I know it doesn't answer your question directly, and whatever other answers you get may still be applicable to fresh kit brought in.
*In the foreseeable future, with fingerprinting and device scanning and generally treating all visitors as at least a nuisance...
Good news: You want to create something for a market that already exists. Good.
Bad news: You assume that cheaper pricing will make you win. Not even close.
There are tons of SAAS clones out there for every successful saas. Do you know how many Trello clones are out there ? Slack ? What matters is your ability to execute and sell. Cheaper pricing is one small factor that may get you a few clients but in order to run it as a successful business, you will need a lot more things. Some checklist:
- What significant advantage are you offering over existing ones that you are cloning ? Please tell me pricing is not the only differentiator. Most clients won't care. Trust me.
- What is the reputation of your company ? Even if you are starting out, you need to show that people can trust you.
- How easy is your UI/UX ? Are you creating a better clone or a worse clone ?
- Can you win on customer support ? Lot of people want to switch from their current provider due to customer support. Pricing does influence that decision but not a whole lot.
One day we were walking there, complaining about it how cheap it must be to make such substandard fare. Someone suggested that we should get out of computer programming and start a pasta place: we'd serve the same shitty pasta and pasta sauce, but charge 5 euro instead of 10. We'd make a killing!
The boss was walking with us and remarked, boss-ly, "Why would you sell something for 5 euro when people are happily paying 10?"
I kicked myself for not even thinking of that.
Launching with a lower price point allowed me to win over the price comparison shoppers and thus further refine the product. That helped the business grow organically and get in the same conversation as the long time players. It's now making $25k/m and growing a lot faster than I expected.
So to answer your question. Yes you can attract more customers by launching with rock-bottom pricing, but you better make damn sure it's a better overall product. Otherwise you just become the "cheap" option in the customer's minds. It's also important to consider what would happen if one of the competitors reacted by matching your pricing. In my case I tried to estimate their overhead by looking at their office location, number of employees, etc. Then I figured a price that would really put some pressure on their finances should they try to match.
That said, it's very difficult to grow a bootstrapped business when you're not charging much. At the lower end of the market you usually have less committed customers and depending on the SaaS, you may attract less favourable customers. As such we're slowly moving away from pricing being our only unique selling point and beginning to look at differentiating features.
Copying features at a lower price is a fine way to start out as a one-man band and gives you sufficient focus to get it out ther door, however, to grow the business I think you'll need to look bigger.
Now it makes a few hundred grands an year to pay for his nomad vacation lifestyle and he has hired help to grow.
I think growing an existing SaaS is one of the safest business to build online. The market is already proven and you will find a niche over time even if it is not pricing. The most important thing - dont die.
Do you use any of them? No, you don't. Because you do not make decisions primarily based on price.
You may think customers, in aggregate, primarily make decisions based on price. You'd be wrong. You're going up against a lot of empirical economics research conducted by, among others, SaaS companies, where they hire someone to tell them to double the prices and that results in 2X the revenue plus or minus 10%.
Preview of coming attractions for running a SaaS company: at virtually every company, churn rates go up as prices go down, because low prices attract tire kickers, pathological customers, and folks who are loyal only to the thrill of finding a deal. You might think that customers paying $10 are worth 10% of customers paying $100, but it's actually closer to 2~3% once you factor in the elevated churn rates.
Do a SaaS! (Though dabbling in SaaS is, perhaps, hard. Maybe dabble in writing a book about the problem your SaaS would solve. If you can't dabble your way to a book dabbling your way to a SaaS app is harder in every way.) Charge more than you think is reasonable for it. Then, double your prices.
Then, one day, they received a phone call from one of the 'Big 4' banks in Oz to pitch their software solution to them with a view to the bank taking it on nationwide. This was the 'big one' they were after.
They made their pitch which went well, and my colleague was asked for their licence price, which they up front said was calculated at $50,000 for each state.
The bank thanked them, and they left the pitch meeting, but they never heard back. Months later, my colleague approached the procurement manager who was at the meeting and asked why they didn't get the contract, as they had discounted their licence costs significantly in order to try and get the business - was it still too expensive?
The manager told him: "Actually, we LOVED your solution, which was perfect, BUT we had budgeted $1Million dollars per state for the final software solution. When you said $50K per state, most of our committee members thought that was too cheap, and they had reservations that you would be around for the long haul to support the software, so we voted against you..."
Read his interview with Ramit Sethi here:
(Look for "How Youre Collecting Pathological Customers And How To Stop")
Having said that, it's an option to attack a market, just be aware of what you're in for. To get reasonable revenue you have to get many more customers. Support loads will be higher. Revenue to support ratio might drive you crazy.
Low-cost leader can certainly be a sustainable competitive advantage. Think GEICO vs. All State.
A lot depends on the service you are looking at, but I think it's important that low-cost be part of your marketing. Advertise the fact that people shouldn't be "paying for features they don't need" or support they don't need. If you are clear up front that you are cheap for these reasons (and are not afraid to fire customers, or at least tell the more difficult ones they should be using the more expensive service), you can sustain that lead.
Be careful, though. You need to think about why your competitor is able to charge more.
An illustrative example is a program called "Final Draft". They make screenwriting software and have been around a long time. Years ago I was curious after hearing the owner discuss how much they sold, how is this company that makes a niche product able to do so much business? How many active screenwriters could there possibly be?
The answer, I realized, is that their business is not made from working screenwriters, it's made from aspiring screenwriters. Every wannabe knows that the pros use Final Draft, so if you wanna pretend to be a pro, you're gonna spend the $100 to get Final Draft so you can feel fancy. This is an awesome advantage for them, and it means I would have a hard time writing a clone and selling it for even $10. The actual software doesn't matter! It's the feelings it gives.
There are tons of products in the Internet Marketing world that have a similar advantage. If your favorite blogger uses it, you feel like a bigshot so you'll pay up for tons of stuff you don't need as s small-timer.
On the other hand, they may just be charging more because they have hired too many people or are being greedy. Up to you to figure this out.
* how will people learn your product exists? how much should you pay for this discovery per potential customer?
* what features must you offer for people to want to pay you? how many of these features can you buy vs build?
* how quickly can you get to market, to reduce costs and risk and start learning about the market asap?
* what kinds of people would want your service? why would they choose your version rather than an incumbents'? if price is your only differentiator, then how many features do you need to be a true alternative? how much support and availability do you need to keep customers loyal?
* how do you create enough trust for potential customers to start to rely on your unknown company/product/service?
* how much should you charge? as others have noted, "rock-bottom" is not a great answer. how much value do you generate for your customer, and how much of that do you intend to capture?
* is SaaS the right revenue model for the type of product/service you're building and the customers you're targeting?
* how will you measure satisfaction and engagement, and generate further value to retain customers?
if you're eager to tackle these kinds of questions, go for it! if not, you probably don't want to start a business, because such questions (rather than the tech) will occupy a large part of your day-to-day.
this is why yc's startup school essentially offers a mini-MBA curriculum, rather than a tech-focused one (these questions are also covered in the core marketing class of an MBA program).
1. You can still afford marketing. Products do not market themselves. For all you know that super expensive SaaS is spending only 10% of their money to run the tech and the other 90% is marketing. (intentionally going to the extreme other end)
2. You have TALKED TO CUSTOMERS and you know that price is a sticking point for them.
- OR -
You have another business and the savings on the monthly bill alone would pay for the R&D and running the product. In which case attracting other customers is just icing on the cake.
Also, side recommendation. If all things considered equal the product is the equivalent. Don't sell it for rock bottom. You don't need to. Sell it for 25% (for example) lower than the competition. You don't need to be rock bottom you just need to come out slightly on top when the customer is doing their decision matrix.
Not to mention physiologically if it is too cheap people wonder why and they think there must be something wrong with it. Which can get you less sales not more.
If you can deliver a true clone, why not double, triple, or 10x the price? Most Micro or Small Saas are under-priced anyway. You will not be able to snipe a competitor's customers, unless their service is not working, just by having a lower price.
However, if you can clone the service and attract your own customers you should charge more. Revenue will allow you to build out a more valuable/reliable product.
A potential customer will assume the service is more valuable and reliable than the product you cloned simply because it's higher cost.
One of the more interesting situations that entrepreneurs encounter are competitors who are under pricing them but are doing so at the cost of their own margin. The risk is that you can 'win' (capture the market) only to find the more customers you get the more money you lose to the point where you're forced to raise prices or exit the market. Sometimes that choice is made for you by running out of cash.
So the bottom line is this, talking about pricing before you have the business does not make sense. If you can design a SaaS business and accurately cost it out and take a survivable margin and under price most or all offerings in the market, sure go for it. If on the other hand you just have a vague sense that it shouldn't cost as much as it does for this kind of service and so starting to sign up customers at a low price while you build and deploy the service? That is a recipe for disaster every time.
The comes along Borland with a compiler that fitted on a single floppy disk for $69, and it could compile code in the order of 100x faster than the nearest competitor. The rest is history.
But I think that the point people miss was that as well as being less than 1/10th of the price of incumbents, Turbo Pascal ALSO promised a hundred fold increase in performance. If they had brought out a bloated C compiler on a 19 disk installation pack that ran in the same time as the Microsoft C compiler that came on 20 disks, I don't think it would have been game on.
Plus, Borland also swamped all the popular magazines with brash, full page ads that were the antithesis of the staid developer tool ads of the day. As others have pointed out - there are many more things than price which are important.
Worse, and contrary to popular opinion, lower pricing _does not_ necessarily mean lower customer acquisition costs in SaaS!
Are you a marketing/growth expert with a proven track record of doing just that? If no, prepare for years of learning a lot of fundamental basics the hard way. If yes, well, do get in touch with me! ;)
Another aspect to consider is that, assuming you're looking at B2B, lower pricing doesn't mean that your product will be more attractive to B2B buyers. If anything, you'll often find that the opposite is true.
Since then I've starting charging new customers and it's just about making enough to cover hosting costs. Thats all I planned to achieve, so in my eyes it's a success :D I've also sunk a good few hundred hours of work into it, so I'm nowhere near breaking even but heh.
However I now have customers paying me between $1 and $21 per month, and honestly it's not really worth the support headache - it was a lot less work when it was free. I could happily ignore users and forget about it, but it's a whole different level when you start charging people.
So can you make a business doing this? Yes, but figure out what you want to achieve from it first. If you plan to quit your day job and earn $X000/month from this, then it's probably not a good idea. If you just want to get some experience running a business and don't value your time, then go ahead.
I won't say "rock-bottom pricing" is the way to go unless existing solutions are exorbitant but I feel "pricing" is the easiest and safest differentiator. MessageBird doesn't need to create a complex go-to market strategy, they can simply say they are an affordable alternative to Twilio. Amplitude didn't have to pretend that they were better than Mixpanel, only cheaper, especially if you were utilising millions of events.
I also asked this question to a VC who suggested that it can definitely work, notably if it's in commodity markets. If I software is specialised I don't think it makes sense to sell it cheap. But if it's a well-established solution that everyone uses than I don't think there it's bad idea.
Is there a niche of customers that use the product you could target with a more unique offering? Find a way to provide more value to the niche. Yes, cheaper offers more value for the same product but there is more money in solving a valuable problem and charging more based on that value.
Competing on price alone is a really tough road to take in business. You end up with everyone losing margin and it is a race to bottom. Only really sophisticated operators can drive cost out of their business fast enough to stay ahead. If you don't want to be the next Walmart, don't compete on lower prices.
- Lower pricing may sound like an entry point. But what ever will allow you to build a competing product, will allows others to compete with you. While we were building our Analytics product, we believed using Google BigQuery and other managed services, we could offer a cheaper analytics product, we would pass all the savings of a managed service to the customer. But then Google release FireBase analytics and made Data studio free, AWS released Pinpoint. While currently they might not have the traction of others, they will gain and pretty much make other's current business models un-viable
- There is no right answers as to why a company will move from one provider to another. I was always under the impression that "better customer service" will get people to move and more importantly stay. But the real fact is, if you have competition, there are going to be multiple reasons. The tendency of "hackers" to find the single "silver bullet" is harmful, in most cases the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
- Most folks who build a startup, don't event thing of branding. Having a known brand is very important in a world where the users almost always self select into SAAS products. I had written a little about it here: https://medium.com/@Ravivyas/abundance-sales-startups-99b42e...
- In most cases basing your startup on a single assumption or theory is a risky prospect. Just being cheaper is not enough, you need to have feature parity, comparable support and a brand.
- Most important point, you need to make money, for that you need to chase people willing to spend money, who are not looking to cut corners. Such customers won't stay long. As an extension, having 1-2 big clients on a customer page is more comforting for a prospect rather than seeing 10-20 who they can't relate too.
Price alone won't let you win, but perhaps it might if you are targeting a different market segment.
For my company, our competitors focus on large enterprises. We focus on the small and mid sized companies. Our pricing is lower, our product is simpler too.
Focusing on smaller companies also changes our customer acquisition strategy to be different than our competitors. That was the hardest part to figure out too!
Additionally, I think you'll be amazed at the time it takes to build something, and the cost to run the infrastructure. The first time you lose someone's data, you're sunk. You're not going to put a SaaS app on a $5 droplet, even if you think that's easy.
So still the same narrative: you might succeed if you can pour several thousands of dollars into it before you make any money, you may have a chance. If you think all you need is a laptop, coffee, and hope, I'd say you may be in trouble.
As for competing on price. You'll quickly discover that if price is the only criteria which you win a deal that these tend to be your worst customers. They use the most of your resources, are least considerate when you screw up (and you will screw up) and don't expand sales necessarily well. When they realize that they can do something cheaper, they will be the first people out the door. That doesn't mean that customers aren't and shouldn't be price conscious. But, you really want to be winning sales based on perceived value, quality and strategic alignment. Your customers should place their loyalty in you by which you build new features in which they pay you more for. By doing so you inherently reduce churn, increase add-on sales, and turn your customers into your greatest marketing asset.
Certainly. Do you have the domain knowledge of why it's already been created? Do you know all the problems it's trying to solve? Do you know other problems it may solve?
