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Hi. I'm Tom and I am the co-founder at TS and you know what, you're right -- I am not passionate about tickets. I'm not even passionate about sports. In fact, the only sport I care about is hockey; the rest I essentially hate. I am still very passionate about the project, however, because it has been very entertaining from a technical perspective and has been a great opportunity to not only take part in YC, but build a company with a very old friend.

I'm very passionate about the site, but not because I necessarily want to make my own ticket-buying experience better. I like TS because it's a useful service for other people, presents challenging work, and has been an opportunity to work with very large volumes of data, among other reasons. I may not find tickets or sports exciting, but not once since the start of this project have I thought to myself, "I really wish I was working on something else."

Edit: Once we have concert listings I suppose I can meet the artificial requirement of building something I would use because there's little I'm more passionate about than music.

Tom, are you using your own site? If you are interested in working with large volumes of data, then you are not struggling with the real issue - which involves all the different ways people interact with the site and how it solves different needs.

This is the reason open source software so often sucks - because people want to solve the difficult technical problems (to prove themselves or why, I don't know), and they are not solving the most important problem - which is knowing all the different ways users want to use your site and making sure each and every way is so smooth it's sweet.

That's a core of passion - you create a little baby, and you want that baby to be perfect, so you do the little things - smooth out the icons here, make sure that the window pops up just right, test it 30 different times to see if the flow is smooth and obvious, you ask people what they think of it, and how exactly it can be made better.

It's like when you finish a painting, then you take a step back, look at it to see how a stranger would look at it. Then you squint your eyes to see how the colors look on their own. Then you go up close to see how the shadow on the little corner box looks, then you think what color of frame would properly offset the color on the inside....

That's passion.

You're confused.

TS is "my baby". I want it to be perfect. I have tested it way more than 30 times, probably 3 million, but whatever. We have gotten countless amounts of feedback in writing, in person, over the phone, in every possible way. We ask people to nit-pick. Then, we take what they say, and implement the things that will make us better.

You've assumed that because I don't have a passion for the subject of my work, I therefor do not have passion for my work. You've assumed incorrectly. I take pride in all the projects I create and I strive to make them as good as they can be. I may never use TS to compare and find sports tickets (never mind; hockey season is starting soon), but that doesn't mean I can't be passionate about making such an experience as good as it possibly can be, and better than anyone has done before.

Umm I don't think Tom cares how you feel about passion. He's happy, I'm happy and our friends and family are happy for us. The rest really doesn't matter.

I'm glad you've found some unannounced projects that you have extreme passion for or whatever but you can't really apply that to other individuals' tastes, hobbies and desires. It varies.

Good luck with your projects - nothing is more fulfilling than doing something you enjoy working on all the time (as Tom and I and many of the HN crowd have done).

Cheers dude, Dan

Take it easy on the attitude, being nice is a important part of success.

I agree, but you were telling him not only what he should be passionate about but how he should be passionate about it?


I am telling him nothing, I'm just observing the state of things as I see it.

Fair enough. Anything you'd change about the site (other than subject matter)? :-D

I don't think the creator of an interface can ever objectively measure the usability of the interface, no matter how much they use it; they don't ever have to learn it, because they created it in the first place.

A great artists knows when his painting is ugly, a great musician can tell when his song sucks.

There's gigantic gap between beauty and usability...

No, it's the same thing. The purpose of a painting is not to have gleaming edges or colorful patches - it's to awaken emotions. The point of a software application is to allow us get work done as easily as possible. The point of a car is to transport us from one place to another as painlessly as possible.

Success is when a creation achieves the goal of what it is supposed to be. Being great in what you do is the ability to create something that achieves that goal.

Software applications are like paintings. It's easy to create a mediocre painting, and the difficulty in the magnificent paintings lie in the attention to detail.

If you really think usability is not the CORE of any software application, then you are not just on the wrong path, you are going in the opposite direction.

I'm not saying it's not the core. I'm saying that the creator of the interface is in no position to objective judge the usability because they have an innate knowledge of the system because they designed it and they know exactly how it functions and how it's supposed to be used. If you want a real measure of usability, you have to get someone who understands the problem domain, but has never before seen your interface, and then objectively determine how easily they can figure out how to perform tasks and get things done. The fact that you, as the designer, already know exactly how the interface is built and operates precludes you from having an objective opinion of how easy the interface is to understand.

Similarly, a painting's artist cannot objectively determine how beautiful/emotional/successful the work of art is, because he has an innate sense of what it is trying to convey to the viewers. Just because the artist sees the subtles details, nuances, allusions, etc, does not mean that other viewers will be able to glean the same information.

And to drive the nail home a third time, an engineer could not possibly be an objective judge of how easy a car is to operate (usability), because they already know where everything is and how it works. They need to have a real person sit in the seat to realize that putting the cigarette lighter and cup holders inside the center console is a bad idea and not at all intuitive...

It seems like you are defining beauty AS usability. To me they are orthogonal. Beauty is a quality that appeals to my aesthetic sense, and usability is a quality that appeals to my practicality. There are beautiful websites that are unusable, and ugly websites that are very usable, I'm sure you can think of examples for both cases.

To digress shortly - what's the difference between orthogonal and perpendicular? Why use the one and not the other?

I believe perpendicular applies to only two dimensions, while orthogonal applies to three or more. The latter makes sense when there might be more than two dimensions present in the discussion.

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