I'm a novelist. For some reason, folks in the graphic novel biz seem to think that novelists have a usefully transferable skill set. About six years ago I got an email from a guy at Marvel comics. "We're looking for a novelist to take over writing this superhero property we just rebooted, and Warren Ellis, who did the reboot, suggested you. Wanna Talk?"
We talked, I did some recon on the superhero in question, decided I really hated him and life was too short (even if it was an opportunity to make a big break into comic writing) ... and turned down "Iron Man".
I am a British center-left -- liberal democrat voting -- Volvo-driving organic-eating media luvvie. (I'm also a self-employed businessman and a sometime dot-com veteran; let's not get too carried away with the socialism here.) Muscular two-fisted violent imperialism lacks appeal. I could have written Tony Stark as an anti-hero, but the risk for pushback from the fans would have been significant.
When you're looking for a project to work on for possibly several years, you should pick something you love. As I was simultaneously looking at two multi-book contracts from major publishers for books that I would have complete creative control over (and retain copyright on -- don't forget, Marvel and DC insist on work-for-hire!) I went with the "do what you love" option.
(The books in question, for what it's worth, were "Accelerando", "Glasshouse", and the last three Merchant Princes books.)
I don't remember the character being as much of a jerk as RDJ plays him, but admittedly I only ever watched the cartoons as a kid, not read the comic books.
Few, if any, poor families taught their children to be an autodidact. Once people are autodidact, I would expect a rise in socioeconomic status.
Let face it, it's going to be hard to rise up when you're stuck in a poor neighborhood with gangsters and bad influences.
That's called being born on third and making it home.
Also, it's a really tough job you have. Props.
I remember usually if I would search for X, I was sure to get a lot of "hot sluts taking X up their asses" links no matter what X was. Right before Google became popular search was totally and completely useless. I remember I actually went back to using the old Yahoo subject matter directory trees to find stuff. It was not very helpful, their links were mostly outdated. And for a while I was trying very hard to bookmark or remember any URL I found interesting because I thought I would never be able to find them again if i closed my browser.
And once I learned about Google it was like my eyes were opened once again. So yeah, if they offered me a job in 1998 and I had tried their website, I would be all over it. But alas they did not.
It was funny, they actually were looking hard for someone in my field (patent attorney). They needed a patent lawyer so much that they actually listed the position in the main Google page, and this was the only time ever that I know of that they have listed a job position on the main google.com page. Unfortunately, I was still in law school then :(.
Often I feel that in recent years the quality of the results are declining again. Now if you search for X, you get a lot of webshops, which tell you the price, but not any other useful information. Or if X is not a product, more and more of the results are pointing to all kind of aggregator sites which are again linking to each other instead of useful content or links. Or the similar case is when all the results on the first page are the same content on different pages.
So perhaps there is a market opportunity again. Anyone? :)
I use more terms "in quotes" now, include more negative terms, use more site-specific searches, and use inurl as well. I still get what I want, but I wouldn't if I wasn't tech savvy.
"Hey, what was the name of the site for buying plane tickets but they organized the flights in a useful way so the one you most likely want to buy is on top?"
Now; find Ninite & Hipmunk on the internet; via Google, unless you have something better (if so, I'd like to hear about it), but pretend you've never heard of them. Ninite's findable via an Ask Reddit, which actually spells out there is a problem. Hipmunk eventually shows up in the right-side ad-word gutter if you use the right Google query comination of flight, plane, airplane, online, and ticket - but in the gutter why would you pick them over any of the other sites.
Telling other people where to buy things from can be lucrative if you've got pull, but how do you displace Google as a nexus for "I'm searching for a site that..."
I was visiting from the UK with my girlfriend who was raised in Bellevue. I think I instead opted to jam with a band called Myth in a barn in Redmond. Myth morphed into Queensrÿche soon after, so I guess I missed two chances!
Life is a sequence of half chances. You make your choices, and you make them for good reasons at the time.
Looking at the past doesn't mean that the present would be as it is if you'd made different choices. That's a theme used in almost every time-travel movie.
It would be really great if Alta Vista kept their old search engine and search index circa 1999 on-line, so we could periodically remind ourselves what the web used to be like.
You probably know that an asterisk stands in for a single word in a query, but if you add more asterisks then it stands in for more words. However, there's not a one-to-one correspondence between asterisks and words skipped. A "few" asterisks means skip a "few" words, and more asterisks means the words can be farther apart. So you can search for foo NEAR bar with something like foo * bar.
At least, that was my understanding, but I can't seem to find that spelled out anywhere online after a quick search just now, so I could be way off.
>0 pages found for http://google.com/search2001.html
>Sorry, no matches.
As a matter fact (5 minutes of tortuous Google search later...), here the article is:
A neat little time capsule.
I search, first result, OCX download. Never used anything since.
I realized Google was way cooler than alta vista and better at finding unknown things rather than Yahoo's directory. Truly the future, I thought. I sent in a resume to do some kind of work not development related; data center & sys admin stuff. They called me twice but I convinced myself that they would not have hired me anyways so I never called back.
I was probably right, though, given how their interviewing process is (or was).
In my experience all it takes is just one success to turn it all around and get a on roll.
But that's not going to happen if you never shoot for something.
Get the idea out of your head that people are on the outset better than you. You're always going to lose with this kind of attitude you have, though. Even if you won I don't even think you'd know it.
What if Gretzky never got better? What if no matter how much pushing and training and practice he never scored a goal? I'm sure there are many people out there like that. I happen to be one of them.
Then he's doing something wrong. If you spend hours upon hours doing something, you will get better at it.
If he had legs and arms he probably would have won and gone much further.
"That woman was sexy...Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them."
And yes, not everyone can do what he did (as there's not room for n generals in a world of n people). But can anyone do what he did? How do you know that anyone can't be an astronaut or a 4-star general or a fortune 500 CEO or a Senator, or whatever?
Or is this some bizarre form of pessimistic trolling?
For me, dealing with people who think they can do anything (vs people who really do) is like dealing with religious people: it's a process of non-thought and faith almost.
Your father-in-law is one of those rare people who can make it happen. If it was as simple as working hard at it or being determined then everyone would be doing it. This is why it's so hard to find good programmers.
It's also a good way to lead people on to guaranteed failure, deluding them into thinking if they work hard enough or try hard enough they can accomplish something.
Most of us are not physically capable of understanding certain things that others do understand, are able to work at, etc. I happen to be one of those people who can't understand.
Ummm, no. Most people seem to be determined, but only to do as little as possible to get by.
We clearly just disagree, but I reject your premise that most people are not physically capable of greatness. I don't know you but you're on HN and you express yourself well in writing, which already puts you ahead of 99% of people. The main thing holding you back is that you're determined to not succeed.
I think my situation is obviously not so extreme. See my reply to rick888.
I don't think you know what it means to be a failure with no real recourse -- NO recourse short of a radical alteration to my biology. Have some compassion for people for whom things simply don't work out. Everyone seems to think that if you aren't the best it's 120% your fault and in a way it's true. However, sometimes people just get bested and it's just the cards that were dealt to them with the biology they're given.
I don't believe this. Most people aren't willing to put the time and effort into understanding certain things others do understand.
"This is why it's so hard to find good programmers."
It's hard to find good programmers because many just want a paycheck and they don't care about the quality of code they are churning out.
I disagree. Let me give an example. I remember my networking course in university. The professor had a sort of teaching method by asking questions and then giving logical conclusions. I never could logically explain engineering decisions in networking protocols like my classmates. He would ask a question about some feature or design situation and ask a random person. They always got it. It was not in the book or any where readily available.
He could ask crazy design questions, that to me seemed more like a parallel thought puzzle, and my class mates got it. Always. Professor learned to not ask me after a while because I never could do it. I'm like a dog, everyone else was like a human. They have insight that I don't and I never could get it; a potency in their mind that I lacked. I never got it like they did. I flunked my way through that class at dead last but passing, just like I had done for all the years I spent in school since I was a child.
Maybe I could recite things by memory about network protocol design but I could never really understand it like everyone else in that class did.
I don't think you know what it means to be a failure with no real recourse. I mean NO recourse short of a radical alteration to my biology. Have some compassion for people for whom things simply don't work out. Everyone seems to think that if you aren't the best it's 100% your fault and in a way it's true. Sometimes people just get bested and it's just the cards that were dealt to them.
No, this is precisely why almost most people are not doing it: they don't want to work hard and keep at something that isn't easy for them.
There is only one route to guaranteed failure: don't try.
"Most of us are not physically capable of understanding certain things that others do understand, are able to work at, etc. I happen to be one of those people who can't understand."
That attitude is precisely why you can't.
I think you've got to judge opportunities largely by the people executing them. Lots of pedestrian opportunities with great execution do well. Lots of great opportunities with pedestrian execution go poorly.
Seems like there's always room for innovation, if you're willing to ignore the nay-sayers.
Making a better product, successfully, is what sets apart clones from revolutionaries.