project dependencies and the devs of the dependencies should do the same thing, recursively and that's how you really spread the love !

I've started working on a prototype a year ago, but got discouraged after someone showed me that there are literally hundreds of projects trying to 'spread the love' and as a consequence no love is being spread :)... so I kind of gave up on it for now, but still think this is how it should be done.

perlgeek 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea of using Patreon for Open Source, but I dislike the idea of tying it to the number of commits, because it creates the wrong incentives.

I've also got the impression that most patrons rather prefer a predictable, monthly amount over a varied amount, even if it comes with a cap.

seibelj 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here's my idea for getting more money to open source. Someone please implement it, I'm too busy right now.

Central repository (database with website and API frontends) that contains links to donation pages for all open source software. This is crowdsourced information. So if you search for "spark", apache spark appears with link to donation page, and of course more obscure packages will be added as well.

Then a CLI tool is written that scans your code base. This is an open source tool, so for node it will look in NPM packages, for C projects it will look at the make files, etc. Developers can write custom code to detect their own packages if it's not standard.

The output of the CLI tool calls an API at the central repository that creates a report, so you can go to the URL and see all the open source packages you use and links to donate to them.

Now, here is the final piece that would make it so much better, but is more difficult: the central repository itself is a non-profit organization, so instead of having to go to each library's donation page, you donate directly to the central repo (perhaps a set amount every month), and once a month the central repo donates all of the amounts taken in. So if you only want to donate $10 a month, but use 500 open source projects, that's OK, because once a month the central repo will add up all the donations and donate one lump sum. Of course you can change the ratios of donations if you want, so some projects get more of your donation per month than others, and you can remove projects you don't want to donate to even if you use them.

In this way, individuals and companies can fairly compensate all the developers of the open source software they use, easily and fairly, in the amount they can afford.

At the end of the year, you only have to write off your donations to the central repo, and not the hundreds of open source projects, as the central repo is a non profit.


ashitlerferad 2 days ago 1 reply      
judofyr 2 days ago 1 reply      
https://gratipay.com/ exists already, and it's mostly (all?) open-source as well.
jbrooksuk 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm using Patreon for Cachet[0] and it works well enough that people can donate, but discovery lacks for projects which aren't media based. Also, I can't setup another Patreon page under the same account, so what about filling in the voids there?

The idea works, the implementation could be improved.

[0] https://patreon.com/jbrooksuk

sveme 2 days ago 0 replies      
What I'd really like to see is some sort of business account for Patreon or one of the others. Lots of companies use open source projects as an integral part of their day-to-day work, yet it does not seem straightforward to set up a monthly contribution to this work for a company. Obviously, they can use one-time grants to the Apache Software Foundation or someone else, but sometimes it is really just a single developer or a couple of developers that develop a crucial software package (webpack and others). Would be great if a company could support this easily as well.
osnd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't actually know how well it works, but there is exactly ONE way that I've managed to financially support open source software: offer a version with licenses.

For example, my company pays for OpenVPN Access Server not because it offers a ton of value over OpenVPN (it really doesn't, for our use case), but because they provided a way for me to give them money that's acceptable within a corporate budget.

hackathonguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Woah - received some amazing feedback here! Thanks everybody.

So I'll definitely look at all the other, similar/identical products. Another takeaway is that this idea probably won't work on a per-commit basis - what's a good way to make sure recurring contributions correspond with actual development activity?

fridsun 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do your prior work investigation and try to take the good and avoid the bad.

Some prior work from top of my head:

- Bountysource- Gratipay- Patreon- Flattr

kevinmchugh 2 days ago 0 replies      
patio11 has written before on why tips or especially "donations" are a bad idea, or at least not the best idea:



businesses have a much greater incentive to ensure continued development of projects than individuals. Personally there's at most a handful of projects I would support with my own money, but my employer's money would be very well spent supporting at least a dozen different OS projects.

lanevorockz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Might work better if you build a unit test and create a bounty for it.
ceejayoz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I already donate to Vue and Laravel via Patreon. Per-commit seems like a return to the line-of-code as a metric that was disastrous for obvious reasons.
edem 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is [Gratipay](https://gratipay.com/~Gittip/) which is based on donations. You might look into that as well. A commit I think is not representing anything apart from the fact that it is a (hopefully) compound piece of code. You might want to pay for finished user stories which are estimated properly.
ruipgil 2 days ago 1 reply      
> $X for every commit

Even if you're supposedly giving money to reputable developers that are the percentile less likely to commit fraud, there's still a risk of it happening.

A more reasonable approach would be a monthly or a "version" contribution.

Even better than that would be a "fund" where you pledged your money to developers/projects, and it would be distributed equally or by a clear metric.

tlo 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is Tip4Commit: https://tip4commit.com/
kzisme 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should check out Gratipay(Formerly Gittip) - Although we currently aren't back up to speed (with working payments) it's an open source project/company.


curo 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.backerpass.com would work well as it doesn't require backers to signup for an account like Patreon. (disclaimer: i know the guy who created it.)
countdownnet 2 days ago 0 replies      
Side tangent: if you want to know how Patreon creators are doing: https://graphtreon.com/top-patreon-creators
lowglow 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's what we're doing over at Baqqer.com (https://baqqer.com/) - come over and add your project!

If you're interested in helping out you should join us. :)

al_chemist 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you measure wrong thing then you will get wrong results. Do you want programmers to think about "how many commits this issue is worth"? Just publish your Bitcoin address in readme file.
Ask HN: What's an app/service that doesn't exist that you're ready to pay for?
4 points by karimdag  3 days ago   11 comments top 8
koolba 3 days ago 0 replies      
Easily monetizatable ideas (as a service).
id122015 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Id pay if someone created and published black lists of Public Sector employees.
soulbadguy 2 days ago 1 reply      
1- a more stable, faster version of ubuntu/unity with customer support

2- a good linux ide for native remote developement with proper support for debugger and profiling

3 - a cheaper version of vtune with support for arm and powerpc

g123g 2 days ago 0 replies      
A portable and highly accurate blood pressure monitor which can take your BP at multiple times throughout the day, similar to existing wearables that measure heart rate etc.
lnalx 1 day ago 0 replies      
An open-source (and privacy friendly) alternative to Waze
pizza 3 days ago 1 reply      
Neurotransmitters as a Service
kleer001 2 days ago 1 reply      
Helping me to pick my Hearthstone Arena drafts deck
bbcbasic 2 days ago 0 replies      
A reliable builder
Ask HN: Gmail spam filters acting up?
3 points by laurenia  3 days ago   2 comments top 2
emilburzo 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can't say it's "acting up" because spam filtering is an art, not an exact science.

And if you want to complain about Gmail's spam filter, try using Yahoo Mail for a while, you'll quickly learn to appreciate it.

Anyway, it's a good habit to regularly check your Spam folder.

ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you do "show original" you can see the reason in the headers.
The main social media sites are getting more censored every day
11 points by moribondus  2 days ago   7 comments top 3
tmaly 2 days ago 0 replies      
The linux journal had a great post on how all these walled gardens as destroying what the internet was.


VOYD 2 days ago 0 replies      
you expected truly free discourse? That doesn't happen anywhere, except maybe amongst friends & family.
mrcold 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hacker News does it too.

Narratives and echo chambers everywhere. Welcome to the future.

Ask HN: What are the cons of PostgreSQL?
29 points by minionslave  1 day ago   40 comments top 20
pjungwir 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've worked with Postgres, MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server, and Postgres is my go-to choice. I can think of a few cons though:

- Replication is harder to set up than MySQL. And there is no master-master replication like in MySQL. (Of course it also doesn't lose your data.... :-)

- I wish there were support for SQL:2011's bitemporal stuff. (There are some tools/extensions/published patterns to add "transaction-time" aka "system-time" support, but none I know of for "valid-time" aka "application-time", let alone both at once.) But this is very niche and not really fair to expect so quickly from a free product.

- I wish I could share a database between separate users, give them each their own schema, and not let them do `\dn` to see what other schemas exist. Again, very niche.

. . . Okay I thought I would have a longer list but I've run out of ideas. :-)

- EDIT: One more. You can't do `UPDATE ... ORDER BY ...`. This mattered to me once when I had multiple multi-row UPDATEs running at the same time, and if they touched the same rows but in different order, they would deadlock. You could solve that with `ORDER BY id` so that everyone obtained locks in the same order. Apparently this is not a big enough problem for anyone else in the world to care though.

I think the lesson here is that there are no real gotchas, just small annoyances that are very unique to your own project. Unless you have quite unusual requirements, I doubt there is going to be a deal-breaker issue.

fiedzia 1 day ago 2 replies      
First, postgres really is great. The few things I'll list here do not make me willing to replace it with something else, however:

1. Tooling is not on par with other databases. If you want nice GUI that holds your hand and does everything with one click - you may find offer for postgres lacking here. I don't care much about that, but some people do.

