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Ask HN: Are there any books that inspire or highly influence the way you work?
11 points by azuajef  3 hours ago   7 comments top 6
rprameshwor 29 minutes ago 1 reply      
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

I read this book last year and it greatly motivated me to get things done, fight against procastination and overcome anxiety.

Huhty 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
The Millionaire Fastlane - I know the title sounds cheesy, but the book will open your mind about a lot of things (the value of time, etc). Really good read to pump you up and get that entrepreneurial spirit flowing.
MaxLeiter 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Kind of a different one, but How to Win Friends and Influence People dramatically changed me as a person (with some effort, which the foreword explains)


supernormal 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Here are few that have influenced my work:

The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn - Richard Hamming

The Timeless Way of Building - Christopher Alexander

The Humane Interface - Jef Raskin

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information - Edward Tufte

The Art Spirit - Robert Henri

itamarst 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"What Machines Can't Do" - the concept of an aesthetic of process has really changed how I think about software development.
Jtsummers 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Mythical Man-Month, Fred Brooks [0]. Very informative series of essays on his experiences and lessons learned with IBM. If nothing else, helps to properly frame my expectations on projects with respect to resources needed to properly coordinate with others, and the pros and cons of adding people to projects at different stages (and in different roles).

Getting Things Done, David Allen [1]. Useful toolkit for getting things out of my head and onto paper (or org-mode or OmniFocus) so that I can properly focus and prioritize my time on the things I need to get done.

Communicating Sequential Processes, C.A.R. Hoare [2]. Strongly influenced the way I think about programs in general, but specifically in the embedded field where I work. (NB: I've not actually read or worked through the full text, but mainly taken what was needed to properly communicate ideas in my designs or to analyze designs and systems others have produced. This is a task for myself for early next year.)

Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer [3]. I've always had a good memory, I actually picked this up to give to a girlfriend who had a terrible memory and read it in a couple days before giving it to her (she was out of town when it arrived). Helped to explain methods that I'd somehow developed over the years, and gave me concepts and a better understanding of other methods of memory acquisition (for either short or long term purposes). If you really want to improve your memory, there are probably better resources to learn specific techniques, but this was an informative and entertaining overview. WRT work, we have to keep large systems in our minds all the time, and potentially dozens of different systems written in different languages. Memory is critical for this, even if it's just the memory of where to find the information and not the information itself.

Fluent Forever, Gabriel Wyner [4]. This one is my current read. Goes back to Moonwalking with Einstein. While the book is itself about language acquisition, it's actually given me quite a bit to think about with respect to general learning and memory acquisition (in this case, specifically for long term retention and recall). We have a couple training programs (we need more) for our new hires on development and testing. There are some concepts in here and in related readings that I think would greatly improve how we teach these folks what they need to know and in a way that would improve their retention of that information. We have a lot of people retiring in the next 1-3 years, so this is actually quite critical right now, though management is quite lackadaisical about it.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Mythical-Man-Month-Software-Engineeri...

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Things-Done-Stress-Free-Produ...

[2] http://usingcsp.com/cspbook.pdf

[3] https://www.amazon.com/Moonwalking-Einstein-Science-Remember...

[4] https://www.amazon.com/Fluent-Forever-Learn-Language-Forget/...



The Toyota Way, Jeffrey Liker [5]. I grokked Lean from this. Hardware focused, but the concepts can be (and have been) generalized to other process focused fields. This has helped with understanding what business processes really need to be codified, what feedback mechanisms need to be present for improvement, the criticality of bottom-up feedback and improvement (employee investment in the company/product cannot be overvalued if you want quality and good craftsmanship).

The Little Schemer, Friedman & Felleisen [6]. Going back to the comments on Fluent Forever. The structure of this is fantastic for conveying and helping students retain information. The Socratic method is very useful, and structuring courses and introductory material in this format is useful, this happened to be my introduction to it (well, I'd heard it before, but my first time really encountering it in practice). It's a useful tool for solo-study of a topic (pose your own questions and construct answers), and as a method of guiding someone to a conclusion or better understanding. Also useful in debugging software or decoding software you didn't write, after a fashion.

[5] https://www.amazon.com/Toyota-Way-Management-Principles-Manu...

[6] https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/little-schemer

Ask HN: What are your greatest productivity hacks?
20 points by roryisok  4 hours ago   12 comments top 8
tylerFowler 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Since college I've been using Moleskin notebooks (though lately Baron Fig notebooks) to manage my tasks/time one week at a time, moving over tasks every week that I didn't get done the previous week and evaluating whether I still need to have it at the top of my mind for each unfinished task. I find that it works extremely well for keeping relevant tasks in my head and only taking on larger projects one week at a time.

The system I use is loosely based off of the Bullet Journal method (link below), highly recommend checking it out if you haven't heard of it.


akulbe 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Shut off social media.Kill the noise. (FB, Twitter, Snapchat, HN, $SOCIAL_MEDIA_NETWORK)

Deep focus.

"Deep Work" by Cal Newport. Read it.

cliffcrosland 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Strangely enough, Stoicism. I try to recognize what I can control and what I can't, and I try not to let things I can't control scare me into inaction.
apolymatth 2 hours ago 0 replies      
My biggest problem is typically dealing with distractions. I get easily distracted by either responding to an instant message or just stumbling along something interesting while searching for solutions to programming problems, or when doing research when writing articles/blog posts.

What helps the most for me is just closing out all other applications, chats, and browser tabs and not reopening anything else until I'm finished with work.

It's easy for many to get in the zone, but staying there can be hard.

sharmi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a solo founder/developer and these are not hacks but rather realizations dawned on me, leading to much better or rather consistent productivity and decreased anxiety.

I am working Solo, but I get to bounce ideas off my spouse who also works in IT though it is sporadic at best. I am proactively trying to do this more, as it helps to air my ideas and it is much easier to recognize rabbit holes.

* Maintaining a list of things to do. If the first thing you do when you sit down to work is wonder what is it that you have to tackle next, thats a recipe for loss of productivity. If you have a list of tasks ( as granular as possible), ordered by priority if possible, you can hit the ground running. I use ZimNotes with the filed stored on DropBox. Zim autosaves. So no fear of loosing

* Try to have more realistic expectations of what you can accomplish. Try to estimate how long each task will take for you to do and then double that estimate. Knowing how long each task is gonna take will cut down on anxiety. This will clear your mind and give room for your mind to concentrate on the task at hand.

* If you are a solo founder starting out, product validation is much more important than QA. Once you have customers though, it is important to avoid any disruption in services.

* Release often even if only you are the only one who will see. Make incremental updates. Always start with something very small but working and keep adding features. Immediate visual feedback of seeing your changes at work will do wonders for your morale.

* If you are doing multiple projects, some preliminary documentation should be in place so you can context switch easily from one project to another

* Though all these help me a lot, I have just started following most of them and it needs lots of discipline. I need to be mindful of what I am doing. Whenever I slip, I just try to get back up and start again.

All that said, if I am exploring a new feature or tech, it often lacks structure due to it's lack of clarity and the time estimate for it is widely off the mark. Yet to find a way on how to tackle this. For now, the only option is to set some hard deadline. If there is no light by the deadline, that line of exploration has to be dropped. Maybe the unpredictability just has to be embraced and accepted.

I also need to find a way to handle situations where I run something and it needs a minute or two to finish. I end up wandering to HN or News or Youtube and lose track of time. Maybe another list of micro tasks that can be accomplished in 2 mins :)

Another idea is to use spacemacs. I have been a vim user for a long time. The idea of using emacs for browsing , task tracking and coding sounds appealing as probably there is lesser chance of distraction. Can someone comment on whether it is a good idea or another wild goose chase?

iLemming 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Vim. learn Vim motions and then switch to Spacemacs. You will "own" the code.
ng-user 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Pomodoro Timer
Jtsummers 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Learning emacs to the point that the chords are second nature and require no (or very little) thought to produce (aka, fluency).

Using org-mode (other tools work as well, but particularly useful if you're fluent in emacs).

Full-screen apps, or two apps side-by-side. Specifically terminal, or terminal + reference (text, websites, man pages, PDFs). This helps to force focus on the specific task at hand.

My use-cases for org-mode: General project planning/management (personal, mostly); literate programming; notes while reading texts; notes while learning a subject.

Want to learn a new codebase but find reading dozens or hundreds of C and H files to be difficult to track? Slurp them into a massive org file that can spit them all back out using C-v-t (tangle). Then keep breaking the code down into smaller chunks adding notes, moving related sections in separate files closer to each other, etc.

Want to read a book and take notes on it? Half the screen is the PDf, half the screen is emacs. Create a headline per chapter, as you read, take notes. Write out definitions, use <<anchor>> content to create anchors for links like [anchor]. Write out your notes, capture things that you want to follow-up on, page numbers, etc. Each chapter and section gets marked as TODO (or customized) or DONE so you can chart your progress through the text.

Want to understand an RFC and maybe implement it? Put it into an org file, start structuring it, add in source blocks (or, if the RFC has source, turn them into source blocks as well).


And then there's GTD. Grok it. Understand that it's not a dogma but a toolkit. The tools exist to free you from the mental burden of tracking activities you need to do by capturing them, prioritizing them, dismissing them as needed, and scheduling them. If you aren't thinking about what's coming up, you can think about what's present.



Automate all the things. I write scripts to do a lot of my computer-based tasks. The purpose is to reduce error-rate (if there's an error, the script or the input was wrong, fixing the script fixes the former, adding a check to the input prevents the latter from recurring). It also gets things out of my head. I can literally forget how to do X, Y, and Z (frequent, maybe critical, but unnecessary for me to remember with any precision tasks). This is also useful for migrating a project from largely hand-rolled toward continuous integration/deployment (especially in my office where we don't quite have the infrastructure in place to do that properly or consistently). An example:

We get deliverables from contractors. My script takes that and pairs it with our own software, updating the libraries we link to with the ones they provided. Runs the build script. Constructs our deliverable. Pushes the output to a particular spot. Different parts of that are different scripts with one script to run them all. With a proper CI/CD platform, you could take each of these and put them in as stages triggered off things like git commits.

So now I've got these scripts, we have the git server and build server, I can restructure it all in a way that will run on that. Now I'm out of the loop. Whoever retrieves the contractor's deliverable and pushes it will also trigger the full rebuild of our system. No specific human is critical.

That's a specific work improvement, but the same can be done for many personal computer-based tasks as well. Like how GTD gets your future plans out of your head and into your calendar or whatever, automation gets your processes out of your head so you can focus on the product and inputs of the process and not the process itself.

Ask HN: Is the concept of a one-person software shop still viable?
261 points by jetti  1 day ago   141 comments top 34
jasonswett 1 day ago 11 replies      
I'll add something I wish I had realized several years ago: build a SaaS is not the only path to a product business, and for a solo founder, it's (in my opinion) probably not a very good path.

I spent 5 years trying to get a micro ISV off the ground which made scheduling software for hair salons. It was a terrible idea for a large number of reasons (described in detail here: https://www.jasonswett.net/im-shutting-down-snip-heres-why/) and I never made more than about $430/mo.

My opinion now is that info products are a better way for a solo founder to get started with a product business. The reason is that a SaaS product can take a huge amount of effort (perhaps pre-traction effort, which is risky) to get off the ground whereas an info product business can be started with a tiny "guide" and then expanded outwardly from there, keeping effort in proportion with traction the whole time.

My current business is AngularOnRails.com, an info product business. In its third month of making money, it made $1580, over 3 times what the SaaS made at its peak. Here's a detailed income report: https://www.jasonswett.net/november-2016-angular-on-rails-in...

desktopapp 1 day ago 8 replies      
Running solo doing around $750k/year on a desktop app. The market is so huge and so many niches to filll. Make something you can sell for $50-300 with upgrades once in a while and set up a simple shop. It has never been easier to develop desktop software. If I was going to start this route today I'd 100% make an electron app and try to address and already large market that has stagnated or has shitty entrenched players making a ton of margin.
ovidiup 1 day ago 3 replies      
I built Jollyturns (https://jollyturns.com), a ski and snowboarding oriented business. I currently have a fairly extensive web site, and two mobile apps, on iOS and Android. I started with the iOS mobile app, I wanted something to show me on a ski resort's map where my friends are, and keep track of my skiing statistics.

I tried finding a partner to work with, but that's pretty much impossible in Silicon Valley where I live. Most good engineers want to work for one of the glamorous companies in the Valley. Oh well...

I've been working on Jollyturns for the past 5 years. It's been a lot of work, but I do it at my own pace since I still want to enjoy myself. The experience is unique. I write all the software myself, and hired few people to help map the ski resorts. I built a bunch of custom tools for the mapping work, so people can map the location of lifts, ski runs, restaurants inside a ski resort. I ended up having mapped all the ski resorts in the world, about 2700 of them.

Being by yourself, you need to be prepared to be a full-stack engineer. I built my own Supermicro servers, and host them in a colocation facility. I found that if you're in it for a long time it's cheaper this way. I run Kubernetes for cluster management, Postgres with PostGIS for database, Redis for caching, nginx for web proxy. Server side is written in a mixture of Python and C++. Web frontend is AngularJS (JavaScript). For iOS I write C, C++ and Objective-C. On Android I use Java.

Writing the code is the easy part. I found marketing to be the hardest. You need to find a way to make the world know what you built, and that's hard!

seibelj 1 day ago 2 replies      
I haven't done this, but if I was going to, I would target an existing platform that big companies depend on (salesforce, slack, more niche CRM's, etc.) and create a super focused niche plugin that 1) Is not core value prop of the platform, 2) Has little chance of being duplicated by the platform, 3) Has no competition, 4) Solves a real problem companies have.

For example, do research that shows that 7% of companies in industry XYZ use certain CRM. Analyze that industry and see what common use cases and pain points are. Somehow figure out what the CRM is missing for that industry. Validate the idea before building it by reaching out to said companies.

There would be a lot more to it, but basically a plugin for established software a company already uses is much easier and less risk to sell when you are a small shop.

patio11 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Uptime isn't the hardest part about running a solo SaaS shop -- you can solve it by a) bringing an appropriate amount of professionalism to engineering choices and b) choosing to found a business which has appropriate uptime constraints relative to your resources. Don't do analytics or infrastructure software where a 15s blip in your availability causes hundreds of pagers to go off. There exist many things businesses use which have markedly lower uptime than every SaaS a HNer will ship -- remember, businesses are built around most of their vendors having five twos. (That's a joke, but it isn't a joke.)

The harder part about running a solo SaaS company is building revenue takes _a very long time_, particularly if you're new at this. Most of my peers take ~18 months to hit the ~$10k revenue number that lets them durably transition to running the business as the full-time gig.

If you want to run a one-person shop which creates value substantially related to software, but you don't want to bite off the complexity of writing and selling a SaaS app for your first rodeo, I'd recommend a business model like productized consulting (the glide path to shipping a SaaS app!), selling infoproducts, or selling some sort of addon to an existing software ecosystem (WordPress, Shopify, etc).

gizmo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Totally viable. As a micro ISV you have practically no expenses so the only things you need are a mediocre product and handful of customers and you're already sustainable. Once you get to that point tons of options will present themselves.

Just build something that you know people need (meaning: there are other products in that space) that has a small enough scope so a single person can build it in a month or two. Then charge money for it.

The software market is ludicrously large, and because you don't have marginal costs in a software business you can afford to make a lot of mistakes on the business side of things and still make a profit.

You don't need a great product (plenty of lousy products sell well) and you don't need great business sense (many CEOs don't know what they're doing) and you don't need great marketing (same). For your business to work you have to clear the minimum bar in all three areas, but luckily the bar is set pretty low!

speps 1 day ago 1 reply      
For us peasants not trying to sell anything : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_ISV
tyingq 1 day ago 2 replies      
Not the same thing exactly, but I'm able to run 2 ecommerce sites with non-trivial sales volumes, by myself.

The two biggest things that make this possible:

a) Email support only, no telephone support (sales or post sales). Not everyone likes it, of course, but if you're determined to be a one man band, it's essential.

b) Automation of every single thing you can. For you, it would be a different list, but I had to automate things like refunds, tracking numbers, inventory levels, fraud detection, etc.

Also consider having someone you trust have access to documentation, passwords, accounts, etc...in case of some kind of emergency, etc. If it's making money, it would be a shame not to be able to pass it on to a beneficiary if you were to die unexpectedly.

palidanx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I made Menutail (https://www.menutail.com) which creates nutrition facts labels for food vendors. Up time is definitely important, but if things go wrong, customers are understanding if you communicate honestly with them on what is going on.

The other thing to be careful of is feature creep to ensure it is valuable for your customer base. If one customer complains that they want something which would be super difficult and applicable to only one edge case, I'd take some pause to evaluate the feedback.

The other thing as ovidiup mentioned, marketing is the absolutely hardest. I would even consider it soul draining if you like coding, but it is super necessary. I would recommend reading this book to help think about your sales channel


msbroadf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes its definitely viable. I started my micro ISV 6 years ago, its been quite successful about $200k/yr. Its very niche. I do no marketing but get regular sales through mainly word of mouth and internet searches. Now some bigger companies have picked up my software and use it in house and OEM it. Took a lot of work to get started and a lot of learning Its difficult for competitors to make something similar in a reasonable amount of time so its got a nice moat around it at the moment. I have no employees and almost no overheads so all revenue is profit. The most useful thing is when other companies build around your product, they provide valuable test / customer feedback which greatly reduces the work load.
vram22 1 day ago 1 reply      
Balsamiq Mockups is a good example that microISVs are still viable. At least, Peldi (the founder and sole dev initially) started off solo some years ago, was solo for a while, and became successful while still solo. Then got some employees over time due to more growth.


Source: I read about Balsamiq Mockups soon after it was created, used it in some commercial projects as a consultant/freelancer, corresponded some with Peldi, and also got a free copy of Mockups early on, for having released an open source product. He had a scheme of giving a free copy to such people. May still have it.


IIRC, he initially had the idea of doing Mockups as a web app plugin (for JIRA, maybe), and did it, but a lot of people asked for a desktop app, so he did that too, and I remember reading that at least in the early years (maybe now too), the desktop app sold much more. I used the desktop app in my work I mentioned.

bigmanwalter 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm working on it, and a friend of mine does it successfully.

He builds plugins for the Shopify platform and ended up hiring one developer to do full time onboarding of new clients, support and documentation, but does all product development himself.

I think it's definitely realistic. You gotta just have a mindset where you try and eliminate all bottlenecks and automate as much as possible.

The trick he found for coming up with product ideas was to first do custom development. When enough clients are willing to spend a few thousand for a personal implementation of something, that's when you know you have an opportunity to charge 40$ per month for a SaaS version :)

20years 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yes, it is absolutely possible. I have been doing this for years focusing on niche SaaS products that are too small for VC funded or big companies to go after. I am currently bringing in $20k/mo from my SaaS stuff (3 different niche products) and additional revenue on top of that with adsense/affiliate stuff.

I ran an advertising agency with employees at one point and grew it to $50k/mo but hated it so stopped and went back to single founder SaaS stuff.

Before the recession hit, I also ran a SaaS product in the Real Estate sector that brought in over $70k/mo at its height. I had a few employees during that time too.

I personally enjoy being a single founder running niche products but it has its downsides. Also, once you reach a certain growth point, it becomes much more difficult to go it alone. At that point, you can either hire employees to help or decide maybe it is best to sell.

malux85 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am currently running as a single founder, no employee, ISV.

It's possible, but here's what I have found:

- Partner with resellers who take a commission on sales -- then they can deal with all of the customer management.

- Set realistic goals for uptime, machines go down (it's not if but when), distributed setups are possible and encouraged for larger customers, but they cost more.

p.s. Wanna get a slack channel for solo founders going?

EDIT: I've created a slack group - Email me if you would like an invite!

cschmidt 1 day ago 2 replies      
You might be interested in http://www.microconf.com/

I went to the conferences when I was a one man startup, and it was helpful.

inconshreveable 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yes it's possible. I've been doing it for nearly four years now running networking infrastructure software which has even stricter requirements than a typical SaaS business.

It's not easy though. Assuming you have product/market fit (i.e. something that sells):

Reliability is paramount. It is everything to you. If your system breaks, it will stop new development, marketing, support responses, sales calls. Because there is only one of you, you can't afford to spend time fighting fires and answering pages. It does not matter if your software is slow or fast or if it is pretty or ugly or if your userbase is growing or not if you are down.

Reliability is paramount. Invest your time into building systems that do not fail when one component or one machine breaks. Where you can, you should leverage primitives and services from cloud providers that provide the kind of failure guarantees you need. Then assume that your cloud providers will eventually fail on you, so design with that in mind. Take as few dependencies on them as you can handle or make sure you can failover between them.

Reliability is paramount. Every change you deploy could break your systems and cause downtime. You need good testing and monitoring. Run continuous end-to-end testing of all customer-facing functionality that pages you when it fails.

Reliability is a feature if your software is critical to your customer's business. Some will notice when your competitors are down and you aren't. For those that don't notice, educate them. Explain to your customers the investments you've made to keep your service up and running. You can sell it as a differentiator.

After that, support is the next time-sink you need to eliminate. Treat every support request as a bug that can be fixed so it doesn't happen again. Make it extraordinarily easy to contact you and then try to optimize so no one ever contacts you. Invest in your UX. Your UX should try to illuminate the inner workings of your software. Many support requests are simply failures of a customer to understand what your software is doing and why. Customers can't debug black boxes, but they are smart and motivated and if you invest in their understanding, many will solve their own problems before contacting you.

Design your error messages. Your error messages are a more important piece of design than any other messaging from your product. Finally, if you can't solve the support bug with UX, invest in your documentation. Documentation is your last resort because most users will not read it or they will only read portions of it. By the time they get to the docs they're already frustrated, so it needs to be fantastic.

good luck!

antfie 1 day ago 2 replies      
I recently tried to become my own ISV. I produced the first draft of https://conciergeapp.uk/ within 2 weeks after a chat with someone who is in the Facilities Management (FM) section. Initial interest in the market looked good and I had plans to make a modular platform. After some refinement etc, I totally failed to sell it. I tried so hard but it was exhausting. Then I got a regular job, but still.. this does appeal. Wish you luck! The hard part is not the coding.
ernestipark 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://indiehackers.com has been making the rounds on HN lately and shows that it's definitely possible. But of course, keep in mind these are the success stories.
nxtrafalgar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes. I am my boss's only employee, and I only work part-time while studying. Before he hired me, it was just him. We develop software for the real estate industry for property management and trust accounting. We have one major client that we work with directly, and we have a specific version of our software that we only supply to them. We also have a partnership with another company overseas who we license our software to, while they handle client relations and support.

It appears to working out quite well for him, as he is currently on holiday overseas.

DrNuke 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It really depends on the service (if it solves a real problem) and on the niche (if market is rich and people want to pay good money for your solution); as for other ways related: public media content is done and dusted and facilitator gigs are often not worth the hassle.
wonderwonder 1 day ago 1 reply      
sure, i do it. Develop a custom system for a company and then charge a monthly use and/or maint. fee. If the original development was tested well you are essentially getting free money every month.

I have a full time job but one client on the side. I built a system for them that I net $1,250 per month on and do 2 hours of work a month at most. Rackspace takes care of almost all host related items for me.

I have a partner who also makes $1,250 from the same contract. In hind sight I could have easily done the whole project without him and be making $2,500 per month.

Been going for almost 3 years now, probably has a shelf life of another 7 years.

If you can get a few customers like this, you are set. The challenge is of course to get more customers, let me know when you solve that issue, I'm still working on it :)

edit: changed gross to net

wtheme 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty much viable. I've experimented with https://worktheme.com. What I realized is, small increments of work over a long time adds up to really surprising results.
Spooky23 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do you have a sales channel?

I know a guy who continues to run a one-man software shop for some municipal government functions that are important, but too small for a more general software company.

Key factor for him is that his uncle had been a well-known person, which got him in the door early on.

jason_slack 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think it is doable. I write a few desktop apps (text editor) for OS X, Windows, Linux, iPad and I have a few games in the app store with more coming. Some days I pull my hair out from the stress but overall I am happy writing the products.
ninjakeyboard 1 day ago 1 reply      
You CAN do it, but get a partner. You need someone to bat ideas around with. Having at least one other person will allow you to go a lot farther with the quality of your ideas.
cookiecaper 1 day ago 3 replies      
I had such a project that was making about $15k/mo at its peak -- it was me and my wife, barring a couple of spot contributions from contractors. It depended on data from a sole data source, a Fortune 100 company, which eventually cut us off by sending a C&D threatening to sue under the CFAA, Copyright Act, and various other statutes. They claimed we breached the contract entered automatically by using their site, as their Terms of Service states that "no automated or manual method" (i.e., no method at all) can be used to access their content and their footer states that use of the site constitutes agreement (this is called "browsewrap"). The way we accessed data was much lower-impact than the way our clients accessed the data previously and I'm fully convinced that we saved them tens of thousands in maintenance and bandwidth costs.

No other data source is capable of providing the content we needed. We were forced to shut down.

We knew this was a possible eventuality and our ToS explicitly disclaimed responsibility for it. Our site required users to check both a checkbox and click OK on a dialog box that served only to inform that they used the product at their own risk, nothing was guaranteed, and no refunds of any kind would be furnished. When we shut down, many angry users demanded refunds and issued chargebacks, often after months of successful use, despite the clear and unambiguous language which confronted them several times and required their affirmative assent before they were allowed to purchase anything.

Before we were forced to shut down, other people had caught on to the market and started copying us. We had about a year where we were in it by ourselves. Once serious competitors showed up, they ate our lunch by using a sophisticated spam network to promote their offerings, which were sloppily made by offshore contractors and far worse than our offering in every way, technical and aesthetic.

I refused to engage in similar tactics and felt righteous about it, but it sure cost us a lot of money. They somehow brokered deals with the niche forums that had blacklisted us from day one (or just outspammed their moderation capacity), afraid that we may eventually expand into something that would threaten them directly (which I now plan to do, some day). Perhaps we could've prevented the copycats by acquiring software patents.

These competitors pushed the envelope to the point where it became a visible PR issue and the F100 was forced to respond by C&D'ing every site that operated in the sector I launched and instructing their users to never use anything not distributed directly by the company itself again.

Now, about 16 months post-shutdown, I still get emails from business owners who depended on us begging me to turn the service back on, and saying that their business has been seriously hurt by our absence.

Some of the people in this thread evidently picked much better niches than I did.

AIMunchkin 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm going to post a contrarian viewpoint that unless your product is self-contained and it can continue on without you if you are hit by a truck or even acqui-hired for top $, I will avoid you.

Too many pay apps and even games with DLC have gone poof in recent years because of the latter situation or because the cost of maintaining the DLC no longer justified itself.

DoodleBuggy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes absolutely, at least initially. But expect weekends/nights/vacations to be consumed.

Eventually, either due to growth or a desire to have free time again, you'll probably want to bring aboard other persons.

tajen 1 day ago 1 reply      
I do. As advised by others comments, I sell a plugin on a platform that takes 20-30%. It's great because they handle the invoicing to big companies, which removes the hassle of being a referenced provider.

I'm ok on the sysadmin side (backups, Ansible, etc) and uptime. I'm subpaar on the support side, because I can't develop features fast enough and I have a problems prioritizing things that my various customers need and, at the same time, I panic at the idea of telling them that "I don't know" whether I'll deliver their tiny feature in 1 week or in 8 months. Anyway, it's all problems you can solve by being more efficient or professional, just keep in mind that support/bugfixing will creep up as you add features, up to 80% of your time, at which point you'll either have enough money to hire, or notice that the business model doesn't bring enough money.

There is definitely room for us, micro ISV: Do it as long as you like it / enjoy the lifestyle.

Also, "don't talk to corp dev" (cf Paul Graham's essay) unless you want to sell, in which case use an acquisition broker marketplace (cf patio11's essays).

idlewords 1 day ago 0 replies      
jheriko 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes. I know some. You got to pick your battles carefully and really produce though...
0xdeadbeefbabe 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Tarsnap is doing just fine, but he's also doing something unique.
LeicaLatte 1 day ago 0 replies      
More than ever
cheez 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ask HN: Google Analytics spam out of control, looking for an alternative
28 points by tangue  13 hours ago   13 comments top 7
ticoombs 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wrote a blog post [0] on using the API for Google analytics to create a filter to block most of the referrer spam.

tl;dr for the post is: You setup 2 filters one for the hostname, and one for the language. (The language part is not added yet I'm still writing that update, this is a new spam technique in the last couple months where the data is coming out of Russia)

You then have to create a referrer blocker on your webserver which returns 444 if the referrer contains (list if sites).

I also use piwik personally and have found it's definately lacking compared to GA in what you can do but it is quite adequate for my own personal blog/projects.

Piwik can do campaign, goal and event tracking. Which sounds like it has what you want. You could go for the hosted version and pay X amount if you want someone else to worry about it.

[0] https://blog.slowb.ro/programmatic-blocking-referrer-spam-pa...

emilburzo 8 hours ago 2 replies      

 Admin -> Account -> Property -> View -> View Settings [ ] Bot Filtering Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders
It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.

Note: Enabling it doesn't work retroactively, just from that point forward.

nodesocket 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I've also gotten absolutely swamped in Google Analytics with things like:


 Secret.oogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump! o-o-8-o-o.com search shell is much better than google! Vitaly rules google *:*(^^)*:* \_()_/()()()(_)( )() (=^ ^=)oO Google officially recommends o-o-8-o-o.com search shell! 
Google Analytics needs to address this. What can we do to prevent this type of spam?

siquick 11 hours ago 0 replies      
stevekemp 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Even if you host your own Piwik instance you'll see these results; they're coming as referer-spam, or as user-agent strings.

