Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

We need to talk about your side projects.

- Really? I... I did forty hours of my actual job this week. I, also...

Well, okay. Forty is the minimum, okay?

- Okay.

Now, you know it's up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare minimum. Or... well, like Brian, for example, has three side projects, okay. And a terrific smile.

- Okay. So you... you want me to work more?

Look. Joanna.

- Yeah.

Companies can get software engineers anywhere, okay? They look to side projects for the atmosphere and the attitude. Okay? That's what side projects are about. It's about fun.

- Yeah. Okay. So more then, yeah?

Look, we want you to express yourself, okay? Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay. But some people choose to work on side projects and we encourage that, okay? You do want to express yourself, don't you?

- Yeah, yeah.

Okay. Great. Great. That's all I ask.

If anyone does NOT get this reference... please watch

Office Space https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0151804/

That reminds me: I have literally written a TPS report before. In my case, it stood for "Test Plan & Strategy," and I made sure to use the new cover sheet, so it all worked out.

Thanks for the reference, I personally didn’t do the connection.

But wanted to mention that its so cool that offices no longer look like that, at least where I live.

It used to be similar, even worse as a post soviet country. But it’s now so soo much better.

I haven’t seen most of the puns and sarcastic observations from that movie in quite a while.

Now we have different problems of course, but it all seems a bit more sensible now, as if we as a society have grown up a bit.

It's funny, I was thinking the opposite. How I would love to have a cubicle all to myself. They had soooo much more desk space in the Office Space days. You could really spread out without knocking elbows with your desk buddies.

Yup. All I need for comfortable work is a set of obstacles that break line-of-sight between me (and my screen) and everyone else. Noise I can kill with headphones. Having walls on which I could hang diagrams and printouts would be a nice benefit.

That’s why I’m such a huge proponent of company sponsored open source.

You wrap your infra/core functionality into an os project, and keep the businessy things in the private repo.

You get to work on it during your work hours. It inevitably ends up much better documented and tested code than the usual company developed tooling. And you get to keep it when you leave.

No need to spend time on it at home if you don’t want to.

And the company benefits as well as it now has much better internal codebase, people might consider maintaining it even after they’ve left the company, and it acts like a pr/recruitment hook.

> That’s why I’m such a huge proponent of company sponsored open source.

The flip side of this (and I don't think it's what your advocating for, btw), is companies like Gatsby who's entire product is "open source", and when they have a deficiency in it they ask/expect you to submit PR to fix it, but then will immediately turn around and sell that on to others.

No thanks, im not going to write code and give it to you, to fix your broken product, for you to make money off it.

So I'd like to know which companies support this -- and do not support this.

I know some companies are famously leave-water-at-home-we-drink-koolaid-here cough! (apple) cough!

Granted I've worked only for smallish companies (<2000 people) but most places don't have specific policies _not_ to do it, especially if you do your due diligence security wise, and don't show the company in bad light.

If you make it a very nice looking OS project, most of the time they are either on board or don't care too much.

But I really check for this at the interview stage, and they must have a really good reason not to, compensated accordingly.

Didn't Apple start doing OS as well though? I think there are a bunch of projects from them already.

Apple has been gradually declining in open source stuff.

They have opened swift, but that's sort of a funnel anyway.

The real problem is folks who work there say it's really hard to open source stuff as an employee.

Lol, love this movie.

Btw did anyone ever say a side project had to be coding? Maybe you like to paint, or do dances on Tiktok, or read mystery thrillers.

No one ever says a project has to be, at all. They just frown and look disappointed when you say no.

Very same reaction if you have a side project and want to protect the IP you're doing outside company hours to work on that same side project. All the contracts I have signed had that unfair but standard clause that say all the IP you are producing outside company hours belong to company

I have always been able to get that clause stricken from a contract. It's totally unreasonable.

How is that legal?

In other words, your side project is just more, unpaid work?

It's worse than unpaid work, it's taking ownership of your personal hobbies. Presumably your side projects aren't for your work but for yourself. Imagine if a chef had to pay his employer for the meals he makes at home. Makes no sense.

More reasonable would be an industry non-compete or technology NDA which are more specifically about you not taking company secrets and making money from the company's efforts.

Granted I’ve only worked for small, software-focused companies, but the companies I’ve worked for have had pretty reasonable contracts saying that anything I create outside of work hours without using work equipment or work secrets is mine and not theirs.

You don't have to be "productive" with every minute of your life.

GP's just rebranding 'having a hobby', didn't say anything about being productive 'every minute of your life', or even that it had to be productive at all.

Daddy's little tax deduction... er... side project.

Also, doing a view source it's funny that "minimal CSS" is sort of like my "minimal python", which includes at least 10 lines of magic preamble devoted to import and argparse that I sprinkle in every script I write.

how do you do the tax deduction part? Probably this is American specific, I don't think I can deduct time on a side project here in Denmark but tell me anyway, maybe I can translate the ideas.

Here in Australia, I could deduct any costs associated with a side project from my income, things like cloud hosting, subscriptions etc.

Australia has a very accomodating approach towards personal income tax deductions. I can deduct any work or business related expenses. If the expense was also for personal purposes, I can still claim the portion used for work. For example, if I buy a Macbook and use it for working 40 hours a week, and then 10 hours of personal use, I can deduct 80% of the cost from my income.

As I'm working from home, all my office furniture is tax deductible, as well as my power and internet bills.

Then because I'm a software developer, any software or hardware that I use while I'm working is also deductible; keyboards, monitors, cables, etc. I can even deduct the cost of a new backpack if I use it to carry my laptop!

I'm sorry I was trying to say "my side project is my family" and misremembered the title of an old movie.

It was actually this:


In the UK, businesses can claim tax relief for R&D [0] - there may be something similar in the US.

[0] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/corporation-tax-research-and-dev...

So good!

You know the Nazis had side projects that they made the Jews do.

(Please get the reference or this just sounds weird out of context)

I got a fevah ...

... and the only prescription

... is MORE BLING!!!!!!


Applications are open for YC Summer 2023

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact