Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Bizarre. I've only tried to use Etsy once, figuring it'd be a great place to get some sort of unique jewellery as a gift. It's filled with junk, both of the super-manufactured kind and of the "modern art" kind (someone glues 2 pieces of crap together and wants $500.) I haven't gone back, though I did enjoy the Regretsy blog while it was up.

>Etsy’s insistence on running its own servers rather than using cloud-based services and software offered by companies such as Google and Amazon—an emphasis that was known, under Dickerson, as “code as craft”

That reminds me of the silly StackOverflow "if you are a real <hacker/programmer/developer/whatever> you must setup your own servers". There are certain benefits of cloud or not, but this kind of thinking confuses me. Why stop there? Do they build their own Ethernet cables? Racks? Make their own distros, compilers, etc.? Build their own network -- after all, your network is critical in delivering pages to your users, why outsource this to XO and Cogent and so on?

Edit: Yes, I understand the pricing differences of cloud. So just say "it's cheaper to run our own stuff", don't pretend its due to some desire for "craft".

>food scraps were packed onto a Dutch cargo bike, which an “office ecologist” would pedal several miles to a Brooklyn farm

It's like they want to parody themselves?

>Senior Engineer..."I’m just allergic to capitalism"

But presumably not allergic to using capitalists money to hire people to bike your leftovers around town.




There's still plenty of incredible hand-made and vintage furniture and interior design objects on Etsy.

The problem, as ever, is about filtering. For every quality piece there 50 amateurish things cobbled together from steel pipes and reclaimed wood (or worse: distressed "shabby chic" furniture made to look like something you'd find in an old B&B on the French Riviera). With all the AI being thrown around, can't someone build a "tastefulness" filter?


You're right about great furniture and objects. We've tried putting a local focus on some of their selection (as well as the selection from additional non-etsy sellers), by selecting/curating furniture dealers from the DC and Baltimore areas so that would-be buyers can have a look in person:

https://attic-dc.com

Especially in regards to furniture, buying online, sight unseen still isn't a great proposition. We don't expect it will ever be.


Perhaps with AR or VR but it's still hard to imagine supplanting the experience without an actual tactile connection. Furniture isn't something you buy everyday or even year typically. If I am going to spend any amount of money on a couch or chair or whatever I'd like to sit in it atleast once before I do (though perhaps that's just me others may be different).

Perhaps though online could be a great first step filtering process. Find a bunch of stuff that fits the rough parameters of what you are looking for and looks good in your space then go someplace to try them out with a well kept appointment and ready to go same day follow you home delivery should you decide to buy something.

Maybe this already exists? I haven't had to buy any furniture is several years so not sure what the current state of the markets is.


Cool. Would love something like this for NYC.


> With all the AI being thrown around, can't someone build a "tastefulness" filter

I've long wanted an extension for Google Image Search, eBay, Etsy, etc. that simply filtered out all listings with images of items with pure white backgrounds. That would go a long ways toward a "tastefulness filter".

Huge indicator of handmade / vintage / used items sold by an individual seller vs. a new item being dropshipped from Amazon or China.


Sadly, they sort of figured that out already: http://www.storenvy.com/shop/category/home-furniture/. (Yes, that's their furniture category. Who knew ugly, amateurishly made dolls were considered furniture?)


Are the hands fake too?!


I like the idea, but this would also be easy to game.


These guys are using deep learning/convolutional neural networks to train their models to detect beautiful/thoughtful photographic images.

https://www.eyeem.com/

They talk about their curation algorithms here:

https://devblogs.nvidia.com/parallelforall/understanding-aes...


> With all the AI being thrown around, can't someone build a "tastefulness" filter?

It turns out taste varies.


I would argue (somewhat tongue in cheek) that people who don't have a taste [1] don't need a filter. The filter is for people who want to climb above the trash, not for those who willingly submerge themselves.

[1] https://www.etsy.com/shop/GrainyDayCreations, https://www.etsy.com/shop/PurpleHeartUK, https://www.etsy.com/shop/BigSwigDesign, https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyMamaGifts, etc.


Right. I wouldn't use that; while I can totally understand why you linked the shops you did, they also aren't qualitatively much different than the shops I do appreciate. So I'd rather not automate away my taste until, you know, it's my taste.


Based on those links, I think you may have confused "taste" with "irony". :)


Still sounds like an interesting problem.

Perhaps a set of AI filters could be built, and Netlix or Pandora style whichever one a person agrees with more often is selected and more results from it are presented to them.

Or perhaps a Convolution Network trained to filter per person or something equally wasteful if the allocations of Etsy's budget actually match the article. But of course those GPUs would be locally sourced and powered by renewable hamster wheels and 100% organic hamsters.


Which just means that taste is a function of a person. Or, approximately, a function of all the data you have on them.


> Edit: Yes, I understand the pricing differences of cloud. So just say "it's cheaper to run our own stuff", don't pretend its due to some desire for "craft".

I think your criticism would make sense if the article was accurate. But I don't think this quote

> Etsy’s insistence on running its own servers rather than using cloud-based services and software offered by companies such as Google and Amazon—an emphasis that was known, under Dickerson, as “code as craft”

is accurate. AFAIK no one at Etsy has said that they run their own servers because it's more authentic, part of their "craft" in a way that using cloud servers could not be, etc.

There's some actual information on their thinking behind running their own servers at https://www.nextplatform.com/2015/04/07/etsy-shows-how-to-be... , which boils down to three points

1) Etsy has been around longer than EC2 2) Etsy does not have a spikey workload that would benefit from scaling up/down 3) Etsy thinks they can run more efficiently on bare metal


>"AFAIK no one at Etsy has said that they run their own servers because it's more authentic, part of their "craft", etc."

I'm not sure I would agree with that based on a recent-ish post on “code as craft” the Etsy engineering blog:

"At Etsy, the vast majority of our computing happens on physical servers that live in our own data centers. Since we don’t do much in the cloud, we’ve developed tools to automate away some of the most tedious aspects of managing physical infrastructure. This tooling helps us take new hardware from initial power on to being production-ready in a manner of minutes, saving time and energy for both data center technicians racking hardware and engineers who need to bring up new servers. It was only recently, however, that this toolset started getting the love and attention that really exemplifies the idea of code as craft."

Source: https://codeascraft.com/2016/02/22/putting-the-dev-in-devops...

Tangentially related to the hardware discussion - a bit of dated hardware post:

https://codeascraft.com/2012/08/31/what-hardware-powers-etsy...


Only reviewing from your excerpt -

Just because someone sees the work that is done as part of a more cost effective solution as 'craft', doesn't mean it is actually done solely for that reason..

automated cloud deploy pipelines likely would also fit the bill and could be blogged about just in the same way, as one small example...


Well that makes sense. I keep forgetting how articles incorrectly portray people, especially when it fits a narrative. I guess I was only too ready to believe that a company that bikes around leftovers would actually believe in craft-servers.


"Code as Craft" was the name of their engineering blog. I suspect the author found a post about Etsy running their own servers there and decided this juxtaposition fit the narrative they were building.


It looks (from the outside) like Etsy's core eng team, early, had its culture come from all of the ex-Flickr people working there.

Flickr's other direct descendant, culturally, is Slack. Those are nerdy, charming, funny cultures. "Code as Craft" is a cute pun. Taking it entirely literally is a really big point-miss.


1) Etsy has been around longer than EC2

This is a good point. My company is on cloud servers, but not EC2 since EC2 didn't exist when we moved to the cloud.


It's not a great point. Many companies have been around since before EC2, and many of them have moved to EC2.

Not saying EC2 is right for everyone, just that this particular point is bad.


The cloud is very, very expensive. If you want low cost, you do your own servers for anything under 20 nodes. Which, given the power of modern machines and with unmethered bandwidth, will take you to the millions of user easily.

I have setup a streaming website with 500k/d visitors, and it runs on 7 servers for 2000$ a month give or take.

That's very, very cheap compared to GAE or AWS.


I think there's a couple sweet spots:

At stage one, with <1000 visitors per day, I can get by on a $5/mo Digital Ocean node or $20 Linode. Just the fact that they're even numbers means I'm leaving something on the table, but just the cost per hour for talking about buying, building, and colocating my own machines is more expensive than this.

