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Title: Some good advice that can apply to any aspiration Upvote:
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Title: Too much stuff is a bad thing. Everything I owned in 2000 would fit in the back of my station wagon. If it wouldn't fit in the wagon, it was out. Now I'm married, and covered up with stuff. When you get married, it's custom for people to give you more stuff. Most of it you don't need. Or want. But you can't just throw it away, after all, it's free stuff. (Sorry if this has already been posted, I didn't see it in the list and can't search....) Upvote:
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Title: Go to sleep 2 hours earlier than you normally do!<p>It's easy to fall into the sleep deprivation trap and think you're getting more out of yourself, even when you're really not. I've always found the need to sleep at all very frustrating, so this lesson is hard-learned for me.<p>I'm still in love with my 36 hour hackathons, but now most days I'm trying to get enough sleep to feel energetic all day without in assistance from drugs like caffeine and nicotine. Upvote:
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Title: Peter Norvig does a very good job of writing a spelling corrector similar to the way google's works (although much simpler). This is done step by step in python. Upvote:
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Title: I just launched FEEDJIT. It took me about 10.5 hours (4pm until 2:30am) from the first time my hand touched the keyboard until I fixed the last bug and went live. I got a question on the Seattle Tech Startup list about how I spent my 10.5 hours. So here's a brief summary.... Upvote:
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Title: Not sure if this has been posted here or not, but I just came across it browsing Norvig's site. Thought I would share it. Upvote:
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Title: It was worth putting up with the sycophancy of many of the commenters here who seem to participate only to impress PG, their would-be benefactor...for a while. It was worth it while the stories focused on the niche we are all interested in, startups. The change to more general-purpose news, the attempt to re-create the Reddit of old, seemed to be made without first asking the overall community for input (unlike the way that Craig Newmark makes all changes to Craig's List, for example). Although it has apparently been going on all along, this title-censoring thing is, for me, the final straw. Yes, Reddit has been overrun by the unwashed masses. It has become messy in the way that democracy itself is messy. But this site is getting the feeling of an artificially sterile place for tech elites as defined by PG and his minions. So I'm going back to the unwashed masses, even if it means having to read a few more titles about cat pictures. Best of luck, though, PG, and thanks for the great information this site has given me thus far. I will continue to follow your impressive career and your essays with great interest. <p>PS, Editors, feel free to change my title to "Hacker News Rocks!" Upvote:
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Title: aul is a great guy and has built a huge following in the startup community. I have a lot of respect for him and what he has done. Y Combinator is a great story. Paul agreed to share some details with me. Here it is live and uncut. Upvote:
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Title: Rant from Zed Shaw of Mongrel Fame Upvote:
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Title: Observations about startup life and manager after working for 10 months at a small venture-capital funded startup. Upvote:
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Title: Hi Mr. Graham, I would like to ask some questions and possibly publish the results on my blog. I thought that YC news would be the best way to answer the questions, that way we can all read the answers right here.<p>1) Has YC ever considered investing in a not-for-profit start-up?<p>2) To your recollection, are there any ideas that were rejected by YC that have made it big? If so, can you name them.<p>3) You seem to be one of Silicon Valley's busiest/most influential/hard-working persons, why all the fuss? Haven't you earned a respite?<p>4) Have you ever thought about franchising the YC brand?<p>5) In your spare time, what does Paul Graham like to do?<p>6) Rumor has it that you studied the Arts in University, at what point did you realize that you were more capable with the keyboard, if ever?<p>Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. They are as much a personal interest of mine as I'm sure they are for many others. Upvote:
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Title: I'm 36, married with numerous kids, career blub programmer with BigCo, and I've had enough.<p>Friday I notified my boss I would not be there come March, and this weekend my wife and I started work on our new project (I'd forgotten how well we work together). This gives us six months to prepare our family for life beyond BigCo, and I can't wait.<p>For the first time in ages I'm relaxed and excited about the future. Thanks to everyone here for the inspiration and big thanks to my awesome wife. Upvote:
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Title: "Hi there. Sorry to bother you, but you asked me to send you an email when Jottit was out for you to take a look at. Well, after a lot of hard work by my creators, Simon Carstensen and Aaron Swartz, I'm happy to say that things are finally ready.<p>Take a look at<p><a href="http://jottit.com/" rel="nofollow">http://jottit.com/</a><p>and let me know what you think. (Just reply to this email!)<p>Thanks so much, - Jottit.com" Upvote:
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Title: Post novel startup ideas as comments and see how many karma points it receives. Who knows, one might be developed and you can take credit for thinking of the idea first. Upvote:
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Title: [With apologies for my long-windedness]<p>This question was inspired by the post regarding the CMU Professor (Pausch) that is dying of cancer and is facing death with an amazingly positive attitude.<p>Specifically, there was a thread started by jaed:<p>"It's sad that we have to be reminded of it, but this just reaffirms that the little bubble world of YC, TechCrunch, and Web 2.Oh really don't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of life. This guy wouldn't trade some extra time with his family for all the startups and VC cash in the world. It just puts things into perspective."<p>I agree with jaed. I also agree with neilc, who thinks that the "YC philosophy" is consistent with the positive message of the article.<p>SO MY QUESTION IS THIS: Is making an AJAXified tool or toy that will likely be used by less than 1% of the people in the richest country in the world the absolute best use of your time and talents right now? Honestly?<p>This is not a rhetorical question, nor is it intended to cast judgment on anyone who is actively pursuing a startup just to make money. I can't throw stones, because that is exactly what I've spend MY life doing. I also don't want to make anyone feel bad, I'm just trying to prompt a discussion. <p>I'm wondering if people think that our best and brightest minds might be better suited to doing something like medical research than, say, designing software and working for hedge funds? There is really nothing like finding out someone you love has cancer or a life-threatening illness to make you feel completely impotent when you're just a businessman or programmer. I've helped design medical software in the past, but it was never a great leap forward or anything. It was just incremental progress for money. I've never felt like I made a GREAT difference. And sitting in a children's hospital is a VERY humbling experience, no matter how successful you are.<p> I'm an entrepreneur and an investor, and I enjoy it. I'm not unfulfilled, but I have a growing regret that I haven't done much to really help the world. I donate to charities, and I've founded companies that have made really good products and offered great services, but I've never made the type of contribution that saves lives. I've never discovered a vaccine or an improved diagnostic tool or anything. And I'd like to. I feel like I've won the luck lottery (white, male, mostly healthy, born in the USA, educated, wealthy) and I want to give back more. I haven't faced the obstacles that some people face (racism, limited access to education,etc.), so I guess I have a guilt complex or something that I haven't done more. Typical liberal ;-)<p> //////////////////////////////////////////<p>I've thought of going back to medical school or something, but my odds of really helping there are small and it wastes my natural skill set. (I'm also not likely to be accepted, but that's another story.) I believe in entrepreneurship though, so I can try to make a difference in that way. <p>So, if anyone here has any ideas to save lives or make a massive improvement in the world, give me a shout. Seriously. I have more money than Paul Graham (although I'm not as smart, connected, or good looking) and I'm open to ideas outside the Y Combinator sweet spot. I think the best ideas in most industries come from people OUTSIDE that industry, so I would think that the brainpower on this site could really make a difference in the world. I don't think YC are that interested in medical startups (etc.), so I don't think I'm stepping on their toes...but, if I am, please let me know and I'll retract this portion of the post. Upvote:
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Title: 15 tips for kickstarting your web project. Almost 40 shopping sites listed at bottom. Upvote:
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Title: Friday afternoon is Women &#38; Entrepreneurship, a speaker series with sixty girls... and me. <p>Today we had a panel of five women, all at roughly the vice president level of their respective organizations. Three were from Wall Street, one from NBC, and the last from Campbell Soup.<p>As I walked to class in the rain, the questions raised by today's thread were still fresh in my mind. So I was pleasantly surprised that some of the discussion was useful for understanding why there aren't more female entrepreneurs.<p>Today I discovered something. That is, if you take the time to ask women about their impressions of the business world you can learn some interesting stuff. <p>What follows are some of the more insightful points that were made. I'm not making any claims about "the nature of women." Rather, I'm just echoing what was said. (I'll try to separate my commentary from the actual points.) So, in no particular order:<p>1) All of the panelists believed that women were just as ambitious as men, but that ambition for women was different than ambition for men. I didn't get a clear explanation of this, but it seemed to involve family and work-life balance. <p>What surprised me most was that every single panelist had turned down various promotions over the years. Partly this was due to wanting more time with family. But several of the panelists also stressed the importance of lifestyle, so getting a job they liked less which required more work was seen as a lose/lose, even if the pay was substantially better.<p>2) All of the panelists talked about how women needed to promote themselves more. They told stories about how all the younger men they mentored would send them daily emails about what they'd been up to and the progress they'd been making. The women were "nowhere to be found", even if they were working just as hard or harder than their male counterparts. The panelists expressed that women tend to believe that if they just work really hard then others will magically notice and reward them. Maybe this makes me a bad person, but I couldn't help but thinking that the average woman's faith in meritocracy is most common in males who are perceived as spectrum autistic.<p>3) The panelists all expressed profound faith in the ideals of professionalism. There was much talk of what clothing a professional should wear and how a professional should speak and act. Many of them told stories about being asked to order lunch for the group and expressing shock because "that's not how a professional should be treated." This contrasts sharply with the average entrepreneur, where part of the appeal is escaping professionalism. Whereas entrepreneurial orientated males often find corporate culture to be constrictive and stifling, these women viewed it as a protection mechanism of sorts, offering safety and predictability. <p>If the typical women, fresh out of college, doesn't particularly value maximizing her incoming and prefers corporate culture, then it would make sense why she would prefer joining an established company. This is especially true if she has full faith in the corporate hierarchy to promote her based on merit, a rather dubious assumption. <p>4) The women expressed frustration that white men typically don't give women and minorities as harsh feedback as they give other white men. The view was that when men are afraid to criticize women then what ends up happening is that women don't improve and get passed over for promotions without knowing why. The emphasized the need for women to constantly ask for feedback from their bosses and mentors, as well as for men to be more honest with women.<p>5) There was a lot of frustration that men didn't really understand the concept of having kids. The view was that once you have a baby you are seen as being on "the baby track" and no longer on the rising professional track. It's a little awkward being the only guy in the class and having to listen to middle-age women talking about how their children were conceived and the implications for their career, so I'll avoid going into too much detail. That being said, a lot of smaller businesses have never had a woman go on maternity leave and don't really know what to make of it. This goes back into the theme of the corporate environment offering certain safety mechanisms.<p>They also expressed that the hardest part of having kids wasn't necessarily when they were infants, but when they got older. One panelist told a story about her kid who was having certain problems around kindergarten, so she had to take a couple months off from work to take him to see various specialists.<p>6) The panelists talked about how successful women are typically perceived as being very cold, and how they have to work to combat that. <p>This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. It seems like the stereotypical successful male tends to have more or less have the same basic personality they had in college, only with better looks and judgment and social skills. Whereas the personalities of the really successful women I've seen tend to be completely different than that of any girl I've ever met in school. I'm not sure if business just has more of a transformative effect on women's personalities or if the women bound for Wall Street success are just so rare that I rarely see them. <p>I've also noticed that there aren't really many charismatic female leaders. When will we see a female version of Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet or even Seth Godin? Or maybe there are women who come off as really charismatic to other women and being a guy I just can't see it. Perhaps it's unfair to ask these questions, but I think it's important. There's definitely a charisma bonus for men in business, and it's not additive, it's multiplicative if not exponential. <p>7) The panelists stressed the importance of learning negotiate, since negotiation isn't a skill that many women pick up on their own. Many also stressed that it was easier to negotiate coming into a firm than once you were already an employee, since internally you never know who you're going to piss off or what bridges you're going to burn. <p>8) Four out of the five women played sports in college. This really impressed me, especially since these women went to school around the time nineteen Yale rowers stripped in the dean's office with Title IX written across their chests: <a href="http://www.aherofordaisy.com/" rel="nofollow">http://www.aherofordaisy.com/</a><p>----<p>If you search Amazon for books about women and business, there are hundreds of books targeted toward women looking to succeed. However, there is not a single book written for men about understanding their female co-workers. Not in the sense of how to talk to them, but in the sense of creating a systemic environment that's tolerant of varying perceptions and aspirations. Perhaps this is why most discussions about women and business eventually devolve into random speculation about "the nature of women" and whatnot. It seems like there is real research into this though and there is something useful to be said on the topic, even if most companies currently build their policies and culture through trial and error.<p>Anyway, I apologize for the length and any spelling/grammar mistakes, but hopefully this has been useful, or at the very least interesting. In any event, after listening to today's speakers I got the impression that getting more women to hit the submit button on the YC app is really the last step in a long process as opposed to the beginning. Upvote:
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Title: For a long time I've treated Javascript as a "second class citizen" and eschewed it in favor of Scheme, Java, Ruby, and (lately) Erlang. Now that I'm managing and coding with not just server-side hackers, but hardcore UX hackers as well, I'm realizing that I would like to become a solid Javascript developer as well. <p>What's the best Javascript text for an experienced developer? Upvote:
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Title: Startups face one primary challenge: To never run out of cash. So when projecting costs, we heeded Guy's advice that "the three most powerful words you can utter at a board meeting are, 'We beat projections.'" This convinced us to develop the worst possible financial model that could still be used to raise money. Upvote:
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Title: This is what we've been working on nights and weekends since February, and we hope the site explains itself.<p>We have applied for YC program for this winter and still are waiting for a response, but since the coding is done for a modest ver 1.0, we see no reason to keep it in the basement any longer. Therefore we're going with a "slow launch" strategy to get &#60;100 <i>very happy</i> users with kids spending hours in our system. Hopefully this will allow us to figure out potential bugs/usability issues before big PR push.<p>Technically we are a mixture of online/desktop software with our own local persistence layer written in C++.<p>Please take a look and let us know how we are doing. Directness and critical thinking are very much welcome! Upvote:
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Title: Hi everyone,<p>Quick question: what do YC applicants prefer - dedicated servers, co-location, VPS, regular hosting plans or somethings else? Where are they being hosted at? Are there any major hub of startup hosting?<p>Thanks! Upvote:
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Title: Recently, a few have asked, "Why apply? X problem would keep me from getting accepted." If you don't mind, I'd like to explain one possible answer by telling you about my experience of applying to YCombinator.<p>I first wanted to apply to YCombinator's Summer 2007 cycle with the intention of making teachers' jobs a little easier. I was going to make an exceptional homework creation tool, one that would be intuitive to use. But wait, I could code it, but I didn't have any cofounders. Without a cofounder, I had no hope of getting in.<p>So I looked around for one. Everyone at work had families, so they were out. But I had a wonderful, supportive girlfriend. Why not her? What a strange idea, to start a company with your girlfriend! But I talked with her about it, and we started working together. Then something pretty amazing happened. It never mattered that she had zero technical knowledge. She knew what worked and what didn't, what made sense and what didn't. So we created something and ran it by my father. He said, "This is a little hard for non-technical people to use. I'll work with you on it." Now all of a sudden, I had two cofounders.<p>In the meantime, I received an invitation to Startup School. Not only that, but I was invited to the dinner at YCombinator beforehand. Wow! That was a wonderful feeling to be invited to something like that. I was all smiles the rest of the week. I was going to California!<p>.. And it was approaching fast. I asked off work for that Friday and Monday, then everyone pulled a few crazy all-nighters to get the demo done and our YC application in top shape. I'll always remember everyone doing a ten-second countdown right before we hit the 'Submit' button. That was hands-down the most fun I've had in one night.<p>Since we worked so well together, and since we had a deadline to meet, we'd ended up with an excellent demo. And had a lot of fun all around.<p>So I was off to California. Weebly happened to fit in nicely with what we were doing (teachers could use Weebly to build their sites), so I met with Chris, Dan, and David. They're really fun to talk with! They had framed a little circuit and hung it on the wall that displayed a count of how many users they had. The geekiness of that had me chuckling. And the view from the YScraper was absolutely spectacular.<p>Up next was the YCombinator dinner. It was amazing to see Dexter in person. I couldn't get over that I was staring at an actual life-sized robot that was balancing on its own. I noticed a claw on another robot, so I asked Trevor to squeeze my hand with it. Yeowch! But now I'm a part of a small group that can say they've been attacked by a robot.<p>I met the Zenter guys, Wayne and Robby. I showed our demo and they thought it was excellent, which is really awesome to hear from rockstar coders like them. Then I saw Zenter and was put to shame :) It was great to see all the amazing stuff they did. After talking for a little bit, I was amazed to learn that Wayne had a kid on the way. Wowza, that's pretty brave to still do YCombinator! But we all know how Zenter worked out.<p>The night wore on, and at one point Paul seemed to look at me and do a high-five gesture, so I high-fived back. Then I looked behind me. Whoops, he was going to high-five someone else. Everyone laughed. He asked me what I did, and I replied without thinking, "I'm making teachers' lives a little easier. I'm making a homework creation tool that even teachers will know how to use." "Don't use that as your tagline, or you'll alienate all your customers," he said and grinned. D'oh, I didn't mean it like that, but everyone laughed again. Looking back on it, that whole encounter was pretty amusing.<p>Up next was Startup School, which was a blast. Afterwards, I had some time to kill before catching my jet home, so I hitched Caltrain into San Francisco and waited in line to catch a taxi. I talked with the guy in front of me for awhile. He was from the midwest and came to San Francisco on a business trip. He was interesting to get to know, but then a taxi pulled up. To my surprise, he offered me his place. "Thanks!" I said, and hopped in. "Do you know any great places to get Sushi?" I asked the taxi driver. He nodded, and we were off. "Hey," he said, "That guy gave you his seat. Why'd he do that?" "I dunno, I guess you just need to be nice to people and they'll do stuff like that." "You Christian?" he asked. "No sir, just on vacation." <p>The sushi was amazing, but the oysters were pretty terrible. I caught a taxi back to Caltrain, and the taxi driver was as bad as I was with directions. She and I got lost about three times, and we laughed about it. She was probably taking me for a few extra bucks, but I prefer to think she was just new on the job. Anyway, she was nice enough that I didn't care.<p>I flew back home, and everyone anxiously awaited YCombinator's response. All of a sudden, it showed up. No dice. Oh well.<p>It must've been quite an amusing application. Some nineteen year old and his eighteen year old girlfriend with his fifty year old father. And I let the rejection get to me for a day or two, but then I felt stupid. If I didn't apply, I would've missed out on one of the best experiences of my life. I wouldn't have applied to Startup School, or talked with the Weeblies or the Zenters, or made a fool of myself in front of Paul, or been clawed by a giant robot, or stayed up late with everyone working on a Really Cool Idea, or done a loud ten-second countdown before hitting the Submit button, or eaten San Francisco Sushi, or astounded a taxi driver when some random stranger gave me his seat, or felt really good about working as hard as I could on something to show someone else, or a hundred other little things. And all those, I think, are reasons to apply to YCombinator. So go ahead, don't apply... But you might be missing out on a whole lotta fun.<p>But if you don't care about the fun, there are plenty of other reasons. Since you have a deadline, you'll get more done than you ever thought possible. You'll find cofounders where you thought you didn't have any. And you just might get accepted, even if you think your chances are nil. So hurry up, you still have time. Upvote:
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Title: "The new, simple way to customize and control your myspace profile" Upvote:
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Title: This is just a prototype, but wanted to get feedback whether we're accepted or not. What do you think? <p> Upvote:
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Title: Hey, what are the best blogs/websites you read to learn more about good design and usability? I'm sure this could help a few of us here. Upvote:
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Title: OK, I'll kick things off. In our case, we have a US founder and two UK founders, a further two US employees, and a UK employee.. We started life as a UK limited company, and then incorporated a US Delaware parent co. So now the UK company is wholly owned by the Delaware corporation, and all the shareholders hold stock only in the US co.<p>Sound complicated? It is, but entirely doable and we negotiated fixed fees and payment deferral with our US lawyers (UK lawyers are twice the price by the way..).<p>This was not the most efficient way of getting from zero to functioning company, but it has presented us with some interesting options for visas.<p>Firstly, the UK guys (founders and employee) can be employees of the UK company and get B1 visas for the US for the first twelve months . Physically, we can be in US, but be paid by the UK entity.<p>We can do this for 12 months than get E2 (Treaty Investor) visas so long as the US parent continues to be at least 50% owned by UK nationals.<p>Or we can decamp the whole team to Europe for the first year where it's pretty straightforward to get work permits, and get our heads down over there before returning to the US.<p>We can work in the UK for a year and go back to the US on L1 (intra-company transferee) visas. OR We can work in the UK for a year and in that time try for H1Bs (application due in March 1, visas would be valid from October 2008). And a couple of us would probably pass muster as 'Individuals of Extraordinary Ability (the O1 visa) coming to do work in the US in the area of our abilities.<p>So that's our pretty unique situation - however, perhaps there's a lesson there? From the very beginning, explore having two companies - European and US - to give yourself the maximum number of options. Upvote:
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Title: Having been here long enough to witness one funding cycle I'd like to offer some preemptive advice to those of you who aren't invited to interview in a few weeks. <p>For the record, I did apply last round and was not invited. I did not apply for this funding cycle.<p>1). <i>Don't take it personally.</i> <p>YC was kind enough to send a very nice email explaining that their decision wasn't personal. The email explained how their process is fraught with error. They were even nice enough to say there was a good chance they passed over promising groups of hackers. It's not personal and sometimes an application doesn't do justice to your abilities. <p>2). <i>YC is not for everyone</i> <p>Sure, YC would make the whole startup process a lot easier and a lot more exciting, but you can still be very successful without YC. There are lots of successful companies out there that probably haven't even heard of YC. The honest truth is: being successful is completely in your control. <p>3). <i>Don't write scathing blog posts</i> <p>After the decisions were made, a few people wrote scathing blog posts, designed to rip YC a new one. It doesn't work, it won't make you feel better and it just makes you look like an emotional train wreck. Don't air your dirty laundry. If you feel wronged or emotionally charged, refer to #1, then #2, then #4.<p>4). <i>Shorten the cycle</i> <p>Eventually, the rejection will wear off and you'll get back to work. Some people might obsess for a few days, others a few weeks. Eventually though, you will get back to work on your ideas. If that's true, then why not shorten the cycle? Give yourself an hour to feel like crap (if that helps) then get back to work. <p> I know many of you will see this advice as obvious, but when the email notifications go out it won't be. That's why I'm posting it now.<p> Upvote:
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Title: If you applied for this cycle, please enter your email address in the email field on your profile. You can edit your profile by clicking on the name in the upper right when you're logged in.<p>When responding to applications we use the email address of the username under which each was submitted. So if you haven't entered an email address in your profile, you won't hear from us.<p>A substantial number of applicants, including several who seem likely to be invited for interviews, do not currently have any email address in their profile.<p>Later Edit: Never mind. We'll just extract them from the applications. This means you'll get multiple emails per startup though. Upvote:
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Title: "The best place to work, if you want to start a startup, is probably a startup. In addition to being the right sort of experience, one way or another it will be over quickly. You'll either end up rich, in which case problem solved, or the startup will get bought, in which case it it will start to suck to work there and it will be easy to leave, or most likely, the thing will blow up and you'll be free again." - PG<p>So you didn't get into YC. We all know it probably isn't your fault - PG admits that with so many applicants, the choice becomes increasingly arbitrary. The question is: what do you do now? If you're a hacker, you're probably weighing three options: (1) Start your startup anyway; (2) Work for Google, Apple, etc; or (3) Work at someone else's startup<p>If you want to do 1, more power to you. It would have been easier with YC, but if you work hard you could still pull it off. Unfortunately, too many great programmers see only options 1 and 2, and forget that the next best thing to starting your own successful startup, is getting in on someone else's while it's still young. It's also a great path to eventually starting your own company.<p>Although Scribd now has 8 people, working at Scribd is a lot more like doing your own startup than working at a big company. This is true in terms of the work environment: at Scribd you'll work with a bunch of YC hackers, you'll have a huge impact on the product, and you won't have to deal with management or bureaucracy. But - and this is often overlooked - it is also true economically. Valuations are always debatable, but the cash value of the equity you would get in Scribd is actually higher than the cash value of the equity you would get in a new YC startup, which is only about $125K. At Scribd we'll either all get rich or we all won't, and you'll participate in that.<p>Scribd was originally started by the merger of two Y Combinator companies, and since then, everyone who has joined has either been a YC applicant or someone who started a company themselves. YC startups often "cannibalize" each other in that way, and it makes sense. We want to keep this trend going, and right now we need help more than ever to scale our insanely fast-growing website and to develop the technology that is going to revolutionize the way that documents are shared on the Web. <p>If you are interested, send us an email at hackers@scribd.com, or just call Trip's cell phone at 617-335-6685. Feel free to get in touch about anything, even if you just want some advice about what to do now. For more details about working at Scribd and our uncorporate culture, check out our jobs page: <a href="http://www.scribd.com/static/jobs" rel="nofollow">http://www.scribd.com/static/jobs</a><p>Sincerely, Trip, Jared, and Tikhon Upvote:
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Title: After reading the article on fonts, I thought it might be kind of fun to share screen shots of our working environment. Just remember to edit out anything sensitive! Upvote:
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Title: An oft lamented consern is the difficulty in finding a co-founder. Next to this is the regular discussion of what kind of founder to get, how to know you've got a good one... and all the possible problems that can happen when founders don't agree.<p>Well, I'm am old man at almost 40 and I've spent the last 18 years working for startups of less than 100 people, many of them successful, and almost all of them founded by more than one person-- and in almost all situations I knew at least one of the founders very well. <p>The number one thing that caused the unsuccessful companies to fail was fights between the co-founders. And the successful ones-- were ones where the co-founders were very harmonious, because they had worked together for <i>years</i> before founding the company (multiple instances of this.) Of course, there were also instances where co-founders had worked before and they still fought all the time.<p>A co-founder is not what you need, unless you already have one, and you have as good a relationship with them as the best relationship you've ever had with anyone in your life. If you KNOW you're not going to have a problem, then great.<p>But for most of you-- those who don't know others who are as entreprenurial or don't already know someone - and have known for quite awhile that they would be a good co-founder-- you should not get a cofounder.<p>I know that PG says you need a co-founder, but while his intentions are good he's slightly off the mark. Sure, its better to have more than one person in the company... and feel free to call your second thru fourth employees "co-founders" or give them "founders stock"... whatever.<p>But at the end of the day, if its your idea and you are the one who has decided to dedicate the next several years of your life to this project, then found the company and make everyone else who joins you an employee.<p>Employees can have good chunks of stock. But you gotta have the authority question out of the way. You have to be a good leader to run a company... and getting people in you don't know too well works much better when you both know they are employees (Even if they are called founders or whatever, how about "founding team" or "founding employees".) <p>Its better for you to have the ultimate say and make a few wrong decisions, than for you and your co-founders to be fighting.<p>Nobody will ever have as much passion for the idea than the originator, and genuinely visionary people understand their idea on a level and in a context that nobody else will ever... thus you have to lead. <p>Next to Venture Capitalist (who force companies to misallocate funds or go after longshots and abandon sure things), co-founders are the biggest reason companies fail. And actually its even worse- when you have co-founders VCs like to get involved and start manipulating things. <p>Every time I've seen one founder pushed out or marginalized in favor of other founders by the VC firm, the company has not lasted 9 months after that. <p>For an example of the success of a single founder with founderr employees--look at Amazon.com. Bezos is clearly the founder, and he got engineers in early, they got good stock, but they knew what they were. The company would be much different if these employees had thought they were equal with the guy who had the vision.<p>So, those who are desperately seeking a co-founder.... stop... employees are much easier to find anyway. And you can find ones who will take stock as compensation. (Just don't be stingy-- I once was in talks with a company who was building out the founding team and offered me %1 stock plus a serious pay cut... I turned them down-- why take the real risk of a pay cut when there's no equity upside?)<p>Anyway... think about it-- and don't be held up waiting for that founder... start pressing forward without one and when you need to build your team, bring people on who are ready to follow you... and when their egos are not involved, things will go much better.<p> Upvote:
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Title: I've done some research on how many founders successful technology companies have. Here are the numbers for 100 publicly traded companies<p><pre><code> +--------------------+-----------+ | number of founders | frequency | +--------------------+-----------+ | 1 | 40 | | 2 | 31 | | 3 | 17 | | 4 | 6 | | 5 | 2 | | 6 | 1 | | 7 | 1 | | 8 | 1 | | 13 | 1 | +--------------------+-----------+ </code></pre> Some caveats<p>The number of sole founder companies is probably slightly exaggerated because sometimes one person is so much more prominent that the others are never mentioned. I did a little double checking though. Another important thing is that some companies were omitted because I knew only that they had several founders but I wasn't able to find out exactly how many. I suspect there are more companies with 4, 5, 6 or more founders.<p>Unfortunately without numbers about failed companies we still don't know the success ratio of each frequency group, which is what's most interesting for startup founders here. It is well possible that sole founders fail 10 times as often as 2 founder companies, or vice versa. For anyone interested in double checking (yes I'm sure there are errors ;-) here's the full list:<p><pre><code> +-----------------------------+--------------------+ | company | number of founders | +-----------------------------+--------------------+ | ACS | 1 | | Activision | 5 | | Adobe | 2 | | Akamai | 4 | | Altera | 3 | | Amazon | 1 | | AMD | 8 | | Amphenol | 1 | | Analog Devices | 2 | | Ansys | 1 | | Apple | 3 | | Applied Biosystems | 2 | | Aspen Technology | 1 | | Autodesk | 13 | | Avnet | 1 | | Baidu | 2 | | BEA | 3 | | Beckman Coulter | 1 | | BMC | 3 | | Broadcom | 2 | | Brocade | 4 | | CA | 1 | | Canon | 2 | | Cerner | 3 | | Check Point Software | 3 | | CheckFree | 1 | | Cisco | 2 | | Citrix | 1 | | Cognos | 2 | | Compuware | 3 | | CSC | 3 | | Cypress Semiconductor | 1 | | Cytyc | 1 | | Dell | 1 | | Dolby Laboratories | 1 | | Eaton Corp. | 3 | | Ebay | 1 | | Electronic Arts | 1 | | EMC | 2 | | Fiserv | 2 | | Flextronics | 1 | | Garmin | 4 | | Google | 2 | | Harris Corp. | 2 | | HP | 2 | | IBM | 1 | | IMS Health | 2 | | Informatica | 2 | | Infosys | 7 | | Intel | 2 | | Intuit | 2 | | Jabil Circuit | 2 | | Juniper Networks | 3 | | Konami | 1 | | Kyocera | 1 | | Lam Research | 1 | | Logitech | 3 | | LSI Corporation | 3 | | Man Tech | 1 | | McAfee | 1 | | Micron Technology | 2 | | Microsoft | 2 | | Mindray | 1 | | Motorola | 2 | | NetApp | 3 | | Nokia | 1 | | Novell | 4 | | Nvidia | 3 | | Open Text | 1 | | Oracle | 3 | | Parametric Technology Corp. | 1 | | Philips | 1 | | Qualcomm | 2 | | Quest Software | 2 | | RIM | 2 | | Roper Industries | 1 | | SAIC | 1 | | Salesforce | 1 | | SanDisk | 2 | | SAP | 5 | | Satyam | 1 | | Seagate | 2 | | Siemens | 1 | | SRA International | 1 | | Sun Microsystems | 4 | | SunPower | 1 | | Sybase | 2 | | Symantec | 1 | | Synaptics | 2 | | Tellabs | 6 | | Thomson | 1 | | TI | 4 | | Tibco | 1 | | Trimble Navigation | 3 | | VMware | 2 | | Waters Corp. | 1 | | Wipro | 1 | | Xerox | 2 | | Xilinx | 3 | | Yahoo | 2 | +-----------------------------+--------------------+ </code></pre> Upvote:
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Title: I realized this morning what Google's Android initiative reminded me of. Not the iPhone, DOS.<p>If you look at the handheld development market today, it looks disturbingly like the 8-bit computer market from the early 1980s:<p>- multiple incompatible APIs<p>- multiple chipsets<p>- multiple peripheral mechanism<p>- multiple UIs<p> What IBM did was to create a piece of hardware which everyone bought into. And built it out of generic enough parts that it could be cloned. I'm not sure who the equivalent player this time around.<p>More importantly, however, Microsoft made DOS the standard API set for all of those clone manufacturers. Software developers could now code for IBM machines and have it works on a thriving infrastructure for all flavours of clones.<p>Google is attempting to follow the same model by creating a compelling, large, consistent set of phone with a standard API. They're giving it away, in the same manner that Microsoft (inadvertently) did in the 1980's.<p>This is the game that is afoot. From this standpoint, the iPhone is the Amiga: beautiful, functional, better than everything else, and doomed because it doesn't have the API.<p>It is also important to note that while it isn't clear that Google will succeed at this, Microsoft is certain to fail. Handheld application development on Windows Mobile is a freakin' mess. And each successive generation of the product gets worse, both from a UI and an API standpoint.<p>This also explains Java as a development environment: it is the VisualBasic of today. The goal is not to enable the l33t haxxors using Ruby and OCaml and Erlang. It is to unleash the masses of coders that need to write a quick little application to make your barber's appt book link up to his chair scheduler.<p>Android = DOS Upvote:
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Title: Is he "famous" for no reason? He speaks at web 2.0 conferences, there are stories about him on news.yc all the time... (Yes, I'm using the word "famous" liberally.) Why? What has he done exactly?<p>Here's what I've got. Feel free to add more. He:<p>a) worked on rss 1.0 when he was 13. woopty-doo<p>b) there was the Infogami - Reddit merger, which made the AOL - Time Warner merger look like a genius move for Time Warner in comparison. it is often said that aaron added no value after the merger, while taking a huge chunk of reddit's stock in the process. There's a lot more to this story, but I won't go into the details. <p>c) started a half-dozen half-baked startups. (I'm using the word "startup" liberally here).<p>d) has a blog<p>What am I missing? Can we stop up-voting every story that even mentions the guy now? Upvote:
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Title: Come on, you know you want to. Upvote:
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Title: with the exception of programming/technical books, what are your faves? <p>Mine: lotr,ugly americans,the new new thing....<p> Upvote:
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Title: I've heard the argument (also made by PG) that there will always be room for more successful web startups. Do you think it's true?<p>Sometimes I get the feeling that the internet has gotten too crowded. Every idea I think of, someone else has done.<p>But it's more than that. I also sometimes think that mainstream users have a finite number of needs that web applications can satisfy. I think of web applications are like kitchen appliances. Once you have the essentials -- a microwave, a fridge, an oven, a toaster, a coffee maker, and a blender -- new appliances you get have decreasing marginal utility. Sure, you can always get new ones for increasingly esoteric needs, but they are just not as useful as the important ones that almost everyone has.<p>I read about all the new startups on TechCrunch and YC news, and although I think many of them are cool, I don't use 99% of them. Why? Because although they may solve some problem I may or may not have, incorporating them into my life introduces mental overhead. It's like PG's essay about stuff. Having less stuff keeps your head clear. So does using fewer webapps. I'd rather use 5-10 really useful apps than 40-50 marginally useful ones. Although the total utility I can get from the marginally useful apps is greater than zero, this utility doesn't outweigh the disadvantage of having to think about them. They solve some problem, but they also add (virtual) clutter to my life. As a user (which is different from an entrepreneur in the same field) I'd rather not think about them.<p>Will there really be the next big search engine or the next big social networking site? (By big I mean bigger than the entrenched players.) I'm not convinced. Some industries mature and their barriers to entry become too high. (How many new car companies have been started in the last couple of decades? Not many.) Furthermore, after every adoption of a new product, users have a smaller reason to switch. I don't care if ask.com is sometimes better than Google or if some social networking site is slighly less creepy than Facebook. I still use Facebook and Google. They are wired too deep in my cortex. Trying out a competing product just isn't worth the work.<p>I'm sure there will always be <i>technology</i> startups. And there will always be new marginally successful webapps that cater to small niches (I just thought of one: a hot-or-not for pets app that runs on the iPhone! Maybe that's my ticket to riches!) But will there always be the next world-changing <i>web</i> startup?<p>What do you think? Upvote:
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Title: Scalable database as a service.<p>My previous employer Powerset was an early tester, good to see it finally out in the world. Upvote:
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Title: Wishing you and yours a very happy holidays and a great New Year. Upvote:
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Title: Some pretty harsh words... Upvote:
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Title: -Get ready for high highs and low lows, and practice keeping yourself in the middle or you'll never get good work done. You're going to be pretty sure your company is dying at least once a month, and it usually isn't. This is very important and very difficult to learn.<p>-Focus on the product, especially in the early days. You'll have time to make deals later. Now, you've got to build something great.<p>-If you hire, do it very slowly and carefully. The culture of a company is set very early, and so is the quality of the team.<p>-Don't be afraid to change your idea if the market seems bad. Early is a good time to do it. You can change your product, you can change your team, you can change your sales strategy, but you can probably not create a market. Good startups surf someone else's wave.<p>-Figure out what the important things are, and spend lots time on those and little on the rest. Lots of startups work very hard, but on the wrong things. They still die an untimely death.<p>-Watch out for fights and brewing tension among cofounders (ie, make sure everyone feels they have a reasonably fair deal). I've seen this derail more early startups than anything else. And, if you are really sure you have the wrong cofounder, fire fast.<p>-The startups in my Y Combinator 'class' that tanked the fastest were the ones that spent the most time worrying about option grants for members of their board of advisors and the least time on their product. Could be a coincidence, but why risk it? Build your product.<p>-Great products, technology, and people win the day in the long run. History backs this up. Do not be afraid of competitors without them, no matter how much money they raise or how much noise they make.<p>-It's most tempting to give up right before you're about to succeed.<p>Best of luck, Sam Altman Upvote:
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Title: I currently consider taking on another job, but to be honest, I am a bit daunted by the prospect of working 8 hours straight, every day. I have times when I work more, when I get into the flow, but what if I don't? Recently I have read more than once in popular blogs that 2-3 hours of real work per day are more realistic.<p>In previous jobs, I found 8 hours very hard to do. Maybe it is only my problem because I frequently don't sleep very well and on some days am almost too tired to work. No idea how other people consistently pull 60h work weeks, though. Except perhaps if most of the time is spent in meetings, which is not so taxing (many people doing overtime seem to be managers or team leaders, which might indicate many meetings).<p>Also, in all previous jobs I ended up surfing the internet a lot. I don't really like that, though - I want to give employers their money's worth. Or do I just have the wrong attitude towards employment?<p>I suspect surfing the internet is a bit like coffee, news sites are small little excitement spikes for the brain. But maybe I am addicted, and they say coffee makes you more nervous and less able to show consistent performance over an extended period of time. So perhaps if I could wean of the news while at work, working 8 hours would become possible? Or would my brain deteriorate completely (I should add that I usually work as a Java developer).<p>Edit: one thing I liked about consulting and billing by the hour is that at least if I went home early, I would just charge the client less, so I did not have to feel too bad about it. Maybe I am just not cut out for regular employment? Upvote:
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Title: You're all over the place. Your current karma is over 8000. How much time do you spend submitting links, etc...? Any tips or tricks?<p>By the way, thanks for the hard work in making the site better. Upvote:
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Title: We are very excited to announce that Anywhere.FM has been acquired by imeem (http://www.imeem.com), the leading social media network.<p>Since our launch last August, Anywhere.FM has been dedicated to making it easy to upload, play, and share your music wherever you go. We have listened to our users and worked hard to provide them with the best music playback experience available on the Internet. The millions of tracks that our users have uploaded to Anywhere.FM over the last 6 months prove to us that we have been successful in achieving this goal.<p>Today's announcement broadens the scope of Anywhere.FM's ambitions, bringing us together with imeem, a social networking site with a media-centric approach to connecting consumers. With imeem, users can enjoy, recommend and discover not only music, but film, video, TV programming and art, and connect with people who share similar tastes.<p>Anywhere.FM will continue to exist as a standalone site for our users to enjoy. At the same time, we will bring many of the innovations of Anywhere.FM to the imeem community as well as the broader internet community in the near future. We'll also keep on innovating on the Anywhere.FM website. We have some interesting ideas on how to best leverage imeem's audience and media content to further enrich the Anywhere.FM experience.<p>We hope you are as excited as we are about this acquisition. We have lots in store for you - we'll be sure to keep you posted in the coming months as we unveil our exciting plans.<p>Feel free to share your ideas and feedback with us at feedback@anywhere.fm.<p>Sincerely,<p>Anson, Lux, and Sachin The Anywhere.FM Team<p>http://www.anywhere.fm Upvote:
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Title: Hi! Want to get some conversations going here. How's your startup doing right now?<p>Any planned launch dates?<p>What's your startup anyway?<p>We're quite busy with ours, we were ready to release a beta, but choose to redesign and refactor things again. What about yours? Upvote:
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Title: I am in my early thirties and honestly, I cant claim to have a good background in math.<p>But, I now have a burning desire to learn it from the ground-up.<p>What are the 'canonical' sources for math, both online and offline? I am lost as to where I should start. I want to have a fundamental, intuitive understanding of it.<p>To clarify, I would not consider it shameful to start at whatever level necessary (even the lowest, if required). Upvote:
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Title: After reading a codinghorror article I came across this in a comment:<p><i>Good programmers also figure out their best method of self-learning. I'm one of the oddballs that reads the entire manual.</i><p>That struck me as interesting. I know I learn in what's probably quite an unusual way. I'd be interested to know how other people here learn.<p>I teach myself new stuff in a <i>very</i> exploratory way. For each of the new languages I've learned since starting at justin.tv I've spent probably five or ten minutes learning the syntax. Then I jump in and start writing a real program that needs to be released within a week or so. I usually start by writing a "hello world" program, and just add stuff to that until it does what I want (of course, as I learn new tricks I frequently <i>remove</i> a bunch of stuff). If the language has a REPL I use it constantly. If not, I fake it by just printing expressions in my program, and working in a tight loop of editing and running the program again and again to see how the output changes.<p>I rarely use a reference at this stage unless it's to achieve something concrete. For example, I find myself googling things like "actionscript string search", but only <i>after</i> trying a couple of likely-seeming things myself (i.e. I'll actually just write things like trace("foobar".find("bar")) and trace("foobar".index("bar")), etc until the compiler stops whining or I run out of things to try).<p>Funnily enough, after I've written a real program that works, and I feel like I understand the language a bit, <i>then</i> I go back and read the reference books thoroughly. It doesn't work the other way for me - I need to have had the exploratory phase and built up some context so that I can read the books properly (and it's fun to read the books at that point and remember how I "discovered" each feature that's discussed). Upvote:
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Title: Thanks to a fix by Patrick Collison, utf-8 now seems to work right. Upvote:
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Title: Io is a small, prototype-based programming language. The ideas in Io are mostly inspired by Smalltalk (all values are objects), Self (prototype-based), NewtonScript (differential inheritance), Act1 (actors and futures for concurrency), LISP (code is a runtime inspectable/modifiable tree) and Lua (small, embeddable). Upvote:
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Title: Just wondering how many people here have been self-funding/bootstrapping their projects and how has that been working for you?<p>Personally, we've been self-funding Openomy (http://www.openomy.com) since it began in mid-2005. Overall, I wouldn't change a thing. We now have 50K+ users, a scalable infrastructure, and full control over what happens with the site.<p>That said, I think we hurt ourselves by not looking to take _any_ capital: we spent a lot of time rearchitecting our infrastructure to scale, and we still work on the project only on the side. If we could have hired a couple engineers and worked full-time, I think we could be much further along in completing our vision. We may have even been able to do more marketing (more == any)! ;)<p>Still, to note just how cheap it is to do a project like this these days, we spend &#60;$1000/month on our servers (colocation/bandwidth + S3), and $0/month on anything else.<p>I'd love to hear from others and to see how bootstrapping/self-funding has treated you, what you enjoy the most, what the hardest part is, etc. Upvote:
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Title: Did I forget to say you may be quizzed on this book on the interview... ;-) Upvote:
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Title: Massive S3 outage. Seems to affect other AWS services (SDB, SQS) as well.<p>Other AWS services are down too ... EC2 http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/thread.jspa?threadID=19715&#38;tstart=0 SQS http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/thread.jspa?threadID=19713&#38;tstart=0 Upvote:
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Title: I have always wondered what the drivers were behind motivation. I am sure all of us have experienced setbacks and we have had to re-motivate ourselves every now and then.<p>We have been working on a startup idea for almost an year now. The initial days were fantastic, we were totally convinced we had hit upon a brilliant idea, there was vacuum to be filled. We worked crazy hours, got a lot of stuff done. Needless to say we were highly motivated.<p>But lately, I am personally having trouble motivating myself. I see myself squandering valuable time that I could have utilized. We suddenly seem to have a few competitors and it suddenly appear as though we don't have a unique value proposition.<p>And I have been pondering over this for some time now. I do realize that the lack of motivation is a sign that things have to be done differently, or something needs to change. We either need to course-correct, change gears, think of a different market, a different approach or just look into ourselves honestly and understand ourselves better.<p>I was hoping to find some answers to my misgivings through this forum. I have benefited from news.yc in the past and I have no doubt that you guys will help us bounce back.<p>So here are my questions to sum things up:<p>1. What do you do when things are not going the way you want them to?<p>2. When do you know its time to change? (eg: market, process, partners.. etc)<p>3. When do you know its time to call it quits? (to start working on a different problem)<p>I would really be thankful if some of you could share your experiences so that all of us benefit.<p>Thanks!!! Upvote:
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Title: Any Hacker News submission that is also on Reddit front page need to be flagged for review or hidden until approved by admin. Exceptions would be (programming,math,science etc).reddit<p>While this won't solve all the fluff related issues, it will still do a lot of good I think.<p>What do you think? Upvote:
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Title: Here's my problem, I know, HTML, CSS, and I'm already learning JavaScript. The thing is that I want to learn about server side programming, Python, Ruby, etc. But I also need to know DB like SQL. So where do I start? Upvote:
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Title: I鈥檓 trying to get a feel for what a single person鈥檚 burn rate would be in the valley. I know the cost of living there is supposed to be among the highest in the US. What can someone in Silicon Valley expect to pay each month in rent, food, utilities, car insurance, and gas? Upvote:
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Title: This is Ryan from Fuzzwich. Check out the screencast at http://www.fuzzwich.com/animator if you have not already. The Fuzzwich Animator is the start and the foundation of our new online animation studio. We're very excited by the new focus and look forward to inviting everyone to animate in the near future. We're also very curious to your feedback, so please sound off! Upvote:
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Title: The company I am a part of is in talks with another company and I am wondering if a 3-4 times earnings buyout would be fair?<p>Some background: the Start-up is 8 months old, and is primarily e-commerce based with plans to move into corporate and retail avenues. The growth has been exponential, and we have been profitable since 2 months after launch, with profits growing at least 110% each month (ie, we were profitable 16k one month, then the next we were 35k profitable, last month we hit 160k in Net Profit).<p>P.S. - Market Size: Every Internationally Traveling U.S. Citizen.<p>P.P.S. - I would not stay after the technology integration and neither would half of the employees. Upvote:
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Title: Previously due to work and other reasons (I have a large amount of windows knowledge) I have been a windows user. This week, my first mac book pro arrived.<p>I'm looking for developer tools and tweaks, and cool programs that I'd know if I was a mac regular. On windows I'd point myself to sysinternals programs, registry hacks like opening a command prompt in a folder from explorer and registering dll's from a right click, tortoisesvn, putty, etc. For background, I'm doing development in rails at the moment.<p>So what do you suggest? So far I have quicksilver and growl. Upvote:
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Title: I started my programming love life with Apple //c. After that, I've mostly used relatively inexpensive laptops running Linux / school PCs.<p>But I am seeing almost all 'budding hackers' nowadays coding on a Macbook/pro. Startup School is full of Macs!<p>pg said that Mac lets him drag and drop code from vim to repl - and he was very happy about it. Is it little things like that or is there a cumulative reduction in friction everywhere that justifies the bigger price tag? Is customizing a Mac easy or do they throw arbitrary hurdles at you like with the iPod/iPhone?<p>I currently run Gutsy on Lenovo T61 for dev. I don't want to miss out on the Mac if there are significant advantages. Upvote:
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Title: My question is meant to be open-ended and not limited to programming. My examples:<p>Meta-programming, in ruby (the power of code that creates code, being released from the tyranny of typing)<p>Social psychology (Social proof, hacks for relating to people, hacks for appealing to the opposite sex, hacks for reading people)<p>Economics (Why the minimum wage is damaging, why free trade is good) Upvote:
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Title: Would you mind quantifying some numbers based on the TC front page treatment - before and after?<p>Pageviews? New users? Submissions? Comments? Anything else interesting? Upvote:
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Title: I'll start it off:<p>- O'Reilly's Python in a Nutshell<p>- A 12" PB (I use my old PB as a more capable "kimble" and for quick SSHing into my servers)<p>- And to preempt the half-dozen comments suggesting them: Founders at Work &#38; Hackers and Painters Upvote:
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Title: A collection of some old methods, revisited. After looking back and trying to figure out what separates one [productive] day from the next [unproductive day], here are some commonalities I've noticed. Upvote:
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Title: We've made the startup school application reader import karma scores from News.YC, so we can consider karma as a factor. (It is a meaningful one, because it shows your contributions are valued by your peers.) It matches people based on email addresses, so if you have high karma on News.YC and you're applying to startup school, make sure the email addr in your profile is identical with the one you used in applying.<p>We've noticed people using forms like whatever (at) gmail in their profiles. As well as making it impossible to match user accounts with applications, this isn't necessary, because your email addr isn't displayed to anyone except to you and editors. Upvote:
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Title: So, what is your favorite startup related quote? Upvote:
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Title: A Quick Way To See If a website is down for Everyone or Just You written by Twitter developer Alex Payne Upvote:
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Title: Since Mary Shelley published 'Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus' in the early part of the nineteenth century, there's been an awful lot of sci-fi written. Which books do you recommend and why? Upvote:
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Title: My partner and I will be launching our startup in a week or two. We will subsequently be moving to San Jose, CA on June 8th to pursue our venture full time. We will be staying at a great 4 bedroom single home in a fantastic area.<p>Our startup is small, just the two of us. So that means we will have two rooms to spare, rather than renting the rooms to some total (useless) strangers i would rather have two (useful) hackers stay.<p>I came up with an interesting solution. Why not let hackers stay for free as long as they provided some contribution to the house and our project. It would make for great environment, an environment of education,networking and most of all, fun. So if you think you would be interested in staying in the "hacker house" submit a short application to us via our e-mail. Include your Name,background,projects/demos,and what you would add to the house.<p>We would like for the interested YCers to be from the east coast or Midwest, people that normally wouldn't have the opportunity to move to bay area. A younger crown is preferred, i'm 22 and my partner is 23. For many reason, men only. You don't have to be a hacker, but it's strong recommended.<p>Please understand that there will no compensation besides room and board and possibly a community car(i'm not sure yet, i have to check with insurance company).food?ramen?. You will be responsible for all travel expenses. We will also have a crash couch for any hackers that are passing through. We simply ask that the guest write a blog post on our blog about themselves/company. I'm sure i'm forgetting a lot of info, but i'll be setting up a simple dedicated site just for the house soon.<p>Feel free to subscribe to my twitter feed for more info.http://twitter.com/cbomb Upvote:
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Title: What crazy, wonderful ideas would you implement if your income came from a different source (such as a day job), and, as such, you simply wanted to make things people want, but didn't have the pressure to monetize? Upvote:
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Title: That's a quote from the movie Gattaca by the main character answering his genetically superior brother's question as to how he beat him in a swimming competition in the ocean.<p>I really like that quote, and thought it was appropriate at a time when YC apps are coming due. Jessica Livingston says in "Founders at Work" that the common trait between the founders was determination. Maybe the best example that I can remember is Evan Williams who went through a lot before Blogger was successful (losing friends and more).<p>What has struck you guys as the best modern-day example of determination (it need not have turned out successful)?<p>Another good one was the guy the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" was based off of (though I'm not sure how accurate that story was) Upvote:
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Title: I've been getting a lot of private and public feedback suggesting I stop posting about Hacker News on TechCrunch because it's polluting the community. Do you guys think I'm hurting the site, not helping? Upvote:
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Title: Hi, I recently shut down my first startup ever. I am having a really tough time getting over it and starting all over again. A feeling of extreme weakness and failure has taken all over me , clouding my judgement. Any tips on getting back to normalcy would be highly appreciated. Upvote:
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Title: the pre-edited version lives here http://blog.auctomatic.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/bbc6.html Upvote:
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Title: I recently read something on A List Apart going against sign up forms, but what about activation emails? Are they a big no no, or a useful tool in the fight against bots? Is there any proof that an activation email actually drives away users? Upvote:
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Title: Prior to coming across Paul's essays I had relegated myself to never being able to have a start up. I'm an Economics major in college right now, and I suppose I assumed a tech start up was for the comp sci guys.<p>Reading Paul's essays along with some other stuff -- like the fact that two of the founders of Auctomatic didn't know how to hack prior to starting it -- has been pretty empowering. In one of Paul's essays he mentioned that someone who's smart could probably pick up hacking within about 6 months to a year, which was definitely much shorter than I imagined.<p>All of it has really piqued my curiosity. I have some free time over the summer and I thought there's probably no better time to learn something new, but I can't even figure out where to begin!<p>So I come to you, the hackers of YC News! If you were completely new to programming and you hoped to some day try your hand at a web start up, what route would you take? What language would you learn? How would you learn it? If there's anything else you think is noteworthy, I'd be extremely grateful if you could share it! Upvote:
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Title: T<p>I've been a member of Hacker News (actually Startup News when I joined) for over a year now. I've learned a lot here and been exposed to a lot of interesting ideas. Recently, however, I've often seen the front page have at least 10% of the stories be either more Reddit-worthy or be submissions discussing how to combat Hacker News deteriorating into just-another-news-site.<p>With the value I'm getting from Hacker News being much lower than it was when I joined (and up to a couple months ago), I think it's time for me to go. There have been several posts I've seen on the front page where I've wanted to say, "Well, this is definitely it," but I think it's better this way, to just keep it to my own submission and leave.<p>Best of luck to everyone on their ventures and in your lives in general. If I ever get something going, I'll be sure to mention it here first.<p>Thank you for some great discussions. Upvote:
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Title: Recently I've been hearing my registrar (GoDaddy.com) getting slammed for domain stealing and other horrors. Though I've never been affected, I figure it's a good idea to become knowledgeable about other best-in-breed services. Can anyone recommend other domain registrars that are great for managing large numbers of domains? Upvote:
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Title: A picture is worth 1K - 3 * 2^3 words:<p>http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/pubs/jul00/radar.jpg<p>That's a phased-array radar installation that (I understand) was built to detect Soviet ballistic missiles inbound over the North Pole. Google has more images.<p>The term "Phased Array" has interesting implications here. It means that received phase information is preserved among the many small antenna elements on each face of the structure. That only works if the paths traversed by the antenna outputs are all the same length (modulo lambda), with a margin of error around .1 * lambda, where lambda is a representative wavelength of the received signal.<p>This thing uses microwave signals [1], which means we can reformulate the preceding paragraph as follows: You're looking at a picture of a single circuit the size of a large office building, built to a precision of 100 microns. Now's a good time to point out that little yellow thing in the lower left corner of the image is probably some kind of earth-moving machine.<p>The US military built a number of these installations in Alaska and Canada during the Cold War. Let's pause here to think about all the structure-hardening and weatherproofing that must have been involved.<p>What does this have to do with Lisp? It's not an exaggeration to say that building and maintaining these early warning systems required the attention of at least a third of all American microwave engineers [2]. When the Cold War ended, most of them left the big contractors the DoD hired to build the radar and started doing basically the same work for cellular companies [3]. Ten or fifteen years later, mobile phones became ubiquitous.<p>In the case of Lisp, there was no continuity in the transition. Common Lisp, in particular, was primarily in use by a rarefied group of specialists working on room-sized computers at places like DARPA, thinking about things like AI for driving tanks across central Germany. When the funding dried up and the specialists had to move on [4], they found work writing C, Perl, or Java on microcomputers. So Lisp lost its user base and the last of its major hardware platforms (now that you couldn't buy a Lisp Machine any more) all at once.<p>Of course, when programmers discuss Lisp's continuing lack of popularity, <i>regardless of their opinion of the language itself</i>, they seem a lot more willing to blame things programmers ultimately control, like the social habits of Lisp users or the damn parentheses.<p>[1] I'm not a microwave guy, so some of this explanation is simplistic almost to the point of inaccuracy. In particular, I don't know what frequency bands these installations use.<p>This is as good a place as any to point out that I also have no special knowledge about Lisp at big organizations after the end of the Cold War. People who do are strongly encouraged to email me if I've gotten anything wrong.<p>[2] I don't have a citation for this number, but one of my old professors does. I'll see if I can get him to email it to me.<p>[3] "3G" cellular technology would be unworkable without big antenna arrays<p>[4] A lot of the "classic" books on Lisp and related topics were written during this period. SICP, PAIP, and On Lisp, and The Seasoned Schemer come to mind. Upvote:
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Title: Theory-wise, there's regular languages, context-free grammars, and combinatorial categorial grammars ( http://openccg.sf.net ). But regular + lists seems adequate for most tasks.<p>What sorts of scraping do you find yourself doing?<p>What are your biggest frustrations?<p>What's the coolest hack you've encountered while scraping?<p>My cofounder and I have been working on a domain-specific language to make scraping quick and easy, so that you can write, say, 100 different website scrapers in less time -- http://dartbanks.com/simplescrape . We'd love feedback on this approach. Upvote:
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Title: got a no :( Upvote:
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Title: I read somewhere that when choosing a language for your start-up you should pick the most powerful language available (e.g. why Viaweb picked lisp). This sounds obvious, but I can't help but feel like if you build a great product using unpopular language X and your competitor builds a slightly (or even significantly) worse product with popular language Y, then a buyer would prefer your competitor's product for the reasons large companies prefer popular languages in the first place. Has this ever actually been a problem for somebody? Upvote:
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Title: Some people reading this are kicking themselves for not having applied to for YC. Some people reading this got rejected yesterday. Some people reading will be rejected in a couple weeks. And all of us have a lot of rejection on the horizon or under our belts.<p>Get used to it. Let's hack the system.<p>Two of the main things that YC provides are connections and other smart people to bounce your ideas off of. Let's build that.<p>I've set up a few things to further that today:<p>- A Hacker News LinkedIn group. You can connect by going to my profile and connecting from there. I've not found a reliable way to send a link other than that. Add a line to your "Groups and Associations" with your news.YC nick. I'll add everyone in with over 20 karma -- just enough to establish active community members. (If you get rejected, it's because either because the info isn't there, or your profile isn't public. Just add it and re-request.)<p>http://www.linkedin.com/pub/7/8a8/6a3<p>- A mailing list for entrepreneurs. The contents will remain private (though I'd still use some caution when posting your secret sauce). This isn't for general news. You can bounce business ideas off of others, ask for help in establishing connections and look for partners, co-founders, etc. there. If you can, subscribe with an address from your startup. If not, I'll send you a follow-up mail to figure out what you're hacking on. This one is for people that are already working on a startup, not just passively interested. We'll be incorporating soon, and we'll consider swapping minor stakes (1% or so) with another startup or three where we see there could be a mutually reinforcing relationship and where we value your input. If others consider the same that might be a cool way to pull the community together a bit.<p>http://lists.directededge.com/listinfo.cgi/startups-directededge.com<p>- I'm in the process of setting up a small web-app where we can store extended Hacker-News profile information with stuff we know about (i.e. "connections to angel funding", "friends that are driver developers", "ajax") and stuff we're looking for other people that know about, and an index of those. This should allow for some info swapping and ideally will suck less than LinkedIn for such things. Paul, if you're reading and would consider that as a patch to the news.YC source, I'd be fine dusting off my lisp chops and doing it that way, otherwise it can live on our servers. Once it's up I'll post source code for anyone that wants to extend it and work with us. I'll mail the list and possibly repost here when it's ready.<p>Now, let's get back to kicking ass. Upvote:
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Title: The Department of Homeland Security just extended the Optional Practical Training period that international students gets on their F-1 visa after graduation from 12 to 29 months (for students graduating in science / math / engineering). This should be enough time to get a startup off the ground before having to worry about applying for a longer-term visa (usually an H-1B). Upvote:
56
Title: I wrote a "social" site but I'm having a hard time attracting users. What your experiences with promoting your site? Have you successfully started a forum before, and if so, how? Upvote:
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Title: My friend noticed this: If you login to your tumblr account then manually go to /admin it takes you to the systemwide tumblr admin... wow. Upvote:
80
Title: Hehe, I made it to TC now how cool is that. Upvote:
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Title: There's a great online book called "The Hacker's Diet" (http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/www/hackdiet.html) which is a no-bullshit dieting/fitness book written by an engineer with the assumption that the reader is fairly smart and rational. He even has some nifty Excel charts. I lost 50 pounds with his approach. Self-help books are usually total drivel with no respect for the reader, so I wish there were tons more written like this one, but on other topics.<p>But I figure starting a discussion about a problem I have (and others here might) could be a good idea...<p>Anyway, as I've worked on my business in my spare hours, I've gradually refined my methods for planning projects and getting work done. I'm more productive than I was a year ago, but there's kind of a blind spot that maybe other folks here don't have.<p>I've noticed the biggest bottleneck stopping me from efficiently accomplishing the tasks I've set up for myself is just my mood. I'll have a clear definition of what needs to be done, full confidence in where I'm going with things, and I'll sit down and just think "aw, damn, I feel like shit." Then I'll generally waste time until it's 1am and I need to sleep. This happens 1-2 nights a week.<p>I'm looking for news.yc folks to try to get some rational insights on on the irrational problem of keeping your mood in check and focusing on what matters, when you're just one guy.<p>How do you guys deal with emotional problems?<p>How do you avoid ruminating on things in your day that have pissed you off? This is my biggest issue.<p>What kind of non-computer things can you readily do to get away from it? What kind of breaks do you take, and what do you do?<p>What time of day do you work on your own stuff? Do you ever forgo sleep to hack into the night if it's going well, or do you always get your eight hours? Which is better in the long run?<p>These might seem like goofy or stupid questions, but I think discussing them in a nifty forum like News.YC might yield some good insights.<p>My thinking is that while some emotional problems are complex and difficult, a good number of them can be solved simply. I've noticed, for instance, that about half of the time I feel like dying, the trifecta of a shower, a nap, and a bowl of chili reverses the feeling 100%.<p>I had a few thoughts and suggestions around things that <i>have</i> worked well for me, but this post is long enough, so I'll leave this open. Thanks! Upvote:
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Title: I'm not asking anything, I'm telling.<p>I just wanted to say thanks for organizing this event. Coming from outside the valley, it's a little harder to get access to learn from such high-profile people.<p>I had a wonderful time connecting with different people and hearing their stories and startups. Good luck to everyone I talked to that have YC interviews!<p>Thanks again YCombinator and everyone who made it possible. I had a great time and learned a lot. Upvote:
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Title: Everyone has probably read about or seen DHH's talk by now, where he advocates attempting to create small/medium sized, sustainable companies with a simple, direct business model (sell something directly to your customers).<p>A lot of his examples are from 'real world' products (Italian restaurants, say), that clearly have very different economics from on line businesses. The marginal cost of another bottle of Bardolino is not indifferent, even though the markup is also going to be good. The marginal cost of another basecamp customer is very small. Also, his Craigslist example was not particularly compelling for me. Those guys dominated their market, but more because people flock to the site because everyone else does (network effects). Their choice to keep things small/real seems like a very conscious one, but not necessarily something they could get away with if, say, they were kijiji and eBay were the owner of Craigslist.<p>So, my question: what other web or software companies make a living the 37signals way? What are they key characteristics of their markets? Obviously they can't be in a winner take all market dominated by network effects. Upvote:
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Title: I know about and have done Toastmasters. Are there any other effective ways to develop my interpersonal abilities, besides reading "How to Make Friends and Influence People" etc? Upvote:
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Title: 74 days ago, you said:<p>"the Wufoos are such animals that, on their territory, no one could compete with them, not even Google"<p>I asked:<p>"Can you be a little more specific? Maybe 5 or so bullets. What kinds of things should the rest of us be focusing on to be more Wufoo like competitors. I'd love to be so good that pg would never want to have me as a competitor."<p>You responded:<p>"Thanks; I think I may have just figured out what to talk about at startup school."<p>The link:<p>http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=110725<p>Since you changed your mind about your Startup topic, how about a bonus essay? Or even a short answer here. Aspiring animals want to know.<p>Thanks. Upvote:
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Title: If Android manages to clear the porting obstacles that await it as it's distributed over more than one reference device, and if it manages to deliver a high bar of quality (at least as high as the SDK has shown so far), it could really change the way we live/work. Those are some big ifs ... but some exciting ones nonetheless. Upvote:
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Title: If anyone is considering making a YCombinator site search or wants to perform an analysis of historical posts then we've made a dataset available at http://www.xirium.com/ycombinator-news20080424.tar.gz<p>The dataset is 100MB, so only download it if you need it. This dataset may be removed in the next week or so. Upvote:
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Title: It has been more than a week since nickb was seen here. Am I the only person worried?<p>He didn't show up in Startup School though he said he would. I hope he is okay. Upvote:
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Title: I am new to Python/Django and have been hacking away happily with it. Any good tutorials out there that google isn't picking up in the first few pages or so? I know it's not as popular as Rails (yet!) to have crazy books with scratch to painted up pretty sites, but any good learn by doing examples out there (besides the few obvious first few pages of google and the Django official book). Bonus: If you are such a passionate python/django hacker, why don't you share with us your wonderful tutorial skills and write a b0|0k<p>My current comprehension level:- Damaged by Java, love at first sight with python. Hungry for more django. Upvote:
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Title: Just wondering whether you can provide numbers for the companies you've funded - such as how many of them got acquired, how many of them got VC funding, how many closed their shop, how many are still running well and making some good money etc. thanks. Upvote:
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Title: I'm curious to find out what grads from CS programs are getting offered. The last post by Spolsky seemed to say that MSFT is offering starting salaries close to 6 figures.<p>s this accurate? Can anyone corroborate? If you're graduating and have offers on the table, would you mind posting a ball-park figure of what you're getting offered? I'd love to hear it. Upvote:
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Title: I'm looking into software load balancers and so far the 4 that seem to standout are:<p>- Nginx (http://nginx.net/) - Pound (http://www.apsis.ch/pound/) - HAProxy (http://haproxy.1wt.eu/) - Perlbal (http://www.danga.com/perlbal/)<p>Does anybody have experience using any of these, in live production environments (under reasonably heavy usage), and if so what pros and cons do you see with them ? Upvote:
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Title: One of my favorite pieces of classic computing folklore. Upvote:
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