The abilities of a technician can be very valuable to a business, but especially as it begins to scale the owner/operator(s) need to adopt different mindsets in order to succeed. In short, if you don't like the idea of spending most of your time on business or marketing stuff, you should find someone who can handle those, or perhaps be a solo consultant/contractor. (I think this is a large part of why YC encourages cofounders so much.)
Exceptions certainly exist--there was a time when tech was a magical world and you could do magic things just by being an expert engineer--but increasingly I feel they are getting rarer.
That's fine if someone wants to start some kind of tech consulting business; but that's not the kind of business that I see promoted on Hacker News.
The "The E-Myth Revisited" describes how to plan a business where labor is low-cost and unskilled. With software, (and hardware, to a degree,) when you write a program, the program is done. Most of your labor goes into R&D that is not repeatable according to what "The E-Myth Revisited" advocates.
At least with hardware, the low-cost unskilled labor can go into manufacturing, but that is now mostly outsourced.
At most, "The E-Myth Revisited" can be applied to the sales and support part of running a tech business, which is what Oracle does very well.
Not by a long shot! The vast majority of the lifetime cost of software is in the maintenance (daily operations, upgrades, new features, bug fixes, integrations, rewrites, etc).
This is pretty much how you'd build out an engineering team of 50 or 500 people, too.
And within any kind of org - sales, engineering, support, whatever - eventually you're going to get large enough that you can be more efficient by sequestering simple work into simpler roles, which gets done by cheaper, junior people.
All 100% applicable to the audience here which is filled with people who are trying to found and grow companies.
Your comment implied that perhaps you think sales and support are low-skill roles, which makes me wonder if you have any experience working in those areas or managing people which perform those functions? I can assure you they take a very high level of a different kind of skill, and you would grow those teams more or less in the same way you grow an engineering team: starting with yourself, defining specific functions and duties, sequestering simpler work into lower skill roles for efficiency, and hiring people to fill those roles one by one. Exactly like Gerber describes.
The engineers half-serious mock me for continually talking about money, billing, etc. But they do know that's how their salaries get paid.
save time and read an online summary of the book to cover the ideas quickly.
There aren't many challenges we're the first to face in the history of the world, or the first to ever think about.
A lot of wasted time can can be saved from accessing the experience of others, and learning what to extract for your own journey.
Started out when I was eight, I got into electronics. Read all magazines, learned myself how to design electronic circuits from library books. Kept my own, hand written, library card system describing the specs of all transistors, ICs I could get my hands on. Designed/built and repaired devices for other people who paid me for the materials and for my trouble. I was 15. When I was 18 I went to university, switched majors multiple times.
And then the Dutch electronics magazine published the Junior computer, based on the 6502. I spent all my money on it, and learned assembler by inputting hex numbers. After that came the MSX computer (I disassembled the BASIC interpreter to grok how it worked) and I started searching for programmers jobs.
Found a job at KLM where I got out top of the class and entered a special called SMART. For special internal projects. All of us programmed in IBM S370 assembler, they tested C but it was too slow.
I was 25 by then. The following years went downhill. In IT. I changed jobs multiple times, but the companies kept going out of business. I was flabbergasted at the amount of incompetence I saw in salespeople and at C-level. I had no idea, coming from a blue collar background.
Side note: in 4 years I had 9 CEOs, 8 of which left their wife for their secretary in the time I worked there! I had a lot of respect for the 9th until I found out a couple of years later he'd done the same after I left.
So I decided why not start my own business i was capable of going bust as well couldn't do worse as those guys. So I started the first commercial ISP in the NL. One thing led to another and many companies later I now pulled out of most and again starting as a founder and learning all the new hot technologies.
Seriously though your background story is awesome. I haven't done electronics for a while, so this unhealthy "meh" attitude is starting to creep in ... but now I have an 8 year old kid to compare to (!) What's your startup about?
- don't run out of cash
- make something you enjoy working on
- sell something people need
- sell something for more than it costs to make
- don't expect the people around you to be as excited as you are about your thing
Don't neglect this one. A surprisingly large number of small companies that go under are profitable. They don't go under because they're making a loss; they go under because they cannot pay today's bill. Cash flow kills small businesses dead.
you must enjoy the job, because at some point your work under the pressure of a customer.
be very wary of intellectual property issues (IP issues are not very well understood and some people will think you steal their IP when you're not; and being stolen will make them very angry, like lawsuit-angry)
be ready to work according to someone else's planning : during your weekend, when you need to sleep, when you're sick, etc.
be ready to contemplate the fact that there are some people who take much and gives quite less.
There are a lot of bastards out there. Hindsight is 20/20, but there were multiple cases where things didn't feel right, I ignored that and went ahead anyway, and everything went sideways.
Always trust your spider-sense!
My advice: in general, do not invest your buffer in your company. You will be tempted to, but think of it as a buffer for when your life goes sideways, not your company.
PM me if you want, Google my username.
Why is a divorce something that let you loose all respect for a person, unless you are hardcore catholic?
Basically, it isn't the divorce that's the problem, it's everything else about it.
I'm definitely not saying infidelity is good, only that I think it's treated way out of proportion.
To be honest, I think it sounds more shitty to unilaterally declare respect or lack thereof for a colleague based on their private life rather than their professional performance.
Take credit for work that's not yours, and leave with millions in severance after they've fucked up the company? Totally fine. Sleep with your secretary? Unforgivable (and the CEO's fault).
And who was stunned to realize: (1) they are ordinary people, (2) aren't supermen in any way, (3) that many of them valued themselves, money and power more than anything in life, and/or seemed to have no ethics whatsoever.
If you aren't in a country with proper healthcare and are not earning AT LEAST $300k USD a year (consistently), understand that all your years of work can be destroyed by one diagnosis. And plan accordingly.
I love my life. I've had a charmed existence moving to wonderful locales and doing what I wanted when I wanted; but the genetic lottery cannot be outwitted. You can be healthy one day and in debt the next.
Plan accordingly. Don't let youth and good health lull you into complacency.
It's completely possible and attainable for software developers to be independent anywhere on the globe, but understand the potential financial implications and limitations of the social safety nets of your country of citizenship/residence. Plan accordingly.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a country that as at-will employment besides the US.
You cant compare it.
Where does that statement mention healthcare or any of the other things you talk about?
What i was trying to say is that the fact that Switzerland has similar you can be fired at will laws as US. The situation is not at all similar because of the other factors.
I think you understand very well what i mean, so please lets not pick on words.
I'm currently in Italy myself, and my father was visiting me and got a nasty case of pneumonia on the way over. Here in italy care is (mostly) free,as is his hospital stay here in genova. While it may be not to the full American standard, his care has been great, and the staff wonderful.
I'm glad to be in a system here where Healthcare is good, and affordable, and that with this episode my father is not bankrupted or in considerable debt because of it, especially as an elderly patient. La dolce vita.
Germany requires immigrants to have private health insurance until they are granted permanent residence/citizenship. That insurance can have restrictions on pre-existing conditions and/or be prohibitively expensive.
If you are already an EU citizen the rules can often be quite different than as a US passport holder.
I am not a global expert in immigration law though and I'm now going to research Italy. ;-)
This is not true! I'm in Germany since 2012 and still don't have permanent residence permit, but have public health insurance from day one.
I think you're conflating a few different terms and perhaps not fully understanding what is meant by public and private insurance in Germany?
If you can manage the visa issue then you can get excellent care at a tiny fraction of what you pay in the US. Over the years I have had surgery, been hospitalized for an illness, had a fair amount of dental work, and had thorough medical exams annually. It's not just the low cost. The service and hospitality is unlike what I ever experienced in the US.
> Thailand. They don't give permanent residency here anyway.
While the process is difficult and there are caps on how many people can receive it each year, people can and do obtain permanent residence in Thailand. I know a number of people with PR, they're all businesspeople who have been here for many years.
> start[ing] a business (expensive and designed to fleece foreigners, beware).
The Thai Board of Investment provides a number of attractive incentives, including a 5 year income tax holiday(!), to foreigners starting a technology business who are willing to commit to modest capital and hiring requirements. Doing business in Thailand is difficult in other ways (limited technical talent, limited and poor English skills, high compliance burden), but I wouldn't characterize BOI as a scheme to fleece foreigners at all. If you are incorporating without a BOI promotion then things are much less attractive, but most software businesses with an intent to hire a few employees will qualify pretty easily.
> you can get excellent care at a tiny fraction of what you pay in the US
True but with caveats. When it comes to affordable, good health care, "better than the US" is not a meaningful standard. The US is a shameful failure in this regard. That said, the cost and quality of health care in Thailand are pretty good--aside from a good private system, Thais and foreigners on long-term visas get free universal health care at government hospitals(!), some of which are pretty good. But it should be noted that private insurance in Thailand carries a number of limitations, such as maximum lifetime payouts and long lists of conditions which aren't covered. In short, the Thai system serves medical tourists very well, but if you're looking for lifelong, comprehensive coverage, things get complicated.
My personal opinion is that Thailand is trying in this area, but currently isn't the best place for most tech businesses to incorporate unless they want access to the Thai market. The main reason for this is the limited talent pool. For some businesses, BOI incentives and the low cost of operating here may make up for this. Either way, Thailand is still a pretty amazing lifestyle destination, and for freelancers/remote companies/very small biz level there are a few options to stay here long-term (Iglu, Elite visa, etc.).
That's interesting. What type of long-term visas qualify foreigners for universal health care?
Some of the government hospitals are good as you said. I had foot surgery at Siriraj Hostpital, Thailand's oldest and biggest government hospital. While the facilities are old and tired-looking the care was excellent and the doctor was outstanding, this guy https://sites.google.com/site/ankleclinic/aboutus. But I went during their "special clinic hours" which is the same facilities but different hours than when the universal health care patients are treated. Unlike the regular hours, during special clinic hours you have to actually pay for services.
They assign you to a particular hospital when you enter the program, and you're entitled to free care at this hospital, if you need a procedure they can't perform, they'll refer you to another government hospital which will also be free. Waiting periods sometimes are long, so it's a good idea to have private insurance as well. Foreigners in Bangkok at the moment all seem to be getting assigned to a hospital in Phrakanong which has a pretty good reputation. You can change your assignment later, I've heard the Police General Hospital on Rama I is very good.
I've heard it's also possible to remain in the program after your employment ends if you pay a small monthly fee (maybe $15).
There is also a Thai equivalent of the USA's social security program, though the payouts are very modest.
Overall it is a good system, you just have to be aware of the limitations of Thai insurance in catastrophic cases (probably I will switch to an expensive expat health insurance plan in the next year or two because of this).