Stage two is a sweet spot where running your own 5-25 machines makes sense for stable, medium-sized, medium traffic businesses.

After that, though, stage 3 is when gets to be too much for one combination programmer/devops employee to manage in their spare time, and it makes sense to go back to the cloud and have someone else manage all of that for you. A lot of startups focused on rapid growth like to skip step 2 and go straight to this stage. When you outgrow the "do whatever's cheapest" stage of hosting, it can become untenable to explain to your investors that a few thousand in server hardware will probably be adequate for the next few years, and they'll see a nice return of a fraction of an employee per month on hosting if it's done most efficiently.

Somewhere in the stratosphere, stage 4 is when it again becomes more reasonable to hire an internal team to assemble and maintain your computing resources. Perhaps you can instead convince your investors that this is your target? After all, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are on their own hardware...


There has to be something very wrong when an article about the problems with a company that facilities an online marketplace is talking about the details of how their servers are run and paid for..

By this I mean that in such a business the issues surrounding servers and even software should be very minor compared to the bread and butter of helping people sell stuff so money is made. The costs of said servers and software should also be minimal vs things like sales and marketing costs.


Except traditional "cloud" hosting is wicked expensive in comparison. Ideally you should shoot for a hybrid model where excess capacity spills into AWS/GCE/Azure.

For example: A dedicated m4.16xLarge EC2 instance in AWS is $3987/month. You could build that same server for $15,000 through Dell, lease it at $400/month (OpEx), and colo it with a 1GB/s connection for $150/month.


Except then you're stuck with a $15K server, and you had to spend all 15K up front. What happens when a component prematurely fails? Better buy two. What about the person-hours you spend with ISPs, CoLo provider, etc? You want network redundancy? Big ISP bills.

Yes, cost per compute measurable (memory, CPU, etc) is higher in the cloud. But what's never mentioned when people complain about the cloud being expensive:

a) ISP and CoLo costs

b) Redundancy/Multiple AZs

c) Backups

d) Failure recovery/cutover

e) Support

f) Monitoring/Health statistics

g) The other goodies that come along with being in the cloud(Lambda, CloudFront, Route53, SQS, etc)

I feel like we're at a point where people should have to justify why they are running their own data centers vs. having to justify why they're running in the cloud. There's obviously many very good reasons to do either, or both, but if you don't already have a data center, you better have some damn good reasons for starting one up.


That $15,000 server is leased across 36 months becoming an OpEx expenditure. On the accounting side this is no different than AWS. So let's say you buy two for failover.

A) Colo is $50-150/U with blended top tier bandwidth, 99th% billing and usually includes remote hands time.

B) Even with 100% redundancy you're still ahead by $3000/month. Please understand Amazon offers absolutely no redundancy built in and nodes go down regularly. It is up to you as a developer to build redundancy around the tools they offer.

C) Amazon doesn't take backups for you. You have to pay for this either way.

D) Again Amazon doesn't handle this for you. You have to pay either way. Buying an exact replica of the hardware I've mentioned and cololocating it elsewhere still puts you ahead by $3000/month.

E) What support do you need? Dell offers same day or even 4 hour parts replacement with the appropriate warranty service. Most Colos offer remote hands for free up to a certain hourly.

F) Lots of ways to handle this. You can use IPMI, built in OS tools, etc. There isn't much exclusive to AWS you can't easily replicate elsewhere.

G) I never said not to use Amazon for anything. In fact you should be building your applications for scaleability INTO the cloud. This is part of the idea behind the whole microservices movement.


  > Except then you're stuck with a $15K server, and you had to spend all 15K up front
I think you missed the part where the parent said "lease it at $400/month (OpEx)"


Cloud doesn't automatically come with that stuff - you need to set up your own failovers, backups and monitoring. Also you still need to administer those servers.

Also, tying yourself exclusively to AWS services is not a good long term strategy because then you have vendor lock-in that's worse than being stuck with some old hardware.

If you don't need the scaling abilities of cloud, then it just doesn't justify the added expense because no matter what you say, you still need people to manage systems.


Yes you do need to know your shit. But that's true for all kinds of products and services any business buys. Someone has to understand the deep weeds Health Insurance at any company (in the USA).


