Initial success for 4-6 years does not guarantee future success. Yik Yak is a great example of an app with initial traction that failed to capitalize. Much of that failure was attributable to product decisions. However, from the very beginning, they were tied to a rock in rising tides. Growth of YikYak benefitted from college culture, but the product itself became too dependent on that culture, limiting its ability to spread post-college. As a result, YikYak churned users as they graduated, and eventually there was nobody to replace them.
Snapchat appears to be the most recent company with "staying power." College campuses popularized Snapchat, but the product does not inherently depend on a college community like YikYak did. People continue using Snapchat after graduation.
When evaluating if a company will be the "next Facebook", you need to look at its "staying power." Can it break the 6 year threshold? Once that happens, it seems that public recognition and becoming a "household brand" is sufficient to sustain growth until at least the 10+ year mark (or lead to acquisition by FB ). For examples, see: facebook, twitter, instagram, whatsapp, youtube, twitch, reddit...
The next question is, what makes facebook different from all those other companies lasting 10+ years? How do you replicate that?
 Also, consider that we will never know how instagram or whatsapp would have developed, had they avoided acquisition by FB, like Snapchat did.
These artificial numbers applied to all social interaction, fuck society up in all kinds of unexpected ways. These numbers are required to keep the advertising revenues flowing and can still be collected and supplied to them without causing social fabric damage.
The fallout and constructive handling of this mess is going to take a while to understand and get right. That said I think Facebook and YouTube and Twitter even though they are responsible for the mess, are also our best bets at figuring this stuff out.
These aren't tech problems. These are social problems requiring expertise from community builders, politicians, sociologists, ecologists, psychologist, lawyers, journalists, law enforcement etc
I think the evolution/next stage of the social network will be driven by such folk much more than the techie. The techie was required to create speed and scale. That job is complete. How we use the scale and speed, understanding it's positive and negative effect on society and utilizing it for the greater good is something tech companies will be hiring a lot of non-tech expertise to figure out.
I would like to see someone like Obama put in charge of Facebook to see what is possible.
I get that you're suffering, and I am not without compassion. But the kinds of jobs you're fantasizing about are kinds of jobs I've had. They are not without stress, as you imagine them to be. They are physically wearing and not at all secure, but most of all, the kind of stress that comes with those jobs - more to the point, that comes with those jobs being the best prospect you have - is not a kind of stress that ends, save to give way to something worse.
Your current travail, conversely, certainly will end, and based on what admittedly little I know about how startups work, you have a very real prospect of a great big payoff at the end of it. It would, I think, be the regret of a lifetime to squander that enrichment of all your years in search of a more comfortable day after tomorrow.
Personally, I'd suck it up and get the sale done, working hard to make the price as front-loaded as possible. Depending on the buyers appetite for you to keep working there you could:
A) Suggest that you're excited to stay with the business, but if they feel there'd be too many chefs in the kitchen and that you should phase out, you'd like to know about that now... i.e. open the door for them to express how critical you are to the deal.
B) If they DO really want you, push hard for a front-loaded deal (i.e. initial payout versus earn out) and then give notice 6 months after the deal closes. You'll leave some (maybe lots) of $ on the table, but who cares. Selling a company isn't indentured servitude. Someone else owning the company might relieve some stress. If it doesn't, punt.
Broadly-- I'm a believer that happiness is generally internal. If you can't find a way to be happy with this job, I suspect you'll have a hard time with a different one. Starting ASAP, I'd make some changes to see if it makes a difference. Get therapy. Try anti-depressants. Shut off your phone at 6pm and don't open your computer. The sky won't fall. Exercise. Meditate. Try psychedelic mushrooms (only half kidding-- there are some studies that one dose positively impacts depression and anxiety). Eat better. Go into work late AM twice a week so you can take a long walk with your wife. Schedule vacations. Go into the woods a lot (exposure to green space helps depression too). I just read that doing tai chi helps with depression. Schedule weekly lunches with friends.
Second, recognize that an acquisition is a change of life - that can certainly make one feel anxious and depressed, no matter how much you may have looked forward to this milestone.
Third, nobody is indispensable. If you died in a car crash today, the company would find a way to continue.
In your place, I'd go through with the acquisition (and do my duty to my investors & employees). When the dust settles (3-6 months), I'd go to my Board of Directors and tell them I need to change roles at the company. That would include dropping all my day-to-day responsibilities and dropping back from full-time. Be explicit that you're on a transition out of the company, and you want it to be orderly (for the company's benefit) and time-limited (for your benefit). When the time expires, leave with thanks and go live your life. Good luck and congratulations!
Here's the thing- it probably isn't stress free, just different kinds of stress. And you also need to ask yourself whether the feelings are caused by your job and stress, or if they're just coinciding with them.
As many others have said, look into talking to a therapist.
Also, talk to you wife about this! If she was crying the same way, you'd want to know, and you'd want her to trust you enough to tell you. If there's any person you need to be able to open up to, it's your spouse.
> The product is just too complicated (tons of domain knowledge required) for someone to come in and take over.
I doubt that this is actually true. It may take them time to ramp up, but you're there to guide them and mentor them.
> Additionally, the product just isn't that interesting (glorified CRUD app) and it's been hard to retain developers.
The fact that you're deeply involved and don't feel that other developers can step in, and at the same time feel like it's a glorified CRUD app hints that you may not be giving other developers enough autonomy or context on the problem.
If they are just working on simple CRUD stuff and have no context, the job is going to suck. But simple CRUD with context could be much more interesting.
And if all else fails, pay more.
You need to make an important hire- you are missing a systematic. See, creatives like you are awesome at solving problems but hate to have structure and order because it doesn't allow you 100% freedom. But, as a result, you just have 100% creativity/problem solving- which is draining. The worst thing is, you can't even create the order you need to manage these things.
Systematics create structure and order in dynamic environments.
I wrote a book about this and other problems with innovation and how to solve them. It will be published later this year, but happy to provide an advanced copy to help work through seeing the problems you are facing.
The systematics in your business are meant to free you from the ongoing crap that you are experiencing.
Here are some possible alternatives:
- find a leadership coach and/or mentor
- delegate the parts of your job that you like the least
- find a way to reduce stress in your life (exercise, hobby, etc)
- try professional therapy
- share how you feel with your friends and/or family (maybe even leadership team)
- take a vacation
- work less
- define and respect clear work/life boundaries for yourself
- read about/learn how to manage stress more effectively
- create a project plan for yourself (what do _you_ want to accomplish for _yourself_ in the next 3,6,12 months)
I could go on and on.
Another thing I think that you should ask yourself is: would you really be happier working at WalMart? Is it really this specific job and role that's causing your unhappiness? Is there really nothing you can change to make you job more enjoyable? Is it possible that you're creating your own unhappiness?
From personal experience I highly recommend finding a great leadership coach. I had a leadership coach who really helped me tackle some potentially similar challenges I was having.
If you want to talk more feel free to ping me. Good luck!
I've done it a few times during summer while studying CS to pay for my bills. They do shifts from 4am-12pm, or 12pm-8pm, or even night shift... They treat you like a bad kid, you get humiliated 24h/7 by who ever is higher in the "hierarchy". On top of that your body takes a hit since most of these jobs are very physical. You get back home sore, exhausted, sometimes it turns into real health issues like tendonitis, chronic lower back pain, etc. Trust me after 2 months working at a factory you'd hate your life. You'd hate yourself. Some people get stuck in this nasty world for decades...
You-I-we, the tech people, love to think there's a better world out there by lowering the level to its bare minimum. It's actually the opposite effect but you have to experience it to understand what I'm talking about. So go back to work and keep cashing out, or, go fishing on an island.
A lot of them shifted into roles with different but less critical responsibilities. One person basically just turned into an evangelist, meeting customers and painting visions. It wasn't easy for them to keep going, but it's easier to keep going in that type of position because they weren't responsible for keeping the lights on.
I realize this isn't an answer, but maybe this is a way to keep going if you decide to stay with whomever acquires your company.
>The product is just too complicated (tons of domain knowledge required) for someone to come in and take over.
This is a very heavy burden. I was here once as an individual contributor and I ended up in the same state you are in now. It was absolutely awful. Even if somebody can't take over 100%, can they take over 25%?
Also, as others have said, find somebody to talk to. Assuming you have a decent marriage, cry in front of your wife so she knows what's going on. It's hard to move when you feel the whole world is resting on your shoulders.
For 1 week, write down everything that you do for your company, and then group the like tasks in order to figure out how many/what type of person(people) to hire/train. Start looking for that person, while writing down everything that you do the 2nd week. Rinse and repeat as you go through the month/quarter, and you should develop a better idea of what it will take to replace you.
The LOI writers know that you are doing the job of multiple people, and that you are indispensable, and that's why they want to require you to stay. Make yourself replaceable, and then there would be no need for you to stay. Work from a beach if you want, but take action now to permanently lessen your stress.
Feel free to reach out if you want to talk (or just vent) privately. You can find me through info in my HN profile.
You need to meet with a psychiatrist (MD) and be screened for depression.
Being Depressed doesn't feel the way you think it does, and you're throwing up several flags.
Please consider that your emotions right now might not be what you think they are, and that for mild depression (which one often sees in people in stressful life situations), very mild medications can be greatly efficacious.
Please, please take this advice seriously.
- an anonymous health care professional, who's been where you are.
CEO's, Hedgefund Managers, Sport Stars, they all talk to psychologists. Give it a try.
Youre tightly ensnared in an overly restrictive set of obligations. Perhaps its classic burnout from just plain working too much in a demanding role, or perhaps you have new ideas about how to make a living that would require new employment which is restricted by your LOI terms. Perhaps it's something else altogether or a combination of things. In any case, the symptoms are a direct response to these socially-imposed constraints hindering your pursuit of something more appealing, that in your view are beyond conventional means of renegotiation.
It would help immensely to talk with someone - therapist, your wife, etc - and help work through why you are feeling this way and what changes can be made to alleviate the mismatch. There are many good pieces of advice already in the comments here. Just remember that things cannot continue the way they are now without some kind of situational change (not drugs) or your symptoms will only get worse and more debilitating. Good luck.
For me i spent a month riding my motorcycle across the country. Came back, worked for a little while met a fantastic woman, then quit and spent four months riding our motorcycles from Boston to the bottom of South America. Came back, and started working again. Of course, 6 years later i'm daydreaming about doing it all over again. ;)
When i was young I was the child of an artist. We were pretty effing poor. But, we had food. We had a roof over our heads, and every day my mother worked doing something she loved. We were happy. Money isn't everything.
Now, you've got the compounding aspect of the acquisition and not wanting to screw over your friends/coworkers just because you're depressed as all get-out. You are absolutely wrong that you can't offload your work to someone else (as you noted in the comments). You probably can't hand it over today, but you can start training someone else, and if you're like most people who think that then you're probably overestimating your capabilities and underestimating those of the people around you.
I think you need to get out. Even if you decide to stay, you absolutely need to start offloading your stuff.
Also. talk to your wife more about this, and maybe talk to a psychiatrist. Many of us have aversions to them but they have tools they can offer you to help you work through the more difficult moments until you can get yourself out of this situation in a way that works for you.
First of all it sounds a lot to me like you are suffering from burnout. You need to see someone about this (not necessarily a health professional, perhaps a mentor or confidant, someone accessible, whose opinions you respect)
You have come a long way and achieved something that is not trivial. You are entitled to cash out. I am however wary of the terms you hint at. I would NEVER do a deal where a significant portion of my compensation is dependent on future income from the business I am selling. NEVER.Once the acquirer takes over, decisions are out of your hands and it is his/her prerogative to grow the business or run it down. Why should you tie yourself to such an uncertain future ?My reading of your situation is that you should try to get a deal where you stay on only long enough to transfer your knowledge to your replacement. 1 year is sufficient for that; 4 years essentially makes you a bonded servant.Have you retained the services of a professional to help with the acquisition? If 'No', do so asap.
I mention these points because although your intention is not to stir up a debate about terms of purchase, I think they stand out as potentially significant stressors.
Every field looks green when you are in burn-out-land but resist the temptation to think that dish-washing, bar tending or whatever menial task you presently romanticize, represents a step up from your present condition.I agree with @bsvalley. His answer is on point.
I would talk to the missus. That's what she's there for - moral support; but its difficult to give support to a person who hasn't asked for it.
