I've been doing this for over ten years. In that time I've seen large web applications built for under 4k; I've also seen massively overbuilt simple applications go for 50k+. It comes down to often how needlessly complex you make the stack.
If you stick with solid simple guaranteed tech instead of cutting edge you can knock a web app out relatively cheap and easy.
When it comes right down to it, 95% of web apps have two jobs. Present text to the user, take text from the user. Everything else is a nice to have. HTTP has been doing those two jobs amazingly well for decades. It's a solved problem, don't make it harder than it needs to be.
Lastly: Don't fight the browser. Design for the browser. Responsive is easy if you design for things to flow as the browser would have it. It's one of the biggest mistake I see so often. If a design requires you to fight the native behaviours of the browser, it's likely a bad design. Fight back against that junk, it just makes future work that much harder.
tl;dr Develop for the web of a couple years ago and not the web of today. It'll save you time and headaches.
The real underlying problem is the state of the mobile web browser, which neither Apple nor Google have much incentive to improve due to their revenue generating app stores. That's not to say that there wouldn't still be some major differences between native apps and mobile web (especially in the discovery / delivery department), but if you had better feature parity between these platforms I think rants like this guys would be fewer and farther between.
tl;dr: He picked the wrong technology platform for his product, therefore since it didn't work for his use case, it must be fundamentally broken.
Deliver the project got easier; "Control the customer" got significantly harder. You've now got someone's app store in the middle of your customer relationships and are exposed to approval drama, various forms of revenue squeeze, and other meddling from the platform owner. What happens if the folks running the platform decide to launch their own offering?
Speaking as another small developer, our solution to the cross-browser feature support is simple: anything that doesn't run on most modern browsers doesn't make the final design. If the customer doesn't bite on basic design, we don't expect a miraculous shift with the latest widgets.
> That group, btw, has mostly sold out taking high paying jobs at Facebook and Google, and have not heard from since
...but then later justifies his argument to forsake his ideals because "hey I've got a business to run":
> I dont need you to troll me on Twitter and tell me how Im betraying the web and the free fucking world. I am just trying to keep my startup going.
Unless you're in a very fortunate niche, you can't afford to not do the web. You can afford to not do apps.
I developed web apps for 14 years before building ios apps for 5 years.
The last couple of years I've worked on both native apps and responsive web sites.
Both can be pains in the ae. But the pain points are different.
Both are moving rapidly. eg Ios: having to rejig xibs to storyboards was annoying.
Css: Supporting older versions of IE has been a pain.
I could go on at length but plenty of people have already done so.
You can do this with PhoneGap.
"Multiple line ellipsis? Sure, but only on webkit."
Okay, yeah, this sucks.
"Consistent rendering size across browsers? Just fuck off."
This is probably your fault.
"We fix a layout bug on Safari and break something on Edge."
"We change font size on Chrome and now all you can see on Firefox is the letter F."
"How about hiding the address bar or controlling swipes from the left edge of the screen? Dont be stupid."
Stop trying to make the browser not a browser. Users hate when you hijack expected behavior. (See: Imgur.)
"Oh, and dont get me started on all these new custom mobile keyboards you can use and how autocomplete can fuck with your input box events."
You can disable autocomplete. Did you mean predictive word suggestions?
TL;DR: "We tried to make a responsive web app act like a native app and it didn't work because it doesn't work, and that makes me a grumpy goose."
Of course YMMV. If you have control over what the user does like some kind of internal enterprise app then go for it.
If you take a look at Meeker's 2016 Internet trends report that came out last week, you will see that 3 apps dominate 80% of the usage on phones. I decided when I started my food side project a year back, that I was not going to do a native app.
I have been trying to make the front end look better, but I did not want to use very heavy frameworks, so I settled on using the SASS mixin library Bourbon.io along with the grid and a few others the company provides.
The css that is produces is very tight, and I can save on developer costs. I should say, save on finding another front end developer as the one I was using took some money and ran.
Don't blame the web because you made a poor decision picking your tech stack (or hiring your devs). Nowadays a single webdev can ship OSX, Android and Windows apps with frameworks like Ionic... in weeks.
Starters (there are hundreds) help a lot: https://market.ionic.io/starters
I guess what i'm saying is that i believe in the principles of the web, but i think html and css are terrible technologies that do a disservice to those principles.
What's the consumer coverage for Mobile Chrome + Mobile Safari? Giving up on total cross-browser compatibility doesn't have to mean writing native apps.
Note aside: this is one of those "it really depends" kind of situations. For many cases native apps are always going to be cheaper to build. For others the web is just much better. It seems like the problem Eran is describing is more of a labor shortage. It's really, really difficult to hire good web developers. I have no idea why this is.
There you have it. Using bleeding edge features will create a lot of problems. First you need to figure out what type of users you want to target, PC users with 24 inch monitors and keyboard? Or 12 year olds with iPads? But still, for your software to really work across as many units as possible, and continue to work for years, you have to look what existed 5-10 years ago, and only use those features that are still standard.
I have a mobile phone that no longer gets updates. It is HTML 5 compatible, so it should handle everything that is not bleeding edge, but still many web pages, for example medium.com does not work!
I remember being a web developer ten years ago, it was your professional duty do make sure it was pixel perfect on existing GUI based browsers and even look good on the text based ones. I think web dev's today is too quick to jump on the latest and greatest.
If you take a look at the browser features that existed 5-10 years ago, it's way behind the native phone app experience! It seems browser vendors totally missed the mobile explosion, and only lately have begun to catch up! Considering how fast the web tech moves now though, the future for web dev looks bright. I think that in in 5-10 years, the mobile browser experience will be on pair or even ahead of native, at least considering dev experience and cross device/platform support.
BUT, if you need a Native App, make a Native App and don't try to fake it on Web.
However with a huge friction point of requiring users to download and install an app.
As a simple example, I had a bug with some of the dialogs and menu popups I was using not rendering in Mobile Safari. It turns out that if you have a div that is a child (in the DOM) of a div that has overflow: hidden, that child will not be rendered outside of the clipping box of the parent, even if the child div is position: absolute and at a higher z-index than the parent. This works differently in chrome.
It's things like this that frustrate me the most in working with safari - I'm constantly wrestling with a rendering stack that doesn't seem to do what I want (it was only in recent versions that I could stop setting flex-basis: 0.01px instead of flex-basis: auto (on safari) like I do everywhere else on divs that had only text children that I wanted to make expand but also become multiline text instead of pushing everything way out to the right. And don't get me started on safari's support for indexeddb, let alone the other neat features that chrome is supporting to make mobile just plain better.
I'm at the point now where I'd literally be willing to tell my users: "install chrome for iOS" if it were actually chrome, instead of supporting safari. But instead, I deal with the sort of resonance back-and-forthing when I fix a safari layout bug that introduces oddities in chrome's renders.
But most customers want an Android app, an iOS app and a web site for desktop.
It's certainly cheaper to build that desktop webapp if you don't have to make it mobile-y, but is it cheaper to build an Android app, an iOS app and a desktop webapp than it is to build a responsive webapp?
I sympathize with the author. The problem is trying to tame the web, as opposed to embracing it for what it is.
A project should start by considering political things such as: is it smart to have this particular application hosted in a marketplace. Right after that, the chief engineer should be consulted to know the technical approach (platform, stack, etc...) that should be used, and the technical limitations that the requirements should observe to allow the development effort to be successful and efficient.
The more self-imposed technical constraints are observed, the more successful and easy the development will be - and passed a certain point, the more difficult it becomes to sell the product or service.
Applying this reasoning to the article, to me the problem is the very thing they have decided to develop.
Ummm, yeah, I would say $50k would cover a small native app using Parse or similar or an extremely light backend. Even a medium size native app is going to run $100-150k. That's the price of software development if it's happening in the US.
Another thing that stood out to me: "a closed ecosystem will always deliver higher quality in any given moment." Which is so absolute it's ridiculously easily disproved, even while being true at certain points.
It's like tomorrow is always tomorrow -- it is never today. One thing that bothers me about the web dev community is the insistence that technology has a will of it's own. As if the web will just eventually win no matter what. I consider myself an advocate for the Web but it needs to be good or better than the alternatives.
So, joke aside, it doesn't follow from the rant that the web is the future. It follows that there is a lot of work that needs to happen before you can say it might be part of the future.
Also, I realize he's mad, but he really needs to expand his expletive vocabulary :)
Ben Terrett was former head of design at the UK Government Digital Service and he wholehearted disagrees.
Reminds me of this library I stumbled across.
People either respond with this is cool or your going against the web when I told them about it.
So iOs and Android are more than 90% of the market. You are telling me that it is cheaper to build and maintain 2 separate apps and pass on the remaining part of the market than have one app that covers everything?
Android device support is supposed to be a nightmare - there are so many versions to contend with, each device manufacturer can customize things.
iOS is easier to support but fighting with Apple can be quite the ordeal.
Using the web means you bypass these other issues but have to contend with the ones cited in the article. It sounds like pick your poison.
I could conceive that after the initial cost of building 2 separate apps, for iOS and Android, that perhaps it is less aggravating and costly to maintain them, as opposed to dealing with the web. However how complicated is the UI for the web apps? Can't you keep it simple? Unless you can show numbers I cannot in my wildest dreams believe that building and maintain 1 web app is more than twice the cost of building and maintaining 2 separate native apps.
What are you building that requires building a 2016 Web app with every new feature? Maybe that is your problem.
So instead of having a competition in browsers, you'll have competition is the HTML parsers that developers will use.
No more messy W3C messy standard which is VERY hard and ambiguous to parse for any browser.
I've repeated that rant so often, I might start making a simple example of what I'm talking about. We just MUST abandon the text only approach. It allowed the internet to thrive without microsoft's attempt to make money with it. But today browsers are so ubiquitous, all that there is to do is enable browsers to just render binary HTML, which would just be a tree of rectangles and styles, so really simple. I think.
Is it also cheaper to bug fix, add features to, update apps when each native platform updates, hire developers who know details of each platform, etc.
1 dev 100k1*5 500k in salaries
I think I've asked this question but I found myself a cofounder with 2 others that prioritized too highly IMO coffee meetings with "investors", no name board advisors, expensive conferences, and basically everything on that list. My approach was to gently voice my concern and but also let them do it in the hopes they'd see how useless it was. The other thing that didn't help was I was the "technical cofounder" and the attitude essentially was I didn't "get" business, and sometimes I wondered if they were right.
Interestingly both were woman, and I don't recall too much of #3. They definitely participated in women in tech type groups but I thought it was no different than any other useless networking others that aren't focused would do.
This will be definitely something I probe for in the future. Anyone looking for a cofounder? (I'm serious, and I have a cool little project we could do to see if we can build something people want together)
I haven't had a ton of experience in startups...once I had to work out of a startup space. And it amazed me the number of conversations I would hear between aspiring entrepreneurs and random strangers that were variations of, "Please tell me if you think this is a good idea".
Everyone knows what it's like to want something. I didn't really hear about Tinder until after it blew up into something huge, but its proposition always made sense to me: Do you want to get laid? Do you often base your decision on the looks of a potential mate? Would you be OK with requesting consensual sex without having to fill out a form?. Yes to all of that. I can't think of anything I regularly use and/or pay for that I can't sum up as a one-sentence "want", whether it's Google, Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, Uber...of course being the first to recognize the desire does not lead to a desirable product -- there's scaling and marketing and implementation and luck, of course.
But that means the entrepreneur who is trawling around to learn what others want is even deeper in the hole. Is there something in startup culture that heavily cautions against pursuing something that you know _you_ want, because selfish concerns do not often scale (even though they've scaled in plenty of cases if you look at surviving startups, though that's obviously survivor bias).
Once an enterprise software startup has built its product, or even 70% of its product, you have to go to conferences. Conferences are where you meet your users, and enterprise software users and buyers are a hard group to target otherwise. Marketing and top-of-the-funnel sales happen there. Conferences are also the places you gather intel about the rest of the industry to get a read on where it's moving and if you're aligned with it. So the question for enterprise software startups is: How do you select the most important conferences and pay as little as possible to attend?
I don't completely agree with that. Depending on what type of business you're making, the best way to get work done is to go to conventions, because that's the only time you can easily meet with a bunch of people that are related to your industry and make new partnerships, check out new hardware/software solutions to save time or money, possibly hunt for some new talent to join the company, discuss business propositions, etc, can all be possible in much shorter period of time than doing the same outside the convention.
Even just having the opportunity to meet someone face to face that you've been doing business with for the past several months can be useful.
That being said, you don't need to go to a lot of them. Attend only one or two of the most productive ones per year (most productive ones are not always the largest), and you should get a lot done without spending too much time at them.
Also don't go if you're strapped for cash, as they're often expensive (depending on the industry). They're not absolutely necessary, and they can be a waste of time if you don't utilize them properly. But they can be helpful tools.
For my first successful startup I did the marketing and build and my partner focused on the users. And we crushed the incumbent in under 2 years completely bootstrapped and they tried to buy us.
Now I have a new startup where I'm handling the build and the customers and another partner is focused on the marketing.
It's a subscription business and talking with users helps retention, acquisition via word of mouth and also product development. Do it even if you'd rather be spending that time building!
Your goal as a founder is to maximize chances of __your__ success. Having the right founder-market fit goes a long way.
I love to shut myself in and write code, don't get me wrong. But consistently tracking sales growth, setting goals, and hitting goals (i.e., execution) is what separates the wannabes from the dids.
I love how Pat Flynn talked about building a market map in his recent book Will It Fly. I think this method is very helpful in finding out if what your doing is something people want.
Derek Sivers of CDBaby has this same mindset. He has always worked off the pull method rather than the push method for what he creates.
Ash Maurya in his book running lean gives you a nice script for customer development interviews. I have tried this with a previous startup idea, and they saved me from going down the road of working on something people did not want. They are probably a bit more involved than Pat's method, but it is something else to consider.
I have personal projects that I want to finish (not a startup), and the conferences I enjoy tend to feature people showing off their own projects. Whenever Im at one, I think, Id rather be on stage, sharing something I put months (or years) of love into, than be one of the 100-1000 people in the audience watching.
Of course, going to a conference can be inspiring, or introduce me to people or ideas thatll shape my future work, so theyre not all bad. Im interested in how other HN folks approach this conflict.
Semi-related, I experienced something interesting at a hacking conference a few years ago. Mid-conference, feeling inspired, I hid in the volunteer lounge for almost a whole day and worked on a reverse engineering project that Id been fighting to understand for over a year. I solved it! Being there, and aware of all of the people and activity around me, but actively ignoring it, gave me focus and motivation. That was fascinating, and Ive considered doing the same thing again (or finding a really interesting conference and not buying a ticket, so that I could work while I know Im missing it).
Don't get me wrong, it is isolating in general but after working for two startups, one bought out by a foreign company and another now has billions in funding, doing software analytics on the trading floor through summer internships in college, and going to a predominately male college for engineering, 70% males overall, and 99% male in my major, I can say I have a diversity of experience even within the tech field and also years of experience working at single companies before moving on, I can say a few things that I think echo what she is saying
1. Most of the people speaking the most about female controversey are not coders, or engineers or in the nitty gritty of tech. While I appreciate their empathy and willingness to latch onto a cause and speak for us, they often get it wrong, and recently have done so much so that they scare the MAJORITY of men to feeling uncomfortable talking about it. What do I mean? onto point #2
1a. Sorry, before I go to Point 2, another way journalists or people wanting to speak out on our behalf (female women in tech) get it wrong is by assuming we want to change the culture to be this outgoing, social fashion forward world. Actually, alot of us are introverted geeks and like doing the same thing other male engineers do. I definitely think wheather you were or are a cheerleader sorority girl who likes to bake and throw parties or an introverted star wars nerd and each one is an engineer, either should feel equally comfortable at a new tech company and not isolated by the culture, but anecdotally I happen to be an extreme introvert, and the excessive socializing and advice or notion that if we have an environment where we can all be super girly like omg together is the vibe I get from alot of female focused events in tech. It's actually overwhelming and makes me feel more out of place than not. Listen to us, not imposing your idea of how we might feel onto us. Get a good profile of what females are saying who are IN tech, and if there is a difference between that and the ones who are latching onto the idea of it or operating in auxiliary roles surrounding tech. These women are just as important, and are are still subject to sexism working around male dominated industries, but if you want more women IN tech, instead of talking about tech but not in it, listen to the women IN it, you might be surprised.
Here is one example where both genders are contributing to the problem but making it harder for women IN tech. my friend is a Biomed Engineer who prototyped and developed her hardware. Keeping her anonymous on here, but she went to a big tech conference in the bay area and was approached by three men asking if she was a "showgirl" at the conference as a starter to the conversation. Of all the things you could possibly say right? How offensive to a female engineer with over 30 pending patents running a multi million dollar company and two engineering degrees under her belt. Welp, those guys are in the wrong, but also why are there showgirls at tech conferences. because hot girls attract geeks to the boothe. But MEN hired these showgirls, and WOMEN are actually fufilling those roles. So both parties are at fault.
Who suffers?The people who suffer are the ACTUAL female engineers who would love to go to a conference and not have it be assumed they are there in an auxiliary tech role until proven otherwise.
once my friend described who she was, both of the guys felt really bad, even embarassed and apologized profusely. They ended up being cool guys she is still friends with. they learned a lesson, but they have also been heavily conditioned by males and females who are both willing particpants in establishing a stereotype that is demeaning to women actually in tech.
2. Most men I've met and worked with in tech are absolutely fine. It is that in general outlier cases good and back stick out in our heads. If there are 200 employees at a company and only 2 females in my department of 40, probably over a 6 months period the chances are I'm going to be made to feel uncomfortable whether intentionally or not by one person atleast. I'm not saying it's acceptable or ok, or that steps shouldn't be taken to fix it, I'm saying 19/20 guys I work with in a random sampling are just fine, and don't make being a girl a thing, and treat me just the same, or if anything are excited to see women in tech and go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. It's then in your discretion to stand on your own two feet and not take advantage of that, because some women do, which brings me to...
3. There are some women who abuse their minority status. I'm NOT saying women who have spoken out about being treated poorly are the ones who are abusive, or that they are lying. It is usually ones that have nothing to complain about and the situations are much more nuanced. I'm sorry people will get mad at me about this statement but I feel comfortable saying it as I've observed it and I work in tech and I'm not going to lie to remain politically correct. Both males and females are capable of abusing their position. Not all males do it, not all females do it. So hating men or making them terrified of saying the wrong thing if anything is just going to make you feel more isolated.
There are also women who still have queen B syndrome and like being the only female around, and actively bully other women. This is so obnoxious. However, in my varied experience in tech, I can say one key indicator of a real female engineer, is that most of us would LOVE a female friend because we don't have many. Females that view male dominated workplaces as a fun new playground because of all the men, are constantly having coworker boyfriends, and view other women as competition, instead of empathizing with them, have probably not experienced the long term years of being in college engineering classes and doing their homework and not having female friends, and the desire to be treated as an equal instead of put on a pedastool or having to prove themselves. Real females doing real work in tech know what it's like to be isolated, and when we get together as females, we are all super super grateful for it, and we all feel uncomfortable going to glitzy girl focused events where we are bombarded by girls not in tech telling us how things should be. This has been my experience.
4. While some of us can't choose who we work for and with, if you are a female IN Tech, not marketing or some soft auxiliary department of a developed company, but you code or prototype electronics or hardware or engineer something, then you are valuable enough that you can move onto thousands of other companies if you don't find one with a culture that fits your comfort zone. Not just because you are a talented brilliant ambitious female, but because you are a talented brilliant ambitious engineer, and they are in great need in any gender, but being a female is always a great added diversity and step into equality for EVERYONE, not just females. AGAIN, it's not ok women should ever have to feel uncomfortable but we live in the real world and not everything is fair, not just for women, but for alot of situations and people in general.
In life in general, forget being a women or startups, a good rule of thumb, and one I took way too long to learn myself in my personal and professional life, if you don't like how you are being treated, then start hanging around different people.
I have plenty of male engineer friends who are low key, we geek out together, order pizza, watch tv, code, switch knowledge, music and talk about latest tech stuff, and its totally chill. What and who makes you feel comfortable but also gets you excited about learning and obtaining your goals? hang around them and your work life and personal life will be better. It's the same as if you want to stop drinking but your friends only method or venue for socializing is drinking, well it's not going to be super fun for you, so hang out with people who gel with your same lifestyle.
I definitely have my frustrations, but my successes and friends male and female far outweigh my desire to spend most of my time feeling negatively. This is coming from a girl who has been through some troubling times with male coworkers. It's not that is hasnt been harder, its just that I have so many things I want to do, I'd rather "show them" by being successful and acheiving my goals than fighting a legal battle. I am glad some women have chosen the legal path, but I actually would be upset if someone chastized me for not spending all my time in court. There are lots of way to bring tech forward with everyone, not just articles and legal battles. Sometimes, just being a good role model, the girl you wish you had to hang with 5 years ago when you had no female friends, goes alot farther in the world of tech females who actually need a friend, not just people reading the hottest news. Any new girl I meet in my company or department or otherwise who is an engineer or software developer, I atleast attempt to make friends and go out to lunch or a grab a drink with them , let them know I'm available to chat or otherwise, and every time I've been endlessly thanked saying I'm the only female friend they have. Well, now I have like 5 awesome female engineer friends and we all are friends as a group now, it's not much, its not enough, but its more than we ever had and it's all we have time for, because you know, we are also coding, starting companies and doing all the same things males do so we are not over here just being social butterflies. As cliche as it sounds, and something I never would have believed about myself years ago when I was feeling isolated, is that I focused on being the change I wanted to see in the world, and the role model I wish I had when I was fresh out of college, instead of fighting legal battles. Sometimes thats the right thing to do, sometimes my path is a good one too, and I don't regret it.
I've had to abandoned some groups, and in one case a company because I was around egotistical chovenistic males who challenged me on everything and even worse it was all subconscious sexism so it was not even easy to address. no its not ok, but I decided to instead of fighting for it for years and years, to move onto something better for me, and now I can spend the majority of my time coding and working on my goals, instead of fighting against people. It was the best decision I've ever made, I'm able to be alot more technically advanced, and by holding my head high and deciding I could do better, instead of tearing other people down.
Atleast three of those guys have come to me years later to apologize (with no prodding on my part), tell me I was a good player on the team, and I know from females who joined that same team later, they are treated very well. Those guys straightened up because sometimes the most powerful thing you can do, is know you deserve better, walk away and discover a place that fosters your worth. If you have real tech skills, this will always be an option for you as a woman, or a man. It's ok to stand up and "fight" and it all depends on your situation. I should have had more support in mine, but honestly I think I made the right choice by just moving onto something better.
She is right, don't be scared. JUST DO IT. If you can actually code or prototype, then do it. Perform, let your product speak for itself and noone can argue with you. That is the cool thing about coding or being an engineer, if it works and people are paying for it, who cares if youre a girl, or a transgender, or have purple hair, wear tennis shoes to work, or if you are a hippopotamus. It's not going to be easy, it's going to be WORTH it, and there may be some extra barriers, but how rewarding for you to be a trailblazer.
I never thought of myself that way until people started calling me a trailblazer or a "badass" years out of college and now that I think about it, hey yeh, I've been through some pretty hard times but damn this is cool, minority or not, I love what I do and nothing is going to stop me. In fact, I had no idea when I first went into this that anyone would want to stop me, or feel threatened by me, and honestly, that is the hard part.
THE HARD PART
The hard part is realizing that some people are actually not supportive of you, subconsciously or not, alot of the anger on your part comes from the confusion surrounding the challenge of understanding this concept, because if youre an awesome person who doesnt need to tear other people down to have success, this isn't going to be intuitive for you to understand other people are actually that lame. Once you realize yes these warped people in self denial who project their own insecurities onto you DO exist, and probably always will in some form or fashion, then you can be like "oh, no I'm better than that sorry". Sometimes again, legal is a good way, sometimes not.
Just do you and find that confidence. if you don't have it, dig deeper, if youre reading this youre already way ahead of the game and have nothing to feel insecure about. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond and how you let it effect your opinion of yourself or your subconscious belief about your capabilities.
Have that attitude, and support other girls around you, focus on your work and not people, and youll be amazed. In the words of Dr. Suess "oh the places youll go.."
P.s. I haven't seen her talk yet.
The best metric to choose is good old fashioned profit.
I appreciate that growth can be hindered by making a profit, but isn't that what matters in the end? Amazon, Twitter, Box and many other public tech companies went public without turning a profit so it seems I'm wrong.
I find this sad. It tells you something about humanity. Don't build something people need. Build what they want. Make it addictive. We either don't know what we need or if we know it, we still want something different.
I read this phrase a few times. I'm genuinely curious - and didn't really see it in the article - what are the reasons for which Jessica is referring?
Edit - downvoted for asking a genuine question...? Did it ever occur to anyone that I may be asking to see how I could help, seeing as I'm involved with a few startups?
Until this part, that is:
> And you know where the founders of these big winners are going to come from? From this room!
Not sure how to view this part. On one hand, of course she's right. If no "unicorns" ever came from YC, they wouldn't be around still. But it seems to imply that all founders that are going to be wildly successful were in that room. That's either appealing to emotion for morale purposes, or way too elitist. Not sure which.
These are some nice tips, but the problem with this advice is that it probably won't change founder behaviors.
Most startup founders I know would think that they are focused, building something people want, not over hiring, etc...
With the exception of the default alive or dead, none or the other tips are really quantifiable.
I appreciate everything Jessica has done, and she has a wealth of experience and exposure to a wide variety of startups, but this advice is too subjective.
PS: And i don't like the "not fail" part. You don't want to not fail. You want to succeed. If you fail and succeed the failing is fine.
>One of the most conspicuous patterns weve seen among the thousand startups weve funded is that the most successful founders are always totally focused on their product and their users. To the point of being fanatical. The best founders dont have time to get caught up in other things.
>Heres a list of things that I see easily distract founders. These are like the startup equivalent of wolves in sheeps clothing.
[she includes 8 points, of which I quote 4 below - I am quoting selectively.]
> - Grabbing coffee with investors
> - Networking
> - Doing a partnership, thinking it will get you more users
> - Going to conferences
Now, I need help understnanding this. She has listed some of the items that separate people building startups in unfundable locations where there are 0 startups, and startups building in the Bay Area.
If you don't need to do these things, why did YC shut down it's Boston program and make everyone do it in the Bay Area?
If you don't need to do these things, why can't you build a startup from anywhere in the world as long as you speak good English and have no costs?
Aren't these things literally the things that make startups fundable, financiable, possible to grow into huge businesses?
I and anyone else on HN who has been in the Bay Area and in startup-dead locations knows the huge difference. She seemed to quote some of it under 'distractions'.
Can someone help me understand why they aren't, in fact, part of focus?
I must say though that people are becoming more and more unfamiliar with decentralization. Naming the standard one thing (Matrix) and the main phone app another (Vector) is IMHO a move that only a technologist would come up with. The logic might seem crystal clear to all you working on the project. But if you want traction (hell, you could actually be a serious alternative to Slack!) you should've register something like matrix.im and named the app Matrix.
Vector.im is a client to the protocol called "matrix.org".
This is equivalent to using XChat(client) on the IRC protocol.
In this case, matrix.org also runs their own servers (but you can host your own), so it is like IRC protocol (matrix protocol) + Freenode (matrix server).
Edit: okay someone else did say "slack", should have refreshed the page before posting :)
I wonder how integration with phabricator would work/look like.
Yeah we all know global warming will cause chaos etc, but some countries will be net winners, and some net losers. Canada and Russia have a lot to gain from global warming, with sea routes and more farmland. African nations, Bangladesh, India have huge amounts to lose.
Once we have sequestration technology working, would anyone put it past the Indian / Egyptian / etc governments to set a goal CO2 PPM below the "historic" status quo to lower temperatures for the benefit of their people?
Would anyone put it past Russia to be upset about this and intentionally release methane to counteract the cooling effect?
I think it would be very hard to prevent weaponization of this tech; "keep everything how it is" is easy to say but I don't think will actually happen.
(No disrespect for the CarbFix people implied, they do great work.)
We need to get to 350 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere and we're above 400, with no easy solutions on the horizon.
In retrospect (I'm a PhD dropout) the PhD is really more about training in the fundamentals of scholarship. It's about building up background knowledge, and learning the mechanics of research and publishing.
The actual scholarly contribution matters almost not at all. This is why faculty will pressure you to pick a conservative project... the results are besides the point. The point is demonstrating that you can do all the steps. Because lots of great people can only do half the steps. A PhD means you can do all.
Once you have your PhD, then its your career on the line and you can do whatever you want. Before that point, you're really working on borrowed (from your advisor) time, and as much as it might seem like you are supposed to blaze a path, they really just want you to show that you can walk in a straight line.
This vignette explains part of something I hadn't understood about the emergence of Heisenberg's work (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_Heisenberg#Matrix_mecha... ): he seemed to work out the core theory of QM without really developing a sensible, general approach. Compare this to Newton, who did develop calculus to explain mechanics (even if we these days use Leibniz's contemporaneous work). In Heisenberg's case, Born was the one who realized that we should use matrices.
It's still weird that Born didn't get the nobel for this work and had to wait 20 more years to get one.
I had not heard this part; and might shed some additional light onto why the German atomic project was significantly behind. When the lead of your project is a famous physicist, but who isn't strongly grounded in experiment, but who nevertheless feels like he can't simply be a manager and must have input, you're likely going to have problems.
Maybe not though; be an interesting line of investigation though. Anyone know if this was a documented issue? I know that Heisenburg had seriously overestimated the amount of necessary fissile material needed for a bomb.
The only sad thing I can see is that, according to the story, receiving such a low grade at his final oral exam in experimental physics undermined his confidence in his own skills in experimental physics.
I would hate to sound blunt, but receiving a low grade for being unable to answer basic questions should not be a surprise to such a theoretical genius. He got his doctorate anyway.
"Was Heisenberg a good physicist" - well, he was and he wasn't.
Mandatory lame joke - "I love driving my Heisenbergmobile, but every time I look at the speedometer I get lost."
Maybe the author's right that what works for current users won't work for the masses. I don't know. But I do know that I will not listen to more ads (that's why I stopped listening to radio and I suspect I'm not the only one), and I will not go to the trouble of using more than a single app.
Here's my problem with this idea:
I, like many people, listen to a lot of different podcasts. Dozens, in my case. I have a podcatcher app that puts them all in one place. That makes it easy and convenient for me. Some of the shows I only listen to maybe once per month when there's a guest on that I enjoy, or if I run out of new episodes of everything else. If each show required its own app for me to listen, I'd only listen to the ones I really, really enjoy and support, and the rest I'll do without or bootleg. So, in a sense, the individual app per show idea would be limiting the potential audience.
I'm already seeing this happen with Libsyn custom mobile apps. There are a number of shows I listen to that have paywalls for old episodes which can only be accessed through subscription plans available in individual apps. $1.99 or $2.99 may not seem like much by itself, but if it's 10 or 20 shows you're listening to this becomes an unjustifiable bill.
The only viable alternative I see is the further growth of podcast networks, where multiple shows are available for one price. But, currently, this model is still too small and fragmented. Until the Netflix or Hulu of podcasts comes out, I'll be left to pick and choose which deserve my support enough to justify buying into their distinct "ecosystem".
Edit: I see that my points here were addressed in the paragraphs following the one I quoted, but I'm still not buying the idea that siloing is the best way to monetize podcasts.
"More and more independent podcasters will probably take note of this new model, and they should. Open, unsullied content creation and delivery should be the goal of everyone in the media -- a free exchange of ideas, opinions and content is the cornerstone of a free internet and a free society.
Podcasting has always been a medium searching for a successful funding model. Curry was a pioneer in getting podcasters to band together to try and attract funding from advertisers and sponsors. Curry started a couple of companies to support this model -- he would probably be the first to admit that the main-stream media model is not the best one for podcasting... but his constant tinkering and experimentation with the medium he created is starting to pay off. Curry and Dvorak may be the first "professional" podcasters to make a living doing a show that is truly independent, insightful and listener supported."
Hats off to that guy for succinctly summarizing why we can't have nice things.
When I talk to non-listeners about podcasts, I hear two things:
1. "I don't know how to listen to podcasts."
2. "I don't know what to listen to."
There are many great podcatching apps out there, and for those of us who "get it" and are motivated to listen to podcasts, it seems like Pocket Casts, Overcast, even the default Podcast app for iOS are easy to use and understand. Yet apparently they aren't.
Discovery is another issue altogether. NPR One, Pandora, Stitcher, et al have tried to do some level of podcast recommendation, but the lack of thorough metadata and text transcripts make it difficult to apply the kind of algorithm that works for blogs or music.
What makes it easy for the average non-techie to use a browser to read blogs, an app like Spotify for music, or their Facebook app, but not to use a podcatcher app?
Is it simple lack of familiarity? Or do we need an entirely new approach? I wish I knew the answer.
For example, much like <itunes:explicit> is not part of any RSS spec, a publisher could choose to include a tag like <castanet:monetize>yes</castanet:monetize>, which would tell the Cast-a-net app that the publisher of that podcast would like ads to be inserted. The publisher would then need to setup an account with Cast-a-net to share the ad revenue, verify ownership, etc.
There is a significant chicken and egg problem, of course. The player needs to have enough users for the publishers to consider setting up an account to be worthwhile. The ad experience also can't get so obnoxious that users move to other apps. This approach allows publishers to gain monetization and metrics without ceding ownership and control to the platform.
By the way, my player, Cast-a-net, doesn't yet offer this feature. I've been working on making the UI good enough to attract real users first, then hoping it can grow to be something worthy of specific attention from video podcast producers.
(edit: as was pointed out in a reply, Marco is very anti-ads, so I swapped the example tags. I had only meant to use Overcast as an example of a popular independent player that doesn't want to become a walled garden for just a subset of the total podcast universe.)
This made me realize that Midroll/Earwolf already tried this to an extent last year with Howl.fm. It was an iPhone exclusive app/service that launched with a ton of exclusive podcast series, some old comedy albums, and the thing that really showed how little they cared about their listeners-- Earwolf was taking down all the old episodes of their podcasts and putting it behind the Howl paywall.
Many people might not be familiar with Earwolf, but in the comedy world it's huge. improv4humans is hosted by a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade and it's basically like sitting in on a master class in long-form improv. Comedy Bang Bang has recurring characters that date back years and people love going back and listening to hear how they evolve by "yes and"ing their way through conversations. They don't get dated like maybe a tech podcast might, so taking them down just to help bolster some cash-grab podcast subscription service was just so insulting, and to make it only available on iPhones showed how out of touch they were.
To wit: In order to monetize, a lot of what is appealing about Blogging/Podcasting would be diminished - paying is the opposite of free content, commercials interrupt the listening, and authenticity corrupted by advertising perogatives.
Or, in other words, a lot of what the "Mommy Blog" sector seemed to try and keep under the surface: http://josidenise.com/dear-mommy-blogger/
Just like in music, there will be a few case studies with large revenues, and thousands barely making anything, if not actually going into the red for their troubles.
Why won't direct advertising scale? Direct advertising opens up the long tail of companies. Small Business X can't spend money on branding but can spend money on acquiring paying customers.
In fact, direct advertising has become so popular thanks to things like AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc. that companies need to find new places to address their target audiences and podcasts might just be a great place to do that. The stuff with coupon codes, special URLs, etc. are pretty trivial to set up and a company like Midroll is going to coordinate between you and the podcast so you can line up that stuff well ahead of time.
There was also this:
"The not-so-secret reality about podcast ads, though, are that advertisers are quite concentrated: a FiveThirtyEight intern heroically listened to the top 100 shows on the iTunes chart and counted 186 ads; 35 percent of them were from five companies. More tellingly, nearly all of the ads were of the direct marketing variety."
I did not read the 538 article on this, but it makes a lot of sense for a company to carpet bomb their advertising. So if you're listening to all the top 100 podcasts in a one-week period, you might have an advertiser hitting a lot of those podcasts in a one-week period. However, if you listened to the same 100 podcasts three weeks later, you might hear another set. Presumably, the companies finding routine success are the ones who you hear all the time.
On the carpet-bombing strategy, if you deploy in relative isolation, you should be able to measure the real effect of the advertising and not just the people who came through a URL or used a coupon code. If I normally sell $100 per week and the week I advertise I sell $200, I don't have to rely on campaign tracking to assume attribution. Wait a few weeks and advertise again and see if the effect holds up.
Why would a consumer install such a program, when AntennaPod exists?
My imagined future involves serving podcasts with different ads each time you download the episode. Maybe a subscription to ad-free versions. There's no need for a separate player for subscriptions, Rss feeds can already be password protected.
If anyone is working on the above, hit me up - I'd love to talk.
I've been posting my thoughts as I listen and really like when the host is on the platform and I can react to their posts. Only challenge for me is that I listen to a lot of my episodes while driving and can't scroll through posts.
i distribute my podcast (well, it's a video show, but still podcasty) via YouTube in part because I can actually get view/retention/source/subcriber stats + use links/annotations + I can also feed it into itunes. I even made a little jekyll repo that helps you make landing page & video/audio feeds: https://github.com/nealrs/Jekyll-YouTube-Show
This can drive subscriptions to the podcast
That might actually make a workable business ...
That's not exactly true. Marc Maron always encourages his listeners to use his offer code (often "wtf") to get discounts. Surely they have data on that.
So the least worst alternative is for each publisher to have their own app for listening to their podcasts and drive folks to download said app by using star power and marketing. To get there we will see some podcasts bribed with huge gobs of cash.
Ok - seems plausible but frankly as a podcast listener I prefer the Facebook solution, and am unconvinced by his arguments that most people wont
For the last month I've been working on a Flask extension called Flask-Ask I want to plug. The "Ask" part stands for the "Alexa Skills Kit", which is the service behind the Amazon Echo family of devices.
I've used a lot of web frameworks, and I love Flask! The Alexa Skills Kit is based on its own Request/Response model built in JSON on top of REST, so it made sense to incorporate mitsuhiko's architectural patterns like decorator-based routing, context locals, and templates, and adapt them for Flask-Ask.
I put up a 5-min tutorial for Flask-Ask here:
You can develop without an Echo Device using Amazon's Echosim service: https://echosim.io/
Apart from that I liked this post and it shone some light on issues I wasn't aware of.
Having used a handful of the exchanges and other more casual wallets like Circle, it's obvious that the trend is towards more "security" and legitimacy by vetting users and knowing their real world identities, etc. Which can include Skype interview, scanning personal bills to prove addresses and so forth.
This relative anonymity is not what attracted the vast majority of bitcoin users anyway. It was more the idea of a public, decentralized ledger.
I'd also mention that bitcoin had a BIP at some point to add stealth address support to the core (BIP63) with a couple of wallets providing support for those.
It's using libsodium. This is an alarmist and false statement.
> Nobody can really guarantee that there arent some bugs in the system that will make it possible to deanonymize transactions or create coins out of thin air.
Sure, that's technically true of all crypto-currencies.
If Uber is able to integrate with other apps this introduces a high switching cost for those apps... and that gives them a pretty solid moat. Excited to see how this API gets used.
Relevant - I want an API for a cleaning service. AirBnB integration so that it can automatically track when a guest has left and the cleaner shows up within an hour to get it ready for the next guest. Would build if I didn't have so many projects going on already...
As this is a service intended for people with no existing logistics infrastructure, this seems to be firmly in line with the uber policy of reminding everyone why rules are created in the first place...
>docs-598c00d615.js:1 Uncaught RangeError: Maximum call stack size exceeded
on the console
I've actually been thinking of starting a similar venture in Tunisia. Over here, there is simply no straightforward way to deliver packages within a city. Obviously I don't have the platform Uber has, so I'm thinking of building both at the same time, but with a focus on package delivery for individuals or small businesses.
What I'm worried about the most is package insurance. How is this usually done? Do I need to setup a policy with an insurance company? Or can I just mention in the ToS something like "we are not responsible for the condition of the received package"?
Any input on this or any other potential hurdles would be appreciated.
Is there a list of allowed deliverable items?
> Lots of things inside Windows emit ETW events, which is Windows equivalent of DTrace (basically the entire OS, and .NET), it's super useful for debugging performance related events. It's not "Telemetry" like Google Analytics, it's for _you_ to debug your own programs.The easiest way to view the output of them is via WPA, you can watch some videos about it at https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/hh...
Who are these people that type a sentence (with a single meaning, clear-cut enough for Dango to detect), and then want to add a redundant pictorial representation of the same words they just typed?
I wish they had explained details, such as what two-dimensional non-linear projection they're using for their map.
I also don't see it fully explained how they're getting representations of sequences of emoji. They explain how their RNN handles sequences of input words, but the result of that is a vector that they're comparing to their emoji-embedding space. Does the emoji-embedding space contain embeddings of specific sequences as well?
White arm:http://i.imgur.com/KTNky0O.pngObvious connection to sports, sunglasses(like saying "cool" in this context)
Black arm:http://i.imgur.com/uXtSRfc.pngPoliceman searching something, a location marker(search location?)
What does this mean?
There's a similar argument about athletics. Sure, the people who win gold medals and get MVP at the Super Bowl have amazing genetics, but they also worked crazy hard to get there. Your hard work isn't going to get you a gold medal, but if they didn't work for it, they wouldn't get it either.
The core message is good, though: if you don't have whole package, don't apply the polish. But if you think you have a shot, don't think you can skate by on what you already have.
From "Competition is for losers" (http://www.wsj.com/articles/peter-thiel-competition-is-for-l...):
"Always prioritize the substance of what you're doing. Don't get caught up in the status, the prestige games. They're endlessly dazzling, and they're always endlessly disappointing. -Peter Thiel
Edit: The closest thing that came to mind is the idiom "penny-wise and pound-foolish".
This is wildly incorrect. Assuming you have a perfect score on every other part of the rubric, the maximum improvement you can get through the essay is 11% of your non-essay score. Without that assumption, the maximum improvement is positive infinity percent.
It's a super awesome feeling to have open sourced this after working on it for months, and I think we've done some interesting things. So I want to share our ideas and opinions. I'm hoping to publish more about them in the coming weeks.
- Preflight checks and flight safety. Larry should first build normal small aircraft that can do without constant manual checks before flight. This is actually good subgoal to work with even without flying cars in mind. Reliable infrastructure that checks and calibrates instruments so reliably that you don't need manual checks would be revolution in aerospace. Just walking from your car into your future Cessna-Android and flying off would be sci-fi for aviators.
- Energy consumption. No matter how energy efficient the engines are, hovering and short takeoffs use lots of energy. Flying with small wings with little lift is equivalent to driving monster trucks in full power. You don't want flying becoming everyday phenomenon until we have abundance of carbon free energy.
- Noise and safety regulations, aviation regulations over urban areas. Flying cars are not happening in the suburbs or anyone where lots of people live. In the meantime try to get new helicopter landing sites approved in your neighborhood. If you have to take car to your flying car hangar, just have a small plane instead. Or walk to a buss station.
Thanks for reaching out to Moller International. Your question is a good one, with a multitude of answers. For now, Ill explain 3 of the biggest factors. First, there is a lot of FAA and government regulations regarding aircraft. Airworthiness certification is a lengthy process, and depending on the level at which a company wishes to test, operate, and potential sell their aircraft, the process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. Second, as stated previously, time is a major factor not only for development, but also testing, marketing, etc. In aviation, there are no unimportant parts at 10,000 ft. Safety is always a top priority throughout the entire process. Third, and finally, funding. Companies like Moller International depend greatly on their investors and supporters to keep the lights on. Until there is a product being sold, and cash being brought in regularly, a company must depend on some other source of funding. Aircraft programs are not known to be easy and cheap; these programs are some of the more expensive ones out there, especially in the private sector. With all of this said, all of us here at Moller International are working hard to ensure the latter two have as minimal an impact as possible. We have been working in cooperation with the FAA to get things going as quickly and safely as possible. Let me know if you have any other questions.
They are shitty cars if they're any good at being airplanes, and they're underperforming and over-priced airplanes just because they can somewhat function as a car. Now, if Larry Page's flying car company is also lobbying to gut the FAA's ability to regulate his creation, that's a whole other can of worms.
I don't think personal flight devices are a bad idea, which is why I'm working on my own. Flying cars are so contradictory in construction and purpose that I can't help but get really peeved at any praise directed toward the endeavor. There are more factors than simply "can this 4 wheeler get airborne" to keep at top of mind.
Good luck getting a reasonably priced AME to keep the thing airborne.
>But better materials, autonomous navigation systems, and other technical advances have convinced a growing body of smart, wealthy, and apparently serious people that within the next few years well have a self-flying car that takes off and lands verticallyat least a small, electric, mostly autonomous commuter plane.
The latter half of that sentence is plausible. Flying cars are not. Sorry.
Yeah, ok Bloomberg.
Deliciously ironic considering it represented the fact that mainstream culture had all but written off the idea entirely.
The main problems with VTOL are stability, engine cost, and fuel consumption/range. Pure-thrust lift requires enormous power. Most of the successful pure-thrust VTOLs are jet fighters, which are mostly engine. The Harrier and the F-35 are examples.
Jet engines are expensive, and they don't get much cheaper below 6-passenger bizjet size. This is why general aviation still uses props. A lot of effort has gone into cheaper jet engines, but without much success. (Yes, there are large model aircraft jet engines, which is what the Flyboard Air uses. They're good for a few hundred hours, not the 10,000 hours between overhauls of aviation jet engines.)
Electric VTOL is going to be interesting. There are lots of electric drones, after all. Engine power to weight is good. Siemens has a water-cooled electric aircraft engine in test.
Battery energy density sucks. NASA is talking about aircraft where there's a gas turbine or two driving a generator, with lots of electric props. This could work out. Meanwhile, until the battery situation improves, you can build short-ranged flying cars. There's a cute little one out of China, apparently intended to get China's rich and powerful around Beijing's traffic jams.
I'm really glad someone is working on this!
The second thing is energy, a plane needs to handle a lot more energy than a car, simply because it flies, so it is more expensive. If someone own a flying car, then they are investing a lot into a capability they use very rarely. With a Uber like model of shared transportation one orders a car only when one needs it. And it makes sense to have a flying car in the pool, even at a hundred times the cost of a regular vehicle. So each individual customer will use that flying car almost never, but there are many, and the ones who pay a $100 to shave five minutes of their time are probably in that moment very happy, that they have that option.
Silicon valley tries to create the future
I guess until everybody starts using them :)
My guess is that the progress in batteries and electric motors will have made this concept a lot more feasible by then. At some point it will be a completely obvious idea which will make us shake our heads at the skepticism it had before.
Meh. That would be taking the fun out of it, taking away the very point.
Core issue is that flying spreads people out, and given how hyper connected people are, this makes no sense.
Real focus should on condensed living areas, not flying people around, which is a massive waste of energy.
If only he had the money to experiment with something like this. That's why I'm hoping that Apple buys Tesla eventually and makes Musk its CEO and lets him do whatever he wants with those $150+ billion (maybe $300 billion by then) cash reserves.
And apparently he's already toying with flying stuff:
For example, I'm a married man. I am married because I want to share my life experiences with my wife. I want to cooperate with her in building those experiences and navigating through the options. I engage in this deep cooperation and sharing with another person precisely because I am selfish. I give money and sometimes my time to causes like the Red Cross and Institute for Justice, again, not because I'm naturally cooperative, but because I view, over the long term, that these organizations may actually either be helpful to me someday or will help mold the kind of society I want to live in: I'm being cooperative because this sort of cooperation is ultimately in my best interest... in other words, I'm being cooperative precisely because I am being selfish.
I could rob a bank to get cash now, cheat a merchant that gives me too much change, simply be rude to people because it feels good in any one moment, or... as the test in the article states... take from the communal pot without contributing anything. That's the sort of thing the article is calling selfish, but looking at my life as a whole, each one of those things actually aren't all that selfish; they simply satiate in the moment and comes with consequences if one things more clearly about it. Each of those "quick fixes" end up causing me more long term harm than good (always being on the run, making a society where dishonesty is the norm, encouraging everyone to be rude, encouraging less sensible generosity).
So yeah, we may cooperate as a default, we may make short-sighted self-interested decisions with a little thought, but selfish cooperation takes the most thinking.
(Or to put it another way: is it more reproductively fit to occasionally lie? Absolutely. But if you're going to lie, you need to be careful about it. So if someone surprises you with a sudden demand or question and expects an instant response, the safest answer on average will be the truth.)
I see Hobbes as closer to reality
"Sharing Is Stupid: We tend to be cooperative when we think too little"
Their initial example is taxes (and tax cheats). This is a good example for my point...
Paying taxes isn't morally righteous. Our government takes some large fraction of those and spends it on killing people. Killing them far away, with little justification (much of it absurd), no transparency or accountability, and what we have found out about all this is that it's all abominable.
If I could figure out how to cheat on my taxes, I would. I'd feel obligated to do so.
Their second example is hardly better, though it seems that way at first glance (and note how all of these seem simple at first glance). A young man saved a woman in a flood. And his gamble paid off. That time. He almost certainly risked much to save her, and those gambles rarely pay off. Much of the time, acting quickly without thinking gets people hurt and killed. Usually many more are hurt or killed than would have been if slow, deliberative thinking had delayed such rescue.
Then it veers into situations, where the agents are all mindless algorithms, and only the programmer/researcher/experimenter gets to decide what "beneficial results" means.
This reduces everyone in such a model to mindless automatons, where only the results of those in charge are considered. Is that what they want to turn us into? Maybe they can find some secret psychological button to make your concerns melt away, so that the only thing worried about are the wants of those who manage to find and poke the button? This should worry people.
This would cause schools to reject applicants that are interested in learning coding for alternatives means. These reasons range from Mom's wanting to learn so they could teach their children, wantrepreneur's wanting to build their MVP on their own, or just someone that is happy with their career path, but wants to take a break to learn coding for fun.
Do you think Mom's wanting to teach their children coding should be rejected from code schools, because they don't want to get a job and thus would hurt their numbers?
But it feels a little unfair to hold the bootcamps completely responsible for people not being able to find jobs. Seems like people have this idea that just showing up is enough. It's not enough to just show up with a piece of paper like 'hey I finished a bootcamp/degree, gimme a job!'
I got my first job out of school with a combination of luck (knowing how to implement conway's game of life) and passion (a side project I had just shipped). Most every job after that has been because of passion. Whether or not you went to school for CS (or at all), or finished a bootcamp is completely irrelevant imho. I probably know more about von neumann architecture, big O and sorting algorithms than my friends without CS degrees... but I've worked with or admired plenty of people who never took a CS class and have mastered lots of things that I haven't. And I can definitely recall a few friends in undergrad who I was sure would go far and never found a single job cuz they sat around waiting for Larry Page to call them personally.
So yeah, tl:dr; school doesn't matter all that much if you're not motivated to continue learning. And if you don't enjoy programming enough to learn && experiment/play you're probably not gonna do well.
I would be interested in knowing more about the background of people before they joined. Do they have a STEM background, what was their job title before, how old are they/how long have they been working, etc. Also if you could categorize the types of companies they work for (startup, large tech companies, non-tech companies, etc.) that'd also be interesting to see.
Thanks for providing transparency to your program!
A designer who can write html/css/js is more valuable than one who does not. A PM who cannot code is a nightmare to work with. Working with a marketer who can hook up their own jquery plugin is a godsend.
He sees it as a negative thing, but I see it as a massive improvement on college/uni/grad schools, who wouldn't even know where to start with gathering/publishing this data.
Bootcamps are subject to market forces in a way most colleges are not, and it's initiatives like this (what the author is proposing) that give me a sense of optimism for how they'll evolve.
Perhaps we'll see an effect where bootcamps that do high quality reporting will actually be chosen more frequently and thus push other bootcamps to do the same.
I certainly can't move to a full-time web dev job at a reasonable salary after the bootcamp I attended. If I was willing to intern for 6-12 months at minimum wage, I would be able to - but I could have done that without the bootcamp.
The bootcamp doesn't share stats, only a post-graduation "employment" percentage. Which is pretty meaningless, for example, I'm employed but not doing web dev.
Immediately upon arriving via train to Paris from London we were harassed by a number of sketchy looking individuals claiming to be "taxi" drivers, of course not speaking French I really had no way to validate the claims, they all became hostile towards me the minute I took my camera out.
I resorted to opening the Uber app and lo and behold had a validated ride within minutes. The service was exceptional and they even spoke English relatively well.
Fast forward 24 hours, I thought I had booked a flight out of the airport in the city about 20 mins drive, turns out my flight was actually out of the airport much further north of Paris.
I rushed to get an Uber and my driver was extremely friendly and not only brought me to the exact bus station I needed to be at, also showed me exactly which ticket to purchase and where to wait.
Never in my life have I received close to that level of service from a taxi driver.
A couple weeks later in Madrid we found ourselves pretty far away from our flat, not well equipped for the weather and ready to head back. We saw several advertisements for the local taxi services "ride sharing" app and decided to give it a shot. After jumping between a couple starbucks to find reasonable wifi, we ordered a taxi and proceeded to wait 20+ minutes for a driver to finally show up in the app as our pickup, however, the actual taxi was nowhere to be found. No text / call / messages in the app ever succeeded. Once again we resorted to Uber and had a painless experience.
I guess my point overall is that Uber offers a familiar service no matter what country I happen to be in. It's simply not viable for a foreigner to arrive in a new country, find out what ride sharing taxi service is allowed existence there, download the app, finagle my way through the most-likely non english friendly sign-up process and enter my personal banking details only to find out the service doesn't even work for whatever reason.
Don't get me wrong, I love traveling to new places and truly exploring a city without all the luxuries and convenience of home, but when I arrive in a new place with expensive items in tow, I'd MUCH rather pay for the convenience of a safe and familiar ride to get to my destination then risk getting scammed or taken advantage of otherwise, I also don't always arrive with local currency in tow and don't like paying exorbitant fees at major transport hubs.
We've seen that happening with all the big corp cartels that just provision money from those benefits to pay the eventual fine.
The fact that the French Law here may be bad or wrong is not relevant to this point.
Fine Uber because taxi drivers are violent? makes sense.
They didn't design these disruptive policies, they obeyed the higher up exec in San Fransisco. Is it really worth risking a criminal record that won't go away for Uber ? I don't know... I hope Uber will reward them for their "loyalty" .
The secret services think that reading electronic communications is ok when the physical counterpart was not.
A company thinks that because they offer their services using and app they are beyond regulations, permits and other laws.
No, laws still should apply in the virtual world. And apps and the Internet have real world consequences. It's a shame that judges often are so slow to apply the law in this cases. And that so often they miss the point.
Now Uber should just do what any bricks and mortar business needs to do and get a license, operate inside the boundaries of the law and compete with taxis in a fair way to bring people good services.
Is this something that shows up in your personal criminal record? Or hurts the managers personally any other way?
Reason I am asking is because usually there is a clear legal separation between the legal-entity (company) and the people working for it. For example the legal-entity might go bankrupt but the people running it do not.
Free software won. Yay!However, what about hardware, infrastructure, and services? Oops. All those things have been become increasingly centralized. Centralization has diminished our privacy, and therefore our liberty. Time to put restrictions on corporations so we can have liberty again.
Now the only part I disagree with is the last part. Laws and regulations got us into this mess in the first place. These companies are huge because they can sue or prevent others from competing through laws and regulations. Guess who lobbies to create these laws in the first place? (It's not the little guy) The biggest problem is Intellectual Property (IP). Because of it we have DRM and many companies have very literal monopolies (enforced by government) on things. Apple has a patent on rounded rectangles for heaven's sake.
What we need is a decentralization of power, and a turn towards distributed systems. The best way to do that will be to eliminate IP. That will take some time, but we should do it gradually. By allowing people to "copy" it will create competition and weaken the monopoly-like position many of these companies hold. Power will fragment and decentralize. That should be the goal.
Well that isn't true. NeXTStep was built on the 68k from 4.3BSD which originated on the VAX. It has no lineage in common with Linux, and in fact pre-dates it. And OSX now is by far the most popular workstation Unix.
The actual situation is that we have two groups that care about different things: Users and developers.
Users' biggest concern is that the software helps them achieve what they want to do. They care about restrictions like DRM if it hinders them in doing what they want to do. The only way free software can help here is that other people (developers) can remove those restrictions. Proprietary software can easily offer the same freedoms for users.
I don't have a next fight. If I'm going to fight for something, it's going to be something a whole lot more important than computer software. Free software is here to stay. Success has occurred. I'm not going to grope around for another fight. Instead I'm going to harness my software freedoms to write software that does what I need it to do.
3. FreeBSD 10.3 officially supported on Microsoft Azure (microsoft.com) 138 points by tachion 6 hours ago | flag | 77 comments 10. Microsoft Edge WebGL engine open-sourced (github.com) 308 points by aroman 13 hours ago | flag | 80 comments 24. How the Windows Subsystem for Linux Redirects Syscalls (microsoft.com) 330 points by jackhammons 20 hours ago | flag | 243 comments
I don't argue for complacency. We need to up our game with things like GPL compliance and reclaim the concept of a "distro", but on phones this time. But taking the long view, we're definitely "winning".
The commercialization of software has resulted in these walled gardens of proprietary software, closed data, closed formats, etc.
It's a sad day, for example, when a large percentage of the population actually believes that Facebook is the Internet.
OSX doesn't have that. Android doesn't have that. And in these days of systemd, Linux doesn't even have that any more.
Develop a nice decentralized solution? Maybe it involves some UDP multicast? Forget the browser.
Want to have two devices on the network talk to each other? Bounce it through a cloud provider.
Want to use "everything is a file"-files? The browser's interaction with the filesystem is incredibly clumsy.
So if you wanted to use the full strength of linux/any other lower layers, this would hamper adoption.
I agree with the rest. Decentralization of services and usage of FOSS for them is critical for freedom as well. Consider what a major mess instant messaging still is. Despite all the years of innovation it's a horrible mix of non interoperable walled gardens (unlike e-mail). How can this mess be fixed and "next Facebook" be avoided exactly? Decentralized social networks exist, but they are still in infancy, and making them grow is not trivial.
But of course it goes beyond all that. More importantly, consider advancement of society towards some non too distant technological future. Do we want to see a grim cyberpunk like domination of governments+megacorporations meld which controls everyone's life through access to augmentations and technology of everyday things, or we want to preserve free society while still having advanced technology?
It's probably going to be a great time to rewrite and resign portions of Linux, but I honestly don't think the community will be capable of doing a major architectural change. Kernel modules have been a great step towards modular design, and this needs to be pushed everywhere so that more changes can be isolated in the development process.
I've been a huge Linux (and GNU, most of what this article is about really is GNU, not Linux) user since being introduced to it in 1996, but as much as I love it, I do wonder if there are new options that will reveal themselves in the next few years that will better answer some of the modern hardware advancements. Linux is a beast of a system now, with a lot of technical debt and a hard to penetrate C code base, I hope it can evolve where it needs to, but I think it will require huge commitments from the community.
A cathedral is primarily concerned with self preservation and it will be naive to ignore how money drives decisions in the real world. A lot of the freedom that got Linux here and Redhat itself to its billion dollar revenues are now being slowly plucked away to entrench Redhat's continued dominance but this is not Redhat's fault. Any organization that got that big would do the same and it's the open source world's failure to anticipate and account for the disproportionate influence something like this would wield.
Even today most Linux organizations are industry bodies with no voice for the users, and in many circles there is open contempt for users nevermind its their commitment though some pretty dismal software that got you in a position that you can choose to ignore them in the first place. A project without users has no reason to exist.
As for Android how is it Linux? You can't run Linux on your Android phones. The GPU, hardware and drivers is locked down so tightly it makes Microsoft and Intel look like Stallman's soulmate when compared to Arm and its vendor ecosystem. And Google too, Android was designed to work around the GPL. Using Android to beat the Linux drum is galling and self defeating.
What we have is thousands of companies benefiting from Open source to build multiple billion empires. 20 years later there is not a single resource that tell you all the companies using open source and how they support it or give back. There is no transparency, pressure or even the felt need to give back. The newer lot of developers do not seem to even care about GPL though that could just be the audience here. Gloating about winning in the context seems misplaced even if it were true. It was never about winning but about choice.
> So it's hard for a generative OS to support whole stacks of hardware below and software above.
Is only true because of how Google broke Linux. If we had gotten all these garbage phone vendors to upstream open drivers rather than shove proprietary bullshit into every Android handset, Cyanogenmod would not be the only group even remotely capable of keeping up with legions of arbitrary kernels with tons of broken proprietary bits littering the market.
This post is more about the mindshare effect Facebook and Google properties have on people, but there is actually and honestly nothing we can do about that at this point. No killer feature or guarantee of privacy or distributed solution is going to break the network effect of Facebook or Twitter now. As long as we keep the social network alternatives like ostatus and diaspora alive and we can claw long and hard to pull some users there just to keep them afloat we can't really expect to do more.
But we can do a lot more on the hardware front. We are still crippled by proprietary firmwares everywhere, rampant with backdoors, and there is no mindshare there to worry about - all it takes is a concerted effort and focus and within several hardware generations we can reverse this dire course, and the consumers do not even need to notice it happening. But if we can get at least some viable computing platform without any trade secreted proprietary freedom-crippled bits that could be spying on you, stealing your info, or just not operating how you want, we could at least sit in our silo and preach from a hardened rather than rickety tower of ethics.
PS: Considering this is about the Linux anniversary on Linux Journal, it is worth mentioning the gross negligence in enforcing the GPL with Linux has contributed a lot to the ability for corporate market dominators to seize control. All those Nvidia CUDA servers depend on the passivity in addressing Nvidia's proprietary kernel modules, and all those Android phones depend on the apathy of Linux developers to ever go after the hardware manufacturers for obviously and blatantly violating the GPL on almost every Android handset by forking the kernel, integrating proprietary driver software, and then going so far as to modify the free parts in some ways incompatible with upstream to make it work with the proprietary parts. The day Linux GPL enforcement is a thing is one step closer to curtailing the power abuses by many of these large enterprises over their users because that is actually a straightforward way to do it.
At the bottom I catch a reference to ProjectVRM. I follow the link and what I find is all bloggy and vague. If there's anything concrete in there, it's not brought together in front of the new visitor.
While I do not know the answer, I do believe it's possible to find one.
Focus on building relationships first, then tech.
Since everything in OSS has to be free, there is no economic model. Eventually things with an economic model supersede or embrace/extend open ecosystems because they have the resources to do so. They also have the resources to address user experience, which is the most important thing unless your target audience consists of only hackers. (Even then it still matters.) Good UX is an immense amount of work, and it's the sort of work that devs tend not to find fun and therefore must be paid to do.
Until and unless there is an economic model for free-as-in-freedom, surveillance-ware and closed models will continue to dominate.
It was always the data, not the code. Try and find an open dataset for any interesting machine learning problem and you'll realize that while "freedom" was busy doing things like setting back the use of precompiled headers in GCC a decade and making it virtually impossible for an artist to get a copy of ffmpeg that handles all the file formats she needs, the real value remains the data.
We don't need 15 open source PDF viewers. We need open access to the papers. And even hippie scientists at Berkeley seem unwilling to share those for some reason. So odd given the heritage.
I don't care much about Google's half-baked machine learning library. Give me the 128k neural output from the 250TB of voice queries if you wanna be "open" and advance machine learning. Unsurprisingly they've got that locked up tight. But culturally you can make the argument that's very much "ours" just like government-funded research papers are.
Given interesting data, nerds will ALWAYS find a way to read it. Focusing on code was a bit of a mistake; that's cheap and you get it for free. And the gap between open software licenses and Creative Commons licensing always seemed odd.
Individuals can simply move to a better and cheaper location. There's many more mature and cheaper tech hubs now than there were in 2007. The city is stuck with itself and its tax liabilities. And in a place where you can't cut down a tree without posting 90 days notice, good luck rolling back some of that spending.
What languages or frameworks do you recommend learning? Which industries need engineers and are relatively insulated from economic downturns? If the Bay Area slams the brakes on growth, where will you move? What non-tech skills would you recommend brushing up on?
Perhaps most importantly: if things went bust today, how fucked would you be?
Now both huge companies and local governments are hoarding cash. Which is problematic for the economy as a whole.
What goes up must come down. Here's my completely opinionated ideas of how an individual in San Francisco can ride out the economic change:
1. Sell your home.
2. Have a 6 month nest egg saved up.
3. Have an up-to-date resume.
The "sell your home" part is not valid in the near-zero interest rate world, which who knows how long that will last.
I manage the frequency of socket emits using RxJS, to prevent sending too many changes to users.
https://movinggauteng.co.za, there's a counter at the top of the page.
EDIT: Only saw a comment about why the OP used Ajax after posting this.
Last week Marc Kohlbrugge launched https://highscore.money/. Following that, he sent out a tweet, asking if anyone knew of a good real time user counter to add to his site.
No-one did, so we made one.
Real Time Users is just that. We made it this weekend. I wrote a quick post introducing it, so feel free to look at that for more details.
Feel free to ask any questions, I'll be about all day.
https://www.google.com/search?q=user+counter brings many websites offering this in various fonts, sizes and colors.
But then again, 'good' can be very subjective...
(Please don't submit this link to HN. I want to stay somewhat stealthy until I've had a chance to write an introductory article.)
At the moment it's only a prototype. I have done a very small production run, so if you want one to experiment with, contact me. I'm planning on doing a kickstarter to fund a real production run.
I was put in charge in comparing RemoteApp to our Citrix cluster, feature compatibility, and cost. Now, I'm part of a university so that's "negotiated". We're also part of I2, so data ingress/egress should be free as per our site contract. (Yeah, it amounted to $5, but we were billed for it against our current enterprise agreement).
I worked with a MS Engineer to set everything up. I set cost limits to kill service if we go over $200 (past the free trial).... Well guess what? They only give emails, not kill service. Your account will still accrue no matter what. The engineer said that it could kill service. So, I had limits set to 'alert me'.
Until 2 months ago. They switched what was the Beta Portal to the main portal. Doing this eliminated even my alerts I had. The account accrued around $2800, with NO emails, No alerts, and NO questionable billing calls regarding 'non-normal computing practices'.
I'm finishing up a paper and a post-mortem regarding this incident. Obviously my university can absorb this, but the points stand:
1. There is no adequate way of controlling your bill
2. Billing calculations are done with many hours of lag-time. You don't know the zinger you just got until later.
3. There is NO fraud policy... Unless you count "Too Fucking Bad" as the policy.
The computer science field has always been "ruled" by ideas and philosophies, but in the end a company is a company, and the ultimate goal of a company is to make money.
It isn't weird or evil that Microsoft is trying to make money using whatever mean it can use.
By the way, it's crystal clear that a considerable Microsoft is pivoting to become a cloud provider and in that sense the most obvious thing to do is to provide developers with all of the tools they might need.
Kudos to Microsoft for being able to perform such a direction change.
Plus consider that competition usually means lower prices for customers.. We should be happy that new players are diving into the cloud business.
2016 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Your stock performance, maybe, but certainly not my browser's performance.
Although it is already hard to picture a WeChat group of 500 members, I just learned that in China, the size of QQ group can have up to 2000 members!
Welcome to the People's Republic of Big Data. :-)
What's the antonym of synergy?
They certainly don't have to and I'm not sure if Apple or Microsoft do or not for their equivalents, but I know Microsoft offers patent indemnification for a lot of things these days. It would be in Google's best interest to have a patent indemnification policy for Google Play store.
I'd love to know what the actual numbers look like but I'd be willing to bet that the costs are extremely low since it works as a deterrent to these kinds of lawsuits. Patent trolls go after these lone developers because they'll settle rather than incur the cost. It's an easy buck. This guy didn't make Google Play, he didn't write the code that "supposedly" infringed on the patent. He simply used it because that's the only way for practical purposes to publish an Android app. And since the patent covers a large set of features that Play uses for licensing, he couldn't have published through Play and not infringed in the eyes of Uniloc. The law allows anyone in the chain (including the guy playing with the Flight Simulator) to be sued for infringement, but they'd be very unlikely to do this kind of garbage if they knew Google would bring their legal team into the fold. By not protecting their developers, Google has a deterrent to people using their platform.
I agree with clavelle's comment. It's not so much the laws, but the system that allows this to occur.
Link here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/4n08jj/developer_i...
I'm also curious why numerous developers have not demanded an Insurance Protection Product / Plan that would take a premium in return for subrogation (defense) if a frivolous Patent Suit is filed. I'm rather certain the market exists and while it may be for larger businesses or players, developers forming a Mutual Company and writing on some big name AM Best A paper (or even going to Lloyds) could be helpful.
Anybody know of such an organization or idea?
I guess my line of thinking here is that "Yes, this is totally unfair and rigged" and then move on to "How do I work around the issues, at least to a limited extent, to avoid these pitfalls?" Sign me up for reform, sure, I'm all for it. Until then, I don't like banging my head against walls, I prefer to figure out ways around or over them.
He visits East Texas and shows that the 'offices' of the 'companies' that hold each patent are empty shells.
He had just won a three year litigation with the same group, after which they pointed out that even though he had won a battle, they had enough BS patents to keep him in court for several lifetimes. He is currently in year 4 out of a projected 450.
https://popehat.com/2016/06/06/lawsplainer-when-must-federal... Article is in the context of Trump, but you needn't let that turn you off.
I say slay the trolls, slay the judges, slay them all - by legal means if possible. I would love to find an old Texas law that allows trial by combat with no substitutions...
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPX_Corporation http://techcrunch.com/2008/11/24/is-rpxs-defensive-patent-ag...
For example I learned a lot from this video: in case I decided to sell an app on any store, I'd better contact my lawyer to get advised on where and how to incorporate my company.
I don't know if it can be easily resolved by incorporating in another country, but the difficulties of an international litigation should discourage trolls.
Ban software patents!
Patent trolls file these frivolous lawsuits because they make millions and suffer zero consequences for their actions. Why? Because there is no industry trade group representing the software industry with any sort of teeth. They know software developers have money, and they know software developers are absurdly weak when it comes to defending themselves. Software developers are easy prey.
Other than the EFF who is out there to represent us with any measure of real leverage over the legal process? Who is out there with the muscle to make patent trolls and software unfriendly lawmakers have second thoughts when targeting developers?
With no lobbies or trade associations with any sort of power out there representing consumer software, anyone with even minor influence over government can simply walk all over software developers, again and again and again. The consumer software industry has enormous amounts of cash at it's disposal, surely a few cash rich companies can pool enough resources together to kick off a trade association worthy of punching back, hard
"Ric Richardson is an Australian inventor. He is the holder of multiple granted patents including the Uniloc patent US5490216 and the Logarex patent 6400293. Although he spent twelve years in California to promote and develop products produced by Uniloc, Richardson grew up in Sydney and currently resides just outside Byron Bay.
He is the founder of Uniloc, a company based on the technology he first patented in 1992."
Here's his picture from the Uniloc web site:http://uniloc.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/ricrichardson.p...
He's apparently insanely talented, having "invented" the panic button, the visual voice recorder, the 3G skype phone, the secure browser, the universal database, the carbon scrubber, the book dispensor, "media objects", the "Internet Computer", QR Codes, DRM, a password replacement system, TV muting, and several dozen other devices, just in the past 16 years alone.
I'm told, you may be put to trial in East Texas, if you're selling your goods or services there. So, why not stop selling to East Texas and let them settle the resulting collision of interests themselves?
I imagine if in future somebody gets such a patent lawsuit, they'd just rip up the letter and throw it away. Police comes to carry out court orders because they decided in absence? "Sorry officer, the reason you're here is just patent bullshit." - "Oh well, I won't lift a finger for these idiots. Sorry for bothering you, have a nice day!"
Or a more extreme reaction: already in this thread, a couple of people are fantasizing about violence, hiring a hitman and so on. I realize it is mostly meant jokingly, but self-justice is another effect of a justice system that's lost legitimacy.
Rule-of-law is a great thing to have, but it only works if these laws are somewhat reasonable and in accord with peoples moral values...
How is this even for real - why is Google not putting an end to it?
But a lawsuit is a civil case, not a criminal case, right?
The Supreme Court's ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank, which dealt a fatal blow to a lot of software patents out there (especially the awful, vague and overly broad patents that trolls love so much). The Supreme Court reaffirmed that merely "adding a generic computer to perform generic computer functions" does not make an otherwise abstract idea patentable.  This ruling helps get rid of cases earlier. While it doesn't kill off patent litigation, it makes it easier for us to fight low-quality assertions. More importantly, this puts a tougher filter for prosecution of new patent applications, the vast majority of which are dumb and overly broad.
Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings, which are rather expensive (average $278,000) , but are much cheaper than litigation. Third parties can use IPRs to challenge patent claims (patentability) based on prior art patents and publications. In the case of Austin Meyer's patent defense, many of the patent claims were invalidated through this kind of proceeding, and petitioned by a consortium (Distinctive Developments, Ltd., Electronic Arts Inc., Gameloft S.E., Halfbrick Studios Pty Ltd., Laminar Research LLC, Mojang AB and Square Enix, Inc.). 
Heightened pleading standards. Before December 2015, it used to be that trolls could sue dozens of companies with cookie-cutter complaints, citing no real facts, and put on pressure for settlements by threatening lengthy and costly discovery proceedings. But thanks to decisions in Iqbal/Twombly, complaints must plead facts and recite aspects of the accused product that are alleged to infringe. This butchers the spam lawsuit tactic, and the day before this went into effect, trolls filed a one day record for new suits.  Shameful, yes, but it's helped clarify standards governing motions to dismiss.
 search patent number 6857067 and document 37 at https://ptabtrials.uspto.gov
If that's not a racket, I don't know what is.
that would stop it.
But in the meantime, guess I'll just be writing webapps.
We do not have equal access to our judicial system in the United States.
If you have money, you have the power to legally hold people with less over a barrel. That exploitable inequality is poison for a well functioning society. That is the problem that needs solving.
Posted from my Windows Phone 8.1
That being said, patent trolling is obviously a problem, and legislation to fix the problem is making its way through Congress.
or maybe this twitter account
I'm delighted that this article struck such a chord. I'll try to answer the most common questions here. I wish I could answer everyone directly.
1) I called it off before anyone sent money or quit their jobs. The only one who lost money or a job because of ContractBeast was me. If the money was in the bank and the team on board we would have gone ahead. That's why I had to make that decision when I did.
2) I'm not saying there was no solution. There might have been, but the team and I could not find one. Think of it this way. You and a team decide to summit a mountain. It's a high-risk endeavor. After weeks of going over your maps and equipment you just can't see a plausible way up. Do you call it off or set out hoping you'll be able to figure it out. It doesn't mean no one can do it. I means I could not do it with that team and that equipment.
3) Why didn't we leverage the contract approval features that customers loved? We tried. The problem was that those kinds of approvals were not core workflow for SMBs. It was useful when importing contract templates, but was not used much after that. Nice feature but not important enough to get companies to sigh up for multiple seats, which is what we needed.
4) Whats going to happen to the code and to Tim? No decisions yet. I'm open to suggestions on both counts.
Sorry man. Good call not to waste a year of your life.
As far as tools go, ethnography can be very powerful in the right hands.
That's the key quote in the article. It's a fair decision from his standpoint but I wonder if saying that will lead investors to question his determination in the future (if he tries a new venture). I suppose the investors could also appreciate that he didn't want to waste more of their money if he didn't believe in the product.
This bit resonates the most with me. I worked on a project worth little traction where we'd keep getting feature requests from the client facing team members for things that were of minor value but sometimes major effort. It grinds you down over time as you realise there's no real demand. Eldorado isn't over the next hill.
Sometimes it feels like the people giving feedback are just too eager to please you with positive feedback.
"But most of the time, customers dont really want the the features they are asking for. At least not very badly."
Customer feedback drives an absurd amount of our roadmap at Cronitor. We have a good idea of the many shortcomings of our product and are constrained primarily by resources in developing it faster. When a customer -- especially somebody on a trial -- puts their thumb on the scale of a specific flaw or deficiency, we look at it as an opportunity to seriously delight that user and at the same time level-up the product for all users after. We don't build everything asked for, but I would say "most of the time, customers know exactly what they need, and we try to give it to them within our ability."
A specific example for us would be Etsy, who uses Cronitor on a part of their business and during evaluation asked for a couple API endpoints to expose more advanced functionality.
Future investor reaction to it will tell us what they think of actually bucking convention to do the right thing.
And now, the armchair brainstorming: focus on the "contract review and approval" immediate gratification and marginal user wins - if not sufficient benefit for them to buy, make it multi-month free trial, make it a year. After some "months of use", users get the delayed gratification. They become your sales force from within, and CIO's notice the long-term benefits, validated within their own company, and mandate its use top-down.
It's a long slow burn and mightn't work.
As someone completely unfamiliar with the world of startups, this sentence baffles me. If this describes your track record, how do you even get funding? Obviously I'm not an investor, but this sentence alone is a massive red flag.
And it sounds like the product automated a good, sound process. One that was different from the customer's actual, current process.
I don't know how one could hope to sell a new process (incidentally along with an automation framework) without massive training, and, well, consulting.
I'm a little surprised they didn't take the opportunity to pivot. Maybe none of their beta users were interested in the 100x(?) investment buying such a package would cost? It sounds like they found a different market, smaller in number of customers, larger in revenue - and chose to walk away because: software is fun, human process is hard and boring?
It's a valid choice to be sure, but it strikes me as a little odd. I thought the idealised, naive idea of a computer system being more important than the human systems it enables was more of a delusion limited to Silicon Valley, than a general problem.
I'm reminded of how model-view-controller was internally known as model-view-controller-user, and how shortening it to mvc was probably a terrible mistake that obscured most of the valuable idea behind the concept (that of mapping the users mental model of domain knowledge to widgets on the screen and on to the data models used by the software).
 according to a talk Trygve gave, but it kind of shines through in his brief history of mvc too: https://heim.ifi.uio.no/~trygver/themes/mvc/mvc-index.html
There are prolly more ...
I'm trying to figure out how ContractBeast's problem of continuous usage is any different than almost all the business tools out there that require human intervention (with the exception of email, and MS office suite).
It seems every investor and entrepreneur has this desire to make "crack" and not just tools. Good tools don't need to be used all the time. They don't need to provide some sort of gamification, feedback loop, or enjoyment.
As for money making good business tools don't need even need to be used by the user... in fact they really should be automated. I know this because we had some of the some problems ContractBeast did and the key was not getting the endusers involved at all. Automate and integrate so they are almost out of the loop completely (again I don't know much about CLM... maybe this isn't possible).
As far as top down selling it is almost impossible in the B2B market to do something different. Managers force users to use tools and those users use MS Office most of the time but those tools still get bought and eventually those tools do provide value (aka sales force).
Maybe the next generation of UX will have change management built into the system, not just tours and tooltips. For now, the burden of software adoption is best served with donuts and somebody how cares enough to make it work for the business that is investing in it.
If the team and investors believed in the product, perhaps you could have asked if some of the current team were willing to take it on, and make it work. You could have retained a bit of equity for the year and the hard work you put in so far without having to commit any longer yourself.
Every idea to fix it takes time to develop, and with whatever time remains you have to make progress with sales and the existing customer base. With any given product and the right team you can get there, but the only way to get the right team to commit is with a passionate belief that you will get there before you run out of money.
If you spend the time trying to build a roadmap out of whatever options you can come up with, and none of those options give confidence given time and budget constraints... well, then you've done all you can do. It's not hard to come up with a list of reasonable options to move forward with, but it is hard to come up with one that's worth committing to.
If you've grown to the point where you can man up and make the decision to walk away early, you have a good future.
OT, but curious, how is it possible to get this kind of engagement data?
Querying DB to get number of logins per week? But that doesn't mean that they're "using" the system.
Google Analytics? I'm not aware of any such GA feature
Third party analytics?
Moving everything to the cloud would be far more efficient. But the corpus of legal text captured in Word and Legal's preference for redlining email attachments is the status quo.
For example: use a chunk of the $500k as rewards to push people through the initial adoption. Then presumably the real gains would take over and they'd be happy customers.
Interesting comment in there about 'Approvals' being one of the most used feature. Why couldn't you build around that? A more generic approvals solution for any kind of contract.
Sometimes it's not necessary to assess this because you are compelled to act and you can't stop.
In this case I think had he asked this hard question sooner he would have found his heart wasn't in it. Either way dropping it was the right thing to do.
In comparison my 'why' for the thing I'm working on makes my soul burn and is a limitless well of determination.
Call it 'Conviction/Opportunity' pull.
There should have been some guideposts here: who were the power users? what did they love? who were the huge detractors? what was their big issue? how did ContractBeast fit into the ideal world? how were people splitting their work between the old system and ContractBeast? were there network effects for the old system?
Yeah we can look at some sort of short term win and long term gain framework, but it's pretty reductionist to a) only depend on that framework and b) not be able to come up with any solutions to fulfill short term wins.
If you had discovered this when you were 6 months in, spent 50% of the cash and had employees would you have made the same decision? To pull the plug and return remaining capital vs trying to make it work.
I don't really understand "having nothing" -- you're either creating value or you're not. You guys spotted a real problem, but your v1 solution was meh. There were certainly multiple ways out (and not just tack on gamification), and even if some were long-shots, the uniqueness of a startup is to place those bets.
I have seen a small companies use student licenses instead of paying for the more expensive commercial license in order to save every possible penny.
Reading between the lines here, I'm picking up some resentment. I think an underlying cause of the decision to walk away from ContractBeast might have been a specific subtype of founder burnout -- the kind that happens when you feel like you're pulling more than your share of the weight, and/or you feel like you're more committed to the company/project than the rest of your team is.
There's a downvoted comment at the bottom of this thread stating that the commenter would never give this guy money. That's a bit harsh, but at another point in the comment he makes a very (IMO) valid observation that burnout is at play here and the author should have taken some time off. That rings true to me.
> Weeks of brainstorming and dozens of hypotheses later, we had nothing. Not a single, plausible way of providing our users with the instant gratification their cerebella so desperately crave.
> With no clear path forward, investors ready to wire funds, and the team ready to quit their day jobs, I decided to pull the plug.
Is it just me or does this seem like there's a big hole in the plot here? The whole team spent several weeks trying to figure out how the product was going to get traction, came up with zero good ideas, and everyone's still ready to quit their jobs and work on this full-time?
Assuming this is accurate and absent further details, I can think of two non-mutually-exclusive hypotheses for how this might have actually happened:
1) "We had nothing" was really "I had nothing". Either because of a failure on the part of the author to communicate with the team, or their indifference upon hearing the author's description of the problem in question, the only person really working on solving the problem was the author. To the extent that this was the case, it would certainly have exacerbated the "I'm working way harder on this than my cofounders are" burnout described above.
2) It's also possible that the other prospective cofounders and/or early team members were aware of the headwinds facing ContractBeast and just really, really hated their day jobs and were thinking, "I honestly don't even give a shit if this company works out, I just want to go somewhere I can get paid while not having to deal with my current boss, and if it fails it's not a big deal, it's a startup, they fail all the time and I'll be able at a minimum to use the newfound flexibility in my schedule and relative seniority in the organization to make myself much more available for interviews at other companies."
Sometimes what you build becomes bigger than you. If you want to quit, and everyone else wants to keep going why not let someone else run the show?
If you started a chess club, or even a chatroom, and had no time (as the guy says, he only has one life) to be an admin, would you just close down the whole thing and kick everyone out? Maybe. If they really were so passionate they'd pick up the pieces and start their own thing. Your old group might have a way to transfer the accumulated wealth to the new group. Instead of just losing it.
I remember writing an article about this a couple years ago called the Politics of Groups:
Here is an excerpt:
If the individual - the risk is that the individual may have too much power over others who come to rely on the stream. They may suddenly stop publishing it, or cut off access to everyone, which would hurt many people. (I define hurt in terms of needs or strong expectations of people that form over time.)
startup = a newly established business
Patrick McKenzie has demonstrated that you can do high-touch corporate sales as a small organization or even as a single person. He just needed to figure out how.
I think this guy needed to take a day off or seven and get his head back on straight. I'm nearly positive every entrepreneur goes through the "doubt" process many times in a given start-up.
It's the person that figures out how to renew themselves that ends up succeeding.