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Ask HN: What is your biggest business expense besides salaries?
56 points by cronjobma  8 hours ago   34 comments top 14
nodesocket 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Health insurance in San Francisco which according to my quick research using Blue Shield[1] is some of most expensive.

Most people who work at tech companies in the bay area don't pay for their insurance, or pay very little. It's just considered part of benefits.

I think they'd be shocked if they had to pay full retail price for it. Also, the government subsidies only apply if your making less than 50k a year, so most likely everybody would be paying full retail price if not for their employer.

 [1] - Blue Shield monthly cost for Silver 70 PPO Downtown San Francisco $462.54 Downtown San Diego $388.22 Santa Barbara $372.58 Beverly Hills $342.53

rrggrr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Health Insurance

2. Marketing & Advertising.

3. Rent.

4. Employer Share of Payroll Taxes.

5. Other Insurance (eg. Workman's comp, General liability, etc.)

6. IT (Including AWS).

7. Legal & Accounting.

02thoeva 7 hours ago 2 replies      
AWS fees. We're an email marketing platform, we send around 150m emails a month, all of which we need to store and process clicks/opens on.
manyxcxi 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Health insurance is by far the largest, but I generally consider that part of salary when I'm thinking about costs.

After that it's hosting (we have no on-prem infrastructure), AWS is probably 85% of that cost.

preinheimer 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Hosting. I'm a co-founder at https://wonderproxy.com, so our product is having servers all over. It starts to add up after a while.

Jumping down an order of magnitude we've got: software, bank fees/processing fees, insurance, taxes.

We were really happy when our salaries passed our hosting bills and stayed there.

corford 4 hours ago 0 replies      
At the moment, aggregate SaaS costs and data licensing but I expect marketing to eventually become the biggest cost after salaries (or even the biggest overall).
TazeTSchnitzel 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking at some of these comments, it'd be great if more of them were contextualised with the particular line of business.
superasn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Marketing and ads and site Support. All other expenses like hosting, rent, etc are very small compared to these two.
TheAnimus 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Office Space, after salaries and employer taxes is our biggest per employee cost.
dangrossman 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Credit card processing fees.
muzani 4 hours ago 0 replies      
For e-commerce, logistics.
kidlogic 4 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Salaries

2. Benefits

3. Contracting

4. Rent

yeldarb 7 hours ago 1 reply      
30% platform tax



edoceo 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Advertising + Trade Shows


Ask HN: Know of any non-digital toys/games that teach, for 6-10 year olds?
46 points by vijayr  9 hours ago   58 comments top 36
ramphastidae 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I think the best gift for kids is still Legos. I spent hours building miniature cities, vehicles, homes, train systems, etc. as a kid. My children love them too. It's a great way to develop imagination and motor skills. I would personally avoid the branded sets, although that may just be my bias.
Inityx 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a big fan of K'NEX http://www.knex.com/knex-education
__s 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I commend you for wanting to teach children alternatives to digital. While binary & hexadecimal are popular, especially if you want to get them into the nuts & bolts of computers, I'd be interested to hear any reflections on duodecimal. I'm not too big a fan of this counting method: https://mihaslekovec.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/duodecimal-... as it comes off as a bit too digitcentric for my tastes

Balanced ternary could be a real fun starting point-- getting negative numbers involved asap surely has some great benefits. I think if balanced ternary was exposed to children more often at an early age we'd have a lot of these new fangled type level numbers being balanced ternary. I was playing around with implementing such in Rust: https://github.com/serprex/lambdaski/blob/master/src/typenum...

Binary comes off as particularly weak when type systems are still resolving lambda terms / prolog logic as associative maps & trees. http://repository.readscheme.org/ftp/papers/topps/D-456.pdf benchmarks 5 as being an ideal radix perfwise, but that does seem implementation dependent

My father wrote a song reflecting on our digital world: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw-au4sqKD2gWVJqOGFzSEVoakx...Stay strong & good luck

heymijo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Math Games

1) Prime Climbhttps://www.amazon.com/Math-for-Love-Prime-Climb/dp/B00PG959...

2) Tiny Polka Dotshttps://www.amazon.com/Math-For-Love-Tiny-Polka/dp/B01N1UUHP...

- Tiny Polka Dots might seem too basic, but counting is this complex topic that we forget because, well, we know how to count. Lots of downstream advantages of having the kind of secure understanding a kid can get from understanding counting inside and out. Tiny Polka Dots can help.

Yetanfou 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Give them a bunch of tools - hammer, saw, screwdriver, ruler, pencil, hand-powered drill, pair of pliers - and some scrap material (left-over planks, some thin sheet material, some small nails and screws, etc) to work on. Add a bottle of wood glue and some paint, preferably left-overs from other paint jobs to make them feel more at ease at wasting some and appreciate the fact that things don't have to be brand-spanking new to be useful. Help them along a bit but don't get in the way. They might make swords, bows, arrows, cars, horse stables, houses, whatever fits their fancy. The results might not be perfect but they're the work of their own hands and minds.

Yes, a 6yo can learn to use a saw, just make sure it is sized accordingly and has small teeth - both because they are easier to use as well as less likely to cause injury.

Z1515M8147 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It's an obvious one, but I think there's something to be said for a simple three-in-one chess, draughts and backgammon set. The upfront cost is small but the long term benefits are vast.
ams6110 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Have them try sports. Don't force them, but try a few and see if any stick. It's a huge social advantage for the rest of their lives both as something to do and something to talk about.
j_s 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"Robot Turtles. This game teaches kids 4+ the ins and outs of programming in a fun, tactile game."

https://amzn.com/B00HN2BXUY $21.89

(originally a Kickstarter)

jlg23 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Math: Skat[1] is an awesome card game with rules that fit on the back of a single card (basic version) and that trains addition and multiplication. AFAIK it is/was accepted as a teaching tool in Thuringia's schools. (usually for 3 players, a 2 player variation is described in the WP-article).

Literature: A membership in the local library was enough for me.

Problem Solving: Chess and related board games; any kind of puzzles - I loved metal puzzles where I had to separate/join pieces (e.g. those found here[2] - not endorsing the shop, just the first hit on DDG).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skat_(card_game)

[2] http://www.zoompuzzles.com/Metal-Puzzles_c_15-2.html

avip 8 hours ago 1 reply      

 Tanagram Frisbee Bike Prism Magnifying glass

ajarmst 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A kickstarted I supported is Turing Tumble, a simple Turing-complete mechanical computer. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/871405126/turing-tumble...
LarryMade2 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Model Rockets (designing, working out altitude, etc.)

Ship in a bottle

Woodworking projects (especially involving measuring, proportion, etc.)


I Hate Mathematics Book by Marilyn Burns

Stolen Sharpie Revolution by Alex Wrekk (and other books on creating Zines)

Problem solving/lateral thinking books.

jamesdmiller 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Meta-Forms teaches problem solving. You have to guess the arrangement of objects in a 3 by 3 grid based on clues such as two circles are next to each other, and no red objects are next to each other.https://smile.amazon.com/FoxMind-5512646-Metaforms-Games/dp/...
andy_adams 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if you'd count this as "not digital" (it's mostly analog) but my kids have a blast with http://www.snapcircuits.net/
ajarmst 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Both my kids enjoyed Mastermind (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastermind_(board_game)) from a young age. Deductive logic game.
tmaly 8 hours ago 1 reply      
there was a book getting started in electronics that use to be sold at radio shack. They had all sorts of basic projects from a battery using a potato to a transistor radio to an amplifier. I think it is still available online. I use to love making those projects when I was younger.
marttt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For DIY toys, check out Arvind Gupta's toys from trash:http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/toys.html

A compelling way to introduce children to laws of nature. You can see him sharing his philosophy here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOllmFfELT8

murkle 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For problem solving / strategy (and fun of course!)Marble run, Geomag, Monopoly, Canasta (2 or 4 player)

Also the games by thinkfun.com (Rush Hour etc) are very good

bikamonki 9 hours ago 1 reply      
lprubin 9 hours ago 0 replies      
My parents used Brain Quest cards with me and I loved them. Kept me happy on road trips and at restaurants.
hackpert 8 hours ago 1 reply      
There is this brilliant card game Set (https://www.setgame.com/set), which is a load of fun and also teaches visual reasoning skills.
larrydag 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Boardgames are a great way to teach. There are so many to choose from now. Also there is nothing better than spending time with your kids. https://boardgamegeek.com/
noamhacker 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Scrabble is great for vocabulary, although as you get better you'll learn strategic words and probably disregard their meaning (for example, I frequently use qi, qat, suq, qua but I can't define them)
sgs1370 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Not sure if it will fit your age range but this company has a lot of good teaching toys/things:


michielk 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A musical instrument. I would suggest not teaching them the traditional way, but in a more natural way. Check out the approach of Victor Wooten [0]. If you want things a little more structured, try Improvise for Real [1]. Both will teach creativity, self expression and more. Plus its fun!

[0] https://youtu.be/2zvjW9arAZ0[1] www.improviseforreal.com

ams6110 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Lego, erector set, chess, backgammon, othello/reversi, card games are all things I remeber from my pre-technology childhood.

Reading of course.

juancn 7 hours ago 0 replies      
chemistry set, microscope, bicycles, roller skates, balls, play doh, legos, books, magnifying glass, compass, etc.

Pretty much anything you throw at them will teach them something.

The question is, what do you want them to learn?

hprotagonist 9 hours ago 0 replies      
bicycles teach you a great deal.
Kenji 9 hours ago 1 reply      
MECCANO ( http://www.meccano.com/ )

6 might be a bit on the younger side for it, but 10 definitely not. You learn to use a screwdriver and screws and basic mechanics. You can go all the way to elaborate designs.

It's a timeless toy, my father already played with it (looked like this back then: http://www.dalefield.com/nzfmm/slap/RoyalMeccano.JPG ) and so did I. Heck, even an adult can use these, I once made a distillery platform with height-adjustable burner with these. Really nice to slap together sturdy prototypes.

EDIT: Now that I'm looking at modern MECCANO, I feel like they have diverted too much from the original path. I'd rather have the basic old metal kit in the second image than a fancy MECCANO car consisting of oddly shaped plastic pieces.

josephorjoe 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Poker for probability and a little bit of psychology.
skocznymroczny 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Standard cards deck. Solitaire, card tricks.
mgallezot 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Kapla (wood blocks)
Ace17 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Rubik's cubes?
DanBC 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Math rods / Cuisenaire rods: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Viga-Wooden-Maths-Rods-Cuisenaire/d...

A Pound of dice: https://www.amazon.com/Wiz-Dice-Pack-Random-Polyhedral/dp/B0... (I'd be keen to know if there's dice at a similar price in the UK)

You can then play something like Button Men (which could easily be rethemed to "Pokemon battle") https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Button_Men

HammadB 8 hours ago 1 reply      
No suggestions unfortunately, but I'm curious to know the motivation behind trying to find non-digital toys. Is there something we could do to bring the benefits of non-digital toys into digital ones or are the differences fundamentally irreconcilable?
Ask HN: Who are the most compelling blockchain naysayers?
8 points by mdevere  3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
roschdal 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
Energy usage.
olegkikin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Blockchain is just a clever data structure, it can't succeed or fail.

Particular implementations of it can fail, financially, or due to bugs.

Ask HN: Do you get more done working longer hours?
4 points by shifte  5 hours ago   5 comments top 5
db48x 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Certainly. I get a lot more done on days when I work 6 hours than I do on days when I only work for 2. In fact, I probably get more than 3 the work done, which is nice. On the other hand, if I worked for 18 hours a day I would certainly not get another 3; I would soon hit the point of diminishing returns. Where that point is must certainly vary from person to person, for I have noticed that it also varies from project to project and day to day.

Sounds to me like you need to reduce distractions rather than working more hours.

bradknowles 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Each person is somewhat unique in this regard, but generally speaking there is a peak number of hours you can work and be effective. Beyond that, you're working longer and less effectively, and more likely to make mistakes. And that can be very counter productive.

On average, I think that number is about 6-8 hours per day for most people. But even that length isn't functioning at your peak, just high enough to be generally worthwhile. Peak effectiveness would be more like half that.

You need to do your research and find out what works best for you and your team, but the larger the group, the more likely you are to fall into the typical pattern.

twh270 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Brain-intensive work is fatiguing just like physically demanding work, and if you regularly push past your limits mentally or physically there will be consequences. Yes, over the short term you can get away with it. But it's gonna cost you, and the longer you do it the more it's gonna cost.

With that in mind, not all coding is equally brain-intensive. If I put in a serious intense hardcore 3 hour session of gnarling code wrangling, I'm pretty much done for several hours. Conversely I can do minor refactoring and code cleanup all day.

It's well known that pushing developers to work more hours isn't effective. It might (might!!) get a product to deadline faster, but it will be at the cost of burned-out developers who will have greatly reduced productively, and a decreased quality in the codebase and more defects at the time of launch. And the better developers tend to leave for a healthier environment.

Regarding skipping meetings and emails, figure out (if you haven't) why you're doing that and take appropriate steps. Maybe it's having a discussion about why a particular meeting is unproductive, or alternate forms of communication. Maybe it's finding a reason to go to a meeting other than its stated purpose.

Powerofmene 4 hours ago 0 replies      
When I was working full time and working on my doctorate I had very long days for 27 months. Several months I was only averaging 2 hours of sleep. I can say for me, working longer hours was not ideal. I had trouble concentrating. At times I could not complete simple tasks. I had leg cramps that were excruciating. We had a very short timeline to complete a ridiculous amount of work.

I firmly believe that obtaining a doctorate is as much about jumping through hoops that they have set on fire as it is mastery of your academic field of study. I just wonder the quality that was surrendered because sleep was in critically short supply.

In business, I believe it is better to work smart than to work hard. I acknowledge that when I was working on my doctorate had I taken a step back even for a solid day, I would have recharged and likely saved myself 5x that in lost productivity. Unfortunately, it is hard to see that when you are under intense pressure to produce huge volumes of work on a very brief timeline.

muzani 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have seen a few individuals work longer hours and succeed. But more often it's the kind of project they would sneak away to do, instead of sneak from. Software is one of those industries that runs so efficiently on passion, although passion is a limited resource.

I do think progress is proportional to time spent on it. The only question is how much time you can get in and at what cost. You can always push harder, but it can lead to burnout and deplete passion.

Ask HN: Why is there no way to prevent scroll-jacking on a webpage?
39 points by ValentineC  12 hours ago   13 comments top 6
Y7ZCQtNo39 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Fortunately, most sites don't do this. I don't understand why it's done in the first place, though.

It's mentally agitating when I go to scroll on a webpage and it doesn't do what I expect.

And what content authors should be most concerned about: it distracts viewers from the site's content, because I'm thinking "what just happened to my mouse". And that reaction is the antithesis of what content creators should want: they should want to engage me, and explore the site more deeply.

makecheck 10 hours ago 0 replies      
A general-purpose scripting language and general-purpose elements, where it isnt easy to see what the high-level impact of low-level actions will be.

Though were at the point where browsers really need to clearly separate what requires advanced capabilities from what really doesnt. For example, a browser could always display exactly two tabs per page: Read and Interact, where ONLY the Interact view can access scripting capabilities and dynamic content and the Read view may only display trivial things like images and text. If youve ever installed something like uMatrix on the desktop (and you should), it is astounding how much crap from how many entirely different domains is loaded and executed just by loading a simple page now. It has to stop.

MattGrommes 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh man, if there was a way to find sites that use that new mobile pattern where the ad slides up as you scroll down, I would nuke all of those sites from orbit.
matt4077 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Because, in most cases, it wouldn't work. Most pages using scroll-jacking create and/or show certain layers upon scroll. The content isn't there before.

There are some, like I believe most Apple product pages, where scroll-jacking is used to create a one-slide-at-a-time-effect where it may work. But even on those, individual slides often undergo transformations upon scroll revealing information you'd otherwise not see.

dguo 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Here is a Chrome extension that claims to be able to prevent it: https://joshbalfour.github.io/disable-scroll-jacking/
josephorjoe 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Because all major browsers support creating `onscroll` event handlers and some people offer money to javascript developers if they will do annoying and mildly evil stuff and a large number of those javascript developers say "Sure boss, whatever you want".

The browser creators, people paying for websites, and (many) javascript developers all seem happy with this, unfortunately.

Ask HN: What are the best US cities for for working remotely?
22 points by hueving  18 hours ago   10 comments top 4
tedmiston 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't usually like posts that just link to an external resource, but Nomad List is a (free) search engine built for this exact use case. They have both domestic and international cities.


The same guy that created that also recently made a second project of crowdsourced neighborhood characteristics within each city. For example, if you want to find where the tech or hipster neighborhood in a given city is.


For example, SF:


cylinder 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Somewhere beautiful an hour or so outside of LA or north of SF. Drive into town when there's meetups. Don't waste this opportunity to live in a really nice place that most people cannot viably live in due to lack of employment opportunities.
jamesmp98 13 hours ago 1 reply      
jpster 11 hours ago 0 replies      
How Do I Protect DIY Electronics from the Environment?
60 points by antoniuschan99  1 day ago   23 comments top 10
laydn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Your first line of defense will be conformal coating. There are various options here. Easiest to apply for DIY electronics would be in spray form (such as Electrolube HPA200H spray)

However, if you have an RF component and/or RF circuity in your PCB, you should be careful with conformal coating. As the frequency goes up and impedance requirements gets tighter, conformal coating becomes harder and harder to use, because it alters the RF circuit behavior. Also, obviously, you should not be coating certain sensors (pressure sensors, humidity sensors, etc).

Your next line of defense is your enclosure. Ideally, all your connectors should be IP67 or IP68 rated, and you should place your PCBs in an enclosure which is itself IP67/IP68 rated. This is usually achieved by using a gasket and designing the enclosure with a proper gasket opening.

If your device is going to be exposed to sunlight, you should make sure that any active IC in your system will not exceed its operating temperature. Metal enclosures exposed to sunlight will heat up considerably. You may want to think about a cooling solution, based on your power dissipation (enclosure with fins, etc).

taneq 1 day ago 0 replies      
Conformal coating is good for protecting against crud on the circuit board in general, so yeah, it'll help against condensation. To be super sure, put the board into an IP68 enclosure with a couple of sachets of 'Do Not Eat', and use IP68 rated cable glands for all cables going into and out of the enclosure to make sure no additional moisture gets in.
noonespecial 1 day ago 2 replies      
Believe it or not, I've had reasonable luck with JB Weld. Just make sure anything that might get warm has a little bit of heat sink poking up through the stuff.

Edit: Looks like you're aiming for an actual product release. There's no substitute for potting your circuit inside its enclosure. I'd look for a silicone based solution as you're aiming for large temperature swings.

lazylester 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Is condensation a problem in a freezer? There is no moisture in the air b/c the temp is less than freezing, no?

Condensation happens when moist air hits a cool surface, how much power is your circuit consuming? You may not have a problem.

I have designed a number of telephony products (e.g. T1 repeaters) for use in outdoor environments, we never coated the circuit boards.

eternauta3k 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sounds like a question for electronics StackExchange. Let me know if you ask there, I'm interested in protecting a bike light I put together.
analog31 1 day ago 0 replies      
Conformal coating isn't necessarily guaranteed to be rugged against abrasion and handling, so you may still need an enclosure. Also, as others have mentioned, not all components can survive the process. But it has the advantage of being something that a PCB house already knows how to do.

Along the lines of "do things that don't scale," household products such as Household Goop (aka Shoe Goo), silicone sealant, etc., work pretty well.

If you have one or two components that can't be coated, you can leave them off the board and solder them by hand after coating.

snarfy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Conformal coating will work. You could also use clear varnish, which is what they use to coat tesla coils.
airbreather 1 day ago 0 replies      
Epoxy or sikaflex encapsulation.
itomatik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is that a cooling solution for mining rig?:)
moron4hire 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you don't have any components that generate a lot of heat, I bet a few coats of clear spray paint would work.
Ask HN: Beside Bitcoin, what has offered a 1000000 ROI over 7 years?
6 points by mrb  7 hours ago   3 comments top 3
seattle_spring 4 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Buying random art at garage sales and hoping they were painted by the famous deceased

2. Lottery tickets

3. Slipping at Wal-Mart and suing them for millions

anonymouskimmer 7 hours ago 0 replies      
1) Jackpot winning lottery numbers.

2) Possibly various patents.

This is more a matter of the sheer number of people who could become involved in Bitcoin in a short amount of time (i.e. an artifact of the modern era) than it is about Bitcoin per se.

celticninja 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think anything in history has had as good an ROI as bitcoin in the same sort of timeframe.
Ask HN: Best noise cancelling headphones for developers
3 points by rjammala  7 hours ago   3 comments top 3
conikeec 7 hours ago 0 replies      
My rating is based on 1) Noise Cancellation quality 2) Price 3) Battery Life

Been using it for 3 years now, no complaints (one for office and other for home)



mtmail 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Similar previous discussion, where most recommended the Bose QC35

Ask HN: What are the best noise cancelling headphones? 3 months ago, 11 comments https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14226574

while here there are other options named

Ask HN: Which headphones do you use while working? 4 months ago, 36 comments https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13978072

thecrumb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
An office :)
Ask HN: Web developer and looking for a career change, what are my options?
65 points by Rjevski  9 hours ago   71 comments top 31
TamDenholm 8 hours ago 5 replies      
I felt like that a few years ago. I didnt end up leaving my career, what i did instead was use my skills in a different way. Instead of being a web developer, i became a business consultant. Like you i didnt care about the latest fashion in the space and in general my interest was no longer in programming, however, 60%-80% of my time today is still writing code, but i'm much happier.

What i do now is i work with non-technical businesses as my clients, they come to me with a problem, not a spec. I gather requirements, give them my opinions, tell them how to solve their problems, then deliver solution for it, which 90% of the time is an internal web app.

For instance, a current client is a distillery that was using 2 pieces of shitty software, one of which they originally got in the early 2000's. The software was running their health and safety requirements for the staff. I wrote an internal web app that replaced a old creaky system that didnt work very well and they're absolutely flabbergasted that this problem could even be solved at all. Its an extremely easy problem to solve, but to them, i'm basically doing magic.

They dont care what i code it in, they dont care if i'm up to date on the latest framework, they dont care how i deliver it as long as i solve their problem and save them money, which is what i focus on. This is infinitely more interesting to me than keeping up to date on the latest tech. Also, as a side note, i'm now earning about 3 times as much as i used to earn as a contract web developer.

Perhaps you could apply your skills in a different manner.

adpoe 8 hours ago 2 replies      
You have a ton of time, don't worry.

I changed careers more than once between 20 and 30. To/from radically different fields.

Besides that, your skill-set as a programmer is _much_ more than your choice of language/web framework.

You have skills in:

- Building things

- Decomposing and solving abstract problems

- etc..

And don't let a perceived lack of math skills intimidate you. This stuff is learnable, with effort and time. ML is most-decidedly not magic. You can learn it, if you have an interest.[1]

That said, if programming is losing its luster, but you still enjoy software -- try product/project management. Good pay, and it's a very social job where your tech skills will be valued.

If you want something dramatically different -- the sky's the limit. At 20, you could switch to Business, Law, Medicine, Journalism, Banking, whatever. Biggest lesson I've learned: don't be afraid to try. Good luck!


[1] (For context, I started studying math much later than you (~27), and have worked on ML in a research lab, since then. But when I was 20, I barely passed college algebra... Point is, you have time and can learn if you want.)

Tade0 8 hours ago 2 replies      
> I am no longer excited about new frameworks, etc

To me this is rather a sign of common sense than a lack of interest in programming.

You could try moving to a company that has its own product - these often have interacting with customers or other companies listed as one of the responsibilities.

EDIT: paragraphs.

DoctorProfessor 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I was a web developer for a few years out of college, but I eventually realized I got much more pleasure out of helping my colleagues solve challenges in their own work (obscure bugs or browser compatibility issues) than building my own assigned pages and apps. I transitioned to technical product/developer support engineering which I've now done at two companies for a combined six years or so, and it's been great.

There's definitely more interaction with people, as your day-to-day work is more about helping people succeed than building things. But you still use a lot of the same skills you've built up in development work - especially if you've spent any time debugging code.

Whether this will appeal to you depends on what motivates you. For me, I really like feeling like I've made a difference and one of the most powerful ways to get that feeling is to solve a problem for someone, so this is a very satisfying line of work.

Also, I've done a lot of interviewing of candidates for this role - and I can tell you that at least on my team, lack of experience isn't really a blocker. It's common to need to quickly learn a new product or feature to solve a customer/developer's problem with it, so we look more for quick learning and problem-solving instincts than built-up experience or domain expertise.

flash42 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Programming is not about frameworks. Python + Django are just tools. I suggest you learn more about the field in general otherwise you won't be able to put new hypes in context and will get overwhelmed every year. Also learning the basics (maths included) will enable you to solve an ever growing set of problems. But of course you can start doing something entirely different, luckily you didn't put much effort into programming yet.
WheelsAtLarge 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You are very lucky that you are only 20. Look at other areas in tech. You don't have to stay there but at least explore it. Try marketing and sales. Companies are always looking for people that can expand their sales. This will not change. I can almost guarantee that you'll hate it to start but as you gain some skills you'll like it better. You might not stay with it but you'll gain skills that will always be useful to you. Such as the ability to interact with people in ways that advance what you want to accomplish. If you think about it a big percent of the time at work is sales. You sell your ideas to your coworkers and management.

Product manager is also a possibility but you'll need to work your way to it. There is not one path to get there. But there is satisfaction in supporting a successful product.

Your best bet is to try different things to help you decide. If you can, volunteer in areas that you want to test out.

Since you are at it. Make a career and life plan. Start thinking now about where you want your career and life to be 5, 10 years from now. The advantage is that you'll be looking for opportunities to execute your plan. You'll be happy you did. The last thing you want is to end up in a place you don't want to be in in the future.

tpae 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> Note that I am only 20 so I don't have that much experience either, and finding a good developer's job seems hard given the competition for all the good startups.

If you don't have a CS degree, then I would pursue it if I were you. I used to be like you (I was 20, now I'm 30 with CS degree), and it's been the best investment I've made.

> After a year at my job it seems like I'm no longer interested in programming - I am no longer excited about new frameworks, etc

Yes. This is because you've hit a ceiling with your learning. In order for you to move forward, you should touch up on basics.

> I don't feel interested in learning those fields (ML looks like magic to me and involves lots of math, which I suck at).

If you played Diablo, you need to learn your pre-requisites before taking these on. Once you have the basic fundamentals, it will come to you.

Right now, you are still too early in your career. I would focus on building a strong foundation (CS degree). Everything else will come to you over time.

navidkhn1 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Youre facing the exact problem I am right now in my life.

I am 21, and work in the same Technologies you do. I founded a company in web services a year ago (http://Bigdrop.io) which is pretty much self sustainable today. I dont find a lot of interest in the domain any more and tire of new projects easily.

I however realised that my true passion lies with creativity, and it isnt limited to the web or to programming.

I am currently working with India Accelerator ( http://indiaaccelerator.co ), which gives me the chance to interact with start ups, discuss and design products, play a high level technical role, meet new people, etc.

We could possibly come up with something to help you out, you can reach out to me. naved@bigdrop.io

danschumann 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What would I do if programming was made illegal overnight?

I'd probably look at urban gardening, harvesting little plots of land on peoples' property. Maybe real farming, but make sure it's a niche that'll pay my bills.

After that, I'd probably print t-shirts and sell them at urban centers, maybe set up a stand. Then farmers markets, making little delicious things like crab rangoons, with some hipster spin on it(that's also good tasting). I'd probably work my way into the restaurant business somehow, but I know that the long hours and stuff I couldn't do, so I'd need a niche.

That's just what I'd do. You have to ask yourself what are some of your most triumphant memories and build on them.

jayliew 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been there: burned out from writing code, feeling like you've plateaued on your particular skillset of choice, but not having another skillset that you're particularly interested in acquiring.

I view software as means to an end, and that end is solving a real concrete physical problem in the real world.

It's hard to look at a specific vertical / domain and try to guess what kind of app you can build for them that would make an impact, as an outsider looking in.

So, become an insider by getting a job and doing real hands-on work in an area outside of programming. For me, since I figured I got the "hacker" part down, I wanted to get the "hustler" part down, and I joined a very early stage startup and did all things customer-acquisition, in charge of the singular goal of bringing in money. A hardware company at that.

Then, military has always fascinated me, so I sought to get an insider's perspective.

Now I've got additional perspectives that has been constructive in helping me understand where else and how else software might be able to make an impact, which is helpful when you're looking for opportunities to ... make something people want.

Mz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
(ML looks like magic to me and involves lots of math, which I suck at).

Math is taught pretty badly in most American public schools from K-12. Many people have terrible math experiences in elementary school, in part because the U.S. actively encourages women to go into early childhood education if they can't cut it in other fields (a thing not done to men). So, there are a lot of women who are basically math-phobic who are teaching it to our K-6 kids and the primary thing they teach a lot of kids is that math is scary stuff and you should hate it. It's really terrible.

I pulled my two sons out of public school at the same time. At the time, my oldest was in sixth grade, and he hated math and had terrible, terrible baggage about it. My ONLY goal for him for math while homeschooling him was to teach him "math is your friend" and that was it. I didn't care if he actually learned any math. I just wanted him to stop having fear and loathing of math. He now sometimes does stuff like reads illustrated calculus books (which are over my head -- I dropped out of calculus in college, due to having had a year long math gap... it's a long story) when he runs out of other things to read at the library and is bored.

If you want some pointers on how to get over your fear of math and how to learn math comfortably, I and no doubt lots of other people here can give you some pointers. Because there are people here who think math is cool and fun and managed to get through the school system without becoming math-phobic, in spite of how hard the school system actively tries to make most of us math-phobic.

katpas 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're still interested in tech but want to move away from programming there are definitely options. A few I've seen before:- moving to a product/project management role (more talking to people and a lot less coding)- a hybrid sales/engineer role on a technical product (helping the sales team and customer figure out how the product can be most useful to them)- Developer support for a technical product (v.useful to have engineers who like communicating externally in these roles)

Otherwise people career change entirely. E.g. I studied law at university, realised I didn't want to be a corporate lawyer, then did sales/vc work at an equity crowdfunding start-up, left there to learn to code, spent just over a year building prototypes & on contract in some bigger tech co's, then started my own co which I'm now a year into (I'm 25).

So try and work out what interests you and see if you can move within the company you're at to start with to test it out.

I also wrote up the transferable skills from law > programming. It definitely goes the other way too - https://hackernoon.com/how-studying-law-helped-me-with-progr...

wilwade 6 hours ago 0 replies      
While I have not yet changed careers, I have thought about it a lot. If or when I do, here is how I will likely go about it.

First save money and change lifestyle to handle the pay change. Coding pays more than many careers, and you might want or need to move to an industry that you have little experience.

Next, be open to moving. There are other places outside of the big cities that can often be open to people from different backgrounds as they don't have all the big city fun.

What do you like or have experience in. Making a slight shift is a lot easier than a large one. Perhaps you coded something for a newspaper, that will make it easier to get a job doing something else for a newspaper. This might mean doing a double jump. Get a job coding for the industry you want to be in, then move toward your desired career in that industry.

Best of luck!

danpalmer 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't provide much help with advice for a career change, but I have some thoughts on your current situation...

> I feel like my skillset (Python and Django) is slowly fading into irrelevance (everyone seems to be about machine learning and data science nowadays)

Machine learning and data science are certainly trendy, but there are still 100s of developers for everyone in those areas, and will be for a long time. These skills are highly sought after and you'll likely naturally shift to new technologies to solve problems as you need to.

> I also would like more interaction with people instead of spending my days in front of a monitor.

I think the best engineers get a lot of interaction with people. Building something isn't worth much if it's not the solution to the right business problem. I'm an engineer but I'm heavily involved in the product thinking process, talking to "stakeholders", brainstorming ideas, liaising with external companies, etc. I'd estimate my time is roughly 70% at a computer and 30% talking to other people in various ways.

There are many opportunities to do this sort of stuff if you're interested, and you may even want to go into Product Management if you want to remain close to technology but spend more time getting human interaction.

> Note that I am only 20 so I don't have that much experience either, and finding a good developer's job seems hard given the competition for all the good startups.

I'm assuming you're right at the beginning of your career, or only 1-2 years into it. I would encourage you to find a different place to work, try more companies of different types, teams that work in different ways, etc.

pkalinowski 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've got some programming experience (developed few apps, some of them working for few years now in production, although they are very amateurish), but did not become "official" developer. It's not for me, and I went marketing with focus on marketing technology.

Martech is pretty interesting field with almost no competition (you need to be well versed in classic marketing, analytics and programming, also good to have some domain knowledge). For me it's a balanced blend of soft and hard skills.

scrdhrt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A couple of years ago I was in a similar situation (not a programmer, but devops), and ended up going in the marketing technology direction. More contact with people, less programming but still relevant. Worked out well for me, I run two businesses today - a martech agency and a software dev venture. Might be worth checking out what martech jobs would fit you.


legohead 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been a web developer for 15+ years, but my favorite part of the job is actually working with Databases. I even applied for a DB Admin position at a big company and almost got it.

So my suggestion is to take a look at databases before you decide to move on to anything too much different.

Pandabob 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure data engineering can be extremely lucrative, and can be easier for a backend engineer to jump into. Think of it as backend development on steroids, where you architecture and build the infrastructure for "big data".

Personally I'm also excited about Apples ARKit [1]. Some of the demos built on it seem like magic to me [2].

[1]: https://developer.apple.com/arkit/[2]: http://www.madewitharkit.com/

tnecniv 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> involves lots of math, which I suck at

How I got over this was actually through learning applied math. I thought I sucked at it, too, but really I just never tried hard before.

What I liked about programming was formulating and solving problems. Not normally the act of writing code in and of itself (though that can be fun, too, every now and then). Learning more math lets you tackle more interesting problems, and there are more applications of fancy math than ML!

baron816 8 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're 20 and have been working for a year, does that mean you didn't go to college? You could do that. It's a great place to explore and figure out what you're interested in.
jeddf 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I started TAing last year and moved up to teaching just recently at a coding bootcamp after realizing I really enjoy working with people in that way and that I have some aptitude for it. Really enjoying it, it's part time on top of a dev day job at the moment but I know people who do it full time and make good money.
mendeza 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Python is very relevant, keras, tensorflow, and pytorch are deep learning frameworks that rely on python development. Also, many data scientist rely on robust python frameworks. Maybe look into jobs that require python development that support these roles. As you feel that data science is not for you, I can imagine data scientist fear about software infrastructure and need people like you!
Bahamut 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There are several options for you - you could switch focus. One way would be to switch technologies/work on problems that interest you with development - it helps broaden your purview, and maybe would give you a spark you didn't have.

You could also switch roles into something more people - facing. Sales engineering or solutions engineering might interest you.

becga 8 hours ago 0 replies      
am a DevOps guy and while I love programming, I am also looking at a career change in the next couple of years. A book recommendation via a friend who moved from Regional Store Mgmt into Financial Advising is the book, "What Color is Your Parachute". Some good advice in there you may want to check
dejv 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How about doing ppc/other performance marketing stuff? There is some skill overlap and feedback loop might make it enjoyable.
dedosk 9 hours ago 1 reply      
My former co-worked, software developer, became manager at the retailer network Tesco :) It solved the interaction with people problem for him.
aosmith 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you tried any golang or devops stuff? Maybe you're just burnt out on python / Django.
rubyfan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Solution Architect, Project Manager, Product Manager
628C6l0 7 hours ago 0 replies      
you should rewrite your life in Rust.
weaveoftheride 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm someone who really values other people's company and the outdoors but maybe the reason I do so much is because I have mainly earnt money from working as a developer for the last 10 years. E.g. the job has low levels of this so I desire it more. I have, and still, would like to change career from programming.

I've tried other things including: landscape gardening. Pros: - Outdoors- Get fit- Learn handywork skills

Cons:- Poor pay- Still low level of people interaction- Not that interlectually engaging

Mountain bike guide

Pros:- Outdoors- Exciting- People interaction- Nice landscape- Following a passion I have

Cons:- Turns my passion into work- Low interllectual engagement- Poor pay

I also tried running my own company doing this which was a good experience. Problem with it was that it is difficult to make as much money comparing to programming. Also above points apply.


Pros:- Outdoors- Technical- Creatively engaging

Cons: - Loads of digital images you have to work with becomes a bit of a burden- Regularity of work- Amount of competition

Writer / Blogger

Pros:- Fun- Built the blog so learnt web development- Good for learning content marketing

Cons:- Difficult to make money- Really competitive- Lots of alone time (I wrote a few books)- Effort/ reward ratio can be quite low

Estate Agent

Pros:- Met people- Look round lots of houses- Out on the road

Cons:- Pay- Image- Office based- Can be boring

Exhibition worker(technical support, building the stands)

Pros:- Travel (I worked in UAE, Paris, London)- Working with your hands- Money can be good

Cons:- Can make a lot more money as the event organiser- Long hours- Intense


Pros:- Travel (residencies around the world)- Meet interesting people doing interesting work- Intellectually engaging

Cons:- Difficulty to make a lot of money- Your lifestyle will be out of sync with anyone else doing a normal 9-5- Snobbery- Networking


Pros:- Interllectually engaging- Many different disciplines (eg visual, service, UX, etc)

Cons:- Need a portfolio- Very competitive- Lots of low level crappy work if you cant get the interesting stuff

Teaching English

Pros:- Meet people- Command position of authority- Interesting, engaging work- Lots of opportunities to mix tech and education

Cons:- Money not as good as developer

That's my experience of other work, partly. Of course you can also try to make your career as a developer more interesting.

Ways I have tried to do this:

- Earn more money- Remote working- Change stack- Change scale, size, length of project, whether public or private sector- Develop other things not websites eg. a game- Get really disciplined about your dev time. Eg. work the way where you can be the more productive, get a pomodoro timer, go outside, try different types of desks.

To conclude this rant, developer / programmer is one of the job roles of the age. Douglas Adams said something along the lines, that each era has its own new industrial revolution and you are lucky if you can make your living out of it. However, it poses challenges but it is new and everyone is in the same boat trying to make it work for them.

dialupmodem 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The glory days of programming are over, mate.

When the masses discovered programming to be profitable ~5 years ago, it became "cool" and was quickly gamed into the ground from both ends.

Look at what "cool" does to art and music. The "rockstars" get paid a lot, and everyone else works for peanuts (or no nuts) or gets a "real job". 90% of the work now is marketing yourself. So it is with programming. Programming is like music now.

This is all thanks to the supply of programmers (and wannabes) increasing tenfold thanks to boot camps, and a 400% increase in computer science majors in the past 5 years.

The craziest thing about all of this is that you can be a complete novice, but if you have a decent following on social media and are putting out somewhat interesting content and are a terrible programmer, you will absolutely get hired over the expert that isn't contributing publically. It's all about visibility now.

My advice is find something you intrinsically enjoy so much, that doing all the extra annoying stuff is at the very least tolerable.

Be happy you haven't invested 10 years into the industry like I have.

Ask HN: Just made Director, now what?
88 points by yegborscht  1 day ago   32 comments top 23
EliRivers 1 day ago 0 replies      

All I ever wanted from the directors; strong leadership. Decisions made. Directions set (the clue is in the job title). Listen to what we have to say, ensure that everyone knows that their points have been taken on board, and then for God's sake make strong decisions, tell everyone why that's the decision made, and enforce the notion that it is never inherently wrong to pursue the direction you set. I want to know that you're going to support actions that pursue your direction, so support them publicly.

I have never had any problem getting 100% behind a direction I disagree with when it's been made and communicated well.


gtf21 1 day ago 2 replies      
Would recommend very highly:

(1) Andrew Grove's "High Output Management", it's easy to read: https://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Output-Management-Andrew-Grove...(2) Manager Tools "Basics" podcasts, especially on 1x1s and feedback: https://www.manager-tools.com/manager-tools-basics

There's a hell of a lot to learn outside of these things, but I think they're a good start.

Stwerner 1 day ago 1 reply      
I made the transition from engineer to managing a team of around 12 at Groupon. So I made the transition with a smaller team than you are - forgive me if some of this isn't as useful for your situation.

What worked for me:

- One on Ones. Nothing I've done has had as much of an impact as weekly one-on-one meetings with everybody on my team. I tend to follow the format outlined on Rands In Repose: http://randsinrepose.com/archives/the-update-the-vent-and-th... (This is an incredible blog for engineering management. I would highly recommend reading everything he has written.)

- Read everything you can find on the topic and about leadership in general and start figuring out how you can incorporate the lessons from those books into your situation and context. This is a brand new skill set that you need to approach with the same effort that you had been approaching engineering.

Some suggestions:

Rands in Repose: http://randsinrepose.com/archives/category/management/

Radical Candor: https://www.amazon.com/Radical-Candor-Kim-Scott/dp/B01MY574E...

Extreme Ownership: https://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Ownership-U-S-Navy-SEALs/dp/B...

Becoming a Technical Leader: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Technical-Leader-Problem-Sol...

Peopleware: https://www.amazon.com/Peopleware-Productive-Projects-Teams-...

- Finally, one piece of advice I got when I first transitioned into management was that "first-time managers usually fall into the trap of becoming the manager they wish they had. What you really need to do is figure out how to be the manager that each person on your team wishes they had, and become that manager." Easier said than done, obviously, but I've always found it useful to return to it whenever I am struggling.

bboreham 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Focus on doing the things that you alone can do.

There's a bug in the code: you can fix it. But can anyone else fix it? If so, let them. Even if you can do it better. Let them learn, let them grow.

What can you alone, as the Director, do? Direct. Lead. Set a direction, make sure people are following. Figure out your goals and values, and state them, often. Visibly live them.

Make sure people are following your lead, by knowing what they are thinking and what they are doing. Create ways to find that out, because people won't tell you straight out they think your leadership is shit.

dvfjsdhgfv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everybody will give their own advice, but from my experience there are two aspect of it: (1) management in general, (2) issues related specifically to managing a team developing software. As for (1), I personally recommend the Theory of Constraints. To simplify: you identify weak points and fix them. There are several more modern management theories, but this one is particularly efficient and simple enough to apply as a part of your daily routine. As for (2), I'd recommend being open minded, but at the same time following common sense, especially if everybody is convincing you that you should follow some modern trend.
killjoywashere 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like Lazlo Bock's book, Work Rules!

If you think HR isn't central to management, I offer to you that the top junior officers in the US Navy are sent back to the Academy as Company Officers to

* run herd on ~120 talented young midshipmen, basically a high stakes RA.

* meet each other

* earn a master's in HR, focusing on leadership, administered by the Naval Postgraduate School. Spitball annual cost: $10M for 15 a year (2 year program and they're drawing salary and benefits, which could have been invested in having them driving ships or flying airplanes).

Focus on your people, their development, their well-being. Let them handle the technical challenges.

Communicate your people challenges to company HR aggressively. Make sure they are giving your folks money for training. If you have a weak player, talk to HR early. If they think you can handle it, they'll tell you. If they have tools for you, they'll bring those to bear.

Collect data, ask HR what data they collect company-wide. Talk to the other directors. Those are your colleagues now. Use them. Be frank with them.

helper 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe read "The Manager's Path" by Camille Fournier[0]. It focuses a lot on the transition from being an engineer to going into management.

[0]: https://www.amazon.com/Managers-Path-Leaders-Navigating-Grow...

simonhamp 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd highly recommend reading Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Incredible book. Really focuses on practical ways to be a great manager. I'm not in management at the moment, but I plan to re-read carefully and apply almost all of it when I am!
rpmcmurphy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hopefully this will not apply to you, but be prepared to take one for the team if malignant stupidity or malice come down from on high. All too often it is easier for managers to "let shit roll downhill" rather than put up meaningful resistance. Like I said, hopefully this doesn't apply to your company, but since you posted here, you probably work in tech, so there is a non-zero chance it will. Best of luck and congrats on the promotion.
gji84 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Just repeat the process of what you just did here at HN. I mean, your Open-mindedness to learn from industry and team, willingness to listen to your team, contemplating on the opinions and choosing the best to make it win-win for stakeholders.To do the above to the best, you need "Clarity in thoughts, purity in heart and sincerity in action" (Quote by Sri Sri Ravishankar, Founder of "The Art of Living"). While I was in a similar position as yours, I did the same. Where I learnt to be in that state is, in this program called "Happiness program" by "The Art of Living". All the very best in your new role.
manyxcxi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I went from architect to director, partly because I recognized I was already doing a lot of what a director should have been (we didn't have a Director of Technology at the marketing agency I worked for).

Here's what I intuitively understood that made it easier for me to get the job and be broadly successful:

- You're the public face of your group, you're essentially responsible for championing your team to those in the organization as a whole.

- You need to be listening to those other groups and thinking about what your group can do to help

- Aggregate all those things you hear at a more global level and think about how you can gather interested parties (from all areas) to solve them

Specific example, we weren't closing as many software development projects because our sales teams didn't know what we could do.

First, I worked with some of the sales guys to create some training to help them pick up on the signs that "this might be a dev project" and "this could be worth a lot of money".

Second, I got in on a lot of RFPs and proposals to see what was being asked of us. I refactored the initial training to target the patterns we were seeing.

Third, and this may not be applicable, I actually became a part of proposals and pitches. Nobody was bringing the tech folks in.

Here's what I didn't think about/had to work on:

- HR and management strategy at a much higher level. Knowing impending cuts are coming, the knots that come with having to be part of firing or laying off people.

- Instead of keeping a smaller number of people that you work with closely happy and interested, you're trying to keep them AND their employees interested

- Managing managers is totally different than non-managers

- Budgeting strategy. Fighting to get training dollars, head count, new hardware (that wasn't really an issue), etc. It's kind of a zero sum game and politics will absolutely come in to play here. Maybe more so than anywhere else.

- So many meetings.

- It's a lot harder to feel like you've accomplished anything at the end of the day. You need to start measuring by weeks and months.

- So many meetings, again.

- You need to get people interested in your ideas for change. You really have to sell them in a new way to every person you talk to.

- You better have ideas for change.

sjg007 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot depends on your company and how it works. Some directors drive programs so abstractly, you are an interface to the rest of the company. You coordinate with other directors. Protect your engineers and managers. You have to shield them from the upstream shit. I presume you have 5 managers or so under you. You should have a boss above you as well. Your boss delegates to you and you delegate to your reports. You have a reputation and probably skill with working with others. You have to ensure that your teams are building the right thing in the right way (abstractly of course).. you don't need to micromanage. The best managers and directors bring people together and lead a common cause but let their people figure out how to achieve it.
tpae 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't burn out too quickly.

Being a director means you have more responsibilities, but if you are too focused on trying to make everyone happy, you could set yourself up for a burn out.

Identify key individuals to help you (usually lead engineers), and give them your trust to do their job.

Focus on larger initiatives, give both positive and negative feedback, encourage healthy competition, and always be forgiving. Always be approachable, but never let them take your presence for granted.

Ultimately, you will find a larger reward when you take time developing individual relationships. They will appreciate your attention, and in turn, you will have direct influence over them.

tehlike 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Make decisions. If someone cant make a decision, do it for them. There is nothing worse than not making a decision - it prevents progress, it lowers morale, makes everyone involved frustrated. If lower management gets into cya mode, make sure you fix that.
wdfx 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Red flag: how could you possibly be promoted into a position you know nothing about? How did the rest of the management allow this?

Edit: surely it is the responsibility of whomever promoted you to provide the definition of what is expected from you.

Spooky23 1 day ago 0 replies      
- Don't put up with jerks.

- it's not all about you. Make sure that you piblically represent your team, not yourself.

- politics isn't above you. Learn how to be effective with your peers. At the director levels even your friends can become your competition.

- appreciate that your decisions impact people around you and the company.

- study budgeting. Know where the money goes.

- when tough times come, know where you will cut. If the place is toxic, learn how to stockpile cash or human fodder.

juancn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Besides all the managerial stuff, you're at a point where you need to exhibit what I call "higher order leadership". At this point you should be able to help others become leaders themselves and find people in your team that can eventually replace you. Also your team is your responsibility, hiring and managing growth is likely the most important thing you have to deal with.
muzani 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm going to assume director means upper leadership of a project?

The transition is not so hard. Think of it as another programming language, another architecture.

Your team is like a machine. You are not in it. You don't work in it. You build it. You improve and iterate on it. Your job is to look at it from the outside and see what can be improved.

You also have to make sure that information flows from top to bottom well. The lowest intern needs to understand that strategic goals and focus of the team. That's really what motivating is.

As tech management, one of the most effective thing you can do is to train the ones below you.

You should take complete responsibility for what happens in your team. One of your junior programmers breaks the product? Sexual harassment? A core member ragequitting? Your fault.

Ben Horowitz's The Hard Things About Hard Things is what I'd recommend most on engineering leadership. Extreme Ownership by Wilink, Jocko is a good book on general leadership. Do avoid a lot of the things on Business Insider, Forbes, or other business blogs.

zhte415 23 hours ago 0 replies      
1. manager-tools.com

2. have a support network or establish one through a coaching or mentoring program. if you've not done such before, seek to hook onto an existing one and go from there

wolco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Start planning on the next jump. Can't stay a director forever.
rurban 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Good directors communicate (e.g. they don't manipulate and lie), make good decisions (early enough), are straightforward (and not overly polite), don't avoid conflict and cannot be easily manipulated.

Usually good techs make better managers than typical politically-embroiled middle management.

tapanjk 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not exactly the answer to your question, but others have posted many resources in this thread. While you spend time to learn from those resources, I have a few words about what could be done in the first few weeks, and this is based on my own experience (i.e. I wish someone told me this).

I would not change anything in a hurry just to prove that "I've got this one." You are promoted to Director (you do not mention this but I assume) because your management sees you do at least some of this job already, and they also see that you have demonstrated potential for growing in this role. (The other possibility is that someone got fired and you are asked to step into that role, in which case, that is a different game altogether.) So, here are the Dos and Don'ts.


1. Own the tech roadmap. You will not know why some of the items are on the roadmap and now is the time to find out and be able to explain why, and at this stage you need not be convinced that each item on the roadmap should be there.

2. Build relationships with your business stakeholders in order to understand what is their definition of success, and what is your and your team's role there.

3. Take a look at your team again. This time you will see a different perspective. You want to quickly reach an understanding about your team's strengths and weaknesses.

4. Reevaluate your communication style. What worked so far, may not be suitable or sufficient in your new role.

5. Meet with as many of your team members 1x1 and ask them what they think is working well, and what they think needs to change/improve. Just listen and take notes, without agreeing or disagreeing to what they are saying.

6. Be prepared to receive feedback. From anywhere -- your team, stakeholders, management, customers, etc.


1. Try to prove yourself a good leader. This is something that takes time, and there are rarely any actions that can be taken directly only to accomplish this goal. Also, if you think too much about "am I a good leader," you will stress out very quickly.

2. Make changes in the roadmap too soon. At this stage, you are more likely to not have enough information and context about why the roadmap is what it is. If you make changes too soon, be prepared to change it again after you have gained context in the next few months.

3. Make changes in the team structure too soon. In your new role, you are likely to change your opinion about some of your team members' effectiveness and impact on business.

Over a period of time, you will intuitively know what needs to change, and that is the right time to start making any changes in the way the team operates, the team's priorities, the team structure, etc.

ifoundthetao 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, it's not too bad. Odds are, you were probably doing it already anyway.

My recommendation, learn how to translate "unquantifiable" ideas to quantifiable ones. You can do this through a simple tool called an "OKR", which stands for "Objectives, and Key Results".

OKRs are generally built for quarterly runs. No need to stick to that. But come up with four objectives, split them each into six or so actionable items. So those actionable items can be split up into tasks, sprints, etc..

At that point, you will have quite a bit of work set up, and it will be easily measured. Take the percentage completed of each of the tasks, which make up the percent completed of the Key Result, and then the percentage of the Key Results completed make up how far along in your objective you are.

The objectives should spread across several different domains that you're directing, and your priorities should take care of what goes in there.

Take a good amount of measurements on those, do Gap Analysis' often, to find out why you overshot, undershot, etc., and keep track of that information. Do Root Cause Analysis' often as well, so you can find out what is really going on.

The crux of it all really depends on what you're willing to do with your team, and how accountable you're all willing to be held. Without their backing on your objectives, it'll be a bit more difficult. So if they understand what it is that you're trying to accomplish, and they see your leadership (i.e. owning up to all mistakes, and sharing all accomplishments), they will back you. But the keys to that are understanding the goals of the objectives (not just the objectives, but the reason that they're up there).

If you can do those things, you'll find it very easy to manage.

Other more specific things might be setting up controls so that you can easily audit the SDLC: get "sensors" and "measures" in place. Sensors would be something like a CI server, automated testing, security unit tests, post deployment tests, code sniffing, static code analysis, dynamic code analysis, regular fuzz testing, ensuring that your environment is locked down with file integrity checking, track third party tools that are in use for any known vulnerabilities, get software bill of materials (while you're at it), get a known authorized hardware list, get a known authorized software list, have a monitoring system for when these are violated, and get the response time down to 1 - 24 hours.

The measures will be something like:* adding a benevolent unauthorized machine to the network.* adding benevolent unauthorized software to an unauthorized machine in the network* adding benevolent unauthorized software to an authorized machine in the network* make a change to a file that does not decrease the security of the environment (ex: change from 10 char password complexity to 14 char password complexity), and see if the file integrity check finds it.

Basically for every sensor, you want to have a measure that checks it, otherwise you won't know if you have it set up properly, or if it is broken.

Ask HN: What tech that's right around the corner are you most excited about?
206 points by Kevin_S  2 days ago   333 comments top 68
nulagrithom 2 days ago 11 replies      
New, exciting tech making its way in to boring, old industries. And I mean boring, old industries.

There's an unbelievable amount of backwards business process that's still out there. Unless you've experienced it first hand, I really don't think you can fully appreciate how manual the "business world" still is.

For the past year I've been working with an intermodal trucking company building an app for owner-operator truck drivers so they can accept/reject deliveries, turn in paperwork, and update delivery statuses via a mobile app. If that sounds dead simple, it's because it is. But the change it brings is amazing.

While deploying the app I'd often ask when so-and-so truck driver came in to the office. The answer was usually something like "every day at 5:00pm to drop off his paperwork". A week after they start using the app, the answer suddenly turns in to "Oh, he never comes in to the office. You'll have to call his cell."

Dispatchers that were tearing their hair out trying to get updates from their drivers so they can in turn update their customers now feel like they can manage double the trucks. They're asking if they can get a similar app on their phone so they can manage their drivers on the go. Managers are asking when they'll be able to ditch the office space they're renting and let everyone work from home.

When I tell people "It's like Uber for intermodal trucking", nobody cares. If they pretend to care, I have to explain what intermodal trucking is in the first place -- then they stop pretending. It doesn't sound "sexy". It's a boring industry.

I think there's a lot of boring industry out there that hasn't fully embraced technology, and I think when it finally does we'll see a cultural change in the way we view work.

allpratik 2 days ago 9 replies      

Apple has solved few real world AR problems, which were usually hard for an average app developer to get started with. But with ARKit, apple, is "trying" to do the heavy lifting in terms of plane and object recognition etc.

Another thing is the platform of distribution. People will use AR apps, which will hit the app store after September like crazy. And these same people, will be primary audience for Apple headset.

It's like, before releasing headset, Apple is proving people that you really need a headset to overcome the pain of "continuously" moving your phone in the space.

Also, other OS and vendors will follow the trend and release AR compatible phones/hardware early. The only potential pitfall, I see is, battery usage. If it's properly optimised, I think a large AR wave on smartphones is about to hit.

Just my 2 cents!

ProfessorLayton 2 days ago 3 replies      
Gene editing, particularly on living people. I'm looking forward to cancer treatments being no more involved than an antibiotics regimen.

I don't know if its around the corner, but considering the human genome was completed circa 2003, I'm pretty enthusiastic that it isn't too far away.

jostylr 2 days ago 7 replies      
Textblade: https://waytools.com/

Single row keyboard that has minimal finger movement. It was to be delivered March 2015 or so, but it has yet to be released. They have testers who rave about it and it looks incredible, but it is perpetually around the corner.

Originally designed as an ultra-portable phone keyboard, those who have used it tend to use it for all their machines. It has jump slots to quickly switch from device to device.

baron816 2 days ago 4 replies      
Much of what people have mentioned here will be really great. I think self-driving cars have the most potential to impact people lives day to day, followed by AR. I guess infinite, cheap, clean energy could also spark another industrial revolution.

But all these things aren't likely to impact the happiness and life satisfaction of those living in the developed world. The internet has been huge, but it really hasn't made us happier as a whole.

I would like to see someone create something that will make people's lives happier. That probably means doing something that will foster good human relationships and real world experiences.

I guess there's a lot of potential for driverless cars to help with that, but they could do the opposite as well. I think we need better tools for connecting with each other, understanding each other, forming social organizations and communities, and maybe changing the geography of cities to bring us closer together, rather than making it possible for us to be further apart. It's likely that new technology isn't needed, we just need to use what we already have in a new way.

subhrm 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am excited about both WebGL & Web assembly.

Although both of these have been around for a few years, we are yet to see a general adaptation of these. (might be due to inconsistent browser support).

Now with the rise of VR, 3d Printing, powerful GPUs these two technologies are bound to open new avenues of an immersive browsing experience. I imagine that in next few years we would have 1- Webs stores, that show a virtual 3d shopping mall, 2- 3-d virtual try out of garments, 3- VR coaching of physical activities like a- Playing Tennis, b- Judo, c-Taecondo, d- Dance

bmcusick 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fully & Quickly Reusable Rockets (refuel & refly, like jets)

Obviously both SpaceX and Blue Origin are the leaders here, but once they do it the other majors will either have to build the same thing or drop out of the industry.

There are so many things about space that we just assume are true, but are actually only true because access to orbit has always been so expensive. If we can get the cost to reach orbit down to a multiple of the fuel cost, then so many more things are possible.

We finally get large satellite constellations for low-latency Internet all over Earth. We get space stations and O'Neil cylinders. Moon bases and fuel depots on Titan.

At the same time, firms like Made In Space are working on in-space construction so you can build radio telescopes in space with arbitrarily large dishes (10 km, maybe?). Eventually we build mirrors that size too.

Basically just those two things are the only barriers between us and a solar-system-wide civilization like in The Expanse.

aphextron 2 days ago 3 replies      
Mass adoption of electric vehicles. Battery prices are plummeting and the advantages of EV are so great that the moment they break that $20k barrier with zero subsidies (which should be within the next five years) the switch will be rapid. I suspect at least 1 in 3 personal vehicles in use in major metro areas will be an EV by 2025.
phkahler 2 days ago 0 replies      
RISC-V We should see the first hardware running a real Linux distro in 2018 and it should proliferate from there. RV32 should also start showing up in micro controllers as well.

Still need an open GPU, but I think a bunch of risc-v cores with vector extensions running LLVMpipe would be reasonable for running a Wayland desktop.

aakilfernandes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ethereum's Casper


It aims for more economically secure public blockchains with shorter confirmation times and less cost (electricity/hardware/inflation). I haven't delved deep enough into it to be fully convinced, but what I've gotten through so far is promising. AFAIK its the only proof of stake algorithm thats been formally documented.

goatlover 2 days ago 4 replies      
Crystal & Julia 1.0. Crystal because it's a blazing fast, compiled and statically typed version of Ruby (or 80% anyway), and it's web server is awesome. Now it just needs full concurrency.

Julia because it offers a nice, performant alternative to Python & R in data science, while avoiding Java & C++. It has some really nice features like multiple dispatch and the ability to run R, Python, Fortran and C code inside of it, so you can use libraries like Numpy in Julia.

miheermunjal 2 days ago 2 replies      
ARkit finally pushing AR to the masses. From a developer perspective, having an SDK that simplifies "environment detection/reasoning" is huge. Previously required pretty deep hardware requirements and now is turning into an AI/ML/software problem.


Numberwang 2 days ago 4 replies      
There are rumors of phones with batteries lasting longer than 5hrs. I'm still not sure if true or not but when it happens it will revolutionize what you use your phone for. It may even replace the watch completely some day.

Obviously I insist they still need to be as thin as they are now. That is much much more important than batteries.

pryelluw 2 days ago 3 replies      
AR. Being able to superimpose software on top of real objects is amazing. It has so much economic potential that it hurts not being in the space already (working on that though). I feel AR will be the app craze 2.0.
egypturnash 2 days ago 1 reply      
Still waiting for the day when I can buy a computer wth a full color e-paper display and sit out in the sunlight to work.
lkrubner 2 days ago 0 replies      
If by "tech" you mean mostly computers and software, then WebAssembly is exciting. We've had 5 or more years now of companies inventing languages that compile back to Javascript, even though Javascript is a terrible target for compilation. WebAssembly was designed to be a true compilation target, and will allow an endless number of languages to be used on the browser.

WebAssembly helps create more space between the kind of languages that developers want to use, and any particular GUI output, such as HTML. In a different thread, I just wrote about what is wrong with HTML:


If by "tech" you don't mean computers/software, then CRSPR is clearly going to be a huge thing going forward.

amirouche 2 days ago 8 replies      
Without doubt, GraphQL is the next technologo I will learn. The idea is so brillant compared to REST. If you are convinced by SQL and in general by Domain Specific Languages, I think you should give GraphQL a try.
Animats 2 days ago 2 replies      
Self-driving cars that really work and are safe. Google/Waymo is just about there.

Automatic language translation everywhere.

Big Brother everywhere. (Excited about, yes; happy about, no.)

Batteries + solar as the predominant energy source.

Electric cars getting some real market share.

mlboss 2 days ago 0 replies      
Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN)

GAN is a type of Deep Learning Network which can generate data after training.


- Text to image synthesis (Scripts to Movie ?) (https://github.com/reedscot/icml2016)

- Generation of Game Environments

- Image to Image conversion (https://github.com/junyanz/CycleGAN)

- 2d to 3d conversion

I think in future we will have highly creative deep learning systems, which will make ar/vr/movie/game creation faster and cheaper.

chx 2 days ago 1 reply      
Lenovo ThinkPad Retro! That's certainly right around the corner: two months and one day until pre-order opens.
anotheryou 2 days ago 3 replies      
better search, always

Find me:

- an aggregation of everything I have to know to run a porcelain store in my country (taxes, suppliers, how to find staff or better yet: showing candidates directly, best location in my town, etc.)

- Fuzzy stuff like: the pic of that tree I took when I was on hollidays in XY a few years ago; or the note I took a few days ago about that band with some greek name

- a ready to paste, non-ancient js-script for XY

- a cafe where nobody cares about how long I sit with my laptop with a not too modern ambiente

- the lesser known types optical illusions

ZenoArrow 2 days ago 1 reply      
Excited may be too strong a word, but I'm interested in seeing how the world of decentralised apps evolve. I like the idea of decentralising the web using plug and play home servers. There are a few projects in this space already (such as Sandstorm) and there are some existing projects that aren't strictly limited to dapps but could play a key role in the future (a few unikernel and meshnet projects spring to mind).
akavel 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me personally, currently my absolute top reason I'm dying of excitement is http://www.luna-lang.org/ Only I'm not sure if they're gonna manage to get a release out of the door; I have an impression that they understand that it's their top priority and main focus now, but I'm not sure if they really realize how far they they need to go with sacrificing features and cutting it down to absolute bare essentials, to avoid faltering into endless development hell.

That said, I have some tiny glimmer of hope that even if they go vaporware, maybe someone e.g. from around the Lambda the Ultimate community might possibly try to revive their ideas and ignite some F/OSS clone.

adventured 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm looking for a company to successfully implement what I call on-behalf AI. AI legally allowed to take actions on behalf of someone, in a large number of ways in relation to daily life. This may be 5, 10, or 20 years out yet, hard to say. It'll be very hard to pull off, and whichever company does it first at a high function + comprehensive level will be another Airbnb or Uber, as the legal/regulatory hurdles will be similarly challenging, and exactly as with those cases it'll be ideal to move first and apologize later (which will cause the typical uproar among people that find that approach appalling). This type of AI is where you get deep into real time savings for consumers, by significantly reducing dozens of mundane & routine tasks (most of which repeat from person to person and can be modeled very accurately accordingly).
Entangled 2 days ago 0 replies      
The second coming of WebTV. I am sick of small devices, I want a huge 100" display managed by a touch remote where I can play and work, watch videos, movies, track my cryptos, even code my own apps from it, all from the comfort of a fat-ass recliner.
devrandomguy 2 days ago 2 replies      
Fusion, of course. It actually is right around the corner now, this time.
timfrietas 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am suprised applications of blockchain outside cryptocurrency is not higher on this list. For example:

* Election fraud and recounts can become a thing of the past* Everything that requires a contract could become completely electronic (the mortgage industry alone is probably a multi-billion dollar opportunity)

zimablue 2 days ago 2 replies      
For me, I'd like online IDEs to be standard (and therefore equally good) and graph wikipedias for arguments (like Argumans but mainstream).

I can see the advantages of both of these and imagine (and have seen people) build them so I assume someone will fully crack this in the next few years and we'll all be using this.

What might be around the corner that I'd love: someone makes a mainstream general purpose visual programming language (or tools in IDEs using languages that are indistinguishable - revenge of smalltalk)

mjevans 2 days ago 0 replies      
USB-C being so common that it's cheep.
econnors 2 days ago 2 replies      
VR Gaming. We're a few years away from some incredible experiences in the space.
rl3 2 days ago 1 reply      
WebGPU. Granted, "right around the corner" is a bit of a stretch.


bhouser 2 days ago 0 replies      
Writing React apps in OCaml using Reason: https://reasonml.github.io/
oconnore 2 days ago 1 reply      
IRV voting in Maine, automatic districting to prevent gerrymandering, and reliable voting schemes like Scratch and Vote.
dabockster 2 days ago 1 reply      
Edge computing.

Basically shifting off of cloud onto separate peer-to-peer connections. Faster, more secure, more distributed, and no middleman. Think 1990s/mid 2000s but no servers, just client to client.

Soon everyone will want a home server.

loeg 2 days ago 0 replies      
That inflection point in a couple years where SSD is just cheaper than spinning HDDs. A whole class of problems kind of goes away, low end consumer performance goes way up, and archival platforms get faster "for free."

I'm also excited about NVMe and on-the-horizon, faster-than-flash solid state technologies like 3d xpoint, etc.

neilwilson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Allam cycle power plants. I love the idea of turbines that continue to burn in the middle of a giant fire extinguisher.
tech2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Large-scale low-cost metal 3D printing. We're _very_ close and it could be a game changer for a number of industries since the price for one unit is very close to the mass-production per-unit cost. It could allow custom-fit application or modification of a design on a per-customer level for things that would in the past require significant outlay.

If I need a new part for something that's no longer supported, no problem. If I want to test an idea, fine. etc.

elihu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Major applications and/or operating systems written in Rust, or languages that offer a similar degree of type safety. We need to be ruthlessly eliminating undefined behavior from our software stacks, especially the lower layers, so that there are fewer places for security bugs to hide.

Electric car adoption.

Solar isn't new or particularly exciting, but it's become a good alternative to burning fossil fuels and it isn't used widely yet.

I've been looking forward to real-time global illumination via ray tracing with photon mapping or path tracing or some other good algorithm to become mainstream. It doesn't seem like there's much enthusiasm for the idea from the game industry, though.

Genome editing has already been mentioned, along with reusable rockets.

chaosbutters314 2 days ago 1 reply      
Affordable triple digit core desktop computers. The cloud is fine but until I'm getting Google fiber in every city, this'll need to suffice. The application is HTC applications in industry design
nether 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another javascript framework, of course.
bobosha 1 day ago 1 reply      
The advent of AI-based search. I'm not sold on the siri/cortana et al conversational agent approach. AFAIK it's mostly UI/UX layered atop the "keyword->10 links" paradigm. Search is missing the key concept of iteration and exploration and (hopefully) someone somewhere is working on it.
midhunsezhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
WebRTC for all real time communications/broadcast.
tonyedgecombe 1 day ago 0 replies      
A replacement for Javascript in the browser, I'm sure it can't be far off.
Havoc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Renewables in general. Many problems can be solved if you throw enough juice at it.

e.g. Desal plants.

dtech 2 days ago 1 reply      
Self-driving cars, it will majorly change how we transport.

People in 100 years will look back to manually driven cars as we look back to horse-drawn carriages

zemo 2 days ago 0 replies      
volumetric displays are pretty fun. e.g.:


BlakePetersen 2 days ago 0 replies      
FDA-approved closed loop artificial pancreas.
evanvanness 2 days ago 0 replies      
The decentralized web built on top of Ethereum/Swarm/Whisper
contingencies 1 day ago 1 reply      
Truly and honestly, the automated food preparation and retail systems we're building at http://infinite-food.com/ ... constantly available, broader choice of higher quality food for more people with less supply chain waste and at a lower cost in time and money.
ntobto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Eye tracking - mouse and keyboard control using eyes. Microsoft has already started working on this.

I read a novel published in 1999 which predicted how VR headsets would be followed by eye tracking eye boards,etc. which would then be followed by control directly via the brain using electrodes,etc.

rhinoceraptor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully WebUSB will arrive sometime and be useful. I thought it would be really cool to write a basic SDR web app/browser extension, but unfortunately it's not really possible right now.

There was a project called Radio Receiver which used an RTL SDR, but it is a chrome app and chrome apps are pretty much dead.

andrewstuart 2 days ago 0 replies      
Millisecond instance boot and teardown times on the major clouds - AWS, Google, Microsoft and Digital Ocean.

Along with suitable pricing.

daxfohl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Global warming and this coming mass extinction thing are gonna be awesome. And IPv6.
goldensnit 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think voice controlled apps (google home, Siri, Alexa, etc will be the next big thing)
goldensnit 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think voice controlled apps (on Alexa, Cortana, Siri, google home) will be pretty big.
nunez 11 hours ago 0 replies      
unikernels; single purpose operating systems for anything you want.
Ken_Adler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Secure Production Identity Framework For Everyone


dannygarcia 2 days ago 0 replies      
GPGPU in the browser. Some would say it's already here but not all browsers have a standardized API that facilitates it.
thisisit 2 days ago 2 replies      
So I guess the responses on this thread begs another question - VR or AR? Which is going to take off much better?
Jach 2 days ago 0 replies      
Smartdust. (And the opening of geospatial database tech that can support all the data...)
m3kw9 2 days ago 0 replies      
Teslas travel network involving Autonomous driving, Boring and hyperloop network.
taco_emoji 2 days ago 0 replies      
andrewstuart 2 days ago 1 reply      
Entangled pair quantum routers. Oh wait, that's 50 years away.
teilo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Racetrack Memory.
mgarfias 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hydrogen fusion power.
rajangdavis 2 days ago 0 replies      
na85 2 days ago 2 replies      
graycat 2 days ago 1 reply      
My own!

Should I ask HN to help with the beta test?

Ask HN: Life as a developer gets boring real quick.remedy?
30 points by oggyhead  1 day ago   23 comments top 15
sp527 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is going to sound odd but I'd recommend journaling. You need to spend some time free writing to access your subconscious and gain insight into how you really feel and especially what you value. You'll be amazed at how effective it is. I'm of the opinion that a substantial share of ennui arises from a failure to commit to routine and honest introspection.

With respect to software, your feelings may stem from a perceived deficit in value creation. No matter what we do, we all want to feel like we're contributing in some way and we all try to find ways to achieve that. Could be blogging, OSS dev, teaching classes, turning an app into a business (or just putting it out there for people to use freely!), etc. If you're just hacking on things to learn, that's great and necessary. But you might be better served taking it a step further.

stepvhen 1 day ago 3 replies      
You sound like you need a hobby. Have you tried baking? Like, get a breadmaking book from a ised book sttore, read it carefully, and make bread. Its super rewarding, not that difficult, you end up with a finished product (that you can eat!) and its not math or programming.

Also, read literature anyway. Learn how to by doing it. If a novel is daunting read short stories (particularly Jorge Luis Borges or Cesar Aira). Reading wasn't important in my life until about 2 years ago, and since then books have improved my life dramatically. Its low cost, high yield, fully analog, ubiquitous, and enriching. Just learning new words makes it easier to form new concepts in your head and be better at stuff like math and programming. Seriously I cant suggest reading enough.

But really, this sounds more serious than just boredom or ennui. I side with Cozumel, and might suggest looking into a counsellor.

uptownfunk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I notice you talk about what you have been doing (programming, proof writing) and what you haven't been doing (watching tv, reading), but not at all about what you'd like to be doing.

Find something you'd like to do, and the only way to do that is to explore other things than what you are currently doing (since you are obviously not finding real satisfaction in it).

Might I suggest volunteering your time or a charitable activity? That can be a very fulfilling activity for some.

i456 1 day ago 0 replies      
Spend some time not doing anything: sit on a chair, close your eyes, and let your brain do its thing. Try not to focus on any thought. Some people would call it meditating, I call it letting go. In this world where we're always distracted, it forces onto me some boredom, during which my brain very often comes with unexpected answers to problems I've been working on lately.

In my case, I also often get hindsight into what I should be doing, and often end up doing things good for me, instead of things I've been asked to do (makes me do for me, instead of doing what others want me to do).

nonplus 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you expect a lot out of your job. I think the 'as a developer' part is going fine. Not liking people is fine. I don't have any good advice on the picking a hobby part. Most of mine are not things I picked up because I enjoy them. They are things I started doing because I wanted to build something. You sound like you might have that in common. You could try woodworking; it provides you many opportunities to take shortcuts, which would show in the final product. That won't really help with the meaningless part, but it passes the time.
muzani 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had the same issue around the middle of my job. I took a break, started a cafe, thought F&B would be something better. It immediately shocked me back into programming. That's one approach - just do something else (preferably low cost) and see what you like more. Some people did up liking F&B more than tech.
flaviusas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try to attract interesting parties and make them approach you first by doing projects which are interesting to you. Keep those projects production-ready.

Then the parties who value your work will naturally approach you, and by default value your work and give you more decision power in whatever the two of you will want to pursue together.

Sounds twisted, but that's how life works.

Oh, and making the program is not a goal in itself, solving the problem is.

PaulHoule 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://store.steampowered.com/app/282900/Hyperdimension_Nept... <- Here is how you can play video games and watch anime at the same time;
bluemix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Life is all about choices. You can choose what you do next. It seems your only choice is always programming, of course you get bored.

Try something new and exciting, maybe extreme sports?

smnplk 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about girlfriend/boyfriend ? How is your love life ?
tehlike 1 day ago 2 replies      
Start your own company, or a side project. See how it goes.
mythrwy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Programming is a lot of fun, but at the end of the day it's a tool rather than life itself. If you lose track of this (which is easy to do), it's a slide down a dark hole.

I'd recommend putting down the electronics for a bit as much as possible. You might wish to learn to enjoy people and look for opportunities to do so. Spend more time observing yourself and your world without tinker toy distractions. Spend some time alone (leave the smartphone out). In nature maybe. Think about life. And death. What life means, what you would regret if you died tomorrow. What you really want. Who you really are. It's uncomfortable sometimes, being around people and being around ourselves. We look for distraction. And that's what you have to overcome.

I'd venture a lot of us on this site have the same symptoms to various degrees. I know I do from time to time. It's a job hazard I think kind of like skin cancer or a bad back. The above paragraph is my way out of the hole and back to a grip on what's important.

Cozumel 1 day ago 0 replies      
This sounds a lot deeper than just being bored as a developer, maybe see a counsellor? They'll be in a better position to help you than any of us.
wcummings 1 day ago 0 replies      
Find a more interesting career.
Why does Google list North Korea as an option when you sign up?
5 points by maybetoocurious  14 hours ago   6 comments top 3
Broken_Hippo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Because some folks are from North Korea yet aren't currently living there now. Searching from a North Korean start will affect the results you get as well as the language.

For example, I'm American living in Norway: I use the Norwegian google for things that are local or if I happen to be searching in Norwegian. The US (english) version produces better matching results for many other things.

brudgers 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Why shouldn't it?
chmaynard 6 hours ago 0 replies      
@maybetoocurious If you post a question to HN, it's customary to add the prefix "Ask HN: " to the title.
Ask HN: Fear?
12 points by emcf  14 hours ago   17 comments top 16
mattbgates 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to have this fear too, of telling my friends what I was working on, especially my programmer friends, before I realized there are two types of scenarios:

1. A person is that headstrong and passionate about your project and will steal it. They steal your idea and become successful.

2. The person says, "Oh that sounds awesome. Good luck with that." Then they move on with their life and I move on with mine.

In most cases, #2 is more likely and logical, isn't it? How many people have you heard of doing #1? The only time #1 may occur is when you've already established the business and your business partner breaks away and enhances upon your idea.

I don't mind telling people about my ideas or brainstorming because its most likely: I know what I want it to be like, they don't.. they just have a vague idea. They are probably not as passionate about you as your own projects.

Thus: Get to it. Don't let that hold you back. In fact, embrace the times where people actually listen to your idea and give you feedback on it. It really does help.

andreasgonewild 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Just do it.

The more you give, the more you get; might not be awesome profits, might be even better. The secret with giving is to not expect anything in return, the very definition of Karma Yoga; real Yogis practice that all the time.

There's nothing wrong with you, we're being carefully programmed to reason just like this; to mistrust and compete with everyone but our fabulous authorities. Cut down on the mainstream media and social networking if you want the power over your mind back.

codegeek 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't call this fear. It is more of an insecurity. You seem to lack confidence in yourself. Hence you think that others will gain more from you than you gaining from your hard work.

Think of this as knowledge. The more you share, the better you become yourself. Same with doing x. The more you do, the better you get at it even if it helps others. In fact, if it helps others, even better for you. Most people are not looking to "gain" anything from you or take advantage of you.

Also look at the alternative. If you never do anything because you think someone else will benefit more, you will never do anything for yourself. You are the loser at the end because that imaginary person who MAY benefit more probably does not even exist. I would say most likely they don't exist.

tpae 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Let it go.

I stopped caring about what other people will think/feel/benefit, it has nothing to do with me.

If you love what you do, then f* them. Just do it.

This is for you: http://zenpencils.com/comic/140-invictus-a-comic-tribute-to-...

kleer001 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Realize your value is not in what you do, but how you're able to do it, that you're able to repeatedly do it over and over again with high quality.

Also nothing really matter on its own, it's up to each of us to make our own meaning. So, if you're really set on these fears they'll be real. If you focus on a different strategy that will be your reality.

You want a non zero sum game perspective.

ebcode 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You need to think it through. Imagine the worst case scenario, that you do all the hard work, and then someone really does come along and gain all the benefits. Then what happens? You will still get the experience from doing the hard work, if not the money or recognition. The only thing that matters when it comes to getting things done is experience. Fame and fortune come later, if at all. Eventually, with enough experience, you will be so good that it will be impossible for anyone else to take credit for your work, even if that isn't true now. Have faith in yourself and your future.
breck 13 hours ago 0 replies      
99.99999% of the things you enjoy in life will be from the benefits of others' hard work. The rest is your contribution. Your contribution will make almost no difference to the lives of others, even if you are Steve Jobs. The math just doesn't favor individual contributions a whole lot. Don't worry about it.
rwieruch 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You should read "Give and Take" by Adam Grant. It clearly shows all the benefits of being a Giver rather than a Taker. I've written down my learnings [0], since I really enjoyed reading it.

- [0] https://www.robinwieruch.de/lessons-learned-give-and-take/

bookmarkacc 10 hours ago 1 reply      
If you are scared of technical projects being stolen document all your learnings and store code on git.

Everything is timestanped and proved you were there first maybe?

deepaksurti 8 hours ago 0 replies      
How about contributing to OSS, in case you are a software engineer, to overcome this fear/insecurity?
EliRivers 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Give other people the benefits of your hard work.
mtmail 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The reasons for this may be in your past and discussion those online with strangers might be uncomfortable. Better if you talk in person to a psychiatrist.
LifeQuestioner 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Practice generosity. Giving with no thought of getting back.
a3n 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You might get valuable feedback if you reveal your work. You won't if you don't.
ddorian43 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Goto doctor/psychotherapy ?
Ask HN: As a freelance app dev, what retainer can I best offer to my clients?
10 points by thr2178008  1 day ago   1 comment top
chmaynard 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the idea of retainers, because it offers the freelancer a chance at a steady income. However, clients generally don't want to pay a retainer to someone doing new development. A retainer is probably more appropriate if you're maintaining an existing app that's already in production. That said, the amount of a retainer is totally negotiable based on your special knowledge and skills. If you wrote the app, you're in an excellent bargaining position. Go for it!
Ask HN: Why doesn't HN keep all the questions in the ask section?
6 points by bhnmmhmd  1 day ago   8 comments top 4
mtmail 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's a search box on the bottom of the page. If you select 'all time' and sort by date you get a list of all 66.000 Ask HN ever submitted. - https://hn.algolia.com/?query=ask%20hn&sort=byDate&prefix&pa...
Pyrodogg 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember emailing Dang about it two years ago. At the time it was barely showing a page worth of stories. They got it to improve a bit, but since then I don't think it's ever paged on and on like top does.
tedmiston 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm seeing 66 right now. Poking around it looks like maybe the threshold is asked within the past 7 days + at least 1 comment?
raarts 1 day ago 1 reply      
Even this question will be kept. But it won't be found....
Ask HN: What is your process when you have a product idea?
20 points by jfoucher  2 days ago   9 comments top 2
Adrig 1 day ago 1 reply      
First you have to find your market. Do not listen to anyone execpt your target audience. Stuff like "your grandma need to understand your product in 10 sec" is the most stupid advice I hear. Your market should see your value in less than 5 min.

Usualy the validation goes in 2 phases : market interest and MVP.

The first phase is about faking it until you make it. Create your landing page presenting your product (don't spend more than a day on it, you don't care about design/ branding), post in your audience's facebook group, go to their meetups, shadow them to affine your concept. The goal is to have proof of traction and the assurance the market is ready / big enough. The best metric is usualy an email list you can reuse later.

Second phase, if the first is successful is building the MVP (main viable product). It's about having the most minimalistic version of your product that you can sell. Usually it's your main feature. You MUST hack it yourself, don't spend money yet, you'll lose it. The goal is to iterate quickly to have what's called a product market fit.

Product market fit is when you can write an equation like : "when a number P people see my product, there is a conversion of C% that get me X money". Then you can launch and the rest is about scaling.

Do not spend any money (aka > 1000$) until the product market fit. Not in ads, not in freelancers, not in consultants and especially not in PR.

If you product is expensive to make or need a big chain of production, sell it before building it. If you succeed it will be you proof of product market fit

It's difficult to make a standard advice since it depends a lot of the context but key insights are :

Your market is king, refer only to them.

Make them believe 80% of the job is done when you really just have a landing page

When proof of traction hack the main feature of the product and sell it.

If you have a product market fit, congratulation you have a business / startup.

Ryel 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm interested in making this into a framework and it's been difficult to say the least.

The high level things about a startup are very consistent and good candidates to be fit into a framework. I'm not sure but I think these are just called unit economics. Things like "Our product is sold for $X because it saves our customer Y in time". However it's the unknown, and emotional values that I've found incredibly hard to fit into a framework. I'm fascinated now in seeing if the way the finance industry calculates risk is in any way a good framework for startups to assess which features to build.

What I've found to be the hardest questions to answer...

How do I find industry metrics on an industry that doesn't exist yet?

How do I prove people will want something that they don't want right now?

How do I measure emotional value? Tactile sensation(hardware)? UX, UI, etc...

These are the things that startups often believe to be their advantage over the competition. "Our product is much more fun/easy/fast to use/learn/teach" But how do we measure that?

The most valuable exercise I've come up with is this question...

How would your user recreate your product, if you're product didn't exist and they had to piece together the end result with existing technology?

I have a startup right now that creates custom educational podcasts by summarizing publicly available content (with attribution) to generate entirely new content and sort the corpus in increasing complexity. If you searched "Skateboarding", you would get a text document that taught you what skateboarding is, then the history of skateboarding, and then get into beginner, intermediate, and advanced skateboarding lessons. This would go through text-to-voice and be downloaded to your device for offline listening.

Search any topic and you get a 45 minute podcast to listen to on your commute.

In our case, I stepped back and said "Okay... If I wanted an educational podcast on skateboarding, the first thing I would do is search Google, then Wikipedia, then I would start going to skateboarding blogs and read them one by one in increasing complexity. If I wanted to consume this content during my commute I would take all of this content and copy it into a text-to-voice service, and download that audio file on my phone for listening offline." I walked through this entire process and it took me 1 hour to get 45 minutes worth of audio content.

Peter Thiel says that your solution must be 10X better than the existing solution.[0]

Unfortunately for me, I think I will need to cut the time it takes to manually create a podcast by 1/10 and also 10x the quality of the content, which I don't know that I can do.

Tangentially, I often joke that if the problem your startup is trying to solve doesn't exist as a meme, than it's not a real problem for enough people.

[0] http://blog.hypeinnovation.com/peter-thiels-7-questions-for-...

Advise HN: If auto-detecting language, provide a way to change it
19 points by nathancahill  2 days ago   7 comments top 5
assafmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
It sucks that websites "detect" language by location. When I was in Mexico I always had to use Chrome's auto translate to English because I was sick of searching for the language chooser.
jfaucett 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've built a lot of websites/apps over my career, almost all of them in multiple languages and regions, and to me the best practice pattern is this (if you can do it, sometimes for various legal/company reasons you can't).

Default your app's language to the first match between the languages you offer and the user/browser's preferred language list. Fallback to English or the country locale, depending on the app's goals/requirements. If the user still changes the language , save it in a cookie/session whatever so on repeat visits the corrected option is selected.

This only solves the language problem though, not regional issues such as an online store in Germany vs Spain which have different deals and products. This is why you should keep a clean separation between locales and regions/countries.

Anyway thats my 2 cents from the trenches.

CodesInChaos 1 day ago 0 replies      
My biggest issue with automatic language detection is that many websites use location to detect language, instead of the http accept headers.
pitaj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Websites should just respect the HTTP Accept-Language header sent in requests. There's no need to try detecting the language by location, just trust the browser.
rl3 2 days ago 1 reply      
Even then, most website language selectors suck.

It would be nice if language selection happened via the browser UI rather than the site itself.

Fortunately the future is at least bright on the automated translation front.

Ask HN: Who were your first 10 hires?
17 points by throwaway129312  3 days ago   11 comments top 5
fillskills 2 days ago 0 replies      
As our company grew, so did the roles needed to keep it on the path. Initially it was just the CEO and CTO(me). Then came the CMO. That took us to 6 months and some solid revenue. Then we needed help with raising funds, so our first financier became our CFO. Then we needed help with growing a sales team so a Director of Sales came to being. And a year from that, after hitting 10MM Rev/Yr we need a COO to manage all the customer service issues.
forkLding 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it depends on the business, care elaborating what kind of business it is? Currently its just CEO/Designer plus CTO (me) and a marketing person
slowmotarget 2 days ago 1 reply      
French Startup here, created in 2016. We're developing a SaaS software for e-commerce merchants. First we hired a back-end dev, then a full time graphic designer / illustrator, because we think it's crucial to have a strong visual identity.
richardknop 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure I would give myself a CTO title if I were a single backend developer in a company of 3. Seems a bit ridiculous.
bobosha 2 days ago 0 replies      
This varies widely between startups: we are an AI/ML (machine vision) company, so our first hires were 2 AI/ML developers, added 1 web dev (frontend) and 1 backend engineer to build our MVP. Now are a 15 strong team (added sales, customer success members later)
Ask HN: How do I find a job that involves Windows kernel development?
12 points by moccajoghurt  1 day ago   5 comments top 5
ajarmst 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd expect all Windows kernel development jobs would be at Microsoft. Driver development jobs would often be at hardware companies. However, I think you're looking for too narrow a subfield---search instead for jobs in areas like OS, driver development and embedded development, which is burgeoning now because of IOT hype. You might also expand your search into programming jobs advertising for computer engineers. CompEng folks tend to work closer to the metal.
peteevans 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Too narrow a specialisation as evidenced by the difficulty in finding jobs.However, if it's something you enjoy then stick with it and add complementary skills. Add in linux kernel/driver development (double up and you can volunteer) and something complementary such as security. You may also want to brush up on things like biometrics and the hardware part (i.e. electronic engineering) to bridge out into a wider space.
atmosx 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess 90% of Windows kernel developers learn on the job. So if you know the drill, you should be a step ahead of the competition in this space, hence cold-mailing recruiters is the best strategy IMO.

I would try MS first, then major MS partners who ship software for based on Windows, which is a market as big as any.

billconan 20 hours ago 0 replies      
you can apply a microsoft internship first.

I do device driver development as my day job. boring boring stuff. I wanna out.

zhte415 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Government agencies.

Large investment banks in security or information security.

Ask HN: How to get around ageism and perceived incompetence?
20 points by ccajas  2 days ago   10 comments top 7
40something 1 day ago 0 replies      
I quit software after about a decade of experience. The passion was gone and I could only argue that MeteorJS (or other hyped tech of the week) was not ready for our production use. But kids will be kids and the rockstars started using my age to shame me to leave, which worked. Using rails for our next services was apparently just too old school. This is the dark side of software development that rarely is mentioned.
WheelsAtLarge 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bottom line is that you'll need to move away from the ultra competitive areas. If a companies can find a younger person to do the work you do then they will. It's not just tech it's everywhere. You can try to fight the perceptions and become a super developer by cramming more tech skills but ultimately it's a losing battle.

I just read that people are rushing to get CS degrees in record numbers. Soon there will be an even larger pool of graduates looking for tech jobs.

My best advice it to look at getting some management and marketing skills. Start looking at teaching. Look at job openings and see what skills they are looking for. Also, go to tech gatherings and start making contacts.

Unless you are at the top tier as a developer, software jobs get scarce as you get older.

Start training for a new field, health is probably a good bet, that's the reality in our new economy these days. Don't wait.

muzani 1 day ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you're suited for management or teaching.

You're humble enough to have impostor's syndrome. You're at the sweet spot for management/teaching age.

Despite what you feel now, you've probably learned a lot about different kinds of tools and which one to pick in what situation, even if you're not great at using them. You have also learned how trends evolve in time and have better instinct for when to adopt a new technology or use an older one.

Management isn't that hard either, but it needs someone who can understand what the engineers are going through and get things out of the way.

My hack was to start a startup and see it all the way through, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're really desperate.

Another approach might be to teach bootcamps or some community college. You're probably extremely qualified by teaching standards, unless you hate teaching.

romanhn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are you actually interested in more responsibilities? Not everyone is. Have you proactively asked for it or have gone above and beyond to contribute outside of your normal day-to-day activities? Or do you tend to wait for opportunities to come to you?

Senior-level contributors are expected to show initiative on a continuous basis. As for moving into lead or manager roles, you need to show a lot of those qualities before even being considered for them. If you haven't demonstrated that you already have the qualities necessary for the new level, nobody is going to take a chance that you will suddenly develop them later. Proactively seeking those opportunities is part of the game.

jpindar 1 day ago 0 replies      
It really does seem like all the job ads specify either recent grads or senior team leads. Nothing in between.
db48x 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not managing people is good; it means that you're not a manager.
smt88 2 days ago 1 reply      
Email me using the address on my profile. I may have a way to help.
Ask HN: How do I find sponsors for an online hackathon I'm organising?
6 points by cronjobma  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
tedmiston 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've organized a couple of in person hackathons. For in person, sponsors generally provide either $ to cover food/drinks/space, or they cover a sponsor prize track. For an online hacakthon, I'd assume the former isn't a concern. So, mainly you should figure out what size sponsorship tiers make sense for the scale of your hackathon e.g. $500, $1k, $5k and then what you can provide the sponsors in return. Then go through your network ideally starting with big companies (they have more money so writing a $5k check is a less big deal to them) where you know someone relatively high up that would benefit from your hackathon. Any company that employs a good amount of software engineers is a good bet because they're always looking to hire more.

(Shameless plug: I'm currently organizing http://hackcincy.com in Cincinnati, OH which is 2 weeks from now.)

malux85 1 day ago 0 replies      
Paste the details here and you might find some!
Ask HN: Is changing career at age 30 right choice?
12 points by emcf  1 day ago   11 comments top 10
CuriouslyC 1 day ago 0 replies      
If your situation leads you to ponder a career change, a career change is almost always a good idea.

Ultimately the right decision is whatever lets you earn a living in a way you enjoy. If you like coding, code. If you like something else, do that. If you're poor but you enjoy your life you still win the game.

When trying to become successful, it really helps to have a clear idea of where you want to go, and a set of steps you can follow that lead there from where you're currently at. If you don't know where you want to go, your best bet is just to do something you enjoy for a while and see where life takes you. Just make sure that the things you do are related somehow, so you're building a deeper skill-set, rather than becoming a jack of all trades.

tpae 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Decide whether coding is a good fit for you. If you are one of these things:

* You love learning.

* You love to build (legos, woodwork, pillow fort, etc)

* You prefer efficiency (you like to do it easier, you find shortcuts)

* You are patient (you can do repetitive tasks without complaints)

* You like math (you don't need calculus, and you don't hate math)

With 0 experience, I would start by pursing QA (Quality Assurance) and user testing. It will help you better understand how things are made without actually making them.


Try to be good at it, and start doing freelance QA work (there's plenty of jobs).

Once you feel comfortable how it works, then you can pursue whichever direction you want. Let it be iOS, web, Android, whatever.

solomatov 1 day ago 0 replies      
It might be a right decision, might be not, only you can decide. Having a low paying job is definitely not fun, but having a job which you don't like or which doesn't fit your traits is also not good.

I would start in the following way:

* Learn basics of programming and learn whether it's for you. You can use any of the introductory MOOCs available there or Swift playgrounds which are very good: https://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

* Try finding an option to get a degree. There're plenty of places where you can get it part time (you can get into Harvard Extension School which doesn't require admission to just take courses, and having completed courses as validation, you can get an admission to an undergrad degree: https://www.extension.harvard.edu/academics/undergraduate-de...). As the industry matures, it's harder and harder to get into it without some validation in the form of education, especially for best paying positions.

TheAlchemist 1 day ago 0 replies      
You actually answered the complicated part yourself - you see no future in your current job and you do want to do something else. Now is the simple part - go out and do it.

Also, you have to realize that an age of 30 nowadays, it's more like 20 some time ago. You will most probably live something like 80 years, so you still have around 50 to go !

wodenokoto 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm starting my career at 30, so I don't see how changing one would be a problem.

Hope you take it as encouragement, because that is how it is meant.

gpresot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Look at it this way: you have another 30-35 years of career in from of you (that is a 3+ times your current working experience). That is a lot of years to be stuck in path you don't like. It is enough time to build a fulfilling career in probably any field (in fact it is probably enough time to do it more than once).
uptownfunk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Follow your passion where you have potential and you can do great things!!
derbyblues 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can make > $100k in less than 5 years with no college degree. JUST DO IT.
saluki 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You can do it, I made a career change from Civil Engineering to Developer at 30. It takes some time so don't plan on quitting your call center job soon.

First determine if you enjoy coding and have a knack for it. Some people enjoy it more than others and some people have the ability to quickly track down bugs, solve problems and apply knowledge to solving new problems.

If you're totally new to coding I would recommend starting with the book Head First HTML and CSS. You can find the first version pdf online, order from your library, get it on amazon, barnes and noble usually has it in stock. Work through that book at your computer.

Use google+stack overflow for help. Typically you can google a problem or error and you'll find a proper solutions on stackoverflow.com. This will ring true even as a professional/experienced developer.

Work through the book at a computer working along with it, don't just reed it and expect to learn.

After that create some basic websites of your own, register a domain name. Get an inexpensive shared hosting account. hostgator will work. Learn how to setup your domain, point the a record. Register yourname.com or something you might want to use in the future since you'll have it for a year and might want to renew use for your projects. The hosting account you could cancel after a month or two once you're familiar with setting up domains.

After you're comfortable with that. You could start contacting local businesses and see if you can land some work creating small business websites. It seems there are always small businesses out there that could use a website. In the beginning don't worry about forming an LLC or anything. Write them a simple proposal to create their website for $XXX or $X,XXX. Small businesses don't usually expect to pay a lot for sites and this isn't going to replace your day job but you can make some money and get experience working with clients. Also they will request things like can you make it do this that will expand your skills.

You can charge them for creating the website, for hosting and for maintenance. You can charge a fixed fee for creating the site. Getting started I'd estimate work at 2x your call center rate. Estimate how much time you think it will take, then double that and make that your fixed fee proposal to start. Initially you're probably going to take longer than you expect and might even lose money on projects by taking too much time. But part of doing this work is to learn new things, get more comfortable with your new trade.

I would have them register their domain name since that's something they will always want to keep with their business. A good service is keeping track of their expiration dates (run a who is) and follow up with them to make sure they renew in the future. Especially if they are new to websites/domains.

Charge monthly for hosting and maintenance. I would try charging $50/mo for hosting, maintenance offer a $99 plan that includes once monthly updates to content (up to 1 page). So this could be adding news, updating phone numbers, adding/removing staff, adding a page. You can setup recurring charges through paypal, they can signup with a credit or debit card through their paypal account or you could offer an annual plan that they pay by check.

Ok at this point you'll run in to clients asking can you make my site do xyz. Most likely this will require some server side development or javascript.

At this point I'd recommend getting the book headfirst php and mysql. and work through this book the same way as the first. PHP isn't a super glamorous language but I think it's the best next step.

After you have worked through a portion of that book. Give setting up wordpress a go. wordpress.org. You can install this on a hostgator account the same way. Wordpress is a CMS that powers lots of sites on the web and runs on PHP and MySQL. After you get your feet wet with this you can learn about wordpress themes and plugins. There is alot you can learn here. I think it's good experience. There are lots of WordPress developers out there so I don't think this should be your ultimate goal, but it is another service you can provide to clients to get more experience. Wordpress based websites where they can login and make updates, add pages, or you can set them up in WordPress and make the updates. I find many clients can't even handle making updates in WP and will still end up requesting you do it for them. Always charge them for making updates (unless you have a basic maint. plan that covers it that they pay monthly, get them used to paying for work).

Working with clients don't get overloaded. Always pad your deadlines and try to deliver early or at least on time.

Ok so you're getting familiar with Wordpress and working through the PHP and MySQL book. Once you complete the work with the book start creating some of your own applications. A to do list, something to track something you collect. Then research creating a login and authentication system from scratch in PHP and MySQL. This is a great learning experience.Once you have completed your own application I would recommend learning a framework. Frameworks handle all the messy behind the scenes stuff you just worked out on your own. But creating it from scratch once will help you understand what the frameworks are doing behind the scenes.

Ok so for frameworks I would recommend Laravel or Rails. This is your ultimate goal as Laravel and Rails developers get paid a good rate.

For Laravel start here (only after completing the books and your own apps)


use forge.laravel.com for creating servers and deploying your code, learn git (use gitlab or bitbucket or github).

You might also want to start listening to startupsfortherestofus.com start with episode 1, being a developer if your ultimate goal but you should think about having your own products too.

Good luck with the transition.

FullMtlAlcoholc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I didnt start coding professionally until I was over 30 years old and I had a degree in Economics, though I do have a youthful appearance and looking like a recent grad, playing video games, fitting the culture, etc. may have helped me avoid age discrimination. I'm now pivoting towards a career in computational biology.

I would have made more money had I not changed career paths, but I have absolutely no regrets. Unless the path puts you towards Financial Independence in the short-term, it's not worth it to labor for 40 plus hours per week for something you don't care for. Nights and weekends dont really make up for it imo

Ask HN: How do you validate the idea/s for a startup?
9 points by tyagis  2 days ago   4 comments top 4
kjksf 2 days ago 0 replies      
One way is to talk to people who (you think) are your potential customers. Most people don't do that but even those who do it, can do it badly. I recommend "The Mom Test" (my summary: https://blog.kowalczyk.info/dailynotes/note/b4u674cvj43jdajd...) to learn how to talk to people to validate an idea.

Also, https://30x500.com/academy/ is an on-line course dedicated to that topic.

But the question shows a backwards process. You want the process to be:

1) come up with an idea

2) validate the idea

What 30x500 preaches is more like:

1) notice a problem people are having that you can solve with software

2) that is your idea

Following that process, the job changes from "come up with many idea" to "look out for signals that point to problems that are solvable with software".

Powerofmene 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, talk to who the users would be/are. Then talk to them some more. And then some more. If your users are excited, communicative, give feedback, and telling their friends about your product, you are onto something. If not, you need to work on it further or on something else altogether.
sgroppino 2 days ago 0 replies      
One advice I read recently was to focus on the problem you are trying to solve, not ideas.
Bat3Q 2 days ago 0 replies      
how do that
Ask HN: What's the most absurd A/B test result you've seen?
24 points by sAbakumoff  3 days ago   19 comments top 4
Jemaclus 3 days ago 7 replies      
I don't know if I have a good answer for this specifically, but as a consumer, I have a little rant. You know, Amazon must A/B test the shit out of their homepage... but if I buy a shower curtain, my Amazon home page is nothing but shower curtains for weeks. How many shower curtains do they think I need?This works with other once-in-a-blue-moon items, too: plungers, watches, windshield wipers, phone cases.

What they should do is say "Hey, this guy bought a shower curtain, which means A) he has a bathroom, and B) either moved in or is redecorating... and that means he probably wants a bath mat, a toothbrush holder, a plunger, a towel rack..."

But nope... shower curtains for days. And you know that somehow this works out great for Amazon, or else they'd change it.

muzani 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article covers it well: https://theawl.com/a-complete-taxonomy-of-internet-chum-de0b...

It's about the ads you usually find at the side and bottom of dodgy sites. An exact quote from the site:

"Like everything else on the internet, traffic flowing through chumboxes must be tracked in order for everyone to be paid. Each box in the grids performance can be tracked both individually and in context of its neighbors. This allows them to be highly optimized; some chum is clearly better than others. As a byproduct of this optimization, an aesthetic has arisen. An effective chumbox clearly plays on reflex and the subconscious. The chumbox aesthetic broadcasts our most basic, libidinal, electrical desires back at us. And gets us to click."

So you get all kinds of disgusting, disturbing and yet fascinating things that entice you to click. Clicking the most disturbing thing encourages more content like that.

cm2012 2 days ago 1 reply      
I knew a background check website that tested two funnels. One gave the free info instantly and then upsold to the paid plan, the other gave that same info after an 11 minute B.S. process. The version that took an artificial 11 minutes led to literally 10x conversions to the paid info.
Gustomaximus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mostly when significantly different pages make little to no difference on conversion. This has made me a little jaded about sweating over the colour of a button, or wording a statement type thing. Yes, a site needs good architecture and design. But overall its other things than design look/language that become the real needle movers for digital performance, but people often focus here as its the fun stuff.
Ask HN: Are ORMs overkill for using SQL databases?
10 points by samblr  2 days ago   17 comments top 9
ufmace 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd go with a very useful It Depends.

ORMs are great for smoothing over some of the rough spots between SQL and OOP. It's kind of a drag to manually hard-code all of the cascade behavior for your whole class hierarchy. Hand-rolling your own caching isn't so great either. Most languages have a lot of boilerplate around setting up SQL queries and working with the results, particularly if you want to convert the rows into objects.

Flip side, some of them have a ton of their own boilerplate and confusing setup, and can generate strange errors and poor behavior. I still haven't figured out how to use Entity Framework well, despite working with C# for years. They're good enough for like 90% of things, but the other 10%, you can get big savings writing your own SQL.

Nowadays, I think Ruby ActiveRecord is my favorite. It handles everything that's reasonable for an ORM to do without a ton of complex setup, supports some more complex stuff easily, and makes it easy to drop to SQL when you need to.

FWIW, I've never actually seen any company try to switch to a different type of database.

shortoncash 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like that you asked this question and I'll probably refresh this page a few times to read the responses.

I use an ORM called odb by CodeSynthesis. It is one of my favorite ORMs and an extremely high quality product. This ORM has saved me in more ways than one, but the biggest benefit is exactly what you've described.

I can't speak to other ORMs, but odb has such a nice system that it makes C++ development involving databases tolerable. Prior to this, managing queries, transactions, and keeping on top of problems related to interactive with specific databases was a real nuisance. There are enough quirks and differences between databases that I feel like it's too easy to understate what a pain the differences between variants of SQL can actually become in a large project.

andreasgonewild 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would go one step further and claim that SQL-databases are overkill for most purposes. Relational logic is very useful, as is transacted storage and indexing; but the SQL-standard is clearly overkill in many cases.

An ORM is a simplification; it offers a single, convenient, but ultimately limiting perspective with most complexity swept under the rug. Anyone who's actually tried migrating between different databases or spent a week or so chasing down nasty coherency/performance-problems in their chosen framework knows what I'm talking about.

A more constructive approach that's rarely taken is providing storage/indexing as first class abstractions within the language to build your storage logic on top of.

Embedding raw SQL in a piece of software makes it much harder to reason about and maintain. Since storage/indexing are often fundamental, they deserve a more sophisticated interface than simply passing written notes back and forth on cocktail napkins.

Lately, I've been implementing my own, special purpose storage/indexing (https://github.com/andreas-gone-wild/snackis/tree/master/src...) to cut down on the complexity and get a tighter fit with the application.

xor_null 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like to use orm for simple projects. If there are some complicated queries or other heavy stuff I use views and stored procedures to make a suitable abstraction layer. Then I use the orm to access those views and stored procedure. Just to be clear, there is no business logic in those stored procedures.

Most orms generate awful sql queries, and then everybody wonder about bad performance (...and then they switch to nosql..because performance...).

jrs95 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes ORMs can be very convenient for reducing time to complete complex things as well. I recently did a project which had a graph data model that was mapped to a relational database, and SQLAlchemy saved me a lot of manual query manipulation to get that done. Many ORMs would make it rather difficult to achieve that sort of thing, though. Some are much more robust than others.
assafmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't like to use ORMs because for every language it's kind of different, so I always implement a DAL class wrapper and write raw SQL. This way I don't have to learn/relearn another library every time I start a project or going back to an old one.
BjoernKW 2 days ago 0 replies      
For the most part I prefer to use technologies like JdbcTemplate that only provide a very thin layer between the relational and the object-oriented world.

ORM systems usually try to paper over the impedance mismatch between these two worlds. This mismatch will always be there. There's no way around it. So, we might as well keep the systems dealing with it as simple as possible and not try to force object-orientation on relations and vice versa.

Document-oriented database systems are good alternative in many cases, too because by their very nature they're much more amenable to storing objects.

SarahBishop 1 day ago 0 replies      
ORMs are good for only one thing, saving your models to the database and retrieving your models from the database for display on a single page.

Once you start using them for other things like generating lists of objects, pagination then you start hitting issues. In fact here you are better off using straight SQL and PDO to return an array of data that you format into HTML for display. https://19216811wiki.wordpress.com/

saluki 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the biggest plus for using an ORM is increased security over rolling your own interactions with the database.

Plus the time savings/overall security using a framework that is typically tied to the ORM.

So I would recommend using a framework and ORM.

If you're just getting started and are working on a web app for your own use I would recommend building at least one from scratch. Rolling your own Auth, etc. Once you do that you'll understand more of what appears as 'magic' in a framework like Rails/Laravel.

Ask HN: Can anyone recommend a lightweight project management tool?
4 points by mjfern  1 day ago   6 comments top 6
ripexz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Full disclosure - I work for Teamwork.com, but I use the Teamwork Projects[1] free plan for a few of my side projects and haven't found an easier alternative, you can adjust the "lightweightness" per project and just turn off stuff you don't use, then again I am more familiar with it than other tools so of course it will be more straightforward to me.

[1] https://www.teamwork.com/project-management-software

peteevans 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Depends what you are looking for (project management tools doesn't narrow it down much) but Trello is often seen as the competition to JIRA which seems to be used extensively in more 'old school' businesses.
roryisok 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Notepad. No, I'm not trolling. Plain text with some utf8 icons gets a lot done. Saves getting locked in to one platform or another
dozzie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Trac? TaskJuggler?
pvsoriano 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: How did you go about estimating the market for your last product?
14 points by mrlowk  3 days ago   7 comments top 5
arjunvpaul 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you build it they WONT come. If they did, then the failure rate of startups won't be above 90%.

Do your homework (both primary and secondary research). You have nothing to lose by spending a few days analyzing the opportunity.

- For a project that had to do with shipping labels, used UPS's , Fedex's Annual reports to estimate the potential number of customers who would prefer that kind of shipping. So looking at annual reports of listed companies that are in the same (or similar) business would be useful.

- Looked at platforms like Fiverr, Upwork etc. and scrape their job boards and analyzed for words that would describe what you are gonna build. Reach out to those customers who listed those jobs and freelancers who did similar jobs. you will learn a st ton.

For a project involving selling via messengers used - Facebook's and WhatsApp announcements page on their blog.- Popular Newspaper articles about digital advertising (that quoted sources)Sometimes, you can google things and when you find the news articles, they might indicate the source. For example "John Doe, an analyst with Analysis Paralysis Inc, estimates there are 3433 cows who eat ketchup in the West Virginia" . You can then google that company and find useful stuff on their blog or even buy the report from them.

- For a project that involved selling fasteners to fix ceiling panels, estimated the number required by looking at US Census Bureau data on housing square footage.

- You can also use google surveys to ask questions to the target market (the used to allow you to do free surveys). Yes they might ask for a faster horse. But you will get the insight that "speed is a need". So if you do a good job asking the right questions and interpreting the answers, you will get a fair idea of the opportunity.

Maybe you could post here what exactly you wanna know, there would be folks here who would know the answer.

Don't worry about folks "stealing" your idea. If you are worried about it, go spend 2 dollars on a lottery ticket. The chances are more that you would win the lottery.

taphangum 2 days ago 0 replies      
Keywords, Google keyword tool, forum chats, Reddit comments.

Use tools like these to find EVIDENCE that people are trying to find a solution (similar to yours) to the problem they have.

If you find this evidence, it proves that:

1. There is an inefficiency present (opportunity is simply inefficiency by another name).

2. It shows that the problem is painful enough that people are trying to find a way to solve it. And..

3. It proves that the customer is aware enough of the problem to be able to see you as a likely solution (so you don't have to educate them).

I used this process to come up with my own successful ideas. One of which being: https://myapptemplates.com.

This video will help shed more light on the above https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exMoRoaxKtQ

cdiamand 2 days ago 0 replies      
My current project - https://oppslist.com - caters to software developers.

I googled how many software developers there are, then used a calculator to guess what fraction of them might ever buy it, and what that might mean in terms of revenue.

Also, the product solves (sort of) a problem I have.

meric 3 days ago 1 reply      
Talk to target customers?
w00bl3ywook 2 days ago 0 replies      
       cached 7 August 2017 04:05:01 GMT