Finally. I will say congratulations! You are on the last lap of a very difficult race. Not many people get to this point. Don't falter here. The reward for all your effort and sacrifice will be financial freedom, time for leisure and a sense of accomplishment - and maybe opportunity (on much better terms) to become a bartender after all :)
Meditation can help quiet your mind, and for a lot of people it can lead to being able to appreciate what's happening right now, in this moment.
Nike founder Phil Knight said, "if all you see are problems, you're not thinking straight."
You're probably not getting enough sleep. Perhaps consider taking a day or two to really just rest. No matter how important everything seems, you can almost always take a day or two. In fact, it sounds like you pretty much can't afford not to take a day or two and rest. Really sleep.
I'm a believer in the idea that when we're rested, when our thoughts our quiet, we're able to see the right way forward. When things feel hopeless we're often just burnt, and need to rest.
Phil Jackson, the champion NBA coach wrote a lot about his mediation practice. He had plenty of times in his life were he felt the way you're describing. He said knowing how to breath and quiet his mind saved him from many sleepless nights.
Good luck and remember everything feels better after a solid 8 hours of sleep.
I've been in a very similar situation as a first time founder for over half a decade, and getting professional help to deal with anxiety, burnout and depression was super helpful. I was spending days staring at the screen phasing out, couldn't get out of bed, crying, deriving no pleasure from anything, and all that jazz. This lasted over a year before it got bad enough I had to reach out for help. I was going to either quit and/or accidentally take the company down with me.
No pills involved to fix it in my case, just a lot of techniques and practices prescribed by the therapist that help you keep your sanity over the long term. You can get over it within a couple of months if you are diligent about staying on top of the process.
I suspect that almost every high performer who pushes hard in their career will eventually get to this point, it's normal, you need to learn how to deal with the level of anxiety that these positions can induce. Just like most super successful people have coaches, I think most super successful people have therapists keeping them afloat.
I am a passionate web developer but a few months ago, I had these exact same thoughts mainly about switching to a low stress job. Later I realised that I needed a break badly and the monotonousness of work ( building some kind of CRUD all day ) for me personally was making my life severely discomforting. So I left the job against everyone's advice and for the next few months I had terrible arguments with my family about this decision. But I was at peace the moment after I left the job and I think it was the right decision, even though my family wants me to regret it.
It's not that you hate what you do, but you definitely need a break and not just like a vacation, but actual handing over of responsibilities to someone else. After a few months, I felt like being back into the business and the optimism for work was back.
So this is probably against what everyone else is advising here but if you don't like it, leave it. Your wife should understand this too, if this is so important to you that it makes you cry. And definitely take up a stress free job for a change. It should help.
As far as leaving the company goes, you might find someone in ranks just below you who could be able enough to take over most aspects of your position.
Let me know, if you think this is a completely wrong advice.
The reality is that it's a job like any other, but with way more stress, hours, responsibility, and people's livelihood depending on you not fucking up.
A big part of the problem is that it is rather difficult to talk about burnout, depression, etc with others as people think you are living the dream. Not to mention, it's expected you keep up appearances as the person steering the ship.
The only way to survive this and keep going is to find people you open up to, to talk things out and work through the shit. It kind of sounds like you are keeping this from your wife, at least in part, which is a big red flag. If you don't feel comfortable sharing everything with your partner in life, who can you talk to for support?
Don't keep on trying to fix this on your own.
I've experience the hour long crying showers first hand, and I don't wish it to anyone. Don't minimize how you feel, and don't blame/shame yourself. Therapy can be scary and still cary a stigma, but it's basically allowed me to be myself.
I am no founder myself, so I don't pretend to know what you're going through, but I know the symptoms. Let me know if you want to discuss this further
I suggest that you have two kinds of problem: a daily happiness deficit and a long-term happiness debt. Your day-to-day life has been grinding you down for a while.
You'll have to make two kinds of changes. One is to pay down the giant debt. E.g., once you get acquired, take a serious vacation. But the other, the more important one, is to make sure that most days are at least modestly positive for you.
I'd also suggest you find a therapist. You may have to try a few before you find one that's a good match. They can help you figure out whether it's depression or just a reasonable reaction to a bad situation. Either way, they can also help you figure out ways of coping
Think of it like hiring a lawyer: Sure, you could figure all the contracts out yourself, but the lawyer has more training and much more experience. It's the same deal with therapy. A good therapist will be able to see patterns you are missing because they have seen it many times before.
Feel free to email me (contact info in my profile). I'm glad to correspond or talk on the phone if you'd like to discuss this further.
You're essentially sitting on a lottery ticket and when it hits, you'll have a heck of a lot more free time.
Just looking at this from another perspective, I tried running a contract programming business for a few years that sucked up my life and eventually put me in the hospital at age 30. That business never consistently made money. Contract programming is very much a peaks-and-valleys experience and once you experience that for long enough you end up working like that. You kill yourself on the peaks in hopes to not experience the valleys. When it was over I was so happy to have a 40 hour a week job...it's a vacation by comparison.
Consistency is the key. If you've got something that is generating a steady income, enough that it's profitable enough to be acquired...then it's on you to scale yourself down.
It's also within your ability to do so. I see that you've cited domain specific knowledge. All knowledge can be learned and taught. You might not be able to hire somebody off the street like that, but you can most likely hire a few people and delegate. If the work isn't interesting, then you need to find a way to enhance the experience for people working there. Make the hours creative or the opportunity unique. See if you can find ways to let people experiment or add their own flavor to it. If it's wood-chopping dull, then maybe those creative efforts are better focused on automating the day to day?
Wrote about my experience here if it helps:
Consider another perspective: if you get to the breaking point, which you're near, you're going to leaveeither because you quit or because you wind up in a hospital. You think you're importantbut you are not helping the company if your only options are to quit or die of overwork. Both of those situations end up with 0% of your energy going to the business.
Many people mentioned therapy, which I think is a good idea for everybody. My recommendation is to draw a boundary. Say "here's how much energy I feel comfortable putting in." Then really reflect on how to use that energy in the way that will help the company the most. That might mean hiring or training people. It might mean continuing to do what you do now, but letting more things fall to othersor just letting some things not happen.
You are more valuable to your company if you are healthy and present than if you are unhealthy and quit. When you start to feel "my only option is to quit because I'm too important" you're just indulging in a fantasy of running away.
I've known a couple of tech types (one dev, one a pm) that both found out that they were clinically depressed. They've both bounced back from it and are their old selves again.
Major depression is a serious medical issue and can happen to anyone... there's nothing to be ashamed of (and anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant). Treatment is usually talk therapy and antidepressants (and usually some time away from work... expecting a sick person to be at work while they're undergoing treatment is plain wrong).
Googling "major depression" will show you lots of resources... but talking to your doctor about this is your first step (this can be tough... but you can do it). Don't put that off. Especially don't put that off due to worry about step 2 though N.
So... your 2 options are really 3: See a doctor!
Best of luck (and feel free to reach out and I'll offer what advice/help I can).
You're right to identify this as a hard problem. I've been in your exact shoes before. 100+ person company, the weight is heavy.
The good news is that it's totally possible to get out without wrecking the company's outlook. But it does take a minor amount of time investment. Perhaps it's possible to view it as a new challenge: how to quickly hire or find someone within your org who is capable of taking over your day-to-day responsibilities? Who do people ask for decisions / advice when you're out sick?
Frame it as a promotion for them. Give them a (small) comp bump and a new set of responsibilities that include most (or all) of your existing responsibilities.
Coach them for a quarter, give them enough rope to hang themselves with, give them radically candid feedback, and then you can step away. (Or even go do something else interesting at the company!)
I can go into a lot more detail if you'd like -- please email me. The username in my profile (not my HN handle) at gmail.
Good luck, positive vibes!
P.S. Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqmdLcyES_Q as a jumpstart to getting your org ready for life without you
Maybe a nice, long vacation would be a good step before making any drastic decisions. Could you arrange to take 3-4 weeks off and go somewhere quiet and relax for a bit before deciding?
In my case the threshold is ~200 people; after that I don't really recognize everyone. In once case I was having fun but my wife was miserable.
In all these cases I was glad I left.
Now: if an acquisition truly is imminent, and you can hang on a bit longer, go for it. The buyer will be able to find someone to run the business, perhaps internal, perhaps not. It likely won't happen overnight (unless they have someone in mind already) but some pressure will come off you immediately.
If the acquisition isn't truly imminent you can indeed start looking for someone to run the business. Believe me there are people with domain experience and executional experience you can find. Use an executive headhunter. Have your board members help.
Sounds like burnout. Take it seriously, but it doesn't mean all is lost! Those LOIs are light at the end of the tunnel.
Oh, and consider therapy. You may or may not need drugs, but they probably aren't the first line of therapy. The talk therapy is good, and as a CEO you probably have nobody else to talk to about certain things -- especially if you think you can't talk to your spouse about stuff. Talk therapy is not a sign of weakness -- in fact you sound like the kind of person who has their act together (probably you don't feel like it, but your note says you understand something's not right), and so you probably will benefit a lot from it. Many people in the valley, especially top execs, are in therapy and it helps them a lot.
I dealt with burnout several times. The only thing that helped me deal with it was turn off electronic devices after certain time of the day and before certain time of the day. No tv, no phone, no laptop, not even your favorite meditation app. Do anything which does not involve electronics or information heavy.
Much other advice about how to deal with such issues over long term are easier said than done. Some of my favorite ideas are
Build sustainability into your engineering, product and sales process. It's like running a marathon. If you run too fast in the beginning, you get tired so easily.
Be less outcome dependent and more discipline driven. If you plan to make incremental progress, you will eventually have something stable and it gets easy to continue. If you need a constant rush of positive outcomes to get you to do something, it does not build resilience to last longer.
What is it with this romantic view of supposedly stress free jobs of filling shelves with food or digging a hole for a garden tree ( the easiest thing in construction ).
I feel your pain since I get similar feelings as you sometimes but then I remember 20 something me doing roofing and breaking ice on a path with a big ass hammer for tourists to enjoy a walk around the lake. It sucks.
I can only offer you one solution that I would personally do if I were at your place right now... Sell asap and move on.
Directly answering your original question, I would take a serious look at option #2 ("Suck it up and work on the same thing for 2-5 more years").
In my personal experience, I sold my previous company to a much larger company some years back and it was a great change. Even though it was "working on the same thing" for 3 more years, there were new people to meet and new challenges to tackle. After all, humans are a social species and just having a different set of people to interact with can be a much needed change.
You might be thinking you'll be working on the same problems, but really it will be nothing alike. Your work might get better or it might get worse, but I guarantee that you and your company post-acquisition will be experiencing something very different. And I'm not just talking about the money part. That might be very helpful to get you out of this unhappy burnout.
If you need someone to chat with over email about what might be upcoming if you decide to take the deal, feel free to hit me up. Contact info in profile.
I think you are idealizing other jobs because you are suffering in your current position.I am from a development country where many would give it all in exchange of being in your shoes. I don't mean that your problem is not real or important. What I want to say is that you may be missing a lot of positive value because your perspective is narrowed by how you feel. Talk with your wife, you will feel way better, I am sure she will understand and support you. Find professional help, like a therapist. Compensate your day at work with activities that you enjoy, this can do wonders!. Hire someone, maybe not for replacing you because that is too hard, but for helping you with your tasks and having more time for doing things you enjoy.I am sure you will be able to build the strength you need for going through the acquisition an collecting the goodies of the hard work you have done over the years.
I wish you all the best
You could also stop stressing: don't answer the calls, let your business slide and go bankrupt.
Running a business is no easy feat. As you've got that far, you probably know that. You are likely tired because of it, which is normal, everybody gets tired and there's nothing wrong with you or your business.
I think what you need is to perhaps promote someone or get a friend to help you. I don't see how a domain can be so insanely complex and out of reality for everyone. You probably just need someone and that someone to spend enough time with you.
My point with stress is that I don't necessarily own a business anymore and never had as much success as you doing that, I'm not about to cash in some big money which would allow me to follow other passions I have. After some failed startups, I work for a big business and the only thing that changed was the job "security". Instead of having to look for a new job every year or so, now I don't anymore, but it's stressful: I want to do my best.
The same happens when I try to play the guitar, I get also tired, stressed out. Then I give it a pause. As with a business or work, you can't pause, but you can always ask for help.