That last part is important. Even if you clone an existing app, you may see other uses for it. Now develop that other functionality and you are better than your competitor.
As for rock bottom pricing. Well this will only get you so far. Need to hire support? Can the business now support itself? Nope? Oops, need to raise pricing now.
Also marketing, can the business pay for that and sustain it, to keep on getting new customers? Nope? Oops, now need to determine pricing to support marketing.
> Would I be able attract customers?
Anything can attract potential customers, converting them is another story. You may have rock bottom pricing, but that may actually turn a segment off. Will you still be there in 6 months? What's your stance on privacy? What will you do with my data?
A big thing, is why they should use you, compared to similar saas products.
If I may ask, what is the SaaS product you are looking to clone?
If you can offer something for free that "original" requires payment then that approach might work very well - at least as customer acquisition strategy.
That is reason why Trello and Slack are pretty much free. As far as I remember, Gmail did the same: they offered 1GB of free email. That was so much better then my Yahoo which asked me for 9.90 a month for 250MB. So I switched.
But then when you ask users to pay (to upgrade) then 1.99 vs 9.99 vs 19.99 really does not make a lot of difference.
And do not be fooled by "features matters", "support matters", etc. The customer acquisition is the most important part of any (small) business (including SaaS).
That said, there are some relatively big, fragmented markets for SaaS like email marketing in which there are at least 15+ companies with at least $10 mn /year in revenues, but most of them are not rock-bottom pricing.
Making a SaaS app requires a lot of creative effort in design, scope, pricing, etc. By copying something that exists you can greatly reduce the cost of design by copying layouts and UX decisions, and focus on learning and coding.
In terms of making money, possibly, a little, but I wouldn't count on it for any substantial income and if you made zero dollars I would not be shocked. It is very difficult to say without knowing the product specifically. I am certain some markets are just begging for a rock bottom pricing clone.
On the other hand, if you go too low, you won't attract the same customers. You'll get a more miserly crowd that is comparing it to running something themselves on a cheap VPS. They won't be easy to deal with, and will come and go.
I get that being more specific is hard if you're trying to keep the idea to yourself. But, I suspect the answer is very specific to what SaaS you're considering competing against.
#1 - As others have mentioned, competing on price will mean that you attract users for whom price is the most important thing. These users are often more fickle, retain at significantly poorer rates, and in my experience, they (counterintuitively) consume more support resources. They also have a substantially lower NPS, which also shines through when they write reviews. Those are some big negatives.
#2 - Pricing your product substantially lower than the pack means that you'll have a very hard time competing with other players in many paid acquisition channels, if you ever intend to. There are plenty of other ways to find customers, but you'll have to rely on channels & audiences with lower intent (as in, people who aren't directly seeking out and already motivated to find what you are selling.)
There are ways to succeed with low cost and free products, but it's a winding path that is far from as obvious as it may seem.
And this involves a whole lot of thing. Not just pricing, positioning, cloning or copying.
Doubt it! Not only SAAS in every product there is an open market for alternate product atleast for 'popular products'. Alternate products just clone 'problem statement' and build their own version of the product solution.
In case of popular product, well developed or well defined domain first few steps of solution is going to be same which is unavoidable ex: A car will have four tyres. But, you have all the freedom to change it to be an electric car and make it better. This is how all better products are being made.
Any solution need product market fit, persistence, best engineering, trust among customers, support, experience etc.,
Spend your time in thinking "How this could be done better?". Then you need not clone any product. Almost all forms of idea is been tried in this world. We should try with our own skill set and experience.
All the best!
What about building a near clone that is perfectly suited for a use case that isn't particularly well met by the other product?
Many of us who have learned the lesson of competing on pricing learn to do it differently the second time around.
Pricing is one of those things that's hard to understand as not to compete on if you're still new to understanding saas business models.
Until you've experienced some sort of success with a low priced saas, it's hard to see why everyone always say to price it more. Sort of like the matrix, nobody can tell you what it is. You have to see and experience it for yourself.
It's a race to the bottom and unprofitable users often demand the same level of attention and support as ones who pay more.
Also think about hidden costs. The other company might be priced as they are for a reason.
Is it a product where differentiating on price is something that would even matter to the user? The difference in price would be enough to choose you over the competition?
If you can do it at a fraction of the overhead, I'd say go for it as long as you have a way out if it all goes to hell and you have a good idea of the upfront effort level.
If you have other differentiating factors, that changes the equation but all things being equal, lower price isn't enough.
If you think you can knock out a cheap version with a few developers all of your potential customers are going to be thinking the same thing.
Developers in the USA have really high salaries because of the INS moat. If you can crack that equation, then you could do a lot.
BrowserStack vs. Others. Sheer number of people you can task to a single problem.
We look at actual value, trust, brand recognition, integrations, quality, longevity, and more, that go beyond a simple price list.
Funded Saas companies will have patents. Avoid triggering trouble by hiding how your service works and try not to copy the look and feel if possible.
Is the market big enough to support multiple players? If it has a market size of 1 billion dollars then all you need to do is to get roughly 1% to be successful. If the market size is only 1 million dollars then you might be fighting over a small amount of money, and their isn't enough space for any one to grow into a successful business.
Does that other SaaS have one large client that make it possible to stay a float? I have seen a ton of small companies exist just because they have one giant fish making it worth it. I also seen companies crumble because that giant fish decide to leave. If that is the case you might not be able to copy the success the other SaaS has.
Is the SaaS your trying to copy already running at rock-bottom pricing? You might be surprise how much certain things actually cost. Whatever you think it might actually cost to run a copy cat service it is a safe bet to double that amount. Copying someone else idea might give you short cuts, but you don't know everything they learn along the way to get where they are now.
Could you make a better product then the current SaaS? The only way you are going to attract customers to your product is to do it better. Like some of the other comments say having the lowest price also means having some of the worse customers. Their have been post here before about SaaS companies raising their price till the customers that complain the most finally left. If you are at the rock bottom then be prepare for the bottom feeders.
Pricing is a tricky subject that is less logical and more human nature. A human will typically pay more if he feels like he is getting more value peer penny. A human will over spend if it fulfills some strange idea, as making him look important, makes him feel good about him self, or because it easies his mind knowing it is properly done. Here some links about increasing the cost actually benefited them.
My advise build a better product or add more functionality, price it higher then the current SaaS, and make sure you listen to people but never let them control your hand.
Best of luck
Essential $ - Standard $$ - Enterprise (contact us)
or just 14-day-trial and "contact us".
What's your stand on that? What makes more sense to launch a SaaS?
IMO, trying to run away to something else where none of these "faults" may exist is fool's gold. Learn to play it or ignore it or live with it, that is the only way to keep your physical and mental well being.
Firstly a word of warning - as the user akg_67 has said, there is no escape from the workplace politics. My girlfriend works in non-profits and currently works at one that is trying to clean up supply chains in manufacturing outsourcing countries. A commendable initiative, I think, but her workplace is still full of the same petty stupid games as anywhere else. Her previous one was about teaching girls skills and leadership, but you guessed it, there too she was part of the same crap you're trying to escape.
But if you can overlook that, and want to work for a worthy cause, you will need to network and meet other people who already work in this field. You will need to surround yourself with those people and get into that.
Here's what I would recommend for that, something I am doing myself. Join an org like ImpactHub (there are some in cities all around the world). It's a nice co-working space but also exists to foster sustainable enterprise and bring the community together of social entrepreneurs. They typically try to find connections when you join based on your interests.
Speaking of interests, figure out what you're actually passionate about and what you care about. If you really want to get out and do something worthwhile, then figure out what you consider worthwhile.
Is it the environment? Privacy? Education? Fighting corruption?
Whatever your cause, if you narrow down what you are passionate about perhaps it would be easier to find orgs or people that are like-minded and that share in those causes.
I'm sure there is still office politics, but the altruistic mission generally keeps it down, as opposed to the pure-profit motive of corporations.
Wow- this is a really close fit for me as well. My resume has started to look like I used it for target practice because I've been jumping around trying to find a better fit.
~12 years of programming here for various companies large and small.
I don't have any advice for you but I would love to work with you on something (not that I would expect that to happen).
Burnout and fatigue is real. Maybe someone else will respond with tips on how to make this more tolerable in the mean time?
My wife and I are thinking about having kids and I'm wondering if that will help me with the "legacy" desire (which is a VERY real thing for me.
Good luck in any case and I look forward to seeing the replies this gets...
Of course, it all depends on why the client isn't paying. If they're legitimately out of money then the likelihood that you won't get paid (or will only get a fraction of what you're owed) increases dramatically. I've been in a position where a client withheld funds when they could easily pay, and a debt collector had the money over to us within the day.
1. The COO did not treat paying you as a priority.
2. The COO normalized non-payment by stating they had not been paid.
3. The company is not even offering pennies on the dollar.
4. The investor has pulled out.
Roughly, your options come down to luck.
1. Maybe the company gets money and decides to pay you and everyone else for work done instead of using the money to grow the company or pay themselves.
2. Maybe the company gets money and you and everyone else who they owe money can sue them and win and the money spent on attorneys turns out to be well spent.
3. Maybe the company files bankruptcy and you pay an attorney to represent you and their is a pile of money so large that even unsecured creditors get paid.
4. Maybe you hire an attorney and successfully litigate a claim and the company has no money.
5. The most likely situation is that the company goes bankruptcy and you never see money no matter what you do. It's the one to plan for.
6. Just move on and find paying work and consider requiring a retainer or other method of billing where non-payment does not hurt so badly.
2. The next time a member of the C-Suite in a VC-funded startup calls you to try and draw a false equivalence between them not getting paid and you not getting paid for sympathy points, call them out on it by reminding them 1) that they have equity for that risk, 2) that you don't, and 3) that you're insisting on restitution. Be forthright and assertive about the terms they agreed to in the contract (since you'd been at this, I assume you have contracts in place), but do not be the one to escalate the situation further.
3. Make sure you're communicating in writing everywhere (email is fine). For calls, send follow-up emails summarizing the calls while they're fresh in your memory. Take notes on the calls. Prefer written communication to calls where possible. Record calls if you're in a one-party state (based on another comment, you seem to be).
4. Don't be antagonistic and don't be passive aggressive. Especially don't do anything that makes you feel good emotionally but causes your client to become a more sympathetic party, and potentially sever some of their contractual obligations. For now, consider the remaining invoice balance a loss and be dispassionate about it.
5. Going forward, make sure your contracts have the following clauses, if they do not already: 1) all work is exclusively owned by you until the last invoice has been successfully deposited in your account; 2) invoice payments are required for your time according to the agreed fee schedule regardless of ultimate deliverable completion, while both are true: a) the deliverable is being developed in good faith, and b) neither party has yet provided a clear and explicit communication that the work must pause.
Point 5 is important. If you are working on the project and they do not tell you it needs to pause until mid-way through your next invoice cycle, they are contractually obligated to pay for the time they didn't intend to use but for which they did use and failed to notify you. Even more importantly, the work is not transferred to them until they pay you, which means they legally have nothing until their obligations are paid.
In the worst case scenario under this template, you will not recover your money. On the other hand, they won't have your intellectual property and they won't be able to sell it off to pay other creditors. You should realistically prepare for the possibility that you're never going to see the money your client owes you.
In some venues it's very easy to file cases like this.
1) Do not assume that 3.5M is spent. Start inquiring pointedly, then aggressively, about exactly what remains. The odds are good that they're putting they payment of other bills above yours. Your job is to convince them that shorting you is going to hurt them more than shorting hubspot et al.
2) Explore your legal options with an emphasis on publicity. That COO isn't trying very hard. Their tune might change when it's spelled out for them that their mishandling of this situation will come up in the first page of results when their next potential employer googles them.
3) Let them know you're about to wardial every investor in the state. This person wants to raise money? Then it would behoove this person to pay you before you call every shop in town and let them know what's going down. (In reality, the wardialing strategy will do nothing, it's the fear factor that matters here)
4) Do not agree to any delay that isn't contractually backed. They need to pay you SOMETHING upfront, and if they want to talk about paying you later, that ink needs to be dry within 48 hours.
5) Call their landlord (after first warning them that you're about to call their landlord). Let them know that they're about to get run out on, and should start conversations now. (Again, it's not that the landlord is really going to act that fast, it's the gut wrenchingness of FEELING like your landlord is going to act that fast)
Basically, you're to treat this org as a hostile entity, and you are to make every waking moment for them as anxious as possible for as many people as possible. Call their spouse and let them know that the party's over. How much noise can you make, and how much pain can you convince them is headed their way?
If they owe you 25k, your job now is causing them 26+k of pain as acutely as possible. Go for the throat.
Remember, as long as the CEO hasn't sold their car and taken their kid out of private school, it's not that they "can't" pay you, it's that they "won't". There are always options.
And then, next time, for fucks sake, 50% upfront and a compounding non-payment clause. Can't buy food with good intentions.
o Whatever you may feel always be polite with reminders. Do not make them angry or make accusations. It sounds like they're already in a frustrating position.
o remember they have a legal obligation to meet payroll. Next on the list is lights on, heat & rent. After that hosting bill. And then below all of these are vendors. Hopefully you are at the top of the vendor list!
o if they run out of money you may not get paid. That's how it works!
o over the years I only had this happen once. It was $9k, but I subsequently got 2k of that. Still every month like clock work I send "a gentle reminder" of outstanding invoice for $7k. They still respond. So I know if that situation changes in the future I'll be first in line to get paid.
I don't think you will get the money, the are red warnings every where. Only release the MVP ( not code) if he asks to, but stop development.
You should have had a lawyer on consult from the beginning, reviewing the initial contract and its payment terms. If the client isn't paying, you need to be talking to your lawyer. If you don't have a lawyer and an ironclad contract, the entire situation is a toss-up and there are no guarantees. You can't even refuse to deliver and walk away from this client without a lawyer's determination that you are not breaching contract by doing so. You believe you are the one being wronged. The courts may not agree, and the company could even turn around and sue you for taking their project hostage.