You left out the paying multiple people >$10k/month that can replace a hardware failure immediately (and somehow with 0 downtime), the redundant hardware, etc.


Oh, preachin' to the choir with that : my company's SaaS service is deployed across 10 or so tin boxes that I personally screwed together from Supermicro parts; humming in a faceless DC in Santa Clara with a backhoe sat in the far corner of the parking lot..

What I mean is : if you make a list of "shit that's wrong with my crafted good selling business", "how the servers are made" wouldn't be in the top 10 things to worry about. The fact that they're arguing that said servers should be sourced in a very cost-inefficient way makes it even more odd.

Consider for example this : http://www.zdnet.com/article/snapchat-spending-2-billion-ove... which, other than here, nobody seemed to question as strange.


On the other hand, a reserved m4.Large instance is $45/month. After a year of that, you're just $550 into hosting, barely enough to select and order the case and power supply for your server. It would be 30 years before you paid the cost of that Dell, so unless you actually need that power and your time is free, it's easier to let this be a tiny fraction of Amazon's expenses and workload than a big part of yours.


The $15,000 Dell being discussed is equivalent to a m4.16xlarge with 64 threads and 256 gigs of RAM. The m4.large you're referencing at $45/mo only has 2 CPUs and 8 gigs of RAM.


Not all instances are the same. You can't run a database on an m4.large, not any database you plan on running queries on.

So you need that m4.16xlarge to handle the load, and honestly, there's no single instance available on Amazon that I've found that can come anywhere near the performance of physical hardware when it comes to handling database loads. Right now I am running ten r4.16xlarge instances to do the job of two Dell R710s, at considerably reduced performance even still.


I guess our use cases are just different. Mind sharing some examples of your use case that demands that much compute power?

I do run a database on my server (which isn't even a Large) for an e-commerce site. It fits handily in half a gig of ram. The hundreds of products we offer have associated images, but we just store the filenames in the database and they load from disk (or, more likely, Cloudflare cache). Honestly, it could be a static site but the database is a convenient way to edit the content and control the presentation.

You have 640 CPUs running at multiple gigahertz and trillions of bytes of RAM. What kind of workload requires that insane amount of compute power?


We have billions of rows of data and very complicated CTEs doing joins on a dozen tables matching based on GEOS radius data, and it's the primary query for our application. We're running PostgreSQL 9.5 and need to have all the data in memory for the fastest results.

Part of the problem is that the network disk that EC2 provides as EBS is 100x slower than local disk, so keeping all the indexes and data in memory is the only way to replicate physical hardware performance.

If anyone knows of a better EC2 setup for PostgreSQL, I'm all ears.


> Part of the problem is that the network disk that EC2 provides as EBS is 100x slower than local disk, so keeping all the indexes and data in memory is the only way to replicate physical hardware performance.

> If anyone knows of a better EC2 setup for PostgreSQL, I'm all ears.

Have a proper replication & archiving setup, and use instance storage. If you have configured streaming replication to 1-2 other servers, and archive your WAL to s3 (using wal-e or such), you're already above EBS's guarantees (99.9% durability IIRC?).


Instance storage is much more limited and is heavily tied to the specific instance types you pick.


Indeed. I didn't want to say it's a panacea, just that you can sometimes get a lot better performance for your money. E.g. larger i3's both have decent IO performance and sizes.

Still doesn't even remotely compete with what you can get with "normal" hardware.


This is why I claim a hybrid model is the way to go. Your baseline/mean load should be on redundant dedicated hardware with spill-over into a cloud provider.


> For example: A dedicated m4.16xLarge EC2 instance in AWS is $3987/month. You could build that same server for $15,000 through Dell, lease it at $400/month (OpEx), and colo it with a 1GB/s connection for $150/month.

If this is all you see when it comes getting servers or working with Cloud servers/services, then you don't know what you are talking about.

You don't build for one massive single server, you build for a bunch of small ones that spin up and down as needed. It's micro services or you are wasting your time and money.


> If you want low cost, you do your own servers for anything under 20 nodes.

This seems unlikely to be true unless your software engineers love doing ops (and the needs of the business don't need those on software.)