Everyday driving to/from the office my chest is so tight it feels hard to breath. I constantly think about my old friends that have real weekends, have time for hobbies, and get to leave their work at work.
The main reason I keep going is that I actually enjoy the work. When I take a break I get excited about going back and continuing to build the company.
Having worked landscaping/construction before starting a company, I can say I often think fondly of the simplicity of those jobs. Though when I was there I all I could think about was starting my own company.
You really need to find a way to be happy regardless of what you're doing. That may be by just cutting back on how much you are working, delegating more, and finding meaning outside of work.
The idea that you are essential to allow the company to be acquired is most likely nonsense, I've yet to meet someone that could not be replaced with some goodwill and hard work to transfer responsibilities. Better that than to have someone that does not really want to work!
Definitely it's only one of the reasons and maybe not even the biggest one. This is symptom of bigger disbalance in life that requires more free "me time" time for you, more calming and wondering to decide what's important for you in life, what you want from life.
As an actionable solution I'd recommend 1/ to start meditating. It helps a lot to calm down and enjoy life. Also, 2/ start lead you life by saying more NOs to what's not on your own agenda.
I like a lot Derek Sivers on saying NO: If youre not saying HELL YEAH! about something, say no.https://sivers.org/hellyeah
Your personal support network is exactly what you need to be able to lean on to get through stressful times.
Pick a date and say to yourself (and probably also your wife), "on that day, I'm out of this shit job." Maybe with the uncertainty of selling you can't pick an actual day now, but do so as soon as you can, or say "at most X days after the sale." You know you probably aren't going to just quit outright, since the stakes are too high, but if each day is part of a process towards eventual quitting, that'll give it a bit more meaning.
But also, for goodness' sake, take a vacation. The office is going to have to get used to your not being around eventually, why not practice now?
Sure, fuck it, quit. Line up a new job at a big enterprise shop with lots of process and 9-5ers, tell them you'll start in 6 months. Spend that time exercising, enjoying your hobbies, and doing things with your wife/family/friends.
This board is filled with people who fetishize entrepreneurship, the responses are going to slant that way, take them with a grain if salt.
Hope everything works out for you.
This project sounds like not a big life goal for you, so once you're stable, plan a nice end game. Plan for it to happen sooner rather than later. Think about other life goals you have, and how you can pursue them afterwards. Try to make time for these things. Anti-anxiety meds will help you do this. You regain a lot of time that unconsciously allocated to fretting.
Let good enough be good enough. Try to get the company into a reasonable position but don't feel like it has to be perfect. Downsize a bit if need be. Learn to say No. People's lives are not dependent on your ability to do stuff for them. Focus on those things that create the most value with the least time/stress.
Once you get to this point, you may even decide you like the company enough to stick with it.
Tell her your situation. Ask what she thinks. Discuss options. Execute upon your mutual decision. Do it when you two have time to dig into the details.
Don't rush it but if you're unhappy that's no way to live. I'm leaving my company this summer, my business partner has known for some time. My wife knew first.
Look, I really don't know your situation but you might want to ask yourself why you felt it necessary to hide it from your wife. Can you not be honest with her? Are you trying to protect her? And if so, does it really protect her from anything or just give her a warped perception of the circumstances? Her opinion of this makes way more of a difference than anyone on HN.
Love your wife and be open and honest with her. She's far more important than any business.
1) At some point you SHOULD try one of those other jobs. Bartending, etc. See how the other side lives. Exercise your freedom and don't feel constrained to do this sort of work (even though the ship currently depends on you right now to keep acting in this role in order not to sink).
2) You should really have a better relationship with your wife. Open up to her in ALL ways, and she might surprise you.
3) I don't understand how the product could not be that interesting AND YET it is just too complicated. People generally find complexity interesting. What am I missing, here?
4) Perhaps you're burnt-out? When's the last time you took a 2 week vacation? You NEED to figure out how to make it possible to disappear for a while. Because your sanity depends on it.
That all said... here is a bro-hug. People obviously find your work valuable. Take solace in that for the time being, at least.
Have you considered the possibility that what you are facing is probably because of depression? I know, you would say that the work is the cause of depression.
Either way, you should seek medical help for it. I have seen people waste away because of depression, my grandmother for one.
It would be much better once your depression is under control and you'd be able to make a better decision. There is one thing thatI learned growing up, "Never make a decision when your head isn't straight". You'd be able to make a better decision once you are free of the burden of depression. Trust me, and see a doctor for depression. There's nothing bad about it.
B) Exercise is a good way to de-stress.
C) Start planning how to implement your third option. You need to do this anyway so that you are not a single point of failure. This is good risk mitigation practise. However I don't know enough about pitching/diplomacy/PR to tell you the best way to spin this to acquirers.D) You many need to delegate to multiple other staff, not just one.
E) Once you are de-stressed, you will be better able to judge whether you are able to suck it up as necessary.
F) Personally, I think that if it's only 2 more years, it may be worth sticking out, provided you first implement points A-E above. There is a big difference between 2 years and 5 years. You could give yourself a hard deadline to be out within 2 years, and take steps to make sure that you are not a single point of failure by that time.
1) Are there ways you can keep going but change something to help? Going to see a therapist? Taking a short break? Talking about what's going on with your family? When you're stressed it's hard to remember all the support structures out there.
2) You need to ask yourself what is it worth to stay where you are (from a financial point of view). Is it worth a big payout in a few months to a year? Getting acquired is a good way to earn a big pile of FU money quick - and that will buy you all the time to relax and recoup that you need.
Do what you need to do to get better, and dont trash what youve worked hard to build! You can do it! Hope to see you post your success story a few months/years from now!
They know you and your situation much better than any of us.
Suck it up, get the sale done (especially when you're so close to improving the lives of your other founders) then take a vacation and recharge.
If you need to quit at that point then do so, but at least you're not taking the rest of the team with you. Would you feel ok if they did the same to you? You signed up for a team sport, hold the line and finish the job.
Just commenting in a new thread to give a suggestion: have you considered promoting someone to your executive position? A founder stepping down to a "more suited" executive might not hurt the acquisition.
And I would give another thought about hiring someone for the role.
I think "sucking up" is the worst option and leaving without a plan the second worst.
Anyway, I wish you good luck. I am not a founder, but fortunately you can find advice from the right people.
As a founder, you're always going to have to deal with strategic situations (like the sale of the company) but you'd be surprised how much of the day-to-day work you can pawn off on a recent MBA graduate. I'm also wondering if you've come to hate the job because of the work involved with finding a buyer and working towards the sale. It's grueling! But it's also over when the sale is complete.
More immediately - it sounds like you need a vacation. I've been there with the whole fantasizing-about-walmart-construction-sites-and-grocery-stores but it's a dead-end in the long-run. Every job will wear on you and come with it's own set of hardship. Mentally less stressful? Possibly. But think of the very different set of people you'll interact with - possibly a huge culture shock. Think of what a bad day at work might look like at a construction site. In the rain and cold, a little physically injured, maybe having to deal with a client that's trying to screw your crew over on the contract? Probably making less money? And dealing with all the comes with? It's not much of a greener pasture once you get into it. I would bet what you're really in need of is a break and a change of scenery for a little while. If you can make that happen (and again - you need to or this is all destined for failure at some point), try that and see how you feel when you come back.
By all means keep talking to people who have been there to get input - probably a lot of us on HN. Don't take all of it as gospel, but you're definitely not the only person to go through this, and you won't be the only person to figure out a way through it.
Also, taking on a different activity that involves leadership might greatly help in boosting your morale. What you have done with your company is quite commendable that you should be proud of. If I were you, I would focus all my energies on the company's future post acquisition. To think of ways of growing the company beyond what it is today and see the acquisition as a possible out in that direction, not the end goal in itself might be helpful.You might also want to try to accomplish something in a field that you have no clue about but is not super hard on your brain. For instance, you could learn ballroom or Tango. You could also join a basic mountaineering course. You'll be out in the nature and accomplishing an endurance task. All your energies will be focused away from your day to day mind numbing activities and towards accomplishing a very different goal.
Good luck !
I was convinced that chasing startup money and fame was some objective form of happiness. The chase never made me happy.
Luckily, I woke up before I made any hires. My startup is still profitable, but it's more of a lifestyle business now. I work enough to make sure the profits don't fall.
I use my time to travel the world, live out of a backpack, make friends, do shit that scares me. Still struggling with the last part.
Last month I volunteered at a not-for-profit pay-as-you-go restaurant taking orders and cleaning tables and it made me the happiest I have been in almost a year.
I am also exploring my other passions - fitness, food, nutrition.
You know best what you need to do. I thought I'd share what I did.
If you're unhappy with your work, you won't be passionate about leading a company. Especially through an acquisition, your colleagues are looking at you, a founder, as a leader, and drawing on you for strength. If you can find it within yourself to be that leader, then that's great! In that case, you probably shouldn't also be the lead developer, and given your extensive domain specific knowledge, it sounds like you might be doing too much all at once. I can't know; I'm not in your shoes, so this is all an outsider looking in.
It sounds like for the moment, what you really need is to pull back and relax, take some time for yourself, and recover. Your body only has so much willpower to go around, and if you get in the habit of exhausting that regularly, you'll burn out every time. Figure out if reducing your role at the company will let you continue, and do that if you want. Or, if you need to craft an exit plan, do that as well, and find someone just as passionate as you to fill your shoes. But take care of yourself first!
I feel this too, when it comes to programming, there are small number of positions that would makes me happy, but if i would have to deal with CRUD apps, i would prefer a job like you have mentioned.
Now i want a job that i don't care about, that leave my mind in peace, so i would dive in theoretical computer science with a free mind.
If you have enough money to take a Sabbatical, then do it, 3 months or 6 months. I know many (mostly in academic field) that tend to 'find themselves' when they do these every 10 years or so.
You sound like you're suffering from burnout. When is the last time you took an extended rest? I'd strongly advise that. Best of luck to you and I hope this reaches you! :)
What happened next:
* the acquisition - I discussed the possibility of leaving and insisted that the new owners obtain much more than just a slim majority, so I didn't have to worry as much about the future of the company if I left (it would have been annoying to have a major stake and no control, particularly as an opinionated ex-founder). It wasn't easy and my plans certainly didn't affect the price positively, but we found a good solution.
* I left rather quickly (a few months after closing the deal) and nominated a most suitable candidate for CEO who had been in the company for ~12 years. He's not a developer, but he's doing great and the company is thriving. They hardly ever need to ask me things about old code now. In hindsight, everyone is happy that a larger stake changed hands.
So, that's my recommendation based on personal experience. Stick around till the acquisition and make sure you can leave without causing major problems. Good luck! Remember that as a founder, you might misjudge/overrate how much the company actually depends on you.
PS. as for "other plans", life makes its own - I have been mostly dealing with my health issues lately, so it's safe to say I was better off beforehand. C'est la vie...
It can give you ideas on how to delegate more.
Secondly figure out how to retain developers. If it causes you stress and hiring is real expense then you should invest in fixing it.Make developer work environment as good as possible and maybe pay slightly above market pay.Your job is to fix the environment to reduce turn over to compensate the boring product with other factors they value.
After six months of waffling back and forth stressing myself out even worse over the fact that I wasn't doing the obvious thing about it, I concluded that if I was going to manage to do it I'd've done it by now, looked for other options, and suddenly realised that Tianeptine is (a) entirely unscheduled and hence not actively illegal to posess in both the UK and US (b) easily mail orderable from Hong Kong.
Also Tianeptine is acute so if it works for you, you'll be able to tell by a few days in (three in my case). I've been deeply fond of it and far more productive since.
Note to anybody about to reply telling me that's a terrible idea for any of the obvious reasons it could be a terrible idea: Yes, I know, but I was incapable of doing any of the things I should have done to fix it and I had a company and team I was letting down and this worked for me. I am now slowly getting back to a point where I don't feel like I'm letting everybody down, and that's more important to me than pretty much anything else.
This statement is almost certainly not true. Anything can be learned by someone sufficiently motivated. You, yourself, were not born with the knowledge needed to run your company, were you?
> "Additionally, the product just isn't that interesting (glorified CRUD app) and it's been hard to retain developers."