Only your lawyer, with knowledge of your state's laws, a copy of your contract, and an archive of all communications between you and your client, can help. Do not make a single decision based on HN comments, no matter how insightful they seem. If you follow the wrong advice, you could well see yourself in deep legal trouble with ramifications worse than losing the $25,000.
tldr; You should have had a lawyer at the start of this contract. If not, you must get one now. Get a lawyer. Now.
How overdue is it? If we're talking 30 days then you need to wait a while longer before taking some action.
Threaten to report them to D&B, Experian/Equifax etc. Then if they still haven't paid by 60 or 90 days or whatever talk to a lawyer about the cheapest way to threaten them.
1) are they already already using the code you developed?
2) if so, in what manner? Is it an in-house tool for them? A platform they are using to provide services? Some sort of code that's further distributed or sublicensed?
As I recall, the initial TripleByte test is divided into two segments: 1) a series of multiple-choice questions and 2) a couple coding challenges.
The actual coding challenges I got (in that 2nd segment) were not very different from the sorts of challenges you might find at HackerRank; in fact, one of the challenges I got involved the exact same task as a challenge I had solved for a HackerRank test!
I recommend going through HackerRank's algorithm problems, since those will be the most similar to the problems you'll encounter on the TripleByte test (or in any technical interview, really).
They also have a list of "coding interview" challenges that you can work through:
You might even consider taking HackerRank's sample test or applying through HackerRank Jobs as practice.
All of that would help with the second segment of TripleByte's test (writing code), but maybe isn't the best practice for the first segment (multiple choice questions testing code literacy and domain knowledge). I haven't found an appropriate way of preparing for that first segment yet.
I'll give you my details:
1) ZiFiMusic - First start-up was a pandora type music service - taught myself to code, but never got traction and struggled to do a good job at music recommendation. I shut it down after about 6 months.
2) HearWhere - Took the code from the music service and turned it into a concert listing service. HearWhere was the largest database of concerts world-wide and had 25k visits per day (if I recall correctly). Our widget was embedded in Blender's homepage. Sadly, I was never able to make enough money through the affiliate links and I shut it down after 3 years.
3) NextWeeQ - an online staff scheduling system. I spoke to potential customers before building anything, got requirements and built a v1. Gave access to 5 of the companies I had spoken to. Only 1 used it, and stopped using it after a week. Following up, everybody asked for more features, but the site as it was did more than their excel spreadsheet (the existing technology) did, I provided a few of the requested features and continued to wait for usage. They never stared using, always asking for more features. I decided this wasn't a good business to be in.
4) Kitchon - ohhh...kitchon. An app that would sort out the messy timing of figuring out how to cook multiple recipes and have all the food done at the right time. The more I coded, the worse it got. Lots of interest, but I never found a business model, and never got a product into the market (aside from a few alpha tests)
5) Bucket52 - Challenge you to do one interesting/memorable thing every week. Built in one day (Dec 30th) and launched on new years. A nice bit of interest, good feedback and adoption. But, man it was hard for people to complete it! Most users gave up around mid-Feb, which is standard for New Years resolutions I guess. I shut it down at the end of the year.
Current - Doarama - lots of users, industry leading and just starting to monetize.
1. Texfyre - Attempt to replace 4th-8th grade textbooks with interactive stories with embedded testing. Was in talks with Gates Foundation, but they pushed towards big publishers instead of start-ups. Bootstrapped then closed in 2013 (6 years).
2. Wizely (current) - Social network of contextual wisdom. API 90% complete, working on security and iOS app. Bootstrapped. (4 years in development and with good reasons for taking my time)
If you design and develop for others, you will be much more disappointed. I usually design things based on my own needs and share them with the world. If no one is using it, I'm using it for myself, at least, so I'm my biggest fan.
I wouldn't say I've had too many failures, although I'm just getting started. However, I've done some testing the past few years and put out some free products out there and tweeted about them only. Then I waited and watched.
In 2015 I created a product called https://mypost.io which allows anyone to have a web page up on the Internet in seconds. It is a very simple blogging / web page creation platform that even lets people use HTML and CSS to design their pages. The test was: Will people find it useful and actually use it? I added OWA so I could see the location of where people were using it from and I've seen people as far as Russia using it.
This let me know at least I was on the right track to creating something useful. I'm sure if I had the funds to really market and advertise my products, I'd be able to push them much further, but the hope for now is that people share it if they find it useful.
While I wouldn't say that I'm monetarily successful at this moment, I did build a popular website, and was able to gain and use that traffic to drive attention towards things I'm doing.
Failure is what eventually leads to success. The reason it keeps getting better for you is because you are learning from your mistakes and constantly changing for the better. If you didn't do that, than I might be more concerned and might tell you its time to call it quits. But your perseverance, ambition, and desire for success is going to work out greatly in your favor when the time comes.
I have to say, if you've been able to fund your lifestyle in a sustainable way for 15 years, generate an income on your own, etc then you are doing pretty well.
Of course, if your goal is to make a billion dollars then you're not succeeding yet.
Ray Kroc strikes me as a good example of someone who failed many times before finding an opportunity at 50+ years of age and scaling it to become immensely wealthy.
Anyway, curious to hear how you're defining success and happy to share more thoughts!
Our founder, Milton Hershey believed in making happiness accessible to all. That belief, along with tremendous passion, perseverance, and vision, helped him grow the Hershey Company, so that millions could enjoy his delicious chocolates.
My recollection is that he tried multiple sweets related businesses before he got something that worked.
According to Wikipedia:
After an apprenticeship to a confectioner in 1873, Milton S. Hershey founded a candy shop in Philadelphia. This candy shop was only open for six years, after which Hershey apprenticed with another confectioner in Denver, where he learned to make caramel. After another failed business attempt in New York, Hershey returned to Pennsylvania, where in 1886 he founded the Lancaster Caramel Company. The use of fresh milk in caramels proved successful, and in 1900, after seeing chocolate-making machines for the first time at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Hershey sold his caramel company for $1,000,000 (equal to $28,788,000 today), and began to concentrate on chocolate manufacturing, stating to people who questioned him, "Caramels are just a fad, but chocolate is a permanent thing."
In 1896, Milton built a milk-processing plant so he could create and refine a recipe for milk chocolate candies. In 1899, he developed the Hershey process which is less sensitive to milk quality than traditional methods, and in 1900, he began manufacturing Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars, also called Hershey's Bars or Hershey Bars.
I also found JR Simplot's biography inspiring. He quit school at age 14 and hunted wild horses to feed piglets that he got from farmers who were going to kill them rather than feed them because of a glut on the market. He then sold dehydrated onions. He later went into making French fries and became a supplier for McDonald's.
You might also enjoy reading up on the founder of KFC:
For a more thorough experience, however, I would absolutely recommend you to have a look at the books the Elixir community has produced. As you're specifically asking for tutorials (and not other sources for learning), my best recommendation would be Programming Phoenix , a book written by the creators of Elixir and Phoenix.
The book is structured so that most of it is focused on building one specific web application, so you can follow along from start to finish and build something far more interesting than just a run-of-the-mill blog (and learn a lot about Elixir and Phoenix in the progress).
 https://hackernoon.com/introduction-fe138ac6079d https://pragprog.com/book/phoenix/programming-phoenix
I have the Phoenix PragProg book but I found the tutorial more informative for beginners.
This course is free, recent and take you from beginning to the end.
Disclaimer - I work at the above service
While I like Elixir a lot, I'm not sure that it's the best place to start. I'd find an ecosystem that is more stable and has more reliable resources available. Try starting with Rails or Django, maybe.
Here's a video which sweeps through some basics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBNOavRoNL0
what sold me was the fact crystal was compatible with most ruby gems.
curious to hear, what do you guys think of crystal?
And there are more that have been posted here: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=security%20checklist&sort=byPo...
I am sick today. So I couldn't sort the links or format them. Hope it helps you.
The real question is: does it matter? All around me I see people interrupting each other and failing to comprehend what each other is really trying to say due to impatience. Neuralink is interesting, but would probably exacerbate that particular problem.
You can probably notice similar things yourself if you pay attention, and that's the closest to evidence we can get at the moment due to lack of telepathy or equivalent technology to actually measure these things reliably.
As far as Neuralink goes, assuming it won't be made in the stupidest way possible (reading commands spoken by imaginary voice inside your head), it could be quite a bit faster than hands or speech.
If you're asking for scientific evidence I can assure you there is none. It's like asking if a bread box is bigger than an elephant. No, it's not.
But then again people ask some interesting questions.
Companies are looking for what you as a candidate can do for them.
Self-study or taking a class signals some level of "I tried to learn this thing." So that's a start.
Even better is "I built X", where X is obviously based on skill you learned. In which case you can omit the class because you have proof of learning, not just trying to learn.
Even better is "I provided business value V to my employer by building X." Because now you're showing how this skill is useful to someone else. So using skill at work is another thing to try.
Ideal is you write the above, but emphasize V (or choose between multiple things you can list) in a way that suggests you can help the needs of the particular company you're applying to.
So there's having the skill (which is good), but there's also how you present it to show it will provide value (also important).
More on the contrast between having engineering skills and marketing yourself here: https://codewithoutrules.com/2017/01/19/specialist-vs-genera...
I'd say if you don't want to work for a large, respected company first, it's a waste of time. Your degree is your entry ticket to your first job, not more. Later on, you can even work at Google if you want - just make a great product and get acquihired.
Three tips on what you should do instead:
1) BUILD something and show off your skills. Like, continuously. Always have your own challenges, do something about them, put your code online on Github. Host it so it can be seen and played with. Work towards a goal and learn what you need to learn on the side.
2) Focus on applying to companies not listing a degree in their job ad. You'll see there are quite a lot of them.
3) Don't focus on your lack of a degree in any interviews. Don't deny it, but just don't make it seem a deal. Often times, people won't even ask.
If you need structure to go through a few years of coursework on your own, you should go for the degree. If you just want to learn how to put pieces together and not learn how/why they work under the hood, you should opt for something else.
As with most questions about going nontraditional routes, you have to be really good to compensate, and getting really good is constant exhausting work.
Also to add to that most of the work in ML is feature engineering, data cleaning, testing and building pipelines which all require a good software engineering background.
But, honestly, I think it is very difficult to learn data science by yourself. Someone with experience teaching you will make a huge difference. Data science is different than programming as in programming you can see step by step what is happening, in data science most of times it either works or doesn't. And you know it after your algorithm has run through all data for at least an hour. It is really hard to learn this way, you need hints that only someone with experience can provide to you. Moreover you can do a lot of mistakes without knowing it, for example, when cleaning the dataset people use the whole dataset to fill gaps and them split it for training and test. It feels right but that it is a huge mistake that invalidates the whole experiment (because you use information from the test set in the train set, to fill the gaps).
If you are like AWS and say that using logistic regression is machine learning, then yes, you can teach yourself data science. Learn SQL, read a couple of books on logistic regression, use some open data for building a couple of models. There are many companies where you can have a decent job and an easy living with SQL and logistic regression on your tool belt.
If you say that data science starts with automating stock trading or building the intelligence of self driving cars, than no, you can not teach yourself data science. You will need at least one degree. Or more.
yes, most likely they won't hire you for a "Data Scientist" position, but there are related jobs out there you can be qualified for if you have programming skills and understand DS stuff to some degree.
I've seen setups where a PhD with a "scientist" in his title would act as an architect/co-team lead with a senior engineer running a team of developers.
Someone has to implement DS' ideas after all and unless we're talking a really small team (or a jack of all trades DS) where DS has to write all the code himself - there is a need for developers with "some DS background" in those situations.
Also many jobs that aren't data science jobs per se offer many opportunities to do data science type things. Get a job at a company that works with a type of data you find interesting, and that perhaps doesn't have a dedicated in house data scientist, and every time an interesting data related challenge shows up just go "I have a good idea on how we can approach this" (assuming you actually do). Next thing you know people will coming to you with their data science problems and before you know it you have several years of data science experience on your CV.
(1) You could focus on building data processing platforms using, e.g., Spark. This will get you very close to the data science folks and you could probably end up doing some interdisciplinary work if you wanted it and demonstrated enough interest and competence. At the very least, people who can build highly scalable data processing systems and who also have a reasonable understanding of how the data is being used are very valuable.
(2) There are lots of companies out there that don't engage in data science/machine learning at all. You could join such a company and represent the push towards developing a data science or ML division or team. If you're successful this could also get you major credit as a manager as well as putting you very close to real-world data scientists and ML projects.
I don't have a degree but work as a data scientist at a research institution. I'm self-taught and was originally hired as a software engineer on the basis of my projects and work experience.
It's true that you have to convincingly make the case for your competence, but a bachelor's degree is really at best a certificate of minimal competency in a subject. Its signalling value quickly gets swamped out by actual work experience where you're continually learning and improving. So there's a great hack: just do actual good work and put it on your resume. Your portfolio of work should convey your competence so well that having a degree wouldn't really add anything. (So you can skip the degree, but you'll still have to put in the work.)
Remember that any healthy organization wants to hire for competence at job duties. If some company rejects you for not having a degree because the hiring manager has to cover their ass to upper management instead of optimizing for getting work done, you should really just be glad that you dodged a bullet.
I think what's most important is to keep growing and learning. Pg had it right: "If you're worried that your current job is rotting your brain, it probably is".
The skills required for each DS role vary a lot. I wouldn't expect a cloud expert to have learned about the Hadoop stack or HPC workflows in school, at least not to a useful degree. The same goes for DBA or business analyst or data wrangler.
But statistics and ML lie at the other end of the spectrum. These roles require a hierarchy of formal skills that are rarely mastered outside of college. They're expected to keep up with the research literature or formal techniques, which almost always requires the math skills of an engineer or mathematician.
Remember, HR everywhere is technically clueless. If management doesn't tell them the precise set of skills needed for the job, they'll minimize risk and ask for more expertise and experience than is needed -- usually in the form of excess degrees or prestige or buzzwords. The best cure for this is to bypass HR and go straight to a technical manager who knows what s/he wants. That's hardest at large corporations, who tend to outsource their HR needs to the lowest bidder.