The salaries of having Operations that can replace failed hardware 24/7 (and w/ vacations) alone is more expensive than a company like Etsy should have in ops. Then there is the cost of the pipe, power, and redundancies. Even higher up, managing all of the depreciation in accounting is going to have costs compared to a expense line item.


Here is the dirty little secret: most business run fine without high availibility. Your customer will not leave if your service is crashing for a few hours during the year if you are small.


On top of that, Amazon's single region EC2 SLA kicks in at 99.95%. So unless you are using multiple regions in AWS, going by their SLA you're already in the range of a few hours of downtime per year.


Don't believe the lie that you don't need ops people in cloud. You're still running servers. So since you have the staff anyway, why not save 3-4x the cost?

Hardware failures are far less common than you believe. I lost one hard drive in 10 years and because it was a RAID array it didn't even fail.


You still need software ops, yes, but not hardware ops.

> Hardware failures are far less common than you believe.

Your experience may vary; I once rented metal from Softlayer (running ~15 shards, about 60 boxes), we had a number of drives* fail, a couple of the rack controllers, some raid controllers, and one time a power supply over a 3 year period. On the worst RAID failure, we sent one of our employees across country to manage the recovery directly.

*Some hard drive failures related to 2012 Seagate 3TB drive issue. One failed within a week of being replaced.

Softlayer had a team monitoring our servers and working through issues with us; Other than supplier issues I blame them for nothing.

In that worst scenario; we ran off our geo redundant slave for the better part of a week.


I think you overstate the overhead for hardware operations. I had a team of five that managed over 1,000 physical servers in four global locations and they had to visit a datacentre maybe twice in three years. Other than for hardware installs which were always easily planned out.


I'd love to pick your brain about that--what's a good way of getting a hold of you?


Try desmoulinmichel on gmail. But honestly I don't do anything special. varnish + redis + nginx + celery + postgres can take you a long way.


Because AWS is pretty insanely expensive compared to leasing/renting, let's say from Leaseweb. And unless you have gone completely serverless and kubernetes and [magic datastore that's easy to run], you need engineers that will eventually figure, that they can run a Ceph cluster, and a Cassandra cluster, and a Kafka cluster and Galera clusters.

AWS is great for prototyping, for scaling into new territories (you need a Point of presence in Tokyo for your new startup? great, AWS), but not for running a boring e-commerce site (buy cheap shit in 2 DCs, run replication to keep things in sync, pay someone for BGP + DNS failover, call it a day).


>There are certain benefits of cloud or not, but this kind of thinking confuses me. Why stop there?

Because using EC2/GCE infrastructure is an incredible waste of money if you have any reasonable-sized base-load and bandwidth utilization.


Most of the larger shops I've worked at have started moving away from hosted providers to save money.

When you're starting out, hosted solutions will save you a lot of time. Running your own servers is a high cost and you need a dedicated team. But once you're pulling in that revenue and can afford it, running your own can save you some money and add a lot of flexibility.

If you're starting out, I highly recommend not tightly coupling yourself to a single service (using AMIs or any really specific AWS stuff) but write your provisioning scripts in such a way as you can plug in different services or deploy locally. Things like Terraform + a provisioner (Ansible/Puppet/etc) can make it easy to move your system to another provider or host your own and more easily measure costs.


I completely see how it's theoretically desirable to not be tied to a particular cloud/VPS provider, but I'm not entirely convinced Terraform alone is the answer. In my experience, Terraform does not let you declare VPS resources in a "provider neutral" way - you would still have to completely rewrite your Terraform files if you say, switch from AWS to Azure. Then there's the wider issue that whole concepts in one VPS provider that you used in Terraform don't necessarily exist in another, or require a completely different approach. A great example is just look at the documentation for Terraform's DigitalOcean Support, vs their AWS support. The AWS documentation is many times larger! Once your stack reaches a certain degree of complexity this is a non-trivial task. I should make clear this isn't a knock against Terraform - it's a great tool, but it isn't going to magically make it easy to leave AWS for lots of people.