People's motivations are different. Some people want to work on some super-interesting cutting edge product. Fine, you can't offer that, so forget them. Some people will do any job so long as they're rewarded with enough money. If you're about to get acquired, you may find you suddenly have the ability to hire these people. There are also tons of underemployed tech folks out there suffering away as "engineer number 7 from the left" who would love that rare chance to lead a project, move into product management, and/or finally have some ownership stake in what they're working on. They're probably super easy to find too. Just wait in the parking lot of any major tech employer at around 6:30-7:00PM and look for the people walking out the door with sad, exhausted faces :)
As others have said, this is not uncommon and you're not alone. It has everything to do with your mental health and well being. I've been through something very similar and it basically revolves around burnout, stress, depression, anxiety and some times panic attacks (e.g. crying uncontrollably). While you don't treat those and their root causes, you won't be solving the problem.
Treating means reaching out to experts (psychologist/psychiatrist) and sharing your burden and feelings with others. It's fundamental that you share it with your wife and once you feel more comfortable, with friends. You will notice how that will make you feel lighter and better.
Remember, people care about you and you're not alone. If your current situation is destroying your health, it's not worth it whatever $$$ is involved. Thus, take care of your health first and foremost. In parallel, learn (via therapy, meditation, physical activities, hobbies, etc.) how to deal with tough situations like this - life is full of them. That will not only prepare you for future difficulties but also bring joy and excitement back to your day-to-day work.
There are many routes to happiness while maintaining your company.
Weekdays: appear strong, I'm responsible for 30 people, nobody can see that I'm vulnerable.
Weekends: massive bingie, parties, alcohol, coke, hookers...
Last year in april after a 4 day weekend I almost died, had to call the ambulance on myself. My legs and arms started to feel numb, couldn't move them, was scary. Called the ambulance, they said that go to the street wait for them, and under no circumstances close my eyes. It was really hard to keep them open, but when I heard the sirens just snaped. Had this thought closing my eyes that I may never open them again. Turns out that I didn't drink enough water, and my blood got so dense that my heart couldn't circulate it. Wake up in the ambulance car still in my street feeling pretty well, bribed them so they say they haven't found me, because I had a big contract signing in 5 hours.
Then I reached out for help, on therapy since. Before that I was thinking about it for long, but how should I choose, etc. Doesn't matter, just went with the first one I found sympathetic online.
The second one is sport, get your self time to move 2-3 times a week, does wonders.
I wish I could say I haven't touched any substances since, but currently I feel much better.
So get therapy and start to move, that worked for me.
I was in a similar position: last remaining founder having to pick between an acquihire where I'd be locked in to a job I didn't want, or pivot. I had cash in the bank, so I felt obligated to not stop. I talked to my investors, and they said "it's ok to shut down."
The thing to keep in mind is that early-stage investors don't care about 1x or 2x returns - they hope that one or two out of dozens of investments make enough money to return the portfolio.
For me: I chose to shut down  and travel for a bit. We open-sourced the code, which made clients happy. I kept my phone in "do not disturb" mode for a solid month after shutting down - it took awhile to decompress. (The shutdown process is still ongoing after 4 months, unfortunately). Feel free to email me if you want to chat.
It sounded like you are attached to your work and if so I understand because you were a co-founder. I am also very attached to my work but I am beginning to build up resistance. I just keep reminding myself if at some point I stop finding my job fun and enjoyful, then I need to find an exit, just like I would go home if I haven't slept for teo days.
Find and do the thing(s) you enjoy doing now. You wil be happier.
I'm just speaking my experience as a guy on the shit-end of the stick haha by my own doing. If you're at this level/credibility why do some shit job. I realize you said stress free but being a drone/laborer sucks I'd like to lobotomize myself to escape from reality sometimes.
Going on someone's thought of "died in a car crash... continue..." maybe once you're acquired someone can take over your role after you train them/and be a consultant. I wouldn't know I only dream to be where you are at this point in my life cycle.
if you're not going to be rich in any case then the answer is simple: you should quit. let it die. i know there is emotional investment, but there is no reason to continue to be unhappy. get another job you like better. assuming you need to get another job:
construction is not stress free. its not normal work, its labour. its risky. people develop physical problems. but yes i understand the appeal. diy'ing is fun. construction could be fun as well if you have the talent for it.
retail pays enough for kids, not adults with a house. so although it could be chill that is not really an option.
finally i recommend having some people around you to distract you from your worries. roommates. a loving wife. whatever you can get.
- It will feel weird to open up to a stranger, and in the very beginning it may ADD to your stress; you will find reasons to cancel the session. Don't.
- It will level up quickly and after a few sessions, you will likely start to see improvements. The sessions may still feel a burden, but by now you know you do not cancel or skip them.
- Don't expect your entire outlook and days to be wholesome better, you may still have crisis like you described - the important thing is that you will also have more moments of energy and positive thinking. Use those highs to prepare your mind and agenda for the lows.
Other thoughts that may help:
- Making yourself less necessary may not be tactically wise right before the acquisition, but rest assured, afterwards it WILL be. Under stress time may pass too slowly, but it does pass, and you will get there.
- One or two trusted and loving family members may offer excellent emotional support, without the day-to-day baggage that may have made you feel you needed to hide from your wife. They will love you no matter your mistakes and weaknesses.
- A good friend you can talk to that has no ties to anything else that worries you - no direct link to your work or family. They can offer an objective point of view and help you plan, strategize and clarify the situations you face. And their mere presence will remind you that you are not alone, that you are worthy by who you are and how you are.
- I can't tell you how to involve your wife in your current plight. Ideally she could be one or more of the above, but life is not perfect. If you don't feel you can fully do it, do what you can and figure it out (possibly with marriage counsel) after you are feeling better and with less weight on your shoulders.
- Find some activity, even if it is infrequent or short, that is yours and yours only, and absolutely enjoyable for you. A TV show, a hobby, gym, swimming, a game, writing. Keep your support group 100% in the loop so they can help you keep it at a healthy level (they ensure that you do it, but they don't let you escape into it and neglect your "real" life).
All the best.
You're having a company which you started and which you say is profitable, don't throw away all that due to some temporary situation. Instead of running away, face it and see how you can improve on it !
- I think your wife needs to know. I have never taken a big decision like a job change without consulting my wife. We're in this together, and if I wanted to not have to share this decisions with someone else, I would have stayed single. Please don't take this as an attack, I am not judging you. I'm pretty sure you don't want her to know so you don't stress her, but you too are in this together, and there's no need for you to go through this problem alone.
- I think you may have a partial view of those jobs you mention. It's quite likely that a bagger at a grocery store does not suffer the stress you have at his or her job, but the pay is also much less, and the stress may come at other parts of life (for example, if that job forces him or her to live in a bad, dangerous neighborhood). Construction? working outside must be very hard in the middle of the winter or the summer, for example. I think it's good that you consider other options if being a founder is burning you out, but you don't need to go to the other extreme.
- You and your family are the ones to decide if quitting is a good option. Don't worry about the company in that case. You are entitled to pursue your own happiness, and people who work for startups (I know, I have) are or should be aware that failure is one of the options, usually the most likely one. So please don't feel like you need to put up with something that makes you supremely unhappy so that the company stays afloat.
So my summary is: Find what is best for you and your family, don't worry about the company if you really feel that unhappy, and if you do quit, if finances allow, take a short break and then don't go for the first thing that comes your way. You are smart enough to have started a company and getting it close to an acquisition. That's something I was never able to do, so I say 1) hats off to you, and 2) you won't have trouble finding a good job once you're ready to do that.
Are you sure about this, beyond a reasonable doubt? Reading your post, this sounded to me like the kind of story I sometimes tell myself to boost my self-esteem when I feel like I'm in a bind.
If you are in fact irreplaceable, that means you're unique and one-of-a-kind. Feels good, doesn't it? Everything is hard, but at least you're valuable and unique.
At the same time, if you're actually replicable, that means you might not be as unique as you think you are in this situation, but fortunately by admitting that, you're on the way to solving the problem.
It sounds like you're in a generally good situation, and maybe there's someone smart and ambitious out there who would be willing to step up and help you make yourself redundant?
But a good sounding board can help you hammer out why things aren't working and what might be done about them. They won't make your decisions for you nor tell you what to do. A good sounding board listens a lot and comments a little and makes thought provoking comments. They do a bit of reframing. They give you some perspective.
It can be a huge sanity saver to have a good sounding board to run things past. This is much, much, much more valuable than a psychologist or crying on the shoulder of a friend or loved one. Sometimes friends or loved ones can play the role of sounding board, but that isn't guaranteed.
I don't know how you can find a good sounding board. But I think this would do more for you than talking just to vent about the stress. I agree that you need very much to talk with someone, but not just to blow off steam. You need to be able to go "AAAARGH!!!! The Whatsit is NOT fucking working AGAIN for the third fucking time this fucking week" and have someone say "So, with that much downtime, would it make sense to buy a second Whatsit? Would having two of them eliminate one of the major sources of stress in your life?" or even "So, explain to me what a Whatsit does. Why is this such an enormous source of stress for you?" and then in the course of explaining its role in the business, you have some epiphany about how things work and why you keep tripping over X, Y and Z issues.
1. Even if in the very worst case the result is a slightly lower price, that's way less important than your health.
2. Life balance is a real thing, burnout is a real thing, they cannot be ignored indefinitely.
3. You work hard and they obviously value you and your team's achievements, which means they also can relate to the situation.
4. Don't feel shameful in admitting your limits, we all have them.
5. Acquirers will work with you to hand over responsibilities in a way that works for your situation. Remember from their perspective that, since every acquisition is different, complexity of handover is actually normal and expected.
If I were in your situation, feeling the way you feel at this moment, it would be an indicator that something is VERY wrong with my life. But if that were the case, it would have been wrong for a long time, and I would have just been ignoring it.
I can't help but wonder if that's what's going on here with you. At the Nth hour, on the precipice of outstanding success, you're peaking in unhappiness. The correlation is likely not a coincidence. It's an unhappiness in you that has been there for a long time, and the more you continue to ignore it, the more it will rob you of your life.
Find peace, my friend. It may mean enormous life changes.
Take like 6 weeks, hard travel and exercise, eat well, relax. Don't use email.
Take a month vacation and transfer the domain knowledge to paper.
The aqcuirint company probably don't expect you to be super passionate after their takeover, so they shouldn't object. Even if they do, the worst that could happen is probably that they knock off a chunk of your earnout package, you'll probably make much more than if you simply leave now.
If money is not the issue at all then you should definitely leave as soon as you can. There is absolutely no point in being miserable if it doesn't pay off big time. You already did something awesome, be proud of that and move on with good conscience!
I've learned that being in charge is ... Sort of awful. I'd make many of the same decisions again, but I have regrets.
I have a relatively stressful founder job and have recently been able to do this. Just having someone who's in my inbox, seeing the same demands I see, makes it much easier to get through each day.
I have depression episodes, had one while my company sold.
Today isn't tomorrow, tomorrow isn't yesterday. Accept how you feel and make the best decisions, holistically, that you can.
If that means letting your partners negotiate because you're unable to? In spite of you building much of the value? Then giving you a dime on your dollar of equity?
That's fine. Seriously. I went through that literal situation, and it was the most important thing I've ever experienced.
I realised I needed to do 2 things:1/ Figure out what you REALLY want to do.2/ Figure out how your work life can support it. Is your work life not supporting it? Figure out what you need to change to make it get there.
For me, that meant switching jobs to something that allows remote work and unlimited vacation and organising my work day so that I can just put in 8-5 and leave work at the door.
Also, try taking an open-ended vacation. Don't make any plans, just get the time off and do what feels right.
So for me portfolios are for junior devs & graduate students looking to leave academia. Therefore, I look for things that are uncommon in those environments, engineering over theory, documentation & tests over novelty.
Note: if I were hiring for a researcher the above would not be true.
so my most impressive candidate would be someone without a degree and quite a few very complete and well polished personal projects.
If you run an open project on GitHub I'll also look at your wiki and issues, to evaluate communication.
Ideally things like good tests, good code structure, personally I'd also like to see a stable language choice too - if you're jumping from one language to the next to the next I'll probably assume you're going to want to rewrite everything in the new hotness every other week and that's a pain in the arse.
Associated blog posts that explain how your code works and why though? I'd put your name to the top of the "get this person in" list on the spot
Otherwise, most github repos are not that impressive as I have no idea how long it took to write (did it take a few months to write something most devs could write in a few days?), or if the candidate even wrote it at all.
