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Ask HN: Tired founders facing acquihire please advise
53 points by tiredandseeking  12 hours ago   45 comments top 31
jagermo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
| I'm still young

This is one of the key phrases. You built something amazing that someone wants to have. If they set you up with a good job, you should take the offer.

As nhangen said, try to get a long vacation and take it. My recharge tip would be: Find a nice place to stay for at least 3 weeks. Maybe something with a beach and all necessary shops in walking distance (if you are in Europe, Paros is amazing). Stay for at least 3 weeks. The first week will be strange, it's really hard to come down from a lot of work. The second week will feel better, you start to relax. The third is bliss - you come down and kind of only wander between different states of relaxation (wake up, nice breakfast, beach, maybe a nap, afternoon tea, dinner, sleep). It really helps to get ready for the next step and gives you enough distance to re-evaluate what you want to do.

PaulRobinson 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You need time off. You need surgery and recovery time, and then you need some more time off post-recovery.

I say this as somebody who has recently returned to work after 2 months away due to surgery and needing rehabilitation post-surgery that was very intensive. I'm still feeling burned out, and I'm hoping to take a couple of weeks out in a month or two to just regroup and gather my energy back.

You need to figure out whether you can take some time out before making a decision, or if you need to make the decision now and then take the time off. If the acquiring company won't let you have enough time off (or more depending on the surgery), well, that's a problem, and you need to talk to your co-founder about whether you can do it whilst in the company.

The absolute top priority in all of this is your health: you can't pivot, sell or work for somebody else if you're not well. Deal with the burn out and surgery as an urgent priority, everything else is secondary.

fuzzygroup 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Hi. I'm a 49 year old software engineer who is still at the startup game -- I started in it when I was 19. If you want to talk this thru with someone who does have life experience and has been thru the startup grinder multiple, multiple times, my email is on my profile. I'd be happy to get on the phone or on skype with you and discuss. Just drop me an email. I've been there brother; it will work out.
exogeny 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Investors will always tell you that they want big multiples on their investment in order for their fund economics to work. They are right. They will also however concurrently never, ever be mad at someone for returning their money. (And in doing so, you'll be able to raise money again, much easier.)

The harsh criticism against acquihires is mostly reserved for companies who raise too much, too fast and/or lavishly waste money and opportunities available to them. That doesn't sound like you at all.

nhangen 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Negotiate a small up front bonus, 2-4 weeks of paid vacation in the immediate future, at a minimum, and then take the deal.

Use the r&r to recharge, and the acquisition to bolster your track record. Start something new once you vest.

Maro 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey! First of all, congrats for making it this far!

I had a startup, but we never were able to secure funding before we folded. We got approached by a company that was both interested in our product and also wanted to invest. When this happened, we've already been doing the startup for 2.5 years, and I was already pretty tired, burnt out, often thinking about opportunity costs, esp. when having beer with "normal" friends. I had a pretty bad feeling about going into this negotiation for a number of reasons, mostly because I was already pretty tired, and at this point we learned a lot about the downsides of the business we were in (enterprise software sales).

But despite this feeling, we agreed with my cofounder that we'd go for it, after all, this is what we had worked towards! It wasn't a bad decision---it was a gamble, and we took it. But for me it would have been better if we didn't take it. The negotiations went on for a year, it was very painful, I became pretty depressed, couldn't sleep, one time for a straight week (!). In the end the other party pulled out of the deal for totally unrelated external reasons, outside of our control, and we folded the company. But also my then-wife left me and I got divorced. I payed a big price for the gamble I took in that last year.

I'm still happy that I did that startup (2009-2012), and I plan to do one again, this time much wiser. But today I would not take that last gamble, I'd call it quits there. If it doesn't work, if it doesn't feel right, then stop.

One good thought experiment is this: imagine you continue on. Then you probably have to hire people at some point. Imagine hiring +3 people. Two have families, kids: they will quit their current job to come to work for you, on your project, at your company. Does it feel right? Imagine them showing up on the first day, and you're their leader, you have to motivate them, etc. Does it feel right?

dguaraglia 5 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who's been on the opposite side of this (having stayed in a zombie startup while recovering from a bad health situation) I say go for it. Health - both physical and mental - come before money. If you get to pay investors, get a good gig out of it and a great entry (an exit is an exit!) on your CV, you'll be doing much better than 95% of startups out there.

If you feel like you need someone to do a mental dump on and you are in the Bay Area, please feel free to contact me. My email is on my profile.

touchofevil 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you should take their offer based on: 1) You were already prepared to pivot 2) You said this company is going to enter your market and would be hard to compete against 3) They are offering you "great jobs" 4) Your health/finances sound like they could use a chance to recover. Seems like a good outcome for 18 months of hard work.
matthewmacleod 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's time to call it quits, yes. There will be other chances, and unless you have full confidence in the way forward then consider this a successful exit.
Mz 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The terms of the deal allow us to mostly pay back our investors in full and would line us up with great jobs. It is not the exit we dreamed of but it gives us a nice story for the future and allows us to "wipe our hands clean".

Given the amount of stress you are dealing with, this sounds like a good thing to me. You get to undo the damage this has done to your finances, I assume it also would let you get the surgery you need and you can stop running yourself into the ground.

What are you hoping to get if you don't take this? What makes you hesitate to take it? Are the things that give you pause genuinely realistic scenarios or issues?

caseyf7 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The startup game is all about confidence. If you've lost confidence, it's time to move on. Get a good lawyer, ask for upfront bonus, two or more weeks break before starting (ask for it to be paid or allow you to start with a negative accrual), make sure health benefits are vested immediately so you can start your procedure. The intensive rehabilitation may get your blood flowing and your confidence back. Then you'll be able to make a clearer decision about staying or calling a recruiter.
thiagooffm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just sell it, recover yourself and get back in the game when you feel it's appropriate. Perhaps call me next time :-)

I've gave up the startup life a few years ago(without really counquering anything beyond experience) meanwhile I've got married, moved to a better country etc.

But I know all those things happened because my first tries with startups and so on gave me the work ethics to conquer the shit I wanted, and this will be kept my whole life, just as it does for you.

You can have your new shot when you are bored off your new job, and perhaps even with more funds as before... to perhaps make something even greater.

Just sell it. Almost none of business people generate today are actually make a profit or grow big, but there are many which makes competitiors or old companies be on "fear state", making they buy the business and you cash out well. That's a pretty good plan!

You don't need to end up with a billion dollar company to be happy. Even making 500k in 2 years is a good amount of money. You can invest this in funds and go salaried mode again.

You are doing well! But please don't neglect your health. It's the only thing that really matters. Make sure now that your health is perfect, you get enough exercise and you are satisfied with your life.

amasad 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you raised $1 mil+ why not pay yourself and get a good insurance? It's not like you're bootstrapped, what are you doing with the money?
Grustaf 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's pretty clear you want to go through with it, so why the hesitation, what's holding you bqck? And about the offer, unless you've exhausted your negotiaton powers there's probably money on the table.

And I'd agree with others that 18 months isn't very much, 6 months without pay is even less impressive. But that doesn't really matter, in the end it's up to how you feel. Just don't expect too much sympathy. A better way to look at it is this: what are the chances that your startup becomes a 10x:er? Investors donttreally care if you keep it up for another year and increase the calue of the company by 20%. Could it become massively successful or not?

hluska 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Generally, I would tell you to take the offer. However, in this case, you used a few words that worry me.

Are you suffering from burn out?

If you are, I have some bad news for you. An acquihire likely won't provide a short term fix to your burn out. Instead, going from co-founder to employee will be stressful. You will have a new set of organizational politics to deal with, and you may find yourself plagued with constant "what ifs".

If you do take the acquihire, remember that your start date is an incredibly important part of the negotiation. If you are burned out (and seriously my friend, you sound burned out), take a bit of time off before you start.

jamesleonard 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Being 25 I am automatically ruled out of giving life advice, but perhaps read something like Shoe Dog and then make a decision. Regardless of what you do, it isn't going to be easy. (team people)
leesalminen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
An acquihire can be a great way to build marketable skills outside of actually writing the code. I'd try negotiating a mutually agreeable path that allows you to move into management after some period of time.

From what I understand (no disrespect meant, just anecdotal accounts), it's more difficult to remain hired as a coder after 40 (especially with kids). Getting some management experience on your resume will help later in life.

bsvalley 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You reached the point where you hate your project. It happens when you burnout after spending countless hours working on your idea. You already have the money to build a team, investors are backing you up. Take a 2 week vacation Alone (empty your brain, get some fresh air, don't bring the internet with you, go somewhere cheap and isolated up in the mountains).

Then when you come back, spend a week brainstorming with your co-founder on a new idea (pivot). Prepare a few slides, setup a meeting with your investors and ask for their support.

If they don't like it, sell.

kowdermeister 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I was there except the big followup investment and acquihire part. So if you don't see a viable option to turn the company around and make it rock on the short run, take the deal and enjoy the money. And get some rest.
rl3 11 hours ago 0 replies      
>...but the reality is that we have not had much confidence in the business for a while.

It's possible to be a true believer but still have doubts about logistical matters, such as ability to execute or the product's sales potential.

If you and your founder are completely demoralized on all fronts, have been for some time, and there's no way to rectify that (e.g. perhaps fixing your burnout), then by all means throw in the towel.

If there's still a spark somewhere, then do what you think is best.

>...and hundreds of thousands of dollars of opportunity cost income, I am tired.

I know the feeling, and it burns. Perhaps you can negotiate the acquisition offer to make up for that?

mixmastamyk 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's your decision. Personally, think I'd take the offer and live to fight another day with valuable lessons learned. Especially the one regarding a sustainable workweek. Good luck.
demarq 4 hours ago 0 replies      
So is the lesson here to pay yourself? I wonder how other founders have gone about this.
Sujan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What is the opinion of your co-founder on this?
Sujan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What do your investors have to say about it?
mapster 11 hours ago 0 replies      
hmmm.....frame it. 3 months from now and things are status quo with startup, will you be mildly peeved you didn't accept the acqui-hire offer or maddeningly furious/depressed?
ParameterOne 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't give up. You CAN compete. You can do this, BELIEVE! I would ask them how they determined their offer price though....good information to have.
foobarbazetc 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"the reality is that we have not had much confidence in the business for a while" -- what more is there to say? Just do it.
aaronbrethorst 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Your health is more important than your company. You will have many jobs and opportunities to found companies, but only one body. Do what's right for you, don't look backwards, and do it without any regrets.
pfarnsworth 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Take the offer. You're one of the 90% of startups that don't make it. There's no shame in that whatsoever. You tried something that 99.99% of us will never attempt and you were good enough to get bought by another company. That is an outstanding achievement. Maybe you can take the resources of the acquiring company and make that company better, all while working 40 hr weeks and health benefits.

Also, you can give it another go in a few years. There's nothing stopping you from doing that.

syngrog66 4 hours ago 1 reply      
in short: yes. take it. do it

also: White People Problems. (aka: extreme First World Problems.)

jondubois 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I worked 80 hours per week for 7 years straight.

At one point I was juggling full time university with a full time job and an open source project on the side. My grades suffered, the startup I worked for failed, my open source project failed. I did manage to graduate though.

Then I started another open source project, worked on it for 2 years, it also failed because of tough competition.

So then I started yet another open source project and finally it did well and people seem to like it (almost 4k stars on Github) - It's been 3 years.

I was working full time the entire time and I was exhausted all the time.

There is no point complaining about your situation because there is always someone who has it worse than you.

You have to learn that nobody cares and nobody will try to help you - I think this is the right way. I personally don't mind the struggle but I hate to see people getting easy exits because someone wants to protect someone else's feelings. Nobody deserves anything.

I wish more people would understand how it really works and you can only get that from continuous failure over many years. It gives you a more accurate feeling for what the odds really are.

Ask HN: Alternatives to Yubikey?
143 points by eekthecat  22 hours ago   75 comments top 24
j_s 18 hours ago 2 replies      
This came up last week on the OpenPGP discussion; here's a re-post -- no one else has mentioned the sc4-hsm yet. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14495213

Open source (-ish?) Yubikey alternatives

https://sc4.us/hsm/ $75 | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12053181

https://trezor.io/ $99 | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10795087 (not much on HN)

https://www.floss-shop.de/en/security-privacy/smartcards/13/... 16.40 (OpenPGP Smart Card v2.1; 4096-bit keys)

https://www.fidesmo.com/fidesmo/about/privacy-card/ 15 (NFC only; recommended by the terminated SIGILANCE OpenPGP Smart Card project; 2048-bit keys)

tptacek 19 hours ago 3 replies      
It's worth considering: almost nobody who uses Yubikeys loves them, but they are by a wide margin the tokens experts recommend most.
cafogleman 19 hours ago 4 replies      
I recommend the OnlyKey: https://www.amazon.com/OnlyKey-Color-Password-Manager-Obsole...

The device uses strong encryption (where legal), and goes beyond U2F to include password management, certificate storage, OTP/Google Auth, and plausible deniability. The hardware is teensy-based, and the firmware is open source. The devs have released fairly regular updates, and even encourage hacking on it to meet custom needs.

kdmoyers 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's also this thinghttps://www.protectimus.com/protectimus-slim-miniA little different because it does not plug in, but very convenient. It seems like the usb key solutions are likely to get left plugged into the port, and so get stolen along with the laptop. The protectimus idea is to keep the key on you at all times.
captainmuon 20 hours ago 2 replies      
While we're at it, is there one that:

- Lets me store certificates and PGP keys

- Has two factor authentication (U2F)

- Has open hard and software (source-available)

Basically, a USB pen drive that allows U2F, and is can be made read only (either by a switch or only writable over a special interface). I don't really need tamper-resistance, pre-generated keys, smart cards or any other advanced features.

dsl 20 hours ago 4 replies      
NitroKey (https://www.nitrokey.com/) is the non-crappy version of YubiKey.
graystevens 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Here are a list that someone has collated - http://www.dongleauth.info/dongles/

The alternative to Yubikey that I am aware of is NitroKey, but can't say I am aware of how they match up, feature for feature

lisper 17 hours ago 1 reply      

It's fully open-source, but the only standard application currently supported is U2F.

Disclosure: this is my product.

debatem1 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I've given up on yubikey at this point. I love the form factor, but it was easier in the end to build a different second factor infrastructure than it was to deal with the company.

I've been toying with the idea of building an open source replacement and fabbing it with a shuttle service but ultimately the cost is really too high to justify.

2bluesc 20 hours ago 1 reply      
What was you issue with support?

I've had 2 Yubikeys replaced at their cost after published security exploits highlighted shortcomings. Also haven't had one fail on me yet. Would be curious to learn what your experience was.

lazylester 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I too had poor experience with support and also weak documentation, but I pushed through it and I'm very happy with the product now that it's integrated with my app. They seem to practically 'own' the space and I have some confidence in the longevity of the product.
chx 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For me, the ideal solution would be a cross platform password manager software which stores your encrypted vault ... somewhere -- I hate the "cloud" word but let's use it -- and then has a small display which the password manager on your phone can read and decrypt the vault with it. It's just a few hundred (thousand at most) bits that you need to carry across, not a big deal. For desktop / laptop / charging, it needs to be USB pluggable. Physical form factor approximately like https://www.adafruit.com/product/2690 this or http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-4GB-LCD-Screen-Display-MP3-Musi... this.

The problem currently is a) most sites want passwords b) I do not want to mess with cables c) NFC is not ubiquitous.

rbjorklin 18 hours ago 1 reply      
The DIY open source alternative: https://u2fzero.com/
chipz 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Slightly out of topic, is it possible to create one with similar function to yubikey with USB flash drive?
markgamache1 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like an opportunity for someone to make consulting money. I have found their docs lacking, but never tried support. Once I muddled through and figured out what I needed, I have been very happy.

That said, I have looked for alternatives and found none.

I am most disappointed in the mediocre coverage of their RDP drivers. I need to use all the features over RDP. Some work and some don't.

makmanalp 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Can some folks also speak to the audit consensus on some of these? It seems with many of the newer / open source solutions, few of the end products actually got audited by a competent external security firm / researcher, right?
prohor 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I just wonder - if the same key is used for enabling password manager and 2FA ... is it still 2FA? I mean, having the token you get both access to password and second factor to a service.
weinzierl 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Nitrokey (formerly CryptoStick)


AFAIK they are used at Mozilla. The Firmware is Open Source. Downside is that not all their dongles support U2F.

bockafer 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had good experiences with Yubikeys thus far. I still have two of the Symantec VIP tokens from years ago that I've never had issues with. I recently bought a Neo to test out NFC (NFC support on the HTC 10 seems deplorable for smart card reading btw). I also purchased a few 4c tokens and so far they've worked great although I haven't been using them for very long.

The gotchas I've encountered while using them on OSX:

 - The pins for PIV and OpenPGP are separate as these are separate modules on the card. - You can't use the PIV or NEO GUI managers and gpg at the same time. You might have to unplug and plug the token back in when switching back and forth between GUI/cmdline Yubico tools and gpg. - Forgetting to change my environment to use gpg-agent instead of ssh-agent. - Typing in my local password instead of the PIV pin when logging into OSX while I have a token with PIV enabled plugged in.
The "setup" instructions that are referenced in the packaging and on parts of the site are for basic use of OTP. Real documentation is here: https://www.yubico.com/support/knowledge-base/categories/gui...

For people asking about backing up material on OpenPGP modules: these are write only. Generate your material locally with gpg instead of generating them on the smart card itself and use the keytocard command to copy the keys to the card. You can backup your keyring prior to moving keys and restore it before copying keys to each card or ctrl c out of gpg without saving the keyring references for the material that was moved to the smart card.

I used bits and pieces from a few guides to get the setup I wanted as this was my first experience with smart cards and advanced use of pgp:







Overview of my process (on an air gapped machine):

 - Configure gpg.conf. - Generate master, subkey, and revocation material on an encrypted USB drive for offline backup of materia along with revocation certificates. - Backup original .gnupg directory to another folder on the encrypted USB drive. - Copy .gnupg directory to second encrypted USB drive for offsite backup. - For each smart card I wanted the same material on: -- Change default user and admin pins. -- keytocard subkeys for (S)ign, (E)ncrypt, (A)uthenticate (without saving keyring). -- Require local touch for all material ( Yubico specific: https://developers.yubico.com/PGP/Card_edit.html ). -- move on to next card. -- save keyring after running keytocard on the last card so the subkey material no longer exists in the local keyring, only references to it (this might not be necessary, I need to test). - Generate a copy of the keyring without master key to use on daily machine(s). Might also only need to have the master material minus the key in the keyring as noted above. I haven't tested how - Copy new keyring to another USB drive for transferring to daily machine(s). - Configure gpg-agent.conf and gpg.conf on daily machine.
Resetting the applet if you messed up or want to start fresh:



jvagner 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Out of curiosity... is Google Authenticator dead? The iOS app hasn't been updated in quite a while (Feb 22, 2016).
cmurf 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm annoyed that Lastpass still doesn't support U2F, and I don't really understand the delay at this point.
user5994461 17 hours ago 1 reply      
SecurID has been the gold standard for more than a decade.

Not to dismiss YubiKey but companies that can afford 2 factor and take security seriously already have SecurID for a long time.

Ask HN: What sites do you use to find Tech Jobs?
10 points by hues  10 hours ago   3 comments top 3
probinso 7 hours ago 0 replies      
YouTube. Watch conference talks. Apply to represented companies.

Meetups for same reason as above.

Also Craigslist has surprising yield, despite lack in diversity.

richardknop 2 hours ago 0 replies      
StackOverflow, LinkedIn, HN, Google.
navyad 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: How do you trust people?
26 points by 19eightyfour  8 hours ago   18 comments top 12
19eightyfour 8 hours ago 3 replies      
...A year or so later, I had developed a good relationship with some important operations people in this space, and while there were no commitments there was a custom of quid pro quo. I felt I could trust these people, since they had helped me out so many times. Then my business started to eat into the profits of a competitor, who, unbeknown to me, also had some sort of agreement with these folks. It was clear to me that there was a win win where we could all resolve to get what we wanted and I proposed we reach consensus. Instead of engaging on that, my former partners stonewalled and hired private investigators to try to pressure me into accepting a bad deal. I didn't comply and eventually prevailed, and it took me a long time to process what happened. The most shocking thing for me was that these people who I had built up such a good relationship with tried to betray and hurt me. I couldn't accept it had happened, and I lived in denial, continuing to extend them an olive branch, much longer than it probably worked for me to do so.

Around the same time, it was revealed that my partner who I had a formal agreement with, had known for years, trusted and considered family, had actually gone behind my back, while lying to my face, and began working with the former partners above, to make a deal for herself, to undermine my position from the inside.

Three big betrayals in as many years. By people who I had considered family and the ones I could actually trust. It has been very hard to deal with. Particularly hard was I remembered a time when I actually trusted people and I felt strong and life was good. But as soon as I showed some signs of weakness, it was like everyone I had been close to suddenly piled on to take advantage of it. It really felt like kicking me while I was down, by those whom I considered I could trust with everything.

But I still think of trust as something important, so my question is how do you handle betrayal by your inner circle, and how do you trust people, any people, not necessarily the betrayers, after you've known it?

jaggederest 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You put yourself in a position to be bilked, and you got bilked. You need to not work on "handshake commitments" or "no commitments".

On a personal level, I find that simply accepting that people will hurt you, and deciding whether or not being an open, trusting person is worth the harm that might occur (I happen to think it is).

Limit the amount and degree of 'credit' you give people to what you can equanimously accept as a loss, expect people to occasionally violate that trust, plan for it, and understand that it is simply one of the costs of being a decent human being.

I never loan a book, I only give them away. If people later give them back, that's wonderful but not required. I don't ever let someone borrow something I wouldn't give them as a gift on the spot. In business, you either have full control, a negotiated agreement (which should cover things like how to make decisions when you disagree), or you're just a passenger along for the ride.

sssilver 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I do very long trips across multiple borders on a motorcycle, and on my way I try to meet as many people as I can. Counterintuitively, something about that really teaches you to trust people in a profound way. It may be that the motorcycle is making you come across less threatening, since you're obviously much less comfortable and in a more dangerous position than others, so perhaps it brings out the instinct to be kind and compassionate where normally people are cautious, competitive, and defensive. But it's a good exercise of experiencing how good the vast majority of humans are deep inside.
majkinetor 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't.

People minds are dynamic systems. Even if you trust a human now, you can never be sure what changes will occur in the future to make that human choose differently then expected based on previous experience - child sickness, family troubles, hormonal disturbances, environmental toxicity, parasites, whatever really ... anything can influence human behavior in radical manner.

Notice that time here is relevant. Given small enough time scale, you can definitely trust people. And vice-versa.

So, the question is not how to trust people, because you can't trust anybody given enough time, the question is how to plan things in your life so that broken trust isn't detrimental for your status.

NicenJehr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been lucky enough to only be burned financially once, and the lesson I took away was simply, require a written contract.

You can find a lot of similar stories and advice on stackexchange: https://money.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=votes

ImTalking 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Trust is earned, so at the beginning you give people the benefit of the doubt and you have 'faith' that they are trustworthy. But don't call it trust. Trust takes time.

And regarding your 3 unfortunate betrayals, just remember: people can justify anything.

elchief 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Start small, not with a mission-critical investment or commitment. Build as you go. Go with someone with roots in the community and something to lose

I recently got fucked over by an ex-GF then long-time friend. Good Canadian girl. Daughter of a preacher. It can be hard to judge someone's character

dharmon 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want a friend, get a dog. It's a cliche at this point, but don't rely on business partners to be "friends". It sounds cynical, but it actually makes life smoother for all parties involved.
lumberjack 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you're expecting too much of people.

I don't trust anyone but my parents to put me before their financial self interest. I don't even trust my siblings to do the same, and we aren't on bad terms, either.

The only reason they wouldn't "betray" you is if they saw more long term value in being in your good graces. It's not that they hate you. It's that they love themselves more than they care about you.

A close family friend is a notary dealing in family estates. From what I can tell about human nature, whenever there is money involved, people fight. Fighting between siblings over inheritance is basically the norm, something to be expected. Same goes for business partnerships where two friends decide they will own a restaurant together. And if they manage to not end up fighting, their families will when one of them dies. Something else to keep in mind.

extempore 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you're the asshole."

On a site like this most replies will take you at face value and try to comfort you. Alternative take: you are the common factor in all these supposed betrayals. If we asked the others, do you think we'd get different perspectives on what happened?

tyingq 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I sympathize with the situation in general, but I'm not getting why you feel your relatives were treacherous.

It sounds like they regretted the verbal only, "handshake" investment, and wanted something in writing. That actually seems prudent. Is there more to that part of the story?

brador 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Money can change people. Especially when it's a life changing amount.
Ask HN: How do you take care of your eyes?
15 points by pvsukale3  16 hours ago   15 comments top 15
dirktheman 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have Eyezen lenses in my glasses and they're a godsend. My eyes are noticabely less strained, no more dry eyes and my headaches are almost completely gone. The lenses are a combination of a very light multifocus and a blue light filter.

Of course, nothing beats spending a little less time looking at the screen, though...

id122015 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
My only solution is to spend less and less time on the computer. I know I might never know as much as others have and I might never earn as much but I believe health is more important.
lovelearning 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Experiment with a different screen and ambient brightness level everyday till you find a combination that's most comfortable for your eyes. For me, it is keeping displays on their lowest brightness level + no bright white lights around. Been doing this from 2+ decades now, and spent hours daily in front of every kind of display including 45 Hz bulky CRT monitors. Only time I've had eye pain was when there were bright white ambient lighting around.
pvsukale3 3 hours ago 0 replies      
UPDATE : I went to the doctor. I have been given presciption of glasses with -0.25 point. Is it important to wear them?
hluska 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you having any vision problems or just problems with dry eyes? Do you get headaches more frequently than before? Do your eyes constantly feel tired?

I wear glasses and would describe my eye problems as being mostly about having dry, tired eyes. As I age, my prescription is changing so I almost need bifocals (but I'm too stubborn to get them).

With those issues, the following has worked very well for me:

1.) Eye drops. Visine is absolutely amazing and, as a bonus, whenever my daughter keeps me awake all night, my eyes aren't red the next day.

2.) Walks. Since my daughter was born, I have been putting on the pounds. So, I kill two birds with one stone and go for a walk about every two hours.

3.) Change my focal point. There's the old 20:20:20 rule (every twenty minutes, focus on an object twenty feet away for twenty seconds). I'm not that rigorous, but I do something similar.

4.) Force myself to blink. At a hackathon in December, I sat across from a developer who told me that I don't blink very often when I am deep in thought. Oops.

djb_hackernews 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I've posted about this in the past but I have "suffered" from an eye condition for the last several years due to I think extreme computer use and an overhead HVAC vent (I think).

I've seen a few Ophthalmologists, official diagnosis is Blepharitis but ultimately my eyes are constantly tired, floaters, sharp pains, dry from the moment I wake up and have nearly constant muscle spasms.

I've tried fish oil, antibiotics, Restasis, numerous drops and gels, various apps, changing behavior etc. I haven't found the silver bullet but I give my eye lids massages and try to drink plenty of water and try to avoid environments that make it worse. I limit computer use to work hours only and am in a role where I only really use a computer for ~4 hours a day. The last few years things haven't gotten worse but haven't gotten better either.

Best advice I can give is take breaks and have hobbies that don't require a computer.

rl3 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You may not be blinking enough. I do this sometimes when playing RTS games. After a while my eyes dry out and it's a mix of pain, blurry vision and halos around light sources until I can let them rest and return to normal. Eyedrops accelerate the restorative process, and probably would serve as a good preventative too.

I suggest first minimizing eye strain by ensuring you have proper background light, and that your screen brightness isn't too high. Beyond that, try and remember to blink. It helps to take a moment every once and a while and just close your eyes for a few seconds. Even better if you just take regular breaks, focusing on something other than your screen for a few minutes. Periodic breaks have benefits that extend far beyond just your eyes.

EnderMB 14 hours ago 0 replies      
To those that have suggested eye drops, I highly recommend some of the gels/creams you can get for nightly use. They not only help your eyes feel relaxed before bed and when you wake up, but they also have the benefit of helping you sleep better if you suffer from dry eyes.

From what a doctor told me after a recent abrasion, your eyes move around while you sleep, and if you have dry eyes your eyelids will irritate your eyes. Obviously, if they irritate you enough it'll disrupt your sleep. After a few days of use when my eyes started to heal I slept like a baby, and felt great after waking up.

I still regularly use eye drops, but if my eyes are noticeably dry I'll use the eye gel during the night, and by the next day my eyes will feel great.

kevinrpope 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What really ended up helping me was getting a pair of Gunnar glasses. Plus, you may be able to get them through a health savings account if you're in the states. A bunch of colleagues now also use Gunnars (or similar) and all have had an improvement in eye strain/pain.

I also use f.lux as well as using saline eye drops at the beginning and end of the day.

Mz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Some screens give off more radiation than others. You may not need to get a new screen. There are filters you can buy for the screen that can help. But I have noticed that some computer screens really just make my face feel burned if I sit too close for too long, and others don't have that effect.
bsvalley 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Look away from your screen, water your eyes by blinking 15-20 times in a row. Repeat every 10 to 15 minutes.
uptownfunk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Increasing font size. One of the first things I did when I joined McKinsey. Still have no clue how or why some of my colleagues keep the default font settings..
bartvk 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I installed a break reminder app and when it displays a notice, I stare out of the window.

Frankly, I don't know what do do else. I'd be curious for tips people have.

nxsynonym 15 hours ago 0 replies      
periodic breaks is the best thing outside of f.lux or other screen dimmers/temp apps.

I try to couple it with short meditation breaks, 5-7 mins, to get in the habit of switching my brain off and giving my eyes a rest.

Is it illegal to lie on your resume?
5 points by smilesnd  12 hours ago   8 comments top 4
techjuice 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you apply for a job and lie about what you put there, the business can sue you for civil and criminal reasons. It is called resume or application fraud. So padding and stretching the truth of what you have actually done can get you twisted up legally if the company feels like pressing charges. The business can also sue you for all the time the different employees put into interviewing and training you, back pay (you pay them back what they paid you) their side of the taxes and benefits they paid on your behalf and many more things).

Also note, if you put a university on your resume that you never attended or graduated from that university could sue you for fraud if or when they found out about it.

It would be even more severe if this was for a government contractor or agency, as you sign legal documents saying everything listed is truthful. Depending on the job they will actually send an investigator out to everyone and every job you listed and you could get caught up legally before you even start your first day of work.

There is no reason to lie on your resume, would you like for your employer to lie to you in the job application? My advice is to always be truthful on your resume as once you start lying you may find yourself in a job where the lying can only get you so far and you end up in a position above your capabilities and your friends, family and coworkers will find out about it and you would eventually be publicly reprimanded or even blacklisted from your industry.

alltakendamned 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Depending on location, but it'll probably get you fired everywhere. Also, you'd be surprised how small the world can be once you're "tainted".
rbsk 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Varies state to state for criminal charges:http://www.shakelaw.com/blog/lying-on-your-resume/
gozur88 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The right way to do the PhD thing is to get a PhD from one of those mail order places and hope your boss doesn't realize that's what it is.
Ask HN: Does anybody else feel overwhelmed while reading HN?
195 points by yeswecatan  3 days ago   145 comments top 60
patio11 3 days ago 7 replies      
Attempting to be as accomplished/skilled as the union of people you read on the Internet is a fool's errand. You have to accept you'll never know everything and that, for almost all things, there will be someone -- or a lot of someones -- much better than you.

Pretend you were working at a company with a hundred engineers. Do you understand how easy it is for every single one of them to simultaneously feel like you do? The React mavens feel like they're just knocking together JS and wonder when they'll be allowed to do real engineering. The backend specialists wonder why they don't understand networking or servers better. The DevOps folks envy folks who build things. The American office wonders why they can't speak foreign languages; the German office marvels that anyone can learn Japanese; the Japanese office worries their English isn't up to the global standard.

There's nothing wrong in specialization -- it's how we stay sane. A very workable and easy to understand formula early in your career is specialize in two things; you don't have to be better at X and better at Y than everyone you meet, you have to be "better at X than anyone who is better at Y" and "better at Y than anyone who is better at X." This is very, very achievable, regardless of how highly competent your local set of peers is.

Also, unsolicted advice as a sidenote, but life is too short to spend overly much time in negative work environments. Assuming the negativity isn't coming from you, changing environments to one of the (numerous!) places where happy people do good work might be an improvement.

inputcoffee 3 days ago 12 replies      
Oh, you will feel much better once you have mastered:

1. Programming chips in binary, machine code, and C. You need a variety of chips. Try to learn at least 5 from each manufacturer.

2. Learn at least 37 Javascript frameworks, as evenly divided between front-end and server side as you can. (Good news: angular 1 and 2 count as 2 frameworks).

3. Learn Scala, Rust, Haskell, C, C#, Java. (Python and Ruby go without saying).

4. Learn R, machine learning, statistics (prob and regressions), linear algebra and multi-variate calculus.

5. Learn growth hacking (edit:) and lean startup, human centered design, and design thinking.

6. Learn accounting, finance (go through Markowitz, to Black Scholes, Fama, CAPM, and factor models. Read the original papers only and implement everything yourself, in 2 languages).

Now you are ready to read HN.

groby_b 3 days ago 2 replies      
Here's the dirty secret: You'll always feel that way.

I'm in this for 30+ years now. (Yikes!). My resume is somewhat nice. I've got a deep store of knowledge and experiences. A large group of people considers me somebody you ask for advice.

And yet, every day, I still learn something new.

Sometimes because it's a new paper cycling about. Sometimes an HN article. Sometimes because some other senior person shares from their wealth of experience. And quite often because a junior does something in an unexpected way - knowledge comes from every corner.

I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I'll probably feel that way for the rest of my life. All my colleagues do.

So, don't worry. There's always somebody who's better than you, and that's great, because you can learn from them.

dasil003 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been a professional web developer for 18 years now. I was very much on the bleeding edge of web standards, and jumping on Rails in 2005, I did everything from managing my own servers through backend, front-end and design in Photoshop. At the time the web was still a very greenfield type of place that was uncolonized by the top talent in either software engineering or in design, as a result it was possible to be one of the best web generalists with a little bit of aptitude and a lot of interest.

Fast forward ten years and every discipline of web development now goes very deep. It's still worth it to have a broad skillset, but it's no longer practical to be upper echelon across the board in web development. This generally leads to a feeling of overwhelm and regret that I can't learn all the things I possibly might want to learn, but on the bright side the playground is bigger than ever.

My advice is don't spend too much time thinking about the big picture, instead pick one practical project at a time and spend 95% of your time making it the best you can. Even if you only read HN a couple times a month, that's all you need for basic awareness of the landscape. By giving yourself heads-down time you can replace some of the overwhelm with a feeling of accomplishment, and you'll be growing your skills to boot.

abakker 3 days ago 3 replies      
What you are feeling is the exact opposite of hubris. It is good that you feel overwhelmed by looking at the universe of possible technologies and the pace of change within them. It sounds to me like you need to make peace with that, and then decide for yourself where you want to build expertise. You can extreme depth, extreme breadth, or something in between. According to IDC, worldwide IT spending is going to be around $2.5trillion this year. Its a big world with tons of products, disciplines, people, and very little of it is totally static. In fact, large swaths of IT probably get very little mention on HN.

To reiterate though, pick your battles, follow your interests/employment possibilities, and make peace with the fact that you can't know everything.

cubano 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone is overwhelmed by envy-stoking social media. Humanity simply did not evolve to process information from the whole world instantly.

Up to a short time ago, most humans never ventured farther then 5 miles from their birthplaces in their entire lives. Before printing presses, books, and finally newspapers, all news was word of mouth...a very limited bandwidth indeed.

Even newspapers really were nothing but mostly gossip and had very limited work-related information for almost everyone, so feeling totally overwhelmed by the avalanche of targeted career knowledge is not only ok but actually totally appropriate.

hunterjrj 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think that the structure of the commenting system here at HN might contribute to this feeling.

Usernames are de-emphasized and there is no indication of karma/reputation. A trick of perception can lead one to read this forum as if the same handful of broadly knowledgeable people are participating in every discussion.

The reality is, I believe, quite the opposite. There are hundreds of us here, and we all have depth of knowledge in vastly different areas. There are developers, DBAs, sysadmins, doctors, lawyers, writers... I think once I saw someone mention that they were a welder.

Keep that in mind when reading the comments here.

agibsonccc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Specialization actually isn't a bad thing. I'm the CTO of an AI company dealing with some very complex problems. I've even written an oreilly book on deep learning. I tell you this for perspective.

I can't design for crap. I don't understand the thought process and don't even want to put cycles in to trying. It's not time well spent.

I'm also an enterprise founder. I don't mind wearing a suit selling to folks who have obscene requirements with 6 month to year long sales cycles.I don't understand B2C companies at all. I could never run one. The idea of catering to hundreds of millions of people with none of them paying you while relying on VC to scale blows my mind. I feel similar about small business.

I like the idea of a smaller number of big name customers with large requirements. I also understand how they work: They are for profit organizations trying to make money or cut costs. I see consumers (despite doing a ton of data) as a blob of irrational behavior I don't want to deal with.

I also can't do marketing. I can kind of write when needed but my main focus is on technical content or specialized pitches.

Being on HN is very similar to being a founder, you see everything and wonder how the people around you do what they do.Don't worry about it! You hired them for a reason.

Hope that helps!

bingo_cannon 3 days ago 3 replies      
I was overwhelmed at first. Every time a Show HN would pop up, I was amazed at how individuals could deliver on so much alone. So I accepted these things:

- There will always be people who are better than you, in any field. I see it as a positive and a great learning opportunity.

- There will never be time to learn everything you want to learn.

The question I try to answer is: Am I doing the best I can at the moment? Of course, this can also lead to complacency.

smacktoward 3 days ago 3 replies      

 Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.
-- Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation (http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/taote-v3.h...)

mothers 3 days ago 0 replies      
HN in a way can be considered a monolith with thousands of years of combined cumulative experience in every domain and in every technology.

Of course, you, by comparison will seem lackluster. Realizing that a single person on here may be lacking in specific expertise may give you solace.

beckler 3 days ago 0 replies      
As much as I love HN, it does make me feel extremely inadequate as a developer sometimes.

I often dream about building some project that would provide me passive income to no longer have to work a 9-to-5. It's not that I lack the skills to execute on it, but as a father and a husband, I struggle to find time to commit to such ideas while balancing time with my family. The only time I attempted to build my own product, I ended up getting fired from my daytime job because of performance reasons. It only discouraged me from attempting to pursue anything further.

I've learned that I just can't compare myself to others here, because it just makes me horribly depressed.

alexashka 3 days ago 0 replies      
You'd benefit from clarifying what it is that you really want.

More money, better work environment, be better at computer science, etc etc.

These are all different things and require a different approach. The sooner you figure out which one you value more, and understand that you'll have to neglect some other things in order to succeed in that area, the better you'll feel.

For example you didn't mention any education - if you want to not feel like a fraud, you'll have to educate yourself on all the things a common 4 year program teaches you. There is no way around it.

You may score a nice paying job in something like web-dev or mobile where there's a lot of demand, but you'll be blindly stitching other people's code together for a long time if you continue down that route.

The solution is to take some time to go fill in the fundamentals.

The more solid your fundamentals, the smarter and more interesting the projects you can be involved in, but you'll have to sacrifice time and money to get there.

Clarifying your real intention is important.

As for not feeling overwhelmed - by being good at your area of expertise. If you know you're better than most people at one specific thing that's in demand, you don't need to worry that someone else is kicking ass in augmented reality, big data or whatever hype phrase of the year is :)

crispyambulance 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is quite a bit of braggadocio going on here too.

What may sound super bad-ass might just be a 20 year old intern riffing like a BOSS!

rpeden 3 days ago 0 replies      
I sometimes feel the same way while reading HN.

I can usually cure it by going to a Sharepoint developers' meetup, or something similar. Running into people who there who are doing consulting work and doing very, very well for themselves while working significantly less that 40 hours a week and using almost none of the cool stuff that gets mentioned on HN.

I suppose the lesson there might be to avoid a game of one-upmanship with alpha nerds. And I don't say 'alpha nerds' in a derogatory sense. It's just that on HN, you're going to encounter lots of people who will run circles around you in one domain or another. And some people love being the absolute expert in their particular technical domain.

That's okay. Good for them, actually! Everyone should do what makes them happy. You might find you're actually happier in a role that is more concerned with the business problems you're solving than with needing to be an expert in everything you see mentioned on HN. Your technical skills will be important, but not as important as your ability to use those skills to help a business 1) save money, 2) make more money, or 3) both.

gdulli 3 days ago 0 replies      
You have to accept a lot of it is noise, or effectively noise.

Some of it is wrong, some of it will never be relevant to you, some of it could relevant to you but not knowing it will never hurt you. Some of it could possibly be relevant but will be obsolete or out of date by the time you get around to using it. Some of it is nonsubstantive self-promotion. Just focus on some area you want to improve on at a given time and do it. Read what you want to read and have time to read and ignore the rest.

Just because someone puts up a nice-looking blog post with some information doesn't mean they're right, or better than you. Not that it matters if they're better than you. You could be in the top 10% and that still leaves hundreds of thousands who are better than you.

That's assuming there's some pure linear scale of developer quality anyway, which there isn't. People are fingerprints, not points on a linear scale.

skadamat 3 days ago 0 replies      
I strongly recommend reading the following book - https://www.amazon.com/Good-They-Cant-Ignore-You/dp/14555091...

It's a fantastic book by a now tenured CS professor that provides a good framework for how to think about your career / career satisfaction. He encourages working backwards from the lifestyle you want to the skills you need to master to where you are right now. His framework provides a lot of clarity and helps you ignore the roller coaster of announcements, updates, and new "things" you FEEL like you need to stay on top of.

You can also just read some of his blog posts - calnewport.com/blog - if you don't feel like buying the book. Or check out some of his interviews, etc.

rroriz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Read about the T-Shaped profile mentioned on the Valve's Employee Handbook[1]. It's a nice concept on how to know when to learn something new and when to learn more about something that you already know.

And calm down: HN users are really heterogeneous. Trying to be like everyone here is impossible. Even you find someone with the same profile as you, it is a nice thing to know that there is something new to learn. A bigger problem is when you don't have anything new to learn.


Edit: And answering your question: I feel overwhelmed when I learn somenthing new here, and there is already another article telling me that what I learned is obsolete.

darksim905 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a Sysadmin on the east coast & I feel completely wrecked every time I read the comments here. The level of brain power & swell here is beyond me. Some of you can be a little brash, though. I wonder if it's just you guys are all on a different level, cognitively, are taking drugs, or what. But the precision at which some of you respond to comments, clarify things and/or just rip apart content, is fascinating.
RandomOpinion 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Anyway, back to the original question. Does anybody else come on here and feel overwhelmed?

No, or at least not much. Most people have a specialization or two, whether it be front-end, back-end, mobile, application, embedded, games, etc., which limits the scope of what you really need to care deeply about.

Beyond that, it's a matter of your own personal curiosity and desire to expand your abilities; my reaction to most articles is "hmm, that's interesting; I'll remember that in case I ever need it" with just a scant few meriting a "I need to dive into that because I also want to have that knowledge / skill."

apohn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reading HN is extremely overwhelming. I'm in the data science field. So I read yet another Deep Learning article on HN and wonder how long it is till I'm unemployed and bankrupt because I barely know anything about deep learning and have no opportunities at all to use it at my job.

Then I remember the following.

1). I'm employed, my manager is happy with the work I do, and I make enough money to pay my bills, have savings, and live in a decent place in a safe neighborhood.

2). I don't have to be better than everybody else at my workplace. I just need to find an area where I can contribute.

3). When I apply to other jobs I get some positive responses. I know people who would be happy to recommend and hire me if they can.

4). I've met more than a few people who can talk about data science like they can solve any business problem under the sun, but cannot actually do much of anything except talk.

5). There is plenty of stuff I read on HN that is clearly wrong or exaggerated.

I think the key is to focus on what you need today to stay employed and have a realistic assessment of your weaknesses and where you want to go. Then figure out what you need to get there and slowly work towards that that. I don't need to know Rust, Go, and Vue.js because they have nothing to do with my job or where I want my work direction to go. If they day comes when I do need to learn that stuff, I'll learn it.

MajorWalrus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I experienced much the same thing when I first discovered HN. What helped me was the realization that there's a difference between being aware of something and being an expert in it.

I've found that it's not often that I need to be as intimately acquainted with a subject as those who are feature on HN appear to be. In fact, just knowing about something has been enough for me to intelligently answer an interview questions, converse with a senior engineer, or make the right decision on a project. And usually that's because what's most important is being curious and asking questions - e.g. admitting to myself that I'm not an expert.

Now, instead of being a testament to my ignorance and personal failings, HN is portal that let's me feed my curiosity.

You may want to do some research on the impostor syndrome. It's been my experience that anyone who's any good at anything is convinced they'll never "catch up."

yodsanklai 3 days ago 2 replies      
A few comments come to mind.

Yes, there's so much to learn that you'll never have time for it, even if specializing in a small area. It reminds me of a Chomsky interview. He said that he has so many books left to read in his office alone that a lifetime wouldn't be enough. You're in good company.

It may sound obvious but don't forget that HN isn't one person. The guy that knows about particle physics is usually not the one that tell you about the latest type theory research. Don't compare yourself with a collective mind.

Besides, I'm sure there are people less bright than you in all positions you can imagine. Retrospectively, I realize that there are a lot of things I didn't even try for fear of failing or because I thought I wasn't smart enough. It's only a few years later that I realized I missed so many opportunities.

jhgjklj 3 days ago 0 replies      
I too feel this way. But somehow all my superiors in my work has so much confidence about how much they know about the project and can even project themselves as know what they are taking kind.I am sure they do not know as much as they think, because they are very confident in my area of work more than i ever will be.

 The irony is the more i know the lesser confident i get and i reflect it in meetings. I dont know how to avoid it. I am really looking for a mental framework on how to not look like a complete idiot in meetings although what i say is totally factual.

wonderwonder 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used to feel this way and when I had time set aside to learn I would just sit there and waste almost all of my time figuring out what to study because there was so much. I would waste all my time doing this and not really learning very much because the breadth of stuff to learn was overwhelming.

Eventually I just forced myself to choose one thing and focus on it. When I get to the point where I feel competent in it, whether that's a day or 3 months, then I allow myself to move onto something else.

Don't get stuck in your head. Just choose something and commit, no one knows everything, the posts are by hundreds of people, each with skills in different areas. Know one knows it all.

alexandru88 2 days ago 0 replies      
I also feel overwhelmed while reading HN. Being surrounded by so many great and smart people, I feel like I know nothing and like my entire career until now was a waste of time and resources. I am also becoming addicted to HN. I left Twitter behind and now HN is my primary source of information. I am reading HN anywhere: in subway when I commute to work, in car while I stay in traffic jam, before I got to sleep, at work, etc. Thank you all for making HN such a wonderful place.
Mz 3 days ago 0 replies      
No, I don't feel overwhelmed. I am just happy to know of a place where it is possible to find meaty discussion that is reasonably civil.

I think this is a perspective problem. You need to stop comparing yourself to everyone in all things. That isn't what I come here for. I just come here to gratify my intellect and enrich my life. You don't need to compare to people here. You need to compare yourself to people you are in actual competition with at work or compare yourself to the work standards you are expected to meet. Don't come here and do that. It will only lead to misery.

omginternets 3 days ago 0 replies      
Take a break.

Try cutting the cord for a few days. It's refreshing.

trelliscoded 3 days ago 0 replies      
I feel this way about frontend technologies that people talk about, but I concluded a long time ago that trying to keep up with the latest churn in that space is pointless. I have a few technologies which are stable and work well for what I need, so I focus on keeping up with that. Every time I've tried to chase the latest and greatest frontend fad it usually turned out it was an immature reinvention of a wheel someone else already built better.
thefalcon 3 days ago 0 replies      
I simply accept and take advantage of the fact that HN is filled with many people much smarter, much more accomplished, much more driven, much more successful than me. I've never felt overwhelmed by it - that seems like it would take a personal choice to put yourself in competition with the best of HN, which seems a little silly to me (especially if the end result is not something productive).
LarryMade2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Keep in mind:

- Most solutions posted here probably won't just work for your problem, you have to work it into your needs - concentrate on what works for you not necessarily whats new.

- Many really cool things took someone years to develop, you are just reading a lot of different people's long-term accomplishments not a small group. And most of those people were sticking to things that worked instead of chasing the shiniest technology.

- Theres more than one way to do anything, just because they may be currently more successful doesn't mean you can't find new solutions, don't forget to try your own thing.

SubiculumCode 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am a cognitive neuroscience post-doc. In my work I have to be an expert or at least competent in: cognitive theory relevant to my specialty, brain science relevant to my specialty, neuroimaging methodology, non-trivial statistical methods, as well as a competent paper writer, grant writer storyteller, and talk giver, I regularly need to write bash and python scripts, administer and operate a linux compute cluster. I also need to be a good dad and husband, and that takes practice.I read HN and am impressed with all the expertise and competence and also feel overwhelmed. I'd like to try some ML on my imaging data, but I'm stretched too thin already. Maybe someday. Or I'll partner up with someone. I have the urge to do it all, but I'm not smart enough and I don't have superpowers to manipulate time. I'm aging. Time is running out. Oh my god.


Take a walk.

Do what you can.

It is ok.

slake 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's one way to look at it. The other way is to gaze in wonderment to how much there is in the world to learn. And learn just for the sake of it. The day I look at the world and don't find enough interesting stuff for me to learn about is the day I'd really be afraid.

Your work situation can be remedied. Lots of companies require good engineers who're willing to learn stuff rather than pre-know stuff.

vijucat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely. It's much worse if, instead of HN, you follow a niche area like machine learning because the pace of progress is so fast plus each paper / project that gets released is so dense. It took me a couple of weekends just to set up an old box with Linux and the proper drivers for a GPU, learn python virtualenvs, etc; Meanwhile, it's absolutely discouraging to look at reddit.com/r/machinelearning and see the flurry of productive activity.

I think a sense of resignation is actually useful here. Just resign yourself to the fact that you'll never be as good as them and that it will take you 10 years to be able to just follow instructions under a Google or Facebook AI scientist (, say). And continue to trod on like the tortoise in the tortoise vs. hare story :-)

mdjt 3 days ago 0 replies      
"During that time I've become an integral part of my team and have constantly been learning."First off, this sounds like you know a lot more than you give yourself credit for!

Second, think about what kind of site HN is. This is a site whose DAU are mostly highly educated (either formal or otherwise) from very diverse backgrounds in tech, machine learning, etc., etc.. It should come as no surprise that for any given topic there will be a ton of high quality and interesting points of view.

As for the statement 2): "will basically feel the same as I do now." To be completely honest, you probably will. Every new opportunity in life presents you with a chance to learn and while learning most people often realize how little they actually know. But that is why you are learning in the first place!

dhf17 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've felt this way too in the past but gradually realized that's it OK not to know everything. Specialize in one area, make it your 'home base', and then test the waters of other tech from there. Once you find something new that you like you can gradually chip away at it and expand your skill set. I've got several things on my radar right now, but still put my specialty first. With this state of mind, I don't feel overwhelmed, but still have lots to look forward to.
rblion 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes and no.

Yes that I realize I have a lot to learn and I should keep removing distractions/bad habits and toxic people/situations out of my life. Yes that I realize there are Ivy Leaguers in here and also people who work at the world's largest companies.

No also because there is also a fair amount of hubris here. There are also a lot of people who miss the forest for the trees. There is still a lot of room for innovation in certain markets and the means of fulfilling human needs are ever evolving even if the needs themselves are still the same.

I take breaks from time to time. Also I've recently deactivated my facebook and unfollowed a lot of people on Twitter/Quora/Instagram. Feels great.

stinkytaco 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can see how this would happen, so I doubt you are alone. There's so much stuff and s o little time to consume it. My browser tabs and pocket account seem to grow and grow and I seem to spend as much time organizing and moving information as I do actually consuming it. I have trained myself as I've gotten older to just let some of it go. Not everything has to be seen.

I think this is one of the (probably many) reasons feed readers failed and chat came to beat email: the feeling of something incomplete. I had to force myself to ignore unread counts to stop myself from going crazy, but Twitter, HN, Reddit, etc. did away with outward signs that there were things unread, and that's a good start.

127001brewer 3 days ago 0 replies      
No, because you can't expect to learn and use every new technology - sometimes, it's better to know "proven but boring" than "new but broken"!

I appreciate more the insightful conversations than view a link to the latest JavaScript framework.

lmm 3 days ago 0 replies      
In my case, no. I don't know everything, but I know enough; I'm good at what I do. I'm confident I'm contributing.

Sounds like you need to change jobs, if you're at the point of acknowledging that your work environment is negative.

acomjean 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah there is a lot out there. I've been doing this for a while and tech changes all the time. Don't worry about not being an expert at everything, enjoy that there a lot to learn.

I don't worry too much about it, as long as what I'm building works and can be maintained I'm happy.

The good news about tech changing all the time is if you wait there will be some new language or framework so you didn't waste your time learning something obsolete !

"An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less till they know everything about nothing" - from a Murphy's laws on technology poster..

3pt14159 3 days ago 1 reply      
You don't get good by worrying. You get good by loving to learn. I went to college at ten years old to learn to program. I had a job when I was 14 working on invoicing software for telephone companies. At 18 I went to university to learn engineering (structural). I lasted 8 months in industry after graduating because of how bored I was not learning. It's not a bug its a feature that there is so much to learn in CS. Embrace it. You're able to pay the rent in under a year and the sky is the limit to how much you can learn.
mino 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just have a look at:http://n-gate.com/hackernews/


gorbachev 3 days ago 0 replies      
The greatest thing about a resource like Hacker News is that you get exposed to a lot of ideas. It's up to you to figure out which one of these ideas you're going to explore more.

Nobody explores all of them.

Figure out what's interesting to you and then go deep on that. Keep an eye on the stuff that's not interesting to you just to develop contextual knowledge, then when/if your interests/responsibilities change and you do need to go deeper on stuff you didn't need before, you can get started more easily.

DoofusOfDeath 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm guessing there's a few factors at play that lead to your perception:

(1) HN covers a lot of areas of software development; more than any one person can really be expected to know. But each reader is ignorant regarding how big a fraction of the covered technologies are well-understood by the other readers.

(2) HN stories often involve technologies related to web-development, containers, or virtualization. Those technology areas spawn inordinate numbers of tools, frameworks, etc. This exacerbates issue (1).

b3kart 3 days ago 0 replies      
Try doing DL research these days -- just skimming through new papers takes most of your day. :-)

The thing that helped me the most was to realize that you _have_ to specialize, at least to some extent. It's impossible to know and do everything, no matter how much you would like to.

Pick "your thing", and worry about staying up-to-date on it. Everything else skim through just to understand what's going on. How broad "your thing" should be depends on how much time you're willing to spend.

tomschlick 3 days ago 1 reply      
Tech in general is a fast moving target.

Don't try to master everything all at once. Just learn what you need, or what interests you and then on to the next thing. There is no "done".

mayanxoni 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, I do feel overwhelmed while reading Hacker News, 'cause it is the only community where I feel free from getting absurd ads. :)
h1d 2 days ago 0 replies      
You'll realize everyone is only good at 1 thing. Taking everyone against you certainly makes you feel overwhelmed but after you realize 4 years is nothing and you are financially stable, you'll feel better.
xiphias 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have you been learning from your team?Although HN is nice to find about interesting things, there's nothing that can give me more experience than focusing on my team's goals. Focusing on execution is the most important and most translatable skillset you can have besides interviewing.
robteix 3 days ago 0 replies      
The old adage of not comparing your life to somebody else's highlight reel is valid for HN as well.

You'll never master everything. No one does. Take it easy. You say you've become an integral part of your team and that you're constantly learning. You seem to be on the right path.

OJFord 3 days ago 0 replies      
Even if you assume every comment you read is written with good authority, bear in mind that each time you read a comment on a different topic it is in all likelihood written by someone else; the two authors couldn't have written each others' comments.
bsvalley 3 days ago 0 replies      
Life is all about learning new things. Feeling overwhelmed is part of our life. You should break it down into small chucks and start learning one thing at a time. Just learn one new thing everyday, you'll endup knowing a lot in a year from now.
aaronhoffman 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is a lot out there, you don't need to be an expert in every new thing.

Strive to be a helpful, open, honest team member, with a thorough understanding of core patterns and practices. (e.g. SOLID principles)

sigi45 3 days ago 0 replies      
4 Years is not much.

HN starts to fall in pattern as a lot of stuff you do. There are those new cool hip stuff, papers, a few deep inside blogposts and it repeats itself.

Enjoy HN as long as it holds :)

JanhLinxProject 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes it may feel overwhelming at times, but the trick is to be focused and selective what you read.
lhuser123 2 days ago 0 replies      
And I just found out there's so much smart people here. Seriously.
psyc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Find comfort in the fact that broad mastery takes a very long time, but there is always room for apprentices and journeyfolk.
Jimmie_Rustle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Danihan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I feel underwhelmed...
Ask HN: How friendly is Berlin for startups?
56 points by betimd  12 hours ago   52 comments top 6
kinnth 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I lived in Berlin for 3 years, but I didn't found or form a company. I do have a friend who has just done it. I wouldn't want to comment on the specifics but the basics are this.

1. Very easy to form a company in Germany as a foreigner2. You will need a native german speaker, it's beauracratic and you need to speak solid German to deal with it.3. Taxes are higher than the US, but they are fair. You pay more as you earn more.4. There are many taxes as an individual you can claim back, such as clothes, travel to work, space in your house etc. If you get a good accountant they can really help.5. Berlin itself is very cheap to get a great location, good tech talent but not overflowing, incredibly decent lifestyle, lots of space, lovely place to live a chilled out vibe.

I'd say if you've lived in Germany and Berlin and like it, you can do it. If you have never lived there you should move their first and see if you like the German way of life first, it's not like US or UK.

philippz 11 hours ago 3 replies      
There was enough said about taxes.

The procedures to open a startup in Germany are complex. This is the cheapest way:Go to the notary and create a "UG" after "Musterprotokoll". Create a company bank account, transfer the minimum amount of 1 (plus the costs for founding, so you better transfer ~500). This the fastest way and costs you together with an entry the commercial register (150) around 500 (300 for the notary, depending on how many founders). This is followed up by stuff like "Krperschafts Anmeldung @Finanzamt", "Gewerbeamtanmeldung" (25) and "IHK Gebhren" (80/yr) and "VBG Anmeldung" (costs vary by the amount of employed persons). Don't forget the contract for the CEO as employed person.

As already told by others: You need to have a native speaker on your side to deal with the bureaucracy. Is this a startup friendly environment? Does it sound like? Hell no.

On the other hand: You can live in Berlin really cheap if you want to. Infrastructure is great and you don't need a car. There are a lot of meetups and startup events to get around people like yourself. Programmers aren't payed that well. Fundraising is a matter of network and traction like, i'd say, everywhere else.

manggit 12 hours ago 2 replies      
When I worked at a cleantech startup in the summer of 2010, the culture was less favorable to employees than in the bay area. For example, it seemed that the cultural norm was to give none, or very little equity, thus reducing the upside for any early employee.

In recent years I have interviewed as a Software Engineer and Senior Product Manager at a couple startups in Germany. However, after receiving a couple offers, I found that the costs of living in Germany as an American (US Taxes, Visa, USD -> Euro exchange rate) were not sufficiently covered by the salaries, even on the high end.

For American companies looking to hire talent in Germany, I have heard that it is was less competitive, lower cost per engineer and the talent top notch.

sultanofsaltin 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm moving to the Berlin in the fall myself. Planning to use it as our home base for work/ exploring Europe from early Oct '17 to late Aug '18. I freelance as a software dev (primarily Python, JS and PHP work) in the US now and would love to hear if anyone has tips on picking up clients as an foreigner. I've been studying German daily (15-30 mins) for the past 1.5 months, hoping to be near fluent by the time we arrive, so hopefully I can minimize the language barrier.

Are there any good resources people have used for finding freelance work internationally or that are even specific to Berlin/ Germany?

charlesdm 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not based in Germany / Berlin (great city though!) but I wouldn't exactly call German taxes simple or low. Germany has one of the most complicated tax codes in the world, obviously written in german.

If taxes are mostly what matter to you, then there are probably better places to relocate to.

WordSkill 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The complexity of German taxes and all the other red tape seems to be the main reason why people change their mind about starting up in Berlin but, personally, it was the rudeness that wore me down.

Berliners can be very nice in certain situations, such as the people you work with, but they have a hostile service culture. Not every time, or in every service situation, but you will have enough bad experiences in shops, restaurants and trains to find it annoying, especially if you are accustomed to the more positive service culture in the US, UK and Ireland.

The other problem is that many Berliners regard young foreign workers as being the reason why rents are increasing and this became a political issue a few years ago. I'm not sure what the current situation is but, at that time, you would see graffiti around town, letting you know that you were not welcome, and you would frequently hear the same sentiment expressed in social situations. Ironically, the people who were quickest to let you know that the foreign tech workers were not welcome were the same "anti-fascist" trendies who call everyone else racist.

This hostility wasn't something I experienced when living in other German cities, it seems to be a Berlin-specific phenomenon.

Ask HN: How can I find org charts of top tech companies and startups?
8 points by odedgolan  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
bluewater 1 day ago 0 replies      
Discoverorg.com is a paid service but gets you org charts and contact information. It's pricey so not a fit for small sample sets but if you are looking for information and contact details on lots of companies it's worth looking into.

Zoom info, data.com and LinkedIn can also be used.

If you have a specific list you are targeting a researcher hired off of upwork might be a good option at a decent price.

_raul 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ask HN : Competitive programming or learning programming languages
2 points by samroar04  16 hours ago   2 comments top
probinso 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Scuba Diving
Ask HN: Why no stable binary kernel interface for drivers?
24 points by 708145_  1 day ago   19 comments top 5
rtb 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is addressed in the docs, at "stable_api_nonsense.txt": https://github.com/torvalds/linux/blob/master/Documentation/...

(You might disagree with that doc, but if so you should address its arguments directly.)

Someone 1 day ago 2 replies      
As http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/1604.0/03993.html states, you can get binary stability for in the order of five years from the likes of Red Hat and SuSe.

I don't know where you can get binary stability for decades, but it wouldn't surprise me if some military applications guaranteed that.

Since there's nothing stopping suppliers from selling it, there apparently isn't that much demand for it.

mixmastamyk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use a Ubuntu desktop daily as a development workstation and have for a decade at least. Never really had a problem, though it slows down Virtual Box installation once or twice a year. shrugs
microcolonel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maintaining the drivers together with the rest of the system allows subsystem maintainers to make broad improvements to the functioning of drivers, and encourages vendors to upstream them as free software.

If you want a stable kernel driver ABI, then you're going to have to maintain your own wrapper which will retain all of the anachronisms that have been excised from the upstream kernel.

You are perfectly at liberty to do this for yourself, just don't expect kernel maintainers to willingly make their own lives harder, reduce the quality of running kernels, and reduce the enthusiasm for releasing and upstreaming high quality drivers.

As an alternative to a stable ABI, you can just go with a single LTS release, and you can expect binary compatibility on the order of four years.

catdog 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The (proprietary) driver issue is a big pain for people who want to use Linux for desktop as a workstation e.g. development. I would say that it is the biggest obstacle for adaption of Linux desktop.

Simply don't buy Nvidia. Apart from that there shouldn't be a lot of hardware requiring blobs on the desktop.

Ask HN: Why was this post flagged?
6 points by callumlocke  18 hours ago   4 comments top 2
danielvf 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Articles with way more comments than points are automatically penalized. With almost double the comments, this seems likely.

This article probably did get flagged by many people as well, since it did seem more like a political fest than something that gratifies intellectual curiosity.

The whole "flag bad political articles that you disagree with" tends to even out in the end. Both US sides are well enough represented here that both left and right things get flagged. HN just tends to have fewer political articles as a result, and that's fine with me.

AnimalMuppet 18 hours ago 2 replies      
You can ask the mods to reconsider by use of the "vouch" button. At least, I think that's what the button does.

[Edit: Hmm. I don't see a "vouch" button available there. Maybe this means the mods themselves flagged it, rather than a user?]

Ask HN: Do you have a business idea? Why haven't you tried it?
61 points by codazoda  3 days ago   60 comments top 28
id122015 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have many ideas just like others but whats important is that I dont have a job and nobody wants to employ me in IT. Its the only thing I can do, to try smth by myself. Recently I talked to a few people on Angel website and with a few of those I was about to have a Skype interview. But didnt get any response back. And I'm not the type of guy begging for a job.

So my idea is just what my passion is, I dont even know if people will need it. This is the only time I go by the saying 'build it and they will come'.

dhfhduk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's what I've started to see as my problems:

I'm very good at identifying needs, in the sense of "here's a fundamental problem, and here's some ways of addressing that problem."

However, I'm not very good at identifying ways of turning that into a profitable enterprise. Often when I think of problems and solutions, it's because others are neglecting something, and aren't even aware of the problem, so there's no motivation to pay for any solutions. That is, you'd be selling something that people don't want because they aren't even aware of the looming problem or risk they have. Later on, sure, when things fall apart, everyone wants the solution I had in mind, but at that point it's obvious and there's too much competition.

My other problem I run into I get too absorbed in my own interests and am not really motivated enough by the profitability of something, even when I know I should be more motivated by it. So here's two ideas, A and B. I'm very interested in A and see it as important, but maybe not so profitable. B is less interesting and maybe less important but more profitable. I subconsciously tend to gravitate toward A, to the thing that I see as interesting and important, but that might not garner a lot of recognition or compensation in the short-term.

I think so far I've been kind of unstrategic about where to go in life, and people have just seen me as smart and valuable enough to have around to solve problems. That's gotten me fairly far, but I've reached a point where maybe I need to be more entrepreneurial.

I've also seen enough things in my life to know that there's a ton of unpredictable social dynamics that go into these ventures, and I'm kind of burned out. Fads, corruption, etc.

What's stopping me? I think it's mostly burnout and disillusionment.

danieltillett 3 days ago 4 replies      
Having other business ideas that are successful that take up nearly all my time. My other good ideas just sit around gathering dust.

I have a ludicrous dream that I can find talented people and give them the ideas and money and let them go off and build something great, but I know the world doesnt work like this. People would rather work on their own crappy ideas with no money than work on someone else's good idea backed with money.

miguelrochefort 3 days ago 3 replies      
I have thousands of ideas. I very rarely encounter ideas I haven't had before. Most ideas (including startups ideas) seem trivial to me.

Once you have thousands of ideas, you realize you can't pick just one. Then you realize they all have things in common. Then you notice a trend, general principles that apply to all of these ideas. Ultimately, you find one idea that makes the previous thousand ideas obsolete. You become obsessed with the idea, try to tell everyone about it, try to figure out where to start.

Nobody understands the idea. People actually reject it. They feel threatened. You start having doubts, you start questioning everything. You look for the meaning of life. You challenge axioms.

Ten years later, you're still thinking about this idea every day. Yet, you achieved nothing. Why?

I don't know why.

rajeshp1986 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I have business ideas, some small scale business ideas and some tech startup ideas. The main reason I am not able to pursue anyone of them at this point is because of visa limitations. I am on H1b visa which does not allow me to start a business or startup. I have to always work for a employer who sponsored my visa. I took H1b visa and came to US because my then would be wife moved here and I had to put family first. My finances and personal situations did not allow me to start a business in India and now I am stuck because of visa restrictions.
tluyben2 3 days ago 1 reply      
I used to have many of those and did many of them; I noticed I always need a partner who does the business side while I do the tech. I sometimes can do both, but generally it interferes too much. Usually now it is more a social thing where I find someone with the good idea and enough business skills to complement me and then go ahead. That is not getting easier; seems many people now simply outsource the mvp, fail, think it was the idea and move on. Not enough prep, drive and engagement of the fou nder(s).
mamcx 2 days ago 1 reply      
Many ideas.

- What's stopping you?


Or have a partner that is capable of survive without money from some time.

chemcoder 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have an idea in healthcare sector in India. For that i personally made a field study and went to 30 potential. I had made a decent presentation of the basic 3 features and went as a direct walk ins . Half of them were not only willing to use my "product" (which wasnt built yet) but also write a cheque for it. They were bargaining on price at that instant

This was 3 months back. I already run a growing fmcg business . It has drained me of time and resources. I cant find time to give it for this project. I am decent in marketing and especially cold calls and walk ins so i am confident to get things done. But existing commitments and ventures are making it hard for starting the project.

geekodour 3 days ago 2 replies      
I am 21, I have a lot of proper ideas, most for side projects, and 2-3 for real business idea which are still not very great. I think, to start building an idea we atleast should be really good at something(code/design/lead/other) and then I can do my part of the work and the others needed eventually. I am a college student, and I am just recently starting to learn about how software is being deployed at production and about how things fit together.As I am not good with the lead part, so I think should get better with the tech part and then I start.
tpae 3 days ago 1 reply      
Are you talking about https://www.launchrock.com/ ? I already use it to validate my ideas and run campaigns before I build it.
thinkingemote 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do you think many here are employees who are stopped beacuse of their employment contracts stating that anything they produce are the employer's property?
ssono 2 days ago 1 reply      
For the past year, I've obsessed over ideas about education and credentials. I'm confident that the problems I'm interested in exist and are important.I would love the opportunity to test, refine and create my ideas. However, I am 18 and lack the skills and connections to do much more than pitch ideas to my friends or strangers on the internet.
richardknop 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have had several ideas over the years. I only tried to implement one of them.

What's stopping me from trying more is that last time I tried I wasted a lot of time not working for somebody else and getting paid plus a lot of my own money for infrastructure costs and contractors to develop mobile apps for my product. In the end it didn't work out and I am worried next time I'd try I'd just burn a lot of cash again.

So happy working for somebody else now and making a good salary.

sh87 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have ideas. They seems to crop up out of nowhere. 'Why does this have to be so hard', 'Why's does this have to be this way in 2017?', etc. are some common themes among them. Well whether there's a business in there or not is a game at a different level. But i dont think ideas drive businesses. Customers do. And what drives customers towards businesses ? Their problems and pains and concerns and hopes and anger and annoyances that they can get addressed for a 'fee'. But thats just one variable in the equation, then there's regulations to meet, money to throw away at a bunch of things just to get set up, and there's competition. Put all of this together and suddenly jumping to the next idea is easier, sexier, lucrative and sensible than making a business out of it. So yeah, just ideas so far. On to the next one...
davidgh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have never struggled to come up with ideas. Every problem to me seems to be an opportunity.

Add to that - I love building things that solve real problems. As such - for years I allowed myself to become a mini-factory of widgets built upon my ideas. It is a great way to learn new things and keep skills sharp. It often isn't a great way to make money or build a business.

When you have lots of ideas, the skills to start building things around those ideas and you enjoy doing it - it can open you up to a serious problem: all too often you end up with a product that you spent a lot of time on (it might even be a really good product) and you realize you don't have any clue how to take it to market.

Taking products to market is hard. It feels like anything that solves a real problem should take itself to market. It rarely happens that way.

If your goal is to make cool products to learn, build a portfolio, etc. then this doesn't matter. Keep doing it and maybe you get lucky and one of your products takes off on its own.

But if your goal is to start a business - I have learned that it is very productive to spend a lot of time before I build identifying how I will get the product out there.

This isn't said to discourage anyone. It's said to help you know which products to spend your time on.

The exercise is simple - pretend that you just finished your idea and it is now a product on your screen. It's beautiful and has all the awesome features and really works well. What now? If your ideas are limited to "Product Hunt", "AdWords" and "viral" there's a red flag.

When I sit back and think - I realize the many of the ideas I am most capable to take to market (due to my own network, industry, relationship with potential customers, etc.) are often the ideas I'm least excited about. These ideas usually overlap with what I do all day every day so don't seem fresh and exciting to me. They aren't as fun. They feel like work.

To be sure, taking a product to market successfully is absolutely possible. A lot of your engineering skills (repurposed) will help you in this effort to track, measure, analyze and experiment. You'll learn a ton as you do so. Just make sure that through careful consideration you are prepared to give proper respect to the challenge of product distribution, or change your expectations of outcome.

I have also found that not being greedy and secretive helps a lot. Talk openly about your ideas and be willing to bring others into projects if you see they have things to offer that you don't. The participation of others can make a massive difference in the outcome.

msnower 2 days ago 0 replies      
People are often scared of testing their business ideas. Having this awesome idea of something that "might" work is a lot more pleasant than learning if it actually does. Most ideas fail right out of the gate - even the ideas of people who've had previous success. When I, or one my friends is excited enough to work on an idea, then the actual execution of the test is the easy part.
graystevens 3 days ago 0 replies      

I have various ideas, one of which I am actively working on now, but with a full-time job and a young family, my time is rather precious.

Luckily I have a very understanding and supportive partner, who is happy for me to crack on with work in the evenings. Once my primary idea is released, I plan on scaling it up to a true business, rather than a side project. This will mean those other ideas may take a while to come to fruition!

ptr_void 3 days ago 0 replies      
For reasons that are appropriate, I will not be taken seriously. The idea is only 1/3 software centric and can't be properly tested with prototype/at smaller scale. Also, no money. It's not that complex and I'm sure someone with the right circumstances will make the connection eventually.
niyikiza 3 days ago 1 reply      
I live in a foreign land. It can be really difficult to launch a business if you're not a native. I have the tech skills I need for my idea, and I have taught myself some bits of the business side ( I happen to be a people person) but still looks like I would need a local partner.
yetihehe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Simple: lack of money, risk that it may not work, having good job which I'm invested in emotionally (I'm THE developer in my company, if I quit, several people will lose jobs).

I've started to make a prototype of my idea, but it will take some time before I finish it.

helen842000 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have hundreds of ideas for businesses. Not all of them need to be built by me. It's the long lists of ones I say no to that allow me to test the few that interest me.
tmaly 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am focused on one idea only right now. I just launched a new version of my side project.

For all other ideas, I write them down in a journal just for this purpose.

Ideas are cheap, its the execution and focus that takes the effort in my opinion

exabrial 2 days ago 0 replies      
Because "credit score meet".com would probably irritate a few critics


paulcole 3 days ago 0 replies      
I do have an idea but I'm lazy and don't like putting in work.
Liron 3 days ago 2 replies      
What's a "buy button for testing ideas"?
iDemonix 3 days ago 1 reply      
No but I'm deep in to learning Laravel for the purpose of making an MVP for an idea I can't seem to come up with.
nnn1234 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let the world work for you.

My approximation for a solution is Crowdraising

qrbLPHiKpiux 3 days ago 2 replies      
Ask HN: Do you respect DNT in your personal websites? How?
74 points by r3bl  1 day ago   53 comments top 21
usernam 1 day ago 1 reply      
DNT is flawed. As an user, I have no way to verify that DNT is honored. As such, I assume nobody respects DNT and proceed accordingly by taking my own tracking countermeasures.

You can also assume DNT is pretty much ignored. For instance, if I set DNT and I visit a website adhering with those EU cookie regulations, while I'm still being shown that cookies are being used to track me and that by using the website I agree (never mind that 3rd party cookies are already being sent)? I already stated that I do not want to be tracked.

Oh, but maybe you would assume setting the DNT preference in the browser does something meaningful, such as disabling 3rd party cookies, disabling beacons, ServiceWorkers and cache lifetime?

Nope. There is no point in honoring DNT: you are either tracking or not tracking your users depending on which resources you're including on your website. If you don't want to track your users, do not include 3rd party resources. If you do include 3rd party resources, then it's it's up to the 3rd-party to honor DNT.

Sir_Cmpwn 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't track people in the first place on my websites, but third party content is a good point. I generally will self host all of my assets, but occasionally embed a YouTube video or something. I should probably put it behind a click-to-enable thing. I removed Disqus comments from my blog a while ago, too, because a platform for flamewars isn't worth tracking visitors over.
sriku 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great question. I have to admit that the only effort I've taken thus far is to minimize reliance of external parties. For example, on my utility site, I don't use google/fb auth but have used Persona and recently rolled my own auth ... and I keep very minimal summary analytics only.

Somehow I feel that the burden of starting a website today is kind of crazy - analytics, comments (and the implied spam filtering), social media sharing integration, onsite feedback, social logins, T&C, privacy policies, cookie legalities, DNT, ... all apart from the content we actually want to put there, even if only as individuals.

mikekchar 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is a bit of a lame answer, but generally I put any potentially tracking content in javascript. I make sure my blog renders correctly without javascript. Finally, I put a warning saying that if the user does not wish to be tracked, then they should disable javascript for the site.

I can't really see any other obvious way to deal with it, unfortunately.

defanor 1 day ago 2 replies      
One option (which I'm using) is pretty simple: do not embed external content. When I need to refer to a youtube-hosted video, I simply put a link. It's not even because of DNT, but in an attempt to make lightweight and accessible websites.
scrollaway 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wrote a tiny middleware for Django which sets the DNT variable on the request/response: https://github.com/HearthSim/HSReplay.net/blob/master/hsrepl...

If dnt is set, Google Analytics isn't served: https://github.com/HearthSim/HSReplay.net/blob/8c1f2eb8cfda6...

I completely agree that DNT is flawed but it doesn't cost me much to respect it and the people who set DNT most likely block Google Analytics in one of their extensions anyway. I would rather they see nothing has been blocked.

I also include a link to the EFF's Privacy Badger in our privacy policy, alongside mentioning our DNT policy: https://www.eff.org/privacybadger

soneil 1 day ago 1 reply      
Obviously not my own site, but an example I found which I thought handled this well;


If you click the play icon under the product shot, and you have DNT enabled, you'll get a modal:

"This embedded content is from a site (www.youtube.com) that does not comply with the Do Not Track (DNT) setting now enabled on your browser.

Clicking through to the embedded content will allow you to be tracked by www.youtube.com."

As much as I'm not a fan of modals, I can't think of anywhere else that's even pretended to care about this.

dinosaurs 1 day ago 3 replies      
I had to look this up - DNT stands for "Do Not Track". More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_Not_Track_legislation
bArray 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think you would have to go as far as re-hosting a lot of "high-end" content (such as YouTube), otherwise the JavaScript will surely be run as part of the media providing system. If you try running YouTube with no script, you won't get very far. I don't think re-hosting is technically legal though, which may be your first problem. You could try contacting the content creator to ask to duplicate their material, but more than likely this will be denied if they have ads on their video. To be completely honest, from looking at Facebook videos that have been re-uploaded from various sources, I think "fair use" is just a case of adding some text and emoji at the top and bottom of the video - so there's that.

A way you could (in theory) get around this is by having the user view some virtual web browser, so that Google still gets all that lovely advertiser time but your server is the one making all the requests to their service. One issue is if your site gets more than a few hits a minute, your server will probably either kill over or start providing a terrible user experience if it wasn't like that in the first place.

If you really want to respect DNT and don't want to affect user experience (too much), I would have some JavaScript reveal code for the embedded content - with a warning that the once they have clicked the button you can no longer respect their DNT request. A DNT request could translate from `/index.html` to `/index.html.dnt.html` for example, if you pre-process your pages to be statically served.

jasonkostempski 1 day ago 1 reply      
No one, on either end, should waste any time encouraging such a useless thing. I hate that my browser even has the option. No one wants to be tracked weather they say it or not, and that should always be considered when building websites.
interfixus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I do not embed. I do not use external resources. And I fight an often rearguard battle with my customers to let me act likewise on their behalf. No third party fonts, js, css, or images. No Youtube, and most definitely no Google Analytics.
akerro 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't use GA, instead I have Piwik that's configured with to respect DNT.
lettergram 1 day ago 1 reply      
I honor it on my websites as best I can, and am in the process of even rolling my own analytics to avoid using any third-party.

Long story short, there's no way to enforce DNT from an end user perspective.

From a web developer perspective, even if you roll everything yourself, its difficult to actually track down everything that you could be accidentally sharing. For example are you using a CDN? Does your host track this data, and share it? Do you use a third part API somewhere in a library you decided to use? So on, and so forth.

jacmoe 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have removed my Google Analytics tracking code from my sites, and have abandoned Disqus in favour of a self-hosted commenting solution.

Since I am not setting any cookies, I have also removed the EU Cookie Policy script (which, ironically, uses a cookie...)

I can do this, because I am writing my own content management system.

I probably should add a "You are not being tracked by this website" 'thingie' ?

I wrote a blog post about it, though..

amiller2571 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think you would have to re-host everything. One could place a placeholder (image maybe) instead of the embedded content that says "Click to activate third party resource. Caution, it may not respect DNT". Than if they click, swap it out with the youtube video or whatever. Gives them the choice to choose what they want to do.
thefreeman 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think your question really makes sense. The request to load the embedded YouTube video will contain the same Do Not Track headers as the requests loading your own site. It is up to the site owner to respect them (in this case YouTube). It's not your responsibility to try to re-host content from other sources in order to comply with the DNT request.
SimeVidas 1 day ago 0 replies      
But how do you even know which origins are trackers, as a site owner? I know that social networks like Facebook and Twitter are, but what about GitHub? I guess, one way to find out is by viewing your site in Firefox w/ Tracking Protection enabled, and checking if any requests were blocked.
pmlnr 1 day ago 1 reply      
My personal website is without js and cookies - no tracking. Stats from server log.
mfukar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't track people (any longer) and I don't check their DNT preference. Shame is not an incentive for me - or any website code - to do so.

We should have moved away from privacy-theater by now.

inopinatus 1 day ago 0 replies      
The existing sandbox iframe attribute is inadequate. I would like a mechanism to ensures private mode for the content in an iframe, even if private mode is not otherwise enabled.
ptr_void 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just descriptive links + no js/other dependency for me.
Ask HN: Alternatives to work/life balance?
9 points by Kinnard  19 hours ago   19 comments top 6
itamarst 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Of course management will try to sell you your job as "higher aspiration" or a "sacred" goal (drink the startup kool-aid!). Means you'll work harder and longer and bargain less. They will also happily fire you, lay you off or cut your wages when times are bad. And then your lower aspirations (food, shelter) will suffer too.

Which is not to say you shouldn't enjoy your job, or aim to do fulfilling meaningful work. But doing one thing to exclusion of all others is not healthy. It's not productive, either - work/life balance will make you more productive: https://codewithoutrules.com/2016/11/10/work-life-balance-so...

alltakendamned 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a relevant article that might be a good read for you:


shoo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This book may be a relevant read: "Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work"
HelloNurse 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Work/death balance. How much and in which ways do you want to die of overwork and burn yourself out?
creepydata 19 hours ago 1 reply      
So you're saying you want to make your work your life? How about "my work is my life," or "I'm married to my job?"
gls2ro 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know how to actually answer your question.

First I can recommend an essay of _Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness_. Not because what he says is true because it is more a reflection or a philosophical enquiry than a demonstration of something so it cannot be true of false in itself. But because it might provide some questions to ask about the source of ideas behind the concept of how we do work.

Second: related to a new mental model. I think in order to have a new mental model there should be a problem (a crisis) with the existing one.

What is the existing model?

A possible speculation (in IT) based on common mainstream ideas:

- There is/was a general move from seeing jobs/work as means to live to "making a dent in the universe" or "changing the world"

- There is/was a supporting atmosphere of believing that work can happen anytime and anyplace - we have access to what we need to work from everywhere and every time we want to

- There is/was a general idea that everybody should love what they are doing and should want to do that all the time

- There is/was a large support for work from home, which (at least symbolistically) means that work and home are not antagonistic concepts

- There is/was (maybe not majority) support and focus on spreading concepts of: one should hang together with one's peers afterwork, one should go to hackathons in weekends, one should read more about technology during personal time, one should come early to the office or one should leave late ...

- Now the outsiders are seen as being the ones who are saying that after work they are not doing programming but something unrelated to IT

Based on the mainstream ideas above then one possible logical conclusion could be that: (in general) we are not moving toward a work/life balance but to work being the main activity of the day and life being a complement.

What I agree with is that we don't yet have a name or a good understanding of the current model works - what what it is (which is not work/life balance). And it might be that we don't have such understanding because we are in a transition period.

Historically I think we passed through multiple periods for the vast majority of people:

1. When there is not life after work (and no concept of happiness, well-being ...) - from the dawn of humankind until manufacturing era

2. A period when the focus was on the life after work. When people were working to have money to spend after work. In this case it did not matter what kind of work was. It matter how much time one spent there and how much money could bring it. I think it lasted up until 70s - 80s.

3. A period of high purpose - let's called it "enlightenment" - when people wanted to "make a dent in the universe", "want to change the world" and basically everybody was talking about passion, ideas, ....

4. Now - a period of unrest or anxiety about the future

In the end I think there is one subject we are not talking about and I think it might define how we explore the topic you are providing and that subject is a question to ask ourselves: What is a GOOD life? Where GOOD is a personal concept including morals/ethics, happiness/well-being, tranquility, being content with life, but in the same time a concept defined or imposed by society.

edit: formatting

Ask HN: Have you ever gotten the Google 'foobar' challenge? How did it go?
4 points by good_vibes  22 hours ago   11 comments top 3
samblr 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I did 'foobar' thing in april sometime. Had got that challenge when I was doing some google maps api thing. After finishing 3 rounds (5 or 6 problems) - it asks you to fill in [number, email, linkedin/github ] and reach out to google recruiter.

Wife was really excited to see the whole process as 'foobar' opened when she was at my desk. She couldn't believe all this can happen and was super keen to send contact to google and I was saying not-now (we are expecting our first born soon). Yet, to keep wife happy, I did send my contact details without linkedin/github details. May be google recruiters ignored my contact since without professional details - it doesn't make any sense for a hire.

I checked my foobar link - it still opens though. May be after few months will try reaching..

astrodev 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I completed all problems in March, but haven't heard anything back. It was fun but much easier than the problems I remember from the high school Olympiad (or I have improved), except for the final one, which was more of a maths question - easy if you know the relevant theorems (I had to google it), virtually impossible otherwise.

I can send you an invite if you are interested.

deft 17 hours ago 1 reply      
You can probably get it more than once. I got it from googling java docs once. I never am signed in or anything and delete cookies and block 3rd party cookies, so they got me on their one chance that I was signed in and had tons of tabs open. I never did it because it was a waste of time.
Ask HN: How do you find hiring managers to talk to when job hunting?
11 points by wildlingjill  2 days ago   9 comments top 7
ParameterOne 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The easiest way to find the right person is to call and ask. Even better if you can find out who his/her boss is and then mention to your target that so-and-so told me I should contact you about a position.....see what I did there :-)
richardknop 1 day ago 0 replies      
You need to build up your network. Go to meet ups, get involved in open source projects, make sure to keep your online presence up to date (linked in, github).

If you're quite new, it will take some time to build a strong network of people in the industry that can refer you to current job openings.

When looking for actual jobs to apply for, I'd recommend sticking to recruiters at least at the beginning of your career. There are some good recruiters out there that will help you get jobs to advance your career.

So just send your CV to some local recruiting agencies, search for jobs online (LinkedIn, stack overflow careers and other job sites) and submit your CV there. This should generate a lot of leads, you should get some emails and calls from recruiters. Take it form there.

Later in your career when you will have built a strong network you will often be sent leads for good jobs by people from your network (ex colleagues etc).

gamechangr 2 days ago 1 reply      
" I'd love to be able to find more people to talk to..."

The age old problem. Every future employee would like to beat the paper system, while employers want a process that let's them not waste so much time talking with unqualified people.

You really need to attend MeetUps. Hiring managers need to get a recommendation from someone to take you seriously. The fact that you're "self-taught" is against you as well, so getting a few developers to Vouch for you is critical.

Go to Meetups. The rest will take care of itself.

natekupp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have you considered just applying through the jobs pages of the larger tech companies? Apple, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn are all on the peninsula and more accessible than startups in SF.
bsvalley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is the "how to find a job?" answer for you:

1. Build a network in the bay area

2. Ask details about their employers, work, teams, projects, etc.

3. Apply through referral

techman9 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a friend who goes through a list of most common first names and tries emailing them all @<companyname> for companies he's interested in working at. There's bound to be at least one person with Michael or John or Robert or Mary who works at the company and is hiring, right?

(While I really do have a friend that does this it should go without saying that I'm just sharing this story because I find it humorous, and this is in general, probably a terrible idea.)

FullMtlAlcoholc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Easy. Find the xompany you want to work for, do a little sleuthing for the org structure via LinkedIn, the company's about us page, calling the company and asking for the hiring manager, etc. Once you have a name, use a chrome plug in like Nymeria and/or rapportive to find their email address or contactt them via LinkedIn.

As a web dev, basic social engineering should become an essential part of your toolkit.

Ask HN: How do you manage your personal documents and E-mail (Archiving, etc)
7 points by dennisb  1 day ago   9 comments top 4
a3n 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use the Catalog feature of my own "miki": Makefile Wiki. https://github.com/a3n/miki#catalog

I also try not to get too "taggy" and organized. If I have something new, I just dump it into the top directory of my catalog, and eventually move it down to its own dir and do the minimal op to connect it into the catalog. No DBMS, just the file system.

When I run make on the (personal) wiki, one of the things it does is generate a sitemap, with links to everything, including the catalog part of the wiki. It also creates a catalog-specific json file, which I view directly from Firefox; the addon JsonView makes the json file fields clickable. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/jsonview

Not at all advocating that you use Miki. Just an observation that its motivation is simplicity, to the point that no software was written, I just use what Linux already has, and the filesystem.

The reason for the simplicity motivation is that I've found, over the years, that the more complete a system I've used to try to "get organized," the sooner it will be abandoned. What I've devolved to is this: the "system" will be more usable, and more likely to be used, the less of that system there is.

Of course it's loads of fun to write one of these things, and that's more than enough reason to do it, so go ahead! But you might keep simplicity in mind, start from an attitude of minimalism with just enough added on, and when it's good enough, stop.

I guess all bets are off if you want an OSS project that other people are going to use and work on. In that case, "Release the Features!" :)


> ... "designing the system so that the manual will be as short as possible minimizes learning effort."

The above quoted in "Expert C Programming, Deep C Secrets," by Peter Van der Linden. I used my catalog to find it. :)

ParameterOne 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I use a hard drive.....with folders.
siscia 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I was thinking about doing something similar just the other day.

I would pick SQLite and not PG, simpler to get it running and simpler to operate.

ghuntley 1 day ago 1 reply      
Office 365 SharePoint. Seriously. It's great and just works.
Ask HN: What if we built new cities with a strictly limited footprint?
9 points by baron816  1 day ago   5 comments top 5
issa 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a life long science fiction reader, I feel the "arcology" concept has been imagined for a long time in many different ways. I think the idea is inevitable, although probably more Caves of Steel than Trantor. And hopefully not Judge Dredd.
ParameterOne 11 hours ago 0 replies      
How do I get a ride to the hospital with no cars and streets covered with tables? I would invest in real estate in a city with high demand and finite footprint but I would probably not live there. I think you may also find that government service costs per capita may be the same or higher than a regular city.
LostWanderer 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot of issues would be solved if multiple such cities covered a state,however if there will be only a few such beautiful cities then expect the crowd coming in all the time and once the momemtum picks up the city will expand. And controlling the crowd can be a nightmare. But it can be achieved.Adding a low carbon footprint methods like solar cookers,urban forests(dont mind the insects) may help also.The concern with such an idea has been scaling up in a sustainable manner,almost every ideal city has ruined because of the population boom
saluki 1 day ago 0 replies      
You might like checking this out, similar to what you've outlined. (doesn't hit all your points, and more of a vacation destination, but some people live there year round)


We used to go there every summer. Now it's getting more crowded and losing some of it's charm.

Ask HN: How can I promote my open-source project?
20 points by bsears  2 days ago   11 comments top 8
Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Your description needs work:

ServiceBot is a platform for a business to sell their services and automate the administrative tasks such as billing and invoicing.

This really gives me no idea what on earth you do. What problem do you solve? What value do you add?

You don't want to say something like "This tablet has an 8 inch screen." You want to say stuff like "This tablet fits handily in your pocket while having a larger than average screen size and is easily readable in full daylight." Your current description is the "8 inch screen" type description. It is not informative and it is not compelling.

You need to find a way to convey to people what you do for them. Time saved. Money earned. Problems solved. Convenience. Portability. Reduced headaches.

coreyp_1 2 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps provide an example (screenshots/video) of your project in action. Otherwise, people will not see how your project can impact them, and they don't understand how to use it, regardless of how much explanatory text that you give.

This is the very problem that I'm facing on my project (http://bedefiant.io). Because i don't have a working example yet, it is hard to communicate my vision of how you can use my project. Of course, my project is still under development (I'm working on developing the minimally demonstrable features now), but the situation is the same for both: If you want people to use your software, then you have to show them why they need it and how you can solve their problems.

git-pull 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. Consider a permissive software license: Not a big sticking point, but they are seen by some as more commercial-friendly. Also in the node-ecosystem they're more accustom to it.

2. Link to the documentation (https://docs.servicebot.io/) instead of the company page

3. Any travis-ci up yet?

4. Give reddit a try (for the open source project), /r/node, and /r/javascript

5. Consider "spin-off" libraries of reusable components. Make them available via NPM. Give them documentation as well. Creating a popular dependency library attracts more interested users.

6. Did you apply for Y Combinator yet?

7. Try to contact AdWords to see if you can get free credits to advertise the corporate website. Bing has some too. It may not give much but even one or two clients would be a sign of momentum.

8. Consider contacting startups and offering your service free / discount in return for feedback and a testimonial

9. On the website, try an intercom.io widget. It makes it easy for people to open up a chat window to reach you.

soared 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMO what a lot of open source projects are missing is marketers. Developers build things, marketers market them. Its hard for one person to do the other because they aren't educated in it or have the necessary skills.

Honestly the best answer is to find someone to help market it. Since you're asking "How do I do marketing?" the answer probably won't be in an HN comment.. its in a 4 year degree or years of experience.

But apart from that, define your target market and reach them where they congregate. If you want to reach freelance developers, go to whatever website they congregate at and talk to them there.

This reddit thread [1] has lots of reading and some decent ideas. Maybe try writing a marketing plan.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/startups/comments/4p0mke/10_highly_...

itamarst 1 day ago 1 reply      
The open sourceness of it seems irrelevant to your target audience: businesses. So the question isn't how to promote open-source project, it's how do you promote the business benefits to the right people. Where do your customers hang out?
coreyp_1 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't edit my previous comment. I was looking at the github page on my phone, and neither the URL nor the huge picture that says "Demo" was visible. I still think that a video explanation would be more effective in driving the understanding, but I can also now see (now that I'm on a computer, that is) that you have done work to show off your product.
owebmaster 1 day ago 0 replies      
Your project looks good and I'm in need of something similar. I'm going to give a look at it and see if it have a fit. Nice job :) (and now you are promoting your project).
treyhuffine 1 day ago 0 replies      
What channels have you tried already? Reddit or other mediums can be helpful to get people looking at it.
Ask HN: Are the best minds of our generation working on ad optimization?
11 points by Bakary  1 day ago   13 comments top 7
ig1 1 day ago 2 replies      
You're making a common mistake among tech people that ad optimisation is worthless.

Ad optimization has reduced the cost of customer acquisition for millions of businesses. In the bad old days you just had to buy a billboard or tv spot and hope for the best, acquiring customers was an order of magnitude more expensive than it is now.

Many of the online services you use today (SaaS, online dating, mobile games, etc.) would have very different unit economics without ad optimization - a lot of them would be economically unviable.

Ad optimization might be unglamorous but it has an important role in market based economies.

bjourne 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Appears so. It's not only ad optimization but also gambling. On tv, almost half (or so) of the ads are for casino sites so you can imagine that the business must be booming. I guess it is good for programmers because there are a lot of employment opportunities.
zer00eyz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If I look at my linked in, and I look at those who work in the space, I'm going to have to answer with a resounding NO.

Thankfully they work in the adspace, because it keeps them out of other industries where the code is important and their presence would be a burden.

19eightyfour 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I second the comment by ig1.

I think this is a natural consequence of a disconnect between what the economy values and what the popular imagination values.

A disconnect mirrored by the mythological transformation, experienced by nearly-all it seems, from naive youthful idealism, to somewhat-cynical grown-up pragmatism.

I'll have a stab at describing the disconnect in the following way: our minds are born in the gutter, with our imaginations looking up at the stars, but as we grow up we come to value, not the lights of distant stars, which come to seem cold and providing no sustenance, but the closer more familiar lights of the homestead, the township, the city. Those things which end up reminding most of other people, of home, of money and security, rather than lofty and distant ambitions which our culture also mythologizes as ludicrous and insane.

As Picasso said, and Zuckerberg for a while echoed on his profile, and Musk seems to against-the-odds still embody: "that every child is born an artist, the problem is how to remain one once we grow up."

Random note: My Chrome autocorrect would like to "autocorrect" Zuckerburg to Cheesburger -- you'd think the closest string in terms of edit distance would have been "Zuckerberg" but hey, maybe it works off some other metrics.

I was planning to do some serious coding this evening. But cooking and had too much wine so now I'm useless for everything except waxing ridiculously on Ask HN.

TL;DR - ad optimization is unglamorous but necessary. And not even evil. More relevant ads are a lesser evil for sure. We are raised taught to reach for the stars, but as we gain that much-sought-after "independence", they get us to trade, "a walk on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage", as Pink Floyd so eloquently put it. In other words, what's economically necessary is not-as-yet completely in line with what our pure souls aspire to be.

Civilization is still an infant. What can you say?

ddorian43 1 day ago 0 replies      
Many of them are also working on game engines. Source: look at notes on every UDK release.
SirLJ 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the best minds work on "Wall Street" mathematicians, physicists, CS, you name it, they are working for the big money...
joeclark77 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I think more generally the issue is that most of us are "skimming" off the work of others, in the so-called "service economy" or "knowledge work". Being a lawyer, banker, insurance agent, accountant, professor, etc, is not dishonorable in itself; these services are necessary in some amount to make the economy work. But there's no need for 50% or more of the population to be doing such jobs. A small town with ten banks isn't going to be any richer than a small town with two. A small town with ten manufacturing companies would be much richer than a small town with two. Napoleon once mocked the English as "a nation of shopkeepers" at a time when England's economy was largely profiting off "real work" done in its remote colonies. I think the USA and I daresay most rich nations today could be zinged with the same insult today. We seem to have lost some of our vigor and competency when such an overwhelming number of young people aspire to do cubicle jobs instead of, say, engineering.
Ask HN: Do you work remotely? How did you get that job?
60 points by good_vibes  21 hours ago   57 comments top 30
lbotos 18 hours ago 4 replies      
This post makes it sound like you are on the junior side. IF that's the case, I'd absolutely advise getting a "desk" job first. Get your skills way up. That feedback loop will absolutely be tighter if you are a junior.

With remote work, it's about what you can show for it, not just the words. What do you have to show for what you've learned?

philip1209 17 hours ago 2 replies      
After we shut down my last startup, Staffjoy [1], I wanted to travel full-time. I realized that I hated going to an office every day. I also knew that I wanted to contract, and that the contractor market was broken on both sides.

So, I started Moonlight [2], and started working for a variety of companies remotely on a contract basis. We're working to expand the marketplace, and are adding more projects every week. One of the factors that helps getting remote contract work is having a track record - meaning, at least 3 years of experience working professionally in technology.

About a month ago, I sold all of my stuff (I currently own a carry-on suitcase and backpack) and hit the road. I'm currently in Mexico City until the end of August, working about 10 hours per week through Moonlight to pay for all of my living costs.

[1] https://blog.staffjoy.com/staffjoy-is-shutting-down-39f7b5d6...

[2] https://www.moonlightwork.com

christophilus 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I work remotely for a 100% remote company.

I'm a Sr software engineer, and was hired because I taught one of the co-founders while I was a teacher at a coding bootcamp.

We've hired one Jr engineer who I knew personally beforehand (a former student). And we've hired one mid-level engineer whom none of us has ever met in person.

My thoughts based on personal anecdotal evidence:

- Hit the job boards hard and don't stop. Persistence wins. Here are some great resources[1]

- 100% remote companies are the way to go. You don't want to be the sole remote employee (or one of a few) at a mostly on-site company. You'll be a 3rd class citizen. I've seen this numerous times.

- It is entirely possible to be a Jr engineer and get successfully integrated into a remote company. We've done it this year. We allocate some extra time for our engineers to further their own learning. We also do lots of screen-sharing sessions, etc.

[1] SO remote jobs: https://stackoverflow.com/jobs/remote-developer-jobs

Hacker News monthly job listings (search in-page for REMOTE): https://hn.algolia.com/?query=who%27s%20hiring&sort=byPopula...


chad_strategic 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I started working in the a vacant office, because one of the boss was in South Carolina and the other boss was in Denver. (I was in Denver.) Myself and a few other hanger-oners came into the office.

The company downsized and they closed the office and I was sent to work from home.

I worked from home for 2 years as a senior dev. My wife reminds me that at first I wasn't happy about working from home. But after a month, remote is the only way to go.

I left that company and went remote for a startup for 90 days, and left before it imploded.

Now I'm stuck in a cube! Help me!

(also when applying to remote jobs, it seems that having remote experience is very beneficial.)

mnm1 17 hours ago 0 replies      

I'm a senior developer. Company contacted me about a position in the Bay area. I told them I recently moved across the country and asked if they would accept remote. They said that's ok (they had other remote workers and almost everyone is remote now). Phone interview the next day and an offer the day after. Flew out about a week after that for two weeks on-site. I go back for a week every now and then on-site. The irony is that I was looking for a full-time, remote position in the Bay area for years and less than six months after I moved, there it was.

Definitely recommend looking for companies with a remote culture. At another company, they flew me in for an interview, told me they wanted to make me an offer, then refused when I told them, as I had made it clear before the interviews, that I was not interested in moving back to the bay area. I've never been so speechless in an interview as when they asked me, "What would it take to get you to come back to SF?" and I knew the figure I wanted was nowhere near what they would want to pay. I also would recommend not doing any sort of take-home assignment for any company, but especially for remote jobs. That will be a lot of wasted time and the company might not even look at your work after you've spent hours or days on it.

keerthiko 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I am cofounder of my company based in the Bay. I didn't get my US visa and ended up having to leave, but remained in charge of Android product and payment processing (easily isolated but still critical tasks so I could operate async).

I spent 2 years as a digital nomad while fulfilling that role. It was a bumpy ride as our 4-5 person team figured out the logistics and managing expectations and productivity. But now 3 years later, even after I got my US work visa we don't have an office, meet up in coffee shops a few times a week as 2-3 people, and each of us take a month to work remotely from a different city or country regularly for a change of pace at our convenience.

The biggest reason we support remote work is that once we learned how to make it work, not paying office rent and increasing our salaries proportionally was seen as a win-win all around.

amingilani 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have the skills to prove it, no prior remote experience, I absolutely cannot recommend Toptal[1] enough.

I went through their rigorous interview process which was definitely harder than any I've encountered, but once in, I've had the best work experience in my life.

My clients have been amazing, Toptal handles payments for me so no problems getting paid, and they're always there to help me out. I chose my hours, and rate, and being a part of the community alone has taught me so much.

Prior to Toptal my only source for questions was Stack Overflow, since I'm self-taught. Never before had I discussed the new features of a Rails launch in a Slack channel, or discussed the best ways to handle my SQL queries.

[1] Toptal Referal Link: https://www.toptal.com/#contract-just-respected-software-arc...

Disclosure: Shortly after joining the Toptal Network, I joined their Core team. However, their community and company culture is definitely the best I've ever seen.

lukasm 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Ask your current employer for it.

PS https://github.com/lukasz-madon/awesome-remote-job

kevstev 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked at Walmart Labs when they were actively pursuing remote as a strategy (2012-2015ish). There was a changing of the guard in senior leadership and they were more of a "button down tucked into their dockers" kind of crew and remote was then no longer being considered for new hires. I was asked to move out to Sunnyvale (I am in the NYC area), I politely declined, and then was laid off 3 months later, along with most other remote staff in my area.

I am now back in an office- I received an offer I couldn't refuse, and they unfortunately are hard-line, at least for the moment, about not allowing remote work on any consistent basis. I did receive offers that were ok with remote, and one that was a completely remote job. Unfortunately, they were all about 20% less than I was making before. Hopefully this job works out in the long term, but my main driver in taking it was to bank enough such that in all future jobs I can afford to take a pay cut (have retirement fully funded/become financially independent) and work remotely if I want to.

Anyway, to answer your question- Amazon supports remote work, as do a lot of consulting firms- NearForm, NodeSource, Joyent, etc. Auth0 is a fully remote firm as well.

hawski 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Bonus question: are there C or C++ remote jobs? Basically non-web and non-mobile development jobs.
SirLJ 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I do work from home in the past probably 5 years (working technical lead job for a big telco), I just decided one day there was no more fun in the office and told my boss I'll work from home since my team is spread around the country anyway, so no point to waste 30 min each way to drive to the office... The point is if you perform well and can be trusted, you can work from home... My next goal is to work from another country for long periods of time, but here I think the problem is different employment laws and probably the health/life insurance...
k__ 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working remote for 3 years now.

I did it like that:

1. Saving money in my non-remote job where I worked for 7 years, so I didn't need to work for like 2 years.

2. Quitting my non-remote job, so I had time I could pour into working remote.

3. Doing some remote OSS work. Most OSS projects are remote anyway, people like free developer help, so this was an easy way to get into remote teams without much barriers like interviews etc. I also did a masters degree in computer science and had to do 2 projects, which were remote too. Never finished the master, lol, but still got that remote experience. Also I did a few projects, started doing all the coding at coffee shops etc.

4. Put my resume on online job websites that allowed me to say I only want remote jobs. Took me 4 months till I got a job, but I never wrote any company. Two companies wrote me and one gave me a job in the end.

5. Started working remote 2 years at a startup that was about 300km away from my home.

6. Quit the startup and started freelancing, which I'm doing for 6 months now.


I mostly learned about myself in the process. For example that the wish for remote work was just a wish for no bosses, more free time, etc.

pknerd 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I maintain a personal site and blog where I keep updating what I do along with what I learnt. Beside that I promote my blog posts on different platform.

Majority of the work I got via my website/blog.

A few months back I wrote a blog post how developers can have exposure to their work. Check link at:- http://blog.adnansiddiqi.me/5-ways-developers-can-have-multi...

mod 21 hours ago 1 reply      
My first remote job started as an in-office job and I eventually asked to transition to working some shifts from home on an interim basis, and if it went well, to transition to fully remote. That transition happened and everything went well.

My next remote position found me through my existing network. I was asked to do some work for an agency that they didn't have enough bandwidth to handle, and that eventually turned into a full-time gig.

49531 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Having prior experience will definitely help you find a remote position.

Personally I don't think being a junior remote employee is a bad thing, but a lot of the time hiring manages are afraid of hiring remotely.

I have worked remotely for a couple years now, and I found both of those jobs via Hacker News' "who is hiring" threads. A lot of companies on that thread are hiring for remote folks.

If you are in a situation where you are junior, but cannot work in an office for whatever reason, there are ways to dig into certain positions.

Companies with significant open source projects are a good place to start. If you can make significant contributions to a company's code via open source they might be more open to hiring you.

Be careful to not slave away for a company as free labor, but if you're learning and trying to grow your skills, some strategic open source development could be a good start.

iisbum 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been doing remote work for over 10 years, but my first remote position ... I was recommended for a position onsite, in NYC, which I interviewed for.

After my interview, circumstances changed and I needed to leave NYC, I told the company and they decided it would be ok for me to work remotely from Boston. Haven't looked back since, love being remote.

Simulacra 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a lobbyist that does grassroots advocacy so maybe I'm not the best example, but here goes: I researched companies that had a large population of clients, students, employees etc. Then I researched which issues most affected all of that base. I then rang up the CEO or General Counsel and pitched them my services. I work with the employees etc. of each client company, motivating them to become politically active on behalf of the company. Part cheerleader part lobbyist. In the end it just took a LOT of research to identify the client, scope out their need, create the pitch, and start cold calling.
scrollinondubs 18 hours ago 0 replies      
@good_vibes - Is this presumably directed only at devs or are you speaking to any remote workers? I'm head of Sales for Pagely.com and just finished a program called Remote Year where I worked across 51 cities, 16 countries and 4 continents. I ended up giving a talk at PressNomics in April on everything involved in making this situation work. It was well-received. You can find that here if interested: https://pagely.com/blog/2017/04/making-remote-work-work/

lmk if you have any questions I can help with

Mz 18 hours ago 1 reply      
chrisbennet 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a contractor/consultant and 95% of the time I work in my own private office. In order to duplicate this arrangement it helps to have some sort of expertise/reputation such that your clients don't think they need to watch you work.

If you worked for company A at one point in your career and left on good terms, you might do some part time contracting for them from home. If you worked for companies A, B and C and you can swing the same arrangement you're now a consultant.

hplust 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked for a company for 1.5 years and mentioned I was moving and that I would like to stay with them and work remote if possible otherwise that I would be moving in 6 months.

I was incredibly lucky and know it put pressure on them to find special remote opportunities or 'fly and build/fix it' type opportunities for many clients. I work in network security and networking.

my employer already knew me and was very happy with all of my work, otherwise I cannot see anyway I would have obtained this opportunity.

mdn0420 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a Principal Software Engineer at my company and had been working there for about 4 years (on-site) before I transitioned into fully remote.

I was moving away from the city for personal reasons and discussed options with my manager/team. It helps if you've demonstrated your ability as a self-directed high performer.

larrik 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Believe it or not, I had a recruiter call me and I got the job that way. I normally never even took those sorts of calls.
dyeje 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked in the office originally, but needed to move to a different city for a few reasons. We already have some satellite offices and remote workers, so I asked if I could continue my role remote and they accepted. Been working remote for about a year now, and it's been great.
runT1ME 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I started out on a 3 month contract with the understanding there would be a good chance it would either end in 3 months or I would move to the Bay Area after to renew. I flew to the office quite frequently. I worked hard to prove myself, and three months later after some negotiations I had a FTE offer for remote work.
DrNuke 21 hours ago 1 reply      
One hint from personal experience is you will always need at least one real-life interaction before being taken seriously. Such interaction can be a tech conference, a common acquaintance, a direct interview at their HQ, etc. etc. The more the market is flooded by unknown / untested quantities from everywhere, the more trust building goes back to pre-internet methods.
brightball 17 hours ago 0 replies      
My wife owns a business with 20 employees that basically makes it so that we can't move out of the area. Moving would have been preferred but they understood it wasn't an option and did have some other remotes at the time. Many more now though.
kalleboo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I published some freeware. Someone contacted me about making a fancier paid version. 10 years later that product is long dead but I'm still here.

I got out there and then I got lucky.

mezod 18 hours ago 0 replies      
hehe I'm in a rather similar situation, but instead of trying to find a job I'm trying to create my own, and since you talked about habits, I need to share my work now! https://everydaycheck.com :P
julianaustin 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Worked full time in SF office for 1.5 years, worked from the company's Tel Aviv office 3 months, then moved to Austin in a slightly different sales focused role (was implementation before), and been working from here ~ 1 year.
Digital logic resources for youth
3 points by jay-anderson  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
detaro 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is http://nand2tetris.org/course.php for some materials up to a working computer. Not sure if suitable for a kid though.

http://www.cburch.com/logisim/ is a logic simulator that's a bit clunky to use, but not terribly buggy like some others and powerful enough to build a simple CPU in it. (See this https://github.com/reds-heig/logisim-evolution for a list of maintained forks, but for starting out there shouldn't be anything wrong with the original)

Ask HN: What's the most beautiful code written in Python you have ever seen?
16 points by pedrodelfino  2 days ago   7 comments top 7
sharmi 2 days ago 0 replies      
This was back in 2005-2006. I was working with a guy who loves to code. His favorite way to spend the weekend was to figure out ways to make our services more robust and optimized. He had one major disadvantage.

His forgetfulness was legendary. He could barely remember what happened in the morning or what code he wrote. He made this his strength by writing the cleanest and well-structured code I have ever seen. So, not only him, but anyone, without any prior knowledge, can jump into the code at any point in time and immediately understand the flow and be productive. Obviously, it helps that the code was in Python, but being in python by itself does not a great code make.

git-pull 1 day ago 0 replies      



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vunIDi9Z-_8 (Introduction to SQLAlchemy, 2014, 2:52:50)

http://www.aosabook.org/en/sqlalchemy.html (Overview in The Architecture of Open Source Applications)

tcbawo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've enjoyed reading a lot of Peter Norvig's python code. There is his Lisp implemention (http://norvig.com/lispy.html). He also created a spell checker that was an informative and interesting read.
navbaker 2 days ago 0 replies      
I once programmed a complete chess board in four lines of code:

>import chess

>import chess.svg

>board = chess.Board()


I'm pretty sure I'm a genius.

svisser 2 days ago 0 replies      
RUG3Y 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've said this in other threads recently - The Flask source code is really awesome and reading helped me learn Python better.
teapot01 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go to python repl

> import this

Ask HN: What's the best technical book that came out in the last decase
4 points by copyconstruct  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
fiftyacorn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I really liked the google Site Reliability Engineering book -


And think that the chapter on Simplicity is one of the most important chapters any developer can read -


brudgers 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4A: Combinatorial Algorithms, Part 1.
Ask HN: Integrity of BIOS update?
10 points by rxlim  2 days ago   6 comments top 3
peter_d_sherman 2 days ago 1 reply      
In theory, you could probably call Gigabyte and ask them to mail you the BIOS update on disk or CD or something (you know, the old fashioned way), and/or you might be able to tell them that you feel insecure with plain http, and maybe they'd change it for you...

But what you're saying points to a larger problem. How do you know that anything you download from any vendor (and that includes such hallowed things in the industry as Apple/Ubuntu/Red Hat/Microsoft/Google updates), is really secure?

The only way to get true security for anything is to build your own processor, build your own PC, write your own operating system, build your own network card, and then hope that there aren't any bugs...

Historically, things that were once thought to be secure -- have been proven over and over again not to be. Case in point: Windows NT -- it had labels all over the box, to the effect, "It's secure, it's secure". Well, fast forward 17 years or so. Numerous incidents and issues have historically proven those assertions to be in error... don't take my word for it... look at the history... Google "Windows NT security vulnerabilities" and you can also add the word "historical" in there, if you want.

That, and I'm pretty sure as a novice computer historian, that history repeats itself, although chances are that your BIOS might be perfectly safe even if you do download it with http (although, make no mistake about it, you are taking a chance, so "chance-taker beware", as the old saying goes...)

Computer security is a tough business, because on the one hand there's too little security, and on the other is outright paranoia... what's the correct balance between those two extremes? I sure as heck don't know...

Anyway... good luck with your BIOS update...

ZephyrP 1 day ago 1 reply      
I explored this issue many years ago and, at least at the time, it was my understanding that for many motherboards it's simply not possible to introduce unsigned code through software alone.
whyagaindavid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Download the file in Starbucks + 5 other locations. Check sha1sum. Though not useful in this situation, but better buy reputed server mobo.
Ask HN: Best resources to teach a 6-year old to program
9 points by bioinformatics  3 days ago   10 comments top 6
wslh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
My experience is that the efforts an average 6-year old should put to learn programming at that level are very high and at ~9 years old not so high. So except he is very interested/capable I would wait until he grows. I don't think you gain too much starting earlier, in a way I call it parenting anxiety. This is why you don't start teaching them calculus, they are not ready except if they show signals of precocity or giftedness.

Having said that I would start with ScratchJr (https://www.scratchjr.org/) on a tablet and Alice (https://www.alice.org/) on the desktop. Alice will require your assistance for scripting but he would be able to select and position the 3D characters.

codycraven 1 day ago 1 reply      
Have super low expectations. I did the same thing with my daughter when she was 6. Got her going on some really basic programming and typing programs. She picked up the UI manipulation well and has gotten decent at typing but hasn't grokked logic flows yet.

Just recently she got a Lego Mindstorms ev3 and the lightbulb just went on when she was using the PC program to program her robot.

So really, just have patience, introduce things to front load but he won't catch on until he's intrinsically motivated at the right time.

fiftyacorn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I helped my wife do some lesson plans on computing covering algorithms and collections. It was starting from practical then working out a methodology using games. It worked really well at all levels my wife has used it. I keep meaning to write this up - but never get the time. Although now my son is 5 i might try it with him on a wet afternoon
danielvf 2 days ago 1 reply      
The opencomputers mod for MineCraft can be a lot of fun.

I also tend to do a lot with my kids by just opening the chrome dev tools and play away with JavaScript and mucking up some random web page.

pedrodelfino 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great one: https://scratch.mit.edu
olivercreashe 2 days ago 1 reply      
Give him an issue of Byte magazine and tell him to copy all 30 pages of machine language to the computer using the keyboard.Better yet, tel him that at the end of all the typing, there will be a game to play!


Ask HN: What about a GitHub profile tells you a developer is quality or not?
62 points by good_vibes  2 days ago   51 comments top 21
ageitgey 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think it's a pretty bad idea to try to judge a developer from their github profile.

For the vast, vast majority of developers (no matter skill level), their github profiles are somewhere between "non-existent" to "a collection of weirdo stuff I played around with for a few minutes five years ago that doesn't reflect my professional output or interests at all". It just doesn't have much correlation to anything.

I've got several things on github, but even then it's not really representative of anything. If you look at my profile you'll see that it's a mess of random projects and toys in random languages. But it doesn't reflect how I spend most of my time.

There are a few niche cases where a github profile might matter - like if you are a consultant that specifically works supporting a OSS project and you want to show evidence of that to potential clients. But otherwise, don't worry about it.

patio11 2 days ago 3 replies      
I would never take negative signal from a GitHub profile, because for many, many developers, that will not be a meaningfully sized or representative example of their professional output. There exist many employers where you can do excellent work for many, many years and never OSS a single line of it.

I also think that the developer community far overestimates how much "have a good Github" is worth in terms of creating career equity, both because the people who you attempt to influence via it are largely not developers and, to the extent they are developers, are unlikely to spend hours looking at your Github profile trying to extract signal from it. You can probably get superior results for far less effort by writing ~3 good technical blog posts. (Do what makes you happy, naturally, but to the extent that getting well-paying exciting jobs generally makes people happy I'd recommend almost everyone treat having a small number of technical blog posts like exercise, in the "simply too useful not to do" bucket.)

ericclemmons 2 days ago 2 replies      
As a hiring manager, I used to want to see a profile that competed with my own (at the time).

Now I've learned that (1) burnout is real, (2) work CAN be intellectually stimulating enough to not create that OSS desire, and (3) eventually your job ends at 5 and life takes over.

With that said, I WISH more developers opened issues on the projects they've used.

All too often I've seen people drop one dependency for another due to an edge-case.

Even a simple issue explaining the problem, providing a test case or sample code would be great as an indicator to how a developer approaches problems and seeks help.

boulos 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm amused by all the "nothing" responses.

At Google, a candidate was referred to our team but had chosen to do all his interview questions in Python. This left me unable to discern "Can this candidate write code in C that actually understands memory handling and pointers?". Luckily, he had a GitHub repo for his work on a FUSE layer he had written that demonstrated that not only could he write in C, he also had reasonable commit hygiene (good commit messages, reasonable granularity, etc.).

I would never begrudge someone for having an empty GitHub profile (mine is unimpressive), but I've definitely both decided for and against candidates given the extra data it provides.

BadassFractal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have hired and let go of big time OSS developers before, with hundreds of packages they had written or maintained. Ultimately there was no correlation between their impressive Github resume and their ability to work as part of a team delivering product to customers, focusing on what matters to the business.

It seems to me that working on distributed OSS projects with strangers on Github or working on personal projects in one's spare time is a very different experience from how most software development shops are run, so there's only so much overlap there between the skillsets.

It does show you that the person knows how to write some code with no clear scope or deadlines, but that's a pretty low bar for most places.

orthoganol 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think Github is a tremendous resource, but while Github profiles can give a positive signal, they are not sufficient for negative filtering.

Many, especially older developers it seems, only begrudgingly have a profile for tickbox judgments encountered during job seeking. The best developer I ever worked with just didn't care about bothering with a Github profile, and the worst guy I ever interviewed had an expansive profile, including a repo with 80+ stars that was trivial and terribly coded, and our team's conclusion was that he got his bootcamp associates to star it.

At the end of the day it's a private company seeking a profit, and it's a little ridiculous that it's become defacto mandatory for proving you are a good developer, in the same (somewhat annoying and unfortunate) way that FaceBook has become defacto mandatory for proving you lead a social life.

Insanity 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't judge as a developer's quality based on their github profile. What a github profile does give me, is credibility to the claim that they are passionate about software.

When during an interview someone says they are passionate about software engineering and they have a github profile that reflects this, it gives me a reason to believe this person. But, I take the attitude that 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'. When another person makes the same claim but with an empty github profile, I don't assume this person is lying. You can usually tell if someone is passionate or not by the way they talk abot their previous projects as well.

That being said, a well-used github profile is not a reason to hire someone and neither is an empty one a reason not to. Some of the best people in the field that I have had the chance to work with had zero, or close to zero, github contributions.


From the other side (the 'looking for a job' one), when interviewing with a company I worked for some years ago - they did ask me for a link to my github profile and some open source code I did. But the company made most of their software open source and they believed strongly in OSS. I believe this was done not to judge a person for the quality of the work, but rather to get an idea if the person also liked OSS.

pyrophane 2 days ago 1 reply      
Im an experienced developer who doesn't really have much on my github profile. One or two contributions to open source projects that I've used and a handfull of issues created or commented on. Most of my code is private. I'm not sure what, if anything, someone would take away from that, other than I'm not that active in the open source community.
jttam 2 days ago 1 reply      
* Do they have their own projects or do they contribute to others?

* How interesting are those projects generically and in the context of what I would need this developer to do?

* Are these projects actually used by anyone? Are there pull requests, etc?

* Does the developer actively keep working on existing projects or move around? I.E., are these learning vs hobby vs commercial?

* How is their readme? Does it exist? Is it sufficiently complete to convey meaning?

* How is the code organized? Is it reasonably laid out? Do they make use of third party packages and tools? Does it seem like they are re-inventing the wheel?

* Does the code work?

* Is the language chosen the right language for the job? Are they using idioms of that language or more generic ways of expressing loops, vsriables, etc.?

* How extensible is their design? Does it feel krufty or is it a pleasure to read?

* Is the code novel? Are they re-inventing the wheel or are they actually fulfilling a need?

* Are their projects wide and varied in scope and tools?

Those are a few things off the top of my head. Not an exhaustive list.

duncan_bayne 2 days ago 0 replies      

The presence of a high-quality, well-rounded set of projects in GitHub is mostly indicative of the fact that the candidate in question has the spare time to work on Free Software. That's a lifestyle thing, and not relevant to the hiring decision.

kasey_junk 2 days ago 0 replies      
nunez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing. IMO, the only thing that a Github profile itself tells me is how often they spend time interacting with Github and writing code.

The code within their Github repositories, on the other hand, can say a lot. But I won't spend too much time perusing it; I'll probably look at their resume, see "Oh, they can write Ruby and Golang and have a Github account", view their Github repositories, see their code, say "Okay, they can write ruby and golang" or "Oh no, they can't" and move on.

thinkxl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know experienced developers that have few or none activity in GitHub at all. So, it depends.

You could find developers that:

1. write good code and are active in the community

2. write good code and are not active in the community

3. write ok code and are active in the community

4. write ok code and are not active in the community

5., 6., etc., (... you get the idea)

So, with number 2, you could see an empty GitHub profile and perceive it as low quality, but that's the wrong perception. See `pyrophane` comment as example.

Obviously on a hiring process a GitHub profile with activity is a great plus, but, again, it depends.

bsvalley 1 day ago 0 replies      
It depends on the size of the company.

- big companies: it's all about eliminating fake Resumes. they only use your web presence as a background check since they already have their own hiring process in place to evaluate a candidate (whiteboarding crap). In other words, they ain't care

- small companies: they will dig deeper since they don't get many Resumes on their desk. In this case, it will be about code quality, complexity, comments, design, etc. think of it as a coding assignment. It's much faster to pretend that the assignment was a project you've already worked on in the past. The evaluation criteria are the same as a coding assignment.

ioblomov 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here's one take, in order of increasing quality:

1. Participates somehow in popular open-source projects, by posting bugs or updating wiki entries.

2. Opened merged PRs for popular projects that fix bugs or add test coverage.

3. Opened merged PRs that add new functionality.

4. Is one of the maintainers of a popular OS project.

5. Created a popular OS project.

treyhuffine 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, the signals for hiring you get from GitHub aren't great. It could help more junior developers to show off some things that they've built if their initial resume doesn't have the experience people are looking for.
bjourne 2 days ago 1 reply      
Haven't githubs new interface made it almost impossible to investigate what a developer has written? For example, on my profile page I have 32 repos. But 29 of them are forks of other projects which I haven't added anything to.
nimchimpsky 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've never known a developer with an impressive github profile.

I've worked at startups, and banks.

Thats 20 different people at least ... and all pretty good imo.

daenz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been told I have a "good" github profile. What I've found is that it doesn't go very far in interviews.
bikamonki 2 days ago 0 replies      
killin_dan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Something other than github. Especially self-hosted gitlab or similar.
       cached 13 June 2017 12:05:02 GMT