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Not dissing the general message. Startups can be brutal, but still. Dude is 22 and claims having seen more hardship than others. Try dealing with raising kids, health issues, sick family members, dying friends, mid life (all of which will probably happen as you near the age 40) and a startup will look like a pleasant distraction from the actual hard stuff in life.

I,d say enjoy being 22, don’t take yourself to seriously and reflection will come with age.




Guy lost me a couple sentences in, right about here: "I’ve only been up and around for about 4 years, a happy ignorant high school teenager before that. I have yet experienced more professional hardship in these four years than most people do in all of their lives."

I realize the guy is young and hope he is just using hyperbole and does not honestly believe what he is saying.

I'm willing to bet the guys that queue outside of places like Lowes and Home Depot hoping to just get some day labor to feed their families experience quite a bit of hardship. Probably same for the guys that sneak over the border to get jobs working on farms to send money back to their families, or the person that works for a company for 20 years and is laid off. The author willingly dropped out of college to start a business.

I never really understood professional stress until I got to the point where I realized my kids eating depended on me bringing home an income. Whenever I get stressed about work it helps to realize that the problem is probably solvable and that I have it no where near as bad as these guys doing back breaking physical labor to do the same thing I am trying to do, feed people they care about.

I wish the author nothing but success but he is being a tad dramatic.


or the billion-ish people around the world living with food insecurity, many in india. privilege tends to be blind, but yes, he seems to be just talking to his peers and not the whole world.

i applaud the guy for his entrepreneurship, especially from his roots in small-town india.


He's from India. Statistically speaking, he might be right, although judging by the fact he dropped out of school he's probably in the upper echelons of society.


I would say being from India hurts his argument. He has started at least one, perhaps two successful businesses that took off in the first few months. The median income in India is $616. I think professionally he is doing ok.


I wonder if the median age of HackerNews readers has shifted through the years? I started reading HN probably around my early 20s, if not sooner, and now I'm in my thirties with children. Life doesn't get easier or less complex as time goes on, that's for sure.


Anecdata re: readership age: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17636856

Eyeballing: average age seems to be mid 30's.

EDIT: 35.4, you can run in your console on that thread:

    function averageAge(){
        const ages = Array.prototype.slice.call(document.querySelectorAll('.commtext'))
                    .map(span => span.innerText)
                    .map(text => text.slice(0,2))
                    .map(firstTwo => Number(firstTwo))
                    .filter(n => !isNaN(n))
        return ages.reduce((x,y) => x + y, 0) / ages.length
    }

    averageAge()


Played a bit of code golf with your snippet, but can't figure out how to combine the .map(Number).filter(Number):

    let avgAge = [...document.querySelectorAll('.commtext')]
                  .map(span => parseInt(span.innerText))
                  .map(Number)
                  .filter(Number)
                  .reduce((i,d,c, ages) => ages.reduce((x, y) => x+y) / ages.length)


Well, it depends. I started reading HN around 21, when I was doing my first startup, which quickly failed because of problems with my personality — lack of self-awareness, bad work ethic, but most importantly, unsolved emotional problems. I'd never say that I've worked all these issues out, but age experience and hard labour I've put into therapy certainly help with self-improvement. Not to mention that my CV is more impressive, which puts me into a completely different position in the labour market.

So, if you don't go to harder goals and projects, like having children, life can get easier. But it's always your conscious decision to move on to a harder difficulty level.


HN readership is definitely skewing mid 30s at this point.


do you have any data to back this up?


I am 37 and judging by the comments here, I feel like average user age is above around 40.


I’m 21 but don’t comment a lot as it’s a bit intimidating. As far as I perceive top commenters are older than me as they usually have a lot of experience in the topic they’re discussing. I bet many people my age feel the same


Hasn't HN grown quite a bit in recent years? I would assume that would pull the average age down.


I could believe it. It was definitely a product of its time, riding a wave of people that simply don't exist in the same amounts anymore. Outside the bubble, a lot of society has moved on to other obsessions and talking points.


I totally agree. I was 35 when I worked for a start-up, by that time I didn't have kids, health issues, sick family members nor midlife crisis. Work side of life was tough but rewarding at the same time. Lots of pressure, but I could smile in the end of the day.

Now I am a managing partner in 3 companies and have all the issues above. Work is ok, manageable, but the personal issues are REALLY hard to cope with, specially the irreversible ones related to aging and health.

It the past, resilience was a key attitude to me. Nowadays I see acceptance as being more important.


> It the past, resilience was a key attitude to me. Nowadays I see acceptance as being more important.

I am starting to understand this, too. Very well said.


I agree with everything you said, but it really feels like you're laying the groundwork for a smackdown by an 80 year old.


Everyone you love will die and you will be a stranger in your own country.


Not if I die first!


By 80 you have already outlived a lot of your friends.


You could as well buy a lottery ticket!


Luckily we all get a lifetime to make peace with this.


Yeah, but I still see some elderly people who were very well-adjusted throughout their lives (AFAIK), but still be generally sad due to loneliness.

I'm curious if elderly people with many, many kids tend to be happier due to much more frequent contact with loved ones.


This is my favorite HN comment thread.


After having kids, you go to work to get some rest.


Completely agree with you, and was going to comment the same.

Perhaps at 22 you don't have the full perspective of what life can be. I certainly didn't at that age (now I'm 41 and I guess I have a better perspective for sure).


I guess “struggle porn” is just a hip thing to write about. Books like “The hard thing about hard things” celebrates this. It’s startup canon by now.


Wow....hadn't heard the term "struggle porn" before, but I think it hits the nail on the head.


Probably because writing a blog post about how everything was really easy and straightforward and now you're earning millions with no meaningful competition would make people hate you and then try to copy your business model. Writing that everything was really hard discourages competitors.


It is. To each their own, but it sounds like when a bunch of Wall St interns brag to each other about how they worked until 3am, went home and showered, then were back at work by 8am the next day. It gives some people a sense of validation/importance that they are way more hardcore than the average person because they work so much more. It actually favors inefficiency in the sense that working smarter isn't as valuable as who could withstand grinding or "hustling" the longest.


> Perhaps at 22 you don't have the full perspective of what life can be.

It's hard to believe that one has the full perspective at any age.


This reminded me of a pretty neat but lighthearted video: How to Age Gracefully [1] (4m40s).

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sycgL3Qg_Ak


I'd never seen that before. It's a nice video (and indeed apposite).


I think this is highly dependent on the context you are in. An Italian friend of mine lived for a year in a tiny fisherman community isolated in an island in northern Brazil a decade ago. He told me that after a couple of months we got this full perspective of things as he knew 100% of people, their pains and joys, dreams and realities.

Looking at the other side of the spectrum, what are the chances of an immigrant to achieve the same level of perspective after living for a year in Manhattan?

I believe it is a more productive -- and joyful -- exercise to think about the role you want to have in the context you belong to.


Technically true. But in reality, perspective alone is useless. What matters is (perspective * ability to make meaningful use of it). For most people, that function peaks somewhere no later than 60s (unless they have grandkids that actually listen to what they have to say).


perhaps? you can't even rent a car until you're 25. this isn't due to being overly cautious, this is actuarial science at work. you are not really an adult until you are 25 ... unless of course you've had an especially hard life. even then, before 25 you are quite more impulsive than after.

somewhere around midlife your perspectives will shift again. i imagine when you hit your later senior years (retirement age), yet again.

Perhaps? It goes without saying that until you hit retirement you don't have a full perspective of what life can be. Until say 10 years after life starts to degrade for you (age-related health), you will not have a full perspective.

22. lol.


> Dude is 22

Ah, that explains the unnecessary and distracting showing off by swearing in the title.


Sometimes it comes all at once! A friend of mine was building a startup, having kids, dealing with a sick mother and being middle-aged all at the same time.


> and being middle-aged

The rest I could take, but middle-aged? Truly hell.


The author should have chosen a more relevant title to the post. At this age I had just started working and was playing counter strike for 10 hrs a day. Kudos to him for going through this so early in life. Having said that this is a click bate title.

It's amazing how entrepreneurship is so textbook nowdays. Quit job ->. start company->. be minimalist ->. Get funding ->. post tech blog ->. blog on founder struggle. ->. Blog on failure ->. Travel ->. Become a one-bagger. All of this in few months


Exactly. Stopped reading after the first sentence.


I don't think we should necessarily be gatekeeping here. What makes life challenging is subjective to the individual. There are young people out there subject themselves to a lot of stress because they want to be successful.

Working really hard can take a serious toll on you. Not quite in the same way that common midlife stressors can pull you in 20 different directions (kids, aging parents, etc). But in the moment, the stressors are very real to the individual.


The things the author mentions are very similar to the things a friend of mine said when he started his first business. He was 23 then and now 25. I showed him this blog post and he told me that was a very inexperienced age for him then and that was the phase when he used to have a lot of beliefs that are now changed.

He's from India too.


I think you're playing the averages here, assuming he's a typical 22 year one. Which is reasonable. Just be careful about assuming too much - he may have had periods of his life that were more difficult than you and I will ever experience, you just don't know.


He did say professional hardship, it's not wildly unreasonable.


Dude should read Candid.


Excellent comment; couldn't have written the same as well.


Definitely agree


While you state it in a more rational way, many of the responses dismiss what OP has to say just because he is 22. As somebody who is 22 as well—everybody is facing a struggle here. The market does not care that we are 22, it is equally brutal to both of us.

Also, I agree that raising kids may be something that is more difficult that you additionally have to do (all the other things have no correlation with age), but some of the replies here come off to me like that one jacked dude in the gym giving the newbies stick for being weak. At their current musculature, they are doing the best they can. Difficulty levels are relative.


> Also, I agree that raising kids may be something that is more difficult that you additionally have to do (all the other things have no correlation with age), but some of the replies here come off to me like that one jacked dude in the gym giving the newbies stick for being weak. At their current musculature, they are doing the best they can. Difficulty levels are relative.

The author picked the fight. People are dismissing what he's saying because writing that makes him come across as self-aggrandising. As a result, people are making a judgement call that the guy probably doesn't have much to offer.

To continue with your gym analogy, it's like some weedy guy walking into a gym and telling all the jacked guys that they're exercising wrong and he can teach them better form. That may in fact be true - being able to teach form doesn't require you to be jacked, and vice versa. But more than likely this person is talking out their ass.

I'm 23 and when I read that sentence it totally turned me off the article, the author seemed like a tool, and I completely agree with all the 30-40 yr olds in this thread saying the same thing.


Health issues, dying friends, sick family, and mid life have no correlation with age?

Being 22 is harder if you pass on opportunities to get perspective...


22 year olds can also have health issues, dying friends, sick family. Not sure how "mid life" is an "issue", per se?

All I'm saying is, all things considered, building a business is hard regardless of what age you are.


Absolutely heartbreaking challenges can occur at any age. But all of those things get more probable as you, your friends, and family get older.

That means that more people will face more challenges at the same time as they age. And, more importantly, any individual facing real hardship while young is unfortunately still likely to face greater hardships as they get older. That is why the OP's advice to build perspective earlier in life is useful for everyone, and does not discount the reality of hardship for the article writer or other young people.




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