At a smaller company, a lack of degree will matter less. If you can convince them you know what they need RIGHT NOW and can learn future material quickly, that's what they want to hear. (That's probably what the bosses of the startup did).
Or if you're targeting a specific project, then if you can show (e.g. via Kaggle or an online portfolio) that you clearly have the needed skills and you're not just a script kiddie, that speaks a lot louder than a mere degree (especially if it's over a decade old).
It never hurts to learn new things. Another HN poster suggested this channel for beefing up on linear algebra, and I absolutely love it .
Don't listen to them. Every professional will at some point in their career be judged by those less capable.
It's possible to maybe help another team and sequel that into a data science job internally, but outside, forget it.
I've worked around/in data science teams at a large BigCo and I think that you're far overestimating the bar here. There aren't enough people to who can write data pipeline code (SQL/Shell/etc.), much less implement and intelligently explain statistical/ML models. Also, the average decision maker here does not understand the difference between 'created model in Pandas' and 'created model with Amazon's ML API'.
The modal background of data scientists in industry is closer to 'Econ BA + knows Python' than 'Artificial Intelligence PhD'. Moreover, the former will still enjoy a remunerative career if (s)he's sufficiently savvy about identifying problems and showing off how they can be solved with technology.
There may be a point in time when companies can't get a return by throwing math-savvy programmers at a problem, but that will be long after you and I have passed from the scene.
With that said, a lot of companies hiring for data science roles fall into the category of software startups -- larger companies like Google or Facebook are looking for specialists who tend to hold degrees. But at smaller companies, you can be more of a generalist and there, the old mantra of "show me what you've built" often applies. You could build out a data science career if you found just the right company.
By no means is it easy, but I wouldn't say it's a waste of your time (unless you have some incredible opportunity cost you're using up).
If you were to go about doing it, I found this blog post that can help you with your plan of attack: https://www.springboard.com/blog/learn-data-science-without-...
Their programs express job placement as a perk of graduation.
Educating for the "jobs of the future" is one of Udacity's goals, data scientist being one of those jobs.
Obviously, you'll have problems getting past HR/filtering processes, and knowing more than whoever interviews you is a high bar.
If you're coming from a programming background, I'd suggest becoming a Data Engineer with the goal of becoming a Data Scientist. I've had several students do that. They were general programmers who learned Big Data/data engineering and eventually became more technical Data Scientists. You can start to learn more about the whys here: http://www.jesse-anderson.com/2017/03/what-happens-when-you-....
Suppose you are setting up a convolutional network to recognize some special object for a company. You will need to understand that math to know what parameters to tweak.
Is it the learning rate? Is it the way you randomized the weights? Is it the activation function?
Although, in fairness, I don't think even a PhD level candidate works out what the reason is likely to be. More than likely they have a few heuristics in their head (oh, it stops learning too soon, let's just drop the learning rate. Oh, it never converges? that activation function can't propagate error and so on).
The point is that you have to know the theory to be useful. It hasn't been worked out. It is very much a living science project. That's the fun of it though.
So no, not futile.
After, meet your boss and tell him something like "I can make this process 10-20% faster with a 3 month projects"
If he accept, you will have data science real world experience in your CV and it will increase your weight on the CV stack when you apply for data science jobs.
Don't get so caught up in the "degree."
I've met individuals with graduate degrees in computer science (i know OP asked for data science, but the overall point here applies to any field) that didn't hold a candle to self taught developers. If you're actually passionate and interested about something, you will become extremely well-versed in it. On the other hand, if you're not excited about data science, a degree with probably benefit you more than without one since it will force you to learn the topic.
In a nutshell, it's up to you to make yourself valuable and present that value to the world - a degree is just a shortcut for recruiters to filter on, but you can skip recruiters and talk to anyone in any company.
Along this line, you would just be a "tech", not a "scientist" That's not to say you won't be real well compensated.
Data Science as in you are someone able to make sense of the myriads of conflicting data, derive pattern, synthesize bits and bytes into action plans, there is no degree in that :)
As an example on this line of thought, people may win the Nobel prize in Economics even though they may have no idea on how to use Excel :)
something to ponder: you just have to know enough to actually deliver on something management wants, and know more about it than everyone else at the company.
It is computing the derivatives of the error with respect to the weights.
If you feel comfortable reading that then you are good to go.
What a self-taught DS would need to do in order for me to feel comfortable hiring them is have a public body of work that I find impressive.
There are a huge number of publicly available datasets packed full of interesting information. Someone that shows they can do the work with a few findings on their github would be equivalent to a degree on a resume.
Even brushing up on probability and linear algebra has benefits. Your learning a skill set that you can use in other areas of life. Heck, if you have kids or will have kids someday, you will have the knowledge to teach them valuable skills.
If you don't know how good you are relative to the competition with PhDs, then it would be worth it to have a discussion with people who have a taste for the field.
Would a four year PhD, let's say in ML, be a worthwhile investment from a data science career point of view?
I saw a mention to David Barber's book in one of the threads here, but what else?
Like this Open Source Data Science Masters: http://datasciencemasters.org/
If you want to get a start as a self educated person in IT then, learn what you can on your own and then reach out to contracting firms. Get a few entry level contract gigs under your belt in order to pad your resume with some experience and then move up the ladder.
P.S. It's called statistics.
The following is an excerpt from README.reconstructed.
Some quick differences from modern Python I found whenusing the resulting binary:
- classes must have the (), as in class Spam(): pass - There is no '__init__' function for instances. The classes in the library by convention use 'Create()' and that must be explicitly called. - The library code does not consistently use 'self'. - Only single quote strings 'like this' are allowed. "Double quoted" strings are not allowed.
Old-style classes(a distinction that makes almost no difference if you are using the class as a simple container with no inherited methods).
List comprehensions appeared in 2.0 and I struggled to grasp them for a little while.
The runtime might not have supported any cyclical reference collection(or I was just unaware at that point, being a student).
No iterators (2.1) or generators (2.2)
Python 1 to 2 was a simple transition, as it didn't do much to reassess the language's basics.
Experience counts for a lot.
I don't contribute a whole lot to open source projects (there's the occasional fix for an issue I run into), but that too has nothing to do with age.
It is true that in university, open source is a great way to get involved in something big and build up experience, and you've got a lot more time for it than when you get a life with kids, but plenty of big name open source developers are well over 30. It works best when you can work on it as part of your job.
I'm 52 and have been at it professionally for 27 years. I still think it's the best job for me.
Advice to those without that many years: The temptation to go into management will periodically arise. Advice I got once: "In management, they nip at you from the top and they nip at you from the bottom." Meaning that in programming, you only have to please those above you on the ladder. When you're in management, you have to please those above you AND those below you.
Started at 12yo too... I've written a lot of code, and will continue to add to the pile until they pry my keyboard from my dead, cold fingers!
When I work on personal projects, I contribute to open-source when I find something to fix in the libraries I am using. But that's just a side effect, not a decision to do extra open-source work in my free time.
I'm not really sure what changed. I'm unmarried (though not single), and have no kids, so family is not a consideration for me when it comes to allocating my time. While I certainly have several non-programming hobbies that take up my time, I wouldn't say I have enough such that they'd prohibit OSS contributions.
Perhaps at this point I just treat programming as a professional skill, something that I want to be paid for, and while I certainly make use of a ton of OSS, I feel I "paid that back" in my 20s much more than most OSS users ever do? Possibly.
> How to you manage personal life, work and contributions ?
I don't think this question is any different than a general time management question. Everyone has various priorities in their life, and the level of priority determines how much time you'll devote. If you're a professional programmer with a family and a social life, and believe making OSS contributions is higher on your priority list than doing other things, then you just end up making time for OSS contributions. Having family members who support you helps a lot (since I'd imagine in most cases they won't be directly involved in it).
I think a big component of regret is just wanting to do more things than we physically have time to do. So we prioritize, and some things get dropped. We feel bad about the things that get dropped, because that's human nature, but that's just something we have to learn to be ok with.
Many argue that programming is an art, while I'd say that begin professional is 99% of the job. And usually you get better with being professional with age. You tend to consider more factors, you start to understand the value of homework and managing work-life balance.
In my opinion getting older only grows your experience and in many cases grows you as a better person. Therefore, there really is use for old people in this business :)
It's my 12s anniversary as a professional programmer. Did work on all kinds of projects: a hugely popular online game, a search engine, all kinds of smaller projects. Love programming more than ever.
Couple of noticeable age-related factors:
1. As a proud father I have to be very careful when planning my spare time. For example, I mostly do hobby projects early in the morning now.
2. Got my first serious RSI-related trauma recently. Younger programmers, please, start caring about your hands as early as possible!
As far as contributing to open source I contribute fixes and minor enhancements to the projects I actually use. I don't go looking for an opportunity to contribute I just use something and notice "that ain't quite right" and look into what the problem is and then contact the author. Sometimes the author requests my proposed fix, other times they don't as they have something else planned.
Anyway I recently turned fifty and I'm still going strong.
I'm not a professional programmer (although I did start my career as one), but have released various bits of software over the years.
- It's harder to find time on any personal projects when you have small kids. Mine's now at Uni, so lots more free time for 'my stuff'. Wasn't so in my 30s though.
- My official job is as a Technical Architect. As such, I'm in front of a PC all day and I always insist on having Visual Studio installed, so I can 'test' stuff. In reality, I'm always working on little coding side projects whenever I need a change of 'brain-work' for an hour or so.
 The most recent being: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14206309
I've done a little open source but mostly shy away because I just want to code, not get into meta-arguments over style or whatnot. Not saying every project has that issue specifically, but I don't have time to sift through and find "compatible" communities to contribute to that are also doing projects I find interesting.
In most professions experience is desired, in fact I'd go so far as to say you only start becoming decent at your profession at that age.
This sort of question really makes me want to rage at anyone who thinks it's unusual or shouldn't be the case!
I'm 35 and a much better programmer than I was at 11.
If that is the case then you just need to grab time as and when you can. You will find you can find half an hour a day at least. The limited time will help you focus. I find I get up early or stay up late to make time for this.
Get some nice chunks of free time by contracting and taking chunks of time inbetween, though I guess this could change once kids come into the story.
For me programming is akin to a work of art, so i keep doing various projects for my own fun.
Not sure how one can become "inactive", barring a disabling accident.
I also run weekly data analysis workshops with my staff, where I get to teach junior analysts and engineers how to think Bayesian, and how to replace Excel with Pandas.
Having the time of my life at work :)
I don't see myself stopping anytime soon.
i think if you add child to the equation the code time drop rapidly to zero
Really looking forwards to it.
Still going strong.
For interviewing for the remote jobs specifically, as an interviewer I recommend the following: Do everything you can to be in the most quiet environment possible. Do everything that you can to have the best internet connection possible. Got roommates? Ask them to not be home. Have a couple pandora streams going around the house for ambience? Shut them off, they're a waste of bandwidth. Next, you may be asked to share your screen at some point. Clear everything remotely offensive or even noteworthy. Don't have a model posing on a sports car as your background image, don't have a bunch of links to porn sites or torrent sites or whatever in your favorites bar on your browser, and no hugely cluttered messes of files with crazy file names, etc. Last, kill all the distractions: shut off your phone, smart watch, and kill all of the background IM notifications on your computer.
* Basic coding ability -- maybe a couple simple whiteboard questions, or walk through some code
* Able to learn things -- talking about past projects, interesting things they've learned, ask them to explain their past work to me (doesn't have to be tech)
* Able to ask decent questions -- Unfortunately I don't have a good standard for this, but generally I like candidates that can form a straightforward question about the role, the company, the tech stack, really anything.
Basically for a junior position, I am not looking for someone who will deliver a lot of value on day 1. Instead I am looking for someone who is curious, learns quickly, and can learn the necessary skills to deliver value later. A quick learner will be great in a year, a slow learner or someone who doesn't care to learn will not.
Even senior positions I've applied for don't ask these questions all the time. I've gotten them maybe 25% of the time overall, with the majority at hip startups (e.g Whisper), not big companies (e.g. Clearchannel, CAA).
Then look at them in the eyes and let them speak in return.
And so on and so forth.
> "We're deploying some abuse detection and reactive measures to deal with impostors that might try to abuse this sort of attack. Given this, we do not intend to perform validation that the URL matches the branding information."
That last part was in reference to one of my proposed mitigations, which they chose not to implement.
Here's the discussion on the IETF OAuth WG mailing list from that same time period: https://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/oauth/current/msg07625...
Yes, we sent the inbox to a blackhole but keep in mind, Mailinator does not and can not actually "Send" any email.
It's a receive-only service. As always, any email "from" @mailinator.com has had it's reply-to forged (which is pretty trivial).
Also - even before we blackholed the email, it's unlikely any email in that inbox (i.e. hhhh..) was read. Each box has a 50 email limit (FIFO) which was immediately overwhelmed. You couldn't click fast enough between seeing the inbox list and clicking an email.
Mailinator is simply a "receiver" in all of this but we have no indication our servers were otherwise involved.
If you fell for this, changing your password is not the right solution - you want to log into your google account and remove permissions from the application.
https://myaccount.google.com/permissions?pli=1 should show a list of apps connected to your account.
Also, if you fell for this, you sent a bunch of emails to people like the one you received, so maybe tell them not to click.
1. I can't believe Google doesn't have basic filters to disallow developers from registering an app named "Google Docs"
2. Perhaps there should be some more validation/limits associated with allowing apps on the platform that can gain full access to email. A secure email account is the One True Source of authentication in the digital world. Google should make it way harder for people to get tricked into granting full access to their inbox.
the root problem seems to be that the identity of OAuth Servers is not authenticated/clearly shown, i.e. a malicious app can claim that its name is Google Docs even though it is not endorsed by Google.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are running any website that has "Reset my password" it might be used by attacker, since even though the attacker does not have access to password, the attacker had access to email inbox. Thus the email password reset flow will allow attacker to compromise other websites that rely on Gmail account for password resets.