It's frustrating, but it isn't a problem you can avoid by changing analytic-provider. (Although some might allow you to blacklist/ignore some particular terms.)

shaunpud 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I gave up last month. Using free tier at W3Counter and pretty impressed; https://www.w3counter.com
mattbgates 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Open Web Analytics
Ask HN: I want to build SaaS app but I don't know front-end development
13 points by herokiko  13 hours ago   7 comments top 5
mindcrime 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with @robputt796 and @onion2k - just dive in and build the UI yourself... learn just enough HTML/CSS/Javascript to use Bootstrap (or Foundation) for a "good enough" UI. If the idea get some traction, you can always hire a "real" UI expert later to go back and rework it.

That's basically what I did / am doing. I know bugger all about front-end development, but I've done all of the work on https://www.neuralobjects.com by myself. Basically I used Bootstrap and just enough jQuery to add in some interactivity using Ajax (like toggling the state of the progress bars as the provisioning process changes state, etc).

Dive in, learn as you go. You'll get there.

onion2k 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Spend some time learning so you have a basic understanding of how things work, then use a framework like Bootstrap or Foundation for your first version. They're good enough to prove your idea and you can improve the UI later.
zer00eyz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I am in the same boat as you, I not only have zero front end skill I also have zero design skill.

Honesty it has forced me to partner with front end folks, and this has been a net positive. Having someone else there is not only motivating but the second pair of eyes has helped me to avoid a lot of silly mistakes.

robputt796 13 hours ago 0 replies      
UIs suck anyway, just make a kick ass API and then for the front end just cobble something together in Bootstrap and use a free starter template. At the end of the day your SaaS product will sell itself on it's features if it has some good USP.
a_lifters_life 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you know back-end dev?
Ask HN: Senior developers, what would you tell a younger you?
70 points by nemild  1 day ago   73 comments top 53
rckclmbr 1 day ago 1 reply      
* Don't strive to be a senior engineer. Strive to solve peoples problems through technology

* Always be solving problems

* Make mistakes, and learn from them

* Just because something didn't work 5 years ago doesnt mean it wont today

* Don't buy into hype

* Be passionate and excited about things. You're not a robot

* Don't feel guilty about wasting time.

* Don't overabstract every problem

* The quickest solution is generally the best solution -- or at least help you understand the problem better. Don't design a large solution to a problem, solve lots of smaller problems.

* Do things that align with your strengths

* Know what your strengths are

* Build relationships with people. Be their friends. Talk to them about non-work related things

* Keep meetings to 30 minutes. Always have a takeaway from a meeting

* Have a life outside of work

* Set goals for yourself. Set goals higher than you think you can achieve. Make a plan for achieving the goal.

* Hold yourself accountable

* Don't be an ass

GrinningFool 1 day ago 1 reply      
* Some people will be hostile to you or your ideas. Maybe it will be personal, maybe not - but people can be ass-hats, so expect it. Don't waste a lot of energy on people who have no interest in exploring new ideas simply because they didn't come up with them.

* there's always something to learn. You know that, but you'll lose sight of it.

* look at the bigger picture, always

* don't be afraid to ask questions, as many as you need until you have the information you need.

* worry less about what you want, and more about doing the right thing for the customers you're building for. (In the end, there's a surprising amount of overlap...)

* 12 hour days might feel good, but they don't help in the longer term.

* you can't do it all yourself.

* you'll get paid more than you need to survive - so don't be an idiot with your money.

* talk to people. continue to talk to them after you are no longer required to interact with them regularly. Relationships are work, but they're important to your sanity and career.

* Those things you avoid because they're too hard? They're not really too hard, and that's not really what's stopping you. There's nothing wrong with failing.

* Those ideas you have? Do something with them. But one at a time, and make an active choice as to whether it's worth finishing.

* There will always be things that you want to do better. Don't let that stop you from shipping.

* Don't read comments. And for the love of FSM, don't reply to them.

falcolas 1 day ago 0 replies      
See that Senior Engineer over there with the white hair, dorky glasses and a shirt begging for a pocket protector? Attach yourself to him and listen. You'll learn more from him in ten minutes than you will in ten hours of conversation with your classmates-cum-coworkers.

That knowledge will build up with time, and someday, a younger developer will come to you with questions. Take the time and answer them; it's worth it.

dmistrio 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thou shall not work in a company where there is no career path/1o1s/generally good management.In the interview ask how to verify what is being offered.Thou shall not never ever work overtime unless it is clearly appreciated and/or compensated.
misiti3780 1 day ago 0 replies      
* If you look around and your the best person on the team, start looking for another job -- it will be a lot harder to get better if you dont.

* Switch employers every 2 years. Do not have loyalty unless you have stock options.

* Contribute to open source for the learning experience

* Use what works, dont focus on the hot new trends (redis, mysql, django, ror vs express, mongodb, etc.).

* learn at least one functional language really well

* learn one statically typed language really well

* learn one dynamically typed language really well

* multiply all time estimates by some coefficient C, where C is always larger than 1.

* become familiar design patterns described in Gang of Four

* learn the UNIX commands and piping really well, they will save you a lot of time.

* have side projects and dont be scared to show them off!

briHass 1 day ago 0 replies      
New frameworks/tools/libraries are fun and cool, but wait until it has widespread adoption before choosing it for a large project. It's OK to be a late adopter of new technologies.
itamarst 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. Negotiate for your salary. Once got an offer I accepted which turned out to be (at least) 20% below what company was willing to pay me if only I'd asked.

2. Always test your code, and if you're writing in language you're new with get someone else to code review it. Especially if you're bugs are likely to break your company's main customer.

3. Technology is worthless if it doesn't help you achieve your goals. Software is worthless if it doesn't help you achieve your goals. Figure out your goals first.

4. Put another way, ask "why", don't just code.

(These are all based on actual mistakes I've made. You can get the full story of these and other mistakes I've made at https://softwareclown.com).

pjmlp 1 day ago 0 replies      
- Soft skills are as important or even more than than technical ones;

- Always judge the business value of any change request

- Be weary of any technology that promises to revolutionise the world of programming

- Get to know the whole stack, even if only in abstract terms, don't focus on silos

- Care about the business side, how the technology meets the needs of the actual users and way of doing business

- Never ever sacrifice private life for the employer. They won't think a second about your sacrifices when showing the door to teams

data_hope 1 day ago 3 replies      
- don't only worry about code or getting features shipped, but about the process, how to deliver quality.

- behind any given reason, there is a complex network of real reasons. You don't need to second-guess any decision/order/suggestion, but it helps understanding.

- most user stories / user requests are raw diamonds waiting to be polished. ("What do they really want me to solve")

Essential reading list:

- Clean Coder and Clean Code https://www.amazon.com/Clean-Code-Handbook-Software-Craftsma...https://www.amazon.com/Clean-Coder-Conduct-Professional-Prog...

- Test Driven Development by Kent Beck https://www.amazon.com/Test-Driven-Development-Kent-Beck/dp/...

heldrida 5 hours ago 0 replies      
you'll stress less and make way more money has a tattoo artist
strictnein 1 day ago 0 replies      
Every single popular framework/language/tech will be less so one day. Don't get too hung up on any individual one, or focus your career on a small subset of them.
rufius 1 day ago 1 reply      
Getting quickly to my position would be a frustrating proposition. A considerable portion of how I got where I am is because of the mistakes I made. I wouldn't want to have gotten here faster and the pursuit of getting to "senior" faster isn't the right mindset.

The goal should be continual improvement which includes successes and mistakes. Preferably, these are done at a pace that lets you enjoy your youth, family, friends, and life.

Harimwakairi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Your success in delivering great software will depend as much on your ability to work with people as it will the technical skills you so carefully husband.
matthewrudy 1 day ago 0 replies      
* choose work for the people, not the money

* always be learning, but focus on architecture and design, not implementation specifics

* work hard, but make sure you don't forget to live

* always do a good job, never burn any bridges, and in 10 years things will be great

gt565k 1 day ago 0 replies      
Deliver, deliver, and deliver some more.

And by that I mean be involved in projects from start to finish.

If you find yourself at a company for more than 2 years, and you've only worked on 1 boring project, it's time to look for new opportunities. Now, there could be multiple small projects as part of one big one, that's different, as long as it provides you value and helps you progress in your career.

The only way to progress as a software engineer and get a solid understanding of the SDLC[0] is to keep cranking out projects from start to finish.

There are far too many people that get stuck maintaining a project right out of college, and never experience the full SDLC.

The more projects you deliver from scratch, the better you'll be at estimating tasks, understanding risk, business priorities, etc...

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

pesfandiar 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to make sense for the business, even if it means skipping things that you deem necessary for a perfectly-engineered product.

Also, be open to tasks that are not just hands-on coding. Tasks related to testing, documentation, mentoring, product management, project management, etc. add value to the business and make you a more valuable and versatile player.

0xcafecafe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Keep learning, surround yourself with smarter people than you, find a good mentor/s, ditch your ego, don't be afraid to be wrong and don't hesitate to throw away your code if needed.
psyc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't spend so much time coasting in jobs you're not really interested in, because you think it's the best you can do, and it pays well. The years go by fast. Be dogged about building skills in areas of real interest, getting into that sector, and meeting people who are focused on similar things.
mercer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't consider myself a senior developer, but this is what I'd tell my younger self:

- don't spend to much time on exploring tools, but whenever you notice you're repeating yourself often, make sure to do a quick search to see if there's a quicker way. There usually is, because others will repeat themselves in similar ways.

- make sure to find real projects (where you get paid or at least dinged for not delivering) that offer a degree of challenge/unfamiliarity. I've gone months with very little progress in my abilities, only to take on a project with an unfamiliar toolset or environment and learn a shit-ton of stuff that helped my long-term.

- find a mentor!

- look into this 'functional programming' thing, but don't become a convert. It's not the solution to everything.

- if the coding you do for work doesn't excite you, make sure to find some exciting side-project. Programming, at least for me, is so much fun. I've let work take the fun out more than once, to the point where I'm seriously considering finding some other line of work to make a living so I can code just for fun. 'Unfortunately' my front-end work is so lucrative that it's the best way to have as much free time as possible.

And the two biggest ones:

- "Bad programmers worry about the code. Good programmers worry about data structures and their relationships." and "Show me your flowchart and conceal your tables, and I shall continue to be mystified. Show me your tables, and I won't usually need your flowchart; it'll be obvious." I can't properly express how much this has improved my coding. I don't think it's a coincidence that React/Redux (often) put such an emphasis on one big state object to work with. If I start my work with thinking about the data structures and their relationship, the code becomes so much easier to write!

- Watch 'Simple Made Easy'.

wtetzner 1 day ago 0 replies      
Surround yourself with people smarter than you. It's the best way I've found to improve quickly.
pryelluw 1 day ago 2 replies      
Focus more on people skills. Took me too long to figure that one out. :)
jressey 1 day ago 1 reply      
In the latter part of my career, I have focused more on mental health, happiness, and early retirement. The things below reflect that more than how to become 'great' or whatever.

* Remember that people with non-software skills are probably just as smart and hardworking as you are

* No matter how much more qualified you are than your coworkers, don't fight every battle even if they are always wrong

* Actually read (don't skim) documentation and source code

* After you have some money saved up, quit your job and look for your dream job full-time

* You'll be perfectly happy having never worked in Silicon Valley, or for any prestigious companies

* Read error messages and understand instead of just googling

* Switch mentors often

* Forget about getting rich

dwc 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are so many things, of course. But here are two things I wish I'd understood better a long time ago:

* Think in the problem space / avoid thinking in implementation details. Structure your solution along lines that make sense in the problem space, name variables for that, etc.

* Do the simplest thing that solves the problem at hand, but no simpler. Small, simple implementations are easier to change when (not if, when) unanticipated changes come up. If you anticipate additional functionality, leave the door open to those changes rather than writing code for them now.

techscruggs 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is a team sport. Learn to recognize when to ask for help and who is the best suited to help you.
joemanaco 1 day ago 4 replies      
Dont ever bother learning or using object-oriented programming.
cwisecarver 19 hours ago 0 replies      
* Learn how to learn.

* Admit when you don't know something and then rectify it (if it's interesting to you).

* A stable solution is better than the bleeding-edge solution.

* Smaller (simpler) is better. (KISS)

* Learn how to gauge technical ability in a conversation with someone and compensate for that on the fly. Non-techies will love you.

* 80hr weeks will not make the company love you. They will only make everyone else in your life dislike you. And eventually, the people at the company.

* Shop around. You don't have to take the job offers but keep interviewing. You learn as much about yourself as they learn about you.

* Find a problem-space you love and develop it. Tech is tech but business is business. Finding an area that you like to solve tech problems in will make you happy.

* Don't make technical arguments personal. Make your point, with facts, let them make theirs. Agree if you're wrong.

niftylettuce 1 day ago 0 replies      
don't go for too many weeks without a vacation, it is detrimental.
elliottcarlson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't let imposter syndrome hold you back - it's not bad to check yourself, and imposter syndrome can certainly help you as well - but when it prevents you from even trying to get ahead, it can delay your career trajectory significantly. Be confident in what you do know.
hbt 1 day ago 0 replies      
* Get it to work first. Make it pretty later.

* Don't waste time & energy learning trendy tech. Hold your excitement and ask yourself: "what can I do with it that I can't do with my existing arsenal and is it worth the ROI?"

* Learn to identify companies that are nothing more than feature factories

* Ownership is better than a paycheque. It means control over your decisions and work quality.

* When working at corp/consulting, focus on the things you can control and the people you can influence. The rest is out of your hands and not worth the emotional investment.

* Learn to let go. Tech gets out of date. Software you spent years working on gets replaced. Stuff stops working because of dependencies down the line. Nothing lasts forever.

* Focus on getting better and investing in yourself.

NotThe1Pct 16 hours ago 1 reply      

They hate you because you have skills and they usually failed in their careers (or have a liberal arts degree, which is even worse).

They will record and make public whatever you told in private.

They will blanket spam your CV to every corner of the world.

They will lie to you to make you sign it.

They will make you feel worthless so you can accept a lower package.

mysterydip 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't optimize too early, no matter how bad the itch (or clever your solution). Chances are that part could change and your optimization could have implications elsewhere or on features not yet added
dmvaldman 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's as important to know the costs as it is the benefits of some technology.

Know programming patterns. Be able to categorize a problem as an instance of a pattern (or not).

Know what you don't know.


Being better at debugging is more valuable than coding faster.

Train those junior to you as if you want them to replace you.

Use the Socratic method. Ask a lot of questions. Over-communicate.

Be able to adapt yourself to the person you're talking to.

Be able to manage "up." People should trust you not only because you can get things done, but also because they are well informed that things are getting done the way they want.

grayrest 1 day ago 0 replies      
What makes someone a senior developer is that they reliably reduce technical risk to a project and deliver on time. There are a lot of definitions for "senior" floating around, but that's what everybody really wants.

The main advice I give to junior developers is that state is the core of incidental complexity. Focusing on minimizing state to the degree practical is the simplest trick I know for producing well designed systems. The only place it doesn't necessarily work is high performance code.

partisan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try a lot of different technologies even if you will never use them. Read other peoples' code. Be open to using other libraries. Not invented here is a failing mindset.
tmaly 1 day ago 0 replies      
* company culture is important

* take risks, work for a company that wants to change the world

* contribute to open source

* code is read more than it is written, learn to write code that is easy to grok

mtberatwork 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't go to work for that burnout factory (large consulting company) just because it looked good on the resume. 12 hour days aren't worth it.
sirwolfgang 1 day ago 0 replies      
- Focus on solving problems not writing code. Many problems can be solved with a communication, long before you need to write a line of code.
ereyes01 1 day ago 0 replies      
- Go out and have a little more fun on the weekends.

- Stop underestimating problems, assume they are hard until you can prove they are easy.

- The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Doing great work that no one knows about doesn't get you recognized, and doesn't help anyone.

- Trust your own intuition and insight more. They are often correct about other people and your own life direction, but get ignored too often.

mooreds 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Take risks now!

I took some risks and enjoyed my 20s and early 30s immensely, but also played it pretty safe. I would advise my younger self to take more risks, specifically around creating products.

paulmooreparks 1 day ago 0 replies      
* The technical decisions you make today will haunt you, or your replacement, for the next 20 years.

* Don't fall for the line, "We'll fix it later." It will never be "later," and the problems will never be fixed. Do it now, while it's cheaper.

tyingq 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you have a family, strongly consider future you when you think about work-life balance decisions.

I would gladly have traded off some of my career success for more family time...had I known then what I know now.

babyrainbow 1 day ago 0 replies      
For god's sake, don't pick up that Php job.....
swalsh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Become an expert in at least 1 or more non-technology related things. Whether it be a certain industry or a "non-technical" skill.
LeonidBugaev 1 day ago 0 replies      
* Learn to be a better writer from start

* People are more important than code

* Don't fall in love with specific technology

* Do not rush, force yourself to slow down

brazzledazzle 23 hours ago 0 replies      
* It doesn't matter how good your work is, it only matters what your boss thinks.
salarycommenter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most senior people I know are under paid and over worked. The lucky ones are just under paid.
anpk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dont worry about the small things or the latest technology, it doesn't matter
pbh101 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seek out and deliver value. Know why and how what you're building is valuable.
loader 1 day ago 0 replies      
When you're done building it, spend the time to market it.
patrickdavey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Never ever stop learning.
AnimalMuppet 23 hours ago 0 replies      
There are toxic work environments. When you're in one, start looking and move to the first good alternative. Don't stay in something that's become a pit.

On the other hand, if you have a good situation (realistic management, decent pay, good co-workers), think very carefully before moving. Such situations are not all that common.

sickbeard 1 day ago 0 replies      
* Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women
debt 1 day ago 0 replies      
i'd ask younger me

"do you want to work long hours sitting at a computer everyday until you're dead?"

Ask HN: Is your significant other supportive of your entrepreneurial tendencies?
16 points by whitepoplar  16 hours ago   7 comments top 6
kohanz 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's early for me, but so far she has been behind me 100%. She supported me quitting my FT job that brought in 75% of our income when our first child had just been born to switch to freelancing. I think the key here is that the benefits of this change weren't just felt by me: not only did our income (security) go up, but I had more time to support her in child-rearing efforts and was generally a happier person, so I think these benefits earned trust for the next steps.

She is now also supporting me in dialing-down my freelancing efforts (and therefore our income) to focus on bootstrapping a small startup, even as we now have two young children. Outcome unknown, but I keep her posted and we talk about the business (ideas, ups, downs) on a regular basis.

That said, I myself am a very risk-averse person and we both are the kinds of people that have always lived frugally or "within our means". This means that, as a family, we have a very low "burn rate" and our runway on savings is very long. So the "risk" of failure is not really that high. We both know that if disaster struck (and yes, we have insurance too), I could get a 9-5 job almost instantly (as much as that might suck).

I think one thing to remember is that your spouse is only going to support you as long as your decisions benefit both of you (in the long run, at least). You want more time to work on a side-project? What are you going to change in your life so that your spouse is also getting some benefit?

Anyone wanting to delve a bit more into this type of relationship, I recommend listening to the Zen Founder podcast (http://zenfounder.com). Rob Walling (Startups for the Rest of Us, Microconf, and someone who's insight and opinion I respect greatly) and his wife Sherry talk about a lot of founder issues, but I find that the candid back and forth between them gives you a great look inside their relationship dynamic. They don't always agree, but they trust each other. That's what counts the most.

ajeet_dhaliwal 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately not and it sucks. Anytime I spend on my endeavours is considered a waste of time by her and it is difficult. She started out somewhat supportive but success has been elusive and faith has been lost over time so there is a feeling of having let both of us down. She wishes I'd focus on my job and do well in the corporate world but it's not what I want. Here's hoping (with some reason) to 2017 being the year I turn it around.
diggan 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, but not without any tension. When we met it was implicitly agreed that I need time to build my own things on my free time, something she understand and appreciate. She does react when it becomes too much, which is great, because sometimes I do loose the track of time. But in general, yes.
borplk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Not significant other but my family does not seem particularly supportive.

The concept of taking risks and sacrifices today for potential future benefits is completely foreign to them.

Pretty irritating. I don't have anyone cheering for me. It seems they are just waiting for me to any day announce that I have chained myself to another cushy office desk job and collecting the chunky pay check.

Just recently I had to break it down for my mother. I'll cut it short but basically I told her "If you are someone with a bunch of money you can invest it all in low-risk government bonds and wait for 50 years or you could show up at the casino and gamble it all in one game. They are the opposite ends of the risk spectrum. Never taking any risk is just as bad as taking huge crazy risks like gambling all your life in a game of poker. There's some middle ground. You gotta take a few shots while you have the time.".

jetti 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Sort of. She isn't adverse to the idea of me making money doing what I love and I'm not looking for giant profits, just enough to cover monthly expenses (though I'm not opposed to making more, I'm just keeping it real at this point). That being said, she doesn't want me to spend any of our money. My company bank account has the short lived freelance work I've done, which I'm running out of. It is hard to do things to drive traffic without money so I have to get creative
erroneousfunk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, with some reservations. We met as one part-time business was failing, although he brainstormed ideas with me to try to make it work, and even came into the office on a few occasions to help out. He was supportive for four years, while I was getting a half-time masters degree, and while I wrote technical books (at the same time as a full time job and half-time degree!).

Although recently I said, only partly joking, "maybe I should go to law school..." and he was like (only partly joking) "Do you WANT a divorce?" So he does have limits!

But he's always been supportive of me flying to conferences, giving talks, running workshops, not being there in the evenings because I'm busy with one thing or another. He's even taking a few days off in January to go to a conference in Texas with me (he's not technical, so he doesn't actually go to my talks, but he can keep himself occupied around town, and we turn it into a mini-vacation in the evenings).

I give up a lot of weekends to freelance work, and we've discussed the possibility of me starting another business -- he's totally on board with it, despite the fact that I tried it once already and failed, AND having experienced firsthand how much time it takes and how much it will disrupt our lives. He doesn't understand most of what I do, and was never interested in understanding it (I've offered to teach him how to program, or show him code I'm working on -- he's always like "nah, that's your job"), but I couldn't ask for a more supportive husband for the things that really matter.

Ask HN: Where is AI/ML actually adding value at your company?
367 points by mkrecny  2 days ago   191 comments top 55
altshiftprtscrn 2 days ago 9 replies      
I work in manufacturing. We have an acoustic microscope that scans parts with the goal of identifying internal defects (typically particulate trapped in epoxy bonds). It's pretty hard to define what size/shape/position/number of particles is worthy of failing the device. Our final product test can tell us what product is "good" and "bad" based on electrical measurements, but that test can't be applied at the stage of assembly where we care to identify the defect.

I recently demonstrated a really simple bagged-decision tree model that "predicts" if the scanned part will go on to fail at downstream testing with ~95% certainty. I honestly don't have a whole lot of background in the realm of ML so it's entirely possible that I'm one of those dreaded types that are applying principles without full understanding of them (and yes I do actually feel quite guilty about it).

The results speak for themselves though - $1M/year scrap cost avoided (if the model is approved for production use) in just being able to tell earlier in the line when something has gone wrong. That's on one product, in one factory, in one company that has over 100 factories world-wide.

The experience has prompted me to go back to school to learn this stuff more formally. There is immense value to be found (or rather, waste to be avoided) using ML in complex manufacturing/supply-chain environments.

sidlls 2 days ago 2 replies      
The entire product I built over the last year can be reduced to basic statistics (e.g. ratios, probabilities) but because of the hype train we build "models" and "predict" certain outcomes over a data set.

One of the products the company I work for sells more or less attempts to find duplicate entries in a large, unclean data set with "machine learning."

The value added isn't in the use of ML techniques itself, it's in the hype train that fills the Valley these days: our customers see "Data Science product" and don't get that it's really basic predictive analytics under the hood. I'm not sure the product would actually sell as well as it does without that labeling.

To clarify: the company I work for actually uses ML. I actually work on the data science team at my company. My opinion is that we don't actually need to do these things, as our products are possible to create without the sophistication of even the basic techniques, but that battle was lost before I joined.

ekarulf 2 days ago 3 replies      
Amazon Personalization.

We use ML/Deep Learning for customer to product recommendations and product to product recommendations. For years we used only algorithms based on basic statistics but we've found places where the machine learned models out perform the simpler models.

Here is our blog post and related GitHub repo:https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/big-data/generating-recommendat...https://github.com/amznlabs/amazon-dsstne

If you are interested in this space, we're always hiring. Shoot me an email ($my_hn_username@amazon.com) or visit https://www.amazon.jobs/en/teams/personalization-and-recomme...

strebler 2 days ago 2 replies      
We're a computer vision company, we do a lot of product detection + recognition + search, primarily for retailers, but we've also got revenue in other verticals with large volumes of imagery. My co-founder and I both did our thesis' on computer vision.

In our space, the recent AI / ML advances have made things possible that were simply not realistic before.

That being said, the hype around Deep Learning is getting pretty bad. Several of our competitors have gone out of business (even though they were using the magic of Deep Learning). For example, JustVisual went under a couple of months ago ($20M+ raised) and Slyce ($50M+ raised) is apparently being sold for pennies on the dollar later this month.

Yes, Deep Learning has made some very fundamental advances, but that doesn't mean it's going to make money just as magically!

jngiam1 2 days ago 2 replies      
From Coursera - we use ML in a few places:

1. Course Recommendations. We use low rank matrix factorization approaches to do recommendations, and are also looking into integrating other information sources (such as your career goals).

2. Search. Results are relevance ranked based on a variety of signals from popularity to learner preferences.

3. Learning. There's a lot of untapped potential here. We have done some research into peer grading de-biasing [1] and worked with folks at Stanford on studying how people learn to code [2].

We recently co-organized a NIPS workshop on ML for Education: http://ml4ed.cc . There's untapped potential in using ML to improve education.

[1] https://arxiv.org/pdf/1307.2579.pdf

[2] http://jonathan-huang.org/research/pubs/moocshop13/codeweb.h...

jakozaur 2 days ago 2 replies      
At Sumo Logic we do "grep in cloud as a service". We use machine learning to do pattern clustering. Using lines of text to learn printfs they came from.

The primary advantage for customer is easier to use and troubleshoot faster.


ksimek 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here at Matterport, our research team is using deep learning to understand the 3D spaces scanned by our customers. Deep learning is great for a company like ours, where so much of our data is visual in nature and extracting that information in a high-throughput way would have been impossible before the advent of deep learning.

One way we're applying this is automatic creation of panoramic tours. Real estate is a big market for us, and a key differentiator of our product is the ability to create a tour of a home that will play automatically as either a slideshow or a 3D fly-through. The problem is, creating these tours manually takes time, as it requires navigating a 3D model to find the best views of each room. We know these tours add significant value when selling a home, but many of our customers don't have the time to create them. In our research lab we're using deep learning to create tours automatically by identifying different rooms of the house and what views of them tend to be appealing. We are drawing from a training set of roughly a million user-generated views from manually created guided tours, a decent portion of which are labelled with room type.

It's less far along, but we're also looking at semantic segmentation for 3D geometry estimation, deep learning for improved depth data quality, and other applications of deep learning to 3D data. Our customers have scanned about 370,000 buildings, which works out to around 300 million RGBD images of real places.

malisper 2 days ago 2 replies      
One of my coworkers used basic reinforcement learning to automate a task someone used to have to do manually. We have two data ingestion pipelines. One that we ingest immediately, and a second for our larger customers which is throttled during the day and ingested at night. For the throttled pipeline, we initially had hard coded rate limits, but as we made changes to our infrastructure, the throttle was processing a different amount than it should have been. Sometimes it would process too much, and we would start to see latency build up in our normal pipeline, and other times it processed too little. For a short period of time, we had the hard coded throttle with a Slack command to override the default. This allowed an enginneer to change the rate limit if they saw we were ingesting to little or too much. While this worked, it was common that an engineer wasn't paying attention, and we would process the wrong amount for a period of time. One of my coworkers used extremely basic reinforcement learning to make the throttle dynamic. It looks at the latency of the normal ingestion pipeline, and based on that, decides how high to set the rate limit on the throttled pipeline. Thanks to him, the throttle will automatically process as much as it can, and no one needs to watch it.

The same coworker also used decision trees to analyze query performance. He trained a decision tree on the words contained in the raw SQL query and the query plan. Anyone could then read the decision tree to understand what properties of a query made that query slow. There's been times we're we've noticed some queries having odd behavior going on, such as some queries having unusually high planning time. When something like this happens, we are able to train a decision tree based on the odd behavior we've noticed. We can then read the decision tree to see what queries have the weird behavior.

antognini 2 days ago 4 replies      
At Persyst we use neural networks for EEG interpretation. Our latest version has human-level performance for epileptogenic spike detection. We are now working on bringing the seizure detection algorithm to human-level performance.
Flammy 2 days ago 1 reply      
The startup I'm part of uses ML to predict which end users are likely to churn for our customers.

We work with B2B and B2C SAAS, mobile apps and games, and e-commerce. For each of them, it is a generalized solution customized to allow them to know which end users are most at risk of churning. The amount of time range varies depending on their customer lifecycles, but for longest lifecycles we can, with high precision, predict churn more than 6 months ahead of actual attrition.

Even more important than "who is at risk?" is "why are they at risk?". To answer this we highlight patterns and sets of behavior that are positively and negatively associated with churn, so that our customers have a reason to reach out, and are armed with specific behaviors they want to encourage, discourage, or modify.

This enables our customers to try to save their accounts / users. This can work through a variety of means, campaigns being the most common. For our B2B customers, the account managers have high confidence about whom they need to contact and why.

All of this includes regular model retraining, to take into account new user events and behaviors, new product updates, etc. We are confident in our solution and offer our customers a free trial to allow us to prove ourselves.

I can't share details, but we just signed our biggest contract yet, as of this morning. :)

For more http://appuri.com/

A recent whitepaper "Predicting User Churn with Machine Learning" http://resources.appuri.com/predicting_user_churn_ml/

johndavi 2 days ago 2 replies      
We exclusively rely on ML for our core product at Diffbot: automatic data extraction from web pages (articles, products, images, discussion threads, more in the pipeline), cross-site data normalization, etc. It's interesting and challenging work, but a definite point of pride for us to be a profitable AI-powered entity.
HockeyPlayer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Our low-latency trading group uses regression widely. We have experimented with more complex models but haven't found a compelling use for them yet.
iamed2 2 days ago 1 reply      
We use ML to model complex interactions in electrical grids in order to make decisions that improve grid efficiency, which has been (at least in the short term) more effective than using an optimizer and trying to iterate on problem specification to get better results.

Generally speaking, I think if you know your data relationships you don't need ML. If you don't, it can be especially useful.

got2surf 2 days ago 1 reply      
My company builds software to analyze customer feedback.

We use "real" ML for sentiment classification, as well as some of our natural language processing and opinion mining tools. However, most of the value comes from simple statistical analysis/probabilities/ratios, as other commenters mentioned. The ML is really important for determining that a certain customer was angry in a feedback comment, but less important in highlighting trending topics over time, for example.

quantumhobbit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Detecting fraud. I work for a credit card company.

Not really a new application though...

BickNowstrom 2 days ago 1 reply      
FinTech: Credit risk modeling. Spend prediction. Loss prediction. Fraud and AML detection. Intrusion detection. Email routing. Bandit testing. Optimizing planning/ task scheduling. Customer segmentation. Face- and document detection. Search/analytics. Chat bots. Sentiment analysis. Topic analysis. Churn detection.
NumberCruncher 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my last job at a big telco I was working with/on a scorecard driven next-best-offer system steering 80-90% of all outbound callcenter activities. I would not call it AI/ML because the scorecards were built with good old logistic regression and were pretty old (bad) but the process made us 25 M /year (calculated NPV). I don't know how much of it was added by the scoring process. We also had a real-time system for SMS marketing built on the top of the same next-best-offer system making 12+ M /year (real profit).

On the other hand I found an internal fraud costing us 2-3 M /year applying only the weak law of big numbers. Big corp, big numbers.

Now I build a similar system for a smaller company. I think we will stick mainly to logistic regression. I actually use "neural networks" with hand-crafted hidden layers to identify buying patterns in our grocery store shopping cart data. It works pretty well from a statistical point of view but it is still a gimmick used to acquire new b2b partners.

AustinBGibbons 1 day ago 0 replies      
I work at Periscope Data - we do our own lead scoring using home-baked ML through SciPy. It was interesting to see it play out in the real-world - interpretation of features/parameters was definitely important to the people driving the marketing/sales orgs.

We also support linear regression in the product itself - it was actually an on-boarding project for one of the engineers who joined this year, and he wrote a blog post to show them off: https://www.periscopedata.com/blog/movie-trendlines.html About 1/3rd of our customers are using trendlines, which is pretty good, but we haven't gotten enough requests for more complex ML algorithms to warrant focusing feature development there yet.

fnovd 2 days ago 0 replies      
We've been using "lite" ML for phenotype adjudication in electronic health records with mild success. Random forests and support vector machines will outperform simple linear regression when disease symptoms/progression don't neatly map to hospital billing codes.
ilikeatari 2 days ago 1 reply      
We leverage machine learning in the asset replacement modeling space. Basically there is an optimum time to sell your vehicle and purchase a new one based on our model. Our company works with large fleet organizations and provides analytics suite for vehicle replacement, mechanic staffing, benchmarking, telematics and other aspects of fleet management.
AndrewKemendo 2 days ago 0 replies      
We use Convolutional Networks for semantic segmentation [1] to identify objects in the users environment to build better recommendation systems and to identify planes (floor, wall, ceiling) to give us better localization of the camera pose for height estimates. All from RGB images.

[1] https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~jonlong/long_shelhamer_fcn...

splike 2 days ago 1 reply      
Based on past experimental data, we use ML to predict how effective a given CRISPR target site will be. This information is very valuable to our clients.
saguppa 2 days ago 0 replies      
We use deep learning at attentive.ai to generate alerts based on unusual events in surveillance video.

We use neural nets to generate descriptors of videos where motion is observed, and classify events as normal/abnormal.

Schwolop 1 day ago 0 replies      
Once an analyst has manually reviewed something, a software system updates a row in a database to mark it as done. Our marketing team calls this machine learning, because the system "learns" not to give analysts the same work twice.

We also use ML to classify bittorrent filenames into media categories, but it's pretty trivial and frankly the initial heuristics applied to clean the data do more of the work than the ML achieves.

peterhunt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Machine learning is great for helping you understand a new dataset quickly. I often train a basic logistic regression classifier and introspect the coefficients to learn what features are important, which are unimportant, and how they are correlated.

There are a number of other statistical techniques you can use for this but scikit-learn makes this very very easy to do.

mattkrea 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty basic here.. we are a payments processor so we check volume, average ticket $, credit score and things of that nature to determine the quality and lifetime of a new merchant account.
sbashyal 2 days ago 1 reply      
- We use a complex multivariate model to predict customer conversion and prioritize lead response- We use text analysis to improve content for effectiveness and conversionAmong other things
CardenB 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would suspect AI/ML profits come largely from improving ad revenue at very stable companies.
jc4p 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think a lot of the real benefits from ML "at work" is more in just cleaning of data and running through the gauntlet of simplest regressions (before jumping onto something more magical whose outputs and decision making process you can't exactly explain to someone).

I would classify something like this blog post as ML, would you? http://stackoverflow.blog/2016/11/How-Do-Developers-in-New-Y...

taytus 2 days ago 2 replies      
Raising money from clueless investors
lost_name 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nothing in my department yet, but we actually have a guy actively looking for a reason to implement some kind of ML so we can say our product "has it" I guess.
sgt101 1 day ago 0 replies      
Deep learning to identify available space in kit from images! We are dead proud of it !

Trad learning for many applicatons : fault detection, risk management for installations, job allocation, incident detection (early warning of big things), content recommendation, media purchase advice, others....

Probabilistic learning for inventory repair - but this is not yet to impact, the results are great but the advice has not yet been ratified and productionised.

agibsonccc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I run a deep learning company focused on a lot of banking and telco fraud workloads like [1].We have also done dl to predict failing services to auto migrate workloads before server failure.

The bulk of what we do is anomaly detection.

[1] https://skymind.io/case-studies[2] insights.ubuntu.com/2016/04/25/making-deep-learning-accessible-on-openstack/

jgalloway___ 2 days ago 0 replies      
We realized that by adjusting training models we could incorporate autonomous recognition of not only images but intent and behavior into our application suite.
garysieling 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm using some of the pre-built libraries to find/fix low hanging fruit of data quality issues for https://www.findlectures.com, for instance finding speaker names.

The first pass is usually a regex to find names, then for what's left run a natural language tool to find candidate names, and then manual entry.

brockf 1 day ago 2 replies      
At our data science company, we're building a marketing automation platform that uses deep reinforcement learning to optimize email marketing campaigns.

Marketers create their messages and define their goals (e.g., purchasing a product, using an app) and it learns what and when to message customers to drive them towards those goals. Basically, it turns marketing drip campaigns into a game and learns how to win it :)

We're seeing some pretty get results so far in our private beta (e.g., more goals reached, fewer emails sent), and excited to launch into public beta later this month.

For more info, check out https://www.optimail.io or read our Strong blog post at http://www.strong.io/blog/optimail-email-marketing-artificia....

lmeyerov 1 day ago 0 replies      
At Graphistry, we help investigate & correlate events, initially for security logs. E.g., Splunk & Sumo centralize data and expose grep + bar charts, then we add visual graph analytics that surfaces entities, events, & how they connect/correlate. "It started here, then went there, ..." . We currently do basic ML for clustering / dimensionality reduction, where the focus is on exposing many search hits more sanely.

Also, some GPU goodness for 10-100X visual scale, and now we're working on investigation automation on top :)

room271 1 day ago 0 replies      
Helping to moderate comments on theguardian.com!


(We're still beginners as will be apparent from the video but it's proving useful so far. I should note, we do have 'proper' data scientists too, but they are mostly working on audience analysis/personalisation).

lowglow 2 days ago 0 replies      
We're building models of human behavior to provide interactive intelligent agents with a conversational interface. AI/ML is literally the backbone of what we're doing.
tspike 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wrote a grammar checker that used both ML models and rules (which in turn used e.g. part-of-speech taggers based on ML).

Wrote a system for automatically grading kids' essays (think the lame "summarize this passage"-type passages on standardized tests). In that case it was actually a platform for machine learning - ie, plumb together feature modules into modeling modules and compare output model results.

lnanek2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Providing users the best recommendations so they participate more, get more from the service, and churn less. Detecting fraud and so saving money. Predicting users who are about to leave and allowing us to reach out to them. Dynamic pricing to take optimum advantage of the supply and demand curve. Delayed release of product so it doesn't all get reserved immediately and people don't have to camp the release times.
tomatohs 2 days ago 1 reply      
At ScreenSquid we use statistical analysis to find screen recordings of the most active users on your website. This saves our customers a ton of time avoiding playing with filters trying to find "good" recordings.


solresol 1 day ago 0 replies      
Our main product uses machine learning and natural language processing to predict how long JIRA tickets are going to take to resolve.

(www.queckt.com is anyone's interested)

Without AI/ML, we wouldn't have a product.

katkattac 1 day ago 0 replies      
We use machine learning to detect anomalies on our customers' data and alert them of potential problems. It's not fancy or cutting edge, but it provides value.
plafl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Predict probability of car accidents based on the sensors of your smartphone
wmblaettler 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a follow on question to this to all the respondents: Can you briefly describe the architecture you are using? Cloud-based offering vs self-hosted, software libraries used, etc...
vskr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Slightly tangential, but how do you collect training data for AI/ML models you are developing
iampims 2 days ago 0 replies      
We use RNNs for voice keyword recognition.
moandcompany 2 days ago 0 replies      
We are using machine learning to identify software as benign software or malware for customers.
pfarnsworth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sift's product is based on ML.
Tankenstein 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lots of KYC things, like fraud, AML and CTF. Helps with finding new patterns.
Radim 1 day ago 0 replies      
I run a company that specializes in design & implementation of kick-ass ML solutions [1]. We've had successful projects in quite a few industries at this point:


Aka e-discovery [2]: produce digital documents in legal proceedings.

What was special: stringent requirements on statistical robustness! (the opposing party can challenge your process in court -- everything about way you build your datasets or measure the production recall the has to be absolutely bullet proof)


Anomaly detection in system usage patterns (with features like process load, frequency, volume) using NNs.

What was special: extra features from document content (type of document being accessed, topic modeling, classification).


Built tiered IAB classification [3] for magazine and newspaper articles.

Built a topic modeling system to automatically discover themes in large document collections (articles, tweets), to replace manual taxonomies and tagging, for consistent KPI tracking.

What was special: massive data volumes, real-time processing.


Built a recommendation engine that automatically assembles newsletters, and learns user preferences from their feedback (newsletter clicks), using multi-arm bandits.

What was special: exploration / exploitation tradeoff from implicit and explicit feedback. Topic modeling to get relevant features.


Built a search engine (which is called "discovery" in this industry), based on Elasticsearch.

What was special: we added a special plugin for "related article" recommendations, based on semantic analysis on article content (LDA, LSI).


Advised on an engine to automatically match CVs to job descriptions.

Built an ML engine to automatically route incoming job positions to hierarchy of some 1,000 pre-defined job categories.

Built a system to automatically extract structured information from (barely structured) CV PDFs.

Built a ML system to build "user profiles" from enterprise data (logs, wikis), then automatically match incoming help requests in plain text to domain experts.

What was special: Used bayesian inference to handle knowledge uncertainty and combine information from multiple sources.


Built a system to extract structured fixtures and cargoes from unstructured provider data (emails, attachments).

What was special: deep learning architecture on character level, to handle the massive amount of noise and variance.


Built a system to automatically navigate banking sites for US banks, and scrape them on behalf of the user, using their provided username/password/MFA.

What was special: PITA of headless browsing. The ML part of identifying forms, pages and transactions was comparatively straightforward.


... and a bunch of others :)

Overall, in all cases, lots of tinkering and careful analysis to build something that actually works, as each industry is different and needs lots of SME. The dream of a "turn-key general-purpose ML" is still ways off, recent AI hype notwithstanding.

[1] http://rare-technologies.com/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_discovery

[3] https://www.iab.com/guidelines/iab-quality-assurance-guideli...

chudi 2 days ago 0 replies      
We use ML for recommendation systems (I work at a Classifieds company)
fatdog 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't say for what/where, but, yes. Use it to super-scale work of human analysts who evaluate the quality of some stuff.
the-dude 2 days ago 1 reply      
PCB autorouting
SaaS Developer volunteering to implement your idea
3 points by throwaway_puk  2 hours ago   2 comments top
staticautomatic 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Would you mind providing a way to get in contact with you or is part of this that the project specs must be posted on HN?
Ask HN: What was your best passive income in 2016?
757 points by djadmin  3 days ago   653 comments top 102
gottebp 3 days ago 9 replies      
Breville coffee grinders are impossible to get internal parts for. I designed a 3D printed upgrade for the main wear-part in their BCG800XL SmartGrinder.

The storefront is through ShapeWays[1] and I use ifixit[2] to drive the traffic. It's passively making ~$425/mo with about 10 minutes of work per week on my end. This all happened because my grinder failed and I couldn't get parts.

[1] https://www.shapeways.com/product/NASLAGCCP/breville-bcg800x...

[2] https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/BCG800XL+Grinder+Jamming+due+to...

jrheard 3 days ago 18 replies      
Young hackers who have a surplus of income and have funds to spare that aren't being channeled toward debt / family / donations, heed me: save as much of your salary as you can, and put it in boring investments (index funds / etc), probably through vanguard.com (no affiliation, I just use them and have heard nothing but good things from people I trust). You can pretty easily set up your job's direct-deposit system so that a portion of your salary goes directly into your investments without you ever seeing it, it's a good set-it-and-forget-it system. It adds up over time!

[Somewhat related: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-sim... ]

kohanz 3 days ago 3 replies      
This was pretty accidental, but to motivate myself to complete the arduous application process for my professional engineering license, I creates a WordPress blog documenting the process. Also because I thought I would learn something new (setting up WP blog) and this seemed very "shippable". I completed the application process over the course of a year and haven't written a blog post in over a year.

Thanks to a complete lack of material in this niche, the site (http://pengapplicant.ca) gets a decent amount of organic search traffic given the niche size (2k page views per month) and I make about $15/month in Adsense. Recently I was also contacted by someone who sells materials for the application and exam and have become an affiliate for them. It's only been one month, but i've already made one referral which netted me $100. So passive income on this after hosting costs is probably $220-ish and will be more in 2017 hopefully with more affiliate sales. Obviously very small potatoes, but I never set out to make any money for this and it looks like now it will at least cover my yearly professional dues ;)

To be honest, the best part is the messages I get from people saying how I helped them get their license. That's a much nicer feeling than the $.

caseysoftware 3 days ago 4 replies      
Previously, as a developer evangelist with Twilio, I had to know the tech events and tech leaders in my local community. While I didn't figure out a repeatable approach then, in late 2015, it hit me.

I built a bot network that reads tech events - mostly meetups, some conferences and workshops - for a given city from a variety of sources and tweets them. I use machine learning to determine hashtags, time of day to tweet, and new data sources. When I launched Austin - https://twitter.com/ATXTechEvents - in September 2015, I got 900 followers the first month. I suspected it was a fluke so launched Dallas FW and Houston to test. It wasn't a fluke.

In 2016, I've launched 45 different cities in the US and the network has 100k followers collectively, has its own automated weekly mailing list, and is generating 1.4M+ impressions/month. Revenue is affiliate fees for conferences (we are a media partner for O'Reilly) and workshops and selling the ad blocks in the newsletter. Almost all of that is automated. The revenue is pretty minor right now but growing and I spend 1-2 hours on it a week.

The landing page is here:https://techeventsnetwork.com/ (only some of the cities)and the full list of cities is here:https://twitter.com/TechEventsNet/following

inovica 3 days ago 1 reply      
I run a number of side projects and have done since the mid 1990's. I started in business when I was 21 and I'm now 47, so definitely considered 'old' to some of you on here! I've been o reader of HN since it came out, but rarely a contributor. A few comments from me and a link to some of what I've done and how they have done in 2016:

- Rich Dad, Poor Dad got me into the idea of 'passive' income. Nothing is truly passive of course, but it makes me think about what I do

- SourceGuardian. This is encryption software I set up in 2002 as I had a need myself and the nearest product was $6000 at the time. It has generated a great passive income since then. Enough to pay all my bills. 2016 was no different. I work with 2 other people on it, one of whom I've never met (he's in Russia) and it works well

- Competitor Monitor. This used to be a side-project 5 years ago, but it has grown significantly and in the past year we are up by 35% and we have grown our team. Strangely this has now become passive in the sense that I have created a structure and systemised the business (read The Emyth Revisited book) and that has allowed me to step out. I am not more of an investor than a day-to-day contributor

- UKscrap.com. This one died in 2016. The site is still there, but competition and my lack of interest killed it

As I said, nothing is truly passive, but you need to have a passion for whatever you do and I would try to create a 'passive index' for your ideas. How much time will they take to get off the ground, how much to run monthly, what is the product life cycle (if you can work that out!). From when I started there are a HUGE number of resources to help you also. Feel free to ask for help or advice, for what it's worth!

EDIT: I actually met my SourceGuardian partner once in Prague for 2 days. Forgot that when I wrote the above!

bootloop 3 days ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately not 2016, but two years ago when the Samsung Gear Watch came out a friend of mine got it right away. We went out drinking the same day and when we came back at night we put together a watch face while still being drunk. We uploaded it, set the lowest possible price 1$, and... Nothing happened. Everywhere in the admin panel it showed 0. 0 downloads, not a single dime earned, even after a few days. We were devastated.

But than I found another tab in the utterly shitty admin panel and it hit me like a rock. The numbers on the dashboard were a monthly overview and in fact we earned already hundreds of dollars and downloads in just a few days. I went back to the computer, but together an even better watch face, set it to 1$ again and watched it selling like hotcakes.

However it tried out quite quickly after that. People started to copy stuff and giving it away for free and I never bought the watch myself, I just used the emulator to test my apps. So I took them out of the store at the end because dealing with taxes and sharing the income does not make it worth it if you get support requests like "how can I change the time on my watch", "what do I care, its your shitty watch and Samsung's shitty interface"...So yea. That's my best story about unexpected passive income. Selling stuff fast on a new platform seem to work!

Edit:Found some screens.First one: https://i.imgur.com/TIVsPKO.pngBest selling one: https://i.imgur.com/9L8TetO.png

durkie 3 days ago 5 replies      
i own a decent amount of tesla stock and 2016 was a great year for lending it out.

since tesla is such a controversial company, lots of people want to own the stock (expecting it to go up) and lots of people want to short sell it (expecting it go down).

if you're a stock holder, certain places (like interactive brokers) will let you lend your stock holdings to people that want to sell it short. you earn a premium on this loan, but its basically risk-free since the brokerage bears the counter-party risk.

because short interest is so high, there was a substantial portion of 2016 where there weren't enough shares available to satisfy short sellers' demand. TSLA became classified as "hard to borrow" and borrowing premiums would be anywhere from 8% to 100+% depending on the day/demand. this is money short sellers pay on top of the cost to purchase the shares (and one more thing to bear on top of the risk of short-selling, but that's another story).

the premium is paid daily, and the brokerage usually takes a chunk of it (often half), so if you had $100k of tesla stock and the premium was 50%, you'd earn (100,000 * 50% * (1/2) / 365) = $68.50 for each day that someone borrowed your shares. the rate fluctuated daily, but this still netted me several thousand dollars of truly passive income, since i was planning to hold the stock either way. this is also a huge income stream for institutional shareholders that are sitting on millions of shares.

austenallred 3 days ago 6 replies      
I co-wrote a book on user acquisition and co-created an accompanying video course to climb out of debt left over from a failed startup.

Made $104,000 in revenue since June (turns out the user acquisition stuff actually works), about 87k of which is profit, so we'll say ~$11,000/month part-time. It still makes me a solid $2,000/month now with zero work, and hopefully more once the book is officially published. (It's done and delivered to backers, but won't be on bookshelves and Amazon until after it's typeset.)


I know the marketing will be over-the-top for HN. Just know it sells because the content is really, really good.

IAmEveryone 3 days ago 4 replies      
210,000 Euro, divided between me and a friend.

We started a small online shop about 10 years ago, and it's mostly automated. About 5 minutes/day + one week / year of work.

Before that, I had spent a few years (trying to) run rather big software projects (for me I was 18 or 19). They had cost me so many sleepless nights that I swore to never again take on customers paying me more than 100 Euro each. Now, if anybody complains, or gets on my nerves, they get their money back and are never heard from again.

My friends joke I'm the living example for an unconditional basic income. They haven't decided on the outcome yet, though.

limedaring 3 days ago 4 replies      
I wrote Hello Web App and Hello Web App: Intermediate Concepts (http://hellowebapp.com, they're learn-to-build-a-web-app books using Django) and self-published both in 2015.

Just checked and this year I've made about $13,000 in profit. It's mostly passive this year I started using a fulfillment company so the majority of my work is sending them orders (and answering questions about the book.)

Hoping to continue the trend next year by launching a book on teaching design for engineers (http://hellowebdesignbook.com).

rachelandrew 3 days ago 1 reply      
I put my CSS Layout knowledge into an online course at:


Interestingly it has been very popular with teams (so selling a set of licenses so a whole team of developers can use the material). I also teach the same material in person (either in-house or in open workshops) so I'm keeping the two in sync. I made some notes about that process on my blog: https://rachelandrew.co.uk/archives/2016/06/03/creating-an-e...

I intend to do a bit more marketing of both the in-person and online training in the new year.

As an independent (not working for a browser vendor) invited expert to the CSS Working Group, training and offering this course is really how I can fund doing that.

timbowhite 3 days ago 2 replies      
TLD List - https://tld-list.com

It's a price comparison website for top-level domains. Gross on average is $600/month through affiliate sales and data download subscriptions. Requires maybe 10-20 hours of work per month for maintenance and new features.

The most difficult part is tracking registrar affiliate earnings, and then actually getting paid by the registrar. Many require you to manually request a payout once you've reached the minimum payout threshold, others simply ignore your payout requests.

elcapitan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Being a developer in a large corporation.
ThomPete 3 days ago 0 replies      
My side project http://www.ghostnoteapp.com is still growing.

It's a tricky product because the way the app work is not for everyone, at the same time when people use it they normally share it with their friends. So I get good organic traffic. The biggest issue is to explain whats unique about this productivity tool, but seeing the video normally do the job.

It's not able to pay for me not working yet as I live in NY so there are obvious reasons for that being hard.

But it does provide me with a healthy chunk of money. And through feedback from customers I have found a new product in the same area and that will be a SaaS product.

refrigerator 3 days ago 3 replies      
My brother and I have built a couple of test prep sites for UK medical school entrance exams: https://www.bmat.ninja, https://www.ukcat.ninja . BMAT Ninja made about $25k this year (up from $16k last year) and UKCAT about $10k.

Didn't do any work on marketing really so it is pretty much passive, but I think with a bit of work they could both do a lot better. It's a very seasonal market - we only get customers for about 3 months per year (the 3 months leading up to the exams), so thinking of branching out into other exams that occur during other times of the year so the income is a bit more steady.

tove 3 days ago 2 replies      
My passive income is quite standard. Three apartments in a new block. I bought all of them four years ago when the construction was still unfinished. This got me a good price. I knew that the area would be under continuous development, therefore it won't be hard to find renters. I was right. Best part is that I didn't even have to furnish them. I managed to rent them all unfurnished.
dejv 3 days ago 2 replies      
I do have portfolio of small web apps: tools for learning music notes, non-latin alphabets, language flash cards and so forth.

They are making some nice money each year, but the trend is quite clear: given same traffic I am making about 50% less each year. Ad revenue is way down (more adblock users, less money per click, CTR is down), but paid premium plans are balancing it a bit.

These projects are still my biggest passive income stream, but they are going to die in few years. Other than that I am owning agriculture land (that I am renting), rental property and portfolio of p2p loans.

Those traditional assets are much more expensive to acquire, but then the yield is much predictable and stable. Still, the tech projects are my best source of income considering the amount of money/time required to create it.

tomschlick 3 days ago 1 reply      
ZoneWatcher - Side project of mine to monitor your/your clients' DNS services and alert when a change to a zone has been made. It serves as a revision history & alerting system which has been helpful when a client fucks with their DNS and expects you to put Humpty Dumpty back together quickly.

I launched it a few months ago and have a few smaller subscribers with a handful of larger subscribers.


Tharkun 3 days ago 1 reply      
My passive income has mostly dried up this year. Years ago I built an automated webshop deployment system for a bloke who makes hundreds of small websites a year, and dozens of webshops a year. The deal was that I'd build it for free, but I'd get a fee per shop he deployed. This worked out pretty well for a couple of years, but now he's swimming in money and is retiring, and my passive income source has dried up.

Of course, because of my laziness, I took the passiveness too far and it's now all but impossible to reuse it for another potential client.

It was fun while it lasted.

yeahdef 3 days ago 6 replies      
http://dollarfuckyou.com/I've made about 300$ :/
cesarb 3 days ago 3 replies      
Here in Brazil we have it easy. The most boring funds (the ones which track the interbank rate - CDI) easily return around 12% per year (depending on the administration fee; the smaller the administration fee, the higher the return). With the inflation around 6% per year, this gives around 6% returns before tax. If you stay with the fund for at least two years (and it's of the correct kind), the tax rate is 15% over the gains, so you have an after-tax return of around 5% per year above inflation. And that's for a fund which basically never gives negative returns.

You can go further and buy government bonds directly, through the Tesouro Direto system. Those indexed by the SELIC rate (which is sort of related to the CDI) are currently around 13.5% per year, before administration fees and taxes (in fact, the boring funds I mentioned above mostly invest in these SELIC-indexed government bonds).

This will change when (and if) rates get lower, but so far, investing in these funds or bonds is the simplest (and one of the best) way to have passive income.

antr 3 days ago 4 replies      
In early 2016 I purchased commercial real estate, got a 25 year fixed rate mortgage, and leased it. This requires very little of my time every month, and the post-tax yield is above 5%. I couldn't be happier.

I'm now considering doing this again in 2017. Hopefully interest rates will remain as low as they have been in order to lock-in an attractive mortgage.

PascLeRasc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Adding an optional buy button to my Chrome Extension has made me $0.59 so far, so technically that's my best.

My friend has made about $650 off of his AMD investment so far though and is thinking of moving all of it into Micron.

vladdanilov 3 days ago 5 replies      
Optimage a visually lossless image optimization tool


Released this week. Came unnoticed on HN but somehow got featured on PH. 1200+ downloads of free version and a few sales.

Not sure if that'll change. In that case, the best of 2016 will be one of the plugins for Sketch https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12319286.

Murkin 3 days ago 2 replies      
A self published book on "Redux". Still in progress but already sold for 3,160$ in revenue between me and a friend.

Hope to have it really pickup once done and turn profitable


robius 3 days ago 2 replies      
I used to do index funds. Then I went looking for an active portfolio manager. After a few years I found one, he was good, but 6mo in he switched jobs and left for another career.

The next guy wasn't good and eventually didn't want to actively manage the account. I kept looking until this year when I found fractalgo, which is used by large institutional investors to trade through science without emotion and second-guessing.

Downside is you needed to be a qualified investor.

I called up the owner curious about how the fractal tech worked and found out he was setting up a service for everyone, not just the big guys.

After some research I moved my IRAs left over from previous 401Ks to a custodian that can do directed investments + broker and let the automated system go.

Couldn't be happier. No humans required once set up, and it keeps growing like a weed while I sleep.

Do your own research for what works for you and seek it out. You will find it, eventually.


Since doing so well, they just opened a fund using the same technology.


3 days ago 3 days ago 2 replies      
frou_dh 3 days ago 1 reply      
2 (count 'em) dollars a month. For letting two people who don't want to run an instance of my OSS program themselves tap into my personal instance.
joemanaco 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm making between $3'000 and $10'000 Dollars with native apps/games and html5 games. I made much much more a few years ago but app store revenue is decreasing each month and all my latest apps made me nearly nothing. (My portfolio: http://intermediaware.com).
buf 3 days ago 2 replies      
https://www.castingcall.club Social network for amateur voice actors. I wrote about it here: https://medium.com/@buf/accidentally-built-a-successful-soci... Brings in about $2k/mo.

p2p lending is hit or miss for me: 3-10%

Index funds pull in the rest.

I've also moved temporarily to a very cheap COL country so that I can focus on some more side projects to pull in extra sources of income before I return to the work force.

alkonaut 3 days ago 1 reply      
Money in the bank, made me well over $100 over the whole year.

adjusts monocle

jastr 3 days ago 3 replies      
TheSimplePostcard.com, makes me ~$220/month. Text it a photo and it sends a postcard. It took me a few long weekends to build using Django and Twilio.
scolvin 3 days ago 3 replies      
Helpmanual.io is my first attempt at passive income. Launched 6 weeks ago and traffic is building nicely. There's still a fair bit to do but the delight of sites like this is you can make improvements when you want. Shame that ad income is less than it used to be but we'll see how it gets on.


77yy77yy 3 days ago 2 replies      
Domain sales, over US$ 2M/yr that could have been mid 7 figures easily but still holding onto those other gems. With all the new extensions valuable .com domains is where it is. Brokers managing sales. Also not sure if falls into passive or not, sold a business few years ago and did the financing, still getting paid monthly for few more years.
pilom 3 days ago 1 reply      
I work remotely and moved into an RV to travel around North America with my wife. Started blogging about travel and working on the road at http://therecklesschoice.com and using Amazon affiliate links whenever appropriate that pull in about $50/month.
Shrugs 3 days ago 3 replies      
I made http://fivestar.io/ a year or two ago; it's a better Amazon search.

It shines when you search for something that you want the best version of, without caring about the details; i.e., let the masses determine the quality for you. It weights results based on ratings, review volume, and some other stuff, segmenting the results by price range.

Helps me answer the question "I want the best phone mount for my bike, but I don't want to spend more than $20" without fiddling with Amazon's search parameters and then scanning the page.

Makes ~$100/month off of affiliate links.

thewhitetulip 3 days ago 1 reply      
After being encouraged by folks on HN

I published my tutorial on writing webapps with Go without a framework,


There isn't much income because I want the book to be free, I'm writing another tutorial migrating the same app taught in the book to use VueJS library.

vital101 3 days ago 0 replies      
Many years ago when I was still a PHP + Wordpress developer, I discovered that getting updates to private plugins and themes was a huge pain.

Fast-forward a few years and I finally built out https://kernl.us as a learning project (Mongo, Node.js, Angular). It's mostly passive income now, pulling in ~$450 per month.

andersthue 3 days ago 1 reply      
Still my 5 year old watermarking tool making around 3-5k$ a month.

My only new product this year was a 6 weeks video course [1] in productivity, it makes around $5000 every time I fill a class.

1. http://timeblock.com TimeBlock course

snadal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some years ago, I did some referral promotion for a webhosting company with nice results, around 70k.

Later, company rules changed and I stopped actively promoting it, but second level referrals still are generating 5-10k year with doing absolutely nothing of work.

bert2002 3 days ago 1 reply      
The best was a physical project - www.spypatch.com. A sticker for the camera on your laptop. I dont do any advertisement, but it sells through Amazon and the website. ~2k/y.
joelrunyon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been running https://UltimatePaleoGuide.com for a number of years now. This last year we launched https://PaleoMealPlans.com and it's been a great product / service so far in addition to the rest of our offerings.
herbst 3 days ago 4 replies      
I have a website with ads on it. Or actually a few, but one that mostly pays for my life right now.
sepharoth 3 days ago 0 replies      
Made a med school entrance exam prep platform with my brother last year (www.bmat.ninja) - $12k profit last year, $27k this year.

Once the website was setup, maintenance workload was pretty minimal (the occasional BugSnag report), so I guess that counts as passive.

neals 3 days ago 0 replies      
I build a small CMS / CRM + app as a freelancer, for a client. This was 6 years ago. I build it for almost nothing, because it's a really simple thing that took a week or two.

I agreed to automated billing with him and he pays per user. I also build API's so he can hire other developers to do stuff with the data and add features.

I myself haven't touched the code for years, but the growth of the database means an extra monthly $1250-ish comes in. Which is nice.

discreditable 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a guide on how to get around my local ISP's requirement to use their crappy modem/router combo and recommended a verified-working router with an Amazon affiliate link. Since Jan 1. I've pulled in $160. Very nice since I host at nearlyfreespeech.net and the site has cost less than $1 in hosting this year, and $10 for the domain.
BorisMelnik 3 days ago 2 replies      
Started a hosting company: its very small and only offers shared hosting right now, but it is almost making money. I never wanted to get into hosting, but so many of my clients were using Godaddy etc I just had to get them away from that chaos.

Note: I'm also looking for a partner in this if anyone has any experience let me know.

jsaxton86 3 days ago 3 replies      
It seems like the vast majority of employment contracts prohibit side projects like this, or at the very least, require explicit company approval. I'm interested in hearing strategies on how to best pursue side projects without violating one's employment contract.
errozero 2 days ago 0 replies      
I released the new version of my Acid Machine synth + drum machine web-app just under a month ago. It has made about 200 in the last month.

The web-based version is like a demo, it's free to use but saving and importing is disabled. I'm selling a downloadable desktop app version which has the restrictions removed.

I'm thinking of making it completely free and maybe selling ad-space on there instead.


armenarmen 3 days ago 1 reply      
I built catelus.com a couple weeks ago and I've done $130 in revenue.

It's a domain name idea generator. You feed it a keyword and it translates it into 30+ languages and shows you .com's that are not being used. Trying now to get more eyeballs across it. Fun though!

loloferrari 3 days ago 0 replies      
Been trying to do this for years, never really succeeded.

In 2016 i've relaunched https://www.interssl.com/en/ but when i'm being honest there are just too many support incidents. So i just can't call it passive income anymore - even if that was the initial idea.

The margin of sales without support basically just covers the cost for the orders that require heavy support. Remaining income is basically blown for advertising and maintaining the site.

My conclusions:

a) think twice about potential time killers - even if the core business model per se is passive, it might turn out to be time intensive ...

b) i'd rather not go into reselling something anymore but rather sell my own product, gives me more financial headroom.

my 2 cents.

odbol_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I made about $10 from app sales of my Android Wear watchfaces https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.odbol.foun... and https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.odbol.oxwo...

$10... For the whole year. App sales aren't the golden goose everyone things they are.

t0mislav 3 days ago 3 replies      
25$/month in Adsense. Not much, but it's passive and it grows.Everything started as a fun small project. http://random.country/
averageweather 3 days ago 3 replies      

Only have made like $20 off Adsense, but I've got a lot more work to try and get this tool into passive mode:

* working on selecting a date range

* style up the site a bit more

* maybe have users so you can save searches etc

I get very valuable data that the travel industry would probably consider great leads, but I'm just figuring out what to do with it all.

Edit - and fill out these graphs: http://www.averageweather.io/monthly/boston/ma/12/

panorama 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote an ebook that helps Junior Developers get jobs - it's primarily targeted at bootcamp grads: https://kokev.in/hired-fast

In the past 8-10 months, it made about $5k+ through sales as well as partnerships with a couple online bootcamps. Not too shabby as I spent almost no time marketing it. Plus it was fun to write since I'm passionate about the topic and I've received some awesome feedback (of the "you actually changed my life"-sort). That was more than worth the hundreds of hours I spent writing it, the small bit of money aside.

pfooti 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wrote a blog post about three years ago about doing single-sign-on stuff between salesforce and google by writing a google appengine app that acted as a SAML IDp. At the time, salesforce didn't speak OAUTH and google didn't natively speak SAML, so you had to do it on your own. I put it on an old blog I had laying around and turned on google adsense.

To date, I've made $6.31 from that blog post alone. Someday, I'll get over $100, so adsense will pay out.

kidproquo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tasktopus, is a lightweight, task manager for the desktop (Mac OS X, Windows and Linux). Tasks are managed on a Kanban-style board with Backlog, Doing, Done and Archived columns.

Built with Qt. 14-day trial on Gumroad[0]. Also available on Mac App Store[1].

MAS version has made me 40$/month. Gumroad version is better (lets you try it and lets you use same license key on all 3 platforms). However, I have sold only one license on Gumroad! I guess the MAS has better discoverability.

[0] https://gumroad.com/l/ADWm/tasktopus[1] https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/tasktopus/id1039688985

georgiecasey 3 days ago 1 reply      
an android app that pulls in about 500 a month. i coded it years ago and literally have not thought about it this year until now. it used to bring in about 700-800 a month but i finally got some competition after a few years. i've noticed the app game is tightening up
AtticusTheGreat 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just recently launched a statuspage aggregator at https://statusbeacon.io which has been pretty cool to work on.

I've also got an online multiplayer boggle game that has made me low 3 digits per month since about 2008, http://serpentinegame.com, mostly ad revenue but also paid memberships.

wonderwonder 2 days ago 0 replies      
Built an saas document management & review site for a very large company 3 years ago. I have a monthly maintenance contract with them and receive about $3,500 per month. After expenses (insurance & hosting) and my partners split I net $1,300 per month. Over the last 2 years, I have invested an average of about 2 hours a month, most months I do no work at all.
boudra 3 days ago 1 reply      
Launched this small tool 5 weeks ago: http://sqlify.ioMade a few dollars with AdSense.
weichsel 3 days ago 0 replies      
I added an animated GIF exporter to my lossless screen recorder Claquette (macOS, https://www.peakstep.com/claquette).The project got some traction when Apple featured me in the Mac App Store this August. It also entered the Product Hunt front page and finished in the top 3 on launch day.Revenue is nothing spectacular, but it's a nice additional income.
djaychela 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've written a book on using Cubase with a general grounding in music, recording and music technology [1]. Income has been very patchy, and never what I'd hoped for at any point. Best month has been around 450, but that's only happened a couple of times (I don't know why, either, unfortunately), usually it's more like 40. Made about 2000 in total, so definitely not something to retire on. Unsure as to whether it's the market for the book, the quality of the book (I hope not and don't think so given the positive feedback I have had from those who have bought it), or a total lack of marketing that's at fault. Not entirely passive as I've had to update it for each revision of the software that has come along, which takes around a week's full time work.


pmorici 3 days ago 0 replies      
I design & build adapters for old server power supplies that make it super easy to reuse them as general purpose 12 volt power supplies.
kaa2102 3 days ago 0 replies      
Web and email hosting. Designed sites in 2015, hosted on Google Cloud and continued to take in monthly web and email hosting income in 2016.
brandables 3 days ago 1 reply      

I sold a domain I had intended to develop this year to a FB founder for $12,000 and another for $7,500. After researching I found there are few places to buy really good startup domains so I made brandfountain to passively fund my startup(s)!

grecy 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wrote my first e-book [1] about how to save money to work less and live your dreams. I'm really happy for a first attempt, and it has inspired me to write more.

[1] http://amzn.to/2hcfuB7 - Work Less to Live Your Dreams

xchaotic 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a rental property, it's not much, barely breaking even on mortgage payments, but the hope is I will have the principal as an asset when the mortgage is paid off and any payments coming in will be pure bonus.
nemoniac 3 days ago 0 replies      
So does Bitcoin not count as passive income?
Nilzor 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is my portfolio :


None of them have made a lot of money, but one is still generating a small amount. Guess which. Hint: Income is not proportional with the shinyness of the technology stack

srigi 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Running ransomware network. For $6000 investment you can get $80000/month rent coming to you.
vyoming 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have launched https://drilldb.com couple of months ago, got few paying users and growing each month.
halcyondaze 2 days ago 1 reply      
~$2k/mo from an informational hobby-related website I run and monetize with affiliate sales. Growing, too!
cannin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Passive investing in commission-free index exchange traded funds (ETFs) along with a lazy portfolio explorer (http://portfolios.lunean.com/) to analyze ETF portfolios (e.g. backtesting, portfolio comparisons, and ETF correlations).
jventura 3 days ago 0 replies      
I did an Android app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.flatangle....) earning me some 80 since August. Hope next year will be better!
codecamper 3 days ago 2 replies      
I want to be able to invest in solar projects. These projects often have internal rates of return of 10%+.

However, this involves 20 or 30 year contracts to buy power from you after you have made the initial investment to purchase /rent land and install the panels.

Wish there were a way to securitize those deals & allow us to trade them like bonds.

soft_dev_person 3 days ago 0 replies      
I made some silly fan designs on CafePress many years ago. Haven't really touched it since then, but it still generates $50 per year. Provisions have been going down. though.

That being said, it's mostly 2 designs out of ~35 that sells anything at all.

I'm sure there's some potential in there, but it's kind of hit and miss.

2throwaway2000 3 days ago 3 replies      
I make $1,400/mo from Google AdSense. I made a Wordpress website for people who want to find information about other people. I don't do anything on the site anymore besides perform Wordpress updates. It's basically changed my whole life and I am very fortunate/lucky. Throwaway account.
DictumMortuum 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am the person behind http://dictummortuum.blogspot.com

I reach the adsense threshold about once every year, so it's ~70 euro/year. Sad, but I don't spend a lot of time maintaining it.

sdfjkl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon referrals. I made 40 or so.
ronnier 2 days ago 1 reply      
$2,550 in rental home income on a house that will be paid off in 3 months.
alecmgo 3 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.siliconvalleyguide.org is a geeky tour guide to Silicon Valley. It makes about $10/month in ads.
37463892 3 days ago 1 reply      
I make about $80 a month from (http://redreport.org/), mainly from organic search traffic.
shellerik 3 days ago 1 reply      
$50k from investment earnings (index funds, mostly 401k - I'm in my 40s).

$20k from a website I built a couple years ago (searchable product catalog with Amazon affiliate links).

wordpressdev 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maintaining a few websites, ranging from a gift ideas website based on (and earning from) Amazon, to some content sites, latest being www.americaundertrump.com
joshuak 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Investment" is not income, passive or otherwise.

Income is step one. Investment of that income is step two.

A "salary" is income that is bound to time worked.

"Passive income" is income that is not bound to time worked.

The key difference between passive income vs investing, is what is being invested. With passive income like salary _time_ is the investment, not money. That's why it's income.

All the comments discussing saving and investment strategies are rather missing the point of the question.

jccalhoun 3 days ago 0 replies      
i made like $125 in amazon gift cards between swagbucks and bing(now microsoft) rewards points.
wlievens 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stock appreciation and dividends.
buckhx 3 days ago 1 reply      
koyao 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sold a condo in California and bought two investment properties in Texas.
fratlas 3 days ago 1 reply      
Trump game! Not huge amount, but for the small amount of the effort it was great.
woodyb23 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bitcoin has been my most profitable.
jdmoreira 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very curious to know how much both 64bites.com and buildyourownlisp.com made this year. Maybe the authors would like to comment? :)
andreshb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Airbnb listings in NYC, BOG, MDE - make enough to live almost anywhere I want.
ommunist 3 days ago 0 replies      
rent from real estate
myroon5 3 days ago 1 reply      
Using Lendingrobot - an automated p2p lending service
jeremyt 3 days ago 0 replies      
estomagordo 3 days ago 0 replies      
2016 isn't over. Ask in 3 weeks time.
dbg31415 3 days ago 3 replies      
Surprised nobody has mentioned getting married yet. Dual incomes is probably the easiest path to wealth. Just don't ever get divorced...
shadykiller 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't need to invest anywhere. My company invests for me in 401k and by the time i retire i will get $401,000 as the name suggests :)
eevilspock 3 days ago 2 replies      
This post is what's wrong with Capitalism. Rent seeking. The Matthew Effect. Making money by making money.
branchless 3 days ago 1 reply      
Passive income. So great that financiers gave people a nice name for extorsion. Some ideas on here are creating value and selling it over time. No problem with that.

Too many are rentier activity, costing everyone more in the long run. Appropriating wealth rather than creating it.

Hacker news seems to embrace this culture. Surely the antithesis of the early days of computing and the origin of hacker culture.

Ask HN: What is something you do for clients that consistently blows them away?
387 points by fapi1974  2 days ago   264 comments top 72
Zyst 2 days ago 9 replies      
Most of these seem to be very on the side of "I'm a company", so as a sole developer what I like to do for clients is implementing sockets into their apps.

Adding sockets for, say, the 3 newest logs they get in real time. Or if they have anything that maps to a graph/app-overview just make sure that will always update in real time. It's not a huge time investment for me. Customers usually never request it specifically. But I've found they are blown away when they see how everything is updated in real time. It just makes the whole thing feel 'alive'.

Another thing which I don't personally love, but I do because I understand industries have differences is just exporting whatever can be exported into .csv files or .xls files where applicable.

All in all, I work in consulting. The code I write is meant to make the life of people easier, I want to make sure they get that when possible. A big part of why I'm able to do this is that I have a lot of creative freedom to do whatever I want so long as I'm getting stuff shipped. So huzzah for comprehensive management as well!

chrissnell 2 days ago 6 replies      
My answer here is more relevant to an e-commerce company but the basic idea can be adapted to any company.

So, back in 1994, my dad and me started an ecommerce company (bikeworld.com) that sold bicycle parts online. It was an extension of his brick-and-mortar bicycle business and I took a couple of years leave from college to help him build it.

He did one thing early on that generated amazing word-of-mouth support: send a little treat in every order box. Our company was based in San Antonio, TX and Dad decided to include a little local flavor with each order to make us stand out from the few competitors we had back then (incumbent mail order outfits). At every good Mexican restaurant back home, they sell Mexican chewy candies at the cash register when you pay after your meal. My dad and I loved these things so he went to the manufacturer in town and bought a few cases of them. They were really expensive, like $0.50 each, and it became a big expense but the customers went nuts. Dad printed up a little card that he put in the bag with the candy, explaining the tradition and thanking them for their business. It worked well--we quickly became one of the largest online bicycle stores of the late 90s.

lb1lf 2 days ago 2 replies      
Whenever I find myself at my desk not knowing what to fill the next few minutes with, I tend to call a more or less random customer - the ones who USE our products, not the ones who procure them - and ask them what they think suck about our current offerings.

Most educational, and it has resulted in a number of improvements to our product line (subsea handling equipment - used for deployment and maintenance of subsea wellheads, submarine communication&power cables, &c, &c.)

They all expect you to ask what feature they like best; they're always baffled when you rather ask where we've screwed up - and more than happy to help! :)

This is very cheap and effective market research.

tiffani 2 days ago 1 reply      
We call them back.

I run The Human Utility (formerly the Detroit Water Project) and we help folks with their water bills. When they reach us, they're used to dealing with other social service agencies that aren't very responsive and don't do something as basic as ever calling them back. We do and we find that people are grateful even for that.

Edit: People are happy to hear from us regardless of whether we actually help with their bills. If we say we can't, at least they know to try elsewhere and can do so fairly quickly.

gkoberger 2 days ago 3 replies      
When I did freelancing, I charged a bit more than I felt I should... but went above and beyond. My hourly rate may have been high, but I spent many "non-billable hours" making sure everything worked great and any changes (their fault or mine) were accounted for.

I did a few jobs where someone else controlled the billing, and kept us on a tight schedule. Every hour was billed. We were "fired" (AKA contract not renewed) every time. Yet when I went above and beyond, I had no problem getting and maintaining awesome clients.

As someone on the opposite side now (hiring freelancers), I've realized the thing I value most: the freelancer gives me less work, not more. It may seem obvious, but when I was on the other side, it wasn't. When I hire freelancers now, I value one overarching quality: to make my life easier. I don't care about price or hours (within reason), I care about not having to think about it.

vcool07 2 days ago 10 replies      
I never disagree with a client. Even if I internally feel it won't work in reality, I always start my response with "That's an excellent idea you proposed, let me try if it works and get back to you". I come back after a day or two as to why the proposal won't work (if it was a bad idea to begin with) with sufficient data. Client is happy you that you considered his proposal and you've avoided a potential standoff that could've existed for the same duration !
RickS 2 days ago 3 replies      
Here's an internal facing one: We send an automated greeting from the CEO as part of onboarding, but he actually sees and replies to every customer response, in both english and spanish, and forwards the more heartwarming ones on to the entire office.

It's pretty cool to get a handful of emails every day from actual customers who are very grateful for the work we do.

It also changed my opinion on the "canned CEO greeting". As someone who knows how those are built, they always struck me as annoying and disingenuous sales gimmicks, but our customers are significantly less tech savvy, and a huge number take the correspondence at face value and actually start a real conversation with the CEO.

rdpowers 2 days ago 2 replies      
I do hardware engineering work for hire and one of the things that always works is having some documentation ready at the first formal meeting.

Specifically, I have a skeleton requirements document that I put together from our previous correspondence (there's always a phone call, few emails, etc.) trying to flesh out their project needs. It doesn't matter if this is incomplete, inaccurate, or any other in-word. It shows that I'm a professional who has tried to understand the problem, the business case, possible solutions, will approach it methodically and like a real engineer, and that I know what I'm doing.

Those 10-15, printed, very real, pages, mostly just ?-marks, have written me more contracts than I can count. It takes about 1-2 hours of work to write things up, but I've never - not once -, had a potential client fail to notice and be impressed when I show up and have a presentable document already underway.

cperciva 2 days ago 2 replies      
If there's a Tarsnap outage because I screwed something up, I give Tarsnap users a credit to their accounts... without waiting for them to complain.

Apparently this is unusual. I can't imagine doing it any other way; I mean, who wants to deal with thousands of emails from customers who are owed account credits?

gk1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Call them out when they're wasting money on marketing. This has been in my "blog post drafts" folder for a while, but the short version is: One of the first things I do on new projects (I'm a customer acquisition consultant) is review the running campaigns and their results from the past few months. Not clickswhich is what all the dashboards show youbut actual results like signups and new customers.

Almost always I find money being drained away. There was the time when a company targeting Python developers was losing its AdWords budget on snake enthusiasts. Another time a mobile analytics company was spending thousands on people searching for free apps. In another case a company whose ads went to a 404 page and nobody realized. Also recently I found that an SEO agency was falsifying results to one of my clients (the contract was quickly terminated).

I don't know if "blown away" is the correct phrase. It's more like a brief moment of embarrassment followed a huge sense of relief that a budget leak was found and plugged.

PS - The companies described here have successful products made by brilliant people. This is more a symptom of hiring the marketers who don't have the skill (or intention) to demonstrate the results of their efforts.

gpayal 2 days ago 2 replies      
Consistent updates(mostly daily) on email with screenshots and quick short screencasts. A lot of times a particular feature takes more than a day to complete and be pushed to some server for client to actually see what it looks like. But if I create in progress screenshots and videos from my dev machine it always impresses my clients.
dbg31415 2 days ago 2 replies      
These are a few things that have gotten me praise over the years:

1) Keep emails short. I set a 200 word max on all emails. If you can't say what you need to say in 200 words, schedule a meeting to discuss. If you have to send long documents, send a 2-3 sentence summary. Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them... in 200 words. (=

2) Keep detailed time records and make them available to the client on-demand. They paid for it, might as well show them what they are getting. Be honest... if your team wasted 4 hours trying to make sense of a BS email from the client... make sure they understand that.

3) Being on time and inclusive; inviting them to daily standup meetings with the team, and posting notes from those standup meetings in case they (or anyone else) can't be there. Easy with a Google Sheet to just type a few notes each day during standup. I don't have any tools for the team that the client can't access, or hasn't been given a rundown on how we utilize it.

JoachimS 2 days ago 1 reply      
One thing we did a few years ago when we found that a customer didn't use revision control was to bring in a server. A small PC with Linux, Subversion and Trac. We not only could explain the benefits of RCS, but the customer could see changes, att issues, get them resolved etc. When the job was done, the customer kept the machine.

I occasionally bump into old customers and many still run the same server. All of them are today using revision control systems.

So basically we didn't just provide a tech solution, but also brought in methodology and free tools to implement that methodology.

seanlinehan 2 days ago 2 replies      
Lower their prices, without prompting. At Flexport we sell logistics services. The price of ocean freight is highly variable (less dynamic than, say, the stock market or airline seats, but still fluctuates a ton). We make money by brokering these services. In some cases, the price of freight drops in the time between customers when contract us (and agree to a price) and the service gets executed (when we contract with the asset owner). We pass those savings on to the customer and let them know. This usually results in big joy, all around.
johngalt 2 days ago 1 reply      
Generic company sysadmin.

I have a rotating list of power user tips. I'll pick one to show someone during a trouble call (provided no one is in a huge hurry). It has to be something cool that I can demonstrate/teach in seconds. Examples:

Snipping tool. Rather than writing down error codes.

Windows key + start typing the program name. Rather than navigating the start menu.

Piles of excel tricks. (everyone loves excel)

The big thing is knowing your audience. People enjoy participating in something, not just being shown things they can never accomplish. If you make it something they can't understand it will just make them feel stupid or frustrated.

fapi1974 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'll add one here from my own business, which is customer care outsourcing. The outbound call. Basically it comes with the territory when things go wrong. But when you call the customer before they realize things have gone wrong they are always, always grateful and impressed. Same thing goes for a "just checking in to see you are enjoying the service" call. Since we have agents sitting around all the time anyway this is time that can be used to call up customers and impress them.
loteck 2 days ago 2 replies      
Look at how many of the answers in this thread are simply about communicating effectively.

That mirrors my experience when I was on the service provider side, and as someone who is now consuming those same services, I can confirm that I am most impressed by my providers when the communications are focused, helpful and timely.

kayman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Respond to requests right away.

A lot of the time, when a client has a request, they are thinking out loud in the moment.Even if I can't pick up the phone, I'll send a short email straight away to let them know that

1. I got the message 2. Timeframe when I can action

cyberferret 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. Deliver just a little more than they expect. Most times when we write a web app for enterprise customers, we try and give them a little bit of extra functionality than they ask for. One example is the user profile settings for their sign on to our web apps - most customers are only bothered with having a username and password, but we often incorporate things like ability to choose avatar images or upload their own images against their profile.

We did this on one education site we developed, and also gave them the ability to choose from about a dozen 'stock' cartoon style avatars if they didn't want to upload their own images. The users were impressed at the handover training session we ran, but I overhead one guy (who was indigenous Australian aboriginal descent) jokingly remark that the stock avatars didn't have a person of indigenous culture represented.

I took note of that, and when I returned to the office, we added a handful of indigenous avatars as well within the hour. Client was happy that we went the extra mile to take their offhand comment seriously and deliver on it.

2. Saying 'No' to 'easy money' projects. We've worked with some of our clients for over 20 years now. Mainly because often when they come to us to add on features to their custom written apps, we often say 'No', along with some valid data to explain why we thing the $$$ sunk into the added feature are of very little benefit.

This has lead to them trusting us a LOT more when we go the other way. Real world case study - we had one client, whom we developed a short term loan application for, ask us to add a Monday morning report with customer mobile numbers so they could do a ring around check for customers who were about to default on their loans.

I said 'Sure, but lets go one better'. I said that along with the report, it wouldn't take much extra work to actually have the system send out an SMS message to all those clients as well, with details on their upcoming defaults, and what they needed to do to fix the issue.

They were delighted and said to go for it. Well, that was two years ago, and it turns out that the SMS messages by themselves have reduced their default rate by an incredible amount, and they are FAR more profitable as a result. Hmm, maybe I should have asked for a percentage of profit increase as my payment! :)

babayega2 2 days ago 1 reply      
I discuss wit a client about some data they collect using an Excel form. Prototype quickly under one hour a small CRUD app based on Django and set Django Import-Export [0]

Get an easier Excel sheet containing data. They're gaga about that. I've won contracts just by showing them that they will get all the data in an Excel sheet.

[0]: https://github.com/django-import-export/django-import-export

julienmarie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Something we were doing when I had a web design agency was to have awesomely beautiful and detaild proposals where we summed up the context, constraints and goals of the project. We considered them as our first deliverable and spent time creating beautiful indesign templates. It allowed us to stand out from the start.Another thing is while our competitors were usually not showing anything yet at this bidding stage, we were already delivering some high def mockups, sometimes within the weekend.Last thing, we didn't have any sales people. Meetings with leads and customers were directly being handled by tech leads and lead designers, who were not there to sell, but to advise and find solutions with the client, explaining and integrating the client within the process from the start.All in all, we won all the biddings at the time despite being usually 30% more expensive.Something we were doing also is to include free perks that didn't cost us anything and was making a lot of difference for them ( free access to our email marketing platform, server monitoring, etc... ).
notlisted 2 days ago 1 reply      
Tell them the truth, even if it means fewer projects/billable hours for me.

Every single lead I've talked out of working with me, has referred me to another customer and/or came back weeks-years later with a bigger project that did make sense to pursue.

Choice quote: are you allergic to money?

gmarcus 2 days ago 0 replies      
My business develops mobile apps for clients. They love when I analyze major announcements from Apple / Google and explain how the new features may apply to their apps. They feel they have a partner, and it typically results in new development for us.
pknerd 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am a developer and usually writes web scrapers or automation tools most of the time beside typical web development. A couple of things I did and worked for me.

- I offer them more than what they expect. At times scraping additional info which I think is useful but they did not realize I extract that too. Sometimes they ask for the script or data, one of them and I just offer them both and they appreciate it lot. Though that script is not helpful for them and they eventually come to me but it's just increase their trust.

- It sounds silly and dangerous but often I don't ask advanced payment from clients and prefer to show off some skills, mostly it was quite helpful and they worked me on other projects as well.

trelliscoded 2 days ago 2 replies      
Anticipate their emergency procedures, and ship them a binder wrapped with dire warnings should it be removed from the data center. Multiple customers have said this has saved their bacon.
neals 2 days ago 0 replies      
My rates! Seriously. That's how high they are and that's where I want them.

But because I pick up the phone when they call and I seem trustworthy, they pay it. Also, I take my work very seriously, and they get what they pay for.

Contrary to what I read here, I put me first, my company second and the client third. I think that in consulting, this is the only way to stay sane and deliver on time and to spec.

angrymouse 2 days ago 1 reply      
I work in a large health organisation right now and the thing that seems to blow most away is just saying yes.

I don't work in the IT department and they basically say no to everything. Regardless of business value or difficulty.

I work in the chief executive office and numerous departments will be amazed when I say yes... Let me look into that.

Recent example was a publicly facing, real-time waiting time tracker for the city's A&E (as well as two walk in centres). Each solution I thought of had compromises but they chose the one they could live with.

chrisbennet 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know if these things "blow them away" but I do think they are differentiators:

- I bring homemade cookies to our first meeting and if the client likes them, to subsequent meetings. The first time I did this for purely selfish reasons; I like cookies but I'll eat the whole batch myself unless I get someone else to "take a cholesterol bullet" for me.

- I'm extremely honest and forthcoming. I tell them that it may sound like I'm trying to talk them out of hiring me but what I'm actually trying to do is make sure we're a really good fit. I tell them even the non-flattering data about my capablities or lack thereof i.e. I've told more then one potential client "I can spell 'SQL'" when they tell me they'd like to incorporate a data base in the product they want me to make. (But my wife is an expert and she'll help me out.) I tell them my estimates are usually off by a factor of 4X. You know what is worse than not getting a contract? Getting a contract where you can't make the client happy.

- I tell them that they can probably do the job without me - and I mean it. "Here's how I would do this. ... That part might be tricky, I can't remember off the top of my head but I'll look it up and send you some links on this.. Buy me lunch and you can pick my brains."

- Communicate even when there is no news or it's bad news. "I still haven't received your hardware but I wanted to call so you'd know before you left for the weekend. I'll call the vendor on Monday."

elorant 2 days ago 1 reply      
Build much better UIs than my competition. It's a known issue, we developers rarely take the time to bother with UI and it's a shame because it makes all the difference in the world, especially in web apps. Clients can't tell technical superiority, they can only judge from what they see and if your UI is stellar you'll make selling a lot easier. And you know, judging from the fact that so many of us are afraid of the sales side this could be a lifesaver. Build better UIs to counteract the fact that you suck at sales.
fecak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Show them how to do it themselves, and teach them "why" I do things the way I do them. I write resumes for clients and do them in Google Docs, and I invite the client into the doc from the very start. They can actually watch (in real-time, if so inclined) the work being done at all stages in the process.

Lots of them will ask why a certain decision was made that seemed unusual, and sometimes the dialogue gets into some rather detailed nuances of how readers interpret bits of information and how it's delivered. I came to resume writing after ~20 years in recruiting, so I am able to provide insight into what the audience for their resume is thinking.

Clients say they like the collaborative approach and appreciate that they learn things that they can apply next time (and not have to pay for the service again).

justintocci 2 days ago 1 reply      
Answering the phone when it rings. Not so much old clients, but new clients are consistently impressed with this. A lot of our competitors don't answer and some don't even have voice mail.
v4n4d1s 2 days ago 1 reply      
We clean devices, such as notebooks and keyboards, before returning them to our internal customers/users.
ryanmarsh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Build a rudimentary CI pipeline that automatically runs some kind of test.

Don't roll your eyes. You might live in a JS filter bubble but there are a lot of impoverished developers working in software engineering ghettos.

technotarek 2 days ago 1 reply      
Using web dev tools / inspector during a screen cast demo, either to modify a style or to show a site/app's responsive behavior. Simple, I know, but it comes off as some form of wizardry to many clients.
sgt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Our clients tend to be blown away by map widgets. If we showcase an application and then bring up the embedded Google Maps view, e.g. with different kinds of overlays, most clients are completely blown away.
johnnycarcin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am in a pre-sales position so I am already typically on the clients shit list. Unlike most of my counterparts, I have lived in the world of ops and development and know how fun it is to get a call at 3am when something is down. I use my past experiences to explain to the customer why I would do things a certain way or why I think something might not be a good fit. I listen to what the customer has to say (something many in my field seem to not understand) and try to come up with something that fits well for THEM, not for my bank account.I have had multiple people from various companies I have worked with tell me that they really appreciated my honesty and I typically get great customer satisfaction reviews, even if the project doesn't go that well.

To me it really is as simple as don't be a dick.

barbolo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm partner of a B2B business.

We send cards and/or gifts on Christmas for every client. I and my partner write all the cards. We always thank the client for being with us another year and we ensure them we will do everything possible for the next year to be even better.

We haven't lost a client in the past two years. We have about 30.

mattbgates 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am the web developer/web designer that usually picks up where other web designers left off or "disappeared". They usually leave without a trace or they leave their client with a broken website. I also take them from being charged a fortune down to being charged a much fairer price. I know I could probably continue to charge them a fortune, but I just don't do that to people. I tend to go after people who are on a "shoe string" budget. I mean.. I charge them enough that I'm being paid for my time, but I am willing to work with their budgets.

I also offer something that I find most web people don't: I offer them good customer service. I answer my emails within 24 hours and I pick up my phone usually when they call or I get back to them asap. I try to give them a reasonable price and I expect payment upon delivery of my invoice.

I have just a few clients, but I've never had issues. And most of the time that is what my clients have confirmed that I have offered that no one else offers: customer service. It's just being extremely supportive. They want to know that someone is there when there is a problem. There is nothing worse than the feeling of running a business.. and knowing that you are screwed or worse -- you have to pay someone you don't know a fortune in an emergency situation.

DrNuke 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a consultant and advisor, I add value in the sense that I move my clients forward very fast, whatever they need at the stage they are. Need strategy? We devise a plan together. Need sales? We make calls together. Need r&d? I have a network to rely upon. Need introductions? We have a look at the sector and agree the approach. Need a deliverable? We have a look at capabilities and try the shortest path to put out something for sale. Need services? We test the market together. Blowing away = moving forward efficiently, safely and as soon as possible. That said, the ultimate problem everywhere is sales, so just help clients sell their sh*t and they will be happy, very happy, very very happy.
rgbrgb 1 day ago 0 replies      
On our real estate listing / brokerage site, we have a "GET MORE INFO" button on every property. When a user hits that they'll get an automated response with a title report, but then our agents will follow up the same day with a short note about the property and any additional info we can find. The human follow up tends to be a magic moment and if our agents are able to provide some juicy info, the customer usually sticks with us for their purchase.
lon124 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a great question. I find it's always the little things that do the trick!

Here are my top 2:

I have a simple motto: I aim to save my clients money. This can work in lots of different ways, shaving a day off development here or there, coming up with cheaper solutions, even outsourcing little tasks to UpWork or automating them via an existing web service.

#2: At the end of each week, I like to send a quick summary email. I got that tip from another freelancer. Even though clients have access to online project management, it gives them additional reassurance and they go into the weekend with a sense that you're doing good work on their behalf.

moflome 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mobile app development - releasing a binary download (MVP) in a few days which delivers the bulk of the clients required functionality.

Somehow, at least for (native?) mobile, the spec to implementation transformation still seems magical to many of our clients. I personally think it's the rapid turn around. It seems there's an expectation still that the development will take longer and thus the reaction?

lowglow 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hand written christmas cards are always a big hit.
reubenswartz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't say "blows them away", but apparently, customer service is generally bad enough that these things often provoke a pleasantly surprised reaction:

1. Make it clear that solving their problem is paramount. Not your policies, not getting off the phone ASAP. Sometimes it's something you can help them with directly with your product, sometimes you can't, but just treating them like a person you want to help instead of someone to hang up on is apparently unusual. (This is also a good fit for a lot of the techie folks on HN.)

2. Send a handwritten note. My handwriting is terrible, practically illegible, but people like that I took the time to write to them with pen & paper. Ironically, I didn't do this for a long time, because I thought it would look cheesy, but I gave it a shot and realized I like the little bit of gratitude it brings into my day-- that's really why I do it.

nunez 2 days ago 1 reply      
Overcommunicate. Even when things are going wrong.
caseysoftware 2 days ago 0 replies      
At my last company, when someone sent a solid bug report, made a good pull request to our docs, or asked for swag, I'd send them some gear with a handwritten note and my card.

People went crazy about the handwritten note and got thank you notes for the note! I think it was so different that it was a cool surprise.

stunthamsterio 2 days ago 0 replies      
I spend a lot of time picking up existing and 'legacy' platforms, and it consistently seems to impress my clients when I'm able to implement automation, even on so called 'un-automatable' platforms.

I also think it's the ability to understand that the business and the technical elements may not always work in lockstep, and being able to translate the needs of one to the other.

franze 2 days ago 1 reply      
I get marketing, developers, content-people, biz-dev, product, higher management, middle-management ... in one room ... and after 2 days we produce a prioritized roadmap on how to move the company forward. Plus: No dead bodies, they actually liked beeing there.

Most of the time they can't believe it either. It's fun.

Caerus 2 days ago 0 replies      

I'm a sort of internal consultant in my company who often interfaces with external customers. I've repeatedly heard that no one else provides as thorough yet easily understood documentation. They value the results, but value truly understanding them and being able to follow how I got them almost as much.

justintocci 2 days ago 1 reply      
Obviously anything non-trivial. Lately i've been mixing version control with various things that haven't gotten that feature yet.
bookofjoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wake them up from their general anesthetic. Never fails.
flarg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Requirements analysis in UML blows a lot of my clients away, it lets them see the world in a different way for the first time. I don't think I'm great at it, shows how rarely this is really done for large institutional customers.
BjoernKW 2 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking as an independent IT consultant: Listening and trying to truly understand the problems they have (at least I try to do that as much as possible). Then solving those problems in perhaps unexpected ways. It might sound a bit trite but from my experience business software development often tends to get stuck in a rut and less than optimal or even harmful practices are perpetuated because "it's always been done this way". Cargo cult is an eminent problem in business IT processes that goes unchallenged far too often.

Effective knowledge transfer is another aspect. Not just coding up a solution but teaching others how to solve specific problems by themselves is highly valuable.

eli 2 days ago 0 replies      
When they send us an email, even a reply to a mass email, a real person reads every message and follows up. Simply thing, but people are routinely surprised.
ankurdhama 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask them the questions (about the project/problem) that they never asked themselves.
MWil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Organizing their 4,000 pg VA claims files that are essentially their last 30 years of private and VA health records (usually already organized by facility though), military service, military medical, and the VA claims process

The longer a claims file, the more I get excited because the chance of a VA error is already very high - in a 4,000 pg file I can guarantee at least one big one

djmill 2 days ago 1 reply      
Onsite engineers for UAT and rapid bug fix turnaround. Most bugs reported from customers, during UAT, are fixed by the next morning for another round of testing. This is not always the case, but for most issues, we turn them around in less than 12 hours and the customer is blown away.

This happens ~4 times/year for major releases.

the_arun 2 days ago 0 replies      
Build better products and gracefully handle every scenario. I was always blown away by the attention to details Apple gives to its products compared to others. For eg. Just a video on stress testing water proof behavior of Apple watch
artpop 2 days ago 1 reply      
Tableau vizs
thiyag 2 days ago 0 replies      
The funniest thing I got in a package was a pair of earplugs that Moog Music included in their Minitaur bass synthesizer's box.. I found it hilarious
NicoJuicy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have created an app and site where they can see when I arrive.

I have a big success rate in winning bids. I'm not a sales man, I can help them and a proposal is discussed immediately and i just start

johanneskanybal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Show that you care and build trust. If you are looking for hacks then knowing everyones names before an important meeting is efficient.
babo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Listen to them. As a consultant this is the key, understand the customer first to provide them unique, tailed answers.
dfederschmidt 2 days ago 1 reply      
Installing Adobe Reader.

I'll see myself out.

JoeAltmaier 2 days ago 1 reply      
Finish on time and under budget
rubyfan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Consistently deliver things quickly and for less effort than competitors.
tonyedgecombe 2 days ago 0 replies      
cdevs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fix bugs in under 2 hours ...sometimes
erkkie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Reply to their emails in an timely manner.
samrocksc 1 day ago 1 reply      
jedberg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Use CloudFormation to do anything.
petegrif 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds vulgar.
Seeking help moving from academia (Econ prof, Math PhD) to industry (Data Sci.)
15 points by davidmayerf  22 hours ago   8 comments top 8
qwrusz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi David,

I made a similar move to industry work many years ago. My advice is to clarify what interests you, as data science and machine learning are huge fields. Also "machine learning" is still hard to pin down what that even means these days. If you're willing to start off in a data science role without a heavy machine learning aspect to it, that's very easy; there's tons of companies (startups like Uber and more mature companies like Facebook) that have entire nap rooms of data scientists with PhD's working there and some super interesting data to work with.

If there is a specific area of data science and/or machine learning or other work going on that interests you that you come across, email a PhD at the company doing this work. Many of these people still publish papers at conferences or at the very least have blogs describing what they are working on. Find a company that's doing work that interests you and email the researcher. Don't go through HR. Email the person directly and ask to chat. I found PhD's working in industry to be very receptive to talk to someone qualified and with an interest in the work as they have likely been in your shoes before. Go from there. GL!

Rainymood 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting! How did you go from Math PhD to econ professor? I doubt you just applied to some econ tenure position. Please elaborate, I am very curious about your history!

The reason I am asking this is because I'm enrolled in an econ PhD myself (spec. in advanced econometrics) and I am extremely interested in machine learning and data science. I am constantly looking for ways to combine the two in interesting ways. It's nice to meet someone like-minded.

jonhurlock 20 hours ago 0 replies      
First step apply. With that background, you have a high chance of getting a job straight off.

The problem you may face, is you will need to know how to program in a 'production' environment. So were as in academia you can be a single person running code, in industry, you will have multiple people utilise and check your code. It will have to be robust and scalable. So you may need to brush up on programming skills, though you could be great from the start.

Something I've seen with Academics, is that whilst they are great at solving detailed problems, they sometimes fail to present the impact of their work in a business context, or what they can offer and how it solves business problems, rather than just "interesting" problems.

My advice would be to apply and see what comes back, and get feedback from the people you apply to.

pjmorris 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you find an industry collaborator to work with on a research project? I'd wager someone in your department is willing to bend your ear about interdisciplinary collaborations. Finding (or proposing) something interesting, then applying data science techniques could yield learning, funding, and publications. Rinse and repeat until you've got the skills you want or the new job you want.
pravenj 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Could collaborate on a project that I am contemplating as well as testing out bits and pieces. One thing though I probably am located very far from you and the project would be more of a research project. If interested a few rounds of emails might become a path to follow.
itamarst 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Beyond other suggestions there's things like http://insightdatascience.com/, which is specifically aimed at PhDs.
maxmoo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
can i have your old job? i've been in industry for last couple of years after finishing my phd, and my job feels futile and meaningless (btw yes i'm good at solving "business problems", but i feel pretty depressed/terrified if this is going to be my lasting contribution to the world)
pgroot 20 hours ago 0 replies      
just do what you want to do the best you can do, and learn as you go. mistakes happen and you learn from them. There are plenty of academics who have moved to industry in your field, may be they can chime in. but you should just apply, and go from there.
Ask HN: Best Monitor Around $300 for Dev Work?
104 points by thebiglebrewski  2 days ago   83 comments top 32
no_protocol 2 days ago 9 replies      
I have three of the following:

Dell Computer Ultrasharp U2415 24.0-Inch Screen LED Monitor

I purchased them from Amazon.com:


This is a 24 inch screen in the 16:10 ratio, at a resolution of 1900x1200. It has four inputs (2x HDMI, 1x Mini Display Port, 1x Display Port). I am very happy with these monitors. I like the 16:10 ratio as it gives some extra height compared to 16:9 screens.

santoriv 2 days ago 4 replies      

Samsung 40inch 4k - it was going for $300 on Black Friday but it's a bit pricier now. Purportedly you can get (3840x2160@60Hz 4:4:4)

I have a Samsung 40inch 4k UN40JU6500 that I bought six months ago. Essentially you get the real estate of 4 monitors on a single screen. I usually have a browser, my IDE, and 4 terminals open all at the same time while doing development. It only supports HDMI2 input so I had to buy a Displayport to HDMI adapter to get it to work with my MacBook Pro.

alkonaut 2 days ago 0 replies      
Steals the question: I have to get a new monitor for dev work. I work from home so the office also houses my personal gaming/photo editing rig, meaning this screen will be both my home and work screen.

This means I want to get something that can also do games and photos, but on the companys dime. I want it to be IPS and it should be 1440+ (27"+ or a WS 34") and it would be nice if it could do e.g. 75hz. I don't need 4k.

The important issue though is I don't want it to look to my boss as though I'm buying really expensive monitor just for my gaming - Ideally I'd like to buy a product that works for gaming but isn't called "republic of gamers predator yada yada" if you see what I mean. So which are the "sleeper" gamer IPS monitors out there? Perhaps something with freesync, or a WS 34 that can overclock or something.

gregordv 2 days ago 3 replies      
I use the Seiki 42" 4k TV which hovers around $300 (http://camelcamelcamel.com/Seiki-SE42UM-42-Inch-Ultra-Black/...) as my primary development monitor. As a TV, color-correct, or a gaming monitor, it's rather dross, but as a wall of pixels to work on code, I will never go back to anything smaller. Ever.
OhSoHumble 2 days ago 5 replies      
Honestly, try to go for an ultrawide if you can.


This model would be a good place to start.

sgt 2 days ago 1 reply      
This may be above your budget but I have this one and I'm extremely happy. Retina quality is superb and comparable to my Macbook Pro's retina screen.


It's about $150 more than your budget allows but I made a liberal interpretation of your "$300-ish".

pbreit 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like small pixels and have been happy with this Acer 25" 2560 x 1440 currently $255: https://www.amazon.com/Acer-G257HU-smidpx-25-Inch-Widescreen...
gmays 2 days ago 0 replies      
My standards may be lower than most, but I bought two https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009HNEBLK/ and mounted them to https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002R9HQLI/ (clamps to my desk) a couple years ago and have been pretty happy with the setup.
imafish 2 days ago 1 reply      
I recently got the 25" Dell Ultrasharp U2515H which runs at 2560x1440 resolution, and really love it. Much better to do split screen on than my previous 24" 1080p monitor. It's just north of $300: https://www.amazon.com/Dell-UltraSharp-U2515H-25-Inch-LED-Li...
trcollinson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have been using two of these with a 15" MBP and have had no problems. I like them!


Yhippa 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have two of these and a VESA mount to put them side by side: http://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-pavilion-24xw-238-inch-ips-....

I also have a Magic Trackpad 2 and Magic Keyboard (both by Apple). I feel I'm immensely productive with this suite. With the gestures you feel like you're in Minority Report without the augmented reality.

I thought. Out getting one cheap 4K TV as a monitor but this works better for me as a developer on a MacBook Pro. I can easily run apps in full screen on multiple essentially positionally locked displays and within them snap-to-edges.

For web app development in the left monitor I'll have a browser with the app running full screen and in the right I'll have my IDE in the left 2/3 of the screen snapped and terminal in the right 1/3.

KayL 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like you have Macbook Pro only. I think you won't enjoy any non-4k or non-5k display. I have a Dell 27" as the main developer screen and sometimes I love to read on my Macbook Pro 13" retina. I will save a bit more and wait for a cheap 5k in next one or two years.
BJanecke 2 days ago 0 replies      
So WQHD monitors are generally above that price range, but I would seriously suggest you consider investing in one.

Since they have become fairly niche over the last few years only pro level users buy them, so almost any monitor you buy in this space is bound to be excellent and score far above average for things like colour accuracy.

Also a WQHD resolution at 27" is the perfect size to have two text editors at 16pt next to each other. Or An editor and two terminals, or anything really. It's silly how small HD really is and how cumbersome 6:9 is for "getting shit done".

Why not 4K? Because right now it's still a gimmick and the chances of you hitting a sold-to-chache-in-on-fad monitor is jus too darn high.

FilterSweep 2 days ago 0 replies      
Actually had this conversation last week with some other devs at my job. This suggestion is coming from a coworker not myself but he likes using curved screens - here is an affordable one in your range (27")


pan69 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have two Dell Ultrasharp displays. They come with Display port cables and they support MST (you can daisy chain 'm together). Quality wise I have been very happy with 'm.


painted 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recently got a Dell UltraSharp UP2516D, it's great, also because I stay quite close to it. At work I have a Dell Ultrasharp U2715H, I stay like 10 cm further away. I don't see much difference even if one is 25" and the other is 27". I can not recommend them enough, my macbook air's display seems tiny now :D
fivedogit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Been using these for the past few years at both home at work. Yamakasi Catleap q270, 2560x1440 for $250. Probably cheaper from overseas on eBay.


The stand is crappy and don't expect much from the speakers, but otherwise I love them.

TheArcane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Super happy with the 1080p LG 24MP88HV-S 24-Inch https://www.amazon.com/LG-24MP88HV-S-24-Inch-Monitor-Infinit...

It's IPS and sleek.

hprotagonist 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the Dell UltraSharp 24". Usually on sale for about $250. (e.g., https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Computer-Ultrasharp-U2415-24-0-I... )

Very thin bezel, high enough resolution, lots of positions. Buy two, keep one in portrait!

en4bz 2 days ago 0 replies      
ASUS PB Series 1440p 27.8" a little over your price point but they're on sale RIGHT NOW for $350 [1].

[1] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236...

rajington 2 days ago 0 replies      
Multiple smaller monitors over 1 big one. I use the main MBP screen plus three E2414H dells that I got for <$300. I have to context-switch so much less. I'd take utility over "ooh these colors look really good". 1080p @ ~22" is "good enough" pixel density too.
jwaldrip 2 days ago 0 replies      
Personally I love this monitor. Its about $150 more than you were looking to spend, but they have a 24" version at $300. The big feature here is 4k resolutions for a VERY reasonable price.


ogsharkman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I picked up the 32" QHD HP Omen monitor that was on sale during black Friday and so far it's been really nice. I have two 23" Dell something or other monitors in portrait mode on either side.
spencerflem 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love this site, and ended up getting the cheaper BENQ. http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-27-inch-monitor/
kyled 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember asking for a smaller monitor and getting some weird looks. To much screen space and I'm always turning my head left and right, was hurting my neck. I prefer virtual desktops and a tiling window manager.
mamcx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Similar to this, but that monitor will be the best for reading comfort? I have assumed a 4k monitor or TV, but not sure.
tronreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Two 27" 1080p made by LG
grogenaut 2 days ago 0 replies      
a bit ($420 tot) more but dell U2715 is a great super thin bezeled monitor.
chx 2 days ago 0 replies      
The BenQ BL2411PT is still hard to beat quality / price wise.
thebiglebrewski 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks all for your fast responses!
tapsboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Slightly off-topic: Have people used 21:9 monitors for dev work? What has been your experience so far?
homero 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just use lg ips
Ask HN: If you use keybase.io regularly, for what do you primarily use it?
104 points by twitchax  2 days ago   57 comments top 24
pstadler 2 days ago 1 reply      
Shameless plug: I wrote a little guide[1] how to use keybase.io and GPG to sign git commits. It was posted on HN a while ago[2].

 "Ironically, only the first commit is signed."
[1] https://github.com/pstadler/keybase-gpg-github[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12289481

sirsuki 2 days ago 0 replies      
We use it at work to share tmate (https://tmate.io/) sessions. I wrote a shell script to save the session to our mutual shared private keybase directory: https://github.com/sukima/dotfiles/blob/master/home/.bin/tma...
lettergram 2 days ago 2 replies      
I use it to encrypt messages to friends / customers via Facebook messager, Slack, or public forums when I'm dealing with sensitive data.

A few of my friends use this (which I wrote): http://lettergram.github.io/AnyCrypt/

You may ask, "when do you really deal with sensitive data?" My answer, is a lot more often than you think... The cool part about encryption, is I can use it over an insecure line to communicate. For example, I can post encrypted text here and only people I wrote it for can read it.

Zalos 2 days ago 0 replies      
I saw keybase.io as a public key directory which makes it easier to find friends, family and colleagues public keys. Thats my intended use of Keybase.io.I havent actually used it yet for anything serious, although Ive found ways to use PGP public/private keys to encrypt and decrypt local files on Mac and Windows, e-mails using mailvelope or keybase.io so that should take care of everything. But if people dont adopt it Ive got no use for it. And people around me didnt take to Keybase as such its just sitting there so that maybe eventually I can use it. Right now its kind of useless.
tristor 2 days ago 0 replies      
At my company we use Keybase to help us validate keys for new employees as we bring them into the fold, since the company is 100% remote. We also use KBFS for some tasks as well. You can see more in the article I wrote for our company blog about our using of GPG + Keybase + Git + Hub for commit signing + KBFS at https://eligible.com/blog/commit-signing-with-git-hub-keybas...
eloisius 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sharing .env files full of secrets to bootstrap a project. Typically just dev credentials, not production, but still a nice way to hand those semi-sensitive data around easily, and without committing them to git.
rdw 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sharing secrets with remote co-workers. It's easy enough to use that I can expect pretty much anyone to be able to figure it out in real-time.
buro9 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use it as the primary way to exchange secrets with others.

This isn't regular use as I don't regularly have secrets, but I've used it to exchange passwords, 2FA QR codes, and other sensitive data like this, with people with whom I'm remotely communicating with.

viraptor 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used it once - to coordinate a project ownership transfer with a person not typically using pgp. Explicit message "this person is XYZ on GitHub" helped.
gepoch 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use keybase.pub to host a whole hugo [1] site. It was very easy to put it together. Updating it is just a hugo + rsync to my keybase public folder.

I also stash some dotfiles in my private folder, and it's extremely handy for sharing signal desktop client safety numbers with other crypto minded friends. I use it for my ssh public keys as well.

I've also used it for snippets with coworkers (secrets or no, it's really nice to be able to sent python /keybase/private/foo,bar/test.py in a chat window, and it can be directly pasted without needing to share the script, or relocate the paths in the command.

I feel like I've naturally developed tons of ways of using it at this point. I'll probably come to depend on it, soon enough.

[1] https://gohugo.io/

poorman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use it to sign my git commits.

Never really thought about using it to share credentials but I might give that a try.

Feature Request: I'd love an easier way to find the keybase accounts for my friends on twitter.

CameronBanga 2 days ago 0 replies      
A run a small app development studio, and have a couple times a month where a client needs to share login credentials to iTunes Connect, Google Play Dev Console, Facebook, etc.

In those situations, I just give them my Keybase public encryption page, and have them enter the credentials and then send me the cypher text. Works fantastic, and much better than just sending via plain text over email or Slack.

charlieegan3 2 days ago 1 reply      
We've used it a couple of times recently to share credentials with a remote team.
Nadya 2 days ago 1 reply      
Allowing people to verify my message came from me without needing to setup PGP themselves. They can just use /verify and throw my message into it.By using the signature consistently it raises red flags when a post of mine isn't signed or doesn't verify.

Of course - this assumes Keybase has not been compromised, but that isn't an attack vector I worry about.

mike-cardwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Offsite backups. I use duplicity to back up my ownCloud servers data directory to my kbfs private directory. There's not a lot of free storage from kbfs, but I don't need much.

[edit] Otherwise, I haven't really found a use for it since setting it up. Would probably be really useful if a tonne of people used PGP, but they don't.

morgante 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use it as a simple way to share credentials over insecure channels.
jpetso 1 day ago 0 replies      
My previous company was looking into using it as a place to store the app's public key for that user and find other users of the app (with their public keys) while being able to verify them.

At the time, Keybase didn't have the appropriate APIs to allow third-party integration like that. I haven't checked if anything happened on that front since.

zuck9 2 days ago 1 reply      
libeclipse 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use it to authenticate and encrypt sensitive messages to friends online, over insecure channels.
jonafato 2 days ago 0 replies      
Off topic, but related: I have some keybase invites available, and I'm sure others do as well. Contact info in my profile if anyone would like one.
omginternets 2 days ago 0 replies      
We use it to distribute public and private key pairs. The aptly-named "public" and "private" folders are quite convenient for such things.
tscs37 2 days ago 0 replies      
It holds my git-signing key. That's all I do with PGP atm.
makach 2 days ago 1 reply      
just discovered it, looks like an interesting attempt to solve exchanging public keys. feels wrong to put public keys in a cloud solution like this---
explodingcamera 2 days ago 1 reply      
kbfs is pretty sick but I mainly use it for my git signing key :)
Ask HN: Maybe I kind of suck as a programmer how do I supercharge my work?
314 points by tastyface  4 days ago   119 comments top 63
pavlov 4 days ago 3 replies      
For what it's worth, you're feeling the same combination of awe and doubt that grips almost any creative practitioner at some point.

Writers realize that there are other people who can write an extremely well-structured, gripping novel in a matter of months. Artists see their colleagues do live drawing and suddenly understand that something that is painful and difficult for them comes easy for these other people. (I don't have musical talent, but I expect something similar happens there.)

Are they geniuses? Probably some are, but mostly they have just worked very hard and built a set of habits that lets them approach creative problems with that seeming ease.

Making software is really primarily a creative pursuit like these others -- it just has a bit more math and a bunch more high-tolerance engineering thrown in.

Personally I think of programming as a cross between architecture and writing: I'm making something that has a visual presence and which end users can "live in" or "visit" (very much like a building), but it's also a story because the interactive medium necessarily imposes a narrative. This way of thinking helps me figure out the elements that go into software products... But probably everybody must find their own metaphors to make sense of what they want to do in this field.

endymi0n 4 days ago 2 replies      
To quote Ira Glass here:"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, its just not that good. Its trying to be good, it has potential, but its not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesnt have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone Ive ever met. Its gonna take awhile. Its normal to take awhile. Youve just gotta fight your way through."Ira Glass
liquidise 4 days ago 1 reply      
There are 2 things i feel correlate strongly with the best devs i know:

1. Quantity leads to Quality.This has been written about by a number of people and for good reason. As with any craft, quality is born from doing something in repetition and learning from your mistakes. There is a brilliant anecdote on this from a ceramics class of all things ( https://blog.codinghorror.com/quantity-always-trumps-quality... ). So try lots of things, even if they seem silly. You'd be amazed what a throwaway project in a language you will never again use can teach you professionally.

2. Be passionate about both Coding and Learning.I start to look for a new job when 2 conditions are met. First is that i have been around long enough to see the consequences of my stack/coding/architectural decisions. Second is that i am no longer having "eureka" learning moments with regularity. For me, this inflection point tends to be around 3 years with a company. It will vary for others depending on role and willingness to branch out in your codebase.

tl;dr: Force yourself to learn regularly. Move on when you start to stagnate. Find excuses to code things, even if they are junk. Above all: have fun.

altitudinous 4 days ago 4 replies      
I am in my late 40's, I have been coding since I began uni in 1987, I have a Computer Science degree. When I got out there 25+ years ago I was all about doing things the best way, code reuse, refactor etc to get things just right. Most younger devs are. It took so much time getting the environments perfect, unit tests, etc. The customer paid for that, my managers must have been tearing their hair out watching us faffing about doing crap that ultimately didn't lead to a better experience for the customer. I am much more experienced now and live off my own skills, I have about a dozen apps on the iOS app store the number of users is 7 figures, they bring in good coin. The code behind them is crap, has not been unit tested, there are not massive build environments or anything, I don't write for reuse until I need to reuse, I acceptance test it myself. My users love the apps. They are bug free and reliable, and users often leave reviews to this effect. Experience is everything. I'm old school now, back in the day live fixes to production data were nothing, no-one would ever do that now. I met older gen devs than me, they did not then and do not now even use source control. Yet their releases were and still are 100% stable and bug free. They are still paid a premium for their thoroughness. As I grow older, I see more value in keeping it simple rather than miring down the work in process and the pressure of doing it perfectly. There is little value in it for the customer if the dev is experienced. And I'm happy that these premium jobs are now coming up for me.
lostcolony 4 days ago 1 reply      
So one thing I don't see a lot of responses calling out, that I think is worth calling out, is what you see is how long the -code- took. You don't see how long the design took. You assume it started when the code did, but that may not actually be the case. These other developers may have had this idea in the back of their mind for months, chewing it over, thinking about how they'd approach something, doing research in their spare time, etc, before finally sitting down to code it. Same with feature extensions; they likely had a feature request, or the idea, and thought about it long before they coded it.

So if you're comparing hobby projects, things that you started working on within a day or two of having the idea...well, maybe that's part of it, too.

krat0sprakhar 4 days ago 4 replies      
While this doesn't directly answer your question, but I've found edw519 (a fellow HNer's) past comments on this subject highly enlightening.

If you're looking for something inspiring / actionable to read, checkout this collection by him http://v25media.s3.amazonaws.com/edw519_mod.html

One of my favorite answers -

71. How do you get good at programming?

I believe that there are two ways to get good at anything, "push" and "pull".

Push: You learn from books, classes, mentors, and studying examples, then apply what you have learned.

Pull: You have a problem that you must solve, then you learn what you need, any way you can, to build the solution.

I suppose there are pros and cons of each method, and I imagine that many people here have used some of both.

For the record, I am 100% Pull. I have absolutely no formal training. It took me 2 years to find my first job and then I was thrown into the deep end. It was simultaneously frustrating and exhilarating. There were so many times I didn't know what to do or didn't have enough "tools" in my box. So I had to figure it out and find sources of learning. But I always did. Any when I got that first thing working and then saw my customer's eyes light up, I was hooked.

Your CS degree may make you think that you're a "push" learner, but may I suggest that you adopt a "pull" approach. Forget what you think you know and find a job or a project or someone who has a real need. Then build what you need. You a several advantages over me: (a) It shouldn't take you long to find that job/demand/customer. Just keep looking. (b) You already have tools in your tool box, maybe not the right ones for the job, but you have "something". And (c) It's easier than ever to adopt a "pull" approach. Help is everywhere.

You may feel frustrated, but I don't think you have a problem at all. You're in a great (and very normal) situation. Just adjust you attitude, find something to build, and do it.

trustfundbaby 4 days ago 1 reply      
You're not missing anything. It starts out that (code is crap) and you just get better the more stuff you write , and even then you never quite feel like you're writing "good code".

The biggest thing that accelerated my growth was working with people who were much much better than I was. You'll learn so much faster, and become so much better than you can ever by just plugging away by yourself.

Just remain humble and open to learning and you'll wake up one day and realize you're actually not bad at this programming thing ;)

"Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher"

Japanese Proverb

wolfspider 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have a simpler explanation for this feeling- it's just that time of year again. Judging by the other responses it's just on everyone's minds. We can all look back and take stock of what we accomplished throughout the year and feel like we could have done more, could have done it better. When I'm bored I like to window shop cheap used cars on CraigsList. I think to myself "No one sees what I see in this beauty- if it was mine I'd be so happy". Code can be the same way and it seems like if it was yours it would be a new lease on life. The code may be found in the darkest corners of the internet so neglected but so much potential. Recognize in that moment you are creating your "style" your "way" of creating the inspiration which is really the goal. It's not about personal worth it's really about feeling free to create. Developers are their most creative selves when they are happy so...my first suspect in finding the path to developer enlightenment is environmental factors. Development IDE? Workspace area? Skipping breakfast? Look at these things with objective eyes then try to improve them then try again. Merging all of this with financial concerns is going to wire your brain's reward system up for self defeat- gain the freedom first then the money.
abc_lisper 4 days ago 0 replies      
You may be right. You are missing something.

The way to build big things is to build small things right. Small functions/classes that work correctly, no matter the input. Next up, you wield them to build up a layer and so on. Long story short, you may be missing the concept of abstraction. I say that because you mentioned code interactions; that tells me you are looking at things so closely, the bigger picture seems much larger than it is.

Also, understand that people have different perspectives; that they came up because of some random events. It is a mistake to think people who do a lot of work, think a lot. They don't - They usually have a simpler/more powerful perspective than you have ie, they refactored the thinking required to do a job into smaller number of steps. This is what chess players or the mathematicians do.

Also, you may be aiming too high without background knowledge. An object cache layer for SQL? - Who said this was easy?

Automatic code gen via YAML? - Did you write a toy interpreter before?

MIDI over Wi-Fi? Audio destuttering? - I don't even know what those mean, and Im working as a programmer for more than 10 years, and now in a "big" company.

Do you read a lot? Many of the successful people (coding or other fields) do

May be you can start by reading SICP. It certainly cleared a lot of cobwebs for me.

mamcx 4 days ago 2 replies      
Do you know when some naive people claim that build a "simple CRUD app" is easy, but a OS or a Database engine or a Game engine or Language or Super-Cool-Algo_performace-magnificence or Super-Science-thingy is hard?

All of them are super-wrong.

All of them are long, hard projects. All of them requiere specific skills, that maybe are hard to know because you don't find much info about how do them (for example, I haven't find good enough, simple material in how build a relational engine).

But do it are easy. Because the "science" behind them is more SETTLED. Is just niche.

> YapDatabase, Audiobus, or AudioKit

I don't know them, but it look the same as the things I'm talking about. I LOVED to have the time or funding to devote to this kind of projects and living from them (ie: I want to build a relational language.)


The most "simple" apps, are HARD TO DO.

Them are easy projects, but DO THEM is harder. The specs are unclear, you can't rely in a cool algo that solve most of it, you can't relly in a big, large, solid foundation, you NEED TO BUILD AND PULL from several sources in how do them.

Rocket Science is "solved", but you can waste months trying to finally know what the hell is necessary to build that e-commerce website.

Just look at the madness with JS. Is now easier doing assembler than that.


So, I mean that the human factors are the uncertain nature of most software projects are a higher burden that the actual "hard" projects.

rubicon33 4 days ago 1 reply      

It sounds too simple, but it's true. My best, most thoughtful, and beautiful work, has been done when I've been intrinsically motivated by the sheer interest and desire to do that work.

In some ways, I was a better, faster, smarter programmer, with 3 months of experience than I am now.

That's not objectively true, but the point remains valid. If you're struggling, you may need to re-ignite that fire. Try and remind yourself why you got into this in the first place. Stop worrying about how you compare to other people, and start building something that excites you. Flow.

tpae 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to be like you, until I went back to the basics. Elon Musk once said, you must master of the basics, which becomes the foundation of which you build your knowledge. If your foundation is weak, there's going to be hard limits to your knowledge.

I've been re-writing basic algos from scratch, and eventually more complex ones (Dijkstras, Graphs, and etc.), and understanding CS fundamentals helped me get past this hurdle.

westurner 4 days ago 0 replies      
For identifying strengths and weaknesses: "Programmer Competency Matrix":

- http://sijinjoseph.com/programmer-competency-matrix/

- https://competency-checklist.appspot.com/

- https://github.com/hltbra/programmer-competency-checklist

... from: https://wrdrd.com/docs/consulting/software-development#compu... )

> How do I get good enough to consistently do work worth writing books about?

- These are great reads: "The Architecture of Open Source Applications" http://aosabook.org/en/

- TDD.

kfrzcode 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey tastyface. I feel you. I'm here. I didn't graduate from college, and my knowledge is ad-hoc, learned-by-doing and incomplete. I told myself I wouldn't give up until I was making a living writing code. I'm doing that, and it's been arduous, but I've never been more intellectually fulfilled.

It's scary, to think there's a whole new generation of programmers who probably can learn faster and more fully internalize algorithms and data structures and design patterns... but we can all keep learning. There's no limit to how much you can learn in this field, so to supercharge your work the answer is simple: work 80-100 hour weeks like Elon, but make sure you're actually producing at least 80% of those hours.. meaning, writing and creating code not just reading or consuming knowledge. I don't know how many people I've met that assume poking around reddit, HN or s/o means "working." Those people will never outshine you if you continuously push your limits and are always feeling in awe. That means you're on to something.

Keep it up, you're doing exactly what you should be doing - reflecting.

Todd 4 days ago 0 replies      
First, you're comparing two different domains. App developers (whether mobile, web, or some other environment) live at the top of the stack. As such, they must wrangle many disparate frameworks and libraries to achieve their goals. Framework developers can focus on a narrower set of concerns--albeit sometimes quite deep.

I would suggest that you stop comparing yourself to them and their achievements. Rather, use their example as a starting point in your pursuit of improvement.

Many others offer good advice here, but one of the cornerstones is to look at what others are doing--often and deeply. Many have asked, "How do I become a great writer?" The answer invariably is, you must be a great reader. You need to read A LOT.

The same goes for math. You must solve problems. That's the other half of the coin. You need to do. So pick a problem that hasn't been addressed. Maybe there's something you haven't found a library or framework for. Take the opportunity to build it, package it, and open source it. You'll see that the set of concerns is different from that of an app developer.

Edit: typo

manmal 4 days ago 0 replies      
I also do iOS apps, and I think the reason for bugs and low maintainability in our domain (i.e. programs that have to power a GUI and all its states) is convoluted state. You stack feature upon feature, and once the system gets big enough, it's getting hard to get a proper grip of what is actually happening. So you start monkey patching, and you start to regret not having written any integration tests that would tell you when you introduce regressions.

State has to be managed rigidly. If you cannot deduce what semantic state your app is in while you debug, then chances are things will go wrong.

I have found two approaches that work for me: Reactive programming, and good old state machines. The former is needed when there is so much state that the latter would be too complex (too many possible permutations > too many states to grasp).

Every property that your screen has (element A is hidden, element B has this text, animation C is in flight...) should be derived from the current screen's state machine or stream of values. Meaning, state 1 will set A to hidden, B has no text, and C is stopped; state 2 will set A to not-hidden, B has text "xyz" and C is still stopped, etc. It's kind of like React, but on a lower level - properties are overridden or methods are called when transitioning between states. One could call this state machine "ViewModel" :)Swift brought us Enums with attached values, so they are perfect for modeling a state machine. IMO Optionals also prevent some state sloppiness we had with Obj-C's nil behavior.

I'm not saying state machines or Reactive programming are a panacea, but they have solved the problem for me. I'm confident in my code now, and have the feeling that I do solid work (which is good as I'm huge on feeling like an imposter). As long as I use Swift and RAC or state machines, the very most bugs I cause are of semantic nature - e.g. a button text is wrong in such and such state. But crashes or unreproducible behavior are really rare now.

Kaizyn 4 days ago 0 replies      
See Norvig's Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years: http://norvig.com/21-days.html

Keep in mind also there's a difference between a full stack app and a focused framework. With the end-to-end app, you have to solve many different kinds of problems spanning many domains. Therefore your learning curve to start is going to be a bit higher due simply to there being more ground to cover.

To get better, you need to write more code and to study architecture of other systems. The collection Architecture of Open Source Applications is a good place to start reading.

With all this said, don't beat yourself up too badly. Facebook has been making changes to mercurial version control to make it scale to work for their whole organization. They chose the less popular vcs because the code of git isn't organised very well and it was too difficult for them to extend/modify it.

jakobegger 4 days ago 0 replies      
> The code is generally messy and horrible, rife with race conditions and barely holding together in parts.

Writing robust asynchronous code is very, very hard. My biggest mistake as as a beginner was that in the early days I just made up all my multithreading stuff on the spot. I made a synchronous prototype, and thought, perfect, now I just need to make it asynchronous.

Now I understand that "making it asynchronous" is more work than coming up with the initial implementation, and spend a lot more time on that.

I spend a lot more time on planning in general. I sometimes think about features for weeks or months before I start programming. I'll read all the relevant API docs, search Google to see if other people have implemented similar things before, etc.

Only then, when I'm well-prepared, I actually start coding. And the actual writing is usually pretty quick, but it needed a lot of (invisible) preparation time to get there...

sean_patel 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Over the past 3 years, I've released a few apps on iOS.

Wow. That alone puts you in the Top 1 to 5% of your peers. Even many experienced programmers have trouble shipping code. They (we) wait for it to be "Perfect". The code ends up languishing in some repo and never sees the light of the day.

1-man frameworks are the wrong things to look at. Don't compare yourself with them. Of course you'll feel bad and inadequate.

Maybe you need to shore up your self-esteem. I say this because your feelings about your own abilities will show through in job interviews, and when having discussions with your peers, and you will get short changed (salary, promotions etc).

So I would say, just keep at it, and try to improve everyday. And don't compete with others, compete with yourself.

Jach 4 days ago 1 reply      
Work with other people. Preferably a mix of people who seem less/equal/more capable than you are, but if you have to pick one, go with working with people that are above your level. Look at how they work, how they approach problems. Get code reviews from them, and review their code.

Don't get set in your ways (or the ways of those better than you), be willing to try new things and see if it fits your style.

Go slow before you go fast. It took you a month to add copy/paste -- so what? Next time, put in extra effort to try new ways of working, playing with the code, writing invisible support code no one else will see, writing tests perhaps, writing English before code, getting feedback, etc., instead of what I assume your normal approach is of "need to get this out quickly!", and it'll probably take two months, but so what? Eventually you'll get faster as enough experiences have taught you what goes well and what doesn't, but you need to slow down to get those experiences first.

Of course, some people are just super-geniuses. Measuring yourself against them is just a recipe for depression. To quote 'Eliezer:

"...if you have difficulty with any programming concept, you must not be a supergenius. You're just an ordinary genius at best. The sad truth is that there are some people for whom programming comes as naturally as thinking, with code formed as easily as thoughts; and if it takes an effort to understand any aspect of programming, you have just learned that you are not one of those people. Alas."

codr4life 4 days ago 2 replies      
Write more code. Learn different languages. Reinvent wheels. Stop following the herd. Most of the people who's code you're admiring have been blazing their own trails for decades. There are no short cuts to experience. Good luck!
seanwilson 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Over the past 3 years, I've released a few apps on iOS: not bad, nothing that would amaze anyone here. The code is generally messy and horrible, rife with race conditions and barely holding together in parts. (Biggest: 30k LOC.) While I'm proud of my work especially design-wise I feel most of my time was spent on battling stupid bugs. I haven't gained any specialist knowledge just bloggable API experience. There's nothing I could write a book about.

Why do you feel you're doing anything wrong..? If you've released multiple apps (30K LOC is a lot!) you're way ahead of most people who never release anything. Comparing yourself to the most prolific developers is a recipe to make you feel bad about yourself.

Writing 30K LOC with minimal bugs is a massive undertaking by the way. Maybe look into using languages with stronger type systems along with automated tests to help. Also, you could rely on third party libraries to do more of the heavy lifting or just remove/simplify features you don't really need. Either way it just takes a lot of work and time.

itamarst 4 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you're working alone? Getting feedback is key to learning, and it's hard to do that on your own.

1. If you have skilled coworkers doing code reviews (or contribute to an open source project that does code reviews) you will get a lot more feedback.

2. Writing unit tests will provide some level of feedback, but it's not as good for learning as human feedback.

codetoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is important to realize our current situation before we can upgrade yourself, so it is good you know that and are willing to do that.

Personally I believe that everyone has some natural strengths in one domain or another, that gives them an edge to do things a lot faster and can learn and understand things lot faster. For example I can understand technical stuff lot better and can learn new programming stuff lot faster, than I could ever learn playing a guitar or designing :) I believe that the people you mentioned above are excellent programmers/architects and beyond that they have seen and dealt with more situations than any one doing regular programming. They might have built complex stuffs, they have read a lot - books and open source code, cleared the concepts, they have grown their knowledge and they have implemented it where they could. Basically your programming skills improve by doing complex stuff. Applying what you have learn't whenever you get a chance (no matter how simple or complex the product could be). Implementing elegant solutions to problems that can have N possible solutions and no compromises.

I don't say that being a programmer I cannot become a good musician but I think that the music I produce won't match the quality of the code or program that I would write, and even if I could do it - it requires a great deal of effort time and dedication which I wouldn't have required at that scale for coding. I am a programmer first and then may be a musician second. Someone would realize their own strength and work to polish it further, or may be someone would choose to become someone that interests them but it is not their core strength. It's a personal choice.

My comment might be felt negative but I wrote this because I see a burning desire in you to do something and you have been trying it past 3 years, It might be worth to stop and point you to other perspective instead of giving you any standard advice. However if you are determined to take your level up than no one can stop you - all you would require is to rewire your brain - a great deal of effort and strong dedication. Personally I found books and reading open source code to be a good source of improving your programming knowledge and like any art I think the more you do it the better you become. You may also find some job/freelance in some decent company where there could be challenging work/projects - that can help you grow your knowledge rapidly.

JamesBarney 4 days ago 0 replies      
Learn how to write. This is something I'm working on slowly. But seriously, documentation can separate successful open source projects from unsuccessful ones.

Also when you're working for a client ability to communicate and make sure you're building the right thing will trump building the thing right.

heisenbit 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are several aspects I see

- Writing 30KLOC yourself is a real lot

- Maybe it is too much? Try at times to refactor to make it denser

- Good libraries come from re-use. Either a genius came up with something reusable from scratch or someone got better at solving a problem until a piece emerged that was worth sharing.

- Good libraries come from discussion and exchange of ideas. There is a lead but there are contributors too.

- There is a difference between apps and frameworks. The code and not the app is the product and customers are devs. Has implications e.g. how to do marketing.

- Are you made for this? Some solve problems really fast and good enough, then move on. Some others solve problems really well and stick with problems for a long time. Both types have value. Look at your life outside coding for clues.

codecamper 4 days ago 0 replies      
First off, you can spend a lot of time adding amazing features that are never used.

Second, many successful products weren't all that complex. (though I'm not sure if these days still exist)

Third, realize that most stuff that gets created disappears into the infinity of time & just gets replaced with other stuff.

Fourth... do you love your grandparents? (or parents, or friends) I hope you still have them. If so, then be sure you call them on their birthdays & on holidays. Maybe even send a card. Spend as much time with them as possible. They are truly the most important things to your life. The rest is just icing.

gaelow 4 days ago 0 replies      
Coding ability wise, elite coders are usually already well above the average professional senior programmer level while still in their teens (emphasis on coding ability wise).


- They are a tiny fraction of the collective. Pretty much everyone else sucks at programming.

- Coding is like working out. Even if you are not elite, you can improve a lot if you persevere. All the way through your entire career, no matter how long.

- It is not all about coding skills. Maybe for those 40k LOC one-man app guys it is, but that's not even the most common scenario anymore. You can compensate with other skills such as being inspirational, having good insights, ability to QA a product/design and identify its weak spots and potential on the early stages, ability to break down a problem into smaller ones and prioritize your tasks, ability to evaluate, understand and communicate with team mates and clients (social skills with coding skills is always a winning combination)... The list goes on and on. Even though it's not all related to programming, it is stuff you'll eventually have to deal with as a professional programmer, specially in the startup world.

Code is reusable. You don't have to be a genius coder to put together a slick and successful app. Even for the most innovative software, the code of every part is most likely already there, written by experts in a clean, efficient, robust and well-documented module you can use free of charge, even commercially. So go on and use it. (I know it's actually not that easy, but mostly piles of crap until you find something useful and learn to use it properly. You get better at that too).

blt 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is lots of good advice in this thread. I would like to focus on your comment about race conditions. It's very good that you have identified this weakness in your code. Writing concurrent code is hard, but it's also valuable experience because there is no room for shortcuts. If you don't do it right, your code will fail eventually. Therefore writing concurrent code, identifying bugs, and fixing them will train you to think rigorously about your code.

Diagnosing bugs often comes down an exploration of every possible sequence of events, trying to identify the pattern of sequences that triggers the bug, and figuring out how to fix it. In single-threaded code the debugger can make this task easy, but attaching a debugger (or even building in debug mode) often makes concurrency bugs go away, so you are forced to solve the problem in your head by analyzing the system. This experience is like strength training for programmers. I would suggest putting extra effort in the concurrent parts of your code, really try to make them correct. In the end, the practice will improve the quality of your non-concurrent code too.

analog31 4 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe you need to get yourself into an environment where there are other people around who can critique your work, and from whom you can learn better habits through observation. This may work better in an environment where you are in physical proximity with co-workers, i.e., a traditional software shop kind of job. Even if this kind of work isn't your ultimate dream.

Also, maybe some people are better suited to solo work, and others to group work where there is some rigor imposed by the team or by the employer. You may be in the latter camp.

blablabla123 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's all a matter of perspective but if you want to work on it, these things can be learned.

Around 5-7 years ago I didn't consider my code exactly high quality, especially when building things from scratch. So I tried to understand what makes good code good, and actually how to spot it. Mostly through reading blog articles, reading actual code and thinking about code. I also got books but only 5 in these years in total. I read only 2 of them through.

So Google is your friend... Have problems with race conditions? There are solutions to that CSP (Golang), Reactor pattern, using 0mq or even STM.

Also don't forget that one things is skill/experience, the other is choosing proper tools. Are you using a simple editor or a heavy-weight IDE? When trying MIDI over Wifi do you Google and try to reproduce the first blog entry you find about. Or do you rather choose high quality components/libraries? # Github stars are a nice indicator for good libs with concise APIs.

But yeah, on the other hand you also need to ask yourself is it worth it? Do you want to be mega focussed and productive? Or do you want to create various things? Being super productive in some place sometimes feels for me a bit Zen-like but on the other hand also a bit boring.

SixSigma 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of programmers like me, started when they were kids - I was 11 when I started writing code. 36 years later I'm still learning and I don't mean "learning to use such and such API".

I've hung around awesome programmers too, much better than I. Some you will even have heard of.

Specialists knowledge didn't just fall out of the sky. It takes research & patience.

Some people will always be better than you.

Your focus should be on being better than you were yesterday.

20andup 4 days ago 0 replies      
Judging from what you said. You need to learn to read the language rather than simply understanding the syntax. You need to understand what is going on under the hood.

Programming languages are just a bunch of random symbols and letters; each language has different syntax. But underlying them all is the same foundation of how languages are created. Learn to read your code like an essay rather than simply focusing on the sentence.

faitswulff 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, you could start with similar previous posts:


I'm particularly interested in this thread, "Ask HN: What habits made you a better programmer?":


deepaksurti 4 days ago 0 replies      
>> Major features were added over the course of weeks!>> to say nothing of getting the overall architecture right from the start.

[Most likely] it is not that they got it right, right from the start. These 'awesome' programmers would have spent weeks before getting it right. These classify as throw away experiments and they keep at it till it satisfies their own internal target of what the solution should be like till it is right.

The best parameter of that right could be say the simplicity of the overall internal implementation and the exposed external API.

Now I am not saying that there are not geniuses around, but even if they are getting it right, it will still be backed by countless hours of hard work and practice.

Most likely asking these awesome programmers how they are getting it right, will throw some more light.

shakkhar 4 days ago 0 replies      
A bit late to the party, but I will chime in.

- Every developer out there at some point in his / her life felt the same way as you do. Likely more than once.

- There aren't many developer who can look at their own code written 5 years ago and be proud of it; may be if you are John Karmack.

- Being able to write beautiful code is definitely valuable, but being able to make a product is even more valuable.

- The programmers you mentioned are kind of by definition exceptional. Otherwise they wouldn't get your attention.

You are not missing anything. You are just like the remaining 99% of us. And it looks like you are already trying to get better - so you WILL get better. Every piece of code you read, every book you read, every time you get a code review - you will improve a little.

Sadly, there is no formula to turn an average person into a prodigy. So don't beat yourself up.

spotman 4 days ago 0 replies      
The fact your even asking this means your ahead of a lot of your peers.

None of this comes overnight. Many of us start out incredibly messy, and there is nothing wrong with that.

In fact it might give you an edge over folks that start out very elegant and by-the-book because you are used to dealing with things like race conditions and they expect none.

Remember this, the best code is never written the best it can be the first time around, and in a lot of cases never.

Code is a moving target, stay light on you feet, avoid religion of certain methodology ( to an extent ) and paddle towards things that you are proud of.

You will be fine and likely do great if you stick with it.

Finally, there will always, always be someone who knows more to you. There is no end to what you don't know. The sooner you make peace with this the better!

bitwize 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are no shortcuts to "supercharging" your work. Git gud, bro. Put in the effort. When you see exemplary code, study the principles behind it and seek to emulate it. I'm a better C programmer now than I was, for instance, because I read a lot of BSD source.
partycoder 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some time ago I worked porting software. The software we ported was very successful financially. It also looked very polished from a user perspective.

But when I read the code I saw the code was really suboptimal (tech debt, and sometimes more convoluted than it strictly needed to be). That changed my perspective on code a bit. That did not change my programming rigor though.

My point is that sometimes excellent products are not necessarily excellent from an engineering perspective.

Now, to assess your engineering skills there's a book called the IEEE SWEBOK (Software engineering body of knowledge), that is an index of the different areas of software engineering. You can go through each one and assess your strength and work on some of the imbalances this assessment would reveal.

rjblackman 4 days ago 0 replies      
read clean code https://www.amazon.com/Clean-Code-Handbook-Software-Craftsma...

and clean coderhttps://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0137081073/metafilte...

If you follow the (admittedly pretty extreme) advice in these books you will be in the top 10% at least.

ared38 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to become a domain expert, become a domain expert. You won't learn the intricacies of the newest structure from motion algorithms by writing user-facing apps. you have to specialize, possibly for years, until the domain is second nature and the code is just putting your knowledge into text, if you want to singlehandedly write a world-class library.

But for heavens sake, why? Do you actually care about how audio destuttering works, or do you just want your app to work well? Do you want to spend every waking moment thinking about a problem, or take time out to deconstruct Marvel tropes?

And yes, the programmers your talking about are the 1%. Do you think every good dev has books written about their work?

harigov 4 days ago 0 replies      
You should do some data analysis on where you are spending most of your time when building software and see if there is a way to do it faster. You can read books and follow someone's advice but nothing can be more useful to yourself than trying to navigate your own mind space in search of answers that you are looking for. If you figure out that you are spending most of your time deliberating how to name variables, you should spend time reading about programming styles. If you spend time debugging, identify what sort of bugs you are creating and try to go over books that cover most common programming bugs and try to incorporate them during programming time itself.
lmm 4 days ago 0 replies      
The secret is to use good libraries and especially good languages. That you were chasing race conditions at all implies that you were programming at far too low a level (unless you really did need some super-tuned thing, which it sounds like you didn't).

I'll guess that you're self-taught, and learnt one of these low-level languages that makes you spend most of your time dealing with irrelevant concerns? I'd recommend going back to basics, learning ML or a similar functional language, and rediscover how to program from the ground up but doing it right this time.

hyperpallium 4 days ago 0 replies      
Actually typing code doesn't take much time. Understanding the problem is the difficult bit.

If these developers are already familar with an area (perhaps even implemented it once or twice before), they can do it very quickly. Or have an office/community of people who have, or seen other solutions, or are good at researching/asking online (eg Larry Page asking for help with his java spider; you now).

Consider: how long would it take you to add cut-and-paste to your next app?

Race conditions are a nightmare for just about everyone. Change your architecture to minimize cross-thread communication, and use queues when you can't avoid it.

APIs also can be a nightmare, difficult to understand, don't do what you need, under-documented and of course have their own bugs and required workarounds.

Finally, if you're still spending too much time debugging, you might need to change your approach in other ways. e.g. code only a bit at a time, testing it immediately, so you know what has introduced the bug; write modules that you understand, so once they are debugged, you don't have to worry about them; unit tests can help but aren't essential. It can be helpful to trace through their source code, so you know what's happening.

If you understand what you're doing, bugs are usually easy to diagnose and fix. It's gaining the understanding that takes the time - and, I would claim, is programming.

Maybe there are programmers who, due to prior experience, concentration powers, talent, memory or raw intelligence, are ten times faster than you (or more!). That shouldn't discourage you from creating something worthwhile. Time spent doesn't alter its worth. Provided it doesn't take too long to complete, does this pride in competitive efficiency really matter?

BTW: Worth, popularity and usefulness are functions of the problem solved - not of the solution. A polished solution to a problem no one cares about has doesn't help anyone nor get much attention.

Whereas an ugly solution to a huge problem will change the world. Even mathematicians and theoretical physicists sometimes start with inelegant solutions, though they get polished over time.

zznneezznnee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Before you compare your work to that of others you really need to know how much time was spent on both and normalize accordingly.

Additionally, many individuals in our industry have zero life outside of hacking on their software. It's difficult if not impossible to be competitive with someone spending every waking hour practicing their craft without doing the same.

LiweiZ 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'll be 35 next year and started writing code when I was 30. I have very similar experience. This year, I focused on how to write better code instead of designing and building. I'm slowly getting better this year. My biggest code base for one of my prototype was around 25k LOC. I mainly wrote iOS app, too. I spent more than one year to take care of my kids so there was a long gap. And it has been difficult for me to find a job. There are always meaningful ideas and having the ability to bring some of them to life is my biggest motivation.
hellofunk 4 days ago 0 replies      
> The code is generally messy and horrible, rife with race conditions and barely holding together in parts.

It's very good that you've had the experience of writing bad code, and recognizing that. It will make you expect more from yourself next time. And the process repeats. After many iterations you will be much better. And also more nimble. Writing 1000 lines is a lot for someone who has never done that before, but natural for someone who has a million lines under their belt.

satyajeet23 4 days ago 0 replies      
pmyjavec 4 days ago 2 replies      
Don't worry about it, enjoy your life, spend time in nature and cook yourself some nice food for dinner :)
mcheshier 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't be too hard on yourself.

If you're looking at other people's code and finding new insights you can apply to your own work, you're doing it right.

When you look at your old code and wonder:

How did this ever work?What idiot wrote this?WTF was I thinking?!?

You're doing it right. It's a sign of growth and improvement.

boon 4 days ago 0 replies      
At least when you talk about reviewing code that "someone wrote in a month", note that a quick `rm -rf .git; git init; git add *; git commit` works wonders for others' perception of how quickly you can produce code. :)
marmaduke 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the first few years of programming are the most difficult. You have to go through this process of building and throwing away. Only with that experience you learn to anticipate things should be put together. That makes thing go more quickly.
kornakiewicz 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
olalonde 4 days ago 0 replies      
Having spent an embarrassingly large amount of time working on small libraries or side projects, I'd say you are probably underestimating the amount of time that was spent on those frameworks.
syngrog66 4 days ago 2 replies      
this rings as very fake and/or blatantly self-promotional. I wish HN had less of this type of post. I feel like a certain percentage of HN posters have learned how to push enough of the buttons of the rest of you to make it a net win for them. just nauseating.

And now come the downvotes, because I know I am effectively "not allowed" to express this kind of opinion without penalty -- yet I don't care, let's burn it up.

cammil 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do you think you might have a confidence problem? Does this feeling or thought occur much in other aspects of your life?
socmag 4 days ago 0 replies      

I just realized, I'm pretty sure I'm just passing my 40th anniversary of programming this month. Jeez I feel old.

How I made it this far I have no idea, but here I am still plugging away.

My eyes are going, I get tired easily, and my productivity is a hundredth of what it once was...

I look around here and don't know what half of the posts are even about most of the time :-) In supposed to keep up with recurrent neural networks, the language of the month, algorithms research, which HTML template framework is or is not in vogue, whatever...

Over the years I've written a couple of books, built some pretty cool shit and had the pleasure to work with some of the best, but you know I'm really pretty damn dumb, and the only thing that has saved me is persistence.

I've felt like you many many times on occasion over the years.

Computer Science is a huge subject, and growing by the day, immeasurably larger than when I started. There is no way to keep up in all avenues... and that is fine.

It's pretty normal and healthy to have a bit of a low self esteem about our work as software engineers because it is literally true that every piece of work can be better. Please try not to take that attitude a bit too far though.

You know, I got into this because when I was a kid I wanted to understand how computers work. They were a magical box of wires to me and still are.

I wrote code for fun, my own personal pleasure, and the hope that along the way maybe some of it is of some use to someone else. Maybe even make them smile. That's what drives me and keeps me going.

I think my advice is just program because you enjoy it. Everything else will come.

Financial reward is a side effect, not a cause.

There is no huge race here. Programming is a very personal creative past time that takes an incredible amount of effort for all of us and a lot of patience.

I know it might seem at times looking around hacker news that everyone is way ahead. I can understand that, it's a pretty elite set out here. But... I think deep down, the dirty little secret is everyone feels a bit crap compared to everyone else on here more often than we all let on. Fake it 'til you make it. ;)

Like others said, you have so much to be proud of. Shipping multiple projects on iOS, wow!

The fact you are even looking into audio algorithms and things like MIDI over WiFi is great! Sounds like a lot of specialist knowledge you are building there. I'm impressed!

Maybe one pointer. Step back and stop, take some time and think about the machine instead of the problem at hand. I say that because you mention race conditions. Understanding why they are occurring will be of enormous help. Then when you figure it out, explain it to someone else.

But meh, stop whinning, It takes me weeks to do what I could once do in an afternoon :)

You are doing great.

Keep it up man, it's a really fun road.

Nice you are here.. let it flow.

jedanbik 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do you need a mentor? What kind of teams do you work on?
auspex 4 days ago 0 replies      
You probably should learn design patterns
known 4 days ago 0 replies      
"You are a product of your environment." --Clement Stone
buzzybee 4 days ago 1 reply      
Programming is a practice that can be kind of deceptive in its valuation. To analogize to weightlifting, one of my favorite things to analogize against, you can see that someone lifted a lot, and you see that they did in fact lift it all by themselves, but you don't see how they get to that point, and you can't simply put on the same number of plates on the bar and hope to succeed.

A likewise naive path is to copy example code, do something slightly different from it, and then wonder why it's broken. You can't be really great at programming by doing that, because you're abdicating so much control to wishful thinking: "I hope this example author considered my use case!"

What you can do - and you probably have the guts to do it, if you're writing 30 KLOC apps on your own time - is to attack things one technique at a time, and to attack the hardest, most lasting stuff first before you get into more specialized and ephemeral knowledge like API calls. It's the adjustment of what you care about that leads you to direct your coding towards unfamiliar yet profitable roads, where you have to envision very big ideas that aren't in place yet, struggle with them for days or weeks, and ultimately find a great technique that you can reuse in the future.

To take one example, UI code is wonderful stuff for adding end-user value. But if you want extreme leverage in your code it can't be the first priority, because it's also stuff that tends to be thrown out frequently - because other features change, or you're on a new toolkit, or you found a slicker design. You have to instead allow the UI to be too crude at first, and think about application features as a layer apart from the UI. And then only as you come towards the end, confident that the core features are correct and will be robust against a partially-working UI, can you go back and invest in a great presentation.

Likewise, it's tempting to make code that is clever in-the-small, at the moment you first dip into making a new feature; to invent class hierarchies and configuration objects and generics and other nifty things. But what you need most at that moment where it's new is the most boring, plain code possible, because if you don't know the problem space yet, anything clever that might add structure or allude to generalizing the problem along any one axis is likely to do so wrongly, and the most flexible you can be is to assume it's all disposable and should be extended with copy-paste-modify. Fancy language features were made to break through problems with the crude techniques, so if you follow with that grain and only add the features after you feel pain, everything tends to go much more smoothly.

Most of all, it's scary to take on seemingly big problems, but it's scary in a way that should not influence your decision whether or not to attack them. These problems feel big mostly because they aren't well understood to you. In the same way that math students are prompted to take on gradually more ambitious levels of abstraction, you have to do the same with your code. You start with your bad assumptions and knock them out with a dash of computer science knowledge, and a lot more trial and error. There will be bugs and bad decisions along the way, but you can also learn defensive techniques against them. Some attempts to defend your code may just make it harder to write or more brittle; others will succeed dramatically. You won't know these things until you try(or get very good advice from someone who solved a similar problem to yours) because every problem domain in programming has a unique solution profile, where some things matter more than others.

reality_czech 3 days ago 0 replies      
Two words: Ballmer Peak.
gragas 4 days ago 1 reply      
>the code is generally messy and horrible, rife with race conditions and barely holding together in parts.

immediately followed by

>I'm proud of my work especially design-wise

ummmmm.... what?

Ask HN: Hiring managers, what tech skills will you be hiring for in 2017?
232 points by changeseeker  1 day ago   214 comments top 41
throwaway95837 1 day ago 18 replies      
I am 100% owner of an internet company making 7 figure profits annually. I am extremely secretive of my business, almost to the point that some would consider a pathology. However, I will divulge my hiring strategy, because even if everyone uses my method, there will still be many employees for me to choose from.

I look to hire people who just need a job. People who are qualified, but not overly qualified. People I know will depend on the job for a long time, but not looking to make it their lives. Hard workers - getting there on time, but also leaving at the stroke of 5. Ivy league schools are a red flag. Huge resumes are a red flag. These people will constantly question whether every decision is optimal, prod incessantly at company strategy, continuously try to impress, and are always hungry for praise, recognition, and "interesting work." When they get bored after 6 months, they quit and go somewhere else (remember they can easily do so because of their pedigrees), often to a competitor, bringing company secrets with them.

I need someone loyal, who knows how to take orders without question, and is prepared to do the work that needs to be done day in and day out because they want the paycheck. Reading the above, you might think I'm a terribly demanding boss, but using this hiring strategy has produced a 100% employee retention rate and by all accounts we are all quite happy.

eganist 1 day ago 4 replies      
So given that I may likely be hiring in the web and mobile application security spaces again next year (I've _somehow_ filled all of my open positions this year; appsec is difficult to fill with external hires), I'm focusing specifically on three skills:

ability to assess tech/architecture risks in apps

experience in devops automation ("secdevops" if you will)

proven skill in communication regardless of depth

The ideal candidate would have all three, but I could settle with any two of these and still be happy.

I am not currently hiring, but I'll gladly keep any CVs I receive and prioritize follow-ups with anyone who reaches out to me directly. Austin/DC for curious souls.


p.s. the web appsec space is in ludicrous demand. If you've got a breaker mindset, you'll probably come out ahead if you read up on it. If you're a developer right now and want to dip into it, I'd suggest: https://www.amazon.com/Web-Application-Hackers-Handbook-Expl...

Trust me, us security folk will thank you. Heck I'd suggest it to non-hackery devs too. It's a good way to find out how us security types see the world.

ryandrake 1 day ago 3 replies      
Interesting. Lots of picky responses here--people prepared to wait it out and go through tons of candidates looking for perfection: Need this language. And that platform. Must know such and such database. And DevOps. Front end and backend. Full stack. And these four key abilities. And passion. Prepare for the interview. Be ready to explain this and that. Be good at whiteboard coding. Went through 400 candidates.

If you can sit back and pick and choose like this, then how does that square with the mythical "shortage of engineers" everyone complains about?

alex-mohr 1 day ago 2 replies      
I manage the Google Container Engine and Kubernetes team in Seattle (we have other sites in Mountain View and Warsaw).

Aside from the obvious interest in building container orchestration systems, I look for a passion to solve real user problems, not only building a piece of tech.

Bonus points for knowing about Docker or containers or clouds or Golang or security.

More points for meeting users where they are. And the most bonus points for leadership and initiative.

We're particularly looking for someone to lead and/or manage our software eng team building security features into Kubernetes and GKE.

sjcrank 1 day ago 1 reply      
When recruiting for web development (heavy JavaScript SPA work), I look for 3 technical skills:

1. Core JavaScript. You should be able to read modern idiomatic JS code pulled from an open source project and explain what it is doing and how you would modify it to add features.

2. Core CSS. You should be able to review Bootstrap source and explain how it works. You should be able to create static HTML/CSS to match UI mockups.

3. Higher level SPA library/framework (e.g. React, Angular, etc). You should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the core concepts of your chosen framework.

I find that these 3 skills are sufficient for productivity in SPA web development.

brongondwana 1 day ago 2 replies      
FastMail in Melbourne is going to be hiring for skills in three languages: middleware (Perl), frontend (Javascript) and support (English) early next year.

It's not so much specific tech skills as attitude. We're strong on pragmatism with a touch of pride in doing it right. Pragmatism without that pride in quality leads to hacks that are unmaintainable - obsession over perfect without pragmatism leads to never delivering.

hobonumber1 1 day ago 5 replies      
I work at SoundHound as a Senior Software Engineer, and take part in interviewing/hiring. Full-stack JavaScript engineers are still in very short supply. Lots of people claim to know JavaScript but many fall short when working across the stack. When I say full-stack, I mean being responsible for building and managing everything the front-end webserver (NodeJS), Database (Postgres/MySQL), and front-end (usually ReactJS/Flux).

Also backend and data engineering roles (C++/Java/Go/Kafka/etc) are in high demand here.

SoundHound is hiring in SF/Santa Clara/Toronto.

nateps 1 day ago 1 reply      
At Lever, we write about what skills we are hiring for in a very different way we call an Impact Description. It outlines the role in terms of our expectations for 1, 3, 6, and 12 months into the job.

Here is the description for our Backend Engineering role, a really cool new role that we're hiring the first of onto our Platform Team to compliment our Full-stack engineering team:https://jobs.lever.co/lever/7ab138b0-b5c8-425d-93ae-2fc2b051...

meritt 1 day ago 6 replies      
Intelligence. Tenacity. Ambition. Judgement.

Bonus points for recognizing the bullshit parade that is the current startup world. e.g.: NodeJS has value, but it's mostly the same wheel we've had for 20+ years. Or that MongoDB's changelog has consisted of standard SQL features for the past five years and that pgsql would have been just fine (had people read some boyce-codd anyhow).

k1w1 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I am hiring for Aha! (www.aha.io) one of the key things I am looking for are people who have shown an interest in software development beyond just a day job. The best candidates are those for whom writing code is a passion - something which is done for fun rather than just a way to make ends meet.

This shows up in a resume in lots of different ways. For some people it is a rich Github profile. For others it is that they paid their way through college by building websites or apps.

We primarily hire Ruby on Rails developers who work remotely. Seeing in someone's Github profile that they like to contribute to open source and know how to collaborate with other developers are really important.

chrissnell 1 day ago 0 replies      
I run Technical Operations at Revinate. We are based in San Francisco but my team is 100% remote. I'm based in a small town in Kansas.

For 2017, I want to hire more engineers with Kubernetes, CoreOS, and Go experience. My team has deep Linux systems administration experience but we've automated ourselves out of most of the day-to-day admin work of yesteryear. Our future hires will be heavily focused on automation. We've already automated builds, testing, deployment, monitoring, and metrics in a Kube/Docker pipeline. I expect to automate load balancing and hardware deployment in 2017. I also expect that we will adapt many of our non-Kubernetes data services for running containerized in Kube.

troygoode 1 day ago 3 replies      
We're an Enterprise B2B SaaS company headquartered in San Francisco.

Our stack is node.js/React/Postgres so knowing any/all of those is a bonus, but we don't specifically target those skills we instead look for a diverse, intelligent set of engineers who have a strong technical background or a newer technical background but heavy experience in a non-programming field (mathematics, economics, architecture, teaching, customer support, etc; they all have their benefits). Interest in being "full stack", participating heavily in the product management process (strong opinions loosely held!), and a belief in the critical importance of design & UX (unfortunately still heavily undervalued in the Enterprise space...) are important.

Hiring in San Francisco & Washington, DC by the way.


bsvalley 1 day ago 4 replies      
People who can be micro-managed and used as resources. People who will do the job.
asher 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm at shopkick. We're a mobile app. We hire server, Android and iPhone engineers, but many will move across these platforms. We look for smart generalists. So, although we use Python on our servers, we don't expect server candidates to know Python.

Advice for senior engineers: brush up your practical programming. If you've been in an architect/leadership role, you may be rusty. Make sure you're comfortable on both whiteboard and keyboard.

If you spent the last 5 years writing iPhone apps, we expect you to know iPhone development pretty well. Memory management is the obvious area here.

Be ready to explain the most recent projects on your resume. Think outside the box - if you wrote code to process messages from a black box, how do you think the black box worked? If you consumed JSON messages, how much can you explain of JSON and JSON parsers? Many projects are so narrow in scope that we can't have a meaningful conversation about them, so be prepared to broaden into adjacent areas.

Advice for new grads and early-career engineers: have some solid, non-trivial code on github (or equivalent) and make sure we know about it. Be prepared to discuss it and explain design decisions. Few do this.

This post is my take on the question - what follows is especially subjective and not representative of shopkick:

Don't put stuff on your resume that you don't know. Or, brush up the skills featured on your resume.

Learn a scripting language, especially if you're a server engineer. People who only know Java/C++ are at a big disadvantage if they have to write code in an interview. How big? Turning a 5 minute question into 35 minutes is typical - and it gets worse. One very smart, very experienced man took 45 minutes on such a question. Of course, don't just port Java idioms to Python; learn Python idioms. Good languages are Python/Ruby/Perl. I think a HN reader probably doesn't need to be told this, but just in case. Properly used, scripting languages teach techniques which carry over to compiled languages.

Server engineers should be comfortable with either vi or emacs. And with basic Linux. Personally I find it astounding that a server candidate would be unfamiliar with ls and cat, but it happens.

I hope this is helpful and doesn't sound arrogant.

dccoolgai 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hire frontend and mixed web devs. What I'm looking for is a mature understanding of the web platform from devs at all levels. + basic architecture and good practices for mid-level devs. + business and deep architecture for seniors.

+ for new web platform things like Service Workers, advanced SVG.

Could care less about whatever franework is hot this week.

ryanSrich 1 day ago 1 reply      
On the frontend side of things I'm looking less for specific framework experience and more for overall programming competency. JavaScript development moves so fast now that it really doesn't make sense to scope your hiring to angular, react, etc.
erichurkman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Things in our full stack (Python, React, Ansible/AWS, APIs), a focus on strong front end engineers that are interested in mentorship-type roles. There's a unique-ish role for someone to come help us solve remote office work (think piloting VR or new techs to enable me to work closely with someone 1,000 miles away but make it feel like they are 2 feet away). Focus on security/devops.

We may also need a strong lead for a new business unit, a role akin to 'founder lite' you run a business unit with two others, you have your own burn rate, your own P&L, etc. The strongest skills someone can have for it are former founder experience (aka: broad experience doing lots of things, moving quickly, MVP, etc).

Palo Alto, San Francisco, Seattle.

SoundofSip 1 day ago 0 replies      
I work for a small company in the Netherlands.

We are looking for c# devs with some front-end experience and ops people (linux / Windows / networking). Azure / AWS experience is you have it. You can do SQL and have a nice grasp of distributed architectures. Experience with CI is appreciated.

Most of all though, you need to have a passion for the job. Really like what you are doing and be proud of the stuff you create with the team.

As a company we value your efforts and actively encourage you to have a normal family life but we also expect you to handle a shitstorm (with your team) if need be.

gtbcb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ability to read code daily, write code when necessary, SQL, understand APIs, and be good in front of enterprise customers. We went through 400 candidates to find a quality Implementation / post-sales Engineer. We're a B2B SaaS company.
jasonmacdee 1 day ago 0 replies      
At JDA our hiring will vary, but my division in Store Operations needs people with SaaS experience, especially with GCP. Angular, REST, DDD, and agile thinking are a bonus. But also need C#, ASP.NET, Web API, and ExtJS for other teams. Have a few spots with strong math skills too, doing complicated forecasting and scheduling work alongside PhDs.

Interviews have practicals where you work on problems you'll see regularly with skills we expect you to have (like writing code, debugging, and task breakdown). Good communication, pairing skills, quick learning, and taking responsibility for your circumstances stand out.


KuhlMensch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Like many here, Perkbox (London) is less looking at skills, and more looking for experience in:

- scalable architecture with legacy systems

- tech strategies to enable engineers & product to create success

- broad knowledge of useful serverside languages & technologies

- bringing a multi-platform SAAS to multiple regions

- processes and tech to ensure quality of output

- AWS dev ops

But for the sake of the OP, skills would likely be a nebula of PHP, Go, SQL, node, react, Webdriver, kubernetes and tech related to application infrastructure (Kong, Message queues etc). There are other nascent products which may demand other technologies - a years a long time :)

If any of this catches your eye hit me up for a chat ashleyc@perkbox.co.uk

ian0 1 day ago 0 replies      
Payments company, ~50 people, based in Jakarta Indonesia.

We hope to expand our team in early 2016 and have a mainly java micro-services with some PHP and native apps on the front. Will likely add to the java team in addition to an IOS dev.

Nice atmosphere, nice people. We try to select for people who don't like to be micromanaged (but are still friendly) and assign responsibility not tasks wherever able. Varying degrees of success but overall happy with the approach.

Looking for at least one highly skilled person with java experience and ideally a fin-tech background. Not sure the salary would be competitive with SF but cost of living is small and its a great lifestyle (for those who like daily excitement/challenges and learning new cultures). On site. Other roles would likely be unsuitable (read: cheap!) for the HN audience.

amcrouch 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always look for people that are clearly very technical but who I feel I want to work with. There are some amazing developers that have zero people skills and for whom the word pragmatic doesn't exist. If you can explain complex technology in a way my CFO can understand you will also build a product for that level of user as well.

If you have that, breadth in projects and technology and you are genuinely excited by the opportunity I have on offer then I have found that a good mix.

ergo14 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hire people who show some passion for what they do. On technical end I'm looking for python developers, polymer/angular on javascript end, and ideally at least some basic linux skills.I like candidates that undertstand why languages that allow something like "foo" + 5 are not the best idea ever.
lost_my_pwd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Intelligence, compassion, accountability.

That also holds true in my personal life as what I look for from others and expect of myself.

fatihdonmez 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here at Agoda, we're looking for great engineers. It'll be wonderful if you also know any of Scala, Akka, Cassandra, Kafka, Hadoop, Spark.

You can apply here; http://grnh.se/p4tu8l1

sanswork 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am looking to hiring a jr ruby or elixir developer in the next few months that doesn't mind cross training on the job. They will probably be remote since I live in a small surfing town half way up the Australian coast at the moment.

Since it's a jr role I'm looking more for evidence that they want to learn than examples of accomplishments.

mtam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Industry: Enterprise ERP tools and add-ons

- Developers: We use mostly java, swift, and JS (Angular 2) but we always look for polyglot developers, full stack developers, or whatever you want to call someone that see the language as a mean to achieve a goal and not the goal itself.

- DevOps: Deep ec2 knowledge and experience. AWS certification is a plus

Clubber 1 day ago 0 replies      
Our company uses mostly legacy C# and .NET frameworks on premises with a mix of SQL Server and Oracle. We're building a new app using WebAPI / MVC with a SQL Server backend that will be hosted in Azure.
bovermyer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll be hiring shortly here for a devops engineer. Here's a few of the things I'm looking for:

* Ansible

* Python

* Go


* Docker



Experience with the above would be nice. What I actually require though is not specific to a particular technology:

* Not a dick

* Ability to reason

* Ability to iterate

* Ability to communicate at multiple levels of abstraction

shirman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Okay, and what does Product Manager must have to be hired in 2017?
debatem1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well known space firm, hiring security folk with some teeth. I look for exploit/pen testing experience either in the digital or physical world, development chops, and passion for the job.
naakkupoochi 1 day ago 1 reply      
In 2017 (or from this week :)), I am looking to hire 5 Sr. Dev/Cloud Ops Engineers, with competency in AWS (CloudFormation, IAM, etc), Azure, Chef, Terraform, general Ops. PM for more info.
njay 1 day ago 0 replies      
At Hipmunk, we'll be looking for someone with machine learning or NLP skills to take Hello Hipmunk (our virtual travel agent) to the next level. Visit hipmunk.com/jobs to learn more.
dagw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Data presentation. There are boatloads of data analysts who can do all kinds of clever analysis of all kinds of data, but we're finding that the real crux is presenting those results to the relevant parties in a way that they can quickly see the data that they actually need in a way that makes it as easy as possible for them to make the decisions they actually need to make.
yisymphony 1 day ago 0 replies      
* good working knowledge of distributed systems, CAP, etc.

* development services and applications on Kafka and Spark

JamesBarney 1 day ago 1 reply      
C# + js /w react a plus

Oil and Gas

damosneeze 1 day ago 1 reply      
I work at Real World React. We specialize in training engineers on front-end web development, specifically React, Redux, RxJS, and related technologies. We've trained engineers from Twilio, OpenTable, NerdWallet, Tesla, Esurance, and many more. We are based in SF.

Since we also do private consulting and project-based work in addition to our workshops, we have recently got to talking with our clients about helping them get full-time employment. So I think this post is pretty timely and very relevant to us. Here are a few reasons why we think React is important for the job market.

Lots of companies are choosing React for their front-end these days. It allows your front-end devs to embrace the full power of JavaScript for the front-end -- no more messing around with jQuery and tons of plugins. Sure, there's a bit of a learning curve, like all new things. But there is now a large and devoted community to React and it's only growing. A personal friend of mine convinced his boss to greenfield their entire app with 10,000 lines of jQuery, and rewrite it entirely in React. He was a new hire (and also a great communicator/salesman).

Coding bootcamps are embracing React as well. Since most of these institutions survive year-to-year based on how well their placement numbers are for graduates, they are paying close attention to the trends in development. One could argue that since they are probably more technical than the average recruiter, they may even have a better grip of the pulse. FullStack Academy, of New York and Chicago, recently wrote a blog on why they're moving their curriculum from Angular to React (https://www.fullstackacademy.com/blog/angular-to-react-fulls...). App Academy (SF & NYC) has had React in its curriculum for a number of months (https://www.appacademy.io/immersive/curriculum). And I've personally spoken with alumni of Hack Reactor in SF who said that most students built their capstone project in React (or attempted to).

Is React the best solution? That's arguable, as all things are. It also depends on what you want to accomplish. But for the relevancy of this post -- asking what tech skills people will be hiring for in 2017 -- I would argue that React is going to be one of the top skills. And with that includes...


As far as backend, the top three technologies that we've seen with our clients are:


But of course, all of this is moot without the foundation of strong JavaScript skills. Our students who have strong JS skills pick up React quickly -- those who don't only get confused.

Anyways, if you are skilled in React and other related technologies and you are looking for work, you can always email me: ben at realworldreact dot com with some info about yourself and/or your resume.

tmaly 1 day ago 0 replies      
Compliance Technology in the Financial Services industry. Reporting, SOLID, active monitoring, microservices Perl / Go.
lowglow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Critical thinking above all, ability to solve new problems, ability to deliver applied theories, and ability to ship. Beyond that, we're looking for hardware experience, statistics experience, heavy math skills, digital signal processing, machine learning. Python / C / C++ and ruby for some apps.
jayajay 1 day ago 3 replies      
Ask HN: How to get first clients for Data Science consultancy
23 points by vaib  2 days ago   15 comments top 8
huhtenberg 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is not "Data Science" specific, but bootstrapping a client base for a new company with no street cred is done nearly exclusively through networking, e.g. you would start by aggressively asking your contacts for referrals, poaching clients that you've previously worked with, etc.

Also, what you are describing is like opening a mechanical engineering shop and saying "we can invent anything that moves". Consider how well that would go. Specialization is the key, at least in the early stages.

santa_boy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not specifically Data Science but I've had individual success directly writing to people (in companies) who are working in the area.

If you are good at some domain and believe you can help someone in that domain, you can create and demonstrate your analyses with specific examples. In addition, building a decent blog with personal touch and experience can create "collateral" and it helps keep you make continuous progress in small steps without necessarily focusing on any specific topic.

brudgers 2 days ago 1 reply      
Identify potential clients. Go out and introduce yourself and your company. Ask intelligent questions about their business. Listen to their answers. Thank them for their time.

Follow up periodically so that the company stays in your deal flow pipeline and maybe it leads to work at some future date. Maybe it doesn't.

Doesn't matter what magic the consultancy sells, that's how it works: build a big enough pipeline of potential sources of work and statistically there is always likely to be enough work to keep the lights on. Statistically, if the pipeline is not big enough, there won't be.

The size of the pipeline is based on the rate at which the consultancy burns through money; the aggregated probabilities of each potential client to produce paying work each month; the rates at which clients cancel projects, fail to pay, or choose an alternate means of accomplishing their goal; and the amount of time it takes to complete a project (e.g. $10k over two years versus $10k over two weeks).

The larger the consultancy, the bigger the pipeline needs to be. My advice is to start putting numbers into Excel.

Good luck.

probinso 2 days ago 1 reply      
I started by growing my personal projects to a professional level. I treated myself as a client and tracked hours. When I discussed new contracts with people I was able to show them that.

When I go back down this path, I'm hoping to bootstrap with a Blog instead. Not necessarily because I think this is the best idea, but because I think it will be more fun.

inputcoffee 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think data science is a little different from other consulting jobs.

For most consulting jobs, the client has a clearer idea of what they are going to get. You might promise them a working SAP system, advice on a document they might sign, a tax return they can file and so on.

With data science, you might just be promising them: hey, we will take a look around in the data and see if we can find something interesting.

This is a harder sell. I think you need a clear example of what you might find and why that is valuable to the client.

Strategy consulting firms often deal with similar issues. I do think that it is not easy to land pure strategy assignments unless you are already at McKinsey, BCG or Bain.

joeld42 2 days ago 0 replies      
Networking. Beyond that, a good first start is to do some interesting analysis on public datasets and blog about them.
eb0la 2 days ago 1 reply      

Talk a look at your local/nearest industries.Pick a medium sized one.Get to know them and take a look at the machines they use for QA.

You'll be very surprised to see that, in some industries, quality test could take dozens of hours (you cannot speed up chemical reactions).

If you can infer the quality of a product based on easy-to-accquire inputs, then you have a customer.

zer00eyz 1 day ago 0 replies      
If your interested in developing a name then content marketing is the game.

There are tons of free data sets out there, find something in a vertical that you think has a large market share and blog about it. Run and crunch those numbers on your own dime, make your visualizations beautiful.

Hiring a content marketing consultant would be in your best interest and might be cheep.

Ask HN: Best practises for solo developer?
28 points by vcool07  2 days ago   8 comments top 7
ergot 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can still stand on the shoulders of others when you are a solo developer. That might sound obvious, but you can offload an enormous amount of brain-power to the work of others due to the neural nature of the net. I consider the net my 'exobrain' and it's worth learning how to get answers rapidly using multiple different search engines. Google is handy, but it's worth investigating the native search capabilities of other sites.

One obvious search mechanism is, of course, Stack Overflow. HN's Algolia search is another. Personally I run Searx[1] locally and permanently have it open when coding.

[1] https://github.com/asciimoo/searx

borplk 1 day ago 0 replies      
One suggestion I can make is to make objective facts your friend.

Judge yourself against genuine accurately measured metrics. Hold yourself to some minimum/acceptable/excellent standards.


Problem: You are at increased risk of turning into a hermit.

Expectation: I must attend no less than 6 meet ups per year (roughly 1 every 2 months). I should strive for 12 per year.

(Some of you might say that's too low, you can adjust for yourself, don't get too excited by setting yourself stressful goals.)

Have some excel spreadsheet or something and measure it.

The gist of my suggestion is one word, quantify.

This can be easier said than done and it's certainly not the only option. However it's a good option because metrics don't lie and in the absence of other methods to keep yourself in line you have to rely on an honest source of truth.

brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
For all the reasons listed, and because working alone means there is no one with which to share the misery when things don't go well, the objective best practice is probably to find another developer to work with.

The second best practice might be remaining aware of all those risks.

The third best practice? Perhaps realizing that all of those things are sort of normal among ordinary humans and just to accept that fact.

Good luck.

wingerlang 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are you talking about doing freelance or doing your own thing?

Anyway some things I've found useful:

Freelance: Do work in a company first because it (hopefully) gives some exposure regarding QA/CR and generally putting code out there. The whole process. For deadlines, if you have a deadline you're about to miss you better work harder and require a longer deadline for the next project. Each new project I take on I require longer and longer deadlines, if it is impossible just say no.

Solo: Use the app/service yourself constantly for the bugs, create beta tests for the rest. I've found that you only need 1-2 people as beta testers if they are genuinely interested in the product. I've had essay written to me about features.

aaronhoffman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Measure the hours you spend on each task, then view them in aggregate.

If you were your only employee, would you be happy with the output?

Pair up with another solo shop for pairing/code reviews.

rogerdpack 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's not clear if you're asking about solo developer or "solo company" as it were. Anyway, typically if you're doing a startup the advice is to get a partner. Then maybe you're not so solo anymore. If that's not possible, then expect to spend lotsa time on marketing instead of coding :)
sharmi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am working Solo, but I get to bounce ideas off my spouse who also works in IT though it is sporadic at best. I am proactively trying to do this more, as it helps to air my ideas and it is much easier to recognize rabbit holes.

I am by no means an expert in this but the following things helped. At present my time is limited and if I don't take efforts to monitor my activities, I easily fall prey to distraction and procastination.

* Maintaining a list of things to do. If the first thing you do when you sit down to work is wonder what is it that you have to tackle next, thats a recipe for loss of productivity. If you have a list of tasks ( as granular as possible), ordered by priority if possible, you can hit the ground running.

* Try to have more realistic expectations of what you can accomplish. Try to estimate how long each task will take for you to do and then double that estimate. Knowing how long each task is gonna take will cut down on anxiety.

* If you are a solo founder starting out, product validation is much more important than QA. Once you have customers though, it is important to avoid any disruption in services.

* Release often even if only you will see. Make incremental updates. Always start with something very small but working and keep adding features. Immediate visual feedback of seeing your changes at work will do wonders for your morale.

* If you are doing multiple projects, some preliminary documentation should be in place so you can context switch easily from one project to another

* Though all these help me a lot, I have just started following most of them and it needs lots of discipline. I need to be mindful of what I am doing. Whenever I slip, I just try to get back up and start again.

* I also need to find a way to handle situations where I run something and it needs a minute or two to finish. I end up wandering to HN or News or Youtube and lose track of time. Maybe another list of micro tasks :)

Another idea is to use spacemacs. I have been a vim user for a long time. The idea of using emacs for browsing , task tracking and coding sounds appealing as probably there is lesser chance of distraction. Can someone comment on whether it is a good idea or another wild goose chase?

All that said, if I am exploring a new feature or tech, it often lacks structure due to it's lack of clarity and the time estimate for it is widely off the mark. Yet to find a way on how to tackle this. For now, the only option is to set some hard deadline. If there is no light by the deadline, that line of exploration has to be dropped. Maybe the unpredictability just has to be embraced and accepted.

Also, there was a website with stackoverflow kind of setup for solo founders and freelancers to interact and 'feel like an office' setup. Unfortunately I have not used it in some while and forgot theurl.

Ask HN: Interested in an e-book on building web apps with Node.js and React?
42 points by hobonumber1  2 days ago   35 comments top 12
hobonumber1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just to add why I'm asking this:

I've just been building stuff out in Node/JS-land for a while and just want to give something back to the community. So I'm thinking about starting an e-book or a series of blog posts to educate people in things that I've learned. Learning people's use cases gives me a better understanding of how I can write things that genuinely solve pain points.

I would really appreciate it if people could PM me some type of contact info so I can keep in touch with anyone who is interested. My email is tilomitra[at]gmail[dot]com.

FLGMwt 2 days ago 5 replies      
I'd pay for it even if it was just empty repo => dumb site w/ user auth. Haven't found a good concise tutorial for that.
AbhishekDutt 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are people with all kinds of experience level, someone would definitely find it useful.

I did build a complete web app (basically a Reddit clone) in NodeJs from scratch recently (though Angular2 instead of React), most of the things that you described in your book's contents were in the official documentation or tutorials (and Stack overflow).

Still, I don't know things like server-side rendering, and although I was able to configure SystemJs I have no idea how to configure it (or its de/merits over bable/webpack), 3rd party authentication (Google/FB login) was a pain, and now I realize I should have used the Flux architecture and also used TDD.But then all this is just a google search away anyway.

However, I would have paid for the book you describe if a) I wasn't broke, b) was just beginning with web dev, c) the book built a complete nontrivial app (something like the Meteor/Telescope).

PS: Which nodeJs framework would you suggest/use?

soneca 2 days ago 1 reply      

Yes, after an introdutory free and useful by itself chapter/course.

Constantly looking for this kind of learning resource right now. I had a very good experience with this one: http://trysparkschool.com

In my personal case, as I'm learning to code from scratch, it is essential that the course do not assume too much about my previous knowledge. Check the Twitter course. It teaches me how to install everything from the most basic tools, like Terminal. It actually taught me what Terminal is.

I hope you do it, I very much need it. Get my email at the profile and please let me know if you do it. Good luck!

probably_wrong 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not really.

A book is by definition 90+ pages long (probably a lot more). I will only want that much information if I'm completely new to the area.

I have never used Node.js nor React, but I did a fair amount of web design. A book will feel slow and repetitive.

Case in point: the last book I read was about Opencl. About a whole Chapter was dedicated to configuration parameters and C data types. I know that stuff has to be there in case the book is your only reference, but otherwise I can just check the Internet for that.

I know lots of people like technical books for pretty much the same reasons I don't, so keep that in mind too.

jetti 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would definitely be interested if you threw Electron in as well. I would pay $20-$30 for an ebook on that as I'm struggling with getting React to work with Electron and all the tutorials have their stuff just work and it doesn't work for me when copying what they have. It is beyond frustrating!
aarohmankad 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to read this if you published it! I would pay for something that was really well written (gauged off of sample chapters). I would probably only pay around $5 for it.

Most importantly, if there was a way for you to host the ebook online and provide a way for someone to type code into your website and mess around with the source code. Think like Codecademy, with code on one side and the result on the other.

wflann 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes--absolutely. There are a lot of video tutorials for React, but it feels that there's a lack of written guides at the moment. Not everyone learns best from videos, so having more choices to learn is huge. You should go for it.
angry-hacker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't want to sound snarky but I'm interested in ebook of writing web apps/pages in old ways. Send a request, receive a request without js. :))
paulcole 2 days ago 0 replies      
No thank you. This isn't of interest to me.
lemiffe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes please, learning react and modern JS (coming from a simple jQuery background) has been hellish.
DRickson 2 days ago 2 replies      
NodeJS is generally not an appropriate backend choice given the dynamic nature of the language. I would not be interested and would hope that it comes with warnings that such development stacks are usually only appropriate for small projects if at all.
Ask HN: What your favorite sketchbook/notebook to store your brain dumps?
11 points by ciaoben  1 day ago   10 comments top 9
Jtsummers 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Check out Staples line of Arc products. Similar to a spiral notebook in how you can fold it, but the sheets come out easily like a 3-ringed binder and can be reordered. The first page in mine is blank. I write the date and topic at the top, use as many sheets as I need. Then move them to the appropriate section or into another Circa notebook (as appropriate). The covers and disks to create more notebooks are reasonably inexpensive, and you can purchase your own punch for a modest price to make compatible paper out of any paper stock you have available (and to make printouts and such fit into it easily).

Levenger's Circa line was my introduction to the concept, but their notebooks and paper are more expensive and less available (compared to having a Staples in nearly every city).

I use the Junior sized notebooks (8.5"x5.5", or roughly A5 sized for those not in the US). It's not a pocket notebook, but easily carried and fits nicely into most bags. Being able to reorganize the pages also reduces, for me, the difficulty of first writing something down ("crap, it doesn't need to be in this notebook!" kind of nonsense).

qwrusz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Where are you looking? What is the problem? # of pages?

I would stay away from notebooks with paper thats too thin and writing bleeds through to the other side, had issues with this and moleskin but YMMV.

No affiliation, but on jetpens.com you can filter by page size and number of pages etc. For example this notebook is A5, has 250 pages and the pages numbered and there's a blank index to organize thoughts.


eschutte2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Big fan of Clairefontaine although lately I've been using these Muji notebooks: https://www.amazon.com/MUJI-Double-Notebook-48sheets-1504015...
sogen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd go to any art supplies store and look in the stationery section, you'll find lots of options in there.

Lately I bought some Pantone notepads, they come in several sizes, sturdy and have dotted guides.

But 99% of the time I just use cheap 99 notebooks.

tjt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've always liked Black n' Red casebound notebooks.


ch215 1 day ago 0 replies      
Field Notes get my vote. Expensive but unrivaled quality. You can leave one in your back pocket for a month and it won't fall to pieces.


bemmu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just have a stream-of-consciousness text file where I type anything that's on my mind, including ideas. Main downside is that I can't scribble on it.
samat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Moleskine would be default choice for me.
devnonymous 1 day ago 0 replies      
For brainstorming and note taking when reading books I use the boogie board sync ( https://myboogieboard.com/ewriters/sync). I recommend it to anyone who 'thinks' by scribbling and doodling.

I am now waiting for remarkable (https://getremarkable.com)

Ask HN: How do you market your side project?
10 points by max0563  21 hours ago   2 comments top
connorski 18 hours ago 1 reply      
There are tons of different ways to market your side project and what works for someone else may not work for you, of course.

I think it really just comes down to where your potential customers may be hanging out / searching. For my side project, I've had decent success responding to posts/questions on sites like Quora, where someone is looking for exactly what you offer. It's free too (besides for your time!).

The book Traction (https://www.amazon.com/Traction-Startup-Achieve-Explosive-Cu...) gives a pretty solid overview of different marketing methods/strategies.

Ask HN: Why we assume software developers don't know math?
2 points by master_yoda_1  23 hours ago   4 comments top 4
GFischer 4 hours ago 0 replies      
That's definitely some kind of local myth. Here in Uruguay (and South America in general), it's the opposite, programmers are viewed as math nerds. I believe the same happens in Europe (especially Eastern Europe), and Asia.

A lot of programmers here have to get an Engineering degree, which includes a LOT of math.

Same for CS degrees. Even Information Systems degrees (like the one I ended up getting) belong to the Engineering school and have quite a lot of math.

yarper 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Do we?

"Programming is one of the most difficult branches of applied mathematics; the poorer mathematicians had better remain pure mathematicians."

- Edsger Dijkstra

borplk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You gotta say something more than just that.
cblock811 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I tend to assume the opposite (and have been brushing up on my math skills as a result).
I'm prescribed Fentanyl AMA
21 points by velox_io  1 day ago   15 comments top 6
drvdevd 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey I just want to say Thanks for this AMA. I was going to mention the Insys thread here when I went back and saw your link to this.

I will say I agree with you that although this company was abusing their power/privilege with Fentanyl, and although we have an opiate epidemic, we certainly shouldn't be under-prescribing opiates either. We need to disentangle the mess we have where profit motives intersect with public health, law enforcement and education.

Personally, I think honest education around all drugs is the answer (as opposed to "Just Say No", etc..), and it's great for everyone to hear from patients who actually need these drugs, such as yourself.

unprepare 1 day ago 1 reply      
How debilitating is your pain?

If your doctor refused to renew your prescription tomorrow, what would you use to deal with your pain in its place?

If you lost your job/insurance and thus were unable to afford anything other than over the counter medications, how would you cope with not having this pain medication available to you?

Does fentanyl have a procedure for when you want to stop taking the medication? (like how you should lower your dose over time before stopping with SSRIs and the like)

i appreciate you giving a first hand account from someone who uses this medication!

cr0sh 1 day ago 1 reply      
First and foremost - does Fentanyl help you with your CRPS (because reading that wiki entry, it sounds terrible)?
jdenning 1 day ago 1 reply      
First, I'm very sorry you have to deal with such a difficult issue, and I'm glad that something is available to help with your pain. It is very unfortunate, IMO, that many people are having difficulty getting the pain meds they need due to the drug war.

I think issue with Fentanyl is not the accurately labeled stuff you're getting from the pharmacist. The issue is that since fentanyl is a lot stronger than other opioids, and is easier/cheaper to manufacture, people in the black market have figured out that they can sell counterfeit pills/heroin/etc. that is actually (cut/diluted) fentanyl, and get the benefits of 1) higher profit margin, 2) easier supply chain (no pill mills or poppies needed), and 3) easier to smuggle and store raw product, due to the higher potency. The problem comes when the counterfeit product is too strong -- a user takes what they believe is their normal dose, but it's a lot stronger and they die (e.g. Prince: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37151146).

I've heard it theorized that the high number of recent fentanyl-related overdoses could be because some gang(s) might be trying to figure out the optimal ratio of fentanyl to filler to use in their counterfeit products by watching the overdose rates in low-income markets before moving the counterfeit products into high-income markets (i.e. they don't want to have a rash of stock brokers overdosing).

Applying Hanlon's razor, another explanation might be that these counterfeiters are just mistakenly putting to much fentanyl in the mix.

I assume that fentanyl is no more dangerous than any other opioid when the dosage is correct (I really have no idea, someone correct me if I'm wrong here!).

(EDIT) The counterfeiting issue is a one of the reasons that some people (myself included) argue for legalization of all drugs or at least better harm reduction strategies for addicts: purity, dosage, and quality control would all be better if these drugs were obtainable from more reputable sources.

Unrelated to fentanyl in particular, but a word of advice: if you need to take these meds for an extended period of time, be very wary of any issues with your gut! A very close friend of mine has been on prescription opioids for around 8 years due to some chronic pain issues she has resulting from giving birth; the constipation side-effect eventually caused a bowel obstruction which she ignored for too long, and it has escalated into a very painful and dangerous situation for her, involving several procedures which sounded very unpleasant.

maccam912 1 day ago 1 reply      
Were you prescribed anything for pain before fentanyl? If so, what is different about fentanyl? What prompted the switch?
genieyclo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thoughts on the new Gucci song -- Selling Heroin? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcXDMXuUPB4
Ask HN: How does a modern BI/Analytics look like?
4 points by whatwasmypwd  1 day ago   2 comments top
stocktech 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't understand if you're asking about ETL and data warehousing or about BI and analytics.
Programming languages and frameworks to learn in 2017
9 points by meerita  2 days ago   9 comments top 9
jetti 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Elixir (and Phoenix after that) -> get into a non-intimidating language on the Erlang VM. I think this may be harder for me because of lack of project ideas but it is still on my list

Nemerle -> it is a "dead" language on .NET but it still has some cool features

Electron -> I'm not good at HTML/CSS nor nodejs/javascript so being able to do both while creating a desktop app (which is my platform of choice) is really enticing to me

gremlinsinc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Vue: Easy frontend, I'm still learning this one a bit right now.

Phoenix: Good one if you need lots of concurrency especially for an uptime bot, or a chat service or similar style app. This one's on my to do list.

Laravel (is a very profitable one php is everywhere and has good integration w/ Vue). This is my bread and butter, and I really enjoy using laravel and would recommend it to anyone.

codegeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
plain javascript. I decided that until I learn plain js well, I would not bother anymore with the frameworks.
brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
In 2016, I picked JavaScript, Linux, and Emacs. Somehow, despite seemingly learning a great deal, I failed to finish learning all about any of them.
hodder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of coure this depends on what you are trying to do, but here are some general things to know in computing:

Beginner or Advanced: Python - Django, Flask

Javascript - the language of the web

HTML&CSS (Not languages)

kzisme 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would like to look further into Goand Elixir/Erland
raisspen 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you are looking for mathematics & statistics:

Python(numpy/scipy) & R are perfect for starting (and open source!).

mcnees287 1 day ago 0 replies      
claudiug 1 day ago 0 replies      
net core


Ask HN: Co-founder mom died, and his depression is effecting the business
11 points by icevalley  2 days ago   16 comments top 15
lh7 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Consider having a continuity plan next time. Personal tragedy is not an uncommon occurrence.

> He's adamant he wants to continue, and he's seeking help from a counselor.

He's doing the right thing, both in seeking counsel and in wanting to continue. Taking time off is extremely unlikely to help him.

Grieving affects everyone differently.

Whether you are a start-up or an established small business, chances are the bulk of your value is in your management / founding team. That means the three of you, working together as a team.

> The 3rd co-founder and I find it demotivating and frustrating when he disappears.

That is your problem, not his.

> I feel as if the best thing for the business is to let go of him, but it's a shitty thing to do. Moreover I feel as if his depression would worsen if he lost his place in the team.

Wrong priorities. If you're not looking after your team you're not looking after your company. Help the guy first and foremost.

Give him honest support, don't complain, take up the slack, man up and swallow the frustration. It may well be you going through a rough patch next time.

These things suck but it's part of life (and business).

kafkaesq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there anybody on here who has successfully dealt with depressed employees/co-founders?

Yes, I know of one well-known company which gave one of its core team members an unlimited leave of absence (with a believable promise that they'd be welcome to come back any time in the next 2 years). The key aspect here is that this was a small-ish, (then) family-run company -- and in many ways, the team was like family, too. Also, this was well before the current hyper-accelerated "My startup's growth plan ber alles" ethos that we have today -- so even aside from the family-run aspect, people at least did generally have some perspective on the human side of things (unlike today).

I feel as if the best thing for the business is to let go of him, but it's a shitty thing to do.

Absolutely. Definitely don't just fire the guy. (Aside from being a shitty thing to do -- I'm assuming it's abundantly clear already that there's a significant chance that could backfire in ways that could hurt the company far beyond the current loss of productivity).

But (absent an actual, forced leave of absence) it may be a good idea to ply him with a significant amount of paid leave (4+ months), with a suggestion that he put aside any idea of working full-time for quite a bit longer than that -- plus a statement that he's not only welcome, but very strongly encouraged to re-apply at any time after 6 (given that it's basically too complicated legally to outright promise someone a position will be available for them in the future, given the way business conditions usually go -- which I'm sure he can understand, in his current condition).

Things happen in life, and sometimes you just have to do the right thing.

asimjalis 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The 3rd co-founder and I find it demotivating and frustrating when he disappears."

This seems like a bigger issue to me than the one in your subject.

His disappearance should not affect the validity of your vision and the validity of the opportunity.

If his disappearance is demotivating this is a sign that your motivation needs work.

If you fire him something else will replace him as the conditional hook that will trigger the demotivation.

You can fire him or keep him. But your reason should not be that his presence is demotivating.

Or rather if this is your reason you will find yourself demotivated anyway, regardless of what you do.

endswapper 3 hours ago 0 replies      
In my mind, the single best part of being a business owner/founder is freedom. That includes the freedom to be compassionate. That's what is required here.

Your startup is really insignificant compared to losing a loved one.

I'm interested to know what he said when you communicated to him that the two of you find him uncooperative and that you feel he is holding you and the project up.

This has the potential to make your team stronger. This a good example of an exception where this particular co-founder should come first over you, or the project.

I don't think it's unreasonable to put a timeframe around this, so you don't enable and he doesn't exploit the situation. I think that's closer to the 12 month mark than the 4 month mark.

macmaharaja 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not an experienced manager or anyone to give advice thereof, but I have experienced what your co-founder is currently going through. Last Year in January, my father passed away and the next 8-9 months were miserable for me. Sleeplessness, anxiety and depression were almost feeding to each other and took a toll on me. I could hardly sleep for an hour at night for consecutive weeks and months at a time.

I would start getting palpitations followed by dangerously high blood pressure. Touch wood, nothing major happened to me and I'm back to normal life.

If you guys can cooperate with him and give him the time, I'm sure he will come back to leading a normal productive life.

Like someone suggested, give him an indefinite leave of absence and have him work with therapists and recover fully.

brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Grandpa Fred was my beloved's grandpa. In 1998, we were out in Iowa visiting the extended relatives on that side of the family and did a video interview life review...on video tape. Grandpa Fred was born in 1912. We asked him about his life. The first thing he said at age 86 was that his mother died when he was twelve and "after that there was no picnic". It had been 74 years. He'd buried a wife. And a son. And in his mind the death of his mother was the defining event in his life.

From a business standpoint, it's an unlucky break. From a personal standpoint it's a profound tragedy for your cofounder. If the business is viable this won't be the last encounter with bad luck. How this one is handled will set the company culture.

My random advice from the internet:

1. Google up "grieving process". You won't discover how to fix it because there ain't no fixing it. It might help you understand what your cofounder is going through and suggest constructive ways to help.

2. The tragedy effects all three of you. That's why there's demotivation and frustration. Group counseling might be a way to work through the current situation. Relationships are one the things that counseling strengthens.

3. Reframing your coworker's condition as grieving rather than depressed puts it in the right light. It acknowledges the proximate cause and places the sadness within a timeline. More importantly it recognizes that the condition is not pathological or a mental disorder. It's simply a healthy part of the human condition.

4. Suppose you and the other founder kick out the grieving cofounder. Afterwards, there's still just the two of you. It is nice to imagine that the business would be in the same shape that it's in now. But it won't be. It will have gone through the distraction and disruption of removing a founder. On top of the disruption and distraction that the death has already caused.

5. Ultimately the business decision is whether to lawyer up or to team up. I hate sports analogies, but here one would be managing a squad where someone has blown out an ACL. The person can usually return to full fitness but it takes time.

Good luck.

tylercubell 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Your story sounds similar to something that once happened at Valve. Gabe Newell offered a sick employee an extended leave with pay and told him, "your job is to get better." I believe he's still with the company.


jaketay 1 day ago 0 replies      
You say that you want him to "take some time off" but then mention that he is "often absent". This to me signals a much greater issue. I think if you were to remove him from your team it would be a huge mistake. We are people, not machines. Sometimes we go through hard times. You need to build a company that supports it's people during these difficult times not abandon them in their time of need. Talk to him and let him know you are there to support him.
help505 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you haven't already talked to him about this, I would take down this post. It seems very likely that he, or someone he knows, could read this and connect the dots.

At the very least, you should minimize information related to the time-frame and size of your team.

epynonymous 16 hours ago 0 replies      
sounds like the real reason is that someone's not pulling their weight. the question becomes, was this person pulling his/her weight before this family affair? i'm assuming this was a random, sudden change or was the mother sick, for example, during a long stretch and recently succumbed? what i'm guessing is that this was a long battle, the latter, and that he hasn't been himself for a long time. if you value his potential or previous contributions then put him on extended leave, even if he doesn't want to, and then deal with it by pushing harder or hiring people. if you're just using this recent development as a trigger then i think it's a bit more involved and you probably are regretful of having him in the first place, regardless of this most recent change or not, but perhaps dealing with some guilt due to the recent passing of his mother.
kohanz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have you already had an open and honest discussion with him outlining the above? Presumably you have evidence of his decreased productivity so that it's not a subjective point of view. What is his response when you tell him that he's been absent and not productive when present? Maybe he doesn't want time off, but he needs to come up with a plan with you guys that has him returning to regular productivity.
147 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I recall the story correctly, Alexis Ohanian of reddit's mother passed during the founding period. Perhaps you should try to reach out and see how they dealt with it.
supernormal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Define the separation between your personal and professional life clearly. It's not a shitty thing to do.

I don't have any recommendations for which action to take next. But do try to speak to him honestly and open up to each other as deeply as you can not only to find out what action you should take next, but to come to a decision together.

pvaldes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is his father still alive? Is the only son? How losing the mother had affected to the other members of the family? Who cares for the father currently?
YuriNiyazov 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think that next time you talk to him, instead of "suggesting" that he take some time off, you have to clarify that it is not a suggestion, but a business partner request, and a "no" will not be looked upon kindly.
Ask HN: Can someone tell me a good tutorial to learn Apache Spark?
4 points by manoj_venkat92  1 day ago   1 comment top
brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is your company's use case? What is the data volume? velocity? variety? What is your company currently using?

Given the technical complexity of Storm and Spark, this might be a situation where paying a consultant for assistance makes sense.

Good luck.

Ask HN: How can I monetize GitHub Issues?
19 points by sochix  3 days ago   11 comments top 6
faitswulff 3 days ago 1 reply      
I looked into something similar (albeit briefly) and found BountySource, which is almost what I wanted: https://www.bountysource.com/

Preferably, like you, I'd rather this be user-oriented, like a kickstarter for features or issues, rather than just paying developers for implementations, but I will confess I didn't look at BountySource too closely. Perhaps it would fit both our needs.

PascLeRasc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Signal has a pay-per-PR system that might be just want you want. https://whispersystems.org/blog/bithub/
lh7 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I reckon what you suggest is not a bad idea: when someone posts an issue that you do not particularly feel like working on, set a price on it! When/if anyone pays, you work on it.

Or someone else can come in and say "I'll do it for X".

Most successful projects that I know of are those where the developer is actually getting paid for his work. QGIS is a great example.

thepredestrian 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I work in a blockchain company and I'm building a tool that allows users to vote on pull requests to be merged to github, all done on the blockchain.

Naturally reading this has spun some ideas in my mind - it would be cool to build a system where people are incentivized to respond to issues, and having it on the blockchain removes a lot of the trust issues that comes along with payouts and rewards.

Any thoughts on this?

kzisme 2 days ago 0 replies      
I suggest you looking into Gratipay. It's a service that's in progress that allow for contributors of FOSS software to get paid for their contributions.
bjourne 2 days ago 2 replies      
That's not going to go well. If you aren't motivated working on it for free, then consider trying to find someone who can take over maintainership.
Ask HN: 44-year old software developer what now?
17 points by mb_72  3 days ago   12 comments top 9
lh7 21 hours ago 0 replies      
> I'm unsure what to do next.

I'm sorry if I've missed something, but isn't the status quo a reasonable option?

Other than that, see what other problems your current customers are having that you could help with. Basically you do not want to leap into a completely new arena and start from zero again (some people can pull this off, most don't). Your Delphi to C# thing appears to be a good example of the sort of transitions you can make.

Alternatively, do personal projects on things related to your hobbies or stuff like that. It's a great of motivating yourself and learning new stuff. Often enough, you will find that there is actually a market for what you built.

Also, find dev meetups in your area (assuming you live close to or in a reasonably-sized city) and go there. You tend to get free pizza and there are always people with interesting / intriguing ideas. Sometimes the people themselves are interesting / intriguing.

brudgers 3 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you have a lot of options.

What kind of work do you really want to do?

What would be an ideal mix of workplace elements relating to your health and working with colleagues and where you would live?

How much do you want to stretch? Python and Django are in a way similar to C# and webforms in terms of the type of work and concepts while F#, Scala, Haskell, Erlang, or Clojure would probably be less familiar?

Do you want to work in a setting with a few other developers? Or a lot of other developers?

Do you want to work with *nix boxes in addition to Windows? Work with Systems on a Chip? Distributed computing?

My random advice from the internet is to spend some time examining the wide range of possibilities. It's not that you're likely to get them all, it's just that you might have a better feel of what you're getting and not getting.

Good luck.

UK-AL 3 days ago 0 replies      
Your c# skills allow you do pretty much any developer job web/desktop/mobile/games. So what do you want to do?
shams93 3 days ago 1 reply      
The job market right now is pretty brutal. If you can keep your current job, do it and if you have time try to contribute to an open source web project like django. If you can become a django contributor even for small bugs that will set you apart in a very crowded job market. Personally I was forced to take a brutal 75% income cut just to not go on unemployment in California and become homeless, here there is really no safety net. I've managed to stay in the game for 25 years but its not at all easy.
probinso 1 day ago 0 replies      
Beat advice is to prep for being a 45 year old developer.
XtalJ 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like to dig in deeper about how computers and software works. It is fun, I learn a lot and it have given me many jobs even without an exam. You could learn more about Linux, UNIX, cloud services, http etc. I don't know how the job market for Windows based desktop applications will be in the future.
justintocci 3 days ago 1 reply      
You need to market yourself. Get a website, cards, handout, anything, then go to meetups. Talk to your local sbdc rep. Craigslist ads work well. Contact me and i'd be happy to tell you all the stuff i do.
bbcbasic 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is in your hearts desire? Would be a good place to start.
mbrodersen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Find a job where you can work remotely (from home).
Ask HN: Is ETL (data integration in batch processing mode) really dead?
9 points by srigan  1 day ago   7 comments top 5
BjoernKW 1 day ago 0 replies      
Far from it. CSV is by far the most common data exchange format for ERP, CRM and business systems in general. EDI is another. Good luck communicating with SAP ERP or NetSuite without good old-fashioned SOAP. Judging from the documentation none of these seems to be supported by Confluent.

SOAP and CSV are not sexy. They have plenty of shortcomings. However, those are the formats that are used in the real world today (and for some time to come).

Stream processing is a very useful design pattern but like any design pattern it should be used carefully and only where appropriate (see: Microservices).

If I were to build a new complex ERP from the ground up I'd be remiss not to use something like Kafka or Confluent for data processing.

If I want to communicate with legacy systems though that's an entirely different matter. The same applies when targeting SMBs. You'd have a hard time explaining to small business owners why they suddenly need a newfangled stream processing architecture while their old "Export CSV and load that into Excel" process worked just fine.

bsg75 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not all data comes in at a rate where streaming approaches are necessary. Sensors, click or IoT data perhaps, but for things like purchases, signups, or other "daily" activities batch processing is suitable and less complex to build.

I would wager that most data is not of a streaming nature, but as the ability to process live pipelines is relatively new, it gets more attention.

njd 1 day ago 1 reply      
It is possible, but there are a lot of caveats.

For example, how do you detect when a source's semantics change? This will break any cleansing or transforms done in the stream platform. Until it gets fixed, data may be missing, wrong, or worse (e.g. corrupted) and propagated down stream.

When data is cleansed and transformed early, there is no way to go back to the raw data, unless you carry it forwards too.

Consider these sort of questions for your use case.

data36 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of course one of the initial authors of Kafka will say, that ETL is dead, and streams only are the future...But that's not the reality in many cases.
atsaloli 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've implemented an ETL pipeline at one of my clients just this quarter that runs nightly and gives them the data they need in the format they want (Web UI + CSV exports). Just having this available at all is a huge win. Having the data be "fresher" would be nice but it's small margin of win compared to the original win.
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