Amazon aren't stupid, and to really realise the full value/potential of their cloud offering you kind of have to design for the proprietary features of their stack, which of course is the whole point - driving you to be locked in as much as they can. Treat them as just a bunch of generic compute boxes in the cloud and you will end up driving your costs up, not to mention often markedly increasing the complexity of your deployment.


You touch on what I think is a bigger concern, as somebody who spends a lot of time on this sort of work: Terraform doesn't actually solve any problem that I encounter. You aren't "provider neutral" when using it, as you say, and moving from one nontrivial provider (AWS, GCE, Azure) to another is a full rewrite. I disagree--and rather strongly at that--that it's a lock-in thing, unless you are aggressively climbing all over the proprietary offerings from each cloud. Even the basics of the stack are different in ways that are pretty annoying to deal with (just trying to port simple autoscaling groups and load balancers is work--not hard work, but work, and work for which you must write code that must be tested). Attempts to encapsulate general functionality (and I've been suckered into this myself) fail because the abstractions are super leaky. It's not worth the fight.

We have a lot of clients who say they want to be multi-cloud, they say they're afraid of being locked into AWS or GCE, and in practice nobody except the supermassive companies out there ever actually do move between them. To that end, we pretty much standardized on using the platform-specific options: CloudFormation, Azure Resource Manager, and Google Cloud Deployment Manager.

(There is a small argument to some of the ancillary services that Terraform can wire up, but to be honest I rarely find a compelling reason to put up with Terraform and its lovely habit of fragging my state in order to wire those up declaratively rather than using a little imperative glue within Auster[0] to do it.)

[0] - https://github.com/eropple/auster


I think Terraform does solve some problems, for some teams. For us it's really the process it provides - by moving VPS infrastructure definition to code, rather than management UIs, we can apply our existing code review processes we have to our hardware infrastructure before promoting through staging environments, not just the product code. This is vastly preferable to letting individual engineers run wild at the AWS management console, and allows for rollback of breaking changes much more easily etc. This arguably the real value in Terraform, which i think earlier posts about using it to somehow become cloud neutral missed.


Sure. I feel very strongly that Terraform is strictly inferior to CloudFormation in doing this. Terraform breaks its own promises (JSON support was broken for a long time, I'm not even sure it's fully there now), has demonstrated regressions in releases (going so far as to break existing states by doing so), and has enough of a habit of horking existing states that multiple clients separately coined the term "terrafucked" for having their states trashed and necessitating manual intervention.

CloudFormation isn't perfect--but it isn't a hand grenade.


Agreed. Or stay flexible and negotiate between clouds. Even Netflix's legendary AWS relationship doesn't stop them from building their own custom hardware (Open Connect) and building what is essentially their own custom CDN.

People used to ask us when we started Userify (SSH Key management, https://userify.com)... what happens when AWS clones you?

Well.. that was five years ago, and they haven't cloned us yet. But even if they ever did, they have a vested interest in ensuring lock-in to AWS, so they will always choose to make things work with things that only they offer (such as IAM) instead of making it cross-cloud. That makes things a lot more challenging for large enterprises, especially when you're talking about users that may have to log in to servers hosted in multiple clouds. Having multiple sources of truth doesn't work at scale.

Most large organizations are at least on AWS, GCP, and/or Azure already, so I don't really think Userify's SSH key management (or any other cross-cloud tools like ansible/pupet/terraform/etc) are going away anytime soon.


Looking at Terraform 3-4 months ago it really only supported AWS if you were doing anything "interesting", for some value of "interesting" which I can't pull off the top of my head at the moment.

Has that changed since?


As I said, there are benefits to not using cloud, sure. But don't pitch it as because anyone that loves programming should build their own servers.


Build their own? Probably not, unless they are doing it at massive scale and the cost of replacing parts beats out buying a server with a 3/5/7 year warranty.

If you have static usage, or at least a base load owning your own hardware to support it does make sense though, colo space is cheap, the biggest disadvantage from a financial perspective to owning your own gear is you have a depreciating CapEx instead of a 100% deductible OpEx.


Real investors care about cash flow, which means the difference between purchasing/depreciating and leasing/renting(OpEx) is negligible. Whats far more important is the business benefits of the best approach for your business.


I don't know what the current state of things is, but 5 years ago they were doing a mix of buying off the shelf and building their own supermicro-based systems.

https://codeascraft.com/2012/08/31/what-hardware-powers-etsy...


Etsy has pay and benefits far outstripping the competition. They should have the best engineers and developers.

So why then can't they build and maintain the best infrastructure? Why does it suck so?


> That reminds me of the silly StackOverflow "if you are a real <hacker/programmer/developer/whatever> you must setup your own servers". There are certain benefits of cloud or not, but this kind of thinking confuses me. Why stop there? Do they build their own Ethernet cables? Racks? Make their own distros, compilers, etc.? Build their own network -- after all, your network is critical in delivering pages to your users, why outsource this to XO and Cogent and so on?

Ehm, no. But if you outsource your servers, you’ve got an entirely different set of issues.

I’m currently renting dedicated servers, paying around 20$ a month, for something that would cost me 900$ a month with Google Cloud Platform, or around 60'000$ a month with Firebase. Outsourcing servers – unless you have highly variable load – is always literally burning money.

Remember that Google, Amazon, etc have to pay their devs Silicon Valley wages, while you can operate elsewhere, and pay half that, and save money with hardware, too.


That's insanely cheap. Can you share where you're renting this and what plan? A cheap DigitalOcean plan is around $20 a month, and since you said "server(s)" (plural) I'm assuming you get more than one for that $20?


I’m personally using Online.net, although you might also want to try out scaleway.

You can check out https://gist.github.com/justjanne/205cc548148829078d4bf2fd39...

I’m personally actually paying 30€ now, for several Dediboxes from Online, running kubernetes.

The big issues of Google, AWS, etc is the cost for bandwidth and performance – I can transfer 180TB in one month on one server, and pay no extra fee, and don’t get throttled – while a startup using Firebase might end up paying 7000% more (or worse).


The cure when I start getting tempted to "roll my own" is watching that Ted talk about the guy who tried (failed) to build a toaster from raw materials to match the 5 quid discount store equivalent.


That failure wasn't due to skill, it was due to demand. That discount store has a high volume low skill patronage that needs toasters, if 100 engineers collectively wanted to make 100 of their own toasters for less than 5 dollars a unit, they could probably do that, or other things, much better.


Reminds one of Friedman's pencil.


>Etsy’s insistence on running its own servers rather than using cloud-based services and software offered by companies such as Google and Amazon—an emphasis that was known, under Dickerson, as “code as craft”

So many times people fail to look at problems in terms of trade-offs instead of right/wrong or fashionable/faus pax

Running your own infra vs public cloud has so many considerations beyond a simple price tag. Massive scale companies on AWS have hadoop clusters just to work out their goddamn bill. But there are considerations you have to make about the number of people to maintain something and how that affects your org on just a cultural/sustainability level, what the velocity of SaaS allows you, etc.

Running your own infra doesn't have to be full of cruft. And maybe the rolling-your-own approach to certain things is paradigmatic to the way your business works, maybe it isn't. You have to figure out the trade-offs.

Newer, fashionable tech is often decorated with tag lines of "faster, cheaper, better". That's actually not what I care about. Instead, sell me on "recoverable", "debuggable", and "sustainable".


Yup, everytime I hear someone complain about capitalism I eyeroll because they clearly aren't "woke" enough to realize that capitalism is the reason they can remain blissfully ignorant of how capitalism supports their blissful ignorance.

Capitalism isn't without its bugaboos, but the wholesale rejection I hear people making can only come from a place of ignorance.


I directly benefit from capitalism in my current occupation.

Yet I'm also aware that it dehumanizes anyone who can't produce value within that model.

Therefore I support attempts to make it inclusive of all human beings, even if that means making the model "less ideal" or "less pure". I find it strange that we somehow have come to value assets over humans. Yes, that means I will loose out on some of the value I earn and I'm ok with that.


Yes, and "our implementation of capitalism sorely needs improvement" is different from "I'm allergic to capitalism".


Not sure I understand your point. Are you asserting that anyone who argues against capitalism as a system must be doing so from a position of ignorance?


They're asserting that someone aggressively arguing against capitalism while freely and wholeheartedly participating in capitalism has some dissonance to reconcile.