Below is the Hired notification.
Important: Email Phishing Alert
Hi <first name>,
It has come to our attention that some of our users may have been hit with a Google Docs phishing scam. It appears that this scam has been spreading throughout the internet today, and is not isolated to Hired or our customers and candidates. If you want more information, you can read about it here or here.
If you receive a Hired email that says that someone from Hired has shared a Google Doc with you, please validate with the sender before clicking the link or doing anything else.
If you think your account may have been compromised, be sure to change your password immediately.
We apologize for this interruption to your day. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Thanks, The Hired team
This is what the attack actually looks like: https://twitter.com/zachlatta/status/859843151757955072
Edit: How I got this:
Someone on reddit went to their site when it wasn't down, and downloaded the files linked in the page's HTML. I just posted it here.
This isn't the full source code. There was another PHP file visible on their website that unfortunately isn't visible anymore.
With all of Google's machine learning expertise, how is it that this got past all of their SPAM detectors? It took me 2 seconds to hover over the link and see it was a crazy link that ended up at a domain called google.pro. Really? One of the world's largest and most advanced email systems couldn't figure that out?
On initial inspection the URL looks harmless, but it's got some malicious params in there, mainly
> We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Drive. We will provide more information shortly.
It has come to our attention that some of our users may have been hit with a Google Docs phishing scam. It appears that this scam has been spreading throughout the internet today, and is not isolated to Hired or our customers and candidates. If you want more information, you can read about it here or here.
1) I clicked on the link on my phone's email app. It looked super believable since it was coming from a person I was expecting a Google Doc invite from. I allowed access to "Google Docs" and then the page hit a 502 gateway error.
2) I tried it again on my computer by logging in, and this time, when the page was loading (after I allowed access), I saw the website was not legitimate (based on the url) SO I immediately closed the tab.
Here's the interesting part: None of my contacts got a "Google Docs" invite from me - meaning I didn't "send" any mail. Any idea how I can see if the person behind this has my emails too via API requests?
The link went to a page that looked like Google Docs and asked for my Google login, but I noticed the domain was wrong so I didn't sign in. I tried the link again today and it looks like Chrome does flag it as a phishing site now.
I'd be curious at the postmortem how quickly this thing spread.
Though this is unrelated to the topic I think it would be good if Google reviewed apps permissions in Google Play too because users are bad at this.
I guess that might finally change now.
I decided gmail wasn't for me when I read they harvested your emails for ads. 1GB in 2004 sounded so enticing too!
If you are technically savvy and have access to a static IP, I highly recommend setting up postfix/dovecot and registering a domain. It's fairly straight forward for technical people. You can have it setup, soup to nuts in an hour or two. There's online docs everywhere.
It's probably not going to be as secure as a gmail, but it's a much smaller target. Most internet providers will give you a static for an extra $5 or so.
It looks like Google removed (at least one of) their access tokens
Checked the URL containing:
don't click on unknown links which take you to Google login page and never approve access to your data in any dialog?
double edit:1. replied in above comment.2. dunno. first time using HN, accidentally submitted twice when I was on comment posting cooldown I guess.
Ask the ones who leave, but wait 5 months until they're comfortably settled into new employment. You can bet they'll give it to you straight, but you might not like that either.
If a senior member of the company scheduled a meeting and then asked me on the spot what I would improve about the company I wouldn't be able to give any good ideas.
If instead they sent me a note saying that in three days they would like to meet with me for twenty minutes, and that during this time they would like to hear my thoughts so far about working for the company and to please think about ways in which you think the company can improve. I would be able to provide many ideas in this scenario.
1. The formality of the process.
2. A lack of previous informal conversations. The first time the boss shows up in a new hire's office, a good strategy is often to keep one's mouth shut.
3. Only asking new hires. A sophisticated new hire may realize that they do not know the big picture. Other new hires may not want to throw their team 'under the bus'.
4. The homegrown Google docs and in-house libraries are all "somebody's baby". And if they were a priority problem, then the founders would have fixed them. They haven't, so what is the point in mentioning something that obviously will not change.
My random internet advice:
1. Come up with a real plan to fix the problems everyone knows about.
2. Ask everyone how to improve the process, not just new hires.
3. Build a culture of trust.
Given all that I still think you won't get much feedback until you've done this a while and the current employees let the new hires know that there are no issues with them telling you that things are wrong.
That way you start by being self-critical, which makes people feel more open to complaining.
Btw, remember if you ask this... you have to follow through to _fix_ some of these problems or you can lose trust. Only ask if you really do want to hear feedback and action on some of them.
You would probably get more benefit by asking questions that are more related to company culture, such as, how they're settling into the team, how they find the team morale/company culture, who in the team has provided them the most value so far. Those type of questions would hopefully help the new hire understand that you care about the culture at the company and also helps build a more personal relationship, which consequently will build trust between you and your employees to allow them to truthfully answer your initial question a few months later when they are more embedded into the team.
Definitely keep up the regular engagements with new hires though, despite not necessarily receiving the answers you're looking for.
Sounds like what is happening here.
 Are you hiring from a pool of developers who used processes/tools that are the same or inferior to what your company is using? In other words, your company is already excelling compared to their previous experiences.
 Could you be hiring from a pool of developers who have been previously conditioned or selected to "keep their heads down"? From the outside looking in, the finance world seems pretty rough and tumble. The geek/nerd response to being with a bunch of jocks is be to stay quite. [I'm a geek/nerd in case that can be taken the wrong way.]
 Lastly, honest feedback requires either anonymity or trust. Trust is tough. A single case of a guy getting marched out by security when he told his manager "I'm not happy with my salary." trumps all the other times a manager tells someone, "If you're not happy, come see me." Heck, seeing someone marched out by security for any reason destroys pretty much any trust in management. If your new hire worked a place like that before, it's understandable that he might be reticent to trust his new company.
I submitted ideas at BigCo to their Bright Ideas program and basically got rejection letters and felt crapped on. Expecting me to not only see that something could be improved, but also provide a fully formed solution that would pass muster politically was probably just an exercise in how to make new people feel like they don't belong at all.
Let me suggest you come up with something like a suggestion box or constructive feedback box where you can at least hear "I see a problem with X and my (possibly off the cuff solution would be Y" so you are getting some kind of feedback.
Good communication is incredibly hard, much harder than most people seem to appreciate. Actual good communication tends to be a long, drawn out process. You need to foster the first step here of "I just want to hear what you think is going badly" and that requires trust, assurances that it won't bite them in the butt and willingness to really listen and take it seriously. All of that is extremely, incredibly hard to do. If you, as one of the founders, cringes or winces because someone said something not nice about your baby, you can expect that no one will want to say anything again. You will need to really work at making people feel not only okay but actively good about pointing out problem areas.
This runs against the grain for the vast majority of social experience that the vast majority of people have. "Don't rock the boat" is pretty deeply ingrained in most people. "Don't question authority" is another biggie. It is incredibly hard to convince people you really and truly want to hear how you can improve things.
So, start with finding some method other than one of the founders getting all up in their face to try to give them a safe and welcome path for tossing out ideas. Because this is not it.
1. Implementation skills: can implement a solution, e.g. knows C++.
2. Problem solving: given a problem, can come up with a solution. "We need an API for X" -> can come up with a design for the API.
3. Identifying problems: can notice problems exist.
(Probably other skill trees as well.)
Assuming confidence, trust and culture aren't an issue, it may just be the developers you're hiring lack the relevant skills to identify problems.
These skills are rarely if ever taught explicitly, so many programmers get by with just implementation skills, or just implementation and problem solving skills. As you realize, though, problem solving and even more so identifying problems are key to productivity (https://codewithoutrules.com/2016/08/25/the-01x-programmer/).
Maybe you should consider teaching these skills, or change hiring process to screen for them, or both.
Or, they don't really feel comfortable giving feedback about how to make it better. Maybe they already make such a good salary that they are afraid to risk it. In this case they are disincentivized from actually giving you the feedback.
Have you tried doing a hackathon week? No normal work except system operations but have everyone work on a new feature or streamlining of an existing process. Have you tried offering bonus for people who offer up new ideas and plans to improve the software and processes?
this may be exactly what you need for development, but it'd probably be healthy to bring in some more precocious elements ... maybe as interns so you're not committed to a culture shift
Let them know you are building a manual to help other new hires. Maybe even let Senior people add questions or answer it. This would be sort of like an internal StackOverFlow for just your company, but organize it as a manual.
So instead of them trying to identify what you should be doing better, they just inherently point out where they are getting tripped up in your process.
The only other similar thing that comes to mind is how Tim Ferris wrote about this method of maintaining a FAQ to automate the customer service process in the 4 Hour Work Week.
There's an enormous amount of perceived risk on their end as they have nothing really to gain, and everything to lose.
And I say perceived because it sounds like you're a good guy and are genuinely seeking honest feedback, but they don't know that, to them this whole thing might be a shit test and if they say the wrong thing they could get on your, the founders, bad side.
Not sure what the solution is, but I feel like building a culture around "best ideas win" and rewarding the process of coming up with improvements and implementing them could be good. You could seed this at first with improvements you were already trying, but when people see "Hey, Joe Schmoe came up with this great idea and now we do it" would be a boon to your improvement culture.
I think employees at that point would be more willing to offer up requests for improvement.
Maybe do your issue tracking first, and set aside some thing (story points if your agile, time per week/month, etc), visibly there for process/structure/tool improvement in the issue tracking.
You need to put something concrete behind your words. One off-the-top-of-my-head suggestion: Have a few current engineers start working on some of your known problems as part of their responsibilities. It doesn't have to be 100% their job, just a "kaizen" approach is ok (improve some small part each time they use it). Let them know it will be part of their evaluations.
Now when you ask new employees point to these examples: "John noticed our tracking system was crummy and important issues were slipping through the cracks, so we offered to let him be in charge of re-vamping it."
Obviously you'll have to manage what you allow them to improve, and who gets to work on it. This idea isn't perfect, of course, but the idea is to show them you are serious about these suggestions.
X% of management is aligning incentives (X is some large number). Think about how to incentivize them to give the information you want, and how to remove disincentives. Money and responsibility / autonomy are the most basic incentives.
I'm a sample of one, but when I was 25, I would have tons of feedback after my first couple of weeks in a company. Much of it was bad as I hadn't been there long enough to know why things were as they were.
Now that I'm 40, it takes more time before I have any meaningful feedback. I'm more comfortable with what I don't know, so consequently, I'm more comfortable reserving judgement until I know a little more of why things are.
That said, I have a couple of ideas:
1.) Schedule the 'feedback' session more than a few weeks into their job.
2.) Give your new hires some time to prepare. I think it's best to assume that individual contributors feel uncomfortable with spontaneous, candid conversations until they prove otherwise.
3.) Have you considered trying an anonymous feedback system and comparing the results?
For example: you call out your Google Docs tracking system as something that should be obvious. But that's probably not obvious after only a few weeks. Some companies (especially smaller companies) can get by totally fine with that, and if you've only been at a company for a few weeks, you don't know what kind of company you're at. If they tell you that your Google Docs tracking system is bad, they're probably just reacting to it being different than what they had before.
Anyone who responds with a long list of grievances after only a few weeks is probably the type of engineer that you _don't_ want on your team: it probably means that they're unwilling to evaluate problems and solutions within the current context.
That way it feels much more like -> we have something we could do better, and the guys are trying to improve that, let's do that with them. While 'critique' immediately feels negative and kind of creates a barrier.
I'd say a few weeks in a short time to get up to speed. The biggest problem is that lots of places are "different" and not just "better". Often I'd like to do things the way I did at my previous job but that could just be unnecessary - taking time to change and breaking everyone elses process.
I would ask more specific questions. Like if you want to improve CD - ask the guy what tool they used in their previous job and how well did it work.
Someone else mentioned monthly informal chats I'd agree. Over a beer after work you can talk about old companies and what your employees miss about them.
If in fact that's what you've got, you need a massive change. Promote based on demonstrated positive impact to the entire company. Encourage risk takers, discourage blame. The people you want working for you would never work at the kind of company I describe above.
People are worried of giving criticism because you're effectively asking them to rate/evaluate your performance. However, when you ask for advice you're either asking what the other person would do in your shoes or you give them an opportunity to boast about their knowledge. While the end goal is the same, at a psychological level, the perceived reason for the question is different.
Remember it's stuff you've seen everyday for 14 years, and these people have seen it for maybe 20 minutes. I'd suggest giving them some flow charts / high-level info either in advance or with 20 minutes of quiet time on-site.
The only people I'd expect to respond in the current setting would:
1) Have really high natural intelligence to pick everything up super fast, 2) Be really confident in their skills in the relevant disciplines, and 3) Be really confident you'd take feedback constructively
This can get you get to the roots of problems. Take their advice on administering.
From what you stated, it sounds like the company is in a hierarchy power structure where others don't want to stick their head out too much.
At only 20 people, to have this problem sounds like a problem. Getting an external consultant to do some investigation seems to make sense.
Did you frame the conversation in advance with the new hire? Tell them - I want you to make a critical assesment of everything we do. We'll meet again in a month's time. I'll be looking for specific, actionable ideas on how we can do things faster/better/smarter. What would it take to grow 10%?
If new ideas your desired outcome-- formalize the process with a Quarterly Brainstorm/Review pulling together thoughts from the entire team. Then select the top 2-3 to work on. The process helps foster a culture of strategic thinking and innovation.
Did you go to one of the company founders with problems and solutions?
I would be very wary of such an ask unless I had a pre-existing relationship with the person asking the question. You also may have folks telling your new guys to STFU.
Hey, we have some issues here and here, this is how we are working towards improving it. For example, we could be doing a better job at writing documentation, etc, etc. What I love about having new developer join us is the new ideas they could bring on board, we are open minded to learning and getting better, from what you have seen so far, what can we do to improve? What should we try?