As my classmate and I were talking through Skype the night before the competition started, I looked through my window and could see the stars. However, I could also see my face dimly lit from my laptop screen overlapping. So it came to me that it was a great way of making a HUD for a prototype.
We got to it and built the prototype from scratch. It took a lot of work and resourcefulness, rushing to get a webcam from friends that would work a Sunday morning (in Spain that year shops were closed on Sundays). Then we used several languages I already knew, if I remember correctly: HTML, CSS, PHP as the HUD display was actually a webpage, Processing for hand tracking and C++ for Arduino. I made the whole software part and my classmate the hardware+electronics. There were some more things like sensors and stuff that we made.
For the local phase we made it theatrical starting with the moon landing audio and the lights off, with me entering wearing the helmet and barely able to breathe and my classmate with the laptop and cables. Connect the projector and a screen appears. I'm sweating, but I point with my finger at a part of the screen and it correctly reads where and displays the info real-time. The same for the other 4 points and I can feel truly happy inside that it is working.
After winning the local one we rushed to get votes since we got into the People's Choice category and we had a strong battle against Macedonia's team. They were Trending Topic for most of the week the contest was happening in their whole country while in Spain it was all about football and celebs and we just made it into regional newspapers at that point. Another team also used bots but of course NASA people detected it. We won in the end, visited Cape Canaveral and saw a rocket launch.
One of the best moments (of my life) was when I came to class after winning the whole thing and everyone stood up and started clapping.
Here is the project, https://2014.spaceappschallenge.org/project/space-helmet/(yes, for the video we used a fishtank and printed GoPros as props)
Many edits: added extra info and details, sorry for the long post.
Our team of 3 won the first Node Knockout by a slim margin with this realtime, multiplayer, pixel formation game.
Edit: Thank you for your positive feedback! Send me suggestions and ideas if you have any.
Tip: press spacebar.
I made a Chrome Extension that blocks eyes: https://vimeo.com/90351144
If someone runs a dumb ideas hackathon in London, my next plans are either:
- Song lyrics to nineties powerpoint presentation converter, with lots of bullets and stock photos, and timed transitions
- A computer vision and Mortal Kombat-style announcer for pissing the shit off toilet seats
Many iterations later the map and the process through which the map is created is being used nationally and internationally. I've done workshops. Spoken at national conferences. The local tourist office hands it out. It's going to be in next months local authority magazine. Even had enquiries from local authorities to make these for them.
It's up for a local award in innovation (will find out in June if I've won).https://cyclebath.org.uk/2017/05/11/finalist-creative-bath-a...
Something that was a "meh really do not want to code today" hack has turned into a bit of a monster.
I think it would be good to automate how these maps are created, but there really is an artform to making them work well and require an immense amount of local knowledge and public consultation.
It worked by scraping the top 1000 Bing results and then scraping several levels deep from each of the results to generate a "map" of knowledge. This in turn could be used to ask the user questions, generated fill-in-the-blanks, matchups & whatever else you could think up.
It worked after the five-day hackathon, which was truly surprising, but unfortunately, it used too much computing power so we never released it to the world.
The other aspect was location verification. Working with NGOs, you could use this authentication method to let displaced persons login at certified locations. This solves two big issues:
1. Family member tracking. Red Cross and other organisations spend millions of dollars each year tracing where family members ended up. It is quite common for families to be split - reuniting them is a multi-year, labour intensive job. Solving that would do the world a whole lot of good.
2. Journey verification. When assessing refugee visa status, governments spend a lot of time trying to verify what journey a particular person took to get there to prove that they are legitimately a refugee. If a refugee could irrefutably prove their journey, then it would dramatically cut down on visa processing times.
We won that hackathon - I just wish I had time to develop it more. Tried to find who to talk to but the idea of using technology to solve the refugee crisis seems a little outlandish to traditional NGOs who (rightly so) place a lot of emphasis on food and shelter over apps.
WikiNomad: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wikinomad , https://www.wikinomad.com
I improved on this after the hackathon too.
My personal favorite was predicting depression before it occurs in a person using just his cellphone. We worked on Stanford thesis that was able to predict depression based on the number of wifi points a user connected to variances to the wifi points.
We increased the data points to GPS, wake times, bluetooth connections, text sentiment analysis and amount of facebook + instagram apps usage and using neural networks trained to classify a user as depressed with a probability value.
It won second prize sponsored by Freelancer at a local hackathon. That was almost 4 or 5 years ago now. I've improved the site a few times since then and it's still going quite strong! :)
I normally consider hackathons a questionable way to engage the tech community. In my opinion they seldom lead to anything sustainable and set the wrong expectations. 
Disclosure: I helped finance the continued product development through our organisational work.
I tend to work solo at Hackathons.
My favorite project was a presentation remote for Google Glass. You could control your presentation with the touch bar on the side of the glasses, see your current slide in the HUD, and it also included a timer so you could make sure you didn't run over your talk's time limit.
Second favorite was Cardwolla. A system where you could register your credit card and your dwolla account and a corresponding API for websites. If user and site had both opted in to taking dwolla it would route around the credit card system using the dwolla api to avoid to avoid the 2.7% credit card processing fees.
Just love them.
Not particularly popular on HackerNews for whatever reason, it was the type of thing where I finished my project at 2:00 AM and when I woke up at 6:00 am to get it together to do my demo, it was already getting tons of traffic.
It got writeups in Fortune, CNET, Lifehacker, and DailyMail over the course of the next week.
Not everyone follows the rules of the hackathon and works only during the time period. I was on a team that was a finalist at one of the startup festivals and won a few thousand dollars. Talking with the prize sponsor afterwards, they said something along the lines of "you don't have to pretend you did this all at the hackathon, I know how these things work". When they realized that we did, I think they were disappointed!
It worked out for us that time, but in most hackathons they don't have time to vet all the projects thoroughly, and if you do too much there will be a strong suspicion that you are cheating and just using it as a pseudo startup pitch and that can be held against you.
If you want to win, I think the best strategy for productive teams is to do more than one project since it's hard to know what any particular judge will like.
Anyway, to answer the question, the most impressive was probably a UI layout app (Mac) that synced the layout in real time with native iOS and Android apps using native widgets (this was before react native was popular). Where it was only a 24 hour hackathon and I ended up doing all 3 apps from scratch. I'm still pleased about getting horizontal and vertical snap alignment in! I'm sure the judges (reasonably) thought it was not from scratch but it can be fun to push once in a while, and people you hack with will know you did it.
It's best not to take it too seriously though. Rather than be impressive, it's probably better to be creative and do lots of stuff (and have fun too!).
As for regular hackathons... a lot has been said in this thread already.
We built a tamagotchi-like app called Piggly that would let you feed and take care of it using money from your bank account. However, instead of treating it like an in-app purchase, the money goes from your chequing account into savings or investments (you decide).
The server is still up if anyone would like to try it: http://126.96.36.199/
You can Register with any 6 digit number.
It was made for the Monthly Music Hackathon in NYC held at Spotify, but it ended up being not terribly musical and more about just fun with audio and convnets :)
Oh yeah! And for another instance of the same meetup, I teamed up with a guy who was great with audio synthesis, and I hooked up an Arduino and a gyroscope and microphone to my drumstick, and we made a wireless throat-singing, spatially-aware percussion instrument:
You can see an animated image of it here:
I was a bit disappointed we shipped Hackathon code instead of doing it as part of normal product development. There were issues in the product development cycle and in reality, the end result was good so such is life.
We made a video chat app that ran in the terminal. Didn't win but went kinda viral. We later polished it up
or...this bad boy:
Hideous but it worked.
Now that we're in the post SeeFood hotdog/nothotdog era, things have changed ;)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJsOA4Zl6Io
I wrote up how I built the React Native app part in under 24 hours: https://nanohop.com/2017/04/25/how-we-built-a-react-native-a...
It was really neat seeing the hardware and software come together in only a day!
This won us the first prize for a google glass hackathon.
On that note, I would say that using Gimbal beacons to power a walking tour app was something that people responded really well to. From a tech side, I had to write some adapters for ionic that I had never done before. It worked surprisingly well
The pitch: https://www.facebook.com/brandoncorbin/posts/101552909699924...
Looking at programming this way is harmful to all of us (because it encourages us to spend time building things designed to decay out from under their users, or that could be built as contributions to open-source libraries, but which wouldn't be a "startup idea", "product" or "mvp" anymore), and it would be nice if folks in this thread took a moment to step back from the things they've built (which are fun and useful, most of the time!) to think about working on ideas as contributions to open-source infrastructure libraries rather than standalone programs or services.
Programming toys is fun; programming universally accessible, near-permanent extensions to human capability is exhilarating.
I'd like to pre-empt the response of "people should be able to write apps and toys and services if they want!". Of course they can. I just want to make sure people have considered an alternative point of view, since it's easy to never step outside apps culture.
First party session cookies (e.g. login cookies) and several other reasonable uses are exempt.
The law is most strongly targeted at google analytics / facebook / omniture / etc cookies, which are third-party tracking cookies that follow the user around the Internet.
In your case, if you are setting a first-party non-persistent cookie which does not "identify" the user (except to determine usage patterns on the site) then it would be pretty reasonable to consider it exempt from notification.
However, you should throw up a cookie warning if you are setting a persistent cookie or using third-party tracking scripts (which will go ahead and use third-party tracking cookies).
As a clarification, this law does not apply to cookies in general: certain cookies, sometime referred as technical cookies (e.g. session) are exempted as long as they're not used for tracking purposes.
Side note: I personally hate this kind of thing where good meaning people force me to consent to or decline something. I liked the grey area where I didn't consent nor forbid tracking, and could be morally outraged and use a website at the same time. I think there is little use in displaying terms of service that nobody reads or understands, and especially terms that you have to accept if you want to use a service (which you most of the time not strictly have to use to live, but realistically, to take part in out society... yes, I have to access most of the services I do).
This is exactly what the law is targeting, using cookies to track users.
Realistically, as long as you don't and have no plans to do business in the UK (Edit: EU, not just the UK) you should be fine. But it can't hurt to put small notice to be safe.
I mean, anything is possible, but nowadays ads are hooked into all sorts of analytics software that determines how long an ad is on screen and things like that. You could try and implement something like what you're proposing, but it would show up as weird metrics on the advertiser's side.
Ads are already in a sandbox (iframe), so you could just make a little extension that sets iframes to display: none and give it a whirl if you wanted to test an MVP.
Learn about the design choices made in Bitcoin and how its blockchain adds to that integrated whole, and you will see how the stability of the network emerges as a tensegrity of multiple competing forces with opposing incentives.
However, a two-way interactive device like a laptop or Chromebook? Typing homework instead of writing it? Having collaborative tools available to work with others, both in and out of school? Playing with preliminary programming environments? Trying experiments and visualizations? Yes, that can absolutely help.
Just handing a device to every student will not automatically improve education, though; they're not magic. There need to be lesson plans, adapted materials, tools (e.g. for teachers to collaborate with students and students to collaborate with each other), and not just the same lessons ported to turn in homework on a computer. That takes time and effort, but the result will be students much more adapted to a highly tech-integrated society.
(Disclaimer: the above derives from professional experience and observations, but is not a comment made with my professional hat on; not speaking for anyone else here.)
As for the comments on social media: yes, and that's something many of them will do as adults too. Many people are highly social, and hang out with each other online. Some of what they do will be educational and productive, but having a computer doesn't mean it has to be used entirely for education and productivity. Even just posting online provides practice writing and typing, both of which benefit from practice. Some of their time might be spent on random Internet forum sites arguing with each other, which of course will never be a skill they'll make use of as well-adjusted adults like us. But it'll keep kids inside and thus off your lawn.
1. A study showing that giving kindergartners short-term exposure to tablet learning programs caused a short-term increase in literacy scores (probably just novelty effect)
2. A non-study anecdote from a med school
3. A survey showing kids prefer being given iPads to not being given iPads
4. The same kindergarten study again
5. A probably real study showing that math apps improve algebra test scores (probably through increased practice)
6. Another survey showing kids still want toys
7. Anecdote that tablets can improve accessibility for disabled students
8. Another legit-looking math study with a positive result
9. Another give-us-toys survey
Assuming these guys have done a good job searching for evidence of value, the only decent result for mainstream K-12 education is that it maybe makes math practice more palatable which would definitely improve math scores.
