You very quickly learn to drop the stuff that doesn't matter; I'm a more productive developer today because of it. I was forced to develop a critical eye and abandon designs that didn't work immediately. I also lost my taste for TV shows, movies, and most podcasts; now I'd rather build something than consume content.
Good for Julia; I have a lot of sympathy. Frankly I have a lot of sympathy for single parents as well... I used to have harsh uninformed opinions on the subject (that I see often repeated around HN and tech in general, especially by privileged young guys like myself). Then I had to live it for reasons entirely outside my control.
Have you seen what young child of the correct age will do to a bathroom in a single session? It's amazing! There's always number one, and possibly number two spread around. I still don't know how so much mess can be made without intentional effort.
Source: I work from home, with children, clean bathrooms.
The request for one of the few women in the house to clean the bathrooms in order to stay reads as straight up sexism to me.
On the other hand, I've dealt with landlords who wouldn't even hesitate to use (abuse?) the power to throw someone out to get negotiate something like that.
"Sometimes, when Kurnia became absorbed in her work, the naturally curious Adam might wander over to another resident to ask what he (the residents were mostly male) was doing on his computer. Some found this cute; most didn't. Finally, someone complained to the landlord, who threatened to throw Kurnia and Adam out unless she agreed to clean the bathrooms. Scrubbing toilets for 15 people seemed too time-consuming, so Kurnia negotiated: she would pay a higher rent, take out the trash, and keep closer watch over Adam. The landlord granted a reprieve."
setting aside the landlord's troubling, possibly illegal response; the lack of compassion of the male developers in said flophouse says volumes about the issues facing us in Silicon valley.
Not to distract from this story, I've been impressed with my experience donating on Zidisha -- repayment has been incredibly quick, and it's rewarding to reinvest funds.
Somebody should change that for incubators and YC, being the most forward thinking and advanced one, should be the first to try:
IDEABOLT: Apply to next HN with non-profit startup to care for kids (preschool 2-5) of HN batchmates onsite at YC (with its blessing, taking over a large room or some converted space nearby). Not only this would increase the pool of applicants greatly (really?) it boosts the coolness of HN close to \infty.
The service will be free (9-5) so how to make money? Investigate innovative preschool learning methods using the kids (of course, with parents permission). This target group is perhaps the least served child demographic (no good solutions for something as mundane as poop/feed tracking, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10075191), except mundane stuff like diapers and bottles).
"He even struck up a bond with Paul Graham. Most people either talk down to two-year-olds or ignore them. But Graham took the time to figure out that Adam was fascinated with trains, says Kurnia, and the two of them spent 10 minutes drawing trains on a white board. Graham treated Adam like a little founder, interested in his interests."
I would have expected this! OK, Add to the idea to mine kids for ideas, Big fashion.
"Statistical methods were widely applied during World War II, but faded into disuse a few years later in the face of huge overseas demand for American mass-produced products"
Deming ended up in Japan because American companies were not willing to listen to him, after the war. The Japanese companies were very willing to listen to him. And thus something happened that many people thought impossible: the Japanese caught up to the USA, in terms of manufacturing quality.
I don't know what the solution is (for how to promote gender equality without, say, a global war), but I am glad I was a military wife for many years.
1) The target is not just women, it's founders (men and women), and specifically founders at incubators where the work effort is intense. That way the scope of the proposal is limited to manageable proportions.
2) We're not talking about any onsite daycare but a very specific case.
3) The main goal is not to "entice women into the workforce" or to increase women in tech (although this great benefit may come as a side benefit) but to disrupt childcare for this particular scenario.
So the important questions are: how would preschool childcare be done different, how can kids really create something useful, can a company use this as a sustainable resource, etc.
And I'm even more unsure about this bit:
> how can kids really create something useful, can a company use this as a sustainable resource, etc.
Perhaps I'm misreading it? Better Off Ted had a bit where the children in the nursery were put to work. I don't think that's what you're suggesting?
Whenever you hear male founders/tech workers bitch & complain about women and tech and the level playing field, remember this example.
Pardon my french, but how the fuck is that legal? That's seriously messed up at a fundamental level.
Wait, so none of her batchmates noticed this and offered her a ride for subsequent trips?
"The website is crashing!" as an early phrase would be awesome and horrifying all at once. :)
Because of the unique housing tension in SF, I'd guess that some employers do that there as well.
In case it didn't come through clearly enough in the article, I should reiterate that the YC partners and my batchmates were super supportive and often went out of their way to make it easier for me to participate in YC events - offering rides, allowing Adam to tag along with me at office hours, helping to entertain him, and generally being extraordinarily patient and welcoming.
Not doing so will strongly select for people who already have the means to support themselves in Silicon Valley for 3 months, which is like saying "rich kids only".
I don't know about this case, but the article mentions "the meager monthly stipend she allowed herself", which suggests that Julia chose to spend as much of the funding as possible on the nonprofit itself, despite considerable inconvenience. If that's so, I admire her for it, and it's a strong signal of authenticity for Zidisha.
Don't get me wrong, YC clearly provides great support in general for its founders. What I'm suggesting is that I would expect them to go that bit further to be inclusive - especially with their public commitment to encouraging female founders.
My impression is that the funding founders get is interpreted as funding for the company, rather than for the founder to live. Is that wrong?
Oh yes, quite wrong. The #1 purpose of the funding has always been to cover founders' living expenses while in YC. It was more than enough for that when we went through it in 2009, and of course the startups get a lot more these days.
I should repeat that I don't know any details, but I bet you the YC partners had no idea of the lengths Julia was personally taking. (Literally! Commuting an hour on foot with a two-year-old is quite a length to take.) This is clearly a strong and determined person. It seems unlikely that she would have brought such details up or asked for special treatment in any way.
They give you money and you can spend it however you want. It's generally assumed the cost to start at startup these days is only food+housing for two or three people.
> she and Adam would have to get by in the Bay Area on the meager monthly stipend she allowed herself.
YC does give people a decent chunk of money; at least startups. Maybe it's different for non profits? From the article, it seems she chose to live frugally and spend it on her project.
YC is an investor. It provides funding, not "solutions". Founders can spend the funding on childcare if they deem that best for their startup. Probably some do. It's entirely their call.
*Yo, I asked a legitimate polite question in the interest of learning more, stating my preexisting assumptions and inviting people to educate me. The parent comment gave a very nice and informative reply which was helpful to me and likely others. I don't think that rates downvotes.
Even at three years old, my daughter would unquestionably choose to spend three months with my wife rather than me (I'm not hurt or offended by this!).
"but the kid probably won't notice that much"
The kid will definitely notice :)
Being separated from a kid for three months would also be much harder emotionally on my wife than it would for me.
The kid will definitely realize mom and dad are gone at two, they're not vegetables, but whether that has any impact on them later is not something that's been established by evidence. The idea that kids are the "sum of their experiences up to that point in time" is an old wives' tale.
Far from having no memories at all, very young children remember a lot like adults. In early infancy, the neural structures crucial for memory are coming online: the hippocampus, which is, very roughly, in charge of storing new memories; and the prefrontal cortex, which is, very roughly, in charge of retrieving those memories.
But these neural regions and their connecting pathways are still developing. And they capture only part of the present as it flows by.
Parents stand in line when sign-ups begin. They get on waiting lists before their child is born. Demand exceeding the supply of affordable daycare is typical in the US. I don't even want to imagine what it's like in the Valley. When you have children, brace yourself.
I would love to someday participate in an incubator such as YC but I just can't imagine how my family would handle it--we're dual-income and my wife is active duty military.
One thought on you getting down voted: Your comment started with 'Please.', which could be interpreted to mean, 'yes, please do elaborate', or it could be interpreted as confrontational / disbelieving, as is sometimes the case when people just say 'Please!'. Just a thought.
 attachment parenting should not be confused with helicopter parenting, which has some superficial similarities but which is different and which has mild evidence of long lasting harm.
Terra scrambled to find a substitute instructor at his martial-arts school, but came up short. All of which meant that if Kurnia was going to participate in YC, she’d have to separate Terra from his two-year-old son for three months—
Also - the dad in the story is a martial arts instructor. Perhaps watching so much violence every day wouldn't be great for the kids. (And it's not a profession that pays very well, which may have precluded daycare)
You should probably try explaining that subtlety at least once to a kid under the age of 4 before you laugh at it. Most martial arts contain hitting and kicking components, or at least pretty physical throws and grapples. To a toddler, that's just fighting since it quacks like a duck. They're extremely literal at that age.
Some toddlers might understand it, but I'd be cautious assuming all of them would grasp an abstract like that. Remember, this is the same age group that might think it's totally reasonable to use the family dog as a substitute for paper towels, or want to share their spaghetti-o's with the fish in the fish bowl. When he's big enough to understand and restrain his actions, more power to him and his family.
I don't know what they think or absorb from it, but I'm guessing they just see it as some sort of goofy adult playtime because they acclimate and grow bored of it quickly.
You're also forgetting that they also see us laughing, sweating, doing pushups and situps, and shaking hands at the end while we thank each other.
"Why wasn't the child left with the father?"
You rewrote it after I wrote my response, to which you originally replied "Flagged for rudeness".
No, the company was YC.
I fixed my comment to improve clarity.
No, you didn't. tptacek's and Mz's description of what you did is accurate.
You're clearly commenting in bad faith, in a way that crosses over the line of what we ban people for. Your account history also contains many, many comments that break the HN guidelines. Please re-read and follow them from now on.