- Company gets to re-concentrate their ownership among active investors/employees, and remove "dead wood" ex-founder with small stake from the cap table. This alone might make it worth their while.
- Investors get shares more cheaply than they otherwise would
- You get cash and get to wash your hands of the company
Where this might get complicated is that you likely own founders' shares/common and the investors are getting shares with a bunch of preferences.
If the latest funding round is $20mil, 5% of that would be 1mil. What's the 409(a) value on the common shares? I doubt the shares would be worth more than 500-600k given the numbers above, so with a 20% discount, you're looking at 400-500k. I have no idea what the headline valuation is but you can probably work something out. Email is in sig if you want to talk.
EDIT: Another option would be to sell a portion, but not all, of your shares as part of the funding round. That might allay any "we can't afford it" concerns from the company while still giving you a bit of upside in case the business is a real home run. Would they take 10% of your position for 100k? That might be a good option.
Second, you're a shareholder of the company. You're a big enough shareholder that they'll ask for your signature on the paperwork when they recapitalize ("raise money").
Third, any variant of "you suck. I don't want anything to do with you." is a poor opening gambit in a negotiation strategy, even it's true.
If I were you I'd ask to sell some, but not all, of your shares into this financing round. You can simply say you need some liquidity. This isn't a bizarre request. They may turn you down, but they won't think the less of you for asking.
If they're raising money on a $40 mill pre-money valuation, that pegs your 5% stake's paper value at 2 megabucks. Selling a quarter of your stake into the round will get you $400K even if you give them a stiff discount. That's more than the $100K. And, you still have some upside if you're wrong about their prospects.
That being said, you're probably right about their prospects. Been there. Done that. Didn't even get a Tshirt.
The lowball offer is a good indication of how they estimate your negotiation skills.
Waiting a little longer will likely get you a (much) better offer, also consider selling only a part of your shares in case the company strikes it big down the road (made that mistake myself with something that became huge long after I left).
You might get pushback on that last point but that gives you some leverage to raise the price for all of your shares.
> what d'you mean by ex-founder and by what corporate action or process did you come to attribute this title to yourself?
> Why have you held your shares till this time?
> Why are you skeptical of the future of the company? D'you have a personal beef with the hardball CEO or is the company really doomed in your opinion?
> Who approached who (I mean you or your hardball CEO) to leave the company? To be clear, did he notify you of their intention to raise money and ask that you sell off or did you hear that they're about to raise money and then decide that you want out?
Aside: If the co-founder is an HN reader, then they probably know the throwaway account is you. That is going to skew this negotiation.
5% of XX,000,000 is at least $500k; you're a fool to take less.
Investors in the round would probably buy your shares for 1/3rd - 2/3rds of their value and you should consider asking if that's an option and then negotiate from there. The only reason to let the company buyout your shares for a lowball offer is if you left the company after a short period of time without proper vesting and you want to do the right thing for the company's sake. Doesn't sound like that's the case.
If so, you will likely need to break through that emotional barrier to get his cooperation in selling the shares to investors. Assuming his cooperation will make it easier.
I would not take a lump some in most cases.
People that know better than me: How nuclear an option would it be to ask the investors directly?
As far as a rabbit in your hand now versus 10 in the bushes provided the hunt goes well, consider your own situation and what the 100K would mean. Would you be able obtain a better ROI with 100K in your own hand versus say, staying with the company? Are you young young or young at heart?
The CEO is offering you a price. Other investors will probably be willing to offer you a better price.
I mean, why wouldn't they? They've paid good money to get the shares that they bought. Why wouldn't they want to buy other shares at a cheaper price?
In that light, are your existing shares worth more than $100k at the current FMV?
Keep your shares and consult with a lawyer who can ensure you are protected further down the line. PLEASE DO THIS.
I will guarantee 100% that the type of people that offer you 20 cents on the dollar (as a founder) are the type of people that will screw you. 100%.
Make up your mind.
If you offer your stake at any discount, they are irrational if they don't take it. Don't worry if you are bound to a non transfer-ability clause. Getting around that is always possible with a bit of lawyering.
Also get someone else to handle the transaction on your behalf. You don't sound like the best negotiator. No offense intended.
The concept works when I can declare what I want to be done, and the system does it - and when that happens, Prolog is great, the language is great for declaring what I want to be done.
However, often it happens that the system does it in a way that's somehow horribly inefficient and makes it totally unusable. And then I have to redeclare my requirements in a slightly different way to nudge the system into doing it differently - and this is much harder, then I have to worry about much more moving parts than just my code.
Also, the language is not really well suited for that; if I have to specify how exactly in which order the calculations need to be made, then imperative languages are a much better tool. I'm throwing away all the advantages of Prolog if I have to do this all the time - and in practice I do.
Haskell has a bit of similar problems (though generally not with unexpected speed complexity but unexpected memory complexity through laziness and thunks), but Prolog is much worse in that regard.
It's about the ONLY PortableApp that offers any kind of program development capability beyond text editing, that I could tell. No compilers, no interpreters outside of this and a couple of SQLite packages. Anyway, I pulled this one down, fired it up, and... no worky. I got a console, theoretically I could execute commands, but try and access the help or docs, and it bails out with an error, telling me xpce can't be loaded, because load_foreign_library/1 is not defined? At least half the menu commands failed with the same error, closing out the app in the process. Basically, the app is impossible to use.
So, there's my answer, one that can be applied to many otherwise promising languages. Any system looking to gain traction really needs to go out of its way to Just Work; to make itself readily available, easily installable, immediately functional, and with clear documentation right at hand. You can carry on 'til you're blue in the face about lazy programmers unwilling to learn a simple build-and-install process, but with the ready availability of other environments that generally Just Work, there's really no excuse. At least, that's how I feel about it.
That isn't to say that Functional languages (Lisp, Haskell, Scala, etc) aren't as good; frankly, I like them better. There's just a mental gap that has to be crossed and for most developers I've met, that can be challenging. Why do things in a challenging way when I've got Java right here and it works just fine? (straw man, not my own view)
Prolog (logic programming) is a bigger gap, imho. It takes more effort for me to really understand Prolog code. Can do some beautiful things with it, but it's easier to have a few good developers be good at it and put their hard work behind a library/API than it is to have every other developer try to get over that gap.
Besides, deep first recursive searches are easy to write and almost never work well in practice, so even the problems that are greatly represented in Prolog either do not get efficient binaries from the existent Prolog compilers or are easy enough to write in another language that little is lost on the transition (often both).
That said, I do think search based programming is underrated. There ought to be some representation for theorem resolvers that is good for general purpose programming. It's just that nobody found it yet.
It is not intuitive, and most programs aren't logical problems in the sense that the prolog can solve. It is highly specialized.
It belongs to an era -- and this era isn't "over" -- when the primary manner of solving AI was symbolic.
After that, tooling evolved, and they became easier to write major projects in. Why write a web app in Erlang when the JVM has every major templating system, an implementation of CommonMark, several high-performance JSON libraries, model validation, several mature build systems, and thousands of Stack Overflow answers?
This makes it hard for languages like Crystal or Nim to take off, but ON TOP OF THAT Prolog is asking its devs to completely change how they approach programming.
What would it take to make Prolog take off? A killer app. Which, in the 80's, looked like it was AI :-p
..and, sadly, it didn't look like C
// strangely Prolog is listed as a spelling error by Firefox...
When it comes to mundane tasks such as opening a file and reading its contents as a string or accessing databases, things get even more difficult. Technically, this is all possible with Prolog, too. It's just not exactly fun to do so.
For example, I can write some code in clojure, that, for example, implements a UI which then calls core.logic to do some processing, which then calls some clojure to pull the logic data from a database. If I wanted to use prolog, I'd have to do something like: (other language -> ffi -> prolog -> ffi -> other language) which is usually too much effort for me to bother.
Eventually the ideas in Prolog will make their way into a general purpose language where the relationship between the logical components and the algorithmic components of a program is harmonious instead of a constant conflict.
both have a different/specific (as in non-mainstream) thinking way, and it is not easy to switch from common programming languages to these. and since it isn't easy, most people don't go deeper on them
from a company point of view: if it's hard to find a good Prolog/haskell developer, then they will be more expensive, so they stick with the common Java/C/C#/Python/Ruby/JS stack
It's a very specialized system in my view, so there is no hope of it ever becoming general-purpose. But maybe that's because I don't know enough of Prolog.
Java, C, and many other programming languages are like chess: There are many syntactic rules, and by learning them, you already obtain a rough overview of what you can do in principle. You try out these constructs, and get a sense that you have accomplished something, even if it is rather worthless, and more complex tasks are extremely hard to carry out successfully in these languages.
Prolog is more like Go: The syntax is very simple, and there is essentially only a single language element, the logical rule. This means that even if you know, syntactically and semantically, almost everything about the language, you have no idea what to do at first. This can be rather frustrating. From this, beginners easily arrive at the misguided conclusion that the language is useless, or restricted to very specific applications. But it only means they have not grasped its true power and flexibility! Getting to the core of Prolog is hard, and requires systematic guidance.