CAD (Onshape), programming, digital arts/photography, making video, collaborating on writing and presentations for group projects, collaborating with your classmates, doing research -- all great uses.
In other words: classroom tech is probably best (IMHO) when used in nearly the same way you would use it in a job or a non-school project.
Replacing existing educational systems and tools (conventional textbooks, testing, etc.) ... probably less useful.
Blended learning and personalized learning are two methodologies in which technology is actively valuable. You can learn more about those on sites like Edutopia and EdWeek. Here's a great summary article from EdWeek looking at concepts for technology in education: http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/technology-in-education/
I'm a big fan of using digital games as an engagement modality and curriculum augmentation. GlassLab and SRI did some work together a few years ago and their meta-analysis indicated that adding a digital game to a traditional curriculum could on average increase cognitive learning outcomes by 12%. Of course it varies wildly depending on the game and circumstance. https://www.sri.com/sites/default/files/brochures/digital-ga...
Tablets/e-readers are great for schools. There are plenty of DRM-free e-books. Instead of buying crates of books, you can just buy some files and them copy them to all the e-readers on the school network.
I've never been able to manage physical flash-card decks, but once I got a smartphone I started using spaced repetition system (SRS) flash-card apps, which can organize (probably) millions of flash-cards and show them to you in the most optimal way for exploiting the long-term memory. I've learned over 3,000 Arabic, Japanese, and Korean words combined, thanks to SRS flash-card apps.
And in this day-and age where pretty much everyone is a network/system administrator (they just don't know it) it's important for kids to learn how to really use a real computer. The most useful thing I learned in my digital media class was how to organize files. I've never met an employer or coworker who could maintain a neat filesystem, even though an untamed Downloads directory would often be the source of their computer troubles.
There is a huge opportunity for these technologies to make schools better. But at the same time, that opportunity has been here for over a decade now.
One more observation: american public schools have horrible taste in software.
(My answer is no, here's my proposal for a better model: https://medium.com/@prendalearn/nanoschool-a-new-take-on-edu...)
If you were given when you were a kid a laptop or tablet (and if internet existed at the time) would you have used it to study or to look around for (choose whatever fits better) music, movies, lolcats, funny videos, maybe some p0rn and the like?
Reflecting on my personal experience: in junior high school and above I played a lot of video games available only in English, that truly helped with my learning of the language. And now that I'm studying kanji: spaced repetition on the iPhone...
Students are given a Chromebook and a G Suite for Education account, and all papers/homework is required to be submitted in Google Doc format. The accounts and the Chromebooks are, of course, centrally managed.
Because all students receive these devices (and in our case have to pay a $20/yr. insurance fee to cover any potential damage) any objection from poor or under-priviledged families is eliminated.
It is sold to parents as a way to improve education? Of course. But in reality it's not for the benefit of the students. It's for the teachers.
less than 60% of teachers think that pupils' academic performance also improves, or in other words, the impact on their marks is seen to be lower than on their learning
1.) I grew up in a poor area. For high school they introduced an alternative school where you could come in whenever-- basically just rooms full of computers, you would take the whole lesson on the computer. They were able to use only a few teachers for a lot of students this way. While the courses themselves could use a little more work, overall it allowed people to finish high school that otherwise wouldn't have. I think the "let the computer do a lot of the teaching" method is a great one. Lets people work at their own pace and takes some pressure off the teachers.
2.) In an ideal world I would think you could buy a laptop and then save money on books, but at least here in the USA I don't usually see it done that way.
3.) Even if they're doing totally irrelevant stuff, knowing how to use a computer to search for answers and filter out bad information is a great skill to have. So while yes, they need to do their homework, I don't think it's awful if they also use it for playing on.
If there was solid evidence it worked, you'd see that evidence cited everywhere.
There is evidence, however, that it helps kids with learning disabilities.
But in general, when I got an iPad Pro this year and looked for science/math toys to run on it, I was disappointed. There are a lot more didactic educational apps than more imaginative uses of the new medium. Some worth mentioning:
* Earth: a primer* Several apps and games to learn basic programming Scratch-style* Khan Academy* Desmos* Some interactive books from e.g. the Exploratorium* XSection from the same company as Euclidea* A digital-logic game whose name I forget* Kaleidopaint* EveryCircuit* An audio spectrum viewer
I'd like to hear of more to try.
The TL;DR is: Yes, they undeniably improve academic performance, and studies have shown this repeatedly. However, keep in mind the studies demonstrating this are done with teachers who actually knew how to use the technology, were trained to do so, and had specific instructional goals in mind for using the tech to benefit their students. If schools/districts just throw this technology at teachers without proper training and academic objectives, it will do nothing. Computers and tablets are useful in the hands of a good teacher, but they are tools. They cannot turn bad instructional practices into good instructional practices.
Then there are xyz companies capitalizing on this by building custom tablets/ipads with their own educational content ripping off both schools and the parents by selling "premium" content that helps students have an "edge" among their peers.
But then, for most parents this is also a matter of pride - "my kids attend a smart school! What about your kids?" which is fueling this pathetic trend.
Almost all of my cousins are enrolled in these smart schools and they don't care much since they now have device to play games on in lieu of learning something meaningful.
I feel sad to see these in a country where there aren't proper schools in thousands of villages.
EDIT: fixed typos
I have seen good evidence that computers do the opposite, in the form of Toyama's book Geek Heresy: https://jakeseliger.com/2015/11/17/geek-heresy-rescuing-soci... .
Anecdotally, I've seen recent immigrant children struggling to understand user interfaces (that I would argue were poorly designed, not that it matters to anyone caught in the bureaucracy) that more computer literate kids "get" immediately. The struggles with UI, such as kids literally spending dozens of minutes trying to get to the next question, undoubtedly exhaust and frustrate them. One can only guesstimate the effect on test scores but it can't be positive.
More exposure to a variety of software/UIs seems to matter.
I have never seen a math teacher who I would trust with a hammer.English (language) classes might have a paper mache hammer - one student made as a prop for a play and it has been hanging on the wall since.Physics teachers need a cartoon oversized sized rubber hammer.Shop class will have 60 different hammers, for some types there will be one for each student.Art class will have a couple, and once in a while borrow a bunch from the shop class...
Now that our mindset is correct we can re-ask the question: are computers useful? The answer is what are you going to do with them.
Part of modern English (language) class is typing. Starting perhaps 3rd grade there should be regular streams of reports handed in electronically. As students get older much of the literature they need to read is available free on a computer and hard to find in paper form. Other than a caution about handwriting and spelling still being useful skills I expect to see a lot of computers in language classrooms. As the kids get older things like web pages will be added to English class. (web pages have more in common with journalism than computer science!)
When the kids get older I expect art to be done on a computer, but for elementary aged kids art with messy paints is better than the computer. (some professional artists find painting on a computer is better than real paint: it works the same way until you want to hit undo or need the paint to dry at a different speed - but that is for older kids)
Math is about reasoning through a problem. Computers running flashcards can be useful at times (single digit addition, subtraction, multiplication should be memorized), but ultimately computers are easily harmful to the goal of teaching reasoning. In fact real math problems the arithmetic is easy enough that not being able to do it is a sign you made a mistake.
Science is like math, except the real world is messy and so an equation solver is helpful. Most of the learning is actually before the point or writing up your report though, and not using a computer is an advantage as it forces you to think about how you will measure something.
Shop class (though this barely exists anymore - I think this is a great loss) should cover CNC and 3d printing.
At home I think Khan Academy is a great learning resource. Also even Youtube can be handy for doing research for young kids on history/animals/facts where reference books can be a little boring.
Aside from that I think its largely for show. No one wants to be left behind or seen to be.
Hey! I did that..
Readable academic blog post
Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among SchoolchildrenRobert W. Fairlie, Jonathan Robinson
Computers are an important part of modern education, yet many schoolchildren lack access to a computer at home. We test whether this impedes educational achievement by conducting the largest-ever field experiment that randomly provides free home computers to students. Although computer ownership and use increased substantially, we find no effects on any educational outcomes, including grades, test scores, credits earned, attendance and disciplinary actions. Our estimates are precise enough to rule out even modestly-sized positive or negative impacts. The estimated null effect is consistent with survey evidence showing no change in homework time or other "intermediate" inputs in education.
The course website doesn't give much details so feel free to view my website that details the course syllabus so you know exactly what you will be learning including UML, GRASP, Design Patterns, OO Metrics and more.
It takes the cognitive overhead off of the programming language completely and focus on design principles in a really modern learning style.
The tough part is the patterns that are used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_Patterns
Go buy that book and learn to read and understand enough c++ and small talk to read it cover to cover OR find examples in your favorite language.
This book is a trap, because it will take you a while to get out of the mindset of being "pattern happy" (maybe). There is plenty of material to follow up with afterwards to learn the downsides of each pattern, and when not to use them.
if, while, for, foreach, do, goto, and switch.
Implementing something as simple as a FizzBuzz solution under those constraints will be enough to understand OOP.
the main topics that one should learn are:* some tidbit of history on why oop* fundamental object oriented concepts: inheritance, encapsulation, and interfaces* network of objects and their restricted interactions
* modeling a domain using objects* documenting objects and their interactions* how are objects represented in memory* SOLID principles* solutions (design patterns) to common problems* concurrent design and thread safety in oop designs* tools in oop design (CRC cards, UML, etc.)* actually making projects and laying out the code in an implementation language.
Here are some books I seem to like so far.
Holger Gast - How to Use Objects: Code and Concepts (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321995546)This book seems to be what I was looking for. It has an integrated practical approach using the Eclipse source code as examples for various object oriented concepts. I have cross-checked various sources and it seems like this book covers all relevant concepts including SOLID principles.
Bertrand Meyer - Object-Oriented Software Constructionhttps://www.amazon.com/Object-Oriented-Software-Construction...This seems to be a great reference. However, I haven't looked too thoroughly into it. I found a nice quote though.
"Today, no one will call security if one of the cocktail guests declares object-oriented tastes. This is the buzzword effect, which has been dubbed mOOzak: the omnipresence, in the computer press, of O-O this and O-O that, causing a general dilution of the concepts. The words flow so continuously from the loudspeakers object, class, polymorphism... as to seem familiar, but are the concepts widely understood? Often not." (29.1)
I also find that writing a tutorial-style post helps me understand new frameworks or concepts better, since I have to make sure I know enough about the subject to be able to explain it.
It's also nice that people read it and recognise you - I've worked at a couple of places now where people have mentioned one of my posts has been helpful.
I've tried writing blog posts before, but there was too much friction, as I was trying to write for a fictitious audience.
TILs help me write for a specific audience - me.
However, one of my cohorts said that he blogged for nobody else but himself- mostly as a point of reference for a later date. I absolutely loved this idea and have ran with it since.
Granted, my blog may look pretty random these days as its sprinkled with things that I'm learning and things I want to use for reference, but I also don't have to look up the esoteric things that you don't do often (such as setting up symlinks).
I wouldn't discount the power of a blog. Even if its not prolific or life changing, it is a good example of what you're working on and learning, which will inevitably come in handy somewhere down the line for you.
In addition, it gives me exposure, opens up opportunity for talks, and sparks interesting conversations with many people.
If you wrote amazing piece of code and nobody (except your coworkers) saw it, did it really happen? How would a potential future employer know?
By blogging about things you learn you establish yourself as someone who knows the stuff you blog about. It might lead to incoming job opportunities and helps when you submit your resume.
I'm lucky enough at the moment to be in a very collaborative team, where knowledge sharing is just part of daily interactions; but I've been in positions in the past where those interactions were not present and I found that writing howtos and reports on experiments was a great way to review the things I'd learned.
2. It improves your writing, particularly technical writing, something developers are notoriously bad at. Written communication is just as important as coding chops for most developer jobs, sometimes more important.
3. It's a good outlet for whatever is frustrating you at work. None of my friends are developers so my old man rants (a skill is still in it's infancy for me) are lost on them.
Edit - The spelling mistakes indicate I still have room for improvement.
I blog to make sure I understand the new concepts I learn.
As a woman in tech, I also blog to inspire and get more women interested in technology.
I would say, I was blogging in order to share my personal opinion with who ever wanted to read.
- understand nuances in something by teaching it
- improving your writing skills
- seeing a purpose in helping others
- building a personal brand that helps you to land jobs in the future or create a business from it
As others have said, honing your ideas is also a process that blogging chisels & fine tunes.
My blog is mostly java and spring - www.javabullets.com - any feedback is good
Just a quick note: I'm a psychology major... I was fascinated with industrial-organizational psychology, or more specifically, the workplace, and I had wanted to do something with it. I have yet to pursue my masters but hope to in the future. Anyways, after college and teaching English in another country for a year, I ran out of money, and returned home where I turned to a self-taught skill when I was a teenager: programming. Never thought I could do it for money, but apparently, there is a demand for it. And that is where I am today. One job led to another led to another.. and I'm just in a very good place right now.
So... I began http://www.confessionsoftheprofessions.com as a hobby. Didn't know where it would lead. Didn't really think about what it could be used for or what value people would get from it. All I knew is the value I would get from it: learning why people go to work (money or other reasons), what we can do to make the workplace a better place to be, and how we can get along with our co-workers better. Hopefully it is something I could use towards research when pursuing a masters degree.
Confessions of the Professions is a source for understanding jobs, careers, and the workplace. It started out as an outlet to rant about my workplace, my boss, my co-workers. I must've had a good 10 stories to tell and already written up before the blog even began.
After some time, I asked my family and friends about their jobs and tried to convince them to write about it, but they wouldn't. They only told me their stories, so I wrote them down as best as I could and I had new material. I then solicited on Craigslist and even paid a bunch of people on Fiverr to write about their experiences in the workplace. MyBlogGuest (http://www.myblogguest.com) and MyBlogU (http://www.myblogu.com) would also be extremely helpful in my efforts to solicit even more articles.. and then infographics, ebooks, etc.
Over time, it had gotten more popular.. and I began receiving dozens of emails a week with more companies and people wanting to be a part of it. I no longer solicit on any website. The emails just keep coming. I've gotten contributions from reputable universities like Ohio University, Florida University, UCLA, etc. I usually receive articles from their psychology, business, or science departments. I also get articles or infographics from businesses as well, usually from hotels and the hospitality fields. A lot of marketing companies use the website as an article distribution source. Everyone shares and it keeps getting discovered. I'm helping everyone out and they are helping me out. It has become a great community. I have over a dozen repeat contributors who keep coming back with new material.
It has been a great experience.. it's been running for almost 5 years now. I keep writing. Others keep writing. It keeps going. I have certainly thought about just stopping and no longer maintaining it, but then I get more emails, and I can't ignore them, so I just keep it going! I get to learn a lot of new information before its even released to the public. I have learned a ton about SEO and people in general. I've gotten to speak to people from all over the world including most parts of Europe, the Philippines, India, South Africa, Australia, and I think I even spoke to someone from Hongkong once.
There has been a ton of benefits to keeping it going: exposure to visitors. New information. Networking. Connections. Writing. Thinking in a mature manner, especially in dealing with people. Learning about new web design trends. Optimized coding. I also loved the email I got last week from an elementary class who was using the website for their project on learning about saving money for retirement. Random viral confessions. My average daily count of visitors is usually around 1,000 a day, but for about 2 weeks just last week, I was receiving about 10,000 visitors a day. A different article was going viral everyday. Unfortunately, I could only track down the source as Google, but I wish I had known where it was coming from and why. Sometimes, the website just gets hits from popular trends or keywords such as "unemployment" or "retirement" or even "webcam model". And I do make some money from the ads.. not a crazy amount, but it pays for the domain and the server.
The website is technically no longer "my blog" as it has become everyone's blog. I occasionally get to post my own articles, but I do give everyone else priority over mine. And I wish I could publish more than once or twice a day, but behind the scenes -- it would mean a lot of work to do more than that.
It has also made me learn and be more confident as a developer. I've moved the website from shared to optimized VPS to cloud server. If it weren't for the website, I probably would have never bothered to learn what "cloud computing" was. It is my baby, my first ever website that I pushed out to the public. Some weeks there will be no emails, and then all of a sudden, it's like everyone got the memo, and I'll get about 20 articles or infographics all at once. Definitely not my full-time job, but it keeps me busy, and I do it because I love it. Apparently, there are many people out there who also understand its mission too.
- So that you have some place to store interesting solutions, things you've learned, notes, et..
- So recruiters / others can find you and offer to hire you.
Or you do it for others:
- If you spent the last two days bashing your head against a problem and found a good solution, then chances are that there will be others out there looking for the same solution. Just as you found solutions of others useful, this is a way for you to give back to your fellow developers.
* 1. Productize your service: Create a clear proposition, and turn your service into a product-like-package. Have a clear deliverable, timeframe and price.
* 2. Then, create side projects. These side projects should be super valuable to your specific target customer and 100% free.
* 3. Instead of marketing your main service, promote your side projects. These are free, frictionless tools that people gladly share. Driving traffic to these free side projects is a lot easier and the sharability is higher.
* 4. On these side project, upsell your productised service, driving a portion of the traffic to your main service.
Make sure you have at least one website built up that represents a good example of your work.
Make sure you document everything you do. If you finish a project, take screenshots. Set up a portfolio online. Get a LinkedIn and update it often. That is a great place to show off everything if you don't have a website. Every job in which you receive a paycheck constitutes as working a job that you can list on your LinkedIn resume. Make sure you list out the details of what you did or do for the client. Don't go crazy, but list important keywords.
With LinkedIn, you should also connect to clients who are on there and get them to write you a RECOMMENDATION as soon as possible. ( http://www.confessionsoftheprofessions.com/useful-feature-li... )
Specialize in customer care, service and support, which is something that many web developers lack and will make you in demand. A client wants to know they can pick up the phone or send an email and receive an answer within a few hours. They are panicking already about issues with website or whatever, and you are the person who can keep them having a peace of mind, and you can certainly charge for that. I usually come in when the web designer before me has disappeared without a trace or is hard to contact.
I was referred to a very popular client in my town. She runs a paint and wine business and her web developer before me, developed all custom software, which worked, but had so many problems, that I ended up charging her hundreds of dollars just to repair the damages. It began to get annoying and while the money was great, I hated that I had to charge her for someone else's mess. It also gets exhausting tracking down a few dozen PHP files and figuring out what is causing the problem. Touching someone else's code is never fun. I came to her with an ultimatum: I could keep charging her hundreds of dollars a month and she would keep losing money from paying me, or let me install a calendar system that will cost her a few thousand dollars to install, but save her more money in the long run, as I probably wouldn't have to charge her to keep putting band-aids on a wound. It has been installed for a year now and I can tell you, she has definitely saved thousands of dollars.
Sure, I'm out thousands of dollars because I'm not charging her to patch bugs, but I'm not annoyed anymore, because I installed quality software that actually works. She comes to me with new ideas for her website and that is where I continue to make money with her.. and the general maintenance fees. She is more likely to stick with me because she really is saving money and she knows it.
I would highly recommend that you get a business card. You can get a few hundred made for less than $20. Hand them out to your clients. Do a good job. It will likely be that your clients will refer you to their friends. You can give them a referral percentage on the first project you do for the new client or you can just thank them. Whichever you prefer is best. If you have clients who run a business with a physical location, ask them if you can drop off a few cards and leave them in the front of the store.
Note the local businesses in your area. "Ma and Pa" places or small businesses. Check to see if they have a website. If they don't, show them the website(s) you have already built and give them a good deal on building them a website. Don't undercharge, but don't overcharge, either. This is where you'll have to figure out what a good 6-10 pages cost ... or more specifically, what price would make you feel comfortable doing a website. If they do have a website, but you clearly see it can be improved, than ask them if they are satisfied with their website, or if they are looking for a new look.
Lastly, make sure you know how to write up an invoice. Keep ALL documents of everything you do. Keep it organized. Google Drive or OneDrive is a good place to store them so you never lose them.
I have been in the business of freelancing websites for almost a decade. My first website was for a non-profit organization so I did not charge them at all. My second website, I think I charged $250, and then $500, and my prices only went up as I gained more experience. The other reason they also went up: I have noticed a huge change in what clients are looking for nowadays. Years ago, you would build them a website. Make a few changes they wanted and be done with it. Nowadays, clients are more selective, more picky, and want more custom work. So by the time you get done, you were literally working for free for them with all the changes they want. Be fair in charging your clients. If they aren't a million dollar business, and even if they were, you aren't going to make a million dollars from that one business. So don't get greedy.
Most of my clients nowadays are also repeat business wanting newer websites, as they themselves are entrepreneurs, and I usually get new ones from word of mouth. I don't usually seek out new clients anymore. I'm actually looking to get out of this business soon.
Good luck. It's a fun business to be in but it can get tiring. As for competition... Craigslist is filled with people looking for websites. Local businesses are a great place to start. And most people don't want someone who is "remote" or "overseas". They want someone who is local, in the same timezone, and in their area.
For small groups, I think I honest-to-goodness prefer TODO.txt in the top level of the relevant repository to any tool. Otherwise, GitHub issues is a pretty nice lightweight-ish tool.
Lack of an explicit model of a "sprint" (which often seems to be where formal process starts to get reified in these tools) is a big plus in my book.
We stick to Trello because everyone in the company outside of Engineering team can also use it (nice & simple interface).
But I prefer to cut down the amount of human action any process. So I miss the JIRA-GitHub integration when using Trello. I could just mention the JIRA ticket ID in a PR and the ticket gets closed when the PR is merged. Such sweet integration.
I was looking forward to GitHub Projects when I heard about it since everyone in the company has a GitHub account. When I tried GitHub Projects, it felt so inverse to what I expected. I expected a GitHub Project to have many repositories instead of the current way (each project has many repositories). I'm hoping they change it.
It's slick and lightweight, yet very powerful.One of the very few tools I feel like just gets project management right.
If they're never reuploaded I'll see if I can recover them manually somehow.
- Find people who love you and like to be with you unconditionally. People who do not need you to be at your best all the time. For me these are my parents, brothers, my wife and my in laws. All these people are just so happy being with me. When I visit home, I can tell my parents are having the time of their life just having me and all my brothers and the kids together. Its so liberating knowing nobody is expecting me to be the oh-so-perfect programmer or manager or even the perfect son or brother or husband.Also, 2 of my friends. I only have 2 great friends. But it's amazing when we are together. Too bad we are now in different countries.
- Learn to keep an eye on your emotions. Over-analyzing? Immediately try to reason and convince yourself to just live in the moment.Tell yourself that everything is ok. We came in this world without anything and everything we have including relationships is what we got later.
- Exercise. When you notice that week after week you make tangible improvements like lift more weight, run longer, or simply breather better- it does wonders to how you feel
- Take it easy- Its alright to fail.
- Nature- May be live near some greenery or lake etc. Take a walk in the woods. Just try to spend time with yourself, preferably in some place natural.
Something I must add: Try to build relationships. Good relationships with family and friends really take the edge off the hardships in life. Doesn't have to be 100 facebook friends, just a few solid ones.
I am at work and wrote this quickly. Sorry about grammar/spelling mistakes
1. Acceptance is the starting point or in the case acknowledgement of the problem 2. Talk Therapy / Counseling works. I would personally stay away from any pharma drugs, unless truly warranted. 3. I liked that you mentioned some weight training! Any regular exercise routine never hurt anybody. I have fought off depression with hitting the gym hard. It was what I needed at the time.4. Can you smell what the Rock is cooking! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dwayne-johnson-the-rock-...
Also: This is a good first step that you know there is a problem and you want to start correcting it. A sizable portion don't even know/care there is emotional problems with themselves until it's too late. But please know that this will take time, there is no quick fix. (That is one of the many primary reasons why people don't seek out treatment.)
Maybe this is "just stress" but "just stress" adds up over time to produce adrenal fatigue and other physical effects in your body. Maybe there's also some brain chemical stuff going on, in which case no amount of thinking or willpower will get you out. Needing medication, if indeed you do, is not a sign of your personal failure. Needing professional help of any kind for depression is not a sign of your personal weakness, it's a sign of your personal strength that you're willing to reach out when you need help.
You just described my on/off relationship with the gym.
>> 50-60% through building MVP for my startup - currently alone. But I am going through a state of depression since last 6 months
Did your depression start when you started your MVP? Or did something else change a around the time you started feeling this way? For me personally, I have felt quite crappy when I forced myself to operate in/under some circumstances.
