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Ask HN: What would be your new niche?
51 points by selmat on Jan 3, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 93 comments
If you would have chance to get out of IT and start your own non-IT business. What would be your new field/niche? (ignore possible income decrease, entry difficulties and other complications)

What is the most exciting thing on desired area?

I want to open a sexually explicit Ice Cream Parlor on the Las Vegas strip.

It would just be called "The Split Banana", and all of our ice cream would be frozen in the mold of a penis. A small mold would be 6 inch, Medium = 9 inch, and Large/Monster = a 12 inch mold.

And the ice cream flavors would also have really inappropriate but funny names. Suggestions would be appreciated as I haven't done much work there.

Good choice, there's always money in the banana stand.

NYC has Big Gay Ice Cream[0]. Sort of similar to what you're describing. They seem pretty successful. I think they've expanded to a few other cities too.

[0]: https://www.biggayicecream.com/

Thank you for the reference, but we here at The Split Banana believe EVERYONE can enjoy a delicious Ice Cream penis. Not just the gay community.

Nice to see a concrete descriptive answer to these questions here for once.

I shall reward you with some flavor ideas/inspiration:

- Big Nuts, Little Nuts, Smashed Nuts, Nutted, Instanut, Bananuts, Walnuts, PeePeanuts

- Smartits (play on Smarties)

- V for Vanilla

- Strawbra

- Buttercrotch Ripple

- Sexpresso

- Good root (root beer flavor, root is an inappropriate aussie slang)

- Double Pistaschio (instead of double you know what)

- Big Black Cherries

- Nice Watermelons/Lemons

- Big Banana

- Rolover ("Rolo" flavor)

- Cherry Pop

- Creampie (oh boy)

- Quickie Cookies

- Chocolate Chicks

- Almonds To Mouth, Amateur Almonds

- POV, pomegranate vanilla

- Kinky Kiwi

- Rough Toffee

- Chocolate Mousse Knuckle

- Caramel Toe

I had a bit too much fun with it trying to be creative. Don't take seriously.

- Caramel Toe is absolutely making the list! If I get the store open, please know you will have free ice cream dicks whenever you are in town.

You might want different molds for different parts and maybe sell those at a premium for DIY at home. Also local delivery with premium fees (its gotta stay cold) to all local hotels for bachelor/ette or any kind of party.

Probably a good idea to throw in some boob molds as well.

Cocky Road, obviously.

Or "Rocky Chode"

"The Split Banana" in this context sounds painful

No crushed nuts on mine, thanks.

truffle nut butter

Funny this shows up today, because I have a half-written blog post about it I meant to publish this week :).

I'm actively trying to do exactly that - pivot from IT into something more meaningful.

Currently, I'm exploring two areas which were of big interest for me as a hobby: space technology and biotech. My goal is to spend this year exploring options, getting the "lay of the land" and forming a plan of learning new skills, in order to ultimately get a job in one of those industries before 2020.

Rationale: both are some of the most potentially impactful fields on the future of humanity.

Space Tech: Because I've been dreaming about space exploration since my earliest days on this planet. Because - with the recent accomplishments of the private industry - the time is ripe now to work on bootstrapping an industry in space. I mean manufacturing, asteroid mining, etc. There's lots of work to be done, the momentum is there, and frankly, we're long overdue for all of that.

Biotech: because I feel that mastery over molecular nanotechnology would solve half of the issues humanity faces, and biotech seems like the best way to incrementally get there. As I'm fond of saying, nature is advanced molecular nanotech which we didn't design and can't control yet.

All of that comes from the desire to work on something actually beneficial to humans (with a good effort/effect ratio), as opposed to cranking out code driving money towards marginally useful businesses.


For a long time I've been reluctant to talk about it, as it is with desires for grand endeavours. But I am committed now, so if anyone can help me find my bearings around those two spaces, or have some experiences of pivoting there from pure software, I would very appreciate it.

Oh, what I would do to be able to get the opportunity to do something in the space industry--even in tech. I long to be a part of moving our species to other worlds.

I've been in the space industry for decades (plural) now. There is plenty of IT work to be done here, though development and test are very process intensive and constrained compared to the commercial world.

Mind if I chat you up in private about your experiences? If that's ok, please let me know - my e-mail is in the profile.

I don't know your financial position, but one huge obstacle to getting into anything related to space has been the high cost of entry.

Have you thought about that much? Any ideas?

Best of luck with your endeavours, because it sounds awesome! Endeavour, like the space shuttle of course ;)

What do you mean by high costs to entry?

Thanks for the kind words :). Though I would like my career to be more successful than that of the Space Shuttle ;).

Well, my thoughts have been that space related efforts have high costs because they must be engineered to extremes. Software, hardware, human processes & standards all must be of a high reliability and quality due to the requirements of the operating environment. That usually translates into expenses and demands that are higher than most terrestrial ventures. But that is an assumption (or gut instinct) and not necessarily a fact.

I am sure that the space industry has a wide range of needs, and maybe some of those needs are "less expensive/lower barrier to entry" to work on if they are related to something where the operating environment is controlled, well-understood or known.

Depending on what you mean by the term "IT", you could mean just computer/networking technology, or you might mean everything related, information systems too. If you mean everything related, we have to consider what remains after we remove that from the set of candidate work. To some extent, I am not sure how one can "get out of IT" and work in space (or any other industry) since IT/IS is the backbone of almost everything these days.

What remains? Well, maybe things like: mechanical/structural/electrical engineering, architecture, healthcare, science, research, operations, processes and standards, agriculture, a wide variety of arts/crafting...

I'm not trying to be disparaging - anything if that (I have been asking myself how to get into space too) - but I'm trying to figure out, what is there to do in space that isn't related to IT/IS in some way.

Could you be a pilot or astronaut (operations)? Could you be a biologist, chemist, etc.? That might combine your interests in biotech with your interests in space. Maybe you could go do research on synthetic biology in space, for example (and be the first to "invent" new extraterrestrial life forms!).

I am sure you'll figure it out, and good on you for trying! I still haven't figured out where to start to get into space, myself. But I also have a ton of diverse interests which make it hard to focus on any one (especially with a day job).

Thanks for your thoughts.

I didn't mean dropping anything related to programming - it would be a waste of all the skills I developed over the years. But I don't want to be stuck forever doing pure software projects that are only meant to help the rich get richer, and don't contribute anything of actual use to society - which is what I feel the tech industry is mostly about these days.

My strategy is definitely to try and leverage my software skills in the new field - but ultimately, I would like to learn something else than just how to write code.

Could I be an astronaut? With my health and experience, there's no way. Sadly. But I dream that if the industry develops fast enough, maybe I'll live long enough to get the chance to get as high as LEO.

Ok, I understand, I thought you meant you wanted to leave IT behind altogether. Sometimes I get that feeling myself, but it would be a waste of the skills....

I'm with you about getting stuck, I have felt frustrated with the same. I work in an aerospace related manufacturing company, but it is not an area of the business that is furthering society, like space exploration would. We always say, "we do cool stuff", but I can tell you, the niche I work in is... well.. "around" the cool stuff, but it's not the stuff that benefits humanity/society/really moves us forward in a big or meaningful/beneficial way.

I think your question is the same that I have - how can I use the skills that I already have, but applied to something more meaningful/beneficial, in a field or job that I would enjoy as well and would be intellectually stimulating to me - maybe even - gasp - a little bit fun.

I personally looked into jobs at the companies/orgs I thought were on the edge (SpaceX, BlueOrigin, NASA, JPL and others) and I think with a solid software developer or IT skillset that you can get in. My issue was, these companies were all too far away from where I live, and I couldn't relocate for family reasons, even if I did get an opportunity. I think you really have to go to where these jobs are to be a part of it.

Also, don't expect that you can totally get away from the politics of "business", because I know for a fact they follow you around, even at the more exciting places.