This inherent difficulty is frequently compounded by a rather ineffective and outdated didactic approach which, at its worst, stresses difficult and mostly superseded procedural aspects over more important declarative principles and more modern solutions like constraints. This easily gives the misguided impression that the language is rather imperative and limited in nature, and again causes many students to dismiss it due to their wrong impressions.
A third reason is found in the implementational complexity: From a user's perspective, a major attraction of Prolog is its ease of use due to the syntactic simplicity, powerful implicit search mechanism, generality of predicates etc. which are features that are rather specific to logic programming languages. The complexity of all this is shifted to the implementation level: In order to make all this both powerful and efficient, the implementation must do many things for you. This means you need, among other things and in no particular order: an efficient garbage collector, JIT indexing, a fitting virtual machine architecture, a fast implementation of unbounded integers, rational numbers, good exception handling, ISO compliance, many goodies like tabling, an efficient implementation of constraints over integers, Boolean variables, Herbrand terms etc. Most of these topics are even now still subject of active research in the logic programming community, with different advantages and trade-offs. Implementing an efficient Prolog system is a project that easily takes 30 to 40 years. In fact, we are only now getting to the point where systems become sufficiently robust and feature-rich to run complex client/server applications for months and years. In such complexities, you find the answer why Prolog isn't more popular yet. It has simply taken a few decades to implement all this in satisfactory ways, and this work is still ongoing. In my view, Prolog is now becoming interesting.
To the second point, Prolog already is a great general-purpose language. You can use it for almost all applications that are currently written in Java and Python, for example. Of course, there are always some features that are worth adding on top or via extensions, and certain tasks would benefit from this. For example, you can add extensions for type checking, and for fast arrays. Various Prolog implementations are already experimenting with such extensions. Many extensions can in fact be implemented via term and goal expansion, a facility that is analogous to macros in Lisp, or via simple reasoning over given programs.
Comment- Attributes: text, points
User- Attribute: name, emailAdress(as a struct of first part, domain, top-level-domain)
Admin as a special user:- additional Attributes: set of rights(can delete, can hide, can modify)
Finally, there is an n-1 assocation between Comment and User and I want to make some queries about this domain.
Being there is soul-sucking, I know, but you have to be proactive and ask for projects to keep showing that you're willing to work, and that you're flexible.
Meanwhile, from my experience my suggestion is: dedicate yourself to opensource. Try to bring some value to your name and maybe company's name if it fits their goal. This can also lead you to new projects.
And the most important advice is: Doesn't matter if you decide to leave or to stay, DO NOT SPEND TIME DOING NOTHING.
I did this a few times, not so much you advance my career but because I enjoyed the work and I wanted to learn and be useful. Unfortunately it got me promoted into project management -- which I accepted because I have two young children -- and now I miss my old job.
Think about why your current company is keeping you on the payroll. Since it's a business and not a charity, they must believe you're valuable and will have work in the near future in which your skills will be required. If that's not the case then they probably won't keep you on very much longer.
If your employer treats you well and up till now you enjoyed working for them, I suggest you focus on productive ways to help them and keep your job. Remember they've made an investment in onboarding and training you. As others have suggested, working on internal projects or building out sales/training material has a force multiplier effect which makes you even that more valuable to them.
If you don't like working for this employer then go find a new one. From an employer perspective, there is nothing worse than an employee who isn't happy, not being productive and isn't helping the situation. Do everyone a favor and take control of the situation.
Don't forget that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Trading one employer for another isn't always viewed well from an employers perspective.
I think if you take a step back you've hundreds of things you could do that you didn't think of.
As an alternative, use the time to contribute to popular open source projects. That will build yor developer cred and make you more attractive to future employers.
Or take on your own freelance work and get paid double.
In retrospect, I suspect that they hired me so that they could say they were hiring Americans to justify getting more visas to bring offshore workers into the states.
I can say that, in my company, when business was slower, we would often see the same few people constantly without work because they were either too inexperienced, too limited in their capabilities, or too inflexible in what they were willing to do.
We worked hard to try to give them opportunities--having them shadow more senior engineers on projects (the extra project help also gave our clients more bang for their buck and made us look even better as a group), getting them training, having them work on internal projects, etc. Not all companies will or can go this extra mile to find opportunities for you, but might be receptive if you structure and propose something that uses your down time to your mutual benefit.
If they're not receptive, or if you can't structure something like this in your environment, then you might consider moving on.
Edit: Actually, as others are mentioning, it was also way easier to staff people who were actively involved in the sales phase of a program. Volunteering to do research, prototypes, etc. was a great way for motivated people to help out during this phase. Since they were effectively already working on the program by the time it started, they were usually the ones who would wind up staffed on the program.
If you're still getting paid, they likely see you as a valuable asset for future projects. It can't hurt to ask if you can help with sales calls to build new skills and relationships, or if there are smaller projects where you can be billable.
This kind of situation can turn bad quickly when your bosses start to think why they pay you and how they can use your situation to their advantage in other ways.
It is not a problem as long as another source of money covers your income, but as a coder, how can you know when this source dries out? Timing, knowledge and financial power is against you. Turn away quickly. (speaking from experience if that's not clear enough already)
If you can afford to not have this job tomorrow you might try to start your own Gig. Many of us would kill for lot of downtime to start our own company.
I've also had friends who are able to start a new job and work both. This might be questionably legal/ethical depending on how you do it and how well you can keep secrets.
I haven't been in quite the same spot, but I did work for a company that really didn't know what it wanted, so there were long period of either no work or short periods of sudden enthusiasm behind X idea followed by an immediate "no, that's costing us money. kill the project immediately." While it would have done me a disservice to have left the company too soon, I was there for a year before I decided to leave, and even that was too long in retrospect. As others have said, it's soul-sucking and just a waste of time even when you're contently complacent. You have a limited life time and a small supply of creative energy, neither of which your company may deserve. That's just my perspective.
Anyway, don't worry about your job stagnating. It's just programming... career progression is usually lackluster anyway (don't know your case personally) Also you can always get creative with your CV later on (as you know, work expands to fill the allocated slot).
Think about this you're getting paid to work on your code! What could be better? Just cover your tracks and don't get into any IP dispute over your code ;-)
Edit: If you wanted to use the time for something that could possibly look good on your CV or your employer would appreciate, you can look for some internal software problem to solve, Or make a demo app using your employer's technology stack.
What is the main reason they're keeping you on, do you think? Are they not paying attention and not accounting for costs, or are they interested in reserving your time and having you owe them some hard work as soon as it's there?
What is your mean reason for staying at this particular company, aside from getting paid to work on pet projects? Are they smart, honest, good people that you're learning from, or is it a paycheck and nothing more?
Have you reached out to your manager and asked for a project repeatedly? Do you have co-workers you can help, even if you're not asked to? What is your main fear, will doing nothing for the company lead to no promotions or less pay or a bad reputation? Will there be repercussions for future jobs if you keep going with this one, or can you get another job easily regardless of what this company thinks about you?
Does getting paid to work on your pet project have more value than working for the company? It's a pretty good deal for you if they don't care about paying for your downtime.
Last time I was in a similar situation, I spent my time doing research and programming competitions. My employer was okay with it, work eventually picked up again and I didn't lose any status in the organization. In the mean time I got to learn a lot, and travel to Spain to present my paper. I had a blast, and I super appreciated the opportunity to explore. I told my employer that, and I worked hard once work picked up, so I walked away with nothing but a positive experience. I was also really lucky.
You are absolutely right about your career stagnating. Unless you are working on some kick-ass side-project that is making a difference (whether as extra revenue or a useful piece of open source software), you'll probably grow bored and restless. The longer you stay in that state, the longer it'll take you to go back to being functional in a day-to-day team environment. It's not fun.
And always keep in mind: you don't need to make the jump in a vacuum. Use your current situation to your advantage: take your time to find the perfect company for you, with similar compensation and challenging work that'll keep you engage. You won't regret it.
However asking the question as you have done makes me think that you've already made your mind up (even if you haven't admitted that to yourself yet) and you need validation.
You shouldn't require validation from strangers off the internet, just get up and do something that makes you feel fulfilled. Identify, plan, execute. Your self esteem will thank you. Your SO will thank you, if you have one. The (new) people around you will thank you. That'll be all the validation you need :)
Maybe something like this?https://www.coursera.org/specializations/scala
It'd be a different matter, if you truly weren't doing anything worthwhile or working on something that is not progressing your skills in a good way.
If you can get paid more to do what you do now on your pet projects, I'd obviously jump if I were you. I'd also spend this downtime looking around and potentially getting some practice on interviewing. Put your resume out there, and see if anyone bites. Even if you don't get offers for better jobs, you're getting a good idea of what employers are looking for, and keep your interviewing skills up-to-date.
On the other hand, if none of the work available at your company interests you enough for you to want to pursue it, you probably should be looking for a new job.
Also, I limit my side projects' leakage into the work day to a few peeks into API docs or datasheets, anything more is inviting trouble.
1) No company can afford to keep you on the payroll indefinitely when you're not generating revenue for them. If (after some amount of time known only to them) they can't put you to work, they will have to let you go.
2) How you chose to spend this time, how well you took advantage of this opportunity currently presented to you, will determine the whole good/bad thing. If you play video games and wait for a phone call, it will be bad. If you do things that get your name out there/increase your visibility, or that increase your skills, or both, it will be good. Ways to accomplish that would include working on open-source projects, creating classes/tutorials for Udemy or the like, going to local networking events or better yet giving presentations at them, and so on. Basically I would act as though you are actively looking for something else, without actually leaving. It needn't be a bad faith thing... who knows, you might end up getting some company interested in you, and having them hire your employer to get your services, thereby getting a new client for your employer.
By my definition, for example, I run the most successful single-person business that I'm aware of. But it doesn't make millions, so it might not meet your definition at all.
My goal was to replace my day job with a software business that required as close to zero attention as possible, so that I could have time to spend on the things that actually matter to me.
The business brings in the equivalent of a nice Senior Developer salary, which is not what most people think of when they imagine a successful Startup. But it lets me work with a bunch of cool tech when I want to, and, more importantly, is automated to the point where Customer Service involves a quick 30 second - 10 minute email sweep over morning coffee. For me, that's a lot more valuable than a few more million dollars in the bank.
The cool thing about running your own business is that you get to decide on your own definition of success.
EDIT: I wrote a bit about how I got into this position, in case anybody is interested. It's not actually all that hard to do:
"the Basic at $299 per month for customers that want lists of sites mainly for the purpose of lead generation; Pro at $495 per month, suited more for users that work in an industry using a lot of A/B testing and comparison-type data; and Enterprise at $995 per month, which covers all bases and allows sales teams with multiple people to all use the platform at once. Brewer says that in terms of paying users on the platform there is a few thousand and the split is about 40 percent Basic, 40 percent Pro and 20 percent Enterprise."
Similar thread a while ago 
Edit: specificity and formatting
Markus Frind is probably the biggest. He spent 5 years (2003-2008) working on Plenty of Fish, and at that point it was bringing in about $5M/yr and had 3 employees.
When the site sold in 2015 for $575 million it was 70 employees, but he still owned 100% of the company.
Markus Persson would be another possible option, for the first $10-20M that Minecraft brought in he was the only person (aside from a contracted musician). And then for a while after that, it was him and his friend who was hired to manage the business side so he could focus on the programming work.
Nathan Barry (http://nathanbarry.com/) the guy who started convertKit https://convertkit.com/
Took me some effort to built, but it's on autopilot now.
Bootstrapped social networking site doing multiple 5-figures/month.
Things like customer support is outsourced to other startups, and of course the artists on the platform don't work for me, but could be if the company was structured differently (it's structured as a marketplace).
Over 1MM annual revenue https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/sidekiq
Farming has done well for my wife, she run her business and feeds a bunch of folks. Find her at the Oakland Grandlake on saturday and Marin civic center on Sunday. She sells plants :)
Secondly, the best way to make solid, reliable money is to have a niche, without competition. So, you keep your mouth shut.
You'll probably most likely notice them in small, industry-oriented niches. Or... after they grow larter than one-person.
To give an answer: https://balsamiq.com/products/mockups/
It probably wasnt the wisest idea to stay solo for so long, but the freedom of not having employees made me very reluctant to hire anyone again. The only reason I chose to hire is that the business' growth forced me make the decision to either turn away customers or hire staff. The people I have are great, but I do miss the days of doing everything myself without having to explain why something is important.
Does outsourcing somehow diminish success?
Guy quit his job a year or two ago to develop this full-time and seems to be doing pretty well for himself. I use the client all the time as a developer.
I think it makes around $40K to $50K per month. Over the last few years, I've seen it grow from around $10K to $50K. That slow steady SaaS growth is pretty inspiring.
I personally know people that made millions from creating software products and companies. But I do know nobody that did(or does it) it alone.
In fact, I "made millions" myself whatever that means starting with software(a million dollars is way less than 10 years ago because of inflation so it is not that much, specially if you life in a expensive place), but I made a hell lot of work and found colleagues along the way.
IMHO you should never focus on money. Money is just a tool for exchanging value. You should focus on creating value, even if at first it gives you little money. Because of innovation dilemma most things that create real value give you very little money first( Do you know how much money the Apple Store did the first year?)
In my opinion your priority should be finding a social circle that will help and understand you. If you have a business that means entrepreneurs. They will understand and support you like no one else. HN is virtual, you need real people around.
For me success is the ability to be free in my life, made my own decisions in my business, I could write on HN, or go climb a mountain when people is working, or travel a new country, or the ability to only invest on business that are ethical for me.
If earning more money means not being free, I will decline the offer, in fact I decline offers every single day. Why should I do it? To become a 80 years old billionaire? To have everybody know me so I have to live isolated against paparazzis or criminals wanting to kidnap my children because they know I am rich?
But your values could be different. Your priorities could be to show off, exert power over other people, of go meet interesting people, or have extreme experiences or send your children to elite schools, whatever is success for you.
But they have staff.
Large single-person startups? https://smallbiztrends.com/2014/07/successful-one-person-sta...
Apparently, ranking well for certain keywords (mostly web hosting and website builders) can be very, very lucrative.
I know it's an outlier.
Mike Perham: Sole Developer of SideKiq ( Background tasks processing with Redis) and Inspector (Application infrastructure monitoring, reimagined)
If it's just general word processing there are a few that are very good.
Imagine a scripting language that you have to compile into another scripting language. Lessons from decades of shared experience completely ignored, terrible IDE support, framework descriptions that are more snakeoil than technical documentation, the worst dependency hell there is with minor updates breaking APIs, and an unhealthy worship of Google and Facebook.
Immense state trees, webworkers, asynchronous changes, tiered caching, pre-emptive fetching, modularization, optimistic rendering, validation, behavioral analytics, testing and more.
This is all without even getting started on actual presentational aspects.
The pace of the ecosystem in recent years and the immense amount of legacy code (10 years+) that doesn't scale to growing teams/projects is a problem everywhere you look.
The good news is companies looking to bring their front-end up to date are facing the same foreboding sense you have that comes with the unfamiliar.
Fragmentation is coalescing around major frameworks and fringe features from a few years ago are standards today.
It's not too late, understanding the tooling is critical (end-to-end IDE through to the browser and beyond) and will provide you with a solid basis.Follow this up by reading the APIs of major frameworks then pick one (any one, it doesn't matter) and build something with it.
Everything is changing every year, pushed by young people who have no clue what they are doing and don't care about hours and work conditions.
Meanwhile, companies exploit them as much as they can to make new products and get all the returns of their work.
You have access to a much broader set of jobs with Java and Scala.
Should you change career paths to front-end? Absolutely not. Front-end is just that; web development. With Java and Ruby experience, you're not stuck to just web development but can branch off into other fields much easier.
The upside is that they're much more transferable between companies. Everyone wants to hire experts in their current back end stack, but everyone needs CSS & JS.
Whenever I've assigned web work to developers I assign in terms of functionality and they write front and back. I think this is quicker than trying to communicate between two teams.
But to answer the question, why not. Then you're a full stack developer.
Standard Notes (https://standardnotes.org) is up there which is a free open-source encrypted notes app that I work on.
If you are involved with a few work projects, family, open source projects, etc. you have to have ten or so communications apps open, deal with the overhead on startup, software updates, overhead while it is running, all the various foibles of these things.
For timeouts, it may be tougher to do. If you use some kind of reverse proxy to spread the load to instances of your API, then this might be a nice place to start investigating your problems, and there is where you're going to want some tooling. If you're using Node.js, it could be possible the code for a specific endpoint does not send a response (maybe only under certain circumstances) - so you will need to debug that particular aspect of it and ensure that a response is sent, otherwise timeouts will happen.
As for actually sending test requests to your API, the difficultly with this method is that if, for example, you're posting a new user and your tool posts once every 5 mins, then you will have 12 garbage users after an hour. Not to mention that you will need to write a test for each error possibility as well, since it could be that a validation error is causing the timeout. So for this it probably makes sense to write a test suite, and include a test for each of the possible scenarios, or paths through your code.
It's fully open source
> How has your experience been compared to your previous tech?
Previous to using Nim I was primarily using Python. This was a few years ago now, but recently I was working on a project in Python and found myself yearning for Nim. There were multiple reasons for this, but what stuck with me was how much I missed static typing. The Python project used type hints which I found rather awkward to use (of course the fact that we didn't enforce their use didn't help, but it felt like such a half-baked solution). Dependencies very often required multiple guesses and searches through stack overflow to get working. And the resulting program was slow.
As far as I'm concerned, Nim is Python done right. It produces fast dependency-free binaries and has a strong type system with support for generics.
Of course, that isn't to say that Nim is a perfect language (but then what is). For example, JetBrains has done a brilliant job with PyCharm. Nim could use a good IDE like PyCharm and with its strong typing it has the potential to work even better.
> How mature is the standard library?
To be honest the standard library does need some work. In the next release we do plan on making some breaking changes, but we always lean on the side of keeping compatibility even though Nim is still pre-1.0. Of course, sometimes this is not possible.
> How abundant are third party libraries?
Not as abundant as I would like. Great news is that you can help change that :)
The Nimble package manager is still relatively new, but you can get a pretty good idea of the third party libraries available by looking at the package list repo.
Hope that helps. Please feel free to AMA, I'd love to introduce you to our community.
1 - https://github.com/nim-lang/packages/blob/master/packages.js...
I'm now using it extensively for a confidential computing and block chain project, which is quite exciting.
Having used Python, Go, C, Perl, Java, Nim is a breeze to code in. Occasionally the compiler glitches and you have to delete nimcache. Very rarely it fails to compile something and you have to rewrite few lines differently. Not an issue. Build frequently to avoid any surprise.
Not that much: it lacks examples and helper procedures that you would expect, yet I still feel more productive with Nim than other languages.
Look at the packages. Most of the basic stuff it's there. For small and medium projects it's usually not an issue, occasionally I have to wrap functions from a C library.
If you are looking for big, fancy libraries like Pandas and Sklearn, they are just not there. Use Nim for tool and services instead.
(As you can see, I was one of the authors of that library in a previous startup. We haven't worked on Nim-Pymod in a while, alas -- I've been focused on the new startup! -- but Nim-Pymod is sufficient for our needs right now.)
Our webserver main-loops are in Python; our number-crunching ML/CV/img-proc code is Python extension modules written in Nim.
As a C++ & Python programmer, I'm a huge fan of Nim, which to me combines the best of both languages (such as Python's clear, concise syntax & built-in collection types, with C++'s powerful generics & zero-cost abstractions), with some treats from other languages mixed in (such as Lisp-like macros and some Ruby-like syntax). I find Nim much more readable than C or C++, especially for Numpy integration. I also find Nim much more efficient to code in than C or C++ (in terms of programmer time).
And Nim is a very extensible language, which enables Nim-Pymod to be more than just a wrapper. For example:
1. Nim-Pymod uses Nim macros (which are like optionally-typed Lisp macros rather than text-munging C preprocessor macros) to auto-generate the C boilerplate functions around our Nim code to create Python extension modules.
2. Nim-Pymod provides statically-typed C++-like iterators to access the Numpy arrays; these iterators include automatic inline checks to catch the usual subtle array-access errors. Nim macros are themselves Nim code, which can be controlled via globals, which in turn can be set by compiler directives; by compiling the Nim code in "production" mode rather than "debug" mode after testing, we can switch off the slowest of these checks to get back to direct-access speed without needing to make any code changes. (And of course Nim's static typing catches type errors at compilation time regardless of the compilation mode.)
3. Nim exceptions have an informative stack trace like Python exceptions do, and Nim-Pymod converts Nim exceptions into Python exceptions at the interface, preserving the stack trace, meaning you have a Python stack trace all the way back to the exact location in your Nim code.
Earlier on in our development of Nim-Pymod, there were some occasional headaches with Nim due to its in-development status. Occasionally the Nim syntax would change slightly and that would break our code (boo). We've also debugged a few problems in the Nim standard library. I suppose these problems are an unfortunate consequence of Nim having a small set of core devs contributing their time (rather than being supported by Microsoft, Sun, Google or Mozilla). Fortunately, these problems seem to have stabilised by now.
The Nim standard library is reasonably large, somewhere between C++ STL (data structures & algos) & Python stdlib (task-specific functionality). I recall that the stdlib could use some standardisation for uniformity, but I haven't been watching it closely for the last year or so.
Third party libraries are not abundant, aside from a handful of prolific Nim community-members who have produced dozens of fantastic libraries (eg, https://github.com/def- , https://github.com/dom96 , https://github.com/fowlmouth , https://github.com/yglukhov ).
I'm happy to answer any other questions about using Nim in production!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 :)
As a psychologist it sounds to me like you're in a serious crisis, a mixture of burn out, depression and lack of meaning. There is no "trick" to magically just "snap out of it". You might find counseling, coaching or therapy useful (especially logotherapy which focuses on finding meaning in life). Please do not just see a GP to get some drugs, antidepressants treat a symptom (namely brain chemistry) but it doesn't solve the underlying Probleme.Just "sucking it up" will not work, please do not mistake mental problems as "oh it's ONLY mental, it's not like I'm REALLY ill" - psychological problems are DEADLY!! Depression on deadly!
From my point of view it would be best not to give up all that you worked for for so long but to find someone you can train in your job and who can help you out. It might look like only you can do this job because it's so complex but it will not all collapse when you find someone to help you out for now, who you can train to learn how you manage stuff. They will learn and they will be able to manage it even though that might seem unrealistic to you at the moment. You NEED to take care of yourself before doing anything else at the moment. Don't go "but I have to be strong now and push through this" ... You will only become more miserable...Many people find it helpful to talk to a counselor to get a clearer picture about what they need now and how they can overcome their current struggle. Feel free to message me on Catharina.firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, I'm happy to help out if anything I said resonated with you. Kind regards, Catharina
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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?
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
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
Your personal support network is exactly what you need to be able to lean on to get through stressful times.
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.
1. Meditation and taking time out of the day to enjoy your life
2. Take time out of your day to enjoy what you have
3. Remember to take time out of your day to enjoy life for what it is. Not what it can be.
4. Take time out of your day to appreciate your peers and your loved ones. Take them out to dinner or just show how much you appreciate them.
5. Lastly if you really want to quit; you need to setup an exit plan. It's clear you have a few excuses; hell don't we all. Can't find someone to replace you? well if the domain knowledge is high; it's likely needing to be documented and distilled down. Maybe it's too much for 1 person maybe 2 or 3 people could replace you.
Lastly stop assuming life has to be a certain way; it's hard enough with all these assumptions and expectations lumped on us. By beating yourself up you are just doing yourself a disservice.
Don't forget to tell yourself how amazing you are; I mean you are a founder at a company that is not in debt. You could be acquired; you don't have to be a founder forever it sounds like.
Time to take time and celebrate.
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
One of the reasons you feel completely trapped is that, effectively you are. You need to get one or two people who can start giving you a break. Then you will get perspective and can make reasonable career decisions. When you're trapped, it gets worse and worse and you may just toss all that work to now and walk.
Hire someone, or delegate bits to others (or do both) to get some space from the things that are driving this ideation. You will be much happier and it will buy time to determine what you need to do for you to thrive.
My heart goes out to you!
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.
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
And when you're that deep in stress it's even more difficult than usual to see a way out, to be rational, to separate the short-term from the long-term.
I wasn't even a founder, and I have been founder of a handful of start-ups now, all with their bad moments.
Can you ease off a bit, get someone else to help out, and get through acquisition? That is, a less binary view than you suggest. I don't think the buyer is likely to want either a dead company or a walking-dead company with a burnt-out founder.
Even the big boys get overwhelmed and stressed out from time to time and have to take a break:
And all these years later he's steered Lloyds back into profit and the UK government just disposed of its final shares, also at a nominal profit.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. It is probably not an oncoming train.
But you need to give yourself a chance to get some perspective.
*I did point out as a contractor that all they had to do was pay me up to the end of the day and say goodbye and I'd be happy. And I got to leave at noon. Bonus half day. The company did less well, but that's another story...
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.
"Given this stress, CEOs often make the one of the following two mistakes:
1. They take things too personally
2. They do not take things personally enough
In the first scenario, the CEO takes every issue incredibly seriously and personally and urgently moves to fix it. Given the volume of the issues, this motion usually results in one of two scenarios. If the CEO is outwardly focused, she ends up terrorizing the team to the point where nobody wants to work at the company any more. If the CEO is inwardly focused, she ends up feeling so sick from all of the problems that she can barely make it to work in the morning.
In the second scenario, in order to dampen the pain of the rolling disaster that is the company, the CEO takes a Pollyannaish attitude: its not so bad. In this view, none of the problems are actually that bad and they neednt be dealt with urgently. By rationalizing away the issues, the CEO feels better about herself. The problem is that she doesnt actually fix any of the problems and the employees eventually become quite frustrated that the Chief Executive keeps ignoring the most basic problems and conflicts. Ultimately, the company turns to crap."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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...
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.
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.
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?
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 !
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.
Do the acquisition. Presumably there will be some mandatory retention period. Once their check clears, mentally check out and see what happens. Take a vacay, start coming in around 11am, don't answer emails off hours...
One of two things will happen, either the rest of the company will pick up the slack or the whole place will fall apart. Either way your money will be in the bank so who cares right?
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.
There are many routes to happiness while maintaining your company.
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!
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.
PRO: It was indeed a breeze and stress free.CON: without social help or illegal secondary activities you don't earn enough to sustain your life (pay rents, food, clothing and that's all).
But, it has been the moment of my life I was the happiest to work everyday.
Maybe that's how you could make a vacation. It helps you forget everything about the business brain washing that is strong in the IT, it clears your head of the noise, and you might come back more efficient, and retaining more employees by sharing their day to day concern of working to make a living and not living to work.
My take is simple, life is too short to not try to live some of your fantasies, some may actually prove to be fruitful.
Simply remember that there is no success in trying if you don't accept you also may fail and be disappointed.
I was lucky, may you be lucky.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 !
Its weak area currently is the accuracy of face detection. Before recognizing the identity of a face,you have to first find the positions of faces in an image.
OpenCV provides multiple algorithms for this - cascades of weak classifiers likes Haar cascades, Local Binary Pattern cascades, Histogram of Gradients cascades -and a number of pretrained models of frontal and profile human faces for each of those algorithms. There's even a frontal cat face model!But all of them suffer from high false positives or false negatives depending on subject distance and ambient lighting levels. The cat model has trouble with even the slightest of angles.
So face alignment is a mandatory pre-processing step with OpenCV's models. But OpenCV doesn't provide any end-to-end alignment routines - it's all upto you to write the alignment code. The dlib library has all that built in.
Coming to OpenCV face recognition, it provides 3 approaches - eigen faces, fischer faces and LBPH faces. Its docs explain the shortcomings of each well. In theory, LBPH should give the best accuracy, but I consistently found Fischer giving the highest among the three. Recognition too requires considerable preprocessing - left and right histogram equilization, cropping out hair and neck areas, etc.All the pre-processing makes dataset preparation cumbersome. But it does work okish - 65 to 75 percent accuracy - with smallish datasets of just 20 frontal faces per person.
If you plan to start with OpenCV for face capabilities, I suggest using dlib instead.
I haven't used OpenBR but eyeballing the code tells me it too uses OpenCV face APIs underneath and another library named stasm which has face alignment capabilities similar to dlib but using OpenCV. OpenBR seems to make building preprocessing pipelines easier using its own DSL - that should reduce the trial and error time significantly.But it doesn't add any new algorithm.
I haven't used OpenFace but looked into it in the past. It uses dlib for face detection and alignment,and then uses deep convolutional neural network for feature extraction and recognition instead of eigen, fischer or LBPH. These convolutional features are likely to do a better job than OpenCV's cascade features. I'm not sure about the ideal training dataset size though.
Generally, in such cases where a dataset is likely to be small due to practical restrictions,the preferred deep learning approach is transfer learning where a large pretrained model like ImageNet is used for initial layers and only the last few layers are retrained on the user's face dataset.
I've used deep object detection frameworks like YOLO and ResNet R-CNN in other contexts, and found them to be good for person detection. I think a deep object detection trained on faces to output face positions combined with deep face recognition is the best combination. FaceNet does exactly that (https://github.com/davidsandberg/facenet) and is probably the best one right now.
All said, identity recognition in our brains is actually multimodal (face, body, gait, voice, gesture, etc). AFAIK, all the existing stacks support only frontal face recognition with some tolerance for transformations, and none of them support even recognition using profile face images, let alone multimodal identity recognition.
DATE: Sun, May 28, 2017 at 12:53 PM (Pacific Time)
SUBJECT: Announcement: Startup School Delay in Videos This Week
Startup School Delay in Videos This Week
We apologize for the lack of videos this week. We ran into quite a few technical difficulties with video editing/publishing, so this past week's lectures will be delayed until the coming week.
In addition, Alan Kay wanted to update a few parts of his lecture slides, so his second lecture will be back up this coming week as well.
I am not saying this to be mean. I just don't think this effort has delivered actionable value. Years ago I subscribed to Mixergy. The site is about interviewing successful entrepreneurs and delivering usable wisdom in the process. I have to say the difference could not be greater. Mixergy interviews are genuinely useful, something I cannot say about Startup School. Beyond that, the site has hundreds of interviews across every imaginable topic. I have no relation whatsoever to Mixergy other than having been a subscriber for a couple of years and thinking of going back.
Omit needless words. There's a page in Stephen King's autobiography "On Writing" where he shows an editor's comments on an article he wrote as a teenager. Half of the words are crossed out. Remembering that example improved my writing significantly.
Also, understand that writing is an iterative process. It can take 5-6 passes to craft a good sentence.
I by no means can call myself good at writing, but I do learn from books I've read and try to apply what I 'discover' in my own writing. Find an author you like, read up on his works and see how he writes. If you like his works, chances are you like his writing style and it might match what you're hoping to create.
I think the context that prefaces the question betrays a misunderstanding.
When you really start digging into crafting messages, you start finding out things like the medium you work in actually changes how you should structure your message. Famous examples of why this should be done exist, like the first presidential debate that was both televised and broadcast on the radio. People who saw the television thought one candidate had won the debate. People who listened thought the other had won.
Twitter as a medium promotes a certain kind of content. Learning to be a better writer isn't going to change that. If the goal of learning to be a better writer is to prevent some sort of decline in writing as seen on Twitter? Don't learn more about writing.
There are so many different kinds of writing and being better at one doesn't mean you will be better at another. So really you're safe learning most of writing. Unfortunately, you're bound to run across ideas like using a hook to attract attention as quickly as possible.
Then you run the risk of joining the hyperbolic tweeters.
In school, you get it from your teachers, but I was surprised to learn that what I learned about writing in school really was just scratching the surface. I have learned a lot more from talking with people online in forums like HN, blogging and doing paid freelance writing. I am still struggling to get real traction with my blogs. Although there is a long history of my comments in forums getting ridiculous overreactions from people, it has been surprisingly hard to translate that into meaningful engagement with my blog writing.
Writing is about communicating. Good grammar and all that matter, but it matters more that you have something you need to convey for some reason. Writing is merely the means to convey it. And that is wherein the work lies.
1. Politics and the English Language (Orwell) 2. The Age of the Essay (Graham). 3. On Writing (Stephen King) 4. On Writing Well (Zinsser)5. The Elements of Style (Strunk and White)6. Essential English for Journalists, Editors, and Writers (Evans)
2. You need to understand the idea of style: there are multiple styles, each with its own set of assumptions about how you address the reader, what "truth" is, etc.. "Clear and Simple as the Truth" is a great book about the idea of multiple styles, and one particular style (the classic one).
3. Learn the practical style, which is suitable for many business writing situations. "Style: basics of clarity and grace" by Williams and Colomb is great book on the topic.
Effective writers (from farm-content buzzfeed to copywriter bill bernbach to pulitzer-winning journalist bill dedman) distill the most relevant events they've personally seen into a structure that coneveys the experience in order.
The delightful parody version of this is 'write what you know' in george lucas in love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0olm8478DE (and every writing manual). But the reason this line shows up everywhere is that it's a good first step.
Also, spend only 30% of your time on the first draft. It's seldom any good. Cultivate editors you trust who can work with you and meet you at the right stage. Writer Julian Fellowes talks about 'editing stages' in the first minute of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RSYT2gQFlQ.
HBR Guide to Better Business Writing
Also, in general all "HBR Guide to _____" books are awesome.
Though I've gotten paid to write for a technology website, I am not a strong writer. But, I currently spend about 10 hours a week writing for my blog and other mediums and am continuously trying to get better.
Assuming one is putting in the time and effort, the next thing that will most quickly speed improvement is having an editor or other competent reviewer provide critical feedback, including on grammar, structure, and style. Then, keep rewriting a piece until you are no longer unhappy with it.
Find an honest editor, someone who will give you objective feedback and correct your mistakes.
I wrote a bunch and thought I was pretty good at technical documentation, and hey, I've got this blog I maintain [well, less now]. Then a real editor got hold of an effort of mine and it came back to me with many, many corrections. And you know, it was a LOT better; I couldn't argue with any of it.
And I know that Strunk and White is out of style, but I still recommend it.
Have people read it; especially people with no incentive to just "be nice about it".
Write a lot.
A great tip to improve your writing is that sentences of varied length seem more natural.
Ignore most of the rules. You stick to most rules by default but breaking them is what can make a piece excellent.
Get great at research. Unless you are writing about yourself, your life or your experiences then you will need data to make the work come to life.
Remember the 10,00 hour rule. To be great at something takes work and practice. So find a way to practice regularly and daily. I spent ~10 years writing Wikipedia articles.
If anyone is interested in writing better non fiction I recommend "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser. It's compact and full of easy wins that one can translate quickly into their day to day written correspondence etc.
Technical writing is a genre all its own.
3. Turn off the TV, and social media
(You can apply this to a lot of other things)
Not sure what you mean by "take" though. I think it is both good and important, if that is what you were asking.
I'd say the greatest insight that I've had from writing 1,000 words every single day for nearly the past year has been that simply writing 1,000 words every single day is not enough to foster real improvement. The habit definitely helps you overcome the initial resistance that you might feel towards getting started, and if you're not already good at typing or transferring thoughts in your head into words on the screen, I'm sure it helps with that too, but there comes a point at which, if you actually want to continue growing and becoming a better writer, you need a goal other than "write every day".
For me, the act of writing something that I intend to publish, to share with others, forces me to work on the writing, to tweak it, to think about how it can be made better, to question its clarity, to question the value of what I'm sharing. If what I'm intending to share contains a story, then knowing that it's going to be shared forces me to work on storycraft, to think about how someone else is going to interpret what I wrote. None of that happens naturally when you write privately, when your only goal is to see the word counter pass 1,000.
I've found that the greatest advancements in my own writing have come when I was blogging regularly (comparing posts from one year to another makes this very obvious). Whenever I've stopped blogging regularly for long periods of time, I find that my writing stops improving, even if the overall amount of writing I'm doing on a regular basis doesn't change that much (e.g., Slack messages, comments like these, etc.).
I'm not saying that you cannot improve as a writer when you write privately, just that improvement requires working toward specific goals that you know will challenge you to improve. Write a haiku. Write a short story. Look up from your laptop, find an object, and then try to write 1,000 words describing that object in as fine detail as possible. Do the same thing with an emotion that you've felt. And if you can, share what you write. Even if others don't give you feedback, the very knowledge that somebody, somewhere, will likely be judging your writing will cause you to subconsciously work a little harder to write better, to rewrite and to edit (which is the work that actually produces good writing).
I think that's what has helped me the most. Sure a few rules of thumb such as "omit needless words" and "eschew obfuscation" but mostly just reading a lot.
Do I think writing is important? Yes. I automatically disqualify a job candidate if their writing is poor.
Do I think writing skills have gone down? Yes. However this did not happen recently. I noticed it in 1997-1998 as my younger brother's generation starting to spend more time using instant messaging on the computer than they were doing their homework.
Do my views represent society at large? I am afraid they do not. I am continually flabbergasted by the comments that I see on YouTube and on news websites. In my opinion either schools are failing us or society is. Either way it has become clear that people are rewarded in the communities they deem important by being confrontational and derogatory without formulating and conveying a proper argument.
edit: always be practicing, revising, improving.
1. Read. Read everything. Read omnivorously. Read fiction and non-fiction, books and newspapers and magazines and Web sites. Read works by live authors and dead ones. Read stuff you wouldn't normally read. Part of developing your own voice is learning to hear the music in other peoples'.
2. Write. Write constantly. Write little notes and long essays. Write stories. Write a journal. Write down what happened to you today and what you dreamed last night. Write for an audience (even if it doesn't exist yet) and write for yourself. Writing is the process of trying on new voices until you find the one that fits you best. The only way to find the one that fits is to try on a lot that don't.
Puppy Linux is another good one, but it's quite different and finding help when it's needed is a bit of a problem.
I don't know if you know this already, but you can try out any number of distros non-destructively. Just write a downloaded image distro to a pen drive, boot off it and select "try without installing". This is how I tried out a number of distros and settled on Lubuntu.
But, as always, this sort of thing is highly subjective, and there is no 'best solution'. My recommendation would be to try out a few different ones and see which one you like. Even a distro generally labelled on the heavyweight side will run perfectly on old hardware, especially if you install their 'minimal' or 'server' option (and add the software you want on top).
Remember, that apart from the package management system and some underlying system choices, most distros are fairly similar to use on the surface (unless you plan on using it as a server - then you'll find large differences between ubuntu based and redhat/fedora based distros).
Having said that, if you install a desktop distro like ubuntu it can be difficult to switch DE's since the configuration is integrated so much.
It looks like that model shipped with 1GB of RAM and 1 empty slot but is upgradable to 4GB.  My advice would be to upgrade the RAM if it practical . This would make just about all distros practical. It's probably worth considering a cheap SSD as well...it can always be installed in another system later.
Of course, those are suggestions that involve spending a little money and the reason is that I would generally recommend standard Ubuntu. Not because it is better but because it has its own StackExhange site for getting help: https://askubuntu.com/. For me AskUbuntu is the killer app that trumps pretty much every other consideration. That's not to say that I don't use ArchWiki and other resources (like man pages) but the Q&A format focused on Ubuntu can provide more focused advice and solutions. Ubuntu also feels more beginner friendly than some other distributions of similar size, the defaults (arguments about Unity and sysmd aside) are relatively sane and there is a large selection of binary packages so the joys and sorrows of compiling from source can be approached with on gently graded slope. Worry not, there's enough sources of WTF and frustration for someone new to Linux without working with source.
: US ebay shows a 2GB stick of PC-2 5300 can be purchased for ~$4.00 including shipping and 3GB is enough to make "mainstream" Linux distros an option.
I currently use Cinnamon on an i5 Samsung laptop and I use XFCE on an eMachine that is ten years old. %99.9 of Ubuntu packages will also run on Linux Mint. The desktops for XFCE and Cinnamon / Mate are easy to navigate. There is great support and a large community.
There is also a rolling distribution using Debian which is a distro that does not need to be upgraded since it is constantly getting updates. Does not run Ubuntu packages, but you will learn better development skills and this is what powers Ubuntu and Linux Mint. https://www.linuxmint.com/download_lmde.php For an older Laptop this may not be a good choice.
If you want to focus on development and at the same time have a system that can handle modern stuff like Netflix, LibreOffice and Google Chrome then try Linux Mint XFCE.
If you need to work immediately: Manjaro XFCE, Ubuntu Mate, Fedora.
If you have a lot of time: Gentoo, Linux From Scratch, Arch, Slackware.
Source: I'm a designer.
- Icon in the nav should be 2x the final size and scaled down for high resolutions screens. If possible use SVG as that will scale ad infinitum.
- The search appears broken in Firefox, the culprit seems to be the "v" (down arrow). For testing several browsers I recommend https://www.browserstack.com/
- You are missing the "Apply now" inside each individual job, which is IMO the best place to put it.
- I would make the country flags a bit smaller. Maybe put them side by side in a continuous way in a more compact way.
Otherwise, as others said, it looks perfectly fine for a launch. And it also seems like a really useful service.
Few quick thoughts
1. I don't like navigating back to the main page to search
* Example: http://imgur.com/XuZSrSR (no search bar here)
2. If a field is not populated, consider not displaying it
* Example: http://imgur.com/9b6UIUv
3. Some pages don't go anywhere meaningful
* Sign in / register
* http://visaok.in/not_a_real_page (=> http://imgur.com/Qhue840)
4. Search doesn't handle some input; I get an error page
* Example: http://visaok.in/jobs/search?q=%3Ch1%3Etest%3C%2Fh1%3E
Your UI/UX is fine.
Similar website to yours - Craigslist.com and their UI is awful.
Focus on how you'll make money, how you can improve the product offering and other things people suggested.
1. On copywriting: I don't understand your copywriting, for example: "Top Visa Sponsor Countries", "74 Jobs United States". Hmmm, what? Also, I don't understand some words, like: "sought-after" without dictionary (this is my third language). Remember, when you're writing, any words that you have to see from dictionary is the wrong words.
2. On typography: grey text on white background is pretty, but hard to read. Why do you write them? Right, for people to read. Imagine how painful it is for people with color blind or low vision. And pay attention to hierarchy.
3. On elements: we like to see something that looks neat. Remember: 1) Order and balance. If you use padding top 1em, it's better if you also use padding bottom 1em. 2) Space and group. Orange and apple should be in the same group. Dog and cat. Then, add space to tell people that they're not the same group: fruit and animal. Visit learndesignprinciples.com for quick read.
4. On icons: why Facebook, Twitter, G+, and YouTube at the top? But why LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube at the bottom? Why without text and with text? Remember consistency. Oh, and why hamburger menu? It's not like the cart icon that people already understand without copy.
5. On color: looks like you use three colors for link. Hmmm? Blue, black, and grey. Why? I suggest just blue. Remember, consistency. Why blue and red buttons? Lastly, don't rely on colors, remember color blind and low vision.
Well, I can write more if you want, but I think you understand. And yes, don't spend too much money for designers. Even Buffett doesn't like to spend money to hire designer (berkshirehathaway.com). Here's my suggestions:
2. If you want a quick solutions: visit some wonderful websites. Then, you take the most wonderful elements (header, button, footer, etc.), combine them to your project.
For more: where to read? NNGroup, UIE, Usability Post, etc. People? Jakob Nielsen, Jared Spool, Don Norman, etc.
What you really need is a good copywriter. Someone who will ask you the right questions to find out who your users are, what their pain-points and needs are, and then create copy that will pique their interest and guide them on what they should do on your site.
That will be much better money spent.
I have hired a number of great designers from dribbble some of which went on to work in places like Apple.
First step: Get Dribbble pro for $25. It'd worth it.
Step 2: first search for designers based on a similar project. In my 1st case I used keywords like "music" "Spotify" "player" etc. In yours, you can use "classifieds", "Craigslist" "Job Board" etc. People would charge lower if they are doing similar stuff they've done before, or have sampled similar ideas.
Step 3: Based on budget, filter for
A. Designers from everywhere apart from US and UK. For. Skills, people have to charge based on their living expenses and based on what they can get in their vicinity.
B. Solo Designers Available for work
South Africa, Some of Western and Eastern Europe (Holland, Belgium, Poland, Romania etc) have an abundance of great affordable designers.
Step 3: Open up a spreadsheet for up to 30 designers with style you like and put up their names and email addresses. Follow. Them so you know who you've contacted.
Step 4: Sent out individual messages. Some have their emails listed. Some you need to contact via Dribbble.
The email has to be brief an to the point. People.
My email was like this.
--Subject : Are you available for Freelance
Message: Hi Name.
Great work on Dribbble. Are you available for freelance? What's your rate? I have a well detailed out project that would need design help.
I hope to hear from you.
(you can add, that you're a developer so working with you will be straightforward)
Quotes are high because people budget for project creep. Being clear can reduce your budget by 30%.
Step 5: Based on response rate (expect ~50%) filter out. Thank those who are beyond your budget. Sometimes they ask for the progect scope and their total may be lower. For me, I focused on people that charged max of $40/hour. I usually negotiate by showing all the wire framed pages to be designed and getting my quote.
Step 6 : Rinse and Repeat until you get what you're looking for.
Note: Your site looks very good especially as a v1. Focus on traction first. Like others have said you "maybe" need some UX work.
I'm not a designer and do product for my startup and usually do the recruiting. Feel free to contact me. (email in profile)
PS: Put your website on this thread so people can check it out.
I don't have any experience hiring there but it may be worth a shot.
Just reaching out and talking to people works wonders and takes almost no effort, so I never had to automate any of it.
To answer your question we use JIRA to capture issues and Confluence to document requirements. But this probably wouldn't be any better than any competing system and is just an organisational choice based on typical business reasons.
Something that I might find useful is a way to link up a "requirement" from a user through to a spec, to design, to code, to the test plan to test it for full tractability. Often we see rules in code and have no idea why that rule is there, but it has to be preserved just in case it was important and was a requirement of the user!
For example, there's these four jobs: Character Artist/Bitmoji, Illustrator/Bitmoji, Product Design/Bitmoji, Technical Lead/Bitmoji
No idea how many people already work on it. But there will be four more. And they will find ways to justify their existence, and grow the size of the group so that their relative importance versus other products gives enough internal power.
Mostly, nobody cares about the name 'chowder' unless your app is a soup or stew. It's not worth delaying launch or lawyering up over at the scale of a side project.
If you were using it in the right way prior to your competitor, you could have rights to block them. (If you haven't launched in the US, chances are you haven't used the mark in the right way.)
Right now, their application has been published for opposition. You could attempt to block the registration by filing an opposition before the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board. You could also sue them for trademark infringement in state or federal court or use your prior use to defend against a claim by them for trademark infringement.
All of this, of course, costs a lot of money. Is it worth it to you to spend a ton of money to protect this name? My guess is no.
Happy to answer additional questions (either on here or you can email me).
That said, my understanding is that, in the US anyway, you gain a trademark simply by the act of using a "mark" in, well, trade. Even if you don't file for a registered trademark, you still have a trademark if you've been using the mark in trade. What I'm not sure about is exactly what counts as "in trade". If your product isn't launched yet, but you have a website up with a a landing page, does that count? I don't know. That's the part where you need to consult a real lawyer.
I'm also not sure if you have any specific recourse to block your competitor from obtaining a registered trademark which is confusingly similar to your own trademark. This is another place where you need real legal counsel.
At this stage I'm thinking we should just rebrand.
Why should you rebrand? Assuming you really were using the name first, you probably have grounds to stop these guys from using it. Go talk to a lawyer who specializes in "IP stuff". Hey, best case, maybe this will be one of those deals where just having a lawyer send a threatening sounding C&D letter to the other group will result in them backing down.
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.
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
i.e. Have you successfully implemented a good OAuth security system? Can you explain the difference between JWTs, and session auth? Why choose one over the other. Talk to me about SSL a little bit, even at a high-level. How do you secure APIs? Talk to me about how you encrypt passwords, and sensative data.
Have you had to deal with PCI DSS?
This is one of the differences between "I'm a developer who has maintained a simple CRUD app" and "I'm a senior developer who can build a secure system".
Or in other words, authentication separates the men from the boys.
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.
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.
I have to say that this is a ridiculous idea considering unfairness in our society.
It is a proven fact that most rich people are rich for the simple reason that they were born into a rich family, while most poor people will remain poor throughout their lives simply because they were born into a poor family. Imagine the world where education, healthcare, public safety, criminal justice, national security and immigration are all up for sale(although its already happening in some countries...). This makes our level of inequality worse than ever because the more money can buy, the more affluence matters.
What we need to do is not to discuss about the extreme logic between libertarianism and conservatism, but to decide what money should and should NOT be able to buy.
Seems to me that free market believer doesn't realize that there IS a regulation that they value because they take its legitimacy for granted. For example, there are many things that we are not allowed to trade. Human slaves, human organs, electoral votes, government job and legal decisions, university places or uncertified medicines although they were legal before.
On top of drawing the boundary of the market, government needs to design the rule to prevent corporations from behaving unethically. History tells us that corporation behave unethically without interference of the government. Actually, we have been fighting for that. Thanks to our ancestors, in a labor market, it is not allowed to have a child labor, and a minimum wage is protected by the government.
People who believe in free market merely oversimplify things to make it easy to understand for them. What we truly need is a market with well-designed rules.
Not saying I'd advocate that scenario.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!).
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.
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://22.214.171.124/
You can Register with any 6 digit number.
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
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!
or...this bad boy:
Hideous but it worked.
This won us the first prize for a google glass hackathon.
Just love them.
Now that we're in the post SeeFood hotdog/nothotdog era, things have changed ;)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJsOA4Zl6Io
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.
The second hack is to be able to maintain that work ethic/productivity for as long as you want: 40hrs, 50hrs, etc.
1. If sitting it is bad for your posture, back etc. Lack of exercise could be an issue.
2. If thinking hard it might cause fatigue in the mind, burnout etc.
3. If working in a stressful environment, e.g. working with dicks then longer exposure to this could cause psychological problems.
A good hack would be to do a job where you can stand / walk for at least some of the time.
E.g. a job where you do some stuff on a whiteboard, or present a lot in front of people, or can pace around and think would help.
A job where you don't work with dicks would help.
A job where you are not doing novel stuff all the time or working on complex code bases or issues all the time would help.
So my hacks are in the choice of job where you work the long hours, rather than along the lines of drinking soylent etc.
Why do you desire to work long hours? This seems odd to me.
If it is just to get better results, then just aim for better results. If you run your own business this might entail setting up systems that take you out of the picture.
I consistently work over 60hrs/week. -> Sustainable for long term if executed well. During rush-weeks I have been able to push 90hrs/week. -> Short bursts of 1-2 weeks at a time. 4-5 times in a year (usually before a launch or an important event) 60+hrs/week schedules are more likely to be sustainable if: 1. YOU LOVE YOUR WORK. 2. YOU LOVE YOUR TEAM. 3. You have an excellent support structure (Family & Friends) My schedule changes quite a bit depending on what's going on that week (events, travel, off-site meetings etc). But, I am able to follow this schedule for the most part: Monday-Thursday [44h, 11h/day] 5:30am - 6:30am - Morning routines || 6:30am - 8:30am - Creative Work Block-1 (home) [2h] || 8:30am - 9:30am - Breakfast + Get to work || 9:30am - 11:00am - Meetings- internal. [1.5h] || 11:00am - 12:00pm - Email Block-1 [1h] || 12:00pm - 12:30pm - Lunch || 12:30pm - 2:00pm - Meetings, calls & emails [1.5h] || 2:00pm - 3:00pm - Afternoon routines || 3:00pm - 5:00pm - Meetings- internal [2h] || 5:00pm - 7:00pm - Creative Work Block-2 [2h] || 7:00pm - 8:00pm - Email Block-2 [1h] || 8:00pm - 10:00pm - Family / social || 10:00pm - 11:00pm - Night routines || 11:00pm - 5:30am - Sleep || Friday [9h] 5:30am - 6:30am - Morning routines || 6:30am - 8:30am - Creative Work Block-1 (home)[2h] || 8:30am - 9:30am - Breakfast + Get to work || 9:30am - 11:00am - Meetings- internal. [1.5h] || 11:00am - 12:00pm - Email Block-1 [1h] || 12:00pm - 12:30pm - Lunch || 12:30pm - 2:00pm - Meetings, calls & emails [1.5h] || 2:00pm - 3:00pm - Afternoon routines || 3:00pm - 4:30pm - Creative Work Block-2 [1.5h] || 4:30pm - 6:00pm - Email Block-2 [1.5h] || 6:00pm - 10:00pm - Family / Social || 10:00pm - 11:00pm - Night routines || 11:00pm - 7:30am - Sleep || Saturday [3.5h] 7:30am - 8:30am - Morning routines || 8:30am - 6:30pm - Family / social || 6:30pm - 10:00pm - emails, catch-up work || 10:00pm - 11:00pm - Night routines || 11:00pm - 7:30am - Sleep || Sunday [7h] 7:30am - 8:30am - Morning routines || 8:30am - 9:30am - Breakfast + Get to work || 9:30am - 12:00am - Creative Work Block-1 [2.5h] || 12:00pm - 12:30pm - Lunch || 12:30pm - 2:00pm - Creative Work Block-2 [1.5h] || 2:00pm - 3:00pm - Afternoon routines || 3:00pm - 5:00pm - Creative Work Block-3 [2h] || 5:00pm - 6:00pm - Emails and calls [1h] || 6:00pm - 10:00pm - Family / Social || 10:00pm - 11:00pm - Night routines || 11:00pm - 5:30am - Sleep || Definitions- Creative Work: -Product related work. -Prep for meetings -Prep for pitches -Prep for demos -Skimming through user logs -Reading engineering logs and commenting. -Skimming through code -Technical stuff -Research (customers, competitors, market, strategies, etc) Morning routines: -Brush, wash, get ready. -Cardio & stretches Afternoon routines: -Meditating for 20 min or taking a power-nap (depends on mood) -Run / walk outside in the sun (usually tagalong a teammate) Night routines: -Meditate for 20 min -Get ready for bed (brush, wash, etc) Some bio-hacks I use: -I try not to get distracted in the mornings (I turn off my notifications before going to bed). I FOCUS on the most important work on hand. I feel most creative in the mornings before everyone in my family wakes up and in the evenings when work day ends for most of the company and I don't have any meetings scheduled for the rest of the day. I also find that my creativity goes up after an exercise. It took me a while to figure out my sweet spots. Figure out when your body and mind will be most creative.... -I make sure to get at least 5-6 hours of sleep every day and 8 hours over the weekends. Sleep is soooo underrated. It is key for optimal performance. Probably the most important bio-hack is SLEEPING (Quality of sleep matters. Also, I try to keep bed time and sleep-period consistent) -I eat HEALTHY (I am a vegetarian). I follow a healthy and holistic diet that gets me ALL the nutrition I need (no supplements or meat) -Exercise and the SUN. Cant stress enough how important this is! I feel energized and creative after my workouts (especially if I am running outside in the sun). -I Meditate at least once a day (for 20 min). I find that the techniques I use to clear my mind while meditating are very similar to the techniques I use to FOCUS and clear my min of other thoughts... -I try to minimizing noise and other distractions as much as possible. (I sometimes listen to sounds of rain or waterfall or a stream flowing....) -I spend high-quality time with my family / friends. Every second counts. This is when I am living in their world and not mine. Getting on a schedule and cultivating healthy habits make a world of difference. I have been going 60+h/week since 2014. I have learnt a lot, I have come very close to burnouts and depression. Be careful. Your health is very very important. It is easy to loose track of the real world, so make sure you ground yourself in reality and have checks and bounds for your mental and physical health. Good Luck!
Have you fixed food ? Only eat best food for your body (no meat, alot of vegs, fish, chicken) + supplements (fish oil etc).
Don't drink coffee and only use it for special occasions (to push more hours).
Exercise: swim for overall body health + running to fix bugs in your head and get high/relaxed (8-10km).
Quit drugs legal & illegal (or only on weekend).
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'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.
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.
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.
In addition, it gives me exposure, opens up opportunity for talks, and sparks interesting conversations with many people.
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.
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.
From an outside scope:
* Marketing and exposure to others about yourself as a developer
From a personal level:
* When you write about anything, you think about it in deeper terms and understand it better. For tech, it would help you solidify concepts and be similar to teaching others (if that's how you want to write it)
* May or may not improve writing skills, which can be good all around. (It will definitely improve if you're writing for OTHER people. If you're just writing for yourself, maybe not)
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.
As others have said, honing your ideas is also a process that blogging chisels & fine tunes.
- 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
- 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.
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.
Now I'm starting again to use it as open note-book.
Because some of my past google searches literally pointed me to my own old blog post. Every time that happened, it gave me a very smug feeling.
I have another 3 well researched ideas that can have similar outcomes.
SaaS is super easy when you go niche and aim for the 50k-100k MRR. You don't have to sell into enterprises to do that. Just have 1k customers paying $100 each. Solve some stupid problem in marketing and you've got yourself a viable SaaS.
There's no reason why there wouldn't be 100k engineers running a small SaaS on the side.
- Most startups are B2B, as opposed to those in Silicon Valley, of which the vast majority are B2C.
- Things move a bit slower - there's more planning, less hackety-hacking. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and doesn't mean that you'll be twiddling your thumbs.
- Cost of living is much, much lower, as you might imagine.
- Tech scene is smaller, but more tight-knit. There aren't a vast array of VCs and companies like in the valley, so chances are you'll bump into the same people over time, and be able to build more personal connections within your network, which is probably better than having a larger, more impersonal network.
- A lot of big companies have satellite offices around Austin, like Apple, Intel, IBM, etc. You aren't necessarily locked into working for an "Austin company", if you don't want to.
Pretty much every short-term goal ought to be a net plus on my longterm goal. Short-term goals:1. Get our new SaaS business to 3K euro MRRSo my wife can quit job and support the SaaS (It's targeting the niche she works in, once software is done she does over support / sales / marketing / networking etc.). This is #1 because her job is awfull and low-paying, so we need to fix that first. Just landed a great customer so fingers crossed...
2. Either get SaaS up to 8k euro MRR+ OR start another- So i can start working alongside her doing the same kind of work. Might even be able to hire someone so we can take some days off!
My job now is great. Pay is not great, but i can easily take days of if i want or work from home etc. No commute to speak of, so maximum time for other company stuff. If #1 or #2 is a bust, i'm pretty confident i will keep trying to get a SaaS off the ground. Either that or get another job half an hour away so i can retire a few years faster. Lets hope for the former.
I want to make the universe more efficient. For me, this starts by making humans more efficient. My ideal would be the Borg.
I choose efficiency because it's inherently good. If you're more efficient, then you can reach other goals more efficiently, no matter what these goals are.
Concretely, I'm tackling the problem of inefficient communication and thinking. I believe that natural languages are one of humanity's main bottlenecks and must be replaced with something better by at least an order magnitude. A completely new and computer-aided communication paradigm.
I don't want anyone to ever have to communicate something that's already been communicated before. I don't want people to be able to express inconsistent ideas. I want to get rid of paradoxes and exceptions from language.
I also want to make the world completely transparent, make data free. This means getting rid of privacy, another one of humanity's main bottlenecks. Privacy is irrational and selfish.
My first step is to build a single application that aims to replace 80% of existing applications. To achieve this without bloat, a new interaction paradigm will need to be conceived. As I don't expect most adults to appreciate the value of the system (in my experience, they feel threatened) or have the ability to learn it, my targets are kids.
TL;DR: I'm building a next-generation communication app for kids.
If I can achieve this in 5 years it would be ideal. First stage is in progress.
"If anything"? I can pretty much guarantee you that in 50 years (or 100, to stay on the safe side), nobody will be using Facebook anymore. The question is not "if" but "what".
Speculating on coming tech is risky, but my prediction is a two-way trend: graphic and text-based communication. Email is one of the oldest computer communication tools around (and basically a continuation of the millenia-old practice of writing letters) and doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Text-based communication is ideal for formulating complex ideas and offers low storage/delivery costs. I don't know whether we'll still be calling it email, but I'm pretty sure we'll still be writing some sort of letters in 2100. On the other hand, private conversation is a lot more enjoyable when it is face-to-face, giving the participants the opportunity to latch on to non-linguistic cues such as voice inflection or facial expressions. Thus I would imagine that some sort of telepresence communication platform is going to be pretty important in 2100 (akin to Skype et al. today, though perhaps with elements of virtual reality).
tl;dr Facebook as a company isn't going to stick around for ever, but letters and visual chatting are here to stay.
It might be that in 5 years, Facebook will be as popular in the Bay Area as McDonald's is. I'm not sure that in that scenario Facebook won't still be a strong business.
Don't get me wrong: I think we're due for a cultural backlash against the kind of "information sugar" Facebook embodies. But I'm skeptical about how much such a backlash would really accomplish.
Maybe you'll see some kind of "up-market" services emerge that cater to new tastes (in this case: greater value placed on limited distraction/sustained attention). What is the Whole Foods Market in this area?
video chat is another connection mechanism that provides more depth in ways that text/photo sharing never will -e.g. it reaches more of our senses.
the next big thing will be something very different and the trick will be getting it into every home. imo, it's clearly virtual reality related. i should be able to put on a headset/glasses and and sit in my living room with a friend and have that beer while chatting with them so it feels like they're in the room with me. the more real this can feel the better.
i'd imagine google/facebook are already racing to find this next big thing today. getting this into every home is the key. this is a race worth investing a lot into imo. if someone else can beat one of these big companies to this, they'll find themselves in position to surpass them.
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.
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.