2. There is no "in memory" storage (but you can use in memory fs to get the same effect).

3. Extensions often define their own operators (that's good), which are made of some combination of +-*/>=~!@#%^&|`?. Yes. Your code may look like its perl. You can make "select foo @@>&!|~ bar from baz" to be valid query.

4. Finding hosting for postgres in not a problem, but its not something as universal as mysql.

Overall, it really is solid database. I've never been disappointed by postgres, while mysql is always a walk through a forest of wtf for me.

joshuak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have found it unnecessarily distracting to evaluate reputable databases on incidental features. If an important feature is missing it will be added eventually, if you need a very specific feature then you already have your answer as to which DB to use. Unless you have a very specific reason not to use PostgreSQL as your SQL database then you should just use it.

I simplify the selection to the more general architectural value. Do I need SQL, NoSQL, or graph? What about deep JSON queries, embeddability, specific performance requirements, scalability?

Given that, I use PostgreSQL as the default choice for SQL/JSON db in all cases that don't require imbedding. SQLite for imbedding.

There is one big disadvantage, the same for all fixed schema index based databases. Scalability. Engineering effort rapidly goes to infinity as we asymptotically approach the throughput event horizon.

ngrilly 1 day ago 2 replies      
In my experience, PostgreSQL misses just a few things compared to MySQL:

- Tables cannot be organized as a clustered index (this can be useful to control rows ordering at the storage layer).

- No builtin query cache (but I'm not sure it's very useful).

- It's easier to find hosted MySQL services like Amazon RDS Aurora and Google Cloud SQL.

- YouTube Vitess for MySQL is really great. I don't know if there is something similar for PostgreSQL.

I won't write about the endless list of PostgreSQL's advantages since it wasn't the question ;-)

eliaspro 1 day ago 1 reply      
No support for temporal data as in SQL:2011.

There were some attempts but none made it so far. See also: https://wiki.postgresql.org/images/6/64/Fosdem20150130Postgr...

JelteF 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only thing I missed in Postgres after switching from MySQL was that text was not searched case insensitively, i.e. searching for "alex", would not match "Alex". However, this was easily solved by using the CITEXT type, which is exactly for that purpose, but you have to enable it as an extension [1].

Except for that the only thing that was a problem after switching is that Postgres is a bit more strict about some stuff, such as dividing by zore, which throws an error in Postgres but results in NULL in MySQL.

The main reason I love Postgres, and which is also why I switched, are the Database Definition language statements that support transactions (ALTER TABLE). This allows for much better migrations, if for some reason something fails you will not be in a state that is undefined.

[1]: https://www.postgresql.org/docs/9.1/static/citext.html

tmaly 1 day ago 2 replies      
For me the only con is just upgrading when there are patches etc.

There are so many upsides to PostgreSQL. I build my food app on redis as I did not know what my schema was going to be. That worked great, but simulating the power of what you get with PostgreSQL is that much harder.

I am in the process of converting things back to PostgreSQL now that my schema has settled. The one thing I will probably keep in Redis is the geo location code as this feature works super well.

combatentropy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've used it at work for 11 years. No real complaints. Love it.

Some people making just one app might look at SQLite, simply because it's simpler to set up. But those are my only two suggestions: PostgreSQL or SQLite.

crypto5 1 day ago 0 replies      
No built in compression. Really big deal for reducing IO and DB size.
emailgregn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Select count(*) takes a surprisingly long time, even on an indexed table. Apparently thus is because of the MVCC model and row count estimates are available to mitigate.
mrbuttons454 1 day ago 0 replies      
Something relatively minor I've noticed coming from MySQL, you can't change the column order of a table without recreating it.
bpineau 1 day ago 0 replies      
The stored data format isn't compatible between major versions.

Because of that, upgrades are either stressfull and cumbersome (ie. slony + switchover to a promoted and upgraded slave), or imply a large downtime (ie. pg_upgrade).

Also, because of that (WAL format), you can't use native replication between different major versions of PostgreSQL.

bjourne 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is not easy to bundle it. You can statically link to SQLite (afair, but you can ship the .so/.dll file to get the same result) and put the database in a "mydb.db" file which makes your program easy to distribute. Postgres requires a server to be running.

Other than that, Postgres is (IMHO, as always) the perfect RDBMS.

bsg75 1 day ago 0 replies      
Compared to the big commercial engines, the one thing I miss is query parallelisim, but the initual stages are coming in v9.6: http://rhaas.blogspot.com/2015/11/parallel-sequential-scan-i...
spacemanmatt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sometimes I wish PostgreSQL supported a shortcut syntax like Oracle's CONNECT BY. It's so much more compact than the equivalent CTE.

Oracle's installed base is the main reason my current gig is highly dependent on it. In so many cases, we have to integrate using Oracle "datapump" configuration. We'd look silly not running Oracle.

collyw 1 day ago 1 reply      
Doesn't have a bitcount function unlike MySQL, which I ended up needing for one problem.
ForHackernews 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not as widely supported as MySQL (though that is changing over time). Until very recently it lacked UPSERT functionality.
15155 1 day ago 0 replies      
Support for distribution (multi-master, etc.)

But this is for all of the right reasons.

x0x0 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lack of query plan locking. I've had the query heuristics go bad and queries that used to take under 5 ms balloon to several seconds. It would be nice to be able to lock query plans that deliver satisfactory performance for very high volume queries.

It's a great db though, with very few bugs, high quality code, responsive devs, and relatively cheap support plans (like maybe $25k/year to get 24x7 support? I don't remember the numbers exactly) available from enterprisedb.com who have a bunch of core devs. In my one experience they knew their stuff.

joeclark77 1 day ago 0 replies      
It annoys me that I can't use uppercase letters in table or column names without wrapping them in nasssty quotation marks.
Ask HN: What non-technical skill would help you most in your career in 2016?
44 points by brown-dragon  2 days ago   70 comments top 27
Jemaclus 2 days ago 10 replies      
There are some people that are magical. You go into a meeting with your mind made up, and then 30 minutes later, you leave the meeting with a completely different mindset. And you don't know how they managed to convince you so successfully. If you could figure that trick out, most of your non-technical career problems would be solved. I've personally never learned this skill of persuasiveness, but I'd pay a lot of money if someone could teach me quickly.
bcrescimanno 2 days ago 1 reply      
Leadership. No skill (rather, set of skills) will be more universally applicable throughout the entirety of your career and become more heavily weighted the higher you climb.

Are you an engineer? What skill(s) will you be leveraging most as a Director or VP of Engineering? Leadership.

Are you a designer? What skill(s) will you be leveraging most as a Director or VP of Design? Leadership.

Are you a <fill in the blank>? What skill(s) will...you get it.

Back in my time at Georgia Tech, Warren Buffet came to speak and told an anecdote about a media executive who would go play records at one of his radio stations in the middle of the night. Buffet said something to the effect of, "the farther I get into this business, the farther away I become from why I got into this business."

I started working professionally at small companies in 1997 as a "Web Developer." I finished my degree in 2004 and I've been doing software engineering since then. I'm currently a Director of Engineering at PayPal and, while my technical skills are useful, my primary role is centered around the leadership of a large team. I haven't written a line of code professionally in over a year. I share these same statements with my managers and engineers from my team. Always be developing your leadership skills--they stay with you forever.

debugunit 2 days ago 1 reply      
Public speaking. I joined Toastmasters [1] at the start of the year and highly recommend it. Friendly, supportive atmosphere. Challenging, assuming you're not currently comfortable speaking in front of groups. Lots of people who've been there a while comment on howit's improved their careers. One of the most useful bits is learning to evaluate other people's speeches, a skill which can be applied in a variety of situations, and (so I'm told - I'm still learning) leaves a very positive impression on people.

[1] https://www.toastmasters.org/

jetengine 2 days ago 1 reply      
What helped me most is to have conversations with strangers. Try it in real life. Talk to the guy sitting alone at the bar. Have small-talk with the other person pumping gas. This will help you professionally.
zer00eyz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most companies have the following departments, or roles:

Accounting, Marketing, Reporting/Data Analysts, Customer Service, Design/UI/Product, and Sales.

Weather your running the website or building the software you sell lots of these folks are going to have varying levels of contact with it. By understanding what these folks do (even at a high level) and the language they use, your going to be able to communicate with them and service them better. Building relationships in other departments can be as simple as being friendly to the people you meet, and getting them out of the office for coffee or lunch on a regular basis. Ask them lots of questions and build a relationship.

simonswords82 2 days ago 1 reply      
Emotional intelligence and all round empathy.

It's not a trait I started out in life blessed with but the older I get the more I realise that understanding why something is being said is frequently much more important than what is being said.

moon_of_moon 2 days ago 1 reply      
If the economy tanks, you might find yourself surrounded by people who didn't really deserve to be in their jobs, but floated up with the high tide of a buoyant economy. These are the people who will resort to nasty office politics to keep their jobs.

Ergo, learn to defend yourself from it.

zzalpha 2 days ago 1 reply      
Writing is far and away my number one suggestion. It's not even a contest.

A well-written developer is someone who can organize their thoughts and then express them in a way that others can understand. This requires mental discipline, clarity of thought, empathy, and intelligence, all of which are skills that will take any developer to new heights.

personjerry 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since you said "career" specifically, I would say communication. If you can tactfully ask and figure out what direction you need to develop in, or if you can be persuasive and make a compelling argument, your can be much more effective in advancing your career. You'll also make friends and allies along the way.
j45 2 days ago 0 replies      
Technically creative and curious business analysts area an role that will be emerging in the next few years, having one group to do B1, and another to do tech is fast going out the window. Techies can learn business much easier than most business folks can learn tech from my observations and experience.

Why is this important?

The single most important skill I see needed in technical people is empathy to the problems people are solving. Just because it's trivial to one group to solve, or prioritize does not mean it's not valuable. Being able to put yourself in the actual shoes of the user, their needs, their perspectives to ultimately empower them, instead of taking the easy way of interpreting from a distance how they must do their job/task based on how you would approach it.

There is a great deal of intellectual capital in any organization where people have a "why" of how to do things a certain way that is not 100% the standard procedure.

These things form the competitive advantage that software developers, implementors, and consultants can kill in an organization.

Want to be a better software developer? Help people solve problems better in their terms, not our own. Whether it is a sales, marketing, production, design or management problem, being able to relate to the problem and how it's beneficial to solve is the single biggest valuable skill that I have landed on.

fecak 2 days ago 1 reply      
Branding/marketing oneself, how to make solid career decisions, and general job search type activities don't help you on a day-to-day basis like productivity and communication, but they can greatly impact the overall career trajectory and how you can maximize your chances of achieving whatever goals you have in your career (advancement, $, independence, etc.).

There are thousands of programmers who are incredibly good at what they do (programming), but aren't being considered for jobs because they don't know how to market/write/talk about their own experience. What to write (and leave off) on a resume, a cover letter/email application, LinkedIn profile, what to mention in an interview, how to define an accomplishment, etc.

Job searches, interviewing, negotiating, how to make good career decisions based on your goals - these are all things that don't happen every day, so programmers aren't all that likely to really get good at them. Most other professional industries don't see the volume of career change that we see in tech, where it's reasonable that someone could change jobs several times in a decade. Knowing how and when to change jobs, how to handle those changes, and making good overall career decisions is a skill many lack.

davidwihl 2 days ago 0 replies      
1) Time management, 2) Efficiency in learning in all endeavors, not just technical.

With those two skills, all other skills can be obtained more readily, including the need for better oral and written communication.

Empathy and salesmanship require a modicum of innate ability. Everyone can certainly improve on their potential. I've never met a career salesperson who didn't already have some proclivity for sales.

snarfy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Daily exercise.

You'll feel better and have more energy throughout the day.

zer00eyz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Learn to listen. Not just to your peers, but to everyone. Don't just hear the words they are saying, give them meaning, build a mental model, and be able to re-itterate their statements into your own language (even if you don't share these things out loud).

Listening skills are going to get you FAR in business and life, and your going to hear lots of stuff that has nothing to do with your job. Learn NOT to repeat every thing you hear.

Sadly offices have as much gossip if not more than your average high school. Once people know they can trust you to keep your mouth shut, a well spring of interesting knowledge is going to start to fall in your lap. Some times this is just personal drama, but knowing that person A has a grudge with person B can some times be a clue to how a situation is going to resolve itself.

mark_l_watson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sort of career related: learn to live within your means, always trying to save some of your salary. This does a few things for your career: allows you to leave bad jobs, reduces worry and stress which should improve your job performance, and generally adds flexibility to your life.
GrumpyYoungMan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Probably my number one recommendation would be effective public speaking combined with effective writing of presentations of ideas. If you can't communicate your ideas both effectively and persuasively, you will be severely hobbled in your career. Even for people on the technical track rather than the management track, as you become more senior, you'll be expected to explain your architecture / designs to junior engineers looking to your for guidance.

Even if you are severely introverted (I am) you need to make as much effort as possible to overcome it. People who can't communicate are effectively invisible, regardless of how well they do their jobs, and invisible people are replaceable people.

dbcurtis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been reading:

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking

Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions

Both are insightful and exciting.

uberstuber 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any kind of skill with huge benefits in almost any career.

Leadership, Public speaking, persuasiveness/sales, writing, copy-writing, storytelling, design, diet, exercise, mental focus, personal appearance

Maybe target ones that programmers typically lack.

sjg007 2 days ago 0 replies      
Raise your EQ but don't spend too much time worrying about what other people think of you. The business exists to reduce transactional costs between the things needed to build and sell your product.
abbasaamer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would love to know how to go about finding places that build physical "stuff" both at a prototype stage and at scale. I have hardware + software ideas but I'm not clear on how to build customized hardware (even simple stuff like plastic casings).

Alternatively, sales. Working at large software companies has given me a lot of exposure to software engineering and product management, but I rarely get to see the sales process.

w001y 2 days ago 1 reply      
Being able to translate tech to non-tech people. People who have great ideas and financial backing are fresh meat to technical sales folk, and that is a big stress factor for those who want to genuinely build something cool but don't have the confidence to verbalise their technical requirements. Translating the jargon to make them feel at ease and in control of the next step goes further than you might think.
csixty4 2 days ago 0 replies      
The big ones I see are written communication, work-life balance, and time management.
lwhalen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sales/lead generation. I'm an independent devops consultant at the moment, and while I'm doing well for myself 'now', I'd be a lot more confident about the future if I was confident in my ability to scare up work on my own independent of referrals, word of mouth, etc.
wildekek 2 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking in a confident voice. Scott Adams book "How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big" was an eye opener.
DrNuke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Commercial awareness for sure: tech skills are nothing without sales aka a sound understanding of the business perspective.
Bud 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sight-reading Bach.
edoceo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Do I have a right to know who gave me a bad reference?
25 points by anonnystate  1 day ago   59 comments top 25
epc 1 day ago 0 replies      
My advice: drop it, but don't use the same people as references again.

Whether a reference is good, bad, or mixed is entirely in the eye of the interviewer/reference checker. The interviewer could have asked some question like "tell me about a time @anonnystate went above and beyond in this role" and your reference proceeds to tell about the time you left an after hours party to fix the thing that broke the site. In your reference's mind that showed dedication. In the interviewer's mind you worked on code while partying.

They could have asked your references to describe your role, if it doesn't match up with what you claimed your role to be: mixed reference.

And it's entirely possible that the people you asked to be your references didn't want to say no, precisely to avoid the followup question of why.

jacquesm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Consider that there might not even be negative feedback but that they just made that up to get rid of you for some other reason they are not willing to divulge.
cl42 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone who does a ton of reference checks when we're hiring, and who acts as a reference for people as well, here's what I would do...

Call (do NOT email) each of your references and state the situation: "Hey Ms. Reference, I recently got feedback from one of my job applications that a reference check did not go as well as I expected. Given that I use you as a reference in these situations, I wanted to check in to make sure that if you had any feedback on my past performance or had any advice on how to make a reference check go smoothly, I'd appreciate it."

A reference should not accept to be a reference if they will give bad feedback.

I do agree with folks here who are saying this might not be the real reason for the turndown, but definitely approach your references if you are concerned.

EDIT: to answer your question directly you really don't have much of a right here. This is all lovey-dovey-fuzzy human stuff. I doubt your potential employer will share the feedback, nor would I even ask. If anything, ask for general feedback on what was said or what could have been done better by you.

jbob2000 1 day ago 1 reply      
A mixed reference can mean a few things. I had a career counsellor once tell me that if a reference wasn't completely ecstatic and over-the-moon about you, then it's a bad reference.

So possibly what happened is that your reference said something along the lines of "I worked with anonnystate and he came on time and completed his work". Which sounds good to you, but to a potential employer, this is pretty mediocre and might indicate that the reference is hiding something. If your friend doesn't know how to give a real reference, then this may be the case.

chrisabrams 1 day ago 2 replies      
I am willing to bet $100 that no one gave you a bad reference.

In NY this is becoming a lame way to turn someone down, knowing that the reason will draw attention away from the company while the actual reason has nothing to do with references.

brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. For legal rights under New York Sate employment law, it might be best to talk to an attorney.

2. There is what the reference said. What the firm told told the headhunter and what the headhunter said. The information is third hand.

3. If there were multiple channels into the firm, then information could have come from one of their networks independently of the provided references.

4. Because the list of past employers are as much references as personal references, it could have been anyone at a former employer who was indifferent and contact could have been outside formal HR channels.

5. The headhunter could have formed the opinion on their own and withdrawn your candidacy. The headhunter could have been unable to reach favorable terms with the company regarding their compensation. Someone more appealing to the headhunter could have come along. The job might not really exist. It might have been filled.

Sure, not getting a job kinda sucks. It's probably not worth the risk of collateral damage due to insufficient or inaccurate information. Or both.

Good luck.

haasted 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask a friend to act as a headhunter, and call each of the people on your list of references asking for their opinion.
Lordarminius 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why not ask each of them directly ? Do not let on that you are in dark as to the contents of their reference. If done right, you can elicit an admission of culpability.
jabraham1822 1 day ago 0 replies      
HnHi I have been in the biz for 26 years and I am sorry to say that I have not see any rights for this. These are the references you are giving. On the other hand its important to understand that lots of time signal are crossed between the reference check and reference giver.

Meaning most companies use references to disqualify and that the reference checker may not ask followup questions to understand the context of the questionable information. That is not your problem, its the companies problem and they are missing great talent.

For example I always ask a references this question. "Everyone has something they can improve on what can this candidates improve on?"

Yesterday i received feedback on this question that was questionable. "The response was that you need to help the candidate to stay focus."

HMMMMM that's not good, I said to my self is this +/- I need to explore more. I asked some follow up questions and I found out that the candidates requested help to fix a new AppSec too. The request was not followed up on by the reference in a timely fashion and the candidate fixed the tool's code to make it work : )

Long story short, I was able to gather from this reference that it was the references' responsibility not to waste this candidates time. So for the next employer, he said its important to respond quickly to his needs so you don't waste valuable Building, Breaking and Defending AppSec time. Because he is smart of enough to find and fix anything.

So in essence, if I took what the reference at face value with out seeking to understand this would have been a mixed reference. Now I am able to educated the new hiring prospects on this feedback.

Hn, you can only do so much so you might change up your references a bit to be safe but there is a lot out of yours and their control.

Sorry and have a great weekend!


notacoward 1 day ago 1 reply      
My guess is that it wasn't one of your "official" references. Even though they're generally not supposed to, every employer will consider "backdoor" references from other people in their network who know you. Often, these are given greater weight than the references you provide, because those are known by all involved to have been picked and prepared to put you in the most positive light possible.

Asking the no-longer-potential employer or your current references about it is unlikely to do any good. Using different references might, but then again maybe not. You probably already know what negatives might have come up in a conversation with people who've worked with you. If those are affecting your career development, the solution should be obvious.

awinder 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm actually kinda impressed / amazed that you got the "bad reference" excuse blatantly. That area just seems murky for pretty much this exact reaction, most places I've worked have had policies stating that you can't give negative references (only positive or decline to comment).

All kinds of crazy stuff can go down in interviews and unless it's part of a trend, you just have to chalk it up to their loss. I had an interview where the hiring manager came back with lots of praise and offer forthcoming news, turn into "team could not reach consensus" in under 24 hours. People in interviews will come up with all sorts of crazy reasons not to proceed. Sometimes it's a turf war, sometimes it's thinking they need to protect themselves, sometimes it's some innocuous occurrence in the interview that sows enough doubt to not proceed. Your career is way more than the few incidents that will occur over it that make no sense, so I'd just not worry about it for now. More bad could come from trying to McCarthy your reference network than good based on one weird interview scenario :-).

pc86 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let's just assume for a moment that you actually did receive a mixed reference, intentionally, and it wasn't misinterpreted by anyone. As others have mentioned that's not a foregone conclusion but for the sake of argument let's assume that is what happened.

> I have asked the company ... but they are refusing to let me know which of my references provided them with the negative feedback.

Of course they are, because it's none of your business. You do not have a legal right to the information.

> What are my rights here?

You have the right to continue applying and to use different people for references.

> I simply want to know who is the snake

Based on your comments in this thread, the entitlement, the threat of lawsuits, and calling someone a snake for giving you a bad reference, it seems perfectly reasonable that someone would have given a bad reference.

anexprogrammer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Never, never use a referee who you are not certain is going to be fully singing your praises.

If youre unsure about any of the referees you're using, set up a fake opportunty via friends and spoofed emails etc. Get real references, which of course are sent to you, or relayed if a friend phones "as a headhunter/employer".

There's also a distinct possiblilty that the referee had been hassled at a bad moment by the headhunter (not a species reknowned for consideration after all). The mixed part may have stemmed from this. Or perhaps he didn't cooperate in sharing leads at his current location. It might have been poor wording or misunderstanding either a question or answer rather than a real issue.

In short, you'll never know, but you can arm yourself better for next time.

DoubleGlazing 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is possible all you references were good, but some were "form" or not expressive enough.

One of my old employers had a very strict policy of only issuing a standard reference which was basically to confirm I worked there, my job title and my start/finish dates. Staff and managers were expressly forbidden from giving references - they had to refer all requests to HR.

I had a job offer withdrawn as a result of this. The potential employer asked specific questions in their reference request and my old employer refused to answer then - instead giving them their standard form reference. Not my fault, and nothing I could do about it.

atomical 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sometimes references are collected through e-mail. You could create a fake e-mail account, company, and send out a questionnaire to your references. Another possibility is having a friend send out the e-mail using their company e-mail account.
robbiemitchell 1 day ago 0 replies      
The headhunter says "mixed reference," and you have translated that to "negative feedback," which is not the same thing.

It could be that someone who generally thinks highly of you gave a glowing reference, but once the headhunter or hiring manager started digging into specifics, the person softened, hesitated, or otherwise answered in a way that the company was not looking for. It's possible the reference was unaware that what he/she said was interpreted in a mixed or negative light by the company.

pfortuny 1 day ago 0 replies      

What is even a "mixed" reference? I mean, what a lame excuse. It is enough to say "he has great engineering abilities and some good accounting" to say that it is "mixed"...

greatemployee 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The best way to know for sure is to have someone who is not you, and who is not a potential employer, call each of your references and pretend to be reference-checking.
TallGuyShort 1 day ago 1 reply      
And this is why references can easily be useless. Even comic book villains could produce a few henchman to vouch for them and not mention their arch-enemies.
nibs 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this might be similar to buying a house with a conditional offer of home inspection and then deciding to nullify the offer on a mixed/negative home inspectors report. It is entirely subjective, and the report could have been positive, and in the hands of the buyer. It is a way of backing out of the deal if you cannot come up with financing, change your mind, etc. Could be similar.
zakk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Call the people who acted as referee to thank them. You should do that anyway. In the process mention that "one of the other referees gave a mixed references, so I couldn't get the position", without accusing him directly. See how the conversation goes from there.
pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I doubt you have any "right" to know. Are you certain it wasn't a back-channel reference (ie, not one of the ones you provided)?
n72 1 day ago 1 reply      
Moral or legal? Legal, no clue. Moral, hell no.
anonnystate 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you all for the feedback. It has been helpful.
brador 1 day ago 0 replies      
How serious are you about finding out?

If you want to invest time into it, round robin applications. For example, if you need 3 references per application, get 4 then cycle them in sets of 3 each time. Or find an application that requires only 2 references and split sets. Eventually you will have enough data to know who the bad reference came from. This is time consuming, but will net you your answer.

The truth is, your options are drop all the references you used, even the ones you think are solid, or find out who the lame duck is and delete them.

Legally, no one can say anything because it opens them up to a lawsuit, so stop chasing that avenue unless you know them personally.

Good luck!

Are there any famous ionic apps?
1 point by dkeixm  3 hours ago   1 comment top
ahazred8ta 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"Sworkit with 5 million users its easily the top circuit training app on the market." -- Sani Yusuf, Nov 17, 2015
Ask HN: How do you identify potential in a software developer?
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postblogism 2 hours ago 0 replies      
While there are all kinds of tests and ways to measure a developer's ability, most of these are outdated and were more appropriate 15 years ago prior to mass framework adoption - developers now just aren't going to spend a lot of time doing low level algorithms, because they don't need to.

But the best way that I've come across is to judge character traits. Intelligent people always have listening as a core component, where as less intelligent people will be very dismissive and constantly interrupt people. These are traits you can definitely sift out in interviews.

Ask HN: iPod shuffle alternatives?
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benologist 4 hours ago 1 reply      
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/51215664/mighty-streami... might be worth keeping an eye on. Basically the same + bluetooth.
mynewtb 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The latest Sansa Clip with Rockbox?
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manibatra 9 hours ago 0 replies      
if you would like projects focussing on something else do let us know here :)
How Does BaaS (Blockchain as a Service) Work?
2 points by data37  10 hours ago   1 comment top
wmf 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It won't. Each blockchain will handle a different type of transaction (e.g. bonds vs. shipping) so cross-chain transactions aren't really needed.

(Disclaimer: This comment hypothetically assumes that blockchain blockchain blockchain mania actually works.)

Ask HN: Learn HTML and CSS and also get your code reviewed
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manibatra 10 hours ago 0 replies      
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We need an addon to exclude content-farms from search results
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       cached 12 June 2016 02:09:16 GMT