>> Social life: nothing really (answered in another thread)
If you wanna do some remote pairing, or in person if you're in San Francisco,CA, with full permission to vent about whatever you wanna verbalize, I'd be happy to make some time to do that with you. I'll just listen and/or chat about code.
>> How to beat a state like this in life?
It helped me to learn that my feelings didn't need to be coupled my actions. And also accepting that it is OK to be depressed. Looking for smaller solutions is also a heck of a lot easier than trying to escape depression in one monolithic effort. When I am bummed out, big efforts are too hard.
Is it possible to release a cut now? Actually meet people or customers for feedback before going further?
On the other hand, if it is not going as per plan, may be it is time to let go. Try to tell to yourself it does not matter anymore and spend a few days away from screens and keyboard. Sleep well and eat healthy. Once you are well rested, go out and meet friends or strangers, who will not remind you of your project. Take as long as you want as mental and physical well being is so much more important than a startup. At the end of the break, you will be able to decide what direction to take.
It could also be that you have a more lucrative/interesting idea on mind and the current project is a blocker. That can make your current project feel more and more like a dead weight around your neck. In such case, you will need to decide what your priorities are and pivot accordingly.
Sometimes, just doing some market research to validate the need for your product can also do wonders to your morale.
If none of these help, pl consult a professional. Do not be afraid. Burnout, just like any other symptoms of illness, is just another indication that for the time being, we need to bring our focus back to us, in our life.
Exercise also seems to help beat the blues. My happier days are when I take a day off of work and walk around the exploratorium.
Take breaks, and get some physical activity.
Here's the harsh truth. Burnout is going to cost money and time to fix. It's not simple. It's likely your brain is saying that things aren't right in your world representation. The best long term solution is understanding yourself and learning to explain what your subconscious is telling you.
Maybe your startup is taking more time to develop than you thought. Maybe your anxious about the market impact, the usefulness, or something else related to your timeline. Or you might just be watching too much CNN. You have to identify the variables that are contributing to your state(disbelief in your own world model will do it).
I don't believe that the root cause of depression is always nihilistic, although existential crisis' do exist. That's more about the state of being - and not everyone who faces the truth of reality crumbles.
I think you're right on with hitting the gym. This is what I've done as well. Having people around, change of pace, and doing something that has progress I can see (body, weight) has been helpful.
Another thing that has been helpful is daily journaling to just get it out. I've been to therapy a lot, and while it can help, I find that really the best cure is to learn to help yourself. That starts with learning the actual problem, which it sounds like you need to figure out with some deep introspection.
I'm also a big fan of long walks and road trips to give you some thinking time.
Okay, now some advice based on what you originally posted:1. Continue your weight training. If you can afford it, get a personal trainer or start going to exercise classes. Research has shown time and time again that exercise is one of the most important things to do when depressed. But when you're depressed it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise. Making the gym a validating environment by seeking out a personal trainer or exercise class could motivate you to go! In addition, it is less likely that you would hurt yourself with someone guiding you through proper technique and giving you adjustments.2. Seek out a therapist. I have been in an incredible amount of therapy and can say from personal experience that it is one of the best things that you can do. If you have the time or finances to seek out a DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) program, I highly suggest doing so. It is far more structured than traditional CBT therapy, by pairing individual therapy with skills coaching that focus on mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. Through DBT I've become a lot more mindful, so I can recognize when I meet my limits and accept that. DBT is truly life changing.3. Create a work-life balance. Working 24/7 simply isn't feasible or effective. Find activities that you enjoy doing and make a point to do them on a daily basis. For instance, I love to cook and make meals from scratch. So spending time meal planning/researching and cooking is a huge stress reliever and I get a daily "chore" done!4. Change your mindset. View each bump on the road as a chance to improve and learn. Approach rather than avoid and face your fears. If at first, you don't succeed, analyze what went wrong and how you can improve for next time. Never give up. Validate and celebrate your accomplishments.
Go to therapy. Try different styles and different therapists until you find one that is the right fit.
Seek for help.
If you want, feel free to contact me.
The theory for this kind of approach was developed over 50 years ago, I'm just completely dumbstruck that we haven't properly solved this problem.
Or use Greasemonkey/Tampermonkey to run it on page load. Alternatively use messenger if all you need is to message people.
Most people would sell at least part of their holdings after they made $1million.
- Satoshi Nakamoto (bitcoin creator(s) ~1.5M btc = $3.5B today) - Roger Ver (reportedly bought >$1M of btc in ~2010) - Winklevii (reportedly owned ~1% of all btc in 2013 = ~$2B now) - Ethereum funder(s) (bought >$1M of ether at 2014 crowd-sale @ $0.25, today @ ~$200/eth) - Chinese btc/eth mining farm owner(s)
Satoshi Nakamoto doesn't exist, it is a cover up.
We fail to manage risk, we neglect security, we rarely know we are regulated and we hold an air of contempt about the idea of being asked to pay for our failings like any other industry (car manufacturer, drugs, etc). It's too hard to make perfect software, but really easy to make everything else?The list goes on... We have made huge innovations and made real impacts, but we largely aren't doing it safely or respectfully and our attitude to privacy is horrifying.You might think you are okay, but look around you: look at the security of how you deploy, the missing tests, the broken accessibility, the trove of user data in your company, the code maintainability strategy, the lip service paid to copyright, the sheer number of hacks, etc. There are many who would like things to improve and many who challenge the norm, but that challenge will never be formalised until we lead from professional bodies spearheading how we should do things, rather than corporate bodies and celebrities pushing their agenda.
- what is - what is not - whois doing it (is it a verb?!)
Anyway, serves as a reminder that my time is better spent reading technical books, watching keynotes (BCantrill's are nice) and not reading nonsense. It's the internet, you need to protect yourself from topics that have a high noise to substance ratio and these discussions are all noise.
This is also a sign for a tech bubble; as long as startups keep creating no value beyond aesthetics.
I recommend you read "You Are Not A Gadget" by Jaron Lanier ;)
The good thing is that there's a real fix for this and is to configure your server's firewall to only accept requests from Cloudfare's ips.
I'm Indian myself and came to America in 1999 on a H1B Visa. I feel your pain, that's why I slaved nights and weekend for almost a year and created http://visaok.in/
Still polishing up the search and few other details, then will do a Show HN soon. I Soft launched it in April. It's a site with curated job listings in Countries and Companies that sponsor * the Work Visa / Work Permit.
You can click "Browse" and filter by Visa, Country, Job Title, Skills etc. Outside of USA, Countries with the largest # of Jobs that are sponsoring work visas are Germany, Canada, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, Australia etc. The Australian work visa is also undergoing some radical changes like the H1B here, but it's still there to stay.
You are exactly the kind of person(s) I am trying to help. So help me help you. Any feedback on the site and content is much appreciated. Tell me what you'd like to see, and I'll build it for you.
You can contact me via email at theblogdoctor @ gmail
[ Other techies / hackers who are in a similar situation as OP, please feel free to provide me with feedback on the site, and what will help you the most. I know ya'll are tired of searching for jobs only to find "Sorry, cannot sponsor visa / H1B at this time." ]
* = I contact the HR at Companies where I can and verify that they are able to Sponsor specific Visas for the Job.
For me, and the students I have taught, I think Python is the best language to introduce absolute novices to simple concepts in programming. I then switch to Java and explain the fundamentals of CS from the ground up.
Once a student has a grasp of python and Java they have a simple scripting language and industry standard maintainable language under their belt. They understand all the basic concepts in CS and can extend to new languages and concepts on their own.
The next step would be to use C++ in the application of algorithms and memory management. By starting in python then java, you avoid really interacting with pointers and memory which, in my opinion, makes it easier for students to focus on one concept at a time. Too often in intro classes, it starts with simple concepts like types, but rapidly branches to require the student to understand many concepts at once.
_TL;DR_ Python, then Java, then C++
However, when stepping back and reflecting on my career, programming, or even CS topics were largely secondary. Study CS as well, but human factors, software engineering, and project management dominated. The Mythical Man-Month and Peopleware are two of the classic works on those subjects. Also, I've been writing an ebook on these subjects you might find helpful. I'll paste the link if anyone is interested.
What are you trying to accomplish? Do you feel there are gaps in your knowledge?
Do you enjoy contributing to open source projects or do you work on something of your own?
I found bruteforcing my way through assembly (On a little PIC) to be of great educational value: Small instruction set, complete control over the memory and you even get to flash some LEDs as well!
If you want to teach Software Engineering (Real world stuff), I think teaching by getting people to do it themselves + being motivated to learn it. Giving a wirlwind tour of language design philosophies and implementations sounds like a good idea. This approach avoids too much focus on a single programming language: Therefore one can really compare the Pros and Cons of using Haskell/ML vs. C++.
C for memory management and pointer juggling
Haskell for static typing, in-depth, and the "purely functional" approach.
Prolog for logic programming
Smalltalk for a sane fully object oriented language
Lisp for programming in a programmable language.
But to really use them well(creating complex applications that are easy to understand,maintain and extend ) you need to learn object-oriented-design and maybe it's sub-subject domain-driven-design, and those are quite complex subjects on their own and you won't learn them from the language.
There's no language that has all the features, although anything "multi-paradigm" may cover a lot of them.
You might be interested in the "Seven Languages in Seven Weeks" series that throws a lot of languages w/ different programming models at you, then you can dive deeper into anything that strikes your fancy.
I think you should reconsider and ask instead what is the best language to achieve a specific goal.
I know that Safari has a "Reader" mode for web pages that strips most clutter, because I use it all the time on my iPad. I would imagine there are plugins or modes like this for most other browsers.
If you want to build your own, take a look at readability library or goose.
Their precision is nearly 80%.
To remove further noise you can use goldminer algorithm to have improvement furthermore.
There is also a chrome extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/outline-read-witho...
I still use Chrome everywhere else, though.
Personally, I often use yarn when starting new projects but sometimes find myself habitually reverting to NPM.
I suppose then that NPM5 will have little to no effect on mine or my team's workflow :).
In the ideal world, your hard-earned knowledge and experience should prepare you for the challenges in the role you're applying for, but sadly most interviews test for some kind of coding ninjas that spend their days writing optimized merge sort implementations before lunch and building high-performing distributed caches in the afternoon, all day every day. Mind you, none of those problems are particularly difficult, just let's not kid ourselves that they represent the kind of daily challenges you're going to face even at places like Google or Facebook (and especially not under the same constraints as the interviews). The fact that Cracking The Coding Interview is considered a must-read before interviewing is a bright indicator of how bad things have gotten.
You need to practice this part then. It doesn't take a huge amount of time when you generally know it already and it's guaranteed to help in most interviews. It's easy to be confident when you've seen the exact same questions before. There's only so much you can ask without being obscure.
The reason I suggest it is because knowledge and insight into the hiring process might make the interviews less stressful.
But I try to rationalise that. Throughout my career, I've worked with people smarter than me. I'm not intimidated by them, so why should I be during an interview?
With that in mind, I assume they know more until proven otherwise. And if they do know more, I treat them the same I would outside of the interview.
You are a complex good.
Neither you nor the firms assessing you, generally, know how to sell, or how to buy, what it is you're offering.
That said, more practice at interviewing generally improves your performance, though it may have little to do with actually improving the outcome of the process in terms of offer-to-opportunity matching.
"Creating a startup" actually means two different things.
1. Create a VC-funded startup. This is all about making investors happy. AFAICT this is mostly about luck, in that you're being set up to fail and 5% of people happen to succeed. This is what Paul Graham writes about from his perspective as a VC, which is to say someone who wants a liquidity event. A liquidity event is not the same as business success, and having a large-scale liquidity event as a goal typically impedes your ability to create a successful business (e.g. you can't say "let's pursue this small, profitable niche" because it's too small for a VC to make money off of.)
2. Create a real business. In this case you need to identify an actual problem someone has. Then you need to solve it, and make sure people know about it (marketing). This is quite different than technical skills. It has some overlap with the productivity skills mentioned above (identifying problems and coming up with solutions) plus a whole additional set of skills (marketing, sales, etc.)
My point is that the motivation shouldn't be a startup for startup's sake. It should be a problem you want to solve and a problem that you think you're the one who's going to solve it best. If you go about it like that, then there's no need to "develop domain expertise" because you likely already have that (but you can dive deeper depending on the exact scenario).
2. Focus on finding the right team: