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Ask HN: Successful projects that weren't received well on HN?
95 points by johnx123-up 21 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 61 comments
Motivated by this thread https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19260700 that talks about Redis, Dropbox, etc

I wouldn't know an answer to it, but it would indicate to what extent the wisdom of the HN crowd is a wisdom one should follow.

Edit: I'm listing projects already talked about in the link of OP for convenience.

Bitcoin first time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=463793

Bitcoin second time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=599852

Redis: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=494649

Summarizing from other comments (yep, I'm bored):

ReactJS: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5789055

AirBnB: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=426120

DuckDuckGo (arguably): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=460877

Dropbox (seems to be received quite well? Hmm...): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8863

Researched but turned out to have good responses:

Github: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=124553 -- query: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=github&sort=byDate&prefix&page...

The age old Dropbox response: "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."

> Well this is an exceptionally cute idea, but there is absolutely no way that anyone is going to have any faith in this currency.

Not entirely inaccurate :)

It's true that not everyone has absolute faith in it, but there are quite a lot of people who have quite a lot of faith in it.

Then again, a lot of people had faith in David Koresh.

The claim was that no one would have any faith in it though ^^

"No one" in casual claims is not the absolute quantifier ("absolutely no one").

It just means "very few people".

Else we could never say "no one" in casual conversation for anything, because even the vilest/stupidest/most paranoid idea still has one/some proponents.

(And by "even the" I mean, "most", not "absolutely each and every vile/stupid/paranoid idea has one/some proponents").

Arguing the semantics is a moot point in this instance. Bitcoin was once transferring about $5bn on-chain daily and hovers over $1bn today. By comparison Western Union moves $80bn in one year.

The original comment was unequivocally wrong. People obviously trust it.



Each day ~5 trillion dollars are moved.

Doesn't that mean that Bitcoin remains irrelevant -- (and 5 times less relevant today than when it was $5bn/daily).

So much for the future of currency...

I agree with this and my comment wasn't trying to use "no one" in that strongest possible "absolutely no one" sense

Wow...this comment really did not age well at all, even worse than the classic Dropbox comment:


Frequently people cite comments that look foolish in hindsight. But some people are able to gauge things well too.


> This really is a very cool little community . . . they're going to make a killing when they start charging.


> This is genius. It's is problem everyone is having, and everyone knew it (http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/lazybackup ). If it really works as well as it looks in that demo then they nailed it. I'm both envious and inspired. I'll be surprised if YC does not fund them.

By what metric does one assess Bitcoin's success?

> You know, I'm not a big fan of Facebook, but this site should use it for vetting. You don't know much from a name, picture, and some attributes, but in all honesty I'd be more inclined to trust someone (at least to not be a psycho killer) after looking at their drunk pictures and wall posts than anything any central authority could issue.

Quite a prophetic reply, I gotta say.

Ha I blame the poor title for that post. Who wants to sleep under a kitchen table. :)

The criticism wasn't wrong. Most people on AirBNB aren't using it for couch/extra room rental (because that market is really small). They failed at that and had to pivot to being a platform for vacation rental companies.

Never too late to upvote it, I suppose

HN is about as far from representative of the "typical user" as you can get. No reason you should think that the opinion of people here means much with regards to any specific project or idea.

If you ask me right now, I would still say that Twitter is a stupid product that no one will use because I still don't get it.

It's basically an RSS feed of people rather than sites. I get a lot of tech and programming info from it, as well as networking with high profile individuals.

Please elaborate about getting the tech and programming info. I never thought that was possible.

I dont know about HN but I remember CmdrTaco's famous review of first iPod on its release in 2001: "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

For those who don't know, CmdrTaco is the creator of Slashdot, the previous HN.


Hello and thanks for all the news!

hey, some of us still read /.

Yes, all six of us who prefer to read news a day late

It'd be very interesting to see the financials of a dwarf star like Slashdot.

What does it take to keep it running? How many people are still employed by them?

It has been over a decade since I last went there.

I tried logging in the other day. For some reason, the page linked from the reset password email was completely broken. I reached out on Twitter, but it remained like that for days. I’d be surprised if they had even one full time staff for the site.

I’d say Slashdot is sustained purely on inertia. Pretty sure it’s just drifting towards the Sun and destined to blip out of existence eventually.

It’s a shame, but HN has clearly supplanted Slashdot as a place for nerds to congregate.

Wait, there's six of us?

eyes the room suspiciously

avoids eye contact

I will say I miss meta-moderation. That was a neat feature.

Right? Way ahead of its time, in my opinion.

3 digit /. UID checking in!

The comments are less professional, and by a large majority the links are dictated by the editor. HN serves as a model for dialogue which more sites should emulate.

Frankly I think /.s model of moderation is superior to most other sites, eclipsed to my knowledge only by stack exchange (no experience with discourse)

On just a small side note to remind our selves: Projects that didn't receive well in HN doesn't necessarily mean that HN didn't find it promising/useful or ignored it. It could have been posted at times when participation is low (e.g midnight), for example, so nobody actually saw it. Or people simply just forgot to upvote it, and it went unnoticed in the flood of too many other submissions.

I remember that I posted an article that I wrote to HN someday, and it got only 10 votes. Just a day later, some other guy posted MY article and got around 320 votes. I think it's just luck sometimes.

Sometimes just title rephrasing does wonders.

React.js. OMG what a shitshow that was.

For the lazy, mind linking to the thread when it first came out?

Define "success" and "didn't receive well in HN".

I'd argue most of the most interesting projects I've ever seen are actually not successful. AKA they were received well, but weren't successful.

I'd argue, in most cases, the least well received are actually solving problems and not "cool". Take an enterprise product that automates some process, wont be well received, but may be worth billions.

I'd guess the majority of them weren't initially received well. It seems it's kind of characteristic of truly good & innovative ideas that they at first seem like terrible ideas to the majority of people (as once noted by Paul Graham / Sam Altman or some other famous entrepreneur, can't remember who exactly).

DuckDuckGo was roasted when it was initially introduced to HN (mainly for the thought-to-be silly name IIRC).

I love DDG but I think it's a bad name for a brand.

Saying "DuckDuckGo" in a conversation takes time and using the acronym "DDG" makes it sound like some kind of arcane product that only tech-savvy people uses. It's a bigger problem with internationalization.

I wonder why they haven't rebranded to "duck" since they purchased "duck.com".

It might feel weird to say out loud, but it’s definitely memorable.

Everyone I’ve referred to DDG could recall the name instantly a few days later.

That kind of recognition is important.

> DuckDuckGo was roasted

No pun intended, right?

It may have been a reddit thread, but I remember saying that GitHub seemed like a terrible idea and I had no idea how it could be a viable business. Honestly, I'm still not sure why anyone pays them for their enterprise services.

Precisely what are you looking for? Projects that were negatively received, or projects that nobody cared about?

It seems to be both, when I look at the discussion he gave as an example.



How is Dropbox received badly? The second most upvoted comment said: "This is genuis."


Some of it is negative, though, like the first. Although I think the main reason people bring it up is because the first point of the first comment is pretty funny/infamous:

> 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.

Gosh, that’s some awkward phrasing. “Popular projects that weren’t well-received by HN” would sound much less jarring. To see “received” being used in the active voice is far too royal.

No need to be harsh, they might not be a native English speaker.

No need to be harsh even if they are a native English speaker.

I'm a native English speaker and I don't really see a big difference

I’m not either (by some definitions at least: I grew up in Italy).

> To see “received” being used in the active voice is far too royal.

"Successful projects that HN didn't receive well" doesn't sound royal to me.

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