I thought this sounded outrageous, but then it occurred to me: when was the last time anyone ever used telegrams? There can't be many uses of them - I've never used one in my entire life - and all the regular costs of a business still need to be paid and the couriers have to be paid and so on.
There exist a variety of circumstances where a business has to put a piece of paper in someone's hand within about 24 hours. It's doable between virtually any two endpoints in the first world. It also costs whatever FedEx/DHL/etc think they can get out of a business which needs to have a document hand delivered on the other side of the world immediately, which is "a lot." (e.g. It's presently midnight on Wednesday in NYC. I can walk next door to a store in Tokyo and hand FedEx a letter. It will arrive at the New York Stock Exchange before the opening bell on Thursday. That will cost ~$125 but it will almost certainly actually work.)
Some 60-70 years ago, you could not get it done for any sum of money. Maybe the military could do it, on a good day. A few years later, it's not just possible, but cheap.
I also didn't bother to check Fedex/DHL because I figured while they probably did have faster deliveries than USPS, they always charge way more and we were unsure we really needed within a day delivery (which is the only place on the Pareto frontier the private companies would be for general document delivery).
As it happened, we were unsatisfied with our options so we kept digging and eventually came up with what we think are the phone number & email address of the person we need to reach, so hopefully it all turned out to be moot.
Thanks Justin (assuming you read HN) for writing these up.
My wedding website was hosted on the same server, so I thought I might as well delete it since the wedding was months before. Dropped that database. Visited my business website a few minutes later and it wasn't working. Apparently both sites were in the same database...
Called MediaTemple support and asked if they had a backup. They did! Support guy asked if I wanted him to restore it. Of course I do. He goes on hold.
He comes back on and says, "Sir, I'm sorry to say that the last back up actually backed up the blank version of the site so we don't have anything to restore. Is there anything else I can help you with?"...
After hanging up, I explained the situation to my wife and she just says, call back and ask someone else. The next support guy tells me that there actually is a way to restore an old archived backup, but there will likely be a loss of data and there will be a fee. Turns out the fee was only $15 and the backup was from the previous day, so no loss of data.
I'm still running the same site and I might soon be able to hire my first employee :)
My takeaways were to create backups, not monkey around on the database, and to call support back and ask for someone else to verify what the other person told me.
and then drive around the block a few times for their trouble.
- TaskRabbit: Post job, wait for bids, accept a bid, wait for driver to leave his/her house to deliver message, 2-3 hours later... profit?
- Uber: Place pin near address, request ride, driver less than 5 min away accepts, call driver with weird request. 10 min later... profit!
"I'm sorry sir, it has to be a fixed address."
Also taxi companies aren't set up to accept payment over a telephone call. So they'd have to trust the recipient to pay.
If anything, these are examples of why most of the stuff that you worry about in a startup turn out to be totally irrelevant in the final analysis. While we were stressing about the Jonas brothers, the "gaming" category was off languishing in its own little corner of the site....
"What happens when the Board Of Directors begins to panic?"
Score -1 for continued prudishness.
I was being quite neutral, saying, that at a minimum the philosophers and feminists who have to debate and decide this stuff don't win, since they have better things to be doing.
I don't know how else to put it other than the link I included - this isn't a settled question, some feminists are sex-positive and support the sex industry, others explicitly exclude sex work from the idea of feminism. (Because it's degrading, or hurts women, etc, by their viewpoint, which I don't mean to summarize here. Some say the very existence of pornography anywhere hurts women everywhere.)
So no matter how you slice it, not everyone wins via a redirect to pornography. I don't mean to make a deeper or more profound statement than I did, which is why it is quite narrow. At a minimum it causes feminists and philosophers to spend time on the issue that could be put to better use.
Here is a link to a book I haven't gotten around to reading: http://gaildines.com/pornland/pornland-about-the-book/
(I also am a user of pornography, though don't pay for it, and don't yet have a moral position on the matter. In fact I consider it possible that I might be "in the wrong" for being a user of pornography, given some of the above links. I haven't decided! The only position I have is that it is obviously not trivial or beyond the need for ethical analysis, i.e. it's not something you can pass summary judgment on in good conscience, like some trivial ethical question with an obvious answer - is it wrong to pretend to your dog you're going to the park but then go to the vet instead, no, it's obviously not wrong, even though you're being misleading, next question. Unlike this example you - or someone - has to look at the issue. Which is a chore.)
Which is just to say, there are reasons you might not want to have a policy of redirecting users to porn sites for money even if Techcrunch isn't shaming you.
There are plenty of legit porn sites out there though.
And if you're getting 40% of your revenue from porn then you are an extension of the porn industry.
I've never heard this described so succinctly and perfectly!
> Because we were young and terrible managers, we had an “unlimited vacation” policy, which translated into passively discouraging people from taking vacation.
Let me give you one last example of improvising. The Justin.tv founders were having a lot of scaling issues in the beginning. One weekend their whole video system went down. Kyle was in charge of it, but no one knew where Kyle was. And Kyle wasn't picking up his cell phone. This was live video so it was pretty critical that this get fixed immediately.
Michael Siebel called Kyle's friends and found out he was in Lake Tahoe and got the address of the house. So here's a problem for you, you know the address where someone is and he's not answering his phone. How do you get a message to him right away? Michael went on Yelp and looked for a pizza place near the house and called them up and said, "I want to have a pizza delivered. But never mind the pizza. Just send a delivery guy over and say these four words: The site is down." The pizza place was very confused by this, but they send the pizza guy without a pizza, Kyle answers the door, and the pizza guy says, "The site is down." Kyle was able to fix it, and the site was down for less than an hour total from beginning to end.
So it sounds like they knew someone who knew where he was staying.