hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    14 Feb 2017 Ask
home   ask   best   5 months ago   
Ask HN: What was the longest period you had to continuously code?
11 points by samblr  6 hours ago   8 comments top 7
malux85 2 hours ago 0 replies      
About 20 hours solid, in a very high pressure deadline, with a lot of money on the table.

1 day beforehand was spent doing research, reading source code, devising strategy.

Next day (+ well into the following day) 20 hours solid development in Python and C++

After that it was deployed to 530 servers worldwide and went live immediatly.

Functioned perfectly. No bugs.

I was exhausted after that, it took me 3-4 days to recover.

bahmboo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Forty hours from bed to bed. Maybe an hour nap. So about 38 hours including throwing up before I went to sleep. I was nineteen. All for a stupid video game that 'had' to ship.
jetti 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably 7 hours straight. It was for an optimized C++ class that I took in my grad program and the particle system project was due. I had bad time management but I was also not t hat familiar with C++ (I knew the basics but not things like SIMD or bit-shifting) so it took longer than others. At the end of the day, I was able to get the particle system working and optimized but it wasn't as up to par as some of the other people in the class and I got a C
existcreate 2 hours ago 0 replies      
16 hours. It was a hackathon, I built a mobile app with mocked interactions and flashy UI.

9 hours. Just last weekend, had to build a system to migrate production database data to another db with different schema, right before a very-short-notice-yet-important QA.

BackwardSpy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I did a small (6-8 teams) 48 hour game jam that I wrote code almost continuously throughout. I had about 4 hours of sleep in the middle of it, and an hour or two for eating. The rest was writing code.The code was game jam quality (that is to say not very high), but the game itself was pretty fun and we ended up placing second overall.
jotato 2 hours ago 0 replies      
26 hours. We took 30 minutes to eat dinner and watch 30 Rock.

We were up against a deadline from the Defense Department. One we didn't know about until the day before it was due. The product owner dropped the ball on this one.

We did complete it. Sadly (and not really a surprise) there were other problems with the contract we had with them and the deal/partnership was dissolved.

throwaway_374 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why do people bother with this like it's some kind of badge of honour just to reward C-level bonuses and pick up a few scraps they'll pitifully throw down to you... it's bizarrely masochistic.
How to be paid as a startup consultant
14 points by ced83fra  6 hours ago   10 comments top 9
hxta98596 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
No offense here. But what kind of startup consultant are you that needs to come on Hacker News to ask how to start such a relatively simple business?

If you are having trouble with this question, I can tell you startups deal with similar customer acquisition and how to launch questions, but 10x harder. So I don't follow, are you a technology consultant with experience in specific hardware or software technologies or is this general business consulting you hope to sell?

romanhn 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
What are your credentials? What hard-earned experience in this area do you have to offer others?

This is not intended as snark, but there's certain irony in asking others for help with a business model when that is precisely the kind of service you wish to offer.

tarr11 5 hours ago 1 reply      
One idea may be to bundle or "set up their systems" for free - accounting, CRM, credit cards, website, SEM, etc. This would save them probably a few hundred hours of research and configuration. Charge them a nominal monthly fee to manage it all.

Then, when you get known for doing this and have lots of clients, charge the SaaS companies an affiliate marketing fee to be included in your bundle.

shosko 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Offer strategy and design. Most people with ideas and a little bit of funding need this kind of help the most.
HeyLaughingBoy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
First figure out if that's what they want in the first place.
PaulHoule 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There are plenty of startups that have $50k or $500k of funding. Most of them are going to be frugal, but it is very realistic to sell them $2000 to $20,000 worth of something.
noahmbarr 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Seek cash.

You can't eat equity or options.

bsvalley 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Look at YC model. Ask for shares!
nnn1234 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The difficulty is not in getting them to pay but showing your credibility. There is tons of free information on the internet why should a startup pay you?

We are building a platform where people contribute time to help in the building of a company or service. Please visit www.crowdraising.coPledge time to start

Ask HN: Open Source Call Routing Software for Text Adventure Game?
2 points by germinalphrase  2 hours ago   1 comment top
iamdave 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What you're thinking of is called an IVR: Interactive Voice Response.


OpenVBX allows you to create an IVR (layman translation: phone tree) where you can plug in "press 1 and go here, press 2 and go here" via the web interface. You'll need a Twilio account and API key for it to work, but both are easy enough to setup.

Feel free to reach out if you'd like any help or want pointers.

If you want to do this programmatically (which I'd advise given how complex this could get), I refer you to the Twilio API docs for building an IVR in PHP (other languages available): https://www.twilio.com/docs/tutorials/walkthrough/ivr-phone-...

Ask HN: Does your organization use SecDevOps?
3 points by mngutterman  5 hours ago   1 comment top
NetStrikeForce 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
What is SecDevOps?
Ask HN: About to interview for Android Developer role. What should I read up on?
4 points by drepricruf  15 hours ago   2 comments top 2
amacalac 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Activity and Fragment lifecycles are a good topic. Understanding commonly used libraries often comes up e.g. Volley, Gson, Okhttp.

Are there specific requirements for the job?

miguelrochefort 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone can pick up Android programming. What matters here are the requirements for the job.
Ask HN: How can I get investor intros in Berlin?
71 points by berlinftw  1 day ago   62 comments top 21
paskster 1 day ago 7 replies      
Please don't waste your time pitching to investors in this position in Berlin. If you make X < 100.000 EUR monthly revenue, then any "investor" in Berlin will probably tell you:

"Very interesting. Let's keep in touch and come back when you make 5 * X EUR revenue."

And if make X >= 100.000 EUR revenue per month, then you most likely don't need 50-75K.

One thing in Berlin ist crucial: Social Proof. If you have it, you can raise 5 Mio EUR with basically zero traction and if you don't have it, it will be a long and timeconsuming process to raise any money at a fair valuation.

Are you willing to spend 6 - 9 months to raise 50 K and do you have significant monthly revenue? If so, your approach to meeting random investors should work. Otherwise you might want to apply for an accelerator in Berlin (for 25 K) or just focus in bootstrapping until you can approach international VCs outside Berlin.

EDIT: Spelling

jorgemf 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't want to sound negative and I might be wrong in my assumptions but 50-75k sounds like something you can get from FFF (family, friends and fools) or supply it with your time. So the question for me is why an investor is going to put money in you if your family and friends don't do it.

A good idea to approach investor is through other startups, people that already know them. You can meet startups entrepreneurs in meetups, I am sure that Berlin is full of meet ups. And if you are not lucky this way you can always try to find them in internet and send them a cold email. A small email with 2-3 lines talking about your product, the money you want and for what it is.

I wish you good luck!

nodesocket 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been to Berlin twice now and was just there for 2 weeks last year in August. The startup scene in Berlin is very good, with lots of really talented designers and engineers. I'd say #1 or #2 behind Stockholm in terms of producing high quality companies these days.

Unfortunately the investment scene in Berlin is still very conservative. There are some angel investment programs out of Berlin (Google for Project Flying Elephant for example). Howerver I'd echo the sentiment that VC's and even angel's in Berlin operate like typically every other European investor, ultra conservative, little to zero speculation, and more of a bank than investment firm. Can't beat the US where you'll find risk takers with gobs of extra cash willing to bet on longshots, outcasts, and pet projects.

softwarelimits 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you would like to stay as independent as possible and keep your business in the long term, I would recommend to try with one of the currently ongoing EU investment programs - there is also one fond for smale-scale investment (like single person startups etc.) - definitely it is possible to get "free money" without high risk atm, but you must do the paperwork yourself:


sveme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't know about Berlin, but Munich/Bavaria has a pool of angels and family offices that they could connect you with: http://www.baystartup.de/finanzierungs-netzwerk/finanzierung...I assume there's something like that in Berlin as well?

Disclaimer: have not tried this myself, no idea about the time needed or success probability.

sjm 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you have enough time, it might be worth going somewhere like Betahaus [0] and meeting some people there. Every Thursday they have a breakfast event where different startups pitch what they're working on. Not always investors present, but certainly someone there could point you in the right direction or give you some ideas.

[0]: https://www.betahaus.com/berlin/

shivram 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's my rule of thumb on fundraising.

1)You are an expert in building companies (you've done it before, can do it again) - this would typically be the case of repeat founders who've raised funds before

2) you are a domain expert, or have an idea which you think you are the right person to execute

For 1) as most people have pointed out things are a lot easier (relatively)

For 2) either you:a) have shown you are on the right track with customers (traction) b) prove you are the right team for the job

Again, a) makes it a bit easier to go to institutional investors.If b) the people who can be convinced of this would be the ones who know you and therefore trust you to do it (hence Friends and Family) Other option is people in the relevant industry who believe you know what you are doing (uncharitably, the Fools portion of FFFs)

From what you've told us so far, you are not seed stage. You are pre-seed as they like calling it in Europe. Institutional investors are a bad fit for this stage.Hence FFFs would be your best bet.

I would recommend accelerators, but very VERY few of them are actually worth it. But that does give you a leg up in the ecosystyem, by allowing your network to expand rapidly

jwildeboer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Or (and I am not kidding or being sarcastic), think about going to Munich instead. For well-defined startups with a clear strategy, Munich is a decent location. It's not "cool" or "hipsterish" but instead focused, goal-driven and quite approachable in my experience.
1337biz 1 day ago 0 replies      
With (50-75K) you are looking for angel investors. I have seen this going up all the way to 250k in Europe. Having well known angels invested will help you a long way to built that social proof everybody here is talking about.
guaka 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are Techstars programs in Berlin, if you make it in you get 20K+100K. Plus convenient intros with numerous investors as part of the program and comfy intros to hundreds of investors afterwards. You also learn a few other things about building a scalable business.

Check http://www.techstars.com/programs/berlin-program/ and https://www.metroaccelerator.com/

StudyAnimal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where are you actually located? I don't think there is anything happening in Berlin on Friday. I suggest getting involved in your local startup community and heading to wherever the events are, when they are actually there. You wont have abny problem with investors if you actually get involved. What is your startup by the way?
tylerfoster 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are a lot of people on here telling you it's not going to happen, but I'm going to assume you have a fundable idea and a track record in the domain needed to deliver your idea.

Submit your deck to angel syndicates. If it's good, they'll invite you to a pitch event. You can find plenty of advice online about what you need to cover in your deck.

A decent angel syndicate could easily do 50K-75K EUR and be able to follow on up to 1M EUR or so.

berlinftw 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have read through this thread and I have concluded that it is unlikely for me to make meaningful connections at our stage, or any stage, in Europe.

For the people wondering, we are building a connected device that users want and which poops money for us and for users. Based on my research this is not a value proposition that is of interest to venture capitalists.

susi22 1 day ago 1 reply      
Silly question: Are you German? Do you have an academic degree? I ask because then you have some options for a state sponsored fellowship.
CalRobert 1 day ago 0 replies      
One way is to ask this question on HN with a great deal of information. We don't know who you are, what you do, why you want money, or anything else that would convince someone to gift you their time.
neom 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hanging out at co-working spaces, incubators, startup meetups/tech meetups can often be a good place to start, regardless of local.
JMCQ87 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you can avoid it, I would not raise this kind of amount in Berlin. Not worth the troubles.
dorianm 1 day ago 0 replies      
You will probably find people to give you better advices at Betahaus in Kreuzberg.
roschdal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hello, please send the pitch to me on e-mail: andrearo@pvv.ntnu.no
cpach 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seed stage -- have you considered applying to Y Combinator?
pryelluw 1 day ago 1 reply      
Whats the product?
Ask HN: Beta launch strategy: PR vs. no PR
8 points by askneme  22 hours ago   4 comments top 3
coralreef 20 hours ago 1 reply      
What usually happens: You launch it. Nobody signs up. You incrementally add features. Still nobody signs up. You eventually quit.

