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Ask HN: How has volunteering helped you grow?
15 points by kuro-kuris  1 hour ago   4 comments top 4
mattparlane 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm from New Zealand and I'm currently living in Thailand volunteering for an anti human trafficking organisation, rescuing children from the sex trade.

I was thrown in the deep end and had to quickly become a Salesforce administrator and developer, I'm now running two Salesforce orgs, as well as all the other stuff we have going on.

I've found it an amazing exercise -- I've grown in patience, understanding of other people, time management, etc... as well as all the new technical skills I've learned.

I was amazed at how doable it is as well. My wife and I have two young girls (5 and 3), and although we were hugely daunted to begin with, we've coped pretty well. As long as you (the reader) have some ability to roll with the punches, I'd give it a go, you'll probably surprise yourself.

yamalight 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Last year I've started a course on youtube about building products with javascript [1]. The initial idea was to make a free open source course for people who are already comfortable with language, but don't know how to start building things. The coolest (and unexpected) part was the questions I got from all sorts of people - they made me go into the details a whole lot more than I ever did just working on things. And, of course, all the gratitude from people is quite satisfying too :)

[1] https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_gX69xPLi-ljVdNhspjZ...

vowelless 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I personally don't find any fulfillment from volunteering, nor do I really grow in any direction. But that doesn't bother me. I have a few hours per week usually dedicated to tutoring kids from schools that are not so great. It seems to help them and I have a few hours to spare.
fredley 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
I volunteer for my nearest Parkrun regularly. It has helped become part of a local(ish) community, something that is otherwise difficult to do in London and other big cities. Due to the local demographics, it's well populated by people who are in tech anyway, but it's a good way to branch out of that a bit, and get to know people from different walks of life too.
Ask HN: What smartphone would you recommend with superb battery life?
12 points by ng-user  1 hour ago   21 comments top 19
coroxout 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have a 4-year-old Samsung S3 Mini. I keep wi-fi, bluetooth, data, GPS turned off by default, make few calls, don't send or receive many texts, and if I don't use wi-fi or play games the battery will last several days - probably 5-6 days when the battery was new and now a bit less.

However, I do usually turn wi-fi on for 10-20 minutes a day (e.g. look at HN and follow links to a few different news articles - news sites can be quite processor-intensive) and that knocks at least a day off the battery life. If I play a game, even fairly simple puzzle games, I need to charge it that day.

I'm also on my third battery for it as the previous two eventually got to the point where they couldn't hold a charge at all, so I'm very reluctant to upgrade it to a model without replaceable battery, but alas, that leaves few options. I'd also like a new phone to fit in my pocket like the S3 mini does, and as far as I've seen those two criteria knock out every recent-gen phone.

I can only hope that sooner or later a company decides people like me are a big enough market segment to reach out for again, but I suppose people who are happy to keep a phone for 4 years are not good enough customers and need to be forced to buy a new phone every year by the battery dying.

mixedCase 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Anything supported by ZeroLemon, Hyperion or similar extended battery brand.

I'm still carrying a Galaxy S3 because of it. Lasts 3-6 days depending on use. Only phone that has caught my eye since then is the V20, my only problem being that it's humongous and the extended battery makes it thicker.

Kurtz79 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm quite happy with my Moto G4 plus, it lasts me easily a couple of days, with a light/medium usage.
itamarst 34 minutes ago 1 reply      
My phone lasts more than a week. Here's how to do it:

1. Turn off data.

2. Turn off GPS.

3. Turn off wifi.

4. Only use it for phone calls and SMS. Turn on data/wifi/GPS when you actually need them.

As a bonus you can now switch to a cheap pay-per-MB plan like http://ting.com and save some money too.

(It's a Moto E, 2nd generation - $60 on EBay.)

xmstr 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's a little old now but the Motorola Droid Turbo has served me well. Even though the phone is over three years old it holds a charge for the entire day (17 hours) and still has a 30-35% remaining at the end of the day.
apricot13 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
iPhone 6s lasts me all day. Charged overnight, 5am (100%) - 10pm (30%) at weekends I don't charge overnight.

Its always in battery saving mode I don't need any background processes.Only whatsapp, emails, slack and sms notifications.wifi only on when at home. Bluetooth only on during commute (about 4/5hrs a day).

I've had it a year, it used to do two days but I relented and enabled email notifications.

Outpox 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
Nexus 6 owner, with the wifi, the Bluetooth, and the high precision GPS always enabled I usually last from 8am to midnight without charge.I mostly use it to browse Reddit and HN, text + phone calls and music.
vollmond 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've had good luck with my Pixel XL. I basically only charge it on my commute (half hour each way). Usage details: lots of screen on time, but not a lot of data usage (mostly ebooks and saved podcasts/music).
mkarliner 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I use a Huawei G7 for exactly this reason. It will always last two days, and treated gently, will go to three.I think the key is a large'ish battery, and relatively low resolution display.
geff82 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Among the iPhones, the SE has a very usable battery capacity.
harel 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
The answer to this question is really dependant on your usage pattern. One person might get a day of battery from one device, while the same phone will give you 3/4 of a day.
halloij 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Nokia 3210. Battery charge lasts a week or two.
FroshKiller 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Maybe you should consider buying a good battery pack instead. That would free you to consider phones' other merits.
neversorry 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
My Samsung galaxy S7 easily lasts a day. With full sync for my gmail and Outlook.

Maybe look into battery usage and see what is consuming so much battery.

samdung 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
http://www.mi.com/in/redmi3s/Do not know if we can get it outside India.
howlett 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm on the same Samsung boat, have an S5 mini (3 years now) and want to move away from it.

Battery-wise, the "best" one I've found is the Lenovo P2 which has 5100mAh (S8 Plus has 3500) but not sure if its hardware is any good. I'm planning however to get OnePlus 3t which has 3400mAh and seems like a better long-term choice.

Swinx43 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have previously had a great experience with the LG G3. Its battery would last me at least 2 days with basic use and definitely an entire day even with quite considerable use.

I have no idea what the G5 or G6 will be like.

ggoss 20 minutes ago 1 reply      
OnePlus 3T.
dman 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
LG V20. Lasts me a day and a half without fail.
Ask HN: How do you define DevOps and is it dead?
4 points by zabana  1 hour ago   4 comments top 4
nailer 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
> AWS killing the DevOps profession

Hell no. If you're in DevOps and use AWS, that means you need to know the AWS API.

coolkil 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
I see dev-ops as a way a company has shaped its delivery process. This means a devops profession does not exist. In short it means that a developer has direct contact with an operator and tester or viceversa. Dev-ops focusses on short direct comunication which has nothing to do with technology or platform (like AWS Cloud, Azure or Google Cloud)

However technology can be used to enhance the devops delivery process. Tools like Puppet, Chef, Docker/Kubernetes can have a positive effect.

To give an answer to your question: no devops is not dead. It is a way to work.

psyc 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
I hope it isn't dead, because I certainly don't want to do it. AWS doesn't manage itself.
TurboHaskal 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not dead at all and definitely not killed by AWS.

My experience after a few interviews is that DevOps in 2017 seems to be a keyword for "can implement Jenkins Pipelines and has experience with AWS".

Add "will sell free time for cheap" and you get yourself a SRE.

Ask HN: Career change from general java dev to cyber security/machine learning
24 points by gdfer  14 hours ago   5 comments top 4
jwilliams 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Of the two I'd get more involved in machine learning. For a couple of reasons:

1. Ultimately I think it'll be easier to get a remote job. ML is in high demand and requires dedicated, focused hacking time. This means remote is more do-able. Generalizing -- Cyber security interfaces significantly with people and process across the whole of an organization, so tends to require more face time.

2. It's easier to experiment and learn ML on your own. Grab a project, come up with some ideas and then get them up on Github. That's much hard to do in the security realm.

If I were you, I'd see if you can carve out some time for a passion project. Pick up a ML framework and see what you can do. Put it up on Github, write some blogs. You'll see how passionate about the space you are, plus build out the start of a CV.

Teichopsia 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I know little about either or, but there's a micro masters course (five courses in total) on cyber security over at edx which started five weeks ago, give or take. You could audit the class to check it out. With your experience and what we've seen so far, shouldnt take you much to catch up. That is, if your time permits it.
phaus 11 hours ago 1 reply      
>I don't work in or near a big city and would probably have to work remotely

The specializations are both conducive to remote work. However, they aren't conducive to remote work for people that don't have a good amount of experience in that role.

You can definitely make the switch to either of those things, but you have a long road ahead. If you know specifically what sub-field of security interests you, I might be able to give you some more insight.

grabbitmedia 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing a useful informationhttp://www.grabbitmedia.com/
Ask HN: Alternatives to Vagrant for development environments?
126 points by purephase  1 day ago   97 comments top 41
mitchellh 1 day ago 3 replies      
As the creator of Vagrant, I just wanted to say thank you for using the software. 5-6 years is no joke! I'm glad/hopeful that the project had a net positive impact for you during that time. :)

I won't attempt to hijack this thread or use it for personal motives to convince you to stick with it. I understand technologies change, requirements change, and choices change. The only thing I ask is if you can find the time to email me (mitchell@hashicorp.com) with your pain points so we can look to see how we can improve things in the future.

And the only other comment I'll make is that at HashiCorp we have full time staff on Vagrant and have continued to drill down issue counts through the year. So if you are a Vagrant user: fear not, it is something we continue to deeply care about.

Thank you!

berdario 1 day ago 2 replies      



You can easily automate provisioning and deployment with Nixops:


But if you need to share/deploy what you worked on, in some place where you might not have Nix available, you can just as easily create Docker containers out of your Nix expression:


lobster_johnson 1 day ago 2 replies      
While I agree that Vagrant isn't 100%, the biggest source of our issues with Vagrant have actually been with VMware Fusion. VMware has lots of issues with managing its state. 8.x has a long-standing issue with port forwarding rules getting stuck, so some of us downgraded to 7.x just to get productive again.

The whole reason we migrated to VMware, about 3 years ago, was that we were using Virtualbox and being really bothered by the issues with it, things like corruption of files accessed through the shared folder mounts, that weren't being addressed. It's exasperating how brittle this VM stuff is.

Personally, I'd love a slimmer Linux-only solution based on Xhyve or Apple's Hypervisor.framework. I don't really want a Vagrantfile, I just want a low-level tool that I can drive from a wrapper, which we need anyway. Both Docker for Mac and Minikube now uses Xhyve, with great results.

We're slowly migrating our stack over to Kubernetes. Building with Docker for Mac is great, and Minikube seems really promising.

jonaf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nix has a tool called nix-ops that will provision vms on virtual box (you can use containers powered by libvirt as well if you want). It's cool because you can use functional programming concepts and it takes a lot of the support headache away. The option to provision vms is really nice in some cases, which Docker just doesn't give you. But you can also use containers, just like docker, with reproducible builds, which means you can effectively test deployments without ever spending a dime on real hardware.
rpcope1 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you're just developing against Linux, I've been using LXC 1.0 for a while now for quickly spinning up and destroying dev environments, and I think it works really well. LXD (which is essentially LXC 2.0 + goodies) is also great, and makes a lot of that easier and adds features (including a lot stuff that makes things like orchestration significantly easier), but it has a little less documentation right now.

I think LXC has some really excellent advantages of both being super easy to create/destroy quickly (and containers being very easy on resources), while at the same time running a full system in the container with an init and everything (as opposed to Docker where it's typically just one application). The command line tools are pretty simple and straightforward (at least for LXC 1.0), and I find it a lot less fuss than using VMWare or VirtualBox in a similar role.

gtirloni 21 hours ago 1 reply      
There are very valid reasons for why Docker moved away from VirtualBox and I think the same applies to Vagrant.

I wish Vagrant would work on bringing xhyve, Hyper-V and KVM to the same level of support as VirtualBox.

VirtualBox is the biggest source of issues in our Vagrant environment and there is no indication that's going to change.

mastazi 1 day ago 1 reply      
For us, the biggest problem is that Vagrant, on Windows machines, doesn't run well on Hyper-V (it has network limitations e.g. you can't force a static IP for the machine).

So we have to keep using VirtualBox which is slower.

Another consequence of this is that in order to use VirtualBox you need to completely disable Hyper-V, so on Windows machines our devs are forced to use Docker Toolbox (instead of Docker for Windows which is faster but based on Hyper-V).

(Note: we are a small team with little experience both in Docker and Vagrant so we welcome suggestions: if you thing we're doing something wrong please leave a comment).

labdsf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like you may want to try Vagga [1]. It is Linux-only, but you said that you want Linux-based environments. It is for development environments by design, so it is way easier to setup than Vagrant. Even if it does not solve your problems (which you have not specified), at least you will spend less time maintaining it.

[1] https://vagga.readthedocs.io/

jitl 1 day ago 1 reply      
We've had the same experience with Vagrant. Vagrant is a very general tool that makes it easy to do some fairly complex things, but that generality adds significant overhead. I counted THREE different SSH connection systems in Vagrant the last time I was trying to optimize it.

We eventually wrote our own tool that duplicates the smallest possible Vagrant featureset.

We use SSH for control, Unison for real-time file syncing, and Chef for "provisioning" configuration of the remote developer environment. Our tool requires only SSH access to some host -- so we provision an EC2 instance for every engineer, and then connect it to our tool; but we could use local Docker or even a Vagrant-managed VM. We reimplemented Chef Solo provisioning, with 100% backwards compatibility with our existing Vagrant Chef recipes, which was really easy! We leverage SSH's ControlMaster for persistent connections.

Our tool does the same things that we were using Vagrant for, but takes 1/3 of the time for typical tasks. Where Vagrant would take ~6 minutes to provision a host, our tool takes ~2 minutes using the exact same Chef recipes. We managed to shave a full 30 seconds of mystery time off between when `vagrant provision` would start, and when Chef would begin it's run.

I encourage you to think about cloud developer environments in general. We got big wins in dev productivity by moving our devenvs off engineer laptops.

corford 1 day ago 0 replies      
I seem to be the minority in this thread but am happy with the flexibility, maturity & reliability of Vagrant. The trick has been sticking to virtualbox, off-loading all provisioning work to ansible as early as possible and using dual nics on the vms so you don't have to worry about port collisions for the most part.

Setup: Win10 host and 6 vagrant guests (mix of internally produced jessie and xenial64 boxes with Packer). Terraform on AWS infra in staging & production with ansible for config/provisioning and Consul for node discovery.

[Edit] some tips to make dev work pleasant on Win10: Use cmder, mRemoteNg and configure samba to expose your git working dir back to the host (so file change hot reloading works reliably if you want to do your coding on the host with something like VSCode or Sublime).

scaryclam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can you elaborate on any of these issues? I've been using vagrant for a similar amount of time and don't find that there are really that many problems with it, nevermind to find a daily increase with them. There are certainly alternatives, but if you're having issues with vagrant to the extent that that your question implies, then you're likely to have have issues with those as well.
hullsean 1 day ago 1 reply      
As others have said docker. Faster, more lightweight.
pinoyyid 1 day ago 0 replies      
I run all of my production services in simple *nix chroots. It's fairly simple to rsync these onto my dev machines to get the hi-fi local versions for testing. The only proviso is that you use similar environments, so in my case Ubuntu, for both production and development.
meddlepal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Open source project plug!

How about considering a change in paradigm? Instead of trying to spin everything up locally you instead have a shared development environment and bridge to it from your local laptop or desktop. Consider a large microservices environment with twenty or hundreds of services and the need to develop not only against those services but ones your coworkers are working on as well. Telepresence (http://telepresence.io) allows you to develop locally on your laptop and expose a process locally that can talk to Kubernetes resources in a remote cluster and vice versa.

Check it out: http://www.telepresence.io/

joemaller1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been using Vagrant successfully for several years, since shortly after it launched. It's dramatically improved the dev workflow for myself and my company.

The worst time I had with Vagrant was due to an authentication bug in v1.8.5. That was compounded by the previous release (1.8.4) being incompatible with the latest VirtualBox (5.1). Hashicorp was slow to release the fix, and we had to tell users to downgrade both tools. That sucked. This was late summer 2016.

It's been smooth since then, and I haven't had to think much about the VM aspect of our tooling in 6 months.

sumedh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess most people would just say Docker. Personally after using docker, I just cannot go back to Vagrant.
TylerJewell 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You may want to consider cloud IDEs. Eclipse Che (http://www.eclipse.org/che) is focused on "dev-moding" production runtimes defined by Dockerfiles or Docker compose. There is a Chefile capability that is similar to Vagrantfiles for creating a custom cloud IDE on the command line from a file defined in a git repo.

Che's only dependency is Docker. It uses Docker engine to both launch its infrastructure and to create developer environments. There will be a version of Che that runs on Kubernetes released shortly.

Note (I am project lead for Che).

alrs 1 day ago 1 reply      
Vagrant is a symptom of MacOS. Move to Linux, and you get native containers for free.
im_down_w_otp 1 day ago 0 replies      
We're recreating the functionality of the "Vagrantfile" through Behave (python cucumber framework) scenarios calling down into the step definitions to provision things through libvirt.

It unifies both the development environment setup and the system integration testing setup/execution into the same set of tools. It's also helpful in setting up esoteric environments through QEMU like QNX on ARM during much of the testing before extending it to getting real hardware in the loop.

We also use the Ansible Python API to keep from having to re-implement a bunch of orchestration primitives from scratch.

nickjj 1 day ago 0 replies      
I moved to Docker about 2.5 years ago and haven't looked back since.

It's just really nice to be able to build code on my dev box and have it run in production or any other machine without any fuss. It even has tools to help you scale to multiple hosts. Really, it's a complete tool set to take you from development to production.

If you're interested I launched a Docker learning platform[0] last week. It happens to contain a 5 hour course that will take you from "What is Docker?" all the way to "I'm super comfortable using Docker / Docker Compose on my own projects".

You can watch the first 20 videos for free. The free videos cover topics like understanding what Docker is, how it works, and getting it installed.

[0] https://diveintodocker.com/courses/dive-into-docker

nickstefan12 1 day ago 0 replies      
we don't run docker in production, but docker-compose has been awesome for our local dev environment. We can get new engineers new computers going in 20 minutes!

Much easier than vagrant or running everything manually.

choxi 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a minimalist "cloud IDE" for machine learning projects, so you essentially code on EC2 instances. If it looks interesting feel free to reach out:


It doesn't have any editor features though, it probably only makes sense for vim/emacs/etc. users. Docker is also pretty nice, but if you're not using it in production it might not solve your problem.

aub3bhat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Docker compose its unbelievably good.
rcarmo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Docker compose user here. Moved from a relatively lightweight Vagrant + LXC setup (https://taoofmac.com/space/HOWTO/Vagrant) to compose around 2 years ago, and never looked back.

I have been playing around with minikube for a couple of weeks, but the added ceremony of using Kubernetes isn't quite worth it yet for my pet projects, so it's mostly to keep up to date.

user5994461 1 day ago 0 replies      
- Automate building dev environments (Linux-based) with dependencies

automate all setup with ansible and scripts

- Automate building dev environments (Linux-based) with dependencies

Use CI to build automatically artifacts. Provide tools for developers to ship their app to servers.

Ultimately, delete the development environment, it's always a hassle and it's always differing from prod. Only use prod machines.

By that, I mean that you give prod machines to devs who needs them, plus tooling to deploy anything they want anywhere, on any of their machines.

itamarst 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another alternative is to have realistic staging environment and proxy normal local process into it. Gives you local development and all the (runtime) dependencies you need. I've built something like that for Kubernetes (http://telepresence.io) but it could be extended beyond Kubernetes, or you can build your own.
roadbeats 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can try Happy Hacking Linux with a custom post-install.sh; http://kodfabrik.com/happy-hacking-linux

It'll get you a very productive and fast Linux setup based on Arch Linux and Xmonad, letting you automate the setup process by auto-linking your dotfiles and running post-install.sh if exists. This way you can spin up development environments really fast. For example, I turned an old desktop computer to a ready-to-use development machine in 30 minutes :)

SteveNuts 1 day ago 0 replies      
We've moved to an automated build system of using Packer to make pre-configured boxes for vagrant actually. It works well, and a lot faster than running the provisioners on a blank box.
acejam 1 day ago 1 reply      
Docker compose with locally mounted volumes.
sebringj 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you mount to a local folder using docker-compose up, its so simple and quick for programming. Vagrant seems heavy compared to that and I develop on vagrant frequently. I have a mac and have the latest docker for mac installed. Very easy.
PaulHoule 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I have no love for hashicorp: it has an ill-conceived product line starting with the existence of vagrant and packer as separate products.

I wrote a Java program that composes a shell script that gets passed into the user data of a cloud instance. That script sets up a Dev or production system and builds a machine image if that is what you want. Then it sends a message to a queue when it is all said and done.

segmondy 1 day ago 0 replies      
LXC, build with ansible or your favorite server config.
phamilton 1 day ago 0 replies      
docker compose works well for us. We pull down all our prod docker images and can get a local cluster running with one command.
nik1aa5 1 day ago 0 replies      
Terraform by Hashicorp? Once development is over, you can easily deploy your infrastructure.
jldugger 1 day ago 1 reply      
> deprecations with legacy Chef setups

test kitchen supports a lot of various platforms, including vagrant, AWS, and openstack.

Necromant2005 1 day ago 1 reply      
Docker is the best option! After Hashicorp released a well working mac and windows version https://www.docker.com/community-edition#/download
_jezell_ 14 hours ago 0 replies      
andreareina 1 day ago 0 replies      
What issues are you having?
bound008 1 day ago 0 replies      
frik 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I would favour a tool that has a DSL with C-syntax and requires no environment dependencies.

Go lang seems like a good fit to build such a tool (for no dependencies, just drop a singe binary). Or a Ansible alternative with a C-like-syntax.

oomkiller 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Startup outside the US
42 points by cerebrum  23 hours ago   21 comments top 9
no1youknowz 21 hours ago 5 replies      
You need to decide for yourself if the hassle in incorporating in the US is worth it and also if there are other reasons for doing so.

Like you, I am based outside of the US. I'm currently in the UK and yet, I am incorporating in the US.

The five reasons for this are :-

1) 99% of my customers are there.

2) 100% of my vendors are there.

3) Potential investors are there.

4) 99% of my financial transactions are in dollars.

5) My Bank is in the US and no currency conversions eroding profits.

Of course, some will say why don't I go to London and seek out investment? I have looked into this:

1) The mindset of a UK investor is vastly different than that of a US investor.

2) They sum of monies for potential investment is greater for a US investor and so is the level of risk. The sum of equity is greater for the UK investor.

3) The US investor has many more connections than the UK investor.

4) The US investor has made many more bets than the UK investor and therefore has much better advice going forward.

I could go on... But there is 0% chance that I will be starting up in the UK.

Here's what I have found so far:

US | YC - $120k in return for 7% of the company's equity.

London | Bethnal Green Ventures - 15,000 in exchange for 6%.

London | Founders Factory - 30k for around 7%.

London | IGNITE 100 - 17,000 in return for 8%.

London | Oxygen Accelerator - 20,000 for 8%.

There's probably more, but I doubt you'll get to YC levels of funding and influence in London.

If someone knows where I could get a better deal on funding, equity and terms. I'd love to know!

What I am doing, is bootstrapping until I'm ready to onboard an investor.

I can't really offer you advise, as I don't know your full situation. But hopefully what I have found offers some insight!

contingencies 6 hours ago 0 replies      
SV is undesirable for visas, general overheads, regulation in some sectors, and segments like hardware. Basically YC seems to be optimized for software-focused startups within 3 months of market seeking SV, US or at least English speaking investors, usually with a US initial market.

For hardware startups I can strongly recommend considering HK/Shenzhen, as I can personally attest that sourcing, consulting, manufacturing, and capital are readily and cost-effectively available.

gdilla 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Apply first. You don't have a decision to make until you've been accepted.
dazhbog 20 hours ago 0 replies      
We are outside the US, but incorporated in Delaware, without even going to the US. We did that to keep our options open in case of raising, but we are slowly becoming more and more against raising. Anyways, it was cheap enough (~$700) and now with Stripe Atlas its even easier/cheaper.

It really depends on your idea, where your customers are and the way you want to execute. In our case we were lucky enough to have had some government grants from various countries, gone through some accelerators and now we are trying to organically grow.

Good luck!

dotcoma 21 hours ago 0 replies      
There are a number of good programmes in many countries, from the usual suspects (London, Stockholm etc), to places that could surprise you (take a look at Bulgaria, for example).
demircancelebi 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If you can be selected to YC, it almost definitely makes sense. The important question is, will you be able to go through it whether than it makes sense or not.
Lordarminius 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Related question: How do taxes work for companies which are incorporated in US and operate in a second country ?
amorphid 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Growing a business takes money. Silicon Valley is (for now) where the most money is. It makes sense from that perspective.

Good luck with your venture:)

jksmith 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you gotten any feedback from anyone who has honestly met their definition of successful?
Ask HN: What are some reliable sources on nutrition?
18 points by jmstfv  17 hours ago   12 comments top 11
et-al 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I assume you're talking about what to eat, and not necessarily nutrition science. And I'd argue there are none, which is why the whole thing is a mess. I had a really smart coworker announce he was going on a week-long juice cleanse and I had to spit out my drink.

Lots of nutritional advice in America is suspect because someone is marketing a product. And the Old Country ways of eating are either lost in the New World, or don't work sometimes because we've switched from manual labor to desk jobs. And on top of that, are you trying to optimise for athletic performance, longevity, or are you just enjoying life?

(I don't think those three are necessarily mutually exclusive, but I do wonder about the modern obsession of over-optimisation.)

narak 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I use the following 3 sources:

- https://examine.com (each article is well sourced)

- Canadian Government: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.ph...

- US Government: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/ (I'm more skeptical of USDA's https://www.nutrition.gov/)

Mz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
.edu and .gov sites are typically considered the gold standard for nutrition information. But your question is incredibly broad. What, exactly, are you looking for? Eating guidelines? Nutrient content?

There are lots of different dietary protocols (keto, vegan, etc etc) that various people swear by. So, your question is simply too broad to answer with more than very broad guidelines about what kind of website to look for when searching.

tslug 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Since becoming vegan, I learned you really have to focus on nutrition, because there are important nutrients in eggs, dairy, and meat that aren't in all kinds of vegetables/fruits. If you don't stay on top of this, it's easy to become malnourished on a vegan diet.

One of my main go-to databases has become nutritiondata.com, which gives overviews of the nutrition information in pretty impressive detail on just about any dish or ingredient you can imagine.

mattbgates 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Authority Nutrition ( https://www.authoritynutrition.com ) is a good website for nutritional information and they even cite their sources.
donaldiljazi 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Neliquat 11 hours ago 0 replies      
For suppliments: Examine.com
miguelrochefort 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Eat meat. Drink water.


tgarma1234 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The Tim Ferris book "4 Hour Body" will introduce you to a whole world of reliable ideas. Also, Joe Rogan talking to Dr. Julie Kedzie, which you can find by googling his podcast.
Ask HN: How to use Machine Learning to extract facts from the text?
19 points by dartwing  22 hours ago   17 comments top 5
grizzles 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Facts are simply assertions that have met some burden of proof. Determining that threshold is a subjective exercise, not an objective one. I know you want an algorithm to do this, but there is no sentient algorithm smart enough to do this. So, from an epistemological perspective, you are basically asking - what are the facts as determined by someone else?

The tragedy of subjectivity is, for most people, some random ranting into a youtube video for 15 minutes about eg. Hillary Clinton constitutes "evidence" sufficient to determine fact.

BjoernKW 15 hours ago 1 reply      
What exactly is a fact? There's no easy answer to that question, particularly with natural rather than formal languages. 'Facts' and statements depend on context. The meaning of a natural language statement usually is derived from these layers building on each other:

- syntax (the structure of a sentence)

- semantics (the isolated meaning of a sentence)

- pragmatics (the meaning of a sentence in context)

Anaphora (references to previous sentences or concepts) can be particularly nasty in this context.

Depending on the task at hand chunk parsing could be a good first take at finding relevant phrases from unstructured textual data. There are numerous libraries to accomplish that, for English and other Indo-European languages at least.

brad0 18 hours ago 1 reply      
How do you define a fact?

As far as I understand it symbolic AI back in the 80s was building a massive web of facts or "truths" that would be used to create a general AI. They eventually ended up generating a bunch of contradictions.

DrNuke 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Looking for something similar for .pdf academic papers in my field but nothing really useful to automatise the extraction process exists, so the best path is still to extract data manually, homogenise data in a standard protocol, fed ML algos. Once a data protocol becomes a widespread standard and maybe a ISO or similar, there is a chance automated extraction will work at the finest level, as necessary for complex information.
dartwing 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Looking at SyntaxNet from Google. If there are other candidates worth looking at - please kindly let me know.


Ask HN: Is there a solve my programming problem website?
16 points by fiatjaf  21 hours ago   10 comments top 9
ekiara 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there similar services or sites for guidance or mentoring on devops and system administration problems? Or could the options already suggested here: https://www.codementor.io/ and https://www.airpair.com/ also be used in this way.
spacetimecake 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Codementor.io solves for exactly this problem
tomrozendaal 3 hours ago 0 replies      
https://www.fiverr.com/ it's not free though
davidjnelson 16 hours ago 0 replies      
That could be an interesting take on a marketplace, where a fee is set and people solve larger problems for payment.
LarryMade2 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Google - a big part of it is framing the query to get the responses you need.
brudgers 16 hours ago 0 replies      
If the code works and the goal is to get feedback: https://codereview.stackexchange.com/
umeshpandey007 16 hours ago 0 replies      
algorithmia.com, it has codebounty where you can pose your problem
amorphid 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For free or for compensation? For compensation, maybe AirPair.com?
matttheatheist 17 hours ago 1 reply      
StackOverflow for sure. Not sure why you disagree.
Ask HN: Any startups using oracle?
4 points by Something1234  8 hours ago   4 comments top 4
CyberFonic 5 hours ago 0 replies      
In the enterprise space DB2 and Oracle are the two big players. DB2 on IBM hardware. Oracle made its mark on enterprise *nix hardware, e.g. Sun, HP and even IBM - AIX systems. Recently MS SQL Server (which is derived from Sybase) on Windows servers.

In big corporations you don't get fired for buying Oracle. BTW Oracle bought Sun Microsystems because it was the most widely used hardware platform for Oracle. On that basis Oracle could be considered the king of RDBMS. But it is nothing special technically and it is very expensive to purchase and the support contracts are eye watering. Larry Ellison can afford to lavishly play at Admirals Cup on the licence income.

Several years ago a package was released that allows you to run apps that expect Oracle on Postgres.

Of course startups do not use Oracle. In fact few even use Windows. Why spend huge amounts of money when you can get better solutions for free? And there are so many good choices, including noSQL solutions.

eb0la 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It depends on what using Oracle means.As a backed? I seriously doubt it. Oracle fees are huge for startup-style growth and non-oracle equivalents are 1) cheap and 2) have plenty of talent available.

If you're a start-up going after B2B market, and you want to offer on-prem service, I suggest you get into the Oracle developer network and try as hard as you can to make sure your product works with Oracle as a backend.

Just having it as an option for big corporations is worth the effort... But not as a first time option (unless ORA funds you, which is another story).

ljoshua 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Among small or early stage startups? No. Oracle charges kingly rates to go along with their kingly title, rates which pretty much only big companies can pay. Oracle DB setups often tie into other Oracle products as well, which can be more useful to established and larger companies.

Your professor is correct in that it's widely used amongst such companies, though other competitors are very often in place as well such as Sybase or Microsoft SQL Server.

The right tool for the right job (or in the startup world, the tool you can afford.)

ak39 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Most enterprise software companies in the financial sector traditionally built solutions on Oracle. This was because in the 80s and even early 90s, the holy grail of financial systems (MVCC - multiversion concurrency control with guaranteed transactions) was offered relatively cheaper by Oracle during that period compared to IBM's big iron solutions. This was a winning strategy for Oracle. They dominated new projects during the 90s client-server revolution.

Over time this didn't matter as many RDBMS offered advanced MVCC features and transactional guarantees "on the cheap". (MS SQL and pgsql being late bloomers to this club - there are many other good databases that do similar).

Your professor is probably a veteran from the heydays of Oracle's dominance. The meme of Oracle (i.e. if the system is developed using Oracle being default good) still carries in the minds of many financial execs and CTOs. But it is fading fast.

I personally wouldn't touch Oracle for my enterprise startup which provides BI solutions for asset managers. We use SQL Server and pgsql.

Ask HN: How do you manage your to-read articles?
9 points by pacuna  18 hours ago   9 comments top 7
abhinickz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I use chrome extension hangout https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-hangouts/nc... for this.

I use different chrome user profile for office & Home and suppose I don't have time to read some articles or anything,

I just send it to my home profile user (hangout) and If I found something at home which will be useful for my office work, I send it to my Office profile user.

Even TO DO List, Otherwise for long run I use Chrome Keep Extension https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-keep-chrome... with the labels So I would know Why I saved it.

rwieruch 10 hours ago 1 reply      

Even though you already mentioned it, but it made my life so much easier.

Since I use it, I have no open tabs anymore. All articles are synced on my Mac, Tablet and Phone. When I wait on the train station for 5 minutes, it is time to read another article from my endless list of resources.

Artlav 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Bookmark it, then read later? Not quite sure what problem are you running into.

I tend to have several directories - for places i asked questions or posted something, for things i want to read, but don't have time right now, for things that sound interesting, for "maybe later" and so on.

arkitaip 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Just a folder called 'todo' in the Chrome bookmark bar. Chrome has pretty deep sync abilities these days so you can access your Chrome logins and bookmarks on any device you own.
miguelrochefort 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to use Pocket. I would save articles there, but never read them. I have saved over 10,000 links to Pocket.

Now I keep interesting articles in a new browser tab. It doesn't seem to work too well, as I have over 1000 tabs open on just my phone.

I wish Pocket (or it's alternatives) had a way to automatically group similar links together, include relevant saved links at the top of my Google search results, sort links by time-relevance (i.e., links to information that expires or become less relevant as time goes), sort links by time to consume (to create some kind of snowball effect, like paying the smallest debts first), etc.

stephenr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Safari Reading List.
adityar 7 hours ago 0 replies      
send to kindle extension
Ask HN: How to actually talk to your customers?
284 points by cosmorocket  3 days ago   108 comments top 33
goatherders 3 days ago 4 replies      
Cart is ahead of the horse. Getting out of the office to talk to potential customers has NOTHING to do with selling. It has to do with learning about the sector you THINK you want to be working in. In other words, you need to accept that your foundational knowledge is largely made up of information that made its way to you by going through your filter of preconceived notions and biases. My advice to my sales team (and to you) is to stop thinking about your needs (selling something, validating your product, etc.) and start thinking about discovering their needs. You do this by asking questions and listening.

People love to talk about themselves and their businesses. You will get a ton of positive response by picking up the phone (or sending emails) saying "I'm new to this sector and I've been learning everything I can online and through books and trade magazines. But I know I would learn more by talking to someone working in the field. Could I stop by Monday morning for 15 minutes and learn about your business. I'm interested in finding out how you came to even be in this business, what parts are enjoyable, and what parts are challenging. Thank you for your consideration."

malanj 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a specific anecdote of how I did it in Palo Alto (after just arriving in the US from South Africa):

The first day I was in Palo Alto (and the US), I had absolutely no contacts and was severely jet lagged. I had just moved to the US to establish my startup (https://journeyapps.com) in the US, raise "Silicon Valley VC" and chase the dream ;) tl;dr - JourneyApps is a platform for businesses to quickly developer mobile apps for internal use.

I walked down University Avenue, and spotted Palo Alto bicycles. I walked in (very nervous) and asked one of the sales people if the manager is in. Jeff (the manager), was there and asked what I wanted. I explained I'd just moved here, and was working on a startup that eliminates paper forms.

He was kind enough to not kick me out, and (because it was closing time), spent some time talking to me about how they sell bicycles and which paper forms he uses. He also explained how much of a pain it is.

I kept delving into the details of his business, which he absolutely loves, so he was keen to keep talking. After forming a good idea of what his world looks like, I asked if he'd be keen to do an experiment with us. We'd make an app that does bicycle sales on a tablet, and bring it to him in a day or two. The experiment would be free, he just needs to tell us what works and what doesn't.

He was really keen, and gave me copies of the forms he uses. Overnight we built an app on our platform that acts like his paper forms. The next day we rolled out in his store, and waited for bicycle sales.

The app worked, and we learnt a heck of a lot about US business culture, even though it was just a "small family owned" bicycle store.

Eventually we raised the mythical Silicon Valley VC money and got our first Fortune 100 customers, but the process stayed remarkably similar:

1) Find someone who's passionate about their business

2) Talk to them with genuine interest and learn about their world

3) Be upfront and open about which problems you think you can help with, and which not

4) Over deliver.

rharris 3 days ago 2 replies      
I hear you. There's a lot of guidance on the importance of talking to customers, but a dearth of information on how to do it.

Fwiw, I've become mildly obsessed with this topic, and have written up a couple articles that may help:

* How to talk to customers: http://customerdevlabs.com/2013/11/05/how-i-interview-custom...

* Which customers should you talk to first: http://customerdevlabs.com/2017/03/20/who-are-early-adopters...

* How to ask for conversations: http://customerdevlabs.com/2014/02/18/how-to-send-cold-email...

PaulHoule 3 days ago 1 reply      
It depends a lot on what you are selling.

If you go to a small retail business (say a cafe) when it is not the peak hour, you might find the owner working there. It is usually not hard to get them in a conversation, many of them will talk your ear off. (Sometimes this even works for a supermarket or a large chain store.)

On that front, people usually like to be heard so if you do a lot of listening that takes the pressure off you. Often a good sales call is 90% or more listening to the customer talk.

I've gotten good prospects through LinkedIn and simlar means and have had very good luck (much better than 80%) at sending a message or email and getting an appointment for a phone call.

If I have any challenge here it is that there are people out there who really like to talk and talk and you can easily wind up having an absurd number of calls over a long period of time and get no sales. However, almost always in B2B sales you will need to make several calls over a period of 2-3 months. Big companies lke IBM can tolerate a sales process that runs longer that, but you can't.

kolinko 3 days ago 1 reply      
For me, when I was a tool for indie iOS devs

- still at the idea stage, I began talking to people online on iOS dev forums - iphonedevsdk forum, and reddit.com/r/ios /r/iphone, etc

- I asked my friends who I knew were devs. I live in Poland, and my target audience is mostly US, so their feedback was slightly limited, but still valuable, because I could talk to them in real life

- as soon as possible I went to San Francisco, and went to any meetup I could find through my contacts, on Meetup.com, and Startup Digest

- I try to follow news as closely as possible (e.g. there is iOS dev weekly newsletter), and look for opportunities to engage in the communication. Even without mentioning the name of my project (which is AppCodes.com -- a shameless plug here :D )

- Sometimes I write to bloggers and people who write about my subjects about something I work on, to honestly gather their feedback, and of course to ask if they want to know more about my project. It's always personal.

After a few years of doing various projects, I noticed that it almost always takes around 6 months for the word to go out that I do things, and people start coming back to me by themselves ("are you still doing X?"). With time, finding connections is easier, but not faster - it always takes exactly 6 months :)

roguecoder 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you have no network, the first thing to do is build a network. You can do this by building something people sign up for, getting leads, by talking to your neighbors, by talking to organizations, by giving talks or by sitting out in the park with a sign that says "Talk To Me About JavaScript", but you can't build something people are going to use without knowing the people who are going to use it and the best way to find those people is by asking people you've already met.
CyberFonic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well .... it really depends on what you are selling. You said service, but doing what? In what domain?

Ok, that wasn't helpful. So let me try to break it down, without knowing anything about what you are selling.

I will assume that your service is to solve some problem in a particular business domain. From that you can decide on who would have the problem you are solving and how critical it is for them. Hair on fire is good. Nicer typography on the menu - meh. Nevertheless, you can sketch your ideal customer. Potentially only a very small proportion of your town's business population is a possible prospect. Once you have identified the businesses, you could look at who in those businesses would be most motivated to do something about getting you to solve the problem(s) you have identified and are capable of solving.

Then you go an talk to the people you have identified. You listen more than you talk and refine your approach.

For a far more detailed approach you could read "Four Steps to Epiphany" by Steve Blank. Customer Development Method might be exactly what you need to help you maximise the productivity of your time when you are out of the office, talking with prospects.

If you provide some details about your business then some HNers might be able to give you specific advice.

Good Luck.

erikb 3 days ago 1 reply      
No contacts, no domain experience -> you need 5-10 years to build these. Contacts+Experience are also a longer way to say "business value".

You have two ways to build it. One is always coming from the outside, hoping for nice/stupid people to explain it to you, hoping to get shitty contracts to make some kind of money. This way will be the slave road.

The alternative is becoming an excited new employee at a customer or another provider for your customers and work there for 5-10 years. You have rights (like laws working in your favour), you have regular income, you are at the table where things happen and get some tips from people who work in that area for 10+ years, and hell, you may even save a few bucks that later can be used to found a company.

Yes, you'll be your bosses bitch, but only to some degree, because of laws. Customers will be much, much more cruel. If you can't bow to a boss, you certainly won't be able to handle customers yourself.

If you neither have rich parents nor business value, don't attempt to build your own business. People just say that because they are part of the economy that makes money from the sacrifices you take on your own, or at least have rich parents themselves and therefore don't even know that it can be a problem if one is behind rent payment and lacks $20k in funds.

altharaz 3 days ago 0 replies      
It depends on your market.

But if you try to build a company, I assume that you want to solve a problem.

If you solve a B2C problem: talk to friends affected by the problem, or launch a Meetup based on this problem. You'll get free feedbacks and people LOVE to talk about themselves.

If you solve a B2B problem: talk to friendly businesses affected by the problem, or go to events and conferences as a vendor with kakemonos talking about the problem you solve. If the problem you solve is really important, you'll get plenty of people coming to your stand to talk to you.

Once you'll have a few "leads", you will be able to refine the market segments that are the most affected by the problem you solve. THIS is really important: for B2C, you'll have to target this segment in your future ads, for B2B, you'll have to target this segment in leads generation.


- "Should I try to approach bosses or common workers of companies?"=> Talk to the guy affected by the problem you solve. It might be the CEO, or a manager, or the worker.

- "Should I phone them, ask for an appointment, explain my goals and if they let me in, do the talk?"=> Yes, phone is better than cold email. But be prepared, it's really harder than cold email.

- "What is the right approach to talk to my potential customers?"=> Beginner script: Hi, my name is X, I represent Y, we solve THE_PROBLEM_YOU_SOLVE. Are you affected by this problem? Could we talk about this in person at your office?

kbyatnal 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm working on a consumer product. Here's what I do.

- Include an invite for a quick 10-15 minute chat in the welcome email (more people than you would think actually take up the offer)

- Ask them why they signed up (this is key to help you determine what problem people want you to solve)

- Ask them their biggest frustrations about the solution so far

And just take it from there.

chiph 3 days ago 0 replies      
Too early to try and sell them on anything. Call them up.

"Hello, this is cosmorocket, and I'd like to learn more about your industry. Can I stop by sometime and ask you some questions? Perhaps shadow you for a little while? I'll bring coffee and danish."

Just watch and listen. If you see them get frustrated by something, give them a moment then ask "So, what just happened?"

fnordsensei 3 days ago 0 replies      
From experience, it's much easier to recruit from a list of people who've already said that they'd be willing to talk to you than doing cold calls. Cold calls work, but expect a way lower response rate than if you find a way to pre-assess your customers.

For example, I've worked with clients where we would insert an NPS question at some strategic point in the digital parts of their service. Not at a point where it would be intrusive, but rather, for example, at the very end of completing a bank transfer. Make it very small: 1) The NPS 1-10 scale, 2) Field for free comments 3) Checkbox to the effect of "is it OK if we contact you for more questions?"

This serves the dual purpose of finding people who are willing to talk to you, as well as giving you an idea of what they think of your service at the current moment.

You can now contact the people who put less than 9 on the NPS scale to do two things: 1) find out what you can do to improve the service, and 2) take care of the complaints they might have and improve your relationship to the customer in question directly, potentially turning a negative impression into a promoter.

Obviously, if the product doesn't exist yet, you will have to find a different way to reach your potential customers rather than inserting it into the existing service.

ivv 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe I can answer the question "where to find people to talk to." I'm in consumer research; here's what's worked for me.

If you need b2b: LinkedIn, conference and trade show lobbies (you don't need a ticket to hang out in the lobby), email lists you can buy online. There are also companies that maintain lists of experts with every imaginable background you can speak to for an hourly fee; not cheap but worth it.

If you need consumers: survey panel companies will let you field a simple survey to people who match your criteria, who you can then recruit into a phone/Skype call. You can also recruit people yourself through well-targeted Facebook and Twitter ads. Craigslist works well; set up a short survey to prequalify people.

Money is a great accelerant. You will always find people who would talk to you for free, but offering to pay them for their time and expertise makes things go a lot faster. Plus, if you are on the shy side, money changes the dynamic. You are now not asking for a favor, but are offering to engage in a business transaction.

Six people is often all you need to start seeing some common themes.

tmaly 2 days ago 0 replies      
On an earlier idea I had, I wanted to do something with tech recruiters. They were always calling me or emailing me, so I thought it would be pretty easy to talk to them since they were coming to me. I build a script that I semi memorized based off the template in the Running Lean book. I adapted it for this industry. I also have a paper form where I could fill in the answers.

I would schedule a phone meeting or in person meeting, and I would run through the script. After the meeting I would quickly write down all the answers off the top of my head while it was still fresh.

I did this for about 30 interviews, and then I created an answer matrix in a spreadsheet. My goal was to try to see if there were any common problems among the majority of people I talked to. The answer ended up being a big NO, but I did not write a single line of code in this process. It did save me a ton of pain in the long run doing this up front.

jakobegger 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have no suggestions where to find people to talk to (that really depends on your field).

But on the topic of how to talk to people, I really want to recommend the book by Dale Carnegie 'How to make friends and influence people'. Ignore the corny title and read it. This book has changed how I talk to people.

The biggest takeaway for me from that book was that people love to talk about themselves. Make the conversation about them; focus on their situation instead of on your product.

jaf656s 3 days ago 0 replies      
Your problem with figuring out how to talk to customers is that you don't know who you are trying to talk to.

First you need to figure out who you want your customers to be.

If your answer is local coffee shop owners, then it's easy to make a list of customers and you can call them, email them, or visit them in person.

There are many places on the internet that give free advice on how to do cold calls, emails, visits, etc. Steli Efti writes about it a lot on the close.io blog. There are numerous questions asked and answered on quora.

Start at those two places and once you know more of the basics, you can start learning more specific skills.

But if you don't know who to talk to, then you are trying to solve two problems at the same time: who to talk to and how to talk to them.

Solve one problem first, then the other.

Once you know who to talk to, then you can start talking to them to see if they have the problem that you are trying to solve.

If the service or product you are selling doesn't solve their problem you are not going to be able to sell it to them.

It's much, much easier if you are trying to sell to a customer base (market) that you understand well or already know some problems they face.

Then you can talk to them and verify that you are correct and they have the problem that you think they have.

vijayr 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm no expert, but I've tried this so far and it worked a bit:

Wrote to a bunch of strangers. Made it a point to stress that I've nothing to sell (not yet at least) and just want to talk and pick brain. Promised not to take more than 15 mins and never did. Most people never replied, a handful of them did and I had lovely conversations with them. One even became a friend (I referred her to the place I work) and we still keep in touch, even though the original reason I talked to her didn't work out. When I thanked one person, she simply said "no need, just promise me you'd do the same if a stranger reaches out to you".

From my limited experience, it is more or less a numbers game, unless you are willing to spend enormous amount of time looking for that specific set of people who is the perfect fit to help you. There is no guarantee that they would though (why should they? Everyone is busy with whatever they are upto anyways)

wand3r 3 days ago 0 replies      
You should consider your idea if you are building it for a group you literally know 0 people who are part of it.

The advice is good but often it means talk to your users. You can use it to validate your idea, but it is helpful to validate your product.

If you are building something be damn sure it's something people want this is hard if you don't know those people

weixiyen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't even talk to them. Try to find ways to observe in a passive manner instead.

If you are making software for restaurants, go sit at the restaurant during peak and off hours, and be keen about what's actually going on, down to the minute detail.

If the problem you are solving is in the kitchen, see if you can offer a hand doing dishes for free and observe at a detailed level what everyone else is doing and what their problems also are.

Asking questions in survey format could potentially work, though I doubt it. It could also be high barrier if you are basically a nobody trying to talk to restaurant owners.

The worst thing that can happen is people telling you they have a problem they don't actually have, and you create an imaginary problem to solve that nobody cares about.

MrsPeaches 3 days ago 1 reply      
Highly recommend the Mom Test which is exactly about this.


jonwachob91 2 days ago 0 replies      
Read the book "The Mom Test" -> http://momtestbook.com. Even if you just read the first chapter, it'll help you out a lot.

To properly talk to customers to identify if there is a need for your product/idea requires for you to not bias them by telling them what you are working on. You should be able to talk to your mom about your idea without her ever knowing that you have an idea for a product.

marcus_holmes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Stop thinking about selling your idea to your customers.

You're talking to them in order to understand the problem that you're trying to solve.

The best book on this that I've read is "The Mom Test", well worth the price

raheemm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I sent 100s of LinkedIn emails saying 'Im a software entrepreneur interested in learning about the problems/challenges in your industry. Would you be open to chatting? I have nothing to sell and only want to learn.'

Then I'd call them up and chat.

At first I'd setup calls only with those who responded.

Then I began calling up people even if they did not respond.

Most people are happy to talk about problems.

startupdiscuss 3 days ago 0 replies      
Say a little more about what space you are in.

Let me assume that you have a consumer product -- an app, or a piece of hardware. There are things out there that do something vaguely similar, but you think yours is better.

Go to the comments sections of various chat boards that are discussing the current way of doing things. Make note of the complaints.

Ask the people there if they will chat with you for 5-10 minutes about a product idea.

Be polite.

thewhitetulip 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is how I did it for my first failed startup which did not go beyond the survey phase

1. Make a list of fb friends who would be interested, add them to a group, a secret one.2. Try to validate the idea3. use reddit to validate the idea4. using HN is tricky because you can't guarantee that the post will get attention.

Mz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I will recommend the book "Wishcraft." It is not specifically about this, but has a lot of good general advice for just getting things done.

You might also find the UX book "Don't make me think" generally useful. I am mentioning it because it does talk about how to get effective feedback on your website. If you are doing an online thing, you may find it very pertinent.

kardos 2 days ago 0 replies      
Take up Uber driving and use it as an opportunity to pitch your idea/service to riders: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14166730
jonbarker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is it talk with potential customers (market research) or talk with existing customers (customer service and support)? Seems like it should be the latter. If you have no customers, then consider a new product, right?
venture_lol 3 days ago 0 replies      
Try not to look at your customers with as walking dollar signs :)

Think of what you can do to support what your customers need to do rather than think of how you can get your customers to fill your pocket :)

Avalaxy 3 days ago 0 replies      
What if your customers are big companies? As in fortune 500? How do you talk to them? There will probably many different people with different opinions.
rietta 3 days ago 0 replies      
I answer their phone calls and have a conversation. Seriously,. Don't over think this.

I see the zero customers part. I would update my content marketing game until someone called me.

kornakiewicz 3 days ago 0 replies      
> some details about the domain Id like to work for

Improving here might be crucial.

beamatronic 3 days ago 0 replies      
>> I dont think it will work as I would like it to.

Yes! That is exactly the point of the advice.

Go out in the field and you will learn something - because it will NOT be what you expected!

I am excited for you! Good luck!

Ask HN: Did anything actually happen due to Y2K?
6 points by tombert  13 hours ago   6 comments top 6
ed_db 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Yes, this is the worst one that I've heard of: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1541557.stm
LarryMade2 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah: Tech Support

Peachtree changed their tune early on from "Yes it will work past 2000" to "We only support versions beyond version Y for the Y2k changeover" (no direct mention that the older versions will work)

Many publishers' tech support got ran over by marketing to con people to buy new software/hardware based on various real and imagined FUD. Y2K was a big inspiration.

sheraz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently consulting on a workforce management SaaS. (Think of workforce management as a time clock where people can punch in and out).

It was interesting to learn that starting in 2015 some customers were having trouble generating payroll for their youngest employees (aged 16 years) at the time. In debugging the issue it was concluded that Y2k was the issue (sort of).

boznz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Lots of consultants made a fuck tonne of money
daodedickinson 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember that New Mexico's driver's license system went down.
amorphid 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember hearing of isolated incidents, but nothing major happened that I'm aware of. I guess the biggest thing to happen was a lot of COBOL programmers made pretty good coin leading up to January 1, 2000.
Ask HN: Books Like 'Calculus Made Easy'?
57 points by ilamparithi  2 days ago   8 comments top 7
e19293001 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to know about how computers work, I would recommend books written by Anthony Dos Reis[0]. I could say that all of his books were very easy to read and follow. I learned tons of stuffs from his books like assembly language, computer architecture, writing an assembler, creating a CPU simulator, know how compilers generate machine instructions, know what are grammars, formal languages and learned how to build a programming language, write a recursive descent parser, incrementally improving a compiler, implement grep after learning automata theory and a lot _more_ cool stuffs from his books. Those books were the reason why I got hooked with computer science. I just got his new book about abstract algebra which had been released last month. There's a lot of gems on it and I'm still reading it mostly it could take me months to finish reading but it really had gave me quality time grokking the concepts. I never meet this man but I owe so much from him and hope there would be more books that he could write like about operating systems.

[0] - http://cs.newpaltz.edu/~dosreist/

jwdunne 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you go through that one, give Calculus by Spivak a try. Interesting book and starts off with a bit more of the fundamentals.

How to solve it by Polya - an awesome book. Read these to learn not just mathematical problem solving but in general. I don't think I've read a book quite like this before. The idea of a process and tools for problem solving is awesome.

How to prove it - a great book. I felt after reading through this I had a much better understanding of how proof works. I also had a better understanding of how mathematicians go from scratch work and proof to the proofs they finally present. There's a lot more that goes behind them and will help you understand those proofs by giving you the tools to do the scratch work behind them yourself. I had tried to learn proof techniques from a few other sources, including Jeremy Kun's awesome primers.

"Conceptual mathematics" - did a very good job in helping me make more progress with category theory. I tried a few different books and an online series. Flicking between those and this book, I started to understand much better.

The Little Schemer - the one that finally opened the key to recursion, closures and functional programming. I had tried attacking this using a few other books, including SICP but TLS helped a tonne in the final clicking.

Thinking in Type - great book that taught me quite a bit about typography. It showed me how important typography is to design.

You can draw in 30 days - sounds very SAMS but actually the progress I made in 1 day is testimony to the book's bold claim. You won't be Da Vinci but you will have functional drawing and sketching skills if you go through this.

It's important to note my process in finding these books. I think much of the groundwork and mental priming before working through most of the above helped a lot.

A tend to get interested in a topic and then seek out good books in that field. If the book doesn't make much sense or is very dense, I keep at it for a day or so. I then seek out similar books and repeat the process until a little jump forward.

Unfortunately in around 1 to 2 weeks, I've lost interest and I repeat the same thing on a different topic.

I probably have a tonne more but they're spread across many subjects so it's difficult to consolidate. Feel free to email me if you want recommendations for a particular subject.

tunap 1 day ago 0 replies      
An oldie but a goody for a curious mind needing a base for learning electronics. The handwritten text & drawings made the task of learning seem slightly less daunting, IME. That was 30 years ago, and yet I still see the smiling electrons in my mind`s eye when problem-solving transmission issues on-board and on the network.


mr_anich 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think But How Do It Know?[0] is a good read. It takes a similarly straightforward and light-hearted first principles approach to computer systems organization. Highly recommend.

[0] - http://www.buthowdoitknow.com/

ilamparithi 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's kind of outdated now. But Mastering EJB (2nd edition) by Ed Roman was very helpful to me to understand EJB at one point. The writing was very different from a typical technical book. It was like reading a novel.
ebcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
The one that immediately springs to mind is "Mathematics For The Million" by Lancelot Hogben. I really enjoyed it because it places mathematical developments in their historical context.
davidddavidson 2 days ago 0 replies      
CODE by Charles Petzold and The Elements of Computing Systems by Nisan and Schocken
Ask HN: Should I trademark prior to Y Combinator?
44 points by shameikachan  2 days ago   29 comments top 13
27182818284 2 days ago 4 replies      
There may be a strong push to change your name for various reasons. That would seem to make trademarking a waste of time. Paul Graham wrote about it a couple of years agohttp://www.paulgraham.com/name.html
mlissner 2 days ago 0 replies      
The important thing about a trademark is that you start using it. If you run into a problem with somebody else using your name, the most important thing will be who used it first, not who TM'ed it first. In fact, if they TM a name that you had first, you can claw the name and the TM away from them.

Unless you are expecting somebody to steal/abuse your name, there's no rush to TM.

gist 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well first you mean 'apply for a trademark' let's assume. Because it can take anywhere from, say, 7 months to several years to get a trademark issued (I have gotten them in as little as 7 months).

It's really a cost issue. If money is no object then there is little downside other than a) alerting people to what you are doing (tm apps are public) b) deciding if you will do it yourself or have an attorney do it for you.

Creating a legal entity is a bit more involved. You can apply for a trademark, pay the nominal fee and assuming you do the application correctly (in the right class) etc. you can just simply abandon it later if you change your mind. You would only be out the fee. Not like state paperwork which is a bit more sticky.

The date a trademark is put in use is important. So assuming you file as 1a and are using the mark getting it in early could have benefits. Blocking potential competitors and so on.

If you are on a shoestring and have little money then it most likely doesn't pay to apply for the trademark and spend that money which you might need for other things.

libertymcateer 2 days ago 1 reply      
IP Lawyer here. Note: I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer.

Upon using your name in commerce you acquire common law trademark rights. Filing a trademark before you are actually using it in commerce requires filing an Intent To Use trademark application and will cost you a few thousand dollars in legal fees (or a hell of a lot more if you are doing international) - either that or you are doing it yourself with trademarkia, and, in that case, I wish you bon chance.

Try to choose a strong name, but be prepared to change it.

"Strong" means, in order: a completely made up word, a word that has nothing to do with the product being offered, a word that is suggestive but not decriptive of the product. For more information, look up the "abercrombie" test. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abercrombie_%26_Fitch_Co._v._H....http://berryentertainmentlaw.com/the-abercrombie-formulation...

If you want to search for competing marks, please note that this is an extremely technical process. You can try to search on TESS, but it is very difficult. https://tess2.uspto.gov

Note that this is only US trademarks.

Additionally, if your question is "how do I know if my mark will be infringing?" The answer is "that is an extremely hard and expensive question to answer." The touchstone of trademark infringement is the "likelihood of consumer confusion test," which is ensconced in the sleekcraft / polaroid factors. http://www3.ce9.uscourts.gov/jury-instructions/node/244http://likelytocauseconfusion.com/likelihoodofconfusionfacto...

The point of all the above is that you really do need to be a professional at this in order to have the wherewithal to make judgments about the likelihood of a trademark's success. In addition, it takes a few business quarters to a year and a half for a registration to issue.

The point of all this is that domai.nr is as important a tool as TESS, that you can easily get lost in the weeds on this issue, that your own judgment is in no way a replacement or a substitute for a licensed attorney, that trademark strategy is hugely complicated and can be a total sinkhole. What does that mean? It means that, for a startup, like many, many other issues, you do the best you can but keep in mind that you are going to have to spend a lot of time and effort on it down the road.

Tl:dr:As a startup in general: IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY, it is worth starting this process this sooner rather than later. If you do NOT have the money, a reasonable strategy is to move forward with a name that you like but are willing to change. It is okay to change your name very early on. However, the goal is to avoid having to change your name when you already have a product out and some market presence. For YC: Do you need a trademark before you apply to YC? Almost definitely not - unless you are already selling your product. Do you need a trademark before you start selling your service to enterprises or spending money on marketing? It would be foolish not to at least engage an attorney and start the process.

Note that many other IP attorneys may have different opinions. That's fine - reasonable minds can differ on this subject, the above is an extremely short primer. Also please note that I AM NOT YOUR ATTORNEY AND IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT FILING A TRADEMARK YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY.

Edit: shoutout to https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=27182818284 for posting this PG blog post - extremely on point: http://www.paulgraham.com/name.html

boxcardavin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do it if it's your top priority. Do you have a brand and brand name that is out there and essential to you or your customers right now?
jkarneges 2 days ago 0 replies      
The idea that startups should wait until after joining an accelerator to do their filings seems a bit mythical to me. Maybe it worked back in the day when founders applied with only an idea (or no idea), but now I'd expect most companies to be pretty well established before entering an accelerator. C corp, restricted stock with vesting schedules, the whole bit.

If you're already established with a public product, then you should just go get the trademark. It's not that expensive. If you're stealth, then you could wait, but only because of your stage of company, not anything to do with YC.

mrkurt 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you make a list of the top 10 things that are gonna hurt your company, a trademark conflict won't be in there. So, no.
natch 2 days ago 0 replies      
IANAL. My understanding is that by using your name in commerce (in particular interstate commerce) you already have an automatic trademark. But maybe you mean to ask about trademark registration, which is a separate proactive step you can take to give your trademark more protection.
ComputerGuru 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you care enough to ask, find a trademark lawyer. An hour (or even half an hour) of their time is all you need.
pbreit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will trademarking help you build a product that people want? There's your answer.
auvi 2 days ago 3 replies      
Could anyone please give a ballpark number for the costs related to trademarking?
TaylorGood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Trademark regardless if you're serious about giving it a go..
siegel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I could talk about this forever, but I'll restrain myself.

libertymcateer makes some great points. But I wanted to add two things:

1) For most people, when I think about registering a trademark, their concern is getting priority so that other people cannot jump in and use the same mark. Registering a trademark brings a host of benefits, but you don't need to register to get priority over later users. You just need to use the mark "in interstate commerce."

The problem for a company at your stage is this - chances are you are nowhere near the point that you could be said to be using the mark in interstate commerce. I'm assuming you aren't selling anything under the mark yet, right?

So, if you are really concerned about getting priority now, registration would have a benefit - you could file what libertymcateer referred to as an "intent to use" application. Your "priority date" would then be the date of your application, NOT the date the mark registers.

Eventually you will need to show that you are using the mark in commerce, but you can get up to 3 years to do that.

So, if really want to protect your mark now and are afraid someone might take it before you are already using it, then applying for a trademark registration can be worthwhile.

2) The other thing I tell companies in your position that are thinking about registering a trademark is to think about the time, effort, and resources they will be putting into building a brand around their desired trademark.

At the outset, it's easy to change branding. But let's say you start building some recognition around a name over the course of a year or two, start getting traction, etc..., and then you find out someone is already using the mark you chose as your brand or something confusingly similar. At that point, you will have sunk a bunch of money into a brand that needs to be changed and will have to start sinking that money in again.

Why might you think of registering at the outset, then? Well, as libertymcateer mentioned, you could do a search on TESS at the USPTO website. But it's a clunky search system and it's not even complete for your purpose.

If you are looking for prior users of a mark that could interfere with your right to start using a certain trademark, you need to look beyond marks that have been registered or for which people have applied to register. If someone is using a mark in commerce, but never applied to register, they can block your use. And none of those marks will appear on TESS.

In addition, it's not just identical marks. It's confusingly similar marks that can block your use. TESS can do some fuzzy searching, but you need to do those kinds of searches on a much broader basis.

If you file a trademark application, a trademark examiner will do searches and present objections if there are barriers to your getting trademark protection for a mark. No, it's not foolproof - they can approve a mark and a 3rd party can object. But it will be harder for a 3rd party to object if you actually are able to register the mark. That puts aside the credibility you get in having a registered trademark for a brand - random folks who want to write a cease and desist letter will more likely be deterred if you've registered the mark.

Now, applying to register the mark isn't the only way to get a better assessment of whether your chosen brand name would be a good choice from a trademark protection standpoint. There are trademark search services that can do a good job seeking out competing marks. But you really do need a lawyer to analyze the search results. That process will cost more than filing a trademark application. (The lowest risk thing to do would be to have a trademark search done, analyzed by a trademark attorney, and then filing an application to register, but the costs add up and I'm assuming cost is an issue here.)

So, essentially, filing a trademark application is relatively low-cost way to get an assessment of the legal viability of a name for trademark purposes, before you put your resources into building a brand around that name.

Just some things to think about.

Ask HN: Will the committee that built Common Lisp make a new one in the future?
41 points by behnamoh  2 days ago   36 comments top 6
nabla9 2 days ago 2 replies      
No. ANSI X3J13 committee has been discontinued.

It seems that using ANSI to make new standard is unadvisable. The process is cumbersome and there are copyright issues with ANSI.

If there is need to revise the standard. Common Lisp folks can for less byrocratic organization to do it. Library standardization can happen organically.

ScottBurson 2 days ago 1 reply      
You have to think about this ecologically. What niche would a new CL occupy? What use would anyone have for something similar to CL but not identical? How could such a thing catch on?

If the features you think should be added are just extensions, it's very likely they can be added as libraries (though there are occasional exceptions). If they actually change the language so as to break existing code, it's very hard to see why anyone currently using CL would want to use your language. The CL ecosystem is already considered to be behind other major languages in terms of library coverage; your new language would be starting from zero on that point.

I think the only way a completely new Lisp would catch on is for some company to create their own, and then to spend enough years using it for enough different things that they create an adequate library on their own -- requiring that they get pretty large. But why would a small company, just starting out, create their own Lisp when they could use CL? (Okay, okay, of course PG did exactly that with Arc. But it's still an unusual choice.)

CL is unusually mutable as languages go, anyway. It's even possible for a library to turn it into a subtly but pervasively different language -- I think my functional collections library, FSet [0], is a great example. And of course, this is done without breaking existing libraries.

[0] https://github.com/slburson/fset

dreamcompiler 2 days ago 0 replies      
I served on NCITS/J13 many years ago when we were trying to decide whether to revise the standard or merely reaffirm the old one. I believe we chose the latter course after many months of discussion but I don't remember why. Was anybody else here on the committee who remembers this? My vague recollection was that there were many directions we could have gone with a revised standard and we couldn't come to a consensus that wouldn't have ended up splitting the community into factions.
piokuc 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's a very good question. I asked this question at a dinner after European Common Lisp Meeting in Madrid in 2013, a wonderful, memorable gig, BTW. I was surprised how unanimous CL elites were on this subject. They were strongly against even small, incremental improvements or additions. IMHO, it would be nice to have a standard socket library, for example. One of the reasons mentioned was cost of the standardization, including updates of all the implementations. I kind of understand it, but, on the other hand, it makes me a bit sad. Things either grow, even very slowly, or become fossil.
zokier 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think most standardization in the LISP sphere happens around RnRS family of standards, ie Scheme.
oconnore 2 days ago 2 replies      
There is no reason to build a second Common Lisp. Those ideas are all fairly well represented, and you only need something new if you're diverging to different ideas: shen or haskell for types and values, julia for method dispatch, or pony for safe concurrency.
Ask HN: What are the most important problems in your industry?
186 points by aman-pro  3 days ago   147 comments top 33
throwaway2016a 3 days ago 15 replies      
I may be reading between the lines too much and I apologize if I am...

But every few months (weeks?) I see a post by a founder-type essentially trying to mine the Hacker News collective brains for startup ideas. It doesn't work that way. The best startups are ones that solve a pain point you yourself have experienced.

The idea of a savior who comes in and solving the major problems of an industry they have never worked in is not a myth but close to one. (Elon Musk being a notable exception with cars and space flight... but he has the capital to attract domain experts to fill in the gaps)

I'd point out the problems in my industry except I am actively working to solve them :)

With that said. Don't let a "know-it-all" on HN (myself included) tell you what to do. If you want to tackle a hard problem in an industry you don't have experience in, please do. You might be the next Elon Musk, I don't know you so I don't know.

If that wasn't your goal with this question... again I apologize.

chollida1 3 days ago 4 replies      
Intersection of trading and data mining.

I've said this a few times but we're going through a growth period like AAA video games have over the past 20 years.

I used to be that 2 guys could make a video game, then it went to 10, then 50, now its around 200 from what I've last heard.

Hedge funds are going through a similar shift.

It used to be that one person could manage data cleaning, and algo generation for a fund.

Then cleaning got split out into its own job.

Then the number of data streams exploded growing by a couple orders of magnitude.

Then the data types diverged so that each new data stream needs its own special cleaning, and normalization and even data storage, ie some data isn't suitable for a sql or non sql database storage, like satellite images.

Nowadays a typical algo fund might make use of 100 different algos for trading, each of which has 20 different inputs, some real time, some updated irregularly.

It takes those signals and weights them to come up with a trading signal, which then gets mixed with a portfolio balancing signals and risk signals.

It can be tough to disentangle each individual signal from the algos themselves so even things like detecting if a signal still has alpha generating abilities is tough.

You can have 10 people just back testing signals and monitoring risk levels.

And the growth of data and data sources isn't slowing down.

This is good if you are one of the larger players, see Virtu buying out competitor KCG, who previously ate competitor Knight Capital, yes that fund with the huge blowup, but not so great news if you want to remain a small, person wise, fund.

Not sure how to run a quant fund anymore with only 4 people. Not sure anything an be done about.

benzor 3 days ago 4 replies      
I work in the games industry. There are plenty of problems to go around, but I'll pick just one:


In the "good old days" where 2 people could make a video game, odds are that just shipping something guaranteed you'd make money. But that's no the case anymore now that 1000+ apps come out every day on iOS / Google Play. Of course most of those are crap. But you could be making a great game that caters well to a particular audience or niche, and yet you might still fail just because no one can find it or really just be aware of its existence.

The "simple" answer to this is marketing. Hustle your way to some visibility, partner up with some publishers or some platforms holders, and get as many eyeballs in front of your game as possible. However this effort is very close to being "zero-sum." Either you win and get your promo art banner at the top of the app store, or someone else does, but you can't both get it. It's less obvious when it comes to PR and having articles or game review written about you, but it's still there: with so much noise now on the internet, it's hard to generate a meaningful signal.

The harder solution is being tackled by the app stores themselves. Steam, iOS, etc. have all been improving the way games are presented in their stores. There's more focus on specific genre features, more flash sales, more suggestions based on what you already play. It's a decent effort but I don't think it's enough yet.

What can we do about it? Not sure. Algorithms that try to discover what you might like based on your previous purchases are nice and all, but most of my favourite gaming experiences were surprises that came out of genres I didn't expect (e.g. Rocket League), so this can only go so far.

vivekd 3 days ago 1 reply      
1. Legal

2. Excessive costs, lack of performance among professionals

3. Change in attitude seems to be the biggest factor. If lawyers stop being about fighting and competing and persuading and more about tackling problems, getting to the truth and finding solutions, we can have a much better chance of succeeding.

There is a lot of opportunity for automation that no one seems to want to get involved in. A good example is document discovery which has been largely automated.

Other areas that could be automated include divorce. For example, in my jurisdiction what each partner is entitled to on divorce in terms of child support and alimony and division of property are set. There is some room to argue about custodial arrangements but not very much.

Given this - there is absolutely no reason to have many years of contentious divorce suits. If there was someone way of just entering the information into a computer and informing both couples of what they are entitled to and then working from there - I believe we would be much better off, because, although I haven't done alot of divorce suits, but in my limited experience it seems to me that lawyers certainly have a large role in exacerbating them and needlessly.

vijayr 3 days ago 3 replies      
There are some resources that might be of interest to you (no affiliation)



Already done successfully



rm_-rf_slash 3 days ago 0 replies      
Higher education. Where to start?

Tenure is a huge cost to the university and not every professor is both an amazing researcher and an amazing teacher. So you have a chunk of the budget spent on old researchers while poorly paid adjuncts fill in for undergraduate classes. Not sure if fixable.

Politics runs everything. Broken clock Ayn Rand was at least somewhat right in Atlas Shrugged when she speculated that bringing about the end of money would usher in an age of pull. That's exactly how higher ed works: unless you can justify your work with student evaluations and big $$$ research grants, politics runs a lot of decisions. Not sure if ever fixable.

No two American universities are alike. Colleges within universities have major differences too. Good luck getting any real traction consolidating IT services. Everyone has different needs and cut-outs for their work.

Higher education is a hydra. It cannot be fixed or reformed at the drop of the hat or with the use of an app.

Abandon simple solutions, all ye who enter here.

Mz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not a single industry per se, but a major social problem offering potentially multiple business opportunities:

Homelessness is on the rise nationwide in part due to a serious lack of genuinely affordable housing. Among other things, in the 1960s and 70s, we tore down a lot of SROs. The Baby Boom generation was an anomaly. The unprecedented wealth of their parents was due to WW2. Yet, expectations from that era still shape housing policy and infrastructure, much to our detriment.

You do not necessarily need to be a construction company to play a role in addressing this issue. Another very serious problem is the lack of financing mechanisms for housing alternatives. For example, co-housing projects in the US tend to be self financed because we do not have financial products that fit them. This actively undermines their ability to add affordable housing to the system, a purpose they successfully serve in other countries, from what I have read.

There are, no doubt, many other things one could do to work on this issue.

CJefferson 3 days ago 3 replies      
Academia. I'm going to pick on something specific:

* Reproducibility -- running code months or years later, on another machine.

Current tools, like VMs tend to be too heavy-weight. Docker is too hard to set up.

The main problem with these various tools is that exploration is slow -- Often I'll take an experiment, tweak it a few dozen times, then finally get the code for a paper. At that point I don't want to package it up, I want to be able to "freeze" where my last execution.

jv0010 3 days ago 2 replies      
Mobile phone repairs - lack of education and the ability to access quality replacement parts.

You might think that there's no shortage of phone Repairer's out there and your right but you can bet that 90% of them are self taught or eventually taught by someone.

Considering the amount of important information we store in phones and the price of the devices it has now become more important to ensure that your phone repairer knows what they are doing and of course has a reliable supplier

HockeyPlayer 3 days ago 1 reply      
I run a quant/hft trading group. We need to know what the margin impact of our position will be. We use a tool from CME called PC-SPAN. The various factors that impact margin change during the day as prices change. I'd pay for a SAAS where I upload a position and get lots of useful margin reports back. We have built some of this but it is a distraction.
vadym909 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. Jobs/Work

2. Most people don't like their jobs but suck it up. The 9-5 grind, climb-ladder, can't switch careers, lack of meaning, social pressure to have job. Getting laid off, searching new job, financial downsides of being unemployed

3. Restructure the job model/market (flexible choices, live comfortably, security)

Unengaged workers- Gallup poll on American workforce trends http://www.gallup.com/reports/199961/state-american-workplac...

thearn4 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. Aerospace

2.1 Access to energy / energy density of fuels (batteries included). This is the case across a wide range of industries and problem areas of course, not just transportation. But incremental optimizations in efficiency have lead to squeezing more performance out of the margins, but no Moore's-law type growth will ever happen without some kind of energy breakthrough.

2.2 Going forward, tightly coupled systems will be the norm. The traditional tube-and-wing aircraft with bolted on nacelles is a bit of a dead end for civil aviation. Systems to enable a more complex design workflow (e.g. graph based dataflow with accurate gradients) will be more paramount.

3. Research into the next generation of energy storage materials, and improved large-scale gradient-based numerical optimization algorithms.

AlexAMEEE 3 days ago 2 replies      
1. Sports betting

2. Oligopoly[0] just a few companies who deliver live results.

You would need a ton of cash upfront, to hire people who would watch the games and would press buttons in order to inform you about results so you could parse them and deliver live results which eventually would become a live API.

But as you can see, there are people involved in this, who watch all those games, if you can manage to automate this, without requiring too many people, you are a rich man.

Let's put in that way, almost everyone consumes their API if they are offline, we are offline.

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

AznHisoka 3 days ago 0 replies      
Go to Upwork.com, find a category and see if you find any patterns in what people are requesting, especially if it involves something manual and tedious.
petermonsson 3 days ago 2 replies      
1. Electronics/semiconductors2. Moore's law is loosing stream and complexity is exploding. Turn around times are increasing in everything. This includes runtime for all of our software tools as well as physical processes such as getting chips back from the fab. Vendors are not keeping up. Productivity is suffering.

3. SystemVerilog is not really at the right abstraction level and still has many of the problems that face Verilog. It is sort of what C++ is to C and what I need is more the equivalent to rust.

ioddly 3 days ago 1 reply      
1. Programming

2. I don't know if it's stopping the industry from growing, but existing communication tools (specifically chat, email) are a serious drain on attention and productivity. See http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html.

3. I'm working on it. Might be better tooling, might be educating people on how harmful they can be.

return0 3 days ago 4 replies      
It's a difficult problem, but food just takes too much of people's time. Something like a personalized service that brings you food according to your own nutritional schedule would be nice.
cyanoacry 3 days ago 1 reply      
1. Rockets

2. Cost of launch locks out potential customers and limits R&D uses. Global launch cadence is slow; getting into orbit is a multi-year adventure.

3. Yes, we're working on reusable rockets.

However, this only goes so far. Personally, I think that more money needs to be put into non-rocket modes of space travel, so that there's some competition. The fundamental problem is that it takes so much energy (and, with rockets, so much mass fraction optimization) to get to space, so it's difficult to engineer things with physical margin.

If you could build a rocket like a car (just toss some more steel in the frame and call it a day, with no need for the obsessive mass savings), getting to space would be a bit easier. If you had a power source that doesn't shake and bake its surroundings, getting to space would be a lot easier.

woud420 3 days ago 2 replies      
1) Advertising

2) A lot. Publishers relying on clickbait to generate money. Advertisers creating invasive ads with autoplay sound and video. Ignoring do-not-track requests as part of the industry (even if some technology providers respect DNT, it seems like a lot don't). Malware. A lot of useless metrics. Bandwidth usage. Etc...

3) Micro-payments vs delivering content only when an ad has been seen? Validating content delivered through exchanges. A better way to anonymize data used for tracking? Smaller ads. Honestly, I'm not too sure, there's probably a lot that can be done but I feel the industry did too little too late.

RivieraKid 3 days ago 1 reply      
No one mentioning healthcare?

I think there's a massive opportunity to lower costs and improve user experience in every area. I wish Apple used their pile of cash to invest in a big vertically integrated healthcare service - a chain of hospitals, in-house-developed software throughout, improve user experience, integration and tech on every level. Basically healthcare rethought from the ground-up with Silicon Valley consumer-oriented mentality. Yes, extremely daring, but they're in a unique position to pull that off.

ideonexus 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Office of Educational Technology produced a report on Educational Software, what the biggest problems are and where the greatest opportunities are for solving them. It's a great read with lots of suggestions if you want to learn about a field, public education, that I personally feel is still severely behind the curve when it comes to the Information Revolution:


I highlighted passages of note here:


It's a great opportunity in a field that, despite budget cuts and under-funding, still has millions of dollars to put into software that could meet the needs of school districts across the country. Most of what's out there now is sorely lacking, leaving teachers and schools to use a patchwork of solutions to meet their needs.

malthaus 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. Banking

2. Product complexity, legacy IT & culture and regulation

3. Provide regulated banking services as a lean platform / utility, let others play on top

(3) is not easy to execute and no, blockchain is not the answer

pascalxus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here's some problems I've personally encountered:1. Software Engineer2. It's difficult to get remote debugging and remote syncing working right. We've all been there. It literally takes hours to set up, if you don't have precise instructions. PhpStorm is pretty good, but still takes quite a bit of head scratching to install when your doing remote debugging.3. Getting an app to run locally usually takes way too much work.

And, it seems Perl IDEs/debugging tools aren't as good as they should be. We're still using the command line debug tools for Perl, and can't even set a breakpoint before that line has been executed.

bsvalley 3 days ago 1 reply      
1. Software

2. Hiring Process

3. Replace meaningless whiteboarding interviews AND silly notepad algorithm questions, with a live coding interview on a laptop and a real development environment.

Companies would be surprised how fast and efficient the hiring process would be. They would stop eliminating a bunch of great candidates by running relevant technical interviews and not silly CS academic stuff. I can spend 3 month memorizing 500 algorithm solutions and nail all your 45min technical interviews. I would get an offer, a kick ass package and I would join your team. Then, on my first day I'd ask for help from my colleagues because I can't even setup my development environment. I'd write buggy code that doesn't integrate well and wouldn't be able to understand how to design a system. All I'd know is how to write text in a notepad and how to flip a linked list on a whiteboard.

But hey... I'm smart! And now I'm rich :)

carlmungz 3 days ago 1 reply      
1. Training & Education

2. Not enough companies want to use newer web technologies and advancements in AI & machine learning to train their workforce

3. Yes but I think it'll require younger incumbents 'eating the lunch' of more established companies for this to change

throwaway7645 3 days ago 0 replies      
Exploding Complexity. It can take years to become an expert in a tiny little nook of my field. Knowing how to use the software and the theory behind it is very challenging.
11thEarlOfMar 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. Capital Equipment Control Systems

2. Seamless, lossless, low-cost interoperability

3. Doubtful. Many companies profit by providing custom products and services to address the problem.

aabajian 3 days ago 1 reply      
Don't have time right now to go into detail, but in radiology the biggest problem is rising volumes with lower reimbursement. I addressed this in another thread, but it's an arms race between vendors to maximize radiologist throughput via tools such as dictaphones, templates, computer-aided diagnoses, and now, machine learning.
DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
1) Patient safety

2) Massive underfunding from central and local government; entrenched ways of working; incorrectly defensive working; dysfunctional cheerleading of incorrect approaches

3) Yes. Improve efficiency. Move to better ways of serious incident analysis. Challenge people who cheerlead incorrect approaches. Push for more funding, especially using Spend-to-Save data.

severus 3 days ago 2 replies      
1. Public Transport.

2. Funding/Capacity.

3. More money.

malodyets 3 days ago 2 replies      
1. Which industry do you work in?

In the publishing industry (where I have worked since 1997), the transition from print-only to print-plus-digital that began around 1999 and really got underway after Amazon released the Kindle in 2007 has finished. Now we have an industry in which print and digital co-exist (at different levels 50/50 for fiction, but more like 80/20 for non-fiction, and even less of digital for more complex product types like Bibles). Currently the growth area is audiobooks, led (of course) by Audible.

2. What are the biggest problems stopping your industry from growing?

Publishers have not really solved these problems:

(a) How to distribute very small publications and receive very small payments? We're still reliant on credit cards for payments, which pushes us to a smallest payment size of about $1.99 or so.

(b) How to increase discoverability? Most publishers are reluctant to post all of their content in a web-searchable and social-shareable form (for somewhat obvious reasons). However, this means that it's hard for them to draw direct traffic to their books.

(c) How to reduce reliance on the behemoth of online retailing? As physical bookstores have died away, publishers have recognized that they are too reliant on one distributor, which is a dangerous position to be in (as that retailer has shown itself very ready to use monopsony powers to bully their suppliers). Most publishers have direct-to-consumer selling operations. But (a) and (b) and other factors mean that they find it extremely difficult to draw traffic to their sites.

3. Can something be done about it?

I have been working on some of these problems in my business (http://blackearthgroup.com). Here is a sketch outline of how I would encourage publishers to solve these problems:

(a) Micropayments are needed, and to do that we need an online currency that can be used to buy content without going through the credit card processing network. Publishers should invest in the development of an online token that they would support on their sites. Customers could then purchase a supply of tokens and use them on publishers' sites to buy content. There are a couple of projects like this in the works. The simplest approach would be to create a coin based on the Ethereum network, and then support that coin for all purchases. (The hardest part of this is probably that the value of the coin would not be completely stable, because Ethereum is not, which means that publishers would have to either adjust their token prices regularly, or would have to live with variability in revenues to sales this problem is solvable, but it requires a lot of capital to create a value stabilization mechanism.)

(b) Publishers should put all their content online in excerpt chunks using non-discoverable public URLs, then submit it all to the search engines, and start sharing excerpts through social channels. It is true that some of the content would be given away, but that would be limited because each excerpt chunk would not be linked to the others in the same publication access to one would not grant access to all. Using full-content search and sharing is one of the best ways for them to draw more organic traffic to their own sites. (They'll need to invest in better discovery mechanisms on their sites, too.)

(c) Publishers have a real chance of building a customer base in their own content niches, if they invest in developing a content discovery and purchase experience that is significantly better in that niche than what customers experience on Amazon.

(Cross-posted to my blog: http://blackearthgroup.com/2017/04/20/what-are-the-greatest-... .)

Jtsummers 3 days ago 1 reply      
1. Embedded (safety and criitical systems)

2. Knowledge sharing within companies/organizations. Formal methods (primarily their absence). Effective use of simulations in design, development, and V&V efforts. Requirements traceability (this is mundane and seems bureaucratic, but it's critical here).

3. Yes, to everything.

For the first, break down information silos and project fiefdoms. Allow for greater flexibility for staff to move across project boundaries so knowledge can be shared more equitably, and people can see other teams work (learn both good and bad things here). Training. Make it a recurring event. Not the crap training many organizations do. Have a seminar series where people come in and present on something, not always directly related to work. Encourage people to write up their lessons learned, and perform and publish post mortems on projects. Take the approach of avoiding blame, focus on correctable errors and faults along the way (these are primarily process faults, not technical ones; where technical they're typically design and not implementation errors).

Formal methods and simulations are much easier to get started with today than ever. I'm not even talking about making a full-blown simulation of the final system, just high level "is this protocol sound" models. Presently working on radios. I don't need to implement a simulation of every detail of the protocol, I just need to know things like: If we add this new message, that must be sent so often, can it actually get broadcast at the correct frequency within the physical constraints of the radio? This turned out to be NO on one project I saw (not worked on), but not discovered until it was implemented (several man-months wasted). A message was supposed to be sent out every X time slots, containing N bytes of data. Each slot allowed you to send MAX size. Other messages also had to be sent out, say every X4 slots with size M. N+M > MAX, meant something wasn't sent. Both were mandatory, by design the protocol couldn't function. Another similar issue, though requiring a more complete simulation/model, was that one of the processors handling some of the messages simply wasn't fast enough. It was required to (worst-case) process N messages within X microseconds, but could actually only process ~N0.75 messages. Admittedly, this was worst case behavior, but by the system's design (protocol requirements, selected hardware, selected data bus, selected program design) it could not achieve the required performance.

The more complete the simulation, though, the better off you are. Technical solutions already exist, it's primarily an issue of finding good case studies or getting an amenable manager to sign off on trying it to demonstrate the cost savings (versus the typical approaches, which in my experience are often significantly late and errorful). Also being at the right stage in a project. Being at the maintenance end, constructing these models/simulations is harder than when you're taking on a novel project.

But, simulations also aid V&V efforts. If you can construct a full(er) simulation of the radio network, your V&V team can start creating test cases, procedures, and models and verifying that they're reasonable. From a protocol perspective, this is relatively easy on our radios, setting aside timing. So ignore time (as a strict concept) and instead focus on time slots. Create a simulation where each tick corresponds to one time slot, let computation run as long as needed. At the end, you'll see what should show up from the radios given some inputs. Run these through your data analysis tools to exercise them, and when you have functioning radios you can use these tools to create simulated network peers (pre-generated network data played back to the radio being tested).

For requirements traceability, just stop using Word and Excel. Use an actual requirements database. I know DOORS sucks, but it's infinitely better than Word and Excel.

nicostouch 3 days ago 0 replies      
bitrot. nuff said.
Ask HN: Which companies have the best blogs written by their engineering team?
424 points by carlmungz  3 days ago   132 comments top 81
shdon 3 days ago 2 replies      
I actually really like many of the blogs at Microsoft. It's a bit of a mixed bag, but there's some gems in there.

Raymond Chen's blog[1] in particular was good enough to get me to buy his book (which definitely did not disappoint).

Other ones I subscribe to are the Microsoft Edge Dev Blog[2] , Mark Russinovich[3] and Games for Windows and the DirectX SDK[4]

And there's a few that have unfortunately not been updated for a long time, such as Larry Osterman[5], or have come to an end, such as Rico Mariani[6]

[1] https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/

[2] https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/

[3] https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/markrussinovich/

[4] https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/chuckw/

[5] https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/larryosterman/

[6] https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/ricom/

Guyag 3 days ago 1 reply      
Depends what you want to get out of them. I find some are mostly focused around some of the more unique/cool challenges they come across (Google[1][2], Slack[3]), and others are more about how they solve the engineering challenges they face through software and/or about their dev process (Uber[4], Twitter[5]). Some are mix of the two (Dropbox[6], Netflix[7]).

[1] https://developers.googleblog.com/

[2] http://research.googleblog.com/

[3] https://slack.engineering

[4] https://eng.uber.com/

[5] https://blog.twitter.com/engineering

[6] https://tech.dropbox.com

[7] http://techblog.netflix.com/

tristor 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not an "engineering blog" in the traditional sense. Percona has been posting deep-dive high-quality pieces about database performance and the inner workings of InnoDB since around 2006, so more than 10 years now. If you've ever had to troubleshoot a weird performance issue in MySQL as an Ops guy or DBA, you've probably ended up finding this in your Google results:


Disclaimer: I am currently employed by Percona, although that is not my motivation for sharing this.

foob 3 days ago 6 replies      
What are peoples' thoughts on the marketing effectiveness of quality relative to quantity in blogging? We have recently started publishing what we consider to be very high quality material (the majority of them have front-paged on HN if that's any indication). Most of these have been published on [1] so far but we're in the process of transitioning to a more official company blog [2].

A close friend who really knows his way around marketing has been advising us to write more fluff pieces. We're really torn over this because we strongly dislike vapid content as consumers. I would be really curious to hear any anecdotes on the relative merits of the different strategies.

[1] - http://sangaline.com

[2] - https://intoli.com/blog/

dmytton 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to suggest my company blog: https://blog.serverdensity.com

As an example, our frontend engineering team just wrote up a series of posts about implementing graphing in React, migrating from Redux:

- https://blog.serverdensity.com/time-series-charts-react-redu...

- https://blog.serverdensity.com/building-a-color-engine-for-g...

- https://blog.serverdensity.com/lessons-learned-implementing-...

And I wrote about recent backend changes to our time series storage: https://blog.serverdensity.com/time-series-data-opentsdb-big...

ramblenode 3 days ago 6 replies      
Digital Ocean has some quality posts I've found from Google, though I don't actively follow the blog.


mrpippy 2 days ago 0 replies      
First blog I thought of, although it's not a company: Dolphin. https://dolphin-emu.org/blog/

As for actual companies, as an embedded dev I think Atomic Object (https://spin.atomicobject.com) and Free Electrons (http://free-electrons.com/blog/) both do a good job.

flohofwoe 2 days ago 1 reply      
RiotGames: https://engineering.riotgames.com/

Autodesk Stingray (formerly Bitsquid): http://bitsquid.blogspot.de/

thesehands 3 days ago 1 reply      
Backblaze have a good one, with their annual drive failure survey being a highlight: https://www.backblaze.com/blog/
arbesfeld 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in front-end development, there are a few companies which focus on that:

- Apollo/Meteor: https://dev-blog.apollodata.com/

- Auth0: https://auth0.com/blog/tech/

- Chroma: https://blog.hichroma.com/

- LogRocket (my company): https://blog.logrocket.com/

spollo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the segment engineering blog. https://segment.com/blog/categories/engineering/

They run a pretty modern cloud stack using fun technology like terraform, which gives me serious envy as well as inspiration. They also have some ridiculously high quality posts with open source code included such as:https://segment.com/blog/the-segment-aws-stack/ (highly recommended reading).

syllogism 3 days ago 0 replies      
StitchFix do lots of interesting ML stuff, such as Chris Moody's lda2vec. Their algorithms page is really cool: http://algorithms-tour.stitchfix.com/#recommendation-systems
kaishiro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thoughtbot, in addition to having a really good blog, is at least in the running for one of the best names (Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots).


I love it because the articles are often small, one off tips re: vim, the command line, ruby, etc. Really neat stuff.

altern8tif 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great design + engineering teams = Awesome products

Instagram (https://engineering.instagram.com/)

Stripe (https://stripe.com/blog/engineering)

Airbnb (http://nerds.airbnb.com/)

secfirstmd 3 days ago 1 reply      
apeace 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Cloudflare blog is top-notch. If you skim past all their product and data center announcements, there is a ton of good technical content.


Svenstaro 3 days ago 1 reply      
OkCupid has great statistical into their data: https://theblog.okcupid.com/
amingilani 2 days ago 0 replies      
Disclosure: I'm an Editor at the Toptal Engineering blog.

Toptal has extremely active and wonderful blog for developers[1], designers[2] and finance experts[3].

The reason I can make that claim is because Toptal's blog posts are contributed by members of our network, all of whom are verified experts in their fields, and we guide them through the entire process to help them write the perfect blog post.

We publish new articles almost every day! We invest a lot of love into maintaining our publication and try to publish the most useful content for fellow experts.

[1]: https://www.toptal.com/developers/blog#contract-just-respect...

[2]: https://www.toptal.com/designers/blog#contract-just-respecte...

[3]: https://www.toptal.com/finance/blog#contract-just-respected-...

huevosabio 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like Stitch Fix blog :http://multithreaded.stitchfix.com
irfansharif 2 days ago 0 replies      
in my biased opinion, the Cockroach Labs, Inc. blog[1] (the team behind cockroachdb/cockroach[2]) fares pretty well.

[1]: https://www.cockroachlabs.com/blog/

[2]: https://github.com/cockroachdb/cockroach

bretthopper 2 days ago 0 replies      
GitHub: https://githubengineering.com/

Really surprised it wasn't mentioned yet. They do really in depth posts and show metrics too.

Example: https://githubengineering.com/how-we-made-diff-pages-3x-fast...

endymi0n 3 days ago 0 replies      
My personal upvote for the Google Cloud Platform blog: https://cloudplatform.googleblog.com/

...a pretty mixed bag with some product & PR posts inside, but the gems inside (especially SRE / CRE life lessons) are pretty awesome.

Also, we're getting started ourselves with some quality tech material - not too much there yet, but our Debugging Postgres post got a lot of love from the community: https://www.justwatch.com/blog/

alexforsyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
r3mko 2 days ago 0 replies      
Khan Academy's engineering blog is great if you're into Google App Engine, React, ...


skl_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
yebyen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Deis blog:


Especially @rimusz, who is not technically part of Deis engineering team (?) :


Partially self-serving post because I'm also published here:


Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an index of the posts on one page! There are links to relevant posts on the sidebar and both of those have good relevant links.

These guys I worked with for a long time, to get my post out! It kind of stung a bit when the v1 PAAS was officially deprecated before I got to put it online. But in terms of support, the newer solutions are only better. The lessons learned putting this post out are still valid, even if the specific product of the tutorial is no longer relevant. (I used this process to create my own CoreOS bare metal cluster, and I don't actually use DigitalOcean in my day-to-day work.)

But the other content on the blog really was a good, focused introduction to Kubernetes and friends for me. Deis is the team that created Helm and it was subsumed into Kubernetes (and Helm Classic, which was another iteration before it was part of Kubernetes proper.)

executesorder66 3 days ago 1 reply      
Although I don't like them, Cloudflare have a really good blog.


menegattig 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you are looking for a database-related blog, SlicingDice's is a good one:


This series of posts below describes in details how they built their database engine from scratch and the data warehouse service.

- https://blog.slicingdice.com/slicingdice-uncovered-part-1-in...

- https://blog.slicingdice.com/slicingdice-uncovered-part-2-s1...

- https://blog.slicingdice.com/slicingdice-uncovered-part-3-s1...

- https://blog.slicingdice.com/slicingdice-uncovered-part-4-in...

willsewell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pusher: https://making.pusher.com/

Disclosure: I work there and have written articles for the blog.

At the moment we mainly blog about our experiences with Golang (our language of choice right now). But really it's open to any topic someone in our engineering team is interested in writing about.

We aim to keep things visual, interactive and example-based. For example Jim Fisher created an interactive animation of Golang's GC algorithm here: https://making.pusher.com/golangs-real-time-gc-in-theory-and.... We also managed to embed Golang's trace visualiser within one of the posts: https://making.pusher.com/go-tool-trace/#tour-of-the-go-tool... (using some pretty dirty tricks).

lukaszkups 2 days ago 0 replies      
natzar 3 days ago 0 replies      
japhyr 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Caktus team has a great technical blog with many posts about Python and Django. I've also really enjoyed visiting with their people at PyCon over the years.


dragonne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Scylla's blog has some excellent technical content, though it's intermixed with lots release announcements. http://www.scylladb.com/2017/01/02/top-5-blog-posts-of-2016/ has some of the highlights.
praneshp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since there are a lot of examples here, I'll mention HighScalability [0], which takes many talks and writes it out as text.

[0] http://highscalability.com/

bio_end_io_t 2 days ago 0 replies      

FittedCloud is a small start-up that does automatic cloud resource optimization. They post regularly and go into topics ranging from technical details of machine learning to cost optimization for AWS resources (EBS, EC2, DynamoDB, etc).

As far as I can tell, they are the only company around that can automatically scale up and down EBS resources in a way that the customer only pays for what he or she uses, rather than paying for over-provisioned, unused storage...all without downtime or performance hic-cup. These guys know a lot about the cloud and storage.

brianbolger 3 days ago 0 replies      
ditn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Square have an excellent blog: https://medium.com/square-corner-blog

Square put out a lot of fantastic libraries, and much of their output is basically essential for Android.

DarkContinent 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like Civis Analytics, which is here: https://www.civisanalytics.com/blog/
PascLeRasc 2 days ago 1 reply      
benmanns 2 days ago 0 replies      
We recently started an engineering blog at Doximity [1] that I think is good (though it has less heavy technical content than others). I'd be really interested in what you all think is effective for both blogs-as-recruiting-tools and for giving back to the community. For our particular product, basically (users)(blog readers)= so content is created solely for the software community.

[1] - https://engineering.doximity.com/

snowAbstraction 3 days ago 0 replies      
From time to time, I'v enjoyed Spotify's blog:https://labs.spotify.com/
robbiemitchell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Knewton (where I once led marketing) flew mostly under the radar as a tech company because (a) NYC and (b) education, but the data science shop it built up a few years ago was killer, and the people who left went on to top tier companies. As a result of that talent, the tech blog there -- modeled after Netflix -- was solid.


RBerenguel 2 days ago 0 replies      
The developer blog at StitchFix is excellent: http://multithreaded.stitchfix.com/blog/

Most Scala consultancies/companies have their own internal blogs and most are excellent, for instance, underscore: http://underscore.io/blog/

100ideas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lift Engineering blog - not too technical but interesting b/c we all enjoy the product: https://eng.lyft.com/

start here: https://eng.lyft.com/matchmaking-in-lyft-line-9c2635fe62c4

schemathings 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://blog.jooq.org/ is excellent if you do any SQL
blimpy 2 days ago 0 replies      
My co-workers at End Point write some pretty useful posts, with a lot of practical ones around Linux sysadmin and devops topics:


A bit self-promotional since I blog there too, but I'm greatly outnumbered.

mite-mitreski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Best one in the nordics https://engineering.klarna.com/
gk1 2 days ago 0 replies      
For a data science flavor, see https://blog.dominodatalab.com

For web dev, Netlify posts frequently and even has podcasts: https://www.netlify.com/blog/

leemalmac 2 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome answers here.Some self marketing - I developed a parser for some engineering blogs. I did it for myself, and created a simple web app to serve content - http://kubiq.co. I'm going to add more companies soon. Enjoy!
sklopi 3 days ago 0 replies      
DrNuke 3 days ago 1 reply      
General Electric are at the forefront of industrial engineering and quite good at blowing their own trumpet.
silent1mezzo 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those that have started a tech blog for your own engineering teams, how did you get people to write? How did you get buy-in from management?

I'm trying to get our tech blog off the ground but it's difficult to get buy-in from everyone.

neduma 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.allthingsdistributed.com/ - By Amazon CTO Werner Vogels

Thinking further on this.. Apple is totally not in the picture or i do not know.

medgetable 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug for my company's blog: levvel.io/blog

Lots of DevOps focus currently but also contains some stuff we're working on with machine learning, blockchain, and we are working on a much broader range of content.

Plus we'd love more feedback on the posts :)

dguido 2 days ago 0 replies      
Trail of Bits! Topics include software security, control flow integrity, reverse engineering, program analysis, fuzzing, compilers, etc.


happy-go-lucky 2 days ago 0 replies      

It's not a corporate blog, but if you're interested in Python, go check it out for recent postings from Python-related blogs.

duvander 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awhile back I found this curated engineering blog list https://github.com/sumodirjo/engineering-blogs
Viz4ps 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sophos (security software)https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/Not pushing their products. Sensible advice and news coverage.
eloycoto 2 days ago 0 replies      
OpenCredo is a good blog to read:


On the other hand, Cloudflare, Stripe and Netflix have some awesome articles too.

henridf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sysdig has had a bunch of nice posts over the last 2-3 years:


rconradharris 2 days ago 0 replies      
The pre-acquisition Ksplice blog was fantastic. Now available at: https://blogs.oracle.com/ksplice
nandaja 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the Recurse center codewords publication https://codewords.recurse.com/
itsallrelative 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.astronomer.io/blog all of their technical pieces are pretty on point
Kmaschta 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not impartial but I read every marmelab blog post:


jerska 2 days ago 0 replies      
carlmungz 3 days ago 0 replies      
https://zapier.com/blog/ is a good place to visit from time to time.
abhirag 3 days ago 0 replies      
My vote would go to Discord's blog -- https://blog.discordapp.com/
dkdkang 2 days ago 0 replies      
More geared towards front-end stuff - good stuff:


SergeAx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like Badoo tech blog: https://techblog.badoo.com
scardine 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think they appeal more to the bootstrappers than to the YC startup crowd - but I like everything from 37 signals.
andrestc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the packagecloud one: https://blog.packagecloud.io/

With posts like these one: https://blog.packagecloud.io/eng/2016/06/22/monitoring-tunin...

allenleein 2 days ago 0 replies      
ryan42 2 days ago 0 replies      

This is a good one

quiqueqs 3 days ago 1 reply      
We just started a blog a few months ago at our company on a variety of topics such as mobile & BE development, as well as design [1]. Hopefully it's of use to the community :)

I also enjoy the Hacker Noon articles [2]

[1] https://blog.picnic.nl/

[2] https://hackernoon.com/

PascLeRasc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are there any good engineering blogs that are more hardware/manufacturing oriented?
amitsingh45 2 days ago 0 replies      
OpsDash's blog has some interesting technical posts, esp. on Postgres and Go:


ionwake 2 days ago 2 replies      
Have Blogs been superseded by Vlogs ?
deepnotderp 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like Google's deepmind.
Ask HN: Tool to follow or favorite HN users?
4 points by cdvonstinkpot  10 hours ago   5 comments top 2
miles 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Hacker News RSS feeds "provides custom, realtime RSS feeds for Hacker News", including for user posts and comments:


tradersam 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Just curious, why do you "follow" HN users?

Personally, HN is where the content is the most important thing, usually disregarding the poster, but I'm interested in your view.

Ask HN: 2 international founders in sv for YC interview. Where can we crash?
17 points by basdevries  2 days ago   11 comments top 8
xvaucois 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi, the cardinal hotel in Palo Alto is a good deal. I did it a couple of years ago. When do you come ? email me at xavier.vaucois (at) gmail.com
brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
It might be useful to put contact information in your profile.

Good luck.

CCing 1 day ago 1 reply      
They've let you in at "border control" ? Usually to me they always ask where I will stay(hotel or friend).

Btw best luck with YC interview!

amorphid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have you checked out https://www.couchsurfing.com?
whatnotests 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a decent hostel in SF.
andrewoons 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi! I'm his cofounder, we can be reached at mail@basdevri.es :)
elmar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think YC pays for the Hotel expenses.
codegeek 1 day ago 1 reply      
why don't u find something on airbnb ?
Ask HN: What distributed storage technology are you using?
68 points by gtirloni  2 days ago   45 comments top 20
notmyname 2 days ago 4 replies      
I use (and contribute to) OpenStack Swift.

It's an object storage engine (think S3, but it's open source and you can put it in your own data center) that's excellent at storing unstructured data.

It's completely deployable and usable without any other OpenStack projects.

There's S3 API compatibility for it. It supports globally distributed clusters. It supports multiple storage polices that can be either replicated or use erasure coding. It's designed for very high availability, very high durability, and high aggregate throughput.

One of my favorite features is being able to create sharable, expiring signed URLs to any object in the cluster.

Some of the common uses for Swift include storing user-generated content (eg images, videos, game saves), static web assets, movies, scientific data sets, backups, document sharing, VM and container images, etc.

API docs: - https://developer.openstack.org/api-ref/object-storage/

Docs: - http://swift.openstack.org

Vagrant All-In-One setup: - https://github.com/swiftstack/vagrant-swift-all-in-one

Come say hi! - #openstack-swift on freenode IRC (I'm notmyname)

rarrrrrr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't used it extensively, but I've read some of the source code and I'm excited about where Minio is going -- the erasure coding storage capability in particular: https://www.minio.io/
ianopolous 2 days ago 2 replies      
The question is quite open ended as to whether it means backup, or something else.

I use IPFS. IPFS is great for sharing multi-gigabyte size files between machines in a cluster, bit-torrent style. In my case it is a couple of hundred Amazon spot instances that can come and go very fast and need to get the data ASAP to start some calculation, the same data for all nodes.

Veratyr 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not currently using any but I've tried:

- Ceph: Very flexible. Supports many different kinds of replication. Has high overhead compared to local disk (on the order of ~50%) and was (for me) prone to hard to diagnose issues. Can be annoying to setup if you're not doing it on a supported Linux distro with ceph-deploy. It looks like Bluestore (a new on-disk format for data) will significantly improve performance but Bluestore is extremely RAM hungry.

- GlusterFS: Much faster than Ceph but less flexible. Has odd requirements about "bricks" being the same size. Much less RAM hungry than Ceph.

- A bunch of smaller ones I can't recall. Mostly discarded because they performed badly or lacked replication options (I really wanted erasure coding).

In the end I'm simply sharding my data manually. It's not as scalable but it's much more performant.

jsiepkes 2 days ago 0 replies      
We're using LinkedIn's Ambry ( https://github.com/linkedin/ambry ). Its an easy to use distributed object store. It's basically a self hosted version of Amazon S3.
devonkim 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not very popular compared to the likes of Swift and Ceph, but we've been using Cleversafe for media storage and it's been super solid and performant. It has adapters for S3, Swift, and even FTP and NFS (supposedly according to some press releases I've seen from years ago). Outside of IBM not sure who the heck is using it honestly. It's a pity, it's got some pretty interesting technology under the hood for cost-effective replication and availability.
stevekemp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Right now I'm using a home-made sysmtem, which is a simple object store replicated across six nodes:


I think in production I've used NFS, DRBD, GlusterFS and OpenStack. Each has their pros and cons, and without a precise set of constraints it's hard to know what how to usefully answer any question of the form "Which would you recommend? Why would you choose this?"

Distributed storage tends to be required either because you want redundancy, availability, or because your "stuff" is too large for a single box to host. But with a vague question it could mean "How do you backup boxes?" or something entirely different. (For example "distributed storage" could end up mapping to a pair of MySQL hosts, or a replicated PSQL database..)

cannonpr 2 days ago 0 replies      
While the question doesn't really specify use case, I am surprised HDFS hasn't come up yet.I guess this is focusing a lot more on online object stores for web use versus data processing distributed storage.
nakkaya 2 days ago 1 reply      
For backups, I have two git-annex [1] repositories,

- Personal files, stuff I can not afford to lose (photos,documents etc.) - Full archive on S3, full archive on a home server, 4 clients with partial copies.

- Big data stuff I can afford to lose (VM images, media files etc.) - Around 6 TB, each file has two copies split between 5 hard drives on home server and Hubic.

[1] https://git-annex.branchable.com/

cju 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm starting to use Sia (sia.tech) to backup some heavy files starting with data I can afford to loose (even if I'm quite confident in the tool).
sushanthiray 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm currently using Google Cloud Storage for storing and archiving data. Using regional storage has helped us while running production jobs which ingest this data. Once the data is processed, we move to coldline storage for archiving.
nunez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thoughts on Gluster? I've used it for pet projects; really simple to get going initially
hbogert 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ceph and ElasticSearch. Elastic is even running on Ceph for now. That's a bit yuk though; they should both live on physical machines.
_sy_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
At Instamotor we use Elastic Search, Redis, and S3 for files/photos. In my previous job (Nest), we looked at a decent number of options and ended up going with Cassandra.
zhynn 2 days ago 2 replies      
LustreFS (intel enterprise lustre) using 10gbps networking.
sidcool 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google Cloud Storage is working quite beautifully for me. S3 would be similar I believe.
Rapzid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Currently S3, hadoop, dynamodb.. Probably elasticsearch again before too long.
imsofuture 2 days ago 0 replies      
We use Pithos (S3-compatible API, Cassandra backend) pretty successfully.
cbryan 2 days ago 0 replies      
nikentic 1 day ago 0 replies      
We're using Ceph exclusively
Ask HN: Should I learn Erlang?
13 points by alistproducer2  2 days ago   5 comments top 2
dvliman 2 days ago 2 replies      
There are plenty of companies using erlang in production. The community is relatively small and almost everyone knows each other. Yes, you can find erlang jobs or elixir jobs - a lot of those these days (PM me if you are looking)

Besides, erlang definitely gives you new perspective in building large scale system; supervision tree (let it crash), the actor concept, message passing, preemptive vm, built-in distributed erlang nodes, the repl, hot code swapping - any much more

The power comes from the whole ecosystem. Concurrency is built from ground up on language & vm level.

chris_va 1 day ago 1 reply      
Honestly, once you learn 5 or 6 languages, picking up a new one (not as a deep expert, but enough to functionally contribute to an open source project) takes only a day or so.

If you are not there yet, take every opportunity to learn a new language, doesn't really matter which as long as you have a good breadth (e.g. don't do entirely functional languages).

Where/how to host a web site and database?
10 points by JKCalhoun  2 days ago   11 comments top 6
Safety1stClyde 2 days ago 0 replies      

Extremely low cost, shared hosting but allows persistent processes. Can use MySQL databases.

cdvonstinkpot 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had a good experience with 99cents.net's $10/year shared hosting on low-volume type stuff.
akeruu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm simply using Heroku free tier for both hosting and database, which is PostgreSQL.

It is really simple to setup although you get some delay due to their "sleeping dyno" system. [0]

[0] https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/free-dyno-hours#dyno-s...

sternfahrer 2 days ago 1 reply      
You could use Google App Engine if you are comfortable transitioning to a NoSQL database. Free for a certain amount of storage/accesses, cut off at your limit or pay as you go.
startupdiscuss 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use digital ocean or Vultr depending on how much memory I need.

I use cloud9 to develop on them and then host the app on cloud9 or Vultr too.

caio1982 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: I'm inheriting an incompetent dev team. What the hell do I do?
17 points by throwaway2k17  3 days ago   25 comments top 13
id122015 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you didnt give the example of what it means for them being incompetent, I would not know. I think this is the world where people refer each other to jobs and not employed based on competence. You just confirmed that what Ive read on codding horror is true.

Hire me I would say, although I'm not sure its possible or best thing.

Leave as quickly as you can?

Have fun and let it crash ?!

itamarst 2 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone starts with no skills. Everyone can learn those skills, if:

1. They're motivated.

2. They're doing activities that lead to the right kind of learning.

So if you can teach well (or learn how to teach well) and they're motivated, this is a problem that will be solved in time.

The problem with a startup is that you're often on a tight deadline. The nice thing about a startup is that often software development's goal is learning (e.g. "are there any customers for this product?"), not building something that lasts, and so "quality" may not matter.

So it's very hard to say in the abstract without understanding the constraints you're under and the company goals.

taway_1212 3 days ago 2 replies      
If that's any consolation, stuff like Big O almost never comes up in most software jobs. I"d be more worried about these guys writing buggy and unreadable code.
tompark 2 days ago 0 replies      
First, show them respect by expecting that they will complete their tasks. That's not to say that you're setting them up for failure, make sure the tasks are appropriate and they are committed, but don't spend your time trying to teach, at least not at first. At least some of them can educate themselves.

Mitigate risk by having everyone write test code and do peer code reviews.

You'll probably do a lot of fire fighting initially. If your team is >7 and truly none of your devs are "competent" (unlikely), then hire someone who is, even as a contractor. If you don't have headcount, then fire someone to get headcount. You need at least one other person you can rely on to fix urgent problems if you don't have bandwidth to do it.

You said "very small start up" so I'm assuming team is <15, but if it's that size then you prob need sr devs to help you lead the team. With a couple good hires, you can wrangle a fairly large team of very junior devs.

I've had dozens of devs (~30) report directly to me, and a lot more than that indirectly. I've never seen one who was totally incompetent. There was one guy, and no matter how much I tried to encourage him, he was performing way too poorly so I removed him from my team. Years later by coincidence I found out that he was working at a friend's company. I asked about him, and it turned out that he was a strong contributor on his team.

People sense when you don't respect them and once that happens the interpersonal dynamic will negatively affect the team, so you have to police your own attitude. Maybe you don't have much experience leading a team. You could say, possibly, that you are as incompetent leading the team as they are in swdev. Please try to respect them regardless of their competence level.

Find out your dev's strengths/weaknesses, so you know who to use when. I had one eng who wrote the absolute most heinous code imaginable, but he got tasks done super fast. I had to rely on him several times to meet customer delivery dates -- and had to accept the technical debt too. You make those tradeoffs.

telebone_man 2 days ago 2 replies      
Do them a favour and quit, so they can get someone up to the challenge in.
venusiant 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's important to have faith in your team, if you don't believe in them then they won't perform. If the CTO was carrying them then that's a way of showing them he didn't believe in them.

As team leader, facilitate their growth. It's actually a good learning opportunity for you.

moocow01 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can understand being surrounded by people who you don't think of as highly skilled but some of the statements such as "so now I have to be the one that explains simple crap like Big O" and "I don't know how long I can surrounded by these guys without losing my mind" make me think you might not be happy in a leadership role.

In any sort of leadership role you're supposed to be trying to extract the best work from your people. Generally you are not going to be able to do that effectively if you are looking down on them. Give them a bit of respect, encourage incentives and comaraderie. Your new job is to be explaining stuff to them so they can work better. If you don't like them figure out how to make them better - its usually easier and way less expensive than firing and hiring.

NumberCruncher 2 days ago 0 replies      
Joel has some good advices [1], if you do not want to quit your job. If none of these works, you should quit. Dead hourses should not be ridden but buried deep.

[1] https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2001/12/25/getting-things-don...

AnimalMuppet 2 days ago 0 replies      
You have three options: teach them, fire them, or quit.

The first question is, are they teachable? If they are, the best answer is to teach/train them so that they become more competent. If not, the only options are to fire them or quit.

The second question is, presuming they're trainable, are you able and willing to train them? This isn't just a question of your knowledge. Do you have the willingness to do so? Do you have the patience to do it? If not, you're back to fire them or quit. But in this case, the problem is not just the team. Part of the problem is that you aren't able or willing to do part of what leads do.

throwaway2k18 1 day ago 0 replies      
OP here.

You guys have made a lot of great points and I've come to see how I've already set myself and my team up to fail with my poor attitude.

I'll work with my team to give them projects that will allow them to grow. The current CTO is a massive micromanager and I'll make sure not to make the same mistake.

Also, please drop the Big O thing. I chose a random CS concept for the sake of anonymizing myself.

brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
Management is the art of getting people to do what they can do and channeling what they do in a productive direction. That requires recognizing each individual's capabilities and limitations including one's own.

Well that's not so much just management. That's also how teams work. Somebody has to play goalkeeper and hopefully there's someone who can kick the ball in the net and a bunch of people in between able to run (a lot). And some people who can come off the bench when someone gets injured.

Sure I hate sports analogies. Being a good teammate is about more than technical skill or resume. It's about playing well with others.

Good luck.

aregsarkissian 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think context matters here. In a small startup everyone on the team is expected to be able to contribute their skills to make the startup grow. There is no time for training and teaching. So either convince founders or management that they need to bring the right skills in house or leave knowing you tried to help the company but they have different priorities.In general though you should try to help people not look down on them.
thinbeige 2 days ago 0 replies      
Difficult decision. You can 1) stay and try to transform the team by training them and/or switching the devs or 2) leave.

It's hard to give a recommendation without knowing the team. However, choosing the first option is a long, tedious and draining process. You learn more about management but will rather degenerate in general. So leaving and looking for a better environment might be an option.

Maybe it is also good to just rely on your gut feeling.

Ask HN: How to find a next CTO job
7 points by dmitryame  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
dyeje 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Your best bet is to tap your personal network.
hullsean 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see what you find as well.
Ask HN: Is the outrage over Unroll.me selling Lyft receipts to Uber warranted?
9 points by pccampbell  15 hours ago   10 comments top 8
mankash666 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes!! Nobody reads the fine print on the EULA. Companies are hiding behind this to do things customers wouldn't otherwise allow. If unroll explicitly stated their inbox scraping and data selling aspect as loudly as their unsubscribe "USP", no one would use them
Digory 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes. I think it's fair to say Unroll.me wasn't being honest about data use.

The service was supposed to identify spammy e-mail by address or subject, and file them away. It's part of the business model to screen e-mail addresses and subject lines, I suppose. And I could understand them selling analytics on the contents of rolled-up items -- Wal-Mart wants to know what Target is selling, and demographics about those receiving offers, etc. You'd get some interesting data about what offers actually get clicks, too.

But the NYT article says they're selling numerical data out of Lyft receipts. That's not spam. At no point did they disclose they would troll through your non-spam e-mail for words or numbers interesting to the highest bidder.

username223 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes. The CEO is "heartbroken" for being caught, but he should probably be "pocketbook-broken" for it, since he apparently has no morals: http://blog.unroll.me/we-can-do-better/ .
newsat13 7 hours ago 0 replies      
All companies must have basic ethics. It's a given that nobody reads EULA, privacy & terms documents. Given that, each company must take the responsibility to explain to the customer what it knows will be objectionable. For example, if Lyft sold me travel information to 3rd parties, I expect them to tell me this up front and not hide this behind some legalese.
AznHisoka 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If there is no outrage over SimilarWeb/Jumpshot buying Google Chrome browser extensions and tracking every url (even https ones like banking sites) you visit.. and selling that data, then why would anyone be outraged over this specific scenario?
pccampbell 15 hours ago 0 replies      
On one hand this is similar to all kinds of financial institutions who sell your data (which is why you'll get a bunch of credit card offers). It's a bit better than those, because it at least appears like the emails/receipts are anonymized.

On the other hand, this was hidden deep in the TOS and Privacy Policies, whereas some extra disclosure probably would have helped the backlash they're getting today.

I hate the phrase "if you're not paying, then you're the product", because plenty of freemium models don't follow that narrative, but in this case it seems crystal clear. I supposed we're just seeing how naive people can be with their personal data (email inboxes).

willysheps 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I didn't know Unroll.me was using inbox data for this, but I can't say that I'm surprised. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
joshdance 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is warranted in that it is surprise. They don't say "We will look at your emails and sell the data."

I used Unroll.me I thought they just sold ads.

The original article about the sale doesn't talk about selling the data https://techcrunch.com/2014/11/24/rakuten-slice-buys-unroll-...

Hollow startup with no revenue is raising $50M in an IPO with CNBC commercials
21 points by tuna-piano  3 days ago   4 comments top 4
       cached 24 April 2017 12:05:01 GMT