Here's how I implemented what you're asking to my company:I would first ask how they are doing and how the project is going. And then I would ask if theres anything we could improve - the first few times, nothing. After that, they would tell me improvements (finally)
A few examples of how this could be done:
Give them more than a few weeks to get comfortable with you and the company culture. Give concrete examples of things that have improved due to employee feedback.
And it creates a great feedback culture as i can give feedback as a normal user or anonymously and i can even vote anonymously. The simplicity reduces the perceived effort and makes it more likely that someone gives feedback. The optional anonymity takes out the fear.
(Disclosure: I work for STOMT)
List those on a piece of paper and have the new developer add one item.
How about building up a relationship with the people first by having regular one-on-ones?
>> Any ideas how we can get feedback from our new developers on how to improve?
The devs in question may have real issues with confidence. Straightforwardly saying up front that their feedback is hands-down not going to get them fired or affect their position or compensation may help a lot here. Explaining how to give feedback, eg by focusing on objective criticism and avoiding personal attacks (and similar common-sense sentiment) may also help.
It may also be useful to think back to when you'd just started at the six companies you mention, and spend some time remembering the mindset you had - in particular the divide that was present between the ideas you had and the difficulty, if any, that you had with actually sharing these ideas. For these new hires this same exact situation is playing out with your employees.
Maybe the company culture could focus more strongly on feedback from the start, instead of abruptly posing the question a few weeks in. It should be integrated into the onboarding, possibly be part of the hiring, etc etc, so that new hires associate "$company == feedback". That may help with the intimidation factor.
Hopefully an approach like this results in a steady stream of feedback from the start.
You're right that ideas developed when adjusting can sometimes have a kind of 20/20 clear vision, but that they can also be bad because they don't fully grasp all the implementation details or culture or whatnot.
It may be a good idea to wait two months+, or until the person in question is consistently producing output, not much surprises them and they seem almost bored, to start looking at some of the less likely-sounding tidbits that come back. I can tell you that if you waited say six weeks before asking me anything I likely would not spit out any useful metrics due to nerves and the newness of everything.
One idea that could be interesting is to start a feedback page somewhere (perhaps a wiki page - or a Docs document everyone can edit would be a start), and add everything you can think of. The hope here is that since there's a bug list, a) there's now an already-started thing so people don't have to overcome that intertia, and b) people will go "wow, this is fairly scathing" and won't feel so bad adding to it. :P
I was also wondering about making feedback anonymous; this could be a good last-resort, but I wouldn't immediately try this: "oh, that was me" is too likely to come out at the most (needlessly) awkward of moments, it promotes a "you can't be honest" mentality (!!!!!!!!), etc. Like I said, very last resort, not recommended.
This topic reminds me of the "customers don't know what they want" problem - asking customers directly what they want in terms of new features or improvements can sometimes simply not produce actionable results, or result in false leads that can take an extremely long time (and in some unfortunate circumstances a lot of money) to discover aren't the core issues. Figuring out how to find the core issues can be tricky. (I unfortunately don't remember where on here that I read about this, but I do remember there not being any simple solutions; if anyone has any links I wouldn't mind remembering!)
DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!!!!
1. Find a location that is not well-served. There are hundreds of coding camps in Silicon Valley, and you'd have a difficult time marketing. I have a friend who started a coding camp in a more remote city of around 100,000 people - he had the only technology camp (every other summer program was an art, music, or outdoor camp) and had no issues with convincing the local library to rent him space, or profitably run the camp. Most importantly, he provided an experience to kids who would otherwise not get one.
2. Don't try to build your own tools until you are sure you can deliver them. We promised a bunch of online videos to parents about 2 years ago, before I realized it takes around an hour of work for each minute of final video. Just like with any business, see what tools are already out there (there are many) before building your own. One of the most successful tools to come out of my summer program was pythonroom.com, which is now used in schools around the world.
3. You can find free curriculum online for any subject you cover. A good idea is to write down an exact lesson plan for each class you want to teach in a Google Doc so you can easily share it with any instructors you hire.
4. It's a full time job to get any business started. You're not going to have much success starting a camp at this point since most kids are already signed up, but it's a great project for next year and I'm sure you can have a profitable summer camp up for the summer before you go to college.
5. The experience was great and gave me tremendous insight into education technology. If I had to do it again, I would try to automate the customer acquisition process and keep overhead as low as possible.
Send me an email at email@example.com if you have any more questions!
If possible, avoid this by teaming with a center that already has these certifications.
We've had a mix of ~40 t2.u & c4.l instances running for a year with no downtime. Our i3.4xl has fully borked twice (memorable when we lose the ephemeral drives and need to reconstitute the analytics data).
Though it will be much more expensive and less performant, we're moving the system to an RDB-backed c4 soon for reliability, the people time to recover is too expensive.
In the meantime, enjoy your family time because your kids won't always want to spend all their free time with you (they'll have friends and hobbies to compete with you).
Make sure to exercise. So many on HN experience health problems that originate from inadequate exercise. 30 minutes per day should be sufficient.
8 1/2 hours of sleep per night seems to be an hour longer than what I would expect would be necessary, but if you're getting woken up by a baby then that is good time budgeting.
Having kids emphasized what I already learned in the food industry, don't do silly extraneous tasks ever, and do things as fast as possible without compromising what I do. I rarely wait and do one thing at a time when I'm trying to get stuff done. For example, I'm normally cooking one meal and prepping the kids lunch at the same time.
Unless I absolutely need a break, I don't watch T.V. idly. It maybe in the background, but I'm normally only half paying attention. I turn on CC so I can read the text, and half listen. Watch videos to learn something? You can read (I've heard 4 times) faster than watching a video, so I almost always take that route. The one thing I don't do is listen to podcasts in the car. That is reserved for NPR to catch up on world news.
Most of the time when people want to meet dealing with business, I demand an agenda, then I decide if it's worth it. I've been known to be ruthless at work with this. I focus my life around things like this.
We noticed before we had our first that our friends who were divorced with kids actually got out once in a while, because they shared custody. So we have what amounts to an oncall schedule - certain days I'm 100% in charge of kiddo, certain days he is. There's some exceptions for commute stuff - daycare is closer to my work- but this means you sleep in on your weekend day off, and you can schedule nights to game and hang out with friends, etc.
Most of the time we aren't out; kiddo is fun. But the difference between hanging out with a kid and being in charge of them getting their needs met is pretty significant.
Re: commute, I'm hauling the kiddo in with me on my bicycle, dropping her off at daycare, and heading to my work. It's exercise and commute together and I love it. It's about 40 minutes one way, so I have to be careful about not over training, but it's awesome otherwise.
Edit: We also do side projects on our off nights. And we pay people to clean/do the yard work, which also does a lot for free time.
1. My side project is my life. I don't use the computer at all outside of work. I play with the kids, do stuff around the house, spend time with my wife. 2. I moved to being remote full time after killing myself commuting in SoCal. My enjoyment of life has increased tremendously. 3. Like others have said, I don't waste any time. I read Twitter/HN when I'm taking a 15 break in the morning and in the afternoon, but otherwise I work when at work. 4. I pick up new technologies while at work. Part of why we are paid so much is we have to stay on top of what is the latest and greatest best practices. This is like Doctors reading medical journals for their particular area of practice.
What I've found works is to be consistently working on same side project over time, dedicate some me-time and set small goals. Instead of trying too many new things, stick to same side project for months at a time. Also "book" a few hours every 2-3 weeks for myself and go work at a Starbucks instead of staying home. Finally set small achievable goals; what I would want to do in 1 day, spread that over a month.
I've only really managed side projects during my paternity leave whilst the baby was sleeping or during a period of gardening leave. That's more than prior to kids as I spent most of my free time climbing, skiing and going out. We also rebuilt our house last winter and finished the interior off over the past year. This spring/summer my 'side project' is a lot of manual labour sorting out our garden.
I've always learnt new stuff at work and have been lucky enough to get work that has been pretty new and different each time which obviously helps a lot.
1. Changed jobs to a balanced work/life job. 2. No longer a developer, but still in IT.3. 12 minute walking commute (no buses, cars, or bikes)4. Moved downtown - smaller house than most people, but as noted in #3, walking commute to pretty much everything.5. My side projects are my kids, as they are very young and are not independent by any means. I've dabbled in tiny project which was python to grab Scotch prices. But that was 6 hours. So yeah, not much time. Also, my "heritage" home is a bottomless pit of maintenance, but kind of fun as the kids get involved.
I would say either you work remote, or work from home 1 day a week if you really like your current job. Is it possible to find a closer job? You can gain at least 1.5 to 2 hours hours a day right there.
I cut down my workload dramatically to spend more time with them and I don't regret it for a minute, they grow up so fast. I look at pictures only taken a couple of years ago and the change in them is vast.
You might look to commute less but working at home just didn't work for me, kids get home at 3:30pm and forget trying to concentrate after that. I can still find time in the mornings before they get up at 7:30 if I need it.
Enjoy the ride, for me (and we're all different) my family is more important than any side project.
I have a similar 1hour commute but I only need to be in the office 1 day a week. On the other 4 days I get up at the same time (5:30-6:00am) and I work on my side projects until 8am when I bring my daughter to school and my home-work day starts.
My plan basically. Only step 5 to go.
I work on side projects in the evenings, and at the weekends. Having kids has impacted free-time, as it always will. In order to maximise productive time, I gave up video-games entirely.
> I commute every day 1 hour in each direction.
I know some people are stuck in this situation but I would really recommend finding something closer or getting a fully remote job.
I have had a 100% remote job for the past 5 years and it has made all the difference. I wake up, get the kids breakfast and then head over to the standing desk and get to work. Since we homeschool I always eat lunch and dinner with my kids. Working remotely is the only way this would be possible.
> where do you take time for your side projects or studying new technologies
I do this mainly on the job now, currently learning/implementing Terraform and studying for AWS exams. Take on new challenges at work etc. I also freelance, where I am exposed new tech and challenges.
> full stack developer
There are tons of remote jobs for that skillset, I really encourage you to look elsewhere.
I have 3 kids (8, 4 and 2). When I reflect on the past 8 years my most enjoyable experiences have been first with the kids, wife and friends.
I took steps to work from home after my first child was born. This has allowed me to work at a high demand start up and spend quality time with my family. Now I get to take "wrestle breaks." Best 20 minutes of my day.
Kids coupled with dieing grandparents help you to think about the big picture. I will not be one of those people on their deathbed wishing I spent more time with my family. Know what you have before you lose it.
1) sleep (a normal amount, not extra)
2) being an OK parent
3) a house that is almost always fairly clean
4) side projects/learning
6) a relationship with your partner/spouse that's doing OK
7) actual solo leisure time
Pick four. :-/
[EDIT] Oh, and "staying halfway in shape" comes out of your "actual solo leisure time" hours or possibly "friends" hours if you have the right kind of friends for that.
If you value your time at $100/hr (probably low end of the spectrum for a skilled dev in most of the US), that comes to an opportunity cost of $4,000/month you're losing to driving back and forth. And that doesn't even start to account for the actual costs of driving, nor the mental energy of dealing with doing it. (I want to bang my head against the steering wheel after 30 mins in traffic, and then spend at least twice as long decompressing and not productive after that.)
I know that's very different than $4k cash for most people, but it's worth thinking about
Every choice that reduces your time spent developing affects your life as a developer. It doesn't mean you can't be a rockstar as a single dad with 5 kids but it may be harder. Ultimately you have to balance things that make you happy and work.
Before they were born, I always reserved some tasks for weekends, and spend several hours coding at night during workdays.
It took me almost three years to realise that this was absolutely not compatible with family. I used to "steal" sleep time instead of family time, so I ended sleeping between 2 and 4 hours a day.Even productivity was good, I was always tired and in bad mood.
While it was really difficult to change long term habits, I work now from 9.00 to 17.30 with 15 minutes commute time, I dedicate most of my non working time to my kids and wife, and I am now a extremely happy person, and also the people closer to me :)
And productivity has grown because I can focus on the really important things, both at home and at work.
So... that's how open source projects go to die, and the major reason why I no longer maintain procps. This was painful, but family comes first.
The concept of "quality time" is broken. You can't squeeze life into a few spare moments here and there, and you mostly can't schedule it. You have to live it, being there for the skinned knees that can happen at any moment. There is no substitute for being available.
Side projects are limited to things that can be done with kids. That changes as they grow.
Studying new technology is something I can do at work. I help invent it actually, and I dig into a wide variety of things, so that's fine. Maybe it is different for web developers; ouch if that is the case. I do low-level stuff.
A big difference is that I don't live or work in a "proper" city and haven't since I got married. I tend to live in the sort of place that is borderline big enough for a commercial airport, with perhaps 33,000 to 100,000 people at a density that is well below anything in the Bay Area. This lets me afford to live near work, and it means that there is little traffic. By car, my worst 1-way commute was 15 minutes. It's now about 3 minutes.
Compared to your hour-long commute, that 3 minutes is pretty much a rounding error. It's like I get an extra 10 hours of life per week. You have at most 4 hours for family on weekdays. Imagine if you had 6 hours instead.
I get that big-city life has more entertainment, but you don't seem to have time to take advantage of it.
Which is to say, I give up side-projects in favor of them.
- Allow parents to bring babies to work (0-6mo)
- Locate in suburbs where parents live instead of in the city
- Hire remote employees who work from home
- Establish a culture of taking an office break around 4-5pm then resume at 8pm for a couple hours
- Do social events during the day instead of after hours
- Suspend email delivery certain hours, such as 4-8pm, and on weekends until Sunday afternoon
- Same as above for real-time chat for most employees (some exceptions for things like sales)
- As an exception to above, have on-call schedules planned way in advance
- Flexibility on holidays to help synchronize with school schedules
Kids are essentially another full time job, with varied and unpredictable overtime.
My side projects have changed from web apps things to:
Making and laminating pictures (PECS) so my youngest can use them to communicate.
Attending various classes relating to ASD.
Fixing IT and Telecoms for the various local charity organisations that support us.
You just have to play the hand your delt the best you can.
You have two hours a day where you can't do anything but drive and think.
Audio notes are your friend, take them while your in the car.
What I find when I do this is that I don't really need to reference the notes after I take them! After reading this article ( http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/pointing-and-calling-ja... ) I think I understand why now.
When I get the time to work on my own stuff I find that I'm much more efficient with it than I would be if I was just sitting down to stare at a screen, and I can accomplish a lot in 15-20 minutes a day on side projects, or research, or ....
Exercise (and for me, meditation) are important balancers too - don't neglect them for the sake of coding, you'll find that you just get burnt out.
Work from home, so no commute. Work 6-8am Thursday, and then rest of the day off to look after the kid. Usually do a couple of hours on a weekend night, depending on what my partner's doing.
I try to do side-projects, learn new stuff, etc, at nights. It doesn't work too well because I'm exhausted.
I switched to remote hourly contracting so I'd be able to take the Thursday off, but trying to fit in a full week's work on the other days is exhausting. Losing the commute was great; the social isolation and loss of work/home separation sucks.
I think it's just tough.
Your schedule seems about right. There's definitely worse ones out there. Assuming you have young kids, they will become more independent with time to allow you to have time back for yourself.
My schedule is nearly identical; although I do have to admit I'm about an hour later than you for everything.
To become a semi-successful parent (is that even a thing? We'll see in 18 years) who still gets shit done I've learned to simply utilize every idle moment. It allows me about an hour of extra time for something during the weekdays, and makes my weekends more efficient. I tend to sacrifice my own sleep when I really need more time for something and it usually works out okay, as long as I don't make it a habit for the week (or I'll feel sick, tired, or just unwilling to over-perform).
Right now, I'm going through a home renovation, so the process is slow but it's considered my "side-project". The nice thing about it is that I can involve my kids in it to keep them occupied and still get a little bit of something done.
For keeping up with tech, my pace at work is slow enough that I can continuously evolve the software I write with new technologies and best practices. Before I started where I'm at, I was at a much more fast-pace place which was fun and exciting; but absolutely damning to my home life because of all the other stuff I've got going on. (And nothing angers Mrs. and Kids more than coming home at 8 or 9pm frequently).
I try to keep him entertained as much as possible so that she gets some time for herself even its just a soak in the bath while we play xbox or something.
It's been fun and hardworking but I dont regret it either.
Fortunately they share custody so it's usually half week here, half week at his dads.
That recharge time is important and something a lot of parents never get.
What I'm trying out is getting to bed earlier (hey, if I'm too tired to do the things I value then maybe I should just sleep!), and I'm starting to exercise. I've been told that exercise helps 1) sleep better, 2) feel better, and 3) gives you more energy. We'll see how it goes!
But yeah, try to figure out a way out of that commute. Some people are able to turn their commute into productive time, but I never had the knack. My understanding is that this phase is just that, a phase, and as the kids get older it will get easier in some ways.
My wife and I do split things up in ways that make it easier. So we each have a morning off, a weeknight off, and we split the weekends so we each get 1-2 blocks of 4 hours. This is obviously a luxury that is easier with two parents, one kid, etc.
As my daughter turns two, I'm amazed at how quickly her personality is emerging and developing. I've spent a lot of time thinking abou a blog post I read years ago by some founder or investor who pointed out that you really only get about a decade with your kids. From toddler to early teen years where their lives start to diverge and they have their own need for independence. That really drove home the point that this is an incredibly fleeting time, and I have to pay attention and be present, because once it's gone, it's gone forever.
That's about 10 to 12 hours a day. It's a lot but I'm usually working on contract or my own business so I love my work.
I don't really believe in side projects. I believe in taking a plunge.
It wasn't easy to get the arrangement but I started off with two days of the week at first and then upped it to all five days.
If you can tolerate reduction in income, that's a respectable arrangement to start off with.
I usually budget 3 - 4 nights a week to side projects.
I saved most of my time by choosing to work remote/close-to-home. I don't make as much as some of my friends who live in the big city or out on the West coast. However I get to wake up at a reasonable hour, walk my kids to school, and stop by the caf on my way to work to catch up on the local gossip.
From about 8 - 11, 3... sometimes 4 nights a week I work on my side projects. I used to do more open source stuff but right now I'm working on a book  and testing the waters with a GraphQL service . I've also committed myself to recording one, short, album a month.
It sounds like a lot but I guess being a parent I've learned to juggle and be effective with what little time I have. I tend to pre-plan my activities and force them into habits, rituals that sort of thing.
Some days I'm too exhausted. But that's ok. Take a little time off and go to bed early.
Super hard to read through listings in a font not suited for legibility.
On the other side, I was never really into side projects in the evenings, simply because I needed that time to cool off and relax a bit. Without that time I would quickly burn out. The best is (and if you can) is to make your "side project" your day job.
The question is still if it actually affected me as a developer in the sense that I can not do the work anymore? No, it did not. I leave work earlier but that's pretty much it. I don't feel less productive than before. Actually I even think I am more productive since the time is more limited. It is all about what you make of it I believe.
I also recently had the opportunity to change jobs and made it a point to join a place that doesn't believe in working long hours and staying late. (I used to work in an infamous place for long hours, then I left that to cofound my own startup which was again long hours even if more flexible.) My team here is totally fine with my 9:30-6:00 schedule with working from home 1 day of the week. This is currently how I balance it. I predict having kids will throw a wrench at this scheduling again and I'll have to re-adjust. As for side projects, it's pretty much fitting it in spare minutes on the train commute, when the wife showers, etc.
Since, I've come back to the States and I think I've figured out a good balance. I work remotely now, so I can spend time with the family and watch the kid grow daily. Sure, I won't be a CTO anymore the next few years, but it gives me time to take on a reasonable amount of work.
I think I'll do this for a few more years.
Well, I see one obvious thing to cut without sacrificing your work or children, and that is the commute. Get yourself a gig that you can walk/bike in a short amount of time. Choose it well and you'll get exercise too.
Now, I know what you're thinking right now, I can't! Because of X, Y, and Z. Sure, understood in the short term. But, ask yourself where you want to be in a year or two?
If you start looking now, you can find a closer or remote job, or move home to be near a great job---over the medium term. Want to know how I know? Because, I've been doing it for twenty years. So when people say, "oh, I couldn't possibly" BS is called quickly. Good luck.
Basically you should go to your boss, if possible and ask to work from home - you could even take a 10K pay cut and it would make no difference financially.
I've worked from home for 10+ years and it's great. You should do it if at all possible.
My "side projects" encompasses more than than software programming -- martial arts, meditation, biking, etc. I used to be able to do a lot of things, but I can't anymore. My step-daughter comes home around 15:30 and it tends to go on until around 21:30. More if there was a meltdown or some sort of family drama (which, in the past few months have happened frequently, but thankfully, is trending less now). I've had to take over getting her up in the morning -- both my wife and my wife's mother have had significant trouble getting her out of bed, showered, dressed and ready for school. Likewise for getting ready for bed.
I've had to accept that my life and lifestyle has changed. (I thought I was prepared for it; I wasn't). I've had to work through a lot of things myself, including periodic, arising feelings of resentment that is toxic to a child growing up. The meditation helps, but ultimately, I had to accept change and the fact that I am not as in control of my life as I used to be.
I had also been working with her a lot on homework -- to stop doing her math and reading like she is mashing buttons while playing a video game. I quickly found that there are even more basic wisdom and skills that my daughter never learned: what it means to be a part of a community; what responsibility means; what respect and speaking respectfully means. We've also been trying to wean her off of the meds and learn how to process her emotions.
Over time, I've been coaching her through different things. Our current theme is "organization" -- how to organize her time, how to organize her things, how to check things off a list by herself instead of "mashing buttons" (she has a tendency to try something to quickly satisfy what she perceives as what my wife or I wants instead of thinking things through, or methodically checking through things). The idea is to transfer more and more responsibility for herself to her rather than helicopter parenting and enabling this attitude of "parents are service providers". It takes time, it's bearing fruit, and this process goes at its own pace.
And yeah, at the end of the night, I'm exhausted too.
Some five years back, I got into an internet flame-war with someone about this. He was working 60-hour weeks with kids, trapped in his job, and I was talking about side-projects. I was single with a lot of mobility. Joke's on me.
On the weekend, we both make sure the other has "my time." It's important. I used to get 2hrs+ a night to hack. My productivity at work wasn't nearly as good as it is now. I don't miss it. I like family life way more. My life as a developer has never been better.
Step 1 is to reconcile your ideal of who you'll be in the future -- what job, how smart, how influential, etc. -- with the resources actually available to you now. I had to downshift considerably.
Your kids aren't going away, and you're not going to be able to sustain what you're doing now until they get old enough. You need to make a change, and soon, because if you don't you're going to end up wondering how and why you mortgaged your life to your goddamn kids.
I have three boys: 5, 8, and 10. For my first six years of having kids, every time someone told me to "enjoy them while you can" I wanted to punch that person in the throat. I knew they were right, but there are days when that's just not even in the realm of possibility.
There are a lot of parents who are tired, and sick of walking on dropped cereal, and miss being able to pick an actual restaurant that serves actual grown-up food. But there's also a huge societal more to not talk about it, or to aways end with something like, "But it's so worth it," or "It's the hardest job I've ever loved," especially for women. But while it's almost certainly "worth it" for the majority of parents the majority of the time, there are going to be days when it's just NOT.
The clich is that "The years are short, but the days are long." It's true. In hindsight, the fact that I have a ten-year-old seems insane -- how could it have been ten years? What the hell have I been doing for the last decade? Do I even remember life before kids -- what it was like to just have a wife, to set my own schedule?
At the same time, every night at 6:30pm I find myself asking, "How can it only be 6:30?"
I spent a good number of years just basically resenting the crap out of my boys, which is about as healthy as you might guess. I hated dealing with my kids, hating myself for hating dealing with my kids, and knew I'd hate myself later for not enjoying the young-kid experience while I could. I, my kids, and my wife all suffered.
Now I've got therapy and some drugs and a CPAP, and things are better. Not every day, but most days. Well, many days.
Kids completely take over your life, at least for a while, and it's almost impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your job -- your JOB -- is to figure out how to enjoy them now so that the sacrifices are worth it to you.
Also, I'm surprised no one has suggested daylighting  yet, it can be a reasonable option if your employer pays you to deliver instead of keeping a chair warm for 8 hours.
1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize,
2. You'll never have enough time.
3. Timeshift and batch up tasks
4. Trade money for time.
Father of 2 kids (3 and 6mo) here. RUTHLESS prioritization has been critical in helping me reach my goals. Having the two kiddos has taught me to be absolutely ruthless and efficient with my time. Prioritization is the key and saying no is something you need to get used to. I'm a people-pleaser at heart so this has been a difficult transition but, after accepting that I can't say yes to everyone and everything, I've been able to make more progress towards my goals.
There aren't enough hours in the day to do all that you want. Period. You need to take a hard look at every single activity you do and decide whether it's worth spending time on. If something isn't in the Top 3 of your priorities for the day, drop it and don't even consider it. Trying to do everything ends up wasting time because you end up having to half-ass everything. Time is precious.
Timeshift and batch tasks. Pre-plan what you can so that you can be present for whatever it is you are doing. Meal plan your week in advance so you don't waste time deciding what to cook. Decide on what you're going to wear for the week in advance to speed up your morning routine. Have your kids do the same (mine actually likes it).
Learn to delegate to trade money for time, at least temporarily, if you have the resources. Hire a gardener, hire a house cleaner, hire a VA, outsource any tasks that can be outsourced. Deliver food if necessary. If I said you could buy an extra hour a day for $20, would you? I certainly would (and do).
Side note: HUGE props to the single parents out there. Don't think I could handle two w/o my (awesome!) SO.
Once the kids are in bed, there's not much to do on a Friday or Saturday night. As a result, in the last 5 years I've built and launched several small side-projects.
- ability to work from home
- not too competitive environment (otherwise you'd get put aside by young people)
- good health coverage
Ask HN: Developers with kids, how do you skill up? | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13816627
I would have to say my time hacking on a project is more focused with kids. You have to be if you want to get things done.
10-20 years old = if Zuckerberg then stop here, else:
20-30 years old = Best perk, best company, best project
30-40 years old = Work from home, short commute, less work
40-60 years old = QA or maintain legacy code
Apple TV and iOS devices to view the content.
I have iTunes content from about 2007 along with DVD's I own that I have ripped
I only recently added Kodi to RPi and it's really nice. I used to have two 2GB MyBook drives with external power and they were very bulky. I would hook them up to my Bluray player with it's massively shitty interface. The new drive is maybe a quarter the size of one of them and Kodi is beyond simple to use.
Plays in the Plex app or browser on everyone's devices, AppleTV, Fire TV Stick, Vizio TV, etc.
I've used Plex in a VM and a ZFS based NAS for nearly 4 years now and have had relatively few problems. I've used Android, iOS, Windows, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and MacOS clients all with decently usable results. The hardest thing to deal with in Plex is mostly about sizing your server for the amount of transcoded streams you'll need. With Kodi, this concern is mostly relegated to the client. While mobile computing capabilities have gotten greater the fundamental problem I ran into for years was that no one device will play everything correctly besides a PC. As such, a transcoding server from a PC (even though Plex has several server options including nVidia Shield and some NAS devices) makes the most sense for compatibility across all random media files you could obtain online. Otherwise, your network transfer speed matters still just like with Kodi and a lot of people's wireless setups are just really bad that get glossed over when using streaming native media like from Amazon and Netflix.
I also have a glass table between the couch and the TV, so a dark field mouse is required if I'm doing anything that needs a real mouse. For everything else I just use a wireless keyboard/trackpad combo from Logitech.
I have a slightly different requirement: I want to
a) watch and record broadcast TV
b) watch youtube/iplayer/amazon
c) watch other random TV and streaming websites (Eurovision selection shows, my wife is a huge fan)
This leads to Windows, and the best solution for recording TV there actually seems to be Windows Media Centre ("ehome"). Unfortunately this is 7 only, so I'm going to try installing a version that's been hacked by the community to run on Win10.
Most of the HTPC software seems to have PVR as an afterthought, where it's either very hard to set up or unreliable. I never want to see tvheadend's web interface again.
I have a raspberry pi 3 with osmc installed via noobs at startup. Additionally I bought a DVB-S USB Stick (http://sundtek.com/shop/Digital-TV-Sticks/Sundtek-SkyTV-Ulti...) for germany. A standard TV is connected via HDMI. I use a KODI android app as a remote control.
Additionally I have bought 1 TB NAS on ebay in the cellar which is connected via network cable to the wifi router.
Without TV I had total cost of approximately 300
I have connected all music services (soundcloud, etc), all mediathek services of german and austria television providers. Also youtube and vimeo. Everything works great and was extremely low cost, i would say.
Software: Kodi+Exodus, Plex, Moonlight (+ Steam on the PC).
I do everything that the Pi can do directly on the Pi (which is a lot). For every other purpose (including games), I stream from my PC with Steam in-home streaming.
Another thing that's nice about setting up a full computer over an android based media device is that you have a fairly decent computer directly connected to the tv to use when/if you have to.
I currently use an Amazon Fire TV, as fighting an endless war with content creators to steal their content is a waste of my time (I also really like the voice search on the Fire devices).
I pay for films, and most TV, but steal Game of Thrones since, bizarrely, it's not available in full HD via Sky's app. In that case, I play it via DLNA.
I also have one of the less used PCs in the house running Plex Server, and we connect to that for viewing Plex Channels (basically, plugins that front-end NBC.com, ABC.com, and a bunch of other services) to take some of the transcoding load off the Synology.
I have a lifetime subscription to Plex.tv and LOVE the service. The only thing I'd like to improve about my set up is the processor in the Synology, which is too slow to transcode on the fly so I have to target my encodes to my current hardware and rerip when my clients get more capable.
The home NAS is a MiniITX board with multiple SATA ports and NAS4Free.
Plex also has an option to use Google Drive or Dropbox and others as a storage medium through their new (although only for the premium Plex Pass holders) Plex Cloud (it's also possible to roll your own though, i've written about it here: https://nunosouto.com/blog/how-to-install-plex-cloud)
> Debian 8
> Xeon E3-1260L
> 12 GB RAM
> 120GB SSD (OS), 2 x 3TB WD RED (Data), 2 x 4TB HGST (Movies/TV Shows)
> Plex (Movies, TV Shows, Music, Photos)
> CouchPotato (Movie Downloading)
> Transmission (Torrents)
> CrashPlan (backups)
> Raspberry Pi Camera Streams (samba share)
> + more stuff
All these applications run in their own docker containers. I used to do local web development in a virtual machine, now it all sits on this server. Love it and it works 'magically'.
Connected to the TV is a Quad-core android TV Box.
A deal-breaker would be losing remotes that Roku offer (or similar alternatives) as they make media viewing simple and easy for adults, kids and guests alike.
Remote control with Kodi iOS apps.
In other words, it just so happened that my first programming project and interest turned out to be an OS. Took me about 6 years and 12 attempts to actually succeed at making a usable one.
Eventually that interest driven my choice of department in the late university, and the OS i made was shown off at my first job interview. I got the job, and that's how i got to writing Linux drivers and kernel tweaks for high-performance (mid-TOP500-ish level) machines for a few years.
* Your friend may have given LinkedIn access to their contacts and now LinkedIn will start spamming you to connect with them.
* You have a friend-a and friend-b who both gave LinkedIn access to their contacts. You're in friend-a's contacts but not in friend-b's. LinkedIn can assume there's higher than random chance that you know friend-b. LinkedIn will probably try to spam both of you to connect with one another. Why not, right?
* You have a friend-a and friend-b and friend-c who all gave LinkedIn access to their contacts and you're on all 3 but none of them are in each others. LinkedIn will probably try and spam all 4 of you to add each other.
There's prolly plenty more and a team at LinkedIn focusing on just this. Anyone else care to add clever ways to infer connections?
But, they did have some dark patterns you might have missed: https://medium.com/@danrschlosser/linkedin-dark-patterns-3ae...
The feature basically just gives back empty results when the app tries to access, I wish it just fed it back garbage made up accounts.
For Pokemon Go style, I think Unity might be the best option, but I don't take my word for it.
It makes more sense to take big risks with money and then use any big payoffs to help geoengineering efforts or prepare for living in a bunker. That may sound silly but some rich people are already doing that:http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-f...
If you adopt a buy-and-hold investment strategy over the course of 20-30 years, with a good mix of index funds, the above should be easily within reach.
1. Owning a home in the Bay Area by the time you retire. No mortgage, no rent. Just bills.
2. Sell that place when you retire in order to move to a cheaper location. Use whatever's left from the sale of your home as an income for the rest of your life. Let's take a $800K home for example, if you make $150K per year, you may qualify after 2-3 years by saving as much cash as you can for a down payment. That house/condo might be worth 1.5 to 2 million dollars in 30 years from now, who knows? Despite the inflation, if you sale it for say $1.5, after tax and real estate fee you might end up with $1.2 net. This is not income money. You could then buy a $500K house somewhere cheap, then use the remaining $700K as part of your retirement money, which brings in $35K net per year for 20 years. This is roughly the equivalent of $50K gross income per year.
3. Make sure to add a little bit in your personal saving account every month, even if it's $100-$500 it's fair enough on a 30 year period.
4. Make sure you add up a little bit in your 401K.
The combination of all 4 will maximize your retirement while leaving in your own place. Real estate in a place like the Bay Area is the best investment because of the location. It doesn't matter if it's a tiny 1 bedroom in San Francisco or a crappy old house in South Bay, it will hold its value over the years and will most likely help you moving to a cheaper place with a lot of cash in hands.
I would expect to have about 20 times whatever I wanted to live on per year, and that yearly amount would high enough above what I know is enough to be comfortable. The state pension should kick in something too.
However, I don't expect to completely retire at any point though legally I currently could in only 5 years' time (then another 10 years or so to state pension age). So if I'm not doing a reasonable amount of work and keeping my brain active at 70 I would be disappointed.
WS tells me I'll have ~$5,222,649 when I'm 65 if I continually add $5k/mo to my invesments.
They say "We include your scheduled contributions into this projection and assume a return of 5.1-5.45% on stocks and 0.74-1.05% on bonds after 0.5% fees. The impact of taxes is not included. Actual returns may differ."
My ideal plan is to have ~$600k+ in investments and withdraw 1-2%/yr to cover food costs. I'm looking at some 200-300 acre stretches of land for around $150k~ in Canada where I plan to build a house myself. Looking to hookup solar and for a freshwater lake to be running through the land. The goal is to self sustain for however long I need to so I can think and work on my hobbies without the overhead of rent/career.
I feel like trying to scrape together an hour or two here and there for a hobby doesn't do anything for me because I'm working on things that require large stretches of uninterrupted time over the span of weeks/months.
I think it's the numbers that are suspect in this analysis.
1. The calculator asks for your salary, then uses your current salary to determine your need for money in retirement. If you're saving 20% of your salary, then really you are only living on 80%, and that 80% should be used as your 'living expenses money'.
(fine print of calculator: We then assume you can live comfortably off of 85% of your pre-retirement income. So if you earn $100,000 the year you retire, we estimate you will need $85,000 during the first year of retirement.
I think it should be at least 85% of what you're not saving. For example, if you're making 100k, saving 20k, then really you should take 85% of 80k, which is 68 - not 85.
Also costs change as you get older. While you may spend more for health care, you hopefully won't have to pay rent, for raising children, etc.
Finally, they seem to say they want to take all the money and purchase an annuity. It seems like as soon as you retire, your money stops growing (other than for inflation) because of the annuity, but if you kept that money growing while you were retired, it would probably be even less.
Really the big trouble is you can't rely on ever increasing markets with some 7% yearly rate of return. It could be higher, it could be lower. If it's lower for a long time, basically the US retirement systems (both 401k and pension) are in huge trouble.
I don't need anything approaching 100% income replacement, as it would make no sense to pay exorbitant rent for proximity to jobs as a retiree.
I doubt I'll save enough over my lifetime (outside of 401k) to scratch a down payment on a Bay Area 1-bedroom condo, but it'll be more than sufficient to buy a palace for cash anywhere else the moment I don't need to live here anymore.
(I have worked in Midwestern IT cost centers, never again).
Most people would consider it a LOT to save $20k a year, which would be well under a million by retirement.
I'm green with envy... With that much money i could have probably retire right now at 30, and i'm half way there.
Then again, i live in a country with free medicine, free education, no lawyers, a recently-ended oversupply of housing leaving me with 1.5 apartments and a house from grand-grand parents who "moved on", and all bills and necessities coverable by about $2k a year, so i'm not sure if i have a right to be envious.
More to the point, i keep the money scattered around - foreign currencies, gold, crypto, etc, to avoid losing all at once and staying ahead of the inflation. I don't expect to ever become a millionaire, barring a lucky investment or something.
Fidelity is always telling me I need some ungodly amount of money saved in order to continue the lifestyle to which I've become accustomed. I don't need that much. Here's what my current income pays for that won't be an issue in retirement:
1. Maxed out 401K at $18K/year. The wife's doing the same.
2. $3K a month paid to mortgage principal, in addition to the house payment. (It is financially unwise to pay down a 2.5% loan quickly, but I'm not retiring with a house payment.)
3. Commuting expenses.
4. A hell of a lot more eating out than I plan to do in retirement.
5. My current tax rate. A lower tax rate in retirement is the whole basis of the appeal of tax-deferred accounts.
And let me give you some anecdata to work with as you ponder your starvation in retirement: my parents. Mom just bought a brand new Corvette last year. Dad is talking about a new $65K truck to replace the one they bought just a few years ago. The just bought a new $35K fifth wheel camper this year. A large, long-paid-off house on six acres in Florida. Lots of camping trips, which means feeding that hungry diesel truck that's pulling that fifth wheel, and camp spots with hook-ups ain't cheap. Maybe it's not how kings live, but I'd have no problem with the lifestyle. They're in their 70s now, I don't see the money running out any time soon.
And they retired in their 50s with about a million dollars.
You'll need $4 million if you still hold a mortgage in the Bay Area and you're stilling hitting the $EXPENSIVE_NIGHT_SPOT thrice a week, while having Uber Eats delivery your dinner every night. Which you won't be doing when you're 55 or 65 if you have any sense. Which means you don't need anywhere near $4 million.
To get to answering your question, I plan a minimum of $1 million, and a max of $2 million, when we retire. We're not going to continue to live in Redmond, WA, I don't think. Taxes are pretty good, IMO, but we'll sell the Redmond house and buy something in, say, Bellingham and pocket the difference. I have absolutely no reason to believe we'll be anything other than just fine and dandy. Especially considering that the median person of our mid-50s age has less than a tenth of our current savings, and you don't see masses of retired people starving in the streets, do you?
The biggest chunk of my income is eaten up by taxes and rent. Once you've retired and your only income is from long term capital gains, taxes are much less of an issue and hopefully you've purchased a home so you don't need to rent. It also ignores social security, which based on the quick calculator at ssa.gov seems to be not an insubstantial amount, though I get that people don't want to count on that.
On the flip side, it completely ignores inflation which may mean that while your savings may be very large compared to how much you need to live today, they may not be adequate 30-40 years from now.
Without a good estimate for what your expenses will actually be, the number you "need" turns out to be complete nonsense IMO.
The only reason it will be lower is if income is lower.
Some people say to not contribute more than the match, because you end up paying more taxes in retirement (taxed as income) than if you just ate the taxes first and paid capital gains on it later.
Feel free to point out bugs or copy and add features.
Get a full time job and build your professional network and learn from more experienced people and gain experience within a business. Doing what you are doing now is not growing. And since you will be doing less than you are doing now because you will not be in school, it might even be the opposite of growing.
Keep in mind, zero hour contracts have a low net present value. 6/hrs per day should be discounted by the probability that the contract is gone in two months...perhaps without warning and perhaps without final payment.
And companies that contract with students often replace graduating students with current students because their practice is Using Student Contractors.
Pretty easy (results in days): Answering questions on Quora was a relatively easy, quick win. I answered a question on salary negotiation or job interviews every day for a month, and immediately saw a lot more interest in my site.
Harder (results in 90+ days): A focus on SEO has really paid off. SEO takes a while to build up, but once it's built up, it's pretty reliable traffic source. That means I can spend time working to offer more value to visitors so they'll stick around and come back later.
About 10% actually did a review of us on launch which gaves us a major boost. However, the ones that reviewed us a few months later are those with a long tail.
Reach out to those that love good products. Even if they have a small audience, it all adds up in the end.
Since Coach is an online course platform, we're not only giving people a demo of our product, but we're also providing value through content.
For example, we giveaway a free eBook on selling more online courses & digital products: https://coach.withcoach.com/level-up-your-sales
We also run a free email course on launching your next digital products in 10 days: https://coach.withcoach.com/10-day-product-bootcamp
Both have driven thousands of leads to our product.
For https://weddinglovely.com, I work with small businesses and running the weddings blog has been our biggest marketing win. Our businesses send us content, which we publish, getting traffic and also cementing our relationship with the submitting business. We've also started getting significant affiliate revenue ($2k+ mo) from past articles we've written.
If you'd rather not comment on this thread, I've also created a quick survey here:
About 20% of my visible audience took part in the assessment and/or bought the product. I got a really good vibe of the people that are most likely to engage and who I should be focusing on.
Surprisingly, people that my content is reaching are further along in their journey than I had intended on reaching out to.
This has been my biggest result so far from my efforts
Be active not reactive.
Drop $1000 into each with an original idea, $100 into each that sounds legit and $10 into each of the remaining ones (ignoring the ones which are just a fork with a couple lines of code changed).
Don't worry about fixing that time machine - as sad as not doing it a few months ago feels, it's not really making any difference in the long run (aka "Dollar-Cost Averaging").
As usual, standard rules apply - never invest money you can't afford to lose, scale the amounts stated above to fit your disposable income, etc.