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Ask HN: Do you have a profitable side project? How long did it take to achieve?
162 points by laksmanv  3 hours ago   78 comments top 23
mhowland 1 minute ago 0 replies      
3 Months.

I made https://www.myothernumber.com (online temporary sms/mms/voice numbers) about a 1.5 years ago, was making ramen money within 3 months.

Now tracking in the 5-figure/year range.

It's a very, very crowded market so primary cost is user acquisition, but then again that's exactly why I built it, to better learn (consumer facing UA) and have a platform to experiment with.

About to officially launch http://artistic.af (neural artistic transfer meets instagram + canvas printing). I expect this one to take a bit longer to scale, but it was just an excuse to learn DNNs.

hugs 2 hours ago 8 replies      
5 years. (2011-2016) While working on my first startup (Sauce Labs), I made a robot that plays Angry Birds as a side/art project in the autumn of 2011. The serious part of the project is that you can use the robot for testing mobile apps and devices. I started to sell the robots (still as a side project) on Tindie when that first launched in the summer of 2012. I made a couple of thousand dollars the first few years, but basically broke even profit-wise. I got my first "big" enterprise order of robots in late 2014 and that made me start wondering if I should ramp things up. I formally incorporated (http://www.tapster.io) in May 2015 and took some seed funding (Indie.vc) to sell the robots full-time. Since incorporating, it's now veeeery close (this summer) to ramen profitable while paying a few salaries.
phacops 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
5 years of bootstrapping a nutrition & fitness tracking web/mobile app for me.

After the first few months it was only making enough income to cover basic hosting costs and not much else, so I ended up getting a job (well, co-founded a different startup with good funding). In the next two years, I was just doing the bare minimum to keep it running, and it grew 80% each year. Start of year 3, other startup failed and I had spare time to invest in the site and it was making maybe 8000/month in revenues, and the decent yearly growth has continued so that now in year 5 I can comfortably live on the business, and have a few employees / contractors to help with support and development.

geerlingguy 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I made Server Check.in 3.5 years ago (HN announcement thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4901350), and it's been earning around $2k/year with almost no maintenance. Just a few updates to the Drupal front-end/UI, and the Node.js backend every year (maybe 20 hours total).

Costs are incredibly low, as I have ~15 low end box-type servers running as check servers interacting with Drupal via a private API, and one DigitalOcean droplet running prod, with a hot backup droplet. Everything was automated via Ansible early on, and I don't have to touch anything except for patching/updating from time to time.

I also have run Hosted Apache Solr for almost double the time, and it actually earns a decent secondary income. Up to about 25 DigitalOcean droplets now, also all managed via Ansible/Jenkins, and it has a few hundred clients (a couple who have been stable clients for over 5 years, and a few very large names that made me realize even a side project can be stable/good enough for 'big companies' to trust them).

I haven't advertised either except for mentions here and there and having them in some of my social media profiles, but I've learned so much from running bothand even turned some of that knowledge into a book that gives decent passive income on top!

dalacv 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
I made a course on Udemy on how to make complete web applications without writing code using APEX.

Link and free coupons:



$100 for a nice microphone (not necessary) but didn't want to record a bunch and have it be garbage$100 for Screenflow (to do video editing).20 hours time (split across a couple of weekends


I've made $1405 on it so far. It is almost completely passive income.



If you know any of the topics in the Hot Topics list and can do desktop recording, maybe you should think about teaching others and making some side money while doing it. Best of all, the Udemy community is awesome. They are very supportive of each other.


matthewmueller 1 hour ago 1 reply      
4 months.

I built a Slack bot called Standup Jack (https://standupjack.com). It's a ton of work upfront but if you launch early, keep an open dialog with your users, iterate on their feedback and keep your costs low, it's a nice way to earn some side income each month.

Udemy is a pretty easy way to start since they do the marketing for you (for a pretty big cut).

rsoto 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I've worked over a year on https://www.boxfactura.com/ which is a special email service for invoices in Mexico.

It has been profitable since January after quite some legwork, on the technical side as well as the sales and persuation side.

niftylettuce 2 hours ago 10 replies      
Here's a brief list!

* Wakeup.io - Simple Phone Wake-up Calls @ https://wakeup.io and it is fully automated and runs itself with actually really good profits. It was built in 2-3 days.

* GetProve, Simple Phone Verification @ https://getprove.com and it is fully automated and runs itself with again, really good profits. It was built in a week or so.

* Teelaunch, Kickstarter/Indiegogo Fulfillment Service (exited/sold) http://teelaunch.com (the site is different now than it used to be here https://web.archive.org/web/20140110204830/https://teelaunch...). As you can see from Wayback Machine, the site was just a landing page when I had it... took me day to put it up!

* Standard Signature, Email Signature Automation for Gmail Business @ https://standardsignature.com/ (built in 48 hours)

* Glazed, a Rapid MVP boilerplate for NodeJS @ http://glazed.io (built in a week or so, but this was work/thoughts accumulated over like 5+ years of hacking - this landed me paying clients, so I still consider it a side project)

* Asynchrosend, a MailChimp competitor (site is down now, but I did have paying clients and successful startups like Notehall.com had used it), built in a week in college!

* I have a bunch, at least 20 more on my list TODO still, if you want to build one with me let me know! I really would love to find super talented people, or people that are motivated. It's really hard to find good people if you know what I mean. I am not working on these right now though as I'm solely focused on one big project.

I have a bunch more projects I've built, that are also profitable that I can share. Email me and I can share more!

Update #1 - I really wanted to mention the most important thing about this. I read a Max Klein blog post that flipped the switch on me before to get into this hack and ship fast mode; it was something like build small little projects, but build a dozen of them. Once you build and release one quickly, it's addictive. You soon start to release more and more, and you get so creative and confident. You can literally build ANYTHING you want in a matter of days if you truly focus and WANT to.

Update #2 - I added a few more side projects since this topic is fun!

nevster 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A year.

I was spending way too much time on eBay, so I wrote something for myself that would scrape the web pages and use a kill list to filter out the junk. I wanted a better UI to add words to the kill list and realised I could make money via the eBay affiliate program.

So I took two months off between contracts and wrote the first version of AuctionSieve - http://auctionsieve.com

There was a D&D forum, the Acaeum where a bunch of people started using it and giving feedback.

It was making me money from day 1 but it probably took about a year to repay that 2 months of time investment.

It's now been 13 years(!) and it still makes me money - not enough to live off (the payout calculations from eBay have changed several times) but a nice chunk of change. And I only have to occasionally prod it. And add the occasional new feature.

daeken 55 minutes ago 2 replies      
A day. Okay, it isn't quite that simple. My sideproject is Breaker 101, an online class for web security. (https://breaker101.com)

I launched on HN and sold out (75 seats or so, $1500 each IIRC) that same day. I had designed the syllabus over the previous couple days, but there was no product -- because I honestly thought that only a few people would buy it, and I'd just have to refund them.

I built the class over the next few months and that went really well (not perfectly, but definitely well), but subsequent runs never got anywhere near the same success in terms of sales -- just couldn't get it in front of enough people.

I recently relaunched it at $150 in more of a self-driven form. It's profitable by all means, but it needs marketing behind it. I've been thinking a lot about selling it to someone that can give it the love it needs, but I'm still on the fence there.

simple1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wrote an online multiplayer game called Aberoth: http://aberoth.com. I released the first version to the world in January 2010, but the game did not have many features initially, and there was no way to buy anything. Toward the end of 2012 I felt good enough about the product to start selling memberships.

I continued to work on the game on the side over the years, and I released the game on Steam in July 2015: http://store.steampowered.com/app/354200/.

It does not make near as much a normal software engineer's full time salary, but it is profitable.

msencenb 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you define 'profitable' as $100 a month, that's where one of my iOS apps (http://postcardpanda.com) is at after 2+ years. I've only recently started putting actual time into it though.

If you want the full income report, here is May's: http://mattsencenbaugh.com/postcard-panda-may-2016-income-re...

danschuller 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wrote a digital book, plus art, engine and example code about how to make a JRPG style RPG. (http://howtomakeanrpg.com/ <- the current copy is pretty terrible!).

I'm still in pre-release but early-access has been available for mailing list subscribers since January. Release should happen "soon".

Profit-wise: ~$500 a month (apart from the first month which was ~$5000). If I include my own time, I've roughly covered my costs.

It's taken about 3 years (!) to write the book in my spare time, usually an hour each morning. In a lot of ways it wasn't a great side project:

 - Hard to make - Small market - Complex 
But it's the first commercial side project I've attempted and I've really enjoyed the experience. Rather than jump straight on to a new project, I'll probably spend time after release experimenting with marketing (google adwords, content marketing etc).

(Previously I've written a programming book published via a traditional publisher and my day job is as a game developer.)

AtticusTheGreat 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I built http://serpentinegame.com in 2008, an online multiplayer boggle game, and it makes a modest amount of money for me from ads and premium memberships. The only costs have been my time, a server on linode, and the domain name. I've had a couple other attempts but nothing has really taken off in the same way.
hoodoof 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I know this goes against accepted wisdom and I cannot yet prove that it works, but I no longer believe I am capable of the "build something small, fast and succeed". Niftylettuce in this thread has shown it an be done, but I have not succeeded in doing so.

I am now working on big, highly functional, fully working on launch utilities for DevOps people. Hopefully this will result in building something people want.

It seems the startup world is made up primarily of people pumping out easy to build shit.

dtjohnnymonkey 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Textdropapp.com - web-based plain text editor for Dropbox. It started off as a scratch to my own itch, and I listed it in the Dropbox app directory. I started collecting feature requests and after a year or so I completely rewrote it as a paid app. The rewrite took 3-4 months of nights and weekends. I haven't touched it in 2.5 years but it still generates maybe $30-50 per month, net.
tempestn 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I created searchtempest.com as a hobby project in 2006, starting with zero web knowledge, although a bit of programming experience from electrical engineering. Within about a year and a half it was earning enough to pay my (very modest) rent. By 2009 I quit my day job to focus on it full time. Added autotempest.com around the same time and now have several employees working on the two. (The first hired around 2010 iirc.)
conqrr 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
Man i always post such questions but never get responses at all. Sigh.
boyter 1 hour ago 0 replies      
https://searchcode.com/ is my serious side project. It has been profitable (If you ignore my time) for several months now. However it took 5 years to get there. I am planning on making it unprofitable again soon to allow it to scale up to the load requirements it needs. Most of the profit is though ads and the fact I run it on a shoestring budget (less than $100 a month).

If the downloadable version takes off that would really help as well.

ruffrey 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I run mailsac.com and skim a profit. I failed to properly sell to a couple of customers that would have made it fairly profitable (at least two very large companies use it for email testing). It has a decent number of users and signups but I haven't spent the time to figure out if there is more they'd pay a lot for. It took about two years of literally doing nothing to make a profit.
SaijoGeorge 1 hour ago 0 replies      
for me it has been http://allthefreestock.com , it's not a serious side project and the only revenue has been ads.
edoceo 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
18 months
cookiecaper 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I did until it was shut down by a legal threat from a Fortune 100. It took about 1 year to go from 0 to profitable.
Ask HN: Been in dead end job for too long. Quit without offer in hand?
7 points by Wonnk13  2 hours ago   5 comments top 4
phaus 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Its far easier to find a job if you have a job. Also, you will be less likely to make sub-optimal decisions if you don't have to worry about paying rent.

I don't know how many hours you work, but I have a wife, a kid, a full-time job that I drive 1.5 hours to each way + I'm a reservist. I still find time to learn new things. It would be faster if I didn't have a job, but its still doable.

If you're stressed about the fact that your career hasn't gone the way you imagined, you should remember that it isn't too late. I switched careers at 30, quite a few people do it much later than that. Just don't give up and eventually someone will give you a shot at your dream job.

CyberFonic 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't quit before landing another job.

I don't think your "dead-end" job is hopeless as you think. You didn't clarify what the "professional services" entail, but if it is related to IT (as is your troubleshooting skills), then you could look at jobs where your existing skills and experience is valuable and you will able to refresh your CS skills. Maybe a DevOps job which is more Ops than Dev initially.

Sometimes the route to the dream job requires a detour.

akulbe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Not only is it easier to find a job when you're already employed, but some recruiters even deliberately overlook you as a candidate if you're unemployed.

I wouldn't even consider leaving until you have something else in hand.

sharemywin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
your far better off trying to do a side project in the area your trying to get into.
Ask HN: Would you use a silent coworking space?
7 points by loorinm  2 hours ago   1 comment top
kevinyun 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of http://Deskpass.com in Chicago. It's access to tons of coworking spaces and has really affordable monthly pricing. For me, I got desk pass because I like a combo of different days between vibrant and quiet. As far as pricing, I would probably be more comfortable with monthly pricing vs hourly.

Just a .02 from a guy who works remotely and has different preferences at times.

Ask HN: What are some good peer-reviewed papers on psychology of programming?
37 points by mmczaplinski  11 hours ago   10 comments top 7
Bartweiss 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The semi-infamous paper "The Camel Has Two Humps" remains a pretty interesting study on teaching programming. It's not exactly what you're asking about, but it has relevance in terms of identifying cognitive patterns that are tied to good comprehension of software.

It has been retracted, but the retraction applies only to the grander claims made based on the results. The experimental results have been replicated several times, and to my knowledge have not failed replication in meaningful ways. (One study, for instance, found "no effect" because the cohort scored ~100% on the assessment questions, which means any useful variance was above the test ceiling.)

You can find the paper here (http://wiki.t-o-f.info/uploads/EDM4600/The%20camel%20has%20t...), a good-if-overzealous discussion here (https://blog.codinghorror.com/separating-programming-sheep-f...) and the pseudo-retraction here (http://www.eis.mdx.ac.uk/staffpages/r_bornat/papers/camel_hu...).

mmalone 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a topic I researched a long time ago. I don't trust my memory enough to summarize any findings or recommend specific papers, but here are a couple of bookmarks I've kept around:

- http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/teaching/1011/R201/

- http://www.ppig.org/

If you're designing a programming language or programming tools, another resource that I've found helpful is this collection of syntax choices across languages:

- http://rigaux.org/language-study/syntax-across-languages/

jimwhite 9 hours ago 1 reply      
The answer is "Yes" and Google is your friend here. Highly relevant queries with high quality top hits are:

[software engineering research][psychology of programming][empirical research on computer language productivity][empirical research on programming methodology effectiveness]

lsiebert 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend reading (Studying the language and structure innon-programmers solutions to programming problems (2001))[http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pane/ftp/PaneRatanamahatanaMyers2001....]

Basically they ask a bunch of non programmers to describe how a computer should do discrete tasks in PacMan. They also cite a number of older but relevant papers on this topic.

wallflower 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Andreas Stefik, Susanna Siebert, Melissa Stefik, and Kim Slattery: An Empirical Comparison of the Accuracy Rates of Novices using the Quorum, Perl, and Randomo Programming Languages. PLATEAU 2011.
eisokant 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If this is an area of interest to work in professionally, send me an email. We're looking at a lot of the same things.
Ask HN: I don't enjoy being a CTO. Now what?
304 points by unhappycto  15 hours ago   208 comments top 70
DelaneyM 14 hours ago 24 replies      
tl;dr: in your situation many people go off and get an MBA. Don't do that. There's a reason there's only one CTO in HBS' 60,000 person alumni database (I am she.)

I was a very hands-on CTO for years after a decade of coding, and broadly enjoyed it. But as the teams I managed grew it became increasingly unfulfilling. When you're CTO, you're often excluded from business decisions which have a bigger impact on your team than any tech innovation, and the input you do have can be hard to relate to the shared business context of the CEO/COO/CFO.

So I went and got an MBA (Harvard).

Now I know exactly how to frame (and improve!) my non-technical contributions, have much more context on what "success" means, and have the credibility to really be a part of the senior team.

Unfortunately, there's no real place in the world for a highly technical business leader. You have to leave code behind at a certain point and spend your time on people/financial/planning issues. The ultimate end of that road is CEO, and not everyone wants to go there.

Also, I'd really misdiagnosed my malaise. What I'd been missing was not strategic input, but the opportunity to build things. To weave together inspiration and ideas into innovation and growth. I love building things and challenging assumptions, it fulfills me.

Now I'm off to start a new venture as a solo entrepreneur. The only truly successful technical leader is the founder, and that feels right. My last day at my day job is June 30th. :)

lwhalen 14 hours ago 3 replies      
What I'm about to say may be considered harsh, but I promise I don't mean it to be.

Quit. Just leave. Go back to coding. It's obvious you don't enjoy management, there's no shame in admitting that. Rather than inflict your misery on the rest of the team, get back to your wheelhouse where you can be happy, your team can be happy, and ultimately your company (current or future) can be happy.

I have worked in a job where the CTO (my boss) was in your exact position (in fact, if it weren't for your style of writing - English was very obviously his third or fourth language - I would almost bet money that you were him, your stories are that eerily similar) and it was a miserable experience. $CTO was an otherwise brilliant coder who was on his first cto-gig outside of 'team leader'. Outside of work, he was a great guy - warm, personable, funny. At work, he resented not being able to code in many different ways, often with the team bearing the brunt of his misery. He'd often make decisions for others to implement, then second (or third) guess himself days or weeks later, insist we throw out all the work, and start again. He'd often be irritable, make rash decisions, have temper flare-ups, ask for feedback then get upset when he got it, etc. It was a bad scene for all involved, but the dude was a walking personification of the Peter Principle. He would have been infinitely happier remaining a coder, and his team (myself included) would have been infinitely happier with a CTO comfortable in a leadership position.

sputr 14 hours ago 2 replies      
The main problem I'm seeing with this kind of topics is this notion that "management" and "coding etc." are on the same vertical. That as an end result of a successful career as a professional is to move into management.

Well, that's just bonkers.

I used to be a coder. Now I'm in management and I've learned, the hard way, that management is it's own specialty ... and that the best managers don't see them self's as "above" their team, but the "team coordination & external communication" specialist of the team. The only reason for the extra pay is the expectation that a manager take the brunt of the "external" crap (aka. having responsibility for the team) so that the rest of the team don't have to and can keep working.Which means that just as you need knowledge and experience to be a good coder, you need knowledge and experience to be a good manager. I find the notion of going from "best in your field" back to being "the green guy" at the height of your career as utterly crazy.

But that's just me.

nekopa 13 hours ago 2 replies      
If you are a hacker, then try to just hack the suckiness out of the job.

Take a mental step back, and look at the business as a large computer, everyone's crap as bugs, fires as serious bugs and dealing with other managers as a high level architectural/resource allocation problem.

Then get to hacking! Refactor the program (your role and tasks) until its running smoothly (i.e. you're happy) then start adding features. Learn to apply (not so shiny) new technologies (management methods, time management, people management). Set up a test suite to compare what you want to what you actually get. Red - Refactor - Green. (Seems like all your tests would be a solid red at the moment:)

Do top down and bottom up analysis - make specs for what you want as a CTO, and make specs for what you'd want (as a programmer) from an ideal CTO.

Set up your own performance benchmarking suite with the metrics that matter to you: Fun factor, coding opportunities, battle to relax ratio, etc...

Just make sure to stay ethical, DRY and most of all, keep it interesting and fun. No black hat hacking when dealing with people.

(Oh, and if you know parallel programming, start a new thread called $JOB_SEARCH to run concurrently while you do all this)

P.S. I've trained (successfully) quite a few new managers, specifically highly experienced technical staff that move into new positions of management. The most recent one I did was for a global telco hardware provider. I can send you some of my workbooks (for a 3 day course, covers the main basics about moving into management and being happy and great at it) if you want to hit me up - email is in my profile. I pinkie swear I won't out your real profile, or you can just set up a throwaway email if you're really worried.

unoti 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Learning is painful, and it's tempting to just go back to your comfort zone. You dont really learn much in your comfort zone, and learning often feels a bit uncomfortable. Check out the Ideas behind "growth mindset" for more about this [1].

You mentioned the idea of management being about cleaning up crap and dealing with people instead of writing code. A few thoughts on that. There is a lot of people and management work involved in making code pay off for an organization at scale. Code by itself doesn't offer any value. It has to be in production, it has to be used by the customers, it has to be something that adds value for the customers. And it has to be managed in a way that the code is delivered before the competition gets a chance to sink you. Also code doesn't write itself, teams of people do, and those teams need to be built and maintained and recruited and taught. Making all of those things happen involves people relationships and soft skills. Your job is to make those things happen smoothly, guide and grow the engineering teams, prevent the fires, and establish the relationships that make that all happen smoothly and scalably.

It's a different set of skills from writing code, but it can be learned if you apply yourself to it and recognize the value it'll provide to your organization if you do.

[1] https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing...

karterk 14 hours ago 1 reply      
> I haven't even written a line of code in months.

CTOs generally don't write code. But, in a typical startup designations don't matter so much. How different is your current role from the one you were offered during the negotiations?

> I thought perhaps being CTO in a startup would give me some of that same ownership, control and enjoyment but it just feels like another job.

Do you feel connected to the overall vision of the company? If you did, then you should look at the things you're unhappy with as bumps on a road worth traveling.

Since you do have the ownership (through your designation), you have power to change things that bother you. It's only when you start making visible impact, you will start truly belonging.

Finally, I would urge you to talk to other senior folks in the company openly about what's bothering you. Maybe you are missing another perspective that they will be happy to share with you.

sfmelton 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I love being a CTO. You can design the technical organization you want to lead. If you are unhappy, change the design of your organization. It takes time (and money), but totally worth it.

I think the key when you achieve product market fit is filling the roles in your technical organization with stronger leaders than you, and stepping out of those management positions. Plus, you can learn from and partner with these people.

If you're a technical CTO, and want to code more than manage/build a team, then hire/promote a VP of Engineering with strong soft skills to grow/manage your team. If its the reverse, hire/promote a VP of Engineering who's technically stronger.

If you're constantly being pulled into engineering battles, hire/promote an architect you respect to negotiate.

If you're running engineering meetings (ipm's, retros, etc), hire/promote a SCRUM master or equivalent.

If you're battling sales, operations or marketing, hire a Director of Product Management with solid communication skills. That person will 'fight' your battles (and probably love it!).

If you're putting out fires in production, hire/promote a Director of QA. They'll work on designing systems to catch those bugs.

If your infrastructure goes down a lot, hire/promote a senior devops engineer.

On the engineering/coding front, I find it super helpful to rotate into teams and pair one-on-one with engineers. You get exposure to their day-to-day code battles/challenges/environments, the tech decisions at the lowest levels, the ability to code/manage daily and respect with your team. You can then prioritize stories/epics to fix problems that you see across your organization that plague a technical team like debt, environments, knowledge gaps, etc.

Don't step away, stay positive and solve for the organization you want to lead.

bqe 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The challenge of leadership is that of leading people, not of writing code. Dealing with people can be messy, frustrating, and depressing, but it's what needs to be done.

As a CTO, I code about 30% of the time, but I expect that to go down as our company grows. Much of the time I deal with people who were offended that so-and-so shot down their new design, or they think their career is being harmed because they can't rewrite the entire product in Clojure, or senior management is freaking out because of one minor bug that hits an important customer.

If you can see a path to where you want your company and team to be in a few years, then stay and try to move down that path. It is very rewarding to see tangible progress in your product and your team. If you want to be coding all day, find another job.

koide 14 hours ago 1 reply      
That's life. The higher you go, the more crap you have to eat so those who deal with executing can execute without distractions. If you don't want to eat crap, you have to stay at a lower level (team lead/distinguished engineer/r&d labs)

On the other hand, being that high should indeed get you ownership and control, if you don't have it question your relationship with the CEO/rest of the company. You should own and be responsible for all the technical stuff, that is the upside of eating all the crap you can eat.

On a related note, if you are a good coder, you can and should schedule some time to do pair programming with the team to stay on top of things and actually write some code. But only as long as you are more of a help than a hindrance.

tomblomfield 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised that no-one has suggested getting a VP Eng alongside you.


rajanchandi 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Key question is WHY did you take up this job in the first place? Do you really believe in the mission of this company or just the CTO title and a lucrative pay attracted you here. If you truly believe in the mission of the company, you're doing the right thing by taking all crap and making progress towards end goals. You are probably not coding because your time is better spent doing what you're doing now. Will you make more difference to the world if you went back to the coding role?
BetaCygni 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> It seems to be mostly about dealing with everyone's crap, trying to fight fires and constantly battling with the other managers and tech team to get things done. I haven't even written a line of code in months.

Welcome to management! You're dealing with the crap so your people can do their job. If you get to code a few weeks a year then you're lucky.

If you really don't enjoy it, go find something else. There are a lot of highly technical jobs that should prove a real challenge.

mxuribe 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel ya! So my experience is not exactly the same, but I really get where you're coming from...About a decade ago was the last time that I touched any code as part of my dayjob. I was a web developer for 6 years, and I've been either a project manager or product manager for almost 10 years...and funny enough, for the latter couple of years as a dev. I yearned to move to a position where I sat between the "tech" teams and the "business" teams. I thought this was a natural progression up. I was told that I had a knack for explaining complex and technical things in easy-to-digest way for non-techies. So I tried the non-dev route. Fast-forward some time, and I've changed companies a couple of times since then, and without looking almost a decade has passed. My current and last job has led me to the most disappointing moments of my professional career. I won't say depression but feels pretty close to it. In my case i think it feels like nowadays I'm not building anything. The feeling that I used to get as a developer was that I was building something. I totally get that building something means different things between someone who sits at a desk and churns out code vs. people who build essential things such as wells and irrigation systems for some struggling third world country...nevertheless, at the end of my days as a "coder" i still felt like I introduced something into this world; I had such a sense of accomplishment, even if my salary didn't express that. In the last decade, I'm lucky enough to have had something to take my mind off things: in essence, my family. If it wasn't for my wife and daughter to fill my days with joy (and yes the usual family ups-and-downs, but hey, its still a distraction!)...if it wasn't for my family, surely I would have slipped into a deep depression. What makes things tough - now - is that after almost a decade of not touching code, its that much harder to "go back into codding", at least as a dayjob. Ok, I'm stopping now because this is mere blathering (and i should just post on my own).

...Suffice it to state: YOU ARE NOT ALONE with the remorse you feel with direction of your professional career! The only tiny bit of advice I can provide to you: find a healthy mix of non-work-related distractions in your life AND jump around to different companies. The fact that you have such great experience is something some relevant company will find useful; you simply need to tell them your goals, and hope things align.

Good luck!

fecak 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I think part of the problem is that we often see CTO as the holy grail for the technical side of things, where that is the final stop in a linear career path. DEV > SR. DEV > ARCHITECT (maybe) > TECH LEAD > DEV MGR > VP/DIR > CTO

If you love coding and solving problems, you may find yourself less fulfilled farther down that line.

We're also talking about titles that end up being somewhat arbitrary and non-transferrable once we take companies of different sizes into account. CTO of a 10 person startup might translate to Tech Lead in an enterprise software business. CTO at a startup might still get to write code (I know many that do), whereas CTO at a company with a couple hundred developers might not even see code.

If you aren't happy, find somewhere that you can do what you enjoy doing. If this is truly your first senior management position, it might be clear that senior management isn't for you - or this isn't the organization that you should be in a senior management position. You could certainly find Sr Mgt or CTO roles where coding is part of the everyday routine.

mszyndel 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend following Camille Fournier's blog, she writes/speaks extensively about being a technical leader and CTO. Priceless lecture especially that it comes from someone very experienced.

Check out this post about transitioning to hands-off position http://www.elidedbranches.com/2016/04/ask-cto-navigating-han...

ninjaa 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I took up a job as CTO after being a lead developer and junior partner at a bunch of startups. OMG what a punishment.

I've now resolved to just go out on my own because it's too painful working for anyone else in this curious position of great responsibility but not enough power.

drcongo 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of life's conundrums. Work hard at getting really good at doing something you love doing, and then stop doing it. My advice would be to find someone or some people that are the adjacent jigsaw pieces to you - a set of skills you don't have, maybe it's the stuff that was missing previous times you ran your own businesses and then start a business with these people where you can carry on doing the thing you love. For me, I had to do it with someone who had all the networking and new business skills that I so painfully lack.
goatforce5 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a story that Woz tells about how he was feeling as though he was being pushed in to management as Apple grew and the anxiety, etc., that caused him. Eventually he realized (and/or someone pointed out) that he didn't have to follow the role changes and could remain in a hands-on engineering role.

I've worked with a few people along the way who were senior enough and wise enough that they easily could have found themselves a management position if that's what they wanted. But they either had tried it and decided it wasn't for them, or they just knew they would be happier coding and maybe doing some mentoring of the junior staff.

tl;dr: Transitioning to management may be the 'normal' career path, but why do it if it makes you unhappy?

spydum 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds exactly like the CTOs job. I think too often the folks in SV abuse the CTO title when they really mean senior architect or engineer.

I'll offer advice but it comes from someone with no experience:

Take this opportunity and grow from it. So it's not the job you wanted or expected; you can still find a way to be successful. Really get to know the teams, figure out who has the emotional and intellectual capacity to deliver for you, and reward those folks. Good luck!

sswaner 14 hours ago 0 replies      
As CTO of a mid-sized insurance company, I spend less than an hour per week writing code. My job is to lead the architecture and infrastructure teams in meeting company objectives. It is not my job to personally deliver solutions.

CTO is all about leadership. If this doesn't work for you then I suggest your "what next?" is a return to Lead Architect or Lead Developer roles at another company.

harel 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been in the same position. Was first to join a couple of founders, built the first few iterations of the application, small group, great fun, lots of challenges, lots of code. As funding came, team grew I became the CTO officially. But then the fun stopped. Technical decisions which were meant to be mine were dropped on me by one of the founders despite my objections (most if not all proved to be mistakes). In the end I stepped down and we invented a new role where I'd be in charge of innovation. That worked well. The CTO who replaced me run away himself after a short while and after that we were CTO-less.

Thing is there are many forms to the CTO role and different people see that role in different eyes. To me the CTO is a technical leadership position. You are meant to decide the technical strategy of the business. Decisions from which servers to use, to what language to how things are done, architecture from the top down, etc. Someone mentioned about the VP of Eng. role which I can't agree more - That role is there to support you with the crap. That person needs to be more manager than tech. He is there to make sure your time is dedicated to the core of your position. Not everybody saw this roles as I did which is why I was happy to stand down than try to fight it. I was there from day 0 to acquisition about 7 years later.

im_down_w_otp 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like your biggest annoyance is the fire-fighting. These kinds of fires don't just "happen". They're not forces of nature, they're forces of man. Either directly or indirectly, but always the source of it.

Usually a failure of process, expectations management, or both.

You've mentioned feeling a lack of control. Is that lack of control over the fires being set in the first place or a lack of control over being able to appropriately handle the arsonists? Have you clearly identified the arsonists in your case?

Is the arsonist the CEO; by making insane external sales or Board promises?

Are the arsonists your customers; by making product/pricing/support demands that render the overall value proposition of your company moot; i.e. getting you to focus too many resources on basically charity work to "get their logo"?

Are the arsonists your team members; by having a strained relationship with best-practices, consistency, reliability, velocity, productivity, etc.?

countryqt30 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Did you really think being CTO means writing a lot of code? :D
knighthacker 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My advice is to realize that you are hired as a leader in the organization. Use your leadership to change what needs to change so that the company succeeds. An important factor for the success of the company (as long as you are still hired there) is that you are doing what you love doing and what helps the company, because it'll make a big impact. If you like writing code and write 2 lines of code, it'll raise the morale of the team and get them motivated to work more.

What I am trying to say is assume your leadership and do what you want to be done. If the company likes it, then great. It is a win-win situation. If not, then next steps are clear.

mwsherman 14 hours ago 0 replies      
By and large, you are describing people management. It is quite about dealing with crap. I don't mean that as a complaint, merely a fact.

Good managers take crap so others don't have to.

Ideally, we get good enough to prevent the crap from happening in the first place. But it is most certainly the job. It's entirely understandable if you find it's not for you.

throwawaycto 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As a CTO myself, i see there is a lot of vagueness in the whole role of CTO. Almost all other roles in an organization are well-defined and have clear goals and responsibilities. The role of the CTO varies so widely between each organization, it is something that has to be specified clearly when going through the hiring process or even when starting a startup.

Why does this happen? I have found it has a lot to do with the investors and management team. I've seen the definition of the CTO varies as far as "The CTO should be the technical evangelist, super SEO." all the way to, "The CTO is in charge of Product and delivery."

IMHO giving CTO titles to the "evangelist, super SEO" undermines the role, because that role does not warrant either "Chief" or "Officer" in their title.


As far as myself, i retain the CTO title because am the owner of the technology; in that i make sure that technology is all the things we are trying to achieve as a business; looking beyond the current implementation and plan out how we need to build the product over the coming years. This goes alway down to components required, system architecture, external interfaces and how we can do things better, faster, cheaper. I also write pieces of the code and help out in engineering task as needed. This keeps my competency in day to day ENG high. Involvement with ENG tasks and coding is what keeps my sanity.

If someone asked me if i liked my role as CTO i would say yes but there is all the things you listed (fight fires and battling with managers and tech team).

chad_strategic 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a similar problem... and similar to DelaneyM

In 2007, I got my MBA in Finance, which is the worst time to get one at the beginning of great recession.

Anyways, I taught my self to code in 08-10 and somehow convinced people to pay me to code!

After being unemployed for so long in 2009-2010, I was happy to move down this coding career path cause the money was so easy.

But only in the last year or so I have come to realize (after all the money wore off), I have no desire to be CTO or a coder, I'm having a hard time being a coder, lol.

I'm a entrepreneur, that knows how to code, is my new catch phrase. I have a enough leadership and communication skills I'm just wasting those talents when I'm just a heads down coder.

tc 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Somebody has to do these things. They can be done more or less well. This has a big impact on your company's success and on the happiness of your team. Those are the only good reasons to endure the hardships.

You're coming to understand what executives do and how that's necessary in a company, at least until humans find better ways of working together. This isn't something you really see clearly when you're the CEO because you're above the fray. And this isn't something you see when you're an individual contributor if the executive of your group is doing his or her job well.

People are paid in part based on how poorly a job can be done. The CTO is a role where real catastrophes are possible. It's a job the rest of the business often doesn't understand well, managing a team the rest of the business understands even more poorly. It's easy for bad choices to do a lot of damage to a company over a long period.

If you're the rare individual who can bridge both worlds and do this job well, then it's likely your company and your team won't find anyone who can do this better. And if they have to look, it's quite possible they'll find someone who does it a lot worse, makes your team miserable, and drives the company into the ground.

The reason to do the job is to make the company successful and to make the lives of those on your team better. If you believe enough in the company's mission, the other executives, and your team, then you'll figure out the rest.

Humans can endure a lot of hardship if it fits within some context we find worthy. It's not an easy job. But if it's a worthy cause then carry on.

gumby 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The best translation I ever heard for "CTO" was "Chief Talking Officer" (from someone who had been "promoted" into the position.

Several different jobs can be assigned the title CTO but they are all technical leadership positions, not direct execution. The company should be getting leverage from your position -- you should be enabling the growth of the company, by being th external technical face of the company, by helping direct technical development internally, by representing the technical / architectural issues in the management team, or by defining the technical direction based on the exec team's decisions on company direction. Different companies need different mixes of these. BTW it's often a way to retire a founder without losing their technical input, or to keep them from meddling :-).

In your case you were hired on, so they wanted you to use your technical expertise to help guide the company (or keep the tech from getting into trouble -- but even on the execution side, that's the VP of Engineering's job).

So if it turns out this isn't what you really like doing, there's no harm in that: you should find something you would enjoy more, and help the company find someone else to do the job they need doing.

JoeAltmaier 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe its too big a company? "Around a few years" sounds like they have a sizeable staff. So a CTO position there would be very different from a CTO at a new startup. Pretty much like you describe it. A management position, heavy on the 'officer' and lighter on the 'technical'. Managing a team of technologists make you responsible for making the right decision. Too many folks think CTO means you 'get to' make technical decisions. No, you're actually responsible for making sure the right ones get made. Which means listening to your competent team, understanding what they tell you, and reconciling that with the business.
robotpony 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You can also look at the CTO role as slightly different style of hacking; you program with teams, training, and planning in addition to setting technical direction and leadership. Many CTOs design and code as well (I do) as a senior-senior designer or architect, but you should think about the meta-programming as exciting on its own. Many senior level architects love to train and lead teams technically, and a CTO often focuses on these things. Senior level architects also curate the technology and design, which CTOs also often own. It's a great role, though it sounds like you may need to grow into parts of it. I suggest that it's totally worth it.

There are various ways to cast the role too; many organizations also have a VPE (or VPD) and other mid-level leaders. These roles can allow some flex in what a CTO is responsible for, though ultimately the role is responsible for direction in technology.

simonebrunozzi 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been Tech Evangelist, Chief Technologist, and CTO in the past few years, both at large and small companies.

I think it's wrong to generalize - a CTO experience can be good or bad depending on several factors. It is entirely possible that you could be VERY happy in a similar situation, but with a different company.

Usually CTOs can be divided into engineering types, and outward-facing types. The former is hands on, codes, handles the engineering team, or at least has a strong bond/influence with the VP of Engineering. The latter is more in touch with customers, does more public speaking activities, and tries to condense feedback and requests in a way that the VP of Engineering can translate it into the product.Right now I'm the outward-facing type. I am enjoying it, mostly because the two co-founders are great individuals and leaders.

Let me know if you have questions - I would be happy to try to answer.

naberus 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A CTO's role should be technical leadership. If a major part of your role is dealing with everyone's crap and putting out fires, I wouldn't necessarily consider that technical leadership.

I've been in a similar situation, and for me, the right solution was having the right people under me that I could trust to fight the fires.

You should be deciding how the fires are fought, but your team should fight them. At least some part of your day should be available for steering your team/organization/product.

(But code, not so much. :)

BCharlie 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As a technical leader, the biggest hurdle I faced personally was understanding how to measure and improve myself in the right ways.

While success in an engineering role can generally be described as "write good code" (with all the nuances therein), technical managers are measured on totally different things, and it isn't obvious how to improve most of them.

When I transitioned and realigned myself to these things, my outlook changed, and I started really enjoying leadership roles:

* Embrace the idea of being hands off technically. I have never seen a hands on technical manager that worked out well - politics will always come into play. Instead, encourage friendly inter-team debate, which you can coach and steer into a healthy dynamic to make the right decisions. Feel satisfaction that the team you build creates better engineering than you could alone.

* Focus on helping your team lead fulfilling careers and lives. See in them what they could become in 10 years and help them achieve it, even if it sometimes conflics with your short term interests.

* Build amazing products - The leader is way more instrumental in this than often credited.

* Create a great team environment that people want to be a part of.

* Get a seat at the business table - you should absolutely be a big part of the product roadmap. Done right, eventually you should have sales/customer teams coming to you for advice and input like 'Customer X wants Y, what do you think?'

* Create great communication flow - make sure everyone else knows how important your team is, and help your team see how what they do contributes, and how the market/product is changing and why.

On your comment about fighting fires and other managers - you can change this. These things make any job unpleasant. I strongly recommend reading The Phoenix Project to get some ideas from an IT perspective - it can easily be read in a weekend and addresses exactly these common problems.

snowwrestler 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I have the opposite problem, which is that I think I would enjoy and be good at a CTO type role, but since I don't have a personal background as a coder, I'm not sure how to move toward it. Almost all the job listings I've seen require a CS degree and a decade+ of experience as a developer. Startups, in particular, seem to believe that CTO = lead coder.

I've managed websites for years, overseeing design and development teams, setting product roadmaps, negotiating contracts, even testing and debugging websites and server configuration. I understand the stack of technologies that make up a website, although I have not written web applications myself. The little bit of code I've written is on the margins: shell scripts, one-off JS widgets, etc.

I'm not bad at managing people, and I enjoy it. I'm not bad at managing peer and executive relationships, and I enjoy it. These are the sorts of things that a lot of developers seem to really dislike about elevating into CTO.

So: is it possible to land a CTO role without being a experienced and expert code-writer? Or am I thinking of the wrong thing?

tat45 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I was a manager and a lead technical analyst (basically a CTO with a much narrower scope than a full company). I now refer to the nine years I spent doing this so-called "work" as The Lost Years, because I wrote very, very little code and my skills dried up.

There are some people who enjoy it. But I found it to be exactly as unfulfilling you described it, for much of the same reasons (spent too much time fighting management fires and not enough time solving technical problems), and it ultimately drove me back to being a software developer. Thank goodness my skills hadn't atrophied completely, but I'm definitely behind my cohort in terms of expertise, and I spend too many cycles regretting the lost time I could have spent growing my skills.

arviewer 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Find out what you REALLY want. Find your motives. Find the underlying essential motivation. That's much deeper than coding or not handling crap. Those are superficial symptoms, not what makes you move.

Find a good professional coach that can help you with finding this out. Pay money for it. You probably can spend several thousands $$$ on this. Not that it needs to be that expensive, but $1000-$2000 is easily spent.

If you quit this good paying job, while it may actually have the opportunity to bring you to your dream job, it's worth staying there long enough to get your things together.

http://simainternational.com/coaching/strategic-life-career/This is a link to SIMA, about motivational assessment. There are more methods. This is just a starter, but it may be right for you. Be sure to find an experienced coach.

keredson 13 hours ago 0 replies      
as a CTO you're not just an employee of a company, but also one of its leaders. you have control over what you do. if you don't like the day to day process, change it.
pmontra 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You wanted to be the lead developer and you got CTO. You can be both in a very small startup, but CTO is a management position, not a coder. Maybe you should find a job you'll enjoy more and leave. Or find another CTO to replace you and become lead developer, but that could lead to awkward relationships inside the company.
repomies691 13 hours ago 1 reply      
> It seems to be mostly about dealing with everyone's crap, trying to fight fires and constantly battling with the other managers and tech team to get things done

Welcome to any senior/management/executive position ever.

ruffrey 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I work for a company and the CTO submits PRs for two projects, and does some QA testing, and helps guide my team's R&D software. It is a medium sided company. For him it is a chance to lead the future of the company while still writing code and he embraces it fully, albeit he is very busy, but you can tell he gets energized by the way he plays the role.This would not be possible without the right company culture. However as CTO you are probably the best suited person in the company to shift culture toward this, if you wanted.
kfk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, the issue with coding is that in theory a good CTO makes way more money.

I am dealing with the same problem, though I am not sure what makes me happy exactly. I think sometimes we get into this carrier path thing and just move forward through inertia. Things are good on paper, but in reality you feel like crap.

I don't know, I am slowly trying to move away from my current job. I am planning to use savings to buy websites, the idea kind of excites me, which is a great feeling to have.

filvdg 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe this transition comes too soon but moving from coding in to management is a normal progression. It is another job , but in general it values the same qualities you should have as a coder: Understanding the dynamics of the situation and finding the best solution to get the job done. As CTO you should have the flexibility to find other people to help in the things you hate the most and focus on the fun parts.
embwbam 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience. I'm a great coder with good communication and leadership skills. In 2009 I co-founded a hip startup in the TV space. I had experience as a senior / architect prior to this, but this was my first time as CTO, let alone any management position.

I LOVED the first year. I was solving difficult problems, working productively, coding like crazy, learning a lot about business and startups. But it was just me and a contractor or two.

In the second year we were growing and I started to recruit. I didn't really like finding people, but I loved creating a great culture and productive environment, so it wasn't bad. I found some great people to hire and continued to be the lead dev. I started to experiment with process and getting teams to run themselves.

By year three we had 12 devs, and multiple teams. I was spending a lot of time cleaning up after unwise decisions and trying to implement process to keep us productive. Our apps and team got big. I loved being in flow and coding so much, I would drop the ball on management tasks to finish features I was shipping. I was involved in too many things: product decisions, partner deals, traveling, and our customer development research (we were floundering and making the wrong product at this point).

I hated it. Every time I procrastinated something I got more stressed and depressed. I tried changing my role to lead dev, but it was a mess and I left.

After wandering around and experimenting with different things for years, I think I've figured some things out. I'm contracting with multiple long-term clients. The skills and network I earned doing my startup have been great for finding work. I only take projects where I can have a high level of ownership and creativity (no team to deal with). I have been able to work with fun technology across multiple disciplines (in the last year: React, Haskell, Elm, iOS, Swift, Clojure, among others).

I do mess around with my own ideas sometimes, but I realized that what I really love is to create products, and I don't like management, or selling things I've created. So I'm most effective creating products with/for other people who are taking the business risk.

Not sure if there's anything in there you can use, but good luck! Figure out what you love to do, keep experimenting. I hated being a CTO too. There's no shame in figuring out it's not right for you, but it IS hard to allow yourself to go down in status. For me it was this big ego thing holding me back. Don't make that mistake :)

toothrot 14 hours ago 0 replies      
There's not a lot to say other than: find a mentor now.

Start cold-emailing CTOs in the same portfolio as your company. They'll be happy to help.

steve371 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Correct me if I am wrong. But it sounds to me you are still struggling between a coding job and a full time management job. And to be fair, i think this is what you would be expecting for most of management position in lots of the companies.

You mentioned you have done some small management as senior/lead. Then think back, which part do you enjoy when you were there.

nailer 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> trying to fight fires

Your leadership should help people avoid that fire fighting.

> I haven't even written a line of code in months.

That's a good sign for a CTO.

rawrmaan 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I did it for 11 months, and I hated it too, so I quit. Now I'm figuring out something that'll make me happy. :)
up_and_up 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe seek out a VP Engineering role at a smaller company. To me VP of Eng is usually more hands-on technical vs CTO which is more strategic like applying technology to business and big picture.

Not sure how old you are but a CTO role might make more sense later in life.

dookahku 12 hours ago 0 replies      
How do you advance to leadership roles?

I try to pursue it when it seems like it appears in companies I'm around but it feels mostly like crapshoot.

My other best guess is start my own company, which I think about all the time.

bartq 14 hours ago 0 replies      
hey. meh, general rule: listen to your gut and follow it. It's that simple ;)
dangoldin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been in those shoes and still feel a bit of that. Would love to chat and share some personal notes if you want to reach out - dangoldin@gmail.com
WhitneyLand 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Great question and some useful advice. What online forum/community is the best match for this type of question? Maybe it's too niche, but it would be nice have one.
FLUX-YOU 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I would just leave unless there is some major financial incentive in your contract that you don't want to give up (hundreds of thousands or more).
asah 12 hours ago 0 replies      
No, you're not expecting too much.

This sort of thing happens surprisingly often-- the typical solution is to approach the CEO/board and seek a transition: quietly open a search for a new CTO and you find something that matches your passion. It's better for everyone: startups are no place for people without deep passion.

hope this helps!

JangoSteve 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly, it's not far off from a typical CTO role. Being CTO is about connecting the technology side of the company with the vision and business goals of the company, and making sure the two match. There are great ways to structure the technology and build out the product that don't contribute to the business goals or even the vision of the startup (and can even be opposed to it), and there are sometimes less-than-ideal ways of building the technology of a company that get it where it needs to be when it needs to be there.

The CTO's job is about half technology and half business when it's a small startup. As the startup grows, you can't possibly make every technology decision, and so your job is more about getting the right people in place who can make the best technology decisions on your behalf as long as you keep them appraised of what the business needs are driving each of their decisions. And because getting those people in place and managing those people is almost all on the business side, your role becomes more about active business management while maintaining an in-depth awareness of the technology so that you can step in and correct course as necessary.

These are all just generalizations of course, as every startup is different. I imagine if you're the CTO of a startup that caters to software developers and code, you probably get to continue devoting some portion of your time to coding. Even in other startups, I've seen a lot of CTO's (myself included) get to actually do some code occasionally, but it's more like once every 1 to 3 months, which sounds about in line with what you're doing.

I think the CTO role you desire does exist, but it's in a specific, somewhat narrow stage for a startup. It sounds like you desire to be a co-founding CTO of a very early-stage (possibly idea-stage) startup. I think your desired traits for the responsibilities of a CTO can also continue to exist years into a startup's operations if the startup remains bootstrapped and self-funded.

From my experience (both with bootstrapped and venture funded startups), when a startup takes venture funding and forms a board, the CTO role becomes more about managing expectations, facilitating understanding of the technology to the depth needed to those who need to understand it to make the proper business decisions, and more importantly, contributing to and making the business decisions that require the knowledge of the technology that only you bring to the leadership and management team. The smae change in responsibilities happens to bootstrapped startups that become big enough, but the change is more organic and occurs over a longer period of time (which actually makes sense when you consider that venture funding is intended to make non-organic growth occur over a faster timeframe).

More cynically, I guess this management of expectations and facilitation of communication could be described as "dealing with everyone's crap," but really, it's probably what the startup needs. If you truly think it's not what the startup needs, then speak up! You are the CTO after all, and that's now part of your job to make sure the company is making progress. But recognize that the business side of a startup is as important (often more important depending on what the startup does, how it's funded, what it's milestones are, etc.) as the technology side, so make sure you understand the importance and motivations of what everyone else is trying to accomplish in the company before dismissing their actions wholesale.

knodi 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Welcome my friend.
yuhong 13 hours ago 0 replies      
>PS. Sorry for the throwaway account but my main account has too much personal info for this topic!

If I was a CEO or founder, I would of course tolerate this kind of thing.

unhappycto 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Some amazing comments on this thread, thank you everyone. Reading through as fast as I can and will respond soon
LionessLover 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I came up with a story that intuitively shows the difference of doing the seemingly exact same thing on different levels when I lived in the SF Bay Area - where I had ants in almost all apartments I lived in during the summer.

The story is about KILLING ANTS.

(Note: I lived in mostly peaceful coexistence with "my" ants - they had their roads through my living room and I ignored them, unless they started to crawl around my food. So no need to get upset, no excessive ant-killing took place in the development of this example.)


You kill a few ants in your kitchen. You can do that with your thumb or any object. However you do, it is a physical interaction between you and the ant(s). To kill more you repeat the same physical action. Killing one ant: one thumb press. Killing one hundred: one hundred thumb presses.

So the critical skill and the concrete action you will be doing throughout your ant-killing career is the "thumb press". Or if you use poison your skill is thumb pressing the spray can to distribute the poison.


Let's jump a few layers.

You become so good you attract the attention of the California governor. He puts you in charge of ant-killing in California.



Will you do the same thing you did before, only more of it? A billion "thumb presses" instead of a few hundred?

Of course not!

You will never see or even touch a single ant yourself in your new job.

Instead of with ants you now work with a) humans, b) lawyers, c) regulations, d) logistics, e) statistics(!!!). You need to hire thumb-pressers, you need to organize poison - tons of it. You need to distribute the poison. You have to create maps and tell the middle managers where they should send their troops. You need to deal with absentees, internal politics, laws regulating work hours and poisons, people who were poisoned by your ant-killing troops because they misused the poisons. You need to collect numbers: Where were ants seen in the state? How many before the killing, how many after a week, a month, a year? Were the measures effective?


Compare the skills you need to control - kill - ants in your apartment or house with the skills you need to kill ants in ALL houses all over the state or country.

It SOUNDS like it is the same task - "kill ants". But human language is deceptive - 100% context dependent. "Scale" changes a problem completely.

If your ant-killing employees see any benefit at all in seeing you too kill an ant occasionally it is purely subjective "he's one of us", objectively each hour you yourself spend killing ants means you don't do your actual job of managing. It helps when you have past(!) experience - but joining your workers now really means that a) your are not doing your job or b) the problem still is low-scale (small startup - or, in the case of ants, even though you are responsible for ant-killing in the state there only are a handful of houses where there is anything to do).


Or another example, moving soil: If you need to move a tiny bit of earth you can use your hands. If it's a little bit you use a shovel - already you will no longer touch the soil directly. If you need to move even more soil you use an excavator - you now are even farther from the actual soil, and you need to know a lot about the machine, organize diesel fuel, spare parts, etc. If you need to move a vast amount of soil you get to the same problem as above, you don't even see the soil any more, you direct an organization, people, logistics, statistics, etc.

programminggeek 11 hours ago 0 replies      
CTO is a coding role. Also, coding roles are less valuable than CTO roles.

If you like the money, keep the money and do your job well.

If it's not about the money, get a coding role somewhere and know that your goal is to be a great coder, not to work up the company ladder.

Being a coder is great, but realize that different jobs have different work and different values attached to them. Make sure what you want to be and what you do are aligned correctly so that you get what you actually want.

It seems like what you think you want, what you are working towards, and what you are really doing aren't aligned.

gadders 13 hours ago 0 replies      
>> It seems to be mostly about dealing with everyone's crap, trying to fight fires and constantly battling with the other managers and tech team to get things done.

That's 99% of what management is.

hathym 14 hours ago 0 replies      
you should try meditation ^_^
ebbv 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you're finding exactly what it seems you're finding; the CTO role is not for you (as it isn't for me either.) It is exactly what you're experiencing; dealing with bullshit, trying to get people to do things, get people to find common ground, etc.

If you're not enjoying it you should go back to being a lead developer. You may make less money but you'll be happier.

borski 11 hours ago 0 replies      
gdb wrote a brilliant post about his experience that you should definitely read: https://blog.gregbrockman.com/figuring-out-the-cto-role-at-s...
_pmf_ 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> For my entire career I feel as though I've been working towards being the CTO and now I'm here I find it's not at all what I expected. It seems to be mostly about dealing with everyone's crap, trying to fight fires and constantly battling with the other managers and tech team to get things done. I haven't even written a line of code in months.

Please tell me you are trolling.

Kequc 14 hours ago 1 reply      
[Not the right community for discussion and you can't delete old hacker news posts so let me nip this in the bud.]
misaghshakeri 13 hours ago 0 replies      
From my experience, if the following two conditions are met, you should continue. if not you should quit:

1) Are you ok with not coding and just have a technical vision and dealing with people constantly ?

2) Does the CEO respect technical part of the project ? that means he doesn't think that he can imagine anything and then the CTO will do it with his team.

Let me explain each point:

The first one: as a CTO most of your time is spent on:

- [Hiring] this part will probably take 20% to 30% of your time. you have to interview them technically and be able to sell your company and motivate them.

- [Communication] Communicating with the CEO and other key roles: this is everyday, you have to be involved in every decision concerning the product. and you should be able to explain clearly why you are against or for a feature in the product (this one takes maybe 30% to 40% of your time!)

- [Technical] Macro architectural decisions, code revision, etc.this is paradoxically the easiest part ! it should not take more than 20% of your time.

- [Management] Making sure that developers are motivated enough, talking to technical team every morning and trying to understand their feelings and vision and deciding if they are in line with the culture of your team. this part should take 20% of your time. if it takes more than that, that means that you didn't do the hiring very well. so you should spend your energy on firing and hiring again.

The second one: Does the CEO understand that technical decisions are vital for the project so he has to include you on any business decision ?

If yes, then it is a good news. but if the CEO is that old school guy who thinks that any idea can be implemented by engineers and the CTO is the responsable for any non respected deadline then just run. quit, don't even try to change his/her mindset cause you cannot. usually it is really easy to figure out that the CEO respects technical part or he just pretends to respect.

Hope that helps :)

PS: Most people (myself included) cannot dive into code and dealing with people at the same time. When I am coding I don't even here what people is telling me. so I cannot be good at management. that's why I think that a CTO should not code at all.

timwaagh 13 hours ago 0 replies      
just take a nice vacation for a few months. ill fly in to do your job in exchange for 50% of the salary. after you've made up your you can either come back or not (and ill be a rich mofo muhahaha). the lesson being: if you get such a position and then complain about it being no fun then you are the problem. its an honor to be the boss. it makes a lot of money. if its no fun, well cleaning toilets for $5 an hour is no fun either but people do it anyways.
amelius 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Can you re-architect the product from scratch? This should be doable if the raw building blocks (modules etc.) are properly designed and easily incorporated into a new design. If this is not the case, then all the more reason to rewrite the code!
Ask HN: What is your job role and what are the side projects you are working on?
11 points by aryamaan  6 hours ago   11 comments top 10
avitzurel 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Senior software engineer @ Gogobot

In my day job I do 100% of Gogobot's Devops.I feel that statup stacks are too complicated to bootstrap on the cloud so I am working on the-startup-stack[1]

It's a framework to get things started, it's a toolset of other open source tools to consolidate everything under one roof with a set or production-ready bulletproof recipes.

I realize it's a mouthful, docs attached.

[1] http://docs.the-startup-stack.com/

I've been working on this during my spare time for a long time now. I have 3 startups already running on earlier versions of this and it's a work in progress.

Looking for contributors and early adopters.

malux85 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Data Engineer consultant - Working with Spark, Hadoop, HBase, Kafka, HIVE, scikit-learn, Yarn, LOTS of crappy legacy Java. Python

Startup 1: Media monitoring - Cassandra, Kafka, RabbitMQ, scikit-learn, nodejs, AngularJS, Python, Cython, Postgres, Spark, Hadoop

Startup 2: Forex Trading - Keras, TensorFlow, Kafka, Spark, RabbitMQ, nodejs, postgres, Pandas, celery, scikit-learn, iOS App, Flink

eli_gottlieb 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Job Role:

Firmware developer with some scripting on the side. C, shell script, Python, ARM/Thumb ASM on occasion. Mostly C.

Side project(s):

Probabilistic programming in Haskell and Venture. This involves using Haskell and Python to do most of the coding. Writing a paper involving some information theoretic properties of certain probabilistic programs, which involved translating a bunch of estimators to get them working quickly on larger datasets.

Also eventually going to finish formalizing the correctness of my type-inference algorithm in Coq.

I eventually want to learn enough of how monad-bayes and Clash work to write a compiler that takes monad-bayes probabilistic programs down to hardware descriptions I can flash onto an FPGA and use it as an accelerator for probprog.

ljw1001 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Backend developer.

Main side project is Tablesaw, a dataframe for "large" data (100M to 1B rows) in Java (https://github.com/lwhite1/tablesaw). Although, it might be better described as a personal, in-memory, column-oriented, data warehouse. :)

bbcbasic 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Backend developer working with prop trading outfit.

