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Ask HN: What has HN given you?
1095 points by jxub 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 570 comments
I wonder what opportunities, interesting insights, or otherwise has this community given to you. Thanks for the answers!



Nearly 5 years ago, a few months after being rejected from YC and a few weeks from being essentially bankrupt (my daughter had an unexpected surgery while we had only catastrophic health insurance), my brother and I posted a Show HN about Webflow (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5407499). It was our last-ditch attempt to show a proof-of-concept to the world before going back to our old bosses to ask for our jobs back.

Thankfully, the post took off - we were #1 for most of the day, and over 25,000 people signed up for our beta list in the several days after that post. This helped us reapply to YC with a lot more confidence and traction, and we were able to get into the next batch.

Webflow (https://webflow.com/) has since grown into a profitable business with close to 1,000,000 users all over the world, billions of website requests served, and close to 60 team members in over 14 countries. I'm pretty sure none (or very little) of this would be possible without HN and the community here, and the super positive reception our post had.

Today, we're on a mission to enable more people to create powerful software without having to learn how to code - we probably have decades to make that vision a reality, but we're on a decent start in large part thanks to our launch on HN.

A HUGE thank you to the community here!


Nearly 5 years ago, a few months after being rejected from YC for the first time, I came across your Show HN and started using Webflow to build a mockup of my product's sign-up page (I did not know how to code at that time).

Over the next 2.5 years, I reapplied to YC five more times. I interviewed twice in the second round. I eventually got rejected every time. From the ideation stage, to $1M in revenue, YC has an application of mine for every milestone in between (until I did not need to raise money anymore).

My company, Y Athletics (https://yathletics.com), is a profitable business with no investor funding and 7 figure revenues. We've delivered products to over 25,000 paying customers all around the world. We don't solve problems, but we create some amazing products that people want.

This post about Webflow made me nostalgic as it was during that time that I started to read HN religiously (and now I discovered that Vlad and I applied and were rejected in the same batch as well). My first landing page was made on Webflow. I learned how to code using Codeacademy. My first 100 users came from a comment I posted on an Ask HN thread (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6617551). Seeing others building their startups inspired me to continue building mine. My company would probably not exist if it wasn't for HN. Thanks for everything!


As an angel investor solely focused on Y Combinator with more than 100 startups under portfolio, my observation indicates being rejected by YC can be equally inspiring as being admitted, because over the time, I found out some startups may survive and then thrive better if they are not admitted by Y Combinator. Therefore, I feel great that Y Athletics has been a $1m profitable business without YC or any other angel investor like Zillionize!


There are some really amazing stories in this thread about how HN helped launch some really great products. And such a variety of innovation. Really the only thing I can find in common is that their websites allow you to enter a discount code. I can only assume these benevolent entrepreneurs pass out these codes to give a little back to loyal customers, or maybe even a small community who helped spotlight their company. Anyway, I'm just thinking out loud ;)


Try “HN” in the next 24 hours ;)


nice to see yathletics here :) I'm a customer.

It's a pain to ship outside US (because of taxes/shipping prices) , but aside from that you make great products. keep going, and it's nice to see some bootstrapped examples too.


> We don't solve problems, but we create some amazing products that people want.

Sure sounds like you're solving someone's problem ;)


Thanks for sharing this, Sam!


The crazy thing here for me is that YC rejected you as a business with $1M in revenue. I think any business with $1M in revenue has tremendous potential.


It’s not that crazy. YC wants businesses with the potential for billions in revenue. If your ceiling seems like it might be millions or tens of millions, you don’t meet their criteria.


Sorry if you've answered this elsewhere before, but what's with the logo? It almost looks like an exact copy of Y Combinator. Was that the case when you were applying?


The only resemblance is that both are a "Y". It's not the same font and it's not the same colors.


Yeah our logo has not changed since inception but it’s not a copy of YC or anyone else. Take a closer look here - http://bit.ly/2obM60y (first image is our logo)


A similar story with me and AppCodes.

I wasn't struggling, since my mobile app business was already giving ramen profitability (which is around ~1k/month in Poland). I wrote a post onto HN, outlining new features of our service ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3693151 ), it got to the front page, and was picked up by TC shortly afterwards.

6 years later, I moved to other projects, but still maintain the site, and the site still brings profits, and has happy users :)


I love Webflow! It perfectly fills a niche between Weebly / Wix and raw HTML / CSS / JS.

It's for the technically savvy who want to build websites quickly but for whom Weebly / Wix are just too inflexible.

You guys did such a nice job executing on the UI/UX of Webflow. It feels very quick and offers lots of choices without overwhelming me. That's such a rare quality these days.


As somebody trying to figure out what Webflow was. This description makes a lot of sense to me.


Couldn't upvote this enough, for folks who are lucky to get those fat checks from investors with just a POC or even a business plan, never understand the pain and pressure of making it without that.. good that you hanged in there till the last moment without breaking.


25k signups from just HN? That's a lot more than I expected. My startup was on HN frontpage for 22h last Friday and until now (3 days) it gave me ~9k unique visitors and ~1900 new signups. Since before I only had ~30 users the HN post was by far the best driver of signups so far. So I'm super happy and have been working a lot on it.


What we posted got shared in various other places (Designer News, Twitter, Reddit, etc), which might we why it was higher. But Hacker News was definitely the catalyst of it all.


Hi, I just signed up for your website and everything looks really good but on your design dashboard I am getting your browser is currently not supported.

I am using Firefox 59.0b10. It seems like Firefox is not at all supported. I should not have to switch browser.

BTW, Great work!


On the other hand, the homepage looks great in Firefox with NoScript enabled. It's nice to be able read about what a product does without enabling a bunch of scripts first. It seems a lot of sites these days make their landing pages using SPA frameworks.


It’s rendered on the server with React + Apollo + GraphQL, just like all the other Webflow-powered websites out there! ;)


Came to (mildly) complain about lack of the FF support also, five years later. ;-)


Thanks! And sorry for the FF snag - we’re working on supporting Firefox later this year!


From the thousands of links we click on HN, Webflow is actually one of the few I can remember without even visiting the website again ;-)


That's an awesome story. Congrats!

Quick question: My understanding may need to be updated, but doesn't YC give you Ramen-survival cash? How did you deal with the financial challenges with so little and a family, etc.?


Yeah, the first year even after YC funding was very tough. Long story short: sold a car, borrowed a ton on those credit card write-yourself-a-check 2% balance transfer deals (thankfully had good credit to be able to do that), and withdrew early from an IRA (those penalties hurt!) - wouldn’t recommend :)


I'm delighted to hear that after taking on all that risk and "doubling down" by believing in yourself(ves), that you're doing great now. Totally inspirational success story!


Ah. Understood. It can be a tough call: Am I being persistent and believing in my team/self/product or am I just being stubborn and not reading the signs? There's always a certain insanity to starting a business in the first place, hence is it any less sane to continue?!

So, I imagine that the ray of hope that YC-acceptance presents might embolden one to continue and take on that additional risk as you did.

Still, very gutsy and glad it worked out for you.

(BTW, I can attest: yes, those 401k/IRA penalties hurt!)


Nice man congrats! You're livin' the dream :)


Just started using Webflow a week ago - it's amazing! Thank you for a great product!


What does YC stand for?


You might want to check the URL of the page you're on :)


“Y Combinator”, which is the name of the company that runs this website.


YCombinator


It gave me a job, a company, and a sense of purpose. In 2012 I did a Show HN for GitLab.com https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4428278 Today we are 1800 contributors and a company of 220 on a mission to ensure that everyone can contribute.


You have definitely constructed a great piece of software. GitLab has been a godsend for development workflows at our organization, and I’ve been watching it since that same Show HN so congratulations! That’s a very inspiring example.


We did that. Thanks for using GitLab!


I interviewed with Gitlab for a business development position. I enjoyed writing the pre-screen essay questions, but received no feedback. The recruiter yawned through the interview and then provided no feedback as to why I was denied.

Perhaps this is par for the course in sales, but what I've learned from HN is that the value of my expected income from poker and stock gambling is higher than from interviewing with startups.

Thank you though for running a cool company


Thanks for your comment. We get over 1000 applications a month and we want to make sure everyone has a good experience. I'm sorry to hear yours wasn't. I've asked the peopleops function to comment. We monitor what score people that applied give us, it has improved from a low 3 to a 4.3 out of 5 in January.


@anoncoward111 Thank you for your comment, we always appreciate feedback. If you reached back for further feedback, kindly keep in mind, in this instance, we work with the BDR Hiring team, before proceeding, as we have an exceptionally strong pipeline of candidates for this role and it takes a little longer than usual to reach back. @sytse comment below is spot on in terms of how we measure during each interview. You are welcome to email us directly at jobs@gitlab.com, to get the recruiting team's attention, so we can reach back with further feedback right away.


No worries! I appreciate you writing to me and do not wish to cause any trouble or problems in the system.

I think my comment is moreso reflective of the problems that persist in hiring today- massive candidate pipelines, subjective differences in candidates, ambitious growth targets vs a need to stay lean.

I wish GitLab and all startups the best in the future. I don't know where I fit into the startup world anymore, but I really support tech companies that make such awesome contributions to the world.

Thanks!


Great reply, thank you!!


You only got ~60 upvotes?

Interesting, I always thought the number of upvotes for a Show HN post correlates to its future success.


Dropbox had about 60 if I remember right (109 now) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8863.


Wow, those comments are awesome.

"For a Linux user, you can already build such a system yourself quite trivially by getting an FTP account, mounting it locally with curlftpfs, and then using SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem. From Windows or Mac, this FTP account could be accessed through built-in software."

I wonder how many other ten-figure business models can be developed from comments that begin "For any Linux user, this is totally trivial," or "Um, have you looked at the pricing for Amazon S3?" or "LOL, this problem was solved 20 years ago by XXXX at YYYY."


This is such a classy HN comment. "For 0.01% of the population, this is trivial to do by X, which is extremely complicated, and does not work at all, and evidently even the commenter himself had never done that"


It should be noted that HN in 2008 was a lot different than it is now.


Nah. Just the other day there was a big thread on how easy it is to run your own VPN on AWS and why should one ever pay for a glorified web proxy? :facepalm:


it's a weird metric.

Obviously a TOTALLY different league, but I have a small text editor plugin that got < 10 upvotes, and how has 500,000 installs. don't think I ever posted.it anywhere else.


My gut says low number of upvotes are probably indicative of a "thing people don't know they need" opportunity.

Can't imagine there are too many 100+ upvote use cases that don't already have substantial competition.

So 10-100 is probably a sweet spot in terms of "people are interested" and "there's an unfulfilled opportunity."


I believe 60 upvotes at the time is probably equal to >150 upvotes today.


Yeah, I felt it was pretty good at the time. BTW my comment here has 110 upvotes, many more people on HN then in 2012.


Upvote inflation, interesting!


Somebody should mine the data and calculate year-over-year inflation rate, we have a mini economy on our hands! :)


20 upvotes got me on the front page one time. It was the most views I've ever had on my blog. It got me a job interview! Nothing came of it, but still a wild ride.


I was once on the front page too, but sadly, no HS internship or job of any kind came out of it :(


https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2120887 my estimate was 200% a long time ago


You wouldn't even need to mine it - https://github.com/HackerNews/API


Even easier: All Hacker News posts are ready to be analyzed in BigQuery.

- https://medium.com/@hoffa/hacker-news-on-bigquery-now-with-d...


Sorry, I meant analyze. I actually am writing a blog post right now on this (this thread was very inspiring). Should be up in a day or two at https://applecrazy.github.io/blog


Good luck downloading 16 million records...


Why? 16 million isn’t much, maybe 10 to 20 gigabyte if compressed.

I’ve seen IRC bouncers that have more messages stored for a single user (270 million, in fact).


You could do that with the Algolia API: https://github.com/minimaxir/get-all-hacker-news-submissions...

But as noted, BigQuery is more pragmatic.


I have a script running on aws right now.


We're evaluating Gitlab for use at my company and I'm really struck by the overall quality of the software. I've already started contributing to the codebase. Hope to contribute at least a few medium-sized features (currently working on web terminals for troubleshooting CI failures) over the next few weeks, and who knows, maybe more! Love getting back to Ruby after so many years, and Golang is interesting :)


I just switched our small company over to gitlab over the last couple weeks. So far the experience has been great. It seems like a really solid piece of software.


Yay! Thanks for using GitLab. Every month we're trying hard to make the installation, the performance, the security, and the interface better. Still a lot of work to do but we've come a long way from our beginnings being based on gitolite.


Thanks for the free private repos. Thats what sold me on moving from GitHub to Gitlab.

Also, I dont like GitHub's political posturing nonsense, so thats a major reason too.


I'm happy you did, GitLab is fantastic! I've been extremely impressed by GitLab CI and the install and update experience with Omnibus. Upgrading from 8.x to 10.x was smoother and went quicker than I imagined. Kudos to you and the team behind it!


I really enjoy GitLab and I've used it for five years now. I really like what GitLab is doing with the community version: free with all the features that makes sense for small to medium sized companies, or just a group of people.

Thank you for an awesome product! :)


Awesome, your comment means a lot to me. Deciding what functionality to open source is very hard and it is good to hear you like what we are doing.


But how is it going with the HN-dream - passive income? :)


Right now it is active income since I'm a full-time ceo.


Yes, I guess the most hard is to be successful and stay small.


gitlab is great, thank you for your amazing work


Gratz, man


A place to hang out (as it were) on the internet that is...

...connected to the tech scene

...ad-free

...not a "social network" in the usual data-harvesting sense

...slim, fast-loading, not riddled with bloat and bullshit

...not plagued quite so badly as the rest of the society "out there" by certain degenerate tendencies in what passes for discourse

...more interested in ideas and substance than in what color car the ideas and substance drove up in (and other black magic)

That's really it - that's enough. I didn't get anything cool like a job, but I know there's loads of info here for that too!


There’s a lot to be said for the “slim, fast-loading” bit! HN is my go-to “is my internet connection at all functional?” web page. And when T-Mobile cuts me off when I run over my data allotment each month, at least I can read the comments.


Even better for that purpose is neverssl.com. As the name implies, it’s http-only, so misconfigured WiFi portals will still intercept and load their captive login page.


I use example.com which is also guaranteed to not be https. If I'm asking someone else to type the URL in, it is easy to say "example.com" and know they can spell it correctly. It's also very light weight.


I use www.com because it's the shortest to type non-https site I know of.


Same here. HN is usually the site I go test my internet connection.


You should get their unlimited(30gb) plan. I've had it for the past year, it's been super good so far.


Throttling doesn't kick in until 50GB now (T-mobile One).


Hey that’s not bad. I’m on a grandfathered plan that saves me a few bucks a month, but I keep thinking about switching.


I believe you also get a Netflix subscription included, which saves you an additional $10/month if you're already out of pocket for said subscription. Check it out! Happy T-mobile customer for 18 years.


How I check my internet:

1. Open Chrome

2. Type "sdjkgfhsjkfahfd" into the URL bar

3. Hit enter

I have been using this method since I was 9, has been nothing but useful for me.


Is it hard to remember that string every time?


asdlkfjhsdklfh, for example. I assume you are joking, the point is to enter a random string to see if google searches for it; as entering a fixed string takes longer.


My #1 reason, aside from the great number of quality and diverse stories that get posted:

The fantastic people in the comment section, with intelligent people who put real thought into what they write. You may find people dropping in from high up in major corporations, are SMEs of the highest order - or are just way cool in their own ways. Love it.

In addition to being a place to always learn, it's a true sanctuary for the mind - especially after eg reading public Facebook/Twitter/YouTube comments on just about anything.

(Thanks all!)


And also with many people who I believe are experts in their field adding insightful comments on a particular topic, and from whom one can ask some clarification directly. This direct access in a wide range of domains is I think quite valuable and unique.


..full of people who's views differ from mine that I can have good arguments with.


> that I can have good arguments with

That's the really special part. There's plenty of places to find people that have a differing opinion, but HN does the best job I've encountered of fostering good, substantive discussion.

It doesn't always work, but it works here more often and on more subjects than anywhere else I've found. That "more subjects" part is important too, since unlike a smaller more focused forum, you might find that someone you totally agreed with on one subject the day before is someone you are in complete disagreement with the next day, and this can go a long ways towards helping people to remember that if they disagree on the current subject, the other person is likely a rational, agreeable person that deserves the benefit of doubt when you've found yourself interpreting what they've said as extremely harsh, disagreeable or wrong.


I think this happens mostly because the site looks so boring on the outside to anyone but tech professionals and hobbyists and proper nerds. This discourages the majority of people who would otherwise bring immaturity to HN. Thankfully it's not yet had its Eternal September [1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September


...has an anti-procrastination setting which is so unique in our current economy of attention-grabbing!


Well -- not totally ad free. There are the job postings for YC companies.


HN job postings, at least those on the first of the month, are open to anyone, not just YC companies.


Besides the Hiring thread, there are links to job postings of YC companies that appear like regular stories, e.g.: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16404959


As well as the launch posts for YC companies. Those are like the job ads in that they get a front-page placement. But unlike the job ads, they rise or fall based on voting after that.


Do you or does anyone know of any similar websites that are similar but slightly less-tech focused? I love it here but the coding articles / jobs can occasionally lose me.


1,5 years ago, i was suicidal (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13051611).

1 week after posting this. I got a visit from the police. Apparently, someone gave them the ip and it took them a week to locate me. They wanted to take me to the hospital to check if i had mental problems. Of course they couldn't force me to go. I assured them that i would fix my problems and make a therapy. It was a wakeup call for me.

Fast-forward to now: I am working in an e-commerce company in switzerland. I almost have no debts (last payment in may 2018) and my coworkers are like family to me. My life turned 180 degrees.

THANK YOU, STRANGER i owe you a lot!


Great to see you here again and particularly great to hear these news! I was already relieved to see your HN submission in May and now I see that was the time when the first public contributions after your AskHN appeared on the GH profile you used here (What I didn't see is that you already used reddit again only some 3 weeks later)

The reason I contacted the police was that I wanted to delegate taking care of this to professionals. I'm not a psychologist and what I think might be a reasonable approach to helping out in such a situation actually might or might not be. (People seem to have very different approaches here from "I feel you bro" through "Hey it's not that bad" to "You can be really proud of x, y and z" and up to "C'mon, stop whining!" and even "It's actually your fault")

I'm very glad to see that this seems to have been the right decision. I wasn't too confident about it at first, b/c police really didn't leave a professional impression. When I read that post I was at work and my wife and kid were at home. They were quite shocked (and the neighbors probably somewhat "excited") that KriPo showed up at our place. Turned out, I was also right not to trust their research capabilities. I literally[1] stalked the sh*t out of you and sent them a good dozen of profiles together with your name, (work) phone number and address and the letter to your ex, her profiles &c. That may sound creepy but I actually really wanted to make sure they have all the information they need to reach out to you as fast as possible (I expected it to take minutes, not a week). Turns out doing so was both right and wrong: They really seemed not to be skilled investigators, but to the extent that some days (!) later they called me and told me they couldn't open the links.

So after that I really wasn't that full of confidence what concerns the police, so until I saw your HN submission in May I always thought about calling you but didn't really know how you'd react.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16403671


hi TAAndreas

you are right, the police was not very professional and it might have ended badly. Luckily it didn't. First i was scared that my ex send them to me and i was in trouble (althoug i did nothing illegal). Then i was relieved that it was about my post on HN.

Reading this made me uncomfortable, but also happy. A Stranger from the internet cared (about my life) and took action. I got 80 messages on that thread. Most of them were upliftig. But taking action is another level. Thank you for that! Faith in humanity restored.

You could have reached out to me directly. I would be happy to have a coffee with a fellow HN and "talk about it". I'd rather talk to a stranger with an open ear than a psychologist who listens because he/she gets paid for it.

If there is anything i can do for you, you can contact me at: tevlon84@gmail.com .

You did the right thing.Thank you!


I am glad that this story had a happy ending. Mine did not.

Due to an online misunderstanding, a person with good intentions reported to the police that I was a danger to myself. What followed was one of the worst experiences of my life.

What seemed almost like a SWAT team appeared at my house. I was pulled out of my home in handcuffs in front of my neighbors. I begged and tried to explain the misunderstanding but no one would listen. The police said it was the responsibility of a psychiatrist to decide whether I needed to be hospitalized and that I seemed fine but they couldn't make that decision. After spending hours alone in a concrete cell, when the psychiatrist finally came to talk to me, she assumed I must be dangerous because the police had taken me away from my home.

While I was handcuffed and sobbing, she told me that "just to be careful" and for my "own good" I was being forcibly put into a mental hospital for observation. I spent a night locked in a ward full of psychotic people and drug addicts.

Thank God one of my relatives was able to contact the hospital and convince them it was all a misunderstanding. A different psychiatrist evaluated me and I was immediately released.

I still have PTSD about the incident. When I hear a knock on the door, sometimes my heart races because I am scared it is men with gun who will take me away. I have had many, many nightmares about being locked inside the mental ward. I thought my life was over.

When I got home, my life was not ok. My neighbors saw the police response to my house and all stopped smiling or talking to me. I was so ashamed. This incident is still on my record and it makes it impossible for me to pursue certain jobs.

I am not saying you should never send the police to the home of someone you are worried about. However, you should only do it if there are NO OTHER OPTIONS for expressing concern. Stories like what happened to u/ tevlon are the exception not the rule.


I am sorry that this happened to you. I can imagine how traumatic that must have been. Have you considered talking to a lawyer to get damages and/or remove this incident from your records?

I do want to point out that tevlon was in Germany. That explains why the outcome was so different.


I talked to multiple attorneys. The jobs I am talking about involve security clearances and it does not seem like the true fact of the incident can be erased for such purposes.

I can petition to have certain legal consequences removed -- like my right to buy a firearm for hunting. This still would not erase the incident from the government database.

I can explain that it was a misunderstanding and show how I did not technically deserve what happened to me. However what I said was still very stupid and not something I ever want anyone else to read. It was my mistake for writing it but the consequence will follow me forever in this small way.


Well done. Just... well done. You should be very proud of what you did that day. Thank you.


I actually find this very unsettling as I was about to post a last ditch "advice or help" post with lots of potentially identifiable details required to relate the story (and would have had to ID myself to anyone helping anyway) and don't feel safe doing so now, because the police being called to my home would result in more problems for me and potentially total loss of agency. Even if I could avoid being taken in against my will and saddled with huge medical bills I would likely lose the last place I have to stay as it is on shaky ground as it is and the cops showing up here would be just the excuse they need to send me off.

Nothing in your linked post said you were in immediate danger, you just sounded mildly depressed, and lots of people have ongoing suicidal thoughts for very valid reasons like my long term health issues that some intervention like the above won't help at all. Getting me mired in debt and being buried even more in life, and locked in a mental hospital, won't help me. I am glad things worked in your case and it was as simple as having a wake up call, but lots of us can't afford for someone to involve the authorities, who in my country at least are not remotely allies in these situations. Glad now I was smart enough not to post/email from an identifiable connection thus far, and use a pseudonym with the one person I have spoken to from the forum, but knowing this place people are smart enough to still ID me despite those precautions.

I spent last evening writing and editing the draft...trying to anticipate all the ways people would respond with the things that have never worked and trying to paint an accurate picture of my situation and needs. I was going to post it today hoping THIS time something might work out. But your post has just reminded me that it's far more likely someone is going to negatively enter my life than help...as has been the case over and over.

If people want to help (with the exception of POSSIBLY someone saying "I am doing it now goodbye") they should talk to US directly not call the cops and create potentially huge problems. I find the lengths he went to to ID you so incredibly uncomfortable.


You could make a throwaway account. It's legit to do that when there's sensitive information in a post, and many people have reached out to the community that way when in a hard spot. tevlon didn't do it that way, which is fine too of course, but you could.


I appreciate the input dang (your username always makes me chuckle in a good way), but I have said enough already on HN it would be trivial to connect the dots. I need to think about how to proceed. I probably shouldn't have said anything and in the end the OP is better off so that's a win, things seem to poke me a little harder than they probably should anymore and I know my perspective is not some universal truth.


Ok. If there's anything we can do to help, let us know at hn@ycombinator.com.


You're a good person dang...thanks.


If I can help in any way feel free to mail me.


I'm sorry both to hear you're facing this kind of problems and that you now seem to have lost a way to deal with it.

I reached out to the police for tevlon b/c a) I'm in the same country b) I felt I could properly assess the implications my action had c) I felt those are mainly positive (I actually did have the concerns you raised in mind, but felt I carefully weighed the pros and cons) d) If at all possible being forced to take a medical treatment is extremely unlikely here (and the vast majority of medical treatments is covered by your obligatory medical insurance here) e) Together with the other information I gathered the situation seemed way more serious than it would have seemed with the post's information only But also f) I generally do consider suicidal thoughts sth serious and not at all "normal" in the sense of being sth you don't have to take care of (which does not mean that going through what you paint to be the implications of a police call in your country seems like a proper way to take care of it for me).

I'm not telling you all this to justify, but a) to show you that I really did take my action and its implications serious and b) this was a decision tailored to this very specific situation.

I don't know what exactly you were about to post and I can of course only speak for myself but solely the fact that you're in another country already "breaks" the chain of arguments presented above that justified calling the police for me, so even without you telling me the implications you see a police call would have, it would be extremely unlikely for me to actually call the police on you.

More particularly that a) now you clearly voiced your concerns and disapproved of the police being called on you and b) you consider your situation not constituting immediate danger I can't imagine anyone still doing so.

Still: I can only talk for myself and as soon as you post sth publicly, you of course never know who will read it and how they will react.

Long story short: I really am sorry both for your situation and for me making you hesitate in taking a step that might help you in your situation. I don't want to convince you anything but I actually don't consider the risk of you unwantedly finding yourself in the situation you described when you explicitly state not wanting it.

Therefore, if you feel that this would help you, you might reconsider your decision.

To be fair: You seem not to be the only one, opposed of what I did considering the downvotes I got.


Sorry if I made you feel bad. I just feel very uncomfortable with the massive invasion of privacy and submission of all the OP's details to the police (which is a record that can hurt him later) and I don't know how to personally reconcile that with his being ok with the outcome. I fully admit I view this through my own clouded lens. I can understand how someone outside would think it's the "right" thing to do but I have seen it cause harm many times as well and selfishly perhaps fear it doing so in my case as well. Some people intervene out of pure goodwill, some do so to feel special or good and it's entirely about them, some do to cause strife. Sometimes the result is positive, although I would argue in the OP's case if a "scare" is all it took his situation wasn't that dire. Again perhaps that's too myopic and self centered since mine and many others I see are in dire states, and I am judging or jealous or someone who could "fix" things. I am truly glad for him and anyone else who can survive. I just can't help but twitch at the worry of sinking more.

I wouldn't want someone to NOT help if they felt they could, but too often that help is running right to "authority" which is not as helpful as imagined and so often makes things worse. I wish people would take more time to be human and approach the human rather than say "I called 911/112 whatever and did my part". I have shared intimate details with people only to be betrayed so often I fear this at every turn. I don't know what to do or think about it anymore.

Regarding suicidal thoughts, they ARE normal for many people and perfectly rational given their conditions and length of suffering. It's not an attitude problem or something therapy or pills can fix. Sometimes those things can help COPE temporarily but it's not a fix of the root cause. I know it's hard to understand that if you have never been there and there was a time I would swear I could NEVER think that was valid but experiences changes you. In my view nobody wants to die, even when they claim so, they just want the pain to end and can't find a way here in life...sometimes because there simply IS no way...others because they can't get the real and tangible help they need.


I agree. It is very unsettling to hear that a stranger "stalked the st out of you" and i would prefer direct help.

> Regarding suicidal thoughts, they ARE normal for many people and perfectly rational given their conditions and length of suffering. It's not an attitude problem or something therapy or pills can fix. Sometimes those things can help COPE temporarily but it's not a fix of the root cause. I know it's hard to understand that if you have never been there and there was a time I would swear I could NEVER think that was valid but experiences changes you. In my view nobody wants to die, even when they claim so, they just want the pain to end and can't find a way here in life...sometimes because there simply IS no way...others because they can't get the real and tangible help they need.

i agree alot. I had a hard time in my 20's. My parents live in another country. I was living in this "new" city on my own with problems i couldn't handle. I was always on the brink of being homeless. I didn't want to take counseling mainly because they wouldn't fix the root of my problems: No income, but a lot of debts. What if i took 3 Months of therapy? I would still have my debts. It is important to find the root cause and tackle it directly. Don't get me wrong: Therapy can help alot. But the therapist is not going to get a job for you. I had to do it on my own. It was even hard to get out of bed for me. But i did. Because of the wake up call.

We live in a society where 90% of the people have to work for their status. If you don't work, you don't have money. I don't like the idea of "making a living". Living should be a human right. But the reality is: it isn't. You have to work in order to have a place to sleep or get food. Living on Food stamps only keeps you alive. You are not part of society. In hindsight, i did miserable comparing to all my friends (most of them PhD students). But i am a huge success comparing to the vast majority of people who are living in 3rd world countries. Back then i had forgotten how lucky i am to be born in a rich country. Today i still live a simple life, cause i use every extra penny to pay my debts, but i am grateful for what i have! And one day, i can have a vacation. Something i didn't have in 8years.


I wish you all the luck and hope I didn't belittle your situation. I am glad you had the opportunity to turn it around. I am also envious and was surely reacting partially because of that and the frustration of my own life. I have had close friends who were able to dig out of various kinds of holes and the universal truth was they had access to various options...social systems, family, were physically healthy and had the option to change environments etc. Not everyone has the same available paths to recover and I often, maybe unfairly, get frustrated with people imagining it's like that and if "that guy can do it so can you so why aren't you doing it?" and they just refuse to see the confirmation bias.

I don't think there is anything wrong with giving therapy a try if one is depressed or has other issues. My problem is people seem to focus on that and pills rather than the underlying issue...whether that be physical illness, money troubles, no support network whatever. When someone is suicidal people react with this idea the fix is psychiatric care. I disagree with that entirely for the majority of cases. If the boat has a huge hole in it you need to plug the hole before you can effectively bail and dry things out...otherwise it's a losing battle and all the positive attitude, introspection, and coping skills in the world won't keep you above water and you are just avoiding reality while drowning. Some people get through it to the end like that...I have not been able to.

I am frustrated mostly because I know I could at least live out life if the conditions were right. I will never be truly happy or have my dreams fulfilled because my physical health is permanently damaged, but I COULD realistically survive and not feel this terrible if I could only access the conditions that are just on the other side of an ideological, political wall so close I can see them. So it goes for countless people...lest I sound like it's all about me.


I don't know exactly what your situation is and I don't want to make assumptions. I understand you lost your job, because of your long-term illness and you feel like you can't have your dreams fulfilled. I can imagine how hopeless and depressed that must make you feel.

However, I don't think it's true that someone who's physical health is permanently damaged can't be truly be happy. Sometimes the underlying issues can't be fixed easily, but what can be fixed is our attitude towards them.


What is it that you need? Maybe there is a chance somebody here can help. This is a support network too, although it can be very weak.


Truthfully about everything. Health problems caused money and relationship/family/people problems caused everything else problems and I have reached a point where hope isn't even something I can fool myself with anymore. I have a draft of a post I wanted to make outlining things and will try to clean it up in the next days.

In order of what I would prefer:

1. New body and a time machine to avoid surgery.

2. Robust social care/access to reliable doctors I know and trust etc for the long term if I have to live in this body so I have peace and time to work forward.

3. Some means to earn that is physically and mentally sustainable that won't bury me even further so I can buy "at least survivable for me" conditions.

#1 is impossible...#2 is possible but not here (USA)...#3 is the only one I see being MAYBE a real option which could help lead back to #2 somewhat but it all requires a lot of things to fall into place, lots of kindness, and lots of luck. All 3 things that have been in very short supply in my years of dealing with this. Still trying though...depending on the day.


What a story! Though I am not depressed, I find myself extremely frustrated with a performance-obsessed society at the moment. I go to one of the most prestigious schools in my country. That should feel like an accomplishment, but I am now surrounded by people "better" than me. It's inspiring, but it also demolishes your ego, from time to time.

Last night I had a dream of becoming true friends with a colleague that i idolise. Upon waking up, I realised that the women that I love, sleeping next to me, should've been the one occupying that mind-space, and i suddenly felt pathetically insecure.


I feel you man. I was a student at the swiss federal institute of technology (ETH Zürich). I was fine 2 years ago. Had a nice swiss girlfriend but my mind was obsessed with becoming a prestigious scientist.

I worried too much and lost her. It was one defining factor of my depression. You should give her a hug and tell her how happy she makes you ;)


I’ve found that my sense of „hierarchy“ is too strong when I start idolizing people. If you concentrate on the aspects where all humans are the same (eg mortality, human needs, driven by chaos/destiny/god/... etc), you can gain a sense that all people are worth the same, and you are among them. You no longer need or want to climb the hierarchy ladder, because there is no hierarchy, only the illusion of one.

Rock stars, billionaires, top scientists - they all die, shit and don’t have their life under control, AT ALL. They just do the thing that matters most to them, when circumstances allow them to - and so can you.


Seems like me. I am studying in Tokyo, Japan. The pressure is so high as I am surrounded by highly-intelligent and hard-working people around me. The machine learning research for Master's degree here is somewhat equivalent to PhD level in my home country (I am from Southeast Asia)


I'm not your stranger, but your history made my day. I'm happy to hear that you are alive and kicking again.


(Warning: halfway through writing the thing below it accidentally morphed into a "big picture" rant, sorry about that)

This is probably one of the best examples of how the internet can amplify human kindness that I have ever seen.

Reading your message fills me with joy, and I think that goes for most of us. The same is true for your linked post. While it was sad to read you felt like that at the time, but I'm happy that you recognised that suicidal thoughts are something to worry about, and that you reached out for help, and that it all worked out in the end!

And good that you sought out therapy. The sooner we get rid of the stigma for mental illnesses, the better. We don't judge people for getting a broken bone fixed either. This probably sounds way too familiar to many of us, and it really is a clear sign it is time to seek help:

> I feel trapped. Forgotten. Not part of society. (...) I feel like, i can never "start a life", because i studied so long and no one wants a quitter

It can be so hard to explain this feeling to those who have not experienced it. Pessimism can objectively be inappropriate, yet subjectively a perfectly logical conclusion. When I felt like this, I remember that friends would list objective reasons why everything should work out fine (and there were many). It only made me feel worse: I already knew those facts, they gave no emotional comfort. All they did was make me think "if I manage to fail despite all of that, I must be even worse a person than I though".

If anyone reading this recognises any of these anxieties: it's not you. Modern society is almost guaranteed cause these thoughts in many of us. Most interactions with other humans have been abstracted away into complex systems, and some of that complexity is probably necessary for it to function. The problem is that these systems rarely acknowledge that we evolved as a social species. That our mutual dependence for survival has resulted in brains that are hardwired to seek nurturing, supportive connections, and have an excessive fear of rejection and "missing out". The systems we have set up are often a terrible mismatch with that.

Our new modes of communication have far-reaching consequences for the way we get things done[1], since (mis)communication is one of the most important factors in building trust, which is the foundation of collaboration[2]. We will need to figure out how to cope with these changes, both individually and as a society. This is why initiatives like Buurtzorg[3][4] are so successful: they are a "recalibration" (and rediscovery) of organisational structures into something that is a better fit for the way humans naturally collaborate and build trust together. It is going to be really interesting to see how initiatives like this will evolve, and the counter-responses from the people and institutes with a vested interest in maintaining the old structures.

And with all of that in the back of my head, it makes perfect sense to me that that police visit was what you needed. An anonymous stranger cares enough about your well-being to think of looking up your IP and sends it to the police, and the police then followed through on that to check in on you. And that part is important: it does not end with intangible messages on a screen, but with a physical interaction with human beings. Direct, tangible emotional proof that you are a part society, and not forgotten.

[0] https://www.additudemag.com/rejection-sensitive-dysphoria-ho...

[1] https://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_the_internet_will_...

[2] http://ncase.me/trust/

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSoWtXvqsgg

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buurtzorg_Nederland


What happened to bioinformatics?


I finished my master and left the field. If you want to have a career in bioinformatics, there is no way you can get a good position without a PhD. I realized that a PhD is not the best option for me at that time.

So i took a regular coding job. Sometimes i miss the "research" part. But i am still active in r/bioinformatics on reddit and read occasionally a paper from BioArxiv(https://www.biorxiv.org/)


That is completely awesome, and a great choice. Speaking as someone who's not having had the easiest time lately, it's fantastic to see the positive outcome. All the best going forward.


Thank you, for your kind words! I like the positivity there. Wish you all the best, too!


did you attend therapy? and did it help? It might sound like a stupid and a lazy question, but what happens in therapy?


I have to say. I didn't. So here is the rest of the story:

I assured the police to make a therapy. They said they will check in a week, if i reached for help. I did. I called the Psychological Counseling Services at my university. They said their next free session is in 2 Months. The police officer who came to my flat called me ^. I told them... that they are fully booked and the next free spot is in 2 Months. He asked for the phone number of the counseiling service. I guess he called them and they confirm that i have an appointment in 2 months. This is where the sotry ended for the police officer. In hindsight, i don't think they really cared. They just did their duty. Anyway:

Fast-forward 1 Month: i went to switzerland looking for a job and i got an offer, 1 week after my interviews. Fast-forward another month: i didn't go to couseling, because i had exams and i felt much better. But i would have taken the counseling, if i was still depressed. That job offer was my way out of my depression. Sometimes, you can get out. Sometimes you are able to get out of this "dark place" yourself, but most of the times, you should seek for help! So if somebody is reading this. PLEASE GET HELP! Don't try to convince yourself, that you can get out on your own.


They didn't have an appointment in 2 months for someone who is suicidal? What a joke...


I found out about Y Combinator through HN in 2007. The big thing I learned from PG's essays and the links on HN were that I could start a company myself, and that there were lots of smart people like me who had done it and were going to do it. It gave me the confidence to quit and start working on something.

The next year I applied and got in with my startup Posterous. We built that to a Top 250 Quantcast site, and Twitter ended up buying it. In 2011 I joined Y Combinator as a designer in residence, then investing partner through 2015. In 2015, I started a $125M Seed VC fund (Initialized Capital) with Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, who interviewed me in 2008 to get into YC.

So I literally wouldn't have done any of those things and probably would have stayed on at Palantir as a software engineer in 2007 if I had never seen Hacker News.


This is inspiring thanks for sharing


What's does a "designer in residence" do? Is that a 9-to-5 job?


I've been through a lot of web communities. HN is easily the most intellectual, respectful, and diverse. The simple reason is that we like to be here!

In the same way that it takes a village to raise a child, your understanding of the world around you is drastically deepened by various points of view. I don't expect to find a better village anytime soon.


I would not say diverse though. This community is hugely biased towards an american, transhumanist point of view. There's an "european" minority who does not seems as egocentric (and libertarian maybe ?) as the majority, which is a bit reassuring.

Anyways as much as I like HN and its often insightful comments, this has proven me that I would have a hard time living/working in the US as we don't share the same values at all it seems. I kinda understand the valley's spirit better though, which is nice considering its huge impact on everyone's tech life.


> This community is hugely biased towards an american, transhumanist point of view.

I used to think this too, but after thinking about it a little more, I've come to the conclusion that the perception of bias towards a certain viewpoint in any thread is colored by the day of week (some old-timers frequent on weekends), the time of day (US lunch breaks and close of business), and the members who are drawn to the topics that you are interested in.

In other words, my perception of the "prevailing" bias tends to fluctuate with the time of day (I don't have a fixed schedule for visiting HN) or topics I currently have open.

Sometimes, out of curiosity, I click on a random thread (typically high comments/upvotes) with a title that I would ordinarily have not clicked on, just to get a sense of what the community is yapping about :).


What do you understand by "american, transhumanist" point of view?

And I am a european, though I don't see libertarian views beeing the majority at all ... rather the contrary ..


American as in use your car because public transportation is for poor people anyways (and who cares about ecology nowadays when everything will be resolved with technology ? -at least according to some people here, see second point-), be fat and sick. I really have the impression that people are not so healthy overall, I mean of course there's a bias as you don't speak to talk about your fine shape, but still.

Transhumanist as in there will always be some guy in every biology/medicine thread to talk about how we will evolve as a species, or claim that immortality is achievable or the likes. This is especially prominent here (and was shocking to me at first), because these opinions are not so common otherwise (in society or online communities). I guess it's just the demographics and personal interests of people here that explain this phenomenon, but I was very surprised.


I've felt the trans-humanist vibe historically but to be honest lately I've felt things swinging the other way (towards more pragmatic humanism).

Can you explain more about this "irresponsible indifferent American fat and sick" thing you've encountered? As an American, I'm curious what has given you that impression specifically on HN.


I already did.

But PT is not seen as viable, people enjoy living in suburbs and being reliant on private cars for anything, culturally less sensible to ecological matters overall compared to europeans (even though in Europe it scales, and I've felt people enclined to think ecologically most in Switzerland and Germany), mass consumption (people really love Amazon... I mean Europeans do too but Prime is less of a thing here).

Also in healthcare threads (which I browse a lot since that's my original field) I've often seen comments about massive weight loss, illnesses esp diet/digestive or diabetus related (like, in a scale I don't see as much amongst my regional communities). Also how people seem to discover once in a while what a healthy diet is (culturally less prevalent in the US than over here it seems).

This is probably especially shocking to me since I have above average interest in these topics, granted. But I'm still very shocked by the US culture which imo shows and prevails here in subtle things. But every now and then I'm like "ah, true, this is most probably an US user". At least it calms down the lust I could have after working there :)


Interesting.. yeah I don't have an eye out like you do so I didn't quite understand how you were getting the sense that more Americans are less healthy (which I don't disagree with) just from HN comments.


This says it quite well.

I'd just add that frequently someone will mention something, anywhere from some open-source project to some deep area of science, and the author mentioned, (who is already a member!) chimes in with clarifications and further explanation. Wow.


I'm very curious as to whether there are any other communities on the web that are as generally "high quality" as HN (bonus points if those communities are tech-focused or tech-adjacent). Anybody got any links?

To date HN has the highest (consistent) quality of any online community I've encountered


https://www.metafilter.com/ - it's been going for almost 20 years. Not really tech per se, but is tech/liberal/academic leaning.


Just a note, you have to pay a one time fee of $5 to comment on metafilter.

Also I say the following as a long time member of metafilter: it's really gone downhill. If you're the type of person who thinks dissenting opinion on hacker news is restricted you will probably be shocked by what goes on at metafilter. They have a serious problem with passive aggressive bullying and groupthink on political and social justice issues.I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the conversation there has been hijacked by a handful of aggressive users who shameless brigade threads to their narrative. Metafilter is a shadow of what it was even 5 years ago.

That said, ask.metafilter.com is the best part of metafilter and is worth the $5 price of admission alone.


lobster.rs[0] is pretty good for tech (specifially software development) topics.

[0]: https://lobste.rs/


My first impression:

"Deldo is a sex toy control and teledildonics mode for Emacs"


It is pretty good though. Never got an invite and din’t know how to. :( Seems like a very closed group.


I'd say Quora is rather good as well.


Nowhere near as high quality as it used to be though. I stopped my email digest there a year ago.


Yeah I agree with this. I've tried to use Quora before (about 2 years ago) but couldn't get my signal/noise ratio nearly as good as I wanted it to be


It was very good in the beginning. Now it is mostly people trying to show off any way they can. And it attracted too many ... well, let's call them ordinary mainstream people.


Completely agree. To add to that, HN also makes me feel inadequate, but in a good way. That in return "forces" me to always improve and strive for the better especially in my career.


I remember when I first joined that I really liked how people who disagree here do not downvote but rather challenge you through a comment. It was a nice change from reddit...

But times have changed and people love to downvote here these days.


I think hacker news does an ok job at mitigating this by not allowing you to downvote until you reach a certain amount of karma.

Obviously that creates its own problems but at least you have to have a little bit invested in the community before you can start trying to dictate the conversation.


Honest question: how do you know? There doesn't seem to be any public voting data available. Is this just an impression you have?


> HN is easily the most intellectual, respectful, and diverse.

I might agree with the first point, but the latter two have a checkered past, and would indeed be two points of improvement I think we as a community would do well to focus more on.


Well I agree fully with his point, when it's weighted against the rest of the internet, it's spot on. :)


For me the coolest thing about HN is the breadth of experts here for any (even niche) tech field. This allows for in depth understanding of new products (when someone who actually worked on the team making it is here) or calling out conspiracy theories about why some company shut down some product (because they have inside knowledge and can actually explain the reasoning).

I can't count how many times I've read 'I work on the team that built that' with some new insights or opinions just sitting nested in a comment chain 4 levels deep.


A few of my favourites:

Low level optimization - nkurz BeeOnRope dragontamer

Programming Languages - pcwalton jordwalke chrisseaton

Other people who work on well-known things that comment frequently:

jblow (The Witness, Braid) phire (The Dolphin Emulator) pizlonator (Webkit/JSC)

I made a web app just so I could subscribe and read all their comments via RSS: http://hnblogs.thume.ca/


I would add Radim (Gensim, Data Science)

I was pretty excited when he responded to my comment one time


Hadley Wickham (R & beautiful API's for data stuff) once replied to my comment about buying a dead tree copy of his book and recommended the HTML version.


Interesting you have jblow on there, as I just was watching his programming stream on twitch yesterday and he said he doesn't really come to HN much anymore. His reasoning was basically that he wanted a place where programmers were working on harder things (basically CRUD web devs).

I think he is missing a lot of content on here if that's his true opinion. I think you can find all sorts of varying levels of depths on a vast amount of technical issues.


Agreed. The wide spread of experts who come out and give first hand accounts of the event/product being discussed adds a tremendous amount of value to the discussion on the site.

Discussion on this site is by no means perfect but it is miles ahead of the alternatives out there.


Coupled with the occasional burn of people who don't realise they're talking with the actual developer/person behind the product


I put my name in a co-founder wish-list doc from HN [1] in 2010.

Many folks have reached out, some were pitching their ideas and others just wanted to get in touch.

One guy, Ev, said that he was going to write a new email server. I thought it was a bit funny (who wants a new email server in 2010?) but pretty cool at the same time so I decided to join.

That's how I ended up as a founding engineer at Mailgun (YC W11) and later on co-founded gravitational.com (YCS15) with same folks, Ev and Taylor, my best co-founders and friends from HN.

So thanks HN and YCombinator!

[1] https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Sygd1fhGYRS-ZvRP0IVV...


Great to learn about this. Thanks for mentioning!

Do you think it still has the same usefulness? It looks quite chaotic to shift through ~8 years of unmaintained information. Back then I can imagine you could basically contact everyone on the list and see what happened?


I was amazed by how many great people have reached out, I was not expecting that at the time. I think part of it was due to the fact that list was relatively small and time relevant. I think that monthly spreadsheet published in “Who is looking for a co founder” thread will be very useful, especially to folks who have limited access to usual networking events (for example I was in Russia in a city with very small startup scene).


Saved a life.

About 5 years ago a friend was kidnapped by Indian police on behalf of their parents who were trying to gain custody of them, in India, on a Friday evening. By the time they landed in Delhi on Saturday, HN had helped me and another prominent user here find a lawyer to take the case. When the case was heard first thing Monday morning the lawyer demolished it and this friend regained their freedom (and has had it since). Whilst I cannot be sure what would have happened if the case had gone the other way, I think it could easily have ended in this friend's suicide.

HN has helped me in countless other ways but this one trumps them all I think. You don't get much more tangible than actively saving someone from abuse and possible death.


Sounds familiar. Thank you Daniel, for all you've done.

In case anybody is wondering about what this refers to:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4739649


I learned about Bitcoin here when it was just a whitepaper, but didn't recognize the opportunity then.

A year ago, another user mentioned Monero so I looked into and discovered it's more "bitcoin" than Bitcoin and bought what I could.

I'm not a millionaire, but it sure has helped me financially, so I'm really appreciative that I took advantage of that opportunity.

EDIT: and for something a little more intrinsic: Everyone's experiences on different things. I've read lots of great comments on raising kids, and hope to take advantage of that shared knowledge when I have a family.


Tell me about it. I remember when it was single digit dollars, and it was a curiosity, but it didn't hold my interest.

Then it was double digits, and I was like, "huh."

Then is was somewhere around $40, and I thought "maybe I should get a couple? But money's kind of tight, maybe later."

Then it was over $100, and I thought "surely this can't go much higher? This definitely isn't the time to buy."

I thought that same thing when it hit over $300, and over $700, and then over $3000, and then when it was well over $15k.

I've learned a valuable lesson. I'm far too risk averse to invest in something like this, because I'm still not sure I could convince myself to invest even though it seems to have hit a bottom and is climbing again.


I looked at bitcoin very early, when it was pitched as digital currency free from the problems of fiat money. My impression was that the proponents did not understand currency and that bitcoin would make a terrible currency.

As it turns out, I was right. But by being right, I missed a huge speculative windfall. While it would have been nice to make a bunch of money for nothing, I don't really have regrets because my decision was sound at the time.

I still wonder whether the early bitcoin marketing was uninformed but they lucked out... or if the early proponents knew it was a terrible currency, but that they had to sell it that way early in order to inflate the speculative bubble.


Most people I know invested in still talk about it as a currency. We talk transaction rates and all that, but they are still convinced it is the "money of the future." So I think a lot still luck out. There are clear market manipulations. But that's why I still stay out. I do not see it as a missed opportunity.


Maybe I'm project the experience of people close to me and my own, but it helps to not feel left out that we have jobs in somewhat valued careers with somewhat guaranteed future employment.

I've been noticing that the more fragile the professional situation, the more people seem to regret or actively join the (already at full speed) bandwagon


I definitely see this correlation too. But I equate it to "I should have played on the craps table, tons of people just won." The part that bothers me is that people consider those that played that table as smart. And those that didn't play the table as dumb. Hindsight is 20/20 and there are still clear reasons to be wary of cryptocurrencies.


I take issue with the term 'invest' being used here. When somebody invests in something, they expect returns to come in the form of dividends, interest, or something of the sort. When somebody buys something because they expect to sell it later at a higher price, they aren't investing, they're speculating


> When somebody buys something because they expect to sell it later at a higher price

I guess I should dump my AMZN, GOOG, and FB stock. I can't believe what I could have been thinking when I put money in such a speculative product like Amazon. Add in Berkshire Hathaway, and 4 of the top 10 largest companies in the world don't pay out. Between the 4 of them, they account for more than 10% of the S&P500, and they are just 4 of the nearly 100 companies in the S&P500 that don't pay dividends.


Sounds like your views on transaction rates are about a month out of date now


Oh, sorry, is the pool not growing? Has crypto gotten to thousands of transactions per second? Because last I was aware they haven't even broken 20 transactions per second and the mempool is still growing.

It is going to take a hard fork to fix this.


> I've learned a valuable lesson. I'm far too risk averse to invest in something like this

I find myself often bathing in regret and telling myself "if I could travel back in time, I'd just ...". But these days I try to snap myself out of it and say "You are traveling in time, but you're traveling forward in time -- take that risk now and travel into the future and reap your rewards." It doesn't always work, but it helps give me some perspective.


I remember reading about meltdown and spectre here first, and thinking “huh, I should short intel stock before this goes public.”

I was too green to understand just how far ahead HN is though, and I just watched instead as it all played out without me.


There really has not been a long-term drop in the stock so that would have been (and still would be) very risky. You were smart not doing it.


Yes, shorting a stock is not a long term investment tactic, and it is risky. "Smart" is, in my opinion, too subjective a term to use in this particular situation. I was too risk averse at the time to take action, and part of my risk aversion was based on my lack of trust in the foresight of HN articles.


I think there's still a lot of uncertainty in this, given that Intel can benefit from everyone replacing their broken processors with new ones.


My experience as well - Bitcoin was still in single digits when HN made me stumble over it. Many ycombinator applications and projects later I launched a Bitcoin related company and couldn't be happier. The first HN discussion I saw was the one where someone had asked how he could store data and make sure it's still readable 40 years later... the answers where so smart, funny, detailed and out of this world it got me hooked. Thanks HN &a community.


Which story?


HN, for me, is all about the comments.

I’m always shopping for new perspectives or opinions that I haven’t seen yet that maybe give me a clue on how to do things better.

People tend to give a lot of perspective in-between the words they’re writing. How people use, feel about or otherwise think about ‘things’ (products or services).

That’s the gold here for me. Learning how people see the obviousness that I also see, but in their own unique ways.

Helps me build better stuff.


I too find the comments to be the greatest part of HN. I used to use Slashdot for the same reason.


You're missing out. Most of the interesting comments are shadowbanned.

Reddit is much better for open discussion. 10x better.


I'd much prefer HN's scarce supply of armchair commentary to reddit's endless supply of quickly triggered "meme" comments.


The strict moderation is a feature for me.


I just wish I could choose to see what was removed, somehow.

Do you feel that'd impede on your experience, that being possible? Genuine question.


In your profile, there is a choice called "showdead". If you set that to yes, you see those comments.


Shadowbanned is not the same as downvoted/dead, unless I've missed something.


It's the same. If you turn on 'showdead' you see all comments by banned users as well as comments killed by software, user flags, or (more rarely) moderators.

There's such a thing as deleting a comment, in which case it's no longer visible even with showdead turned on. But only the author can do that. Software never does it, and we never do it unless the author asks us to.


which subreddits? I haven't found this to be the case, but perhaps I'm looking in the wrong places.


It indirectly funded my work on a personal project - Neovim - for nearly two years.

The work was actually funded through bountysource, but without the momentum gained by my post HN (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7278214), which stayed in the front page for more than 12 hours, the bountysource campaign may not have been successful.

HN had a major impact on Neovim being a successful open source project.


Thank you for your work! Neovim was really the first tool that got me hooked on the CLI.

It led me down a path that really paid off in terms of how much I learned: about using nvim, customising it with a dotfile - a skill that turned out to generalise really well-, then about version control from the command line, learned to use Docker because it seemed useful to Dockerize nvim at the time (?), I rented a VPS to be able to run nvim on a tablet, well then I had to learn about the structure of Linux..

It just went on and on, and it's still going on! To most here on HN these are elementary skills, but you have to start somewhere. And I started with Neovim.

Thank you!


I'm a very happy Neovim user, what could I do to become a very happy Neovim contributor as well?


Best thing about HN are the quality of posts and the comments. No politics, mainly focused around technology and intellectually challenging posts. It gives you idea of technology trends, and how others are handling challenges similar to yours - something equivalent of going to a conference, but without going to a conference. Some of the comments here are even better than the article and when you combine both, you get a complete perspective. You learn not only technology but how to lead people, how to(and not to) run a company based on what/how you absorb from HN. It's the quality of comments that makes it better than any such site/forum out there. I still remember a comment - which was almost equivalent to a dozen books, around why some people are successful - something to the effect that it is not that we lack information, or lack access to information but the fact that our mind is so full of input that we don't act on what we already know we need to do. Very few other places, I've found such thought provoking comments.


That sounds like a very interesting comment that I'd like to read. Would you happen to still have the link to it?


sorry. I don't have that link.. the main post was either about usefulness of internet or about secret behind most successful people in tech - not sure which one precisely.


Any idea about how far back it was?


It got me into programming. One day I was trying to VPN into my workplace, and I started experiencing network connectivity problems which were very rare. I went on FB and asked if anyone else was experiencing connectivity problems. A friend of mine who was a developer linked me to a post on HN where the service degradations were being discussed.

I had never heard of HN and went back to the front page. One of the first links on the front page was a submission advertising the fact that Coursera (which I had also never heard of) was just launching a data science course track which also covered machine learning. I was in pure bio at the time, but I had heard about machine learning and data science at work and thought they sounded very cool but would be unapproachable to someone without a strong math background. When I saw the link, I said "oh fuck yea I should totally look into this!". I checked out the course track, learned basic R, and have never looked back. I've now fully transitioned into development and out of bio :D

HN also inspired me to launch my own company, which I never even thought of as an option until I started spending time on this site.


What are the challenges in bio like compared to tech industry interms of innovatation, opportunity, or otherwise? I'm considering transition in that direction.


Are you going from bio into tech or tech into bio? Also what exactly are you interested in doing? Both of those domains are very broad.


From tech to bio. Primarily diving into the processes involved with DNA, RNA, and proteins (i.e. following CRISPR hype).


If you're interested in dealing with the wet lab side of these processes, the biggest immediate challenges will be amassing the underlying domain knowledge and credentials. Unlike in tech, industry labs care a lot about formal credentials, and it will be hard to find a real research position without at least a masters or PhD in the field. Ignoring credentialing, the biggest challenge is that you're trying to develop products in a space where the systems you're working in are not fully understood yet. This means that there is a lot more underlying uncertainty in everything you work on. You're also entering a highly regulated space if you're talking about therapeutics, which impacts development processes, timelines, and costs. There is a ton of room for innovation in the space and CRISPR is hot new tech, but expect everything to move substantially slower than in tech.

If you want to be a developer who works on bio-related problems, that's a totally different story. Frequently developers in bio are not as good as what you would find at a big tech company, so there is very high demand for people who know what they are doing and who also have the domain XP to understand the problems.

I would be happy to chat about it more in depth sometime.


That would be great. My understanding is very shallow, last bio class was in high school. But I'd be applying for admission in ~September or self learning on the side. My email is my username at gmail.


HN is the nearest thing to a tech community you can have if you live in a place where there is no much IT scene. This site allowed me during half of my career to have somebody interested in the things I care, to talk, exchange ideas, and read very smart things from random nicknames that often I wish I could know in person.


Thanks a lot for Redis!!!


Silly, but some self assurance. I'm mostly anonymous here, so my job history / pedigree doesn't weigh into anything.

But, I still manage to be in the middle of meaningful discussion, and contribute something worthwhile here and there. Even got a few thank-you notes over a 2 year period.

Tldr: Helps with imposter syndrome.


For me, its the other way around: I think I'm ok with my job history/pedigree, and when I check HN, it feels like I'm the dumbest person in my area. It seems like I'm not even trying.


I probably should have considered that perspective. To be clear, I often feel behind on my current state vs HN comments. Was mentioning that, for certain topics, I felt like a big contributor. I don't expect to always be on top, but (very) occasionally feeling like a thought leader here was encouraging.

Great observation, and appreciate it.


I absolutely relate to this. But hey, knowing that there are other engineers out there feeling the same thing when they read HN makes me feel better. So, thanks.


I feel the opposite, but I am in a different position.

I am a hobby programmer. I spend quite a lot of time doing programming challenges (Euler, cryptopals, advent of code) and amateur robotics.

Most of the programmers I meet are a result of a shorter non-CS education focusing on getting them employable, which means they know .net and not much more.

So far I have only met one person in real life that understood anything of what I am doing, even though I have met several people that make a living coding.

Hadn't it been for HN I would believe that undergrad maths from old schoolbooks is actually advanced programming or that moderately advanced scheme macros are dark magic :)

Being here is somewhat good for my hubris, but also pretty often makes me realise I could have a career doing programming if my current line of work doesn't work out.


It was a kind of fuel while I worked at a grocery store trying to build some software that I thought would be game changing (it was a new kind of text editor that would break documents into interactive 'tiles' around grammatical boundaries[0]). Eventually it was on the front page here and I got tons of feedback, most of it good; and while I wasn't fortunate enough to get funding or anything, it's been a big part of why I've been able to get some pretty good/interesting work.

And, one day I'll post another project here and the world'll love it and all my problems financial and otherwise will be solved forever and all of humanity will live happily ever after etc. :P

I also have learned lots more about programming languages and various other CS topics than I likely would have without HN.

[0] http://symbolflux.com/projects/tiledtext


I also poured over HN while working dead end retail for 3 years. It quite literally sent me into the mental health system.

I picked up a heeeap through osmosis, did a dev bootcamp for web dev/JS/React, spend a year being rejected from places, did almost nothing but self study + Github projects at the same time, self learnt Python and it finally paid off this past October with an offer.

I started my position as a graduate Site Reliability Engineer this last Monday since it's my employers inhouse program where grads rotate 4 times (ie frontend, backend, mobile) in the first year before settling into a position. Personally, I have 2x 6 month rotations of SRE and Cloud Data and it's very exciting!

Come to think of it, I've still been meaning to write a post about all the "junior" positions I was rejected from. It really sucks when you're starting out.

One startup who I did a test with, and never got a response, actually went bankrupt earlier this year which was a weird feeling.


Got me a job at Facebook. I posted a weekend project while at school in 2011 ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2478751 ) and someone at Facebook reached out to me to interview there :)


HN gave The Tao of tmux a lot of valuable feedback, as well as readers.

Here is the Show HN post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13022062

That day, I got tons of pre-orders. The email notifications kept piling up. Book wasn't even done yet.

It's available online for free: https://leanpub.com/the-tao-of-tmux/read, and also in DRM-free ebook format: https://leanpub.com/the-tao-of-tmux/


HN got me into dancing.

Around five years ago there was a thread about books that changed your lives. Someone wrote about Impro by Keith Johnstone - an introduction to improvisational theater interspersed with a lot of personal stories. I read it and fell in love with the honesty and the new view of social interaction the book offered.

I found a dance theater studio near me - the closest thing to impro theater that was available - and went there. It was there that I met some of my most important friends and developed practices that I use to this day in my artistic projects as well as in interaction design.

Thanks, unknown HN user!


"an introduction to impro theater interspersed with a lot of personal stories" seems like a technically accurate but misleading description of the book to me. I struggle to capture the essence of the book, but I'd add that it shows a lot of insight into creativity, relationships, and the human condition.


You are right, and it is indeed quite hard to describe this book. It is less monolithic, more like a collection of short stories each offering unique insight into a topic.

Here is one of my favorite stories from the book: https://books.google.de/books?id=j0n2DAAAQBAJ&pg=PT15&dq=%22...


Found the thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5570013

The "unknown HN user" is bambax


You made me look back and I think it was gruseom from the thread Surprisingly undervalued books

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4651165


Yippee!


Hah, wow, now I can thank you in person! Thanks to your well written comment I read the book, learned to move and dance, fell in love, got amazing friends, went skinny dipping with beautiful dancers in the summer, got heartbroken, learned to accept change, and started developing objects that behave and choreograph the user through their behavior.

And all for the want of a nail..

Thank you!


You're welcome. It's delightful that you did all that with it.


What order did all that shit happen in, exactly?

Y'know. For a friend.


It was just as much about loss as it was about the good things. Go write your own story!


Few things pull a genuine smile from me. Peace and prosperity, my friend.


Oh, ok. I guess there are a lot of "favorite book" threads.


What a coincidence. I just started reading and bookmarked the archive.io of Impro yesterday after seeing used copies on Amazon starting at $25. I'm assuming it's out of print?

https://archive.org/stream/pdfy-KIkLrSPi_3lzPl5v/Keith%20Joh...


The 2007 reprint is available in Europe for around 12 Euro, and libgen.io has an old edition as pdf.


I joined this year and I am still intimidated that I might say something trivial or stupid. Just trying to get a depth of this community. Programming/ML related posts are always fun to read here.


About 6 years ago, I posted an article I wrote about my experience on the app store[1] and somebody (now a good friend of mine) reached out and asked why I wasn't living in silicon valley. Long story short[2] I ended up moving to San Francisco less than a month later and I've been here ever since. That was unexpected.

[1] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2705440 [2] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4424592


In 2016, I came across a Show HN for a laptop powered by your Android phone (called Andromium at the time, now Sentio). I thought the idea was amazing, went over to their office, met one of the founders, and the other soon after. They gave me a shot working for them in a partnerhips / growth role, even when I hadn't had any experience doing that kind of work before, but had a strong desire to learn. Can't express how grateful I am to have met that bunch and worked with them for almost a year. So much learning. Lifelong friendships. And I was able to see from up close the challenges of delivering a hardware + software product from both engineering and a distribution standpoints. Definitely influenced my current path. I’m working on a product now that I’m excited to ShowHN in a few weeks.

Back in my 2nd year of college, when I first found HN, I was inspired by many cool projects that were posted here. Within a year, I decide to take the plunge to build an app from scratch. Ended up taking a lot longer than I had thought (didn't realized how complicated a simple looking app could be), so I skipped a semester and continued to work on it with a friend. It was a great learning lesson that gave me the confidence to try and build out ideas when I had them and see what would happen, rather than just sit around hoping someone would build things that I would want to use.

Lastly, I admire the culture here that focuses on creating actual value and doing things rather than chasing status. That has been a huge influence for me - as someone who was very influenced by social pressures and craving for status during high school, and early college (e.g. getting into a top college, getting a job at one of the “top” 5 tech companies), I believe I’ve slowly shifted towards valuing actual work that creates value for others in a meaningful way and caring less about other proxy symbols of “success”. I have a long way to go, but I’m grateful to have been exposed to thoughts and a culture that pointed in this direction, during a time when my mind greatly craved the opposite.

Thank you.


Unfortunately, I only found out about HN a couple of years back in 2016. I had been looking for such a community for an incredibly long time and somehow I used to always wonder how some of my colleagues knew what was the latest in the tech scene.

Anyways, when I first joined, I fell into a bit of a depression due to the impostor syndrome :(. Fortunately for me, I had quite a few other changes happening in my personal life so I was able to snap out of it and focus on using the platform to learn and grow rather than be intimidated.

I had also recently started blogging in 2015 and I remember submitting one of my articles (it was about using gmail with mutt) to HN. It hit front page for over 100 points) and it was one of the most thrilling moments of my career!

I went on to get a few more submissions on to the front page and HN also gave my the confidence to launch my side project which also hit the front page: https://ewolo.fitness

A big thank you to everyone on here :)


I get to feel very stupid, but in a comforting, always learning way. I have a PhD in HPC and HN always humbles me with the depth of knowledge contained by the community.


It motivated me to make stupid github projects for Internet points. A couple of them got voted to the front page and one even got flagged killed.

Examples:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12071405

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10968004

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10296461

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10198391


I second your pronunciation tracking site. There are often trivial syllable mispronunciations endorsed by a community that if surfaced to the attention make significant improvement in speech clarity. What is more interesting than the not-obvious mistakes(that you cited as examples) is that there is a repetition(pattern) of pronunciation mistakes specific to a group(or all non-natives).

For instance: http://ijleal.ump.edu.my/images/volume4/IJLEAL004.SHAK_et_al...

I would like to make this work.


Given the prestige and usefullness of English in many countires, an app that teaches pronunciations seems to me a good idea


That's pretty neat!


That being critical doesn't mean necessarily being mean.

Knowledge about a bunch of new things that I wouldn't know.

Inspiration to try and do new things.

But, most importantly 7000+ pretend internet points and something to do when I'm bored.


Very much this. I am pretty passionate, but I've learned more about civil discourse on hn than just about anywhere else, mostly because of dang. At first I really resisted the non-user approved positivity rule change, but it's forced me to reevaluate how I approach disagreements online in general. (Even in irc)

It's also been a place for me to vent a bit as a senior sysadmin, and learn quite a bit about how much I don't know.


Actually I started being less mean on my criticism because I thought that everyone would welcome the criticism with open arms when I was naive. Instead, now I try to complement people first or point out the good parts and highlight the bad.

I found that this started to bleed into my real life and at the end of the day it made me grow as a person.

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