Competition rarely kills you. Product-market fit is usually the biggest factor. If you can get easy PR and signups, then go take them. Your early users will know its a beta product and will be forgiving about bugs.

soneca 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Just forget about "competitors stealing your unique ideas". Really, forget it. You are giving your own brilliance too much credit. You don't even have customers validating your unique ideas and you expect competitors to take them seriously?

So a part from that, regarding your question. A "private" beta doesn't implicitly means "no PR"? A private beta isn't open for anyone to sign up, if it isn't open, why the press should cover it? You gain nothing.

But, even if it is not actually "private", I still would suggest "no PR". Launch quietly, let some users come, test, validate your ideas. You will know what to improve and which of your ideas are actually unique. Then you will know what to say when you decide to go with PR.

Yes, it means fewer users trying it out and validating. But users that come from press usually are not of the "early adopters" type (meaning: they will be frustrated by the smallest bug, lack of feature or unpolished design and will leave before even trying, leaving no feedback behind).

So launch it ASAP, forget press, and submit to places like Show HN, Product Hunt, Reddit, etc.

wingerlang 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I ran a beta period for one of my apps which I consider really successful, lots of feedback and lots of activity.

My way to go was to seek out people commenting positively about another product, then I would send them a message to see if they were interested in testing. This guaranteed that I would get, dare I say it, passionate people to test it - and I did.

One thing to note though was that I was looking for comments about "productX" which was already mine, and the new product was essentially a "productX 2". But I guess it can work somewhat similarly within a genre or category. Maybe not as perfectly matched as for me.

Ask HN: What's your beef with PHP?
15 points by meneses  1 day ago   21 comments top 12
Avalaxy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I haven't done any PHP scripting for at least 6 years, but my beef was mostly with the community, not the language. If you do your best, you can write decent and clean code in PHP. But the community largely exists of people who don't have the slightest clue what they're doing and who are writing absolute garbage pieces of code. Usually when there's a data leak on a website, it's the result of insecure PHP scripts (again, the language has ways to prevent this, but the scripters just suck).
neilsimp1 1 day ago 0 replies      
More than anything else, it's standard library.


anamoulous 7 hours ago 2 replies      
If you embrace what PHP is good at, which to me is fast, easy to understand code that is dispatched once per web request in a shared nothing state, PHP is great. When you have to deal with PEAA style PHP, things start to go off the rails in both speed and simplicity.

I happen to like PHP's standard lib: it's big and addresses a lot of needs in building web apps. But you don't really see tons of new high quality bindings or libraries being introduced at the rate that, say, Go is getting them.

If someone told me I had to build a product from scratch in PHP, I would probably start here: https://github.com/exflickr/flamework/blob/master/docs/philo...

Xeoncross 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been writing PHP for over 10 years.

1) PHP is slow, uses too much memory. (I wrote the MicroMVC framework and IOSQL)

2) Makes concurrent (and especially parallel) computing hard (file locking and pcntl_fork())

3) PHP isn't well though-out (like Javascript) so you are always second-guessing the std lib because of odd/short-sighted design choices.

I moved to Go and lost nothing.

However, PHP is (like Javascript) improving and will probably eventually (like Javascript) get parallel computing right.

Where the users are the features are. That is why PHP, Java, and Javascript aren't going anywhere fast.

smilesnd 9 hours ago 1 reply      
My beef with PHP is all the added traffic I get on my http server. Every day I get a list php directories get request from people looking to score on some low hanging miss configured lamp box. Then on the flip side the people that do have php files miss configure they get turn into DDoS boxes against me.
iDemonix 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't have any, it's great, depending on your use case. I think it's because I learnt it growing up (age 14 onwards) that I always fall back to it as my 'natural' coding language.

If someone gives me a big file of text to parse through, even though I know Python, can use Perl and BASH, I'll likely still use PHP if it's a one-time thing (sometimes even if it isn't). Why? Because within 5 minutes, I can have a script that reads a file from anywhere, parses it line by line and does any number of interpretation. No worrying about casting strings to integers, no worries about general syntax or indenting (Ok, this is a benefit of Python, but if you just need to do something on the fly, PHP!).

IMO PHP is very easy to use, very easy to learn and can do almost anything - good and bad. Good because you can use it to solve tons of problems, bad because everyone learns it early on, or as their first language (like me), and therefore most people aren't great at it, the community gets worse.

taf2 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I love PHP- it's a great get it done language. I think people just like to complain.
codegeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't have any beef with PHP. It pays for my current living so I don't complain. PHP 7 has been a great improvement over the previous versions so that helps as well. At the end of the day, it is just another tool.

Best thing about PHP applications is that even my grandmother can deploy it. Yes, that can be bad or good depending on where you are looking from.

Add frameworks like Laravel and you can create some serious prototypes in no time. That's what I care about to get something out of the door.

Bahamut 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The one thing that has most frustrated me is PHP's array syntax.
open-source-ux 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't have any beef with PHP, although I switched from learning PHP to Python.

For web development, no other language will get you producing dynamic websites and deploying them as easily as PHP. Compare deployment of Python or Ruby web apps - messier and not simple.

What don't I like about PHP? The language itself. Its piecemeal, adhoc development is laid bare in its unattractive syntax (this is always subjective I know).

On the positive side, my impression is that the PHP community are open to criticism - they have to be given the amount of negative comments thrown their way.

This is in contrast to other language communities that have far too much zeal and sensitivity to criticism.

That criticism against PHP is also taken on board at times in the implementation of PHP's language features or best practices. I've been impressed by PHP's huge speed up in PHP 7. I wish other scripting languages would also address speed and memory usage with the same priority.

Finally, it's worth stating the obvious: if you're looking for a CMS, a message board, a blogging platform etc, PHP gives you enormous choice. And yes, some of these solutions do follow modern, secure coding practices. Look at the other popular scripting languages for web development and you'll find the variety of solutions far more spartan.

wazanator 1 day ago 0 replies      
No problem with the language itself more of a problem with the people who use it and their compulsion to use it for things that don't need it.

For example it feels like we can't go a year without WordPress making the news for a security flaw.

crispytx 1 day ago 0 replies      
PHP is the bomb.
Ask HN: What is best 3rd party authentication for developers
3 points by prats226  21 hours ago   2 comments top 2
stephenr 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Managing passwords isn't like handling nuclear waste.

I'd suggest that researching best practices and either implementing them or finding a library to do it for you is a worthwhile exercise, which you will be glad of next time <3rd party> is down, changes their services, etc.

danjoc 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Auth0 seems really nice. Saw their pitch. Haven't had a chance to integrate it in anything yet. Plan to do that soon in an app I will write on my own time.
Ask HN: When you realize your idea isn't that original
5 points by zach417  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
tlb 1 day ago 0 replies      
If it's a good idea, many people will have it. You have to win through better execution.
cocktailpeanuts 1 day ago 0 replies      
i have had some original ideas, and the key to having original ideas is not what you think.

It's less about actually having original ideas, but more about being able to perceive whether an idea is original or not.

In your case, you lack that quality, and that's why you "thought" your idea was unique. It has nothing to do with whether you're an original person or not.

Let's say you come up with 100 ideas per month. If you're unable to figure out if your idea is original or not, you will probably go with the first idea you thought was cool. After one month you'll realize it's not original at all.

This is NOT a failure of yourself as a creative person. This is a failure of yourself as a person who can't lack knowledge about the field AND lack ability to do good enough market research. Imagine what you could have done during that one month if you were better at telling original ideas from unoriginal ones.

So the solution is simple:

1. Keep studying and trying new things in different fields. You'll soon have enough knowledge to be confident that when you come up with an idea you think is original, it actually IS original.

2. Learn to be better at research: This is crucial. The more you do this the better you'll get at this, and you'll pick up your own skills. After a while, you'll become so good at market research that you can be at least 80% confident that your idea is original in a field you've never seen before, after a couple of days of market research.

externalreality 1 day ago 0 replies      
You are 99.999% a clone of every other human being. You are physically incapable of having an original idea. However, all human beings are blessed with creativity and have strong BS engines. Use your creativity and BS engine to make your idea seem fresh and new. Execute better and sell, sell, sell. Don't listen to haters and keep moving forward. That is all.
miguelrochefort 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's good that you realized it. 99% of people don't.

Just look at all the apps, websites, software, companies out there. It's crazy. The vast majority of them are worthless duplicates.

Ask HN: Storing and Searching Volumes of Text
4 points by Xeoncross  1 day ago   4 comments top 2
stephancoral 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just use elasticsearch. It's easy to set up, fast, customizable, and has a lot of dev / community support.

At my last company, we used kafka as our log to handle the incoming messages and then we just forwarded everything to Elasticsearch with logstash (super easy to create and read from new topics).

For your storage, Elasticsearch can store the source of all documents and basically act as a persistent DB (with kafka as backup for replay). Use well-defined mappings for the data you know is structured (logs, forum posts, already schematized data etc) and dump the rest into their own indices and lets ES' implicit mappings do their work. You can use dynamic templates to drill down any specific things you want to transform, such as converting dates, not tokenizing certain strings and so on.

I've done a lot of search and text extraction work and this is my go to for the past three years.

iDemonix 1 day ago 1 reply      
This seems a bit of a 'I have an essay due' question, I don't want to break it down in to a full walkthrough, but if it's any to you, here's roughly what we do without revealing anything:

We have two big sources of logs, proxy logs (user browsing, tens of thousands of users), and firewall/network logs. This is for a network with an average transit of about 15Gbps to the internet during working hours.

Proxy logs appear at an alarming rate from a big network, every page calls 20 other URLs and so on. For this we have a piece of software (agent) on each proxy that aggregates and forwards logs on to a set of central processing servers. These servers do some processing, then hand them on to storage servers (replicated). Recent data is held on disk, older data is stored in an Azure data warehouse.

Firewall logs, you can set them to lots of levels, from only critical errors, all the way to a mind-boggling amount per second. Depends what you want. We send these to a clustered set of rsyslog forwarders, all logs are sent to disk storage (with tape backups) and selected logs are sent to graylog for analysis. You can do all sorts with graylog, from alerting when root logs in to a Linux box or watching for hardware/memory faults, to graphically displaying your firewall attacks using a geo-IP plugin.

Ask HN: Football statistical analysis
7 points by socrates1998  1 day ago   5 comments top 2
usgroup 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks to me like you're trying to figure out the conditional probability of L/R given a bunch of other factors, and you're looking to tune the model using historical data.

Your factors look to be both categorical and numeric. E.g. off-play and yard line. This given, I'd start by training a conditional inference tree with 60% of the data. Amongst other things it'll give you a good idea of how your factors are related to each other and which matter (ctree is not difficult to interpret). You can then use the other 40% to test how well your tree predicts. Then, you might try other in a more informed manner.

If the above paragraph made no sense it may be advisable to out-source the task. There's quite a lot to the modelling effort.

jetti 1 day ago 1 reply      
While I'm a novice in this area, you may want to look into Markov Chains. It only looks at the last state before making a decision but you can determine how big your state is. You could have 3 plays be a single state and go after which three plays come after, for example.
Ask HN: What tips and tricks do you have for new HNers?
12 points by pitaj  2 days ago   5 comments top 4
Gustomaximus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not sure I'm a veteran but I try upvote posts, not on what I find interesting, but what could be useful for startup communities.

I dont want HN descending further to Reddit circle jerking over political, current or other popularity issues no matter how important and/or interesting they are.

pmoriarty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Read and use the links at the bottom of every page. There's a lot of useful stuff there.

Check out the posts and comments by HN's top users (who can be found on the "Lists" link at the bottom of every HN page).

Try to be nice or at least civil to other HN users.

mod 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't make reddit-style jokes here--they won't go over well.
anotheryou 1 day ago 0 replies      
hide seen links on firefox with: https://github.com/GMouron/HNMarkAllRead(useful to also have some stylish CSS that colors actually visited links different than "seen" links)

So useful I can't stand browsing on my phone any more because I'd have to see the same * again on my desktop.

Ask HN: How do you convince customers to pay you before creating the product?
7 points by alinalex  2 days ago   8 comments top 5
helen842000 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think we often forget that we pay up front for a lot of things before we get them, it's more common than we realise.

There are different reasons we pay up front for things. Some times it's because of exclusivity as a guarantee on limited space - like with concert tickets, holidays, transport, events services like catering and venue hire. We expect to pay up front to guarantee a spot at that time & date.

Other times it's for early-access or preferential treatment. For example pre-orders like books & DVDs, early access to games, DLC & kickstarter exclusive rewards.

The second route fits the software model better.

If you discuss business problems with people they may insist that they have a particular pain point. Getting them to put a price on that pain being solved makes them consider the value of it.

If a solution is truly needed they will be convincing you to build it by putting their money upfront. In return they can help shape the product and features and get either a preferential rate or level of support.

Pre-selling can be win-win.

brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the question is premised in a way that sort of misses the mark. Outside of the huckster to grifter spectrum, it's less a matter of a person convincing people to pay than it is a matter of the proposed product convincing people to pay. Or to put it another way, if people can't wait to give you money, you might have a good idea for a product.
bedros 2 days ago 1 reply      
it depends on customer's level of pain.

I'm currently working on a solution which many potential customers suggested they will test it right away once it's ready, and promised to get me 10 more customers in order to encourage me to work on it full time.

However, I did not get paid yet before the product is ready.

You need to find a solution where it improves the productivity of a business or a person by 10 folds.

for exmaple, if cars are not invented yet, and you promised a farmer with the invention of the truck, so they can take their produce to the city 10 times faster, and increase their productivity and revenue by 10 times. in this case, they will pay you to develop the "truck"

pryelluw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, its rather common. What are you selling? Lets see if your product is a good fit.
LordWinstanley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Easy. It's called crowd-funding.

But, once you've set up your Kickstarter campaign, remember to come back on HN and announce your product in the present tense, as if it actually exists now.

[it's what every other fucker does!]

Ask HN: What would be ideal replacement for Twitter?
7 points by tomashertus  22 hours ago   9 comments top 7
matt_s 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I just don't see the point of Twitter, what would be the point of a replacement? Honestly, how has the sharing of 140 char thoughts changed the world?

If the point is to amass followers, then you are using it for marketing a product of some kind? How successful is that?

I understand there was a spring uprising of free speech in some places that haven't had much of that. Did that really change things for the better long term in those places?

It just sounds like millions of people shouting things in an echo chamber.

I am not trolling, I really don't understand the medium or the value. What would you miss by not using it?

notahacker 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally I'd like a HN/Reddit style threaded >140 char comment interface with Twitter's political figures on it.
taprun 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I think RSS is ready for a comeback... it's free, it's open and it lets anyone publish without fear of censorship.

Frankly, I never figured out why people so many folks don't like it.

smallduck 11 hours ago 0 replies      
notforgot 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm writing a fresh Twitter. Help me build it.


gydfi 22 hours ago 1 reply      
gab.ai is the only one I know about, its major selling point being that it's uncensored.
Ask HN: Why LinkedIn's UI is so terrible?
12 points by max_  2 days ago   11 comments top 4
anilgulecha 1 day ago 0 replies      
Every part of the UI has been A/B tested and placed there to maximize what linked-in values.

You may feel it's terrible, but that's not their primary concern.

simplehuman 2 days ago 3 replies      
The new UI is pretty great. what do you have about it?
Gustomaximus 1 day ago 0 replies      
The bigger concern is their ongoing removal of features. Linkedin are opening the door for a competitor like glassdoor to add personal profiles with a better user experience.
samhefnawy 1 day ago 1 reply      
The new one is very slow and deadly disengaging!They try to improve it but I think there are some issues with the add-ons and plug-in's.
Ask HN: Would you be interested in a design sprint course?
3 points by raykanani99  2 days ago   1 comment top
urahara 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would be interested in a quality practical design course. What I'd like to learn: how to build some simple but cool product from the ground up, with current best practices and tips. Not interested much in the ideation part.
Ask HN: How does your SaaS product handle sales tax?
12 points by softwarefounder  2 days ago   1 comment top
lastofus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unless you plan on paying taxes in all 50 states (you shouldn't), then collecting sales tax from customers outside of the states you are paying taxes in is moot. You generally only need to pay taxes in states you have nexus in (depending on state tax law). In this case, it sounds like you only have nexus in WI which as you mention, does not require sales tax collected.

Generally speaking, you are not responsible for sales tax for online sales, outside of the states you are paying taxes in; the customer is. They are supposed to report stuff they bought online and pay their sales tax (ya right...).

Ask HN: Why HN does not have categories for news
6 points by bedros  2 days ago   3 comments top 2
CarolineW 2 days ago 0 replies      
Or just go to lobste.rs instead.

To save you time, here's the link: https://lobste.rs/

returnbuyer 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's really become a knee jerk to post whatever news they find interesting here.

It's annoying as hell.

Save the dog from a 70m deep, 35cm wide hole
71 points by aalpat  1 day ago   52 comments top 25
macadata12 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Take a 140+ m rope, fold in half such that there's a loop. Affix a sizeable weight near the loop such that it is stationary on one side of the rope and the other side moves freely through the weight. Lower the loop down such that it is positioned, open, at the dog's level (like a snare). Wait for the dog to walk through the loop such that front paws are on one side and back paws on the other (obviously need a camera down there). Raise and tighten the loop (by pulling the length of rope that is free moving through the weight) such that the rope closes snugly around the dog (i.e. over its back and under its front legs; NOT around it's neck obviously). Raise.

Edit: diagram: http://imgur.com/a/W8PZ6

stevesearer 1 day ago 0 replies      
It reminds me of The Crow and the Pitcher from Aesop's Fables: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crow_and_the_Pitcher

Without knowing the total parameters of what is possible and not possible, perhaps they could slowly lower buckets of dirt and rocks to the bottom in a way where the dog could just remain standing on the top of the pile.

tedmiston 21 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Bore a second (longer) hole at an angle 45 above the ground to meet at the existing hole at the end. The dog walks out.

 ------------------------ ground | | | | | | |
In the meantime, lower a long hose with a GoPro on the end into the hole to provide a stream of water and examine if the dog is hurt.

2. Ask the fire department for ideas?

Some ideas from a Reddit thread about getting a small object out of a deep hole [1]:

3. "Could a hose with vacuum pressure grab it?"

4. "Right now, we are thinking about making our own 20' version of the "grabeasy". Basically a long pole with bent wires coming out the end which will grab like a claw when you draw them in."

And from a pets.stackexchange thread about getting a cat out of a hole [2]:

5. "The safest interactive way for everyone is to use a live trap, and lower it down for the cat to go in and be lifted out."

[1]: https://www.reddit.com/r/needadvice/comments/2x94fh/how_do_i...

[2]: http://pets.stackexchange.com/questions/8171/a-kitty-fell-do...

gingerbread-man 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I love dogs, like everyone else, but isn't this all a little bit much? Shouldn't they be considering solutions for humanely euthanizing the dog so it doesn't have to die of thirst/starvation?

Argon gas would fit the bill. It's heavier than air, so it would sink to the bottom of the borehole, and it's widely available due to its' use as a shielding gas for welding. Most importantly, it would be humane and entirely painless for the dog-- far more humane than leaving the poor animal down there for days or weeks waiting to be rescued.

zeteo 22 hours ago 4 replies      
Slowly fill the hole with very salty water. The dog will float to the surface.

The stated dimensions will require about 7000 gallons of water. This is the capacity of a large-ish tank truck. 70+ meter hoses should be readily available.

sillymilly 22 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Long cable with a pinhole camera to "see"2. Another long metal cable with a "loop" at the end to grab the dog.3. Aneasthetic gas to temporarily put the dog into slumber so that the extraction is not stressful.

Send a cable with a camera along with an "extractor" (which can grab the dog by its body.)

kainolophobia 18 hours ago 0 replies      
My first idea was to build some sort of balloon/inflatable device that you drop into the hole. By affixing meat to the rope/hose, you can get the dog to climb on top of the balloon as it slowly inflates. Once you've got the dog out of the not-so-cylindrical bottom, you can deflate the balloon to the point of fitting the circumference of the hole. From here you carefully pull the dog up; making sure you stop if it's legs get caught/etc.
midnightmip 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Cut a dog harness and add strong magnets on each end. Send down each half of the harness on a separate rope and a camera... Where going fishin'. You could do the same thing with a net. Just drop each half on a side of the dog and let the magnets do their thing and connect to make the net.
wnkrshm 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Lower a strong cotton (edit: or some textile, something strong and thick enough) bag into the hole, with the rim of it held open by a strong wire. Large enough for the puppy to climb in, put food in there and something that smells human maybe. Best make the bag a longer tube. Hopefully the puppy will climb into it, getting the food - then try to pull the whole thing up.
saluki 23 hours ago 0 replies      
wire cage just below the diameter of the home, 3 to 4 feet tall so dog can stand up in it, large cable to hoist it attached at the top, install a canvas cinch sack, with grommets in the bottom, completely open on bottom when lowering, run a smaller rope through the grommets, with the grommets low to the ground on the cage.

Also need a light and webcam or remote cam.

Hang dog treats on top of the cage.

Then Lower the cage with the large cable till it's flush on the ground, watch on camera for dog climbing up for treats.

Then pull small cable to cinch the bag under him.

Hope they get the little guy out.

belovedeagle 23 hours ago 0 replies      
How is the dog getting sufficient oxygen...?
malyk 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of Baby Jessica


Jessica McClure Morales (born March 26, 1986) became famous at the age of 18 months after she fell into a well in her mom's backyard in Midland, Texas on October 14, 1987. Between that day and October 16, rescuers worked around-the-clock for 58 consecutive hours to free her from the eight-inch (20 cm) well casing 22 feet (6.7 m) below the ground. The story gained worldwide attention (leading to some criticism as a media circus), and later became the subject of a 1989 ABC television movie Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure. As presented in the film, the relatively new technology of waterjet cutting was a vital part of the rescue.

dijkstra123 21 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Dig a parallel hole adjacent to the existing one (w/ a large diameter). 2. Then lower a person to the level of the dog (this person should have oxygen support).3. Person then connects two holes by demolishing thin layer between these two holes.4. Person rescues dog
jbob2000 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Drop an inflatable tube into the hole. Try to maneuver the deflated tube under the dog. Inflate the tube and pull the dog up, using the tube as the "floor of the elevator" (so to speak). You could drop one of those auto-inflating life vests into the hole on a string, get it under the dog, then pull another string to inflate the jacket, then pull up the dog on the life jacket. I'm pretty sure you could get a vest large enough that it would block the hole!
kitafitfit 14 hours ago 0 replies      
We need a small size intelligent being in order hold the puppy carefully and place it in a basket or sth like that. Robots? Could work, but agents are usually designed to do a specific task. For saving a puppy from a deep norrow well, I don't know if there any robot exists. Anyway, we dont need to call this an "engineering problem". It's rather a biology problem. Scientifically proven that mature animals have instinct to save the youngsters. I would release down a basket with another dog in it. When it reach the bottom, the mature dog will hold the puppy from the neck, and place it into the basket with itself. So I could bring them all the way up. A small size monkey could work to. We may need a very small training for the saver animal tough, to mitigate the risk of loosing both.
lumberjack 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Cut the bottom of a small plastic barrel so that it becomes a cylinder, lower it over the dog, have ropes at the bottom of the barrel to tighten it just enough to secure the dog and bring it up.

The flexibility and uniform shape of the plastic barrel might make it easier to get it down there.

codewritinfool 21 hours ago 0 replies      
make a 28cm-wide cylindrical cage with a trap door in the bottom and camera / light. lower over dog. trap door opens as bottom of cage goes over dog's head. keep lowering until cage is on bottom of hole. raise cage.

it may pinch the dog's leg but at least it wouldn't be dead.

lebanon_tn 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Gradually fill the hole with rubber mulch. Better friction than something like gravel, lower risk of the dog "drowning".
robert_foss 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Fill the hole with water. Dogs swim/float.
amorphid 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Sell the rights to the story to a movie studio, and use the funds to get the dog out.
Greg166 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Fill the hole with water on a pipe that's lowered to the bottom (so the dog does not get a shower for hours).
CodeWriter23 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Robotic clamp on a rope. Grab dog by the scruff of his neck and hoist.
aaron695 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Put a noose on a rope with a remote camera. Grab the dog and pull.

Without a remote camera do the same but keep trying until you randomly catch it.

ZenoArrow 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Rope ladder perhaps?
slater 1 day ago 1 reply      
helicopter + dude on a rope
Ask HN: Magic Wand in hand: which futuristic idea would you bring in instantly
10 points by goldenv  2 days ago   11 comments top 4
zelah 2 days ago 2 replies      
I would bring in efficient declarative programming. One could then tell the computer "I want the number which squared equals 2". The computer asks "To how many decimal places?". You specify any number you like. It would be truly amazing to be able to say to the computer what you want calculated without having to say how you want it calculated!
bbcbasic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nuclear fusion reactor small enough to fit in your phone, but would power it forever by taking hydrogen from the air.
sand500 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gonna think big, Robot utopia like that sepcified in the short story Manna
nnn1234 2 days ago 0 replies      
Self sovereign ID Protocols built on top of that
Ask HN: Are there 'dumb' ways to make money as a developer in your spare time?
102 points by mabbo  2 days ago   107 comments top 25
beambot 2 days ago 4 replies      
Focus on cutting unnecessary expenses... As that serves double duty: saves that $100 and simultaneously reduces the savings burden to retire.

As for "dumb" things you can do: cook more at home, pregame before going out, do activities that are cheap or free (eg bike rides instead of theaters), bike more instead of driving everywhere, read library books, etc

(The benefit of these over "do consulting" answers also lies in the added quality time with family rather than more work.)

raphaelb 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the simplest is doing small consulting projects. There are often people looking to launch an app or build a prototype or whatever it is where you can work a couple hours a week on it and make a pretty good rate.

In my experience if you are a pretty good developer and good at communicating, you can find small bits of work without much effort. Now I'm doing a lot of consulting so charge more, but previously I would pick low stress / low mental fatigue projects, with people I enjoy working with (often pre funding prototypes), and charge between $65-$85/hr which could be another $500-600 / month at 2 hours per week.

I also never used any of the freelancing sites, and always found work through personal connections, since it dramatically lowered the risk of getting a bad fit for me.

xeonoex 2 days ago 5 replies      
On this topic, I've always wondered how profitable it is to develop a site meant to make ad money. People love to talk about their interesting, cutting edge projects on HN, but no one talks about making websites whose main purpose is ad revenue. The web is littered with clickbait sites and sites that just make money off of Amazon affiliate links. The people that create them usually don't share their revenue, although sites like buzzfeed make a ton of money.

It makes me wonder if it's a good idea (in regards to passive side-income) to make a benevolent site that appeals to the general population or a niche with targeted, unobtrusive ads, rather than trying to make the next amazing service or killer app.

adzicg 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've hired a bunch of people through fiverr to do small gigs for my writing (eg copyedit, add a few jokes, do illustrations). One "dumb" way to make a bit of extra cash for programmers could be to take on gigs like that. Depending on your skills, there are plenty of web design/automation gigs that you could offer there. This doesn't need you doing time-consuming marketing or sales, or chasing consulting clients. It also doesn't require you to come up with a SaaS product. On the other hand, the gig market tends to be a race to the bottom in terms of prices, so the income won't be that amazing, but then again you asked about dumb income ideas.

a slightly less dumb idea is to write a book. it's more upfront/unpaid work than when doing gigs, and more risk because it's up to you to create a good story, but significantly less risk than building a SaaS system. I've self-published five books so far, and books have three benefits over the gig economy idea:

1) you get to learn a ton of new stuff while researching for the book. writing a book is effectively forcing yourself to learn

2) even if books do moderately well, when you self-publish you retain most of the profit. my passive income from previously published books is roughly 3-4K USD per month now

3) books have an extra effect that they tend to bring name recognition and incoming work for consulting, and that can last a few years even if you don't plan to freelance and work as a consultant at the moment.

csallen 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've interviewed about 100 developers on https://IndieHackers.com about how they're making money online. Based on what I've seen and what I've done myself, here's what I would do if I wanted to quickly ramp up some side income:

1. Pick a topic I'm interested in, or that I would like to be interested in and follow regularly. It could be anything from sci-fi to front-end web dev. My only requirement would be that I know where to find other people who are interested in that topic, and that they're a group that's comfortable with email.

2. Start a regular newsletter where I'd aggregate content around that topic and maybe editorialize a little bit by adding my own summaries. I'd keep it short and simple and send it out 3-5x a week.

3. I'd throw up a simple landing page where people can subscribe to the newsletter, then advertise it by sharing my insights on Twitter and in various online communities every now and then. If this is your only focus, you should be able to sign up at least 250-500 ppl/mo. If you can't get that, then your content probably isn't compelling.

4. Sell ad spots in the newsletter to advertisers, specifically advertisers who are in the same niche that your newsletter is. You should be able to make at least $50-100 per 1000 subscribers for each email you send out, which is one of two reasons to send frequently. (The other is that high frequency helps people become familiar with you and turn into regular readers.)

Ideally it's a win-win-win. You get motivation to keep yourself up-to-date with a topic that you care about, and you also make money. Your advertisers make sales. (Hopefully they're good companies that you hand-picked.) And your readers get free high quality info on a topic they care about without having to do the research themselves.

kejaed 2 days ago 3 replies      
Another side of the coin is at $100/week that's $5k a year. What if you 'worked on your career' and got a $5k raise? Do that once and that $5k will be there every year from that point on.
t0mislav 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I made dumb website just for fun. I thought it will be fun only to me and few other people. Then after one year I decided to put ads there, just to cover hosting.Now it is making 35$ monthly, completely passive and growing. Not much, but it's paying Linode server and domain cost for all other websites I have. http://random.country/
atmosx 2 days ago 1 reply      
Off the top of my head:

1. Consulting

2. Small SaaS (few hours per week for maintenance, bug fixes & new features) - more challenging than (1)

3. Teaching - only if you're naturally inclined/extrovert (this is a big space and I'm starting to believe that even a medium resume is enough to teach to people who never saw a command prompt before)

4. Blog in a semi-professional way (requires passion/research)

5. Write a book (novel, howto or technical). This is probably the most challenging and less profitable solution, but IMHO it could be something that matters (if you're going to novels, theatrical plays, etc.)

mathgeek 2 days ago 2 replies      
One classic example would be to spend time teaching others. Whether this is generating an online course or tutoring/teaching in person, $100 a week is a pretty realistic goal if you're willing to spend the time.

Still, it's probably a more efficient use of time to either work towards a better paying career move for long term income, or just cut expenses.

DivisionSol 2 days ago 1 reply      
Make a website that focuses on making a certain part of an upcoming videogame easier. Add ads. Make a Reddit post. $$$.

Personal example:

http://cases.goaggro.com/ (CS:GO case opening simulator)

Other examples:

http://www.survive-ark.com/taming-calculator/ (ARK taming calculator)

http://www.wowhead.com/ (World of Warcraft loot database)

Any of the wikias that popup for a game are also good examples. I feel someone could make a targeted wiki for a game, add their own ads, and become #1 community resource for a game by doing it early enough. Who doesn't want to be #1 on Google for "<Game> Guide" with an ad per page?

xiaoma 2 days ago 0 replies      
Teach people on CodeMentor. If you're not quite up to that level (or just want to scale up faster), then offer to tutor people on Fiverr.
rexreed 2 days ago 0 replies      
Run a monthly tech meetup. Find a sponsor. Make sure you're getting at least $100+ more in sponsorship than your costs (in your case, maybe 2-3 sponsors @ $200 each per month). It's as easy as it looks. If you have connections to potential sponsors, even better.
shostack 2 days ago 1 reply      
This may sound basic, but get your finances and investments in order. There may be free cash in the couch cushions so to speak.

Due to various life events I got behind on that this past year. As a result, a decent sum (for me at least) piled up in my checking account earning a lovely .05% interest rate. My savings account earns 1%. Needless to say, a few mouse clicks later and I earn much more interest every month. Enough where I want to punch myself for not making it a priority earlier in the year for something so stupidly simple.

The next step is to complete my final 401k rollover (god do they make that tedious) before rebalancing my investment allocations and opening a Roth. Those tasks will earn me considerably more than $100/mo on average, particularly with the magic of compound interest over a span of decades.

My whole point is, don't just focus on jobs/SaaS/whatever while ignoring basic management and optimization of your personal finances. For many who do not actively manage their finances, pulling a few of those levers can add up to significant amounts and the actual work involved outside of research is (typically) less painful than doing something like starting a SaaS business.

manarth 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know a dev who moonlights as a cycle courier.

Aside from the extra cash, it's a good way to mentally decompress away from tech, and to get the sort of exercise you tend not to get in an IT job.

douche 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bring a bag lunch, and make coffee at home. If I go out for lunch every day, and get a coffee on the way in in the morning, that can add up to $15-$20 a day.
raintrees 1 day ago 1 reply      
One thing I wished I had done earlier is study money enough to have figured out my favored investment vehicle and how to best utilize it, preferably before my first dollar earned at any job/trade. That and the tax code (incentives) of my country/state (US).

Of the main three (building businesses, real estate, and paper assets/commodities/derivatives) I figured out that I personally favor real estate. So that is where I choose to focus and feel most comfortable.

I also learned that an over-funded whole life insurance policy can be used as a savings account with benefits (thanks Grandpa!). Depending on the company (and there are specific criteria), I found one that is paying 4% on amounts I over-fund, as well as on distributions (it has to be a mutual company), which I can borrow against for down payments on the next property, while still having Life Insurance addressed for my spouse/other survivors. They (I have more than one) are also the foundation for a family trust my partner and I are setting up for our families.

Finding mentors who have already walked the road that fits is key for me. She or he can point out things I am missing, help with obstacles, suggest areas to study, etc. For example, there are many Life Insurance policy types, and the one that I favor is not well known or recommended by most insurance brokers (they stand to make quite a bit less commission). It is also at times railed against by the Ramsey/Orman crowd, not always for the right reasons based on my values/strengths (everyone is different). With real estate, there are so many markets and sub-markets, figuring out what best suits can take a bit of effort. Same with paper assets/commodities/derivatives, and obviously (as this community is fairly well familiar with) businesses that are grown into IPO/sale/other-exit-plan candidates. And a good CPA is constantly studying the tax code (it is always in flux) so they can be a great source of planning information for the various financial endeavors I get into. Oh, additionally a knowledgeable attorney can assist with the right entity and liability limitation planning, among other facets.

For what it is worth, of course.

LusoTycoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Work in a bar.

Make some extra change, develop your social skills.

wheaties 2 days ago 0 replies      
Teach math. SAT prep or other forms of "higher level" math such as AP calculus is best. That said, go over to one of the math name brand teaching places and find out what you earn from them an hour (half what you make on your own.)
sh_tinh_hair 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've found that holding down two jobs isn't unbearable for short periods of time. You need the right positions, lots of experience in a couple fields and a good resume and references.Small company FT flex/remote SA or devops and SA/TS on call is a good combo, but you need to have a good track record and be honest about your commitments.Security and development remote or flex are also good combinations for this approach. Wouldn't recommend it as a a way of life.
jrs235 2 days ago 1 reply      
Donate plasma. While donating read (instead of during your "work" time).

EDIT: This assumes the time and distance to travel to and from the center is short.

morgante 2 days ago 0 replies      
Contracting is by far the most efficient way to make money in your spare time as a developer. Make sure it's okay with your employer, but you can generally find plenty of small projects to do (~5-10 hours a week) which will bring in a large amount of extra savings.
bsvalley 2 days ago 1 reply      
If it would be easy to make $100 per month, then it would be easy to repeat the process 1000 times and become rich.

There's no such things as easy when it comes to making money. You'd have to put time and energy into it.

_mg 2 days ago 1 reply      

Not "developer" specific but worth mentioning at a general level.

icedchai 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been doing small consulting projects off and on for the past 20 years. It brings in between $10k to $50k/year in additional income. Average is probably closer to $20k.
sercan 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's what I'm trying to do with http://startupdigger.com

I'm on the run to build something not only attracts people's interest but also runs maybe not completely but mostly on auto-pilot.

IMHO, building a SaaS product takes so much time which is quite hard to give if you're trying to run it as a side project. I've tried it before.

I also was an active AdSense publisher until a few years ago and made a decent money out of it and then sold my websites.

Let's see what will happen with Startup Digger.

Ask HN: How do you overcome fear of failure?
42 points by ryanmarsh  1 day ago   54 comments top 32
mikekchar 1 day ago 1 reply      
Some people have irrational fears. But let's assume that your fear is rational. Failure in itself is not a bad thing. It's the only way to improve. Someone told me there is a saying in the game of go (and I bet in other games too ;-) ) When you first start learning, your strategy should be to lose your first 50 games as quickly as possible.

Even still, in the game of go (and many other games), some people are afraid to lose. They never play people who are better than them. Why do you suppose that is? It is a self defeating strategy because by never losing, they never improve. What could possibly be so important about a game of go that stops these people from allowing themselves to lose?

I think if you answer that question, you will be well on your way to answering your original question.

P.S. When I was teaching English as a foreign language, I often taught adults. The biggest impediment I found for adults learning a foreign language was the fear to appear childish. With such a fear, learning a new language is almost impossible.

SmallBets 1 day ago 0 replies      
This passage from raptitude post always sticks in my head, comparing 2 mental approaches to a disgusting part of a cleaning job he was squeamish about, basically practice to feel & observe the fear but do not resist or react to it:


>...It usually involved holding your breath and averting your eyes as you scoop out the food-slime and hurriedly direct it toward the garbage bin, bracing yourself throughout, as if youre jumping into icy water.

Its the same strategy a wide-eyed Fear Factor contestant uses as he chomps frantically on the June bug in his mouth he doesnt want to confront it, he wants to escape it.

That method didnt work for me, it just made me more aware of how awful it was. As soon as I tackled one sink, I began dreading the next room.

I dont remember when it clicked, but after not too many kitchens, I learned the secret:

Let it feel like whatever it feels like.

Just do it and let it have its way with you. Turn toward it, not away.

Whenever I came to a gunked-up drain, I just scooped it out without rushing. I reached into the drain with no more reluctance than I would have reaching into a cookie jar. I looked at the mess with a stoic curiosity, allowing the swollen noodles and bread-mush to rest freely in my fingers for the two or three unhurried seconds it took to transfer them to the garbage can.

As long as I wasnt rushing or trying not to touch it, it was painless. It wasnt worth trying to escape.

feelix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Me personally? I never had that fear. I launched many things, and like with everybody else who launches things, most of them failed.

If you find yourself unable to launch stuff because of that specific fear, then I would say it has some extremely personal reasoning behind it, and maybe introspection would be helpful. Things that deeply ingrained are usually related to childhood and or family.

Ironically, I'd probably suggest some psychedelics as the fastest way to get to the bottom of it.

taneq 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just keep reminding yourself that if you never try, you've already failed.
Alex3917 1 day ago 0 replies      
If your thing is successful, would the world be a better place? If so, launch it. There's nothing to be embarrassed about if it doesn't get traction.

If not, don't launch it. Getting traction in that scenario wouldn't constitute a success or benefit anyone.

Also, the idea of products blowing up overnight is basically a myth. No matter how good your thing is, expect no one to use it for quite a while.

estsauver 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think the only way is to actually embrace failure. Most things that are worth doing have a gigantic chance of failure statistically, and I don't just mean startups. Marriages fail at astonishing rates, most friendships aren't life long friendships.

I think it's important to just say "I want to do this, even if I fail," and really believe that it'll have been worth doing even if you fail.

Right now, my team and I are building a startup that sells fertilizer and seed in rural sub-saharan Africa. On credit. What we're doing is crazy and has all of the challenges of any other startup, but we're also doing it with all of the challenges that operating in Kenya has.

Just believe it's worth doing.

bb88 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't subscribe to the notion that you should make it easy to fail, because that's not the same thing. In the real world there is no safety net, there's just you and your dogged determination to succeed.

I also don't subscribe in the idea of redefining failure to make it less than what it is. In the real world, things fail, and often fail spectacularly, often hurting the people we love.

And frankly, some things are supposed to make you fear failure. Like jumping out of a plane with a poorly packed parachute. (Or just jumping out of a plane, say).

So let's be honest here: fear of failure is a generally a good thing. Irrational fear of failure is not. And the trick is to know which is which.

And for some people it's often the case that fear of failure is worse than actually failing. If you grow up in life succeeding at everything you're doing, then it's also possibly true, you've not taken a lot of risks. Or you only take the risks where success was guaranteed. And then if it got too hard you could always drop out.

But for some people fear of failing is what drives them to succeed. They've jumped both feet first into a business and need the business to succeed so they can feed their family. The fear of failure is helping them to work harder, and to make better business decisions.

The problem for you is that your fear is immobilizing. When you jump head first into something, you'll most likely find it an asset, because you'll never work harder in your life.

vezycash 1 day ago 0 replies      
Two Christmas ago, we got a gift from a family friend a white giant chicken.

We left it untied outside but the chicken didn't move for hours.

When it finally started exploring, I walked towards it. Instead of running, it crouched low. And I picked it up and dropped it back.

The next day, it ran when it saw me and I chased it. The chase was short because it ran towards the corner of the fence, leaving itself no place to run. And crouched low. I picked it and dropped it.The next day I ran after it and this time, it has me running around the house until it slipped and fell.

After that day, I couldnt catch it alone.


People out of school are like the chicken fresh out of farm. Maximum fear, too much unknowns.

We can back ourselves into a corner by not having a back up plan, trying to become Facebook on first try, putting our hope of livelihood on the project.

Reduce the pressure by trying plenty small projects. Make friends who are also working on stuff. You help them, they'll help you too. Get a small job, so time is not a pressure...

Try a lot of small projects. You'll learn a lot. And one of them might surprise you. No one can say with certainty that a project will succeed. Good.

BjoernKW 1 day ago 0 replies      
What kind of failure are you afraid of? What's the worst that could happen? Either people won't notice your product at all or they will notice and not like or perhaps ridicule it (if they're particularly nasty)

Even if the latter is the case: What's so bad about that? If people laugh about you and your efforts they're ultimately the ones who failed not you.

Putting something out there is a bit like getting on stage. Stage fright is a very common fear but it's also very irrational. Derek Sivers of CD Baby fame, who had his first on-stage experience as a circus clown, once said something like this about stage fright: "The thing to remember is that once you go on stage you're not doing this for yourself, you're doing it for your audience."

Focussing on others instead of yourself is a way to overcome stage fright, and fear of rejection in general.Moreover, don't judge yourself so hard. Don't take yourself so seriously. Keep your identity small. You're not your product or your performance in a given moment.

gargarplex 1 day ago 0 replies      
Realize that your fear is rational. You're going to fail, because you suck... for now. So when you feel afraid it's just your brain working correctly.

Figure out your missing skills (have someone successful diagnose you) and then improve incrementally. Why don't you post about some of your projects in a new thread and ask for help?

ImTalking 1 day ago 0 replies      
You might benefit from changing your perception of your work. Rather than think about the result, think about the 'duty' of each day's work. This is what I do. Most people think of the word 'duty' similar to a 'chore', but duty is a very honourable word. It means doing the things that need to be done at that time. Don't worry about the result, think about the work itself in a very unemotional way. Just plant yourself down in a chair and do it. And you do it because it's your duty; your duty to yourself and the people that are important to you.

I would suggest that, if you haven't, you should read the Bhagavad Rita.

iisbum 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me it's all about how you frame the question of why you're building things.

The first tune I built something it wasn't with a big vision to be the next Facebook (Facebook didn't exist then actually :)) but it was something I needed, and I figured I'd just see if other people needed it too.

Other times, I've built things purely as a learning exercise, so you can't fail if you launch, you've actually succeeded just because you launch, what comes later doesn't matter.

Once I'd launched a couple of times, the fear factor didn't really come into mind anymore.

ryanmarsh 1 day ago 0 replies      
To clarify, this is about launching. I imagine many other people on HN have their own things they'd like to launch but are afraid to. This isn't about motivation to create but rather to show your work and ask for money.
senectus1 1 day ago 0 replies      
You never learn faster or better than through making mistakes.Factor the mistakes in, expect to make them and be prepared for them.

Mistakes/failures are just opportunities to learn a poignant point about how to do it better.

marcus_holmes 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to have massive fear of failure. Now I treat everything as an experiment. The point of the exercise is not to "make a million bucks" or "create a business" or even "get some customers".

The point of the exercise is to learn. I will try doing this thing in this way. If that doesn't work, I haven't failed, I've just learned that doing that thing in that way at that time doesn't work.

Hopefully I've also learned some other stuff that will make my next experiment more financially productive ;)

morgante 1 day ago 0 replies      
One approach I've taken is to commit to launching irrespective of outcome. I was inspired by Pieter Levels launching 12 startups in 12 months: https://levels.io/12-startups-12-months/

Like anything, it gets easier the more you do it. Try to launch things which you aren't passionate about so have less investedwith less pressure, you can start to build your launch muscles.

gravyboat 1 day ago 0 replies      
I recognize that it might fail and ensure that failing is not the end of the world. If the project does fail then I make sure I learn from it for future projects. I wrote a blog post on a failed project a while back that covers some of this. Recognizing why you failed and learning from it is all that matters: https://hungryadmin.com/a-failed-projects-postmortem.html
TuringNYC 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would not even call it a failure, some things are infeasible, economically non-viable, etc. Try to de-risk projects to see if they fall into those categories. Figure out the major barriers and try to de-risk them one by one. If you run into a real barrier, also don't hesitate to end the project. Sometimes "failure" is the best option.
Radim 1 day ago 1 reply      
First, cost/benefit analysis to see if it's worth the effort (mental, financial, time).

If so, I commit to the project publicly and preferably make other people dependent on its success, because:

Fear of failing others > fear of my own failure.

I like lighting fires under my ass. Being chill and "whatever, it's a learning curve" doesn't help me get things done.

creo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just jump right into it. If it fails then look and think what failed, then fix it and try again. Look how many space missions started up with explosions. We wouldn't be where we are if someone decide to stop trying after first failure.
orsenthil 1 day ago 0 replies      
* Not demanding much from yourself.* Accepting yourself.* Doing something for enjoyment rather than to prove to someone else.* And finally, no one knows your answer, you got to find out yourself by trying different things.
polskibus 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have an additional question - does any of you thinking or not thinking about failure, ever consider or fear retirement (and the effect of failure(s) on the quality of retirement) ? If yes, how do you cope with it?
digitalzombie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fear of failure got nothing Fear of regret.

I can learn far more from failure than regret. Regrets is fills of what ifs. Where as failure is I'm one step closer to my goal.

Radeo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just jump into the task. Less thinking, more action.

Remember after every failure you are richer - experience is gold and no1 can take it away from you.

dbg31415 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone who tries, fails at some point.

Realize that you can't learn and grow unless you try. The only real failure is not trying.

I like this short little commercial... sums up "failure" just right.

* Failure: The Secret to Success - A Honda Documentary - YouTube || https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOVig5H7UbM

You win or you learn. Stop thinking about it like a bad thing.


* Do team reviews after every release. Do more formal reviews every quarter. If you aren't writing and reading pages of opinions on what is going well or what isn't... how would you learn? Blindly following orders is a great way to not win and not learn. Engage. Don't keep people on the team who aren't opinionated and engaged.

* Keep a journal. Review it every so often. Be clear with your goals, take stock of what went right and what didn't. You'll get some right, you'll get some wrong... keep trying. Every week you get some wins... and some losses... acknowledge the small things that build up to make larger things.

* Talk with other people doing similar work. (Don't bitch to friends or coworkers about personal issues... Talk with a shrink for that.) Strive to learn and master all you can about what you set out to do. If you're doing it alone in your basement... not going to conferences, not going to meet-ups, ... it's going to take you longer to optimize. Look for opportunities to "fail" where it won't matter... small side projects, lectures, meet-ups etc. Learn from others, strive to teach others what you learned. Talking it out is a great way to "test" ideas to prevent failure.

samhefnawy 1 day ago 0 replies      
the one trick I have done was to read more and come to know the Failure stories ....avoid what happened and try taking chances.

the other one...remembering " Fear Fear itself"

Lastly, just get the price of failure ready (save the failure coins) and delve into the risk...

apeacox 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can't fail if you don't try at all. But you can't either succeed.
EGreg 1 day ago 2 replies      

Make it safe to fail. Then you can do it over and over and call it "iterating". Measure your metrics and improve them.

That's how you get repeatable success.

axefrog 1 day ago 0 replies      
Realise that by not risking failure, you fail automatically.
imron 1 day ago 1 reply      
Fail enough, and you'll no longer be afraid of it.
zubat 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is no life without struggle
pw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: What web app can machine-filter HN by Categories?
3 points by artur_makly  2 days ago   2 comments top 2
nishs 2 days ago 0 replies      
What are the categories you're looking for? Do you mean Ask HN, Show HN, jobs, and general submissions?
Ask HN: What could disrupt email?
32 points by parvatzar  2 days ago   60 comments top 39
chuhnk 2 days ago 2 replies      
You're thinking about it the wrong way. First ask yourself what's wrong with email and why does it need to be disrupted? What problem are we actually trying to solve by replacing email.

Email is a powerful tool for asynchronous communication and it's here to stay. The way in which we interact with email may change over time as user interfaces change. We've gone from desktop to mobile and soon there may be some other dominant platform.

To answer my own question. In large corporations email is typically still used to announce or notify at scale. So what we're really looking for is a way to strip out this notification aspect. That's basically just an enterprise version of twitter with an opt-in model for streams which allows you to keep track of what everyone's doing in the organisation without having your inbox spammed. Notice I'm not talking about the collaborative use of email since that's already being solved by tools like Asana, Slack and Atlassian.

therealmarv 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nothing. Everybody tried.

I would only optimize it for business users. Shorten the text (maybe force that even with AI or limitations, keep it async, chat is too sync). If you follow this rules Emails get a lot more productive. I like the simple adobtable approach of Emails in the "GitLab handbook" https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/

bharani_m 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does email need disruption? I have not faced any problem with emails as a form of business communication.

I have used Slack but it doesn't come anywhere close to emails in terms of ease of use, especially for people in non-technical fields.

xtiansimon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use email every day for work in communication with clients and co-workers. I can't think of anything about email's principal concept which needs disruption (ie. asynchronous communication). I certainly can't think of any value which could be made above that which email provides and at such little cost. I think I can safely say our privately owned company uses email because it satisfies all our requirements: messages are fast, works with all manner of media we need, everybody's (clients, co-workers, vendors) has an email account, and client software is batteries included. I could go on.

That said, I think improvements could be done on the software side. Integration with applications in meaningful task-related ways (some apps I use have contact list, but the app can't infer what should go into my email's body given the context of the windows I have open). For me I could imagine OS level innovations improving my _writing_ experience.

snarf21 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think it can be killed. I do think you can make an email++, but agree with the other comment that it would have to only be for business. I think the thing that is missing is more structure and management capabilities. The only problem is how do you have it be interoperable with an email clients that don't have your new thing. One thing you have to start with is what are the things that really really suck with email, imo: inability to opt-out of threads, no ability to say what type of email it is (INFO, REQUEST, PITCH, COMPLETE, etc.), no ability say that a response/work is required and by whom and by what date, hard to not lose the important facts of the email after 25 replies, etc....

Quite frankly I can think of a bunch of other things as well. I don't have time right now but I would look at adding structured data at the top of the email that you can parse but shows up nicely as text in other clients, for example (assuming html email, just off the top....)

<div style="color:white;"><div id="type">REQUEST</div><div id="response">No</div><div id="duedate">14Feb2016</div><div id="assignee">bob@example.com</div><div id="keypoint-1">We don't have a good backup procedure</div><div id="keypoint-2">We've never tested our backups</div><div id="keypoint-3">We've never built a clone network from our backup</div></div>

You can now parse/search/filter based on this data. You can manage tasks right in email and have a button to say "done" that sends an email back to the originator that they know it is done. There are a lot of other things too but I need to go do work now :(. I'll monitor this thread if you want to discuss further. (/sigh, I wish HN had integrated private messages)

byoung2 2 days ago 3 replies      
Email is tough to kill because it's not a company or a product, it's a decentralized set of standards. Email sucks in a lot of ways, but it's simple, works everywhere, and it's baked into a lot of places (confirmation emails, password reset emails, alert emails, etc). There are better technologies out there like messaging and slack, but they're controlled by companies and not open/decentralized, and while they have integrations, they aren't baked into a lot of places (e.g. no Amazon confirmation slack messages or bank alerts through FB messenger).

Imagine trying to kill XML because JSON is better...nearly impossible. Email may slowly die over time, but I don't think it's likely you can kill it outright.

nitai 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think there is an issue with email per se. It's more that there hasn't been much "evolution" in its use.

Though, Google and other companies have definitely tried to make email "better".

After an elaborate phase of talking to hundreds of companies, I've created a platform that has the approach of "collaborative email". It's providing an additional layer to email that helps companies to keep track of all those customer emails (you can check it out at http://helpmonks.com).

In any case, I think in adding additional service around email is where the real disruption lies.

michaelbuckbee 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a fairly well known graphic of all the companies that have taken chunks of Craigslist and to varying degrees supplanted them:


Email is being disrupted similarly.

Slack/Chat -> Intra-team communications. But also sales inquiries (those ubiquitous: 'We're here to help!' toaster style popups on every company site) and status notifications (for instance StatusPage was bought by Atlassian in large part to merge into HipChat).

Internal Social -> Many people are familiar with Yammer (which is FB for within a company), but other services like Salesforce, etc have versions of this internally. You could also consider services like Jive in this.

External Social -> I've run some fairly substantial mailing lists and social accounts. For something like a non emergency information sender ("Weekly GoLang Tips!") it's about evenly split with people signing up for the newsletter vs signing up on Twitter.

plasticdroid 2 days ago 3 replies      
One of my coworkers was fantasizing the other day about starting a company where they don't send any internal emails. His plan involved prioritizing face-to-face communication, dedicated Slack channels, and a suite of tools that made it easier to index, and search across Slack. It was an interesting thought experiment, but it broke down in a lot of areas, and I think our conclusions were:

1) It would only have a chance of working in a small organization with a single team, or few teams that communicate regularly and effectively.

2) It's one thing to favor other channels of communication, but outright banning of email didn't have a lot of benefits other than forcing people to favor said alternate channels.

paulsutter 2 days ago 2 replies      
You can replace certain use cases of email, but you wont replace all the use cases at once.

For business opportunities might be around workflow and decisionmaking.

Slack dramatically reduced my email volume by replacing a use case that email handled badly, for example.

A consumer analogy, Facebook replaced a bunch of email use cases. I still have a friend who sends out email updates with photos while traveling, for example.

SMS and messaging apps, of course.

Someone could do a map like this list of companies that replaced specific use cases of Craigslist


frik 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's wrong with email? It works fine for decades. SMTP, (POP3) and IMAP are fine protocols.

Please disrupt chat instead, with a proper protocol. A new non-XML based XMPP version maybe? Anyway the big players need to support it. Now we have all these proproitary chat apps (FB/WhatsApp, WeChat, SnapChat, Skype, Hangout, etc.) that are incompatible closed eco-systems. Maybe we should just disrupt chat by using the email protocols and infrastructure ;)

nnn1234 2 days ago 0 replies      
I completely second byoung2's comment.When we say email , the thing we refer to would be free email services for personal use or inbox hell at work.The same question without Gmail,Yahoo mail and other is easier to answer.

SMTP might be here to stay, but a low cost protocol independent messaging protocol with an Identity layer can and will come along.

Why does no official comm happen on email? No ID validation.Maybe PKI can help.Solution will either be use case by usecase or platform change like FB or chat

deckar01 2 days ago 0 replies      
An email client that aggressively advocates for and implements new protocol features. Browsers accelerated web standards and stole market share by doing this.

I would like to see an email client with an edit button for messages. I have already thought a lot about this feature [0]. Feel free to comment on the issue.

[0] https://github.com/deckar01/amend-mail/issues/1

marczellm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please don't "disrupt" the last open standard alive in online communication.
kijin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Better email.

An email can contain multiple arbitrary payloads. It's almost like HTTP, except it's asynchronous. We already have the infrastructure to deliver messages from anyone to anyone. Why keep trying to destroy it when we could take advantage of the existing infrastructure instead? I don't see anyone rallying to disrupt HTTP. Why all the obsession with disrupting email?

We could use different Content-Types to embed all sorts of structured information in an email, and standardize the hell out of it. A schedule for an event. An item to go on your TODO list. A link to click for confirmation. If you can express it in JSON, you can attach it to an email. And the resulting messages will be 100% backward compatible with old email clients, just like newer versions of HTTP.

There are endless possibilities for email as long as you don't try to get everyone on your own proprietary platform. Otherwise you will be just another messaging service that has nothing to do with email, and email users will happily ignore you. Don't fall into that pitfall. You need to make your solution an essential part of people's email workflow, rather than trying to steer people toward a different workflow.

deckiedan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've just been setting up a new web server this last week, a shared host for a few friends and family, personal websites, a couple of side projects, etc.

The bit which drives me the most crazy is setting up email on it. All the sites need to be able to send occasional notification emails (WordPress, so password resets, etc). I hoped dragonfly mail daemon would be enough,. But we also need virtual host forwarding - if you email some addresses at one of the hosts, it should forward on to the right persons Gmail, or whatever. So we ended up with postfix. Which is reasonable easy - a hell of a lot easier to configure than sendmail or exim, but even still... I wish so much for a mail daemon with all the correct options for SRS, DKIM, SPF, SSL, TLS, greylisting, etc. Turned on by default, and yaml/toml configuration... I'm at the point of reading golang and python SMTP code and wanting to write one. Something like caddy for email.

Email is complex, there are so many edge cases and options. It's insane. Reading documentation is awful, as all daemon docs assume you know what all the acronyms mean, and that you understand all the various RFCs.

rorykoehler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing... I would like to see better interfaces for email. I am looking for 2 things. Conversational layouts so long message chains can be easier to read and review (this is difficult as not everyone in a cc'd email chain gets each email). A better way to manage multiple accounts from one inbox.
slipmagic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Email itself, as with how Google is with Gmail and Inbox,which has reminders and interactive messages (Trello, Slack, etc.), the ability to use Google Drive for large attachments, and send money to friends.

If Gmail had a publishing platform, sort of like MailChimp, in which partners from large sites could use to gather analytics and craft messages with embedded content beyond the limits of typical messages. You could:

- reset your password with a click of a button and have it generated and stored by Google.

- chop up lengthy newsletters to contain only the content that you need.

- Convert threads with other Gmail users into chats, with threaded messaging.

This could reduce traffic to their site, though, making it less sticky. And it would work ideally in Chrome, unfortunately.

kbos87 2 days ago 0 replies      
We're all likely to have some sort of a communication stream in our professional lives that needs regular attention from us for the foreseeable future. Right now, it's email.

I feel like most people who "dislike email" dislike it as a proxy for their unhappiness with their working environment and how the people around them communicate.

Email could probably do a better job of compensating for the poor communication habits of those we work with. In my experience, Slack exacerbates those bad habits. But with email, I don't think the medium is necessarily the problem. It's an asynchronous stream of stuff that needs our attention or that we want to have our attention. The protocol is reliable and nearly universal.

synicalx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Email is fine, don't disrupt it. Make it better instead.

Blackberry got it mostly right with Hub - get all your emails, messages, whatevers into one place and let you work out how you want to organise it all. Something like that but a bit smarter (like Gmail's auto sorting of promotions, updates etc).

If I could have one pane of glass to look at for my emails, slack/skype, text messages, social media (business related of course) - I'd happily pay money for that.

csharpminor 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think that Slack would argue that they are disrupting email. We have many fewer internal emails at work now - most are directed at clients.

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc. Are strong contenders for replacing email to friends.

Not trying to avoid your question, but I think the future of email isn't a better protocol or SMTP client enhancement, it's apps that provide a better way of communicating a given task.

As it turns out, the major feature of email (being able to message anyone) is also a huge drawback (communications inundated with spam).

richardboegli 2 days ago 1 reply      
1) Better email clients

This would help people manage their email better.

Outlook and exchange are getting better, but still lacking.

Gmail has it's threads which work most of the time. Both have proprietary tagging which is not IMAP compatible, which is why Thunderbird suffers.

If Thunderbird could handle Exchange and Gmail proprietary nuances it'd be perfect.

2) Better email etiquette

The easier your email is to read and comprehend the more likely it'll get responded to.

Fix / improve these two then this need to "disrupt email" would fade.

bogomipz 2 days ago 0 replies      
From time to time I hear about some startup that is going to "disrupt email." In my opinion email is something that works very well for asynchronous communication. What is their to disrupt?

If your expectation is real time/synchronous then email is simply the wrong choice of tool. That doesn't mean its lacking or needs to be "disrupted."

dcwca 2 days ago 0 replies      
The thing that will kill email is its lack of encryption. I'm surprised to see on here that nobody is talking about encryption, but it's very important. Most companies are not using it, and the email encryption options available are far too clunky to be used effectively. Key negotiation needs to be built into the protocol, ala Signal.
randlet 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love email. My only problem with email is that it's too difficult to reliably run your own server with a Gmail quality interface. I have Fastmail for email on my own domain and it is quite nice but the more experience I get the less I want companies involved in being the gatekeepers to my critical and personal information.
mshenfield 2 days ago 0 replies      
We have viable replacements - our habits just haven't caught up to the tools.

Corporate e-mail assigns each employ a revocable identity, groups employees into roles, and allows people to have private and public conversations. Tools like Slack have become ubiquitous at software companies, and they provide the _exact_ same functionality, with a foundation on realtime communication that I believe is more productive. We still use e-mail for corporate announcements and engagement when we really don't have to, and I think we'll stop as we get better at it.

e-mail is just one piece of the corporate communication story though - document creation and storage are another "standard" feature. Slack's "Plus" plan is $12.50/user/month [0]. Premium G-Suite and Microsoft's Office 365 are $10/user/month and $12.50/user/month [1] [2]. You can tell just be the price tags and features that these companies are competing for shares of the same corporate communication pie.

Slack right now is a player partly because the can backfill their shortcomings here by integrating with G-Suite tools. You can see Slack trying to backfill with Posts, Slack Calls, and I'd bet they're working on other high leverage features (they have a lot of catch-up to do) to stay competitive as the core of their platform faces competition from the likes of Microsoft Teams and open source alternatives [3].

On thing e-mail is better at is person to person contact outside the context of any organization. e-mail succeeds because I need one piece of information to contact you (a public address), and I can be contacted by one public address as well, no matter the tribe (gmail, outlook, etc.). Maybe a global chatroom with name-spaced public address would be a decent alternative?

[0] https://slack.com/pricing[1] https://gsuite.google.com/intl/en_us/pricing.html[2] https://products.office.com/en-us/compare-all-microsoft-offi...[3] http://venturebeat.com/2015/11/27/5-open-source-alternatives...

nunez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I think Slack is doing a great job of eliminating massive email chains that should really be in a group chat. As for casual, slower communication, I don't think it's going anywhere. We still use paper mail after all.
kapauldo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Two things, 1) auto detect marketing email and remove or get it out of the way, 2) make replying a taskable thing. Those are my 2 major problems, too much junk mail and not having time right now to reply.
_nalply 1 day ago 0 replies      
Something like HTTP2 for email and then companies using email as a low-level back-end for communication needs. Imagine FB posts backed by email. Chat backed by email. And so on. Pipe dream.
sdfjkl 2 days ago 0 replies      
The removal of corporate bullshit signatures and legal disclaimers that are 10x the size of the actual email content.

Oh, and secure end-to-end encryption that is simple to set up and use safely.

ommunist 2 days ago 0 replies      
Email has its problems, but it is one of the cornerstones of authentication messages exchange. Are you going to shake this one?
funkju 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another question is what technologies can be disrupted by being more like email? (Distributed, open standard, etc)

Social Media comes to mind.

tim333 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know about disrupt but I sometimes message new business contacts on linkedin. It gets kind of annoying after a bit though.
cowmix 2 days ago 0 replies      
Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.


sametmax 2 days ago 0 replies      
Idea 1========

A client that threat email as a chat message.

You enter your email and your password. You get chat timelines like in whatsapps/viber/kik/wechat/text message. You can just write and send (no topic, no inbox, etc).

This way you can use a reliable ID and messaging system to write messages as easily as text messages. But with none of the jailed env like whatsapps.

You can have reliable encryption with PGP. Share media with attachment (but with a simple UI). And it works with your regular email address, no need to create a new account. It works with anybody (every body has an email address). It works even with people not using the app.

To ensure it works with everybody, when you give your credentials it creates a special IMAP inbox with just the mails from this "disposable" emails to not pollute your real inboxes.

Idea 2=======

Internal email address for a community

You create an email address, and only members of this community can get them, or write to each others. You can then give permissions to external services to write to you after approval. Non approved senders emails are rejected silently.

This system would be great for the government, where any citizen would have an official email address for life to communicate with the state. But you can't spam it. you can't write to your friends with it. If an actor negociate with the state (such as utilities providers), they can send your bills there. But no ads or they get their permission revoked.

Basically like an real life official inbox, but global, with only important content and virtual.

Of course you'll need to enforce 2-factor authentication on at the very minimum.

Idea 3======

Email integrated in a Planning + Note system. Right now we integrate notes and todo into email. I think the problem is backward. Emails are input you turn into TODO, notes and appointments in your calendards.

What I usually want is to be able to have a link to an email that works offline, which open my email client to this particular email. I used thunderlink addon for that because that's the only way to do it, but it sucks.

This link I would be able to paste into my workflow. Apps could use it to integrate a preview of the mail and attachments in the app, cache the mail, ask for notifications about the conversation, get callbacks for events (email deleted, marked as, moved to...) or tell the email client to archive the mail and prevent deletions.

This should work offline (I want to be able to get organized in the plane) and online (APIs => webhooks => cluster of integrated services).

hashkb 2 days ago 0 replies      
What can we use email to disrupt?
charlesism 2 days ago 2 replies      
Probably a social electric car with AI, and a voice interface. The driver's seat will be a standing a desk, and the dashboard will use flat design. Data storage will be handled with Blockchain, and devops will keep everything running smoothly using Github and Docker and React.
hellofunk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google Wave is definitely going to change how we do email and instant messaging and also document collaboration.

Oh, whoops, for a second I thought it was last decade.

supersan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Possibly email addresses that won't accept more than 200 plain text chars, so real people get to the point quickly and spam becomes easier to determine.
Ask HN: What do you expect or hate to see in a job offer decription?
26 points by Cereal  2 days ago   62 comments top 32
cbanek 2 days ago 1 reply      
Pro:- What tech you actually work with. Don't list equivalents. If the people knew the area they would already know if they have equivalent skills.- Salary range and years of experience.- What kind of actual real world user problems are you solving?

Cons:- Anything about culture (it's always bullshit), team player, or being emotionally mature- Useless fluff about "loving to work in a fast company", or how you were #1 2012's disposable ezine of the week's company to work for.- Not saying what the job is, but just saying what tech you will be using, as if that is enough.- You can't tell the description is any different between Intern/Junior/Senior/Architect level roles other than "years of experience"

peterhi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pros: What the actual job is, the industry sector and the pay

Cons: Guru, Ninja, Rock Star and Passion. I am 55 with a shit pension and your 'Uber for salads' is not something I am passionate about. Never will be.

Complete put off: Other than the cons is reading the ad and not knowing what the job or company is about. If you can't spell it out your are either incompetent or deceitful.

brett40324 2 days ago 2 replies      
Pro: link to company career page with overview of hiring/onboarding process.

Exaggerated, but not by much is:

Con: Blanket requirements of conflicting language paradigms. Like, expert in (enter no less than 6 JS frameworks and build tools), also python, ruby, C#, and some Erlang is a plus. Oh, you also know AWS, and every RDMS and noSQL technology, MS SQL Server experience a plus.

Mc_Big_G 2 days ago 2 replies      
Rock star. My boss writes job descriptions like this and it annoys the shit out of me.
probinso 2 days ago 1 reply      

software stack

policy about open source software

Salary Range (allowed to be wide)


If you are trying to hide the company name, I dislike this but understand you are likely a recruiter working on commission.

In order to attract people who are passionate, you need to include the work domain. If you don't post the work domain, then you are wasting my time.

gorbachev 2 days ago 0 replies      
What really turns me off is acronyms about internal systems nobody outside of the company offering the job knows about.

Additionally job descriptions full of filler text trying to make the job seem more important than it is. The usual blabber about team players and competitive compensation, etc.

fapjacks 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Remote" positions where you can work from home every other Friday. If a position is under a butts-in-seats management style, the word "remote" should not be found anywhere in the description. Some remote positions have geographical limitations, which can be understandable from a tax perspective, but I also don't like to see "remote" positions open only to people in a specific timezone.
angry_napkin 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate almost everything relating to culture. I have bills to pay and I don't particularly care that you have some flavor of Street Fighter II. Tell me what stack you use, the pay, and if you'll pay for my gym membership.
billyzs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Con: a Bachelor, Masters or PhD in {a specific field}.

Consider rephrasing to "PhD with publication record, or MSc with 3 years of work experience, or BSc with 7 years of work experience, 3 of which at {a specific advanced level}".

I understand if the job requires a certain minimum education background, but how can you possibly consider holders of all three of the above degrees, without stating the specifications for each degree? Can I still apply if I'm just about to get a BSc, or would you require some amount of work experience? Am I competing directly with PhDs? Confuses the hell out of me. I once applied for a SWE I position that had that kind of degree requirement during my senior year. Passed two phone screens, even handled questions about computer vision and deep learning well during the on site round (answered beginner and intermediate level questions well, was honest to admit my limits when asked about advanced topics). Two days after the interview I went back to check the job posting, and it was somehow changed to say Principle Computer Vision Scientist then I was like "oh there goes my chance". Needless to say I wasn't selected. It makes sense for them to select candidates with advanced degrees if they are really looking for a Prin. Scientist. But please, spell out the requirements so that candidates make informed decisions about whether to apply. It saves both parties valuable time.

fapjacks 2 days ago 0 replies      
If a position's salary varies from what is typically expected in the industry for an area (roughly different than the average salary found on Glassdoor, just as an example), then the salary or a warning should be listed in the description. Nothing pisses me off more than going through the motions only to get a lowball offer by a company hoping to rip me off. It is super demoralizing, even when I have other offers that are good.
drakenot 1 day ago 0 replies      
A "fast paced" and "dynamic" environment is a huge red flag for me.
softwarefounder 2 days ago 2 replies      
Having a requirement for knowing utility libraries. i.e. jQuery, underscore.js, MooTools, etc.

I understand requiring frameworks (i.e. Anguar, React), but jQuery? Come on.

synicalx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pro: Concise and to the point, no waffle or any of that new age "growth hacking, rockstar" nonsense - don't try and dress a job up as something it's not. Tell me roughly what salary range you're offering in, and tell me what I'll be working with. I want to know about your product/s, and how the job I'm looking at relates to it.

Cons: Babbling on and on about your 'culture' or how much coffee you all consume. Being vague, and not actually describing the job. Not listing other requirements like excessive travel, on call, the fact that your office is 200km away from civilisation etc.

Not relevant to me now, but in general - don't call something a 'Junior' position and then ask for 5+ years of experience, and then don't follow that up by saying "Oh but it's the most Junior role in our company". That's bullshit, and you know it, you're just looking for an excuse to pay someone less.

Existenceblinks 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pros: Whatever tools, back-end lang/framework I like

Cons: Whatever tools, front-end lang/framework I hate. (Yes, React and friends)

Not a joke, this is my real struggle. I love backend, and I love working with ui designers, elegant elements, so love frontend.

chris_7 1 day ago 0 replies      

$ listed up front

Actual details on health insurance.


Anything about dogs, beer, snacks, ping pong, or company outings on weekends or after hours.

The word "startup".

swerner 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pro: a description of not only what work you expect me to do, but also who I'll be doing it with. Team size, experience level of other team members, my role in the team.

Con: Anything about fun company events and free drinks. I'm looking for work, not booking a cruise.

gigatexal 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have applied to a bunch of positions and I can pretty much tell what posts are cookie cutter posts: a developer position opens up and the listed languages to be proficient are all the popular ones with vaugaries at best on the exact nature of the role.
czep 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Senior Software Engineer"... "2 years experience."
mud_dauber 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The applicant shall..." God, I hate that HR crap.
g0tham 1 day ago 0 replies      
[PRO]- Detailed Job Description, including: Company Info + Role Responsibilities + Salary + Benefits

[CON] - Entry level salary requiring 3+ years of experience

amelius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pro: Linux, scientific computing, not-for-profit organization, high-tech (if it really is), contributing to open-source

Cons: OSX, Windows, advertisement industry, bank, legacy systems, COBOL, calling the company "high-tech" when they mostly do what everybody else does, e.g. writing CRUD systems or do elementary data plumbing.

wsc981 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sometimes in Dutch vacancies for freelance roles, I see the following remark with regards to hourly rate:

 "scherp aanbieden" (=> "offer sharply"?) 
I see this reasonably often in mailings of recruitment agencies. I hate this and I wouldn't be very tempted to apply.

kyriakos 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cons: jack of all trades positions. The ad generally lists technologies/skills the company uses, might use in the distant future or the CTO has heard about in the last conference he attended.
tuyguntn 1 day ago 0 replies      

- Stack

- Salary range

- Remote possibility


- Any kind of synonym for rockstar, ninja, hero

- We are hiring (but actually not hiring, just wasting others time)

jamestimmins 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cons: Below market salary AND tiny stock options. If you're offering a Sr. Engineer a $50k-$70k salary, then offering 0.1%-0.25% of the equity is unacceptable.
Glyptodon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I despise seeing "salary - DOE" like nothing else.

Also hate it when ads describe the company ad nauseum and not much about what the actual work or tools are.

PascLeRasc 1 day ago 0 replies      
When they try to hide that they want you to work for free with something like "get in at the ground level of a rising star company"
new299 2 days ago 0 replies      
Spelling mistakes.
tempw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cons: Unrealistic and nonsense requirements e.g.

fullstack development or test eng.: MSc required

igitur 1 day ago 3 replies      
Con: "Preference will be given to EE Candidates"
avg_dev 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pro: Salary, salary, salary
jwatte 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everybody are taking about job ads. A job offer is something else entirely (and a legal document!)
Ask HN: Do you have examples of Facebook using your microphone for ads?
49 points by lunchladydoris  2 days ago   63 comments top 27
davidverhasselt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Considering that this would be pretty easy to prove, but no one has yet, Occam's razor says this most likely was something else entirely. One possible explanation could be that the ad was shown to her before as well but she didn't notice it, yet it subconsciously registered and created a need or idea for such a product (i.e. you're switching around cause and effect). Another is that your wife is quite predictable in her demand of such a product due to other factors that are trackable by Facebook.
alecmuffett 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you are using Facebook on a recent phone client, or through a browser, whenever this happens, try this:

- There is a little "chevron" menu popdown in the advert, generally top-right.

- Tap it, and then pull down "Why am I seeing this?"

Then you will find out why you are seeing the advert.

Source: I used to work at Facebook

mcjiggerlog 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find it highly unlikely and am inclined to believe Facebook on this one.

I'd say it's much more likely that your wife had seen that ad before your conversation but wasn't particularly conscious of seeing it.

You're basically describing how advertising works - making people feel they want to buy something without them even realising.

kosma 2 days ago 2 replies      
If Facebook indeed does this, it should be fairly easy to trigger by repeatedly mentioning some kind of product in front of a running Facebook app. If not, it's a "can't reproduce" for me.
beaverskull 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was talking to my boyfriend in the car about the idea of people having personal plastic recycling machines in their home, where you would break down the plastic waste you create and then make "ink"for a home 3D printer to reprint plastic household items. This idea came to me when I was thinking about the world's problem with plastic water bottles, at that time, in the car. An hour later, he opened his Facebook on his phone that was on and playing music in the car and the first ad he saw was for a 3D printer that uses recycled plastic. I know the idea in my head goes along with current popular issues of the times, so yes my thought process and Facebook ad could just be coincidence, but the fact that it was a more novel and complex idea made it amusing.
ClassyJacket 2 days ago 1 reply      
I do not. However, I've heard it anecdotally many times. You can definitely find similar stories on reddit.

I'm guessing Facebook is doing some pretty complicated work to find that interest and serve the ad, but as evil as Facebook is I doubt they're straight up lying about using the microphone to listen and serve ads.

Joeboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does it actually matter much whether there are current, proven examples? If you give their app access to your microphone, they're going to use it for ad targeting and worse as soon as it's politically / technically / economically expedient to do so.
davemtl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not verbal communications, but I have seen ads relating to SMS messages I've sent or received. Perfect example was my wife advising the vacuum cleaner was broken, next thing I see when I logged onto Facebook was an advert for vacuum cleaners.
ransom1538 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been approached by companies that wish to listen for audio on our mobilenetworks for tv stations. They have pretty good id databases of the shows in the background and use the information to reset ads and to sell back to stations. They did mention facebook being a client. As far as realtime interpretation of plain audio for ads that doesn't seem far fetched. Ad units of these companies are the elite i wouldn't put it past them.


xtracto 2 days ago 1 reply      
This just happened to me: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13589749

None of the possible justifications mentioned in the replies really apply for the case I observed... We have had this happening two or three times, and it is always when my wife's mobile is around (I don't have FB app installed).

So for all I care, it is something that does happen.

teperpencoli 2 days ago 0 replies      
Coincidence. FB has over a billion daily users and each one communicates dozens of concepts per day - if each person sees numerous ads per day then it's a statistical certainty that someone, somewhere happens to get an ad that matches up with something they mentioned earlier in that day or week. This is the same reason why everyone has a story about a dream that came true.
ergonaught 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've had a number of ads pop up for things my wife and I have discussed verbally without searching. Even if Facebook themselves do not monitor the mic, nothing prevents someone else (Apple, Google, etc) from doing so and feeding that information to FB. It's certainly occurring but it's not clear that FB is directly responsible.
malyk 2 days ago 1 reply      
My wife and I were talking about salt. I forget the exact conversation, but was random. Not about wanting salt for dinner or whatever just a general conversation about salt.

Opened Facebook a little while later and ther was an ad for Morton's Salt at the very top of my feed. I've never searched on the internet anywhere for salt. I've never liked mortons salt on Facebook. I've never clicked on anything remotely related to salt.

I'm 99.9% convinced facebook was open and listening to us. (There is a very small possibility it was a coincidence, but I doubt it.)

My wife has had similar experiences where she was out at a bar talking with friends and on the Bart ride home saw ads for topics that were discussed.

jayceedenton 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMO this is what's known as a coincidence. The odds against seeing an advert for a product you have just talked about are incredibly low, but there are also a hundreds of millions people using Facebook every day, each seeing hundreds of ads and discussing lots of products with their spouses. Eerie coincidences are inevitable.

Derren Brown did a great demonstration of a similar phenomenon by asking 100s of people to bet on a series of horse races. Of course one person backed the winning horse on all races and thought it was magic. What they didn't realise is that there were a lot of others doing this too and having one person back all the winners was (in that experiment) an inevitability.

tak2siva 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yes happened to me. I was discussing about a food item (Anchovies fish) within a day or two I saw some ad about restaurants famous for Anchovies. It was very surprising for me because I havent searched or even typed those words in my mobile.
TazeTSchnitzel 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I assume for a moment that the microphone actually is being listened to for ad keywords why would it have to be Facebook, specifically, who's listening? It could be another rogue service feeding back to Facebook.
benhebert 2 days ago 1 reply      
Twitter has done this to me twice.

I had a deep and random conversation about Oreos and the tv show Colony recently.

Within a day ads started showing up on my timeline.

Beltiras 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should be able to convert this into an experiment. Find an off-the-beat market and start talking about it in the presence of your phone (and maybe with the app open, don't know the particulars of when the app can activate the microphone). If an ad for a product in the space appears it would confirm the hypothesis that FB is listening in.
Spooky23 2 days ago 0 replies      
I doubt that FB is doing this, but I'm sure they are knowingly or unknowingly, buying data from someone who does.
rabboRubble 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did she perhaps recently buy hard drives? Cases for drives seems like the type of thing to be advertised once they've connected that the buyer of the drives is the person currently logged into FB.
stirkac 2 days ago 1 reply      
I talked to my friend about my tooth pain couple of days ago and I saw an ad for dentist yesterday. Can't have it appear again for the screenshot. Keep in mind I newer saw dentist ads before..
giis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think best option is try talking some 'unique' topic again and see whether related ad popups or not.

Please do share your results :)

Ps : record the topic and take screenshot if you like to make a proof.

aoeuaoeuaoeu333 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why does'nt someone sniff the network traffic and see if this is happening or not. https man in the middle attacks exist.
KleineVogel 2 days ago 2 replies      
Me and my boyfriend were talking about possible tiles to use for our future home, we never actively looked it up, as it was a conversation that sprung from watching a series. (In the episode during a bathroomshot we saw interesting tiles)During this conversation I was holding my phone.Next time I scrolled through fb, I got an ad for freakin' tiles.
HalfwayToDice 2 days ago 1 reply      
I run a website that shows random images.

I ALWAYS get emails asking why I have showed an image that relates to what they person was just talking about.

But the images are random! It's the well understood concept of confirmation bias.

It's just depressing to see here, because I thought the readers of hackernews were more sophisticated than random sampling of the general population.

Jill_the_Pill 2 days ago 0 replies      
My partner, who is bald, was sitting with his arms crossed, and I teased him for looking like Mr. Clean. We both got ads for Mr. Clean in the next 48 hours.
HalfwayToDice 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is an absurd urban myth, and it's embarrassing to see such nonsense on this website.
       cached 14 February 2017 21:05:01 GMT