This was the most pronounced in South Korea, because it is so advanced technologically but somehow still has that SEA feel of wanton medical incompetence. It catches you by surprise more.
Massive doses of antibiotics no matter what, IVs for no good reason, X-ray to check for head lice (!!)... fun stuff.
I heard medical care in Singapore and HK can be excellent though. Interesting to hear you've had such a good experience in Thailand, it was the opposite for us (GP, dental, surgical -- you name it, it sucked, even in ?top? places like the Bangkok Hospital). Where did you go?
I've had dental work at Bumrungrad, Bangkok Hospital and more recently been going to a small dental clinic near my home. Besides regular checkups and cleanings I had a redo of a root canal that was done in the US and went bad after moving to Thailand, got a new crown, and had some old fillings replaced - excellent care in all cases and particularly the dental clinic has the latest and greatest dental tech.
I have also been getting annual medical exams since moving here 15 years ago, at Bumrungrad, Phayathai, St Mary's Korat, and Bangkok Hospital (Korat and Pak Chong branches). They have always been routine and efficient. The weak spot is the consultation with the GP after all your results are in - some of them a pretty dopey and I would guess it is those guys that are going to be a bad experience if you see one of them for an ailment.
Those are all anecdotes, of course. YMMV.
The system here is a safe haven in other means as well. As a citizen, you are qualified for equal treatment and costs to those in your hometown in other EU countries as well. You can be abroad for up to a year and any medical emergency within the EU would be covered by the state. It's almost backward but I feel like my peers don't want to travel as much when they are young, partly because they know the medical systems in other parts of the world can screw them up.
Cost of living is VERY HIGH though compared to income and even in absolute terms (about the only cheap thing is healthcare :) though if you earn 70k / year you're set unless you want to live in an U.S.-sized house and drive an U.S. sized car) and bureaucracy is very bad.
Immigration systems are currently collapsed because of the flood of Venezuelan refugees, and thousands of Cubans and Dominicans are coming too, so you might have to wait 18 months for the government ID that gives you access to healthcare.
When you build startups in India, you build for the fastest growing economy in the world. Yes - startups still do list on international markets, but that is a combination of Nasdaq, Singapore and BSE.
For example, the largest "unicorn" in India - Flipkart - is listed in Singapore.
Also among the top 10 unicorns by valuation (http://fortune.com/unicorns/): 6 from US, 3 from China and 1 from India.
Of course, the answer really depends on what you mean by "startup culture".
It is common for underdogs to claim they are world-class, and if you don't have the experience to know better, you might believe it.
> The Medical Tourism Market Report: 2015 found that India was "one of the lowest cost and highest quality of all medical tourism destinations, it offers wide variety of procedures at about one-tenth the cost of similar procedures in the United States."
medical tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in India with American and European patients accounting for the largest share.
I'm not talking about cutting edge research here. Possibly there's no comparison there. But I'm talking about something that's practical, applicable and real medical care.
I'm guessing that within a decade these multinational companies who run these medical establishment as ruthless businesses will be able to get it to the same point.
I'd recommend you determine your acceptable level of financial exposure to disaster and get competent legal and financial advice to protect yourself and fully understand the potential ramifications of your self employment and/or startup decisions.
As I was reading ops post, I personally latched on to the writer having what sounded like a family that actively cared what happened to him. That's not something that everyone has. Going to bed hungry and not knowing where your next meal might come from will alter your level of comfort with employment risk.
Because otherwise I don't understand why the market can't provide good health insurance in the US? Isn't that a classic insurance problem, take a group of people and spread out the risk?
What is going on? Is medicine too expensive because of state subsidies, so private insurers can't compete? Or are there regulations preventing private insurers from entering the market?
State run healthcare ruins the market by basing the cost of treatments to pretty much what they cost to perform rather than how much person is willing to pay for them. Of course it does not work quite so smoothly in the real world, but enough that countries with public healthcare seem to be cheaper.
Try asking a cardiologist or neurologist for a fixed price estimate before a test is run. If you press the issue you'll be labeled a "confrontational" or "hostile" patient and rejected from the practice.
It's time to admit that not all problems are amenable to market solutions.
Likewise, insurances would negotiate rates for certain procedures. Of course it is not the task of the patient during cardiac arrest to do so. But the patient would choose the insurance provider.
This sort of thing is usually fertile breeding ground for corruption and backhanders. The NHS has been dogged by scandals caused by this sort of pseudo-privatization.
It works for smaller and short term contracts, especially for things which the private sector also needs, but the larger the size of the contract the more likely it is that the price will be determined by backhanders and which ministers play golf with which chief execs.
For something the size of "supply a city with emergency services", you could practically guarantee that the city council leader's cushy post-political job would be determined by which company they picked.
tl;dr read up on the principal/agent problem.
Sure, governments/councils spending other people's money is always a fertile ground for corruption.
Most privatization efforts come about as an attempt to inject corruption, however, so arguing that it could be done in a fairer and cheaper way is something of a moot point: if it were going to be cheaper and fairer they wouldn't be pushing for it in the first place.
Huh - citation needed? I've never heard that claim before. Corruption pretty much needs governments, who else are you going to bribe?
To me competition seems the only surefire way to keep prices fair/low. Yes, motivated governments in theory could do everything. A supercomputer could theoretically compute the perfect prices and allocations for everything. But no such computer exists, and markets are the only approximation available. You can not rely on governments to be motivated to be selfless and good. Even if perhaps some individuals are, in the long run the incentives are just not aligned, and it takes just a few bad apples to ruin the system.
It's worth noticing that most of ambulance services in the world are run entirely or in a good part by volunteers and no-profit organizations to ensure honesty and quality of the service.
...to put it mildly. Applying the market law to medicine encourages the most inhuman behaviors.
I don't mean for this to be antagonistic so please don't take it that way, but it seems so many outside the US see the US as almost a form of extreme capitalism, where an almost dogmatic belief in the ideal has resulted in sub-optimal infrastructure and services.
In my view, insurance is completely compatible with capitalism. It is simply a business, based on statistics. So why should the US have a special problem with insurance?
Non-US manage costs by some combination of state price control, aggressive triage, reduction of bureaucracy compared to complex insurance systems, and lower labour costs.
Also, in re "other countries are poorer than the US": that may be due to the US having a few extremely rich people, it may be possible that the average or modal American is poorer than the average European. Especially if you account for healthcare.
The one which has "US Tax rate 20.3%" and "UK Tax rate 18.9%"?
Even if we did pay more tax, how are you accounting for healthcare and other benefits? US state taxes? UK council tax, and the situations where you can have "negative income tax" in the UK (WFTC)?
And, as discussed, you're free of worries about whether or not you'll get healthcare in the UK. (You may experience a delay for non-urgent conditions, I'll give you that)
Perhaps the issue isn't that the US as a whole can't afford it, but more that medical treatments are expensive and the rich aren't willing to subsidise for the others.
In countries where it's funded essentially via sliding scale income tax, the rich don't have a choice but to subsidise it.
Are the numbers even known, I mean, how much would proper health insurance cost per person?
There are economic forces in American life that actively misinform the public. Medical care is made to be expensive to protect those interests.
In the UK most hospitals are owned and run by the state.
Single payer works better, that's why almost all countries use it for basic healthcare.
"Only one issue per visit" so they can charge for two visits. Making me visit to hear the negative results of a standard STD panel, again, just so they can charge for two visits. They charge for an extra visit just to renew prescriptions with no additional examination. Etc.
Also there are different structures for payment, insurance and pay per visit are simply not necessary with single payer though some systems use an amalgam of public/private.
(A) which countries do you mean here? Be specific
(B) Do you think hospitals aren't trying to fleece insurers and customers all the time? e.g. with opaque billing practices?
What we are trying to say is that in the US, insurance provides very little benefit while constantly driving up cost. They actually have every incentive to shield consumers and producers from having good levels of information about value and cost. If making money from the actuarial spread were the only thing that they did, they might not be so toxic. Instead, they partition information into silo's to further create arbitrage points. Every point where they serve as gatekeeper for information is a place in the system that extra profit can be made.
I think one of the things that you are assuming is that they have a single function in the market. They don't. As is often the case, simple capitalist models for ideal markets just don't match reality. They are also able to use their gains to game the system in their favor from a regulatory perspective.
Obviously, things are not working out in the US. I am just not yet convinced that the market/capitalism is to blame, or if it is essentially corruption (including lobbyists bribing politicians to set up a system that allows the bad insurers to stay in operation).
Also, EMTALA prevents hospitals from denying treatment for ER visits. People without insurance use these frequently as they have no other alternatives for care. ER visits are incredibly expensive and its a partial reason for price spikes.
Basically the US healthcare system is a patchwork of system tied to employment (which stemmed from wage controls during WW2). No one's been able to rework the system since there are too many entrenched players making too much money
Insurance that is based upon a normal distribution is compatible. Insurance based upon a non-normal distribution is not compatible because you basically can't price it. You therefore usually get a few scenarios:
* The insurer prints money during the good years and goes bankrupt in the bad years.
* The insurer prints money during the good years and somehow caps their liability in the bad years (this is why homeowners' insurance typically doesn't cover flood damage).
Sometimes the government covers the difference (e.g. the government coughing up the money AIG owed to Goldman Sachs, the nuclear liability cap or NFIP), sometimes it doesn't.
You get non-normal distributions in a lot of situations - nuclear insurance, flood, earthquake, healthcare and insuring against default risk.
tl;dr capitalism is compatible only with high school statistics.
Sure, there is no guarantee that the whole network can not go broke. But that goes for governments, too.
Also I think health care will always have to be capped at some point, because with arbitrarily high investments, you could presumably keep people alive indefinitely (heart fails - attach heart machine. Lung fails - attach lung machine...). That is why in the UK afaik they don't pay for dialysis once you reach a certain age.
Where this does happen there's usually a fairly low liability cap, some sort of hybrid private/public partnership or a combination.
"Also I think health care will always have to be capped at some point, because with arbitrarily high investments, you could presumably keep people alive indefinitely (heart fails - attach heart machine. Lung fails - attach lung machine...). That is why in the UK afaik they don't pay for dialysis once you reach a certain age."
The UK is almost entirely communist (this is a description, not a slur) in the way funds are allocated. They base funding decisions on something called QALYs - quality adjusted life years.
The practical upshot is that expensive operations that will add 6 months of painful life for an elderly patient are not prioritized under the NHS whereas operations that could save a newborn child's life have virtually no funding limits.
Another factor is that many people don't shop for their insurance, they take whatever their employer offers (and if they have much leverage, they demand that their employer offer something with broad coverage and minimal copays and deductibles).
For instance: a hospital charges patients $300 for an X-ray if they pay directly in cash. However, insurer "X" has a policy that they only pay 25% of standard rate for all procedures. So the hospital states their standard rate is $1200 for an X-ray.
So now I (as an insurer "X" policyholder) get billed $1200, but my insurer decides it's a non-covered expense. Does the hospital adjust my bill down to their cash rate of $300?
That would violate their agreement with the insurer and potentially mean that the insurer would only pay them $75 per x-ray moving forward on ALL of insurer "X"'s policyholders.
So now I hypothetically am stuck with a bill four times as large as it would have been if I were entirely uninsured.
This is a product of the impersonal transformation of medicine caused by corporate ownership (and accounting) of local care facilities combined with the legal/profit seeking power of large insurance firms.
I think that is one of the main challenges of health insurance.
In my country (Germany) I have actually shied away from switching to private insurance, because they pay doctors more, and doctors are known to do as many tests and procedures as possible (not always a good thing, but in the end it is a gamble - too many examinations/procedures or too few?).
The "public" health insurance is quite regulated as to what gets paid and how much. The downside is that doctors have to waste a lot of time on bureaucracy (every examination has to be entered into the computer to determine the costs), and transparency is still missing (patients typically don't even know how much their treatments cost). And some committee decides what procedures get paid. I don't trust committees. I trust the market (I mean I trust "in" markets, not necessarily any given market as markets can be broken by regulations, lack of transparency, all sorts of things). I have also spent a lot of money on things that weren't covered by public insurance.
One story I heard is that for example in the UK they won't pay for dialysis after a certain age. So public health insurance is not an automatic solution to every problem.
I think it is actually unavoidable that insurance will have to make a cut at some point, because medical procedures can become arbitrarily expensive. Perhaps even now for the right money, people could be kept alive indefinitely.
I would have no problem with a doctor trying to be profitable - just as with other businesses. I guess the classic assumption is that to be profitable, businesses have to provide good service.
This is completely WRONG, there are NO age-related limits for treatment like this in the UK. Dialysis is a life-saving procedure for those with kidney failure, and is available to everyone in the UK who requires it regardless of age. The same goes for heart surgery, bypass operations, stents etc. which are also sometimes claimed to be age restricted.
The fact that people actually believe that a cruel system like this (one that would cause people to die by withholding treatment just because of their age) might really exist probably says much more about the way US health care works and the perceptions surrounding it.
Nevertheless I think there will always be procedures that won't be paid for, in any health care system, because it would always be possible to incur arbitrarily high costs. As an extreme example, you could assemble a team of 1000 scientists to try to cure one person.
A quick Google search reveals this claim is spurious, so maybe don't believe everything you hear.
This is not true. In fact, most people getting dialysis are over 65.
> Kidney disease is more common as we get older, and although people of all ages can need to start dialysis, it most commonly affects people aged between 65 and 84 years. Figure 2 shows the number of people starting dialysis or going straight to transplantation in each age group and it can be seen that the age group with the most people was 65–74 for both haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. In 2013, the average age of people starting treatment was 65 years and this has changed little over the last six years. The average age at start was 67 years for people starting on haemodialysis, 60 for people starting on peritoneal dialysis and 50 for those having a transplant before they start dialysis. In 2013, more men started treatment than women (63% male versus 37% female). Diabetes was the single most common cause of kidney failure (25%).
Here's a document talking about cost of dialysis for older people: https://academic.oup.com/ndt/article/18/10/2122/1807737/Cost...
The NHS Constitution for England forbids discrimination based on age, as does the Equality Act 2010.
> The NHS provides a comprehensive service, available to all
> It is available to all irrespective of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity or marital or civil partnership status. The service is designed to improve, prevent, diagnose and treat both physical and mental health problems with equal regard. It has a duty to each and every individual that it serves and must respect their human rights. At the same time, it has a wider social duty to promote equality through the services it provides and to pay particular attention to groups or sections of society where improvements in health and life expectancy are not keeping pace with the rest of the population.
Speaking of kidneys - don't they prioritize recipients of organs somehow? If age based discrimination is forbidden, an 85 year old person would be as eligible as an 8 year old to receive a new kidney?
Not saying it would be wrong, just curious.
Can you name any?
No, your mistake is in assuming that insurance companies exist to spread risk and reduce costs. Insurance companies like most publicly traded companies exist to transfer wealth from customers to executives and shareholders. As a result, they will do whatever they legally can to raise revenue (increasing premiums) and reduce costs (deny coverage, push the burden to the consumer).
The other aspect is that healthcare in the United States does not lend itself to a free market solution. There's no transparency in prices, so you can't exactly shop around when you need a procedure done. In addition, you also have times when a person needs treatment due to a life-threatening condition. He is not interested in looking at alternatives, he's interested in staying alive, so he's going to take whatever provider is around. Well, if that provider is not "in-network", he's going to get hit with a massive bill. The United States is literally the only developed* nation that has the concept of medical bankruptcy.
* The United States is not truly developed. From an economic standpoint, we are, from a social standpoint, we're not.
I've heard that a big part of this cost is due to the highly litigious culture in America that requires doctors to carry very high malpractice insurance, which they must then pass on in their patient costs. Americans love to sue, and this drives prices up.
I don't know if this is true, but its the one argument I've heard over the years that makes the most sense to me.
I once had a worldwide health insurance plan while living in Asia, and it covered all countries EXCEPT the USA, because of the absurd costs there.
And unfortunately, many serious conditions are dramatically more expensive, and potentially more lethal, when presenting late. It's a nasty piece of positive cost feedback inherent to the current US system, and one that disproportionately affects patients from lower income brackets.
Other reasons include the massive costs of running and staffing the billing infrastructure, cost of compliance & provider insurance, and uncontrolled drug pricing.
These factors are not present in most other first-world healthcare systems, or are present but minimised by effective regulation.
Would you be able to expand on this? The math isn't adding up on my end. At 35 in California, you'd be paying $350/mo for a Silver plan, with an OOP max of $6800/yr. So the max health costs for a year would be $11k. Plus you get a ~30% discount on premiums from tax deductions under your own company.
Out of pocket only applies to covered benefits. Which in many cases are selectively chosen by the insurers.
Thank you for sharing your experience!
Because that is what you are implying, that group plans are all better than the individual plans people are talking about.
The ACA did do a great thing in controlling what insurers have to cover, which prevents insurers from being super selective on coverage.
I'm quite sure that the various mandates in the ACA impacted many group plans, not just individual insurance. Maybe places with strong unions had plans that already exceeded the ACA mandates.
Most group plans at decent employers have many, many fewer billing code exclusions. They also tend to offer better choice of providers than most individual plans (many individual plans use a limited selection of doctors who have agreed to lower rates, etc for the insurer). This can also mean less wait time for specialist visits and therefore less time with lost income.
Additionally being employed with group coverage you generally as a salaried employee will not be fired for being sick. So your income does not dip due to you being unavailable for work as you can continue to draw salary.
As a hypothetical example: let's say you are in an accident and can only manage to work 20 hours a week for six months after (not unrealistic). If you are the primary or only source of sales/billable hours/invoicing for your firm you have to plan for a loss of income during the recovery time. What taxation considerations are there if you have to draw funds out of the company for medical bills? If you're structured certain common ways they get taxed at your full income rate in addition to the corporate tax rate (if the funds have been retained in the corporation as profits).
When calculating all those externalities $75k was the off the cuff number I came up with. I don't vouch for its total accuracy.
One thing that surprised me is that healthcare in Thailand is exceptionally good. There are world-class hospitals and doctors, and people come here for medical tourism. The dentists are also very good, and very affordable.
I think I've actually had better treatment in Chiang Mai than in San Francisco. I have health insurance, but I've never had to use it, and I just pay cash for everything. I once went to the ER in San Francisco and ended up paying $2,000 for an x-ray and some medicine (that was after insurance, I think the total bill was something like $5,000.)
We've had a few x-rays and medicine in Chiang Mai, and we just paid $40 in cash (USD).
So I think it's definitely a good idea to live in a country with universal healthcare, or one where healthcare is very affordable. Of course, unless you have "f&*@ you" money, then it doesn't really matter.
It shows poor business acumen to assume that what you charge is what you make. You may be able to get away with that when you're doing side gigs, but if you start a business, you must plan for costs.
One of them is heathcare. If you can't afford it, maybe you shouldn't have gone out on your own in the first place.
Assuming we're talking about the US market, this is currently true-ish with some caveats, the biggest of which is that there's a major political party currently holding all the power at the federal level working hard to take us back to a time when some people -- even some people with wealth -- could not buy insurance (natural consequence when insurers have every incentive to be selective about who goes in the risk pool), and even some workplace groups faced limiting choices.
Needless to say, we were denied a policy that any of us could afford. The average age at that company was over 50.
Thankfully, being young, I could stay on my parents insurance for one more year before having to get my own personal insurance.
I pretty much had to switch insurance every couple of years to higher and higher deductibles so that my monthly expense didn't grow. This was during the housing debacle, and no jobs and my current salary wasn't getting higher.
I kept my shitty insurance which wasn't ACA compliant until it was illegal to do so, and then I went without paying the fee the first year, then getting insurance through my wife's school the next year.
If the US goes back even 10 years, rates might be lower, but real care is almost non-existent.
I didn't get to have a stomach bug covered without months of fighting back and forth and medical collections calls until the ACA's pre-existing conditions clause went into effect, as I had a lot of stomach issues as a child.
As someone who has done this for fifteen years, my point is that anyone looking to get into this has to plan ahead financially for unexpected situations. Even with planning and insurance you can find yourself in a tough financial situation unless you consistently earn enough money to set aside large amounts for emergencies.
And for the love of god talk to accountants and attorneys about how to structure things. If you need access to funds rapidly you don't want to screw up your taxes by being forced to draw from penalized sources.
That said I would strongly recommend everyone who goes independent look into long term disability insurance while they're healthy. Freelancers Union has a decent group policy available to anyone for pretty good rates.
If that experimental surgery isn't covered your OOP maximum doesn't apply.
Also please understand that insurance companies like to consider thirty year old tests/procedures/treatments as experimental/unproven and will consistently use that as an excuse to deny coverage and not apply them to your OOP maximum.
Hope you can afford an attorney if that happens.
Will this likely happen to you? Not at all. Can it happen to you? Absolutely.
Pre-ACA many plans didn't have an out-of-pocket maximum even for covered stuff, and most had lifetime limits on coverage as well.
Netherlands ranks #1, Belgium #5.
I'm not a socialist, but I am a big fan of the system. And the cost of medicine is way lower than the US
According to , health spending accounted for 10.9% of GDP in Belgium in 2012, which is much lower than in the United States (which spent 16.9% of its GDP on health). Meanwhile infant and maternal mortality rates in Belgium are about half what they are in the US: 3.6 vs 6.1 per 1000 live births  and 7 vs 14 deaths per 100,000 live births , respectively. Anybody who argues that the free markets lead to better health outcomes than 'socialized' medicine, is ignoring the data.
By the way, dental care is included in medical care. So we don't have third world country situations like  in the US.
This has even made me think about relocating back to the UK or Ireland before trying to start a business.
Outside of emergency, you can travel to cheaper countries for treatment.
1) You can keep your job. Just always build things on the side. It keeps you coding for play and not just for work.
2) Try to sell the things you build. You don't need to be fully polished on day one. In fact, you shouldn't be and can't be because you need real customers to really understand their needs.
3) you can find the numbers online, but my saas project Cronitor had just $500mrr after seven months. You need patience and to adjust your work factor to match the available outputs. By letting it coast a bit while it picked up momentum we prevented burnout. When it started to grow faster we could pour some attention in and level up the product.
4) grow it while you work your day job. This is easy at first and grows harder. Having a partner is important here. Alternative: a business where a little downtime is not a big deal.
5) when it gets stressful, know your commitments. Your day job gets first bite and when you can't do that anymore you know it's time to move on and do it full time.
Most importantly the tldr is: quit your job after you've replaced most of your salary. And before you quit enjoy the incremental income.
I've had jobs where the load is moderate, but in this recent one, the employer wanted to extract work from every hour of the 40 hour perior. I was so exhausted, that I couldn't do anything in the evenings, would spend Saturday in a state of haze, and on Sunday finally be able to think straight. But then on Sunday you barely catch up with what you were doing last Sunday. So your progress practically comes to grinding halt.
Soon, you'll stop being able to think straight even into Monday. Other things in your life will fall to the wayside or disappear out of neglect. Monday will turn into Tuesday, Tuesday into Wednesday. You'll wonder why you even bother to show up.
Eventually, your employer will fire you for someone younger and cheaper, and you'll realize that you have no ability to maintain enough software development effort on your own to demonstrate to potential employers that you can do the work.
And even if you could, it's a sham, because you can't. You'll find that you end up being able to work ten, maybe twenty hours a week if you're having an especially good week. Your work won't be any worse, for quality, you just simply won't be able to force yourself to do it any more than that.
So, it's worth addressing that early.
I'm not sure why the mantra of HN is that "You just have weekend and side projects and stay up till 3 am while still making that 9am meeting and everything is great". Sure, that works for a while, until you hit your limits and your life falls apart. There's no road back from there.
Take it from me, you can truly excel, and nobody cares unless you can work 40, 50, or 60 hours a week. To PG's point from a while ago, "Nobody is willing to pay double for twice the work" - neither is anyone willing to pay half the rate for half the work.
Take it from me though quitting doesn't solve the problem. It just means you're unemployed and burnt out!
I've been in therapy for quite a while now and really not seeing much in the way of significant progress, but things are getting better in an incremental way.
It takes too long. It's too expensive. In the UK and US it's s a costly activity - students tend to take loans so when they leave university they are in debt. Hurray! You got a degree, now you have to work to pay off your loan...
I have nothing against education and learning. You should always learn. If you really think that going to university is something you really have to do:
* Take a gap year first
* Be sure what you want to study
* Don't pay for it: scholarships, or maybe a different country with free education? (you may need to learn the language first)
I made several mistakes in my approach to university. Probably the biggest one was sense of entitlement - because I graduated from the top degree in the top high school - I thought I'll get new jobs easily.
> Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work.
University could be good in terms of making friends, expanding your network but... I bet you can make friends anyway.
(Not that you should use that free energy for programming. Use it to build your life, not software.)
You don't need to excel at your day job, you just need to work hard enough to hang on while exploring your side project.
Speaking of, I don't think I've met a programmer without some kind of side project, so it's just a matter of how much effort you can put into it, and how good the idea is. If you have a family this will depend on how understanding your wife is, but I think it's safe to assume that anyone can but in an hour a day at least. Americans watch some 3 hours of TV a day, so time is not lacking.
Sure, everyone has bad days.
What happens if you're working to your utmost, absolutely everything you've got has to go into the job, and you hit a rough patch? A cold, a breakup, God forbid a death in the family.
You have to build that into your routine. You're not going to be a superhero every day, so you need to spend some of your time managing for that, setting things up in such a way that when you have a bad day, you can compensate for it, rather than falling apart.
If you're putting out more than 90% of your 'best day' effort every day, you're sitting in a very precarious place. You need to be proactive about resting and rehabilitating yourself.
Indeed. Being physically exhausted can be healthy in most cases but mentally exhausted is completely different. You don't recover from it with a good sleep.
Try explaining to your boss, "We need more staff because although I consistently meet all targets I'm just working TOO hard".
I get gas lighted when I do so. They insinuate I'm doing something wrong and need to take more breaks. Uh yeah but then the work doesn't get done, and day by day it builds up, and everyone is clamouring for it, and then you make it seem like I'm at fault again?
I started keeping an Excel spreadsheet of what I do every day just to see how much time I "waste". It turns out I'm doing 6-20 different things a day. Which is what I've been telling them, the load of constantly switching between so many different demands on attention and doing stuff "which should only take a minute" but can turn into hours spread out over days - all the time goes.
I'm extremely sad every day. I'm definitely depressed. But the pay is good and it pays my mortgage. So I feel very trapped.
And yeah when I get home I do nothing. I used to do stuff and blog but now I'm just too tired. All day every day I'm working and making decisions and stressing out - I have no capability to function outside of hours. I can't even make dinner so my partner does it. I find it hard to decide on even simple things and if anything goes wrong I'll break down into tears.
The ideal workday is doing just one or two things. That's where a person gets the most return on effort.
I wouldn't worry about them replacing you if they don't understand what you do either.
The other part of big picture is that what you need is to learn some negotiation and organizational skills. Them clamouring is negotiation and
"making it seem like you are at fault again" is particularly ugly negotiation tactic. Treat them as such. By organization, I mean don't do all "just one minute taks" immediately, put them into tracker, group them more effectively so you dont switch attention constantly. So it is more visible that you are really working all the time and that it piles up. Basically, create system in which it is easier for you to tell "later".
When you can't do all the work without getting exhausted, prioritize it, do what you can, let the low value work pile up and people complain. If you can't switch all that fast, don't, or if switching is more valuable than your main work, do prioritize it adequately, what means pushing the attention requiring work down.
And do care about your healthy. Make sure you exercise, get some sun, and control your caffeine intake.
They did not care. I spent time thinking about it all these years about it, and also talked to various managers.
If the job is being handled, almost 100% , you won't get any help.
What worked for me was to take a long break, a sabbatical. Think deeply about whether you want to stay or move on when you return.
When I instead pass the gym on the way home and work my body hard for an hour it works much better. Then I go home hungry like a wolf and devour a meal, and I feel more inspired for my projects than I did during the "regular" work day.
My conclusion is that sitting life isn't how we evolved - and when I fix my body-use deficiency I unlock all that potential.
What kind of software job leaves you with enough mental energy at the end of the day to let you work and code on your own projects? (Serious question, I feel like it's either work or hobby for me!)
Microsoft, surprisingly, seems to have a rather friendly written moon-lighting policy, excluding situations where you sit on the board of directors of a for-profit company. The main stipulation is to avoid competing with Microsoft, having a conflict of interest, or using any confidential/proprietary/secret information (including what the employee in question and their colleagues are working on).
Google's policy is very open source friendly but they want to own it (e.g. you add Google copyright notices) rather than spend lawyer time determining whether or not it is safe for Google to disclaim ownership.
If you think you're building something you want funding for then you should quit first, but that's not really what I was talking about.
So far - 10+ different employment contracts - every single one explicitly forbid working on the side.
Bonus question - how do you do this with 2 young kids?
Then, someday, an owl will come along that, you realise, you have to draw, and that if you don't at least try drawing this owl, you will regret that omission the rest of your life.
Then, and only then, do you quit your high-paying job sketching finches and spend the next two years on the damn owl.
"All the money I made that didn’t go into the rent of my 1 room apartment and food went in to computing hardware and books. No world wide web back then to get information from. And computer gear was expensive back then! A 160K floppy drive? That’s 900 bucks please! Aka 4 months of savings."
This feels like the ending to Jobs (2013). Where's the rest of the story?
(That's actually actionable, and maybe I should look into that...)
People want a nice little checklist of how to start a business, but that isn't how it works.
1) Think about the problem.
2) Write down the answer.
I simply quit my job, searched for job websites which also had contract projects, wrote a few emails and got my first project.
This I repeated when I was half through the project.
Where is the big jump here?
>> I simply quit my job,
"Quit my job" is not a thing most people would prefix with simply.
Maybe save by living frugally for a while, as the OP did?
I left a great job to strike out on my own. After years of effort, two business plans, one failed partnership and moderate success with the second attempt, I would much prefer to have a steady paycheck with good benefits again. It's harder to break back into my previous career path due to the gap this created on my resume. It's not safe to assume that you'll find work as soon as you're ready to switch back to a corporate gig.
And this is in a small (albeit rich) European city of about 400k people.
In any case, maybe I expressed myself badly, however I don't know anyone personally, that was able to get a job in less than 6 months after being unemployed, some of them took even a bit longer than that.
I did find a job quite easily, IMO, after 1 year and a half out of the job market. Maybe I was really lucky or my local market is really robust. Dunno.
Because I want to share those tips with a few friends still looking for one after several months unemployment.
I don't really suggest to leave that countries and move to Romania to pursue an IT career, but unless you want to waist time or move to tourism, it is an option. UK was an option, now is kind of gone. Germany is really in demand but the language barrier is really hard to pass, same with France and or Netherlands. Romania is wasy because you are expected to speak just English and for the daily life is a Romance language, you can learn it quite fast.
However, in IT we have flexibility:
* try freelancing
* create an OSS portfolio
* try remote companies
* try jobs for which you're overqualified
if it really is that bad.
And if it is that bad for IT folks, I pity most non-IT people, to be honest.
Between 10 and 23% for the countries I mentioned.
Also getting an IT job currently might mean having to move into the capitals, as other cities have even less offers available and obviously there is not enough jobs on the capitals for everyone.
The city I was mentioning is in Western Europe, though. I think that if you have work experience and you're decent at presenting your skills, most employers don't really care about gaps in employment. Just have a good story ready for the gap period.
Many of them is already quite hard to even have one in first place, let alone getting back with a hole on the CV not 100% related to the bullet points they are looking for.
- broandband internet access
- having to work on a completly different timezone
- having to care care of social security and other regulations on their own
- bypassing the local work laws regarding vacation days and work hours