If you're able to move to get closer to the job or niche you want, then if I were you, I would apply to all of the companies or organizations that move your heart and does what matters to you, and then lend the skill you have to that. If it means moving, well, then do it. There's a reason that aspiring country artists move to Tennessee, for example!

Also, if you're like me, and have not much in the way of experience that would get you into such a place, other than your dev/tech skills.. I would start finding out as many ways that I can get involved in those communities so I could start learning. Go to JPL open house day in Pasadena... go to space related meetup groups.. start one if you can't find it... anything and everything until I was able to find my way into a place I fit.

EDIT: One more idea, that I have had as well - make your own thing if you can't find it. Start your own "space research" or something org or company, and go to the companies in these areas and see if they have extra projects that need worked on, maybe it's a way to pick up some of the extra work they couldn't do in house.. ...no idea if this would work though :)

Best wishes, and maybe someday I'll see you in LEO too ;)

Thanks for the words of wisdom.

Yeah, I guess most of the work in cool fields is "niche work around the cool stuff", but that's still a step up from niche work around boring and ultimately useless[0] endeavours.

> I think your question is the same that I have - how can I use the skills that I already have, but applied to something more meaningful/beneficial, in a field or job that I would enjoy as well and would be intellectually stimulating to me - maybe even - gasp - a little bit fun.

Almost. I think I have enough mental capacity to pick up one or two additional skillsets beyond just coding, and I'd love to do just that.

The way I see it, most people with good programming skills tend to stay in the pure-programming companies (that's where the easy and very well paid work is today, after all), and other fields lack people who have strong coding background.

> If you're able to move to get closer to the job or niche you want, then if I were you, I would apply to all of the companies or organizations that move your heart and does what matters to you, and then lend the skill you have to that. If it means moving, well, then do it. There's a reason that aspiring country artists move to Tennessee, for example!

It's something I'm considering, but I decided to spend some time now getting the "lay of the land" and brushing up appropriate skills, instead of trying to jump into anything in the field and random and hoping for the best. I am aware of potential relocation needs; in fact, I've already been compiling a list of possible destinations, and got a preliminary agreement from my SO that we will relocate to a different town or country if there will be a need.

> Also, don't expect that you can totally get away from the politics of "business", because I know for a fact they follow you around, even at the more exciting places.

I find it sad, but I came to the same conclusion.

> Also, if you're like me, and have not much in the way of experience that would get you into such a place, other than your dev/tech skills.. I would start finding out as many ways that I can get involved in those communities so I could start learning. Go to JPL open house day in Pasadena... go to space related meetup groups.. start one if you can't find it... anything and everything until I was able to find my way into a place I fit.

That's the one big thing I want to spend 2018 on doing seriously.

Also a caveat of my situation: I'm from Poland, which means I'll be trying to take the European angle - ITAR & stuff is limiting possible involvement with US companies.

> One more idea, that I have had as well - make your own thing if you can't find it. Start your own "space research" or something org or company

For that I have a name and a logo already made when I was in high school :). "Technology...high, on the leading edge of life"[1] was my dream for a long time now.


[0] - useless at best; sometimes it might actually be socially detrimental

[1] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zaaCgiIP7A

Have you tried with Blue Origin? I heard they don't expect you to have background in space

They have a number of jobs open on their website (I was looking), in Kent, WA where their headquarters is!

Open a bar and/or distillery and/or winery. I'm very interested in mixology, and there is a lot of interesting stuff happening with alcohol right now at the intersection of modern science and centuries-old traditions. Some ideas:

* Open a place that's a juice bar by day, and a regular bar by night. Focus on using fresh, seasonal ingredients for all drinks.

* Experiment with using fruits other than grapes for wine-making. Some fruits, like blueberries, have many of the same properties as grapes, so it would be interesting to see what sort of beverages you could make by fermenting them.

* Same thing with distilled spirits: There is so much untapped territory here because most distilleries use ancient, traditional methods, with maybe only one or two variations from the norm. I would experiment with everything from ingredients to techniques, including using different types of wood than oak for aging, and pressurized aging to accelerate the process.

I say this half seriously: start a business helping people in IT make career transitions, as a career advisor/matchmaker with opportunities.

People with IT/IS backgrounds are usually quite broadly capable people, generally speaking.

Actually, I think enabling and giving all kinds of people space, support and ability to explore pivots and opportunities sounds kind of awesome.

That is a fantastic idea. The only caveat might be you becoming a sort of startup guru full of words but lacking real experience pivoting your own career.

all of my best ideas are always given half seriously, those are the ideas worth listening to.

That would be a pretty awesome non-profit.

Whenever this phase of my career naturally comes to a close, I want to start a chili food truck. One of my bucket list items is to win a chili cook off, so I figured I'd connect that goal with a business itself. I don't know shit about running a food truck, but it seems that a chili truck could be simpler than other types because you don't have to make the food upon ordering, it's all cooked beforehand.

...and because it is made beforehand it gets even tastier! I wanna be your costumer.

I wasn't planning on wearing a costume until your comment but I dig it!

In all seriousness, if I ever get to this goal, I will follow up with you.

Stone age & early bronze age history, archeology, anthropology.

I find the genesis of storytelling, religion and how we conceptualize the world fascinating, even (especially?) where it comes in tiny fragments. Things that are so deep-rooted now that we take them for granted, like perceiving the world through discrete objects, language, social reward structures.

As the evolutionary rat-race accelerates and niches get obsoleted more and more quickly, there seems to be an increasing business opportunity in digging deeper into what makes us human, what defines our sense of "self". Facebook, Zynga & co already exploit that. Understanding these patterns has tremendous business value, even if only to better protect ourselves.

What tunes do we dance to? How were these rivers historically formed, what is their inertia, future direction? How much of ourselves is cargo-culting on by-gone fitness landscapes? Humanity is the collector's luxury item of the future.

I would work with my hands.

The most exciting thing would be getting out of a chair. IT has hurt my body.

I do love creating things, though, so I would ideally be building original creations (I don't want to be a framer or service mechanic). So some kind of craftsman.

More realistically, I would create a business that could create value on-site, but dealt with customers on the internet. So ebay, etsy, etc. I understand building customer bases on the internet far better than I understand it in real life, and I also live in a low population area.

Most specifically, and ignoring income decreases, I would like to do some kind of old-timey craft. Woodwork, leatherwork, blacksmithing. Leatherwork in particular is quiet, relaxing, and doesn't need a particularly large area or set of tools, and I'm totally fascinated with handmade leather products. I would need a standing workbench, though!

Go, Do anything, it’s great.

I’ve done painting woodworking, soldering circuits , and ‘hacking’ some furniture, it feels great.

Yep, I have a shop and I get a fair amount of stuff done (when it's warm in there!), but not professionally at all. Still spend my days in this chair.

I'm still early in my IT/programming career (working my first job after graduating college in 2017), so it might be a little early to start seriously thinking about pivoting just yet, but I'm really interested in the intersection of technology and urban planning/city administration. I'm an urbanist, fascinated and enchanted by the concept of cities in the abstract, and I want to see the rise of more great American cities in the 21st century. I want to see current great cities become more accessible, and all cities become more attractive to not only other urbanites, but suburbanites and rural people also.

I'm not really sure what the best way to follow this dream is, but I'd definitely appreciate any input or advice from anyone out there :)

The Power Broker is a great book about Robert Moses, a very influential city planner in NYC. The book shows how much of planning is politics. Just look at how much trouble San Francisco has and you'll see that the problem isn't lack of ideas or lack of money.

This is also a great blog that frequently discusses urban planning themes: https://granolashotgun.com/

Funny you should mention The Power Broker, I got the audiobook through Audible in December, and I'm about 16 hours in (only about a quarter of the way through!). I think it's interesting how the book wants to portray him as a power-hungry evil emperor type. He was definitely power-hungry, but I don't know if I agree on the evil characterization. It seems like he did a lot of good for the city, and it's tough to imagine what NYC would be like if someone like Robert Moses hadn't been able to relentlessly modernize the way he did.

Thanks for the blog recommendation!

I would think of opening a 6 seat (for 3 couples) BBQ place in Europe (Portugal).

I would slow cook and smoke the finest meats and allow for Europeans to taste the amazingness that is US southern comfort food.

I would make it so delicious that together with low supply of seats I would be able to charge significantly.

A random guy just opened a place like that one year ago a few blocks from my house (southern Brazil, where a good barbecue/churrasco/assado is always looked for). The place seems a big success, go for it.

Sounds awesome, I'm a BBQ fiend. Why Portugal?

Tried to bootstrap a few travel-related ideas since I do have plenty of traveling experience but it seemed the local market wasn't ripe (macro-economically), then I decided to leave IT after 15 years to professionalize the dogs and dog training knowledge my family and I already had since ever and the niche is here and all that, I have a great doggy daycare to run and local buzz etc, but man it's tough. The real world is definitely another beast than IT. I now believe and understand that IT has always been a fantasy land where we all pretend we are awesome but we are just spoiled. The non-IT reality is fucking hard, but it is amazingly rewarding in its own way. I only hope I don't ever need to go back to IT, we'll see...

How about combining both? Maybe if you think long enough or work long enough in this kind of dog businesses, you'll see opportunities to apply tech to solve some problems. Easier said than done, though...

If money weren't a concern, I'd definitely want to work on improving science, particularly social science. Right now, there seems to be a lot of medium-hanging fruit for systematic improvements that don't get built, because there's not much incentive to do so within academia. OSF has done some great work here, and I'd want to start something similar .

Over the holidays I met my brother's GF's granddad, who is an economist. He said one of the biggest problems he sees in the social sciences is that the tools they have for data analysis (he specifically mentioned Stata, SAS, and SPSS) make it hard to keep track of what transforms you've made to the data, so people get results and then can't reproduce them because they don't remember what sequence of operations they've performed. Related to this, he said most social science people aren't good programmers which hurts their ability to understand their data.

So I think you're right, although I suspect it'll be hard to get people to switch to anything new since they already know how to use tools that let them get their work done.

This sounds like a generational thing. I suspect there are up-and-comers who are hungry to be better programmers, and are interested in the abundant better tools. So maybe the problem to solve isn't so much getting people to switch tools as aiding education and discovery for people who don't yet know what tools to use.

Edit to add: I know a couple folks with backgrounds in statistics. One of them taught a data visualization class using R during his postdoc and is now teaching data science in Python for a code school. The other works for a big established company that does lots of data analysis, and still uses one of the old-school tools you listed, but is always very interested when we chat about the newer tools that are out there. So I think it's a mistake to think most folks are stuck in their ways.

Mycology, more specifically work on strains of edible mushrooms to clean up the environment. Paul Stamets has shown that certain variations of P. Ostreatus can be used for cleaning up oil spills and that certain fungi concentrates heavy metals, indicating it could be used to clean up said metals.

Unfortunately he's patented a lot of his research[1] and I don't really know my way around patent law enough to risk finding out if a company dedicated to applying these technologies could get me sued.

[1] https://patents.justia.com/inventor/paul-stamets

What would you do with the mushrooms, though? Presumably one wouldn't want to eat them once they'd absorbed a bunch of heavy metals, right?

Safely dispose of them. Neither would be safe to consume, but would help clean up the environment a great deal. The (not-thoroughly considered) business model would be to restore land enough to make it usable again for crops or livestock. This might be more difficult to do for heavy metals than petroleum.

What methods exist for safe disposal of heavy metals?

No clue mate. I haven't given this business idea enough thought to be honest.

Fair enough. I'm just curious.

Two years ago, I began a transition to a more hybrid niche. Food/Cocktail promotion, which involves my photography, and web development skillsets. Spent the first 1.5 years, working on all of the relationships with bartenders/restaurateurs/chefs, promoting their work through instagram and the web. Becoming the largest promoter in the area. Now I'm ready to start rolling out the second phase, involving web software.

So while not totally out of IT, I've definitely branched into something much more enjoyable. Eating delicious, meeting tons of new people, has been rewarding.

Automated, locally sourced, compact restaurant to provide low cost meals.

I would be interested to hear about your plans for this. I have been thinking about starting small hydroponic farms to provide local food to restaurants.

Email is in my profile if you are interested in trading notes.

I'm not far enough along to have much interesting to say yet.

Your idea reminds me of a company I like in Montreal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Trl2eE-kVGM

I was going to say I'd like to do something like this. In addition to being very low cost and highly automated, I'd also want to make it environmentally sustainable by making it vegan or entomophagous. I'd also like it to be economically sustainable by making it a worker co-op.

CRISPR (cas9, cpf1 et al), hands down.

What it can do, what it's likely to do, and we're only in the first inning of understanding how to utilize it and manipulate it. I believe vaccines are the only medical discovery/creation that will end up being comparable in impact on humanity. CRISPR will enable us to directly, fully seize control over our evolution (we've obviously been subtly affecting that for thousands of years).

It'll take a process spanning decades for the most remarkable applications to be discovered and commercialized (or otherwise made available for the general population), and it'll be worth the wait. We'll gradually strip countless inherited diseases from the entire human race in the span of a few generations. Breast cancer? 99.7% wiped out. Parkinson's inheritance? Gone. Cystic fibrosis? Gone. The age of antibiotic resistant infections? CRISPR will solve that soon as well. And so on. As with vaccinations, there will be numerous CRISPR therapies/cures/applications that will be extraordinarily cheap, pennies per person, and deployed to all persons on earth (as with vaccines, it'll take decades of gradual generic'ization, initially all therapies will be expensive, then many will become common, and then they'll be globally deployed for pennies per person).

I've always found biology and medicine research to be a great pivot for people in technology and programming because of the similarities in the mindset used when approaching a problem. For example, alot of bio and med research is looking at complex pathways and interconnected systems and seeing how we can go into different points and add, remove, or change things and how we can interfere with these systems in a controlled way. Software engineers have to similar tasks because they work on large interconnected systems as well and understand different protocols. Penetration testers and security experts also fit this comparison well because they have to try different approaches at different points in a system to gain access or control of a system the same way biology and medicine researchers have to find different ways to interfere with a system to develop a new drug to inhibit a pathway or change the expression of certain proteins. I feel as if crisper / cas9 is a great example for this comparison because researchers are still exploring the many different possible things can do with the same way people in technology explore new tech and apply it to new problems.

I just want to write music. Here is my stuff but I do it 100% for fun only. https://soundcloud.com/decklyn/tracks

Archaeology. Technological advances in mapmaking, map-parsing and surveying (drones) are leading to a golden age in excavation, on a level unseen since the XIX century. They now have software that can literally just sit there spouting suggestions all day: “hey, this pattern around fields in Nolandia-sur-nothing looks a bit too regular, wanna investigate?”

And there is still so much that can be done, as digitalization is solving the “dusty archives” problem and neural networks might soon be able to suggest links between material (“this parchment fragment here might be related to that fragment in a museum on the other side of he world, which they’ve even forgot they had”).

Unfortunately the obstacle is always the same: money. There is little or no money to be made digging up old vases, and often plenty to actually forget about the vases altogether and let this or that new building be constructed on top of them (or destroying them).

I'd like to start a nonprofit that takes donated/damaged camping equipment and refit it for homeless and others in need of just keeping the elements at bay.

Since I can think I've always loved the idea of changing the source code of life, I also never understood why we don't regrow body parts once we have lost them.

From a nature standpoint of view, nature does not care about the single individual as long as the species survives. I don't like that behaviour.

Imagine a caveman who lost his arm in a fight with some animal. It just takes more energy to regrow parts and the caveman would be vulnerable all the time so nature decided to take that awesome feature away.

What nature does not realise is, that we now have the time to regrow body parts, there is no danger anymore, somebody who lost a leg can recover in a hospital.

And I'm 99% certain that we will regrow body parts in the next 15-20 years and I'd love to be a part of that revolution.

CRISP is another big thing that has the potential to cure diseases, those we call incurable.

All those facts and the possibilities of extending the human race makes me very excited.

So my niche would be Biochemistry, I choose that field because I think Biochemistry is the C and Assembly language of the human body.

Open a store selling beekeeping equipment. I live in an area where that's somewhat under served and I have a lot of experience with online sales so I could broaden my number of potential customers a bit.

My wife keeps telling me that the stores we've visited are extremely poor at selling to the extend that they are missing obvious upsells.

Start a Science Fiction bookstore.

[... completely ignoring the "possible income decrease" here... :-/]

Outside of tech--I'd like to create a travel-related business to help people travel more often on a budget, or a high-quality coffee box subscription where I send out hand-selected coffee every few weeks (likely from small shops, local roasters, etc.), or start my own micro-brewery.

You should check out Pact Coffee if you’re in the UK: https://www.pactcoffee.com

Do it

Working on the travel business with my wife, actually. And then getting into homebrewing more and more lately. We'll see where it all goes. :)

That's great! I wish you success!

I'd move into politics or teaching. Something that would improve my country (the USA). Maybe lobby for increased education standards, more pay for teachers, that kind of thing.

Live sound production, either touring with a band or at a theater.

Wooden boat building. I love to work with my hands, wood is pleasant to work with, and wooden yachts are a beauty to behold.

That being said, I realize the above has 0% of being a commercial success. The market is flooded with affordable plastic-fantastics churned out in factories in nearby lower income countries.

Also, I suppose it's one thing to enjoy working with my hands when I do it for my own enjoyment in my spare time vs. doing it for real work on a deadline.


If there are literally no restrictions - robotics, space, or biotech.

If I wouldn't care about the meaning and amount of value I produce - screenwriter or standup comedian.

If I would optimize for pure fun - computer graphics and digital art.

Although to be honest, I think being a startup founder is the coolest thing I can imagine being, so I would keep working on startups, except I'd build a startup in a more advanced, hard tech field, instead of SaaS.

Cardistry! What some of these guys can do is incredible

I'd be a comedic actor and try to get on Broadway. I did improv and sketch for years and had some of the happiest times of my life.

Open a restaurant. If tech didn't take over, I would have gone to school to be a chef instead of a becoming a developer.

Perhaps dive back into VFX, although that's still IT.

My next one would be Watch/Clock making.

failing that, farming/game keeping.

Or, as money is no object, camp counsellor

Thought about his a while back going back to my original college course (Themofluids) and did a spec application to a small mech engineering firm near me RBR Racing and Hybrid Air Vehicles out at Cardington.

Oh BTW the first one is the F1 team and the second is a firm specializing in Airships

Pinball. I love pinball. I'd modernize the machines. Even brand new titles the technology is very old school. I have some ideas to reduce / eliminate most of the wiring in the system and thus the cost / complexity.

Also, I'd finish my fking novel.

Mass production of lab-grown meat.

I think if I were born in a different era I'd end up as an architect. I see it as much of a science as I do a creative endeavor, and it feels like the closest parallel the web development work I do.

Either something regarding commodities trading or aviation/aerospace

Making movies, books, comics, or any other form of story telling.

I have always like the idea of making wooden furniture. Different tables, chairs, cabinets, etc. Having a small custom furniture shop would be cool.

I would go for real estate :) (I had some experience in it before founding my current company and there is a lot of innovation to be made)

* Snow plowing op * Bus driver * Pilot * Brunch resto owner * Teacher * Public speaker * Politician

I'd spend the extra time and go through Med school.

A yoga studio/dance music lounge.

Rescue or med evac helicopter pilot

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