Side project - a concurrent stock exchange written in Haskell. Could potentially be used as a component of a bitcoin exchange if I get time to fully flesh it out.

zem 3 hours ago 0 replies      
software engineer, backend stuff, mostly c++

side project: working on a crossword editor, intended as a complement to the (fantastic) open source app qxw [http://www.quinapalus.com/qxw.html]. qxw does one thing (grid filling) and does it well; v1 of my app will import a grid from qxw and deal with adding clues to it, and publishing it in a variety of formats. v2 will add support for importing a blank grid and clues in various popular formats, and letting you solve the crossword interactively. (i might add a web frontend somewhere around then too; right now it's a desktop app in F#/Gtk#/.NET)

rabidrat 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Firmware Engineer on a wearable product. C, Python2, ARM, FreeRTOS.

Side project: a "long serverless" crossword analysis website. Python3, AWS.

DrNuke 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Non-standard CAE and mech / nuclear eng consultant. Side project - helping local kids set up a small data science shop at www.databot.it
epynonymous 4 hours ago 0 replies      
research and development general managerside project: working on sports disruption technologygolang, js, redis, postgres, arduino, swift
saiko-chriskun 4 hours ago 0 replies      
full-stack web developer.

working on a meal planning tool to help people eat healthier and a collaborative music streaming app.

elixir - clojurescript - rethinkdb.

Ask HN: Buy new Apple hardware given none was announced at WWDC?
10 points by jason_slack  8 hours ago   14 comments top 3
jseliger 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If you NEED it, buy it now. If you can wait, wait.
petecooper 7 hours ago 0 replies      
>No hardware at all was announced.

No hardware was announced yet. There have been occasions in the past that speed bumps and minor changes (i.e., not worthy of announcements) just appear in the web store without fanfare.

Ask HN: How do I keep learning while I am having a job?
5 points by aryamaan  6 hours ago   3 comments top 3
saluki 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Deadlines aren't always meant to be made, depends on who's doing the estimate and how much the scope changes along the way.

Some managers also setup impossible deadlines to try to squeeze all the productivity they can out of their team.

But you can work on improving meeting deadlines or raising a flag early on with your manager that you need to bump out a deadline a couple days. He'll appreciate hearing it earlier rather than the day it's planned to be completed.

If there is a topic you're curious about set aside a couple hours in the evening to research it and play around with it. Run through some dev ops tutorials.

As you do more and more projects you'll get a feel for how the design UI/UX should be. As a backend engineer I would expect you're not doing much design. But for mocking things up use a framework like bootstrap or one your team uses for projects.

Try to learn from senior developers around you.

Start doing some side projects at home. Sometimes the most learning occurs trying to build an application you are interested in for your own use instead of following a todo list tutorial.

Pick topics you are interested in. Google some tutorials. Don't just watch them or read them. Dig in and do them, extend them, take them beyond where the tutorial stops.

Get involved/netowrk with forums, user groups, bloggers and podcasters who develop in your language creating similar things.

Check if your company sends employees to conferences.

Development is definitely a continued learning experience.

partisan 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I know you are missing your deadlines, but there could be a simple reason there: bad estimates. Who creates the estimates and where are you in that process?

One thing I did when I felt I was stagnating was doing Lunch-And-Learns. I lead a few and for each one, I would research a topic and then teach it during the lunch.

Lastly, don't waste time. Go home and read and program. Go to meetups relating to the topics you are curious about. It's not easy after a long, frustrating, and possibly demoralizing day (especially when missing estimates), but watching online videos will only do so much for you.

yanilkr 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I had to prepare a developer improvement program recently. After doing a lot of research, I thought plural-sight was an invaluable resource. I don't get anything in return for promoting them. I think it is time and money well spent.
Ask HN: Why should or shouldn't someone do MBA?
7 points by aryamaan  6 hours ago   2 comments top 2
nostrademons 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Do an MBA if you want to enter middle-management in a firm that values MBAs. (This is the majority of large companies by the numbers, although certain industry-leaders like Google, Facebook, and all of Elon Musk's companies tend to prefer to promote high-performing domain experts from within.)

An MBA is a master's in business administration. It teaches you how to administer an existing business effectively. It does not teach you how to start a new business, nor does it really teach how to innovate or develop new products. Coursework includes things like accounting, corporate structure, financing, market strategy, leadership, power & politics, and a general grab bag of skills that help you optimize the efficiency of an existing enterprise where the customers are known, production processes are in place, and you have a lot of data available. The networking opportunities are often very important as well, although like most networking opportunities, they are what you make of them.

Some of the skills can be mildly useful for an entrepreneur or technologist that's just looking to plan out their career and build cool things, but the price tag is really steep if you don't need it as a credential. You can usually get the knowledge for a fraction of the price if all you want is the knowledge. And it won't teach you the core skills needed to innovate and bring new products to market, which largely depends upon comprehensive domain knowledge, technical skills, and courage.

(It actually could be counterproductive in that regard...my wife is doing an MBA, and her boss told her "Y'know, doing an MBA at a top school self-selects for the most risk-averse people you can get, because it is probably the least risky path to career advancement.")

baybal2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of business schools are a graveyards for talent IMNHO.

I've heard many comments that are confirmed by my own experience that bright people enter business schools to spent few years of their life to learn very few useful skill, most of which can be learned in a month by reading "... for Dummies" style book.

Ask HN: Should I sell out the startup that misled me?
136 points by nocash  14 hours ago   91 comments top 44
caseysoftware 13 hours ago 1 reply      
You have been scammed.

Leave immediately, take your IP, and don't even consider doing anything else until things are in writing and the backpay, etc are resolved.

I would go a step further and get the hell away from these guys. If they've scammed you, they've likely scammed others and/or will scam people again. This could be you again, customers, or your investors. You do NOT want to be part of a team that scams their investors.


kstrauser 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> it will negatively affect the co-workers who have previously worked for low wage and equity.

No. The CEO's actions negatively affected your co-workers, not yours. Do you suppose if you don't report this that life will become wonderful for them, that they'll suddenly get millions of dollars from their equity in a company that can't pay its employees? That seems very, very unlikely to me. And if the situation is this precarious, than any nudge could break the company.

Definitely get a lawyer. Ethically, though, you have no reason at all to feel bad about reporting them. You'd be doing the right thing.

gwbas1c 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know what country you're working in; and what the general climate is, but here's my words of wisdom:

When I was involved in the startup scene in Silicon Valley, there were a lot of clowns who didn't understand what it means to run a company. They were charismatic; but at the end of the day, they didn't understand that they have to pay their employees in exchange for their labor. Often, these clowns assumed that things would work out in the end, and that hard work will always reward itself. They wanted everyone to make a sacrifice for their own dreams.

My opinion: I would have walked away at the two month mark. At day one, I would need to know that everyone under me is working for equity; because that changes the work dynamic significantly. The demands made on someone working for money are different than someone working for equity.

Furthermore, a tech startup is a for-profit venture, so you always need to do what's in your best interest, and your subordinates best interest. Ideally, you can torpedo the clowns enough so they can't pull this kind of stunt again; but it's also import to look out for the people working under you.

dragonwriter 11 hours ago 2 replies      
First off, IANAL and this is not legal advice, you absolutely should consult an attorney.

> The work that I produced for them is still mine, as no copyright transfer has been signed.

That is likely untrue. If it was made while you were an employee, during the scope of your employment, in the US (rules in many other places on this point are likely to be similar, but may differ in important ways) it would seem to meet the definition of a "work made for hire" which would be owned by the employer unless there was a signed agreement to the contrary. [0]

> It's not legal to work only for equity in my country, there's a minimum wage, and each employee has to be registered and tax paid on them to the government.

Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction where you are working and the laws of the jurisdiction where the firm is incorporated, as a person with knowledge of this violation, and/or as an employee with knowledge of this violation, and/or as a corporate officer with knowledge of this violation, you may well have legal obligations to (1) bring the violation to the attention of the government, and/or (2) bring the violation to the attention of the corporation's board of directors. You may be liable for sanctions if it later becomes discovered that you knew (and maybe even, as a corporate officer, reasonably should have known) about the violation and did not fulfill those obligations.

For that reason, I would recommend consulting with an attorney as to your options, and the risks and benefits of each, in this circumstance.

[0] See the definition of "work made for hire" at 17 USC Sec. 101, and 17 USC Sec. 201(b) for ownership of such works.

korginator 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been in a similar situation some years ago. My contract was not signed on time, and I started working some weeks before the contract date, with a "gentlemen's understanding". I was also owed back pay for consulting work done, plus reimbursement for office expenses, and travel expenses to fly to and from the company's other office across the world.

I kept asking for the reimbursement and back-pay promised earlier, some months later they just refused, and I was not paid. I was offered stock options (not even stock/equity) instead of money. That's when my team and I saw the crap going down and started preparing for the worst.

You need to have all your communication about this problem documented, including if possible the responses from the CEO and others.

You may need to consult an employment advisor or lawyer for advice, if your department of labour can't provide this to you. You need to be crystal clear about your situation and repercussions if you choose to torpedo this company.

If things are really as bad as you say they are, you don't need to be too worried about your reputation - I have been through this situation and it is not hard to manage. As for co-workers, I sympathise with their plight, but you need decide for yourself how much you value your career (or don't) by not taking action now. Also, your co-workers ought to be smart enough to see what's happening.

In my situation, I went and spoke to a government officer in our department of labour. She told me that I needed to engage a lawyer in my situation. Legal fees would have been greater than the money I was owed. In the end, I filed a police report for the record, with complete documentation on everything that happened and details of the compensation owed to me.

I lost a few thousand dollars, chalked it up to experience and moved on. The company's office in my country had to close, their hardware and other equipment was seized for non-payment of rent, and they wasted many times the money they could have just paid me to build a great product. As for the product, their launch was delayed 20-24 months but I believe they did get something out.

What's even more pitiful is that they had a few million in funds, were already cash-flow positive on a previous product, and could easily afford to pay what's due.

Bottom line - if the company is run by a money-grubbing skinflint with a tendency to shaft his employees, you have every right to do what's good for you.

eli 13 hours ago 1 reply      
You're asking specific legal questions from people who don't even know where you live. Please please talk to a local lawyer. Initial consultation are often free and just because you talk to a lawyer doesn't mean you have to sue anyone.
module0000 14 hours ago 0 replies      
No one wants to be the "bad guy", but blowing the whistle does not make you the bad guy. It prevents this company from screwing over countless people in the future.
droithomme 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You should file for unemployment. You also should send them a letter formally requesting they pay the wages they owe you based on your verbal agreement regarding salary and equity. If you are uncertain how to phrase this letter, see an attorney that specializes in employment issues.
norswap 13 hours ago 2 replies      
They're purposefully misleading you. Have no shame. Consult with a lawyer, then issue them an ultimatum: wages and taxes paid, or you'll rat them out and prevent them (via lawsuit if necessary) from using your IP. I bet they'll miraculously find money somewhere. Be sure to fix a deadline, otherwise they might just try to delay this forever. (IANAL)
athenot 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Send them a formal letter reminding them that the Intellectual Property is yours. If they have any investors, you might want to copy them on that letter too.

Regarding the government compliance, I think it's safer to err on the side of the law than on the side of someone who is only promising future rewards, with no commitment on their part.

If you're in a different country than the company, it may be hard (and costly) to assert your rights, so keep that in mind: it's a liability for you to do too much for free. You're basicaly extending them a line of credit hoping to be paid back but with a non-certain process to recover your investment if they don't stay true to their word.

MatthewWilkes 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Think of it this way, "Do I want to be a C-level employee of a company I know is cheating tax"?
znpy 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Basing on my experience, there is no such thing as "gentlemen's understanding" (or "gentewomen's understanding").

Gentlemen/Gentlewomen take responsibility for their actions/agreements and sign contracts.

Again, basing on my experience, if somebody does not want to sign a contract, they're already planning on taking advantage of you. In this cases, my approach is to backtroll and say: "okay, I'll work for you without a contract, but you have to pay me in full, upfront and in cash". This suddenly puts them in your position (all risks and no guarantees) and usually ends the discussion, with them either agreeing for reasonable terms and signing a contract or stopping wasting your time (in any case, it's a win).

Note: I have to admit that "they" agreeing to pay in full, upfront and in cash never happened to me, and if that happened I don't think I would agree.

nocash 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Update: Please upvote this for future readers.

Thank you to all who commented. The general advice of get a lawyer is absolutely correct, I had not considered the potential backlash this could have on me if my name is associated with their illegal practices.

Calls to 'name and shame, while cathartic, probably aren't going to be very useful. There isn't a database of bad actors that has any reputability, and the legal consequences may be dire.

I'm just about scraping by without wages, so the ideal course of action seems to be to try and get a cheap/free initial consultation from an appropriate lawyer before deciding on what to say to the unemployment services. I think, however, getting a new job pronto would be a better use of my time, though both may be possible. Luckily, I have no dependants so the mistake is mine.

I don't expect to see any wages from this company, the CEO appears to be living in another world to the point of giving me more work to do after bluntly being told I couldn't make rent this month, and I'd borrowed to make last month's. As many have said, never work for free, never work without a contract in place (or cash in your hand). Why assume other people's risks when there's information asymmetry?

With respect to the code, IP suits are probably the most painful type of suit, so I'll hold off on pursuing them unless they happen to hit it big. And if they don't, there's nothing to claim for anyway.

I'm not happy about the prospect of ruining the equity of my co-workers, worthless as it may be, so unless I'm really having a hard time getting another job, I won't apply for unemployment benefit. Painful as it is to continue to suffer a loss for this, I think the relatively small amount might be worth avoiding the fallout.

For those requesting the country, as this has quietened down a little I can tell you it's Ireland. The laws on employee/contractor and IP assignment are relatively clear here, but, obviously, a lawyer is required.

I have been taken for a fool, please learn from my mistakes.

HeyLaughingBoy 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I really don't understand why this keeps coming up. In any other industry, the answer would be obvious: don't work for free.

What is it about software developers that makes them think there's even a question about this?

efriese 13 hours ago 1 reply      
If you really need the unemployment I would blow the whistle. Your livelihood is always more valuable than a reputation. I doubt your reputation will take a huge hit for reporting what sounds like a dishonest company.
jonnathanson 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You are most likely an officer of the company (unless you are "CTO" informally?). You know the company to be violating local employment law and taxes. You probably have an obligation to attempt to do something about this if your CEO will not. Conversely, you may (?) bear some responsibility if you do not take action.

IANAL, and this is not free legal advice. My advice is to talk to a lawyer ASAP. Your inital consultation is likely to be free of charge. Consult.

svetob 13 hours ago 0 replies      
A company that steals your time on the basis of a vague promise of payment that they have no intention of keeping? That is both illegal and immoral, all over the world. Yes, burn them to the ground.
kerryfalk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Stop working. Consult lawyer. Seek alternate employment.
throwaway8695 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Very difficult stuff. Only a lawyer can answer this. What I can say is get out - now - and don't do another second of free work for this clown.

I've been in a similar situation myself up until very recently (hence the throwaway)... Was initially (briefly) paid as a contractor, money supposedly running out, volunteered to take equity instead to help keep the project afloat, equity never materialised. After 2 years the whole enterprise is now in the final stages of falling apart. Speaking to employees of another of the owner's companies, they're in a similar situation of being massively underpaid with vague promises of equity that have also failed to materialise. Any attempt to confront the owner on this is met with a lot of hand waving and/or an abrupt change of subject.

Thankfully in my case I maintained some independence and kept up enough other contracting work to stay afloat, but it still leaves an awful taste in the mouth. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the employees of the other company who are still being strung along day by day.

MaulingMonkey 12 hours ago 0 replies      
> If I want to claim unemployment benefit while I look for a real job, I must torpedo the old company.

No IP assignment contracts, broken verbal contracts, broken laws... you're not the one torpedoing the company.

> it will negatively affect the co-workers who have previously worked for low wage and equity.

You've already established that it's actually "no wage" and effectively "no equity" - the only thing guaranteeing equity is a verbal contract / handshake deal, and they've already reigned on one of those. What will negatively affect your co-workers is continuing to work for this company.

And while I might hesitate to take unilateral action on behalf of others - I hate people making decisions for me - taking action on behalf of yourself is entirely reasonable. Hell, taking action on behalf of others is sounding rather reasonable here.

gizmo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
They didn't just "mislead you", their behavior is outright criminal.

If you don't report them more people will be victimized by their antics. So you have a moral duty to stop that from happening.

gtlondon 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a developer and have been seen many similar "positions" in the past (particularly 10 years ago, .com boom).

IMO they are intentionally trying to screw you. Do all you can to protect yourself, but be formal / polite where possible.

xutopia 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You would do all the employees (and society) a favour by calling them out.
LoSboccacc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
run. if they get you options, you're gonna get diluted to hell anyway. if they get you equity, you gonna get ruined by taxes for something which may very well still be worth not enough in the end. it's probably not even worth litigating for those. but you can take your ip away and demand a contract for its transfer, which could at least recap some of your losses. whatever you decide, I'd suggest having a lawyer write out the details and not acting until the agreement is in writing.
bitrotburner 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Definitely throw them under the bus, immediately.

No good can come from allowing criminals to go about their crimes without justice.

Perhaps you should name this company here, since this has made the front page of HN.

dgtlmoon 13 hours ago 0 replies      
do nothing about something that is wrong is evil itself, don't be like everyone else.
paulsutter 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Focus your energy on your next position. These guys are clowns and plotting retribution just drags you down to their level. Just walk away.
ses4j 11 hours ago 1 reply      
From a personal/financial perspective, you're probably best just walking away: hiring lawyers is expensive. But walking away silently enables them up to repeat their crimes. Reporting them criminally and giving them a record will make it harder for them to victimize more people.
bhouston 13 hours ago 3 replies      
> Startup not paying wages or tax on employees, to claim unemployment benefit I have to report them.

They could be considering you as a contractor. Research the difference between contractor and employee. Depends on your working relationship with them.

EDIT: You can only be a contractor if they are actually paying you. If you are getting no money, not sure what that means.

jrgifford 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems sorta similar to this post I saw a few years ago: https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/23920/

Best of luck. Definitely leave, should probably talk to a lawyer, and 100% follow their directions.

dmuth 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Being paid for your work is a basic human right.


pbreit 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not clear to me from the summary whether or not you are currently getting paid. If you are, perhaps an option is to keep working while you find a new job. I don't totally understand torpedoing the company so you can get your unemployment insurance.
stangeek 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you be specific about the country? Where I live a similar thing happened to a friend of mine, and he finally managed to discuss with the employment agency who agreed to grant him assistance in the end. He didn't have to mention the company's name in the end.
GFK_of_xmaspast 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You're not selling them out, you're reporting a crime.
logfromblammo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing." --Edmund Burke

Immediately consult with a local attorney familiar with employment law in your locale.

What you are describing is both crime and tort. Even if you decline to attempt to recover your personal damages in a civil action, you do have a moral obligation to your fellow workers to report the crime. And your own attorney will help you report it to the state's prosecutors such that it is crystal clear that you were not a willing conspirator.

_Codemonkeyism 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting side note, "crux of my problem" let me bet the country is Germany.
Annatar 13 hours ago 0 replies      
When in doubt, consult a lawyer.
Gabriel_Martin 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I think your gut is correct in this case. You're likely not going to get much out of this other than stress, move on and chalk it up to a learning experience.
panlana 11 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're young, take it as a life lesson and move on. Whatever financial gain you get from "going after them" will not be worth the time and emotional costs of suing. Not to mention the cost of an attorney.
geofft 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If the company is this bad at money so early, are they really likely to get better at it? This is what a dying company sounds like, not a growing company.

I have trouble believing you'll be hurting your coworkers. If no salaries are being paid, they'll be in the same boat as you very soon when they start trying to claim unemployment.

CyberDildonics 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like the situation is well within the threshold of complexity that would benefit from an attorney. You might be able to consult for about 30 minutes and pay around $100 to clear up a lot of questions in a sticky situation like this.
st3v3r 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Absolutely report them for breaking the law. If not just for you, but for everyone else they've fucked over. And don't call it "selling them out". You have absolutely no obligation to cover for their shady shit.
gojomo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
meeper16 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What's the company name?
Interested in motorcycles and tech?
5 points by Arbinv  9 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: What is the hardware of Hacker News?
86 points by r2dnb  1 day ago   36 comments top 6
dang 1 day ago 7 replies      
It's (edit: almost) the same since Nick posted https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9222006.
mbrock 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm curious about the total byte size of all HN content.
hakanderyal 1 day ago 0 replies      
IIRC, 2 servers - 1 production, 1 standby, running FreeBSD.

Detailed specs have been written before, try searching.

nailer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hrm it's behind a web app firewall (server:cloudflare-nginx) so harder to tell.
ekr 1 day ago 1 reply      
My bet is on AWS, but I'm also rather curious about this.
jaflo 1 day ago 2 replies      
While we are at it: what language is HN written in?
Ask HN: How many programmers out there keep a paper notebook for their projects?
33 points by yellowboxtenant  1 day ago   26 comments top 20
joezydeco 1 day ago 1 reply      
Your grandfather probably came from a shop where engineers were encouraged or required to write everything down as they discovered problems and worked on solutions. Those notes became critically important when the patent applications were started. Some larger companies even provided nice leather-bound blank books for the engineers to use and keep on their shelves for later reference.

Capturing ideas and visualizing your problems is something they don't teach you in IT school. Over my career I've leaned that an on-hand notebook is way more useful than carrying a laptop around. I can sketch out ideas, graph out signals, and do dozens of other things quickly and silently. It's a lot less intrusive in meetings. Plus, you can doodle.

I've used everything from pocket steno books to college spiral notebooks. Moleskines are nice, but way too expensive.

My current go-to notebook is a college notebook I picked up in Germany for a couple of Euro. It's the right size (not a toy steno book and not a massive 8x10 binder). Side-spiral bound is critical, you can fold it open on a desk without taking up twice the space. Grid paper is killer for mapping out things out. A nice touch is the microperfed edges.

Looks like they're on Amazon but in packs of 5. Still, not a bad deal:


davismwfl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I keep notebooks still for most things. I use them to jot down ideas, sketch out designs and just generally write down my thoughts so I don't forget them, I usually have one to many per company and one per project. I also use them to take notes in meetings versus trying to take notes on my computer in real time. Personally, I find it pretty rude to be typing away on a computer while people are presenting or we are discussing ideas. It seems far less rude to jot down notes on paper and then come back to it an flush things out after the meeting.

I do translate my notes as I work through the problems and put them in a tool like OneNote or Evernote etc. But I always start off with sketches and notes in a notebook. My bet is if you looked at the pattern of those who use notebooks vs those who don't, you'd find those of us using notebooks still skew to an older average age. 40ish+ likely.

Personally, I also jot down pseudo code on paper to get my thoughts right before starting to code the problem. This lets me get my thoughts straight before coding it and I find I make fewer mistakes, plus I am faster when I do this. It is also one of the reasons I dislike coding interviews where someone wants you to just start writing code in the IDE. I don't do that well, because to me the process is, understand the problem, design the solution, engineer the solution, then start coding.

Ronsenshi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I sketch design elements/components, sometimes structures, various lists very rarely pseudocode. I prefer to write down ideas which have to be realized, instead of jumping straight to realization (pseudocode).

I don't have boxes of notebooks, but I do have couple of small shelves filled with years of notebooks. From time to time I like to go through that stuff - it's actually very interesting to see your though process from years ago.Besides notebooks I have small binder filled with hundreds of post it notes for projects which I store.

Overall I vastly prefer handwritten notes for projects than some kind of digital notes. It's easy to open page for the recent feature, easy to see what you have in mind, how something should be done or what should be considered. ON the same page I could have multiple "data structures": reminders, lists, summaries and descriptions which easily show state of the progress for project/feature.

I very much like Moleskin-type notepads with dot-grids with around 100 pages. I have 2 notepads - one for work and one for personal projects.

robobro 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use a Hipster PDA.

Step 1: get 3"x5" (~8cm x 12cm) index cards. They can be ruled, gridded, blank, colored, whatever.Step 2: Get a binder clip.Step 3: Clip the cards together.

It's pretty easy to get index card storage bins, and it's convenient to take around a little stack in your pocket. If you have a lot of cards, a rubber band works almost better than a clip, but it works better with fewer cards. There's a lot of templates you can print onto cards, but I usually just use gridded / blank cards for code ideas. An added bonus is, you can rearrange cards with different functions to help structure out code ideas. Or you can print out code, cut out relevant bits, and glue them onto cards.

I tend to manage task lists/todos, mind mapping, and pseudo-code on cards. Very handy on long bus rides.

abc_lisper 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I was searching for exactly the same stuff yesterday, and I found this:


I usually keep notebooks, but I am ever more convinced of using one because of Rich hickey's talk: https://youtu.be/f84n5oFoZBc

and we have a better chance of remembering something if we write than type. http://lifehacker.com/5738093/why-you-learn-more-effectively....

I have previously read that people like Martin Gardner had an awesome system of keeping notes. I would love to know more about your tips.

How do keep your notes? How do you organize stuff, while retaining the freedom to doodle. How do you find stuff again(which is the killer feature for typed notes). Would love to learn from the masters - do you have any books to recommend?

kejaed 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My company issues standard notebooks to every employee. A manager / former systems engineer retired last week after ~30 years and had 50 or so of these notebooks on his shelf.

I've been going back and forth lately between keeping notes in a Markdown file on a shared drive and using my notebook. The Markdown file is much better for searching and ease of access (I'm on 4 or 5 different computers around the office during a week), but for some unknown reason I keep going back to pencil and paper to sketch things out. When I had to do some light mathematical derivations it was all on paper though.

titanix2 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I use paper a lot, but no notebook. What I find disturbing with them is the mixing of different projects stuff. Also I prefer to have a lot of space for drawing.

That's why I use blank gridded A4 paper sheet. Then I put together project related notes. If a project starts to be big enough, it will naturally lead to a pack of papers that I can carry along. Otherwise the project can kind of fade away be laying around or being mixed with other sheets.

I mainly draw application architecture and app screens. I also tend to note in natural language problem related to those. So this is design notes.For technical notes about deployment for example, I use One Note.

LaurenceW1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I keep a notebook. I use it to take finer grain notes about tasks than can be expressed on a ticket. Also whenever I am going through an unfamiliar codebase I take hand written notes . I know there are a few iPad apps that are effectively an infinite whiteboard but I like to handwrite stuff.
nekopa 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I was a habitual moleskine user, I think I have about 30-40 filled ones sitting in a closet somewhere.

But about 3 years ago, I bought a Samsung Galaxy note 8.0. Because it has a pen.

I had the original iPad, and a stylus, but you either try to write with your finger (no good) or use a stylus (write holding someone else's finger) and it sucked big time.

But with the Note, and actually the stock S-Note app, I had everything I needed - nice size, pressure sensitive pen - plus extra benefits: I like to diagram out stuff, draw circles and squares and link between them, and the old version of S-Note has a great feature where I can draw a crappy circle, and it will automagically turn it into a perfect circle. Same deal with squares and lines.

So now I use it exclusively, have my ~200 notebooks backed up in various places, native form, image and pdf.

Shame though, it looks like it is going to be EOL'd. I am seriously considering buying a bunch of spare parts to mke sure that I can keep mine running for a while.

But to sum up: best of both worlds - like writing on paper, but with the convenience of all that is digital.

chrisbennet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use a composition notebook for each large project. I'm a consultant so I also put notes from client meetings in it as well as sketches, ideas, and calculations especially those of a visual nature.
jotux 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use one of these: http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.ACCT126734/it.A/id.5/.f

My job is half hardware/firmware so I put a lot of meeting notes, specs, and calculations in it.

RUG3Y 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a notebook that I keep various important thoughts in. It's only semi-organized, and it's not dedicated to a specific project, but many project notes are kept in it. I think this is a habit that I retained from my time in the Marine Corps. Pen and paper just has a certain feel to it - when I'm completely focused on my thoughts, it's much less distracting to dump right into the notebook rather than into a phone or a computer. One time I misplaced my notebook for about a week and it was a rough time.
cableshaft 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I use paper for random notes or to work out the flow of logic or data that's a little too hard to do entirely in my head, but other than it being naturally more or less chronological, I don't do any further organization.

I usually don't need to refer to those notes for more than a few days after I write them, so it's usually not much more than an archive of thoughts.

I try to digitize some of it, but I don't do that enough.

CyberFonic 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use notebooks for general notes, ideas, sketches, todo lists. Also make notes on stuff that I finally gotten to work, e.g. scripts, etc.

Early in a project I use a pre-punched pad and file the pages into a ring binder, under categories, topics. Once the project is well underway, I tend to use those pages to write up the detailed documentation in files which are stored in the same directory hierarchy as the source and other files.

cdhdc 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Guidelines for using an engineering notebook.


zhte415 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I take A4 paper from the printer, cut it in half (making A5), and clip it together with a large bull-clip at the top left.

Discard pieces of paper when done, or file them (or scan/photo) when need to retain. Can discard in groups, creating small folders, clipped together with other bull-clips.

A never-ending, revolving notebook.

psyc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have always used lined note pads at work, for meeting notes and task lists.

At home, I've always used large, letter-sized books of drawing paper. I have about 10 of these filled with diagrams and notes, mostly for 3D engines and games I've worked on in the last 15 years.

jordancampbell 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm doing a PhD in computer science and use a notebook religiously.

I couldn't imagine life without it.

jdiscar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use a paper notebook to sketch out diagrams and sometimes make todo lists. I like to use the notebook during useful meetings too, I feel like it's less distracting than a computer.
afarrell 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always have a pen and paper notebook on my left when I program. It is super useful to have the swap space. I always take notes so that I can remember what was agreed on, especially action items.
MacOS 10.12 developer preview offers up Apple File System (APFS)
4 points by lathiat  8 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: How to choose functional programming side projects?
3 points by CRUDmeariver  8 hours ago   3 comments top 3
runT1ME 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you read Functional Programming in Scala?


meric 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You could try implement monads in an OO language.
AnimalMuppet 7 hours ago 0 replies      
To produce the benefits you want, you're probably going to need a side project that you stick with for a while, one that pushes you to figure out how to do things that aren't necessarily easy to do in (simple) FP. To me, the kind of side project that is likely to do that is one where you care about the project. Forget whether the problem is "suited to FP" or not. Do something you want to do.
A report about a vulnerability in Telegram
9 points by sadghaf  10 hours ago   3 comments top
edward_johnson 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Telegram team always say they are too secure, it is interesting that they have such a critical bug
Watching the Reddit readers falling
27 points by CarolineW  1 day ago   19 comments top 9
CarolineW 1 day ago 0 replies      
In case anyone is interested, here's the quick hack:

 #!/bin/bash echo $( date "+%Y%m%d%H%M%S" ) $( \ curl -A ReaderCheck https://www.reddit.com/r/news/ 2> /dev/null \ | grep -ho "<span class=\"number\">[0-9,]*</span>&#32;<span class=\"word\">readers</span>" \ | grep -ho "[1-9][0-9,]*" \ | sed "s/,//g" \ | grep -v "^32$" \ ) \ | tee -a Reader.log
I'm sure there's lots wrong with it - don't really care, it's a throw-away.

MilnerRoute 1 day ago 1 reply      
Slashdot is covering Reddit's censoring of the discussion


gravypod 1 day ago 2 replies      
I switched from Reddit to here because, although HN does do what they call 'moderation', they are fairly transparent about the process.

And they were successful in not going too far with their 'moderation'.

I'd still be on Reddit had that platform been as easy to use and not taken to shitty 'moderation' tactics.

hackney 1 day ago 2 replies      
Reddit, imo, is a joke for the simple(ton) reason that 90+% of new posts are nothing more than stupid questions. I created an acct. for the sole purpose of filtering the garbage, which apparently is the majority of the content.
shivsta 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I was a long time Reddit user and have recently stopped using it for my intellectual entertainment in favor of HN. I still use Reddit for my dose of humor and videos - that's what's so great about it - you can unsubscribe and curate your content to fit your needs.
Zelmor 7 hours ago 0 replies      
At least we still have 4chan, amirite?
bjourne 1 day ago 0 replies      
You are likely watching actions of bots.
brador 13 hours ago 0 replies      
For those wondering why this was done - "to prevent copycats from taking similar actions" is my guess.

There is evidence to suggest such events can "inspire" others to do the same.

I don't know why the mods have not clarified this as the reason, maybe admins sent the message and told them to keep silent, maybe it's even higher.

cup 1 day ago 1 reply      
If news is the same a worldnews then hopefully the vocal racists are the ones leaving and the quality of news increases.
Ask HN: What are the alternatives to LinkedIn?
3 points by soroso  12 hours ago   3 comments top 3
devnonymous 11 hours ago 0 replies      
That's odd. You didn't mind your data belonging to LinkedIn (which has suffered some rather large data breaches) but are not happy with it being with MS (which, arguably has better protection)? In anycase, I would assume, the value of LinkedIn was the network, so unless the alternative has the same level of networking it would really be pointless to migrate.

That said, I know for a fact that Xing is as popular (if not more) in Germany. So, perhaps there are other similar professional networking sites with a local focus based on where you are.

ryanlm 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you mind sharing why?
waterphone 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Your own website. Why rely on someone else owning your data?
Need career advice: which job should I take?
6 points by nyc_throwaway  12 hours ago   7 comments top 4
Zelmor 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I would go with second offer. Looks to be an overall better deal, especially if youbare not hyped about social media stuff. I consider these bubble companies. Everyone living ofd eqch other's platforms, integrating services and offering little that is fresh or truly useful.

Fintech is solid. Wish I worked there.

JSeymourATL 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> building something in the social media space (which I'm not crazy about). I have some doubts about the viability of the idea and the future prospects of this company.

Being able to buy into the company's near/long term vision is vital for start-up life. That vision gives you juice!

Areas to consider-- which role will provide greater career leverage 24-36 months from now? Which role will truly stretch you professionally?

dyeje 8 hours ago 0 replies      
#2 sounds like a safer / better bet to me. They're more established, they'll pay you more, you don't have doubts about their viability, and they're closer to actually turning your equity into something valuable.

#1 sounds like you just want to build some from scratch. While I understand the appeal of that, I wouldn't make a career decision based on it.

bmuursh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
In my opinion it depends partly how your finances look at the moment. If you're scraping by then, assuming all else is equal, I'd go for the money. That said if money isn't an issue for whatever reason then I would go for the job which is most interesting for you. Which job has a role more focused on your interests or plans?

Where ever you work you'll learn new skills even if some environments promote it a little more. You also have free time if there is a specific skill set you want to master.

Hot unusual London markets for Python in 2016?
4 points by DrNuke  14 hours ago   2 comments top 2
DrNuke 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Ok have been told in another group that there is penetration testing / network security but the best firms are not from London. Having a look at fintechs and scientific programming now.
osullivj 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've heard that Bank of America is backing away from the Quartz program, and so there's less IB demand for Python devs in London.
Ask HN: I have an idea for a product, what do I do?
33 points by ryanlm  2 days ago   18 comments top 12
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have what is perhaps an off tangent question, do you know if the idea is any good?

I ask because its probably question number 2 when I'm looking at things, its #1) I wonder if I could build a product to ... (is it even feasible) and then #2) I wonder if anyone would pay money for it? (is it any good)

There are lots of ways to figure out if it is any good, but the best is by far to talk to the people who would buy such a product and tell them what your idea is. If they think it is something they would buy (or subscribe to, or exchange any sort of cash for) then as others have mentioned try to prototype something which can be really simple (like sheets of papers that you shuffle around when people select "items") to an actually wireframe running which gives a view of what it would look like.

If you're still getting positive feedback, take what ever you think it would cost to provide the product, multiply it by 10 and ask people if they would pay that for it. If they say yes, offer to sign them up right now for a 10% deposit. If they decline it would be helpful to understand why.

The thing to remember is that for a product to be successful, the customers have to both "need" it (at lease in their own mind) and they have to believe that giving you their money is the best way to get it. Not a lot of ideas pass that particular test.

If you can sign up 10 customers with 10% deposits you'll have some cash to start putting things in place for the minimum viable product (MVP).

saluki 2 days 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 2 days ago 2 replies      
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.

ryanlm 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.
zer00eyz 2 days 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.

edimaudo 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Validate your idea:Go out and talk to target customers.If people like the idea, you could potential line up paying customers before the product is built.
MichaelBurge 2 days ago 3 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.

known 2 days ago 0 replies      
Check your https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost

1. Who're your competitors?

2. Who're your customers?

lowglow 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should check out Baqqer[0]. It's a great community of makers building, sharing, selling, and crowdfunding together. The idea is to shorten the feedback loop while building community around products people actually want.

You can also create private projects if you want to work on something stealthy with people. :)

[0] https://baqqer.com/

danieltillett 1 day ago 0 replies      
How many of these criteria [1] does your idea meet?

1. https://www.tillett.info/2016/01/27/a-good-idea-checklist/

bbcbasic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Research the market. Talk to potential customers. Find out what the competition are offering and the price.
celticninja 2 days ago 0 replies      
Build it, market it.
Ask HN: Is part time product worth developing?
3 points by user7878  21 hours ago   4 comments top
herbst 20 hours ago 1 reply      
yes, if it provides some value to anything?
Ask HN: Quality of Life
21 points by rajanchandi  1 day ago   34 comments top 19
jasonkester 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I got a big boost in quality of life when I dropped down to 4 day weeks.

Working a full time job, I had gone from my usual "doctor visit every 10 years" to "doctor visit at least once a year", with an added flu or something each year on top of that. So when kid #2 came along, I used the excuse to drop down to 4 day weeks, and once the family was ticking away on all cylinders again I started using that extra day for climbing, cycling, and other "selfish" things. The idea being that this was "my day" and not just an extra day to do errands.

Boy what a difference it made. I haven't had more than a case of the sniffles since. I'm healthier, happier, and get to spend more time with the family.

I've since packed in the job entirely (to live off my business stuff full time) but if I do ever take another full time job, I'll be sure to negotiate 4 (or even 3) day weeks in to the contract. It's just night and day.

freestockoption 1 day ago 0 replies      
Being able to self-sustain myself so I don't need my full-time job. Either through contracting work, my own startup, or my job's options being worth something.
acconrad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Autonomous vehicles. Then when my girlfriend forces us to move back into the suburbs, I won't lose my mind commuting into work.
daw___ 1 day ago 2 replies      
Getting rid of tinnitus [0].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus

quantum_nerd 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Getting a quality 7 hours of sleep every night, 7 days a week...oh and giving up alcohol(or at least drink only on weekends) which is easier said than done.
King-Aaron 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finding a role in another company with a nicer working environment. Stress is so bad for your health.
bbcbasic 1 day ago 0 replies      
A job with freedom to learn and explore, rather than get the next jira issue closed.
ApolloRising 1 day ago 1 reply      
Get quality consistent sleep.
vldx 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Getting solid sleep each night, removing processed carbs from my diet, weight lifting, stoicism and having fu* money enough for the next 10 years (which is second/higher level effect of the previous ones).
cwt 1 day ago 0 replies      
The knowledge to answer this question.
selmat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Get rid of mortgage
waterphone 1 day ago 1 reply      
Finding a social group closer to my own age in the area where I live. All my friends are 20 years older than me, and they're great friends, but there's no opportunity for dating at all nearby.
ssijak 1 day ago 1 reply      
10 million $.
miguelrochefort 1 day ago 1 reply      
Getting rid of the 100+ apps on my phone and 1000+ online accounts, and replace it all with a single app/service/interface.
barking 1 day ago 2 replies      
Losing two stone in weight would do it for me.
cttet 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Control myself
quickpost 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Having awesome grandparents for my children.
wallflower 1 day ago 0 replies      
Taking progressive risks every day
baklazan167 1 day ago 0 replies      
finishing school
Ask HN: Bought a new Macbook for my wife what's the best setup?
2 points by simonebrunozzi  9 hours ago   3 comments top 2
mcgrath_sh 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I would leave it as close to stock as possible and make sure it has the latest security updates. Turn on FileVault and make sure she uses a logon password.
satysin 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I know you have already bought the MacBook but for everything your wife wants you could have easily got away with a Chromebook for far less money and it would require no effort to maintain.
Yahoo mail not supporting + added to email address, locked out of hn account
3 points by throwaway951  23 hours ago   3 comments top 3
greenyoda 20 hours ago 0 replies      
For questions like this, you should contact the moderators at hn@ycombinator.com.
Tomte 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Email hn@ycombinator.com
throwaway951 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Moderators fixed it for me, thanks!
Is there an existing Stack for getting into robotics?
23 points by randomnumber314  2 days ago   17 comments top 8
jonkiddy 2 days 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

NinoScript 2 days ago 1 reply      
What about something like a TurtleBot[1] and ROS[2]?

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

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

esac 2 days 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
gregatragenet3 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wanted to get into robotics as a way to get up to speed on neural nets and reinforcement learning. I found the Lego EV3 kits to have a good mix of sensors motors and supporting parts. The EV3 bricks run Linux, there's a distribution for them called ev3dev, and they'll even run ipython notebooks.

I'm now looking at getting a BrickPy for it as the EV3 brick doesn't do FP, so not good for NN's.

asfarley 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would skip your search for the "right stack" and think about working on real, profitable applications. Develop whatever needs to be developed to solve a real problem. Most things calling themselves 'robotics stacks' nowdays are overblown and add more complication than they're worth.
asimuvPR 1 day ago 0 replies      
Depends on what you want to build. A popular hobby stack is built around the Arduino. It will allow you to plug in a fair amount of parts.

Figure out what you want to build first. Then send me an email and I'll try and guide you in tve right direction.

Tomte 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lego Mindstorms. You can program them in "real" programming languages if you want to.
reitanqild 2 days 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: Need advice.My story:Once an $90k jQuery developer,now a useless lamer
25 points by baybal2  1 day ago   16 comments top 13
partisan 1 day ago 0 replies      
First of all, calling someone a useless lamer is about as unprofessional as it gets. Next, don't get into an argument during an interview. State your points and if they don't agree, move on. Take some of what they say with you as food for thought. Take the interview as a learning experience and learn from it.

Next, you probably need to go back to the basics. Pick up an introductory programming textbook, in PDF form if you are cutting your expenses. Learn basic OOP, basic algorithms and data structures, runtime complexity, functional programming, understanding when you would choose what tool. There is nothing worse than a senior programmer who can only think in the paradigm of the programming language they have accidentally built their career upon. If you don't demonstrate a basic understanding of these things, and aren't able to speak to the above within the context of jQuery, then you are at a disadvantage.

Learning another framework is not the solution. It's a bandaid at best. You will just find yourself in the same position again in a few years when your tool of choice falls out of favor. Break the cycle by becoming a software engineer.

In terms of your living situation, congratulations on buying a place. If you run out of time or money then rent out your apartment and move abroad where you can live on a lower cost of living, but I think you can and should make your stand now against becoming a useless lamer.

nostrademons 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, you've taken the first and hardest step by admitting that the hoodie CTO was 90% right.

The next step is to figure out what is hot and learn it. React is a good candidate. So is native app development, although native app developers are finding that the indie market is basically tapped out and most of the opportunities are in contracting. Rust may bring a resurgence of system programming & low-level development. Hardware is hot but I don't know if it'll last. VR could be big but who knows whether it'll actually take off.

You don't even have to lie about past experience. Just build a portfolio project that shows you're competent in the new tech, put it up on GitHub, and explain that you were a JQuery dev but have recently updated & modernized your skillset. Companies love employees who are willing to stay current on their own time.

Remember that you can't ever settle down in today's economy. Your classmates who are doing so will have their own rude awakenings in a decade or so. That doesn't mean life has to be miserable though; it just means learning and uncertainty needs to be built into your life. You're far from the only one without plans for life; indeed, oftentimes the ones with the firmest plans are the ones most adrift when those plans inevitably don't pan out.

Good luck.

mbrodersen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Just a quick note: The CTO you mentioned is an unprofessional amateur. Don't believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

Also: REALLY learn Javascript!

bbcbasic 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a lot of colorful talk in your post and replies about hipster behavior and hip languages. A successful IT career has nothing to do with where you drink coffee, which brand of personal computer you use, and whether your clothing has facilities for keeping the wind off your face.What really matters is you can deliver value to a business. Yes some companies (or hiring mangers there) don't value that and it is all about ridiculous signalling i.e. what frameworks are cool vs uncool and other such nonsense.In my experience (my Australian-European experience anyway) most companies just want developers who can solve problems reasonably quickly, fit in with a team, and appreciate quality.

Yes some jobs may require specific experience, like they want extensive React experience for example. If this they are this fussy they should pay more. Most companies will happily see evidence that you know JS well.My advice is to disregard anything a person who calls you a 'useless lamer' has to say as this person is probably not an authority and needs to grow up.

Instead keep learning on the intersection of what interests you and what will help you get hired. Go to more interviews and take note of the questions they ask you. As an example I was often asked about SOLID principles in interviews, so I took time to learn it. Actually it was pretty useful and I use SOLID in code review discussions now. (This is just an example and I am no sure it will apply to Javascript)

Learning OO is a good idea. C# and Java are probably to most popular and are quite easy to transition to from JS.In a nutshell fuck this douchbag who called you a lamer. I'd listen to a donkey's opinion before I take this guy seriously. Go to more interviews, find out where your knowledge is missing and fill it in.

Finally don't lie on your CV, you won't need to.

zhte415 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The amount of 'advice' here about "Yeah, learn React." Or "You still have 1000 hours of productivity" are ridiculous and frankly curdling.

You had a bad interview that drove you to be sufficiently uncomfortable to reach out for advice. It happens, it sucks. I'd hate to be anywhere near the person that interviewed you, based on your description. An interviewer is a flagship/ambassador for a company.

Technically, I have no advice. Go your own way. Understanding a need and delivering a solution is far more important than choosing a particular stack to do so with. Because you've delivered a solution. Iterate, absolutely. Don't get all waterfall about what framework is best.

jQuery is far from dead. Indeed, it is 'cutting edge' in consumer finance. Stay with serious people, they're genuine. They may also wear hoodies, or sandals, or whatever they like, but probably don't carry 3 days of stubble because it's fashionable. Because doing a good job, and delivering a good product, is important, regardless of technology. Even PHP still rules the web!

a-saleh 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I were in your position, I would probably do these steps:

1. Make sure I know where do I stand with my personal safety net. Will I have problem with visa? What is my 'runway', i.e: when will I start having problems with paying rent/morgage? You say you have money until the end of the year.

2. Then I would plan for some sort of worst-case scenario, probably something along the lines "If I don't get decent contract in 3 months I am moving somewhere cheaper", and plan accordingly, probably selling the apartment, making sure all my paperwork is in order, e.t.c. Probably would start searching for positions abroad in 2 months time?

3. I would try to polish up my resume. Maybe find a way to pivot from "I an awesome jquery guy" to "My UX design is awesome and I can talk to the 'serious-people'" (Basically the main idea of patio11 http://www.kalzumeus.com/2011/10/28/dont-call-yourself-a-pro...)

4. I would probably try to get at least some visible experience in something else than jquery. On one hand this would be to prove myself that if if I would want to pivot myself to "I am a UX guy and don't care about underlying technology that much" to try out if that is actually true. Second, to have a $NON_JQUERY project on my resume. I would probably try to call some of my friends (maybe at my local church) if they needed some landing page or something, and hopefully in a month I would have something like a "React landing page for $local-church-url" on my resume. Ok, might not be react, might be angular 2.0, or whatever. (Disclaimer, if somebody asked how did I get Xamarin experience on my resume, I wouldn't be that far from this made-up example :)l

steve_taylor 1 day ago 1 reply      
Learn React. You are already highly experienced in web development and there's no need to throw that all away if you can simply replace jQuery with React and bring a few other things up to date (e.g. Node.js, build tools, etc.). React is easy and quick to learn, very powerful, and in demand in the employment market.
liquidcool 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's my advice as a developer/manager/recruiter:

- get a great book on JavaScript and learn it well, including idioms

- for interviews (and to be a better programmer) take a data structures/algorithms course, there are many free online. I've got a big list of resources here:


- React is getting more popular, but I do extensive research on the job market and in California at least, AngularJS has about twice as many jobs as React. I'll add that Node.js is an absolute juggernaut. But if you've only done front end, stick with it for now. Plenty of work for an AngularJS expert.

- if you can't get paying work, contribute to an open source project any way you can. That always impresses hiring managers.

Jemaclus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gonna echo what everyone else has said. My addition as a hiring manager is this: I'm far more interested in what you've learned recently than what you're an expert on. If your expertise directly contributes to my company's projects, that's a huge bonus, but I'd really rather hire a go-getter who is willing to take risks and learn new technology. In that light, my recommendation to you is to learn a new technology (React is a good one). Build an app to learn, then build a second one to apply the lessons you learned from the first one. If you're any good at Javascript, it shouldn't take more than a few weeks to get the basics of React, etc, under control.

My second piece of advice is to never let yourself get in this situation again. Continually research new tech as they come out. You don't have to jump on every new bandwagon, but when something piques your interest, set aside some time to learn it. Once you master React, you might think that learning a server side language would be useful, so you could dig into Go or PHP or Python. But no matter what, don't stop trying new things. Read documentation religiously. Pretty soon it'll be relatively easy to jump from one platform to another, since a lot of the concepts (MVC, OOP, etc) are transferable across languages and frameworks.

Finally, don't argue in interviews. You can have a healthy debate, but if you sense any pushback whatsoever, drop it and move on. If I'm interviewing someone and they argue (read: pushing back with the intent of "I'm right and you're wrong") with me about something, that's a big red flag that we won't get along and I won't hire them. Instead, perhaps another skill to work on would be to determine how to debate calmly and rationally and somehow learn the art of persuasiveness (I've never mastered this, myself). As one of my mentors told me recently, try to divorce yourself from the notion of "i'm right". It might be true, but it's not useful when making friends or impressing people in interviews.

Don't let it get you down. Good luck.

Zelmor 1 day ago 0 replies      
You have until the end of the year? That is over 1000 hours to put into learning a new skill, building 2-3 projects, and apply for jobs as you build up confidence.

Start today.

undercoderjobs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey! You need a good Tech Agent. Contact us, free consult. Let's see if we can help.
saluki 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ok, so you just bought an apartment so decide if you want to stay where you are. Second decide if you want to keep your apartment, if you own it that could give you a really low 'run rate'.

If you like where you are, own your apartment I don't think moving is the answer. Moving is expensive. I think most developers can work remote.

So you have 6 months of run way right now till the end of the year. Cut back on spending and expenses to stretch that out and preserve as much of your savings as possible.

Network, network, network. Do you have any past clients who have a remote project you could work on? Or even a remote full time position. Even at a reduced rate that would extend your runway. Maybe improving or a re-write of an old project or app over to angular or react?

Should you expand your skills beyond front end? Learn Rails or Laravel with React, Angular or Vue on the front end to become a full stack developer or maybe focus on front end with backend skills.

You always need to be evolving/learning. jQuery is awesome but declining in use. So think about what you want to do next.

As far as your resume polish it up to show more specifics, UI/UX, front end engineer, then just a section on technologies you use rather than a showcase of jQuery this and that.

jQuery will always have a place in projects but It is waning. Also no arguing technology in interviews. If you're joining their team you're drinking their kool-aid and doing what they do as a team player.

I would spend the next six months getting some remote work and learning a new skill. If you could find a previous client/project looking for a re-write that might be a good fit as you can learn and make money (even at a reduced rate would work).

Do not worry about what your classmates are doing. Remember you are a successful developer, $90k/yr, just bought an apartment, moved to a new country. Maybe stay off Fbook the next 6 months till you have things sorted out.

Sounds like you have the skills, focus on getting work and learning expanding your skills.

oh, one more thing you mentioned mac. If you're not a mac user you should consider switching. It seems like a small issue but moving to mac definitely improved my development experience and helped me leveling up my skills. When you're learning Rails, Laravel even React/Angular/Vue most tutorials are OSX. Doing them on windows you always seem to run in to unexpected errors and issues when running through the tutorials. Then you'll spend hours tracking it down on your windows machine. Do the same tutorial on a macbook and you'll sail right through. So I think there is a huge value moving to OSX. A 13" macbook air is enough for a developer. I would consider making that purchase, they definitely pay for themselves in time savings.

And since you'll have a mac consider a hoodie too, it might help you with your networking. = )

Good luck sorting it out.

pvsukale23 1 day ago 1 reply      
learn Golang . Its the language of future .Also it doesn't follow obsolete OOP concepts. Its easy to grasp. Once you grab a good grasp of this language you can develop web apps .But the main advantage learning Golang is it can also be used to program highly concurrent systems. This language is not just a "trend" its here for long game. People are already using to develop system programs such as os containers (Docker) , Databases , Network Systems etc. have a lookhttps://tour.golang.org
Ask HN: How did Sublime Text get traction?
16 points by hbbio  2 days ago   20 comments top 14
iSloth 2 days 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...

Jemaclus 1 day ago 0 replies      
For those of you who think $70 is too much for a text editor, consider how often you use Sublime Text. I personally use it every day, 5+ hours a day, 25+ hours a week. In just two weeks it's down to $1/hour. In one month it's down to $2.50/day. In 3 months, $1/day. In a year, you're paying pennies per day of use.

If you're a heavy Sublime Text editor that hasn't bought a license yet and don't care that much for Atom/Visual Studio, consider buying a license. It supports the author and you're getting your money's worth, imo.

That's my two cents (or more to the point: 3 days of Sublime Text usage).

rolfvandekrol 2 days 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.

jonaf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Editors I used on OSX before sublime text:

- textmate- BBEdit

Before I was an OSX user, my editor of choice in Windows was Crimson Editor.

All of these have two things in common: simplicity and speed. They are extremely simple to use, but also have some powerful features (if I didn't have to resort to perl most of the time, I was happy). And they didn't hog system memory or hang when editing large files.

Textmate added something to the mix: It was pleasant on the eyes. I'm a big fan of dark themes.

When sublime text came along, it added the absolute killer feature: "do anything" typing. I'm a HUGE keyboard navigator, avoiding mouse pointing a lot in favor of keystrokes. The ability to hit Cmd+P and type a couple letters of what I want to do and sublime text prompts. I can open files, edit in several ways, find and replace, do a build, whatever I want, all from the home row.

If there's ever a better editor than sublime text, it would have to be an IDE that brings fast, efficient, memorable keyboard-only navigation. And current IDEs do a decent job of this, although they're way sluggish compared to sublime text, and not as feature rich.

guitarbill 2 days 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.

b3b0p 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have Sublime and I paid for a license. It's my second editor of choice and I like how it integrates with the OS better than terminal Vim (my number 1 editor of choice) on OS X (drag and drop files onto the Dock icon for example for a quick edit). My only nitpick about Sublime is that I don't like how it looks (Chrome like) instead of the native OS X GUI widgets.

I'm curious though, since TextMate 2 is open source and is regularly updated why is it not as popular for OS X users? What's the turn off that makes Sublime that much better?

sreenadh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not sure why ST gained traction with other but here is why I love it.

Notepad++ was text editor for me. ST was a sexy thing. I was drooling.

I am yet to buy a license for ST but I use it always.

As a guy from an IDE heavy dev background, I was impressed that I can carry around my dev tool in a USB and also keep it in a folder on the network. Plus if a version is acting weird, I have can just trash-&-switch. I had many issues with VS acting nuts and it took more than 1 day to repair it. That is what push me to leave IDE oriented development. I am happy with a customized/tweaked text editor approach.

A negative:

Now I am playing more with Atom (ST clone) as its open source and more than 1 dev is involved. So, I will not be forced to change if the dev suddenly decides to stop. That is the main attraction for me in terms of the app being open source. I know that someone will continue and if I am desperate, I can attempt to tweak the app.

Despite the huge size of Atom, one thing that attracted me to it was the aesthetics aspect. ST was missing something.

antaviana 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because of the ongoing share of OSX among Devs/Devops and the fact that it is multiplatform. When I switched from Windows to a Mac a few years ago, I found the text editors somewhat lacking until I discovered ST. I still needed and need to RDP to Windows so the fact that was multiplatform sold me.

So in my opinion, it found a niche but growing market in OS X that had network effects in other platforms.

Regarding the business side as lost opportunity to get more revenue, it's important to know that success is a state of mind. I'm quite confident that the current state of things regarding ST business fall within the comfort zone of its creator and that he has amassed more money than he can spend.

danielvf 2 days 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"
akhatri_aus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember trying it out and saw how fast it loaded. Never looked back.

I never thought it needed support, it just does what it is supposed to.

grok2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sublime's out of the box theme attracted people and it's demonic speed and the Goto-Anything feature got them talking about it. Atleast that is my take.
Chyzwar 2 days 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)

kylecordes 2 days 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.
zhte415 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simple, easy. And used on huge amounts of instructional videos, leading influence of others.
Ask HN: Did anyone use ruinmysearchhistory and get Google account suspended today?
165 points by WhatIsThisIm12  3 days ago   108 comments top 23
tuna-piano 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.

nefitty 3 days 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?
alexanderson 3 days 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.
poohtay10 1 day ago 0 replies      
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11880008 has no effect with iPhone 6 9.3 version
rampole 2 days 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.

xupybd 3 days ago 2 replies      
I ran it, no google ban
kinkdr 3 days 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.
rythmshifter 3 days ago 0 replies      
ran twice, at work, signed into my google account. no ban.
mirimir 3 days ago 0 replies      
So has it been restored yet?

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

nathangrant 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
I went to that site and my Google account was not suspended.
voiceclonr 3 days ago 1 reply      
That was a terrible one. I wish I hadn't clicked it.
WhatIsThisIm12 3 days 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?
greggman 3 days 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 3 days 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.

carc1n0gen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just ruined my search history so let's see if I get my account suspended.
egberts5 3 days 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 3 days 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.

nickysielicki 3 days 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.

Possible QT WebKit revival could be great news
4 points by LordLestat  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
evolighting 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate google it really great someone finally reallized google is not "helping" open soure but slaving it.
sayelt 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's spelled Qt, with lowercase t.
       cached 14 June 2016 04:05:02 GMT