I've got a hard time taking an "I'm allergic to capitalism" tweet seriously coming from someone who 1) lists all the ways they participate in capitalism in their profile and 2) makes this statement in the context of their job which depends completely on capitalism functioning.


What argument did that person make? They merely said they are "allergic" to capitalism, which sounds more like hyperbole than thoughtful criticism.


Public healthcare, social safety nets, public infrastructure/libraries/parks/schools, government regulation on products that can harm citizens, etc and about a boatload of other things that are considered good/valuable/moral/ are about as anti-capitalist as you can get. Capitalism promotes exploitation (of people, resources, information), socialism levels the playing field. In some cases, the exploitation leads to progress.

>but the wholesale rejection I hear people making can only come from a place of ignorance.

You went from "complaining about capitalism" to "wholesale rejection of capitalism". We call that shifting-of-goal-posts-ism. :P


Capitalism promotes improvements in productivity that creates the abundance that makes all of those public programs possible in the first place.

Capitalism > productivity > abundance > social welfare


I don't entirely disagree, because in the end, these are just tools we created to serve us. We're free to use them in whichever way we feel makes the most sense to us.

The /it depends/its complicated/its a grey area/ way of thinking is an essential analysis tool, but the average person can't be motivated towards an ideology (political, economic or social) using that. To me, the most progress is made by adopting a zealous attitude at the beginning and then making major course corrections, rather than pissing about with optimizing via micro adjustments from the start. e.g. Give people unfettered capitalism, and then when you get 13 year old kids in coal mines, you give them unfettered welfare/workers comp for a bit, etc. That way both the negative and positive impact from policies is permanently etched in history.


200 years ago:

> Yup, everytime I hear someone complain about feudalism I eyeroll because they clearly aren't "woke" enough to realize that feudalism is the reason they can remain blissfully ignorant of how feudalism supports their blissful ignorance.

> Feudalism isn't without its bugaboos, but the wholesale rejection I hear people making can only come from a place of ignorance.


To be frank this supports the parent's argument.

> So now that we aren't avoiding that we live in and understand our feudalistic society let's be realist and figure out things in perspective.


This concern for the survival of a particular corporation is just as arbitrary as your questioning where they drew their arbitrary lines around DIY operations.

80% of the Fortune 500 list in the 1960s is gone. Survival is not guaranteed of any of company. So why get so worried about it?

You know why they do it that way? Because the people there decided to.

What's more self-parodying? People on here grousing about the issues of our society, only to lean into more capitalism and VC/startup life?

Or people deciding to bike their food "several miles" for their own reasons?


I think there's a special hypocrisy involved in getting paid a six figure salary supported by some combination of venture capital and running an open market, and criticizing the system that pays you to do that, all the while spending money on luxurious shit like hand delivered food (which the vast majority of the world only does out of necessity, or otherwise cannot afford to do).

Capitalism has issues, society has issues, the modern phenomenon of worshipping the wealthy and "self made" has issues. I think it's possible to see those issues and want to address them without decrying the idea or system as a whole as this guy does.


Etsy’s insistence on running its own servers rather than using cloud-based services and software offered by companies such as Google and Amazon—an emphasis that was known, under Dickerson, as “code as craft”

Yup, this is definitely something only a non-technical person would say (or more specifically: something a business analyst cut-and-pasting snippets of advice fed to him by the various tech-oriented randos he happens to know very likely would say).


> various tech-oriented randos he happens to know

or whom he has investments or partnerships with...


> "if you are a real <hacker/programmer/developer/whatever> you must setup your own servers"

Someone forgot to remind this guy that Developers suck at running servers. Been a heavy line Unix admin for 16 years now and never have run across a server(s) built/operated/maintained by a developer that was not a steaming pile of garbage.


> It's filled with junk

Not just Etsy, go pick any online marketplace right now, they all are filled with cheap Chinese junk.


Wait, are you saying using your own servers is somehow comparable to building your own ethernet cables?


My understanding is that eBay runs their own servers. It kind of sounds similar to me.


i'll take the opportunity to plug my wife's hand-fabricated jewelry :) https://www.etsy.com/shop/PhetteplaceStudio




Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: